Chicago’s division lead for particular training, Stephanie Jones, is out


Stephanie Jones, the chief of Chicago Public Colleges’ particular training division, left the district on Friday, amid criticism for her function within the district’s failure to repair violations involving using bodily restraint and timeout on college students. 

Jones’ management has confronted scrutiny from the district’s lecturers union, mother and father, and  advocates for college kids with disabilities over issues about excessive employees turnover on her workforce, restoration companies for college kids through the COVID-19 pandemic, and different points. 

The Chicago Academics Union’s governing physique handed a vote of no confidence in Jones in late Could and referred to as on the district to fireside her for “dismal failures to guard the district’s most susceptible college students, continued violation of particular training legal guidelines and the creation of a poisonous office.”

Chicago named Richard Smith as interim chief whereas the district conducts a nationwide seek for a brand new division lead, based on a spokesperson for Chicago Public Colleges. Smith is a former CPS faculty principal, chief community officer, and chief officer for the Workplace of Particular Training and Helps (now often called the Workplace of Various Learner Helps and Companies). 

This week, Chalkbeat Chicago reported that Chicago Public Colleges is below watch by the Illinois State Board of Training as a result of the district has been violating state legal guidelines governing using restraint and timeout in lecture rooms. 

In a letter dated April 18, the state board cited Jones for not correctly fulfilling her function because the designated official answerable for restraint and timeout insurance policies and incidents. The official is meant to keep up a duplicate of data, be notified of each incident by the top of the varsity day on which it occurred, and obtain documentation or any analysis of any incident that exceeds quarter-hour of bodily restraint or half-hour for timeout. 

Jones advised the state board on Dec. 23, 2022 that she had delegated the duty to a different particular person on her workforce however that particular person left in March 2023. With out anybody monitoring restraint and timeout incidents throughout the town’s public faculties, the state stated the district was not in compliance with state regulation. 

“We sincerely thank Dr. Jones for her dedication to serving college students in Chicago with numerous studying wants, and we want her nicely in her future endeavors,” a spokesperson for Chicago stated in a press release on Friday. 

Earlier within the week, at a Wednesday press convention, CEO Pedro Martinez stated in response to a query concerning the state’s restraint and timeout issues that enhancing companies for college kids with disabilities is a prime precedence for his administration. He vowed that the district will meet all state necessities round coaching and compliance with restraint guidelines earlier than the beginning of the varsity yr in August.

He famous that the district is growing funding for incapacity companies by $100 million within the subsequent faculty yr’s price range and stated faculties will employees extra lecturers and aides working with college students with disabilities.  

“That is an space that has been a problem in our district for the final twenty years,” he stated. “However we’re going to repair it.”

On the Wednesday occasion, Martinez sidestepped a query about who shall be held accountable for the restraint points.

In latest months, Jones has emerged as a candidate for management jobs in different districts, together with Kalamazoo Public Colleges in Michigan, the place she was named finalist for the superintendent place. One other candidate was chosen for that function.

Mila Koumpilova is Chalkbeat Chicago’s senior reporter overlaying Chicago Public Colleges. Contact Mila at mkoumpilova@chalkbeat.org.

Samantha Smylie is the state training reporter for Chalkbeat Chicago, overlaying faculty districts throughout the state, laws, particular training, and the state board of training. Contact Samantha at ssmylie@chalkbeat.org.



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