Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: April 30 – May 13, 2022

Teacher Appreciation Week: The Power of Teacher Advocacy

By The Illinois Network of Charter Schools

“This Teacher Appreciation Week, INCS is proud to shoutout the 2022 Teacher Leadership Cohort (TLC) for its dedication to making change in their communities. This nine-month fellowship equips teachers with the experiences, knowledge, and skills to support them to speak out on behalf of their students, schools, and themselves.  The voice of teachers is sorely absent from discussions about the future of education and these 15 teachers want to be part of the conversation. In the past few months, the TLC has conducted trainings that focus on best ways to get their voices heard from elected officials, how to use social media to influence change, and how to center charter schools in local and national conversations surrounding education. INCS is committed to providing year-round opportunities such as the TLC for charter teachers throughout the state. Let’s take a minute to show our appreciation and thank this year’s cohort. To learn more about the TLC and how to apply for 2023, please visit our website HERE.


Daly challenges students to be great

By Megan Gully for DVDS Hub

“Dare to be great.” That was the message the Army’s senior sustainer had for the juniors of North Lawndale College Prep High School, May 6, at the school’s Christiana campus in Chicago. Army Materiel Command’s top leader Gen. Ed Daly was a keynote speaker at the school’s Young Professional Scholars Day, talking to the students about their plans for the future and the opportunities available to them. “Each one of you has greatness in you,” he said. “You all are great at something, and you have the opportunity to succeed if you work hard.” Located on the west side of Chicago, the school’s mission is to empower students from under-resourced communities with the tools to earn a college degree.”


Learning About Japanese Internment Camps at Mansueto High School

By The Noble Schools

“As we head into Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, some students at Mansueto High School are learning for the first time about the Japanese internment camps in the U.S. during World War II. In Ms. Galvez’s Bilingual Language Arts class, English language learner students are studying the graphic novel, They Called Us Enemy.”


Boosting Career Opportunities for Alumni: Noble Schools Partners with RiseKit

By The Noble Schools

“Noble Schools is bolstering its efforts to ensure the success of its alumni through a wide range of initiatives, including a partnership with technology company RiseKit. The new partnership will allow Noble to create a trackable and streamlined system to better connect with former students and help its more than 20,000 alumni with college and job readiness. “Our alumni, in many ways, are feeling the effects of a market still adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Solomon Dixon, Director of Alumni Careers at Noble Schools. “However, our Alumni Career Office exists to positively impact their employment outcomes. This partnership with RiseKit will ultimately help many first-generation college graduates and underemployed individuals receive the customized assistance they need most.”


“Autistic people are also artistic”: Muchin Student Colin Moy Shares His Art and His Thoughts

By The Noble Schools

“From beautiful Chinese dragons to sea creatures, Muchin College Prep senior Colin Moy lets his imagination run wild and free in his artwork. His art has been featured in Noble student showcases, and this year, his Chinese dragon-themed artwork was featured in the CPS Senior Portfolio Virtual Exhibition. Colin is a student with autism* and is part of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. As Autism Acceptance Month just finished up this April and AAPI Heritage Month started this week, we wanted to take this moment to highlight him and his awesome artwork.”


“How Are The Children?”: A Noble Teacher’s Journey in Education

By The Noble Schools

““Kasserian Ingera” which means “And how are the children?” is the standard greeting of the Masai warrior tribe in East Africa. These warriors are known for their cunning, their deadly skills and their intelligence. They are strong warriors, ones who would never give up anything they hold dear without a fight. These quintessential warriors are proud, silent, swift and deadly; the very embodiment of “semper fidelis” – forever faithful. These protectors of the village, defenders of tradition, and providers of all things, needed and wanted to greet one another with “And how are the children?”. The hoped-for response is “all the children are well.” This response indicates that the village is safe and at peace, everything that is needed is provided; there is harmony, joy, love and stability among one another. 2 When the question “How are the children?” is posed here, the response is not “they are well.” In this country, the children we teach have weathered many unique struggles. They have never known a world without social media. They’ve seen The Capitol stormed by supposed patriots. They’ve watched their parents survive a financial crisis. They have family who watched or survived Hurricane Katrina and 9/11. If that was not enough, COVID-19, anyone?”


CPS expands access to remote learning: ‘For kids who are high risk … this is a very good option’

By Tracy Swartz for The Chicago Tribune

“Already that morning, Alaina had watched a video on the weather, written her name with a large yellow pencil and practiced “finger breathing,” a mindfulness technique. Her prekindergarten teacher and special education classroom assistant offered her virtual praise and encouragement through her tablet. Occasionally Alaina paused her schoolwork to lift her Spider-Man shirt to make sure her belly button was still there. Alaina is a student in the Virtual Academy, the remote-learning option Chicago Public Schools introduced in August for “medically fragile” students as the district returned to full-time, in-person learning for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic. CPS recently announced it is relaxing the academy’s admission guidelines for the fall and increasing access to advanced coursework.”


Chicago schools will remain mask-optional as city COVID risk level increases to ‘medium’

By Mauricio Pena for Chalkbeat

“Chicago Public Schools will remain mask-optional even as the city and county are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. The country’s third largest school district will not reinstate its mask mandate for the time being, but officials said it would continue its current stance of encouraging – but not requiring – masking.  The city’s risk of COVID-19 transmission moved from low to medium last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention transmission rating system. The increase prompted local health and school leaders to urge people to wear masks, especially those who have yet to be vaccinated. “CPS will continue strongly encouraging the use of masks in our schools, especially among our unvaccinated students, and especially when cases are rising,” CEO Pedro Martinez said in a letter to parents on Friday.”


Lightfoot leaves Board of Education seat empty after arguing against elected board

By Nader Issa for The Chicago Sun-Times

“Nine months have passed since one of the seven members of Chicago’s Board of Education resigned her seat, and there has been little to no public indication that Mayor Lori Lightfoot has moved toward appointing a replacement. Amy Rome, a former teacher and principal at the National Teachers Academy, attended her last board meeting in July 2021. But after lobbying unsuccessfully against a bill last year that will create an elected school board for Chicago two years from now, the mayor hasn’t taken advantage of her opportunity to have a say in who will serve on the Board of Education. When Lightfoot fought the elected school board, she argued it was imperative for her to appoint the entire board since the mayor is largely seen as responsible for the success — or failure — of the schools system. Lightfoot has less than a year remaining in her term ahead of the spring 2023 mayoral election, followed by the first school board elections in late 2024 and the new board taking control in early 2025.”


Illinois’ top education official asks schools to stop working with police to ticket students for misbehavior

By Jennifer Smith Richards and Jodi S. Cohen for The Chicago Tribune

“Illinois’ top education official urged schools to stop working with police to ticket students for misbehavior, hours after an investigation by the Tribune and ProPublica revealed that schools across the state were evading laws designed to prohibit the fining of students. In a strongly worded plea sent to officials across Illinois, State Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala said the costly fines associated with the tickets can be immensely harmful to families, and there’s no evidence they improve students’ behavior. School officials who refer students to police for ticketing have “abdicated their responsibility for student discipline to local law enforcement,” she wrote Thursday, the day the investigation “The Price Kids Pay” was published.”