This Week in Ed 10.21.20: "Phased Reopening" Starts in Q2, CPS PreK and Cluster Program Students Phase-In First

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Why support RYH? From one of our newest RYH board members and a CPS parent, Cassandra Kaczocha:

What do you do when your childrens’ school is not safe? What do you do when all of the official channels for fixing the problem are dead ends? When I found myself in that situation, I turned to Raise Your Hand. The dedicated staff and volunteers at RYH helped us navigate a web of CPS meetings and processes so we could advocate for our school. The amazing online community that RYH facilitates introduced me to families from across Chicago who were experiencing the same issues and media to help bring attention to the problem. RYH board members introduced me to parent organizers who had successfully launched other campaigns. And with all of these tools RYH provided, we were able to get focus and fixes not just for the safety concerns at my childrens’ school, but at schools across Chicago. Please consider a donation today to support the crucial work of RYH!

Our online silent auction is live and very active! View our awesome items & place your bid today! Here are a few highlights we’ve featured on social media: Art (new art added yesterday)! Autographed books by Dr. David Stovall + gift cards to local bookstores! Outdoor family activity! So’Black’s clothing gift basket! All auction items are here. Good luck.

If you missed our '63 Boycott documentary screening yesterday, check out our program from the summer where we showed the film and had a Q&A with Ms. Simpson and Bret Harte students! Please consider a gift to RYH if you haven’t given already. THANK YOU. 

 

Quarter 2 "Phased Reopening" & CPS Enrollment Drop Announcements

Quick summary: CPS PreK and cluster program students will be phased into in-person schooling during Quarter 2 which begins November 9. All other students will continue with remote learning and, in January, they will be phased into in-person schooling.

On Thursday evening, news started leaking out. Early Friday morning, CPS dropped two big news stories: the announcement above and the most recent enrollment numbers- based on 20th Day Enrollment data, CPS is down 14,500 students. Here’s some press coverage: :

Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicago releases more details about 'phased-in' school reopening plan

Sun-Times: CPS reopening to start with pre-K, special ed next month; more students could return in January

WBEZ: Chicago Public Schools Enrollment Plummets

CBS 2: CPS Announces Second Quarter Plan To Reopen Schools For Pre-K, Intensive Cluster Programs

Friday afternoon, CPS and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) hosted a press conference. Monday morning, Mayor Lightfoot and CDPH hosted a press conference about the increased COVID-19 infection rates across Chicago- it’s happening across ages, and across race-ethnicity. They explained that the nature of the increases across demographics makes the virus hard to control as it’s harder to target. Chalkbeat Chicago: Lightfoot warns of second COVID-19 surge in Chicago, but says ‘phased-in’ school reopening a go for now

So, what else do parents need to know?

  • CPS has updated their Reopening webpage. There’s some information about the “Phased Reopening” and a “Tracking COVID” section with CPS COVID-19 data.
  • If your child is in one of the Quarter 2 phase-in populations, you should be getting a survey from CPS via email (we hear this should happen today, Oct 21.) We believe this email will ask about your intent to return to in-person schooling. You can opt to continue with Remote Learning.
  • Suburban schools (and some private schools) are all over the place: some are reopening to hybrid, some are going back to remote from hybrid, some continue remote learning, and some continue with a hybrid plan. If CPS achieves their phase-in goal, we should all be prepared for some instability. Chicago Tribune: Just as schools begin to reopen, many are closing again as COVID-19 surges: ‘It’s almost an impossible situation’
  • Do you have a question (you probably have several) for CPS on anything regarding pandemic schooling? Please reply to this email & share. Also include generic info about yourself- are you a parent? teacher? how old are your kids? are you a PreK, cluster, or SpEd parent? We are planning a little something & are trying to gather ALL the unanswered questions. Thanks. 

Please follow RYH Social Media so we can keep you posted. We share news & upcoming events daily. Search @ILRaiseYourHand: Facebook Page | Twitter | Instagram

 

Letter: Centering Equity in A Safe and Responsible Return to School

As members of the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM), RYH hosted a Remote Learning Town Hall. (We also hosted an event with LSNA in August.) Several other GEM organizations hosted discussions like this as well. Using the input gathered from parents, caregivers, students, educators, and community members, GEM wrote a letter. 

GEM sent this letter to Mayor Lightfoot, CEO Jackson, and the members of the mayor appointed CPS Board of Ed. In it, we demand that the Black and Brown families and communities most at risk from the virus be consulted in any planning and decision making for a return to in-person learning. And, until those conditions are deemed safe, we want CPS to collaborate with teachers, parents and students to improve the currently unworkable state of remote learning. Here's some press coverage:

Chicago Tribune: Elected officials, community groups demand more from CPS reopening plans, say families have ‘great trepidation about returning to schools this fall’

WTTW: Parents React to CPS Plan to Reopen Schools to Some Students Next Month

 

The Board of Education Finance and Audit Committee Meeting

Speaking of the huge enrollment loss in CPS, this is an important meeting. Student based budgeting (SBB) and it's inequitable implications in COVID and non-COVID times need discussion. Meeting announcement here.

Th, Oct 22 | 6-7:30PM | Virtual | RSVP is required here

To register to speak during Public Participation, complete this form. Public Participation will conclude after twenty (20) minutes or until the last speaker has presented, whichever occurs first. Written Comments will be accepted until 5PM, Oct 23. Submit your written comments here.

  

Local School Council (LSC) News: A Letter & An Event

  • RYH is part of the LSCs.4.All coalition. We sent this letter to the CPS BOE, OLSCR Director, and CEO Jackson. In it, we stress the need for public information on how LSC elections will be conducted so elections can be fair and accessible.
  • The Gathering: LSC Elections | Hosted by the LSCs.4.All | Tues, Oct 27 | 4:30-6PM | Register here

 

Special Education News, Upcoming Events & RYH Webpage

 

GoCPS High School Application Process

Here is the Link to the GoCPS Eligibility Criteria and Selection Procedures: 2021-2022 School Year (HS Supplemental Guide 2021-2022), where you can find both the criteria for being able to apply for and the criteria used in Acceptance/Selection of students in each of the 318 General Education and Specialty Programs and 68 Cluster Programs. RYH has had repeated discussions with CPS over the last 3 years about how this system discriminates against students with disabilities. A minor change in process is that students in cluster programs can now apply for their preferred schools online rather than paper, though placement still requires final review and approval by ODLSS for eligibility and proximity.  

 

Teach-in on CPS’ Comprehensive Sex Ed Policy 

From our friends at Healing to Action: SexEdWorks is a coalition of caregivers, educators, and youth who want to ensure that all CPS youth have access to comprehensive sexual education. Currently, over 70% of CPS students are not receiving comprehensive sex ed as promised by CPS' policy. CPS recently released a proposed policy on comprehensive sexual education for public comment. Join SexEd Works' teach-in on Tues, Oct 27 (caregivers and educators) to make sure your voice is heard. Let's ensure that community members have a voice to hold CPS accountable for the implementation of the policy, funding to ensure schools have the proper resources, and that caregivers have the support they need to promote healthy relationships in their communities. 

Register here. CPS’ proposed policy on comprehensive sexual education here

 

Upcoming Events 

➡️ Monthly CPS Board of Education Meeting

Wed, Oct 28 | 10:30AM | Online registration to speak here

 

➡️ SAVE THE DATE! CTU Standardized Testing Webinar for Parents

Tues, Oct 27 | 6-7PM