Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: August 7 – August 13, 2021

Perspectives Charter Schools: How We Stayed Connected to Students and Families

By Stephen Todd for Perspectives Charter Schools

“My name is Stephen Todd and I serve as a managing principal and senior director at Perspectives Charter Schools, a network of open-enrollment public schools that serves approximately 1600 students in grades 6-12. Perspectives’ teachers and staff have done important and impactful work to support our students during the past school year and reengage students and families for the upcoming school year. I’d like to share the story of one of our 8th grade students.  This student stopped logging into class.  The school’s principal was concerned about the student and decided to see how she could support and conducted a home visit.  Imagine the student’s surprise in seeing her principal at the door!  The principal shared how much everyone missed seeing her in class, and the student began to cry.  She said remote learning was too hard; she had given up; she was too discouraged and defeated, too far behind.  The principal promised the student that she would do anything she could to help; she would log into class and assist and do whatever it took to help the student graduate.  This student, after this point, emailed her principal every single time she submitted an assignment.  She graduated with her class and was extremely happy she met her goals. This is just one story of many of how the Perspectives community rallied around its students and families, in many ways, to provide support over the past school year. Perspectives assigned each student a Navigator or mentor, to help them stay on track and adjust to the remote learning setting, and also provide vital social and emotional support. Our social workers conducted over 1400 sessions with students to support mental health, safety, and engaged learning. Our staff conducted over 400 home visits to support student engagement. These efforts culminated in 96% of our seniors graduated across our network.”


Noble Announces the Addition of Board Members

By The Noble Schools

“On June 3, 2021, we held our last quarterly board meeting of the school year in which members heard about the incredible work happening at our campuses. Over the past few years, Noble Schools has focused on ensuring our board matches the incredible diversity of our broader Noble Schools community.  Our governing body now consists of four parents of Noble students or alumni, 9 of 20 members identify as female, 10 of 20 members identify as people of color, and two members are alumni.   Our board continues to evolve and we are excited to announce the addition of three more members today.”


CPS is offering remote learning for students with medical needs. So far the district has received few applications.

By Tracy Swarz for The Chicago Tribune

“Hundreds of thousands of students are expected to return to Chicago Public Schools classrooms later this month, but Gabriel Morser won’t be one of them. The 12-year-old was recently accepted into CPS’ Virtual Academy, a new remote-learning program for students who are at higher risk of severe illness if they are exposed to the coronavirus. Gabriel has asthma and trouble wearing a mask for long periods of time, his mother said. CPS will welcome students back for in-person learning five days a week starting Aug. 30, with the Virtual Academy open only to children who qualify as medically fragile. A CPS spokesperson said the district identified about 3,000 students who may be eligible for the program, but it had only received about 150 applications as of early last week. CPS said half the 1,000 families it recently contacted indicated they planned to apply in the days and weeks ahead. The application deadline was pushed back from July 23 to Friday so CPS could expand its outreach. Applications received after Friday will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, according to the district.”


CPS plans weekly COVID-19 tests for all students and staff — but stops short of requiring them

By Nader Issa for The Chicago Sun-Times

“Chicago Public Schools officials plan to offer free weekly COVID-19 tests to every student and staff member next school year in hopes of better monitoring the prevalence of the virus in schools — but the district is not yet mandating testing. The latest safety measure comes as negotiations continue with the Chicago Teachers Union over the fall return to full-time in-person learning and as anxiety grows over the spread of the virus’ Delta variant and other mutations. Spokeswoman Emily Bolton confirmed the district doesn’t currently plan to make the tests mandatory. Parental consent will be required for students to be tested. The program will mirror a similar, albeit smaller, testing plan last spring, she said. Under that system, students and staff were assigned a date and time and told to go to a designated testing location inside the school building when it was their turn. The entire process was supposed to take about 15 minutes, according to the district.”