Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: December 18, 2021 – January 7, 2022

A Note from Our CEO

The Noble Schools

“Noble Family,  I’m writing today because I know many of you have been following news that CPS is planning to cancel school tomorrow if the Chicago Teachers Union votes to have their members stay home. Regardless of the vote, Noble schools will be in session as planned tomorrow and for the foreseeable future.  While we expect to be in person at most campuses, because of the very high number of cases in the community, some of our schools have already shifted to an “operational pause,” a short period of remote learning due to COVID-related staff absences. We will continue to make these decisions on a case-by-case basis using data, science, and campus input. If this is the case for your campus, you will receive or have already received those details from your campus directly.”


Chicago Public Schools cancels classes after union votes to go virtual

By Theresa Waldrop, Omar Jimenez and Holly Yan for CNN

“More than 340,000 students are shut out of school Wednesday after a deadlock between the Chicago Teachers Union and the school district over Covid-19 safety — the most dramatic example yet of tension in US schools amid the spread of the Omicron variant. On Tuesday night, the teachers’ union voted to teach virtually rather than in classrooms — prompting district leadership to cancel school for Wednesday.”


Universal Month for Human Rights at Noble: Students Share Their Thoughts

By The Noble Schools

“December is the Universal Month for Human Rights (learn more about this month here). In the past two years, you could say the focus on human rights has never been greater. The pandemic has shone a harsh beacon of light on many of the human rights issues facing us today — from racism to ableism to income inequality. This year, we decided to ask our students what human rights issues matter to them and why. Here is what some of them said.”


Addressing This Moment: Noble’s Quarter Two All-Staff Professional Development

By The Noble Schools

“Noble Schools staff all gathered for one more day of professional development right before the winter break. Teams across all 18 campuses and the Noble Support Team met up to discuss the first 5 months of the school year, develop their skills, and wrap up this year together. In the all-staff opening session for this day of PD, our CEO Constance Jones spoke to the struggles our staff have had in the schools with the switch to the Noble Community Pact. She also talked about how leadership will be providing better support.”


Charter Schools Principal of the Year Angela Johnson-Williams

By Theresa Horton for The Chicago Defender

“Ms. Angela Johnson-Williams is following in the footsteps of the lovely women who came before her. She comes from a family of educators. Her mother was a huge inspiration for her work. After years of working in the banking industry, her mom left and went back to school to become a preschool teacher. Her great-aunt was an educator, and her grandmother worked as support staff in the education field. Angela is a married mother of one son, who she is currently introducing to the education field. Angela Johnson-Williams Chicago DefenderAngela Johnson-Williams started her career in education over 27 years ago as a math teacher. She eventually became the Chair of the Math department at a private High School. As the math chair, she strengthened her leadership skills by hiring the right team and aligning the school curriculum. The opportunity to open a Charter School came about, and she was very integral in the startup process. After a couple of years passed, she eventually applied for the principal position.”


Watchdog Report Sheds Light on Pandemic Spending Issues in CPS

By Matt Masterson for WTTW

“Charter schools taking tens of millions of dollars in unnecessary loans, security workers cutting hours to apply for enhanced public benefits and bus companies who pocketed Chicago Public Schools payments while laying off employees during the pandemic were among the issues highlighted by the school district’s watchdog in a new report. The annual report published by CPS Inspector General Will Fletcher shed light on investigations into multiple COVID-19 pandemic relief spending and funding problems throughout the district. In one instance, Fletcher found that 38 CPS charters had received approximately $43.5 million in paycheck protection program (PPP) loans. While Fletcher notes that the charter schools didn’t violate protocols by applying for the loans, they also did not “experience the revenue losses or increased expenses that they feared at the time they submitted their PPP applications.”