By Terry Dean
Whittier School, one of the eight elementary schools in Oak Park District 97, is looking for a new principal as current administrator Carol Young is set to retire in June. Young is retiring after more than 25 years in D97, including stints as principal of two district schools — Mann and Whittier.
Chris Jasculca, D97's director of policy, planning and communication, said Whittier's principal job has been posted, with the goal of bringing forth a candidate by April or early May. Young has more than 30 years in education.
At just over 400 kids, Whittier is among D97's smallest schools but also among its most touted. As an instructor and teacher leader, Young helped expand the school's multi-age classrooms.
She taught at Whittier for 12 years, then became the interim and later full-time principal at Mann in 2002. In '06, she applied for and was hired as Whittier's full-time principal. Young began there as a special education teacher in 1986 and stayed until 1999. Prior to D97, she spent six years in Maywood School District 89.
D97, teaching assistants reach contract agreement
The Oak Park Teaching Assistants Association (OPTAA) has reached a new three-year contract with D97. Approved on Feb. 25, by the school board, the deal runs through the 2015-2016 school year and includes the elimination of steps and lanes, two salary compensation mechanisms that have long been included in teacher contracts.
Such a switch could foreshadow changes in the next faculty contract currently in negotiation between the board and Oak Park Teachers Association (OPTA).
The OPTAA deal includes wage increases of 2.1 percent for the 2014 and 2015 school years, and the implementation of an annual evaluation process for all TAs. The deal calls for the creation of "two primary career pay levels with advancement between them," based on receiving "excellent performance ratings" while working in D97, as well as completing a designated number of professional development hours.
In a joint statement released last week by the board and union, both sides acknowledged the effort involved in reaching the agreement.
"We are grateful for the hard work put forth by everyone involved in this important endeavor and appreciate the mutual respect that was exhibited by both side throughout the negotiating process," the statement read.
OPRF District 200 is also currently in negotiations with their faculty union on a new contract.