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The race for City Hall

Jobs and schools promise to be top issues in next year’s city elections. The mayor’s education agenda faces its toughest test in the African-American communities that gave him strong support in 2011.

For the Record: Network offices

CPS officials announced Tuesday that they are cutting the number of networks, the mid-level administrative units that work directly with schools. Nearly every administration has reorganized these offices at least once.

The new networks will include elementary and high schools in a given geographic area. In the past, high schools and elementary schools were in separate networks or areas. District officials said they are making this move in order to foster more “coherent, continuous delivery of instruction for students.”

The move also will save money. Instead of 19 offices with about 16 employees each, the district will have 13 offices and will end up eliminating 79 jobs.

Schools run by the Academy for Urban School Leadership, military schools and alternative schools will not be part of networks.

The structure and duties of these area units has shifted significantly over the years. In the 1970s, the district had 27 sub-districts. In cost-cutting moves over the following two decades, the number was cut to 23, then to 11.

Under former  CEO Paul Vallas, the units were called regions and the number reduced to six.

In 2002, Arne Duncan, who had just been named CEO, created 24 area offices and called their leaders instructional officers. His successor, Ron Huberman, reshuffled the offices yet again, creating more for high schools and fewer for elementary schools. The leaders were dubbed “chief area officers.”

Huberman beefed up the offices to reflect his commitment to move resources away from central office and closer to schools, and added staff to help schools with performance management and data analysis.

Under Jean-Claude Brizard, the area units were renamed yet again, becoming networks and sharing a support center that was supposed to provide access to central services such as facilities management, operations, and technology and compliance personnel.

The reorganization was in line with Brizard's embrace of the idea that schools should have the autonomy to "buy" the services they need.

It remains to be seen how the new reorganization under CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett will make a significant impact on school improvement. 

10.30.13_network_realignment.pdf139.72 KB


Bob Munoz wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago


It is about time money is save through the middleman Networks. Are not needed to do nothing.

The Retired Principal (RP) wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Network Changes

Does anyone know which network chiefs will be let go?

northside wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago


I'm under the impression networks support principals but not teachers. I've yet to.shake one area officers hand nor hear.the sound of their voice....

Sarah Hainds wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

New network maps?

Does anyone know when the maps will be made available to the public? There are 30 "geographic areas" so I'm curious how these 19 networks will be organized. Can we then use them to figure out what CPS considers are the feeder elementary schools for each high school? Why don't the selective enrollment high schools get their own network, like AUSL, the charters and the military schools do? As usual, CPS' press release doesn't explain much. I'm really interested in understanding how this new configuration will help support every neighborhood school, not just how it will save the central office a little bit of money.

former admin wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

There's the rub, support may be for Rahm as network maps

could be tied to alderman and state representative areas.
2 principals in 2 new networks stated that their feeder high schools (for decades) is NOT a part of their new network structure. Other high schools are and they are very much further way.
Interesting times these.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

We will miss our Chief

Most of Midway is losing the best Chief. He actually worked with teachers through an impressive initiative of teacher leaders. His new schools are lucky to have him.

former admin wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

you are about one quarter correct

there were smiles from teachers and admins when revealed he would move his negative reputation will preceed him

Midway Teacher wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Not at our school

@ Former Admin. You sound like one of the negaholics he referred to. You can't even write a proper sentence. At our school there were tears of sadness. He inspired me to pursue National Board Certification.

Midway Administrator wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Great Leader

My school will never be the same because of his inspiring leadership. He will be missed. I love my school, but would follow him if I had the opportunity. He does it right.

Another Midway Administrator wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I agree

Hands down, the best leader. In one year I learned more from him about instruction than I have in the past few years. I would also follow this chief in a heartbeat.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago


I think you must define this word....many teachers complain....but we also can't be living in a dream world either. people come to this board to question cps....I think it is healthy..just because you were lucky to have a good principal and a good area officer doesn't mean the same holds true for everyone. many fear speaking to their principals under fear of "sedition"...also relax on the "grammar police" thing!

An Observer wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Grammar Police

Actually - noting the grammar for the comment is important. It is the same writing style as the person who defended the Stevenson principal in earlier posts. That is an important detail because it informs more about the comment. Be careful "former admin" you are starting to reveal your true identity.

KKK - be cautious what you wish for, it might get worse. The new chief is a hand picked BBB cronie. Fall is not a comin' - it is already here.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago


Does it matter what they are called. I watched this change over my 12 years. Before anything could have any effect someone new comes in and redefines and re-labels everything. When I refer to these people I say, area, cluster, I mean network person...CPS changes too many things too often. Leave something the same for a little while. How about following the research that says try things for 3 to 5 years before scrapping them.

Yet Another Midway Leader wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Midway Chief Effective & Empowering

The Midway Network Chief was unconventional, but very effective. Our teachers and admins finally felt empowered. I can't say the same about the last few AIOs/CAOs. I'll admit there were some who didn't care for him personally, but his PD for admins, teacher leaders and ILTs was the best in the district. I have admin friends in two other Networks. WE WERE LUCKY. Now we'll have a chief who knows nothing about Chicago or CPS. Better pray it's not the “In Texas we did it this way..." experience all over again. Way to go CPS! Take apart something that was actually working.

former admin wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

ha ha ha-wrong--glad im retired

i can write how i please shame on you for associating anyone in our public schools with the klan one can guess who you are too

teacher teacher wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

What is so wrong with giving a person a chance?

Give the new officer a chance. Lots of anger out there.

More from Midway wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Inspirational Chief

Preach! I eventually learned to look forward to the monthly meetings, unlike a few others. I knew I would leave the PD a smarter school leader. Honestly, those few complainers would dislike any supervisor. This chief encouraged and empowered us to become true instructional leaders. I also have friends in other networks. They didn't have the same experience. I'm going to miss him. My MNTLS are unhappy. My ILT wants to know why. Why CPS?

Pissed Off Principal wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Political Power Grab

I envy you. I wish I was retired. This reorganization is a political shell game. Nothing more. If CPS really wanted to save money, they wouldn't be spending tens of millions forcing principals to go to the worthless SUPES Academy sponsored CELA nonsense on Saturdays. As for Midway Chief, he is smart & fair. I too have friends around the district. There are some real horror stories out there.

Still Midway Admin. wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Only Midway Cares?

Everyone knows who KK is in Midway. I also learned a great deal from the Chief. Love him or hate him, he knows his stuff. We will miss his leadership as I felt he always supported students and staff.

retired principal II wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Then who are you?

What are your initials?

Anonymous wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Crisis mode+micro managed=no school improvement

Twice in my educational career I have experienced a District run in crisis mode to deflect what isn't happening-school improvement to better serve our students! Now, once again I get to experience the same thing-but on a scale greater than anyone could ever imagine. BBB and Emmanuel have managed to change the plane once again, better known as CPS, but now without a plan, the plane has become a speed boat-soon to crash and burn at the expense of the children, parents, and CPS staff.

The latest shell game of changing the configuration from 19 divisions, down to 13 divisions, so no comparisons can be drawn is just the latest scam from someone who has already destroyed two other urban Districts. No real professional development with a focused area of instruction, common core understanding for educational shifts, has occurred in the past three years.

I thought I would never say that Huberman had anything of value to give to CPS, but quite frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing his focus back!

Time for a new mayor that truly cares about urban students and parents. We are heading for national news once again, as one of the poorest examples of urban education. When PARCC assessments arrive in 2015, don't be surprised that CPS is near the bottom of urban Districts because of it's failure to provide the necessary tools to prepare the teachers and administrators for this daunting task.

Duncan and Eson-Watkins, Vallas, - please channel some of your knowledge and expertise back to Chicago-we need you!

Anonymous wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago


Why is it the schools of what was Area 11 and currently Midway seem to be the most critical about who their CAO or Chief is? What's clear is the pattern of whining from certain school leaders. No supervisor or boss is perfect and it seems these principals take on the unrealistic and immature notion that one day they will have no supervisor or one that will leave them alone 100% of the time. They're no different from negaholic teachers that complain about everything. In many cases they are far worse because a teacher can negatively affect 30 students but a principal affects 30 teachers and hundreds of students. Now that the schools are divided between two new Networks we'll see which group is the most negative.

It's ironic the "retired principals" are commenting on this post because we've all heard stories about how some former principals from Area 11 and Midway were bullies in their own schools. We could name names and drag them through the mud like they are doing, but we try to maintain a certain level of professionalism that they never had. Enjoy your pensions, ladies!

Midway Champion wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Brilliant Chief

I agree. It's important to note that the majority of the comments reflect how much the Chief is valued and respected in Midway. My teachers are sad that he's leaving. When has that ever happened?

I would rather join Network 8 than continue with some of the negative and bitter leaders. We all know who they are.

An Observer wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago


Retired Principal II has copied and pasted the comment from Substance News, originally written by the "reporter" George Schmidt. Keep reading that "journalism" ladies. I read it for the entertainment. It's usually a good laugh.

What has this world come to? Why tear down the chief that really cared about teachers and students? What do you gain? Who are you trying to convince? How can you possibly know about his work if you are retired? Are you getting second hand information from your friends?

Karma wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Network changes are not a joke

The comments made by George Schmidt are no joke. He is dead on the mark about Kirby. I am not familiar with the other individual.
He knows the history o f the school system and the players too.

Instead of denigrating another commenter, focus on the sordid mess that CPS is in. Many genuinely excellent educators , no matter their level have lost their careers due to politics, racial and age discrimination, years of experience, lies, purposely lowered ratings, power plays and all the other viciousness festering from top to bottom.

Perhaps if the chiefs and principals had stood up and together and said HEL L NO to massive layoffs and SUPES and per student budgeting etcetera there would be a chance for traditional schools. Instead, many were just so glad their jobs were not cut they went along with the madness.

And these are the educational leaders for students. HAH!

Anonymous wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

Karma makes a good point

Karma makes a good point about standing up together. So, what did Karma do to help get an elected Board?

Anonymous wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I'm beginning to believe the

I'm beginning to believe the ultra-union folks like George Schmidt and his followers want CPS to fail more than their detractors, just so they can say "I told you so". Sad, really. Sad.

Midway Administrator wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

I'm beginning to believe...

I have to echo the comments that the far right of the Union would love to see CPS fail, and nothing can make them happy short of it. There is always a bit of truth in what is said, but then builds fiction upon fact hoping it all sounds realistic because the reader will hold to the bit of fact. When they get what they want, that is then swept aside and the argument shifts to something else. Remember when the argument was that CPS would never be right without an educator as CEO. We now have a life-long educator as the CEO and the arguments just shift. Why can't we focus on the real issues, and there ARE real issues, then work together to solve them?

Democracy Now wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago
Karma wrote 1 year 10 weeks ago

bogus network chiefs - dig one for yourselves

I do not think the destruction of CPS is the dream of every commenter who points out some realities that are unquestionably negative.

The network chiefs should be looking for new jobs if they have any sense. No amount of kissing up is going to change the inevitable. They are going to work twice as hard for the same salary. If they are foul, they should remember when you dig a grave for someone else you better dig one for yourself as well. If the chief is a true educational leader, principals and teachers will recognize this and benefit from the collaboration.

The CT U is not free of blame either. How else does one explain that lame Teacher Quality Pool, the contract that did not really protect those that are counselors, social workers, psychogists, speech therapists etcetera, the large number of laid off teachers that are being ignored and the substitute system that excludes them from getting work?

An elected school board? CORE has spent more time on political and social activism then anything else. This is just part of what the Union should focus on. Who is going to follow an organization that will not address those who are laid off and losing their quality of life through no fault of their own? Who is going to be left Union dues with former members collecting unemployment? Those who were laid off got the credentials, did their jobs, went to Union meetings, voted, paid dues,went on strike all to get the dirty end of the stick and be ignored and forgotten.

Neither 3B having breakfast with Karen Lewis stop the massive layoffs nor her breakfast with the former mayor stop the broken promises and political shenanigans that we have seen.

Teachers and staff who remain are scared. They do not know from one day to the next how the pendulum is going to swing.

Keep it real and right. There are a lot of negative forces that are undermining what could still could be a great public school system.

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