D161 Administrators to Vote on Controversial Teacher Swap

A teacher redistribution may soon be underway at Flossmoor School District 161 if tonight's board votes to give the go-ahead to a proposed plan.

Many parents are on edge after news of a controversial teacher redistribution that may be in the works for Flossmoor schools.

The board is scheduled to vote on the matter tonight at its regular board meeting. Logistics of the redistribution remained unclear Monday around 1:30 p.m. However a letter forwarded from building chairs to parents indicated that officials are discussing moving several teachers to other schools for various strategic reasons, such as a new technology initiative.

"Supt. (Craig) Doster believes the decision is in the district's best interests," the letter said. "He explained that the restructuring is vital to the district's technology plan and getting our most technologically savvy teachers in the grades that will receive the first wave of technology."

Evidence of parental dissent was already visible Monday on the website 161Cares, where polls reflected frustration with the school district. The parent-run site is independent of the district.

Concerned parents also held a meeting last week at . Chief among their concerns was evidence of rational decision making on the board's behalf. Something, they argue, has not been shown yet.

Tonight's board meeting will be held at  and is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.


What do you think about the district's potential plan to move teachers?

Christopher Zillman April 11, 2012 at 12:27 AM
The role of the decision maker is not in question. The method by which they make decisions is always open to scrutiny. Any company whose tenor of management toward its employees and clients falls under the umbrella of "if you don't like it then leave" is one whose lifespan of success will be proportionally short and whose product quickly becomes largely irrelevant. You can marginalize perfectly understandable concerns by misapplying a "the sky is falling" label if you like-its a fairly common way of squashing open discourse these days- but there is nothing wrong with folks asking questions and raising the flag when the answers don't add up. To paint everyone as strictly self-interested that has a dissenting view from the superintendent on this issue would be to use a myopic lens for addressing complex community problems. I hope the plan does work, I would simply love to understand why they believe it will.
Phillip R Baggs April 11, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Ever see a public company not answer shareholder questions at a shareholder meeting? You are right though, property values and the tax base will decline as the smart ones head for the western and northen burbs.
Smokehouse Brown April 11, 2012 at 01:00 AM
I do not understand why the movement of teachers from one building to another is a significant issue. I am concerned that there exists a "technology plan" which few are aware of to be troubling. One would think that if the plan were so good that is has created so much "excitement" the District leadership would have led with the unvailing of the plan and not the transfer of teachers. To me this is a great example of what troubles Boards of Education, the intentions are good the execution is often backwards.
Rikki April 11, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Study Island is a web-based study tool that children can log on to and study at or above their grade level. The content is extensive and it can be accessed by the student even when he/she is outside of school.
Phillip R Baggs April 11, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Thank you Rikki. Do you have any information on the principal at Western? I do not see a bio listed anywhere.
Rikki April 11, 2012 at 02:47 AM
I do not know any of the administrators ar Western, nor am I knowlegable about their backgrounds or credentials.
k3 April 11, 2012 at 03:36 AM
The principal at Western is fairly young- late 20s very early 30s. She taught for just a few years before becoming a principal. Rumors swirl about a possible relation to a previous superintendent.
Phillip R Baggs April 11, 2012 at 09:05 AM
K3, I have heard the same exact phrase from several different people. It seems odd that no one knows where she came from and she has no bio (although this seems to be the norm and completely acceptable in Illinois).
GladvilleGirl April 11, 2012 at 10:52 AM
Every time I forget and try to drive down Highland Ave to get to Irwin, I think of how awesome the grade centers are.
Alice B. April 11, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Compare the free and reduced lunch numbers at Western vs. the other district schools - there is where you find a very large difference. 10% vs. 30, 38 and over 50%.
Smokehouse Brown April 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM
She is from the community, graduated from HF. I am sure if you bothered to meet with her you would find her very capable and responsive.
Kate Langley Saunders April 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Jennifer Camilleri graduated from Marian, I believe (maiden name Okleshen). She is in her mid-30's and has lived in the community her whole life. She was assitant principal or principal at Flossmoor Hills before coming to Western.
Nick002 April 11, 2012 at 01:16 PM
This comment from k3 is beyond the pale and should be deleted. What in the world do you mean by a "relationship" with a previous superintendent.? The previous superintendent was a woman, who promoted the principal. Spreading rumors is vicious.
Phillip R Baggs April 11, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Nick, What's wrong with someone's mother or father being superintendent? Doesn't seem vicious to me. Are we talking nepotism?
Phillip R Baggs April 11, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Smokehouse, Why should I "bother" to meet with her (assuming I haven't already)? Parents need to meet with her to get a bio? Maybe you could give me some insight into her capabilities so I do not have to go over there? Why is she so capable?
Jerry April 11, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Calm down Nick002, the word relation means relative.
Phillip R Baggs April 11, 2012 at 01:47 PM
It is also a bit offensive that he mentions the superintendent was a woman. This is the 2000s Nick. That doesn't matter anymore.
Jerry April 11, 2012 at 02:14 PM
All I know, is that she doesn't like to respond to my emails. So maybe you are right, maybe it is necessary to meet with her.
k3 April 11, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Nepotism is what has been circulating; not the other.
Smokehouse Brown April 11, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Phil, I guess we are different...if it is that important to me I search out the infomation, it is part of taking charge. Kate, I pretty sure she graduated from HF, at least her senior photo is in the HF year book.
Blind Dog Fulton April 11, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Education starts at home. A school and school district can do everything in their power (spend thousands of dollars per student, technology integration, facility updates, etc) to help the students improve but if education is not a priority at home and in the community all that effort goes for nothing. It is easy to say education is important, but are families, communities, schools and school districts willing to DO what is necessary to improve education? It's the ACTION that is important, not rhetoric. At least 161 is taking action, I may or may not agree with it, but they are trying something new. I hope it works. Best of luck to 161 and its students.
Phillip R Baggs April 11, 2012 at 04:43 PM
There is plenty of room in the basement of the library and plenty of tutoring volunteers. Why not open the basement of the library to tutoring every evening? So if the parents are working at night, playing with their XBOX, or taking meth, the kids from both Western and the other schools can get additional assistance. Maybe use the Khan Academy so one volunteer can monitor the progress of several students?
Phillip R Baggs April 11, 2012 at 04:58 PM
It is pretty sad that the parents only know that she is from the area and graduated from Marion or HF. Where did she obtain her degrees? What was her concentration of study? What did she do before she was assistant principal? It looks like she has done well. Simple questions that should be out in the open. I wonder if she is in the witness protection program?
Betsy Bayley Van Etten April 11, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Rachel, I'm afraid I have to respectfully disagree with your "sources" and offer an alternative viewpoint to your theory. As a proud parent of 4 children in grades K~7 in HSD153, I can unequivocally say that our schools are outstanding across the board and that the VAST MAJORITY of our community supports the grade center system. One can look at last years overwhelming support of our district tax bond referendum as proof of that nod to a belief that positive things are going on on this side of town. Additionally, a glimpse at the district "report cards" for both 153 and 161 attests to the achievement of both districts at higher than state average from grades 3~8, although investigation of individual school report cards for 161 tells a different story. Anecdotally, students from 153 tend to enter both HF and Marian better prepared academically for the rigors of high school (and college after that) and are a far more cohesive and less racially segregated group. I'm not sure where this vitriol towards HSD153 is coming from; it would seem to me that success of both districts would be something we as a community would strive for since they ultimately converge at the secondary level. As a tax payer and home owner in the area, the success of all students is of grave concern to me. Perhaps instead of criticizing something you are clearly uninformed about, maybe you should investigate some of the really amazing things we're doing over here and consider implementing them in 161.
Nick002 April 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM
What does this have to do with a mother or father? That was not in the post. Even if there was a familial relationship between the current principal and a former superintendent, which I don't know and is entirely speculation, how could that possibly correlate to anything? I doubt a single member of the current board even knew a former superintendent, and the superintendent who promoted the principal certainly did not. Are you just making stuff up?
161 Parent April 13, 2012 at 01:53 AM
mom of 3, did you take them time to consider why one school outperforms the other schools? Do you really think district says "this is a great new teacher; they definitely should go to Western"??? All of the teachers are hired by the same district based on the same criteria. Therefore Western's success cannot be based on the teachers alone. Parental involvement is the key to success. Are you saying that the teachers in the other schools are subpar? I have heard just the opposite - that our entire district is blessed with quality teachers. It's time for all parents to plug into their kids education - both in school and at home. Get involved and see how your school improves. Get your neighbors and friends involved. Invest in your kids and watch them succeed. The teachers are only a part of the equation - no matter how talented they are or what school they teach in.
Big Mama April 13, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Hi Betsy, This data show otherwise: http://www.schooldigger.com/go/IL/district/15420/search.aspx http://www.schooldigger.com/go/IL/district/19530/search.aspx You can use this tool to compare test scores for each school. I would be interested in seeing your data.
Phillip R Baggs April 13, 2012 at 07:02 PM
The fact that anyone trusts data from Illinois is laughable. Neither district can compare with the progress made at Providence. http://iirc.niu.edu/School.aspx?schoolid=070161530022005 Where is the data? I hope you don't trust Illinois with your pension or college savings. I will end up paying your bills.
Phillip R Baggs April 13, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Whoops, wrong link. Look at the massive improvement... http://iirc.niu.edu/School.aspx?schoolid=15016299025224C
Phillip R Baggs April 13, 2012 at 07:18 PM
They are being shot at and pulled a 91%! http://www.education.com/schoolfinder/us/illinois/chicago/providence-englewood-elem-charter/?page=test-scores


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