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Prescott LSC Gags Teachers, Rules Against 'Public Participation' at May 12 Meeting

SubstanceNews will be posting Jim Vail's full story on the problems facing Chicago's Prescott Elementary School, with photographs, later at substancenews.net, but following the May 12 Local School Council meeting, one thing is clear. The member of the the local school council refuse to listen to public comments from the school's teachers.

First, since it's been testing and graduation season, a quiz.

QUESTION: What does an LSC do when seven teachers show up to speak at a public LSC meeting?

Prescott Elementary School Principal Erin Roche (above left) and Local School Council co-chair Jennifer Lister (above right) explained at the beginning of the May 12, 2009, LSC meeting that the council would not be taking public comment. They told the meeting that the previous meeting had taken too long (one claim was six hours), but the May 12 meeting was completed -- despite a lengthy executive session -- in less than two hours. When the meeting had completed its business early, the remaining LSC members hastily adjourned the meeting. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.ANSWER: Tell them to sit down and shut up.

On May 12, the Prescott Elementary School Local School Council, minus a few members (including the chairman, who was "present" via speakerphone) met at the school at Ashland and Wrightwood in the shadow of some of Chicago's more expensive late model homes. The meeting officially began at 5:41 p.m.

Despite the controversies surrounding the policies of principal Erin Roche, the Local School Council announced at the beginning of its meeting that it would not take public comment. As a result, seven teachers, a parent, and a student who had showed up to take part in the meeting were basically told to "Sit down and shut up" by the principal and the six LSC members present. The one teacher rep at the meeting did not move that the agenda be changed to allow public participation and was silent through the meeting, despite the fact that the desires of her colleagues were clear. Although a local school council can make a policy to hear or not hear public comment during its meetings, the LSCs generally allow for public comment in the same manner followed by the meetings of the Chicago Board of Education. At other recent local school council meetings covered by Substance (including Julian High School and Consuela York High School -- at Cook County Jail -- the LSC has allowed public participation and included the public comment into the official record of the meeting). The announcement at Prescott surprised most of those in attendance.

According to the co-chair of the LSC and Principal Roche, the reason why there was to be no public participation at the LSC meeting was that at the previous meeting, the meeting had gone on for "more than six hours." After the LSC members noted that the lengthy earlier meeting was not because of any public participation, the May 12 meeting continued. It was completed in less than two hours. Even after it became clear that the meeting would be over by 7:30 p.m., the members of the LSC hastily adjourned, rather than allow teachers and others who had come to the meeting to place their concerns on the record.

Four of the seven Prescott teachers who attended the May 12, 2009, Local School Council meeting only to learn that their concerns would not be heard. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The concerns are fairly substantial. According to several teachers, Roche has tried to purge the school of veteran teachers, leaving the small school in some disarray. In one instance observed by Substance, for example, a teacher who was being harassed by Roche has been on leave, leaving the eighth grade classroom in the hands of a substitute teacher. Veteran teachers feel that Roche is discriminating against veteran teachers and is determined to replace the incumbent staff with young teachers, regardless of the impact of the purges on the school. The LSC had no comment of that or other facts, since no public participation was permitted.

Roche asked that Substance questions be put in writing, and a Substance reporter will continue the story as further information becomes available.

Despite ignoring the large number of teachers present, the LSC did hear a report from the school's counselor, based on an LSC demand that students graduating from Prescott all get into selective enrollment academic magnet high schools.

None did this year, so the school has apparently steered them into charter schools. LSC member Jennifer Lister, who was chairing the LSC meeting in the absence of the chairman, didn't even know that every graduate of a CPS elementary school (as well as every other child residing in an area) is entitled to go to a neighborhood high school. Following the presentation regarding the desire of the LSC to get every Prescott graduate into Walter Payton or Northside college prep high schools, she asked what would happen to a student who did not get into one of the selective enrollment magnet high schools or a magnet high school. Erin Roche was previously principal of Ravenswood Elementary School, where controversies similar to the ones currently swirling at Prescott resulted in his change of venue. The current local school council awarded him a four-year contract this year.

It was clear from the tone of the LSC meeting that the last thing the members of the Local School Council of Prescott Elementary School wanted on the night of May 12, 2009, was to have teachers explain some of the things that were going wrong with their school. The report on the post-graduation plans of the school's eighth graders was the main business presented to the meeting. Following that report, the LSC members did not ask for any additional comment. The LSC has apparently declared that Prescott is going to provide its 230 students with an "elite education." The LSC members and Roche discussed a policy which mandates that everyone graduating from Prescott is going to go to Northside College Prep or Walter Payton. Even Whitney Young and Lane Tech were not discussed as serious options during the meeting. The academic magnet high schools south of Roosevelt Road were apparently not even considered by the Prescott community. Teachers at King College Prep High School have told Substance that students from the North Side are eligible to apply for King, which is a few blocks from the home of President Barack Obama.

A full report on the controversies at Prescott will appear in the May 2009 print edition of Substance (out next week) and will also be published on line at www.substancenews.net. 



Comments:

May 13, 2009 at 9:30 PM

By: about time

LSC Prescott

Congrats someone is Finally Listening! Keep up the good investigating!

May 14, 2009 at 1:34 AM

By: Teacher at Prescott

Teacher

It is beyond my comprehension why this principal is still able to hold a job considering his track record. Last week he tried to force me three times to meet with him \"one on one\". Sexual harrassment charges have been brought against him this year by a member of the Prescott staff. I was terrified. It has terribly affected my physical and mental state of well being and I am now on medical leave. Who is in charge there anyway? Roche or Lister? Both need to be removed.

May 14, 2009 at 10:47 AM

By: Gale Suwe

parent at another school

I am a parent at another school, and your experience sounds very similar to ours. What is it with these LSC chairs who want to control who is able to say things? The LSC is supposed to be an elected body of your school, and as such should allow the community to participate in sessions.

Good luck to the teachers @ Prescott and we hope things work out for you. My advice is to find a group of angry and noisy moms to support the teachers, and get them to advocate for you and the children. Teachers can be fired and harassed, but angry moms have a lot of free reign in what they say and to whom they say things.

May 14, 2009 at 12:50 PM

By: GERRIA SIMPSON

FORMER EMPLOYEE

HELLO ALL MY PRESCOTT FAMILY I MISS ALL OF YOU ,MY PRAYER ARE WITH YOU ALL I RECENTLY WAS EMPLOYED AT PRESCOTT FROM 1989 THRU 2008,UPON THE ARRIVAL OF THE NEW PRINCIPAL MY POSITION CLOSE DUE TO A BUDGET REDUCTION,I JUST WANT TO CONGRATS FOUR OF THE SEVEN PRESCOTT TEACHER WHO ATTENDED THE LOCAL SCHOLL COUNCIL MEETING ON MAY 12,2009 ,I MISS YOU ALL KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK WITH OUR PRESCOTT STUDENTS THEY COME FIRST.

May 14, 2009 at 2:35 PM

By: Disgusted

Thank you!

Thank you, Substance for listening to the concerns of this school community. The fact that Roche and Lister refused public participation is an illustration of the kinds of things that have gone on all year. He has been allowed to disregard policy and run this school and the teachers into the ground. How is that good for kids? If he saw areas needing change then why not work with the teachers to make change? We are expected to believe that they are ALL terrible teachers? He can be trusted to know that based on his successful tenure as principal at Ravenswood? Where was his responsibility as an educational leader? You don't initiate change by being a ruthless sociopath. Sadly, but not surprising, Roche is being protected. The AIO, Cosme publicly supports him, Flavia Hernandez supported him and slapped down the teachers via a written communication. This man is poison, sexually harrassing staff is absolutely within the realm of possibility. It makes me laugh that he and Lister are mandating that all Prescott students get into certain selective enrollment schools. How many teachers did they drive away or otherwise humiliate this school year? How many have left to go to others schools? How many are on sick leave? SO the class of 2009 was dispensable in THEIR diabolic plot to destroy this school? One question...why was a school like Carpenter with an excellent administration, making positive gains slated to close and this tiny little school with so many problems overlooked?

May 14, 2009 at 3:23 PM

By: zande

dreamers

They are dreaming if they think they can "mandate" all of their 8th graders into acceptance at Northside & Payton. Those schools take only the very highest test scorers and top students-99th percentile kids. There are other good high schools as the article states-isn't the neighborhood high school Lakeview? What is wrong with that choice?

Clearly they don't know what they are talking about.

May 14, 2009 at 4:17 PM

By: Nica

community member

Dreamers is right! Roche has boasted of spending in excess of 65,000.00 on curriculum. However, students don\\\\\\\'t even have their own textbooks. How is an eighth grader expected to succeed and make it into one of those schools he or should I say Lister has chosen for our elite students if they are listening to read alouds all year; not to mention learning math from a sub who has been at the school since January, is certified in early childhood, and hasn\\\\\\\'t a clue how to teach math! Where is Huberman???\\\\rPLEASE STEP UP MR. HUBERMAN AND DO YOU JOB! THE STUDENTS AND STAFF HAVE SUFFERED ENOUGH. THIS IS CLEARLY HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF. FIRE ROCHE!

May 14, 2009 at 4:18 PM

By: Live in Prescott Neighborhood

Mother

This story is so twisted. What Roche and the LSC are doing for the school is all positive. Has anyone taking a look at the test scores coming from this school for the past several years. If the teachers were actually concerned about the "KIDS" then why have the test scores been so horrible before Roche showed up and tried to change up the stale routine over there. He is only trying to improve the education for these kids in the long run. The past principal really lacked putting the students first obviously with decreasing enrollment and test scores. If something wasn't done, no mother in their right mind would send their child to this school unless they were faced with and unsafe neighborhood school and trying to find a better solution for their kids. The problem with the CPS school system is this old school union that allows passive behavior because teachers are protected.

Jen Lister may be confused by the high school system because it takes an incredible amount of time and energy to even figure out the "rules" of CPS. This school system is so complicated, a new mother in the system needs a dictionary of rules to understand how to even navigate through the programs.

Hate to say it but the advice about finding a group of angry moms won't happen at this school because the moms are all happy that someone is looking out for the best interest of the kids finally!

May 14, 2009 at 4:29 PM

By: James

parent

Someone needs to look at the financial records at this school. I had recently decided to enroll my child for preschool at Prescott because it is a "literature magnet school". I have since checked out other literature magnet schools and found they had many wonderful literature programs going on, all financilly sponsered by the Chicago Area Writing Project. None of these programs exist at Prescott this year. Where has the money gone and why is it still called a literature magnet school? Very confusing. Glad I checked. It sounds like this school is a mess anyway.

May 14, 2009 at 5:26 PM

By: Jonathan

Prescott 8th grade Student

I personally believe that it is not fair for us that teachers who have been with us for several years had to leave. It has been hard for us to adapt to the new teachers' ways of teaching. One other situation was graduation. Many of I hope no eigth grader has to go through the dramatic change we went through.

I understand that changes will take place sometimes but should those changes affect the students? I THOUGHT THAT STUDENTS COME FIRST???

May 14, 2009 at 5:29 PM

By: let the games begin

Teacher

TO: MOM (live in Prescott neighborhood).

Where do you get your information about the scores being LOW at Prescott. Unless i can't analyze data correctly or read the scores on ISBE, ISAT scores within the past 3 years(2004-2007) HAVE INCREASED IN MATH AND READING. Most of those dedicated older tenured teachers are either on sick leave or have left due to the work environment. I am wondering though, will ISAT scores increase this year (I DOUBT IT) under the guidance of the current administration?

Lastly, i do have to give the current administration credit, they are doing a good job of beautifying the school. Looks nice on the outside, but a nightmare on the inside. ISN'T THAT THE SAME THING THAT HAPPENED AT RAVENSWOOD. Maybe you should get your facts correct and quit trying to protect and cloud the issue with the current administration at PRESCOTT! Please get your facts right!

May 14, 2009 at 6:18 PM

By: Concerned

To: Mom

...\"the moms are all happy that someone is looking out for the best interest of the kids finally\". Oh really??? Did you talk to the moms of the students who are in the two special education classes? One class was closed and the other relocated - those moms are fuming!!! And how would you feel if your child was in the eighth grade and being taught by a sub with an Early Childhood Education certificate? Is it permissable? Yes. Is it in the best interest of the students? I would think not. Those parents are also irate.\Please consider that Prescott is a PK-8 school and parents from all grade levels should be asked for their opinions before making a blanket statement.

May 14, 2009 at 9:17 PM

By: saddened

Teacher

Many of us at Prescott welcomed the change with a new administration. Mr. Roche interviewed all of us last summer before he took over and I felt that he was really interested in what we had to say and in how we hoped we could all improve Prescott together! Boy, was I wrong! Little did we know that his agenda was to use this information against us and "clean out" this school to his own liking. Allowing no public speaking at the LSC meeting is just another indication of how little the new administration and the LSC care about any of the teachers who were in this building last year. The LSC needs to ask themselves, what do you know about any of the teachers other than the ones who are currently teaching your child? Just like the administration the members of the LSC have failed to make any investment in or get to know any of the teachers who Roche inherited! But they are more than willing to be snowed by him just like we were when he appeared to be listening to our concerns last summer. You may think it's working for you now, the way he's running the school, but what until you have a difference of opinion and see how much he backs you up then! The saddest part about all of this is that I have never met a more stoic, rigid, structured group of individuals who feel they have nothing to learn from the other people they work with! Aren't teachers, principals, assistant principals and parents all supposed to work together for the good of the kids? It's heart breaking the amount of talent and time that has been invested in the kids in this building that the current administration and the LSC are blind to see! It would be lovely if both the LSC and this administration at least pretended once in a while to act like the teachers in this building are appreciated and valued! Oh I forgot, he did hire four new excellent teachers, but makes absolutely no mention of those talented, hard working loyal teachers he inherited. It is shameful!

May 15, 2009 at 12:06 AM

By: Ravenswood teacher

Remember...he did the same thing to us at Ravenswood

To James: Let me tell you that you made an excellent choice by not choosing Prescott AND that you should be worried about what "funny" financial business is going on. As someone who worked for him at Ravenswood, I KNOW that he misappropriated funds, used funds from our LRE special ed money on things that he shouldn't have, and is now being called under the carpet for all of his misappropriations at Ravenswood. For all of you at Prescott who are enamoured by his intellect (and there is no doubt about it that he is smart) just wait. He will continue to do whatever he can to make a mess out of the school. He Favors certain groups and teachers; however, if you ask his former parent alliances at Ravenswood how they feel about him now that all of his wrong doings regarding the finances are out in the open, they will all agree that he had them fooled. I'll do you one better. Go to the Ravenswood website (www.RavenswoodElementary.com) where all of the contanct information is for LSC members, staff members, and the parent groups and begin emailing them. I guarantee you that the same things you are experiencing happened to us.

The important thing is to keep on fighting. Our school community allowed him to continue for several years before we figured him out. You all are way ahead of the game!!! Keep fighting because he certainly doesn't care about the kids. Our students HATED him, not for how he came down on them, but because he did NOTHING about the situations that came about. He actually used to bring parents of the students who had been in a conflict into the building and would tell the parents to work it out themselves!!!! He would leave the room and there would be 2 sets of angry parents left to "talk" about the situation. Most of the time, the parents would begin fighting and then he would have to call the police. REAL effective!!!

I could go on and on about this situation. If you want to see similarities about Ravenswood and Prescott, go to the 299 February 2008 blog and read "Riled up at Ravenswood". Trust me, even those who were supporting him on this blog would now spit on him if they ever came into contact with him. When everything was brought to light with concrete documenation, his facade was up. My guess is that he is doing the exact same things there. He is a mavrick who thinks he is about the policies of CPS. Brace yourselves because you are in for a long ride!!!

If you have any specific questions regarding our situation, please post them and I would be happy to answer them.

Also, if there are any parents who are unhappy with this situation, Ravenswood now is a wonderful school who has just been given the distinction as a Fine and Performing Magnet school, is an open enrollment school, has room, and is only a mile and a half up Ashland. Come and check us out. I GUARANTEE that you won't be disappointed!!!

The new administration is everything someone would hope a leader would be, for both the students, staff, and the parents. The principal is knowledgeable, approachable, and cares for the kids. The kids adore both of them and we all want to work even harder because we know that we are supported.

Good luck! Erin Roche has too many years left in his career for you to give up trying to bring what is happening there to light! Our students deserve better.

Also, just ask you own children whether or not Mr. Roche talks with them. After 4 years at Ravenswood, he only knew a handfull of our students. What a disgrace!!! So much for caring about the kids!!!

May 15, 2009 at 12:19 AM

By: teacher

Thank you, George!! You are FINALLY listening

GEORGE: Finally, you are beginning to cover this debockel of a situation at Prescott!!! The mere fact that Roche wanted the questions from Substance in writing and wouldn't answer them for you right then and there,is proof of his manipulation with everyone around him. He is a master of skirting the issues and bending the "data" to lean in his favor. He could be out and out stealing, for example, and would twist his story (using his fancy language)to make it seem that he is bringing wonderful curriculum to the school. Watch out Prescott! You haven't seen the tip of the iceburg with him or Blahuta yet!!!

And just as an FYI... Ravenswood didn't have all of our students get into selective enrollment schools. What a mandate!!! He is going to set this up as expectations and then will try to use this information against the 8th grade teachers in order to get rid of them. Wait. This is the type of thing he would do to us.

May 15, 2009 at 11:02 AM

By: anonymous

Violations of IDEA

Why has a wheelchair lift (for handicapped access) been removed from Prescott? This may very well be a violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

May 15, 2009 at 12:29 PM

By: concerned

anon

did parent or teacher at Prescott report this violation to ADA? I believe that according to ADA all public govt (state, local, and federal) buildings must have handicap access.

May 15, 2009 at 3:29 PM

By: A PARENT

PARENT AT PRESCOTT

I FIRST WOULD LIKE TO SAY TO ALL TEACHERS OF PRESCOTT, LETS KEEP FIGHTING!!! I AM VERY FURIOUS AS TO HOW THESE TEACHERS AND KIDS ARE BEING TREATED.HE WANTED MY CHILD IN A LOWER GRADE TO BE TRANSFERED OUT JUST BECAUSE THE SIBLING IS GRADUATING. WHAT KIND OF **** IS THAT??? ILL DO WHT I HAVE TO HELP WIT

May 15, 2009 at 3:40 PM

By: ANGRY PARENT

PARENT OF PRESCOTT FOR MANY YRS.

I BELIEVE ALL TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERANCE, TEACHERS TOGETHER WITH PARENTS AND STUDENTS, I LOVE TO SPEAK AND BE HEARD AND YOU TEACHERS KNOW WHO THIS IS. AND ERIN ROCHE THIS WILL BE THE LAST TIME YOU DO THIS TO A SCHOOL, OUR KIDS DID NOT DESERVE THIS. I WILL DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO HELP PUT THIS SCHOOL BACK TOGHETHER WITHOUT YOU INVOLVED, I AM A PARENT AND IM A FIGHTER!!!!!

May 15, 2009 at 4:11 PM

By: AKEELAH

angry graduate

i believe that the principle is horrible he has no respect for anybody and he is disrespectful as an 8th grade student at prescott i know for a fact that he is not supporting our school or cares for any of the students we would ask him to come talk to us or come to one of our graduati meetings but he refuses to show up in person i cant wait to leave the school because its horrible and it feels like a jail n we r th prisoners but id we keep fighting we can get rid of him and make our school a better place once again!! erin roch does not deservve to be a principle he is irrisopnsible disrespectful and careless!!

May 15, 2009 at 4:46 PM

By: anno

To:Ravenswood Teacher

PLEASE TELL ME HOW TO ENROLL MY CHILD FOR 2 GRADE AT RAVENSWOOD. I DONT LIVE IN THE ATTENDANCE AREA AND I JUST FOUND OUT ABOUT THE SCHOOL THROUGH YOU SO I DONT HAVE AN APP'ICATION AND ITS TOO LATE TO SUBMIT ONE SO WHAT DO I DO????

May 15, 2009 at 5:08 PM

By: Prescott

Another Mom

Test Scores - according to the book that is published for 2009-2010 by CPS it states that test scores for this school are all below CPS average of ALL schools. Plus in 06-07 all academic progress actually dropped compared to 05-06. Where do you find this data that is referenced above by a teacher? The public information available does not make this school look like the teachers are doing their role correctly. I wouldn't call the past history of this school anything impressive that the teachers should be proud of.

May 15, 2009 at 5:52 PM

By: observer

puzzled

Test scores can be viewed on the CPS website.

Special Ed classes are being closed and relocated throughout CPS per CPS.

The facts don't lie......

http://www.cps.edu/Schools/Pages/Prescott.aspx?Source=SearchPage

http://www.prescott.cps.k12.il.us/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1&Itemid=28

May 15, 2009 at 6:04 PM

By: manipulating data

another mom?

TO: another mom

I am wondering where your information is coming from?

First, your information is inaccurate. Look at the overall: scores in MATH and READING for 2004-5; then compare them to 2007-8. THEY WENT UP significantly! My predication this year is that the scores THIS YEAR UNDER the current administration went down (i cant wait to see the ISAT scores). ARE YOU PRIVY TO THE NEW ISAT SCORES BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE?

And, if u want to pick them apart, look at he benchmark for grade 8 last year...The SCORES IN READING AND MATH were around 69% AND CARRIED THE SCHOOL.

So, another mom your opinion is not totally accurate. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOUR BASIS IS TO SUPPORT THE NEW ADMINISTRATION EXCEPT THAT THE ONLY THING THEY HAVE DONE TO IMPROVE THE SCHOOL IS TO MAKE IT BEAUTIFUL ON THE OUTSIDE. THAT I DO HAVE TO GIVE THEM CREDIT FOR. Please, do your analysis prior to speaking.

Lastly, if the scores were that bad under the old administration, the school would have closed this year! Enrollment is what for K-8? about 190 students? Why would they keep a decreasing enrollment school, low scores open? Doesnt make sense does it. Maybe it is open due to the scores continually on the upward trend.

Maybe, another mom, you should attend the june LSC meeting and debrief everyone on your analysis of ISAT score. Look at the school report card from ISBE. I suggest to try to publicly participate at the next LSC meeting. MAYBE THE LSC WILL ALLOW PUBLIC COMMENTS if they know they will get positive feedback! GOOD LUCK!

May 15, 2009 at 8:49 PM

By: Ravenswood teacher

Enrollment info

To anno:

Ravenswood is an open enrollment school and we accept applications from all over the city. We have room and are looking to grow our school. An application can be found in the Options for Knowledge handbook. If you can't locate this application, it's ok. I know our office has a lot of them and you can just fill one out there. Just come in and ask to fill out an application. That is all that there is to our procedures to get in (of course the other required medical things and other papers for registration are needed as well). I have also heard that we have been having tours quite a bit recently because of all of the "buzz" about us right now. I think that it would be safe to say that you could email the principal, Heather Connolly (her email is on our website), and let her know that you are interested. I am sure she will be able to tell you when the next tour is scheduled. I think that they will also give tours to people who only have certain days that they can come. We usually have SO many parents at the building to volunteer, it is only a matter of letting one of them know and they usually do the tour.

At any rate, I can say from experience that the morale of the ENTIRE school begins to collapse after awhile because of problems like this. I definitely did at Ravenswood. The staff walks around afraid to move, the parents are frustrated and divided because of the "sides" to the story, and this ALL translates to the students feeling the tension. They are the ones who lose in this entire thing!!! To prove this, check out our drop in scores the last year Erin was at our building. This is directly related to the school community morale in the building as well as the fact that discipline was COMPLETELY out of control!!! You wouldn't even know our school is the same place now!

Give us a look. Either way, whether you ultimately decide to come to Ravenswood or not, it will at least give you a perspective of how the building can change around to the positive in a short amount of time. Good luck!

May 16, 2009 at 2:25 AM

By: ANNO

TO: RAVENSWOOD TEACHER

I WILL BE GOING TO TRY THAT TOUR THING, AND PROBALLY GO WITH ENROLLING MY CHILD. I DO BELIEVE THIS DOES AFFECT THE CHILDREN, AND I BELIEVE THEY DONT DESERVE ALL THIS. AS TO MR. ROCHE WELL, THEY SAY WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND, SOONER OR LATER... AND THANK YOU FOR THE INFO RAVENSWOOD TEACHER!!!! :-)

May 16, 2009 at 3:16 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Editor, Substance

Anyone (parent, teacher, other) who believes that those simplistic numbers form the latest round of test scores provide a measure of something as complex as a school (and your own children and teachers) is making a huge mistake. "Data driven" versions of reality, without massive additional (and often "qualitative") forms of information are simply simple-minded and therefore more and more dangerous.

Think Wall Street and your 401-K. Or the simplistic versions of math provided 18 or 24 months ago by your investment advisor. The same stupidity currently reigns in the utilization of test score data to "prove" anything about the decency or otherwise of a public school with real teachers and real children. And the danger of these tantilizing versions of reality is that the more you know the less you know because what you know is so beguiling.

Probably the best way for some people at Prescott is to think about how they utilized a simplistic version of real estate reality to project the "value" of their townhouses when they bought them four years ago. But I don't want to go further than to suggest that there are people within three blocks of Prescott who are currently in a world of hurt because they spent too much time watching "Flip This House" or CNBC and not enough time thinking truly outside the box they were being sealed in.

It may be a common mistake, but remember that the USA is currently coming off of the two disastrous bubbles (first, "Dot Com," then "Real Estate") that have combined (with other data driven silliness) to destroy the so-called "global economy."

Years ago when I was asked how to tell whether a particular school was good for a child, I told parents to stand outside the school for a couple of days when the children were getting out and observe quietly. Observe. No damned "data." Just common sense.

Are the children walking home with smiles on their faces? Playing safely? Do you hear the "F" word (a sure sign of problems, especially if you don't dare suggest to the person using it that it is not appropriate.

After you've done the after school observation, then ask to visit the school. Unescorted. No dog and pony show. A reasonable principal will tell you the rules (such as don't bother the teachers in the classrooms; you should need permission to visit classes, even those where your own child is).

Here is one of the last big tests.

Go to the boys' washroom farthest (geographically) from the principal's office. Smell it. Look at it. Use it (if you don't want to use it, for whatever reasons, you don't want your child subjected to this either; a child can't concentrate in class if he has to hold it until you get home to concentrate). Enter the stalls. Privacy? Graffiti (be sure to close the door, if there is one, and read the walls).

One of the ironies of the Prescott experience Tuesday was how much ignorance was on display. A particular irony is that some people on the LSC apparently believe that life ends if a child does not go to some kind of elite (or carefully marketed) high school.

Actually, the opposite is true for the kids who can focus. Every general high school in Chicago (including Schurz, Lakeview, and Wells) offers its "best" students more intense counseling and more scholarship opportunities than Northside or Payton (or Whitney Young, which Prescott seems to leave off its lists of "good" schools -- because most of the children there are black?!).

And the most disturbing thing I heard wasn't the decision to gag the teachers. It was the silly elitism implicit in the entire discussion, especially the part about rejecting the general public high school on behalf of a couple of "star" schools -- and a bunch of unproven charter schools with massive marketing departments.

Prescott has been a very good school for a long long time. Most things good in the USA are "average," and that's what democracy is about.

The destruction of the special education services at Prescott (after generations of service) and the removal of that wheel chair hoist speak more about the nonsense currently ruling Prescott than all of the "data" provided in the "School Report Card."

And I was one of the people who designed the first Chicago School Report Cards more than 20 years ago when I was working as a teacher and budget expert for CPS. We warned then that to reduce something as complex as a school to some oversimplified test score numbers was probably a big mistake.

Nothing I've seen or heard this week has caused me to rethink that fact. Trouble is, we now have a generation of adults who have survived two major delusional bouts of data manipulation ("dot com" and "real estate bubbles") and are still too blind to see the big one staring them and their children in the fact (the manipulation of so-called "standardized" test score data in Chicago and beyond).

Just as raising children requires that we pay attention to the nuances of each of them -- and don't believe for a second we can 'outsource' parenting work to a sub-contractor like a nanny while we do more important things -- so the understanding of a public school in a democracy requires a more sophisticated appreciation of our history and traditions (even in the most racially segregated city in the northern hemisphere), so does evaluating and understanding a school.

And I say this having sent one son through CPS all the way (now) to the Engineering College at the University of California Berkeley and with one son much younger in a CPS second grade. With another heading towards kindergarten. So I'm not simply sharing as a teacher or reporter, but as a fellow parent.

By the way, the elder son, who just celebrated his 20th birthday, learned how to design the Website you're using thanks in part to his formal education (including 11 Advanced Placement courses and four years of baseball at Whitney Young) and in part to hard work.

And at each point, the "qualitative" information I found about schools was much more important than the stuff in those simplistic Excel narratives of reality.

And if you don't believe my skepticism, why not gather the last three years of your 401-K or the supposed "value" of your home since 2006 and tell me how much those mesmerizing numbers and all that "data driven" reality was really worth against the background of history and the con men who narrated it to you before you figured out at least not to trust those guys.

May 16, 2009 at 3:00 PM

By: Concerned Parent

Graduation

I don\'t know about any of you other parents, but I was just wondering why the graduation can\'t be held at the school. He\'s doing so much to beautify the outside, why not the inside? I never had a say so in this. \r\rMy daughter is graduating from Prescott. Why is the graduation being held at a bank?

May 16, 2009 at 6:55 PM

By: Not involved

View from someone not involved

After reading all of the comments there is obviously a problem at this school and with the LSC. I understand people in life get second chances, and we all make mistakes, but this second chance involves children's futures. If someone made a huge mistake and it was proven to be a huge mistake at one school, how could an LSC defend him at Prescott. Are they defending the principle or their decision of their choice of a principle? If a problem is voiced, the LSC should look into it and protect the kids, not their vision of a school. A lot can happen if you just observe and stop talking.

I agree with the editor looking at old data and spinning it either way is ridiculous. Look at the state of the school today. Not yesterday and not tomorrow. Change is gradual and is necessary; but drastic changes take time and can not be done instantly. Ask the kids about the teachers. Don't just ask one kid but many if you want a clear picture of the situation.

This isn't the first LSC that fought the teachers and parents, but I hope it's not another one that is too stubborn to realize what is real and what is just words.

You can never make everyone happy, but it not about the adults. Ask the kids..

May 16, 2009 at 8:12 PM

By: Unhappy Graduate

It's Not About the Kids Either

My friend told me the principal came into the girls bathroom when some girls were in there changing. I don't think thats fair. I don't even want to use the bathroom at school anymore. What if he does it again?

May 17, 2009 at 7:53 PM

By: Parent

Long Time Parent at Prescott

I am thrilled that Mr. Roche is actually holding teachers accountable for TEACHING. The many typos in Mr. Schmidt's Substance article lead me to believe that he could have benefited from having had better teachers, too. This article is one-sided slander and will only be taken seriously by those who care more about power than they do about student learning.

Change is hard. We are so THANKFUL for Mr. Roche's persistence in this challenging time. We must give students the education that they deserve.

May 17, 2009 at 9:23 PM

By: fedup

glass houses

To: Long time parent at Prescott

You sound like you think you know what is going on. Have you spent much time in the school? Did you observe any classes? How do you know exactly that the teachers haven't been held accountable in the past? Do you have a degree in educational leadership? Certainly you must have one in english or writing.

Change does not have to be hard. Actually, it can be wonderful and easy if the circumtances are right and you have a great leader with a clear vision. Roche claims to have spent an awful lot of money this year to train all the teachers to use his amazing new curriculum (the one that doesn't provide books for the students). From the sound of things in the article none of the exisiting Prescott teachers were able to do very well with the new curriculum. That seems strange as I believe most of the teachers hold at least a master's degree with many years of teaching experience. It is easy to make wrong assumtions; and you know what they say about making assumtions. They will make an XXX out of you and the ones who choose to listen to your unresearched and unproven statements.

Go spend some time in the school with some of the teachers you are so quickly throwing under the bus and then report back.

In the future if you choose to publicly critique others writing, you really should sign your name and offer advice if you are that knowledgable. Also offer up your place of business so the teachers may all come and critique you even if they don't have a clue what you do. Oh, but see, that is the difference. A teacher would research your profession before making any decisions about your worthiness of employment. Shame on you.

I am so thankful that my parents supported and worked WITH my teachers in grade school.

I was able to get a wonderful education without experiencing stress and conflict. It must be hard for your kid(s) to deal with.

May 17, 2009 at 11:11 PM

By: Change

irreverant

Change is hard. We are so THANKFUL for Mr. Roche\'s persistence in this challenging time. We must give students the education that they deserve.\r\rChanging is especially hard if you are a female student unfortunate enough to go to school under Principal Roche\'s watch...

May 18, 2009 at 12:16 AM

By: Northside administrator

Roche is an a** and an arrogant one

Some of us on the North side have dealt with this jerk from the start of his career as an administrator. If he deals with the children in the same manner in which he dealt with his professional colleagues, it is easy to see why he is in the same trouble now as what he was last year at Ravenswood. Roche is an arrogant a** who feels that his intellect and abilities are far superior to that of anyone around him. The problem isn't his intellect; but rather the fact that in his infinite wisdom, he is not intelligent enough to figure out that he has absolutely no idea how to work with people, to inspire people, or how to bring people together in order for them to "buy into" what it is that he thinks will make the school so successful.

Roche is an intelligent guy, no doubt about it, but intelligence doesn't make you a great leader. Being a great leader is about inspiring teachers to be better. Leading by example inspires people. Working WITH people inspires others to do the same. REALLY listening to people inspires others. These are all things that Roche (in his infinite wisdom) so foolishly has failed to realize. Maybe he was gone throughout the administrative classes on creating climate and culture throughout the school. Rule #1: Build relationships. It appears to me that throughout his career, he has failed at this administrative 101 rule, with his administrative colleagues, with the teachers at his building, with the parents at large, and most importantly (and often the ones overlooked) with the students. What a shame.

For those of you supporting Roche, why do you think he would do anything differently with Prescott that he didn't do with Ravenswood? Do you think he has changed? As an administrator who has worked with him, I can assure you that he hasn't changed.

There may be some "bad" teachers at Prescott (there are at every building) but ask yourself this... A good leader supports his/her teachers in order to get results. What support has he provided these teachers? In this short period of time, the answer would most certainly be little to nothing at all.

Lastly, a leopard doesn't change his spots. Have you not done your homework on the distruction that was Ravenswood? Are you crazy for voting him in the first place? I can't imagine that the entire LSC would be fooled by his fancy spreadsheets. Please tell me that you aren't!

As an administrator who sees his arrogance, it enrages me to know that he is doing all of his distruction in a profession that impacts the lives of children. This is the core of selfishness! Those poor kids at Prescott!!! Such a shame.

May 18, 2009 at 11:02 AM

By: First a Teacher

In total agreement

Right on, Northside Administrator!

How sad for this school...

May 18, 2009 at 3:37 PM

By: Vera Popova

Long time parent @ Prescott

The school has changed dramatically for the better in the past year. In the past, there were one, two teachers at the most for the entire school that were worthwhile from the parents' perspective. Some of the teachers could not even spell themselves. Notes came from teachers with obvious spelling mistakes and poor grammar! Why would anyone want this "old guard" at the school anyway. Of course they are not happy now. They coasted for so many years and now have to be acountable for their work. One of the teachers who left last year for her personal reasons said the same thing: there have been little accountability and many got very comfortable with their positions. The place has been a mess for so many years and now something is being done about it! Now the school has young, energetic and enthusiastic teachers. It looks and feels more like some other schools that went through a transformation in the past few years. My child comes home excited about learning for a first time in many years. Sometimes a leader has to make hard choices and implement hard measures to "clean house". Keep it up Principal Roche!

May 18, 2009 at 5:15 PM

By: american eagle

disgusted 8th grade student ugh !!!!!!!

i am an eighth grade hispanic smart student at presscott elementary school dat has been at prescott for many years since kindergarden ive always dreamed of having the best graduation year! i have seen my brothers graduate going to luncheons happy wit there diplomas but our principal mr roche cant even afford to make us one but yes he has lots of money to make murals on the wall make gates around the playground paint the parking lot floor black and arange the parking tingys he has money to paint the stairs move the wheel chair elevator thing and many more unecsesary things so our principal can afford to do all those things but not pay for our luncheon graduation!!! we had to pay 60$ for the expense of all our graduation supplys but we havent got nutin and my friends and i are very dissapointed!! i see my cousins family and friends at other schools having fun because its there last year theyare going to fancy places for there luncheon and having there graduation in the gym were they graduate in and past all those years together!!! i understand that there school is diffrent but last year the eighth graders went to see a play and then went to eat but they payed half the expense this year we just went to take a tour of a college and thats it! this year with teachers have gone horrible because all our teachers are gone they left because of mr.roche he told them bad things he harrased some of them he fought with one and got some teachers irritated forexample miss zellman the best teacher in the world left 2 weeks ago she left because she had a fight with mr.roche and he always called her down to the office so he can tell her bad things about her so when they were fighting sumtin happend so she took a medical absense lily got sexually harrased by mr.roche he touched her and asked her if she wanted to have sex with him she got scared and quit, mr poulakos was so mad about the changes and left, mrs brown was taken out mr acevedo is getting fired he sed this is his last yyear of teaching because mr.roche sed he is not going to be teaching no more next year im so sad! i really wan to get out of the school so bad and the second reason why dat is is that mr. bowens our substitute teacher is an ass sorry i cursed but he is a bad mean bogus teacher he doesnt teach gooud he tells us that we are bad kids that we dont desrve nothing we wont reach nothing in life we burn bridges left and right we are spoiled kids we dont deserve npthing and many more sorowful words that bring us down he should get fired! im really really mad this was suppost to be the funnest year ever and now 14 more days are laft and we havent learn nuting we havent had no fun and our principle cant afford nuthin not even school supplies he wudnt provide books for all of the students in my class mr roche is not what u call a principle he is what you call a heartless man!!!!!!!!!

thank you substance news for hearing our thoughts opinions and comments we appreciate your time and i wish you guys do somrething about it fast because only because we are graduating means we shudnt improve the school and leave it to be bad but i wish the seventh graders do not get to suffer what we sufferd thank you please hear us and if you need a voice message me and ill be there thank you have a nice afternoon !!!

class of 2009 always will no matter what wwwwwooooooooooo

May 18, 2009 at 5:19 PM

By: Gee, Who Saw This Coming?

Prescott LSC Needs Emergency Remedial Training

It is always so delicious to watch an LSC implode. It happens every time some mom who has dreams of being Mary Kay gets elected to the LSC, thinks she’s now CEO of her own institution, and overreaches. Everyone at Prescott should sit back and watch the clowns pile out of the little car. The show has just begun. Remember at the May LSC meeting when you sat at the head table, Jen, and counted on your fingers, 1-2-3-4-5-6, and said public participation had to be cancelled because the April 2 meeting lasted 6 hours? (By the way, did that time include the illegal, unannounced LSC meeting held at Prescott on April 1? People are watching, Jen. People are talking. There’s always a leak.)

Lister’s one supporter on another blog said that a 6-hour LSC meeting certainly means that public participation was too long. Ooh Jen, you forgot to tell your bud that only 2 parents spoke for 2 minutes each. Can you do the math? The other 5 hours and 56 minutes of Roche’s evaluation meeting were probably spent suggesting ways that those of you who support him can sleep at night.

May 18, 2009 at 5:44 PM

By: Gee, Who Saw This Coming?

Laughs-A-Million

Everyone should come to the June LSC meeting at Prescott and watch the show. You won’t be disappointed. Comedy awards are imminent.

Twice this year, Team Roche has had meltdowns over being taped. At the May LSC meeting when they saw that Substance was in the audience, not taping anything, they huddled quickly and came up with the brilliant plan of…taping themselves! The LSC teacher member, direct from Ravenswood, plunked down 6 shiny, new, shrink-wrapped tapes, forgetting that the only time a Prescott LSC meeting runs 6 hours is when arm-twisting is involved at closed sessions. When the meeting was over, Cloak and Dagger Lister walked up to the Ravenswood transplant, palmed the tape, and stuffed it in her trench coat pocket—in full view of everyone! You can’t make this stuff up.

Maybe in June if we’re lucky, the corporate babe on the LSC will lecture everyone again about how change needs time. Someone will have to tell her that if we give Roche the time he wants, there will be no one left in the building except his “highly-qualified subs” (you know, the ones to whom he isn’t giving regular jobs).

May 18, 2009 at 6:04 PM

By: Try Looking At The Big Picture

Staff at Prescott

I agree with you \\\"change\\\" that change is hard, but you should not try to make the school a better place by hurting peoples feelings or talking down on them. This principal has NO respect for others. YOU HAVE NO IDEA OF WHAT YOUR TALKING ABOUT. If YOU were the one being sexually harrast and being discriminated against, I\\\'m sure your story will be different.\\r\\rTo \\\"Vera\\\", just because there was some minor errors with teachers misspelling words, does not make them bad people. You need to look at the BIG picture that is destroying peoples souls. I tell you the same thing I told \\\"change\\\" you\\\'re not the one being sexually harrast and thats why your not understaning. I\\\'m sure that if you were sexually harrast your story will be different. Pay more attention of what really is going on so you can have a better understaning. Don\\\'t be foolish and next time think before you speak and get the right info.

May 18, 2009 at 6:26 PM

By: disappointed in the teachers

:(

I am in total shock of how all these teachers and staff members are attacking the LSC and the administration.

An educated and professional person does not need to slander and discredit a person so openly in public.

Students and parents are reading these comments and if that does not concern you then clearly the children do not come first at Prescott!!!

May 18, 2009 at 6:38 PM

By: Amen!!!

thrilled by the response!!

To "Gee, who saw this coming!"

Amen to you!! You tell it like it is! The thing I forgot to mention in my previous comment was that the LSC is supposed to be there to listen to all who are concerned about the school, not just the members of the council! If this is not a priority to you as an LSC member perhaps you should resign as you, Jen, asked for another members resignation at a prior meeting! This is the whole approach the LSC has taken, not enough time! Not enough time to get to know any of the teachers, not enough time to research the curriculum, not enough time to ask any of the students if they enjoy school and not enough time listen to anyone other than your own voices. No wonder you all adore Roche, you are all experts at EVERTHING just like he is!!!

May 18, 2009 at 9:13 PM

By: Horray for GEE, who saw this coming!!!

LOVE IT!!!

TO: Gee keep it coming!! Wonderful insight!

Thank you for the wonderful two blogs! I havent been to the LSC meeting in awhile. I will definitly show up for the antics and watch TEAM ROCHE and all at the June meeting!

Second, to the students who commented about their bad experience this year. Please keep studying, and remember yes you can. The sky is the limit. Study hard in High School and College and you will excel in any career you select. Achieve your goals. Your teachers at Prescott will always care for and support you. Enjoy your graduation.

May 18, 2009 at 11:28 PM

By: Jim Vail

Substance Reporter

Quick reply to the "Long Time Parent at Prescott" who is "thrilled" about Mr. Roche.

This anonymous blogger makes two important observations that should be addressed.

1) There were many typos in the article

Reply: True, to a point. Not so much in terms of spelling, but in the form of hyphens galore and that has been taken care of;

2) this article was just a one-sided slander that will not be taken seriously by those interested in student learning -

Reply: Certainly, when one reads an article like this that has provoked a fire storm of comments - that there are many people who have read this story and seem to be very passionate about education and are upset about this principal.

Now, the point about being one-sided - yes, very little on the side supporting Mr. Roche, but his side chose not to respond to questions from Substance - Jennifer Lister who allegedly brought him to Prescott refused to talk to Substance while Mr. Roche decided himself not to respond or say anything in his defense, other than "people have their own opinions"

The ironic point to the blogger's opinion that those more interested in power than education would be interested in this article is in fact also true. Those in power support Mr. Roche for now. And clearly, it remains to be seen if there are enough parents upset with this "new leaders for new schools" administrator to demand his removal.

Democracy is only as strong as the people who yield the power to vote, protest and demand their rights if they are being seriously violated.

It certainly appears that the old adage - power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely - is at stake here.

Believe me - if these people use actions to back their words that voice extreme negative opinions of this principal, the Board will think twice about supporting someone who suddenly becomes more a liability in the realm of public opinion and the right to a good education, than an asset.

May 19, 2009 at 12:26 AM

By: To Gee Who saw this coming

correction on "Ravenswood transplant"

Just for clarification, the LSC member that you called a "Ravenswood transplant" is hardly what I would call a Ravenswood transplant. This girl was a sub who came into a 2nd grade classroom to sub for a teacher who was out on leave. The teacher ended up retiring during the middle of the school year. This LSC member was there for 6 months or less (as a sub). I would hardly call her a Ravenswood transplant.

May 19, 2009 at 12:59 AM

By: valuable information

correction on ravenswood transplant

Wow! thanks for that bit of information about the second grade teacher! I thought she was at Prescott for 4 years with Roche. Both teacher's he brought from Ravenswood Rarely spoke for the first 2 months. Actually, i dont believe in the past 7 months, either has said 10 words to me. Other than, "hi"!

Actually, i didnt know what grade or their names until the 2nd grade teacher ran for LSC!!!

I guess that is how the Roche Admininstration views teambuilding in the workplace!

I have a suggestion, help PRESCOTT teachers. Tell them WE SUPPORT YOU. They need it!

May 19, 2009 at 8:35 AM

By: so sad

Love you all!

To the class of 2009: You are all beautiful children with bright futures. You did the very best you could given the circumstances. It may not have been what you wanted as an eighth grade year but you sure learned many valuable lessons that will forever shape your character. Remember the good times and forget the bad. It is amazing that you were able to keep your composure with this principal. Good job. Remember the peace makers and especially Marin Luther King Jr. Peaceful, intelligent demonstrations of discord are the way to go for any situation like this. You are so loved and will always be in the hearts of many others. Go forward and do brilliant things and make good decisions. The world is truly at your feet. High school will be a wonderful experience if you decide it to be.

May 19, 2009 at 10:25 AM

By: Really disappointed

Why is failure acceptible??

I think we all need to step back and rebase ourselves on the situation as it existed before and now. The sitatuion at many CPS schools is dire and at Prescott under the Martinez administration was certainly bleak to say the least. I'm the son of a retired teacher and it was a situation I would never put my kids in. Bad enough that our own State Senator, Fritchey, was in favor of closing it. Then where would we be??? It wasn't until the current community invovement and new administation that Prescott even got a second chance.

Where was the parental outrage then? Where was Substance when they should have been reporting on a failed administration instead of persecuting one trying to make it better. It's certainly not a situation that any good teacher should feel proud of. Just read the poor grammer of the purported 8th graders above. And some of you are commenting on the LSC. Lets again step back and note that LSCs are 100% voluntary, just giving of themselves and their time with the sole motivation of improving a school. No pay and no glory involved. And I really hate to generalize because it's not fair. There are obviously some good teachers and some bad apples but have the teachers even fathomed the reality that without this change they wouldn't have Prescott to even call their place of employment? There's a reason that the quality of schools are the #1 reason people move to the suburbs.

What I really can't understand is why everyone is so content with failure yet outraged when someone tries to make necessary changes for out kids, our communities and our schools. We should all want what is best for our kids...!!!

May 19, 2009 at 10:45 AM

By: Outraged Parent

Silence from the sidelines is viewed as consent

Erin Roche needs to be removed.

This reminds me of the Catholic church sending priests accused of sexual molestation to different parishes, pretending like it never happened.

The students and teachers for the most part are miserable around him. Harassment, sexual or otherwise are completely unacceptable.

Anyone can dress something up and masquerade it as "improved", but like some of the other bloggers wrote in this thread, It is nice on the outside, but a nightmare on the inside.

Eleanor Roosevelt said that silence from the sidelines is always viewed as consent. DO NOT CONSENT to any of this. The harassment, the poor treatment of the teachers and students. The removal of a lift for handicapped persons. The classrooms with no books for the pupils.

And most of all, do NOT let this LSC have a meeting with no public comment. Call all of the newspapers, radio stations and TV stations. Get petitions signed by parents, students, and teachers and neighborhood residents. This school depends on these people and these people depend on this school. There is power in numbers and organization. Carpe diem!

If one thing was learned by the election of 2008, it is that grass roots movements work. That people are powerful and can make positive change. Roche needs to be removed. The teachers need to stand together and share a common voice. The students, who are outraged by their expensive and less than desirable graduation need to protest. Change can happen. And it begins with all of you. Band together. Have house parties to discuss this matter. Donate money to the cause, for stamps and copying expenses, so that information can be mailed to the parents about what is exactly going on. This is about organizing, as many great leaders before us have, to make positive changes for everyone.

Perhaps, even Roche, will even change for the better when he is finally aware of the number of people against his policies and actions. Just imagine Roche, sitting by himself, unemployed, asking himself, where did I go wrong? Make a list, check it twice, and get this guy out!

May 19, 2009 at 10:47 AM

By: to: Really Disappointed

I couldn't agree more

It's very to sad to hear and read how information is being manipulated and the actual facts are not being stated.

It is one thing to comment on issues or problems but to personally attack people by their name when clearly none of these teachers are stating their names.

What I find even more disappointing is that the same teachers making these horrific comments are currently teachers at Prescott.

May 19, 2009 at 11:04 AM

By: Outraged Parent

What? Really disappointed?

"What I really can't understand is why everyone is so content with failure yet outraged when someone tries to make necessary changes for out kids, our communities and our schools. We should all want what is best for our kids...!!!"

Kids with no books? Students and teachers being harassed?

The words written by the "8th grader" were an important message, and many of the "mispellings" were acceptable on the internet. Look at the message, man. It's the heart and message here, not the grammar that needs to be focused on.

None of these teachers want failure. Neither do the parents.

Also, these teachers have a write to free speech and voice their opinion. And they are also terrified of losing their jobs. They are not allowed to speak at an LSC meeting. What do you expect them to do? I think all teachers should give it a voice and speak up, but clearly they are afraid of losing their jobs.

May 19, 2009 at 11:22 AM

By: to: By: Outraged Parent

I'm confused!

So your stating that the teachers behavior is acceptable? It leaves a lot to the imagination!

May 19, 2009 at 12:05 PM

By: xian from CORE

teacher

I've heard the above argument before and agree with portions of it. But in many ways it's a misdirection. We would all like to improve schools. It must happen.

But as with many of these reforms, that carrot is being used to beat the community with the stick. We are being asked to swallow reforms and policies that are in exact opposition to the well-being of children. What arbitrary firings and teacher harassment have to do with improving a school, I have no idea. What silencing public participation in a meeting of a body that's suppose to integrate the voices of the faculty, parents and community has to do with improving a school, I have no idea.

I'm tired of the fact that the schools have been ill supported being used as an excuse for the inhumane treatment of students and teachers. That's the largest piece of what caused the problems in the first place.

May 19, 2009 at 2:58 PM

By: Teacher

To: Really disappointed

It is too bad you have not been listening or reading. We all, teachers and students, wanted change. Again, as it has been stated many times, we welcomed Roche with open arms.

We needed some leadership where there had been none. However, he did not offer leadership. He offered something inconceivable and abusive.

Also please remember most of the student’s first language at Prescott is Spanish. You really need to be a teacher and have seen their growth to comment on their writing abilities. We are teachers. We do this because it is our passion. I can not understand how or why we are accused of "coasting". Have you ever been solely responsible for a class of say 25 students? You don't coast. Ever.

May 19, 2009 at 4:02 PM

By: observer

Interesting

What strikes me here is how the perception of this man is negative across so many lines. Teachers,parents, students, fellow administrators all seem to say the same thing. Clearly, despite apparent intelligence, he is not a leader! He does not understand the basic principles of leadership~that has been illustrated countless times, both at Ravenswood and now at Prescott. An individual with less arrogance would have reflected on the situation at Ravenswood and learned a lesson or two. Erin's arrogance gets in the way of any personal reflection or life lesson. My hope is that he is removed before he can do more harm. I hope the teachers stay strong and continue to fight. Your voices need to be heard and the students will need your strength.

May 19, 2009 at 4:30 PM

By: Simply Simple-Minded

Confused

Hi George, you state that Prescott school has been a very good school for a long long time and that most things ‘good’ in America are average. So are you saying that Prescott is just an average school, which makes it a very good school? I’m confused. And can you elaborate a bit as to why you think Prescott is a very good school? And if average is so good in your book why did you elect to have your eldest son tested into the gifted program at Beaubien instead of enrolling him in your neighborhood elementary school? I would think that the gifted program used your son’s test scores as a measure to determine eligibility into the program as well as the AP classes and then later entrance into Whitney Young. (By the way, did the LSC and Prescott administration actually say that Whitney Young was off the list because there were too many black students – hmm?). And for someone who frowns upon test scores as a means to measure success, you certainly went through a great deal of testing with your son – 11 AP courses?! Wow, I can’t imagine the number of standardized tests he had to take. Why didn’t you choose to send your son to your neighborhood high school? I’d be more impressed with your story if your son had graduated from an ‘average’ elementary school and his neighborhood high school and then went on to Cal Berkeley. Will you be sending your son currently in second grade to Schurz, Lakeview, or Wells for high school?

I think you’re confused or maybe simply simple- minded. I don’t think anybody in the neighborhood is using test scores as the only measure of Prescott. If that were the case many of us wouldn’t have enrolled our children there. We simple- minded folk living three blocks from Prescott in our big fancy townhomes which we bought after watching “Flip This House” are simply looking for a success story quite like yours.

May 19, 2009 at 5:16 PM

By: CPS System

not surprised

With so many unhappy teachers teaching these days it does not surprise me to read these comments.Regardless who's right or wrong these people making all of these horrible comments are teaching the Children of Prescott and I agree with them, it is a shame that the children are suffering at their hands.For months as a parent I've been hearing stories about the things the teachers have been doing at the school towards the LSC, and the Administration. I have had several of these people approach me trying to get me to side with them.Personally I am not siding with anyone because of some one's personal issues with their boss. If you can NOT save yourself from a bad situation what makes you think it's is our responsibly to save you.This is exactly what is wrong with the system they have teachers who don't like to be told what to do and now their doing everything in their power to attack anyone who they feel is not on their side.I would really hate for any of these teachers to be my daughter's teacher in the near future.Maybe this school shouldn't have been saved from being closed

May 19, 2009 at 10:06 PM

By: :(

Something to think about

Perhaps the reason all of this is coming to a head now is because the teachers were acting in a professional manner and protecting their students from the stress of the situation. I would seriously doubt that any of the teachers regardless of who you agree with is having this conversation with their students with the exception of perhaps the two upper grades who are smart enough to see for themselves what's really happening.My kids have always come first and do not know one thing about how I feel towards anyone else in this building. I smile and am pleasant to everyone, as I teach my students to be.

You get what you give.

We all feel very passionate about "our side" of the story and perhaps we are all guilty of not listening enough to each other. Parents are worried about their kids as I am too. Teachers are worried about their jobs. The only one not addressing any of this whether listening or speaking is the one who has instigated all this incredible amount of change. Why are the teachers unhappy? Why is the administration so sure that the changes being made are in the best interest of the students? Why hasn't the LSC interviewed more people at the school to get a feel for the day to day life? The reason is because everyone already chose their side before any of this blogging every began. It is sad to feel it is "us against them" because we all regard ourselves as the "us" in that sentence. Lots here for all of us to learn from, including the administration.

May 19, 2009 at 10:23 PM

By: Proud to be a Teacher!

RE: to the unhappy parent

To not Surprised:

Apparantely, you have not been reading and comprehending the entire situation with an open mind. The best thing to say is that it appears as if you are being clouded by a select few. And, my dear, that is quite a shame that your closemindedness is impacting your opinoin.

It appears that to attempt to discredit these devoted teachers is a tragedy. Shame on you and shame shame to those who are providing you with a slanted opinoin.

Correct me if i am wrong, but are you implying that most of the so called horrible, uncaring, teaching staff at Prescott are not worthy of teaching (of course that excludes the 3 or 4 highly qualified teachers Roche brought).

I am sure that if you research online, these so called teachers "who dont like to be told what to do" is so outlandish it isnt worth commenting.

However, I will comment, is many of these horrible teachers have 2+ masters with a 4.0 average. Are u implying that such schools as DePaul, Northeastern, UIC, or Roosevelt are NOT providing a quality education?

May 19, 2009 at 11:45 PM

By: Ravenswood parent

One who once sided with Erin Roche

I was one of the parent supporters of Erin Roche that was on the "Riled Up at Ravenswood" blog last year at Ravenswood in support of him. I hate to admit it, but I was completely fooled by him (I always considered myself to be a good judge of character). Mr. Roche took time to meet with us (in the one parent group) whenever we asked him. One of the problems that happened, that we had absolutely no idea of at the time, was that many of our conversations surrounded the topic of how we could get into classrooms in order to support the teachers. Mr. Roche would alsways say that he would relay the information to the teachers for us. We believed him, we trusted him. What we know now is that we were wrong. He never communitcated anything to the teachers for us. As a result, there were serious tensions between us and the teachers, but we never knew why. The teacher felt that we were working with him in order to get them out. We thought that they didn't like us because they weren't responding to any of our communications. It was horrible. It began to tear our school community apart.

After he left, we, as a school community, learned about many under-handed things he had done, not only to create tensions between the parent groups but also with us and the teachers. Once he was gone, the cloud lifted, we began communicating, we began buiding trust, and now we are working together to move the school forward.

To those of you who feel that Erin Roche is trying to make changes for the better, I believe that he does TRY to do this. The problem is in the way he goes about his approach. His approach completely tore our school community apart. He tried to get out several teachers by lowering their ratings and bringing disciplinary actions against them. As parents, we believed he was doing the right thing. Little did we know that he had an agenda with the teachers who "challenged" him. These were the teachers he went after. These teachers included NBC teachers, award winning teachers, and college university professors that taught at the school.

We were wrong to blindly trust him. Knowing now some of the horrible things he did to our school internally (regarding the finances and compliance issues) it seems to me that he was the one who needed to be removed. Fortunately for us, we had an LSC who was strong enough to see past who he was pretending to be, and were able to vote him off.

I must admit, when he was first voted off, I thought that Ravenswood was going to come to an end. Now, I can't tell you what a great place our school is at now. Be cautions. Things are not always as they seem. This is coming from someone who was one of Erin's biggest supporters. He has a divide and conquer mentality. Obviously, this is not conducive for building a school community, much less when it impacts childrens' futures.

Again, to new supporters of his, just be cautious. We were burned, used, and lied to on a regular basis.

May 19, 2009 at 11:57 PM

By: Neighborhood Parent

I will continue to support Mr. Roche's efforts.

I toured Prescott two years ago when Mr. Martinez was the principal. I met several of the teachers and am so thankful that Mr. Roche has begun to improve the school by setting high standards for all teachers. Some of the teachers I met under the leadership of Martinez were passionate, articulate and exactly the types of teachers I hope my children will have one day. Unfortunaltey, others were not impressive at all and had dated approaches and just seemed plain lazy (I’m going to guess these are the same teachers who are complaining on this site). Current teachers at Prescott- it is obvious some of you are just angry and scared because for the first time in your Prescott career someone is stepping up and holding you accountable. I think it is time for some of you not only to leave Prescott but perhaps to also consider leaving the field of teaching in general.

May 20, 2009 at 2:22 AM

By: A PARENT OF PRESCOTT

ARE YOU BLIND???

CANT ANYONE SEE THESE KIDS HAD EVERYTHING TAKEN AWAY, GRADUATION AT THE SCHOOL, AWARD AND ATTENDANCE CEREMONIES, ASSEMBLIIES, WHAT KIND OF PRINCIPAL IS HE? THEY ALSO TOOK AWAY TEACHERS THAT HAVE BEEN TEACHING THEM SINCE KINDER EVEERYONE KNEW EVERYONE NOW NOBODY KNOWS WHO IS WHO

May 20, 2009 at 3:14 AM

By: A PARENT OF PRESCOTT

TO ALL STUDENTS, TEACHERS, PARENTS, OUR FRIENDS FROM RAVENSWOOD SCHOOL, AND COMMUNITY

WE WANT ALL YOUR VOICES HEARD, I WANT TO GIVE A SPECIAL INVITATION TO SUBSTANCE NEWS AND ALL MEDIA AND TO ESPECIALLY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION, TO A LSC MEETING ON JUNE 9TH @ 5:30PM SHARP AT PRESCOTT!!! TO ALL PLEASE SPEAK UP AT THIS MEETING MAKE SURE UR VOICES ARE HEARD AND THANKS FOR EVERYONE SUPPORTING OUR SCHOOL PRESCOTT.

May 20, 2009 at 7:51 AM

By: a parent at prescott

please focus on the real issues fellow parents

Of course these 8th graders are angry. How would you feel at 13 if a new principal came in to your school and suddenly you felt your teachers were demanding more from you (while also bad mouthing the current principal) and now you will have to work harder-more homework,editing assignments etc... What do you want the 13 year olds to say "gee, I agree. you have a point Mr. Roche. I'll stop coming home by 2pm watching t.v. and instead actually work and edit my papers". yeah, right. Get real current angry parents-your kids are angry because they are being challenged maybe for the first time. Do not let current teachers tell you that it is acceptable for your 8th grade student to write the way some of these children have written on this post. I am an educator at another school (yes public) and the majority of the population are families where English is a second language (mostly Spanish). Most of my students are english as a second language and by third grade write better than the work samples i have seen hung on the bulleton boards at Prescott outside the 5th and 6th grade classrooms. Sounds like we should all go to that LSC meeting. I will be there but im hoping fellow my parents at Prescott will identify their real concerns with Roche as to not jepordize the future of our childrens education at Prescott. Upset about graduation and lack of assemblies-fine, complain, makes sense the kids are not happy. Upset about poor teachers fired cause of performance issues?-please re consider. I understand that your kids have had relationships with these teachers for years. I'm sure most are really nice people and probably were a positive infuence in your child's life. However, that is not enough. I want my child to have access to an excellent academic enviroment. From what I see, Roche is doing the right thing and the changes will be for the better.

May 20, 2009 at 9:05 AM

By: Concerned Chicago Resident

TIme for the board to investigate Prescott and LSC

TO: Neighborhood Parent

Are you on the LSC? If so, may i suggest that you offer a TOWN HALL style meeting at the June LSC meeting where current and past former teachers, parents, and yes 8th grade students are allowed to speak and MAKE MR. Roche answer all questions directly. And, not to be cut off by Roche regarding the time issue? If they care about the school as they say, then all should be allowed to speak. For example, hold a special LSC Meeting, Town Hall Style. Plus, have the CPS board members attend.

It appears that when you ask him (ROCHE) something, he either doesn't answer it or dances around the topic to something totally different.

I don't understand how narrow minded you appear in this subject. Did you read the article from the administrator? the past supporter? Again, read and look for the common pattern. Look for the consistency and common issues!

Please, don't be blinded by the light! Be open minded and look outside the Box. Change is a good thing, but change carried out with top down, forceful negative antics is bad.

Lastly, for change to occur productively, get people to buy into your change (MANAGEMENT 101 rule) Ask the community rep--I believe one of the LSC members is in Human Resources.

Second, an old bad management tool is to give bad subjective and untrue observations (ROCHE DID and can be proven the observation was tainted)--Do not lie and give subjective negative observations to the majority of the teachers over 40 years old ofd. YES THIS WAS DONE BY ROCHE THIS YEAR!! And, no one listened. Where is the EEOC???

Lastly, Have you taken the time, neighborhood or LSC parent to actually listen to the teachers and long time parents at Prescott or are you trying to oust the historical culture Prescott?

Yes, neighborhood mom and all the other few LSC/Roche supporters we will continue to voice our First Amendment right until someone does listen. Hopefully, you will see the light as well before it is too late and the morale of the school and children is totally destroyed. Eventually, good prevails!

May 20, 2009 at 9:20 AM

By: middle school teacher--appalled

teacher, community member

parent at prescott-- What school do you work at so we can see what grade you teach and what your scores are? Please do not slam your fellow teachers, nor is it acceptable to say that these children at Prescott before Roche were not challenged in writing or any other subject. YOU ARE TOTALLY MISINFORMED. I can and will contradict each of your points anytime. For example, i believe, Prior to ROCHE, there were at least 5 children per year able to test for the selective enrollment schools. And, some did get in to schools such as LANE TECH, Whitney Young, etc. THE TEACHERS in Math and Reading (middle grades) must have been doing a good job). I know that they challenged the children and worked with them before school, enriched their learning, and offered math and reading clubs. ALL STOPPED UNDER THE ROCHE REGIME.

Also, to negate your comment, I believe for the past three years, the teacher who taught reading/writing in the middle grades is now a NEW LEADER principal at CPS--Belmont Craigin (?). So, are you implying she was not a good teacher as well?

Your comments are interesting. Please do not comment regarding the children voicing their opinions. Their writing is simply from their heart and i believe they are writing as a journal entry--free write, not to be graded or assessed. Please be considerate of the children. thank you.

ps--complain about my typos--due to i cant see the screen well, that is fine. But, please do not critique the children when they are voicing their honesty and doing a FREE-write!

May 20, 2009 at 10:22 AM

By: mastra

mala

la mastra Zillman era muy mala con mi hijo en grado 7 y conmigo tambien No era una bien mastra y persona

May 20, 2009 at 10:36 AM

By: teachers

??

If all of these teachers are so great? As you all state!!

Then why based on the testing were so many children failing in 3rd grade?

I would also like to for someone to explain why the reading teacher had so many problems with her students and the parents. Word on the street is that she was very cruel to her students and ignored parents.

sure there are some good teachers, but there are also some teachers who were bad. I would suggest parents look into some of these teachers records and you'll see their not so great.

As a future parent of Prescott I would be extremely ashamed to permit my children to post comments but also for them to exhibit their poor writing skills. My first language was polish which made it even more difficult for me to understand my teachers when I was in grammar school . I still managed to get a solid B and my writing skills were much better.

May 20, 2009 at 11:11 AM

By: concerned Parent

sadden

As a current parent at Prescott. I am very sadden by what is happening at the school.

I am seriously considering taking my children out of the school.

Not because of the accusations by the teachers but because I don not want my children to be surrounded by people who are so unhappy.

It's not good for anyone especially the children.

May 20, 2009 at 12:03 PM

By: A PARENT OF PRESCOTT

PARENT AT PRESCOTT

YES I BELIEVE THE CHILDREN SHOULD COMMENT BECAUSE THEY TO HAVE A VOICE AND SHOULD BE HEARD. EVERYONE THAT HAS COMMENTED IN THE LAST FEW HOURS ARE STILL NOT LOOKING AT THE HISTORY ROCHE HAD AT RAVENSWOOD SCHOOL AND HOW HE IS DOING THE EXACT SAME THING TO THIS SCHOOL, DONT YOU SEE HE IS TRING TO PRIVETIZE THE SCHOOL???? THE CHILDREN DO NOT WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL NO MORE, THEY ARE UNHAPPY, THE TEACHERS ARE BEING TREATED LIKE GARBAGE, AND THE STUDEENTS AND STAFF AT RAVENSWOOD WERE ALL THE SAME SITUATION WHILE ROCHE WAS THERE YOU SHOULD GO TO RAVENSWOOD IT LOOKS AND THE CHILDREN AND STAFF FELEL LIKE THEY WERE REBORN BECAUSE HES GONE....LOOK INSIDE FROM THE OUTSIDE YOU WILL SEE WHAT I MEAN.

May 20, 2009 at 10:35 PM

By: Student

Student

Mr.Martinez was the best principal, He did a great job and

he's been at Prescott more that 30 years.

My Parent's have been to Prescott forever.

All of the teachers are leaving because of him, I don't appricate the fact that they're doing this because they've been at Prescott obviously longer than Mr.Roche

They deserved to all stay.

Kick Mr. Roche out!

May 21, 2009 at 1:30 AM

By: Nice

monitor the blog

Who is monitoring this site? Nice choice of words used by Jesse.

May 21, 2009 at 11:14 AM

By: Prescott

Questions for the teachers?

Reading through the comments I've noticed that the teacher have attacked the "Roche team" as they call it. They have supported the students leaving such negative and nasty comments, but have not once addressed questions asked directly to them.

1) Why are the 3rd graders failing in such huge numbers based on the records?

2) Why did the 8th grade committee dissolve right before graduation?

3) Why is the reading teacher treating her students so badly? ( I don't know her name but I would like to know it)

4) If in fact there are no text books as the teachers state? ( I would love to compare the children's grades these year and last year to make an educated decision if in fact the kids are failing due to no text books or because the teachers are not giving quality education to a school that is mainly Hispanic)

5) If the students are a minority as they state which is why they defend the fact that their grammar is so poor? ( Then why not bring in teachers who can better help these students?)

6) If these teachers are not afraid to go through such lengths to make sure their voice is heard, tho CPS does not think they have a case, then why not state your name as you have clearly demanded it from other people??

7) If in fact the clerk has filed several lawsuits against a school for injuries not just this year but prior years then why is that not a red light?

8) If the Newsletter is being managed by a member in the LSC that is Hispanic wouldn't it be her responsibly to translate the newsletter?

9) If CPS closed and relocated Special ed programs throughout CPS, why are the teachers attacking the administration?

10) if the school was saved from being shut down which would mean many of these teachers would not have a job why are they complaining so much??

11) If the 8th graders are so upset with their graduation plans why aren't they upset with the committee that made the arrangements??

12) The teachers state that their protecting the children then why are children listening to the teachers rants and negative comments towards the administration throughout the day not to mention this blog?

13) If these teachers are quality teachers then why are they spending so much time during the day writing nasty and rude comments when they have children in their class??

14) Why is CPS permitting this to happen and not stopping these teachers from disgracing this school and tainting the children with their anger??

15) If the teachers want to be heard why have they not contacted the LSC members directly instead of harassing them on this blog??

16) Why isn't anyone stating the facts as they are?

17) Why is the LSC not defending themselves from these false accusations? ( as a parent if I know the facts then I'm sure they must as well??)

18) why isn't the administration clarifying the facts?

I am happy to see that their deleting comments that are nasty, but what about the one's where these teachers are speaking so negative about parents?? I am so disgusted by all these actions and as a parent of Prescott I want answers to my questions. By answers I don't want to read more complaints I want facts!!

May 21, 2009 at 11:22 AM

By: By: Prescott

Questions for the teachers 2?

I almost forgot to ask?

How in the world do the 8 graders know so much information that has nothing to do with their class, grade and teacher?

Is it possible that their being feed information or is it that their overhearing the teachers talk??

Common sense goes a long way!!!!

May 21, 2009 at 3:20 PM

By: xian from CORE

teacher

I find it disturbing that every time a student knows something or expresses an opinion, some assume that this demonstrates that teachers are \"putting students up to it\" or \"must have told students\". \r\rStudents are smart. They figure out stuff faster than us adults do most of the time. Assuming that they are unable of thinking or speaking for themselves is the largest portion of the problem in most cases. \r\rI also have no problem with poor grammar on blogs or comments. It is an informal environment, so it is natural that people are not taking everything that they write to an editor. \r\rHowever, it is unfortunate that someone is running down teachers and kids for their grammar while having multiple typos in their own posts.

May 21, 2009 at 3:59 PM

By: To: By: xian from CORE

Question?

You clearly did not read the nasty comments that were deleted?

If you had you would have seen that students were using profanity and as a teacher you should feel ashamed especially if that child is in your class.

No one is saying students don't have a voice and we are ALL entitled to having an opinion rather you agree or disagree with my point of view. The fact that the teachers are encouraging students to be disrespectful towards adults is shameful and disappointing!

If students are having problems or unhappy then a parent should step in. Permitting a child to get in an adult situation that is complicated due to information being skewed.

Yes there is a difference of opinion between the parents who actually do know the actual facts and those who do not know what the actual facts are.

As far as my typos? I'm not the teacher you are! Do you still wonder why these students are not being accepted into better high schools??

May 21, 2009 at 6:13 PM

By: Beats Me

You Can Try To Bury The Truth

Ravenswood. Prescott. Two different schools. Completely different teachers, parents, and kids. Total destruction of the heart of both schools. Erin Roche – common denominator.

May 21, 2009 at 9:11 PM

By: Teacher

Parent, LSC, etc.

I am quite dumbfounded that this person with her (i am assuming it is Lister, Roche or one of her/his croonies) that you are totally misinformed. I could break down your tiring laundry list of negative opinions about the teachers, staff, and more importantly the students; but that would take a laundry list that would run from here to Ravenswood.

One fact, under Martinez regime, (and Jen and her croonies) you wouldn't know, ALL TEACHERS HAD PLENTY OF BOOKS, SUPPLIES, AND XEROXING. Mr. Martinez, contrary to your statements was for the children. Anytime we needed extra practice, enrichment books--WE GOT THEM. Maybe you didnt like him due to he didnt adhere to the gentrification, but embraced Special Needs (he didnt delete those programs--he embraced them) and ELL students.

Now, to sum up your laundry list, look at Beats me...Ravenswood + Prescott = total desstruction--Erin Roche Common Denominator.

Oh, I almost forgot, the students aren't oblivious to their school. They can sense when there is tension, they can sense when the principal doesn't listen to them. They new what happened the previous 7 years. They had holiday parties, incentive parties, Recognition for Honor Roll, Perfect Attendance, Dances, etc.....How many were done this year? A BIG FAT ZERO.

Lastly, i am not sure, but for the 8th graduation, the parent who was spearheading the meetings was continually fighting ROCHE for the 8th grade students by Roche. And I believe, that at the April meeting was ASKED TO RESIGN BY LISTER. I wonder, maybe she(parent on LSC) doesn't conform to Lister and Roche's master plan.

IS anyone really listening!

May 21, 2009 at 10:35 PM

By: Insider

To "Questions for teachers" by "prescott"

Answers for "prescott":

1) Why are the 3rd graders failing in such huge numbers based on the records?

Partly because of very little bilingual support, low funding, and minimal guidance/support from the previous administration. Martinez spent the majority of his time locked in his office, avoiding staff inquiries.

2) Why did the 8th grade committee dissolve right before graduation?

Probably because Roche blew off several meetings by no-showing and the parents were frustrated. At least three.

3) Why is the reading teacher treating her students so badly? ( I don't know her name but I would like to know it)

Where is your evidence that the reading teacher was mistreating the children? Was anything documented?

4) If in fact there are no text books as the teachers state? ( I would love to compare the children's grades these year and last year to make an educated decision if in fact the kids are failing due to no text books or because the teachers are not giving quality education to a school that is mainly Hispanic)

Per teacher and parent report, there are not enough textbooks for the children. This is based on the number of children vs. the number of books. Basic math.

5) If the students are a minority as they state which is why they defend the fact that their grammar is so poor? ( Then why not bring in teachers who can better help these students?)

I'm not sure what you're asking in this question, as you wrote it using very poor grammar yourself. Looks like you've gotten by, so maybe there's hope for the kids yet. As for why there is little bilingual funding, write the board. The teachers would appreciate the support.

6) If these teachers are not afraid to go through such lengths to make sure their voice is heard, tho CPS does not think they have a case, then why not state your name as you have clearly demanded it from other people??

Because when teachers state their indentities, they are at risk for the "rath of roche". Two teachers who were quoted in the article received disciplinary notices the next day.

7) If in fact the clerk has filed several lawsuits against a school for injuries not just this year but prior years then why is that not a red light?

It was not a "red light" because the board has record of a previous sexual harrasment lawsuit filed at ravenswood against roche. Just a coincidence? Hmmm....

8) If the Newsletter is being managed by a member in the LSC that is Hispanic wouldn't it be her responsibly to translate the newsletter?

Not sure if the newsletter is "managed" by someone who can translate.

9) If CPS closed and relocated Special ed programs throughout CPS, why are the teachers attacking the administration?

This is false. I know because I talked to the people who closed the programs. CPS is begging schools to keep programs open due to the number of kids in the district that need placement spots. According to the department, Roche emailed "everyone he had connections with" to close those programs. He even got it a bit of trouble when they realized he was closing two separate special ed programs in the same year, without letting each department know about the other one closing. He then told the parents in a newsletter that the kids would be "relocated to another school together with their teacher". the office of specialized services never does this.

10) if the school was saved from being shut down which would mean many of these teachers would not have a job why are they complaining so much??

That was a rumor, to begin with. The teachers are complaining because they are being harrassed constantly by the new administration.

11) If the 8th graders are so upset with their graduation plans why aren't they upset with the committee that made the arrangements??

Maybe because they are children? Maybe because many of their parents were fuming mad when Roche blew off the graduation meetings?

12) The teachers state that their protecting the children then why are children listening to the teachers rants and negative comments towards the administration throughout the day not to mention this blog?

The teachers do not "rant" to the students. Roche drops in classrooms for unannounced "observations" constantly. He doesn't bother to greet the students, making the classroom environment tense and awkward. If the kids are on this blog at home, I'm sure they are monitored by their parents.

13) If these teachers are quality teachers then why are they spending so much time during the day writing nasty and rude comments when they have children in their class??

I'm not sure how you would be able to know that teachers are doing this. Are teachers not allowed to comment at home on their own time?

14) Why is CPS permitting this to happen and not stopping these teachers from disgracing this school and tainting the children with their anger??

CPS is investigating erin roche. Don't be foolish. Just call the labor and relations board to see what they have to say about how well they know Mr. roche. I think he has a VIP parking spot outside of the building where the grievance hearings are held, he is there so often.

15) If the teachers want to be heard why have they not contacted the LSC members directly instead of harassing them on this blog??

Some have talked to LSC members and others are scared of Roche finding out they disagree with his ways. The LSC is not allowed by law to discuss a teacher by name, although roche and jennifer lister find it completely acceptable to hold meetings in different classrooms where they leave post-it notes regarding what they "dislike" about the teacher's room. Apparently it's okay (to the LSC) to "write" a teacher's name...just not speak it.

16) Why isn't anyone stating the facts as they are?

I am.

17) Why is the LSC not defending themselves from these false accusations? ( as a parent if I know the facts then I'm sure they must as well??)

Because the accusations are not false. If they could disprove these allegations, don't you think that they would have by now?

18) why isn't the administration clarifying the facts?

Because blahuta is probably busy shuffling through her law books to figure out how to bail roche out of this one (the article) before they "make a statement". Her job is to pull his foot out of his mouth. Why do you think he wanted all "questions in writing" at the last LSC meeting?

There you go. The facts. And just a few of many.

I wouldn't be surprised if CPS has been avoiding this situation because they are planning on closing prescott in the near future to end roche once and for all.

May 21, 2009 at 11:07 PM

By: TO: By: Insider

To "Questions for teachers" by "prescott"

To "Questions for teachers" by "prescott"

Answers for "prescott":

1) Why are the 3rd graders failing in such huge numbers based on the records?

Partly because of very little bilingual support, low funding, and minimal guidance/support from the previous administration. Martinez spent the majority of his time locked in his office, avoiding staff inquiries.

-Interesting how the truth comes out that Mr. Martinez was not supportive of his teacher but that still does not explain the poor performance of the teacher and why so many kids were failing at times half of the class per year.. yeah,.not very impressive.

2) Why did the 8th grade committee dissolve right before graduation?

Probably because Roche blew off several meetings by no-showing and the parents were frustrated. At least three.

- if the person who runs the committee was responsible and truly committed to the children that person would not have dissolved a month before graduation. Which probably put the school in a bad position (probably intentionally) but also left those poor kids in limbo

3) Why is the reading teacher treating her students so badly? ( I don't know her name but I would like to know it)

Where is your evidence that the reading teacher was mistreating the children? Was anything documented?

-I'm sure that all the teachers know each others history but stick together and based on what one mother told me about how her daughter was treated and her belongings taken away I would be upset too

4) If in fact there are no text books as the teachers state? ( I would love to compare the children's grades these year and last year to make an educated decision if in fact the kids are failing due to no text books or because the teachers are not giving quality education to a school that is mainly Hispanic)

Per teacher and parent report, there are not enough textbooks for the children. This is based on the number of children vs. the number of books. Basic math.

-once again having or not having text books does not prove if the children are learning. So teachers rather children work on their own then have to give a lesson and actually speak? Once again only the test scores will show if in fact the kids are benefiting from having or not having books.

5) If the students are a minority as they state which is why they defend the fact that their grammar is so poor? ( Then why not bring in teachers who can better help these students?)

I'm not sure what you're asking in this question, as you wrote it using very poor grammar yourself. Looks like you've gotten by, so maybe there's hope for the kids yet. As for why there is little bilingual funding, write the board. The teachers would appreciate the support.

-Clearly these teachers have been of no benefit to these children who can't even spell a simple word as nothing.

6) If these teachers are not afraid to go through such lengths to make sure their voice is heard, tho CPS does not think they have a case, then why not state your name as you have clearly demanded it from other people??

Because when teachers state their indentities, they are at risk for the "rath of roche". Two teachers who were quoted in the article received disciplinary notices the next day.

- we all would be at risk of getting in trouble or getting fired if we called our boss an A$$ or the F-word as your dear teachers and student have called him, but that's ok as long as the non-team Roche does it...seal of approval from the teachers?!! ( you miss spelled the word identities)

7) If in fact the clerk has filed several lawsuits against a school for injuries not just this year but prior years then why is that not a red light?

It was not a "red light" because the board has record of a previous sexual harrasment lawsuit filed at ravenswood against roche. Just a coincidence? Hmmm.... (FYI you miss spelled the word Harassed

May 21, 2009 at 11:09 PM

By: to the insider

Part 2

-I addressed the clerk and you ignored my question..Having a clerk who is more of a liability then an asset simply makes no sense but hey I have to admit It's a great way to make money and not have to work.

8) If the Newsletter is being managed by a member in the LSC that is Hispanic wouldn't it be her responsibly to translate the newsletter?

Not sure if the newsletter is "managed" by someone who can translate.

-Yes the Newsletter committee is managed by an LSC member who is a parent and speaks Spanish (I just confirmed this today by looking at a copy of a newsletter)

9) If CPS closed and relocated Special ed programs throughout CPS, why are the teachers attacking the administration?

This is false. I know because I talked to the people who closed the programs. CPS is begging schools to keep programs open due to the number of kids in the district that need placement spots. According to the department, Roche emailed "everyone he had connections with" to close those programs. He even got it a bit of trouble when they realized he was closing two separate special ed programs in the same year, without letting each department know about the other one closing. He then told the parents in a newsletter that the kids would be "relocated to another school together with their teacher". the office of specialized services never does this.

-I can't help but laugh once again about this, because CPS is closing down these programs throughout CPS. Please don't embarrassed yourself this can be easily confirmed if you call the board.

10) if the school was saved from being shut down which would mean many of these teachers would not have a job why are they complaining so much??

That was a rumor, to begin with. The teachers are complaining because they are being harrassed constantly by the new administration.

-I'm not sure what gossip magazine you subscribe to but Prescott was going to be closed down. Maybe if the teachers had actually been involved before they would know this. They got involved and showed interest when they were being held responsible not because they actually cared. (oops you miss spelled the word harass again, it must be in one of those special online dictionaries)

11) If the 8th graders are so upset with their graduation plans why aren't they upset with the committee that made the arrangements??

Maybe because they are children? Maybe because many of their parents were fuming mad when Roche blew off the graduation meetings?

-the 8th grade committee was poorly managed. I know several parents who complained that they never got information from the chair of the committee.( I also found out today that the same person who runs this committee is the same person who runs the Newsletter committee)

12) The teachers state that their protecting the children then why are children listening to the teachers rants and negative comments towards the administration throughout the day not to mention this blog?

The teachers do not "rant" to the students. Roche drops in classrooms for unannounced "observations" constantly. He doesn't bother to greet the students, making the classroom environment tense and awkward. If the kids are on this blog at home, I'm sure they are monitored by their parents.

-Defending a child who uses profanity proves what poor education these children received and are receiving. Several parents have complained about their children hearing teachers speak so negatively towards the administration while in class.

13) If these teachers are quality teachers then why are they spending so much time during the day writing nasty and rude comments when they have children in their class??

I'm not sure how you would be able to know that teachers are doing this. Are teachers not allowed to comment at home on their own time?

-Teachers can do as they please when their home, but when the time stamp is during the day when their in class. Yes as a parent I have a huge problem, as should the administration, CPS and so should you!

14) Why is CPS permitting this to happen and not stopping these teachers from disgracing this school and tainting the children with their anger??

CPS is investigating erin roche. Don't be foolish. Just call the labor and relations board to see what they have to say about how well they know Mr. roche. I think he has a VIP parking spot outside of the building where the grievance hearings are held, he is there so often.

-correct me if I'm wrong but didn't a teacher already state that CPS was on Mr. Roche side because they won't listen to them? Which means that CPS is well aware of the teachers tactics to misuse information to benefit their cause.

15) If the teachers want to be heard why have they not contacted the LSC members directly instead of harassing them on this blog??

Some have talked to LSC members and others are scared of Roche finding out they disagree with his ways. The LSC is not allowed by law to discuss a teacher by name, although roche and jennifer lister find it completely acceptable to hold meetings in different classrooms where they leave post-it notes regarding what they "dislike" about the teacher's room. Apparently it's okay (to the LSC) to "write" a teacher's name...just not speak it.

-but it's ok for the teachers to name these 2 persons by their name with no regard to their persona?! I have not heard any negative comments from anyone from the LSC (but I personally don't know them) towards the teachers other then parents who have problems at the school. I'm sure the teachers know that parents talk between themselves and compare stories.

16) Why isn't anyone stating the facts as they are?

I am.

-actually your not, if you took the time to inform yourself as some of us do you might not have responded to my questions.

17) Why is the LSC not defending themselves from these false accusations? ( as a parent if I know the facts then I'm sure they must as well??)

Because the accusations are not false. If they could disprove these allegations, don't you think that they would have by now?

-based on everything I just found out today on my own speaking with parents I know and calling the board I don't need to argue your case with the principal

18) why isn't the administration clarifying the facts?

Because blahuta is probably busy shuffling through her law books to figure out how to bail Roche out of this one (the article) before they "make a statement". Her job is to pull his foot out of his mouth. Why do you think he wanted all "questions in writing" at the last LSC meeting?

-I don't know who blahuta is but some people do not like to lower themselves to the level of these teachers.

There you go. The facts. And just a few of many.

I wouldn't be surprised if CPS has been avoiding this situation because they are planning on closing Prescott in the near future to end Roche once and for all.

-Facts are facts, you can use them to benefit you as much as you want, but if a parent actually takes the time to make calls they would be very surprised and shocked to hear not only the history of this school, but what some of these teachers have been doing or not doing

May 22, 2009 at 6:09 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Bar Room Brawls and other fun thingies in Spring

Since there are two threads going on this same topic on this one little Web site, I wanted to post (below following all caps intro) the explanation I posted earlier about why Jessie's comments were removed and how I'll also remove complete repetitions (don't know or care how they occur). Trying to find an analogy to what we're inventing here (after all, the entire world of blogs and "comments" is still a work in progress), I think I'll compare the editor to a bar tender/owner. Everyone knows there are loud bars, quiet bars, good bars and bad bars. If you choose to go into the bar, however, you're in someone else's space, as well as space you are renting.

I don't go to bars where there are loud (often, lewd) people. Last thing I want to do after a week of any kind of work is sit drinking with someone who can't talk without using the MF locution every other phrase. Didn't her mother teach her nice guys don't hang out with human beings whose utterances tend that direction?

Too late. Damage done. Find another bar.

I also don't go to bars where people fight, or Nazi bars (Chicago used to have a place, fairly prominent, where the regulars would sing the Host Wessel Lied to remember the Good Old Days every Friday night around midnight), or GLTB bars, or cop bars...

My choice was a place where the drinks were reasonable, the tone muted, and the juke box various (possible everything from "My Kind of Town" to classic rock, but without the hard core "FFF BBB" rap stuff).

And the tone of the bar is under the control of the bar tender, so you have to get to know her. If she's got any experience, she buys a round now and then and knows the name of every regular, along with a little bit of family stuff (nothing too personal).

Only one sheriff per town.

Anyway, here the drinks are free, the tables clean, and certain people will be told when they've had enough.

BELOW IS HOW I EXPLAINED WHY 'JESSIE' WAS EXCISED AND ANOTHER BLOGGER TRUNCATED.

Books and keeping track

At least once a day, I visit this part of our site and delete and comments that are infantile (such as those from "JESSIE" earlier. However, our policy here is that everyone who comments gets to be posted and retained. Only those absolutely nasty things (usually with very nasty language) make me utilize Delete.

The others are when someone posts the same thing dozens of times. that happened yesterday.

As most people know, we require by-lines for our articles and encourage people to speak in their own names. Anonymous is not healthy.

Neither is a school without books. Oral reading has its part in literacy development, but I wonder if the Erickson Institute (and its main person at CPS) would approve of a school that didn't provide reading books for the children to take home. During the years of my disagreements with Rufus Williams, we agreed on "Real Men Read" and published materials on it.

About an hour ago, I received a call from one of the pre-school teachers at the pre-school where our four-year-old attends. She was looking for a copy of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" of something close. It was to be read to the three-year-old group. I couldn't find that in our lovely children's book library here at home, but did find the "Very Busy Spider," which I'll bring over there later.

Tuesday (prior to the union meeting at which we brought out the May edition of Substance) I was "Dad of the Day" for the two-year-olds.

One of the nicest things about that day was reading "The Truck Book" (mostly pictures) to a couple of boys who were fairly active without reading.

May 22, 2009 at 6:22 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Very busy spiders, etc.

What's got me most curious, given the White House connection to all this, is whether the Erickson Institute really has a "reading" "curriculum" that eliminates books for young children. I did notice that Prescott presently has no available school library for the children, which indicates a serious lack of leadership on the "CEO" of the building, and our reporter added the detail that the books have been dumped and "oral reading" is supposedly THE METHOD.

Hopefully, someone will report the follow up story after covering the Erickson connection. I've already noticed that some people from Erickson are too busy to listen carefully to the words of the proletarians during Board of Education meeting, but this wrinkle is truly bizarre. We have a source, and I've seen the Prescott library. Books for kids are definitely not part of the "New Leaders..." leadership model this year. That also tells me that the leaders of the LSC must feel that this is OK, given the visionary view of the visionary elite future, etc., etc., etc.

As to that "Elite" silliness. As measured by standardized test scores. We've already exhausted our patience on that one. Those numbers are worse than meaningless. Why? Like the stock prices of corporations like the "financials" (from 24 months ago) they are delusional. The worst fetishes are those that look so plausible until they are examined carefully by society. It's why democracy is such a big thing with us.

Those numbers are a fetish, as stupid as sucking on someone else's toes during some kind of private moment. Just because a generation has grown up toe sucking (and quoting their ACT and SAT scores within the first five minutes of any conversation) doesn't change that.

Which, for those who care, was pointed out most recently in that fine (Section D) story in The Wall Street Journal a couple of days ago. Pointing out that test prep course are a big waste of money. More hype and marketing nonsense than reality. Not the first time, in the history of the USA, to be sure.

Fetishize as long as you get off on it, but don't drag the rest of the world into the same dead end swamp. Or were you also the person who bought Countrywide, New Century, or one of those other surefire stocks a couple of years back -- or those four townhouses because the numbers showed the prices would be 25 percent higher in 12 months and you could "FLIP THIS HOUSE." And the guy who recommended that I buy is also a Certified Financial Planner, a Certified Personal Trainer, and a Bishop from some church the name of which I forgot...

We're coming to the end of a delusional generation.

This thread and story is just one interesting footnote to all that. It's why Substance has an annual benefit at Second City. See you there in November...

Meanwhile, if you still want to talk about those numbers...

Big toe, middle, or little?

May 22, 2009 at 4:35 PM

By: insider

to: response to the insider

Just a few comments...

I did not "ignore" your question about the clerk. You asked why the sexual harassment charge was not viewed as a "red light". I answered that a totally separate charge was filed at ravenswood. I am shocked as a parent myself, that something like that is acceptable to you.

By the way, regarding CPS closing the special ed programs and my not having the facts straight... I work for the board. I know the protocol because I spoke directly with the person that received the emails from roche to close the program. Would you like a copy sent to you? Ask the parents of the special ed kids what they think of his newsletter regarding "moving the whole early childhood special ed class to a new school with their current teacher." I have a copy of that, too. The board does not magically move a program. The families have already received new placement letters, all at separate schools without the teacher. Some have siblings in Prescott and are being moved as far west as Austin to be in the next closest "program." What if that were your child? Would you support Roche then? The principals are the ones closing the programs. The only time that the office of specialized service closes a program is when the enrollment drops to the point nonexistence. By the way, in working for the board and receiving all the school closing lists via email, I would love to see the one I missed with Prescott listed on it. Sounds like you may be the one feeding into the gossip.

I never in my post defended a child using profanity, just to clear that up. Were you confused with a different post?

Sounds like the majority of your "facts" have been collected talking to parents. I'm guessing that the definition of "fact" vs. "opinion" are vague to you, as most word of mouth is opinion, isn't it?

By the way, if you have collected so many "facts", and consider yourself to be an expert on prescott and erin roche, it's very surprising that you don't even know who Blahuta is. She is the vice principal. I'm sure the next parent you collect your facts from will be happy to fill you in...

May 22, 2009 at 6:16 PM

By: Truth

And Still Some Support Him

The Republic of the Sudan is a country in northeastern Africa. Darfur is a region in Sudan. For at least 6 years there has been a bloody war going on. All schools lack textbooks sufficient for the number of students enrolled. Some schools have no textbooks at all. The war-impoverished local communities are unable to subsidize the purchase of this essential resource. Darfur Peace & Development Organization plans to procure new textbooks for all schools - one book for every two students - in each of the curriculum areas approved by the Sudanese Ministry of Education. 2009 Funding Goal: $35,000. Darfur children could have had the Prescott textbooks for free. Instead they were thrown out. (Good to know this is about how much of the budget the new principal will need when he restocks Prescott.)

May 23, 2009 at 11:08 AM

By: Garth Liebhaber

Teacher/ Photographer

Walsh teacher- can we hear your story? Is this also a New Leader for New Schools principal?

I think there is an important lesson in all of this- we need to work together or the appointed Chicago Board of Education is going to just run roughshod over everyone. I hope that the next time Prescott teachers hear about the board closing, phasing out, or turning around a school in another neighborhood, they will consider supporting their brothers and sisters, as they are being supported now. We need to stick together!

I would like to suggest several things.

One. Go to the board meeting. After you are humiliated and nothing comes of it, realize that it is up to you/us to save ourselves.

Two. Show up at the next LSC meeting where the board will have arranged security. Roche and Listerine won't have been able to block public participation. At some point they will simply try to shut down the meeting, or go into executive session of something of the sort. Your role is to expose them. Be sure to invite the press, they love a good show.

Three. Hold your own public forum and be sure to invite Roche and the board. Do this on neutral territory, such as a church. Have each side present. Then open the floor up to public questions. This will show all of the parents who is hiding.

Four. Run him out of town. Picket the building. Don't let your kids attend school until he is removed. Don't subject your kids to this humiliation. Perhaps teachers and students can hold classes outside to show you will not accept his treatment. When the political cost becomes too high for the board, they will have him removed.

Five. Celebrate. And then come help defend other public schools such as Walsh, Gonzalez, Carpenter, Penn and Anderson. Next weekend Anderson, which is being "phased out" will be doing a protest camp out.

Six. Vote Marilyn Stewart out. Also be sure to protest the next House of Delegates meeting, to expose the union president's complicity in not supporting teachers against this schmuck.

Remember Frederick Douglass: Power bequeaths nothing without a struggle!

May 24, 2009 at 1:58 AM

By: PARENT OF PRESCOTT

TO WALSH

IF YOU ARE SUCH A GREAT TEACHER, WHY DIDNT YOU COME TO ME WITH YOUR PROBLEMS WITH MY DAUGHTER?? I BELIEVE THAT YOU SHOULD APPOLIGIZE TO HER FOR LYING TO THE PRINCIPAL ABOUT HER SAYING THINGS TO YOU THAT ISNT TRUE...SHE GOT AN IN SCHOOL SUSPENTION BUT REMEMBER THAT YOU CANNOT HIDE BEHIND ROCHE FOREVER, EVENTUALLY YOU WILL HAVE TO COME AND FACE ME, HER MOM!! AND WE WILL HAVE TO TALK THIS OUT BECAUSE YOU CANNOT SUSPEND A STUDENT FOR WHAT SHE SAYS, ESPECIALLY IF SHE HAS A DISABILITY. SHE HAS NEVER GOTTEN SUSPENDED IN HER LIFE YOU KNOW WHY BECAUSE MY KIDS RESPECT EVERYONE, EVEN THEIR CLASSMATES. HOPE TO RUN INTO YOU SOON!!!! :)

May 26, 2009 at 6:11 PM

By: Karma

Chickens Coming Home

The Prescott LSC is in a real bind now. They made a huge mistake in taking this Roche guy. Everything he’s doing is beginning to come out. Things will get hard for them when they have to tell him to get out. He won’t go easy. Strike 2 you know. The one person who threw the biggest tantrum when the principal selection committee wanted to go another way has some reason why she wanted a failed administrator to get the job. She’s going to fight them again. They noticed by now that all the members of the LSC are not equal. What’s the principal doing setting the agenda with Lister and the president? The principal’s only comments about the agenda should come during the principal’s report. He’s using them and they’re afraid to use their legal authority to tell him to shut up. Listen to how he disrespects the women who challenge him. Wonder why he never bothered to correct them when they all say I motion instead of I move. He’s laughing at them.

May 26, 2009 at 11:42 PM

By: Laughing out loud!

Queen Bee sounds like an old joan crawford movie

You are right on target! We all know from the outside that the LSC made a big mistake in their decision. Are they finally getting it? However, what done is done and they should make it right and do what is best for the students. (Whatever decision that may be)

One last thing, i dont doubt that Mr. Roche is a nice person from the outside to go to dinner, have coffee, or participate in the Prescott Parents organization. It appears from the facts that he really needs a Jenny Jones makeover in Effective Leadership. He only appears to motivate his 3 LSC mom supporters (for now) and his implants to the staff at Prescott!

In response to the blog comment above, the person who appeared to have the temper tantrum and sat with arms crossed and appeared to pout--is the queen bee ringleader of the Roche campaign. The others are simply workers. Just think of an ant farm--the queen bee and the workers. The only difference is that an ant farm doesn't have more than one queen bee.

And so i am told, the QUEEN BEE demanded an LSC mom to resign (I heard that the queen bee handed a LSC mom a resignation paper (asked her out loud to resign) at the public meeting. I believe this LSC mom didn't agree with the master plan of Mr. Roche and questions the LSC. In other words, she stands up for the benefit of ALL the students)not just the primary or pre-k.

Can anyone validate and expound on this rumor? Inquiring minds want to know!

Lastly, to resolve the Roche problem, why doesn't someone simply remove him from principal, open the position to a true leader/motivator, and promote Roche to a position downtown where he sits at a computer and doesn't have to manage or get along with the human race. It appears from the blog that he has difficulty motivating his staff and building teamwork and getting staff to jump on the bandwagon. Doesn't he know that ruling by threat or fear is an outdated management tool? Or is this the way of the New Leaders of Chicago?

May 27, 2009 at 10:32 AM

By: disgusted

More on the queen...

Hopefully Jennifer Lister has one of those million dollar single-families in the area.

Otherwise, if her plan works out and the school becomes too white-collar rich, she may find herself being "phased-out" for living in a $500,000 townhome.

Here's hoping her hubbie's net salary keeps making the cut. Obviously she has too much time on her hands to be adding to the income pot of that household...

May 27, 2009 at 6:47 PM

By: Renee

Everyone knew

Cosme came to the school, spoke to the teachers and supported the tyrant, telling them to go to their union if they weren't happy. He publicly states that Prescott is working with the Erikson Institute-he fails to mention that only the 'select' teachers-those brought in this year by Roche, reap the benefits of the Erikson folks! The other students don't matter???Interestingly, the LSC queens ALL have children in the select classrooms....

I guess Social Studies doesn't make it on to the Cosme radar at all! Cosme was highly instrumental in bringing Roche to the school. He was totally in cahoots with Queen Lister and now doesn't want it to reflect badly back on him.

May 27, 2009 at 6:56 PM

By: John

What a Place!

Books for the Barrios is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening elementary school education in the Philippines. Many of the schools to which Books for the Barrios offers assistance have only a handful of books, and school libraries are rare. In many cases, an entire class shares a single outdated, worn, and tattered book. For many children, including high school age students, books delivered by Books for the Barrios — modern books with color illustrations, charts and photos — are the first such books they have seen.

Shame on Roche. Bigger shame on Cosme, his boss, who said we're not burning books at Prescott. Show us the books, LSC. Bring in Flavia Hernandez to lead the parade carrying her banner for Roche.

May 27, 2009 at 7:07 PM

By: Gale Suwe

Document everything!

I am at another school (Gunsaulus Academy) and we are having similar problems. My advice is to keep a running timeline of events and document everything. Get as many examples of malfeasance as you can. So far we have not been successful in resolving the problems at our school, but the documentation helps to build our case each time the principal and the LSC does something.

May 27, 2009 at 7:26 PM

By: Whale

I Have Seen The Light

Miracle on Wrightwood Avenue

7th graders with a 71.7% ISAT "meets or exceeds" score on last year's test ALL pass the Constitution test. No social studies were taught. The rigorous curriculum at Prescott is the secret weapon the USA has been looking for. Can we clone Roche? Can he travel all around the world telling every teacher what they're doing wrong? So many teachers and teacher aides to suspend internationally, so little time! Life is not fair to Erin Roche. Somebody better get him justice!

May 27, 2009 at 9:07 PM

By: Memories

Once upon a time

...Flavia Hernandez never would have allowed any children, especially those in a predominantly Hispanic population, be treated so badly. The power of POWER!

May 27, 2009 at 10:49 PM

By: insider with info that you should know about

Cosme isn't just his AIO now...

Here is a bit of information that you at Prescott may or may not know. I am guessing that one of the major reasons that Cosme is so supportive of Roche is because Cosme used to be the principal at one of the schools where Roche was a teacher. They certainly have a past relationship together and WAS instrumental in bringing him to Prescott. It was HIS recommendation that helped get Roche the job at Prescott. After Roche was fired at Ravenswood, Cosme helped him with getting that position in HIS area. This is one of the biggest reasons that Cosme has a vested interest in making sure Roche succeeds (how that is going to happen now is beyond me)! Cosme looks bad if Roche fails, because Cosme has stuck his neck out for this guy.

CPS is a tangled web!

May 27, 2009 at 11:16 PM

By: Gunsaulus member

Prescott, Gunsaulus, and Ravenswood unite!

I was at the Board meeting today and the situation at Gunsaulus and Prescott are very similar. Knowing what Mischael Scott told us today about the need to have statistical information to back up what we're saying, we need to unite! Prescott community...it is in your best interest to contact Ravenswood and unite with them about your circumstances at Prescott. Unless you have documented stastical information, you are going to be out of luck. there MUST be people at Ravenswood who can help you. We at Gunsaulus are going to be working to document our situation, you all HAVE to do the same. I was on Ravenswood's website and the contact information for the entire staff is there. Ask them for help.

The Board doesn't care what these principals are doing. If that committee does come to your school to meet with both sides, ask them to go to Ravenswood. There has to be someone who had what was described there who would be willing to help. I also read Riled Up at Ravenswood. What he did there is exactly what he is doing at Prescott. Don't let this happen to your school. Our kids' futures are too important.

May 28, 2009 at 2:20 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Data driven madness and calling out the data crazies

Michael Scott, as usual, was sowing confusion with that stuff about "data." He was trying to change the subject. What "data" is necessary regarding the Prescott situation? Three teachers (out of a very small staff) on sick leave. Hundreds of books not utilized. A couple of dozen special education children forced out of programs that were highly successful?

When CPS officials use the word "data" they are working on the next round of lies. Insist that the "data" be humanized and don't let them blind side you again.

Four years ago, when he was agenda setting to promote the maximum amount of racial segregation in Chicago, Michael Scott talked all the time about the "cost" of busing: "Do you know we spent $120 million a year on BUSING?!" he would ask, with that same smile he utilized today in the "data" stuff.

All the time, ranting against the cost of "busing," Michael was promoting an expansion of racially segregated charter schools and the continuation of the most racially segregated public school system in the USA. Of course, since he was a "West Sider", it was OK for him to max out the segregation on behalf of the latest Daley schemes.

But it was all agenda setting, utilized to put off men and women who come before the Board with legitimate grievances.

Trouble is, now, all the old scripts are worn down and threadbare. The best renditions of these "data driven" tyrannies is still in "The Wire", and if you aren't laughing out loud every time a CPS official talks using those phony numbers, return to the episodes of "The Wire" where they solve the problem of the data by legalizing drug sales in one part of Baltimore: the "Hamsterdam" series. One of the truly decent characters in "The Wire" is "Bunny Colvin, the police commander who uses his power to turn the "data driven" idiots inside out. Note, too, that the main characters elsewhere in the show turn out to be rather shallow or cruel...

Michael Scott was brought back to oleagenously perform the tricks he was doing today.

And to make sure that the clock runs out before the last six speakers get to speak, so he doesn't have to be challenged on the real "data" he's hiding behind, covering up, falsifying, or simply making up to win a short-term argument.

May 28, 2009 at 9:47 AM

By: Jewels

IMSA websiting

The following is a quote taken from an interview with Roche on the Illinois Math and Science Academy's website... Apparently, Roche is a graduate but it is obvious the things he learned at IMSA, have gone by the wayside!!! Too bad the children at Ravenswood and Prescott weren't exposed to that kind of "adult connection" with their principal. Not to mention teachers and co-workers...too funny! Too sad!

"One of the things I learned at IMSA, says Roche, is that it's so important to have some adult connection, someone who is looking out for you on every level -- academic, social, intellectual, spiritual -- making sure you're having fun and making good friends, making sure you're developing yourself. I experienced that kind of situation with several teachers at IMSA, and it's a real focus of my interactions now with students and co-workers."

May 28, 2009 at 10:17 AM

By: HUH???

??

I thought you were all afraid of him because of an accusation of sexual harassment from the Clerk (clearly no one has seen this women), but now he's taking all your money?!!

You have all contradicted yourself more then once on here and not once have I read a teacher overly concerned about her students.

I do applaud the person who noted these teachers were commenting during the day. Since that comment none of them have posted anything. It simply goes to show how much time they have on their hands to waste instead of teaching these failing/illiterate children how to write and read.

All of these teachers are ONLY concerned about making sure NO ONE is telling them what to do!! It's a true shame that the future of AMERICANS is in the hands of these teachers!!!!!!!!!

May 28, 2009 at 6:09 PM

By: Manatee

SOON!

I’ve got a great big notebook.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

That’s how I know I’m good.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

I’m so misunderstood.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

I hope that I can stay.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

Why can’t I get my way?

I’ve got a great big notebook.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

I hope that I don’t fail.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

I’ve got a great big notebook.

And I’ve got a downtown pal.

May 29, 2009 at 6:50 PM

By: Just Wondering

How Can Chicago Let This Travesty Continue?

What has Roche contributed to Prescott during his first year? A mosaic behind the dumpsters. How appropriate.

May 30, 2009 at 12:43 PM

By: Whale

Saturday Musings

Last year, in order to discourage some of the potential principal candidates, word was circulated that the LSC wouldn't approve an assistant principal at Prescott for the 2008-2009 year. The school has so few children, one isn't justified. So how come Roche got to bring his minion with him? Granted she writes all his ad hoc demands for useless paperwork so incredibly delicious when it coincides with his next need to punish teachers' but what is her job description? At the moment, she is proving invaluable to him, since her illegal presence at Union Grievance Hearings has just ground justice to a halt while the Union field rep has to take up Roche's latest trick. Roche has no conscience or shame so it matters not to him that they have had to put on extra clerks at the Chicago Labor Relations Board to deal with his files. Similarly, he has stalled the PPC progress by throwing roadblocks into the path of transparency. Perhaps the LSC at its June meeting would like to explain their thinking in approving an assistant principal for Roche? Probably not.

May 30, 2009 at 2:21 PM

By: So Mad

We Loved Her

Roche comes to this school after being fired from his other school and he thinks we don’t know things? Everyone knew last year that Lister didn’t like the security teacher aide. Roche gets the job. How? How? The security aide gets fired. Surprise. He closed her out, not the board. Liar. Everybody knows what Roche and Lister are trying to do. Send out all the letters you want, Roche. Nobody’s buying your stuff.

May 30, 2009 at 5:48 PM

By: Curious

Questions someone should ask at the June LSC meeting!

Where did all those books go that were taking from every classroom in the building? Were they donated to some place that could use them? (funny, seems I remember seeing them in the dumpsters with the lids open during a rain storm)

What will be the social studies curriculum for next year? (since none was taught this year)

Why are you switching teachers around to grades they are not endorsed to teach in?

(would you want your child taught eight grade math or science by a primary teacher?)

What happened to that librarian you introduce to everyone last June, but then there was no librarian all year long for the kids?

How did you afford Blahuta as your hit-man, I mean assistant principal when there was no money afforded for an AP at Prescott?

How many more hoops will there be to jump through this year until you are completely satisfied that you have ruined everyone's experience here this year? (Prescott was not many things in years past, but the one thing that was always present was a feeling of community and love and HAPPINESS shared by the students and staff, including the administration)

And NO ONE needs a lecture on how hard change can be or how to prepare to look for another job if "you can't save yourself from a bad situation with one's boss"!

One more question, how have some members of the LSC helped this situation this year to make Prescott a better school? (Does fanning the flames count as help?)

Is enthusiasm going to be a new topic on the observation checklist with an area designated as "too much" in the weakness column?

To those long standing members of the LSC know that we still love you and appreciate your support for us! perhaps one of you should suggest st the June meeting that Roche, Blahuta and Lister all resign!

May 31, 2009 at 5:46 PM

By: To: Curious

Amen

Absolutely on the money! One more question for the LSC. Did you approve the principal's educational design in July? Here's a copy:

PreSchool Teacher - Do Whatever You Want

Kindergarten Teacher - Do Whatever You Want

First Grade Teacher – You Can’t Do Anything Right

Second Grade Teacher - Do Whatever You Want

Third Grade Teacher – You Can’t Do Anything Right

Fourth Grade Teacher – You Can’t Do Anything Right

Fifth Grade Sub - Do Whatever You Want For a While

Sixth Grade Teacher- Do Whatever You Want

Seventh Grade Teacher – You Can’t Do Anything Right

Eighth Grade Sub - Do Whatever You Want For a While

Special Ed Teacher 1– You Can’t Do Anything Right

Special Ed Teacher 2– You Can’t Do Anything Right

Special Ed Teacher 3– You Can’t Do Anything Right

Special Ed Teacher 4– You Can’t Do Anything Right

Gym Teacher – You Can’t Do Anything Right

Counselor – You Can’t Do Anything Right

Clerk - You Can’t Do Anything Right

Teacher Aide - You Can’t Do Anything Right

After School Program Coordinator - You Can’t Do Anything Right

Wonder why the LSC ignored the suggestion of one of the good guy members and didn’t send out a questionnaire about Roche to the community? He is so obviously skilled in his dealings with people.

May 31, 2009 at 10:34 PM

By: Pleading

desperate

George, you did a great job covering this issue...

Can you please find a way to keep it running so these poor teachers aren't forgotten? That is exactly what roche is waiting for...to have this story get bumped further down the blog and get buried amongst a sea of others.

You really have the power to keep him exposed.

Thanks for keeping the public informed.

May 31, 2009 at 11:53 PM

By: ANGRY GRADUATE!!

DO SOMETHING GOD DAMMIT!!!

man everything is BULL.! i dont even feel like argueing no more cause nothing is going to be done!! =\

June 1, 2009 at 12:17 AM

By: come on

incredulous

George, you did a great job covering this issue...\r\rWhat a joke! Nobody takes George or Substance seriously. Why should they ... according to George no veteran teacher should ever be dismissed. Then again, his children go to elite schools, don\'t they?\r\rTransfer your kids to Prescott or Gunsaulus Academy George. Then let\'s see if you still back the staff.

June 1, 2009 at 2:46 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Summer fun

This Home Page will stay up front until after the June print edition of Substance comes out. When June becomes the Home Page (after Thursday) we'll update regularly throughout the summer, including reports from schools and LSCs (like the June Prescott meeting).

So Prescott (along with Gunsaulus, Julian, and Gallistel, among others) will be regularly in the news.

The Board of Education will meet on June 24, July 22, and August 26. The June 24 meeting has already been announced for 125 S. Clark St.

Michael Scott has been afraid to resume the practice of meeting in the communities since April 2002, so it's safe to assume that the Chicago Board of Education will continue meeting in its Fuehrer Bunker at 125 S. Clark St. The last time the Chicago Board of Education met in a city neighborhood was the meeting at which Scott and Arne Duncan launched the first "Renaissance" attacks on public education -- closing Dodge, Terrell and Williams -- and had to face 1,000 very angry people who didn't have to pay $29 to park at a lot that had been privatized by somebody named Daley.

CPS is also planning (again) to illegally postpone its annual budget hearings until July or August. They're supposed to be held in June every year, with the budget voted on at the June meeting so the fiscal year can begin July 1.

On other fronts, more and more members of the Chicago City Council are realizing that in their own wards they had better stop following their master's voice like dogs and pay attention to the majority of residents who oppose closings, "phase outs," reconstitutions, turnarounds and the other nonsense that has been a prelude to ongoing privatization.

Two of the biggest fans of "Renaissance" (Corrothers and Troutman) are already either in prison or on the way.

The other aldermen who've been under the radar in pushing "Renaissance" and privatization with their corrupt and slavish kow-towing to the 5th Floor are being served notice. They will doubtless remain in the news even when City Council is not hosting hearings and other trivial pursuits (and excluding the majority of voices on education while listening to Power Point dronings from Michael Scott and Ron Huberman). While it's possible that Alderman Pope will give up the idea of "relieving overcrowding" and that mess at Gallistel by supporting another charter school amateur hour pice of nonsense in his own ward (that thingy heading into South Chicago is a bigger joke than most of them), he's got to face the fact that he's already committed to much of the privaization agenda by (a) going along with the TAC hoaxes and (b) supporting that union-busting charter school they will be installing into the South Chicago building in two weeks.

As to the others -- from Brookins, Thompson, and Preckwinkle on the South Side to Burnett and Fioretti on the north and "west" sides -- every month more and more of their voters are noticing that they've simply been kneeling before Daley's gentrification and privatization agendas for years, at the expense of the families who have often lived in their wards for generations. Carpenter, Peabody and Andersen are worth five times the votes of all the real estate developers who have lined the pockets of guys like Burnett, and by summer's end, the whole story will be told (and not just in that ward).

Meanwhile, across the north side, the charter school privatization, union busting, and corruption juggernauts will begin to be rolled back. No alderman can really afford to be known as a union buster -- even those who had gotten away with allowing union busting charter schools in their wards. Like Marge Laurino (Aspira Haugan and CICS Northtown).

That will be enough for a couple of months.

And we'll be back in print again at the latest by September.

June 1, 2009 at 2:54 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Summer More Fun. Central Office and Principals' Edition

Oh, I went so far into the machinations of your friendly alderman I left out CPS central and the principals.

Most principals are not teacher bashing union busting jerks (except in the charter schools, where the majority are). In fact, the majority of them are trying to stay under the radar because the agenda from City Hall and Clark St. is trying to force all of them to become that.

But for those who try all that crazed Jack Welchian nastiness this summer (or who have been doing it all along), we'll be reporting the news regularly, with analysis. When that principal has been largely off the radar because of her clout (like Coonley's Katherine Kartheiser) we'll be paying much much closer attention, especially as she completes the purge of veteran teachers from "her" school and gets the backing of her clout heavy alderman in the process.

Gunsaulus, Prescott, and others are already in focus. There are about a dozen others we could name who have remained out of focus simply because, to be honest, we haven't had enough reporters to get all this fun into print as it deserves. But that problem will be solved by June 15 (summer fun in the sun!).

Lastly but not leastly...

Marilyn Stewart and her happy band of kleptocratic mendacities are up for re-election on May 21, 2010. There are already two declared candidates against her: former CTU President Deborah Lynch and current CTU treasurer Linda Porter. And I suspect there are more to come. By next March, the biggest election news in Chicago will be who is going to replace Marilyn Stewart (and get rid of that tribe of crooks and incompetents around her) in the biggest election in Chicago:

The Chicago Teachers Union.

June 1, 2009 at 10:11 AM

By: To:Come On

Wake up

You are wrong. I am a Board employee (home sick if you're wondering about the time) and George Schmidt and Substance are taken very seriously. Your school and your principal are the talk of the system. When he was fired from Ravenswood last year it caused a stir...a young, bright guy let go by an LSC in an up and coming, successful school...But as we have read, a leopard doesn't change his spots and the actions of the Ravenswood LSC are clearly understood today. You're wrong, this blog is read by many-you included which makes you incredulity amusing! If you think parents with options would choose this atmosphere for their children, then you're wrong about that too. A pretty mosaic on an exterior brick wall does not impress when within the walls exists a toxic environment.

June 1, 2009 at 1:08 PM

By: I knew him when

To Board Employee

It is good to hear a board employee say that what's happening at Prescott is the talk of the system. I am part of the last community Roche led and know that the board knows full well of his deeds and special brand of "leadership." The question is does the board condone this behavior? Their inaction in Prescott's plight (and Gunsaulus's as well as others) suggests that they're okay with it. You'd think they'd be more concerned about their liability. Can you offer any insight on the board's position?

June 2, 2009 at 11:51 AM

By: outraged parent

unbelievable

The two teachers that spoke at the Board meeting to Michael Scott about what has been happening at Prescott were suspended the next day by Roche for two days without pay.

They have been written up for everything under the sun, including not translating the report cards into spanish (even though the teacher is not bilingual and Roche had already forced the ESL teacher to take a mdeical leave following an attempted suspension without pay), and for not submitting attendance on time. The teacher that was written up with a cautionary notice for that one was home sick that day and a sub was in the room. Roche let her take it downtown to contest it at the labor relations board, refusing to back down.

However, when the pre-K teacher he brought in became over-whelmed during a firedrill and couldn't get her kids out of the building in time, Roche turned a blind eye. When the K teacher he brought lost two children on the way back from gym class and they were discovered playing in their socks on the stairs of a different floor of the school, he blew that off too.

THIS is why the veteran teachers at Prescott are upset. Roche obviously makes it crystal clear that he is trying to force them out, illegally if necessary.

He is ridiculous.

June 2, 2009 at 4:01 PM

By: are you listening LSC???

QUEEN BEE and her WORKERS

Are you listening to the above comment? WHY WHY are you still supporting this tyrant! I thought management skill NUMBER 1 is to be FIRM, FAIR, and CONSISTANT.

Is this true of Mr. Roche's management philosophy? I think not.

Lastly, on a comment regarding why isn't Blahuta practicing law? Well it appears as if she has her hands full guiding the Mr. Roches of the world to seek, punish, and destroy any teacher who questions him or his authority!

What a means to teach the meaning of Democracy. MAYBE THAT IS WHY ROCHE DOES NOT WANT SOCIAL STUDIES TAUGHT. Eveyone at Prescott might learn the true meaning of DEMOCRACY. This would be a great Social Studies lesson Democracy VS Communism. No social studies, no assemblies, no holiday parties, minimal graduation celebrations, and lastly a boring 8th grade field trip! Why not a museum (the new Holocaust exhibit) or even better,play (THE ARTS--that is academic related).

Mr. Roche quit plotting teachers demise and focus on things you should do!

June 3, 2009 at 10:08 AM

By: pre-k parent

Is this true?

I just read what was written about the pre-k teacher and the fire drill. Is this true? Can anyone else please confirm this story? If so I am so upset. As the daughter and niece of firehighters I am appalled that any competent teacher would be overwhelmed by the experience and wouldn't get her kids out in time! What exactly does that mean? Did they go out at all? How could an administrator ignore this type of behavior? What did the CFD personnell say about this? Were they aware? I am beginning to realize that this school was a bad choice.

June 3, 2009 at 2:34 PM

By: George N. Schmidt

CPS and fire code violations

In the bad old days, when all principals had to have at least six years of classroom teaching experience (plus a masters degree and an administrator's certificate) and all teachers had to be certified and have completed student teaching (even those of us who went through "elite" universities -- like the University of Chicago which I attended on scholarship and graduated from in 1969), one of the most important things every FNG teacher had drilled into him or her was the importance of that "fire drill." During student teaching, we were taught there is no such thing as a "fire drill." When that alarm rings, you follow procedures, which teachers were drilled on. Regularly.

The reasons are clear even to the most visionary "edupreneur" or "alternative lifestyle" wannabe teacher person. I bet even Teach for America mentions it. (Well, maybe not "New Leaders for New Schools").

Anyway...

They don't require such training anymore at CPS.

It's the vision thing.

And the FNGs rule the world thing.

And the "flush out" the veterans thing.

And a very dangerous thing it is.

It's like what I learned my first full year of teaching at DuSable Upper Grade Center (now, there was a place to get your FNG feet wet; by year's end, anyone with more than nine months' seniority was a veteran; they had to hire three of us to keep one more than a month).

In 1969, DuSable was mentioned in Time magazine as having had the worst record for false fire alarms in the USA.

Why? How do you spell Black P. Stones (their name at the time) and Black Gangster Disciples (BGDs in those days). Stone to the Bone! D to the knees!

The gangs (then, as now) would pull the fire alarm to clear the building so they could either do mayhem inside or outside. Usually outside, as several schools have learned this year.

Therefore, a puzzle.

Do you evacuate the building every time the fire alarm sounds? Even if you "know" it's a false alarm?

Answer: YES.

My story was in April or May of the 1969-70 school year, after a quite hectic year that included working at 51st and Wabash the day Fred Hampton was murdered on W. Monroe St. in his bed.

The geniuses who ran DuSable had told us not to take the kids out when the alarm sounded. Too many false alarms (and probably because the assistant principal got bombarded with snowballs on afternoon after a false alarm a few minutes before final bell when he tried to order everyone back into the building)...

So, we were not supposed to evacuate the building, despite all that training in student teaching, etc., etc., etc. and all those procedures. Because we were in the school that was going to make the Guiness Book of World Records (had it existed back then) for the most false alarms on Earth that school year.

So the alarm went off, and I went on teaching my eighth grade social studies class, because we had been ORDERED not to take them out. Insubordination if your disobey and order, remember?

So the alarm is sounding, and we're talking about something social studiesy. Probably the Constitution, because back in those days we had to take the Constitution Test if we were in eighth grade.

And some girl, one of the quiet ones, gets out of her seat and says to me, still rather calmly, "Mr. Schmidt, I think there's a fire. There's smoke coming under the door..."

We got out of that room and that building in an orderly fashion, with my point kid doing well and me closing the door after the last kid (and the kid count) with green book in hand (just as we were trained).

And the fire, which was in a locker (the old lighter fluid into a hole in one of those old lockers, etc. trick) was duly put out by the Chicago Fire Department.

And the Order that we not take our kids out on a "fire drill" was quietly rescinded and every time that alarm sounded we went out, with teacher doing that famous count of the kids and with that precious green book in hand.

No...

They don't force our creative "alternative route" teachers and principals to do those silly depressing routine professional real world things any more.

So it's very plausible that an FNG teacher facing the chaos of a "fire drill" for the first time would be flustered. After all, it's something to muse about later on Face Book. Or bring up during that FNG seminar after the half hour when the professor lets everyone share their horror stories about how evil all those "dinosaur" veteran teachers are.

June 3, 2009 at 5:27 PM

By: Veterans Whose Loyalty is to the Children, Not to Roche

Roche is Not Master of the Universe Yet

During fire drills, classes do not even clear the building on Wrightwood at Prescott. Veteran teachers were trained to walk completely away from the school building during a fire drill to a designated spot on one of the streets surrounding the school. These days teachers all congregate with their classes right near the playground so they can get back inside quickly. Roche, whose brain is needed for so many more important thoughts like which institutions he can convince that he's the Second Coming, seems to have let this one get past him. Little does he realize that this whole procedure opens up the door for so many more suspensions without pay. Of course he would have to continue to execute his selective punishment because his favorites would be standing closest to the entrance and someone might, whoops, have a camera.

If any of the we-want-you-out-of-here group read about the Our Lady of the Angels fire in Chicago, maybe they could try doing something for the good of the children for a change, instead of for the good of Herr Roche.

Better yet, maybe Cosme can come over and tell the concerned parents that things are swell at Prescott.

June 3, 2009 at 10:03 PM

By: To Pre-K Parent

A Witness

Yes, it's true. You will never know how devious she is because Mr. Roche covers up all of her dirt! There has been other incidents as well.

June 4, 2009 at 2:36 AM

By: ANNA ROSADO

TO ALL PARENTS AND TEACHERS

FIRST I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HOW MANY WOULD LIKE TO DO A SIT- OUT AND HAVE ALL STUDENT AND STAFF CAMP OUT IN THE PARKING LOT ON JUNE 10 SO WE CAN GET THE BOARDS ATTTENTION??????????

SECOND, I WAS AT THE LAST MEETING AND WE DIDNT AGREEE ON GRADUATION AT A BANK, WE LEFT IT UP TO THE CHILDREN SINCE ITS THEIR DAY...THE ADMINISTRATION IS WHO DECIDED...AND CAP AND GOWN TO BE DISTRIBUTED ON GRADUATION DAY???? HOW IGNORANT!!!!!!!!

AND ALSO THEIR AUTOGRAPH BOOKS WERE LOST BY THE SCHOOL WHO BELIEVES THAT????? SOME ONE WANTS TO DO THE SIT-OUT CONTACT ME PLEASE....

June 4, 2009 at 2:39 AM

By: A Cat without claws

I am curious as a cat!

wow i cant even imagine a Pre K teacher NOT supervising or even getting her kids out for a FIRE DRILL! I am curious, what other things have happened that he has selectively ignored! INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW.

Is anyone from downtown writing up or suspending Roche without pay for his actions? It appears as if he does it (write ups/suspensions) at will to his over 40 crowd (teachers). I wonder what is the ratio of TEACHERS TO SUBS these past few weeks? Is anyone downtown questioning why so many subs are at Prescott?

Has anyone heard about the best kept secret? WHEN IS THE JUNE LSC MEETING? Let the BLOG know.

Does he confer with the Queen Bee before he carries out his master plan?

June 4, 2009 at 2:56 AM

By: What a mess!

8th grade graduation booklets

I can hardly believe that Mr. Roche and all of his KNOWLEDGE and Efficiency (yeah right) that the 8th grade graduation would be allowed to be so messed up. Was he and his administrative team written up for lack of efficiency as he would have done to his over 40 teachers.

Also, HOW WOULD ROCHE, VEDES, OR LISTER FEEL IF IT WAS THEIR CHILD'S GRADUATION? I bet those children would have their autograph books!

I am sure the previous 8th grade homeroom teacher would not have messed up the graduation (but then again he was over 40, LOL). It is a shame that the Roche regime appeared to be so zealous that they couldn't deal with him. I wonder, what happened to him?

I believe that from what I have read and spoken with many of the 8th grade parents, students, and his fellow teachers liked and respected his caring nature, knowledge and efficiency. Why did he leave mid year? Has anyone asked him? But then he was on the LSC and i wonder, was he not this part of the Roche master plan?

June 4, 2009 at 3:06 AM

By: ANNA ROSADO

ATTENTION: JUNE LSC MEETING!!!!!!!!

TO ALL PARENTS, TEACHERS, STUDENTS, STAFF, COMMUNITY, BOARD OF EDUCATION AND ALL MEDIA!!!!!!

YOU ARE ALL INVITED TO ATTEND THE LSC METING FOR JUNE ON JUNE 9TH AT 5:30 PM SHARP PLEASE DONT BE LATE, I WILL B THERE.

June 4, 2009 at 3:25 AM

By: ANNA ROSADO

TO WHAT A MESS

MR.P THE PREVIOUS 8TH GRADE TEACHER THAT WAS ON THE LSC, BECAUSE HE WAS ALWAYS AGAINST THE ROCHE CREW, ROACH MADE HIM LEAVE( TOLD HIM TO LEAVE OR ELSE). HE WAS THE ONLY PERSON ON THE LSC THAT WAS ON THE DEFENCE....

June 4, 2009 at 4:54 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Fire drills are major events, Our Lady of Angels or not

"...If any of the we-want-you-out-of-here group read about the Our Lady of the Angels fire in Chicago, maybe they could try doing something for the good of the children for a change, instead of for the good of Herr Roche..." ("Veteran", earlier).

I didn't mention Our Lady of Angels. That's not because it wasn't on my mind (too) earlier, but because it shouldn't have to be mentioned in Chicago or anywhere, Disaster and fire drill training used to be one of the most important thing a principal was supposed to do.

But that was before the same crazies who wrecked the world economy decided that "principal" wasn't the "principal teacher" any longer, but -- TAH TA TTAAAA TA! -- the

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF

some unit of student test score production!

For generations (and at every school district in the Midwest except Chicago) principals would be suspended if they screwed up a fire drill or real fire. Period. It is (not "was" before we retooled education to fit into a management mold established by Jack Welch and other nut cases at place like General Electric) one of the most important things the principal teacher in the building has to do, because the safety of the children is the foremost thing. Not test scores. Not data sets. Certainly not "reading" programs that require teachers to throw out books that little kids love and require schools not to have libraries.

This is a microcosm, though.

But, what the heck, Roche would probably answer any queries about his failures in the fire drill department by pointing out that one of his colleagues didn't evacuate a major high school even though the school had a bomb go off.

In it.

As in CVCA. Stay tuned. These new management CEO-principal types are becoming more and more dangerous by the day. Fire drill meltdowns at little schools on the north side. Bomb explosions but no evacuations at huge schools on the South Side.

Bring on the Olympics and make sure you always have a hundred quarters in your car next time you have to park.

June 4, 2009 at 6:24 PM

By: Sick at Heart

No Surprise

LSC meeting for June has been cancelled. The Prescott Parents meeting at Jennifer Lister's house has been moved to June 9 from June 2. Democracy at work, thanks to E. Roche.

June 4, 2009 at 8:20 PM

By: Ravenswood insider

Loss...AGAIN!?!

Wow! Erin never ceases to amaze me. I feel like I am hearing De Ja Vu!!! Here is a FACT...Last year, Erin didn't lose 8th grade autograph books,rather at Ravenswood, he "forgot" that the ISAT tests were in the vault and he didn't turn in these tests until the State contacted the school in MAY!!! Our tests were missing for 3 months! He had no idea that they were in the vault, even though there are only 2 people (one being the principal and the other being the AP) who have keys to the vault. He blamed the ISAT debokle on the counselor (as usual he blamed someone else).

I hope that all of his supporters see that he is completely inept as a leader. What a mess all of you are in! Just more of the same at Prescott!

June 4, 2009 at 8:44 PM

By: Tell The Mayor!!

Tell the Mayor!

Let Mayor Daley know what's happening!

Let's Spread the Word About Prescott!

I would encourage everyone to flood the Mayor's office with your concerns about the situation at Prescott school! Go to www.cityofchicago.org, look for the "contact us" link, and there is an area to write about something that concerns you. The drop down menu has a complaint field to use. You can either use your name or not! Let's use this option to request the Mayor listen to our concerns about Prescott!

June 5, 2009 at 7:56 PM

By: So So Tired Of This Clown

Chairs On The Move/Roche Stuck On Stupid

The graduation chairs made it down to the basement. 8th grade boys carried them down from the third floor. Wonder what the insurance coverage is at CPS for boys empowering themselves by carrying chairs? What would that look like?

“Mr. Roche can you tell us what horrible teacher that you inherited caused these boys to be crushed under a pile of chairs as they fell down the stairs? Clearly, the teacher needs to be suspended without pay for eternity! Oh, you gave the command? Never mind.”

The chairs are now waiting on a rack to empower themselves by rolling down Ashland Avenue. They’ll probably set out in the dead of night to avoid the video taping by the neighbors. The over-under is Saturday at 5 a.m.

Lucky for Roche that thunderstorms are forecast for graduation day. That will wash the wrinkles out since the kids aren’t even getting their caps and gowns until the day of graduation. They’ve had no autograph books, their class trip was to DePaul, (yum), and some kids just found out that they are not graduating on Monday.

Who is it that some Roche supporters say doesn’t care about the kids?

The only reason Roche ever mentions the students in his newsletters is that his articles titled “Look at Me. Look at Me. Look at Me.” are frowned on by New Leaders for New Schools. They try to tell him that his eagerness to be alone in the building is making people nervous.

The teachers who’ve been with these 8th graders for their whole school career are so sad that this year has been such a loss for them. They always used to be able to come around to their teachers and have them sign their autograph books. Now everything has to be done on the sly.

Get out Roche.

June 5, 2009 at 8:28 PM

By: Emmett

Equity at Prescott

Question for LSC: did you approve a budget for Roche that included never-ending supplies for the fave teachers? The hated teachers have never been offered supplies. One of the faves was seen recently with a U Haul backed up the supply closet in the office. Just wondering.

June 5, 2009 at 10:21 PM

By: Curious

Just Wondering

I took a good look at the above picture and boy there's quite a resemblance between Mr. Roche and the Queen Bee Babe. Are they related?

June 8, 2009 at 8:03 PM

By: We've Got Your Back

This Has Gone Far Enough

Remember: The parents of the Special Ed students whose programs Roche has closed in order to punish the teachers had the same hopes when their babies were born as any other parents that their children would be slated for elite high schools.

All you LSC members who gave Roche a fine evaluation after this first nightmare year, please remember that life can change in a heartbeat. Plans for the future can be altered instantly. When those challenges come, you can only fall back on the content of your character to get you through.

As you support him while he kicks the beautiful children out of 106 and 102, to make way for the paying crowd, let's all pray that you don't experience the tests that come unexpectedly. I don't think you'd be up to the struggle.

June 8, 2009 at 9:01 PM

By: inquiring mind

Does Anyone Know?

Is it true that Roche's wife is a CPS teacher?

June 12, 2009 at 8:07 PM

By: DEJA VU

The Roche is at it Again

OPEN YOUR EYES LSC MEMBERS!This is his 1st year and he\'s destroying Prescott just like he destroyed Ravenswood!Why do you still support him?The evidence is overwhelming!Talk to the LSC of Ravenswood and you\'ll see why we fired him!The 4 years that he was in Ravenswood were the MOST DEPRESSING YEARS IN THE SCHOOL HISTORY.He canceled kindergarten graduation, ceremonies, etc.When you entered the school you felt depressed and not welcomed.Thank god that he left!Now with are new principle Ravenswood school is once again going to become a big welcoming family! :)

June 15, 2009 at 5:04 PM

By: To Prescott

?

Someone please tell me how I can see these teachers records for myself?

As a new parent coming to Prescott I want/need to know what type of teachers are working there?!

I'm sure their has been reports filed against them from parents? Co-workers? students?

Please someone help me!!

January 11, 2010 at 12:22 PM

By: RELIEVED

WHAT I MISS.... OR NOT!

I am so glad that we get rid of this Principal at our school, I feel sorry for all of you Teachers and Parents that are experiencing all this. Even that they were a lot of parents that believe he was the best, now they know he is just trash.

January 11, 2010 at 12:26 PM

By: RELIEVED

WHAT I MISS.... OR NOT!

I am so glad that we get rid of this Principal at our school, I feel sorry for all of you Teachers and Parents that are experiencing all this. Even that they were a lot of parents that believe he was the best, now they know he is just trash.

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