January 2020 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, Northern Illinois University will use GPA instead of ACT or SAT scores in its admissions process. It’s the peak of flu season, and school districts are feeling the effects. THSD 113 (Highland Park) reviews its policies and changes its scheduling options for health and P.E. Bethalto CUSD 8 examines its response methods to potential school safety and security incidents. Also in the news, the future is now for better busses.

NIU eliminating test scores in undergrad admissions: ‘Once we know a high school student’s GPA, one standardized test score is irrelevant’
Dawn Rhodes, Chicago Tribune, January 29

Streator, Ottawa schools hit by flu season
Michael Urbanec, Ottawa Times, January 30

Township High School District 113 halts popular physical education waiver after learning it ran afoul of state law
Karen Berkowitz, Pioneer Press/Highland Park News, January 29

‘School safety is evolving’: Bethalto district begins active shooter protection, response overhaul
Alton Telegraph, January 27

Making Yellow School Buses a Little More Green
Ellen Rosen, New York Times, January 22

In today’s Leading News, CHSD 218 students’ urban renewal efforts run into red tape. A community effort to assist students dealing with trauma is in place in Moline-Coal Valley SD 40. CPS aims to hire staff to assist students experiencing homelessness. The board of education for Galena USD 120 has approved a five-year contract with its teachers. Also in the news, a farm-to-school cafeteria program earns accolades in Lincoln Elem SD 27.
High school students in Palos Heights tried to get a vacant Dominick’s store redeveloped. Instead, they’re getting a lesson in corporate gamesmanship.
Janice Neumann, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, January 20
Program helping Moline-Coal Valley students dealing with trauma a success, officials say
Rebecca David, KWQC, Davenport, Iowa, January 25
Transformational’ new CPS positions will help students who are homeless
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, January 27
Board OKs 5-year teachers’ contract
Hillary Dickerson, Galena Gazette, January 27
School cafeteria program sees results
Lincoln Courier, January 28
In today’s Leading News, Peoria Public Schools joins a lawsuit against the makers of e-cigarettes. CHSD 155 in Crystal Lake copes with a ransomware attack. Edwardsville CUSD 7 establishes an equity task force. The board and community of Freeport SD 145 discuss the placement and potential removal of an on-campus memorial. Also in the news, mariachi music trumpets from an East Moline middle school.
Peoria Board of Education approves lawsuit against e-cigarettes, online training system
Brittni Clemons, WMBD, Peoria, January 28
District 155 network monitoring systems infected with ransomware, superintendent says
Cassie Buchman, Northwest Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 28
Edwardsville School Board Discusses Equity Task Force, Facility Improvements, New Policies
Leanne Guthrie,, January 27
Freeport lawmakers call on school district to keep memorials honoring slain alumni
Breane Lyga, WREX, Rockford, January 24
The Quad Cities' only mariachi band for middle schoolers
Montse Ricossa, KWQC, Davenport, Iowa, January 25
In today’s Leading News, incidents involving allegations of inappropriate conduct by school district or school contractor staff have made headlines this month.
Elmwood Park elementary school staffer put on leave after ‘inappropriate conduct’ allegation
Bob Chiarito, Pioneer Press/Elm Leaves, January 27
District 220 fires Barrington High teacher whose work computer contained porn
Bob Susnjara, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 24
Man accused of hiding cell phone camera in Northfield school bathroom had criminal record, officials say
Karen Ann Cullotta, Pioneer Press/Winnetka Talk, January 26
Illinois school resource officer charged with sexual assault and child pornography after ‘suspected inappropriate relationship’ with student ...
Diana Wallace, Chicago Tribune, January 24
Employee at East St. Louis elementary school charged with choking an 8-year-old
Hana Muslic, Belleville News-Democrat, January 13
In today’s Leading News, a new law allows students to be excused from school to vote. River Bend CUSD 2 discusses the pros and cons of e-learning days. ROWVA CUSD 208 evaluates its math curriculum. Canton Union SD 66 school board and community hear about the post-coal mining era in local economies. Also in the news, at Adlai E Stevenson HSD 125, an extracurricular activity educating on elections process draws the ire of Lake County Republicans.
New Illinois law excuses students from class so they can go vote
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, January 23
E-learning finds opposition in River Bend school board
Winona Whitaker, Clinton (Iowa) Herald, January 22
ROWVA evaluating 7-12 math curriculum
Linda Bell, The Register-Mail, Galesburg, January 22
School board members hear plans regarding declining coal business
Larry Eskridge, Canton Daily Ledger, January 24
Stevenson High School political event draws ire of Lake County GOP, which wasn’t invited
Karie Angell Luc, Lake County News-Sun, January 26
In today’s Leading News, Oswego-based School District 308 updates its threat assessment policy. Gurnee SD 56 hears from community members about ethylene oxide emissions. A 2012 lawsuit, claiming CPS discriminated against black educators during layoffs, has been dismissed. Quincy Public Schools considers projects for referendum funds. Also in the news, a Michigan school offers an afternoon and evening school day.
OSD 308 updating threat assessment process to comply with new state law
Shea Lazansky, Kendall County Now, January 22
Activist group urges Gurnee District 56 officials to ‘do a better job’ informing parents about ethylene oxide emissions
Yadira Sanchez Olson, Lake County News-Sun, January 23
CPS layoffs didn’t discriminate against black teachers, judge says in dismissing CTU’s class-action lawsuit
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, January 21
QPS looks at paying for more projects with referendum funds
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, January 22
At Michigan High School The Day Starts At 3 p.m. And Ends At 8 p.m.
Kevin Lavery, WKAR, East Lansing, Michigan via National Public Radio, January 23
In today’s Leading News, the Illinois Supreme Court will hear a case involving enforcement of a voided contract in Proviso THSD 209. CPS renews contracts with its charter school companies. DeKalb CUSD 428 settles a series of bonds. DuQuoin CUSD 300 extends its contract with a transportation provider. Also in the news, last week’s school closures at Bushnell-Prairie City CUSD 170 were caused by the flu.
Court to determine whether Proviso district is on the hook for void contract
Ben Orner, CNI/Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 22
32 CPS charter schools get contract renewals
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, January 22
DeKalb school district closes out 10-year bond restructure plan after 2008 building referendums
Kelsey Rettke, Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, January 21
Bus company, District 300 agree to contract extension
Renee Trappe, DuQuoin Call, January 21
Flu forces entire school district in McDonough County to close
Katrina Lamansky, WQAD, Quad Cities, January 16
In today’s Leading News, the Illinois Supreme Court will hear a case regarding use of sick time and maternity leave for teachers. Bremen CHSD 228 and its teachers union have reached a contact agreement, avoiding a late-January strike. Waukegan SD 60 considers dispute over financial incentives for student growth. Paris CUSD 4 is offering free online classes for adults who were unable to finish their high school education. Also in the news, Springfield SD 186 joins community groups to work towards a complete count in the 2020 U.S. Census.
Illinois Supreme Court to take up Wood Dale teacher's unpaid maternity leave case
Marie Wilson, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 21
Bremen High School District 228, teachers reach tentative contract agreement days after strike date set
Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, Chicago suburbs, January 16
Waukegan District 60, teachers union in dispute over financial incentive program that rewards student growth with cash
Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, January 16
New opportunity to earn diploma in Paris, Illinois
Courtney Bunting, WCIA, Champaign, January 21
Springfield Launches Campaign To Encourage Census Participation
Mary Hansen, NPR Illinois, Springfield, January 14
In today’s Leading News, NPR Illinois’ Education Desk reports on ISBE’s aims for educational equity in Illinois. Effingham County school district representatives discuss the teacher shortage and Galesburg SD 205 looks at teacher mentoring. Oak Park-River Forest HSD 200 considers ride-sharing services for student transportation. Also in the news, West Carroll CUSD 314 considers a proposal to move high school students to a campus with newer facilities.

ISBE Seeks More Funds In Pursuit Of Equity
Dusty Rhodes, WUIS Education Desk, Springfield, January 17
County school boards discuss teacher shortage
Kaitlin Cordes, Effingham Daily News, January 17
D205 program pairs teachers for coaching, mentoring
Matt Koester, Galesburg Register-Mail, January 12
OPRF expects to save money by switching to ride-share like transport for special education students
Steve Schering, Pioneer Press/Oak Leaves, January 20
Time to pull students out of school?
Cody Cutter, Sauk Valley News, January 7


In today’s Leading News, high school students raise objections to standards-based grading in McLean Co Unit District 5. Elgin-based School District U-46 approves an early start (and finish) to the next school year. A new performing arts facility opens in Zion-Benton THSD 126. Danville CCSD 118 students put geometry into practice. Also in the news, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker talks education and other topics after one year in office.

Normal Community students speak up against new grading system
Kelsey Watznauer, Bloomington Pantagraph, January 1      
U-46 board adopts 2020-21 calendar with earlier start date and last day coming a week before Memorial Day
Rafael Guerrero, Elgin Courier-News, January 14
‘A dream come true’: New performing arts center opens at Zion-Benton Township High School
Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, January 15
DHS helps students 'shed' geometry fears
Carol Roehm, Danville Commercial-News, January 15
Pritzker hopes to build on 1st-year accomplishments
Bernard Schoenburg, State Journal-Register, January 14
In today’s Leading News, a coalition of Illinois lawmakers requests a federal ban on seclusion interventions. Glenview SD 32 shows its need for new facilities. Charleston CUSD 1 tells what it will do with its county school facility sales tax money. Ottawa High School’s request for appellate review in a teacher firing case is denied. Also in the news, the procession route for fallen Army soldier Henry Mayfield Jr. includes his alma mater, Bremen CHSD 228’s Hillcrest High School.
Illinois lawmakers push for national ban on seclusion in schools, citing a Tribune-ProPublica investigation
Jennifer Smith Richards and Jodi S. Cohen, Chicago Tribune, January 15
Glenview School District 34 offers closeup of disrepair, space dearth at buildings …
Anna Kim, Pioneer Press/Glenview Announcements, January 14
Charleston school board to vote on more repair projects …
Dave Fopay, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, January 14
Appellate Court affirms … teacher’s firing should be reversed
Derek Barichello, Ottawa Times, January 13
Fallen Hazel Crest soldier Henry Mayfield Jr.'s remains come home
Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, January 15
In today’s Leading News, a teachers in Bremen CHSD 228 could strike on January 27. Geneseo CUSD 228 plans to add professional development for teachers by offering instructional coaching. A ROE-related referendum question has been questioned in McHenry County. Decatur SD 61 proposes, and reconsiders, placing specialists in classrooms to address unfilled teaching positions. Also in the news, objections continue as Carrollton considers a downtown TIF district.
Bremen High School District 228 teachers set Jan. 27 strike date
Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, January 13
Geneseo schools plan instructional coaching
Lisa Hammer, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, January 14
Electoral board upholds referendum asking whether to restructure Regional Office of Education
Drew Zimmerman, Northwest Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 14
In a 'last resort' response to teacher shortage, Decatur schools reassign specialists to classrooms
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, January 13
Decatur schools to 'hold off' on planned reassignment of specialists to classrooms
Decatur Herald and Review, January 15

Facing potential lawsuit, city hall stops TIF process
Marco Cartolano, The Intelligencer, Edwardsville, January 11

In today’s Leading News, school districts consider implementation of Ashley’s Law, which allows trained school personnel to administer a cannabis medical product to a student at school, under certain conditions. Danville CCSD 118 is asked to consider an outside source for its sexual abuse training curriculum. Teutopolis CUSD 50 looks at details of asbestos removal in a classroom building. Palatine SD 15 is putting a hold on plans to put a school in a shopping center. Also in the news, are there enough school nurses?

Oswego School District officials mull implementation of Ashley's Law
Shea Lazansky, Kendall County Now, January 9

Some question source of sexual abuse training in schools
Courtney Bunting, WCIA, Champaign, January 9

Parents concerned about asbestos removal at Teutopolis High School
Crystal Reed, Effingham Daily News, January 7

District 15 in 'holding pattern' on plans for new school at Palatine shopping center
Bob Susnjara, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 13

Chicago Wants A Nurse For Every School — Are There Enough?
Sarah Karp, WBEZ, Chicago, January 14

In today’s Leading News, schools in southern Illinois look locally to combat their teacher shortage. New laws bring new policies for schools in the New Year. One district is looking to install solar panels on their rooftops, while another seeks to enter into a purchase agreement to buy solar energy. Finally in the news, the District 230 board has voted to replace traditional snow days with eLearning Days.
Rural Southern Illinois schools court 'homegrown' teachers amid statewide shortage
Gabriel Neely-Streit, Southern, Carbondale, January 11

School Districts Revising Policies Due To New Laws
WSPY, Plano, January 11

West Aurora looks to put solar panels on a number of schools
Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, January 10

Letter Of Intent Approved Between Solar Energy Provider And A-Town
WGIL, Galesburg, January 9

Snow Days Turning Into Learning Days In D230
Dermot Connolly, The Reporter, Palos Heights, December 26
In today’s Leading News, a new program aims to educate more future teachers for, and in, the state’s southern counties. Read another take on the property tax reduction report that favors school district reorganizations. Career and tech education is booming in the suburbs. The Hononegah CHSD 207 community takes sides on the school’s mascot and the associated  “Princess Hononegah” dance routine. Also in the news, required in schools for years, those graphing calculators come at a high cost.
New program to train teachers for Central, Southern Illinois
Gabriel Neely-Streit, Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, January 9
Merging school districts seen as solution in driving down Illinois property taxes
Peter Hancock, CNI/Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, January 7
Suburban high school students showing strong interest in career and technical education
Bob Susnjara, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, December 27
Hononegah students circulate dueling petitions on mascot
Corina Curry, Rockford Register Star, January 9
Big Calculator: How Texas Instruments Monopolized Math Class
Maya Kosoff, GEN Medium, November 25
In today’s Leading News, a bill would add cautions about sexting to school sex education programs. Community challenges Champaign CUD 4 on achievement gap concerns. Woodstock CUSD 200 reaches an agreement on TIF funds. Danville CCSD 118 promotes a new strategic plan. Also in the news, a property tax task force brings up school district consolidation.
Illinois House bill would add risks of sexting to sex ed. curriculum
Ben Orner, CNI/Alton Telegraph, January 9
Parents, community want Unit 4 to address achievement gap
Haydee Clotter, WCCU, Champaign, January 8
D-200 Finds TIF2 Deal ‘Satisfactory’
Larry Lough, Woodstock Independent, January 8
District 118 adds programs, starts strategic plan
Carol Roehm, Danville Commercial-News, January 4
Merging Governments Tops Property Tax-Reduction Plan
John O'Connor, AP/U.S. News and World Report, January 7

In today’s Leading News, Illinois legislators hear about isolation and seclusion practices in public schools. A new wave of tension could impact the contract that ended the teachers’ strike last fall in CPS. Decatur SD 61 meets with teaching assistants in contract dispute. Also in the news, two districts, Lake Villa CCSD 41 and Elmwood Park CUSD 401, approach bond referenda in March.

State Legislators Search for Answers After Bombshell Isolation Room Report
Matt Masterson, WTTW, Chicago January 7

New CPS-CTU fight over veteran teacher pay could hold up entire contract that ended historic teachers strike
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, January 7

Decatur teaching assistants, district fail to reach agreement in 3-hour negotiating session
Analisa Trofimuk, Decatur Herald and Review, January 6

Lake Villa District 41 streamlines its loan pitch to voters
Mick Zawislak, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 3

Elmwood schools seek $55 million in bonds in March primary election
Rachel K. Hindery, Pioneer Press/Elm Leaves, December 23

In today’s Leading News, Palatine-based Township HSD 211 puts into place its policy granting transgender students unrestricted facilities access. Decatur SD 61 discusses the option to change a magnet school to a neighborhood school. Hoopeston Area CUSD 11 seeks to add Title I services to all grade levels. Prairie Central CUSD 8 makes facility improvement plans. Also in the news. The Tribune and Pro Publica continue the series reporting on restraint and seclusion practices.
District 211 fulfills privacy requests as new transgender locker room policy begins
Eric Peterson, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 6
Decatur school officials invite community to discuss future of Hope Academy
Analisa Trofimuk, Decatur Herald and Review, January 3
Hoopeston Area hopes to add services
Carol Hicks, Danville Commercial-News, December 20
PC Board looks ahead
Kent Casson, Daily Leader, Pontiac, December 23
We sent a reporter to a class where school workers learn to restrain students. Here’s what it was like.
Jennifer Smith Richards, Chicago Tribune, January 3
In today’s Leading News, Rantoul THSD 193 reexamines chronic absentee data. An EAV increase sets Bureau Valley CUSD 340 (Manilus) on firmer financial footing. Park Ridge-Niles SD 64 approves school construction projects. Illini West HSD 307 (Carthage) seeks bonds for new high school. Also in the news, Galena USD 120 sets date for a community forum related to its superintendent search.
Absenteeism report raises eyebrows at RTHS
Debra Rawlings, Rantoul Press, December 24
Big EAV increase boosts Bureau Valley finances
Bureau County Republican, December 23
$4.9 million in construction bids approved for Park Ridge school addition
Jennifer Johnson, Pioneer Press/Park Ridge Herald-Advocate, January 5
Illini West seeks $17 million bond issue to build new school
Michaele Niehaus-Steffensmeier, Peoria Journal Star, December 24
School board sets tax levy: Galena schools planning community forum
Hillary Dickerson, Galena Gazette, December 23
In today’s Leading News, Edwardsville CUSD 7 addresses cyberbullying. Illinois’ new cannabis law includes changes regarding medical marijuana administered in schools. CPS aims for equitable per-pupil funding. Also in the news, local public education has a role in supporting the 2020 U.S. Census; for further information, read the January/February issue if the Illinois School Board Journal.
District 7 reviewing school policies
Charles Bolinger, The Intelligencer, Edwardsville, December 29
Gifford, other schools must comply with new state marijuana law
Dave Hinton, Rantoul Press, December 31
CPS, Lightfoot take 1st steps toward revamping per-pupil school funding formula
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, December 12
How schools are working to count every child in the 2020 census
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, December 27
Counting the kids
Tabi Jozwick, McDonough County Voice, January 2

In today’s Leading News, as investigators work to pinpoint a cause of serious vaping relating illness, are taxes the solution to the vaping problem? In Nokomis CUSD 22, school officials take a second look at new windows. Elgin-based School District U-46 considers its new physical education curriculum. Also in the news, after two years, Northshore SD 112 in Highland Park eliminates tuition for its full-day kindergarten program.

CDC Confirms A THC Additive, Vitamin E Acetate, Is The Culprit In Most Vaping Deaths
Richard Harris, NPR, December 20

In campaign to stop teen vaping, states turn to tried-and-true remedy: Taxes
Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, Chicago Tribune, December 19

Fire Marshal Not Happy With New Nokomis Windows
Hillsboro Journal-News, December 23

U-46 officials discuss expansion of recently-introduced high school PE curriculum
Rafael Guerrero, Elgin Courier-News, December 26

North Shore School District 112 drops kindergarten tuition
Karen Berkowitz, Pioneer Press, Highland Park News, December 26

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