May 2022 Leading News

In today’s leading News, suburban school districts face civil rights issues. CPS deals with a ransomware attack, and districts nationally address remote learning and data security. Also in the news, school security and preparedness in light of Uvalde.

Civil rights lawsuit filed in response to 2021 lockdown at Evanston Township High School
Brian L. Cox, Pioneer Press, Evanston, May 26

District 211, Palatine to comply with civil rights probe on treatment of minority students
Eric Peterson, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, May 26

Chicago Public Schools says ransomware attack affects nearly 500,000 students and 56,000 employees
Chicago Tribune, May 20

Remote learning apps shared children’s data at a ‘dizzying scale’
Drew Harwell, Washington Post, May 24

Uvalde had prepared for school shootings. It did not stop the rampage.
Mike Baker and Dana Goldstein, The New York Times, May 27
In today’s Leading News, response and follow-ups continue in the Tribune/ProPublica series on “ticketing.” Also in the news, Illinois school districts react to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Illinois investigating possible civil rights violations in suburban district’s student ticketing
Jennifer Smith Richards and Jodi S. Cohen, ProPublica/Chicago Tribune, May 26

Hundreds of costly tickets: These 5 Tazewell school districts refer infractions to police
Mike Kramer, Peoria Journal Star, May 23

Texas school shooting puts attention on safety measure in Central Illinois classrooms
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, May 26

Central Illinois schools reevaluate safety measures following Texas shooting
Kelsey Watznauer, Connor Wood, Mateusz Janik, and D. Jack Alkire, Bloomington Pantagraph, May 25

Suburban schools work to reassure students, parents in wake of Texas shooting
Steve Zalusky, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, May 25, 2022
In today’s Leading News, there is more reporting in the wake of the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas and reaction from Illinois school communities.
Texas gunman posted on Facebook before attack on elementary school
Acacia Coronado and Jim Vertuno, Associated Press, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, May 25
Soon after the Uvalde shooting, conspiracy theories took off among the far right
Odette Yousef, NPR, May 25
As nation reels from another mass shooting, a fearful tension at school drop-off: ‘I feel very helpless as a parent’
Angie Leventis Lourgos and Annie Sweeney, Chicago Tribune
Joliet Schools to Have Heightened Police Presence for Remainder of School Year
NBC 5, Chicago, My 25
U-46 superintendent briefs parents on existing and forthcoming safety, mental health measures in wake of Texas school shooting
Mike Danahey, Elgin Courier-News, May 25
In today’s Leading News, heartbreak, grief and calls for change follow a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school.
All those killed at Texas school were in 1 classroom, official says
Acacia Coronado and Jim Vertuno, Associated Press, The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale,  May 25
19 children, 2 teachers dead after school shooting in Texas; gunman killed by law enforcement
Celina Tebor and John Bacon, USA Today/ Rockford Register Star, May 25
Texas community struggles with second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history
Vanessa Romo, NPR, May 25
Illinois Officials React to Texas School Shooting That Left 19 Students, 2 Teachers Dead
NBC 5, Chicago, May 24
In today’s Leading News, Warren THSD 121 speaks to its tax request on the June 28 ballot. Are lunch prices going up in Dixon Unit SD 20? Quincy SD 172 discusses new teachers contract. A Naperville teacher questions daycare costs being omitted from COVID paycheck protections. Also in the news, Illinois’ small population loss was actually gain after an U.S. Census review.
Warren District 121 community rallies for newest property tax increase request
Doug T. Graham, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, May 20
Dixon students could be paying more for school lunches in 2022-23
Troy E. Taylor, Sauk Valley News/Shaw Media, May 17
QPS, QF contract focuses on district culture, 'strategic' salary moves
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, May 19
Naperville teacher says state wrong not to include day care children in COVID-19 paycheck protections
Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, May 17
Census officials say Illinois was undercounted in 2020 by 250,000 residents
Peter Hancock, CNI/Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, May 20
In today’s Leading News, ROE17 plans a specialized school with a mental health focus for the 2022-2023 school year. Springfield SD 186 has impact questions for developers of a sports complex. Indian Prairie CUSD 204 warns of inflation’s effects on education. Also in the news, CTU elections are underway, and CPS deals with the city’s response to recent violence.
ROE 17 announces new school with focus on mental health
Bloomington Pantagraph, May 18
D186 board members weigh sports complex developers' letter of intent. What's at stake
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, May 17
District 204 official sounds alarm on potential inflation impact on district finances
Kevin Schmit, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, May 18
Friday’s Chicago Teachers Union election is its most contentious in years. With 3 slates, ‘it’s anybody’s guess’ who will win.
Tracy Swartz, Chicago Tribune, May 18
As violence spikes, CPS taking need to provide activities for students ‘very seriously’ — and says teens shouldn’t get all the blame
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, May 18

In today’s Leading News, ISBE holds off on proposed changes to standardized testing, will discuss quicker turnaround for results. Lyons THSD 204 addresses measures after determining it was disciplining students of color at higher rates than white students. Cary officials investigate the death of a child hit by a school bus. In a COVID uptick, Evanston THSD 202 brings back masks. Also in the news, CPS students offer perspective on school lunches.
Illinois board of education holds off on changes to the state assessment
Samantha Smylie, Chalkbeat Chicago, May 18
LTHS adopts plan to address discipline imbalance
Bob Skolnik, Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, May 17
Investigation of school bus crash that killed Cary toddler continues
James T. Norman, Shaw Local News Network, the Daily Herald, May 17, 2022
Evanston reaches ‘high’ COVID-19 transmission level, as high school reinstates mask-wearing policy
Alex Hulvalchick, Pioneer Press/Evanston, May 17
CPS students give Instagram treatment to school lunches like this very sad hot dog
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, May 17

In today’s Leading News, read about feasibility studies on reorganization of Joppa-Maple Grove SD 38. The Kankakee SD 111 school board talks about social media use policy. Neoga CUSD 3 meets to discuss its June referendum. The Rochelle CCSD 231 board closes out the academic year. Also in the news, Urbana SD 116 looks at bilingual education options.
Joppa-Maple Grove sets dates for feasibility study presentations
Terra Temple, Metropolis Planet, May 5
Kankakee School Board talks 'negative' social media use
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, May 17
Neoga school board to hold special meeting on a building bond referendum
Rob Stroud, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, May 16
Elementary board: Administration gives end-of-year details
Jeff Helfrich, Rochelle News-Leader, May 13
Urbana to discuss one-school model for Spanish bilingual program
Ethan Simmons, Champaign News-Gazette, May 17

In today’s Leading News, the “ticketing” series from ProPublica and the Tribune continues. Plainfield CCSD 202 faces a lawsuit from a 2019 incident. Dieterich CUSD 30 looks at classroom expansion plans. Danville CCSD 118 rejects a proposal to place a school building on landmark status. Also in the news, Johnson City CUSD 1 seniors give back.

Illinois’ top finance official: Stop sending debts from truancy tickets for collection
Jennifer Smith Richards and Jodi S. Cohen, Chicago Tribune, May 13

New lawsuit filed over Plainfield high school football team hazing allegations
Felix Sarver, Joliet Herald News/Shaw Media, May 17

Dieterich Board Discusses Building Plans; Approves Teacher Contract
Greg Sapp, WXEF, Effingham, May 10

Danville school board denies effort to save Cannon School from demolition
Dave Hinton, Champaign News-Gazette, May 12

JCHS seniors pay it back during 'Community Day of Giving'
Holly Kee, Marion Republican, May 3

In today’s Leading News, Macomb CUSD 185 votes to eliminate registration fees for the coming school year. Quincy SD 172 teachers agree to district’s contract offer. Orion CUSD 223 elementary students get a new reading plan. Beecher City CUSD 20 sets staff and fees. Also in the news, what’s different about a June primary in Illinois?

Macomb school district eliminates fees
Rich Egger, Tri States Public Radio, May 2
QF ratifies tentative contract
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, May 14
Orion grade school to adopt reading curriculum
Mindy Carls, Geneseo Republic, May 12
Beecher City School Board Acts on Personnel, Fees for the Coming Year
Greg Sapp, WXEF, Effingham, May 10
Illinois summer primary election gives parties less time to forgive and forget
Jeff Kolkey, Rockford Register Star, May 10

In Friday’s Leading News, the Chicago Teachers Union election could have big impacts on CPS. The governor has signed a bill into law to increase the number of school bus drivers. McLean County Unit 5 continues to move forward with its community engagement plan. Mount Zion students learn about the importance of agriculture by attending Agucation. Elvis has entered the classroom; retiring Red Bud assistant high school principal was all shook up after this year’s senior prank.
CTU election could shape schools, city for years to come
Nader Issa and Sarah Karp, Chicago Sun-Times, May 1

Pritzker signs bus driver legislation
Alton Telegraph, May 11

Unit 5 moves forward on community engagement plans
Connor Wood, Pantagraph, Bloomington, May 12

Macon County students learn about farming's vast reach in area
Donnette Beckett, Herald & Review, Decatur, May 10

Elvis is in the building ... and hounding retiring Red Bud principal on senior prank day
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, May 12

In today’s Leading News, districts make their case for facility improvements and building expansions. Bourbonnais School District applied for a summer school program grant. Crystal Lake ESD 47 has fully invested in the Reading Recovery program to assist early learners. Also in the News, one Illinois principal recently met with First Lady Jill Biden after winning a national award.

BBCHS sets meetings to explain building needs to community
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, May 10

This school district superintendent in southwest IL is making his pitch for expansion
Elizabeth Donald, Highland News Leader, May 3

Bourbonnais School District seeks grant for summer school program
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, April 29

Crystal Lake invests in program to help early learners improve reading
Yadira Sanchez Olson, Northwest Herald, Chicago suburbs, May 4

Huntley High principal meets first lady after winning national award
James T. Norman, Daily Herald, Chicago Suburbs, May 10

In today’s Leading News, Chicago Public Schools has launched a mental health and suicide prevention program. A prospective teacher from Peoria wants to use his life experiences and historical knowledge to educate students in the classroom. Teachers are honored for their commitment to students and the community. Also in the news, the Meridian Ag Foundation has raised over $1 million in less than three years to build a state-of-the-art facility for students.
Chicago Public Schools launches mental health and suicide prevention campaign: ‘COVID has only presented an additional challenge’
Tracy Swartz, Chicago Tribune, May 10

Lady Gaga’s mental health initiative tapped to help CPS students amid crisis
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, May 10

At 78 years old, this Peoria native just graduated from college and is ready to teach
Andy Kravetz, Journal Star, Peoria, May 10

Preparing students for life at the core of their lessons
Mark Meyer, Herald-Whig, Quincy, May 6

Meridian Ag program fundraising project raises $1.33 million
Valerie Wells, Herald & Review, Decatur, May 6

In today’s Leading News, it’s signing day with a twist in Decatur SD 61. Manhattan SD 114 seeks bonds for an additional school building. Peoria Public Schools discuss strategic planning. Bloomington SD 87 discusses taxes and zones. Also in the news, the Tribune/ProPublica series on ticketing for school misbehavior identifies racial disparities.

Decatur students sign letters of intent to go straight into careers from high school
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, May 6

Manhattan School District asks voters to OK bonds to construct new building
Alex Ortiz, Joliet Herald-News, May 9

Peoria Public School leaders discuss district’s future
Nina McFarlane, WMBD, Peoria, May 5

District 87 approves enterprise zone program, CII East abatement
Connor Wood, Bloomington Pantagraph, April 28

The Price Kids Pay: Black students far more likely to be ticketed by police for school behavior
Jennifer Smith Richards, Jodi S. Cohen, Armando L. Sanchez, and Laila Milevski, Chicago Tribune/ProPublica, May 6

In today’s Leading News, we went a week without mentioning it, but coronavirus is back in the Illinois education headlines.
Mask up! No mandate, but ‘strongly’ urged for CPS and beyond as COVID-19 risk level rises to ‘medium’ across Chicago area
Nader Issa, Mitchell Armentrout, Chicago Sun-Times, May 6
CPS expands access to remote learning: ‘For kids who are high risk ... this is a very good option’
Tracy Swartz, Chicago Tribune, May 9
What you need to know about the slow rise of COVID cases at your school district
F. Amanda Tugade, Wednesday Journal, Oak Park, May 3
For 2nd year, federal COVID relief funding allows for expanded Unit 5 summer school
Michele Steinbacher, WGLT, Normal, April 29
How has bullying changed since COVID-19? Here’s how to report at Belleville schools
Meredith Howard, Belleville News-Democrat, April 27

In today’s Leading News, an interesting new playground is in development in McLean Co Unit District 5. Go Lego: CPS students enjoy tech competitions. A senior at Decatur SD 61 brightens the walls for the next generation. Speaking of bright, Monticello CUSD 25 students bring life to “parklets.” Also in the news, the Indian Prairie CUSD 204 board presidents subs, learning what days are like in the classroom.
Unit 5 breaks ground on natural playground at Hoose Elementary
Connor Wood, Bloomington Pantagraph, May 4
CPS students build Legos robots in technology competition
Cadence Quaranta, Chicago Sun-Times, May 4
MacArthur senior creates mural for preschool
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, April 26
Parklets return to Monticello with help from students
Kevin Barlow, Champaign News-Gazette, May 4
'It really is eye-opening': District 204 school board president learns the ropes of being a substitute teacher
Kevin Schmit, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, May 2

In today’s Leading News, read follow-ups on education news making headlines in Illinois.

Illinois State Board of Education looks to overhaul annual assessments
Peter Hancock, CNI/Champaign News-Gazette, May 4

Grading AP tests is grueling work, but teachers say it improves their methods
Kimberly Fornek, Pioneer Press/The Doings, Hinsdale, August 26

Two west-central Illinois districts among those reportedly ticketing students for misbehavior
Ben Singson, Jacksonville Journal Courier, Mary 5

Coding error caught: How much some suburban school districts are getting in new state funding
Maria Gardner, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, April 29

CPS to scrap school ratings, replace them with less ‘punitive’ system
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, April 25
In today’s Leading News, school districts move forward with projects and financial plans. Also in the news, read a long-form national piece asking, “What happens when schools are no longer the central business of school boards?”

Galena breaks ground: District celebrates start of school expansion project
Brandon Behlke, Galena Gazette, April 26

Central High School eyes refinancing loan, which would save taxpayers money
Kelly Jo Ross, Breese Journal, April 20

Consolidation is a go as Southern View Elementary joins Hazel Dell, Laketown as one school
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, May 3

Prairie Central school board approves new lights for Lewis Field
Kent Casson, Pontiac Daily Leader, April 23

School Boards Are No Match For America’s Political Dysfunction
Adam Harris, The Atlantic, April 27
In today’s Leading News, opining on the teacher shortage. Educators “push back against testing requirements in Illinois. Also in the news, stakeholders and boards discuss special education in Decatur SD 61, graphic novels in Dunlap CUSD 323, and contracts in Quincy SD 172.

As nationwide teacher shortage worsens, some say inadequate pay is to blame
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, May 2

Educators push back against testing requirements
Peter Hancock, CNI/ Danville Commercial-News, May 2

Parents and educators ask Decatur school board to reconsider special education programs' merge
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, April 27

Facebook firestorm develops over graphic novel assignments at Dunlap High School
Leslie Renken, Peoria Journal Star, May 2

QPS, Quincy Federation wrapping up contract talks
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, April 28

In today’s Leading News, ISBE responds to last week’s Tribune/ProPublica piece on law enforcement practices for misbehavior in schools. Decatur SD 61 students get a look at careers. McLean Co CUSD 5 opens conversations about its financial future. The teacher shortage is discussed at Eastern Illinois University. Also in the news, meet the Red Wolves
Illinois’ top education official asks schools to stop working with police to ticket students for misbehavior
Jennifer Smith Richards and Jodi S. Cohen, Chicago Tribune, April 29
College and Career Week in Decatur schools exposes kids to options
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, April 27
Unit 5 parents, community surveyed on district's financial future
Kelsey Watznauer, Bloomington Pantagraph, April 25, 2022
Lt. Gov. Stratton talks state teacher shortage efforts at Eastern Illinois University visit
Rob Stroud, Brenden Moore, Bloomington Pantagraph, April 27
Thornton Fractional South High School officially adopts Red Wolves as new mascot
Will Jones, ABC 7, Chicago, April 27

Leading News

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