Mendoza Retained At McPherson

January 17, 2013

DNAInfo reports Carmen Mendoza will be offered a four year contract renewal as principal of McPherson school. Mendoza was directed by the LSC to broaden the international baccalaureate program to the entire school and to improve communications with the community.

The Local School Council put the IB program on the front burner for Mendoza according to DNAI. The SIPAA indicates much of the work for carrying the IB program will lie with the IB coordinator. $310,175 is allocated to implementing the core teaching program, the SIPAA indicates.

The Bulldog took the school to task in its roundup of neighborhood schools saying the school had a culture of secrecy. Our story highlighted the lack of scores in the then current University of Chicago Urban Education Institute study. Those scores required teacher and staff participation.

The report provides important third party reporting on issues in a school. An update of the consortium report indicates the teachers and staff did participate in the most recent study. Thus the school administration and the teachers and staff took the Consortium study more seriously last year.

McPherson was the school that started an ongoing open government spat between The Bulldog and Chicago Public Schools when it demanded the public make appointments to view Local School Council records, then  the school either had a person sit with the requester or made it difficult to contact the scheduling officer.

Copies of the records, though requested, were never made available.

McPherson’s SIPAA report indicates parent involvement has been an issue inside the school. The school improvement report notes many parents live outside the neighborhood school’s attendance area. A goal of having 60 percent of the school’s 1,390 parents participate in informational meetings was set in  the 2012 SIPAA. Training teachers and staff in best web practices was also set out as a goal of the SIPAA.

The SIPAA calls on the school to provide English as a Second Language program for parents. CPS notes McPherson has a 77.4 percent Hispanic population.

Other programs include a community movie night, parent informational meetings with the principal, a parent literacy night, improved web sites, a toddler time for neighborhood parents. Many of these programs are noted by the Bulldog both in its community calendar and also on its Facebook page through shares.

The school website has other programs listed that are meant to meet this goal.

Other issues came up at the end of the last school year when several McPherson teachers were let go. A public forum on the redundancies was reported by The Bulldog on its Facebook page.

It is normal for staff cutbacks due to year end budget forecasts. Despite Mendoza’s effort to broaden the discussion to the public, the incident led some teachers to express a lack of trust in Mendoza.

Mendoza may also be held accountable by some teachers for a CPS decision to designate McPherson as a warehouse school during the teachers strike in September 2012.

That lack of trust in the principal and the staff is reflected too in the consortium report measurement of staff trust in the principal.

Historical data on McPherson graduates progress following graduation from McPherson

Grad Yr McP # Students studied On-Track Fresh Yr of HS Percent on Track Fresh Yr HS # Students Studied Graduated after 5 yrs HS Percent Graduated after 5 Yrs HS Dropped Out of HS Percent Dropped Out of HS
97 86 58 67.44% 81 56 69.14% 22 27.16%
98 91 57 62.64%
99 71 48 67.61%
00 68 44 64.71%
01 78 53 67.95%
02 86 58 67.44% 80 50 62.50% 27 33.75%
03 69 54 78.26%
04 83 63 75.90%
05 84 44 52.38%
06 80 52 65.00%

Source: Chicago Consortium reports

The date of Mendoza’s first contract isn’t known. The Bulldog contacted CPS for the information, but has not yet received a return call.


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