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Monday, September 27, 2010

A minor change

A new page called Neighborhood, to replace the previous page for Rosemoor. Nothing much different than the previous page, however. Still an EveryBlock widget but this time for an 8-block radius centered at Shedd School's address @ 200 E. 99th Street. This area includes Bennett School, Harlan Community Academy, 95th Street CTA terminal, and Abbott Park.

This 8-block area is more concise than the Rosemoor area which includes Michigan Avenue on the West, 95th on the North, Cottage Grove on the East and 107th on the South.

Of course, the point of this page is no different than the Rosemoor Page. To check out the old neighborhood around Bennett/Shedd schools.

Previous Post
EveryBlock page for Rosemoor

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Elementary scores up on state tests

However, scores for high school juniors fell flat! According to the Sun-Times:
Statewide, elementary kids showed improvement in almost every grade and subject tested. As a result, overall, more third- through eighth-graders passed their Illinois Standards Achievement Tests in reading, math and science than last year. The ISAT pass rate was 80.9 percent, up from 79.8 percent last year.

But improvement on the Prairie State Achievement Exam taken by high school juniors was flat, with only 53 percent passing that test both this year and last.

High school reading was down 2.9 percentage points, with only 54 percent of juniors passing that test. Even fewer kids passed math — only 52.7 percent — but that rate was up 1.1 percentage points from last year.

In science, 52.7 percent of juniors passed, up 1.1 percentage points.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Magnet/selective enrollment application information

Some information regarding the application process as it has changed again. The period to begin applying starts on October 1st through December 17th. Please go to the CPS Office of Academic Advancement (OAE) website you can see the outline of those changes here as well. Information recieved via e-mail.

Cross-posted at The Sixth Ward!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gang graffiti at Bennett School from Sept. 3rd, 2010

Gang graffitti on the steps of Bennett Elementary School
Gang graffiti on the steps of Bennett School

Gang graffitti in the entrance to Bennett Elementary School
This graffiti is right in the entrance to the gymnasium

Tagging on the doors to the gym at Bennett Elementary School
This graffiti is right on the gymnasium's doors

Like I felt about the alcohol bottle in the backlot at Shedd School I almost feel like this is a desecration of hallowed ground to me. Childhood memories marred by those who seek to mark their criminal territory and I feel that schools should be free of that. Although all too often they are not since students who attend school may also be involved with the criminal element, unfortunately.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Follow-up: Bennett's report card

A follow-up to yesterday's post! From a spreadsheet (courtesy of the Tribune) I just found and downloaded this morning Bennett was graded in 2008-09 a C-, but for 2009-10 an F! This page at the Tribune gives us more data about Bennett including the number of students from low-income households (90.4% out of 583 students). In addition to ISAT (Illinois Standards Achievements Test) results where only 65.5% of Bennett students met or exceeded standards better than 14% of all schools in this state.

Unfortunately no mention of Bennett's Shedd Branch or any indication whether the students at Shedd are included in these results.

Friday, September 10, 2010

CPS report card shows many schools struggling

By Chicago Public Schools' own reckoning, about a quarter of its elementary schools and more than 40 percent of its high schools are failing, according to internal documents obtained by the Tribune.

Each year, district officials score each school based on academic performance. Last year, they assigned grades A through F based on the numeric scores, and schools chief Ron Huberman talked of publicly releasing them so school and community members would know where they stood. But he never did.

An analysis of the grades shows that a disproportionate number of schools scored in the D range or worse, including 48 percent of elementaries and 68 percent of high schools.
The grades skew toward the lower end of the spectrum. Among elementary schools, 47 of 474 received As, while just 4 of 92 high schools met that mark. Meanwhile, 104 elementary schools and 39 high schools got Fs. Not all schools had sufficient data to be scored.
More than 300 schools are on probation this year, the highest number since 1996-1997, according to an analysis conducted by Designs for Change, an education nonprofit.

"Probation has become a back-door method … for recentralizing the school system to strip Local School Councils, principals and teachers of their decision-making opportunities," wrote Valenica Rias-Winstead, an associate at the research group, in a February report.

Others see the grades as sad confirmation that billions of dollars and decades of reform have yielded little more than higher property taxes in the city. The data is from the 14th — and what will likely be the penultimate — year that Mayor Richard M. Daley controls the school system.
The whole article is worth reading. Hat-tip Capitol Fax!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The blog colors

I tried to get as close to gold and navy blue as possible in the color scheme for this blog. Even before I changed the templates here the header image lettering was navy blue and gold.

During my time at Bennett/Shedd we were expected to wear uniforms that consisted of the school's colors which are (surprisingly) navy blue and gold. So I have assumed that color scheme for this blog.

If you feel like the coloring is overboard feel free to let me know!

Another thing to note is that the school's mascot or nickname is badgers! So Bennett Badgers! :P

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Kindergarten the new 1st grade?

It's been a long time since I was in Kindergarten (Kg) and I'm pretty sure that we weren't pushed as hard as today's Kindergartners are today! Oh yeah I attended Kg at Shedd.
Forget cookies and milk, nap time and finger painting. Kindergarten has gotten serious in the past 20 years — and even more so in the past 10. Due to forces ranging from rising parental expectations to the No Child Left Behind Act, many children now attend full-day programs complete with homework and standardized testing.

"Basically, kindergartens have become first grades," said Nancy Carlsson-Paige, a professor of education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.

The growing expectations are controversial, with some experts saying the new kindergarten squeezes out forms of spontaneous play (building with blocks, for instance, or playing make-believe) that are vital to a child's long-term academic success.

Edward Miller, a senior researcher at the nonprofit Alliance for Childhood, points to a pivotal — and seemingly counterintuitive — German study that found that kids who had attended play-based kindergartens actually did better in reading and math at age 10 than kids who had attended academic kindergartens.

"I think the child's innate interest in learning things gets suppressed and basically atrophies" in academic kindergarten, Miller said.

"It starts this process of burnout where they don't learn to love learning and they don't really enjoy school. School becomes a chore. They're exhausted by the experience of school, even in the really early grades, and the long-term effect is that, by the third or fourth or fifth grade, they're done. They're really not interested anymore."

On the other side of the issue are researchers who say that play is important, but academics are, too, particularly for disadvantaged kids who may start school far behind their peers.

"If you want children to know how to read, you don't work on their social skills" in a play-based kindergarten, said Tom Loveless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C. 
You know, I wish I could find some studies on the importance of pre-school or pre-kindergarten (pre-k). Hillary Clinton advocated for universal pre-k, same effect as turning Kg into the 1st grade. It seems today's parents want to push their children harder!

Read the whole thing! Via Newsalert!

Monday, September 6, 2010

School starts on September 7, 2010

Anyone out there reading this blog have children attending Bennett-Shedd tomorrow. Let me know how things go on the first day of school!

I took this picture outside of Shedd School on Friday!