chicago public schools

Rebecca Harris

Monroe Elementary Principal Edwin Rivera was excited to learn in fall 2008 that his school would receive grant money to start a restorative justice program. As a former counselor, Rivera is a strong believer in strategies that give schools an alternative to solve conflict and avoid suspensions. 

Monroe got off to a promising start. Rebecca Davis, a social worker from SGA Youth & Family Services, helped facilitate peace circles in several classrooms and trained about 15 to 20 students to serve on a peer jury, which presided over a handful of mock cases before the end of the school year. School administrators were optimistic about the program’s potential.

Winners and losers in CPS budget

By: 
Sarah Karp | Catalyst Chicago

CPS leadership is proposing a budget that does not include massive layoffs, but that doesn’t mean that some schools aren’t losing teachers and other staff.

This year, for the first time, CPS posted a searchable database that shows school-level and unit-level information on budgets and positions. These numbers show how staffing ebbs and flows among schools. 

Community schools funding in question

By: 
Sarah Karp | Catalyst Chicago

Organizations that run community schools--the programs that keep school doors open into the evening with classes for adults and activities for children--reportedly have been told by CPS that they will not receive district funding next year.

Sylvia Gonzalez, the community schools resource coordinator for McAuliffe School in Logan Square, says the loss will mean that students won’t have as much access to tutoring and a safe place to be after school. Like many community schools, hers opens at 7:15 a.m. and doesn’t close for 12 hours.

On Wednesday, May 2, the Chicago City Council Committee on Education and Child Development held a hearing restorative justice in Chicago Public Schools. The committee heard testimony for over two hours on the damage done to students and their communities by harsh discipline measures, the benefits of restorative justice, and the need for the CPS central office to implement restorative strategies on a district wide level.

CPS, CTU prepare for fact-finding in contract negotiation

By: 
Rebecca Harris | Catalyst Chicago

CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union, which have been in mediation since early February, have appointed members of a fact-finding panel – one of the final steps of a lengthy, legally required pre-strike process set out in Illinois law.

According to a document provided by the Chicago Teachers Union, CPS and the union have agreed to appoint the arbitrator Edwin H. Benn as one member of the panel. However, CPS officials have not yet confirmed that plans for fact-finding are under way.

No place in line

By: 
Sarah Karp | Catalyst Chicago

CPS saves money by keeping down the number of more severely disabled students placed in private therapeutic schools, which are designed to provide optimal support. But the decline in placements raises two questions: Are these students getting the services they need? And is CPS adequately monitoring the private schools on its preferred list?

Al Shaw

Chicago Amplified has posted the audio and Power Point from the second forum in the 2011 Chicago School Policy Forum Series. Listen here to Christopher Koch, state schools superintendent; Daniel Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers; and Samuel Meisels, president of the Erikson Institute. If you missed

School closing opponents turn out to meeting

By: 
Rebecca Harris | Catalyst Chicago

CPS' new point man on school actions faced an angry crowd of about 60 people at the first community hearing on proposed guidelines for school closings. Not only were many audience members opposed to school closings, they were also skeptical that Oliver Sicat, the chief portfolio officer, would have the power to make changes based on their feedback.

Thousands of students in early grades miss weeks of school

By: 
Rebecca Harris | Catalyst Chicago

Preschool and the primary grades lay an educational foundation for children’s schooling, but chronic absenteeism in the early grades can crack that foundation—and in CPS, 15 percent of children in preschool through 3rd grade missed a month or more of school in 2010. A new study will shed more light on the problem and point the way toward solutions.

Watch Catalyst Chicago Founder and Publisher Linda Lenz discuss the Illinois school reform bill including longer school days, performance based teacher layoffs, and teacher tenure with Chicago Tonight's Phil Poncé.

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