Sunday, October 30, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
"There was so much that needed to be accomplished this year, I think I beat myself up more thinking what I wanted to get done. When you think about improving personnel practices and the operational side of the house, there's still more I wanted to accomplish."When questioned on what kind of grade she would put on her own report card:
"I Think about a B or a B-plus. I need proficiency rates. I need to see what we accomplish in student achievement this year. What does it show, how many students are meeting or exceeding standards in reading and math? Then, we'll be able to assign a score beyond that."Lathan says she remains focused on continuing to keep a tight reign on the budget and making sure the curriculum changes she put in place begin to show fruit. Additionally, she is especially proud of the contract agreements reached with teachers and support staff in - what she calls - record time. Source
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
As has been alleged, around these parts, it is unprecedented for a Superintendent of schools to bring in so many new hires (known in certain circles as “outsiders”). After all this is District 150, a predominately black, urban school district, why are these people coming here?
Here’s why I think they are here: Dr. Granita Lathan.
I’m not saying Dr. Lathan is the best thing since sliced bread. But, I can tell you that one of the “BFF’s” that is relocating to Peoria, told me she was “surprised” and “honored” for Dr. Lathan to consider asking her to come to Peoria and work with her. She spoke very highly of Dr. Lathan as a colleague and peer; she was excited about the potential we have here (yes, she believed in our children, sight unseen) and she was ready to start educating some kids.
Move on people, there’s nothing to see here. This is what it looks like when a professional educator is running a school district.
Personally, I am pleased with some of the titles (with new faces) in the Lathan Administration – because it is clear the plan is educating children, as well as educators:
Chief Curriculum and Instruction Officer
Early Childhood Programs
Family and Community
Pre-K through Eight Curriculum
I hope that those who care enough about education to complain so much about it, would pause for a minute to look at the job titles and realize the possibilities for educating our children, parents, principals and teachers in this team that Dr. Lathan is assembling.
It’s not all rosy, but I do see possibilities.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Administration (left to right)
Dr. Grenita Lathan, Superintendent
Dr. Michelle Ungurait, Associate Superintendent
Debra Dimke, Executive Director of Human Resources
Dr. LaToy Kennedy, Chief Curriculum and Instruction Officer
Interim Pending, Controller/Treasurer
Department Heads (left to right)
Bryan Chumbley, Accountability and Research
Otto Arcaute, Federal/State and Special Projects Compliance
Jeffrey Puckett, Purchasing/Textbooks/Warehouse Services
Michael McKenzie, Assistant Comptroller
Becky Goldman, Food Services
Greg Collins, Security
Carla Eman, Budget Analyst
Tim Delinski, Instructional Improvement
Jane Clark, Special Education
Russell J. Budzban, Building and Grounds
Revonda Johnson, Instructional Improvement Officer
William Salzman, Student Affairs
Ann Bond, Early Childhood Programs
Shameika Sikes-Patterson, Literacy/Social Studies
Scott Delawder, Technology
Geri Hammer, Employee Services
Stacey Shangraw, Marketing and Public Relations
Anthony Mendoza, Transportation
York Powers, Family and Community
Ava Hoffer, Pre-K through Eight Curriculum
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Her original start date was early July. Had she waited until July, perhaps the dust would have settled on the Mary Davis case; she would have missed most of the p.r. around end of the year pink slips; and maybe even the most recent fiasco - reclassificationofclericalworkersgate.
As of today, Dr. Grenita Lathan is officially in the office as the Superintendent of District 150.
Approximately seven days ago, locals were ridiculing her for not having the foresight to have her ISBE paperwork in order. Yet, here she is in Peoria, two months early, ready to face the cynics and take on the challenge of a school District best described as a hot mess.
I look forward to watching her work. She comes across as a professional who is willing to put in the work, a real go getter who is capable of hitting the ground running.
This should be interesting.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The discussion was based around the availability of information for your average parent to the choices available within District 150 (i.e., Washington Gifted, Edison schools, Valeska Hinton, Roosevelt Magnet, Richwoods IB, Arts Academy, the Manual 7th & 8th Grade Academy, MST Charter School, etc…)
The discussion revealed a shortcoming that if District 150 does not take a serious look at fixing, they too will more than likely be more prone to manipulation of principals and admission policies. Truth be known, I personally can attest to admission rules to a specific District 150 School being different depending on who is calling and/or who answers the phone. This has got to change.
The bottom line is that access to information on enrollment options and admission policies for the District schools is so hard to come by, that only the highly motivated parent and/or the highly connected parent can even begin to ask the right questions for their student. Just basic stuff like what are your admission policies, how can I get my child in, what does my child need to know?
It's imperative that ALL families have the opportunity to explore the best option to educate their children. Parents must be able to access information in a timely manner. Right now, only a limited number of parents know the intricacies of enrollment and admission to the District’s schools. Unfortunately that number is not inclusive of the majority of the clients the District serves.
Because I am a parent who is concerned about access to opportunities and parent involvement, I didn’t like what the discussion with Sharon, Jon and Frustrated revealed, so I sent Stacey Shangraw, District 150’s Director of Marketing/Public Relations, a link to the post and asked her:
“What will the District be doing to better inform ALL parents about all of the enrollment options before the upcoming school year? Will these schools at least be updating their websites so that parents are clear these are "choice" schools?”
Ms. Shangraw responded expeditiously and explained that advertising for the charter school is separate from the District. She pointed out that limited funds, staff and resources makes it difficult to justify spending money on direct mailings, billboards and yard signs. She further informed me that in the past the District has sent letters home with families and they market the information through school newsletters and the publication “Making the Grade”.
Ms. Shangraw suggested to me that if I have a suggestion for free marketing ideas to please let her know.
At this time, I would like to point Ms. Shangraw to the San Diego Unified Schools Enrollment and Option Choice page. Hopefully when Dr. Granita Lathan (Ms. Shangraw's new boss) gets here from San Diego, she will be able to instruct Ms. Shangraw on how to implement this “free” method of getting information about enrollment options and admission policies out to parents.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Read the entire article here.
"As Peorians anticipate School District 150 interim superintendent Norm Durflinger’s formal recommendation to the board on changes in staffing, the thought of other changes comes to mind. If administrations in business, government or any human institution sometimes deflect criticism by blaming the victims, District 150 administrators and board have plenty of targets in trying to avoid answering for schools’ situation: students, teachers, parents, the community, taxpayers…
But, again, those are the victims, victims of a school system that seems to continue to make large and small decisions based on administration and board convenience rather than the public interest or the common good.
The administrators are supposed to answer to the board; the board is supposed to answer to the people; the people need a new school board."
Do you agree? Would this current BOE be a hindrance to the kind of change that Dr. Lathan may be prepared to make?
Monday, March 1, 2010
Did I post it for the hits; unwittingly putting it up, not suspecting that the exposure that the video is now getting is exactly what Anonymous had hoped for (perhaps better)?
I posted it because this video proves something that concerns me greatly - the miseducation of inner city children in Peoria. What this video proves to me is that the children in this classroom are being neglected - some would even say "warehoused". Personally, that saddens me, I don’t find it a reason to start high fiving and saying “I told ya so”.
The video is disturbing and I most definitely wouldn’t want my children in a classroom where the kids are kickin it to that degree. However, children can only get away with what the adults around them allow them to get away with - and on the video - I can clearly see adults in the room.
If this video is the worst of it - I remain hopeful.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
District 150 is prepared to announce that Dr. Grenita Lathan is their preferred candidate for the position of Peoria Public Schools Superintendent. Although no official appointment will be made until all due diligence is completed, she will be coming to Peoria soon for an official introduction.
Dr. Lathan is currently the Interim Deputy Superintendent for the San Diego Unified School District.
In 2007, a staff member at Guilford County Schools, in North Carolina, where Dr. Lathan was a Principal at the time described Dr. Lathan as follows: An individual who leads with,”…vigor and compassion, strength and courage, humility and respect – beckoning all the while for all of us to come alongside and share in the grand adventure of educating children and shaping the future”.
Yeah, we are gonna need ALL of that for District 150. Bring it Dr. Lathan.
Articles on Dr. Lathan:
Taking Initiative a Look inside Guilford County Schools