Thursday, April 22, 2010

St. Louis Public Schools: School Improvement Grants

I just recently attended a meeting at Hamilton Elementary School in the St. Louis Public School District. A lot of important information was shared with parents and community. I took it upon myself to go directly to the SLPS website to get additional information. During the Special Administrative Board meeting on April 15, 2010, Dr. Kelvin Adams, Superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools, made several recommendations to address the projected $57.5 million deficit for the 2010-2011 school year. The United States Education Department expects School Improvement Grants in the SLPS District be used for the implementation of one of four rigorous school intervention models:
1. The Turnaround Model: Replace the principal and rehire no more that 50% of the staff and grant the principal sufficient operational flexibility (including in staffing, calendars/time, and budgeting) to implement fully a comprehensive approach to substantially improve student outcomes. Schools Participating: Columbia, Hamilton, Mann, Sigel, and Vashon.

2. Restart School Model: Convert a school or close and reopen it under a charter school operator, a charter management organization, or an education management organization that has been selected through a rigorous review process. Schools Participating: Ashland, Central, VPA, Sumner and Walbridge.

3. Closure Model: Close school and enroll students in other schools in the Local Educational Agencies (LEA) that are higher achieving. School Participating: Bunche.

4. Transformation Model: Implement each of the following strategies: (1) replace the principal and take steps to increase teacher and school leader effectiveness; (2) institute comprehensive instructional reforms; (3) increase learning time and create community-oriented schools; (4) provide operational flexibility and sustained support. Schools Participating: Carr Lane, Gateway Middle, Fanning, Jefferson, L'Ouverture, Long, Langston, Stevens, Yeatman, Dunbar, and Roosevelt.

I think it is vitally important that not only parents of SLPS students, but the community to get involved. Not to go to the School Board Meetings and act foolish, but to read all of the information that SLPS is providing to the public and to make some intelligent decisions regarding the education of our children. Now is the time for the residents of the City of St. Louis to be IN PURSUIT OF EDUCATION. Go to the website and read as much information as your can. Did you know that at the public libraries you can print out 200 pages each month free. Print out this information, highlight those things you don't understand so that when you go to a meeting, you can ask them what it means. Let's not drop the ball. We want the best education for our children in the SLPS. Let's not be dictated by some people who have never taught in a classroom, except when doing student teaching, or people who haven't been in a classroom in over 10 years, or people who don't live in our area and don't know our struggles. Let's be informed and united in our fight to improve our city schools.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Planting the Seed of Reading

Welcome to "In Pursuit of Education". This blog is to assist parents in becoming active participants in their child's education in their early years. We also will provide information for the early child care providers to assist them in improving their centers.

Reading is one of the most important skills a child can learn. The earlier that a parent begins reading to their child, the more they foster a love for reading to in their reading. Here are some things that you can do with your children to help them enjoy reading. Select a book in your child's age range and read it twice to your child. Instead of reading it a third time, help your child act it out, draw pictures of scenes from the story, of select an object from the book to make into a craft. Not only will your child remember the story, but it will help to build your child's imagination and give the both of you some needed bonding time.

I particularly enjoy "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle. This book will help to introduce your child to healthy eating. You and your child can pretend to be a caterpillar and spend time crawling, and trying various types of fruits and vegetables. Later, you can talk with your child about the need for exercise and eating right.

If you have any other suggestions for this book or any of Eric Carle's books, let me know. I would love to hear from you.