August 2023 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, read coverage of Fenton CHSD 100 and Kewanee CUSD 229 with ongoing teacher contract negotiations. Highland CUSD 5 assesses enrollment numbers. Heyworth CUSD 4 looks at elementary class size to address literacy. Also in the news, Edwardsville CUSD 7 considers curriculum.  

'Nobody wants a strike': Where teacher contract talks stand in Fenton High School District 100
Katyln Smith, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, August 24

School is back in session, but teachers still don’t have a contract
Susan DeVilder, Kewanee Voice, August 17

What’s causing enrollment to fall in Highland schools?
Elizabeth Donald, Highland News Leader, August 28

Heyworth school board reduces class sizes to focus on literacy
Kate Stevens, WMBD, Peoria, August 29

Edwardsville School District to Implement New K-5 Social Studies Curriculum
Sydney Sinks, River Bender News, Edwardsville, August 29
In today’s Leading news, threats prompt heightened security response in districts including Elgin based School District U-46 and Ball-Chatham CUSD 5. Belleville THSD 201 approves funds to expand CAVE, its trade and alternative program. Bourbonnais SD 53 approves a contract with its teachers. Also in the news, next week’s heat may again impact schools and school activities.

All-clear after South Elgin High School call of bomb threat: District
Neshmia Malik, WGN, Chicago, August 28

Ball-Chatham moves to increase security following online threat
Steven Spearie, Springfield State Journal- Register, August 29

Belleville District 201 approves millions in sales of bonds for CAVE expansion
Kelly Smits, Belleville News-Democrat, August 25

Bourbonnais School Board OKs 5-year teachers contract
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, August 24

IHSA Requires WetBulb Globe Temperature for Outdoor Events
Leah Lerner, WSIU, Carbondale, August 27
In today’s Leading News, school district budget season continues. Also in the news, Olympia CUSD and Ottawa ESD 141  consider referendums.

Batavia School District 101 expects $2.2 million budget surplus next year
Jonah Nink, Shaw Local News Network, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, August 27

Centralia High School Board approves positive tentative budget
WJBD, Salem, August 25

West Aurora School District looking at budget surplus
Laura Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, August 28

Olympia school board to seek property tax increase referendum
D. Jack Alkire, Bloomington Pantagraph, August 7

Ottawa Voters Could Vote On Referendum To Pay For New Elementary School
WLPO, Starved Rock Media, August 16
In today’s Leading News, national issues hitting home: School staffing shortages in the suburbs, transportation staffing woes in Rockford SD 205, discussing SROs in Arcola CUSD 306, and the ramifications of truancy  across the state. Also in the news, cellphones: to stash or not to stash?

'We are hiring in every department': School staffing shortages continue across suburbs and state
Alicia Fabbre. Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, August 27

Bus fiasco causes last-minute scheduling changes for most Rockford elementary schools
Jim Hagerty, Rockford Register-Star, August 25

In Arcola, city, school district in discussions to add school resource officer
Jeff D'Alessio, Champaign News-Gazette, August 24

It's illegal for police to fine Illinois students for truancy, but it still happens. Here's how schools are trying to make truancy less punitive.
Peter Medlin, Northern Public Radio, DeKalb, August 21

QJHS cellphone policy 'a breath of fresh air'
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, August 23
In today’s Leading News, school districts make decisions in the aftermath of crisis issues concerning student safety, school facilities, and immigration.

Highland Park High parents say students are evading weapons detection systems, call for enhanced security measures
Allison Novelo , Chicago Sun-Times, August 22

Glencoe District 35 to increase security at elementary schools after spring incident
Daniel I. Dorfman, Pioneer Press, Glencoe, August 15

Move into temporary Dennis Lab School to begin this week
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, August 23

New school for Venice coming soon
Dylan Suttles, Alton Telegraph, August 23

CPS juggles funding, bilingual staff to welcome thousands of new migrant students
Nader Issa, Michael Loria and Nereida Moreno, WBEZ/Chicago Sun-Times, August 20
In today’s Leading News, school districts continue to take measures to beat the heat.  

Extreme heat moves CPS recess, activities indoors; sports games postponed
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, August 22

Heat brings remote learning in Granite City
Ronald DeBrock, Alton Telegraph, August 23

How suburban school districts are dealing with extreme heat this week
Marni Pyke, Daily Herald, August 23

Heat forces Springfield area schools to adjust practice schedules
Steven Spearie, State Journal- Register, Springfield, August 22

Champaign, Danville and Urbana Schools close Thursday due to heat
Illinois Public Media News, August 24

In today’s Leading News, as it works to fix storm damage, Joppa-Maple Grove SD 38 will relocate elementary students to the JH/HS building. Teachers picket in Kewanee CUSD 229, which will meet again next week for contract negotiations. Charges are filed for threats to a Wheaton-Warrenville CUSD 200 board candidate.  Lockport THSD 205 seats student members. Also in the news, CPS officials report on compliance of restraint and timeout laws.

Joppa-Maple Grove School board votes to relocate elementary students
Paul Wilcoxen, WSIL, Carterville, August 21

Kewanee teachers picket again as they work without a new contract
Jonathan Fong, WQAD, Quad Cities, August 21

Man charged with threatening candidate for Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 school board
Susan Sarkauskas, Daily Herald, Chicago  suburbs, August 1

Lockport High School Board seats student members, hears their thoughts on Central Campus renovation
Alexandra Kukulka, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs August 22

Chicago Public Schools meets Aug. 21 deadline to train staff on restraint, seclusion, officials say
Samantha Smylie, Chalkbeat Chicago, August 21
In today’s Leading News, hot enough for ya?

As CPS reopens this week with extreme heat forecast, will schools be cool enough for learning?
Sarah Macaraeg, Chicago Tribune, August 21

Charleston, Mattoon schools cancel sporting events because of heat
Scott Perry, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, August 21

District 186 officials discuss school bus safety during heat wave
Kaira Willis, WRSP, Springfield, August 21

Suburban district delays start of new year, CPS promises A/C in all schools amid heat wave
NBC Chicago, August 21

Stateline communities prepare for high temperatures this week
Emily McMinn, WREX, Rockford, August 21
In today’s Leading News, with the school year getting underway. School districts continue to grapple with issues relating to the educator shortage.

Chicago Public Schools students return to classroom Monday
Diane Pathieu, WLS, Chicago, August 21

Back-to-school: Area teachers share their thoughts on returning
Claire O'Brien and Janelle Walker, Northwest Herald, August 16

Even as students return, metro-east school districts are running short of teachers
Kelly Smits, Belleville News-Democrat, August 17

'This is disheartening': Parents question crowded classrooms at Peoria primary school
Leslie Renken, Peoria Journal Star, August 16

Homer District 33C fires teacher after outcry from parents regarding past social media posts
Michelle Mullins, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, August 20
In today’s Leading News, it’s budget approval season for districts, including Maine TSD 207. Rochelle CCSD 231 aims for building improvements. Rockford-area schools address absenteeism. A new law expands excused absences for work-based learning. Also in the news, after the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling, what are the next steps for college applicants?

Maine Township High School District 207 approves $213 million budget
Caroline Kubzansky, Pioneer Press/Park Ridge, August 15

Elementary school board: Tilton School in need of $8-12 million in improvements
Jeff Helfrich, Rochelle News-Leader, August 11

Back To School: Local schools combatting absenteeism
Dillon Valencia, WREX, Rockford, August 15

FFA, 4-H students receive expanded excused absences through new law
Patrick Keck, Springfield State Journal-Register, August 15

As a college applicant of color, what Downers Grove North senior Izzy Cervantes is facing in a post-affirmative action world
Lisa Philip, WBEZ, Chicago, August 17
In today’s Leading News, getting kids to school and supporting them there.

Safe Passage workers celebrated before Chicago kids go back to school
Pat Nabong, Chicago Sun-Times, August 15

DeKalb School District reminds student of first day of school with a frozen treat
Maria Gardner Lara, Northern Public Radio, August 16

Drivers reminded that school speed zones are back
Penny Weaver, Hearst Illinois, Alton Telegraph, August 16

Legal rights of students with disabilities: What parents need to understand
Jackie Spinner, WBEZ, August 15

BBCHS opens 'sensory room' to help with sensory processing
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, August 15
In today’s Leading News, a Joppa-Maple Grove 38 school runs a remote schedule this week due to weather-related facilities issues. School boards, teachers, and staff talk contracts in Kewanee CUSD 229, Decatur SD 61, and Coal City CUSD 1. Also in the news, addressing public school issues with cyberattacks at the national level.

Maple Grove Elementary School learning remotely through Friday
due to weather-related damage at school

Leanne Fuller, WPSD, Paducah, August 16

Dozens lined the streets demanding equal pay for teachers
Solomon Ladvienkam, KWQC, Quad Cities, August 10

Decatur teaching assistants request mediation in contract talks
Scott Perry, Decatur Herald and Review, August 10

Coal City Teachers Receiving 5 Percent Pay Increases as Part of New Collective Bargaining Agreement
WCSJ, Morris, August 14

White House holds first summit on the ransomware crisis plaguing the nation's public schools
Frank Bajak, AP/ Daily Herald, August 8
In today’s Leading News, students return to school with districts considering safety and security as well as celebration and advice.

Marching into the new school year: Classes are returning in some suburban districts this week
Eric Peterson, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, August 14

Highland Park, Deerfield high schools move up metal detector installation following shooting of 16-year-old student
Steve Sadin and Alex Hulvalchick, Pioneer Press, Highland Park, August 14

"We're ready to work together and have a good year"
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, August 14

Teachers, community greet East St. Louis students on first day of school
Joshua Carter, Belleville News-Democrat, August 15

Middle school students’ advice for other kids: ‘Don’t put too much pressure on yourself’
Simone Larson, Chicago Sun-Times, July 28
In today’s Leading News, read about local response to national issues.

Waukegan District 60 joining effort to sue Facebook, TikTok, other social media
for perceived harms to children

Steve Sadin, Lake County News-Sun, August 11

Migrant children welcomed at CPS back-to-school bash
Michael Loria, Chicago Sun-Times, August 11

Ramping up school security 'a sign of the times'
Jeff D’Alessio, Champaign News-Gazette, August 11

Building changes, extra staffing: How suburban schools are spending final COVID grant funds
Jake Griffin, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, August 12

From ‘crisis’ to ‘catastrophe,’ schools scramble once again to find teachers
Shannon Pettypiece, NBC News, August 13
In today’s Leading News, districts launch a website to inform on issues relating to the Chicago Bears’ move. Back-to-school time  means filling slots and fulfilling shots. Also in the news, Pro Publica updates its “Price Kids Pay” series.

'Factual information': School districts launch website of their own about Bears stadium
Christopher Placek, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, August 9

What vaccines are required for children in Illinois public schools? Here’s the full list
Meredith Howard, Belleville News-Democrat, August 10

Substitute teacher sign-ups planned in 4 Central Illinois counties
D. Jack Alkire, Bloomington Pantagraph, August 9

D186 still trying to close number of teacher openings; school less than two weeks away
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, August 8

Years After Being Ticketed at School for a Theft She Said Never Happened, Former Student Prevails in Court
Jodi S. Cohen and Jennifer Smith Richards, Pro Publica, August 10
In today’s Leading News, get the latest on five districts’ summer facilities projects, current and future.

Belleville district’s $5M in improvements include a new gym floor and ‘amazing technology’
Mike Koziatek, Belleville News-Democrat, August 9

Rantoul City Schools moving office, adding classroom space on former base
Dave Hinton, Champaign News-Gazette, August 8

Unit 5 has maintenance projects, contracts ready for new school year
Drew Zimmerman, Bloomington Pantagraph, August 5

Kaneland High School's track left in limbo as board focuses on parking
Stefanie Frazier, Shaw Local News Network/Daily Herald, August 2

Unit 50 school board gets summer work report, looks ahead to goals planning
Herb Meeker, Hometown Register, Teutopolis, July 31
In today’s Leading News, statewide issues in education.

Pritzker Administration announces $10M in grants to strengthen mental health services in schools
WSIU, Carbondale, August 8

Pritzker signs bills expanding protections for Native Americans
Peter Hancock, CNI/Champaign News-Gazette, August 7

'I want to build bridges': Officials make pitch for cops in Arlington Heights, Elk Grove schools
Christopher Placek, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 27

Legal rights of students with disabilities: What parents need to understand
Jackie Spinner, Chicago Sun-Times, July 27


In today’s Leading News, in districts, regions, and the nation, it’s time to be ready for the new school year.

District 87 superintendent says schools 'ready to go'
D. Jack Alkire, Bloomington Pantagraph, August 5

Dennis Lab School start date delayed until Sept. 5
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, August 2

Teacher shortage: Districts push to fill vacancies weeks before school starts
Dylan Smith, WGEM, Quincy, August 2

County schools seek staff as classes approach
Dylan Suttles, Alton Telegraph, August 6

Here are the top education issues to watch going into the new school year
Lexi Lonas, News-Democrat, August 2
In today’s Leading News, read the latest on the education topics of COVID, DEI, and IEPs. Also in the news, read about the new state law on trauma-responsive practices and monitoring.

With COVID relief spending deadlines looming, Chicago suburb moves ahead with uncommon technology plan
Mila Koumpilova, Chalkbeat Chicago, August 4

'We want all kids to feel included': Edwardsville dives into DEI discussion
Penny Weaver, Edwardsville Intelligencer, August 1

What Is an IEP? Individualized Programs, Explained
Eesha Pendharkar, Education Week, July 27

Illinois will seek to address student trauma under measure signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker
Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune, August 3

School districts required to detail childhood trauma — and better address it — under new state law
Tina Sfondeles, Chicago Sun-Times, August 3
In today’s Leading News, read reporting on finding, compensating, and retaining teachers. School districts in Lake County are owed from property tax funds. Also in the news, the latest on the potential religious public charter school in Oklahoma.

New 4-year deal struck between DeKalb teachers’ union, School District 428
Megann Horstead, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, August 3

Warren School District to Receive Funding for Teacher Recruitment and Retention
Milly Jones, Galena Gazette, August 1

More teachers are quitting their jobs. Educators of color often are more likely to leave
Marc Levy, AP/ Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, August 2

Why several taxing bodies didn't get $3.12 million in property taxes they were owed
Mick Zawislak, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, August 3

ACLU files suit to block the country's first religious public charter school
Beth Wallis, Leila Fadel, NPR, August 1
In today’s Leading News, as expected, Governor Pritzker has signed a bill requiring school districts to establish full-day kindergarten programs. Also in the news, getting them there: CPS works to manage the bus driver shortage, and Moline looks for crossing guards.

Pritzker signs bill mandating full-day kindergarten in Illinois public schools
Zareen Syed, Chicago Tribune, August 3

Pritzker signs bill requiring full-day kindergarten in Illinois
John Clark, WTVO, Rockford, August 2

Pritzker signs bill establishing full day kindergarten; must be offered by 2027/28 school year
Effingham Daily News, August 2

Amid driver shortage, CPS to prioritize bus service for students with disabilities and homeless students
Emmanuel Camarillo, Chicago Sun-Times, July 31

Moline in need of school crossing guards
Grace Kinnicutt, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, August 1
In today’s Leading News, school districts strive to provide readiness, social,  and health services to students.

Advocate clinic inside District 21 headquarters expected to open by winter
Christopher Placek, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, August 1

Schools respond to mental health crisis by connecting students
Kathleen Hayes, Chicago Sun-Times, July 31

South Rockford youth programs give students tools to build their own future
Chris Green, Rockford Register Star, July 31

Back to School Expo in Marion
Marilyn Halstead, Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, July 28

Bourbonnais District 53 makes 'last-ditch effort' to find speech-language pathologists
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, July 28
In today’s Leading News, school facilities are repurposed in St. Charles CUSD 303 and Bond Co CUSD 2. Also in the news, school districts and communities address issues and histories of equity and inclusion.

St. Charles school board votes to repurpose elementary school facilities
David Petesch, Kane County Chronicle, July 27

School board votes to sell Sorento School
Centralia Moring Sentinel, July 26

Illinois lawmakers, ACLU weigh in on metro-east school’s transgender bathroom policy
Kelly Smits, Belleville News-Democrat, July 27

Harper College, area high school districts collaborate on Equity Literacy Project
Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, July 26

What's the legacy of Federal Indian Boarding Schools in Illinois?
Peter Medlin, Northern Public Radio, DeKalb, August 1

Leading News

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