Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: December 4 – December 10, 2021

Gratitude at Muchin College Prep

By The Noble Schools

“After 539 days away from school, we are thankful to be back at Muchin College Prep with our Mountain Lion family. Those 539 days were incredibly challenging for so many of us. They were full of uncertainty, loss, remote learning, and very little social interaction as we were doing our best to survive a global pandemic.  Now that we have returned to school safely, we are not only thankful to be back in person, but we are thankful for the community that surrounds us. Seeing each other every single day, being able to laugh together, meeting new people, and making new friends – our list of gratitude goes on and on.”


INCS 2022 Teacher Leadership Cohort Announced

By INCS News

“On December 6, 2021, the 2022 INCS Teacher Leadership Cohort (TLC) was announced. The goal of this nine-month fellowship is to equip teachers with the experiences, knowledge and skills to support them to  speak out on behalf of their students, their 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.”


Schools boost pay, add bonuses to lure substitute teachers

By Carole Carlson for The Chicago Tribune

“Duneland responded by increasing pay and incentives, as did other districts. The tier increased from a daily rate of $70 to $95 for a state-licensed substitute; $80 to $100 for a licensed teachers and a new rate of $120 for retired Duneland teachers. Like the School City of Hammond, Duneland is also offering first year teacher pay after 16 consecutive days or more of subbing. When a substitute can’t be found, a teacher who volunteers to cover an absent teacher’s classroom during a planning period earns $20. “Even if COVID goes away tomorrow, I don’t believe there’s this whole army of subs waiting to come back.” Hammond consolidated its pay tiers to just two. A substitute with a bachelor’s degree earns $125 a day, while a worker with less than a bachelor’s earns $100. There’s also a tiered bonus schedule of $250, $500 and $1,000, based on days worked per semester. He said the district started new full-year substitute positions and filled most of those slots since they guarantee steady work. Back in Lake Station, Chief Financial Officer Eric Kurtz said the district was reduced to about a third of its normal number of substitutes. The district also bumped up its daily pay tier; now it’s $80 and $90, based on qualifications.”


All gender bathroom signage begins to go up in CPS schools

By Meghan Dwyer for CBS

“New signage went up this week in Chicago Public Schools making it clear students can use whatever bathroom they want. CPS schools were required to hang the new signage by Wednesday. The district announced the new policy on Twitter last month. Schools like LaSalle Language Academy sent newsletters to parents explaining what to expect. LaSalle now has two all-gender, multi-stall restrooms. They’re equipped with privacy strips to close gaps and urinal dividers. “We want to make an environment as respectful and inclusive as we can,” Education Program Manager Curran Cross said.”


How did COVID-19 affect attendance in southwest Illinois schools last year?

By Megan Valley for The Belleville News-Democrat

“One in five Illinois students were chronically absent from school last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data published in October. Last week, district- and school-level data was published by the Illinois State Board of Education, giving one of the first in-depth looks at how the pandemic impacted education in the metro-east, and how it compares to education around the state. The Illinois State Board of Education collects and publishes the Illinois Report Card data each year; it covers everything from student achievement, to administrator diversity, to teacher experience. Usually, the data is all published at once, but because of reporting and testing delays caused by COVID-19, state-level data was shared in October, with district- and school-level data being published Wednesday. Based on preliminary assessment data, the student groups that were most likely to be chronically absent also suffered from some of the steepest rates of learning loss, the Illinois State Board of Education reported in October.”