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: Mandatory school age could fall
State Sen. Kimberly Lightford has introduced legislation to lower Illinois' compulsory school age from 7 to 5, a move aimed at countering Chicago's crisis in K-8 truancy and absenteeism, the Tribune reports.
SITTING EMPTY: A study released Monday concluded that Chicago is already awash in vacant school property for sale, with 24 shuttered CPS sites on the market plus about as many old Catholic schools for sale or lease. Most of Chicago’s vacant schools have been so for more than 10 years. (Sun-Times)
CLOSING IN ON CLOSINGS: Another round of community meetings on public school closings in Chicago will begin Wednesday after the district releases a preliminary list of schools that could be shut down. (Tribune)
ON TO ROUND TWO: CPS begins a second round of 14 community meetings Wed., Feb. 13 on what it is calls the district's "utilization crisis." The first round of was expected to collect feedback from more than 7,500 parents and community members around the city, CPS announced in a press release. Community meetings being held this week are:
- 2/13/2013: Austin-North Lawndale, 7-9 pm, House of Prayer Church of God in Christ, 3535 W. Roosevelt Road (NEW LOCATION!)
- 2/14/2013: Lake Calumet, 7-9 pm, Olive Harvey College, 10001 S. Woodlawn
- 2/16/2013: Ravenswood-Ridge, 11am-1pm, Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson
IN THE STATE
Shifting decision-making from the district level to school principals is one of the details that have emerged on how Round Lake Area Unit District 116 intends to change how education is delivered to students to boost academic achievement. (Daily Herald)
IN THE NATION
GROWING INVENTORY: As student enrollment steadily declines in many urban districts, school leaders across the country are struggling to manage a growing inventory of empty and shuttered buildings that are difficult to sell, lease, or otherwise repurpose, a new study finds. The Pew Charitable Trusts examined those three city districts, along with Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, the District of Columbia, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Tulsa, in a report that found that the impact of large-scale public school closures reverberate for years after the buildings are shut down. (Education Week)
BUILD NOW, PAY LATER: Since 2007, hundreds of school districts and community colleges across California have used capital appreciation bonds to raise nearly $7 billion for various construction projects, according to data from the state treasurer’s office. The bonds have allowed school districts that are short on cash to finance classroom renovations and new athletic facilities while delaying payment for years, or even decades. (The New York Times)
OUTSIDE INFLUENCE: Outside groups are mounting campaigns to influence the outcome of three races for seats on the Los Angeles Board of Education. The Coalition for School Reform has raised more than $1.5 million, mostly from a small group of wealthy donors who helped fund past campaigns. (Los Angeles Times)