I grew up on Chicago’s North Shore in Highland Park. Our baby-boomer parents moved there “for the sake of the children.” Schools were considered excellent, though we had large class sizes. (The school’s classrooms now are considered too small!)
Enrollment is falling and the old schools — we had inkwells built into our desks — are falling apart. My old elementary school, now more than 100 years old, is scheduled to close, along with several other schools.
However, teacher performance, not seniority, will determine who’s laid off, reports the Highland Park News. (I wrote a teen column for the News when I was in high school.)
As a first step in determining the sequence of dismissals, teachers are grouped by their areas of certification, or the positions they are qualified to teach. Once teachers are grouped by credentials, they are further grouped according to their evaluation ratings of excellent, proficient, needs improvement or unsatisfactory.
Group 1, or those teachers first to be laid off, are mostly first-year, non-tenured teachers who have yet to be evaluated as well as any part-time teachers.
Under a 2011 state law, the district will consider seniority “when all other things are equal.”