- It's Week 6, and some students still don't have all of their textbooks.
- In some cases, the books haven't even arrived yet from publishers. When will they get here?
- The books are actually here - at the district warehouse.
- When will the textbooks get to students?
- "Hopefully, they'll be on the way soon," says district spokesman Chris Coplan.
- Administrators keep filling out requests for books.
- As of this week, students - in history and other disciplines at Peoria High - still don't have books.
- It's the same thing with other kids and courses at other district schools: no books.
- What's the hold-up? There aren't enough books because there are too many books.
- "We just ordered so many textbooks this summer," says spokesman Coplan.
- The district underwent a wave of curriculum changes after the last academic year.
- The district ordered a half-million dollars worth of new textbooks, a much higher sum than usual.
- Many of those books still haven't arrived.
- In many cases, the books came in plenty of time.
- They're neatly stacked at the district warehouse on Lake Street.
- There are just two employees at the warehouse.
- There are strict rules regarding intaking requests and unpacking supplies and tracking orders and marking books and distributing texts.
- Teachers are trying to make do with alternative teaching methods.
- In some cases, teachers are running off copies of book pages for students.
- In printing off copies, the district is wasting time and money in replacing books that are already here
- "We're working daily to get them out," Coplan says
- The process isn't working right.
- Those still-on-order books someday might get here from publishers.
- When that happens, fear more delays.
- Taxpayers pick up the tab for these materials.
- It's a waste to see these books languish without delivery.
- It's a waste to see students languish without books.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Sterling: Digging Deeper — An opportunity for the 6th grade class to lead in the development of a community garden. The 6th graders will plan, design, and spearhead this effort to create a garden that will bring learners of all ages and grade levels together to achieve a common goal. The 6th graders will take the initiative as project managers by developing a timeline and task list that assigns all students, their families, staff, and community partners to join in the planting, maintenance, harvest, and sustaining of the garden. The long-term vision for Digging Deeper moves in to Phase II Kitchen (nutritional aspects of produce) during the 2012-13 school year and Phase III Organizational Development (entrepreneurial and philanthropic activities during 2013-2014.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Friday, September 23, 2011
Related article: Illinois Should Weigh Use of Parent Trigger
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Frankly, when I see the news reports of all the stuff and the décor, I’m a little embarassed that the coming of this monstrosity is such a big deal for the area in which I live.
I’m not mad at the folks who feel the need to go to the great outdoors amusement pro shop. Hey, do me a favor and come back here and let me know how many non-white folks you see working there.
Read the entire article here.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Peoria School District 150 Superintendent Grenita Lathan admits the district has been going through a case of what she calls "the T and T's"...transportation and textbooks. Lathan says there has been a delay in some books and materials getting handed out.
Comptroller David Kinney says District 150 bought nearly four times the amount of new material during the off-season than in the last two years combined. Kinney says that's a bunch, "We also bought a bunch during a summer that had nine weeks." "(With) the last school year starting a couple of weeks late and then four snow days, it was a very short summer," says Kinney.
Lathan says there are other reasons for the delay. "We saw an increase in the number of kindergartners so, in reference to science materials we ordered, we did not have enough kindergarten materials so we sent those out," Lathan told the District 150 school board Monday.
"Also, we are implementing Scientific Resource Associates and you do not send those materials until the students are assessed and you know where they're starting," says Lathan. Lathan says 15 screeners have completed that work and now the proper materials can get to the students.Source
Monday, September 19, 2011
This is the start of the fifth week of the 2011-2012 school year and from what I am hearing, today is another day filled with copying chapters from the few text books the schools do have on hand, because the District still has not delivered text books to all the classrooms. Although my reports are from south of Forrest Hill, I wouldn't be surprised to find that they are also still without text books north of Forrest Hill.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
I know this was probably done to be proactive about violence, but is not allowing schools to co-mingle during certain sporting events the answer? This type of set-up can't be fun for the students... lest we adults forget, sporting events are supposed to be fun.
Friday, September 16, 2011
UPDATE: I am hearing from reliable sources that they are still waiting on textbooks.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
I saw these student fight videos over on peoria.com. The fights appear to be on and near the grounds of Glen Oak School. This fight was more than likely brewing all day inside the school building and erupted once school was let out. I am reposting them here hoping that some teachers or adminstrators might be able to identify some of these knuckleheads and pull them in to help them resolve some of their issues.
The adults in the third video should be arrested for encouraging one child to "beat" anothers "a**" and you will notice that the adult female actually knocks one of the young girls to the ground, when she got advantage of the girl the adult was supporting. Again, these adults need to be arrested - this fight will continue in the neighborhood. Now parents will be looking to get at each other. The school can help in squashing this issue.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
NAACP and League of Women Voters chides the District 150 Board of Education for lack of transparency in redistricting
"I cannot believe that you would even consider a vote [on redistricting] without first presenting it to the community. You know that the NAACP is one of the authors of the consent decree back in 1987. We were one of the organizations that represented the plaintiff in that lawsuit and I do not believe in fact, I think the state law requires that you have public input on this before you change boundaries.
I know you are worried about the elections coming up in March, but if that was a concern, that should have been taken into consideration long ago. Please don’t tell me that well, the information is on the Internet, some of us don’t have the time to go and check everybody’s Internet."
Thanks to Peoria Story for the recording of comments at the Board of Education meeting. Click on image to enlarge.
At last night's Board of Education meeting, the President of the Illinois NAACP, took Dr. Grenita Lathan to task for her handling of African American employees:
"... Long before most of you ever considered running for this board, the NAACP openly and loudly complained about the Districts performance when it came to African American employees in all classifications in the district from janitors to superintendents.
This administration has been in office for about a year and we have already lost two very strong very qualified African American females, with even more, as I am told, considering leaving the district and looking for positions outside the city of Peoria. I recognize that we have hired an African American Superintendent and I also recognize that she has recruited staff, African American, from other parts of the country. But history tells us that these are short term jobs. the very next better opportunity that presents itself to our Superintendent, it is very likely that she will leave the city of Peoria, she won’t be sticking her roots in the ground to stay here as long as we want our teachers and administrators to stay here and that is true generally of the people who are hired by top administrators, they too leave when the top administrator leaves as well, so again, we are talking about short term employees, not the kind of people that we are trying to attract to the city of Peoria, who will raise their families in this community and in fact, hopefully, install their families into our school district, because they believe it is a good school district. This trend must stop (clap clap)!
Soon you will receive a FOIA request from me asking to look at the numbers in terms of who you have hired and what the trends show. We are concerned about this problem and we wanted to pass that along in the hopes that you to, will be concerned about it."
Donald Jackson, President of the Illinois NAACP throws down the guantlet at last night's meeting of the Board of Education
"We are not satisfied with what has been happening with Manual High School, Manual Academy. Given what I know, there is a perception in the community that Manual and the model is being systematically stripped of critical parts with the intent to destroy the model itself.Manual has made great strides in education and we are not inclined to let you do that without a fight. I just want to put you on notice, that the community is aware of what is happening and we will not stand on the sidelines and watch you change the model and/or destroy Manual High School; the reputation of a good school.I am just as proud of Manual as a graduate of Manual, as those people are of Central, Richwoods and Woodruff as well, so I am especially concerned about what appears to be a trend to attack the good will and reputation of the people who volunteer at Manual I know there has been some attempts to, how should I say, to pressure some of the advisory council to either give up the ship, to give up the fight but they don’t intend to so and we don’t intend to stand by while lawyers and other people attempt to attack their credibility. so you are on notice now that if this trend continues the fight is on with the NAACP."
Sunday, September 11, 2011
The Superintendent gave a sermon on restoration, change and faith. She also passed out a CD that she produced that had "inspirational words", set to all of her favorite old time gospel music. To all of you 150 employees and followers who need just a few more words of inspiration from Dr. Lathan - enjoy.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
- Court Ordered Provisions: 1-3-3
- Equivalent Size (Baker vs. Carr)
- Compact (not-Gerrymandering)
- No splitting of precincts
- Recognizable boundary lines as much as possible
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
If you have a student that takes out a gun and begins to shoot another student, right away the shooter is identified and the name is released. Additionally, parents as well as students are informed by the alert system. In this instance, there was no alert given. Granted, a box cutter on campus, is no where near as dangerous as a gun on campus, but parents and the public still deserve some type of notification of the incident.
I am hearing from more than one parent, at different schools, that there is an attempt to keep problems of violence and discipline secret and within the schools (see school resource officers).Unfortunately, all schools don't have "school resource officers". The "secrecy" of this particular issue and the failure to notify the parents of a potential problem endangers life and safety of all students. I find this problematic, as it does not encourage public safety and poses a problem if this is District 150's formal policy going forward.
Safety cannot be a facade - I will say again, if parents know the school their child attends is not safe - it won't be safe, unless parents and students stand together to make it so. The schools will do what they can to appease parents, without addressing the root problems. Hopefully these Roosevelt Magnet School parents will get together and find some answers.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
I love this story about the family who stood up to bullies and helped make their child become a stronger person as a result.
It saddens me that the school would not act on behalf of the young lady while she was legally in their care. It’s difficult to watch the dad being deduced to going on the school bus and confronting the bullies. This story is a good example of how bullies impact entire families.
The whole riding the bus to and from school thing is something my family avoids; too much can happen on the school bus. It wouldn’t be a stretch to think that if a child is a bully on the school bus, chances are they are also a bully in the school.
It’s imperative that parents talk to their children about what is going on in their schools and in their classrooms. If your child is telling you that a teacher is constantly reprimanding one or two children; if they are telling you another student called the teacher a name and the teacher did nothing; if they are telling you that nobody does what the teacher says; if they are telling you the teacher keeps giving out warnings and they are not learning anything, contact the school. In my opinion, such a classroom is not safe - this is the type of classroom that bullies can thrive in. More than likely the bully controlling that classroom is also an agitator/ instigator/bully in the cafeteria, on the playground and on the school bus.
Every time your child tells you that a classroom is out of control, call the school and/or send an e-mail. Stand firm and be persistent... and by the way, don't think you can do it without the situation becoming adversarial - you'll only be fooling yourself.
It's slow going, but schools are just now getting to the point where they take bullying seriously and are instituting anti-bullying policies. But they can’t stop there; schools must also enforce that policy and offer students the necessary interventions.
Come on parents; let the schools know that you hold them accountable for the safety of your student. Make it clear to them that we need for our schools to be safe and have a climate that is conducive to learning.
Related articles: Psychology Today, Encourage Your Child to Talk About Bullying; and Bullying law puts New Jersey schools on spot
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
New chancellor could make $1.5M overseeing district for Michigan's troubled schools
The first chancellor of the new statewide special district for Michigan's lowest-performing schools could receive more than $1.5 million in salary and bonuses over his four-year contract, if he meets all performance targets.
John Covington, the departing superintendent of the Kansas City, Mo., School District, will be paid a $175,000 signing bonus and a $225,000 salary his first year as leader of the new Education Achievement Authority.
His base salary grows to $325,000 in the second year. And if he meets yet-to-be-determined goals, he could make more than $425,000 in each of the last two years of the contract.
As a comparison, the top salary for superintendents of the nation's largest districts ranged up to $329,000 last year, according to a study by the Washington-based Council of the Great City Schools.
The contract raised the ire of activists and unions.
But Steve Wasko, a spokesman for Roy Roberts, the emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools and chairman of the EAA board, said the contract was necessary to attract "top talent to what may be the toughest job in the country."
Covington could not be reached for comment. For his first year, he will be paid $225,000 and collect a $175,000 signing bonus. The base salary increases to $325,000 the second year. For the last two years, he can make an incentive-compensation payment of $50,000 to $100,000 per year.
He's also eligible for a raise in years three and four.
The contract also includes a retirement plan with immediate vesting, a $15,000-per-year supplemental insurance allowance for life and disability coverage and an $800-per-month car allowance.
His first-year compensation and the EAA's initial planning year will be paid through a nonprofit, according to Sara Wurfel, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Snyder. It's unclear what portion during that first year could come from taxpayers. Ensuing years will be funded by per-pupil state aid.
Henry Duvall, the council's communications director, said about a dozen large urban districts are looking for superintendents. "If you want the top person in the job, you've got to give some kind of incentive," he said.
Keith Johnson, president of Detroit Federation of Teachers, said the level of pay disturbs him, considering DPS employees have been asked to take pay cuts and make a "shared sacrifice." Source