The historic closing of 49 elementary schools in Chicago left many parents bitter and feeling left out as they try to get involved in new schools. Yet parent engagement is essential for school improvement, and principals are faced with the challenge of building trust at schools that scored poorly on surveys of parent involvement.
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In the News: High schools should be off table, CEO says
Chicago Public Schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett agrees with a panel on school closings that high schools should be off the table as the district prepares to shut down a large number of buildings, a CPS spokeswoman said, according to the Tribune this morning.
ON TO ROUND TWO: Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced on Friday a second round of community meetings set to begin Jan. 28 around school utilization to gather feedback that may be considered as part of CPS’ efforts to "right-size" the district, according to a CPS press release. Once Byrd-Bennett has completed her review of the Commission on School Utilization’s recommendations, CPS will release a list of schools that remain on the table for possible consideration.
NEXT ROUND—CPS: The commission already held a series of public meetings; these instead will be led by CPS, according to the district. A schedule is not yet available. (Sun-Times)
CLOSING IN ON CLOSINGS: CPS officials will put out a list of schools still eligible for closure by the end of January, but CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said Friday that list would still be far from final. (WBEZ)
WHAT'S COOKING?: Student chefs created healthy recipes from food in high school’s pantry for the Cooking for Change contest of the Healthy Schools Campaign last week. (Sun-Times)
IN THE NATION
COMMUNITY SCHOOL CHAMPION: Expanding the amount of learning time for students and creating a new class of higher-paid "master teachers" are among the major changes New York state needs to improve its K-12 system, says Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is also championing the idea of opening more community schools that would provide health care and family-counseling services. (Education Week)
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL NEEDS: Students' ability to learn depends not just on the quality of their textbooks and teachers, but also on the comfort and safety they feel at school and the strength of their relationships with adults and peers there. (Education Week)
VIOLENCE UP CLOSE: The gun violence that took the lives of Chicago school students and that he was surrounded by while growing up in that city have helped turn U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan into an outspoken advocate of gun control who has drawn sharp criticism from the National Rifle Association. (Education Week)