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May 2020 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, Bloomington District 87 has formed a task force to work on plans for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. McLean County Unit 5 has distributed more than 100,000 meals since the start of pandemic related school closures, while Chicago Public Schools will continue providing free meals through the summer. The Batavia school board approved a five-year contract with their education support professionals. Also in the news, IHSA has submitted a plan to state officials to resume high school sports.
 
Bloomington District 87 task force faces challenges planning for fall classes
Lenore Sobota, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, May 28
 
McLean County Unit 5 has distributed more than 100K meals to families since school closure for COVID-19 pandemic
Kelsey Watznauer, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, May 28
 
Free CPS meals to continue through the summer — with $29M more to Aramark
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, May 27
 
Batavia school board reaches agreement with education support professional's union on new contract
Jacob Bartelson, Kane Country Chronicle, May 27
 
Plan for resuming high school sports reportedly submitted by IHSA
John Radtke, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, May 27
In today’s Leading News, teachers miss the camaraderie and their students during the pause of in-person learning. District 303 is considering a one-year proposal to extend the school day for elementary students. Golf District 67 has been meeting regularly to develop plans to accommodate an increase in students. Chicago Public Schools plans to cut ties with its facility management companies. Also in the news, plans are underway as districts consider how to resume in-person learning this fall.
 
 
Teachers will miss camaraderie, routines of school, but most of all, students
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, May 24
 
Amid COVID-19 crisis, District 303 to consider one-year plan for longer elementary day
Lauren Rohr, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, May 26
 
Golf School District 67 to reveal plans to accommodate growth in students
Daniel I. Dorfman, Pioneer Press/Morton Grove Champion, May 25
 
CPS ditching Aramark, Sodexo for facilities management after one more contract renewal
Nader Issa and Lauren FitzPatrick, Chicago Sun-Times, May 22
 
Fall learning plans starting to take shape
Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree, Jacksonville Journal Courier, May 24
In today’s Leading News, more school districts offer graduates in the Class of 2020 a variety of unusual ceremonies and celebrations.

KHS keeps it ‘real’
Troy Taylor, Kewanee Star Courier, May 26
 
Litchfield Sets June Graduation Date
Mary (Galer) Herschelman, Hillsboro Journal-News, May 26
 
Summer send-off
Travis DeNeal, Benton Evening News, May 22
 
CPS to allow drive-thru and home-visit graduation ceremonies
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, May 20
 
MHS hosts drive up graduation
Tabi Jozwick, McDonough County Voice, May 19
 
Murphysboro Celebrates High School Graduates With A Drive-in Ceremony
Benjy Jeffords, WSIU, Carbondale, May 21
 
In today’s Leading News, the Illinois General Assembly sent a FY21 budget to the governor at the close of an unusual legislative session. Illinois educators and students evaluate the extent to which last week’s AP exams were not the norm. Families and schools continue to raise concerns about the impact of remote learning on students in special education. Work on the 2020 U.S. Census continues. Also in the news, local governments are hit hardest  by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
 
State Budget That Depends On Federal Help, Other Pieces Of Legislation Now Await Gov. Pritzker’s Signature
CBS-2, Chicago, May 25
 
It's AP exam season, but it looks a lot different this year
Nicole Lauer, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, May 14
 
Families of students in special education fear losing school services in coronavirus shutdown
Jodi S. Cohen and Jennifer Smith Richards, Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois, May 20
 
Census outreach ‘incredibly stymied’ by COVID-19 pandemic
Jerry Nowicki, CNI/Galesburg Register-Mail, May 16
 
America’s Next Crisis Is Already Here
Ted C. Fishman, The Atlantic, May 21
 

In today’s Leading News, school districts offer graduates in the Class of 2020 a variety of unusual ceremonies and celebrations.

Mattoon High School offers personalized graduations and a stroll across the stage
Rob Stroud, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, May 18

Orion rolls out village-wide celebration for Class of 2020
Linda Cook, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, May 18

Photos: Clinton honors high school graduates
Lewis Marien, Decatur Herald and Review, May 16

COVID-19 doesn’t stop Collinsville High School from honoring 2020 graduates
Derik Holtmann, Belleville News-Democrat, May 16

WHS to hold ‘virtual’ graduation
Dave Clarke, Kewanee Star Courier, May 14

Officials at North Shore high schools plan for virtual graduations as in-person ceremonies appear less likely
Karen Ann Cullotta, Genevieve Bookwalter, and Anna Kim, Pioneer Press/Winnetka Talk, May 12

BBCHS school board discuss graduation success, school calendar possibilities
Stephanie Markham, Daily Journal, Kankakee, May 12

Rockridge embraces drive-in graduation ceremony
Cathy Decker, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, May 12

In today’s Leading News, the Illinois General Assembly is back in Springfield after a two-month coronavirus emergency hiatus. The Chicago Teachers Union sues over special education requirements during the crisis. School districts seek  to move forward, including  with “rebuild” plans. Also in the news, NFHS, the national high school sports federation, has issued restart guidelines.

House, Senate return for special session
Doug Finke, State Journal-Register, Springfield, May 20

Chicago Teachers Union sues Betsy DeVos and CPS over special education, say policies create ‘impossible burden’ during coronavirus crisis
Diana Wallace, Chicago Tribune, May 20

Plano School District issues statement on budget balancing efforts
Plano Record, May 19

United to seek Rebuild Illinois funds for new auditorium
Shelia Pressley, Galesburg Register-Mail, May 18

National high school sports federation announces guidelines for ‘opening up’ athletics
Michael O'Brien, Chicago Sun-Times, May 19

In today’s Leading News, the Illinois General Assembly returns to Springfield today. School districts carry out normal work in abnormal times, addressing the teacher shortage, transportation, land acquisition, and curriculum.

What to expect when legislature returns Wednesday
Kade Heather, State Journal-Register, Springfield, May 18

International teachers to fill vacancies in Peoria Public School district
Treasure Roberts, WMBD, Peoria, May 12

Triad District hopes to have three electric buses in fleet in fall
Brian Kelly, KMOX, St. Louis, May 13

Moline School Board approves buying two properties
Nicole Lauer, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, May 11

New language arts materials bring multicultural stories to Homewood schools
Homewood Flossmoor Chronicle, May 13

In today’s Leading News, read national, state, and local takes on what education might look like in the fall, while districts finalize nearer-term decisions.
 
CDC Issues Tools To Guide Reopening Of Schools, Businesses, Transit
Hannah Hagemann, National Public Radio, May 14
 
Teachers in face masks? Staggered attendance? Lunch in classrooms?
Karen Ann Cullotta and Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, May 11
 
District 7 can expect e-learning overhaul by fall
Tyler Pletsch, The Intelligencer, Edwardsville, May 15
 
District 118 outlines summer plans
Carol Roehm, Danville Commercial-News, May 15
 
Geneseo works to improve remote learning
Lisa Hammer, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, May 14
In today’s Leading News, read and listen to national takes on the response to federal determinations regarding disbursement of CARES Act Funds to private schools. The Chicago Teachers Union seeks to bargain with CPS on remote learning terms. Also in the news, graduation ceremonies, in many forms, will take place for the Class of 2020 in Illinois.
 
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos funnels millions in coronavirus relief funds intended primarily for public schools to private, religious schools
Erica Green, New York Times, May 15
 
DeVos' Guidance On Increased Private School Funding Meets Pushback
Michael Martin, National Public Radio, May 17
 
Chicago Teachers Union Calls On State To Force CPS To Bargain Over Remote Learning
Sarah Karp, WBEZ, Chicago, May 13
 
High school seniors want graduations rescheduled, not canceled, amid COVID-19 pandemic: ‘We have already lost so much of our senior year’
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, May 13
 
Illinois schools set graduation dates
Dylan Suttles, Alton Telegraph, May 13
 
District 303 to celebrate graduates with video, yard signs amid coronavirus pandemic
Lauren Rohr, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, May 13
In today’s Leading News, an executive order by Governor JB Pritzker includes changes to licensure rules intended to help ease the teacher shortage. Bloomington SD 87 anticipates the financial aspects of the coronavirus crisis. ALAH considers its incoming funds. Edwardsville CUSD 7 considers plans for the fall. Also in the news, science: A CPS robotics team develops a portable ventilator.
 
Executive order will help educator candidates and schools
Rochelle News-Leader, May 13
 
Central Illinois school system a step closer to borrowing to offset pandemic-related losses
Howard Packowitz, WHOI, Peoria, May 14
 
ALAH district on track with payments from the state – except for transportation
Ariana R. Cherry, Southern Piatt Record-Herald, May 12
 
District 7 summer plans in motion; Board approves slew of items
Tyler Pletsch, The Intelligencer, Edwardsville, May 14
 
High school robotics team creates portable ventilator
Noah Johnson, Chicago Sun-Times, May 13
 

In today’s Leading News, the Illinois legislature will return to Springfield next week. Remote learning continues in Illinois; for how long is still unknown.

General Assembly headed back to Springfield
Doug Finke, The State Journal-Register, Springfield, May 13

Pritzker says legislative session needed, would consider withholding funds from counties reopening early
Jerry Nowicki, CNI/Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, May 13

Remote learning engagement ‘uneven’ across Chicago, teachers union says
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, May 8

Plans for return to school in the fall not set, say educators
Andy Kravetz, Peoria Journal Star, May 11

How and when Chicago-area schools will reopen remains elusive, despite ‘Restore Illinois’ phase-in plan.
Karen Ann Cullotta and Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, May 11

In today’s Leading News, the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders raise concerns and impact decisions on educational progress, graduation requirements, and personnel. In Quincy SD 172, a meals program draws accolades. Also in the news, the IHSA closes its abbreviated sports and activities year with a social media campaign.  

CPS Made Gains In Learning. Now Schools Are Shut Down. What Will The Impact Be?
Sarah Karp, WBEZ, Chicago, May 12

Graduation made easier: Oswego School District 308 Board votes 5-2 to cut requirements
Shea Lazansky, Kendall County Now, May 12

PPS plan to layoff teacher’s aides dropped from consideration
Scott Hilyard, Journal Star, Peoria, May 11

Congressman praises QPS food program
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, May 8

IHSA plans social media campaign to mark end of school year
The Telegraph, Alton, May 8

In today’s Leading News, from delayed to parade, school districts determine the fates of their graduation ceremonies. Meanwhile, even if proms don’t happen, fabulous facemasks are the latest fashion accessories.

Coronavirus response | Mahomet-Seymour admins turn to those most affected — seniors
Colin Likas, News-Gazette, Champaign, May 9

Dist. 303 parents voice disappointment regarding how district will recognize graduates
Eric Schelkopf, Kane County Chronicle, May 11

Schools in west-central Illinois put pandemic twists on tradition
Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree, Jacksonville Journal-Courier, May 11

Vienna to hold drive-thru graduation ceremony
Brooke Schlyer, WSIL, Carterville, May 3

'This is the best part anyway'
Quad-City proms might be off, but glammed up masks are on

Megan Valley, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, May 11

In today’s Leading News, while many forms of engagement are succeeding in remote learning conditions, a notable exception is driver’s ed. West Aurora USD 129 agrees to terms with its bus drivers regarding virus protection measures. Meanwhile, school districts consider the likelihood of in-person instruction in the fall.

Innovation amid separation: How three suburban teachers keep kids engaged
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, May 6

COVID-19 puts the brakes on high school driver’s education classes
Steve Stein, Journal Star, Peoria, May 9

West Aurora School District reaches agreement with contracted bus drivers
Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, May 8

Elgin District U-46 Looks At All The Possibilities Of The Next Academic Year
Bernie Tafoya, WBBM-AM, April 30

D205 readies for remote learning in fall
Matt Koester, Galesburg Register-Mail, May 9

In today’s Leading News, read about pomp and exceptionally strange circumstance for the Illinois high school Class of 2020.

How suburban schools are creating special moments for graduating seniors
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, May 4

Virtual certainty: Virus kills tradition of high school graduation ceremonies
Scott Hilyard, Journal Star, Peoria, May 7

Taylorville Senior Fights The State For A Meaningful Graduation
Bill Wheelhouse, NPR Illinois, May 7
 
Signs, banners and virtual ceremonies: What is your school doing to honor the class of 2020?
Brian Munoz, The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, May 6
 
Canceled events, future worry area seniors
Carol Roehm, Danville Commercial-News, May 2
 
EAWR Making Graduation Plans
Doug Jenkins, WBGZ Radio, Alton
 
East Dubuque plans events for seniors
Brandon Behlke, Galena Gazette, May 4
 
QND plans virtual graduation
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, May 3
 
‘We can have conversations like everything is normal.’ At a social distance, students gather in Lane Tech parking lot …
Sophie Sherry, Chicago Tribune, May 4
 
McHenry Outdoor Theater set to host graduation ceremonies
Owner Scott Dehn is not charging any of the schools to use the drive-in for their graduations
Joe Stevenson, Northwest Herald, May 7
In today’s Leading News, some are asking if Chicago Public Schools grading system for the remainder of the academic year is fair and equity-focused. As end-of-year decisions for districts quickly approach, graduation ceremonies move online and, in some cases, inside automobiles.
 
Can a school grading system in which no one gets an F still be unfair? Yes, CPS critics say.
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, May 5
 
Is CPS’ new grading policy ‘equity-focused’ or ‘cruel’?
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, May 4

Decisions for end of school
Nancy Zeman, Prairie Press, Paris May 4
 
Graduation on Wheels? Ceremonies Go Virtual, Vehicular During Pandemic
Amanda Vinicky, WTTW, Chicago, May 3
 
Drive-thru graduation? How Illinois high school commencement ceremonies might look this spring amid COVID-19 pandemic
Hannah Leone, Chicago Tribune, May 4

In today’s Leading News, a pause from news that is directly COVID-19 related, with a look at some textbook news and decisions being made by school boards and districts.

Textbook giants scrap merger under pressure from antitrust enforcers
Diane Bartz, Reuters, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 4

Education leaders want district 186 board to reconsider vote on health insurance plan
Tessa Bentulan, WICS, Springfield, May 4

Sycamore schools need $185M in renovations over next decade and beyond
Eddie Carifio, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, May 1

School Board clears way for QJHS, Flinn summer projects
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, April 23

Mount Zion schools celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month virtually
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, May 3

In today’s Leading News, ISBE last week’s announcement banning in-person graduation ceremonies. CPS offers its guidance on grading and graduation. School districts consider their options for end-of-the-year events. In a survey, teachers report higher levels of stress. Also in the news, physical education classes continue with innovative twists.

More guidance offered on graduation ceremonies
Shaw Media, Kendall County Now, May 3

CPS Releases Equity-Focused Guidance On Grading, Graduation Requirements
WBBM, Chicago, April 30

Oakland plans online honors night, summer prom
Rob Stroud, Journal-Gazette and Times-Courier, Mattoon and Charleston, May 3

Bourbonnais elementary teachers report working longer hours, feeling stressed
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, April 30

A long way from dodgeball: How the coronavirus school shutdown has changed PE class
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, April 30

In today’s Leading News, a look at the long-term prospects for education in the eventual wake of the coronavirus emergency that has closed school buildings. What will grading look like this semester, and what will school days look like in the fall? Also in the news, as the Class of 2020 sorts out its hopes and realities for graduation ceremonies, those going to college face further uncertainty.

America’s schools are likely to stay shut for months — and reopening will bring significant changes, educators say
Shawn Hubler, Erica L. Green, and Dana Goldstein, The New York Times via the Chicago Tribune, April 28

Should the Virus Mean Straight A’s for Everyone?
Dana Goldstein, New York Times, April 30

What schools will look like when they reopen: Scheduled days home, more online learning, lots of hand-washing
Erin Richards, USA Today via the State Journal-Register, Springfield, April 29

Drive-in celebrations? Graduations in December? Virtual ceremonies? Plans for high school seniors unfold — but students not happy

Matthew Hendrickson, Chicago Sun-Times, April 23

Illinois State Board of Educations' bans all in-person graduation ceremonies due to COVID-19 crisis
Kelsey Rettke, LaSalle News Tribune, April 30

Will college campuses reopen in the fall? If they do, expect changes: ‘All of this is in uncharted waters’
Elyssa Cherney, Chicago Tribune, April 28