Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: December 5 – December 11, 2020

New Approaches to Engaged Learning with Hansberry’s Mrs. Saltsider

By The Noble Network of Charter Schools

“This is part of a series of blogs from Noble campus representatives to give a deeper look at campus life. With school buildings closed this semester, Christine Saltsider doubled down on engaging instruction, with an up-close look at history – taking her entire class along for the ride. Christine Saltsider is a 9th and 10th grade learning specialist specializing in history. She is in her 6th year at Hansberry College Prep and despite her years of experience, she too is facing many challenges with remote learning.  “Remote learning has been very hectic and stressful for me. I had my first baby in January and returned from maternity leave right after schools shut down in March…As a teacher I especially miss being able to joke with my students and colleagues in person. One of my favorite things about teaching is being able to see the effects my instruction has on my students and not being able to see that firsthand has been really difficult,” says Mrs. Saltsider. The difficulties of remote learning have forced Mrs. Saltsider to think of creative ways to engage her students. So she came up with a unique way to remix her remote instruction to have her students experience history, not just read about it in books.”


Chicago Charter School Says In-Person Learning Is Boosting Grades And Attendance

By Adriana Cardona-Maguigad for WBEZ

“The pressure to resume in-person learning is intensifying for Chicago Public Schools officials who worry students are falling behind academically during remote learning. As they prepare to bring students back starting mid-January, they’ve been paying close attention to other in-person school models during the pandemic, including the Catholic schools. But there is one hybrid model at a public charter school on the West Side that offers a version of the plan CPS officials have in mind. North Lawndale College Prep, which has two campuses, has been doing in-person school two days a week. Some 370 students, or nearly half their student body, signed up for the hybrid model. Like CPS, North Lawndale College Prep officials faced a similar sense of urgency about bringing struggling students back. Many students at North Lawndale also have to worry about the effects of poverty, street violence and lack of support during remote school.”


‘Here comes Dreezy Claus’: Black Santa visiting Chicago kids via Zoom

By Bob D’Angelo for Fox 23

“It will take more than a pandemic for Dreezy Claus to miss talking with children this Christmas season. Andre Russell calls himself Chicago’s “Black Santa,” and he is gearing up for the holidays. He is offering children and their parents to speak with him virtually, WFLD reported. Russell, who is a behavior interventionist and a dean of students at LEARN Hunter Perkins Charter School on Chicago’s South Side, has his own website where families can book time with the jolly elf. Russell has been honing his persona for nearly a decade and said his character has taken on a special significance this year.”


Lightfoot Stands By Plan To Reopen Some Chicago Public Schools Starting Next Month; ‘There Is No Replacement For In-Person Learning’

By CBS 2

“Despite the Chicago Teachers Union warning that a strike is not off the table if Chicago Public Schools officials refuse to bargain over the specifics for plans to begin reopening schools next month, Mayor Lori Lightfoot seemed undeterred in her push to get some students back in classes. “We know that there is no replacement for in-person learning,” Lightfoot said Wednesday afternoon. CPS officials have said pre-k and some special education cluster programs are scheduled to start in-person classes on Jan. 11. All other students from kindergarten through 8th grade are set to resume in-person classes on Feb. 1. However, Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady also has said the city’s COVID-19 case doubling time must remain at 18 days or more in order for schools to reopen.”


Children from poorer Chicago areas are still less likely to attend top-performing high schools, despite CPS efforts to even the playing field, new report finds

By Hannah Leone for The Chicago Tribune

“In Chicago, children from wealthier and whiter neighborhoods are more likely to enroll in higher-rated public schools, attributable in part to access and choice, according to research released Thursday looking at potential barriers along a student’s path to a top-performing high school. More than three-fourths of Chicago Public Schools students who entered ninth grade in fall 2018 went to a school other than their default neighborhood school, and 65% went to a school that had one of the district’s top two performance ratings, according to the report. Additional data compiled by CPS shows a decrease in the percentage of all high school students attending schools with those top ratings, from 65% in fall 2016 to 53% in fall 2019.”