Chicago Public Schools
September 7, 2011 by USA Post
Five years Aaric Gray could not wait to get moving. He was on his first day on the stem Magnet Academy, one of the new schools in the system of Chicago Public Schools.
Aaric twisted and moved forward to his father, Arthur, to talk to the strange man with the notebook. Clearly he wanted to go to school.
However, Arthur Gray was very excited – excited about the new opportunities that his son would be in a school just down the block from his home University Village. While his two older children go to school both South Loop, where Aaric could have gone well, the mother had attractive program for two reasons.
“We are happy that we are in the neighborhood and you can walk around here,” said Gray. “It was a difficult decision, and was not just the proximity. Was a new school with all the technology built in.”?
After eight months of planning and development, STEM, debuted on Tuesday with the curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But born of controversy last winter, the school was taken over by another battle in the opening day.
Plans for the STEM Academy grew out of a heated debate among residents of the village at the University of the poor quality of schools in their neighborhood and the need for better local option. Three-quarters of a year after the debate reached a tipping point, the staff of new stem jumped feet in uproar – the struggle between the new mayor of Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Teachers Union over the school day.
Emanuel has been pushing for a longer school day since his campaign for mayor, while seeking to balance the budget the school system. The two have not mixed well, and is involved in a land war with the entire leadership of the teachers’ union is.
Last Friday, the new STEM staff voted to extend the school day in exchange for 2 percent raises, effectively circumvent the jurisdiction of the Union and the collective bargaining process. It was one of the three schools to do so, one of the others who are new home main stem Maria McMa**s last year, Skinner Classical School North.
Emanuel was charged with first day of STEM, an accommodation of three rings with CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard and McMa**s, staff announcing the decision.
“What you see here is a secret recipe, a director of a person who wants to take responsibility, teachers are excited to teach, and parents involved in their children’s education. You put things together and each child has a change of success and a great future, “said Emanuel.
Later, when the children had gone inside, Emanuel had a more direct shot at the junction.
“We have great teachers, very good with children, and the system, until now, are stacked against our teachers and our children to succeed the shortest day of the school and the school year in our country,” he said. “I hope other parents and teachers say, ‘How can my school do what he did MOTHER?”‘
Despite Emanuel choose the school to speak on the first day – and his old school also voted to extend the school day – McMa**s said he was not part of a vast conspiracy involving the mayor and Brizard. She and her staff again, just decided that was not enough time on the day of school to pursue its aggressive curriculum, and came to CPS to see what they could do.
“On August 2, gave me the schedule for staff, and they said they had not enough time in the school day,” said McMa**s. “The opportunity presented is only based on the curriculum we’ve had here. Not even met with the mayor until the Saturday after the press conference [to announce the day].”
The extra time is added to the reading, math, lunch and recess, he said.
The teachers union officials tried to stop the staff derive from the vote to extend the day, said McMa**s, a representative of the union trying to intimidate his staff before they voted to take the ups a day.
“I’m not upset with the union to do its job,” said McMa**s. “I just do not think the Union should be mad at me for mine.”
A spokesman for the Chicago Teachers Union did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday afternoon.
After the wild scene on the first day of school – which was almost all news media in Chicago, and the crowds of parents trying to take photos of their children – McMa**s said he is ready to move forward.
“I thought today was great, but I tried to keep all the children. We had no idea it would turn into this,” he said. “We are ready to launch the curriculum, and we will not have all the politicians of tomorrow.”
The longer school day will begin in the stem on 26 September and will run from 8:15 am until 3:45 pm the day of the current school is an hour and a half shorter, with duration of 8: 45 am to 2:45 pm
But parents of new students at the school decided to go to the long-stemmed before they knew that their children would receive an extra day. University of Illinois at Chicago scientist Bittina Moser chose the school because of their promising resume – and he was in the neighborhood. She thinks her six-year-old son, Felipe Nakamura, loves the program too.
“He is very interested in science, like most children in their view are one way or another,” said Moser. “New technology in the classroom, I think that will help survey the state teachers of the class, I think it will be very good.”
Still, it’s very fast and there are kinks to be solved.
“Everything with a reservation,” said Moser. “We have to see where this goes. I think it’s a little too early to say whether this will be an excellent school.”
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