Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Jazz Time Friends!

Why not put aside the I phone, turn off the TV and head to the Hinsdale Community House (8th St. and Madison Streets in Hinsdale) for some lively jazz performed by the various Hinsdale Central High School Jazz Ensembles. This is bound to be a wonderful night of smooth music being put on by some wonderful and generous musicians.

The event swings into action at 7:00 pm and the entrance fee is a mere $5 per person or $10 for the entire family!!

All of the proceeds of the evening will go towards the purchase of music instruments so that the children at Chase Elementary School in Chicago can have their very own after-school band program. So head on out to the Community House...chill, take in the music and know that you are assisting some students who will have a chance to replicate the HC Ensembles!!

Thank you,
Dick

Monday, April 23, 2018

Crisis - Looming Teacher Shortage

My concern about others; teachers, friends, concerned citizens and govt. officials, not responding to the present teacher shortage in Illinois as well as other parts of America apparently is not shared by a good number of citizens. There are many reasons why I'm raising the issue apart from the harm to our students.

The chasm is deep and getting expert teachers, not unlike people in the medical or law professions, will take time in terms of training and student teaching. Districts can't just run an ad/hang out a shingle and expect a whole crop of extraordinary teachers to apply. That is a rare commodity these days and it is only likely to exist in school districts with a long pedigree of academic success.

Here's but one solution that needs to be implemented right now. There are scant number of high schools in America that offer courses akin to 'Introduction to Teaching' which puts students in elementary schools and feeder schools a few days a week while offering instruction in the high school setting to complement the work in the field. I have seen these programs and have witnessed their successes.

If the AFT, NEA and local school boards were on top of their game, this is a great place to start in terms of tackling the problem.

Dick

Friday, April 20, 2018

Teacher Crisis - Calling all Allies

If I can motivate just one person to respond to this blog/facebook post, enlist the help of one individual to write a positive 'Letter to the Editor' or find one individual to contact a public servant to address the teacher shortage crisis and the need to invest in recruiting others to join the profession, well...then this brief note will be worth it.

Standing by, idly, while curriculum programs go without classroom teachers and while education programs at colleges dwindle in size, by the day, won't cut it. Allowing schools to cut back on the types of classes offered simply because there are too few properly trained teachers can't be allowed.

Whether young or not quite so young, we all need to get involved. Without being hyperbolic, it may very well be your daughters and sons who go without those valuable resources called teachers!

Dick

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Teacher Crisis - Don't Tolerate It!

Yesterday I brought you the news that there are over 200 openings in schools in Kane County, IL. This is a county that should have plenty of access to teacher recruits given its proximity to Chicago and many surrounding area universities. Obviously, much more is at issue here.

Whether it's people bellyaching about teachers, reformers (often critics of public education) who champion other delivery systems, a loss of funding for a variety of reasons and a whole host of other issues, one thing is clear...the teacher shortage is growing and many students are suffering as a result.

I have taught for over thirty years and have been fortunate to work with great individuals in our charity for over a decade but the time has come to take the gloves off. Ignoring this problem, and others associated with it, has to come to a grinding halt. Unless individuals step up to say no more and unless we get engaged in preserving the sanctity of the profession of teaching we are in for a rough ride.

I am asking those of you who work with us, donate funds, volunteer or who otherwise support the cause of assisting students and teachers in need to redouble your efforts. How can this be done you ask?

Let govt. officials know how you feel, donate to causes that aid students and teachers, get on a school board, write an op-ed to voice your concern. The ways to let people know how you feel about this crisis is only limited by not getting involved. Everyone is needed.

Dick

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Teacher Crisis

Make no mistake about it there is a severe teacher shortage. When Kane County, as of this morning, advertisers on its website (teachinkane.org) that it has 207 openings then you know there is a significant shortfall. Among the openings are the need for 40 elementary school teachers, 69 high school teachers and another 35 in the middle schools.

That is just one county in the State of Illinois. Imagine the openings in Cook County. And this crisis is not isolated to one county or merely one state. This is a nationwide problem of significant importance.

Ah, the word importance. The fact that thousands of jobs are available in teaching and the fact that Education Departments at many universities don't have enough teacher candidates is certainly alarming. Personally, what I find alarming is that I don't get the sense that the larger public sees a problem and if they do; well, so what!!

We might very well be beyond a crisis. My friends...we are.

Dick

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Democracy in CPS

I've always been a big proponent of an elected School Board for CPS. That isn't the case right now. The Mayor gets to make that nod concerning who serves though the state legislators could approve an elected board. Right now that's not even on the back burner. But there is another important role for democracy in the neighborhood schools of Chicago.

Tomorrow elections will be held for Local School Council (LSC) members. These members serve within their own school boundaries and though their power has diminished over time they are an important vehicle to the parents of each school. Some CPS schools have contested elections while a good many can't find enough people willing to run let alone serve.

As one might expect, the effectiveness of the LSC's varies greatly. I do know that the LSC of Pickard Elementary is a positive, powerful and highly effective LSC. It's members are active in terms of providing resources to the children as well as working closely with the school staff. Pickard is a school that has been on the rise and it is due, in no small part, to the great efforts made by the LSC.

LSC's have an important voice in a good many schools and they will be effective only as long as the constituents participate in the process.

Get out and vote, get out and get engaged. It's your school, it's your community, and it's the future of our children.

Dick

Monday, April 16, 2018

Rarin To Go!!

I have six varsity boys soccer players from Hinsdale Central High School who are eager to run the 2018 version of our KICK (Kick It In for Chicago Kids) on behalf of our charity. Ryan Counts, Zach Drescher, Marcus Gruvberger, Kosta Kinnas, John Paul Ltief and Gavin Schwarz are ready to roll.

These boys are committed to raising funds for the children in need of resources living in high poverty areas in the Chicagoland region. In the next few months the boys will seek corporate and business sponsorships, organize a soccer/tennis event on Sept. 16th and they'll be running a auction.

I'll be sure to keep everyone posted on how you can be a part of this wonderful initiative.

Dick

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