Looking Forward to a Fresh Start

We wish Dr. Lathan well in her next venture, where ever it may take her.  We are thankful for the opportunity for our District 150 community to heal and have a fresh start.  Dr. Lathan realized that the Board was listening to the voters who spoke out loudly for change during the last two elections, and she chose to resign, rather than face the termination of her contract.

We would like to thank board members Martha Ross and Lynn Costic for their willingness to discuss Dr. Lathan’s employment.  Ms. Ross and Ms. Costic saw the need for a different approach, and we applaud them for listening to the sentiments of the voting public.

We also ask the Board to consider the appointment of an acting superintendent who is familiar with the District. We ask for an individual who is respected, leads with integrity, has vision and foresight, who loves our city and its children, families and teachers, and who will work collaboratively and in partnership with organizations to achieve the best for the students in our district. We are excited about the future of District 150 and look forward to working with the Board to build the District our community deserves.

 

Meet Your New Board Members!

The public is invited to a Change150 open house on Thursday, April 30th at 6:30 pm at Richwoods Christian Church (8115 N. Knoxville Ave.)

You will have the opportunity to meet Peoria’s new School Board members, Dan Adler and Ernestine Jackson, to ask questions, and to hear about our vision and plans for this next year.

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Change150 meet greet

Voting for (and with) Change (150)

In a race for the two open 3rd District School Board race, there is no lacking of candidates. The two candidates that Change150 has endorsed however have racked up an impressive list of other individuals and organizations who, like us, believe that Dan Adler (5 year seat) and Ernestine Jackson (4 year seat) represent the city’s best chance at making real, positive change happen from the District 150 horseshoe. Dan and Ernestine each have diverse credentials in leadership and community involvement, good working relationships with city and organizational leaders, the business community and other district stakeholders.

If you’d like to hear directly from Dan and Ernestine on a variety of topics, check out our YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn3faAwyhGmlNCb9zo27_Hw

 

Here is a round-up of people from Peoria who have had some very kind things to say about our favorite school board candidates;

Former Board Member Jan Deissler
http://www.pjstar.com/article/20150330/OPINION/150339914/13312/OPINION

Former Charter Oak School principal and District 150 Administrator, Thom Simpson
http://www.pjstar.com/article/20150330/OPINION/150339914

Activist & Blogger, Elaine Hopkins
http://peoriastory.typepad.com/peoriastory/2015/03/april-7-election-endorsements.html

Peoria citizen Daniel Moore
http://www.pjstar.com/article/20150323/OPINION/150329681/2011/OPINION

Peoria Journal Star endorsement for Dan Adler
http://www.pjstar.com/article/20150330/OPINION/150339919/2013/OPINION

Business PAC of Central Illinois endorses Dan Adler
http://www.businesspacofcentralillinois.com/

Peoria Teacher’s Union endorses Dan Adler
http://www.cinewsnow.com/news/local/Two-candidates-endorsed-in-district-150-election-294763031.html
Peoria City Council members Beth Akeson, Beth Jensen, and Timothy Riggenbach also stand with our endorsees. As does Dr. Rita Ali, Vice President of Diversity, International and Adult Education at Central Illinois College and State Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth. (Check our our Facebook page for pictures!)

And finally, Change150 President, Jim Powell outlines how getting to 4 is crucially important.
http://www.pjstar.com/article/20150328/OPINION/150329193/0/rwd

Early voting is open now at places like ICC North, and election day is just around the corner on April 7th. Please join us in voting for Dan Adler and Ernestine Jackson for Peoria District 150 School Board. Our city, our communities, and most importantly, our children’s future depend on making better choices based on leadership experience and sound judgement for our public schools.

– The Change150 Team

Turning Our District Around ~ Elect Dan Adler & Ernestine Jackson

How Were Dan Adler & Ernestine Jackson Selected As Change150’s Candidates?

Let’s look in depth at the process that produced Change150’s two candidates.

The Change150 vetting committee was made up of:

  • 2 members of the NAACP
  • 2 currently employed teachers from the IFT
  • 2 currently employed school support personnel from the IFT
  • 1 parent
  • 1 former District 150 school board member
  • 2 former District 150 school administrators, one of who served as
    a Change150 representative

This team of 10 concerned stakeholders interviewed the 6 (out of 9) school board candidates who chose to go through the vetting process on January 17, 2015.

It was communicated that Change150 would endorse 1 candidate running for the 4-year term and 1 candidate running for the 5-year term.

The primary criteria for the selection included:

  • motivation for running for the school board
  • previous and/or current involvement/experience with District 150
  • understanding of the challenges facing District 150
  • concern for all students in the District (i.e. District-wide
    perspective)
  • having realistic and workable strategies for addressing challenges
  • ability to communicate effectively
  • personal character
  • leadership style and ability to lead
  • alignment with Change150 values and issues
  • electability

A standard set of questions and appropriate follow-up questions were asked, including:

  • What is your motivation for being a school board member and what
    has been your experience with Peoria Public Schools?
  • What do you think are the biggest challenges/issues facing the
    district, as well as a couple of things that could be celebrated?
  • How do you deal with conflict? Could you give us an example of a
    conflict situation you have experienced and what you did?
  • What is your position on charter schools?
  • How do you lead? (What is your leadership style?)
  • What are the issues upon you running What would you like to see
    changed?

The vetting committee was impressed by all the candidates and believes that several would make outstanding board members. Based on the candidates’ answers during the interview process, the representative coalition of 10 that made up the Change150 Vetting Team determined that DAN ADLER and ERNESTINE JACKSON were the best candidates to run for School Board this April 7th.

And Our Endorsed Candidates Are…

Change150 was honored to have 6 of the 9 candidates for the District 150 seats up for election on April 7th  participate in our vetting process.

A committee comprised of current district teachers and support staff, NAACP members, former administrators, a former District 150 School Board member, a District 150 parent and a representative from Change150 interviewed candidates to determine who would be the best choice to bring much-needed change to the District 150 School Board.  It is important to note that while we had representatives from these groups some of them, including the unions, are going to conduct their own independent vetting process’s.

Our vetting committee was impressed with all of the candidates and Change150 believes that each of the six would be an improvement over the current leadership in District 150, however Change150 can only endorse one candidate for each open seat.  After extensive interviews the vetting committee reached an overwhelming consensus.

Change150 is endorsing Dan Adler for the 5 year term seat and Ernestine Jackson for the 4 year remaining term seat.

Change150 is convinced that Mr. Adler and Mrs. Jackson provide the best opportunity for the much needed change and improvement in District 150 and will be superior representatives of the community as Board Members.

Change150 will throw the weight of our coalition behind these two candidates and looks forward to working with them and the community to win this election and to enhance the leadership of District 150.

 

C150 to Announce School Board Candidate Endorsements

MEDIA ALERT
January 25, 2015
Media Contact: Sea Stipe, Change150 Spokesperson
sea.stipe@change150.org

Change150 TO ANNOUNCE SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE ENDORSEMENTS

 

PEORIA, IL January 25, 2015 – Change150 will host a press conference on Monday, January 26th at the Peoria Public Library – North Branch to announce their endorsements for the 2 open District 150 School Board seats for the upcoming April election.

When: Monday, January 26, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.

Where: Peoria Public Library – North Branch

What: A committee comprised of current district teachers and support staff, NAACP members, former administrators, a former District 150 School Board member, a District 150 parent and a representative from Change150 recently interviewed six of the nine school board candidates to determine who would be the best choice to bring much-needed change to the District 150 School Board. At Monday’s press conference, members of Change150 will announce the committee’s choice and Change150’s endorsement of two school board candidates – one for the open 4-year seat and one for the 5-year seat. Members of Change150 and both endorsed candidates will be available for questions.

For more information on Change150, our initiatives and our mission, please go to our website: www.Change150.org.

###

Quan Chaney Interview on Royce and Rogers

Last week, the radio show, Breakfast with Royce and Rogers (90.7 FM WAZU), interviewed Quan Chaney, the basketball referee who encountered Dr. Lathan on the court at Mark Bills, prior to the game at which Harrison arrived late. Please listen as Mr. Chaney gives his account of the incident.

Quan Chaney Interview – 16 January 2015

 

 

A letter we received

Change150 received the following email describing the experience a referee had with Superintendent Lathan at a recent basketball game.

 

I have been reffing basketball for over 20 years. Never have I had the problem I had on 12/11/14.

All year, Harrison school has been over 15 minutes late for every game. There had been an email sent to refs saying let Harrison know games start at 3:30.

This day they were over 35 minutes late.

On 12/11/14 Harrison finally got to school, walking in very slow. They were not dressed to play or showing any urgency. I let coach know his team has 1 minute to get ready and that we are doing a running clock first half. Everyone was already there, waiting and ready to play.

From nowhere some lady comes up to me telling me that I can’t do that and what was I going to do.

I told her just what I told the coach. They have 1 minute to get ready and we are doing a running clock first half.

Now mind you, this person never said who she was or why she was even on the court talking to me.

So after she asked what I was going to do, I turned my back on her.

She raised her voice, telling me don’t turn my back on her.

As an official we don’t argue with anyone.

She yells her title.

It really meant nothing to me, so I walk away to start game.

I do the first half of game. Mid-3rd quarter, at a timeout, some guy comes to tell me I have to leave until I talk to her and say I’m sorry for turning my back on her.

This person has no right to be on court nor to tell me what I am going to do as an official. Everyone knows that. She should be respecting the rules and policies of the game she is coming to.

This is the type of action of someone pushing their title around, and I will not be one to not stand and let my voice be heard.

By right, I could have forfeited the game.

That night, I get a call saying if I say I’m sorry for turning my back on her, I can go back and ref the rest of the year.

I laugh at that. I will not say I’m sorry to someone that uses her title and pushes folks around, so I stand tall against this lady and hope this will start the removal of her from our schools and city.

Save the kids and our schools.

Peoria, stand up for the kids.

Quan Chaney

Nov 10 Board Speech – PFT Local 780 President, Jeff Adkins-Dutro

On the heels of the 2013-2014 ISAT test results being released, a number of people showed up at the November 10th Board meeting with plenty to say. We are posting several of the speeches here, with permission.

 

Jeff Adkins-Dutro

I have tried to approach the Board directly about the Charter Oak test scandal issue, but no pathway I have tried has borne fruit…so here I am at the podium.

Throughout last year’s ISAT investigation at Charter Oak, teachers who were questioned by the District’s attorneys answered all questions honestly and fully. They copied all of their ISAT preparation materials and turned them over to the District’s attorneys. They behaved professionally, not talking about the investigation and refraining from going to the press in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation.

For their forthrightness, compliance, and professionalism, they paid a terrible price. Although the State Board of Education determined there was NO cheating on the ISAT and not a single teacher’s license was revoked, the District turned what could have been a simple of tightening up ISAT preparation and ISAT special education protocols district wide into a scandal that dismantled a school and disrupted a community.

I drove to Springfield myself and talked to the ISBE. The person with whom I spoke could not fathom why this molehill had been turned into a mountain.

At the beginning of this investigation, the Peoria Federation of Teachers was told that the investigation was an effort to oust the principal and that our teachers would not be implicated. We knew better, and we prepared for the worst.

Taking the advice of our attorneys, we held our cards close to the vest instead of making sensational comments in an effort to go tit for tat with the District and the media. Whereas we played it smart legally and protected our teachers, our teachers’ reputations were smeared time and time again as the District played to the press, going so far as to have a public display, via their attorney, at a Board meeting and by PUBLICLY humiliating two of our teachers, teachers who were victims of lax ISAT training, not scoundrels who sat in a dimly lit room, changing answers on students’ answer sheets.

I am VERY proud of the teachers for the way they handled themselves, both the teachers involved in the investigation and the teachers who, throughout the process, helped do everything they could to maintain a sense of normalcy for the students at Charter Oak and our other 26 schools.

The teachers at Charter Oak met with the Union near the end of last year, and their main objective was to get things back on track at the school. The teachers worked hard last year and this year, hoping the dust had finally settled, and then the headline ‘ISAT Scores Down Sharply At Charter Oak’.

Certainly, anyone familiar with the turmoil last year would have predicted a sharp decline in student achievement to be reflected in the test scores. That said, ironically, the anomalies from the previous year’s test scores after a year’s worth of scandal, $100,000 in attorneys’ fees, and an upset in staff are still a mystery.

There are plenty of scapegoats but no real answers.

I asked the Board and the administration to stand up for Charter Oak after the most recent PJ Star article about the school. Had they, this speech would have been unnecessary.

I’d like to see the Board of Education, especially those of you who have toured Charter Oak and have seen the teaching and learning going on there, to speak up and come to the school’s and the District’s defense.

Nov 10 Board Speech – Change150 Vice President, Dan Dugal

On the heels of the 2013-2014 ISAT test results being released, a number of people showed up at the November 10th Board meeting with plenty to say. We are posting several of the speeches here, with permission.

Dan Dugal

I started preparing for tonight with a little research. I’m simply going to share summary highlights from a long list of peer reviewed studies.

  • “As a result of principal churn, students achieve less in both math and reading during the first year after leader turnover, and schools that experience principal churn year-after-year realize serious cumulative negative effects on students – a condition that is exacerbated for schools serving underprivileged students.”
  • “Principal churn causes student achievement to drop in Math and English Language Arts in the year following the vacancy, and it can take the next principal up to three years to regain forward progress for the school.”
  • “While highly effective principals create significant changes each year, it takes an average of five years to put a mobilizing vision in place, improve the teaching staff, and fully implement policies and practices that positively impact the school’s performance.”
  • “Rapid principal turnover has a negative effect on a school, affecting both school culture as well as student achievement.”
  • “Principals who stay in a school tend to be more effective than those who move to other schools
  • “Principal turnover has a direct negative effect on student achievement; the strongest impact comes immediately after a change in leadership.”
    “Leadership changes are particularly harmful for high poverty schools.”
    “Districts should aim to keep most principals in their schools for a minimum of four years, and preferably five to seven years.”
  • “Minimal Reduction In Principal Turnover Rates Can Save U.S. Public School System $163 Million Annually”
  • “Research shows that high principal turnover often leads to greater teacher turnover, which, in turn, can have a negative impact on student achievement and other schooling outcomes, as well as increase fiscal costs.”

Other reports also illustrated the high dollar cost of principal churn.
In a district like 150 that is strapped financially, the current practice of shuffling principals is not only counter-productive to student achievement; it is wasteful of district financial resources.

So while Dr. Lathan claims that our district must be wary of complacency and continues to shuffle principals year after year, research shows just the opposite is necessary – we need consistency and reduced principal churn to improve student achievement.

When she first arrived in Peoria, Dr. Lathan accused the previous administration and teachers across this district of educational malpractice.

Four years later, in case after case after case, whether it is principal churn, busing policies, watering down of the curricula, management style and many others, there is what peer reviewed research shows is effective, and then, there is what Dr. Lathan does. And we continue to see the results in places like this year’s heartbreaking ISAT scores.

The Peoria community deserves better.

 

Note: The research started with this study and the long list of references cited.