July 25 Board of Education meeting

Carrying posters while marching in orderly picket lines on Clark Street from Adams to Monroe Streets, and supervised by several police officers, CTU members and supporters expressed their views on the current state of contract negotiations between the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), prior to and during the monthly meeting of the Board of Education (BOE), which took place at 125 S. Clark Street on Wednesday, July 25, 2012.

More than 500 CTU members and supporters rallied at the CPS headquarters before the July 25 Board of Education meeting. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.Inside on the fifth floor, all members of the Board were present except for Board Member Andrea Zopp. Also present were the new General Counsel, James Bebley, replacing Patrick Rocks, who recently retired, and the new Chief Education Officer, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, replacing Noemi Donoso.

The public was told that the order of the agenda for July 25 was changed so that public participation would come after the votes on the Board Reports by Board Members. This was done to allow Board Members, who otherwise might not be able to be present for those votes, to vote on those items. Five yes votes are necessary for the passage of financial items. Four yes votes are needed for the other items, which then will be voted on after the closed session.

The "good news" portion of the meeting included news of iPad grants, 32 iPads in a bundle to a school, with some schools receiving more than one bundle.

Board Member Penny Pritzker asked, "What does it take to train a teacher so they're able to utilize the hardware and software?" Board Member Dr. Mahalia Hines expressed congratulations and asked, "How can you share this with our schools?" All present were told that Webinar will enable teachers to access this. Pritzker asked, "Are schools adequate to do this?" and "How do you take this to a greater scale?"

The speaker replied they would take it in stages in the classroom and bring along other teachers.

Board President David Vitale asked, "Are the schools [receiving the iPads] concentrated in one part of the city?" The answer was that they are "All over. All grades. Art as well."

Board member Mahalia Hines, at the July 25 Board of Education meeting with other members Henry Bienen, Jesse Ruiz, and David Vitale, praised a principal who received a technology grant that in part enabled the students to participate in Wii virtual sports for their PE classes. At the close of the meeting Hines said there "was no difference between charter schools and neighborhood schools — charters are community schools." She said that "people don't have enough information about the issue and that they just believe what they read on the Internet." She also said she had "never been so embarrassed" because at a special meeting of the Board one week earlier her granddaughter, who attended the meeting, said a teacher didn't speak proper English. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.Next, the Austin-Lawndale Network Chief spoke of Spencer Technology Academy Principal, Dr. Shawn Jackson, who came to Spencer five years ago when it was on probation with a mobility rate of 40%. The Network Chief said the principal applied for a technology grant and convinced the students that ‘learning is cool.’ She said he also shares this technology with other principals in the district.

In a power-point presentation "Spencer Technology Acedemy - Planning the School Day," Dr Jackson said Spencer School (214 N. Lavergne Avenue) has 900 pre-K to 8 students; 98% qualify for free or reduced-fee lunches. He said that students can use the software at home and have extended lab hours. Spencer received a grant twice to be an iPad school. Dr. Jackson added that the technology will also be used for Nintendo Wii physical activities as well as academic activities, (My Word coach, etc.). A grant will allow parents to be compensated for assisting with recess and lunch duty.

Board Member Dr. Mahalia Hines commented that it is clear that “you are one of the leaders of which it is said, ‘where there is no door, you make one.’”

Board Member Penny Pritzker called the changes at Spencer, inspirational. She said that it is exciting what can be done to change the environment.

Following this, motions were made and passed unanimously that Board President David Vitale continue to be President of the Board and Vice-President Jesse Ruiz continue to be Vice-President of the Board.

Votes on Board Reports that normally would have taken place after closed session took place next. The new General Counsel presented two policies, 12-0725-PO1, to Amend Board Report 04-0728-PO3, The Policy on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Title I Parent Involvement and 12-0725-PO2, Adopt a School Performance, Remediation and Probation Policy for 2012-2013 School Year. These passed.

Other reports also passed with abstentions by Board President David Vitale and Board Members Bienen, Pritzker, Ruiz and Hines on some of them. Additional reports did not require a vote or needed only to be accepted by the Board.

An announcement was made that the public would have a chance to call Board members monthly at 773-553-1600 with questions or comments.

Public participation began with Wanda Block of Alderman Moreno's office. She read a statement from the alderman that strongly supports the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Clemente High School for the 2012-2013 school year.

CTU VIce President Jesse Sharkey spoke at the Board meeting and afterward to reporters. He noted the positive step taken by CPS in agreeing to staff displaced teachers in more than 500 newly created art, music, foreign language, computer, and PE positions, but stressed that many other issues need to be resolved, such as an elected school board. Sharkey referred to the Board's earlier votes by the Board to reappoint Vitale president of the Board and Ruiz vice president. "That's not the election we're looking for," Sharkey said. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt. Jesse Sharkey, CTU Vice-President was next up. Board President Vitale said, "Hi, Jesse. Good to have you here."

Speaking of himself, CTU Vice-President Jesse Sharkey says he speaks as a person who “brings lemons to a lemonade party.” He reminded everyone of the 2010 layoffs of over 1000 teachers. He said some schools still did not have art, music, or libraries and that some communities are without an entire school. He told the Board that “we welcome hiring displaced teachers, but some other issues still need to be resolved, for example, an elected school board.”

Board President Vitale told him, "We can rely on you to advocate for your interests. You do it well."

Next, Rodolfo Benitez, of the UNO Charter School Network and “a proud parent of two children” at an academy at 51st and Homan, said that charter schools are public schools and should be treated fairly and equally. He said he didn't understand why there is not equal funding. He affirmed, "I stand up for charter schools."

Amber Mandley, of Chicago International Charter School (CICS) Bucktown, said her eight-year old son is at a top-ten charter school and received many certificates and awards. She advocated for equal funding, saying that charter schools receive $2,000 less than traditional schools. She added, "Allow me to teach my son that there is fairness."

Jose Estrada, an eighteen-year old, who is part of the Culture of Calm, said that before he got a mentor, he was affiliated with neighborhood groups and cut classes. He said that now he will graduate in June 2013. He said he plans to attend college and become a social worker. He added that he collected signatures for Rahm Emanuel.

Stacy McAuliffe of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) said her group includes membership of every single charter school in Chicago. She asked that charter school funding cut in 2010 be restored. She remarked that charters will educate 13% of Chicago Public School students on 9% of the budget. She spoke of the many thousands of students who will go back to charter schools this fall.

Dwayne Truss (second from right) of the Austin group PACE (Progressive Action Coalition for Education) and CODE (the Coalition Organized for Democracy of Education), the group organizing a petition drive to put the elected school board question on the Nov. 6 ballot in precincts in Chicago, spoke about Austin neighborhood schools outperforming charter schools. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.Sarah Elizabeth Ippel, of the Academy for Global Citizenship, said she wants support for the IB Continuum. She added that we need equitable resources. She said, “We now have eleven times as many students as space and we need equitable funding.”

Cheryl Jordan, founder of Rebecca's House Foundation, wants to be on the approved list of vendors. She spoke of the 8-18 year-olds who are in need of social enrichment programs. She handed out a brochure and a purple folder to Board members listing four and eight-week programs that successfully cover a Play on Words, a Literacy Workshop, Reading/Writing, Readers Theater, and Character Building.

EvAngel YHWHnewBN reminded everyone that a kid is an animal, a beast, and a child is a human. She asked everyone to "kick the k word" habit. She spoke of proper and improper parenting. She mentioned a parent who turned in a child, while another parent made excuses for a child. She said that many parents need support and asked, "What can you do to give parents more support?" She said parents need support to bust out teen terrorists sitting at the family table. She asked, "What program can we have to support parent to make streets safe?" Staff was advised to speak to her.

Ernestine Standberry, President of the Pro-Life Federation, said she came about the substitute teaching requirements. She had bee told to call Springfield but Springfield said they knew nothing about this. She wants to know how to renew her substitute license.

Board President Vitale told her that the state has its own requirements and Chicago has its own requirements. He remarked that you must be a certified teacher and that at upcoming Career Fairs, principals will choose individuals for the substitute pool. He added that some individuals were grandfathered in as substitutes.

Jeremy Embry, along with his mother and sister, said he wants to be able to go into schools and speak to students about skills such as conflict resolution and empathy.

Board President Vitale told him that we have a process for determining how people can have access to students. He then referred Jeremy Embry to a staff member.

Gloria Delgado and Jasmine Marie Hernandez, of Education Reform Alumni, were the designated speakers for the group. They said their schools were the original pioneer schools with a longer day, from 8:30 to 3:45. They remarked that yesterday's announcement [about a longer school day] was “huge.”

Following public participation, Board member Penny Pritzker said that reports about her or the Hyatt company receiving $5 million in TIF funds were "totally inaccurate." Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.Pamela C. Touras, a teacher in the upper grades at McPherson School, a Local School Council (LSC) Representative, and a CTU Delegate, said she represents the super-majority of the staff and wants to correct the impression that parents made last month at the Board meeting about offering a foreign language element in the primary grades. She said that “our children receive an excellent education and wants to clear up concerns.”

Last month, Substance reported: "Claudia Mondragon has two children in McPherson School and is concerned about the longer school day. She said that there are two grades in some classes. She told of a teacher being hired to be a teacher of Spanish when the children already speak Spanish. She mentioned that they are losing five very good teachers and asked the principal not to cut the teachers. She said that no one is listening to the parents, who want small classes and quality education.

"Lourdes Pineda spoke in Spanish about her two children at McPherson school. She said she is against the school turning bi-lingual and the teacher layoffs. She doesn't like split classes and said that very good teachers were being laid off. She was told by the principal that the layoffs were a CPS decision."

Keith Lussier, addressed Restorative Justice, saying that there is a need for financial support. He told the Board to "put your meney where your mouth is." He said that Restorative Justice programs are 1% of the budget.

Efrain Montalvo, of the Community Renewal Society (CRS), told of 19 students who were shot while the students were suspended. He told the Board that schools don't need more security caeras. He also told the Board, "Put your money where your mouth is." Supporters with him carried signs with dollar and mouth symbols.

Estell Roman, at Stowe School for 26 1/2 years, said her position was cut in June. She added that she was on the LSC and said that seven positions were closed in the last few years. She told of the principal locking himself in the office and shutting off the lights while he meditates all day. She said the school is in chaos and the principal needs to be removed.

Stowe LSC member George Soto told the Board members that principal Charles Kyle falsified documents. He shows reporters the school CIWP (formerly referred to as the SIPAA, the school improvement plan) on which he says Kyle forged the signature of network chief Denise Little. He showed reporters the Little's written statement that said she had seen her name signed on the papers, which were added to the SIPAA as an attachment, and it was not her signature. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.George Soto, on the LSC at Stowe, also said that Principal Charles Kyle needs to be removed immediately. He handed the Board supporting documents and spoke of the vacancy of twelve positions, including two assistant-principals. He itemized the numbers of the many ways he felt Dr. Kyle had demonstrated incompetent leadership. He added that Dr. Kyle submitted falsified documents that were to be signed by another person.

Maria Amezcua, retired from Stowe School, said that the principal had been misjudged and that he had been fighting for the community. She said that Stowe was at the bottom when Dr. Kyle arrived and now it was seven or eight on the ladder. She asked the Board to take into account the history of Dr. Kyle.

Stowe PSRPs Leticia Flores and Eneida Ramierez, both with over 20 years of service at Stowe, said Kyle had retaliated against many staff members at Stowe after the LSC lowered his rating. Kyle turned around and lowered the ratings of Stowe staff on the LSC and their supporters, including Flores and Ramierez. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.Isadore Lucas, said he knew Dr. Kyle for thirty years and admired him. He said that Arne Duncan, former Board CEO, now Secretary of Education under President Barack Obama, also spoke well of Dr. Kyle. He said the Police Department said Stowe was safe and secure because of Dr. Kyle. He remarked that the principal thinks "Children First." Hegave documents to the Board and said he will be happy to answer any questions.

Dwayne Truss, of PACE, said that the test scores at Austin continue to rise and that neighborhood schools outperform charters. He said that test scores that show charters outperform neighborhood schools are not correct. He wants the emphasis put on teaching and not testing. He also wants Restorative Justice and supports teacher pensions. He asked that the Board look at "The Austin Weekly" and advocated for an elected school board.

Lakisha Thigpen, an assistant principal in the Roseland community, said she was false accused of violating Board policy. She said that CEO Jean-Claude Brizard had signed to let her go, and she received a"Do Not Hire" (DNH) designation. She said Roseland has the most gangs in the city. She said her superior rating status should be considered.

Board President Vitale told her, "We'll take a look at that."

Eric Williamson, of Target Hope, said there are many facts regarding successes and achievements through Target Hope. He said the problem is that we don't get enough students to join the program on Saturday. He gave the email address to contact the group -

Patricia Breckenridge, a member of the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE), said she plans to be an administrative candidate with the By All Means Necessary (BAMN), Local 1048, slate at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Convention in Detroit this weekend. She said that testing is not working for the most underserved kids in the nation. She added that students don't know what reading level they are on.

Erik Young, of King College Prep High School, spoke in rhymes, about how he wants an effective day, not just a longer day. He said that at King, students would say, "More work without equal pay is bogus." He told the Board members that they practice "Divide and Conquer," and that they get upset when “we turn the tables.”

Thomas Hencinski wants to rescind his retirement as a history teacher at Lane Technical High School. He said he had chosen to retire because his daughter had Hodgkin's lymphoma and a stem-cell transplant. He said he took the Pension Enhancement Program (PEP), but had not consulted with his wife, and wants his job back. He said he was in full health and was humbled by this debacle.

Vivian Moore, a custodian with We Clean, said she had been ridiculed by the engineer and co-workers. She was told to come in to work early and wear a blue dress. She said jewelry was handed to her from a worker who said it was from the person who requested she come in early and wear a blue dress. She said she is on medical leave due to stress.

A staff member talked to her.

Board President Vitale then asked any Board member if they had thoughts or comments.

Board Vice-President Ruiz said that we are trying to be available and that he was not aware of corporate schools in Chicago.

Board Member Penny Pritzker said the accusations of TIF dollars going to her or to the Hyatt in Hyde Park are inaccurate.

Board Member Dr. Mahalia Hines said, in regard to charter school funding, individuals should go to the website and read about the performance of charter schools and neighborhood schools. She said that “we are looking at all schools to perform and we are fighting for good community schools.” She said that we need to sit together to be on the same page. She added that she advocates for teachers and principals and was a former teacher and former principal, but was embarrassed when a teacher spoke incorrect English at the July 18th Board meeting.

Board Vice-President Jesse Ruiz addressed accountability.

The Board then went into closed session.


August 1, 2012 at 9:35 AM

By: Jean Schwab

Public can't tell what Board is voting on anyway

The BOE voted on several items by number only. The audience did not know what the BOE was voting for and did not have a voice.

August 1, 2012 at 4:47 PM

By: Jesus De VeraCruz

Stowe School Clarifications

Estell Roman's position was cut against the wishes of the LSC and Area Chief and like your article states, she was an LSC member. Work related retaliation is against CPS Policy and Labor Laws. They have attested that it is not being honored at Harriet Beecher Stowe School of Chicago, Illinois. This is just one of many examples of insubordination anyone else would have been fired a long time ago.

Prior to June 30 2012, the Stowe LSC made numerous direct recommendation to be considered for the CWIP, but again fell on deaf ears. By law the CWIP must be developed through the input of all school stakeholders and not just a few. Also a well planned CWIP is done in the course of several meetings and not one or two, as was done in this case that the LSC complaint shows.

Maria D'Amezcua is not a retired teacher from Stowe. She was never a teacher at Stowe. Either this is a typo or she knowingly gave your reporter misleading information. Isidro Lucas, as well as Maria D'Amezcua at best visited Stowe only about a handful of times during the course of the principal's current 15 year reign. They were infrequent visitors to the school and have only come when Charles Kyle invited them. They cannot say with authority what they said at the Board Meeting. You cannot get a true picture of the school unless you are there everyday and spend more than one or two hours at a time.

Additionally, Mr. Lucas states the Stowe was at the bottom before Kyle and it was through his efforts that the school improved. Not true, currently the school is worse than it ever was under his leadership. Mr. Lucas does not see how the students run a mock breaking classroom door windows, or students throwing books and milk cartons at pedestrians as they walk passed the school, or cursing and threatening parents and teachers alike. Students are constantly fighting with each other, and bullying is the norm. Parents and teachers have asked Kyle for years to address these issues and there has been no improvement.

Also, Arne Duncan spoke well of Stowe as a whole, and not Charles Kyle, and that was over 7 years ago. Fast forward to 2012 and things are not as rosy. To say that under Kyle "children are first" is laughable.

The current Stowe LSC is to be admired for their tireless work for the children. They are the ones that truly exemplified the mantra of "children first." They want a better school, better leadership because their children deserve it. They are working without pay and benefit for their children. If UFW founder Cesar Chavez was alive today he would no doubt support the parents and LSC of Stowe 100%. It is a downright embarrassment other local and national leaders fail to or do not want to see it this way.

August 2, 2012 at 2:59 PM

By: Patricia Breckenridge

AFT Convention opposing caucus

Opposing caucus BAMN - google - (By All Means Necessary) - Malcolm X quote - Local 1078, Berkeley, CA only received %2 of the vote while AFT/PC received 98% (as AFT delegates were told that they would not be in solidarity if they voted for an opposing caucus - so much for democracy as I was told to turn my CTU gear inside-out while enduring anguish for CTU Administration and CORE Steering with some showing more anguish than others as many I feel are blindsided to their rights to vote for an opposing caucus as their "homes are burning down around them"), but it's a start.

With 90 minutes for bothe encumbent and opposing caucuses to speak, BAMN's 2 minutes each for 39 candidates and 5 minutes each for President, Executive President, and Secretary-Treasurer candidates were outlined in the Constituion and By-Laws (as AFT/PC stated that the policy conflicted with AFT/PC speech time) were taken down to 10 minutes for about 25-29 candidates and about 9/12 speaking were able to speak at 8:30 am in the morning to an empty Oakland Convention Hall as in that very city has been taken over by state control and all teachers are laid-off and a Detroit teacher joined BAMN - it's a start.

American children have been undereducated with crushed low self-esteem and those in gangs (not saying it's right) for their survival as public sevices dwindle don't have the higher order thinking skills to rationalize not taking another human beings life as a civilian. AFT scratches backs just like politician as I found that other teacher unions across the nation don't even pay for healthcare (NY, CA, etc.) - "What did we exchange?"), Randi represents other locals in legislation, Illinois remains 49th (no equity and we are 3rd largest city in the nation - How does that formula work?) in school funding for years, CTU Local 1 makes no effort to gain leadership of AFT as school systems are being demolished nationwide due to underperformance that could have been prevented if the preventative measures and interventions (reading clinics, fry readability graph, etc.) had been taken. Our students nationwide are taught on a frustration level of no fault of their own - due to their low socio economic status and now their schools are closing and they're killing each other while crossing rival gang territory, etc.

Help America! Get the resources in school. Save our children. Our children need all stakeholder; such as, parents, teachers, community to just help them witht that vocabulary word that might make a difference in whether or not the student meets the standard. Your love for our children and students is free. Please don't let our children's literacy go to waste. Malaysia is predicted to have a 100% illiteracy rate (no reading nor writing) by 2016.

Don't get me wrong. I love AFT/PC for all the struggles they've endured over the years to precede and make possible my contribution to the American Federation of Teachers, but our students need school reform, so I have to say things that are not always so nice for our student's future and aspiration to the American Dream.

Kennedy's quote: The hottest fires in hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in times of social injustice.

At-risk inner-city minority students have been left to be undereducated and imprisoned for privatization take over and servitude as it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know they were vulnerable and reading below level when they started school with no disabled reader interventions; such as, reading clinics and reading clinicians and community for one on one instruction.

God bless America.

August 6, 2012 at 12:38 PM

By: Irv Hershenbaum

Dr. Kyle's commitment

I write as First Vice President of the United Farm Workers. Cesar Chavez knew Dr. Charles Kyle personally and held the highest regard for his integrity and sense of justice. He has been a dedicated resource person for the United Farm Workers for decades. His work as principal has been extremely benefical to the students and the community. We regard him as the foremost advocate for social justice in the Mid West.

August 6, 2012 at 3:14 PM

By: Eneida Morales & Susan Porter

H.B. Stowe children and dedicated and hardworking faculty

“Children First” is the focus at Stowe School. The Stowe faculty reaches out to the parents and to the Stowe Community to ensure that the students are successful in meeting their academic goals. Many teachers have been part of literacy and math nights, which invites parents to learn about how to work with their children at home on a daily basis. Teachers are continuing to enroll in classes and take professional development to stay informed of current teaching strategies. At Stowe School, “Children First” will be the focus of the new school year.

August 7, 2012 at 11:10 AM

By: Vidalina Lebron Diaz

A positive leader

As a new member of the Stowe faculty I have been supported by Dr. Kyle since day 1. He has always been a positive leader and someone that I can count on. My students admire Dr Kyle, when he visited my class he always motivated my students with positive comments. I am looking forward to the new school year with a Si Se Puede attitude.

August 7, 2012 at 7:09 PM

By: Charles Guengerich

Dr. Charles Kyle, Principal, Stowe School

For the last ten years, it has been my privilege as President of Wilbur Wright College, to partner with Dr. Charles Kyle as the leader of Harriet Beecher Stowe Fine and Performing Arts Academy to serve students and open their horizons to future opportunities available to them through education. This partnership conceived by Dr. Kyle was designed to encourage Stowe students to complete their education through college. This unique elementary school – community college partnership has had a positive impact on students.”

“In the time I have worked with Dr. Kyle, he has devoted himself to the success of Stowe students by making sure they are aware of the possibilities available to them through workling hard in school and completing their education. He has networked with friends and associates to create opportunities for Stowe students.

Under his leadership, Stowe has developed a talented and devoted staff who are always willing to go the extra mile for students guiding them through extra learning activities. His leadership has transformed the facility to one that displays students' work while honoring the heritage of the students. Faculty, staff and students continue to show appreciation for Dr. Kyle who is the school's biggest champion and cheerleader.

He lives by the slogan “Si Se Puede,” encouraging others that, yes, we can all make a difference in the lives of others.”

August 7, 2012 at 7:53 PM

By: Richard McAvoy Semyck

Dr. Kyle's Professional Leadership

I have been working as a special education teacher at Stowe Arts Academy since 1999. Since that time I have seen the school change from one with problems with gang related behaviors in the school including fights I had to break up to an environment that is safe and affirming. Dr. Kyle is dedicated to providing his students with the best practices in curriculum instruction incorporating performance based learning and celebrating their multiple intelligences. I have seen students improve in academics to the point that our alums are now studying at the finest high schools and universities, including the Ivy League and Big Ten. This year Dr. Kyle shepherded the teachers and students to meet and exceed all growth targets in Reading and Mathematics.

August 8, 2012 at 12:46 PM

By: Pepe Vargas

Dr. Charles Kyle, Principal, Stowe School

Without the commitment and devotion for the Arts from a principal like Dr. Charlie Kyle, my organization and the Chicago Latino Film Festival could not have been able to showcase his students' films, which received awards as the best produced videos from school children statewide. Dr. Kyle and I worked together to highlight his students' work and to bring foreign professionals to develop and ultimately produced an animation film that was not only shown at the Chicago Latino Film Festival but was seen in Argentina. Most definitively,projects like this one and others, which take students' beyond the class room and inspire them to create, can not be possible without the commitment of a principal like Dr. Kyle.

August 8, 2012 at 4:44 PM

By: Eileen Richmond

Dr. Kyle's Vision For The Students of Stowe School

Dr. Kyle's commitment to expanding the vision and opportunities of Stowe School is a large part of the college-preparedness mission statement of Stowe School. Dr. Kyle has been instrumental and supportive in providing opportunities for students to meet with individuals from many professions, such as hosting visitors from the fields of law and publishing and providing numerous Career Round Tables for student inquiry and discussion. Stowe school was the only Chicago Public School to perform at the inauguration of Governor Quinn. Students from Stowe School have won awards for oratory performances and while teaching in the Fine Arts Department, I have had the privilege of working with students whose final work products have been successfully published, one in a national magazine. Dr. Kyle has consistently

supported the idea of promoting Gardner's Multiple Intelligence methodologies particularly as it relates to the learning needs of children for whom English is their secondary language. Stowe's recent collaboration with the Garfield-Humboldt network has proved a remarkable success in utilizing strategies which included co-teaching and re-training leading to successful academic gains in the 2011-2012 academic year. Going forward and willingly addressing any present needs at our school, we are expecting to exceed these gains and position Stowe as a place of higher learning for the students, faculty and staff as well as a viable asset to the community.

August 8, 2012 at 8:11 PM

By: Eneida Morales & Susan Porter

Dr. Kyle's Dedication to Stowe's Children

We are very grateful to work with Dr. Kyle. He is very hard working and dedicated to Stowe School. What we notice about Dr. Kyle is that he always instills that children come first. His expectations for children are high. Dr. Kyle inspires children to want to attend universities and inquire about careers. He instills confidence to his students by telling them they are intelligent and with hard work they can be successful in college and in life. Through Career Round Tables structured by Dr. Kyle, students have had the opportunity to meet people in diverse careers. Dr. Kyle challenges his students to do their best in the classroom academically and socially. Dr. Kyle always reminds students and faculty – Si se puede! Yes, we can!

August 8, 2012 at 11:47 PM

By: Doris Kamys

Dr. Kyle's Dedication to Stowe School Students

As the former assistant principal of Stowe School, I can definitely say that Dr. Kyle has always thought of students first! Safety and security of students was always his number one priority. I enjoyed my time at Stowe School under Dr. Kyle's leadership. Dr. Kyle felt every child could be successful if he could find his pathway. He worked diligently to have Stowe School become a fine arts school, because he felt through the fine arts program all students could find success.

August 9, 2012 at 2:59 AM

By: Maria E. Montemayor

Dr. Charles Kyle, Principal, Stowe School

Dr. Kyle's contributions at H.B. Stowe have been numerous and his commitment to the school and community are never ending. He understands the sacrifices families in the community make to get their children to school.

During my time at Stowe, he always drove faculty to make an impact on student's lives and not to settle for anything else. I am delighted to have had him as a colleague for 15 years.

August 9, 2012 at 9:02 AM

By: Michael Cherone

Pod People

I find it odd that so many people jump up to defend Dr. Charles Kyle in nearly exactly 4 hour intervals using roughly the same diction and sentence structure.

August 9, 2012 at 2:36 PM

By: Josefina Lopez

Children First? “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive”

How can one trust anyone after being fed so many lies? This is the question parents must ask themselves when the person you are entrusting them to states their motto is, "children first." If that were the case, you would not hide in your office when parents want to see YOU and you have them see someone else.

A good leader is accesible and present. He/she is aware of everything that is going on and can answer to questions when they arise. An honest leader wouldn't have to beg his friends for character references, his true character would be evident for all to see.

If you are honest in your business dealings, you add value to your life and the world around you. You count as one fewer deceptive player in the scheme of things and set yourself apart from others.

It’s fundamental. Honesty is the best policy. In business, as in life, it is critical. Honesty will enhance your leadership ability. That’s how you get ahead, get promoted, and get rewarded.

Advice for Dr. K.. Great leaders are made rather than born and you might stand a chance if you realize that.

Last but not least, stop using others for gain.. Cesar Chavez is dead and stating you knew him and have a Si Se Puede attitude is not going to make you more popular in a predominantly Mexican community.

Don't shy away from the client YOU are SUPPOSED to be servicing...that's not rocket science. This is the first thing a SMART businessman learns.

Have compassion! Compassion is one of the main characteristics of an educator, but then again you aren't an educator, you are more of a politician and they aren't known to have that much compassion.

As for the people that posted in reference to this man's character... you should be ashamed of the lies you've written or were asked to post. I can guarantee that YOUR children would not be subjected to attend a school who was administered by such a GREAT leader.

August 9, 2012 at 4:56 PM

By: Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta supports Dr. Charles Kyle

August 8, 2012

To Whom it May Concern:

I am Dolores C. Huerta, President and Founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation for Community Organizing and Co-Founder and Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus of the United Farm Workers. I send this letter in support of Charles Kyle, Principal of the Harriet Stowe School in Chicago. Currently my foundation is focusing on Parent Empowerment and Education. We work with several educational organizations and the local school administrators. My own back ground in education is as a former grammar school teacher, lecturer at UCLA and USC in Los Angeles, California. I was formerly on the Board of Regents for the University of California. In addition, I have seven honorary Doctorates including one from UCLA and Princeton University. I also have seven schools named after me; grammar, middle and high schools. I have two family members that are teachers and have been in their class rooms and visited their schools.

As part of the work for my foundation, I travel extensively throughout the United States and speak at countless grammar, high, community colleges and universities. I mention this background because of my commitment to quality education. I had the good fortune to visit Harriet Stowe School and was impressed by the quality of the education that students received at the school.

The students I spoke to were confident and loved the school and the excellent programs that were offered to them. I also had the opportunity to speak to several parents and teachers who are grateful for the leadership of their principal, Charles Kyle.

My comments to the parent meeting which I attended were "you have a treasure in this school". I know that this type of excellence is only achieved with the strong leadership of a principal like Charles Kyle. His model should be duplicated in all schools where you have a functioning, diverse, quality and unifying ambience.

Removing Charlie Kyle from his position is a travesty of justice. I wholeheartedly support him and applaud all of his great work in creating an educational environment that is the envy of all schools.

Dolores C. Huerta

President, Dolores Huerta Foundation & Co-Founder, United Farm Workers

August 9, 2012 at 7:37 PM

By: Hanifa Goder

Dr. Charles Kyle, A Champion for Stowe School

Dr. Charles Kyle is an exceptional leader that has brought about big changes to Harriet Beecher Stowe School. I have worked at Stowe School for over a decade now and have come to admire all of the hard work and dedication that Dr. Kyle has shown not just for the school or its teachers, but more importantly for the students and the community. When I began, the neighborhood surrounding Stowe School was not as safe as it is today for children and parents to walk around in. Dr. Kyle worked hard, with the cooperation of the Chicago Police, to help establish daily neighborhood patrols that helped to eliminate much of the crime and gang activity that surrounded the school, thus making it a safer environment for the children and families. When it comes to the education of students and the curriculum, Dr. Kyle has always encouraged teachers to find innovative ways in which to teach the students. He would encourage us by saying "Si Se Puede!" (Yes we Can!) and inspire us to teach. Dr. Kyle has also worked to collaborate with many different programs throughout the years, affording the students of Stowe School with as many opportunities as possible to succeed. Also, Dr. Kyle has supported the after school programs at Stowe School. This has helped to further improve the performance of students. His effort to continuously work to improve the education of students, as well as the school as a whole, is something that everyone should be proud of.

August 9, 2012 at 11:05 PM

By: Leopoldo Diaz

Be Honest

Kyle is the worst principal Stowe ever had. He does not care about our children's education or our community. He just cares about earnig a free check. He is never available to parents and does nothing to protect the safety and security of our children.

August 10, 2012 at 7:49 AM

By: Anthony Smith

No Skin in this argument...

I do not know Dr. Kyle or Stowe school so I have no skin in this argument. However, Cesar Chavez was mentioned. Since he is one of my personal heroes, and it was stated that Dr. Kyle mentions a connection to Cesar Chavez, well I had a way of perhaps settling this argument once and for all.

I would say we could settle this argument by doing the following: Just ask the very reputable, and I would go so far to say he is an Angel on Earth, Reverent Father Jose S. Landaverde at Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Catholic Mission in Little Village

his opinion about Dr. Kyle.

If you are unfamiliar with him you can check him out on the web and at You Tube. He does a lot of good for a lot of regular and discarded people. He has a solid reputation of championing the underdog.

I go so far in saying this because I see Father Landaverde as a 21st century Cesar Chavez.

And he calls it as he sees it.

Just a thought.

Best wishes to everyone.

In Solidarity,

Anthony Smith

August 11, 2012 at 2:03 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Scripting the 'I love Charlie...' show

Substance has a couple of simple rules about comments. First, the person makng the comment has to provide our readers with first and last name. Second, the email address has to be for real. Third, truly nasty stuff is going to get deleted, even from those who follow "One" and "Two." Beyond that, we've been pretty liberal in our comments policy, making sure that we don't degenerate into the swamp inhabited by most blogs, where anonymous and other cowardly commentings are the norm.

This latest orgy of worship of one Chicago principal has taken us by surprise. As one of our readers has already commented, for the past week (or more, we haven't tallied yet), Substance has received one comment praising "Dr." Charles Kyle, principal of Stowe Elementary School, blah, blah, blah.

Obviously, this campaign is being orchestrated, and it's become a little silly. We covered Dolores Huerta, for example, about 15 years ago, when she came to Chicago for part of the anti-Vallas stuff. This was the first time we know she ever sent out a support letter "To Whom It May Concern..." but c'est la guerre.

If this keeps up for another few days however, we're going to compile the totals and do a little investigation into who decided and who orchestrated this wonderfully Chicago version of adulationary epistology (two words we coined because of their Latinate rootsiness; afficianados will get the humor...).

We're looking forward to someone sending us the photograph of the round tabling of the Kyle support petitions, too. After all, this is Chicago and we are an investigative news service, in addition to everything else we do.

But the one story we assume we'll be reporting if this hagiography doesn't slow down is the lawsuit some parent will be filing against Kyle and his fan club when some teacher assigns an entire class to write up letters to Substance about what a great guy their principal is. At that point, even the most Comedy Central and Second City among us will stop thinking this whole scripting is funny.

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