I have always believed that we are put in certain places, experiences, situations and even positions for a reason. Whatever the reasons or circumstances surrounding them might be, I know that if we let them, these moments provide us with the opportunity to learn, grow and become better individuals. The past three years as principal here at The Lane have done just that for me. I have been pushed, challenged and molded into a more seasoned and well-rounded principal and individual.
I have dedicated the past three years to advocating for, supporting and loving your kids. In July of 2012, we started a journey together that has continuously enhanced and improved our school and the overall experience of staff, kids and families at The Lane. Developing relationships with our amazing staff, your kids and your families, as well as the work we have accomplished in the past three years, has been one of the greatest honors of my life.
With all that said, it is with extremely mixed emotions I share that this will be my final year as Principal at The Lane. I have poured both heart and soul into my responsibilities as your leader and will remain forever changed by the relationships created, storms weathered and most importantly the privilege of serving your kids. My decision to venture forth was not easily reached. However, after much thought and many prayers, I am excited and optimistic about the opportunity to continue my service to a profession I am extremely passionate about, as a Principal of another elementary school in the western suburbs of Chicago.
My cup runneth over when I think of how this community has so warmly embraced and supported me. I know you will embrace my successor with that same kindness and support as a new chapter is written in the story of The Lane!
With your support and the immense talents of the teachers and staff, I am confident that The Lane will continue to be known as “the best school in town.”
With Sincerest Gratitude,
Mr. Casey Godfrey
The Lane School
2011 United States Department of Education
Blue Ribbon School
Mr. Godfrey's departure is a huge loss for our district. His new school is very lucky. Maybe we should consider moving there.
I agree 8:54. Huge loss. I think moving is not a bad idea.
Does it seem like anyone who doesn't go along with the plan seems to be pushed out? It's a shame The Lane Principal is leaving. Seemed like someone who was willing to ask tough questions instead of being a follower. Isn't that what we want our kids to be like?
Casey was an incredible asset not only to the Lane, but to the whole district. He was always willing to stand up for what was best for our students without compromising their educations. He helped educate teachers and parents by modeling compassion, kindness, and knowledge. And when something was clearly wrong, he wasn't afraid to correct it. For example, my child's needs had been ignored for years at the Lane by the former PPS administrator. When I politely challenged their decisions with reports and data, the former (not current) PPS administrator just stared blankly at me and shook her head. In an instant, Mr. Godfrey came to the aid of my child and explained what various outside professions reports had explained to me: that my child did need and deserve some assistance. One wouldn't think that a teacher or administrator standing up for his students would be a rarity, but in all of my years at 181, let me assure you it is. Rare is the administrator and teacher who attempts to balance their own needs with the needs of their students. But even more scarce is the staff member who puts a child's needs before his own. This is why Casey routinely did for our kids.
Casey's help didn't cost any extra money, or take services away from any other child. What he did was supported by the law, and real experts - experienced pediatric neuropsychologists and educational research. This bit of support for my child resulted in growth that could not have been achieved by a private tutor. It had to be a change within the classroom. Not only did my child's confidence and happiness return, the teacher learned a new technique, andY child's test scores went up. In turn, this boosted our entire school. Casey earned my heartfelt thanks and dedication to volunteer and help the children of our district more than I ever had in the past. His act of kindness begat more acts of kindness.
I would like to sincerely thank all of the BOE members who spoke up last night in favor of differentiating and supporting our children according to our children's needs, not just the whims and demands of an administrator. I also thank the parents who stood up and eloquently gave examples of their children's experiences in school the last few years. As the saying goes, if we don't look at history we are bound to repeat the same mistakes. The complacency and blind support of the BOE and many parents these last 3 years has been to the detriment of our children. I applaud Jill, Rich, Jennifer, Leslie, and Mridu for their support of our children at the May 19 board meeting last night. You were all respectful and extremely kind to some in my opinion, do not deserve kindness. Kudos to you all for showing it in spite of the lack of respect shown to our children and parents for the last 3 years.
Mr. Casey Godfrey will be missed, but he was right to move on. He truly deserves to be treated with more respect and honor than the administration was giving him in D181. We will miss you Casey, but you deserve the best.
Casey is #1!
P.S.: From this point on, I am rooting for the Cardinals.
I am sure this will not go over well with some people, but I think the reason Mr. Godfrey is leaving is multi-faceted, and cannot be blamed solely on the lack of support of the administration. It is no secret that at the moment the atmosphere in D181 is contentious, and I am not surprised that some people would choose an alternative if given one.
Name calling and personal attacks occur more frequently than in most equivalent districts. Debating the issues is one thing, assigning malicious motives and attacking personalities is another. If we want to be a district that attracts excellent teachers, excellent principals and excellent administrators, we need to be seen as a group of residents that argues constructively and is supportive as well. This does not mean we blindly follow the administration, but it also means we remember that everyone is doing their best for the students and the district, even if their preferred method of achieving that is different than our own.
There are alternatives to D181, and I would ask everyone to remember that in addition to judging the employees, the employees are judging us. So even if you do not agree with much or any of the above, I would kindly request that a respectful, constructive tone is maintained and personal attacks and the questioning of motives are kept out of the discussion. Even if you feel that every current member of the administration should be replaced, it will be harder to find good people to replace them unless and until the atmosphere changes.
4:26: You have absolutely no idea why the Lane Principal is leaving. Some in the community do and yes, it can be blamed solely on the administration.
To the 4:26 poster:
You are correct on only one point; your comment did not go over well after the chaos and turmoil my family has had to deal with during the past three years in this district. Given your idealistic stance on the "multi-faceted" reasons why you believe the Lane Principal is leaving, I can only conclude you have no children in the district or your children have not yet been affected by the dramatic changes the rest of us have been subjected to under the "leadership" of the past and current administration. I'm grateful the BOE finally expressed concern about the math grouping and it now will be addressed. This is long overdue. Reading and LA also need to be examined. But the person in charge of teaching and learning has no background to do so. No qualifications other than in special education. And this is acceptable to you? It wouldn't be in any other district or a place of business. I don't for one minute believe the superintendent and his assistant are "trying to do their best for the students." Their agenda from day one has been personal. Other districts might not have the negativity and the name calling you describe, but they are not in the throws of a social justice inclusive experiment.
Read the previous posts on this blog detailing what has been going on in this district so you can get your head out of the clouds and get your facts straight.
“I am very excited about joining the Lincoln Elementary School family,” said Godfrey. “It is clear that River Forest District 90 and the parents and staff at Lincoln share my views about academic excellence and the importance of nurturing the whole child. I am looking forward to getting started and learning as much as possible about the Lincoln School community.” - See more at: http://www.rfcommunitymatters.com/2015/05/19/casey-godfrey-named-lincoln-schools-new-principal/#sthash.GgbKO68l.CWcWOGRk.dpuf
Well said 9:54
And 4:26, you can rest assured that Mr. Godfrey left because of the administration. If he thought the adminsitration was doing what was best for the students, he would still be here. And that's a fact.
4:26, you are clearly a major player in the contention of D181 that has led to the exodus of qualified adminstrators. The only thing you said that makes sense is that the problem is multifaced. Yes, there are multiple people that really need to be kicked out of this district. Everywhere I go, they appear in a new department and with a new job title. Multifacted, indead. About as multifaceted as a poor quality cubic zirconia. Too bad tapayers are all paying for what they thought were real diamonds.
As far as a lack of support, I would say it is far more than a simple lack of support. It is the adminstration's antagonism and intolerance of the ideas of other administrators and parents that is contributing to the uncollegial, toxic admosphere.
I am not sure where you got your data that name calling and personal attacks are worse here than in other districts, though. Is there a chart that you can direct us to? Better yet, why not just have a TA substitute data from one study and claim that it's actual research data supporting your claims? I have heard that one of our administratprs excels at this.
Finally, just because someone says they are doing their best for our children does not make their work product acceptable. Sometimes someone's best is unsatisfactory. If our children can recieve F's for effort and work product, then the adults in charge of them should too.
If I could replace every single adminstrator in the department of learning, I would. In fact, I think that is a fabulous idea. In their places, we should hire one person who is actually qualified and has some previous experience in their position. You can check for yourself, but there will be hundreds of applications - and almost all of them will not only be better than those we have, they would immediately contribute to a more positive change in the atmosphere.
1. Stating that someone else cannot know what they are talking about even though you do not have any idea of who they are, who they know, who they have relationships with and who they have talked to (6:50).
2. If someone has a different opinion than you they could not possibly have kids in the school or be impacted as thinking different than you is not possible otherwise. If someone does not agree with you they must have their head in the clouds and have not read previous posts. As again, there is only one way to think if they have. (9:54)
3. Opinions stated as fact (10:14).
And again, much assuming of motives and the ability to read people's minds. So message received, at least from those who responded. Nobody wishes to engage in a discussion on how tone and demeanor can have an impact on the atmosphere of a district and the ability to attract and keep good people. I would just suggest you ask all the administrators you know and trust how they feel on the subject. I have spoken to many over my many years in the district and I can tell you that it does have a significant impact, in my opinion and theirs.
Part 1: 4:26 and 12:54: It is not that I or others don't want to engage in a discussion about tone and demeanor and the impact it might have on the administrators. It is possible that the negative tone and demeanor of some very upset parents is not appreciated by the administration. HOWEVER, if you want to talk about negativity, you need to first start by talking about the negative impact on our students that has hit them hard over the last three years due to the social justice experiment. Parents are understandably upset. You state you have spoken to many adminsitrators over the MANY years you have been in the district. Have you personally had kids go through the system the way it used to be -- ability groups, tiers -- and the way it now is being implemented -- heterogenous, inclusive, integrated services all in one classroom model that most schools (excluding The Lane have implemented? I can personally state that I have lived in the district over 15 years and had 4 children go through the district. 2 were extremely well prepared for Hinsdale Central and 2 will not be. My 2 youngest, currently in the district, have not had the same level of instruction to meet their ADVANCED needs (yes, I admit my kids have all qualified without OPT ins) for the higher level programs). THe reason for that is plain and simple, it is because the ADMINISTRATION, run by the Special Education "expert," social justice advocate, has changed the way the curriculum is taught to students of differing academic ability. Rather than fix a broken identification model to properly AND flexibly place students into the advanced and accelerated tiers, the entire instructional model was changed. THose who have suffered the most are at the bottom end of the spectrum (when he forced the acceleration for all model on them) and those at the top (who have not been sufficiently challenged, as the teachers have watered down their curriculum). Now he is going full circle and to stop the watering down effect, he wanted to dumb everything down for everyone and only allow a select group of "unique learners," (god forbid we use the word gifted, so they have come up with another word) to be accelerated. As a parent of four, the administration has not provided BEST practice research or DATA to support such huge swings in the pendulum. So yes, I am ANGRY at the administration. I am ANGRY at the Dept. of Learning. I am ANGRY at Kurt Schneider, Dawn Benaitis and Sean Walsh, and before them, Kevin Russell. And before Kevin Russel, Janet Stutz who in my opinion, ruined the identification process for properly placing kids into the advanced and accelerated tiers. So YES, I have a NEGATIVE tone against the administrators. (to be continued)
Part 2: I don't want MY children, or anyone else's to feel the long term NEGATIVE impact that awaits them when they get to high school. I TOO have spoken to D181 administrators over the last 15 years and the reality is that while some have bought into the social justice stuff, most of the administrators I have spoken to DO NOT. THey do not think the social justice model is appropriate for our community's demographic.
So, my bottom line is that I want Kurt Schneider to pack up and leave D181. Will he go voluntarily? Probably not, since in my opinion, he is overpaid and is not going to get paid the same inflated salary elsewhere. But if you want to talk about negative tone, you need to also look at HIS tone and, in my opinion, his blatant disrespect for the BOE. I listened to the podcast of Monday's meeting and couldn't believe he stated he couldn't support the direction the board majority wanted -- to reinstate flexible ability groupings across elementary grade levels in math for the next school year. He is not a curriculum expert, not a gifted/advanced learning/unique learning expert. No matter what you might want to believe, simply working in D181 for 3 years and leapfrogging into the position of Asst. Sup. of Learning doesn't automatically turn you into a good curriculum leader. (to be continued)My opinion, as a parent of four, is that he our district is worse off now than it ever was when the identification system to place into the different academic tiers was broken. Dr. Moon, a REAL expert in advanced learning, said the identification process needed to be fixed. NO ONE in our district at that time was qualified to figure out how to fix it. So they threw the baby out with the bath water and tried to experiment with our children to either treat everyone as gifted (which failed miserably) or now attempted to swing to the opposite extreme. I want to thank the five board members who put a stop to the pendulum swinging back and forth, back and forth, at least as to elementary math. Now the administration is essentially back to square one and needs to fix the identification process, to ensure that there is FLEXIBLE, ability grouping across grade level for math. Unfortunately, (AND YES, I am being negative) I don't believe ANYONE left in central office has the qualifications, skill set, experience to know how to do this. God help our children......
Angry parents are the symptom of the problem, but not the problem itself.
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