Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: November 6 – November 12, 2021

Noble Students Fall in Love with Coding

By the Noble Schools

“Noble students across several campuses are falling in love with coding. They’re gaining hands-on skills while building their own websites from scratch. Students are engaging with tech professionals at major companies like Expedia, Grubhub, Groupon, and Centro. But most importantly, they’re beginning to imagine themselves in the technology field  – a major goal of the Code Nation program. For the past two years, Noble Schools has partnered with Code Nation, a volunteer teaching corps organization, to provide unique coding and technology programs to our students for free. Code Nation serves high school students in under-resourced communities across Chicago. This year, they are serving more than 400 students at 12 schools in the city, including Noble Schools: Rauner, Noble Street, Golder, and UIC College Prep. Their goal is to provide more equitable access to a career in technology for students in low-income circumstances– especially for Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and female-identifying individuals, who Code Nation says have fewer onramps to tech careers and are vastly underrepresented in the field. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine, Code Nation went fully remote last year, hosting classes and sessions online. Now that schools have reopened, the organization has transitioned back to in-person learning while continuing to provide virtual programs as well. Right now, there are over 90 Noble students enrolled in their programs.”


Chicago officials tout 200 COVID vaccine sites for ‘Vaccination Awareness Day’

By Mauricio Pena and Mila Koumpilova for Chalkbeat

“During a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Dr. Allison Arwady, the city’s health commissioner, said doses of the vaccine would be available at pediatrician offices, pharmacies, community clinics, hospitals, and school sites to reach more than 210,400 Chicago children ages 5-11. Arwady said the health department is distributing doses to all providers across the city asking for the vaccine. A priority is to have children vaccinated with a pediatrician, which is where they see “much better uptake,” Arwady said. The district is also operating four regional school vaccination sites, meant to complement the vaccination efforts happening citywide, Arwady said. Some parents and teachers union leaders have long called for more school vaccination sites. City officials have been pushing a large-scale marketing campaign around the pediatric vaccine, including the last-minute announcement canceling classes for Friday’s Vaccine Awareness Day…. While neighborhood schools will observe canceled classes, the Noble Charter School network will have classes as previously scheduled. Noble Charter School has been educating students and families around vaccine awareness as well as hosting town halls and vaccine clinics at all school campuses, said Matt McCabe, spokesman for the charter network.”


Everything Chicago parents need to know about Vaccination Awareness Day

By Cassie Walker Burke for Chalkbeat

“So your children are off school Friday, and you’re scrambling to figure out the meaning of Chicago’s inaugural “Vaccination Awareness Day.” Here are eight things to know. Last week, with the arrival of the pediatric COVID vaccine under federal emergency use authorization, Chicago Public Schools suddenly announced that it would cancel school on Nov. 12, for a “Vaccination Awareness Day.” In an e-mail to parents, district CEO Pedro Martinez encouraged families to seek out vaccinations for children — and bring along teens and older adults who have not yet received a shot. The day appears to be a Chicago invention, promoted to boost vaccination rates among school-age children. But the last-minute cancellation of Friday classes has irked parents who are scrambling for child care. The day is among seven no-school days in Chicago Public Schools during November, including a school improvement day and a parent-teacher conference day.”


Dirty schools: Latest on the CPS cleanliness issues

By the Sun-Times

“The back and forth over filthy conditions at Chicago Public Schools came to a head last week with the departure of facilities chief Clarence Carson, a CPS parent brought in three years ago to fix cleanliness issues that preceded him. Condition problems have been documented by the Sun-Times at some schools citywide since at least 2018. In one recent case, the staff, parents and students at Eberhart Elementary on the Southwest Side took matters into their own hands until CPS finally sent a substitute custodian — after Sun-Times reporters asked about the filth. Below, you’ll find all of the Sun-Times’ reporting on the CPS’ issues with cleaning its schools and complaints from communities across the city.”


Growing number of Illinois high school students signing up for AP, dual credit and career courses during pandemic

By Karen Ann Cullotta for The Chicago Tribune

“Despite the 2020-21 Illinois School Report Card’s preliminary data showing steep declines in student test scores during the COVID-19 pandemic, the frequent educational disruptions during the past two years do not appear to be discouraging a growing number of high school students from completing Advanced Placement, dual credit and career prep courses. During the last school year, Illinois saw nearly 9,482 more students enrolled in dual credit, 2,885 more students enrolled in Advanced Placement, and 954 more students enrolled in career and technical education courses, Illinois State Board of Education officials said in a statement. A dual credit course allows a student to fulfill a high school requirement while earning college credit, which is transferable upon graduation. While the courses are typically taught at the high school by teachers certified to teach dual credit courses, some programs, like fire science technology, are offered to high school students on-site at local community colleges.”