Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: January 22 – January 28, 2022

A Note From Our CEO: Gun Violence in Our City Has to Stop

By The Noble Schools

“Today, I write to each of you with a heavy heart and spirit. On Wednesday, our beloved city was cruel to its most vulnerable: our children. We woke to find the headlines sharing that six children were shot on Tuesday, one of them our own Noble child – a freshman at Rauner College Prep. Unfortunately, you may wake up on any given day in our city and see a similar headline. This is not the first time one of our students or our families have been victimized by gun violence this year, or even this week. Last weekend, a senior at Johnson College Prep was shot and is in the hospital today fighting for his life. We hold these families and school communities in our hearts always, and especially in these moments.  No one should ever lose their child, student, or friend to gun violence. Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, twenty-four Noble students have been shot and wounded in Chicago and an additional nine Noble children have lost their lives to gun violence. Thirty-three children were wounded and/or killed by a gun in their communities and this doesn’t include the countless number of alumni that we’ve lost and grieve too. Each one of these lives matter to us. These are our children. And this is not okay.”

A Day in the Life of A Student at Pritzker College Prep

By The Noble Schools

“This is part of a series of blogs from Noble campus representatives to give a deeper look at campus life. Although it may be a new year, it’s still the same good ole Noble at Pritzker College Prep! As we start off this year, we want to show you how students are still carrying on here at Pritzker. Before 2021 ended, we hosted a “Day in the Life of a Noble Student” campaign on social media — giving the camera and pen to the students to share their day-to-day school life. It’s easy for a teacher to capture a moment, but there’s just something about a student’s perspective that makes it 10 times better! So, we handed the phone over to a few of our students to document their school day. Take a look at what these two unique students say about their school life and what a school day looks like through their eyes.”

Chicago charter school leaders press Board of Education for longer contract terms

By Tracy Swartz for Yahoo

“At a charter school hearing this month, Catalyst Maria Principal Dawn Sandoval asked for a five-year renewal. “Our building is not only a community, but a true family. We have exceeded enrollment for the last five years,” Sandoval said. Broy said there are about 58,000 charter school students in Chicago. The schools up for renewal serve more than 4,000 students combined. About 330,000 students are enrolled at CPS, the nation’s third-largest school district. As part of the deals under consideration Wednesday, the board would evaluate the schools each year on their academic, financial and operational performances. “Every time a charter school is up for renewal, it has to submit literally hundreds of pages of documentation to CPS and go through a monthslong process. So when you’re doing that every two years, like Montessori School of Englewood will have to do, it really limits their ability to focus on academic improvement,” Broy said. “Instead they get caught in this perpetual renewal treadmill that is bureaucratic in nature and detracts really from what we should be focused on, which is student learning and operational performance,” he said.”

Pritzker vetoes proposal to pay COVID-19 sick leave to all school employees, says only fully vaccinated should be compensated

By Karen Ann Cullotta for The Chicago Tribune 

“Gov. J.B. Pritzker vetoed legislation Monday that would have guaranteed COVID-19-related sick leave for school employees, while signaling support for a “compromise” plan that would limit compensation to only those who are fully vaccinated. Pritzker and leaders with the state’s two largest teachers unions have been huddling for weeks, with the unions urging Pritzker to sign the School Employee Benefit and Wage Protection bill after it passed with strong bipartisan support in October.”

Chicago Public Schools failed to notify families about a significant change in its COVID-19 reporting

By Sarah Karp for WBEZ

“Chicago Public Schools changed the way it reports COVID-19 cases at individual schools, but did not disclose it, resulting in parents getting an undercount of positive cases in the school their child attends. The change during winter break was implemented at the time the Omicron surge was taking hold, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the school district were trying to convince parents it was safe to send their children back to school. CPS insists the change was not meant to mislead. On its COVID tracker web page, CPS was reporting data on cases district-wide and school by school that, according to the district, still needed to be confirmed. But on Dec. 20, in the winter break, CPS began reporting only closed cases – those that have been verified by a contact tracing team – at the school level. Though CPS continued to include the larger number of open and closed cases in the district total, parents no longer were seeing the additional open cases at their individual school. This painted an imprecise picture for families.”