Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"CHOICE" options at Peoria Public Schools?

A lot of us have been talking about wanting "choice" in District 150 for some time now. The District has CHOICE school info posted on their website, I have reposted some of it below. Is this what we were talking about when we asked for school choice?

School Choice - OverviewCHOICE Schools and Programs allow students to opt-out or opt-in to select schools throughout the District. Schools that are considered CHOICE, are designated for a variety of reasons. A school might be a Magnet program, Academy, may follow a different schedule than the traditional schools at PPS or may be designated as a school in restructuring, as outline in the No Child Left Behind Act. Here is a list of CHOICE options at Peoria Public Schools:

Specialized Programs (SP)
•Northmoor Primary, Franklin Primary and Rolling Acres Middle - Each of these schools follows a different, longer schedule than the rest of the District. The day begins at 7:30 a.m. for each of these buildings and ends at 2:45 p.m. The longer school day equates to 45 minutes additional contact time than a student at other schools in the District would receive. The additional minutes also allows extra time for teacher team planning and professional development, and more “extras” for students, such as foreign language, art, and/or music.
•Roosevelt Magnet School - While also housing a traditional primary and middle school, Roosevelt Magnet also accepts students that wish to focus on the fine arts during their middle school years.
•Manual 7th and 8th Grade Academy OR 9th Grade Academy and High School Career Academies - The academy structure for Manual middle and high school students uses a block schedule. These academies follow a curriculum based on the recommendations of Johns Hopkins University.

Boundary Waivers (BW)
Boundary Waiver (BW) requests are received for a short window each fall, prior to the start of school. Applications for boundary waivers must be approved by Central Office Administration, the Principal of both the receiving and exiting school, illustrate a specific concern with the student's “home” school and space (and resources) must be available in the receiving school. Transportation is not provided by the District for approved Boundary Waiver requests.

School Improvement (NCLB-SI) (Separate Form Provided by the Illinois State Board of Education)
This program is available for district students attending a Title I school that has not met one or more of its identified academic targets known as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for at least two years in a row. These schools are identified as School Improvement (SI) schools. Authorized in the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), Peoria Public Schools provides parents of all students enrolled in a School Improvement (SI) school up to two designated non-SI receiving school choice options. The School Improvement School Choice (SISC) Pattern for each school year is based on the test results received in the spring prior to the start of each school year. The District is mandated to send a letter and form approved by the Illinois State Board of Education to families residing in NCLB-SI boundary areas each spring.

Charter Schools (Application available through Charter School)
One Charter School is authorized by the PPS Board of Education. However, they do not use the CHOICE Schools/Programs Application, as it is not a district run school. Visit the Quest Charter Academy website (www.questpeoria.org) to learn more about enrollment procedures for this Charter School. (Yeah, they actually mentioned Quest.)

To find out who is eligible to opt-in; should students re-apply each year; what to do if you don't like the school that was selected; or if your child will receive District-provided transportation, click here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Suggested itinerary should you find yourself in Washington DC, the week of June 12 - 17 without one after completing a couple of meet and greets

DC Jazz Festival
June 1-13, 2011. Enjoy more than 100 jazz performances at concert venues and clubs throughout Washington, DC.

La Dolce DC
Through July 31, 2011. Washington, DC will celebrate all things Italian this spring a citywide festival that coincides with the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. The event showcases Italian culture through architecture, art, dance, design, fashion, music, theatre, film, food and wine.

The Source Theater Festival
June 10–July 3, 2011. Source Theatre, 1835 14th Street, NW Washington, DC. See new works in theater, dance, music, visual art, film, puppetry, spoken word, poetry and hip-hop. Performances include eighteen 10-Minute Plays, four one act plays, eight “Mash-Ups,” Project 24/7, three staged readings and a one-of-a-kind opening night event.

U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club
June 13-19, 2011. The U.S. Open, which was first conducted in 1895, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association. Apparently this is sold out - perhaps the good Congressman Schock could get you in.

Should you find yourself near or on the National Mall you must visit Jefferson Pier the Lincoln Memorial, the National World War II Memorial at the east end of the Reflecting Pool, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Located directly south of the mall, is the Tidal Basin featuring rows of Japanese cherry blossom trees that were presented as gifts from the nation of Japan. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, George Mason Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and the District of Columbia War Memorial are located around the Tidal Basin.

When you get to the Smithsonian Institution go directly to the Sackler and Freer galleries, which both focus on Asian art and culture; but make sure you save time to spend hours in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

The National Gallery of Art is located on the National Mall near the Capitol, but is not a part of the Smithsonian Institution. The East Building of the National Gallery of Art houses the modern art collection. Allow yourself plenty of time to just roam.

D150 Board split on D.C. trip
Two Peoria District 150 School Board members and the superintendent will travel next month to Washington, D.C.

But approval for travel to the nation's capital, when the school district will again finish out the year in the red and is looking ahead to yet further cuts next year, only narrowly gained support Monday night. Afterward, one board member said the $7,500 cost out of the Education Fund "comes on the backs of students."
The vote was 4-3.

Board President Debbie Wolfmeyer and board Vice President Linda Butler will travel to Washington, D.C., between June 12 and June 17. Superintendent Grenita Lathan will go from June 12 to June 16.

There was no discussion or comment during the meeting regarding the travel and nearly split vote.

"It's an opportunity to meet with legislators and hopefully Department of Education personnel to voice concerns we have and also to get information from them on the future of what's going to happen with schools," Wolfmeyer said after the board meeting.

Wolfmeyer said there currently is no itinerary.

The trip is being sponsored by U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria. The entire School Board was invited, in addition to area union leaders, business leaders and heads of social service agencies.

Dissenting votes were cast by Jim Stowell, Laura Petelle and Martha Ross. Approving the measure were Wolfmeyer, Butler and board members Chris Crawford and M. Lynne Costic.

Petelle said she would have liked more discussion on the matter.

"What I hope to get is some information on where the government is headed with helping school districts - it's also an opportunity in small group settings ... to share some concerns we have in our district," Wolfmeyer said, adding that she believed having more of the district's leadership represented could be beneficial.

But the approved travel also comes less than one month before the School Board will hold its annual reorganization meeting, which could mean a change in leadership on the board.

Two School Board members, Ross and Costic, traveled to the National School Board Association's national conference in San Francisco in April. The cost of that trip was unknown Monday night.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Video evidence that proves that Quest Charter Academy is a District 150 school

It's interesting to see Quest Charter Academy in the video. It ofen seems that the District doesn't even consider Quest a District 150 school. Thanks to the Chamber for making it clear that Quest is a part of the District. Now we just need District 150 to acknowledge them on the website with all other District schools.

Dr. Grenita Lathan gives a preview of what to expect at the Chamber's "State of the Schools" event coming up in May. A lot has happened in recent weeks including proposal of closing schools, reopening schools, and realigning of district personnel, but as Dr. Lathan explains it's all in an effort to move the district forward and create a better education system in Peoria. Source