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Monday, July 28, 2014

Science & Technology: It's fun you'll see!

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[VIDEO] Recently this song just came into my head. I don't remember when this aired on TV, but it had to have been when I was still in school. It had to have been a message to encourage young people to consider studying science and engineering. Is it catchy to you as well?

BTW, this was a public service message from the National Science Foundation.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

HuffPost - 'This Is Are Story': Chicago Public Schools Are Failing

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WOW, we see more public school bashing here.

"This Is Are Story" - this article states this is a theme for the senior class at Robeson High School. See something wrong with this short statement. Yeah one glaring one we should all know especially since a conjugated verb is substituted for a similar sounding determiner pronoun.

Either way this story is about the CPS and the statistics regarding our school system that doesn't make it look very good:
Four out of 10 CPS freshmen don't graduate.
91 percent of CPS graduates must take remedial courses in college because they do not know how to do basic math and other schoolwork.
• Only 26 percent of CPS high school students are college-ready, according to results from ACT subject-matter tests.
After you completely read this is public education more of a holding cell and should it be used more as a launching pad?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Reciept for Graduation 94

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Wow! I never thought I'd find this around the house. Apparently our then school librarian - Mr. Hackenbrock - was also our school's clerk and provided this reciept for graduation fees. $30 apparently paid for two luncheon tickets which had been held at the old Martinique banquet hall near 95th/Western. Unfortunately that place was demolished and ultimately replaced by a Walmart & Sam's Club that sits on the site today!

It's funny that this reciept was likely made by a facsimile device. Handwritten save for probably the lines where you would fill in the date and the name. Come to think of it this receipt had to have been produced in 1994 because the year was already written on the original sheet and copied.

Quite a throwback!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

WBEZ: CTA overcharges kids to get to summer school, job programs

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WBEZ/Linda Lutton
As often stated I don't have children yet. It would be unacceptable that CTA and CPS hadn't adequately einsured that students still get reduced fare to get back and forth between home and their schools. Especially during the summer session as indicated in this recent article.
In what appears to be another stumble in the city’s transition to the new Ventra fare-collection system, thousands of young Chicagoans are paying more in train and bus fares than they should be this summer.

Typically, students under age 20 going to summer school or jobs programs would pay reduced CTA fares—currently $0.75 per ride and $0.15 for a transfer.

But many have gotten a rude awakening this summer when they’ve used their student cards on buses or trains.

“I swiped it, and I had (added) a dollar. Usually a dollar is good for me to get over here, but it said ‘insufficient fares,’said student Cesar Fierro in the hallway of his high school, Noble Street College Prep. Fierro rides on a student Ventra card he purchased at school.

He’s been paying $4.50, every day, to get to and from summer school—if he has the money.

“Like yesterday I had to walk all the way home,” said Fierro. That’s a 4.5-mile hike, from Augusta and Milwaukee to Fullerton and Kostner.
 And while school officials attempt to solve this issue, they seem to get the runaround:
School staff at Noble Street say they’ve “easily” spent 10 hours on the phone over the last two weeks trying to get reduced fares for summer school students— “calling back and forth to Ventra, being sent to CTA, the CTA saying, ‘Go back to Ventra.’ It seems to be a very confusing time for the companies as well as the schools,” said Noble Street administrative assistant Nicole Baily.
...
CTA spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis says that’s because reduced fares are for students enrolled in an educational program, not for all youth. “If you're enrolled in the regular fall term, once that term finishes, the entitlement on the Ventra card is turned off automatically,” said Lukidis.

For students to get reduced fares during summer, schools must submit each student's individual transit card ID number to the CTA (or to one of Ventra's subcontractors). Lukidis says the transit agency has been working since spring with schools to prepare for the summer session. She says 5,500 Chicago Public Schools students and 9,500 students from charters and private schools are already receiving the reduced fare.

“So we have mechanisms in place for this to work successfully, and it has,” says Lukidis. She blamed Noble Street's problems on a "miscommunication on how to activate and get all of those entitlements processed."
Well at least there's an explanation, not to keep this from happening again!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Tribune: Starting this fall, free breakfasts, lunches available for all CPS students

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I can't believe according to this article, school lunches in elementary school could go for $2.45 on average. When I went to Bennett-Shedd it was .75 and went up to .85 cents. Perhaps the quality of food today is much better.

Regardless CPS has found some money to provide free meals to all students. That's certainly excellent news:
The high number of students living at the poverty level in the district qualified CPS to meet the required threshold for full reimbursement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to CPS officials.

In the past school year, lunch at a typical elementary school  for students who didn’t qualify for assistance cost an average of about $2.45. High schools charges slightly more.

The district expects to serve 72 million meals to students in the coming year, two million more than during the last school year.

“If a student eats that day, the district gets reimbursed,” said Leslie Fowler, executive director of CPS’ nutritional support services. “But if they don’t eat, then CPS doesn’t get reimbursed and there’s no cost associated with that meal. We can’t predict what they do or don’t do, but we hope we can encourage them to participate.”

In the past, the school district’s free and reduced lunch program for financially eligible students was fraught with fraud. Several CPS school officials, including principals and assistant principals, were accused by the district’s Inspector General of providing false income information on applications for the free lunch program.
Sooooo, I don't have children yet, however, as a parent I would have fought tooth & nail not to pay over $2/day to feed my child. They'd get sent to school with a lunch from home at the very least.

Still this development under which this program has been expanded one thing is for certain CPS is dominated by low-income students.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July

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Independence Day is almost over, but that doesn't mean we can't use the Peanuts characters to mark this day. Also school's out for the summer anyway and even if either school is in session or there's a summer school session today would be a day off anyway.

However you marked this day in your personal life hopefully it was celebrated in a very safe way. Hopefully you were careful in firing your fireworks. And hopefully everyone was well fed by any BBQ foods.

Most importantly you celebrated the USA's birthday with friends & family!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sun-Times: CPS announces more than 1,000 staff layoffs

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This is certainly an interesting if not a shocking development:
Before releasing its budget recommendations for the 2014-15 school year or enrollment projections, Chicago Public Schools announced staff layoffs on Thursday for 550 teachers and 600 other school staffers.

Added to the 147 staffers (including 76 teachers) who already got pink slips at three schools confirmed for a turnaround, 625 teachers and 671 other school employees are now looking for work.

CPS began notifying approximately 1,150 employees on Thursday that their schools would not retain them in the fall due to falling projected enrollment. That’s about half the number who got pink-slipped last year in the wake of a historic number of school closings, and district officials said on Thursday they believed that like last year, about 60 percent would be rehired at other CPS schools.

“The staffing changes are driven by declining student enrollment at each of the affected schools,” said schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett. Since the district doles out a set amount of money per child enrolled, fewer students lead to budget cuts, she said. The 550 teachers, she said, represent the lowest number of annual teacher layoffs in the past five years. And some help has been available for schools who have asked for it, she said.

The Chicago Teachers Union said the layoffs also mark the fourth time in the past five years in which more than 1,000 CPS employees lost their jobs in the summer. All of the teachers and at least 250 of the other staffers are CTU members.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What if I was a graduation speaker?

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The school year is over and the class of 2014 - whereever they went to school - has since graduated. Many have listened to the messages of their commencement speaker. I've always imagined myself as a commencment speaker, but what would I say.

My last semester at Morehouse College I took a public speaking course  and our last assignment was the formal speech. It was in fact written with myself in mind, that is what if someone gave the speech that I gave in class to students such as myself back then.

Well who knows, but a pep-talk is never a bad thing. Indeed that was the basic title of my speech. At this point I'm too lazy to pull it out of my files and recite it for you. What can be done is that the rough speech is about me encouraging students to seek help when possible as to figure out what you can do with your lives. It's something that I've been entirely too proud to do myself too often.

When it was time to graduate high school I wasn't sure what was next. College was the next logical step but I had little idea and wasn't seeking much information on that path. My interest even before graduating 8th grade at Bennett School was the military, however, my parents didn't encourage that path due to my good grades at Harlan High School.

The problem was I was never entirely confident in those grades because I achieved them too easily back then. I was never an honor roll student in elementary school and while fortunes do change if you weren't already a student who often achieved high marks how does one overnight get high marks at the next stage of their educational careers?

All the same, the message to students is always consider the future. Don't freak out, and always remember there are people out there who will help you along the way. The key is to reach out to them if you need a nudge in the right direction. That was a message I figured out late, but no matter where you are in life you will need help along the way.

BTW - Published at exactly 10 AM on June 24th, 2014. According to these graduation tickets the exact 20th anniversary of my 8th grade graduation.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

2014 Children Summer Series at Studio Movie Grill

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Click image to go to SMG page
A few years ago under the ownership of ICE Theaters, the Chatham 14 on 87th Street had a film series called "KidsRule Summer". Well things change and under new ownership - this time Studio Movie Grill - the Chatham 14 now has "Children's Summer Series". Although it had started as of late May 2014 it will continue through August

Thursday, June 19, 2014

9th Ward community meeting NEXT TUESDAY

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UPDATE JUNE 18, 2014 @ 3:21 PM: I erroneously wrote in the title that the community meeting was on Tuesday night which was June 17th. My apologies for the confusion, I had been alerted to this mistake via e-mail to The Sixth Ward where this was also posted. The rest of the post is correct as the meeting is on June 24th, which is next Tuesday!

For those of you who reside in the 9th Ward tonight is Ald. Beale's monthly community meeting. It was posted to our FB page and is worth sharing here on the blog as well:
  • 9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale and City Department Representatives present a 9th Ward Community Meeting

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014
    6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

    Pullman Presbyterian Church
    550 East 103rd Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60628

    For More Information: Please Call the 9th Ward Office at 773.785.1100
    Thanks to Rev. Eddie L. Knox, Jr. and Pullman Presbyterian Church for their community support!