Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: October 30 – November 5, 2021

Celebrating Our PrinciPALS #Noble❤️PALs

By the Noble Schools

“We appreciate the hard work and passion that our Noble princiPALs bring to our school communities everyday. As we wrap up this National Principals’ Month, we want to give a big shout-out to all our PALs. Check out a message from our CEO to our PALs and a ton of shout-outs from staff and students below.”


Children can get COVID vaccines at Chicago schools next week — and $100 for signing up

By Cassie Walker Burke for Chalkbeat

“Chicago Public Schools will begin offering the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine next Wednesday at four regional school-based hubs and via its mobile van. The district says families can receive a $100 gift card if a student receives an initial vaccination at a Chicago Public Schools event. The four Chicago Public Schools hubs that will offer free pediatric vaccines on alternating days are Michele Clark Magnet High School, on the city’s West Side; Richards High School and Chicago Vocational on the city’s South Side; and Roosevelt High School on the city’s Northwest Side. The clinics will offer vaccinations for 5- to 11-year-old students, vaccinations for older students and adults, and booster shots. Families can sign up here for appointments, which are free and do not require government-issued ID or insurance. The mobile vaccination van will offer shots for students ages 5 to 11 starting next Wednesday. That day it will visit four sites: Simeon, Portage Park, Mozart, and Bradwell.”


Illinois school report card for 2021 reflects declining test scores, climbing student absences during COVID-19 pandemic

By Karen Ann Cullotta for The Chicago Tribune

“Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent Carmen Ayala said the preliminary Illinois School Report Card assessment data from last school year illustrate the “significant impact” of the pandemic and remote learning on student attendance, enrollment and academic achievement.”


With winter on the way, thousands of Chicago Public Schools students are still without bus service

By Adriana Cardona-Maguigad for WBEZ

“On Friday morning, Alma Julieta Mendoza and her 16-year-old son Nathanael rushed to the bus stop in the rain through dark Chicago alleys and still empty streets before sunrise. They walk six blocks every morning from their West Side apartment to the nearest CTA bus stop, where they catch a bus for an hour-long commute to Roosevelt High School in Albany Park on the Northwest Side. Nathanael, who has Down syndrome and is a junior at Roosevelt, is supposed to get a bus ride from Chicago Public Schools. But that hasn’t happened yet this year. He is one of 3,800 Chicago Public School students — 2,300 of them with special needs — who were told days before school began on Aug. 30 that no school bus would be coming to pick them up. This week, they learned their ride isn’t coming anytime soon. CPS, faced with a national shortage of drivers, said it’s making progress but it won’t have bus service for all the students with special needs until school resumes after winter break.”


CPS No Longer Plans To Test All Students, Staff Every Week, Walking Back Promise Made This Summer

By Kelly Bauer for Block Club Chicago

“Officials appear to be walking back their promise to test all Chicago Public Schools students and staff for COVID-19 every week. CPS promised this summer it would test “100 percent of CPS students and staff each week,” looking to assuage concerns from parents and faculty nervous about a return to in-person learning as the pandemic continues. But the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Allison Arwady, said Tuesday officials do not plan to do that now. “There is not a goal anywhere in the country, it’s not the recommendation of CDC, it’s not the recommendation of the health department, to test 100 percent of students weekly,” Arwady said during a livestream where she answered questions from viewers. “That is just not a goal anywhere.” The district has been criticized for months over its testing: Officials promised a testing program would be in place by the start of the school year, with testing available at every campus. It missed that deadline and then new ones — and has still only signed up a fraction of students for tests. It’s not clear when the district changed its plan for testing all students and staff weekly — but on Tuesday, Arwady said that level of testing was never going to be necessary.”


CPS Plans to Spend $10M to Hire More School Staffers

By Matt Masterson for WTTW

“Chicago Public Schools officials say they’ve reached an agreement with the Chicago Teachers Union to set aside funding to be used to hire additional school staffers. CPS CEO Pedro Martinez late Tuesday announced the agreement, which he said allocates $10 million to support school staffing. “Our schools have been incredibly resilient throughout this pandemic, and CPS is committed to supporting our dedicated principals and staff as we navigate the unique challenges of the past and current school years,” Martinez said in a statement. “By giving our schools more funding and flexibility, we can ease the burden on administrators and educators so they focus on their most important job: preparing every Chicago Public Schools student for success in the classroom and beyond.” According to the district, that funding will go toward hiring additional substitutes, as well as compensation both for missed teacher prep time and for teachers covering additional classes.”