Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: June 13 – June 19, 2020

Don’t Change the Subject

By Dr.Garland Thomas-McDavid on Elevate Chicago

“I will never forget my son Johnnie’s first day of middle school. We had gone through his new morning routine together, and he was going to do the afternoon on his own. As I waited excitedly for him to open the door with his new key, I was surprised by a knock at our front door. I remember opening it to find Johnnie standing with two police officers, his face wreaking of horror. One of the men attempted to kindly explain, “Ma’am we found your son walking in the neighborhood. He got lost on his way home from school…” Before he could finish, my son plunged forward throwing himself in my arms and broke down sobbing in a manner that wouldn’t seem to make sense for what was happening. He hadn’t done anything wrong and these officers were aiming to be friendly by helping him to not get lost in the future. Despite their good intentions, interacting with police officers was terrifying to a black boy who has heard one too many stories about children, just like him, being gunned down by the very officers who are supposed to keep them safe.”


Catalyst Maria Student Leads to Bring Unity

By Elevate Chicago

“The Sisters of St. Casimir ran Maria High School for over one hundred years as an all-girls Catholic school before they sought out and entrusted Catalyst to continue their legacy through the Catalyst Maria campus. Today, a donor has established two scholarships each year to be given to Catalyst Maria seniors this year and moving forward in honor of the legacy of the Sisters. This is the second of a two-part blog series about the winners of this scholarship in its inaugural year. Iyanla Smith is one of the two Catalyst Maria students who are recipients of the Sisters of St. Casimir Legacy Scholarships. She is an impressive student. At Catalyst Maria, she achieved a 3.53 cumulative unweighted GPA and is excited to attend University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the fall. She plans to study both advertising and marketing. Like so many other students, Iyanla struggled to figure out how she would pay for college, so she applied for the Sisters of St. Casimir scholarship. Her hard work and dedication ensured that she got the scholarship.”


Meet 18 Chicago valedictorians who are ‘beacons of hope’ for the city

By Samantha Smylie & Susan Gonzalez for Chalkbeat Chicago

“It’s been a senior year like no other for Chicago’s Class of 2020. They witnessed an 11-day teachers strike, a pandemic that closed schools, and protests in response to police brutality against Black people. The 18 seniors you’ll meet below haven’t just persevered through uncertain times: They’ve managed to top their classes despite a stream of interruptions. Charter students from Chicago Math & Science Academy, Legal Prep, Noble Golder and Noble Baker are featured.”


Chicago’s Class of 2020 discuss post-grad life, COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter

By Zach Ben-Amots for ABC 7

“ ABC7 spoke with 20 outstanding members of the Class of 2020 from around the city of Chicago, getting diverse perspectives on life after high school, COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement. The featured students are graduating from a variety of CPS, charter, and private schools. Each student faced their own unique challenges amidst the broader struggle of dealing with the pandemic. Some dealt with COVID-19 in their own homes. Hear their perspectives on the global pandemic that cut short their high school careers. “


As CPS hosts star-studded graduation ceremony, hundreds march to demand removal of cops from schools

By Tom Schuba & Suzanne McBride for the Chicago Sun-Times

“As Chicago Public Schools hosted a virtual graduation ceremony Sunday that boasted high-profile speakers like Oprah Winfrey and Common, some graduates chose to forgo the celebration and instead took to the streets to push for the removal of Chicago police officers posted at schools across the city. During the hour-long virtual event, which was organized by Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office and aired on local television and radio stations, some speakers hammered home that the graduating class is coming of age during an unprecedented period in American history.”


Bid To Force CPD Officers Out Of Chicago Public Schools Sent To City Council’s Legislative Purgatory

By CBS Chicago

“Aldermen seeking to force the Chicago Police Department to remove officers from Chicago Public Schools hit a potentially fatal roadblock on Wednesday, as their proposed ordinance was sent to a committee where legislation the mayor opposes typically is sent to die. Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th), and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) on Wednesday introduced the so-called “Police Free Schools Ordinance,” which would require CPD to terminate its $33 million contract with CPS to deploy officers in some school buildings. The measure also would prohibit the city or CPD from entering into any future agreements to provide officers at public schools. Sawyer sought to have the proposal sent to the Public Safety Committee, but that committee’s chairman, Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th), asked to have it sent to the Education Committee. That triggered a City Council rule requiring the measure be sent to the Rules Committee, which is technically supposed to determine which committee should debate a contested ordinance, but historically has let proposed legislation opposed by the mayor to languish without a debate or vote.”


Expect masks, temperature checks: Chicago schools chief offers new details about fall

By Cassie Walker Burke  for Chalkbeat

“Students and teachers will be required to wear masks, and schools must conduct temperature checks daily if Chicago students return to campuses in the fall. In a letter to educators and parents Friday evening, Chicago schools chief Janice Jackson offered a first glimpse at what school could look like in fall and said the district was preparing for the possibility of reopening classrooms. But it’s still unknown whether students will attend school every day or in shifts, or how much remote learning will continue to be a reality. She said the district was still working out multiple scenarios for returning to in-person schooling.”