Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: July 10 – July 16, 2021

Coronavirus Saturday At The Gary Comer Youth Center

By Maxwell Evans for Block Club Chicago

“Children and their families can get vaccinated for free at a South Side clinic this weekend as part of an effort to boost kids’ vaccination rates in Chicago. The clinic will be held 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at the Gary Comer Youth Center, 7200 S. Ingleside Ave. Though organizers aim to vaccinate kids and teens ages 12-17 and their loved ones, the clinic is open to all. Attendees will receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and schedule an appointment for their second dose Aug. 7 at the same location. To register, click here. Vaccines are also available on a walk-in basis without registration. The shots are free and do not require insurance. High Jump, an academic nonprofit serving middle schoolers in Chicago, is organizing the clinic along with Chicago Scholars, OneGoal, the Noble Network of Charter Schools and other organizations.”


Noble’s Anti-racism Journey, A Conversation with Brenda Cora

By the Noble Network of Charter Schools

“At the outset of the 2020 school year, Noble set a bold and ambitious goal of becoming a more antiracist organization. Since then, Noble announced our anti-racism commitment (ARC), we engaged thousands of families in surveys and feedback to guide a reexamination of policies and practice. Since February, grounded in that feedback from parents, students, and alumni, ARC design teams have been meeting to guide the way forward on Noble policy and practice as it relates to our student code of conduct, uniform, promotion and graduation requirements, curriculum design and more. Those design teams then shared draft proposals with groups of Noble stakeholders for intensive feedback – hundreds of Noble family members, staff, students, and alumni engaged in these refine team spaces. This post is part of a series of updates on that work in progress. Brenda Cora led the uniform design team which was focused on examining policies and practices around the Noble school uniform and was a participant in the student code of conduct design team. Brenda Cora is a Chief Schools Officer at Noble, in that capacity she oversees six Noble principals and supports their leadership of campuses. Brenda is also a Noble alumna, graduating from the Noble Street College Prep campus in 2003.  We sat down with Brenda to discuss this ARC design and refine work.”


Southland College Prep Speech Coach National Honored For Her Work

By Yasmeen Sheikah for Patch

“A Southland College Prep Charter High School teacher was honored in a surprise celebration by current and former students for her recognition by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in Florida this month. Cheryl Frazier is the director of speech and forensics at the Richton Park high school. She started the speech and drama program at the school shortly after it was founded in 2010, and has built the program into a nationally recognized speech powerhouse, according to a news release from Matteson School District 162. On July 7, Frazier was honored in a surprise celebration by her speech students and alumni of the program for her earlier recognition by the NFHS in Orlando, Florida, earlier this month. According to the school district, Frazier was one of eight people recognized by each of the group’s geographical regions as a 2020 NFHS Citation recipient. Because of COVID-19, last year’s awards were postponed, according to the school district.”


Representation Matters! With History Teacher Nick Sorrentino

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.  As Argentinians around the globe celebrate Día de la Independencia (Independence Day – July 9, 1816), we heard from ITW David Speer Academy teacher, Nick Sorrentino about why representation matters. Nick Sorrentino started his education career at Noble in 2017 and just finished his 4th year at ITW Speer Academy. He is the 10th Grade World History Teacher, 10th Grade Level Lead, and Rugby Coach at ITW Speer Academy. We were able to remotely receive Sorrentino’s thoughts and responses about how he incorporates and educates students about Latinx cultures in his World History class, and why representation matters to him, especially at Speer Academy.”


CPS unveils $9.3 billion budget proposal for 2022 fiscal year

By Madeline Kenney for The Chicago Sun-Times

“Chicago Public Schools on Tuesday unveiled its $9.3 billion budget for the 2022 fiscal year, which includes more than $1 billion in federal relief funding that will aid the nation’s third-largest district as it begins to move forward from the pandemic. CPS’ budget draft, which is almost an 11% increase from last year’s financial blueprint, aims to equitably help schools after more than a year of online learning, district officials said. However, the Chicago Teachers Union pushed back and said the plan falls short in investing in students’ actual needs. Under the proposal, which is covers spending from July 1 to June 30 of next year, the district plans to use a portion of federal money for its two-year, $525 million plan dubbed the “Moving Forward Together Initiative.” In the first year, CPS is expected to allocate $267 million of federal money to support students’ social and emotional needs as they return full-time to classrooms with another goal of positioning them for future success. District officials said those funds will go toward hiring and training literacy and math tutors, bolstering behavior and mental health teams and upgrading technology, especially in Black and Brown communities, which were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”


More Chicago high schools vote to remove school police, a year after George Floyd’s murder intensified calls to oust CPD from CPS

By Tray Swartz for The Chicago Tribune 

“Jones College Prep is one of a few Chicago high schools that have opted not to have police officers stationed on campus in the fall. More than 50 Chicago schools have until Wednesday to decide if they want to continue in the controversial school resource officer program. Local School Councils can choose to keep the two officers assigned to their respective schools, remove them or, in an option newly available this year, retain just one officer. Most of the schools that have voted so far this summer have decided to keep at least one school resource officer, according to the Chicago Public Schools website. Some schools are scheduled to debate the issue Tuesday or Wednesday. At least five schools — Jones, Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy, Lake View High School, Solorio Academy High School and Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center — chose to nix school police.”


One In 10 CPS High Schoolers Now Attend Schools For Dropouts — And That Could Grow Post Pandemic

By Sarah Karp for WBEZ

“A collection of 39 schools in Chicago, known as Options schools, is so large that were it a standalone district, it would be among the 25 largest in the state. All told, these schools serve one in 10 Chicago public school students. These 39 public schools primarily enroll the city’s dropouts, and they may become more critical as students emerge from the pandemic. This fall, thousands of teens will return to schools after failing multiple classes, putting them at high risk of dropping out. It’s unclear whether these alternative schools are prepared for the moment. A new report says students in these schools, which are mostly on the city’s South and West sides, likely need highly resourced programs tailored to their particular needs to be successful. But Chicago’s Options schools currently offer a hodgepodge of programs that don’t receive more funding than traditional schools, despite serving a high-need student population.”