Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss – March 7th – March 14th, 2020

7 days, one chance to get their names on a patent. Baker College Prep students solve medical supply problems during Medline internships.

By Darcel Rockett for Chicago Tribune

“Over a dozen seniors from South Chicago’s Baker College Prep were tasked last week with making a better forehead thermometer (from opening its package to utilization), improving patient gowns and redesigning a rolling walker. The program came about with the assistance of Nancy Mills, a board member of Baker and a part of the Mills family, which owns Medline, said Baker’s principal Mary Arrigo. Knowing how many college students compete for and benefit from internships, Arrigo said she’s excited to see what students glean from the experience and how the program grows.”


Noble Day Care Celebrates 10 Years

By the Noble Network of Charter Schools

“It was during the early 2000s when Jamie Thomas, a teacher of fourth and fifth graders in Baltimore, MD, was faced with a rather difficult decision. As an expectant mother, Thomas made the choice to leave teaching when her first child was born. After having her second child, connecting deeply with early education and relocating her family to Chicago,IL when her husband began working for the Noble Network of Charter Schools in 2005, Jamie began caring for the children of friends who were both Noble teachers and parents in her home so they could continue their teaching careers.   In doing so, she began to feel a new motivation. Knowing what a difficult decision it can be to stay in the classroom or stay home with your child when you start a family, she wanted to do something even bigger to lend a hand to parents navigating this familiar struggle while continuing to improve education, and the idea of Noble Day Care was born. Like many ambitious ideas, the vision of a Noble Day Care needed time, diligence and resilience to fully come to fruition. After locating the space the center currently occupies in West Town, there were several obstacles to overcome before Noble Day Care could have its grand opening. That didn’t stop the word from spreading, and some families had voiced their imminent need for childcare. In response, Jamie and her husband dedicated their living room as a space to be used for childcare each day for over a year. This allowed Jamie to hire Yesenia Espinoza, a founding partner of Noble Day Care, who came to her house each day and cared for children while they continued working to get the new childcare center up and running. Finally, after two and a half years of preparation, Noble Day Care made its debut. “When we first opened our doors, Yesenia and I shared a small office that was originally a closet,” recalled Jamie. “Fortunately, we were able to acquire additional space to create an actual office, conference room and staff break room.” As growing pains subsided, growth persisted. What started with 11 children has since grown to 45. When Jamie transitioned to the center’s board in 2015, Yesenia took the lead as executive director.”


August Wilson Monologue Competition is back with fresh faces, new passion Monday at the Goodman

By Darcel Rockett for the Chicago Tribune

“Regret. Anger. Guilt. Students at Perspectives Leadership Campus on the city’s South Side emoted monologue lines from August Wilson’s 10-play Century Cycle to a classroom of their peers and staff after school one winter day. Students like Diamond Neal, 17, of West Pullman, took to the white board to chart her oratory process of her one minute, 40 second monologue with teaching artist Charles Gardner — “an emotional map of where the piece is going,” to try to understand where the character’s anger spikes, where she calms herself down and how Neal can fight through that emotion to get what she wants out of the monologue. After practicing her monologue, Neal said what she likes most about the competition is “temporarily living in a space of someone outside of myself, putting myself in someone else’s shoes and looking at it from a different perspective.” This was Neal’s first year competing in the annual August Wilson Monologue Competition (AWMC). The competition, in its 11th year, the national competition is a mainstay in the local theater community culminating to the finals at the Goodman Theatre 6 p.m. Monday, where two will be chosen to go on to compete in the national finals on May 4 at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway. Event sponsor Goodman Theatre was the first theater to produce all 10 plays in Wilson’s Century Cycle. Those participating in this competition tweak their performances until they memorize them, can project presence and reveal things like characterization, emotional connectedness, and physical movements, among other things that they’re judged on, according to Derrick Sanders, UIC Associate Professor and producing director of the AWMC…This year’s AWMC outreach residencies were located at Young Women’s Leadership Charter School, DRW College Prep, Perspectives Leadership Charter School, CICS ChicagoQuest, Westinghouse College Prep High School and Michele Clark Academic Prep Magnet High School. The local competition typically begins with 800 students citywide and is narrowed down for the local finals.”


Bill refining black history education passes House committee

By Kade Heather for The State Journal-Register

“An Evanston woman made a pitch to lawmakers about why Illinois schools need more comprehensive black history education. Meleika Gardner of Women Empowering Women In Local Legislation, or WE WILL, a bipartisan group supporting women and children’s rights said more complete education will help with race relations. Gardner was accompanied by state Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, Wednesday testifying for his bill that would adjust how black history is taught in Illinois, expanding to pre-slavery and teaching about earlier contributions to the world.”


No plans to close schools, but field trips and sports are off: New CPS coronavirus restrictions

By Hannah Leone for the Chicago Tribune

“Though all but one of its schools remain open, Chicago Public Schools on Thursday evening released new guidance and restrictions for group gatherings and travel sanctioned by the district, effective for at least the next month, amid the coronavirus pandemic. The restrictions are effective immediately through April 12 and stipulate that essential school activities involving students and staff such as lunch and recess “can” proceed as usual, though student absences related to concerns about the coronavirus will continue to be excused. Also through that date, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday ordered the cancellation of all public events with more than 1,000 people, and urged organizers to call off private and public gatherings of more than 250 people, but that doesn’t include schools, which in Chicago sometimes have hundreds to more than 1,000 students. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said CPS will remain open “at this time” but that any school with a confirmed case will be ordered closed for a period of time.”


Chicagoans Speak Out Against Keeping CPS Schools Open in the Face of the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Maureen Kelleher for Chicago Unheard

“Last night, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a new set of measures to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. Those measures did not include closing schools. Chicago Public Schools announced they will keep district schools operating as usual. Currently, only Vaughn Occupational, where a staff member tested positive for coronavirus, is closed. According to the updated FAQ released last night: “CPS will follow the recommendations of [the Chicago Department of Health] in all decisions about whether to temporarily close a school if needed.” We already know the district is struggling with basic sanitation, such as keeping adequate supplies of soap and towels in bathrooms and providing classrooms with hand sanitizer and wipes. Elementary teachers have taken to social media to share their struggles without adequate cleaning supplies. Meanwhile, wealthy suburban districts in Evanston and Winnetka are closing school buildings and shifting to e-learning.”


What Should CPS Do to Fight COVID-19?

By Maureen Kelleher for Chicago Unheard

“Chicago Public Schools has already had one staff member come down with COVID-19, the novel coronavirus spreading so quickly around the world that the World Health Organization declared it a global pandemic. On March 3, the district announced it would provide schools with more hand soap and cleaning supplies. But teachers are saying on social media that their schools are not receiving them. This level of precaution to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is a no-brainer. Yet CPS can’t make it happen. That’s not a good sign.”