Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
Tonight the District 150 Superintendent and School Board will be holding their School Board Meeting north of Forrest Hill/War Memorial in the Richwoods High School auditorium.
The broad sweeping changes that concern families South of Forrest Hill/War Memorial:
Closing of Garfield Primary School
Closing of Columbia Middle School
Boundary change for Whittier Primary School
Change configuration for Glen Oak Community Learning Center
Change configuration of Trewyn Middle School
Establish a career and Technical Center at Woodruff
Restructure Peoria Alternative High School
Restructure Greeley Alternative School
Increase Graduation Requirements at Manual
The changes of most concern to families North of Forrest Hill/War Memorial:
End contract with Edison Learning
Institution of High School Registration Handbook
Increase graduation requirements at Richwoods
The number of African Americans living in Peoria grew from 27,992 in 2000 to 30,991 in 2010, or an increase of about 10 percent. According to the 2010 census, there are 33,030 African-Americans in Peoria County. And 30,991 of them - almost 94 percent - live in the city. (Yeah, I know Peoria is not a major city, anyhow...)
2010 Census data released so far this year show that 20 of the 25 cities that have at least 250,000 people and a 20% black population either lost more blacks or gained fewer in the past decade than during the 1990s. The declines happened in some traditional black strongholds: Chicago, Oakland, Atlanta, Cleveland and St. Louis.
The loss is fueled by three distinct trends:
• Blacks — many in the middle or upper-middle class — leaving cities for the suburbs.
• Blacks leaving Northern cities for thriving centers in the South.
• The aging of the African-American population, whose growth rate has dropped from more than 16% in the 1990s to about 10% since 2000.
"In the Northern cities, a lot of young blacks who might have grown up in cities are leaving maybe the entire region," says William Frey, demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the data. "They're going to the Sun Belt and particularly the South. The ones who stay in the area want to move to the suburbs."
Atlanta's loss of blacks tripled since 2000 to almost 30,000. The percentage of blacks in the city shrank to 53% from 61%. But in Atlanta's vast metropolitan area, the black population soared 40% to 1.7 million, a clear indication that many spread out to suburban counties. The Atlanta region has the second-largest black population after New York.
The trend is playing out differently in Chicago. The city lost more than 200,000 residents, and more than 180,000 of them were African-American. In the metropolitan area, the black population fell 3.5% to 1.6 million, pushing it 66,000 below metro Atlanta's.
Suburbs anywhere are a huge draw.
"Typically, middle-class African-American families make the same kind of choices that white families have made for some time," Onyeagoro says. "As soon as kids are school-age, they move to the suburbs." Suburbs are also luring lower-income blacks who are leaving neighborhoods that don't have supermarkets and other retail, she says. Source
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
President, Local 6099
Monday, March 21, 2011
Dear School Board,
I am ______________________. I am writting this letter because I am a prier student of Garfield Primary School. I will not let you close that school down absoutly will not. If they go to Trewyn they will get serisouly hurt. I will not let that happen. I will get as many people I can to keep Garfield Primary School up and running I went there for 3-4 years so I will fight evan if I am by myself I will fight.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I would be curious to know what the people currently running for school board think of the vast changes that may be coming down the pike (I bet CJ is working on that).
By the time they make it to the board, what input will they be able to have on the direction of our school district? It seems to me, that the March 28th date to say yea or nea on the changes recommended yesterday, seems a tad bit hasty.
If I am not mistaken, 99% of the BOE all have day jobs. Can they really be expected to make a completely informed decision of this magnitude by March 28th? Do they even know what Compass Learning, the 95 Percent Group or APEX Learning is? Do they understand why they should vote to go along with Compass Learning over APEX Learning, even though there is inconclusive data as to Compass Learning's effectiveness? Do they know exactly what and who it would take to implement the Edison program without the Edison Company? Do they really understand why parents in the audience cheered, when it was recommended to do away with Open Court Reading?
I believe that most taxpayers would agree, the BOE making an informed decision goes beyond just voting on the information fed to them by the Administration. We expect them to do their due diligence - get out into the schools, talk to parents, actually see the programs they have been asked to cut in action (or inaction as it were). In other words, we are going to need them to take a leave of absence from their day jobs and do a little home work... set a good example for the students.
However, as I listened to Dr. Kennedy disperse the curriculum audit findings of her team, I found it was no laughing matter to find out how much teachers are doing every day, that is actually ineffective. As you read the information below, let me know if you agree, that the information disclosed by the auditor indicates that there was NOT a whole lot of teachin' goin' on (for whatever reason).
Curriculum Audit Info presented by Dr. Kennedy
Dr. Owen Roberts, is the outside auditor that was hired by the District. He audited Edison Schools, Compass Learning, 95 Percent Group, Open Court Reading, the APEX program and Reading 180. He sent the surveys to specific schools that had those specific programs. There was an incentive offered to have your name entered into a raffle for turning the surveys in. The auditor sent the survey to specific schools that had the specific programs.
The auditor was looking for implementation fidelity, curriculum alignment, school buy in and engagement, implementation, teacher readiness and evidence based implementation. He found that we need a monitoring system and a protocol to check for fidelity.
"Fidelity is defined as the extent to which a program is delivered in accordance to the intended design. That would include delivery (teachers), how often and where lessons are conducted, the materials, targeted population, who was delivering (teacher or aide), qualifications of person delivering the program and whether or not there was training."
Compass learning, Open Court and APEX did not have the appropriate school engagement in the decision making to implement. What that is saying is there was no buy in from the schools on these programs.
Teacher's knowledge of how to use the data generated with Open Court, Compass Learning and APEX were inadequate to support instructional decisions made in the classroom.
The primary school program interventions, namely the Edison Projects 95 Percent group, professional development support had a moderate to high positive impact on student achievement. Open Court had a low impact on student achievement.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Close Columbia Middle School
Close Greeley Alternative School (high school)
Close the Knoxville Center (middle school)
Close Garfield Primary School
Get rid of the Edison Company and continue the Edison Program.
Greeley Alternative School and the Knoxville Center will be combined and housed at Woodruff High School. (middle school on first floor) (high school on second floor). The new program will be called the Woodruff Technical Program.
The children at Garfield will be sent to Harrison. The children at Whitter, who came from Tyng will be sent to Harrison school or Trewyn School.
Trewyn will become K - 8th. The children from Tyng who are at Whitter and who have siblings of age that attend Harrison School - will be required to have all their children attend school together at Harrison School.
Graduation requirements for Manual will change.
Trewyn will house an IB Program.
Discontinue Open Court Reading.
Washington Gifted was not audited and stands intact.
Just too much nonsense to put it all down right now. More to come as I review my notes...
Sunday, March 13, 2011
"hello ths is the oyeyemi family, i first want to thank all the people for sending prayers out to us. For the students it was not your fault, he died from heart failure.... so it was not any of you fault, it was god that called his name and now he is in a better place and for the princible of the school you was rude, disrespectfull and heartless to accuse those children of MR.SAM Oyeyemi death, I FEEL AS IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO APPOLOGIZE to the children. I feel that we shall say a prayer for the princible because it seems she needs it. P.S. MR.SAM was a great man and teacher... MR.SAM DNT PLAY(HIS QUOTE)"
Talk about how fast rumors spread - imagine how many times the young lady in the Mall told her story. I was minding my own business when she came up and shared it with me. I bet she had a good time retelling it to every single teenage girl that walked into the most popular, teenage girly store in the Mall.
"The rumors are really swelling. A little over a week ago, there was an actual fight with punch throwing between some boys. I think it was the day that Shaun Grant got there. Anyway, these other fights are just between girls. They're not physical, only verbal. Our Asst Principal likened it to the movie "mean girls".
When the girls were pressed for the premise of the fights, none of them even knew! Mr. Poehls had the girls all together in a room with our campus police chief, among other authorities there in the school, as well as parents. It was handled very well.
Another problem we've had is that kids within the school are spreading rumors of these fights with a severely embellished twist. Technology today can really cause a lot of grief! Rumors have the ability to spread twice as fast!"
Introverts are more concerned with the inner world of the mind. They enjoy thinking, exploring their thoughts and feelings. They often avoid social situations because being around people drains their energy. This is true even if they have good social skills. After being with people for any length of time, such as at a party, they need time alone to "recharge."
When introverts want to be alone, it is not, by itself, a sign of depression. It means that they either need to regain their energy from being around people or that they simply want the time to be with their own thoughts. Being with people, even people they like and are comfortable with, can prevent them from their desire to be quietly introspective.
Being introspective, though, does not mean that an introvert never has conversations. However, those conversations are generally about ideas and concepts, not about what they consider the trivial matters of social small talk.
Introverts make up about 60% of the gifted population but only about 25-40% of the general population. Source
If a crowded cocktail party feels like a holding cell to you, even as you gamely keep up your end of the chatter, chances are you're an introvert. Introverts are drained by social encounters and energized by solitary, often creative pursuits. Their disposition is frequently misconstrued as shyness, social phobia or even avoidant personality disorder, but many introverts socialize easily; they just strongly prefer not to. In fact, the self-styled introvert can be more empathic and interpersonally connected than his or her outgoing counterparts.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
I was standing there talking with Little One about Hello Kitty jewelry and the clerk comes over out of the blue and begins to talk about she didn't know that there were black people in Panama. I asked her what made her say that. She told me that the two black ladies that were just in the store were talking in a different language and she asked them where they were from and they said Panama.
I informed her that yes, people from Panama come in all colors, just like Americans. She said that they don't teach you that stuff in District 150 and she's a senior at Richwoods. I told her that as a black girl, there are some things about people of color that she will need to find out on her own.
She changed the subject and started to tell me that she was kicked out of school and that they had 14 (fourteen) fights at Richwoods last week. My ears pricked up and I said, "14 (fourteen) fights - 14 fights"? Are you sure about that number, she said yes, because her fight was number 14 (fourteen).
I asked her what was the deal with all the fighting - she said:
"When Mr. Ptacek was Principal the rule was 10 (ten) days suspension for fighting but since Mr. Grant came, girls are willing to fight because the suspension is now only 5 (five) days and they are willing to take the 5 (five) day suspension to get at who they want."
The young lady was full of conversation, she went on to tell me that she was concerned that she was going to have to go to court. I asked her why, she said she just turned eighteen and the other girl was seventeen. She told me the girl fighting her knew she would be charged if she fought her.
There have been so many conflicting reports on fights at Richwoods. This student clearly told me fourteen fights, with her's being the fourteenth. What to believe?
The other day, I overheard PHS students talking about texts they were getting from RHS students about the fights going on at RHS. RHS staff member told me there were seven girls involved in two fights that day. I texted my daughter to ensure she was ok. She said that she was..."
Anonymous, I noticed in your comment that you said your daughter texted a student and you a teacher, also texted a student. You and your daughter both violated school policy. This is one of the things that is extremely out of control in the schools. Parents are continually texting or calling students while they are in class, students are contacting parents or other students. We are talking about hundreds of phone use each day. The rules are phones are to be off and out of sight. How can teachers even teach with this going on. This also keeps problems between the students alive and has anyone thought about the drug deals being made on these phones during school hours with the students. Cell phones need to be completely banned from all the schools and suspended if the student doesn't abide by the rule.
Friday, March 11, 2011
I am a parent of a student at Rolling Acres-Edison where 7th grade students were made to feel as though their behavior toward a substitute teacher played a role in his untimely death over the weekend.
How truly frustrating to know that a school principal and other administrator basically bullied and guilted 12 and 13 year old students! How is that type of unprofessional, unethical behavior from educators in any way, shape, or form acceptable? How can we possibly expect students in diverse school communities to show any type of tolerance, compassion or sensitivity toward other people when their school "leaders" model absurd behavior like that?!
The truly sad thing is that the principal is now saying that the students "misconstrued" her comments. Whether specific comments were misunderstood, many of those kids came home very upset Tuesday afternoon because of how they were made to feel. The psychologist and social worker were called in a day after the lecture. A terrible representation of D150 leadership!
WEEK is reporting:
On Monday, Rolling Acres Junior Academy learned Samuel Oyeyema, had passed away over the weekend.
The cause of death is unknown at this point and one parent says the principal had allegedly blamed 7th grade students for the teacher's death.
"He(son) said that she went to all the seventh graders and said to every class, that you are the reason why he is dead," said Parent, Angela Rice."
"I just can't believe she would do this. A child doesn't need to be blamed for an adult's death, especially when it's a teacher, a role model they look up too and are learning from."
The school sent out a letter to the students yesterday regarding the incident, stating there was a misinterpretation.
District 150 only released this comment regarding the issue, "It is a difficult time of grief and healing for our students and staff. Peoria Public Schools is working to ensure that all effected have the proper services and supports that they need to work through this difficult time."
It seems to me the ONLY reports of multiple fights at Richwhoods come from her, and she is spreading it far and wide. Mrs. Crew's reports don't seem malicious, just very very concerned, but notice, she has no details on any of the fights but the one that actually occurred. Did her student she has at Richwoods see the fights; could he/she provide any details?
People were talking about there was a "fight" the other day, they were swearing up and down that it had happened. I know the girl involved and talked to her, I found out it was a disagreement that escalated into shouting and she and her friend stormed off from each other in a huff.
By the time it hit the rumor mill, people were saying it was a full blown chick fight and the school let it happen. There was no fight, there were no threats, just an argument. There is a big differece between fighting and two teenaged girls having a tantrum at each other before storming off not speaking for the rest of the day.
Before posting something about fights at Richwoods, as if it actually happened, ask yourself how many people are exaggerating or inventing incidents because it's what they expect, and, second, why some people are so deeply invested in ensuring that unsubstantiated reports of violence are spread as far and wide as possible.
I know, I know, we have always had knuckleheads that fight in school, but I think this current breed of knuckleheads appears to be particularly reckless and could potentially hurt someone if they felt like it. I'm sorry - I'm saying it - but it's true.
I could give you reports from my school of children being VERY mean spirited, bullying and just generally taking everything for granted. People are posting that there are regular fights at RICHWOODS - yes - RICHWOODS.
This conflict resolution thing that the administrators are doing to resolve issues hoping people will learn to do better, takes too long. By the time progress is made on the bULLY - the good kid - the good teacher - the good parents will be gone.
I'm sorry for this whole unfortunate situation but, as a teacher in a D150 school, I see substitutes in my building every day. I will be honest, I have NEVER EVER been so embarrassed as I have been this year by the behavior (off the wall) of the children in the classrooms with subs. Its like a free for all. Students being plucked out by administration one at a time for unbelievable disrespect towards an adult. I have been told over and over, I will NEVER come back to a D150 school. It is a huge problem. Please come visit any school and walk past a classroom with a sub and it is utter chaos, no matter the age of the children or subject matter being taught. It is shameful to say the least.
Carri W said...
I am a parent of a student at Rolling Acres-Edison where 7th grade students were made to feel as though their behavior toward a substitute teacher played a role in his untimely death over the weekend.
Sharon Crews said...
From a very reliable source--4 or 5 fights at Richwoods today.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
THURSDAY MARCH 10th at Prince of Peace Church Councilman Tim Riggenbach invites you to hear the Peoria Public School District 150 Teacher’s Union under the leadership of Bobby Darling present their vision of the educational reforms and actions they are willing to make and promote. The discussion will include the hows and whys of teachers should be leading the reform efforts.
(Bill Collier, is Mayor Jim Ardis' "education liason")
The Peoria Public Schools District 150 Teacher's Union, under the leadership of Bobby Darling, would like to visit with neighborhood organizations/associations to inform the residents in the various council districts of educational reform actions the teachers and their union are interested in making. The school board and district administration have various avenues to get their information out to the public--paid communication people, a web site, electronic newsletter and televised school board meetings. The Union has no such abilities to explain to the public how teachers could and maybe should lead the reform efforts.
I have agreed to help the Union with the setting up of meetings throughout the city and my first thought was to ask district council people to host such a meeting as a good first step. Your district is home to some very active neighborhood associations who like to be informed and this seems to be a great opportunity for them to interact with teacher leaders. The sharing of information can only help the district better know and react to resident concerns while at the same time interacting with those who send their kids to D150.
As you are one of the most active council members I thought I would ask you if you would be interested in hosting a one hour neighborhood meeting. You would select and secure the location and invite those you wish to invite. We would like to start out with 20-30 attendees and see how the sessions go before holding larger meetings. The dates selected for the first round are March 10, March 24, March 30 and March 31. These would be evening meetings. Once you select a date I will ask other council persons if they are interested and fill in the dates as commitments are made. We may be able to host additional meetings in April as time allows. (emphasis added is mine)
Let me know your thoughts and if you wish to host a meeting, select the date(s) that work for you and we will make that a commitment.
As an adult, I watch in amazement as it seems that the people who run the town in which I live, take rules and apply them only to certain people. I am astounded to see them ignore or twist the rules that are on the books to do what they need or want, but then they turn around and use that same rule to stop you and me from doing what we need or want.
Now I fully realize why when I was a child, things in my town were the way they were. Why we lived where we lived; why certain neighborhoods were so pretty and others not; why kids I played with at school, couldn't come to my house; why other schools were so nice, had cool uniforms and cheerleaders who could flip.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Parker was bounced from the ballot on Feb. 23 after a judge found his felony convictions from nearly 30 years ago prohibited him from running for Peoria School District 150. He filed an appeal to the 3rd District Appellate Court the next day and also asked the court to hear the case in an expedited manner.
Normally, the court would wait several months before hearing oral arguments. On Monday, Lyons said he would oppose a move to speed up the process.
"Mr. Parker delights in conflict. If it's not this issue for him it'll be another one, and we are not interested in helping him cut in line so that his cases can be heard in front of everybody else," Peoria County's top prosecutor said.
A call to Parker's home wasn't returned Monday.
Parker's appeal has been received and docketed in Ottawa. Lyons' office has until Monday to file its response to his request for an expedited hearing. If Parker's motion for an expedited hearing is rejected, then the arguments wouldn't likely be set until well after the election.
During the hearing last month, Parker contended there was nothing in the rules that said he couldn't run for school board but the judge found the state election code, which bars felons from municipal office, also bars them from school boards as well.
In 2009, Lyons sent Parker a letter asking the then-mayoral candidate to withdraw from the ballot. No action was ever taken, and Parker ended up receiving less than 10 percent of the votes in the election. Source
Monday, March 7, 2011
They command six-figure salaries, often with annual bonuses and car allowances. (Generous health care and pension plans are a given.) Sometimes their employers also foot the bill for their life insurance policies.
There are very few of them, for their skill set is rare. They must be savvy politicians and managers. They must be obsessed with constant improvement.
They'll be under the bright lights of the media, so the camera shy need not apply.
No, we're not talking rock stars, pro athletes or even pro coaches.
We're talking school superintendents. Especially those of large urban districts that have struggled from time immemorial. The original rock star superintendent was Rudy Crew, who asked for -- and got -- a contract from the Miami Dade school system in 2004 that paid him upwards of $500,000 a year. He defended his salary by saying, "I think people are really hungry for leadership. We shouldn't underestimate the value of this kind of leadership. This is public servancy with highly developed skills."
The 2010-11 school year is witnessing a larger-than-usual upheaval among the ranks of urban superintendents: Ramon Cortines is retiring in Los Angeles next month, Joel Klein quit mid-year in New York City, Michelle Rhee was done after Adrian Fenty's failed re-election bid in the nation's capital last fall, Clifford Janey is out in Newark after his contract wasn't renewed, Ron Huberman stepped down in Chicago last November, Beverly Hall is leaving amidst a cheating scandal in Atlanta, Paul Vallas is moving on from the Big Easy and Jerry Weast is throwing in the towel in Montgomery County, Md.
And add Seattle to the list, as Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson was fired on March 2 after a state audit found financial mismanagement to the tune of $1.8 million.
Klein, Hall and Weast have all served eight or more years in their most recent posts, which is much longer than the three-year stay of the average urban superintendent. The trouble with filling such vacancies is that the pool from which candidates are drawn isn't deep; everyone's after the same few fish. The predictable result in a free-market economy is that districts must offer lavish compensation packages to woo, and then retain, their preferred leaders.
In the case of Arlene Ackerman, who has run the School District of Philadelphia since June 2008, that has meant offering her not just a base salary of $348,140 but also an annual performance bonus of up to 20 percent her base salary and, this year, a retention bonus of $100,000. According to the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, "The bonuses are in addition to annual raises, [Ackerman's] health plan, and a $65,000-a-year contribution to an annuity. Add to that 34 vacation days, 30 days of paid consulting time (which come out of her vacation or personal days), and perks like a car and premiums toward a $1 million life insurance policy."
Such eye-popping compensation -- which more than one observer has noted exceeds the combined compensation of Philadelphia's mayor and Pennsylvania's governor -- worries some people, especially in the current fiscal crisis. Among those concerned are Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, both of whom have recently pushed for upper limits to superintendent salaries. They argue that, with few exceptions, superintendents shouldn't earn more than $175,000 a year.
But when compared to the salaries of top players in other fields -- from Wall Street to higher education -- most superintendents' salaries look, if anything, rather small. Consider, for example, the case of Cathie Black, newly appointed Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools.
Black earns $250,000 a year to run an institution with a $21-billion annual budget that serves 1.1 million students. That's exactly what Matthew Goldstein, chancellor of the City University of New York, earned a dozen years ago when he assumed his current position. Goldstein's salary has now almost doubled to $490,000, which doesn't include a yearly housing allowance of $90,000. But Goldstein's system -- in terms of annual budget and number of students served -- is just one-fourth the size of Black's. And the stakes are arguably lower at the university than the K-12 level.
It's little wonder that someone like Geoffrey Canada, the revered leader of the Harlem Children's Zone, is said to have turned down Mayor Michael Bloomberg's request that he run the New York City Public Schools. The task is daunting, the compensation modest and the likelihood of unqualified success slim. Taking the job of chancellor would have meant a major pay-cut for Canada -- in 2008, he earned $494,269 as president and CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone -- and his reputation might well have suffered if the city's schools didn't show significant improvement on his watch.
The superintendent role is tricky because it generally requires expertise in three distinct arenas: 1) politics; 2) management; and 3) education. Those tapped to lead school districts from other fields -- business, politics, media, the law and the military are popular -- often have little difficulty with the first two of these. But when they're new to the field of education, teachers tend to perceive them as outsiders whose lack of pedagogical knowledge is disturbing, if not downright dangerous. Hence the decision, in New York City and elsewhere, to appoint someone with classroom and curricular expertise to a "Chief Academic Officer" (CAO) post to serve alongside the superintendent or chancellor. In New York City, that person is Shael Polakow-Suransky, a former city math teacher who worked his way up to deputy chancellor of performance and accountability before becoming CAO.
Just how long Cathie Black lasts as New York City Schools Chancellor is anybody's guess. She's indicated an intention to stay through Mayor Bloomberg's third term, which ends in 2013. But at least one pundit, Michael Petrilli of the right-leaning Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington, D.C., thinks Black will be out by Easter.
If she is, New York City will rejoin the long list of major school systems now searching for the next rock star. Source
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Click here, scroll down to page 8 and take a look at all that Randy Oliver accomplished while here in Peoria.
When former City Manager Oliver was hired, his skills and personality aligned with the needs of the City at that time. Over the last two years, Surprise has undergone many dramatic changes and felt the economic downturn that has impacted communities nationwide. As the City has gone through these growing pains, the focus and direction of the City has changed as well. Mr. Oliver has provided adequate service during much of this time period, but our City needs to move in a different direction.
When asked why he’s leaving, he responded by saying, “I have other things I want to do.” When asked “what other things,” he said “consulting.”
Upon exiting the Greenville South Carolina gig:
“I was never asked to resign,” he said. “I was terminated from a technical point of view from Lee County…Frankly, probably, the majority of the board – I’m sure the majority of the board in Lee county – would like to have me back,” he said.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
It was surprising when Councilman Turner responded loudly to Spanky, while shaking his finger...
"Spanky, I'll vote for it. If I don't get elected, I just won't get elected. My heart and interest is in this community. This issue isn't about Big Al's. This is about the future of Peoria. He's doing us a favor by moving."
The next day on Facebook, Spanky told some of his friends what he thought about the City Council. Spanky is on Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and some other social network type of sites. If he were really driven to do it, I suppose he does have the potential to reach a lot of people with his views.