Comings and Goings

PRINCIPALS MOVING ON James Lalley, principal of Northside College Prep since the school’s founding in 1999, will step down at the end of the current school year to seek new opportunities. The school is conducting a national search for a replacement to take over in July 2007. … Gertrude Hill, principal of Harlan High, was removed and has had her contract terminated. Reginald Evans, former assistant principal at Simeon High, has replaced her.

AT CLARK STREET Reorganization of central office staff continues. CPS Budget Director Pedro Martinez is being promoted to executive finance officer and will oversee the offices of finance, purchasing, grants management and budget. Tyra Newell, former deputy director, takes over as director of the Office of Management and Budget. … Mercedes Laing, a lawyer and former non-profit and business consultant, is the new chief of internal and external affairs, taking over from Peter Cunningham, who will continue as a general strategic consultant. … Norma Rodriguez, former Area 22 instructional officer, is now officer of the new department of high school curriculum and instruction. … High school area instructional officers now report directly to Donald Pittman, chief officer of high school programs. … David Roche, former director of the Old Town School of Folk Music, was named to the newly created position of director of fine and performing arts.

PEER REVIEW BOARD As part of a pilot peer evaluation and mentoring program launched this fall in eight Fresh Start schools, a nine-member board that includes CPS and Chicago Teachers Union representatives will make decisions on whether to keep probationary teachers at the end of the year. The board will be chaired by Sandra Westbrooks, dean of the School of Education at Chicago State University. Its members are: CEO Arne Duncan; Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins; Flavia Hernandez, an officer in the Office of Elementary Areas and Schools; Amanda Rivera, director of the Department of Learning and Development; CTU President Marilyn Stewart; Mary Hanson, a National Board-certified teacher; Marvin Irizarry, dean of students at Logandale Middle School; and Victor Ochoa, an arts teacher at Kelvyn Park High. The participating schools are Attucks, Bass, Burke, Chalmers, Hamline, Piccolo, Richards High and Wells High.

NEW BLOG The Chicago Teachers Union coalition that was ousted in the last election has launched a new blog to discuss teaching and learning conditions in CPS. Find it at www.chicagoteachersspeakout.blogspot.com. The coalition, known as PACT for ProActive Chicago Teachers & School Employees, is finalizing a slate to challenge the United Progressive Caucus in next May’s election, says former CTU president Deborah Lynch. She declined to say whether she would run again.

BOUNDARIES REDRAWN To accommodate the district’s new student information system, CPS is redrawing elementary school attendance boundaries that run down alleys, cut through city blocks or even “through somebody’s living room,” says Jimm Dispensa, director of school demographics and planning. The redrawn boundaries will align with streets and waterways so that the district can merge addresses in its new system with the city’s official Geographic Information Systems maps. Five percent of schools will lose or gain more than 20 students from their attendance areas, Dispensa reports. Students already enrolled will not have to switch schools, but new students will be subject to the new boundaries, which are expected to go into effect on Nov.1st.

MOVING IN/ON Juana Andrade, a parent from Cooper Elementary, was recently named president of the Chicago Multilingual Parents Council, a group that advises the district on bilingual programs and policy.

COLLEGE READINESS Kennedy, Morgan Park, Roosevelt and Al Raby are among 11 urban schools in three districts selected for the College Board’s “EXCELerator” program, a college readiness initiative for low-income and minority students. Chicago is sharing a $16 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that will pay for web-based tools to prepare students for Advanced Placement courses, professional development for staff, assistance in analyzing student test data and other services. The two other districts are Washington, D.C. and Duval County, Fla.

EXTRA CASH FOR TURNAROUND Four principals will earn bonuses worth as much as $69,000 over four years for taking over leadership at struggling schools. Keith Foley, former principal of Lane Tech High, will mentor a new principal at Marshall Metro High, where principal Gwendolyn Boyd was removed; Adrian Willis of Keller Gifted Magnet is now principal of Earle; Denise Gamble of Herbert is now principal of Medill, replacing Frederic W. Metz, who was removed; Kimberly McNeal of South Chicago is now principal at Mahalia Jackson, replacing Doris Spivey-Tompkins, who was removed. Gamble, McNeal and Willis will receive training from the University of Virginia.

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTS New principal contracts have been awarded to Pedro Alonso, Von Steuben High; Leslie Martin, Dumas; Sean Stalling, Manley High; Blanca A. Trevino, New Field Primary. … William Harris, Julian High, has had his contract renewed.