Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: April 16 – April 22, 2022

Results from Noble Schools’ 2022 Family Experience Survey

By The Noble Schools

“The Family Experience Survey aims to consistently elevate the parent and family voice. As we continue to become an antiracist organization, we must integrate the voice of Noble families into our work. The data in this document is for all Noble Schools. Campus-specific data will be shared in Parent & Guardian Advisory Council (PAC) meetings throughout the Spring. Here, we outline what we heard from our families across all of our schools about how we are executing our shared mission and values.”


Local School Council elections happening this week at 500 CPS schools: Born of reform, some now struggle to attract candidates

By Tracy Swartz for The Chicago Tribune 

“Joann Podkul won a spot as a teacher representative of Bowen High School in the first Local School Council elections Chicago Public Schools held in 1989. Podkul retired from teaching years ago, but she is back as an LSC candidate. She’s vying to fill one of two community representative positions on the council at Douglas Taylor Elementary School, where she was a student during World War II. “I want to be supportive because this is a phenomenal community,” Podkul said of the Southeast Side. Podkul is among 6,100 people who declared their candidacies across 500 CPS schools. Elementary school elections are scheduled for Wednesday, with high school elections set for Thursday. Some schools attracted twice as many applicants for the parent and community representative spots on the council, setting the stage for competitive showdowns. Several other schools, meanwhile, failed to recruit more than a couple of parents for these responsibilities, which include approving the school’s budget and retaining or dismissing the principal. CPS even extended the application deadline by five days to stir more interest in the 6,200 open LSC positions. Now the district is hoping for good voter turnout.”


CPS announces expansion of free, full-day pre-K

By Chip Brewster, Sean Lewis for WGNTV

“ Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Department of Family Support and Services (DFSS) announced an expansion of their free, full-day Pre-K education for all 4-year-olds in the City of Chicago. The immediate expansion allows all parents in Chicago to register their 4-year-olds for preschool. The application window opened at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 19 via the Chicago Early Learning website.”


Chicago hopes new portal will boost preschool enrollment — despite first-day glitches

By Mila Koumpilova for Chalkbeat

“Chicago Public Schools kicked off its pre-kindergarten enrollment season Tuesday with a new application portal — and as steep pandemic-era enrollment losses brought a net loss of pre-K classrooms, hampering the district’s push toward universal preschool. But by late morning, the district’s portal, which displays a wider range of early learning opportunities for families, ran into technical difficulties, bringing applications to a standstill until late afternoon. Parents took to social media to voice frustration as the district said unexpectedly high demand sparked the malfunction and officials worked to resolve the issue with their vendor. District officials Tuesday morning touted the program’s “continued expansion” — with the addition of 29 classrooms at six schools, but numbers provided later at Chalkbeat’s request show a contraction: The district is also cutting 48 classrooms at 47 schools, for a net loss of 19 classrooms. The district stressed that all of the affected campuses will retain their preschool programs and could reopen shuttered classrooms in the fall if they fill each available seat and have at least 10 students on their waiting lists.”


Federal COVID-19 funds are helping low-income Illinois schools catch up, but for how long?

By Susie An for WBEZ Chicago

“Three of [seven buildings] will not have air conditioning this year because the equipment completely broke down,” said Jay Cunneen, financial consultant for Dolton District 149 and the former superintendent. “We ran it so long and hard to try to give fresh air to our students.” Dolton is one of Illinois’ chronically underfunded school districts, which means it must make difficult spending decisions at every turn. For years, the district said no to improvements that were not absolutely essential, such as replacing aging windows or installing a modern HVAC system. The pandemic prompted the injection of federal COVID-19 relief money — which has allowed districts across the state, including Dolton, to finally begin to catch up.”