A Teacher's Day

The day in the life of an inner city large urban school district teacher after the high stakes testing ends and there is still three more months left before summer vacation.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

I have taught school for over thirty years always in the inner city and for the most part always upper grade students. I have two children and I have been married for twenty years.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Another successful grant.

Hope this helps.

RIF in Chicago Grant Application

Contact information goes here.

Principal: ____________
Contact person: Michael Brownstein

1. How will being a RIF Distribution Site be helpful to your organization at this point in time?

Both the vision and mission statement of the _______ Elementary School promotes the life long learning of its entire educational community. Reading is a fundamental (no pun intended) part—if not the primary part—of life long learning. Our standardized test scores have been increasing, but we still have a long way to go. Introducing books and reading at the school level helps us to meet our main objective; however, getting books into the students’ homes greatly assists us as educators. We can force feed students to read at school and a program that brings books into the home empowers our students and engages them more because they will participate in more reading for pleasure. Research stresses the more a child reads, the more proficient that child becomes. Because the child selects and owns their book, they will want to read more. Furthermore, parental involvement in the program (the child reads at home) will reinforce the positive model for the successful cognitive development of the child. Our students will become our vision and mission statement: life long learners.

2. Would your site be able to raise enough money to run the proposed RIF program without funding from RIF in Chicago?

The quick response is no only because the school’s budget is stretched in so many directions. Our present budget projections show that we may have to layoff a few teachers or utilize our discretionary funds to purchase them back.

On the other hand, it is possible to raise fifteen hundred dollars over time through fund raising and other activities. This takes a lot of time and we probably would not be able to pay out the money in a timely fashion. We would not want to lose our opportunity to work with RIF during the 2007-2008 school year because of time and budget constraints.

3. If RIF in Chicago funding were made available, what percentage could your site raise?

This is a hard question because once again our budget is stretched to the limit and the projected budget for next year shows a drop of almost thirty thousand dollars. In order to maintain what we have, we will have to reach deep into our discretionary funds and these funds—at present—are being utilized to insure each student has their own textbooks, desks and other necessary materials to insure the success of our educational programs. In addition, teachers are purchasing more and more of the supplies needed for their classes—copier paper, for example.

4. Please describe your children and families in terms of their risk for school failure, special needs, home environments, and other applicable information.

_______ Elementary School is one-hundred percent African-American. Ninety-eight percent of our students qualify for the federal free lunch and breakfast program. The vast majority of our students live in apartments headed by a single parent, in most cases female. Even though the neighborhood is going through gentrification, it is still racked with high crime, prostitution and illicit drug trade. Our school has made strides in reading on standardized testing; however, the majority of the third and sixth grade still had to attend summer school in order to pass due to poor scores and/or poor grades. We have a small homeless population (about five percent of our enrollment) and another twenty percent of our students live with relatives.

5. Please describe your local population, employment rats, local industry, and any other applicable information.

The greater ________ educational community is made up of apartments and brand new condominiums. There are a few single family homes spread throughout the neighborhood. The area remains prominently African-American. Many of the households are run by a female. Furthermore, many of the rentals qualify for the federally funded Section 8 housing program. There are many vacant lots; however, there is also a lot of rehabilitation of property. The neighborhood is gentrifying. There is industry to the west of 44th and King Dr. (where the school is located) and the area is served by the Chicago Transit Authority’s Green Line. Downtown is five miles north. Ninety-eight percent of our students qualify for the federal free lunch program.

6. What challenges within the community prevent your site from raising enough money to operate RIF in Chicago without a scholarship?

Due to budget constraints, the entire budget of the school is set up to maintain at the present status quo and “bare nail” basic educational for our students. Nonetheless, in the upcoming school year, art will be removed from our curriculum because of a lack of money to compensate an art teacher. We will also lose our reading specialist: not enough money in the budget to maintain that project. We will also not be able to continue with the Joffrey Ballet Program or the University of Chicago Internet Project.

Fundraising will be utilized to pay for basic necessities (copier paper, for example).

7. What is your responsibility at your site?

I am the science chair for the upper grades. I teach reading and science to seventh graders. I am also the Teachers’ Union delegate, the chair of the Least Restricted Environment Project, and one of the two teacher representatives on the Local School Council. With the funding of this scholarship, I will also chair the RIF in Chicago committee.


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