Thursday, April 28, 2011

Woodstock PTO officer arrested for theft - The Woodstock Independent.com

Laura L. Brokaw, 48, Woodstock, was charged April 12 with three counts of theft totaling more than $30,000 from the Northwood Middle School Parent Teacher Organization.  

 

alleged theft of $30,069.32 in funds between September 2007 and September 2010, a Class 2 felony. She also was charged with the alleged theft of $1,000 and $500 in funds between September 2009 and May 2010, a Class 3 felony and Class A misdemeanor, respectively

a grand total of $31,569 was taken from the organization by Brokaw, who was treasurer at the time.

PTO officer arrested for theft - The Woodstock Independent.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

In Wednesday's Rockford Register Star: Patrick Hardy letter details a bitter end

 

Patrick Hardy/ LaVonne Sheffield letters details a bitter end

Apr 26, 2011 @ 08:19 PM

Print Comment

ROCKFORD — Nearly five months after a scathing exchange of letters between outgoing Superintendent LaVonne Sheffield and then-Auburn High School Principal Patrick Hardy was released, the Rockford Register Star presents the results of its investigation into the allegations raised in each letter. It finds that behind the he-said, she-said anecdotes is a story of a once-promising professional relationship that quickly soured.
Excited about what he could learn working with Sheffield, Hardy agreed in the summer of 2009 to serve as her chief academic officer.
It was a time of almost limitless possibility and potential.
Experienced in urban settings, Sheffield was the Rockford School District’s new top administrator. She brought with her Hardy, a man who had been a rising star as principal of Ellis Arts Academy but had left a year earlier to pursue a career in ministry.
Much like Sheffield’s relationship with the Rockford community, her relationship with Hardy started to crumble before it even began.

There is little more available on line but if you wish click on following:  In Wednesday's paper: Patrick Hardy letter details a bitter end - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

If you wish to read the entire Hardy letter go to:  http://district100watchdog.blogspot.com/2010/11/dr-patrick-hardys-response-to-rockford.html

I found the RRStar’s newsstand  version long and very inconclusive as to what really happened.

Monday, April 25, 2011

District 100 Rumor: Change in Middle School Curriculum

“Rumor has it that next year the middle school will cut the time in half it teaches the kids science and social science or history.”  A reader would
like to find out if this is true. “Is this the plan from the school board to save money?”.
Any info would be great. Thanks

Please address your comments to the email address above or use the comment section below.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Many-Many District 100 teaching jobs on the internet

The following were taken today on the following internet inquiry:  http://www.indeed.com/jobs?q=Belvidere+Community+Unit+School+District+%23100&l=Rockford+Illinois

Language Arts/Math Teacher (2) - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Needed for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 03 or 09 certificate with Middle School Language Arts and math endorsement...
From k12jobspot.com - 1 day ago -
save job -

Language Arts/Science Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Needed for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 03 or 09 certificate with Middle School Language Arts and Science...
From k12jobspot.com - 1 day ago -
save job -

Industrial Tech Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed in August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 03 or 09 certificate with technology...
From k12jobspot.com - 1 day ago -
save job -

Autism Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Need for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. LSB1 certificate; experience working with children on the Autism...
From k12jobspot.com - 1 day ago -
save job -

High School Teacher (multiple endorsements) - new

new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed in August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 09 secondary certification with endorsements...
From k12jobspot.com - 7 days ago -
save job -

Spanish/English Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed in August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 09 or with Spanish endorsement and English...
From k12jobspot.com - 2 days ago -
save job -

Ag Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 09 Certificate with approved program certification...
From k12jobspot.com - 2 days ago -
save job -

Family & Consumser Sciences Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 09 Certificate with in Family & Consumer Sciences...
From k12jobspot.com - 2 days ago -
save job -

Physical Education Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 03 certificate with elementary/middle school PE endorsement required...
From k12jobspot.com - 6 days ago -
save job -

1/2 Time 3rd Grade Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Need August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 03 certificate focus on technology and math...
From k12jobspot.com - 1 day ago -
save job -

PT Music Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Need August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 03 certificate with music endorsement...
From k12jobspot.com - 6 days ago -
save job -

Guidance Counselor - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Needed in August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 73 with school counselor endorsement.  Application...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

Science Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 03 or 09 certificate with Middle School science endorsement. Application...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

Math Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 03 or 09 certificate with Middle School math endorsement. Application...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

1st Grade Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

2011 for the Washington STEM Academy. This school will be utilizing a balanced calander for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

PT-Technology Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

2011 for the Washington STEM Academy. This school will be utilizing a balanced calander for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

Business/Key Boarding Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

in August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 03 or 09 certificate with Middle School endorsement in Business...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

Language Arts Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

in August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 03 or 09 certificate with Middle School Language Arts endorsement...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

Social Studies Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

in August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 03 or 09 certificate with Middle School Social Studies endorsement...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

LD Resource - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

2011 for the Washington STEM Academy. This school will be utilizing a balanced calander for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

Spanish Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed in August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 09 or with Spanish endorsement. English...
From k12jobspot.com - 2 days ago -
save job -

Auto Mechanics Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 09 or 10 with an endorsement in Industrial Technology...
From k12jobspot.com - 2 days ago -
save job -

English Teacher (4) - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 09 Certificate with English, Reading or Language Arts...
From k12jobspot.com - 2 days ago -
save job -

Special Education Teachers (2) - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed in August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 09 secondary certificate with Special...
From k12jobspot.com - 7 days ago -
save job -

Music/Band Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed in August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 10 (K-12 Special Certificate) w/secondary...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

ELL Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Applicants must both bilingual and ESL certification...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

PE Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 09 certificate with PE endorsement and health endorsement...
From k12jobspot.com - 1 day ago -
save job -

Health Education Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed in August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 09 or 10 certificate with endorsement in...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

ELLTeacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed in August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 09 Certificate with endorsement in bilingual...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

Business Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed in August 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 09 Certificate with Business Education...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

block - email - more...

Reading Assistance Program - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed by August 1, 2011 for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 03 or 09 certificate with Language Arts...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

Intermediate Technology Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

2011 for the Washington STEM Academy. This school will be utilizing a balanced calander for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification...
From k12jobspot.com - 9 days ago -
save job -

Bilingual 2nd Grade Teacher - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

2011 for the Washington STEM Academy. This school will be utilizing a balanced calander for the 2011-2012 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification...
From k12jobspot.com - 14 days ago -
save job -

Speech and Language Pathologist - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Needed for the 2011-12 school year. Qualifications: Proper IL certification. Type 73 with Speech and Language or proper LDPR license...
From k12jobspot.com - 15 days ago -
save job -

Summer School - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Summer School teachers needed to teach middle school math, reading and ELL for June 7-June 28. 4.5 hours per day $35.00/hr. (No attendance July 4th) If...
From k12jobspot.com - 27 days ago -
save job -

Summer School Secretary - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

hours per day, 7:30-12:30. June 6th - July 22nd, no school on 7/4/2011. Qualifications: High School Diploma. Good computer skills. Good organizational skills...
From k12jobspot.com - 27 days ago -
save job -

Summer School Paraprofessionals - Special Educatio... - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

July 21, 2011. Hourly rate. Salary: $8.75 or $9.75 Qualifications: High School Diploma and Statement of Approval or 30 hours of college course work or pass... $8.75 - $9.75 an hour
From k12jobspot.com - 27 days ago -
save job -

Asstant Principal for Athletics/Discipline - new

Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 - Belvidere, IL

Description: Need for the 2011-12 school year; 10 month administration position. $58,514-$63,015 + TRS. Qualifications: Type 75 certificate. Masters degree...
From k12jobspot.com - 23 days ago -
save job -

61 Teachers Rehired in District #100

By James Middleton
Last month in an effort to trim what some officials
believe could be a $4 million deficit in the current Belvidere District #100 budget, administrators announced that 167 non-tenured teachers would be laid off, with the hope that some would be returned. In the Monday Board of Education
meeting, 61 of those 167 were called back and rehired in a  step that was a part of the consent agenda of the meeting.

 
After the meeting, District #100 Superintendent Michael Houselog discussed the Board action that occurred in the March and April meetings. He said that all of those laid off were non-tenured teachers except one. Mr. Houselog also said, “Of course, the Board can increase the number of
teachers, and they can decrease the number.”
He cautioned, “When you must reduce a teaching force and then call them back based upon seniority, sometimes you
don’t get back the right people.” He also said that the layoffs
combined with the calling back of some of the teachers
were done, “to give the principals and administrators the
greatest flexibility.”
Mr. Houselog suggested that in the May Board of
Education meeting it is likely that more of the laid-off
teachers will be called back for the new school year 2011-
2012.
The recent decision by administrators and the Board of
Education to convert Washington Elementary School into a
magnet school required the district to reevaluate their needs
over the entire district. “We had to look,” Mr. Houselog
said, “deeper because of Washington Academy. We knew
some of the teachers there, the new situation would not
work for them and they had to be placed.” This aspect, in
part, explains the process of reorganization that led to the
laying off of the teachers.
Mr. Houselog said that the district has not had to hire
many new elementary school
teachers because of the drop
in enrollment. He said,
“When I came to the district
in 2007, the projection was
for our total enrollment
this year to be over 12,000
students. The actual current
enrollment is over 9,000.”
The drop in elementary
school enrollment has
continued since 2007
and
has not required the district
to add many new elementary
school teachers.
Mr. Houselog said some
vacancies remain open at
the Washington Academy
magnet school and it is
probable that some could be
filled by those that were laid
off. However, the district
continues to pursue the bestqualified
teachers they can
find to fill all vacancies.
Last year, the district
was in a similar position
as a number of first-,
second- and third- year
non-tenured teachers were
laid off. Of the group of
57 that were laid off, after
all of the evaluations and
rehiring were completed,
only five teachers were
dismissed. However, Mr.
Houselog added, “We had
three teachers that were not
brought back last year, and
we had the right to recall
them. They were placed
in the April school board
meeting.”
Of course, all of this
activity - the laying off of
167 teachers, rehiring of
61 and potential rehiring
of teaching personnel - all
of this relates to revenue
problems and fiscal deficits.
Last year, District #100
approached a $4 million
deficit and in the current
fiscal year, the district could
be greeted with another $4
million deficit.
Last month the District
#100 Business Manager
Greg Brown reported that
the State of Illinois paid the
district $1 million in back
transportation payments
that were due. However,
Mr. Brown reported that the
state was behind in making
previously approved and

mandated payments for special education.
Mr. Houselog reported, “We did get some of that money due, but we remain behind with the state by more than $4.5 million.” If the state has promised these payments but not
paid, the district must reach into reserve funding to pay for
those bills that would have been made from payments from
the state.
“If we had the money we are due from the state,” Mr.
Houselog added, “we would run a balanced budget for this
and last year.” He also said, even though the state is so far
behind and the district is running deficits, no programs have
been cut or removed but for the pre-kindergarten program.
Mr. Houselog said, “Those programs are very expensive to
run and our pre-kindergarten program resulted from state
grants that have been discontinued.”
The superintendent summarized, “We imagine that when
this process is completed the district will lose from five to
10 teachers that have been laid off and will not be rehired.”
He said any final decision on those remaining teachers will
not occur until the middle to late summer when potential
enrollments for School Year 2011-2012 will be better
known.

The above was taken from: 

http://boonecountyjournal.com/news/2011/Boone-County-News-04-22-11.pdf#page=2

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pensions to be paid without borrowing, first time in two years | Illinois Statehouse News

 

The General Assembly approved a plan to pay about $4.5 billion into its various pension systems during the upcoming fiscal year using cash instead of borrowing. It's the first time that has happened in two years.

It wasn’t just Democrats who applauded the idea of using cash on hand to fund the pension system. The plan had the support of most Republicans in the Legislature, too.

The state’s unfunded pension liabilities — how much the state has promised to pay employees when they retire minus funds that will be available for pensions — stands at $79 billion, according to a recent report from the University of Illinois’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

Giertz said that If the state had made all required payments the system would be close to fully funded, though the state would still be facing financial problems if it borrowed to make those payments.

talk of further changes, including possible changes to current employees’ benefits, though the constitutionality of that has come into question and no legislation has been introduced.

Pensions to be paid without borrowing, first time in two years | Illinois Statehouse News

Washington Magnet School

The following is from the front page of the District’s website: http://www.district100.com/

Upcoming Events

April 25:  Open enrollment for Washington Academy closes. If you have a child currently in kindergarten through 5th grades and would like them to attend the academy this fall, please submit your completed application to your home school no later than Monday.  Applications will not be accepted after April 25.

Belvidere School Board votes to rehire 60 teachers - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Updated: 2-22-2011—It appears that all but one of the 167 dismissed teachers were non-tenured teachers.  See 2-22 posting from the Boone County Journal above. So both new hires and the dismissed, non-tenured teachers have equal opportunity for being hired.

Sixty Belvidere School District teachers who were terminated last month were rehired Monday for the 2011-12 school year.

In March, the School Board approved the dismissal of 167 of the district’s 585 teachers.
BEA President Frank Marks said teachers were hurt by the process the district used to let them go. Traditionally, the board does a reduction-in-force, then rehires the teachers it needs based on seniority.
“If they RIF them, they’re hired back in a certain order based on seniority,” Marks said. “They basically fired 167 teachers; this was a massive change.”

In other news
♦ The School Board unanimously approved a school boundary change that may affect up to 80 students. The change aims to alleviate crowding at Belvidere Central Middle School. The middle school feeds Belvidere North High School. By changing the boundaries, some Central Middle School students will be routed to Belvidere South Middle School and then to Belvidere High School

The board opted to use a second recommendation, which returns students to classrooms Aug. 17 and still has the district wrapping up its first semester before winter break starts Dec. 21.

Click on the following for the full story:  Belvidere School Board votes to rehire 60 teachers - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Here is the handout distributed by the teachers before Monday’s school board meeting.  I highlighted several sections.

Please Bring Back OUR Teachers

Belvidere Education Association’s Desired Outcome:

We request that the Belvidere School Board direct administrators to fill vacancies with those teachers who have been released from District 100 prior to hiring candidates from outside the district.

Background:

On March 21st, the Belvidere School Board released 167 teachers and RIF’ed 10 social workers.

The March 22nd Rockford Register Star quoted Superintendent Houselog as saying, “while we terminated 167 teachers, we expect our work force only to be five teachers smaller than this year …Our expectation is that many teachers will be returning.”

Mr. Houselog also stated, “By releasing more people we are able to backfill our work force with existing staff in such a way that we can maximize people into positions.”

In reality, since the March Board meeting, all positions have been posted and are open to outside candidates. Belvidere teachers will NOT be given priority over outside candidates.

Request Rationale:

The released teachers are District 100 ready. They can hit the ground running on the first day of school without “learning the ropes.”

They are on board with District 100 initiatives and have been trained accordingly.

The District has already invested money and time in these candidates.

Regardless of number of years of experience, teachers in a new placement, whether it is grade level, building, or content area, are starting from scratch like a first year teacher.

Teacher consistency and competency in the classroom are keys to student achievement.

Resources saved by eliminating the need to train new staff can be reallocated.

These teachers are people, friends, & colleagues who we have mentored, trained & invested in.

Some of these non-renewed teachers have taught part-time within District 100 for 10+ years!

“Student Centered Excellence” starts with an experienced teaching staff.

Should cost saving measures come at the expense of our students’ achievement?

Why would we want another district to gain some of our best teachers?

Keep Belvidere teachers in Belvidere!

Here is listing of openings from the District’s website.  Note, non-District 100 employees can apply .

Openings as of 4/21/2011

Viewing All Types (87 openings)

 

Here is the current teachers’ salary schedule: 

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

2010-11 salary schedule

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hiring Teachers and Moving Students

 

 

BELVIDERE (WIFR) -- Nearly one-hundred Belvidere students will be forced to switch schools next year in an effort to reduce over-crowding and more than 150 teachers in the same district are fighting to get their jobs back

Here we are a school district with 80 percent capacity but we have one school over a hundred percent capacity. It would be irresponsible of us not to address that problem at the board and administrative level," says District 100 Superintendent Dr. Michael Houselog.

Houselog says the over-crowding issue caused about 50 students to miss 11 days worth of instruction over the last year

Click on the following for more details:  Hiring Teachers and Moving Students

Truancy Ordinance: It will help district reimbursement from the state but will it help the learning atmosphere of the schools?

Other Questions:  Have some other cities/counties tried this?   What are their experiences?  Some specific studies naming the communities which passed such ordinances and their findings should be presented.

Would there be any additional costs to enforcing such an ordinance? Are these county or district costs?   If the two school districts want this, did each of the boards pass a resolution requesting the ordinance?

truancy ordinance

Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Illinois Issues blog: Education reform sails through the Senate

Sen. Kimberly Lightford, sponsor of Senate Bill 630. “We all agree that the most important effort in our negotiations is, at the end of the day, what’s best for the child in the classroom.”

Under the bill, teachers would have to receive positive evaluations during the last three years of a four-year probationary period to be granted tenure. Teachers who earn “excellent” reviews in each of their first three years would also earn tenure. Teachers with tenure who receive two unsatisfactory reviews within a seven-year period could have their teaching licenses reviewed by the state superintendent and be required to complete professional development geared toward improving their performance or face having their licenses revoked. The measure also streamlines the process for firing tenured teachers. Half of teachers’ evaluations will be based on student performance under a new system that goes into effect in 2016

Click on the following to read the entire article:  Illinois Issues blog: Education reform sails through the Senate

Dennis Thompson fired from job in Naples

Dr. Thompson resigned at the beginning of the 2007 year at Rockford.   Is there anyway that District 205 Board of Education would want him back?

Former Rockford School District superintendent Dennis Thompson was fired Friday morning from his job leading the Naples, Fla.-based Collier County School District, the Naples Daily News reports.

The decision of the Collier County School Board came after the board had decided not to renew Thompson’s contract and Thompson had filed a lawsuit against the board.

Thompson, who left the Rockford district for Naples in the summer of 2007, will be paid through June 30. He has a base salary of $252,144 in Collier County, according to the Naples Daily News.

Click on the following for more of Dr. Thompson story:  Jeff Kolkey » Dennis Thompson fired from job in Naples

Coat tail people—“the Dixie chicks’.  Two female leaders with Thompson at Nashville, at Rockford and now at Naples.

So-called ‘Dixie Chicks’ bound for Collier

Gemmill, Hayes have history with Thompson back to before he became new superintendent

  • The Dixie Chicks are coming to Collier County this month.[Sept 2007]

Mary Ann Gemmill, left, and Martha Hayes talk with members of the School Board in Rockford, Ill., recently. They are coming to Collier County after being hired by new superintendent Dennis Thompson.

Gary L. Carlson/Rockford Register Star

Mary Ann Gemmill, left, and Martha Hayes talk with members of the School Board in Rockford, Ill., recently. They are coming to Collier County after being hired by new superintendent Dennis Thompson.

Only these “Chicks” won’t be singing country music.

They will be shaping instruction in Collier County schools as the district’s new chief instructional officer and chief administrative officer.

Mary Ann Gemmill and Martha B. Hayes -- the aforementioned Dixie Chicks as they were referred to in Rockford, Ill. -- are moving from Rockford to be part of schools Superintendent Dennis Thompson’s leadership team. Each will be paid $170,000 annually.

“They are incredible people,” Thompson said.

And while both are new to Collier County, they aren’t new to working with Thompson.

Both Gemmill and Hayes followed Thompson from Nashville to Rockford when he accepted the superintendent’s position there in 2004.

While in Nashville, Gemmill was the director of federal programs for the Metro Nashville Schools. During her time, she brought in $33 million in federal grants to Nashville schools, according to a March 2004 newspaper report.

Click on the following for more details concerning the “Dixie Chicks”:http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2007/sep/08/socalled_dixie_chicks_have_history_new_collier_sup/

Back in September the Rockford Register Star report that D. Thompson was planning to move back to Rockford after end of 2010/2011 school year.

ROCKFORD — Dennis Thompson, former Rockford school superintendent, plans to return here after completing his contract in Naples, Fla., at the end of this school year.
The Naples School Board voted 3-2 Aug. 19 not to renew his contract, which expires July 31.
He left Rockford for the Collier County School District in August 2007. Thompson said he doesn’t plan to seek employment in District 205.
“You guys have a superintendent there,” he said. “I don’t intend to apply for anything.”

Read the entire article by click on the following:  http://www.rrstar.com/carousel/x128157821/In-Fridays-paper-Ex-school-chief-to-return-to-Rockford?photo=0

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Harvard D-50 special ed moves draw scrutiny

 

The Office of Civil Rights is investigating allegations of discrimination against District 50, which, according to a complaint, changed students’ Individualized Education Programs without first notifying parents.

Federal law prohibits discrimination based on disability in any program or activity that is a recipient of federal dollars.

The complaint states that students with disabilities in the elementary, junior high and high schools were discriminated against when District 50 changed provisions in their IEPs in the fall 2010, “causing significant change in placement without following evaluation and placement procedures or affording due process.”

The Office of Civil Rights collected names and telephone numbers of all district special education staff and any grievances that were filed by parents or employees regarding the same issue, along with a narrative response from the district.

The district also had to provide a list of all students in the district with an IEP in the fall 2010 term along with students’ names and the dates of their last IEP, amendments to the IEP if they were changed in the fall 2010 term, and copies of class schedules in the fall 2010 term for students with IEPs that were amended.

Click on the following for more details:  Northwest Herald | D-50 special ed moves draw scrutiny

Saturday, April 16, 2011

U of I receives mysterious confession to 1979 Lincoln bust theft

 

he was the founder of the Statue Liberation Society and helped steal not only the Lincoln bust - which turned up a few days after the theft sitting atop a tree stump at a campus golf course - but had a hand in a series of statue thefts over the next few years.

basically college pranksters and now they're, most of them are professionals in accounting, law, management

disc was mailed from what turned out to be a fake return address in the Chicago suburb of Rolling Meadows and sent under the name Matt Jones, which doesn't match any graduate who would have been on campus at the time

man on the recording said he decided to speak out after seeing a couple of mentions of the theft in recent college newsletters. They mention repairs of damage done to the statue, presumably during the theft.

 

They stole four more statues, he said, and this time made demands, kidnapper style, for their return: They wanted bike path laws more strictly enforced, better campus security and improved check-cashing services.

Click on he following for more details:  U of I receives mysterious confession to Lincoln bust theft - Springfield, IL - The State Journal-Register

Friday, April 15, 2011

Senate Bill 7 could change state education landscape | The Rock River Times

 

SPRINGFIELD –  Historic education improvements that would have been considered impossible just one year ago are on the horizon in Illinois, lawmakers said Wednesday.

April 13, state Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-4) introduced Senate Bill 7 (SB 7), a comprehensive education improvement package, after nearly three months of negotiations between Advance Illinois and Stand for Children, teachers unions and school management groups under her direction.

The bill aims to build on and complements the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) passed last year, which establishes performance measurements based on multiple criteria, including student growth.

Major educational enhancements outlined in the bill include:

Reforming tenure

 

Making performance count, rather than seniority

Improving Learning Conditions

 

Click on the following o read the rest of this Rock River Times article:  Senate Bill 7 could change state education landscape | The Rock River Times

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Belvidere School District’s food pantry seeks volunteers - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

pantry opened Feb. 10 and operates Thursdays from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Boone County Center, 1320 East Ave. Since then, Community Cupboard has served 1,969 individuals from 443 families. According to the district, 943 of those served were 19 years old or younger.

Volunteers are needed to help distribute food, unload and stock shelves, oversee registration and greet people and assist with fundraising and outreach

pays a shared maintenance fee based on the weight of the order. Currently that fee is $0.18 per pound, and donations will be used to pay that fee.”

Belvidere School District’s food pantry seeks volunteers - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Thursday, April 7, 2011

LaVonne Sheffield faces defamation lawsuit - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

Rockford School District Superintendent LaVonne Sheffield is facing a defamation lawsuit, filed today on behalf of Louisiana-based education researcher Noel Hammatt.
The lawsuit claims Sheffield’s statements at a Feb. 22 School Board meeting were false. According to the suit, Sheffield falsely stated that Hammatt, ” … distorts data and he believes minority students aren’t as bright, that they can’t learn, and that efforts to teach those children, quote ‘those children,’ and close the achievement gap are essentially a waste of time.”

Click on the following for more details:  LaVonne Sheffield faces defamation lawsuit - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Rockford School Board member: LaVonne Sheffield to leave - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

 

Rockford School District Superintendent LaVonne Sheffield will leave her post before her contract expires and before the new Rockford School Board is seated later this month, according to outgoing School Board member Alice Saudargas.
The district must pay Sheffield six months of her salary and benefits, she said.
“I think we’re getting off pretty easy,” Saudargas said.
Sheffield declined to comment to the Register Star this afternoon.

The School Board approved a four-year contract on April 21, 2009, to include $210,000 annual pay.
Sheffield’s contract says the board and superintendent may mutually agree in writing to terminate the agreement. Saudargas said she expects the board to approve Sheffield’s resignation at its meeting on Tuesday.
She said she doesn’t know exactly why Sheffield is leaving.
“I presume she would rather resign than have the new board fire her,” she said.

Click on the following for more details:  Rockford School Board member: LaVonne Sheffield to leave - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

New McHenry County College members want transparency

 

The No. 1 thing I heard from the community during the campaign was that people want more information from the board,” Liddell said.

College officials and board members have faced criticism in the past for failing to release planning feasibility documents, employee contracts and performance evaluations for top leaders.

Some also have questioned how the board handled the departure of former MCC President Walt Packard

Liddel suggested more detailed meeting minutes, audio recordings of meetings, and other multi-media efforts to reach the community.

Click on the following for more details:  Northwest Herald | New MCC members want transparency

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Illinois Attorney General: U. of Illinois breaking records law

 

Madigan said in a binding opinion Friday that the university must release records requested under the Freedom of Information Act by The (Champaign) News-Gazette or ask for a court review within 35 days.

newspaper requested travel records and other information about the university's search for a replacement for President Joseph White. The university refused to release information because it argued travel records could reveal the identities of applicants who didn't get the job to their current employers.

Click on the following for more details:  Northwest Herald | AG: U. of Illinois breaking records law

New Proposed Law Aims to Prevent Truancy

 

BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) -- Empty seats in Boone County schools are becoming more common.

"With our almost 3000 high school students we have almost 200 chronic truants. And that's truthfully what we have to get at the heart of the issue," Belvidere Superintendent Michael Houselog said.

Click here to find out more!

In the last two years, Districts 100 and 200 both saw increases in students skipping school. Boone County State's Attorney Michelle Courier says the county's only tool is a state law, but she says it's not effective because students can miss almost three weeks of school until they face any consequences.

"Currently there's no ordinance in place. So we have to wait until a student actually misses 15 unexcused absences before we can file a petition and bring them into juvenile court," Courier said.

Now a proposed law aims to prevent truancy after the first absence. If kids are caught skipping school they could pay up to a $100 dollar fine. They could be fined each day they miss school.

Courier says this type of law modeled after other school districts in Kane County, which appear to be working. That's the hope for Boone County schools.

"I think the history in other districts where this has occurred has been very positive, very supportive as long as it's being enforced," Houselog said.

The law could go into effect in the next few weeks. The county board must sign off on it. Their next meeting is April 20th.


Click on the following for more details: New Proposed Law Aims to Prevent Truancy

Boone students could pay $100 for unexcused absences - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

What the proposed code says

“It shall be unlawful for any person eighteen (18) years of age or younger who is required by law to attend school and who is subject to the compulsory attendance requirements of the Illinois School Code and/or enrolled in a public, private (including a home school) or parochial school within the unincorporated areas of the County of Boone, to absent him or herself from attendance at school during the hours in which he or she is enrolled without parental or school permission. Any person who shall so absent him or herself shall be guilty of the offense of truancy and be subject to the penalties hereinafter set forth in this Ordinance. Emergency or unforeseen absences due to illness or other causes beyond the control of the person so absenting him or herself from school without parental permission shall not constitute truancy if permission for such absence has been obtained from the parent and such permission is submitted in writing to the proper school authorities within twenty-four (24) hours of such absence.”

Click on the following for more details:  Boone students could pay $100 for unexcused absences - Rockford, IL - Rockford Register Star

Monday, April 4, 2011

Wanting a Resignation of LaVonne Sheffield (4)

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Click on the following to visit this Facebook Account:  Wanting a Resignation of LaVonne Sheffield (4)

School District News: Rumors swirl around Sheffield departure | The Rock River Times

An election surprise?

Wanting a Resignation of LaVonne SheffieldAccording to sources close to the Rockford Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. LaVonne M. Sheffield is parting ways with District 205.

While it has not been confirmed whether Sheffield has resigned, sources say a release announcing her departure is expected by Tuesday, April 5.

Click on the following for more details:  School District News: Rumors swirl around Sheffield departure | The Rock River Times

Truancy ordinance up for discussion in Boone County

Currently only students with at least 15 unexcused absences can be disciplined under state law. This new ordinance would allow for immediate discipline for student's who skip school.

The ordinance will be up for discussion at Monday night's Boone County Board meeting at 6:00 p.m. in the County Board Room located at 1212 Logan Avenue, Belvidere.

Truancy ordinance up for discussion in Boone County - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader