April 2020 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, discussion continues on parameters for “re-opening” the state, and school districts consider the financial impacts of the closures on their schools. As district leaders begin to consider adjustments to requirements before school in the fall, district leaders across the nation are anticipating changes to public education.

What rate of positive COVID-19 cases do we need to hit before re-opening? Local health officials weigh in
Katie Finlon, Suburban Life, April 28

With financial impact of COVID-19 uncertain, Chicago Public Schools tries to boost its neediest schools with ‘equity grants’
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, April 28

School board warned FY 21 may have financial struggles
Areia Hathcock, Metropolis Planet, April 29

Deadline extended for immunizations this fall in Unit 5 school district
Lenore Sobota, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, April 29

Under pressure to reopen this fall, school leaders plan unprecedented changes
Laura Meckler, Valerie Strauss and Moriah Balingit, The Washington Post via The Alton Telegraph, April 27

In today’s Leading News, read about the challenges the stay-at-home orders bring to educating students with special needs. Oswego-based CUSD 308 adopts an emergency resolution. Princeton ESD 115 talks about remote learning approaches. Also in the news, a ProPublica follow-up notes e-learning assistance, including from Fremont SD 79, for Trico CUSD 176.  

Coronavirus school shutdown has been particularly tough on kids with special needs
Hannah Leone and Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, April 27

New challenges in teaching students with special needs for Central Illinois parents, teachers
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, April 27

Oswego School District 308 Board adopts pandemic resolution
Shea Lazansky, Kendall County Now, April 28

Princeton Elementary superintendent explains PES school district's approach to e-learning
Goldie Rapp, Bureau County Republican, April 28

‘Let’s break down the barriers’: Donors come to rescue of Illinois school district struggling with digital divide
Jodi S. Cohen and Jennifer Smith Richards, Chicago Tribune, April 28

In today’s Leading News, school districts continue making adjustments, and decisions, as they deal with the effects of the coronavirus emergency and empty school buildings. Also in the news, the University of Illinois hopes for on-campus instruction and plans to allow accepted  students to defer.

Grading during a closure: Schools wrestle with grading in an online learning environment
Galena Gazette, April 27

waives some requirements for graduation due to COVID-19
Andy Kravetz, Peoria Journal Star, April 27

Pritzker Says Schools, Students Should Prepare for Remote Learning This Fall
Amanda Vinicky, WTTW, Chicago, April 26

Macomb schools prepare for remainder of school year
Tabi Jozwick, McDonough County Voice, April 23

U. of I. still planning on-campus instruction this fall, asks new students to commit by May 1
Matthew Hendrickson, Chicago Sun-Times, April 24

In today’s Leading News, media reports on school and government leaders discuss the long-term ramifications of the coronavirus impacts, from school finances to college decisions, and including college testing, grades, and remote learning connections.

How hard will the coronavirus pandemic hit Illinois school finances and for how long?
Teri Maddox, Belleville News-Democrat, April 24

How 3 high school seniors are making college decisions amid pandemic
Marie Wilson, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, April 20

College Board Shares Plans to Provide Students with Opportunities to Take the SAT in 2020
AP/Chicago Sun-Times, April 15

Is it fair to give grades during the coronavirus school shutdown?...
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, April 17

State releases tool to help students connect to internet
Jerry Nowicki CNI/The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, April 20

In today’s Leading News, families of students eligible for free and reduced school lunches will get additional SNAP benefits. Federal CARES funds earmarked for education will be tied to Title I. CPS works to provide more devices and access for remote learning. A national story reports on stressed parents abandoning remote learning. Also in the news, PBS Kids 27/7 debuts in Carbondale as WSIU offers instructional television programming to help with home learning.
Illinois expands SNAP benefits for students
State Journal-Register, Springfield, April 21
School districts prepare to face major gaps
Kelli Duncan, LaSalle News Tribune, April 18
CPS buys 16,000 more computers than planned to help bridge digital divide, but says some devices won’t arrive till May
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, April 22
‘I just can’t do this’: Harried parents forgo home school
Gillian Flaccus and Jocelyn Gecker, Associated Press/Alton Telegraph, April 21
WSIU stations air new programming for home learning
Beth Spezia, WSIU via the Benton News, April 22
In today’s Leading News, in mostly non-pandemic-related news, the count continues as Kendall County reports high census response. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled last week on an issue of teacher paid leave. CPS’s selective school enrollment process gets additional scrutiny. Springfield SD 186 decides on a health insurance plan. Barrington CUSD 220 has a summer worklist. Pikeland CUSD 10 ratifies its teachers’ contract, and personnel matters are on the agenda at Bronwston CUSD 201. Also in the news, students at a high school scheduled to close feel an additional sting to the coronavirus shutdown.  
Kendall County Now Has Highest Census Response Percentage in Illinois
WSPY, Morris, April 22
No summer pause on teachers’ paid leave, Supreme Court says
Timothy Eggert, Chicago Law Bulletin, April 17
Getting an offer to a selective enrollment high school in Chicago is a big deal. But CPS blames a ‘clerical error’ for some students getting passed up.
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, April 2
Teachers union president ‘disappointed’ about health insurance vote
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, April 22
Barrington District 220's $2.6 million summer project list includes new playground
Bob Susnjara, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, April 13
Pikeland School Board, union ratify four-year contract
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, April 7
Personnel Matters Dominate Brownstown Board Meeting
Greg Sapp, WXEF, Effingham, April 22
For the seniors at Rich East High School, preparing to close after 68 years, ‘this year felt like a slap in the face’
Ted Slowik, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, April 22

In today’s Leading News, school districts address the Class of 2020 and thousands of virtual, postponed, and cancelled graduations and proms because of the coronavirus pandemic. Also in the news, the IHSA has cancelled its state series for spring sports.

No prom, no graduation, more remote learnin: Ddashed hopes that Illinois schools would reopen this year are a particular blow for class of 2020
Karen Ann Cullotta, Hannah Leone, Madeline Buckley, and John Keilman, Chicago Tribune, April 17

Gill says District 186 ‘will honor our graduates’
State Journal-Register, Springfield, April 20

Virtual graduations planned in Northwest suburbs, though in-person events still possible
Christopher Placek, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, April 20

Maine East, South high schools plan ‘virtual graduation,’ delayed prom during COVID-19
Jennifer Johnson, Pioneer Press/Park Ridge Advocate, April 20

St. Charles District 303 reserves alternate graduation date in July
Lauren Rohr, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, April 14

H-F planning virtual prom, graduation for Class of 2020
Homewood-Flossmooor Chronicle, April 10, 2020

Champaign Unit 4 looks at alternatives for high school graduations
Haydee Clotter, WCCU, Champaign, April 20

IHSA cancels all spring sports, summer contact days
Braden Fogal, The Southern Illinoisan, April 21

In today’s Leading News, the spread of COVID-19 has reportedly slowed in Illinois. E-learning preparedness draws scrutiny. School districts anticipate financial impacts of the coronavirus emergency. Chicago’s Phoenix Military Academy notes that some students are participating more with remote learning practices. Also in the news, the Daily Herald has a daily feature called “Songs to Make You Smile,” and it appears to be working.

COVID-19 has ‘slowed tremendously’ in Illinois
State Journal-Register, Springfield, April 19

Illinois districts were urged to prepare e-learning plans for students in case of emergency. Most didn’t do it.
Jodi S. Cohen and Jennifer Smith Richards, Pro Publica/Chicago Tribune, April 20

School district expects monetary flow to dip
Nancy Zeman, Prairie Press, Paris, April 20

Night classes, scavenger hunts and virtual coaching: Highlights from CPS’ first week of remote learning
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-TImes, April 17

A song to make you smile: "Mr. Blue Sky" by ELO
Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, April 6

In today’s Leading News, a look a media reporting of last Friday’s announcement that Illinois school students would continue remote learning as school buildings would be closed for the remainder of the academic year, due to the coronavirus response.

Pritzker Announces Schools Closed For In-Person Learning For Rest of Academic Year
Matt Masterson, WTTW, Chicago, April 17

Local school districts are sorting out details of closure
Brent Bader, Craig Sterret, Tom Collins and Derek Barichello, Ottawa Times, April 17

Gov. Pritzker Announces Remote Learning Days Will Continue Through End Of School Year
The Gazette-Democrat, Anna, April 18

Pritzker says Illinois schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year
Thomas Capps, Leanne Fuller, Metropolis Planet, April 17

…. School leaders say 'learning will never stop'
Marni Pyke, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, April 17

In the Leading News for Friday morning, read reporting on property tax discussions in the state. Also in the news, over the past week, school-related coronavirus response has included flexibility and kindness, friendly waves, welcoming a new kid, and art appreciation.

How will coronavirus affect your property taxes
Jake Griffin, Daily Herald, April 11

County will shift property tax payment to September
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, April 13

Remote learning for special education students, English-learners and residents without internet presents an opportunity to be ‘flexible and kind’
Sarah Freishtat, Aurora Beacon-News, April 13

Crossing guard still greets drivers during pandemic
Kaitlin Cordes, Effingham Daily News, April 11

At Chicago’s ‘farm school,’ a former student cares for the animals while hands-on classes halted during the coronavirus pandemic
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, April 13

Stuck at home: Check out these Central Illinois student creations
Decatur Herald and Review, April 10

In today’s Leading News, school board meetings may be different during the coronavirus emergency, but school board decision-making continues as usual on construction projects, stadium work, lead paint concerns, registration fees, and grant funds for energy-efficient lighting.
Charleston school board to act on next round of construction projects
Dave Fopay, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, April 14
Bleacher replacements, stadium work approved
Nicole Lauer, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, April 14
More lead paint found inside Libertyville High
Russell Lissau, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, April 14
Altamont Unit 10 Keeps Registration Fees The Same
Charles Mills, Effingham Daily News, April 14
Oakwood district to mull high school project
Carol Roehm, Danville Commercial-News, April 15

In today’s Leading News, the meaning of “homework” has changed in 2020, as school districts work to meet requirements and provide continuation of learning under the stay-at-home orders in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

School goes along under ‘a new paradigm’
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, April 14

How Schools Are Meeting The State Board Of Education Requirements To Finish The Year
Benjy Jeffords, WSIU, Carbondale, April 14

Retired Illinois teachers have a new gig: Tutoring students for free while they’re stuck at home during the pandemic

Elyssa Cherney , Chicago Tribune, April 14

Educators in many states report low e-learning attendance
Shawna De La Rosa, Education Dive, April 14

There’s nothing normal about learning from home: How coronavirus school closures could cause ‘historic academic regression’
USA Today/State Journal-Register, Springfield, April 13


In today’s Leading News, school districts adapt, adjust, and provide for remote learning. Springfield SD 186 is communicating with families eligible for mobile hotspots.  Berwyn South SD 100 discusses equity and access. Quincy SD 172 offers computer loans to students. Peoria Public Schools report that the classroom is preferred, but remote learning started out well. Schools’ efforts to maximize learning leads to supplementing online learning with packets.

City purchase gives District 186 students internet access
Bernard Schoenburg, The State Journal-Register, Springfield, April 13

Berwyn teachers, students struggle with inequities of remote learning
F. Amanda Tugade, Suburban Life Publications, April 11

QPS launches computer loan program for families
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, April 9

Remote learning in PPS schools off to satisfactory start
Scott Hilyard, Peoria Journal Star, April 9

Southern Illinois schools try to strike balance with remote learning
Isaac Smith, Molly Parker, Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, April 4

In today’s Leading News, boards of education and leadership teams from across Illinois are considering the ramifications of the coronavirus health emergency on their district operations. Also in the news, last week’s windstorm damaged a school building in Bement.
Oswego School District Board warned to brace for COVID-19 financial fallout
Shea Lazansky, Kendall County Now, April 11
Du Quoin Class of 2020 will have commencement ceremony
Renee Trappe, DuQuoin Call, April 10
D65 and D202 communities confront the barriers to online learning
Andrew Myers, Daily Northwestern, April 10
DeKalb school board to vote on continuing pay for bus drivers, crossing guards during crisis closures
Eddie Carifio, Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, April 5
So your school is practicing remote learning. What does it mean?
Jerry Nowicki, Nicole Lauer, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, April 6
Superintendent: Learn remotely, or risk an incomplete
John Curtis, Shelbyville  Daily Union, April 6
Winds take toll on Bement school        
Steve Hoffman, Piatt County Journal-Republican, April 9
In today’s Leading News, with Illinois education officials guiding school districts towards “do no harm” grading policies, media reports on districts implementing remote learning measures to keep students learning.
Do no harm: As distance learning extends, districts implement, adjust state guidelines
Eddie Carifio, Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, April 1
Local schools struggle with do no harm grading system amid extended remote learning period
Nabiha Asim, Northwest Herald, Chicago suburbs, April 4
Yorkville 115 grading policies change due to continued COVID-19 e-learning
Katie Finlon, Kendall County Now, April 7
Coronavirus closed Illinois schools. Here’s how remote learning works in Belleville.
Teri Maddox, Belleville News-Democrat, April 10
Grades can’t count against kids during Illinois’ coronavirus school shutdown. Does that mean less incentive to do the work?
Hannah Leone and Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, April 9
In today’s Leading News, the Illinois Department of Public Health has a zip code map for known and reportable COVID-19 cases. Members of the Class of 2020 face an uncertain end to their high school careers. Altamont CUSD 10 offers a four-point plan for the continuation of learning, and Woodstock CUSD 200 puts remote teaching and learning into practice. In Champaign CUSD 4, facilities improvements can’t be rushed by school building closures.

IDPH releases COVID-19 cases by zip code, indicating virus' impact on local communities
Sean Hammond, Northwest Herald, Chicago suburbs, April 6
'They just want to celebrate this accomplishment'
Deborah Gertz Husar, Quincy Herald-Whig, April 8
Altamont school district sets goals during closure
Charles Mills, Effingham Daily News, April 6
New Learning Meets New Teaching
Tricia Carzoli, Woodstock Independent, April 8
At Champaign schools, no students, but no changes to construction calendar, either
Ben Zigterman, Champaign News-Gazette, April 7

In today’s Leading News, known as “Zoombombing” even when it’s not on Zoom platforms, instances of disruptive  VTC hijacking have been reported in Illinois school districts, leading to increased security for  remote-learning meetings.

Zoom Bombers Interrupt Remote Learning At Niles North, Niles West
Tara Molina, CBS-2, Chicago, April 3

Winnetka schools get ‘Zoombombed’ with pornography, racist rants during online meetings with students; police investigating
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, April 7

Schools Ditch Zoom Amid Concerns Over Online Learning Security
Anya Kamenetz, National Public Radio, April 6

Don’t Get Bombed: How to Host Zoom Meetings, Hangouts, Houseparty and More
Nicole Nguyen, Wall Street Journal, April 2

New to Zoom? Here are tips and tricks to make you a pro user
WMBD, Peoria, March 30

In today’s Leading News, education headlines without coronavirus: The state-level discussion on seclusion, time out,  and restraint, prompted by Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois, continues. Quincy Schools work on outdoor repairs, while Leyden CHSD 212 seeks funds for classroom  improvements. Some CPS students await decisions on selective enrollment high schools. Also in the news, Pikeland CUSD 10 in Pittsfield adds bass fishing, a competitive activity for all students.
Illinois officials promised to ban prone restraint in schools. Then, they changed their minds.
Jennifer Smith Richards and Jodi S. Cohen, Chicago Tribune, April 6
Illinois lawmakers vow to push forward with a ban on prone restraint in schools
Jennifer Smith Richards and Jodi S. Cohen, Chicago Tribune, April 6
School Board moves forward with bleacher, lighting projects
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, March 26
Leyden High Schools property tax levy to pay for classroom renovations
Deborah Kadin, Pioneer Press /Franklin Park Herald Journal, April 5
Getting an offer to a selective enrollment high school in Chicago is a big deal. But CPS blames a ‘clerical error’ for some students getting passed up.
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, April 2
'Bass fishing fits right in'
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, April 5

In today’s Leading News, educators consider the extra challenges involved in remote learning for students with special needs. Illinois school districts adjust to their new learning plans. Also in the news, Bremen CHSD 228 deploys 3D printers to make PPE supplies for local first responders.

Remote learning extra challenging for students with special needs
Scott Hilyard, Journal Star, Peoria, April 2

Some parents worried coronavirus school shutdowns will leave students with disabilities behind
Collin Binkley, AP/Chicago Tribune, March 31

Schools And Students Learning From Home
Mary (Galer) Herschelman, Hillsboro Journal News, April 1

Students adapt to home ‘classrooms’
Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree, Jacksonville Journal-Courier, March 30

Suburban students step up to make, donate PPE
Patrick Elwood, WGN-TV, Chicago

In today’s Leading News, Illinois media ask “what does it mean?” as Illinois schools move to remote learning.

Illinois schools are now shut until May because of coronavirus.
Here’s what that means for students, parents and teachers.

Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, April 1

So your school is practicing remote learning. What does it mean?
Jerry Nowicki, CNI/Decatur Herald and Review, March 31

EAWR students to continue classes online, with handouts during closure
The Telegraph, Alton, March 31

Champaign superintendent: For all involved, 'very uncharted territory'
Bob Asmussen, Champaign News-Gazette, April 1

Bloomington-Normal area schools bring learning home as Pritzker extends school closure for COVID-19
Kelsey Watznauer, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, March 31

In today’s Leading News, with the extension of the state’s stay-at-home order, school districts will be remote learning through April. School districts add local twists to their remade spring schooling efforts. Also in the news, career and technical education programs offer help to healthcare providers.

Pritzker extends stay at home order, closes schools until April 30
Doug Finke, State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 31

State outlines remote learning for schools
Jerry Nowicki, CNI/Piatt County Journal-Republican, March 31

Illinois shifting to 'remote learning' during school closure
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, March 31

Beyond Lessons: E-learning packets come with a little extra in McLean County Unit 5
Lenore Sobota, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, March 30

Teachers and students create protective gear for essential workers in coronavirus battle:
‘I realized ... I have the exact skill that people are calling out for’

Karen Ann Cullotta, Pioneer Press, Chicago Tribune, April 1

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