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Jahn’s New Leadership Team Prepared to Move Mountains

By Patty Wetli | Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jahn Principal Stephanie Bloom (l) and director of literacy Stacy Bagan. Credit: Patty Wetli

There’s a new sheriff principal in town at Jahn World Language School, 3149 N. Wolcott Ave. Stephanie Bloom, who was selected by the Local School Council in June to replace the retiring Sulma Grigalunas, has wasted no time in assembling her leadership team and crafting a new vision for the elementary school.

Bloom, a former deputy chief of schools for CPS’ Fullerton Network, introduced her top-level staff to area residents at this week’s meeting of Hamlin Park Neighbors, just one signal that she plans to make good on her promise of increased outreach. “The school should be the heart of the community,” said Bloom.

Her primary goal is to create a model public school that builds a passion and joy for learning through rigorous, enriching and exciting instruction. “Every child enters as an individual,” she said. “We’ll embrace every learner, meet them where they are and lift them.”

When asked if her approach will be influenced by her previous tenure as principal of Suder Montessori Magnet School, Bloom responded that she intends to “bring in the best of all philosophies,” with the child at the center. One departure will be to move toward “briefer moments of instructions,” allowing students more time to practice what they’ve learned and ask questions.

“What we want for the students at Jahn should be what we want for our own children,” said Bloom, adding that her 17-month-old daughter “will go to Jahn.”

Griselda Flores, Jahn’s new assistant principal, outlined a number of plans developed over the summer, including the “healthy school” initiative, which encompasses everything from offering a salad bar at lunch to gardening to a school-wide morning “peace circle.” Classrooms now boast smart boards and libraries to offer increased resources to students.

To emphasize a core commitment to literacy, Stacy Bagan is on board as Jahn’s director of literacy. A proponent of differentiated instruction, Bagan will assess the reading level of each student and create a “leveled book room” with materials of varying difficulty. She’ll also introduce book clubs for fourth through eighth graders as a way for the school “to build community around reading.”

Counselor/case manager Patsy Murphy will focus much of her attention on Jahn’s middle school students, providing individual high school counseling not only for the children but educating their parents as well. Sixth-graders will receive a three-year plan that takes into account their interests and skills, said Murphy, who will use these plans to direct students toward the “best-fit high schools for them.”

Murphy left her previous job to follow Bloom to Jahn, energized by the opportunity to raise the school’s performance. “I’ve seen her move mountains,” she said of Bloom.

The Jahn community has heard this before, most recently from former assistant principal George Chipain, who was passed over for the top spot in favor of Bloom. Attendees at the Hamlin Park Neighbors meeting clearly wished the new principal well; it remains to be seen whether they trust her with their children.

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  • Robert J Carrillo

    Aside from the “peace circle”, the paragraph below is a complete and
    utter falsehood.
    —————————————————————————————————————-
    “Griselda Flores, Jahn’s new assistant principal, outlined a number of
    plans developed over the summer, including the “healthy school”
    initiative, which encompasses everything from offering a salad bar at
    lunch to gardening to a school-wide morning “peace circle.” Classrooms
    now boast smart boards and libraries to offer increased resources to
    students.”
    —————————————————————————————————————-
    1.
    The “healthy school” initiative was initiated and implemented by former
    principal Grigalunas with help from Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical
    Center.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymXKhFQcldA

    2.
    The gardening activities at Jahn were started by a Jahn teacher six
    years ago. This teacher spent a lot of personal time and money so that
    more kids could be involved.

    3. Former principal Grigalunas is
    the one responsible for the school having smart boards and they have
    been there for at least three years, maybe four.

    4. Former
    principal Grigalunas required that all teachers develop classroom
    libraries at Jahn. These libraries have been in place for more than five
    years.

    Ms Bloom is an extremely controlling and dictatorial
    person. That her assistant principal fabricated these falsehoods of her
    own volition without Ms Bloom’s knowledge is completely implausible. As
    has been said before, Bloom wasted no time in creating a negative and
    belittling dynamic with the staff and teachers at Jahn. I’m not sure
    what she intends to accomplish by undermining the best efforts of Jahn’s
    teachers but ultimately the students will be the ones who suffer.

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