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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Laptops would help with typing skills. The problem always seemed to be the poor wireless connections.
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In the News: Charter chain's Springfield connection
Crains' Grez Hinz tells the story of how one chain of privately operated charter schools—that would be UNO—recently almost got a whopping $35 million grant — as much as Chicago Public Schools were to get for the entire city — thanks to a well-placed pol or two.
RULES APPLY: In the wake of a fatal shooting that followed a scuffle at a high school basketball game, Chicago Public Schools’ CEO warned all CPS coaches Wednesday that if they didn’t play by the rules of sportsmanship, their sports programs could be in jeopardy. (Sun-Times)
NO GUARANTEES: Schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett and her aides admitted to the Board of Education Wednesday that the district can’t guarantee that children who will be displaced by school closings will get to attend classes in their own neighborhoods. (Sun-Times)
THE CHICAGO MANUAL ON CLOSINGS: As Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his schools team inch closer to the latest announcement of which schools they plan to close, the Reader's Ben Jorvasky examines how their predecessors have gone about it.
STATE TAKES A SURVEY: Illinois is launching an unprecedented attempt to gather candid information on how teachers are teaching, students are learning and principals are leading in an effort meant to provide crucial information to improve schools while giving parents a peek into thousands of classrooms, officials say. (Tribune)
KEEPING SCORE: The Illinois State Board of Education is scheduled to vote on the proposed changes at their meeting on Thursday that will raise ISAT cut scores, thereby likely reducing the number of students who meet or exceed standards. (Catalyst)
CHARTERS GREEN LIGHTED: CPS officials approved several new charter and alternative schools at Wednesday’s board meeting, and also announced new plans to engage with Community Action Councils. (Catalyst)
YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle will join state and local legislative, educational, civic and community leaders Thursday at the Chicago Urban League's offices for a hearing on youth joblessness. A report outlining new data on unemployment will be released at the hearing as part of an ongoing series commissioned by the Alternative Schools Network and prepared by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. (Press release)
SUPERCOMPUTING IN THE CITY: The University of Illinois is pushing ahead with plans to create a Chicago research, development and supercomputing center — or multiple centers — where tech startups, manufacturers and big corporations can solve problems in energy, transportation, advanced manufacturing, food production and health care technology. (Sun-Times)
IN THE NATION
CHARTER EXPULSIONS: D.C.'s public charter schools have expelled students at a far higher rate than the city’s traditional public schools in recent years, according to school data. (The Washington Post)