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Drugs in schools

Most drug violations in CPS involve an ounce or less of marijuana. Schools are quick to call police, yet rarely have the resources to offer education, counseling or other non-punitive help to students.

Cover Stories

August 15, 2005

Tatyana Hopkins sits in the front row of her 5th-grade classroom at Henson Elementary in North Lawndale. But she still squints to read words on the chalkboard and sometimes asks a classmate to read them for her.

Last October, her doctor told her she needed glasses. Tatyana's mother, Latonya Pearson, intended to take the 11-year-old to the optometrist. But she works nights six days a week sorting mail for the postal service, and is exhausted by Saturday. "I just haven't had time to take her," she said in early January.

August 15, 2005

A Catalyst analysis finds that after $680 million in capital spending over the last decade, school overcrowding is still widespread. The district says it needs more money. Critics say the district also needs a better capital plan.

At Canty Elementary on the far Northwest Side, some teachers are doubled up two to a classroom, students eat lunch at their desks since the cafeteria was converted to classroom space, and primary-grade classes exceed union class-size caps.

August 10, 2005
By: Catalyst

"Los niños no votan. Ese es el gran problema con los asuntos infantiles. Así que nosotros, los adultos, tenemos que hablar en voz alta y claramente para crear la voluntad pública, la cual crea una voluntad política."

Adele Simmons vice-presidenta y ejecutiva de Chicago Metropolis 2020

El asunto

Estudios sobre el cerebro indican que las oportunidades más favorables de aprendizaje para los niños comienzan antes de que lleguen a el jardín de niños (kindergarten).

August 03, 2005

"I'm here. I'll be right there," yells Gretta Steadman, a 3rd-grade teacher at Kohn Elementary, as she breezes past Room 608 and into her own classroom next door to put away her belongings.

It's 8 a.m., and she has promised to meet with Kohn's new 3rd-grade teacher, Kyle Miller, before school starts at 8:45.

Sabrina Anderson, the school's reading specialist, will also sit in.

August 03, 2005

"Have a seat, have a seat," says Jennifer Kelly to students shuffling in the door of her mid-morning English class at Aiken Service Learning High School, in a working-class section of Cincinnati.

"He just hit me," a sullen girl gripes to Kelly of the boy just behind her.

"No," says the boy, "she hit me." The young man uses two fingers to widen his supposedly wounded left eye and presents it to Kelly.

August 03, 2005

Selecting a principal is a local school council's most significant—and most daunting—responsibility. Many council members put in long evening and weekend hours sifting through resumes, organizing community forums and interviewing candidates. Sometimes their hard work pays off; sometimes it does not. Parents on four local school councils shared with Catalyst the strategies that helped them pick a winner and the mistakes they hope other councils will avoid.

DeFrance Eiland

Parent member, vice chair

Wendell Smith Elementary, Pullman

August 03, 2005

For the past few years, public policy lecturer Ronald Ferguson of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government has researched racial achievement gaps. In a 2002 report on racial disparities in high-achieving suburban high schools, Ferguson uses survey data from thousands of middle and high school students of all races and ethnic backgrounds to examine why students of color often underperform, and what schools can do about it. Ferguson also helped launch the Tripod Project, which helps schools strengthen curriculum, teaching and teacher-student relationships.

August 03, 2005

Earl Williams' parents were both teachers. But when he chose a profession, Williams decided not to follow in their footsteps and stayed clear of education. Instead, he earned a degree in engineering and accounting.

Years later, however, Williams took an opportunity to tutor at a junior college—and discovered that he really enjoyed the very task he had vowed to avoid. "I got the bug," Williams says with a laugh. "I got such a good feeling from tutoring."

August 03, 2005

Last month, Perspectives Charter School celebrated the grand opening of its new $7 million building, and declared it was ready to launch more schools.

"We feel a social responsibility to open more schools," declared co-founder Diana Shulla-Cose, who is setting her sights on creating eight more Perspectives-style charters over the next five years.

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