February 2023 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, today’s Chicago city election has education implications. Outside Chicago, candidates converse and look ahead to the April 4 Consolidated Election. Also in the news, the University of Illinois introduces a learning platform for collaboration with its local schools.  
Gregory Pratt, Alice Yin, A.D. Quig and Hank Sanders, Chicago Tribune, February 27  
Drew Zimmerman, Bloomington Pantagraph, February 23  
Eric Schelkopf, Kane County Chronicle, February 1 
James T. Norman, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 25  
Ethan Simmons, Champaign News-Gazette, February 24 
In today’s Leading News, Governor JB Pritzker has announced an interagency effort to address children’s mental health. In other statewide news, read the latest on paid leave for workers, the teacher shortage, and the state lottery.

Illinois governor plan targets kids' mental health crisis
John O’Connor, AP/Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, February 24

Pritzker launches children’s behavioral health initiative
Peter Hanock, CNI/Rockford Register Star, February 23

Illinois poised to mandate paid leave for nearly all workers
Claire Savage, Associated Press/Report for America, The Southern Illinoisan, February 20

Amid shortage of teachers, Illinois high schoolers can fast-track to a career in education
Zareen Syed, Chicago Tribune, February 25

Lottery sales set half-year revenue record for Illinois
Jake Griffin, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 21
In today’s Leading News, CPS announces its start date for next academic year. Families respond to the announcement of a school closure in Urbana SD 116.  In sports, school districts in Arlington Heights anticipate the move of the Chicago Bears. Icy weather keeps some schools closed for another day on Friday. Also in the news, there are arts for all ages in Cumberland CUSD 77.

CPS 2023-24 calendar once again starts before Labor Day, gives two-week winter break
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, February 22

'This is not the end': Wiley parents, staff speak out after closure decision
Ethan Simmons, Champaign News-Gazette, February 23

Three school districts select lobbyist to fight Bears legislation
Christopher Placek, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 22

Ice storm brings down branches, knocks out power across parts of McHenry County
Janelle Walker, Shaw Media, February 24

After-school art program launched in Greenup
Dawn Schabbing, Effingham Daily News, February 19
In today’s Leading News, read updates on facility progress, plans, maintenance, renovations, and dedications.

Update: Construction on a redesigned Lanphier High School is making progress
Zach Roth, State Journal-Register, Springfield, February 20

When school's out, work will begin at these seven Champaign schools
Jeff D’Alessio, Champaign News-Gazette, February 19

Unit 10 addresses district maintenance needs
Nick Taylor, Effingham Daily News, February 16

Newly renovated Trojan Agriculture & Manufacturing Center in use at Charleston High School
Rob Stroud, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, February 17

Maroa-Forsyth Middle School dedication set for Feb. 16
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, February 10
In today’s Leading News, Effingham CUSD 40 goes old school, and St. Charles CUSD 303 makes new plans. Decatur SD 61 asks for help in dealing with incidents of fighting. Quincy SD 172 schools look at media literacy. Also in the news, an Illinois teen attended the State of the Union as the guest of First Lady Jill Biden.   

“I think it’s actually a good thing”: Effingham students back to papers and pens following network issues
Arriana Williams, WCIA, Champaign, February 20

St. Charles School District expected to have new strategic plan by spring
Eric Schelkopf, Kane County Chronicle, February 14

Fighting in Decatur schools: Superintendent appeals to community for help
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, February 17

New law requires media literacy lessons in high school
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, February 18

Rolling Meadows High School teen who sat with Jill Biden at State of the Union honored by school board
Caroline Kubzansky, Pioneer Press/Arlington Heights Post, February 16
In today’s Leading News, multiple Illinois school deal with threats of violence, apparently from the same source. Also in the news, school districts make plans for mental health funding.

Macoupin County high school placed on lockdown; threat unfounded
Kevin S. Held, KTVI, St. Louis, February 20

Fake threats at several suburban schools spark police response
Jake Sheridan and Daniel I. Dorfman, Chicago Tribune, February 20

Vandalia Police Department responds to phone threats made against Vandalia Schools today
Todd Stapleton, WPMB, Vandalia, February 20

How McLean County schools, agencies work to meet growing mental health needs
Connor Wood, Bloomington Pantagraph, February 10

Northern Illinois schools secure $3M in mental health funding with aid from Rep. Lauren Underwood
Megann Horstead, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, February 15
In today’s Leading News, read three more takes on Governor JB Pritzker’s budget proposal. Also in the news, read about STEM education’s next wave in Central Illinois.

Pritzker proposes budget with nearly $1 billion boost for students — from preschool to college
Tina Sfondeles, Chicago Sun-Times, February 15

More details of Pritzker's $49.6 billion spending plan on education, homelessness
Peter Hancock, CNI/ Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 16

Pritzker pitches $433 million early-childhood education plan in East St. Louis
Mike Koziatek, Belleville News-Democrat, February 16

STEM Academy
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, February 15

STEM Fair returns
Carey Smith, Illinois Times, Springfield, February 10
In today’s Leading News, read the action and reaction surrounding Governor JB Pritzker’s budget address. Also in the news, read coverage of school board candidate forums and district referendums ahead of the April election.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker stresses education in $49.6 billion budget proposal while blasting a ‘virulent strain of nationalism’ in national schools debate
Dan Petrella, Jeremy Gorner and Rick Pearson, Chicago Tribune, February 15

After Pritzker's budget address, lawmakers and others react with own spending agendas
State Journal-Register, Springfield, February 16

Pritzker’s second-term agenda buoyed by ongoing strong revenue expectations
Jerry Nowicki, CNI/Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, February 15

Batavia school board candidates discuss equity, student mental health
Jonah Nink, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 12

Aptakisic-Tripp School District 102 will seek voter approval of $49M referendum in spring election
Elizabeth Owens-Schiele, Pioneer Press/Buffalo Grove Countryside, February 7
In today’s Leading News, Elgin-based School District U-46 honors Tony Sanders as he departs the district for the state superintendent position. A district holds comment on Illinois  law requiring menstrual hygiene products in school bathrooms. In sports news, a bit of madness in school basketball. Also in the news, students have hearts, big and small,  in Putnam County.

Saying farewell: U-46 school board recognizes Sanders before he takes state's top education job
Alicia Fabbre, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 13

Millburn D24 school board blasted for ‘transphobic’ fuss over menstrual products in boys bathrooms: ‘Where is all this hate coming from?’
Gavin Good, Lake County News Sun, February 14

Why some IHSA basketball regionals are so much tougher than others — and how to fix it
Matt Trowbridge, Rockford Register Star, February 13

Illinois middle school boys basketball team honored after game forfeit due to bus troubles
Andy Banker, Fox 2 St. Louis, February 13

Putnam County 2nd graders receive hundreds of valentines from around the globe
Stephanie Jaquins, LaSalle News Tribune, February 14
In today’s Leading News, families, boards of education, law enforcement, and communities work towards preventing youth gun violence and hope for healing in the aftermath of school shootings.

Urbana mom: 'Kids know where their parents store their guns'
By Jeff D’Alessio, the News-Gazette, February 10, 2023

Victims, families and school leaders seek answers after increase in after-school shootings
Sarah Karp and Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times/WBEZ, February 1

Justice Department giving states $231 million for gun violence prevention programs
Lindsay Whitehurst, AP/ Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 14

Five Years After Parkland Tragedy, School Shooting Numbers Grow
Elizabeth Heubeck, Education Week, February 13

Uvalde schools will end the semester early to avoid May 24 shooting anniversary
Claire Bryan, San Antonio Express-News, February 13
In today’s Leading News, talking football in  Arlington Heights. School board candidates discuss pressing issues, as do Chicago mayoral contenders. Also in the news, practical math gets a runaround in Grass Lake SD 36.

Arlington Heights school district to hire lobbyist after tax bill filed that would benefit Chicago Bears’ $5B plan
Caroline Kubzansky, Pioneer Press, Arlington Heights, February 10

D186 school board candidates take on teacher shortages, school disparities in forum
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, February 8

Unit 5, District 87 school board candidates talk budget, values at Saturday forum
Brendan Denision, Bloomington Pantagraph, February 12

Showing their work: Mayoral hopefuls offer plans to handle shrinking CPS enrollment, less control, union friction
Sarah Karp and Mariah Woelfel, Chicago Sun-Times, February 5

Dashing around Antioch becomes a math challenge at Grass Lake School
Ann Livermore, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 3

In today’s Leading News, the education community works, locally and nationally, on behalf of the health of students and educators.

Champaign updates progress on gun-violence reduction blueprint
Ethan Simmons, Champaign News-Gazette, February 9

District 204 mental health program well underway thanks to $1 million in grants
Kevin Schmit, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 8

Jacksonville youth engagement grants available
David C.L. Bauer, Jacksonville Journal Courier, February 6

New rules would limit sugar in school meals for first time
Jonel Aleccia, AP/Chicago Tribune, February 3

Tests, health care, student loans: What happens in Illinois and U.S. when COVID-19 emergency ends
Amanda Seitz, AP/ Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 31
In today’s Leading News, looking ahead to the Governor’s budget address. Also in the news, school districts address attracting and retaining educators, substitutes, and staff.

What to know ahead of Pritzker’s budget proposal to lawmakers
Jerry Nowicki, CNI/Rockford Register Star, February 9

What suburban school districts are paying to attract substitute teachers
Jake Griffin, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 4

Sterling Public Schools explores ‘game-changer’ teacher development process
Troy E. Taylor, Sauk Valley News, January 27

Waukegan D60 officials hope salary scale adjustments help attract and retain district leaders
Steve Sadin, Lake County News-Sun, January 25

How dire is the school staffing shortage? 31 area superintendents weigh in
Jeff D’Alessio, Champaign News-Gazette, February 3
In today’s Leading News, school districts discuss facilities tear-downs, build-outs, decision-making, and differing opinions. Also in the news, what can schools do about Chat GPT?

Rock Island-Milan school board votes to demolish former school
Olivia Allen, Quad Cities Times, February 1

Arlington Heights approves first two expansions for full-day kindergarten in District 25
Christopher Placek, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, February 7

Future of Wiley Elementary to take focus at Urbana school board meeting
Ethan Simmons, Champaign News-Gazette, February 7

Efforts With LTHS 'In Vain': Pleasantdale Schools
David Giuliani, LaGrange Patch, January 27

'Everybody is cheating': Why this teacher has adopted an open ChatGPT policy
Patrick Wood, Mary Louise Kelly, NPR, January 26
In today’s Leading News, Springfield SD 186 holds a forum for school board candidates. Hononegah CHSD 207 offers activities to open the calendar year. Districts encourage students to vote. Effingham CUSD 40 proposes additional security. Also in the news, The founder of an educational program for at-risk youth in Des Moines says the work continues after he was wounded in last month's shooting that killed two students.

Here's when, where voters can hear from candidates for District 186 school board
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, February 6

Hononegah School Board starts off new year on right track with student, staff activities
Marianne Mueller, Rockton News, January 30

Student voter registration events held in Waukegan, North Chicago schools; ‘Civic engagement is a habit ... we can help to start early’
Steve Sadin, Lake County News-Sun, January 27

Johnson hopes to beef up law enforcement presence at Unit 40
Dawn Schabbing, Effingham Daily News, January 26

Program's head says Iowa school shooting won't deter him
John Funk, AP/Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, February 5
In today’s Leading News, districts are talking transportation.

D118 board votes against First Student contract
Jennifer Bailey, Danville Commercial-News, February 1

Why is it taking so long to bring electric school buses into suburban fleets?
Jenny Whidden, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 28

Hinsdale D86 OKs Big Bus Cost Hike
David Giuliani, Hinsdale Patch, January 31

Bus wi-fi and gym updates discussed by Shiloh BOE
Robby Tucker, Prairie Press, Paris, January 23

Bourbonnais school buses to get upgraded camera system
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, January 1
In today’s Leading News, the latest IARSS teacher shortage survey is released. Decatur SD 61 holds a job fair for positions in the district. What’s on the menu, and how might it change? McLean Co Unit District 5 anticipates spending cuts, pending an April referendum. Also in the news, dressing for success in Coles County.

Survey pushes for greater focus on teacher recruitment and retention amid shortages
Nika Schoonover, CNI/State Journal-Register, Springfield, February 3

Decatur Public Schools to hold hiring fair
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, February 1

Chicago-area parents want zabiha-halal and kosher food options in schools.
A proposed bill would be a game changer.

Zareen Syed, Chicago Tribune, February 2

Unit 5 board OKs list of cuts, reversal hinges on April 4 tax referendum
Michele Steinbacher, WGLT, Normal, February 1

Student-run dress sale underway at Mattoon mall
Rob Stroud, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, January 27
In today’s Leading News, dueling claims over the College Board’s release of its new Advanced Placement course in African American studies. The Elgin-area community responds to the appointment of U-46’s Tony Sanders to lead ISBE. Hawthorn CCSD 73 discusses extending the school day. Highland CUSD 5 seeks options for a new facility. Also in the news, students take it to the bank in Clinton CUSD 15.

College Board's revised AP African American studies course draws new criticism
Giulia Heyward, NPR, February 1

Elgin leaders say Tony Sanders leaves U-46 ‘in much better shape than when he started’
Mike Danahey, Elgin Courier-News, January 31

District 73 plans to extend instructional day to 7 hours in 2023-24
Mick Zawislak, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 27

Highland School District 5 keeping their options open on bids for new primary school
Elizabeth Donald, Highland News Leader January 30

In-school bank teaches financial literacy in Clinton
Connor Wood, Decatur Herald and Review,  February 1
In today’s Leading News, read about the appointment of School District U-46’s Tony Sanders as the next State Superintendent of Education. Also in the news, three years later, the state’s coronavirus disaster proclamations will end in May.

U-46 Superintendent Sanders leaving district to become state superintendent of education

Alicia Fabbre, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs,  January 31

Tony Sanders of District U-46 named new state superintendent of education
Zareen Syed and Sarah Macaraeg, Chicago Tribune, January 31

Tony Sanders to become Illinois superintendent of education
Peter Hancock, CNI/The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, January 31

Illinois’ COVID-19 disaster proclamation to end in May
Hannah Meisel, CNI/Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus,  February 1

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker sets date to end COVID-19 emergency proclamation
Patrick Keck, State Journal-Register, Springfield, February 1

Leading News

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