Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss – December 7th through December 13th

The Latest Elevate Chicago & Partner Blogs

Everyone has a place at Intrinsic

By Josie Bodeker & Darren Bodeker

This time last year, we were in a panic. Our daughter was in the middle of the high school search process. She’s a diverse learner and went to an amazing elementary school that took care of her and her learning style. But high school, we knew, would be a different ballgame entirely…Throughout this process, we spoke to friends and family members to ask for advice. Josie spoke with a colleague at work whose son went to an Intrinsic school and successfully graduated and is now in college. Josie immediately brushed it off – her friend’s son was not a diverse learner. What could she know? But her friend persisted and we went to an Intrinsic open house, where we saw first-hand how Intrinsic nurtures ALL learners.”

Charter Chatter

‘I did not perceive myself to be a principal’: North Lawndale alum returns to inspire students

By Yukare Nakayama for WLS

“From afar, Arriel Azadi Williams might look like one of the North Lawndale College Prep’s high schoolers, but in September she became the school’s principal. “I did not perceive myself to be a principal,” Williams said. “If you were to have asked me this in 2008 when I graduated high school, you wouldn’t have been able to tell me I’d be in this seat.” Not too long ago, Williams, 29, roamed the North Lawndale halls. She said the school was a safe haven and changed the trajectory of her young life. Williams was an honor roll student and was heavily involved in almost every extracurricular. Her academic success continued in college where she majored in theater. Williams said she couldn’t have done it without her high school teachers.”

SportsEngine, Inc. and TrueSport Announce Winner of Champion Coach Recognition Program

By SportsEngine, INC. 

“Jose Burgos, head soccer coach at Catalyst Maria High School in Chicago, Illinois was named the inaugural Champion Coach winner. He was recognized for creating a strong supportive team community within the school and within the community-at-large to provide physical and psychological safety for his athletes.”

Two Chicago Charter School Students Named Cooke Young Scholars

By Maureen Kelleher for Chicago Unheard

“With help from an outstanding resource for bright Chicago kids of modest means, two young women from Chicago’s charter schools have been selected as students of exceptional promise and will receive support to guide them through high school and into excellent colleges. At age 3, Joanna Nar arrived in Chicago from a refugee camp in Thailand. Her parents discovered Passages Charter School in Edgewater and enrolled her there for kindergarten. “I didn’t know the language or the culture,” of school in the United States, Nar recalled. “They taught me English, all the cultural knowledge my peers had. That took 18 months, before I could come in on their level.”

Southland College Prep teacher James Kowalsky lauded as outstanding by charter school organization

By Mike Nolan for The Daily Southtown

“A math teacher at Southland College Prep Charter High School in Richton Park has been named Illinois Charter High School Teacher of the Year. The school held a surprise rally Thursday for James Kowalsky, who received the award, along with a check for $10,000, from the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, a nonprofit that advocates for charter schools, according to Southland College Prep. A resident of Chicago’s Beverly community, Kowalsky joined Southland College Prep in 2013, where he teaches statistics and serves as chairman of the school’s science, technology, engineering and math curriculum, according to the school.”

General Education News

Honoring All Our Students Demands We Look Hard at Our Teaching

By Anita Thawani Bucio for Chicago Unheard

On the morning of my first day of third grade, I got all dressed up. My mom tied two braids in my hair with ribbons and let me wear my favorite dress, a beautiful white and black polka-dot dress trimmed with lace. When I entered my new classroom, a boy looked at the color of my brown skin and said, “Why do you look so dirty?” Thirty years later, I can still recall my teacher standing there, shocked into silence by his question. She did nothing. As I sat down in my assigned seat, I felt embarrassed and broken.”

CPS, Lightfoot take 1st steps toward revamping per-pupil school funding formula

By Nader Issa for the Chicago Sun-Times

“Years of complaints that Chicago’s school funding formula deepens the inequity in the city’s public education system have prompted a review that could lead to changing it. The mayor, looking to take the first step in fulfilling one of her key educational campaign promises, announced with Chicago Public Schools leaders Thursday the formation of a working group that will look into equitable changes to the city’s per-pupil funding system. The group is set to hold six community meetings starting next month to hear input from parents, students and school staff before offering its recommendations for revamping the funding formula.”

Challenging Conventional Wisdom, Report Finds Promising Academic Performance in Chicago’s Growing English Learner Population

By Mark Keierleber for The 74

“A bilingual education program at Chicago Public Schools may have played a role in the promising results. But another factor could be at work: Researchers used what they say is a more accurate way to assess student performance. Research and school accountability data often focus on “active English learners” who have not yet reached proficiency in the language. When students become proficient, they leave the English learner category and their progress is measured only as part of the general student population. The district’s focus on biliteracy, McDade said, gives students a competitive edge. “We see biliteracy as their superpower,” she said, so “we want to make sure that we are, yes, immersing students in English, but also in their native language.”

Illinois State Board of Education amends some emergency rules on isolation rooms, restraints in public schools after pushback from schools

By The Center Square

“The Illinois State Board of Education reacted after the Nov. 19 release of a joint report from ProPublica and the Chicago Tribune that documented 20,000 instances when school officials put students, mostly special education students, into isolation rooms during the 2017-18 school year. On Wednesday, the Board of Education announced it was amending the emergency rules “after receiving significant feedback from schools and advocates across the state.”

As Chicago’s class size crackdown begins, schools that are ‘overenrolled by choice’ could face admissions changes

By Philissa Cramer for Chalkbeat

“Crowded neighborhood elementary schools aren’t the only schools in Chicago that could face changes to how students are admitted.  Now that oversized classes will cost the city, Chicago Public Schools is also taking a hard look at schools that choose to admit so many students that class sizes swell beyond the city’s limits — a move that cushions those schools’ budgets but also leaves students and teachers in classes of 30 or more. “We are as a district looking at schools that are overcrowded by choice. I think that’s an important nuance,” CEO Janice Jackson told Chalkbeat recently.”