Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss – December 14th through December 20th

The Latest Elevate Chicago & Partner Blogs

Noble Class of 2020’s Impressive Early College Decisions

By The Noble Network of Charter Schools

‘’As college acceptances are beginning to be sent to seniors across the country, Noble seniors have an impressive number of acceptances and scholarships. Among the hundreds of early acceptances: nine Noble seniors have received Questbridge Scholarships, nine have received Posse Scholarships, and one has received a Golden Door Scholarship. These are among the most prestigious and competitive scholarships available to high school seniors heading to college.”

Ebonie Durham Announced As Winter 2020 Pahara-NextGen Fellow

By The Noble Network of Charter Schools

“A few weeks ago the Pahara Institute announced their Winter 2020 Pahara-NextGen Fellowship cohort. We are excited to share  that Ebonie Durham, Noble Network’s senior director of network operations was announced as one of this year’s fellows!…The Pahara Institute announced today the Winter 2020 Pahara-NextGen Fellowship cohort. These 23 leaders have been recognized for their outstanding leadership and the role they each play in shaping the future of equity and excellence in education. These 23 leaders have been recognized for their outstanding leadership and the role they each play in shaping the future of equity and excellence in education.”

Charter Chatter

‘I want to be that person that people can look up to’: West Side student gets full ride to Columbia 

By Yukare Nakayama for WLS

“At Chicago Bulls College Prep, Jaylen Starr is known as a legend in the halls and in the classroom. The high school senior got into his top school, Columbia University, on a full ride. His road to the Ivy League was an uphill battle. “I come from a community that’s plagued by violence, prostitution, drugs, a lot of stuff,” said Starr. He added, ” I’ve dealt with this stuff for years of my life and I’ve been able to navigate through life and become a successful black man and I want them to be inspired.”

Catalyst Maria soccer coach hailed as a champion

By The Greater Southwest News-Herald

“Catalyst Maria High School head soccer coach Jose Burgos has been named the first-ever winner of the Champion Coach Recognition Program–an awards program to recognize coaches putting positive coaching values into action within their teams and their communities. Burgos received a surprise visit at Catalyst Maria, 67th and California, from TrueSport Athlete Ambassador and three-time Olympic Javelin thrower Kara Winger. During the visit, Burgos was presented with the award and was recognized in front of student-athletes, school staff, fellow coaches and Burgos’ family.”

Common, Hebru Brantley host artistic ‘master classes’ in the city that inspires them

By Maudlyne Ihejirika for the Sun-Times

“It’s not every day you find two Chicago icons hanging out with a couple of hundred youths, rapping about the crafts that made them famous, drawing pictures with them and talking life possibilities. That was the scene as rapper/actor Common and artist Hebru Brantley teamed up for “Art of the City,” a day of master classes and artistic experiences for 200 inner-city youths held at the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art…The two were among participants there Thursday from Common Ground Foundation mentoring programs, along with students from other Chicago Public Schools — including Art In Motion, the newly opened South Shore charter backed by Common.”

Southtowners: Southland College Prep students score first place “three-peat” in speech tourneys

By The Chicago Tribune

“Members of Southland College Prep Charter High School’s Varsity Speech team have scored a first place “three-peat” in Illinois High School Association events this season. Bri’yon Watts and Isaiah Morton, scored their third first place this season in Dramatic Duet Acting at the Annual Noel in the O.L. tournament at Oak Lawn High School, Saturday, December 14.”

General Education News

Before Others Replicate Chicago’s Teacher Contract, Let’s See the Impact on Kids

By Josh Crosson for Chicago Unheard

“Chicago’s recent teacher contract negotiations drew national attention. Presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were eager to “kiss the ring” of the Chicago Teachers Union. Celebrities like John Cusack and Chance the Rapper also hastened to throw their support behind the union. The politics of the negotiations were much more complicated than these endorsements might suggest, given the politically-left leanings of the elected woman of color whose team bargained with the CTU. Nonetheless, states and school districts throughout the nation will undoubtedly consider the policies found in CTU’s newly-ratified contract. So, the answer to the most burning question still lingers: Beyond missing 11 days of instruction, how does the new contract impact Chicago’s children?”

Student who aced AP Spanish test surprised with full ride to UChicago

By Nader Issa for The Chicago Sun-Times

“Arturo Ballesteros got up for school Wednesday knowing it’d be a big day no matter what. Getting dressed, he decided to throw on his University of Chicago T-shirt for good luck — the Hyde Park school was going to let early applicants know by late afternoon whether they would be admitted or had to make other plans. Ready for whatever news was coming, Ballesteros went to school at Back of the Yards College Prep and midway through the morning walked over to the main office. His guidance counselor had called his parents in for a meeting to go over the next steps in the college application process. Minutes later, Ballesteros and his parents were in tears — and a few teachers might have gotten watery eyes, too. The university had sent admissions staff to the high school to surprise the senior — and his parents and teachers — with an acceptance letter and a full-ride scholarship.”

Chicago school board talks teacher diversity, but skeptics remain

By Nader Issa for the Chicago Sun-times

“… “I was a counselor. I was a teacher. I was a psychologist. I was everything to so many different kids. I taught about 350 kids in eight different classes each with 35 to 45 kids.” Though Odume’s story raises eyebrows, it’s not unique. And that’s part of the reason why Chicago’s school board called a meeting Monday to listen to the concerns and suggestions of Chicago Public Schools stakeholders who say there aren’t enough teachers of color in the district — and a lot of the ones who are here, like Odume, are so unhappy that they leave. All involved, including CPS, know there’s a problem — only 10% of the district’s students are white but half of its teachers are white. And the solutions to fix it are wide-ranging, such as creating a pipeline of teachers from historically black schools, offering better support services or training existing school support staff who are predominantly black and brown.”

Report: Nine cities named gold medal winners for early-learning efforts

By Linda Jacobson  Education Dive

“Atlanta, Chicago and Oklahoma City are among the nine cities awarded gold medals for having high-quality preschool programs as part of an initiative of CityHealth and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER). To reach gold status, the cities had to meet at least eight of NIEER’s 10 quality benchmarks and be serving at least 30% of their population of 4-year-olds. “When cities leverage proven methods to create high-impact programs for young residents, and then make investments to open access, it creates a healthier new generation, and better communities for everyone,” Shelley Hearne, the president of CityHealth, said in a press release.”

Here’s who will try to solve the billion-dollar funding question in Illinois early education

By Cassie Walker Burke for Chalkbeat

“After spending much of his first year in office trying to stamp out Illinois’ chronic budget fires, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is moving toward rebuilding the state’s fragmented early education system. On Monday, the governor named a 29-person commission tasked with tackling the billion-dollar question in state education: How to have the biggest impact with limited funds. Illinois spends an estimated $1.5 billion in state and federal money on children under 5, but those dollars are not spent evenly around the state and reach only a fraction of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. Introducing the commission at the Carole Robertson Learning Center, the governor said he had set an audacious goal: “Illinois will become the best state in the nation for families raising young children.”

Far From Home: Students With Special Needs Sent Out Of State

By Dusty Rhodes for NPR Illinois

“In the 2017-18 school year, Illinois sent close to 350 students with special needs to private boarding schools in other states. The cost added up to more than $10 million for tuition, and close to $20 million for housing. But it’s not always possible for school officials to know exactly what that money buys, or for parents to know what’s happening to children in those facilities. Many of these schools have names that evoke some combination of academics, nature and transcendence. Every student Illinois places in a private facility is considered a special education student, and has a documented disability. All of them, however, had parents who genuinely believed such a placement was critically necessary. The decision to send a child out of the home, out of the state, is a last resort.”