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Friday, February 25, 2011

Chicago 8th-graders score near bottom in national science tests

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Chicago 8th-graders score near bottom in national science tests - Chicago Sun-Times
The city’s African-American eighth-grade performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress was particularly disturbing.

CPS black eighth-graders tied their Baltimore counterparts in producing the worst African-American eighth-grade science scores among the nation’s large urban districts.

“The big effect is that these kids may have limited futures,’’ said Barbara Radner, head of DePaul University’s Center for Urban Education. “We need science for kids to go to college.’’
...
In eighth grade, a stunning 71 percent of CPS students scored below the most basic science level. Chicago’s eighth-grade results were subpar across virtually all racial and economic groups, except for Hispanics, whose scores were similar to those of Hispanics in other big cities.

Overall, CPS eighth-graders outscored Detroit, tied Cleveland, but fell behind peers in New York, Miami, Houston and Boston. But among African-American eighth-graders, Chicago’s science scores tied for the worst.

“As an African-American male, that make me sad and angry,’’ said Walter Taylor, a former CPS eighth-grade science teacher who now serves as a Chicago Teachers Union teacher facilitator.

Taylor noted that many heavily African-American CPS schools are on academic probation, so teachers there are pushed to emphasize reading and math over science and social studies because of the huge factor reading and math test results play in whether a school is closed. Even in science class, students may be reading about Madame Curie rather than doing experiments, Taylor said.
In elementary school I have always found science to be intimidating. While Mrs. Ellis presided over an LSC meeting they talked about creating a science resource room. Hopefully it'll be a lot more hands on than I had the luxury of during my time there.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The door to the Bennett School library

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Went to the Bennett-Shedd LSC meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Only got this pic when I felt bold enough to snap a shot!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cramming for kindergarten tests

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I know the trend these days are to have our young people sent to pre-school in order to prepare them for school. Still is Kingergarten really that serious where you have to test them. So what is this Tribune article all about?
To test into some of Chicago's top schools, incoming kindergartners must be able to do more than just count to 10 or rattle off the alphabet.

They could be asked to identify trapezoids, figure out how many cookies they'd have if Mom put two more on their plate, demonstrate advanced literacy skills and, for gifted programs, be able to infer relationships, recognize patterns and predict what comes next.

You can probably predict what comes next yourself: With 3,337 applications filed for about 500 seats in Chicago Public Schools' classical and gifted kindergarten programs next fall, parents are helping their preschoolers cram for the tests.

"It's just yet another example that the country has gone test crazy," said Robert Schaeffer, public education director for FairTest, a national nonprofit that advocates for other methods of assessing young children. "This sort of insanity testing produces test coaching for little kids and gaming of the system by parents and others to figure out what's on the test and get their kid a leg up. We're not letting kids be kids, and we're making them into little Einsteins."

But with low-performing neighborhood schools an unattractive option and the cost of some private schools out of reach, many parents see CPS' selective enrollment programs as the best public education option in the city. As kindergarten is an entry year for most of those programs, many parents are hiring private tutors, researching tests used in other large urban school systems, finding age-appropriate questions online and doing whatever else it takes to get their kids on the right track early.
Read the whole thing!

I do believe McDade is one of those classical elementary schools on the south side.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Was going to that Bennett-Shedd LSC meeting but...

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Today's scheduled meeting was cancelled and moved back to exactly next week on the 23rd at 3:30 PM. There was another one according to this board at Bennett on the 7th of this month. Saw the agenda before I left the building to clarify that there is another meeting coming up and the one that was supposed to have been on the 16th had been pushed back a week.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Shedd School in mourning a month after death of Principal

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This black bunting was over the windows to the gym at Shedd School last week. The night before the message for Mrs. Ellis was still up and the American flag was still at half staff. By the end of the week the bunting had been removed the sign had recorded future events at Shedd & Bennett. It appears the mourning is officially over as Shedd.

If you've been following this blog since early last January, Mrs. Ellis was the principal at Bennett-Shedd until her untimely demise last month.

This week on Wednesday at 3:30 PM at Bennett School will be an LSC meeting. The next one without Mrs. Ellis.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Plowing along after storm

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I can only imagine what happened at both Shedd and Bennett Schools when students returned to class yesterday. Since this blog isn't frequented by parents from either school all I can do is find one example from another neighborhood school:
And even though the Chicago Public Schools reopened Friday, scores of kids remained home. The roughly 24,000 students who normally ride school buses had to find their own way to school. As a result, attendance plummeted at some schools.

At Burnside Scholastic Magnet, where about two-thirds of kids are usually bused, only 209 of 760 students showed up. Streets were so treacherous around Burnside, 650 E. 91st Place, that even some parents who usually drive their kids to school kept them home.
Another worthwhile for the parents of CPS students from the ChicagoNOW blog, Ay Mama, about the Snow Days of 2011:
Now, from a mother's perspective it is very hard to entertain children on snow days.  I know Tuesday, I was excited for all of us to be home and just chill or veg all day.  I even told Gaby that we should do everything that evening as if we were going to go to school/work the next day.  So on Wednesday we can just watch TV and movies, play games (UNO and Wii), etc.  Well, Tuesday evening we prepared to veg on Wednesday.  About 8 everyone was in the living room watching TV and snow, excited to see what this storm would bring.

Wednesday morning, we looked out the window to see what mother nature had brought us.  It was unbelievable.  My daughters were in awe.  We were also watching the news to see how the rest of the city was faring during this time.  Then we had breakfast, cleaned up, played UNO, watched more TV and more looking out the window.  By the afternoon it was a little on the boring side.  The girls could have more of this but I couldn't  I also realized, that given the condition of the city we would have another snow day on Thursday.  By 3:00 it was announced, another snow day.

Thursday was the same as Wednesday.  This lounging was starting to get old.  Plus, a mother's job is never done.  There was still the accumulating dishes and clothes, beds to be made, and toys needed to be picked up.  The girls had enough movies, TV and games.  Running around became the new thing to do.  Then it was hide and seek.  They were having a lot of fun.  We went outside for a few minutes for pictures and some snow playing.  Gaby and Karla only managed about 15 minutes, while Andrea could only take 5 minutes.  They enjoyed what they could. 

I'm sure many mothers were happy to hear classes resumed Friday for CPS,  But I feel for the mothers whose children go to private school or suburban schools.  Many of them were going to have a 5 day weekend.  This includes my daughters.  While I'm at work, they are by my sister-in-law's house with their 3 cousins since last night.  I hope my sister-in-law is sane and in one piece when I get home this afternoon.  Thank you Manuela.  We'll see what the next storm brings us.  Ay mama!
Anyone else has some stories to tell about spending snow days with their children?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Back to class on Friday students...

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Sun-Times:
Classes will resume Friday for more than 400,000 Chicago Public School students, Mayor Daley said Thursday.

But no school buses will run until Monday, officials said.

“It’s important we have clear and safe passage for them,’’ Interim CPS Schools CEO Terry Mazany said, noting that about 5 percent of students are bussed to school.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Winter wonderland outside of Shedd School

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The side streets are really a mess outside of the school's lot. It'll be very difficult to drive around on the side streets and Shedd isn't on a major street at all. Good thing school is out both today and tomorrow.

Second CPS snow day Thursday

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Oh wow! Two days in row, great for CPS students. Well OK let me be adult here it's unfortunate that students take two days from their studies, however, it's very important for students to be safe instead of being unable to travel safely to school.

That being said story from the Sun-Times:

Kids, rejoice: Chicago Public Schools officials have announced a second snow day for Thursday.

Officials said schools will remain closed as the city continues to dig out from one of the worst blizzards in history.

CPS spokeswoman Monique Bond said the system decided to close for a second day out of concern about “accessibility.”

Many CPS schools are located on side streets, which could be affected by dropping temperatures and icing overnight, Bond said. Plus, more than 24,000 students take buses to school and bus transportation was not 100 percent certain, Bond said.

“We can’t compromise safety,” Bond said.
Have fun children. Just know your teachers will see you back in class in no time. :)

Chicago Schools Cancel Classes For First Time Since 1999

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This is really old news anyway, but worth posting here. You know when I was still at Bennett the only time schools were closed was not for the snow, but for the extreme temperatures. It got so cold that they closed the schools because of it. It happened again when I went to high school.
Chicago Public Schools classes have been canceled for Wednesday–for the first time since 1999–as the Blizzard of 2011 blows into Chicago.

Mayor Richard Daley made the announcement at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon. More than 400,000 students are enrolled in the system.

Given the sheer size of this storm, Daley and CPS Chief Executive Officer Terry Mazany cited the safety of students as the key reason for the rare decision to shut the school system.
You know it's probably time I added a weather widget here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Education Secretary Urges Morehouse Students to Serve Their Country By Becoming Teachers

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Click for the official website
Last month I snowed posted a blurb about Morehouse College President Robert Franklin talking about a town hall meeting with Education Secretary and former CPS CEO Arne Duncan and Morehouse alum and filmmaker Spike Lee to encourage more Black men to be teachers. That town hall was conducted yesterday and Morehouse provides us a story: