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Elementary School Restructuring

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citizen View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote citizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18/November/2009 at 10:27am
@ ET Mom, itsme:
forest park does not do 'process' well. not well, at all.
i agree that the school re-org was faux process. in fact, our lack of process is unimaginable in Oak Park or River Forest.
 
i'm not sure how to characterize FP's distinct disregard for info & process, but see three constants:
1) the leaders make major decisions in a very limited environment, w/little or no transparency/honest rationale to the community
2) these decisions are enacted/implemented either by force* or stealth
2) all these wide-ranging decisions have race/class at the root.
 
this lack of process is particularly noticeable at the village govt level.
at the least, it is a deep lack of trust and respect for the residents.
 
*assembling board votes w/out proper process
 


Edited by citizen - 18/November/2009 at 10:30am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote itsme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18/November/2009 at 11:05am
I couldn't agree more, and I still can't believe the runaround you have been getting.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote citizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18/November/2009 at 6:39pm
Originally posted by itsme itsme wrote:

I couldn't agree more, and I still can't believe the runaround you have been getting.  
don't bring that stuff into this or the whole thread will go to hell :)
'
sorry folks felt beat up. that's different than losing the argument.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote itsme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20/November/2009 at 9:31am
We have a lot of families who are choosing private school for K-8 in FP.  The kids may still be here but they're going to school in OP, RF.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote watcher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20/November/2009 at 10:15am
Originally posted by itsme itsme wrote:

We have a lot of families who are choosing private school for K-8 in FP.  The kids may still be here but they're going to school in OP, RF.  


(I assume you meant to post this here not in the LNC forum?)

It would really help to quantify "a lot".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote videoguy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20/November/2009 at 2:24pm
Originally posted by itsme itsme wrote:

We have a lot of families who are choosing private school for K-8 in FP.  The kids may still be here but they're going to school in OP, RF.  


Forest Park is a nice place to raise kids, in some ways nicer than RF or OP. Depends on your values. In RF, you wont see too many black or Latin kids in school, that doesnt help a kid develop respect for other races. In OP, you need to pay a lot more in property taxes (and rents) than here, so by living here they can get a more quiet and calmer community than OP, more diversity than in RF, and for less expense. The savings here pay for the school costs there.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote itsme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20/November/2009 at 3:48pm
I was actually trying to give an answer to Citizen's question re. the decrease in the school district's enrollment.  There are more kids in FP than you see in the schools.  Many go to private school.  But it's okay to have moved it here too.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote piehead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20/November/2009 at 3:56pm
I would love to know how many kids are riding all the buses that are screwing up traffic every morning. This morning we saw 4 buses between our house and the north end of town. There was not more than 1 or 2 kids in each of the buses. Do they actually fill them? This was at 7:40 AM.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote watcher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20/November/2009 at 4:43pm
Originally posted by itsme itsme wrote:

I was actually trying to give an answer to Citizen's question re. the decrease in the school district's enrollment.  There are more kids in FP than you see in the schools.  Many go to private school.  But it's okay to have moved it here too.  


Was there a decrease in enrollments? Where did you read/see that information?

I don't see how anything regarding education can be discussed/resolved without dealing with REAL numbers. Especially in districts impacted by Dist. 209.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote itsme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/December/2009 at 9:22am
Glad to see the School District saved money by restructuring, only to turn around and spend it on extra buses and now a trailer.   Ideal for the students, don't you think?  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Number6 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/December/2009 at 11:54am
Originally posted by itsme itsme wrote:

Glad to see the School District saved money by restructuring, only to turn around and spend it on extra buses and now a trailer.   Ideal for the students, don't you think?  


The trailer was to fulfill an unmet need for students who require extra help.  According to the article I believe you are referencing, the teachers currently conduct the special sessions in the hallways.  The trailers provide a way around the distractions the current hallway setting offers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Martini Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/December/2009 at 12:13pm

The busses being used are the same ones that were used previously to transport kids who had to be sent to schools other than their home school due to class balancing issues.  (Which, BTW, was the base reason for the restructuring).  No new busses were purchased.

Also that article you cited it states that the school district is applying for Federal funds to cover the cost of the trailer.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote itsme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/December/2009 at 1:41pm
I know we had the buses, but instead of two buses with four employees, we now have four buses with 8 employees.  And I hope we do get a funds, but for how long?  How long will we need a trailer?  How long can we afford this?  And don't believe for 1/2 second this was only a class balancing issue.  Money, money, money was brought up more than once.  It would save us money.  Now it's costing us money.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Martini Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/December/2009 at 2:17pm
Interesting how different people hear difference things.  I heard the same number of buses doing different routes that would be shorter.  I also heard that with the restructuring every kid would be able to go to the same school as the kid next door instead of being bussed to another part of town for class balancing purposes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote piehead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/December/2009 at 3:07pm
I have no idea. I just know I see buses going all over town (that say FP on the side) and each has 1 or 2 kids in them! What a supreme waste of gas!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Martini Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/December/2009 at 3:25pm
What time do you see these buses piehead?  Because there are some buses that are for kids the district is responsible by law for getting to alternative schools which leave pretty early.  There is also the Band Bus early in the morning.  Those are the only buses that cross the expressway.
 
The buses between the 4 elementary schools are on the move between 7:45 and 8:00 and from what the parents are telling me at this time of year they are pretty full.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote piehead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/December/2009 at 3:27pm
I see them at around 7:30-7:40
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Martini Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/December/2009 at 3:36pm
Those are the state required buses for the alternative school kids, the band buses and at this time of year the winter buses. 
 
Winter buses run only in the morning from GW and Betsy for Middle School kids.  This is a service the school district provides to Middle School kids who live at the far ends of town during the winter generally from December to February.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote piehead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/December/2009 at 3:47pm
Well it appears we sure have a boat load of buses. They seem to be criss crossing all over town at that time of the morning. And not just in the winter.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote watcher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/December/2009 at 3:51pm
Originally posted by itsme itsme wrote:

I hope we do get a funds, but for how long?  How long will we need a trailer?  How long can we afford this?  And don't believe for 1/2 second this was only a class balancing issue.  Money, money, money was brought up more than once.  It would save us money.  Now it's costing us money.


Maybe we should wait until the end of the school year to tally up the score?

Anecdotally, I was told that ~15 Garfield students (parents actually, I doubt the kids called the shots)opted out of the grade center transfer to Grant White and are enrolled in private schools. That's a bigger number than I would find acceptable if I were 91's Supt unless it was offset by a similar number who came back to the district from private schools.

Extra bus trips, cab rides, mobile classrooms are all extra costs, but potentially less costly than past practice.

Mostly, I'm disappointed because going into this decision we were told the transition's successes and problems would be communicated to the residents regularly. At minimum, a mid-year update seems in order.

Maybe no news is good news, but, considering what is at stake, SOME information is certainly in order. How is the district measuring the pros and cons of the new configuration? Single year? 3,4,6 years? What benchmarks were established going in?

The trailers are to be used for Pull-out, one on one or small group work? Makes some sense. The walls and fixtures can be modular and changed to accommodate different usages, but ideally, the building should contain enough space to meet the needs without exiting one building for another. Especially for students already tagged as special needs or at-risk.

What process does the district have to monitor and address its facilities? Is there a capital plan that can build out the needed space at Betsy? Can the district put some community level information on its website or is it strictly given to those who have/take the time to inquire?







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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Martini Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/December/2009 at 3:56pm
That's the way it may look to you but if you talk to the bus drivers (which is how I know this I have) there are 4 buses.  Two go between Garfield and Grant White at 7:45 and two go between Betsy Ross and Field at the same time.  There are 2 band buses, one leaves Grant White at 7:10 and one leaves Betsy Ross at the same time.
 
The buses to the alternative schools are worked out in between.
 
Judging from the time you see them what you are probably seeing are the band buses and the alternative school buses.
 
The buses are stored in a corner of the PMSA parking lot and I have never seen more than 4 of them there.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote piehead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17/December/2009 at 4:10pm
I will have to be more observant and see if I can spot bus #s on them or their license plates to get a count.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vorots Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/September/2010 at 1:16am
So have I missed something here? Where is the great mass exodus of students from the school system? Wasn't enrollment supposed to plummet once we moved to the new system? Yet I hear that enrollment is up.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote harp10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/September/2010 at 1:55am
Vorots,
 I don't recall anyone ever speaking of a "mass exodus". Nor do I recall anyone but the school board saying that enrollment was going to plummet - which was one of their reasons for implementing the GLC's. I do recall alot of parents being unhappy and alot who didn't know, couldn't be bothered, or didn't understand what it all meant. I took my daughter out, not to prove a point, but because in MY opinion, there wasn't enough info on the table to convince me it was the right choice for us. I was also concerned because it seemed that a lot of issues (including bussing) had not been thought out well enough for me to feel comfortable as a parent. Some parents who were the most vocal against this change (at least until we knew more) left, some stayed and some moved or chose homeschool. I personally know 8 families, with a total of 15 children who left. No, not a huge number, but these are only the people I personally know. How many that I didn't know also left and how many were balanced by new (or has has been stated by some, illegal) students? How many of the new enrollment is made up of children just starting K or JK?
 
What I would find interesting is for the District to release the #'s of newly enrolled students vs. those who left. Maybe it doesn't really matter. District 91 is (and has been) in phenomenal financial shape for many years thanks to unwavering support from the taxpayers, not just from the money that comes from the Government based on the number of students enrolled. I would also pose the question as to where the latest test scores are to show whether or not this first year has indeed been as successful as anticipated. I just checked the District website and I find 2008-9 report cards and a much touted Superintendant's blog that has not been updated since this vote took place. Yes, I moved my child. No, I don't want the District to fail so that I can say "I told ya so" - I still own a home here. I do think we should know something a bit more concrete than what Dr. Cavallo decides to tell us.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote watcher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/September/2010 at 8:23am
Originally posted by harp10 harp10 wrote:

I don't recall anyone ever speaking of a "mass exodus". Nor do I recall anyone but the school board saying that enrollment was going to plummet - which was one of their reasons for implementing the GLC's. I do recall alot of parents being unhappy and alot who didn't know, couldn't be bothered, or didn't understand what it all meant. I took my daughter out, not to prove a point, but because in MY opinion, there wasn't enough info on the table to convince me it was the right choice for us. I was also concerned because it seemed that a lot of issues (including bussing) had not been thought out well enough for me to feel comfortable as a parent. Some parents who were the most vocal against this change (at least until we knew more) left, some stayed and some moved or chose homeschool. I personally know 8 families, with a total of 15 children who left. No, not a huge number, but these are only the people I personally know. How many that I didn't know also left and how many were balanced by new (or has has been stated by some, illegal) students? How many of the new enrollment is made up of children just starting K or JK?

What I would find interesting is for the District to release the #'s of newly enrolled students vs. those who left. Maybe it doesn't really matter. District 91 is (and has been) in phenomenal financial shape for many years thanks to unwavering support from the taxpayers, not just from the money that comes from the Government based on the number of students enrolled. I would also pose the question as to where the latest test scores are to show whether or not this first year has indeed been as successful as anticipated. I just checked the District website and I find 2008-9 report cards and a much touted Superintendant's blog that has not been updated since this vote took place. Yes, I moved my child. No, I don't want the District to fail so that I can say "I told ya so" - I still own a home here. I do think we should know something a bit more concrete than what Dr. Cavallo decides to tell us.


While I respect your prerogative to make the decision you've made and appreciate the need to know all the facts before coming to that decision, I don't think there was much more the district could have done, over and above what it did, to explain the move to grade centers.

It was a big change, but was based on solid information and demonstrated success. For our size, it really was a no-brainer. Despite the au contraires from its opponents, their arguments against the change were mostly selfish and shallow, reflecting a fear and disdain for the wider place of their community.

In short, they were clear evidence that grade centers were needed to deal with such petty territorial crap and elitism.

District 91 has never wavered in its commitment to provide the best possible education to ALL of its students. Had they caved in to a vocal minority on the grade centers, they would have.

More communication and outreach, in new and different ways, is still needed in the district, but that is a challenge faced by all of our institutions. There are many platforms and outlets for both good and bad information. It's hard to know the best approach and impossible to confront every ort of disinformation and scuttlebutt.

The Post's new writings on the District are a good sign. Some teachers have used the Trib Local to share their efforts, but the Review and the District itself remain the main channels of communication, neither of which have been stellar of late.

The "no news is good news" approach needs to be revisited.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote piehead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/September/2010 at 8:45am
Originally posted by harp10 harp10 wrote:

I would also pose the question as to where the latest test scores are to show whether or not this first year has indeed been as successful as anticipated. I just checked the District website and I find 2008-9 report cards and a much touted Superintendant's blog that has not been updated since this vote took place. I do think we should know something a bit more concrete than what Dr. Cavallo decides to tell us.


Yes, I agree with you; where's the proof.

And how many of the kids in the schools are completely new to Forest Park. In all the apartment buildings around me, most of the singles or couples have left and been replaced with a single mother with multiple children...which all end up in FP schools. Someone I know with multiple properties in town said that's all that have been looking at any of the available units.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote citizen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/September/2010 at 9:12am

the singles and couples have left? oh well - the market is the market is the market.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote piehead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21/September/2010 at 9:58am
Originally posted by citizen citizen wrote:

the singles and couples have left? oh well - the market is the market is the market.


Most all the ones in my neighborhood have.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote itsme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14/November/2010 at 12:06am
Per Watcher:  "It was a big change, but was based on solid information and demonstrated success. For our size, it really was a no-brainer. Despite the au contraires from its opponents, their arguments against the change were mostly selfish and shallow, reflecting a fear and disdain for the wider place of their community.

In short, they were clear evidence that grade centers were needed to deal with such petty territorial crap and elitism.

District 91 has never wavered in its commitment to provide the best possible education to ALL of its students. Had they caved in to a vocal minority on the grade centers, they would have"

Part of the reason I haven't been on this forum for months and months is bc of accusations and judgments like the above.  Here we go again.  Territorial elitists? I didn't think there was any more room on the bandwagon.  What an easy card to play when there's nothing else to say.   Don't forget racist.   Sorry to burst your bubble, but I believe the most vocal kept their kids in the district. Most of the ones who left didn't even go to the meetings. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote itsme Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14/November/2010 at 12:16am
What solid information and demonstrated success?  There were just as many pros as cons presented by parents and the Advisory Board.  We were already heading in the right direction to raise test scores.  The last couple of years the district implemented a new and better reading program, a new math curriculum, the Positive Behavior program.  They weren't given time to work.  Those things are what bring about success, better education and attract more families to our school system, not going from 22 to 19 in a classroom.
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