Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: March 5 – March 11, 2022

Noble Schools’ Alumni Share Their Pandemic Experience

By The Noble Schools

“Alumni of Noble Schools are resilient, thoughtful, and determined to reach their goals. While the pandemic has hit us all with struggles and hardships, our alumni have adapted and continued to push for their dreams and the health and safety of both themselves and their communities. We asked some of our alumni to tell us about where they are now, how the pandemic has impacted their lives, and what advice they have for current students in light of what they learned during the pandemic and after graduation. Read what they have to say below.”


Ukrainian students at CPS school try to process Russian invasion: ‘Very sad and distressed’

By Tracy Swartz for The Chicago Tribune 

“Seventh grader Sofiia Bilinska struggled with English when she moved from Ukraine to Chicago two years ago — then she joined the Ukrainian bilingual program at Columbus Elementary School. “I love that every student in the program, someone helps you. When I came to the school, I didn’t know English at all. For two years, I learned how to speak and understand” the language, she said. Sofiia is once again leaning on her classmates as Russia continues its devastating attack on Ukraine. At Columbus Elementary in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood, more than a quarter of the school’s 234 students receive specialized instruction in both Ukrainian and English, a unique Chicago Public Schools program that began some two decades ago as more Ukrainian families settled in the area, Principal Wendy Garr-Oleksy said.”


Chicago aims to double down on vaccination efforts for schools with low uptake

By Mauricio Pena for Chalkbeat

“With Chicago schools poised to shift to a mask-optional policy next week, the district plans to renew a push to increase vaccination rates at schools with low vaccine uptake. During a Facebook Live session Tuesday morning, CEO Pedro Martinez, alongside city health commissioner Dr. Alison Arwady, said the district planned to “double down” on vaccination efforts in school communities where uptake has stalled. About 49% of students from 5 to 17 are vaccinated, but several schools on the South and West Sides had fewer than 10% of their student population fully vaccinated, according to data obtained by Chalkbeat Chicago.”


CPS ends mask mandate

By Nader Issa for The Chicago Sun Times

“Chicago Public Schools is dropping its mask mandate next Monday, officials announced, citing a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks while breaking an agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union to maintain universal masking through the end of the school year. The change comes as nearly all other Illinois school districts have switched to mask-optional policies this month, and as political pressure mounts against pandemic restrictions despite wide disparities in vaccination rates between communities.”


An admissions change is coming to CPS’ selective schools to try to enroll more low-income students

By Sarah Karp for WBEZ

“Chicago Public Schools is poised to make a significant change to the admissions process for its coveted test-in elementary and high schools in an attempt to award more seats to low-income students. In one of his first major moves as CEO, Pedro Martinez is proposing that the school district drop part of the current system that awards 30% of the seats at these schools — including for the nearly 16,000 students at 11 selective enrollment high schools — strictly based on a student’s seventh grade marks and test scores. This would almost certainly open up more seats to a more diverse student population and make it more difficult for students from the city’s upper-income neighborhoods to get in. It is a move some have long advocated for, especially as the student population in some of the most coveted schools, including some of the top schools in the state, have become more affluent, white and Asian.”