Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: May 16 – May 22, 2020

This Charter School Prepared for Distance Learning Ahead of Time and It’s Paying Off For Students

By Maureen Kelleher for Education Post

“As COVID-19 has forced schools across the country to adapt to remote learning, Perspectives Charter School teacher Andrew Rosenblat has led a recent technological revolution at his campus. A Chicago native, Rosenblat spent the last few years teaching in Australia, where he was trained in how to help struggling learners catch up to grade-level. This work involved using technology to ensure that students had more access to classroom content from any location—no matter how remote.”


Food should ‘not be a problem, but actually the solution,’ says chef José Andrés as he delivers meals to Chicago school and hospital

By Louisa Chu for Chicago Tribune

“Andrés made an impromptu stop at The Montessori School of Englewood on the South Side, surprising chef D’Andre Carter, co-owner of Soul & Smoke barbecue kitchen in Evanston. Andrés added that World Central Kitchen is also providing meals with Chicago Public Schools daily with local non-profit partners including the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Healthy Hood Chicago and The Trotter Project.”


High School Students Are Taking High-Stakes Exams From Their Bedrooms

By Susie An for WBEZ

“High school junior Carolyn Stadnyk has been busy studying for three high-pressure tests. In the past few days, she took advanced placement, or AP exams, for U.S. History, biology and English. But instead of pencil and paper in a classroom with other students, it was a computer in her bedroom by herself. “I locked my door. I put a sign up. I told everyone in my family, ‘This is the time I’m testing,’” said Carolyn, a student at Fenton High School in northwest suburban Bensenville. Over the past two weeks, a few million students like Carolyn have been taking AP tests from their bedrooms. Students can earn college credits if they pass the exam. This year, there were major adjustments because of the coronavirus pandemic. After states across the country canceled in-person class for the rest of the year, the College Board, the organization that administers AP exams, decided to move the test online. It’s offering a glimpse of what could be in store for other high stakes tests, like the SAT and ACT college entrance exams, that might need to go remote in the fall. Carolyn was glad AP exams weren’t canceled and her hard work wouldn’t go to waste. But she said preparing remotely was difficult.”


CPS to allow drive-thru and home-visit graduation ceremonies

By Nader Issa for the Chicago Sun-Times

“Graduation ceremonies won’t look the same as usual this spring, but they don’t necessarily have to be on a laptop, either, according to new guidance released Wednesday by Chicago Public Schools. After previously indicating only virtual ceremonies would be allowed, CPS officials now say drive-through graduations and celebrations featuring staff visits to graduates’ homes are OK as long as safety precautions are put in place and strictly followed. CPS officials said they added drive-thru and home-visit ceremonies to the list of acceptable graduations because Illinois is anticipated to move into “Phase 3” of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan by the end of this month. Schools planning any non-virtual events will have to follow guidance released earlier this month by the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education.”


By the numbers: How Illinois plans to spend federal emergency money for schools

By Samantha Smylie for Chalkbeat

“The Illinois State Board of Education plans to divide $569 million in federal emergency funds to help school districts bridge the digital divide and train educators, but it remains unclear how much will go to private schools. In their first meeting since March, the board on Wednesday focused on how to allocate federal CARES Act monies intended to help fill funding holes created by the battle against the coronavirus. Federal guidelines require the State Board of Education to give 90% to school districts, totaling about $512 million. The state may spend 9.5% of the funds, a little over $54 million, and less than 1% of the funds may be used for administrative costs, about $2.8 million. From a separate federal grant designated for governors to use at their discretion, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker will receive $108 million for education. He said in April he planned to spend it on expanding resources for remote learning, teacher support, and meal distribution. Asked for more particulars, his office did not respond by deadline. Here’s how the Illinois State Board of Education spending breaks down so far.”