“We weren’t teaching phonics consistently in the early grades”

Paul Fanlund:

For example? “If you’re looking for the simplest examples, we weren’t consistently teaching students the fundamentals of reading in the earliest grades. We weren’t teaching phonics consistently in the early grades, and then you wonder why students aren’t attaining the skills, the basic skills … the foundational skills of reading. We still have some more work to do in that area, but boy, we have come a long way.”

With her background in California schools before she held senior-level jobs in the gigantic Chicago school district, one wonders whether a successful 45-year-old administrator might find appeal in returning to lead a big urban district. When she was hired, Cheatham talked about being here for the long haul. She still does.

She says she is excited that her son, Theo, is starting elementary school at Crestwood this fall and adds: “I am more committed and invested than ever. Like I said, I think we had this foundation-building phase that we’re going to be bringing to a close and I’m really excited about what comes next. I think we’re poised to do so much and especially for students who need and deserve more, students of color in particular.

“When I signed up I told the board that I was walking in the door thinking that I was here for a good 10 years, or as long as you guys will keep me, and I serve the community, and so that commitment remains, so I’m not planning on going anywhere.”

Notes and links:

Plenty of resources“, now nearly $20k/student.

Madison’s long-term, disastrous reading results.

Jennifer Cheatham. Previous Superintendents.

A majority of the Madison school board rejected the proposed Madison preparatory IB charter school.