Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: March 13th – March 19th, 2021

This is the Work

By Constance Jones for The Noble Network of Charter Schools

“We started this school year with a call to our staff to get in good trouble as we aspired to become an antiracist organization. And, it appears we have gotten in some good trouble. In classrooms and in professional development meetings, in all-staff gatherings and individual conversations, we’ve collectively continued this intensive self-examination and reflection in the pursuit of becoming an antiracist organization. WBEZ shared an article this weekend that captured some of that story, and I’m glad they did. And, to Noble staff and students and families, we know that this story has been in progress for some time. We’ve been doing this work. From our commitment to Diversity Equity and Inclusion as a core value in 2016, the establishment of our Diverse Leaders Fellowship in 2018, to adjustments to our dress code and student code of conduct in 2019. The focus on culturally responsive teaching as a core piece of our Noble Classroom framework. Adjustments to our promotion policy to ensure we retain the most students possible, leading to the highest student retention in our history this year. Our 2019 strategic planning process named equity as the top priority for the next five years and resulted in various supports to high equity campuses. The evolution of our board of directors in the past few years. Our DEI steering committee’s work to create and launch Noble’s anti-racism commitment earlier this year which built on a DEI listening tour with our alumni last July.”


Student Spotlight: Walisha Brown

By The Chicago International Charter Schools

“CICS ChicagoQuest student Walisha Brown is on her way to greatness. She was honored as the Outstanding High School Senior of the Year by INCS in December 2020 and received a $1,000 scholarship for college, but that is only a part of her story. She will graduate from CICS ChicagoQuest (CQ) in June of this year. CQ is home to the Warriors, both the name of the sports team and the spirit of every student who attends. The students embody the mission of the school which is to engage, challenge and prepare students to impact the world as problem-solvers, designers, critical thinkers and innovators. Walisha believes in the core values of equity, social connection and full participation. “When I first came into ChicagoQuest, everyone around me was a stranger, the people, teachers, staff and students. I was really shy, and everyone encouraged me to speak-up and to embrace my singing and my love for writing poetry. Even though we are remote learning now, the staff and students at CQ are still my family. Even now, every day is a new memory.”


Developments chosen for South and West side commercial streets

By David Roeder & Fran Spielman for The Chicago Sun-Times

“Three areas targeted for improvement under Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Invest South/West program will get an estimated $65 million in commercial development under plans announced Monday. The projects are supposed to revitalize commercial stretches of Auburn Gresham, Austin and Englewood. The city’s planning department, after sessions with community groups, selected the winners from among 12 development teams who answered a call for proposals made last year. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced three winning proposals as part of the City of Chicago’s INVEST South/West program this week at the Kehrein Center for the Arts. One of the projects, near the Catalyst Circle Rock charter school, includes a mixed-use residential complex anchored by a blues museum, cafe, rental building, gardens, and a sustainable food/culinary campus.”


Rush University Medical Center, PCC Community Wellness center team up to offer COVID-19 vaccines to Austin residents

By Jesse Kirsch for WLS

“Rush University Medical Center teamed up with the PCC Community Wellness Center to vaccinate 1,200 Austin residents against COVID-19 starting Sunday. The vaccination efforts will take place every Sunday until April 18 at the Catalyst Circle Rock Charter School. Rush University Medical Center equity officer Dr. David Ansell said the initiative is part of the city’s protect Chicago Plus program that focuses on the 15 hardest hit communities by the COVID-19 pandemic. PCC Community Wellness Center nurse Dorothy Jenkins said part of the burden in Austin is a dearth of places to get vaccinated.”


CPS announces April 19 as ‘target date’ for high school reopening


“Chicago Public Schools has announced a target date to resume in-person classes for high school students, who marked one year of remote learning this week: April 19, the start of fourth quarter. Tuesday evening’s announcement comes with caveats and three days before the deadline for high school families to choose in-person or remote learning for the remainder of the school year.”


All CPS teachers now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines at district sites, with aim to have all employees get first dose by the end of March

By Hannah Leone for The Chicago Tribune

“All Chicago Public Schools employees and vendors are now eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines at sites run by the district, it announced Wednesday, the one-year anniversary of statewide school closures. CPS CEO Janice Jackson said Wednesday the goal is to have all staff members to receive a vaccination by the end of March. With more than 52,000 people in that category and no central tracking method, it’s unclear how many still need their first doses. CPS only has access to data from its own sites, where 5,100 first doses had been given as of Monday, though the Chicago Board of Education last month approved a measure that requires employees to tell the district whether they’ve been vaccinated. Combined with data from district-run sites, a survey of employees with a response rate of 41% showed that, more than 14,000 employees, or at least 30%, had received their first dose, the majority from independent providers.”