Top Education Stories You Don’t Want to Miss: October 2 – October 8, 2021

How Chicago teachers are using social-emotional learning in the classroom

By The Today Show

“As schools nationwide try to guide students through the emotional weight of the past year, a Chicago school is finding success with social-emotional learning, which prioritizes the student-teacher relationship. NBC’s Morgan Radford visits CICS – Bucktown in Chicago as TODAY launches a new series, Building Classroom Connections.”


CPS drops quarantine to 10 days after just 1.6% of kids exposed to COVID at school test positive

By Nader Issa for The Chicago Sun-Times

“Chicago Public Schools students who are exposed to COVID-19 at school will face a less stringent quarantine procedure moving forward, officials announced Tuesday in an effort to ease the early disruptions caused by thousands of children being sent home every week. The changes come as the school system is still scrambling to recover from a poorly prepared testing program that has CPS “playing catch-up,” as the district’s new CEO put it, and is worrying parents and teachers who don’t think they’re ready for scaled-back protocols. Starting with new cases identified this Saturday or later, any unvaccinated students identified as close contacts to someone who tests positive for the virus will be directed to quarantine for 10 days instead of 14, officials announced. Those kids will be granted access to virtual learning, while vaccinated students who are exposed still don’t have to quarantine.”


New CPS CEO says he’ll explore remote learning options but makes no promises

By Nader Issa for The Chicago Sun-Times

“In his first comments as the leader of Chicago Public Schools, new CEO Pedro Martinez committed Thursday to exploring the possibility of expanding remote learning options for parents who don’t yet feel comfortable sending their children back to school — but he stressed there were no promises those inquiries would yield a change. CPS has only offered full-time virtual learning to students with medical conditions, and temporarily to those who test positive for COVID-19 or are forced to quarantine because of exposure to a case. His message was a stark departure from the hard denial of a remote learning option by Mayor Lori Lightfoot over the summer and to start the fall, and even dating back to former CEO Janice Jackson’s final days with the district. While Martinez was careful not to over-promise changes, it was the first time a city or district official said they would consider parents’ requests for a virtual option.”


As CPS enrollment plummets again, new CEO says ‘tough decisions’ lie ahead

By Nader Issa and Fran Spielman for The Sun-Times

“Chicago Public Schools enrollment is down for the 10th consecutive year as the district grapples with the effects of the pandemic, and the new CEO tasked with leading the system through the turmoil says he’s prepared for difficult conversations about under-enrolled schools. Pedro Martinez, on his third day as the schools chief in the city where he grew up, said one of his priorities will be to address budget and enrollment shortcomings that have caused a vicious spiral of underfunded schools to lose students and subsequently lose more money, teachers and programs. Martinez said preliminary data shows 327,000 students enrolled at CPS this year, about 14,000 fewer than last year and nearly 30,000 less than the year before the pandemic. The district has not yet released official enrollment figures. Martinez said those would come out soon.”