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Lake View High School Skips Teacher Surveys on New Principal's Performance

By Ariel Cheung | March 24, 2015 5:38am
 Lake View High School Principal Scott Grens at an LSC meeting.
Lake View High School Principal Scott Grens at an LSC meeting.
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DNAinfo/Erica Demarest

LAKEVIEW — As the first year of Principal Scott Grens' reign at Lake View High School draws to an end, the Local School Council opted to skip teacher surveys that caused a stir last year.

Instead, staff members will have an opportunity to voice their opinions at the April 30 meeting of the council, the council decided Thursday. The feedback portion of the meeting will be closed, and Grens — who serves on the council — will not be present. If necessary, the council said it might move the review portion of the April 30 meeting to a separate April 21 meeting.

The council is not required to get staff feedback and decided to not build the surveys into the process this year, said LSC Chairman Monte Luzadder. The council is required to submit its evaluation by May 1.

Grens said Thursday his midyear feedback was "confidential, but constructive" and that the council members "recognize my passion in the building."

Grens was offered the top job at Lake View in July after serving as interim principal after the abrupt departure of his predecessor, Lilith Werner, in April. Before that, he was an English teacher at the high school.

Some teachers unhappy with Werner's performance as principal sent anonymous letters last year to reporters and public officials alleging she instilled a culture of paranoia and intimidation at the school. Soon after, Werner complained when multiple staff surveys went missing and called for tighter controls on the review process.

The LSC also discussed ways to encourage parent participation in the "My Voice, My School" survey, which is open to parents April 1-30. Council members discussed hosting a raffle or asking parents to complete the surveys during report card pickup night as a way to drive results.

The school is hoping at least 50 percent of parents complete the survey, which evaluates culture and climate at CPS schools based on five essential factors: effective leaders, supportive environment, collaborative teachers, involved families and ambitious instruction.

In 2014, Lake View was rated "partially organized," with teacher collaboration and family involvement ranked lowest. The school improved in all but one area from 2013 to 2014.

The Lake View staff response rate for 2015 was 89 percent, a 20 percent leap from 2014. Eighty-five percent of students responded.

The Local School Council will meet again April 30.

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