January 2022 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, contract negotiations continue in Sycamore CUSD 427 and Champaign CUSD 4. Also in the news, the Governor’s  “State of the State” address is scheduled for Wednesday; as is a state-wide winter weather event.  
As Champaign teachers, district negotiate, parents seek clarity
Ethan Simmons, Champagin News-Gazette, January 30
As union negotiations stall, Sycamore teachers, district disagree on salary: ‘We’re asking for what’s fair’
Katrina J.E. Milton, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, January 29
Pritzker to propose grocery tax relief, extra 5% property tax rebates to fight inflation
Peter Hancock, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 31
Pritzker to give in-person State of the State speech as lawmakers plan return to Capitol
Andrew Adams, State Journal-Register, Springfield, January 27
Illinois expected to be hit with snow and sleet
Donnette Beckett, Decatur Herald and Review, January 31

In today’s Leading News, Champaign CUSD 4 teachers reject a contract offer. Morris SD 54 considers its sex education curriculum. Panhandle CUSD 2 discusses potential reorganization with Morrisonville CUSD 1. Oregon CUSD 220 takes input on a facility closure. Also in the news, CPS juggles bus routes.

Champaign school board 'extremely disheartened' after teachers reject contract
Ethan Simmons, Champaign News-Gazette, January 27

Morris Elementary Dist. 54: Board places first vote on SB 818 Bill
Maribeth M. Wilson, Morris Herald News, January 19

Panhandle School Board Discusses Reorganization
Kyle Herschelman, Hillsboro Journal-News, January 27

School board to revisit DLR closure next month
Earleen Hinton, Ogle County News/Shaw Media, January 26

Amid driver shortage, CPS board calls for special ed students to get busing over magnet school kids
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, January 26
In today’s Leading News, read about a potential windfall from a windfarm. Quincy SD 172 is aims to stay “ahead of the supply chain.”. An planned equity training in Hinsdale THSD 86 leads to acrimony. Peoria Public Schools considers changes to school calendars. Also in the news, put away the pencils: the next wave of SAT assessments will be digital.

Piatt County wind-farm project could be boon for area school districts
Steve Hoffman, Champaign News-Gazette, January 25

QPS being 'proactive' with purchases, leases
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, January 24

Hinsdale District 86 anti-racism consultant withdraws proposal; citing hate mail, hostile comments from residents: ‘It demonstrates a lack of humanity’
Zareen Syed, Pioneer Press/The Doings, Hinsdale, January 21

Why some Peoria parents and students oppose change to school calendar and shorter summers
Leslie Renken, Peoria Journal Star, January 25

SAT going digital in shifting college admissions landscape
Carolyn Thompson, AP/Decatur Herald and Review, January 25

In today’s Leading News, the latest on the coronavirus impacts on Illinois education. Also, a cold snap is closing some schools today, and sending others to e-learning.

Why did Gov. J.B. Pritzker veto paid COVID leave for Illinois educators?
Peter Hancock, CNI/Belleville News-Democrat, January 25

Chicago Public Schools defends change in way it reports COVID-19 cases online after aldermen demand answers
Tracy Swartz, Chicago Tribune, January 24
Graduation rates dip across US as pandemic stalls progress
Matt Barnum, Kalyn Belsha and Thomas Wilburn, Chalkbeat/AP, Bloomington Pantagraph, January 24
Why Morton and Eureka school districts waited to sue over COVID mandates
JJ Bullock and Steve Stein, Peoria Journal Star, January 24
Illinois School Closings: Some Schools Close, Switch to Remote Learning Due to Cold
NBC 5, Chicago, January 26

In today’s Leading News, boards of education address normal-time pre-pandemic issues in a pandemic light.

Does your school district still have snow days?
Ben Szalinski, Shaw Media/Northwest Herald, January 25

District 64 boosts annual fee for kindergarten classes
Russel Lissau, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 21

Bond County, Ill., school board votes to close Sorento School
Blythe Bernhard, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 20

Area high schools make graduation plans
Dave Hinton, Champaign News-Gazette, January 23

Drivers could be ticketed for passing school buses, even when police aren’t around
Paige Blanzy, WEEK, Peoria, January 21

In today’s Leading News, read from the Chicago Sun-Times the latest on CPS and CTU. Dixon Unit SD 170 looks at survey results. Riverside-Brookfield THSD 208 updates district goals. Jacksonville SD 117 anticipates future projects. Also in the news, the Daily Herald looks at the CRT discussion in suburban schools.
What’s next for CPS-CTU?
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, January 23
So far, 1,200 respond to Dixon Public Schools start time survey
Troy E Taylor, Shaw Media, January 21
RBHS board updating school district goals
Bob Skolnik, Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, January 18
Jacksonville school district looking at options for projects
Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree, Jacksonville Journal-Courier, January 21
Why teaching about critical race theory has become a lightning rod in suburban schools
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 23 

In today’s Leading News, read another take on the IARSS teacher shortage report. Paris CUSD 4 expands afterschool programs. Warren CUSD 205 assesses solar plans. Community input leads ROWVA CUSD 208 to look at at curriculum and library policies. Also in the news, basketball coaches strategize for “mask timeouts.”

COVID-19 pandemic worsens hiring woes at Illinois schools, with 88% of districts reporting teacher shortages in new survey
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, January 18

Paris 95 BOE moving forward
Nancy Zeman, Prairie Press, Parus, January 18

How much Warren High's solar panels have made in energy cost savings, rebates
Doug T. Graham, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 21

'The Hate U Give' will remain out of ROWVA classrooms while board further reviews policy, curriculum, book’
Jenna Webster and Alfonso Cerna, WQAD, Quad Cities, January 19

'Mask timeouts' are mandatory in high school basketball. Here's how coaches use them
Adam Duvall, Peoria Journal Star, January 21

In today’s Leading News, COVID-19 continues to force changes to district schedules and procedures, as some Chicago Public Schools students stage a walkout over health concerns. Also in the news, see how one art teacher has engaged students to show how everyone can be an artist.
COVID-19 causes North Mac to pause classes; close to 2,000 D186 students in exclusion
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, January 18

Decatur Public Schools updates COVID protocols; Baum to go remote
Valerie Wells, Herald & Review, Decatur, January 14

Chicago Public Schools to shorten quarantine time for students and staff as city passes omicron peak
Tracy Swartz, Chicago Tribune, January 19

Chicago Public Schools students stage walkout over return to in-person learning amid lackluster COVID precautions
Darcel Rockett and Alice Yin, Chicago Tribune, January 14

QPS art teacher takes classes on the road
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, January 15

In today’s Leading News, a new survey by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools shows the teacher shortage crisis throughout the state worsening. Also in the News, Governor Pritzker plans to veto a bill that would allow school employees to take unlimited paid sick-leave for COVID-related absences.

Survey: Illinois schools face worsening educator shortage
By Peter Hancock, Pantagraph, January 18, 2022

Attracting, hiring qualified teachers becomes more difficult for Illinois school districts
Andrew Adams, State Journal-Register, Springfield, January 18

Educators: Teacher shortage at crisis level in East Central Illinois
Taylor Vidmar, Herald & Review, Decatur, January 17
West-Central Illinois communities struggle with lack of teachers
Andrew Adams, Herald Whig/State Journal-Register, Capitol News Illinois, January 18

Pritzker plans to veto proposal to grant teachers extra sick leave for COVID-19
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, January 14
In today’s Leading News, school districts continue to confront COVID-19 challenges as the state shortens the quarantine guidelines for students and staff.
As cases climb, QPS in "tight situation" with COVID  
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, January 13

What it's like for students and staff when Omicron outbreaks move classes back online
Peter Medlin, Northern Public Radio, DeKalb, January 11

Over 100 District 186 teachers, staff out; Auburn takes 'emergency days' in face of surge
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, January 10

Urbana Middle School to go remote
Ethan Simmons, Champaign News-Gazette, January 10

State shortens minimum COVID-19 quarantine at schools to five days
Marni Pyke, the Daily Herald, January 12

In today’s Leading News, COVID-19’s impacts hit all arenas of education.
Colleges enrolled 1M fewer undergrads in fall 2021 than before the pandemic
Natalie Schwartz, Higher Ed Dive, January 13
'With omicron, it's different': How parents can detect and deflect the variant in kids
Marni Pyke, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 11
Illinois COVID recommendations are changing. Here are two affecting students and employers
Leslie Renken, Peoria Journal Star, January 12
New state law allows student mental health days
Bob Skolnik, Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, January 11
Goodbye 'godsend': Expiration of child tax credits hits home for US families
John Raby, Fatima Hussein and Josh Boak, AP/Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, January 13

In today’s Leading News, plans are underway for additional testing as schools deal with the Omicron variant.
Biden sending more COVID tests to schools to keep them open
Zeke Miller, AP/Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, January 12
Frustration mounting in shorthanded Unit 4
Ethan Simmons, Champaign News-Gazette, January 12
Illinois reduces quarantine time for schools from 10 to 5 days to align with CDC guidance amid COVID-19 surge
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, January 11
Some south and southwest suburban schools hold off bringing students back amid rise in COVID-19 cases
Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, January 10
School safety debate rages anew with Omicron
Nader Issa and Brett Chase, Chicago Sun-Times, January 10

In today’s Leading News, a new law adds Muhammad Ali Day and history courses to include the study of the contributions made by Americans of different faith practices. Schools consider extracurricular equity. Illinois’ neighbors look at oversight of curriculum. Also in the news, a school community mourns a teacher who “spoke from the heart.”

Muhammad Ali Day part of new law requiring Ill. public schools curriculum include contributions to U.S. history by Muslim Americans, other faith groups
Zareen Syed, Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press, January 11

After public outcry, sexuality and gender club at Genoa-Kingston High School gets advisor stipend
Katrina J.E. Milton, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, January 11

Iowa Gov. Reynolds targets 'X-rated' books in schools, 'transparency' in Condition of the State speech
Brianne Pfannenstiel, Des Moines Register, January 11

Parents, teachers on opposing side of Indiana bill that would give parents oversight of public school curriculum
Alexandra Kukulka, Post-Tribune, Northwest Indiana, January 10

‘Her whole heart was in it’: River Ridge mourns death of teacher Celia Hartman
Brandon Behlke, Galena Gazette, January 10
In today’s Leading News, CPS classrooms to open as the education community is still looking for the “light at the end of the tunnel.”

Chicago Teachers Union clears way for in-person classes to resume Wednesday in Chicago Public Schools after four days of cancellations over COVID-19 clashes
Tracy Swartz, Gregory Pratt, Shanzeh Ahmad, Diana Wallace, and Sarah Freishtat, Chicago Tribune, January 10

Rockford Public Schools still unable to run buses for all students
Chris Green, Rockford Register Star, January 10

More central Illinois school districts move to remote or cancel classes
Jakob Emerson, WICS, Springfield, January 10

More suburban kids hospitalized with severe COVID-19 cases as surge breaks records: ‘We just don’t know the implications’
Mitchell Armentrout, Chicago Sun-Times, January 7

‘We thought we saw the light at the end of the tunnel.’ Anxiety and pandemic fatigue are spiking amid latest COVID surge.
Angie Leventis Lourgos, Laura Rodríguez Presa, and William Lee, Chicago Tribune, January 9

In today’s Leading News, catch up with the takes on the pending change in quarantine and isolation times, as announced late last week, and other coronavirus news.
State Board of Education flips: Illinois schools will follow new CDC isolation guidance
Kelsey Rettke, Shaw Media, Northern Illinois, January 7
Less stringent CDC guidance will mean quicker return to school for Bloomington-Normal students and teachers
Ryan Denham, WGLT, Normal, January 9
Illinois schools will soon see changes to COVID-19 isolation and quarantine requirements
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, January 7
Teachers union, PPS leaders meet to discuss district’s COVID plan
WEEK, Peoria, January 7
Some Teachers Are Running Out of Sick Days, and Administrators Are Hesitant to Help
Mark Lieberman & Madeline Will, Education Week, January 7

In today’s Leading News, school districts continue to respond to the challenges presented by the coronavirus and its omicron variant.

Daily COVID-19 deaths in Illinois hit triple digits for first time since last February
Jake Griffin, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 6

Virtual or in-person? Southern Illinois schools weigh in amid COVID-19 case surge
Less O’Dell, The Southern Illinoisan, January 5

Chicago Public Schools cancels Friday classes amid ongoing teachers union standoff, record COVID-19 cases
Tracy Swartz, Gregory Pratt, Dan Petrella, and Joe Mahr, Chicago Tribune, January 6

Student attendance challenges during pandemic show in Pembroke
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, January 5

Henry County substitute teachers in short supply. Has it affected your school?
Beth Welbers, Geneseo Republic, January 4

In today’s Leading News, the Illinois General Assembly moves into session. Schools across the nation consider the teaching of January 6. A shooting in a school parking lot sparks Rockford leaders to discuss juvenile crime. The coronavirus crisis impacts school-aged kids in many ways. Also in the news,  Oak Lawn-Hometown SD 123 middle school students make a difference.
Illinois legislators gather, slowly, in Springfield for third session marked by COVID-19 pandemic
Jeremy Gorner and Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune, January 5
8 ways teachers are talking about Jan. 6 in their classrooms
Cory Turner, National Public Radio, January 6
Rockford police chief says juvenile crime is 'out of control'
Chris Green, Rockford Register Star, January 5
COVID-19 hardships fuel increase in violent student behavior and threats in K-12 schools: ‘It breaks our hearts to see them in crisis.’
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, December 19
Oak Lawn middle schoolers trying to change the world with volunteering, ideas to combat climate change, music videos
Bill Jones, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, January 3

In today’s Leading News, the education community copes with the uncertainties of return-to-school after the winter break.
Pandemic-weary parents brace for another round of uncertainty in Chicago Public Schools: ‘I was a lot more patient at the beginning of COVID’
Madeline Buckley, Alice Yin, and Tracy Swartz, Chicago Tribune, January 4
CPS classes canceled Wednesday after CTU votes to refuse in-person work
The cancellation came despite a last-minute proposal from city leaders that introduced improved testing and safety measures.
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, January 4
With rising cases, school districts will be put to the test
Ethan Simmons, Champaign News-Gazette, January 3
Belleville high schools’ students will return to remote learning this week
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, January 4
Five U-46 schools will be closed Tuesday because of staffing shortages
Nicola Andrews, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 4

In today’s Leading News, the omicron surge complicates school districts moving into a fifth semester of coronavirus mitigations.

Officials are determined to keep schools open, despite omicron
Anya Kamanetz, All Things Considered/National Public Radio, January 3

Southwest Illinois schools adapt to COVID surges, including return to remote learning
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, January 3

CPS buying 100k laptops in anticipation of increased remote learning in January
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, December 22

Champaign schools will continue in-person learning for now, superintendent says
Debra Pressey, Champaign News-Gazette, December 31

Winter break extended by one week for Peoria students over omicron variant concerns
Andy Kravetz, Peoria Journal Star, January 2
In today’s Leading News, catch up with coronavirus as schools return, or not, after the winter break amidst the omicron wave … that “isn’t going to last forever.”

COVID-19 closures and rules take effect Monday in Illinois
AP/Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, January 3

FDA expands Pfizer boosters for more teens as omicron surges; CDC decision next
Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, January 3

State Board of Education: New CDC isolation guidance won’t apply for Illinois schools
Kelsey Rettke, Shaw Media, Upstate Illinois, December 31

CPS extends deadline for at-home COVID-19 tests after drop boxes overflow with kits; CTU criticizes screening ‘chaos’
Tracy Swartz, Chicago Tribune, December 29

Schools bend, don’t break as COVID tests weary kids, faculty
F. Amanda Tugade, Wednesday Journal, Oak Park , December 29

Leading News

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