Thursday, May 24, 2018

Enjoy Your Summer!

Each year at this time those of us either teaching or supporting the work of our students and teachers come to grips with the fact that another school year has come to an end. Students graduate, some move on to college, others head to work while still others will return in the fall to the start of a new and exciting school year. A few of our teaching colleagues will close the classroom door one final time as they head into retirement.

For me, as a representative of Schools Count, I will also take some time off from blogging. It's always a great feeling knowing that summer is upon us. It's a time of leisure, travel and recharging the battery.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for following us this school year. Your interest in our work, your support through donating funds and/or volunteering, and your desire to see young people grow is paramount. I'll look forward to reconnecting with you in late July or early August.

All the best my friends,

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Closing of Harvey Schools

The closing of two Harvey, IL schools, Sandburg and Lowell Longfellow, is indeed sad news for the those living in the immediate area of each building. These schools have been around a long period of time, many generations of various families having passed through the doors of Sandburg and Longfellow.

The closing of each is much more than ending the chapter of an educational institution. It demonstrates the movement of people, it reflects a loss of jobs in the region, and the shuttering of each is a symbol that the community continues to suffer. There are fewer factories, less tax revenue, vacant and abandoned buildings, and all the harm that can arise out of such conditions.

The closure of these schools represents not just a shrinking of the district but stands as a symbol of decay, decay that people have to cope with and live in each and every day.

To those who say the people, the schools, and the community-at-large need to 'pick themselves up by the bootstraps' please note that the loss of schools, factories, stores and community organizations are the very 'boot straps' needed. They'd probably grabs those 'straps' if they were available.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sad News

Our charity has worked with the Harvey IL School District 152 for a number of years. During this period we have been fortunate to assist six elementary schools and one middle school. But poverty, the loss of jobs and the attending drop in the community population has meant a decline in school enrollment.

This past year Lowell Longfellow Elementary was shuttered and next year Sandburg Elementary will also close their doors. There aren't enough children to warrant keeping these two schools open. There's enough room in the other five district schools to house the students.

I want everyone to know that these two schools did NOTHING wrong! There were, and are, plenty of good teachers and eager students in both Longfellow and Sandburg. Too often, those who know next to nothing about conditions in the community are too eager to place the blame at the doorstep of the teachers and those in charge of the schools.

To those who work in our charity as well as those who were part of Longfellow and Sandburg please know your efforts were, and are, most meaningful and greatly appreciated.


Monday, May 21, 2018

A Grateful Group of Principals

Over the weekend I contacted the various CPS principals to let them know when we would be delivering school supplies to their students in August. Below are some of the responses I received from the principals and I'd like to share them with you. As you can see as you can see they are truly grateful for the support.

Happy Sunday Mr. Flesher,

Thank you for the email. I am well and definitely looking forward to summer vacation. We are so thankful for the generous work you do to ensure our students have school supplies on the first day. We are hosting summer school this year, so someone will certainly be at the school. We look forward to this continued partnership.


Janelle Thompson

Hi Dick:
Thanks so much, again, for what you do for our school community! I will be in the building for the deliver on August 8.

Yes, thank you so much, we still have some supplies, however, they will be used to reburbish for the last quarter. I am copying the clerk and the engineer to make sure they are aware of the delivery.
Thank you on behalf of the the Lowell students.

Hello Mr. Flesher,
It is a pleasure hearing from and thank you for your generosity. I should be in the building n August. Also, my assistant principal Mrs. Walker and the secretary Ms. Bufford should both be in the building. Enjoy your summer and I look forward to seeing you on August 9, 2018.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Shootings in Schools

The most recent and tragic loss of life in the Santa Fe mass shooting is but another sad mark on the senseless loss of life not through disease, illness or plague. No, the loss of innocents is not due to any of these maladies; rather, it's to do with what we typically associate with weapons of war.

Yes, the gun violence which takes place all too often takes place outside of the school building has now found its way into the classrooms of America. Make no mistake, the shooting don't occur in the rough and tumble of inner cities. Suburban and rural schools are just as prone to death at the hands of a killer.

I'll leave it at this for now. What are WE to do? What can I do to help stop the carnage?


Friday, May 18, 2018

What's a Monitor to Do?

Have you ever seen the commercial currently running on television where a man is in a dental chair and a couple of people are mentioning how much dental work needs to be done and they comment that they are heading to lunch? The incredulous patient says, in essence, "are you going to do the dental work?" The two people say "no, we are just monitoring what is to take place."

I mention this because the Monitor that the State of IL has appointed to oversee the Special Education program in CPS schools may well find herself/himself in the very same boat.

That is, what power do they really have to affect change in programs and, more importantly, to affect what takes place in each of the many schools with the Special Education students and teachers? The Monitor will certainly need certain authorities that extend beyond the Administration level of CPS. If that person or persons don't have the proper abilities to make changes then this will go for naught.

Otherwise the Special Education students and parents will be left much like the patient in the dental chair.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

State moves in on CPS Spec. Ed.

After many months of investigating the CPS Special Education program the State of IL has voted to put a monitor in place to oversee almost all aspect of the district's Special Education Services. All of this comes on the heels of a WBEZ investigation that was largely spearheaded by many parents and various advocacy groups.

The complaints have been lodged for a number of years by the various stakeholders. One has to wonder why the district, acutely aware of the problems, has done so little to address the issues and concerns relative to the delivery of services.

To a person, the vast majority of parents and advocacy groups welcomed the vote for a state appointed monitor to step in. In the next couple of days I will weigh in on the steep climb that the monitor and needed personnel will face.


Girls Singing at IMN

Classes Singing at IMN

IMN School Opens

Driving into Port Au Prince

IMN School Welcome

Tour of IMN School

IMN School