Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Science Center Visit, Principal Search

Parents will soon learn of an opportunity to visit Liberty Science Center in October with their children for a night set aside just for Plainfield.

Ten school buses will transport parents and children for the free evening visit on Oct. 17 to provide a “bonding experience with science” that will “open new visions of what science holds.” Fliers will soon be sent out with details.

At Tuesday’s work and study session of the Board of Education, Interim Schools Superintendent Peter Carter spoke of the exciting new offerings at the revamped science center, but also expressed some misgivings about the bus contract award for the trip. Carter said the plans were made “pre-6/11,” his code for the period before he took over in June after the resignation of former Superintendent Paula Howard.

Carter said he would have pulled the bus contract, “if not for the children.”

“I’m very concerned about the bid process here,” he said. “I’m nervous here.”

The concern was just one of many since the “post-6/11” team of Carter, Interim School Business Administrator/Board Secretary Michael Donow and Interim Assistant Schools Superintendent Walter Rusak took office in June. Since then, Rusak has also been named Interim principal at Plainfield High School. Soon after Carter arrived, the district received a harsh state monitoring report based on team visits in early 2007. Carter and his team have corrected some of the faults, such as uncertified personnel in top jobs, and are working on others.

Carter explained Tuesday that a search for a new high school principal is underway. He said 25 people have expressed interest in the job. The applications were put in alphabetical order for a seven-member team to review, using a rating sheet. From that, perhaps 10 to 12 candidates will emerge for further review by a “blue-ribbon” group consisting of community members, administrators and others to produce a pool of five that will be winnowed in chats with Carter and school board members to two or three finalists.

More thought will then go into selecting a principal for what Carter called the “flagship” of the district, its high school where he said 1,600 young people will be educated.

In a report on the opening of school, Carter said the first day on Sept. 6 brought 4,500 children. By Sept. 7, the number was 5,424 and on Sept. 10, the number was 5,785.

According to past records, the district had 6,637 students enrolled in June 2007 and 7,121 in June 2006. In May 2005, the number was 7,466.

There was no discussion of the changes Tuesday or ramifications for the district.

The school board’s business meeting will be 7 p.m. Sept. 18 in the Plainfield High School Library, 950 Park Ave. Visit the district web site for more details.


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