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Mila Koumpilova, Chalkbeat Chicago

On Chicago’s First Day Of School, A Mix Of Enthusiasm And Jitters

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and schools CEO Pedro Martinez are hoping for a better year after two tumultuous ones navigating the pandemic’s massive disruption to learning.


Amid Buzz For Career Training, Little Access For Chicago Teens At Alternative Schools

Only 40 percent of alternative high school students in Chicago graduate, and those who do can face bleak career prospects. As Chicago and other urban districts expand these programs, advocates worry alternative school students may be left out.


This Educator Is Bringing Clemente High School’s Library Back To Life

Townhouse is an impassioned advocate for school libraries at a time when Chicago and districts across the country are cutting back.

Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Technology, Skyline Rollout Dominate Chicago Public Schools’ Federal Relief Vendor Spending

Chicago has so far spent the bulk of its COVID relief money on salaries and benefits, mostly for positions that existed before the pandemic hit.


Early Results From This Spring’s State Test Suggest Chicago Students Are Still Struggling

Just 15 percent of the district’s third through eighth graders who took the test this spring met state standards in math, and a fifth of students met standards in English language arts.


At One High-Needs Chicago High School, The Class That Bore The Brunt Of COVID’s Toll Graduates

“Keeping it real: You have been cheated,” Richards principal Ellen Kennedy told graduates. “This pandemic robbed you of so many of the high school experiences you so richly deserve.” 


Chicago Public Schools Unveils Updated $9.5 Billion Budget For Upcoming School Year

Public hearings on the budget start next week and the Chicago school board will vote on the spending plan at its June 22 meeting.


‘A Glaring Concern’: Chicago’s Support Staff Substitute Pool Stretched Thin Amid Pandemic

The district’s special education classroom assistant substitute pool has been stretched thin.


Chicago School Board Narrowly Approves $170 Million Increase To Pension Payments

The district administration reiterated that it’s investing more in schools next year amid steep pandemic enrollment declines.


Stacy Davis Gates Elected Chicago Teachers Union President

The incumbent leadership group known as Caucus of Rank and File Educators will retain power over the Chicago Teachers Union for another three years, but they face growing opposition.


The Chicago Teachers Union Votes On Its Leadership Friday. What’s At Stake?

A mayoral election and a transition to an elected school board loom during the next CTU leadership’s three-year term, with the potential to redraw an often combative relationship with the city. 


‘We Deserve It’: After Two Years Of COVID Upheaval, Chicago Teens Are Ready For Prom

This spring for students across Chicago, prom — the perennial cornerstone of that final stretch before graduation — doubles as a milestone on the way to reclaiming a measure of normalcy.


In Chicago, A New Push To Steer More Young Men Of Color Into Teaching

Fewer than 4 percent of CPS teachers are Black men, and fewer than 5 percent are Latino men, in a district where students of color comprise around 90 percent of enrollment.


Amid Pushback On School Budget Cuts, Chicago Schools Chief Promises More Communication

After two years of steep enrollment losses magnified by the pandemic, the district proposed cutting budgets at 40 percent of schools, while the remainder could see comparable or increased funding.


Budget Cuts Hit Pandemic-Weary Chicago Elementary Schools

Advocates fear the cuts could undermine efforts to recover from the pandemic and thrust once-bustling campuses into a cycle of staff and program cuts that trigger more family defections. 

Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Chicago School Board ‘Discouraged’ By District’s Spending On Academic, Mental Health Support: ‘This Is An Emergency’

The district has so far spent only 12 percent, or $62.9 million, on a half-billion initiative designed to help students bounce back from COVID disruption.


Chicago Will Spend $290 Million More On Schools Next Year — But Many Will See Steep Cuts

Some campuses with steep enrollment declines will see those losses reflected in shrinking budgets. Overall, 40 percent will see budget cuts, some $800,000 or more, officials said.


Inside A Chicago High School’s Year Of Uncertainty

Attendance is down. Behavioral issues are up. COVID has waned and surged. At Richards Career Academy, staff and students are forging ahead.

Back of the Yards

In Chicago Public Schools, More Principals And Teachers Are Leaving

In the first seven months of this fiscal year, which began in July, the pace of turnover picked up among all employee groups. Teacher retirement and resignations jumped roughly 85 percent.


Chicago Poised To End Controversial School Ratings System

The district is extending an April deadline to unveil a policy until spring 2023 at the latest.

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