This Week in Ed 12.5.19: 😍 THANK YOU! Plus, Chicago education news!

Thank you for your #GivingTuesday support and closing out a strong 2019 with us! Thank you for considering Raise Your Hand in your end of year giving if you have not yet donated. We are looking to bring on more staff in early 2020 to address significant LSC parent rep shortages. If we can raise $2,000 more by the end of the year, we would be able to start right in January. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! 😍

CPS School Actions 2020 - RYH Reflections

By law, CPS must announce any school actions for the following school year by December 1. On November 27, CPS announced the 2020 school actions. One district run school, Hope HS, will close at the end of this school year. RYH Executive Director, Jianan Shi, shares his reflection on this news in the context of the public education landscape in Chicago. You can find a list of further and related reading at the very bottom of this post including some of this recent article from the Sun-Times: Pilsen schools hollow out as neighborhood gentrifies.

CPS has a “CPS School Transitions” web page here where you can find upcoming meetings and hearings about the proposed closure of Hope HS.


Local School Council (LSC) related events

➡️ LSC Advisory Board (LSCAB) meeting: Monday, Dec 16, 6-8pm, CPS Garfield Park Office, 2651 W Washington Blvd. Read a statement from a LSCAB member at the November CPS BOE meeting here regarding the lack of transparency of this body. 

➡️ The Gathering: LSC Meet Up: Tuesday, Dec 17, 6:30- 8:00pm, National Teachers Academy (NTA), 55 W Cermak Rd. Register here. Facebook event page here.

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➡️ LSC Summit: Saturday, Jan 25, 2020, 10AM – 2PM, Chicago Teachers Union, 1901 W. Carroll Ave. Register here. Facebook event page hereThis will be an LSC conference that kicks off LSC election season!


CPS meetings, ways to provide feedback to CPS, and GoCPS deadline extended

CPS Board of Ed meeting: Wednesday, December 11, 5:00pm, Curie HS

Please note the change in date, change in time, and change in location. Online sign up to speak at or attend the CPS BOE meeting begins Monday, December 9, 10:30am at The agenda usually posts at 10am on that same day at the same site but since the meeting is at 5pm on Wednesday, CPS has until 5pm on Monday, December 9, to post the agenda per the Open Meetings Act (OMA)- 48 hours. Speaking of OMA this City Bureau article is worth a read: Your Rights at Public Government Meetings, Explained.

Give CPS feedback 

At the CPS Board of Ed website, you can find links to provide feedback on: 

Upcoming CPS policy and rule changes (direct link

CPS School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) (direct link)

To help you with the SQRP feedback, here are our resources from our "What Makes a School Great? forum hosted at Kenwood HS in 2018.

GoCPS deadline extended to Friday, December 13

A recent email from GoCPS explained this and shared that on Friday, December 6, CPS will be releasing “new school progress reports” which CPS says parents can use to help inform their application decisions. Applying to CPS high schools? Consider watching this video from a forum we hosted with Generation All in March 2017: Perceptions v. Reality: What to Consider when Choosing a CPS High School. There’s a written Recap of it here. (You can find Generation All Archived Resources on the RYH website here. GenAll elevated Chicago’s neighborhood high schools, and they advocated for many of the same education reforms that Raise Your Hand supports.)

CPS BOE Workforce Development & Equity Committee Meeting

This newly formed Board of Ed committee is meeting Monday, December 16, at Crane HS. Registration is at 5pm and the meeting is from 5:30-7:30pm. Find out more here. In a Facebook post, CPS invites us to the “...first meeting to engage with the community and re-imagine a diverse teacher pipeline.”


Special education news

Great news coming from CPS and ISBE regarding the roll out of the Student Specific Corrective Action (SSCA) plan.  (Just FYI, SSCA is basically CPS giving some students with IEPs extra services to make up for its past illegal delays and denials of services for those students). The deadlines for this process have been in flux for many reasons, the most recent of which have been the November 23 completion of the legally-required 45 day public comment on CPS’ proposed Diverse Learner Manuals and Guidance Documents that can be read here and language in the new CTU contract that says, “The district agrees to not increase workload for bargaining unit members due to the Student Specific Corrective Action.” that can be found here.   CPS has identified approximately 13,000 students who should qualify for some type of SSCA and parents and teachers will not have to prove lack of progress in order for these students to qualify for these extra services.  CPS is currently working on what SSCA services will look like and parents should be expecting new communication from CPS on this issue once they have ironed out the details.  We’re hopeful that this process will begin in earnest shortly after the start of the new year and will update you on any new information we get!

The  next CPS Diverse Learner Parent Advisory Council Meeting is Thursday, December 12, 6-8:00pm, CPS Colman Zenos Office, 4655 S. Dearborn Street, Room 406, Chicago. The ODLSS PAC has a Twitter account here. Here’s a tweet with a list of upcoming meetings.

Healthy Schools Campaign is collecting testimonials from advocates, service providers, school administrators and health staff, families, students, etc. on the importance of having quality school health services, as part of the effort to support free care, but also in terms of expanding school health services in general.  Please submit a testimonial and/or share with your networks across the state - it only takes two minutes to complete. Link here

Family Resource Center on Disabilities (FRCD), Chicago’s Metropolitan Area Parent Training and Information Center can provide you with no cost Special Education advocacy help. All FRCD asks of parents who want an advocate to help them navigate the special education process is that you complete one of their know-your-rights trainings so you will be empowered with knowledge that will benefit your child.  


Chicago PreK news

WBEZ: Hundreds Of Low-Income Chicago Families Scrambling After Preschools Suddenly Close 

Sun-Times: Mothers build black, brown coalition in fight to restore funding for early learning centers

Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicago schools’ preschool chief steps down 


New study on CPS English language learners

From the Sun-Times article linked below:

Many students learning English when they arrive at Chicago Public Schools go on to not only match their peers, but surpass them academically, according to a new long-term study released Tuesday that flies in the face of previous research that showed the group far behind.

Chalkbeat Chicago: Bucking misconceptions, many English language learners in Chicago keeping pace with fluent English speakers

Sun-Times: English-language learners are matching, exceeding other CPS students: study

Chicago Tribune: ‘They’re little sponges’: Kids who start kindergarten without English proficiency often do better in school than peers, University of Chicago study finds


Sun-Times: Students give thanks for America and Sullivan High

Hyde Park Herald: The intersection between Labor and Education is clear to 101-year old activist


In other news

WBEZ: Common Core : Higher Expectations, Flat Results 

Chalkbeat: Dozens of school districts applied to an Obama-era integration program before Trump officials axed it. Since then, many plans have gone nowhere.

Chalkbeat Chicago: Six things to know as the Illinois state board takes over as a lifeline for charters 

Daily Herald: Illinois school board members reject arming teachers, support grants for school resource officers

Crain’s Chicago Business: TIFs are a core racial equity issue

Chalkbeat Chicago: Chicago is expanding sought-after academic programs. Now it’s seeing welcome payoffs. 

WBEZ: Alarms Raised Over Possibility Of Capping Enrollment At Top Chicago Schools 


And one more upcoming event…

Final Racial Equity Town Hall hosted by Chicago United for Equity (CUE)
Sat Dec 7, 11am - 2pm, Adler University, 17 N Dearborn

More information and registration here.