Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: February 27th – March 5th, 2021

School Budgeting with an Equity Lens #BeAntiracistBeNoble

By The Noble Network of Charter Schools

“Noble is on a journey to become an antiracist organization. Teams at campuses and the Noble support team are hard at work leaning into that charge, refining systems, examining policies and practices. Some work is already in progress like the Noble Equity Index and the Noble Equity Fund. As part of the five-year strategic planning process, Noble engaged its community – parents, students, teachers, staff, alumni, and the broader community – to inform the way forward. One key component of the plan was the implementation of principles of equity in all levels of our work – including budgeting. “We knew that our budgeting process must be driven by equity – acknowledging the different strengths and challenges that each of our schools face. Our budgets need to be responsive to the contexts of our campuses and those varied starting places of our students,” said Matt McCabe, Chief of Public Affairs, who led the strategic planning process.”


Join the Noble Family: Interview Tips from our Talent Team

By The Noble Network of Charter Schools

“Congratulations! You have a job interview scheduled. Now it’s the time to prepare, but where to start? Preparing for an interview takes more than running a Google search for “commonly asked interview questions.” Interviewing for a job can be a very stressful process – if you don’t prepare. To help you get ready, we’ve put together some of our favorite insider tips to ensure you’re most prepared for your interview.”


Black History Month Diálogo: Truth-telling in Antiracism Work

By The Noble Network of Charter Schools

“To celebrate Black History Month, we sat down with Noble’s Director of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity, D. Nigel Green and Anti-racism trainer and facilitator and founder of Overcoming Racism, Matthew Kincaid to discuss anti-racism, Noble’s work to become an antiracist organization, and the path forward.  When asked about his thoughts on Noble’s Anti-racism Commitment, Mr. Kincaid responded that when he logged into the Noble kick-off event and heard our CEO’s speech and some of the other panelists, “I cried”. “It was a reminder to me that change can happen when people put justice over comfort when they put progress over fear when we put children over ourselves,” he expressed. Hear more of the in-depth conversation and check out the timeline of Noble’s DEI work over-time at”


Excitement, tears and masks as CPS students head back to school for 1st time during pandemic

By Stefano Esposito & Nader Issa for The Chicago Sun-Times

“Nicole Ramirez thought she’d be able to handle it, but then she saw staff at Walt Disney Magnet School swipe her 7-year-old daughter’s forehead with a thermometer. And Ramirez started to cry. “It’s something about everything we’ve gone through this year. Dropping her off has been really emotional for me,” said Ramirez, 40, still teary-eyed as she talked Monday morning in Uptown. Ramirez’s daughter was one of tens of thousands of K-5 Chicago Public Schools students who returned Monday. While more than 37,000 were expected to show up, the district did not immediately release attendance figures for the day. Another 18,500 in sixth to eighth grade are set to return next week. That’s the largest group to return since the pandemic started, although 145,000 have chosen to continue learning remotely through at least April.”


CPS says at board meeting it aims to reopen high schools by end of school year

By ABC Chicago

“Chicago Public Schools officials said Thursday plans are in the works to get high schoolers back in classrooms before the end of the school year. CPS CEO Janice Jackson told the Board of Education that meetings with the Chicago Teachers Union over those plans starting soon. Jackson said the district and the union are establishing a joint High School Task Force, in a process that formally began last week. The task force will work to create a plan to bring older students back to in-person learning with student, staff and teacher safety in mind. Jackson said she hopes to have high schoolers back in classroom this spring.”


CPS proposes going back to school in August, ditching traditional post-Labor Day start

By Nader Issa for The Chicago Sun-Times

“Families and educators hoping to unwind this summer after a stressful, unprecedented school year may get an ever so slightly shorter break than expected. For the first time in years, Chicago Public Schools officials are proposing an Aug. 30 start date for the 2021-22 school year, a week earlier than the usual Tuesday after Labor Day. In a feedback form made public Wednesday, the district said the August start would “help minimize summer learning loss after an already disrupted 2020-21 school year,” and would “provide additional instructional time to high school students in advance of high-stakes spring exams such as SAT, PSAT, AP and IB.” CPS also noted classes beginning a week sooner in the fall would mean the 2022 summer break would also start a week earlier than usual.”


CPS looks to require COVID-19 vaccines for employees without medical or religious waivers, but teachers union wants input on shot policy

By Alice Yin for The Chicago Tribune

“Chicago Public Schools plans to require its teachers and other workers to show proof that they’ve received COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment. But the Chicago Teachers Union said it expects to have a say in such a plan and lamented the lack of an opportunity for union input before the Board of Education unanimously approved the interim policy on Wednesday. District leadership introduced the mandate that states Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson, who has ordered employees show up to classrooms under her phased-in reopening model, can also “require employees to show proof of receipt of COVID-19 vaccine,” the plan reads.”


Every CPS student to get $450 for food through federal program that will benefit 1 million Illinois children

By Nader Issa for The Sun-Times

“The family of every Chicago Public Schools student, regardless of income or citizenship status, is set to receive more than $450 in the mail this month — plus hundreds more next month — to support food expenses. The benefits, which can be twice that amount or more for families with two or more kids in school, are funded through a federal pandemic relief program. In total, one million students throughout the state will qualify for similar benefits. The program — Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer, an offshoot of the EBT system — is intended to help students who usually receive free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch but who haven’t had access to in-school meals during the pandemic. Since CPS participates in a federal program that provides free lunch for all students in the district, every CPS student is eligible and will automatically receive the benefits in the mail. P-EBT is specifically meant to replace the loss of in-school meals, so the fact that CPS and other districts have distributed meals to go at hundreds of schools during the pandemic has no impact on any district’s eligibility.”


New data show 1 in 3 Chicago teachers working from home as classrooms reopen

By Yana Kunichoff for Chalkbeat

“Chicago Public Schools has granted one in three teachers an accommodation to work from home since reopening school buildings in January, new data released Monday by the district show. Of the more than 10,800 teachers expected to report for in-person learning so far, the district granted 3,750 accommodations, a figure that includes 354 requests by teachers to continue working remotely because none of their students planned to return to in-person learning in the third quarter. That concession was among the key items in an agreement that ended a standoff with the teachers union, but has continued to be a point of friction with the union. In all, the district said 20,700 adults were expected to report to work in elementary and middle school campuses in-person and 28% of those had received permission to work from home.”