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October 2021 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, read about the aim for diversity among educators in Indian Prairie CUSD 204. Township HSD 211 (Palatine) develops building trades program. Kewanee adds facility for focus on ag and science.  Also in the news, substitute teachers are in high demand statewide.
 
22% of Indian Prairie’s new teacher hires were educators of color but the district still lags in matching student diversity
Rafael Guerrero, Naperville Sun, October 21
 
Township District 211's Building Construction Program receives donation during open house
Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, October 21
 
Kewanee High School gives agriculture top billing with new wing, science focus
Mike Helenthal, Kewanee Star Courier, October 20
 
'It’s getting to be a bidding war' for substitute teachers
Jeff D’Alessio, Champaign News-Gazette, October 26
 
St. Charles school district raising pay to attract more substitute teachers
Eric Schelkopf, Shaw Media/ Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, October 26

In today’s Leading News, boards of education at work: Decatur SD 61 is developing a new strategic plan. McLean Co Unit District 5 hears support and criticism for certain books. Sycamore CUSD 427 addresses shortages of staff and space. A grant will allow Jersey CUSD 100 to network to address substance abuse concerns and suicide prevention measures . Also in the news, Galesburg CUSD 205 is scaling back on Halloween activities.

 
Decatur school board takes steps to create new strategic plan
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, October 19
 
Unit 5 school board fields criticism, support on library books
Kelsey Watznauer, Bloomington Pantagraph, October 27
 
Sycamore District 427 parents, employee criticize low pay for support staff as schools grapple with shortages
Katrina J.E. Milton, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, October 27
 
Jersey schools get grant to expand regional education network
David C.L. Bauer, Alton Telegraph, October 26
 
Halloween celebrations phased out at Galesburg schools
Jane Carlson, Galesburg Register-Mail, October 27
In today’s Leading News, read more on CPS and improving graduation rates. DeKalb CUSD 428 considers a different board meeting schedule. Galena USD 120 increases pay for substitute teachers. Indian Prairie CUSD 205 holds community conversations about boundary changes. Also in the news, the Illinois legislature re-examines the HCRA.

CPS touts record-high graduation rate, record-low dropout rate
Tracy Swartz, Chicago Tribune, October 21

School board president Sarah Moses says idea is to “free up superintendent and cabinet to do work” needed in district
Katrina J.E. Milton, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, October 21

Galena School Board ups substitute pay
Hillary Dickerson, Galena Gazette, October 25

'We did nothing wrong': Voices growing louder as District 204 officials inch closer to boundary decisions
Kevin Schmit, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, October 25

Changes to Health Care Right of Conscience Act emerge
Jerry Nowicki, Champaign News-Gazette, October 25
In today’s Leading News, DeKalb CUSD 428 examines leave in a time of coronavirus. An arts program gets rejuvenated for Quincy SD 172 students. Township HSD 211 builds construction program. West Aurora USD 129 looks at facilities upgrades. Also in the news, the graduation rates for CPS students are improving.

DeKalb District 428 unions ask for COVID-19 sick leave policy that is ‘non punitive’
Katrina J.E. Milton, Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, October 22

Arts Quincy program rebounding to match students, arts opportunities
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, October 21

District 211's construction program offers real-world experience
Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, October 21

Chicago Public Schools students graduating at record-high rates
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, October 21

West Aurora School District looks at $26 million in improvement projects
Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, October 11

In today’s Leading News, districts prepare for the next mitigations, when children ages 5-11 can receive to coronavirus vaccine. Also in the news, the ongoing shortage of bus drivers continues to make headlines.  
 
Illinois school districts plan COVID-19 clinics as they await arrival of Pfizer vaccine for kids 5 to 11
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, October 21
 
What are the next steps toward vaccinating younger children?
Jake Griffin, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, October 21
 
Unit 5 staff shortages go well beyond bus drivers
Charlie Schlenker, WGLT, Normal, October 13
 
Northern Illinois school districts beset by bus driver shortage
Sam Lounsberry, Alex Ortiz, Katrina J.E. Milton , Troy E. Taylor, Kim Shute, Shea Lazansky and Eric Schelkopf, Shaw Media, October 13
 
Retired FBI Official Takes Job as Bus Driver During Shortage
Sydney Page, Washington Post/Associated Press, October 23

In today’s Leading News, read a few reports on a lawsuit filed against school districts and mask/vaccination mandates. In other news, SIU-C and Cahokia schools collaborate for learning opportunities,  Former CPS CEO leads a scholarship effort, and Safe2Help Illinois, a helpline program for students to share school safety confidentially, is now statewide.

Class action lawsuit filed in Macoupin County takes aim at schools' mask requirements
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, October 21

Parents from 145 Illinois school districts file lawsuit over masks and quarantines
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, October 20

SIU Carbondale to provide educational opportunities for Cahokia junior high, high school students
Pete Rosenbery, SIU News, Carbondale, October 20

New college scholarship program led by former CPS CEO will offer students and their parents full tuition, housing and food assistance
Tatyana Turner, Chicago Tribune, October 19

Illinois school safety helpline launched statewide
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, October 20
In today’s Leading News, West Aurora seeks input on property tax appeals. A new playground draws rave reviews in Mc:Lean Co Unit District  5. Schools are closed in Dixmoor due to ongoing water supply problems. DeKalb CUSD 428 may seek a referendum to improve classroom conditions. Also in the news, the Rockford Register-Star looks at school athletics participation for children who are homeschooled.  

West Aurora School District looks at district official to have oversight of property tax appeal process
Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, October 15

Prairieland Elementary 'thrilled' for $107,283 accessible playground
Kelsey Watznauer, Bloomington Pantagraph, October 20

‘Dixmoor needs help’ as it reaches fifth day without water source, village leader says
Jade Yan, Chicago Tribune, October 20

Overcrowded DeKalb classrooms could spur 2022 referendum for new elementary school, say District 428 officials
Kelsey Rettke, Shaw Media/Daily Chronicle, DeKalb, October 20

The IHSA says Illinois home-schoolers can play. Why most schools don't agree
Matt Trowbridge, Rockford Register Star, October 20
 
In today’s Leading News, Charleston CUSD 3 considers a wind energy proposal. Schools in Belleville THSD 201 and Naperville CUSD 203 cope with threats conveyed on social media. Bloomington SD 87 looks at grants. Also in the news, a putting the “multi” in multi-purpose playground at a CPS school.  
 
Wind energy developer to update Charleston school board
Athena Pajer, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, October 18
 
Second threat in a month again shuts down Naperville North High School
Chicago Sun-Times, October 15
 
Belleville high schools see increase in absences after threat circulates social media
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, October 15
 
Bloomington District 87 school board hears about $17 million in grants
Connor Wood, Bloomington Pantagraph, October 14
 
New playground at South Side school aims to reduce flooding in surrounding homes
Mitch Dudek, Chicago Sun-Times, October 14

In today’s Leading News, the coronavirus reckoning continues in Illinois schools.
 
How suburban school districts are scrambling after pandemic exacerbated teacher shortage
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, October 16
 
Wethersfield schools feeling supply chain shortages
Dave Clark, Kewanee Star Courier, October 15
 
In defiance: Local teachers say 'personal liberties' at stake, plan to speak out
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, October 18
 
Illinois changes definition of COVID-19 school outbreaks to align with CDC guidance
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, October 15
 
States can reserve COVID-19 shots for younger kids next week
Mike Strobe, AP/WMBD, Peoria, October 15
 

In today’s Leading News, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to fall. Chicago Public Schools won’t restrict employees who are not vaccinated, but will require weekly tests. Collinsville schools are looking to increase diversity in their teacher ranks by utilizing a grow your own teacher program. Finally in the news, some districts continue to struggle with cafeteria supply issues and a shortage of bus drivers.

COVID-19 hospitalizations, ICU use down by about 21% in October
Marni Pyke, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, October 14

CPS won’t bar employees who aren’t fully vaccinated, but they must get COVID-19 tests weekly
Tracy Swartz, Chicago Tribune, October 13

Teachers are fewer and less diverse, so Collinsville schools invest in growing their own
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, October 14

Late orders and no pretzels: School cafeterias near Peoria struggle with supply chain
Leslie Renken, Peoria Journal Star, October 12

Driver shortage alters Wood River-Hartford bus schedule
Dylan Suttles, Alton Telegraph, October 13
 
In today’s Leading News, read still more on the “unrelenting” impacts of the coronavirus on Illinois and its school districts.
 
District 303 school board member resigns over 'unrelenting harassment'v
Eric Schelkopf, Shaw Media/Daily Herald, October 14
 
Galva school cafeteria workers quit over claims of bullying, mistreatment
Susan DeVilder, Kewanee Star Courier, October 13
 
Decatur students ask school board for action on violence
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, October 14
 
CPS allows unvaccinated teachers, staff to opt for testing over shots — for now
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, October 13
 
Federal COVID-19 testing program to support overwhelmed Illinois schools
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, October 8
 
In today’s Leading News, the ins and outs of adaptive pauses and remote learning, plus more statewide coronavirus news.
 
Hampshire High School Going Remote for 2 Weeks to Slow COVID Transmission
NBC 5, Chicago, October 8
 
Heyworth schools switch to remote learning
Kelsey Watznauer, Bloomington Pantagraph, October 1     
 
School districts return to in-person learning
Vanessa Le, WCIA, Champaign, October 12
 
Illinois teachers union intervenes in Madison County lawsuit over staff vaccines
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, October 11
 
Surpassing 25,000 dead in state from COVID-19: How pandemic evolved from killing Chicagoans to southern Illinoisans
Joe Mahr and Angie Leventis Lourgos, Chicago Tribune, October 8
 

In today’s Leading News, read about controversy and Columbus. Champaign CUSD 4 decides to implement additional security measures. Also in the news, building up: a new facility in Galesburg CUSD 205 features vocational learning space; Mattoon looks to build a career center; and Kankakee aims to renovate a junior high facility.
 
How controversy has changed the way Columbus' story is taught in schools
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, October 11
 
'This was not an easy decision'
Ethan Simmons, Champaign News-Gazette, October 12
           
New Galesburg High School vocational center aligns with local labor needs
Jane Carlson, Galesburg Register-Mail, October 11
 
Mattoon school board to hear career center, high school athletic facilities updates
Rob Stroud. Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, October 11
 
Kankakee School District exploring junior high renovation, expansion
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, October 11

In today’s Leading News, continuing to cope with coronavirus and the implications beyond. 
 
Tali Arbel, AP/Jacksonville Journal Courier, October 10
 
Cassie Buchman, Ben Szalinski and Sam Lounsberry, Shaw Media/Northwest Herald, October 8
 
Rafael Guerrero, Naperville Sun, October 5
 
Nader Issa and Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times, October 1 
 
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, October 11
In today’s Leading News, an end-of-the-week wrap up of “big picture” coronavirus response news.

COVID hospitalizations down, but not enough for Pritzker to lift mask mandate
Jake Griffin, Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, October 4

Vaccines are here. School's open. Some parents still agonize
Tali Arbel, AP/Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, October 6

Pfizer asks US to allow COVID shots for kids ages 5 to 11
Lauran Neergaard/AP, Chicago Tribune, October 7

Flush with COVID-19 aid, schools steer funding to sports
Collin Binkley and Ryan J. Foley, AP/Alton Telegraph, October 6

CPS drops quarantine to 10 days after just 1.6% of kids exposed to COVID at school test positive
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, October 5

 In today’s Leading News, the issues facing Illinois school districts include cafeteria supply, “creating space” for equity-related conversations, and closing the gaps. A mobile lab has been deployed to address cases of child exploitation. Also in the news, Glenview CCSD 34 students put their names on a new building.  
 
McLean County schools pivot as supply issues hit cafeterias
Kelsey Watznauer, Bloomington Pantagraph, September 30
 
SHS students create space for conversations about race, injustice and policing
Natalie Pierre, State Journal-Register, Springfield, October 6
 
District 220 leaders discuss efforts to close 'achievement gaps'
Bob Oswald, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, October 1
 
Officials: Mobile lab to speed child-exploitation crackdown
John O’Connor, AP/Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, October 4
 
D34 Students Sign I-Beam In Westbrook School Addition
Tom Robb, Journal and Topics, October 6

In today’s Leading News, another social media “challenge” creates worry in schools. Elgin-based School District U-46 discusses a proposal to deal with enrollment changes. Quincy SD 172 considers curriculum changes. Bourbonnais SD 53 seeks substitute teachers. Also in the news, law enforcement and Lyons THSD 204 officials cancel Homecoming events due to weapons found in a car.
 
Suburban schools brace for new TikTok challenges to smack or slap staff members
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, October 1
 
U-46 proposal: move 6th grade classes to middle schools, pre-K to elementary schools, close three elementary schools
Mike Danahey, Elgin Courier-News, October 4
 
QPS looking at new state curriculum mandates
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, October 5
 
Bourbonnais schools to offer bonuses to draw substitute teachers
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, October 4
 
Lyons Township High School cancels homecoming after guns found near South Campus
Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas, Chicago Tribune, October 3

In today’s Leading News, the U.S. Attorney General addresses threats to boards of education. Vaccine mandates for eligible students are a go in California and getting “symbolic” support in Springfield SD 186; this as 80% of eligible Illinoisans are at least partially vaccinated. Also in the news, Naperville CUSD 203 joins districts considering test-to-stay to keep students in the classroom.
 
Garland says authorities will target school board threats
Gary Fields, AP/Aton Telegraph, October 4
 
California will become first state to require COVID vaccines for all eligible schoolchildren
Olga Rodriguez and Adam Beam, AP/Chicago Tribune, October 1
 
Springfield's D186 vote was 'symbolic,' but lets ISBE know its position on COVID vaccines
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, October 4
 
Data: 80% of eligible Illinois residents have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose
John Sahly, Shaw Media, October 4
 
Indian Prairie considering trial program in which students exposed to COVID could stay in school if tested 4 times in 7 days
Rafael Guerrero, Naperville Sun, September 30
 

In today’s Leading News, continuing and escalating contention and confrontation in Illinois and across the nation prompts a letter to the Biden administration from NSBA.  
 
Maskless man arrested in southwest Illinois after refusing to leave school board meeting
Megan Valley, Belleville News-Democrat, September 22
 
Mask debates are roiling communities across Illinois. But in Genoa, neighbors say people are kind and considerate, ‘most of the time.’
Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune, September 23
 
District 300 school board, employees face threats, board president says
Cassie Buchman, Shaw Media/Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, October 3
 
Lake Forest School District 115 meetings moved to all-virtual after group of parents refused to wear masks at live meetings
Daniel I. Dorfman, Pioneer Press/Lake Forester, September 28
 
School board group asks US for help policing threats
Carolyn Thompson, AP/Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, October 1

In today’s Leading News, school districts make progress towards the challenges to education.

Collinsville USD will help pay back loans to students who return to teach
Dominic Genetti, Alton Telegraph, September 29

Kaneland administrators explain ‘passive live-streaming’ learning option for students during quarantine
Chris Walker, Kane County Chronicle, September 28

How an Eagle Scout project and a vision became a classroom in Charleston
Athena Pajer, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, September 27

McHenry High School rolls out adventure education program
Northwest Herald, September 21

The Road to Recovery Meets the Road of Reality on Miguel Cardona’s Back-to-School Tour
Lauren Camera, Newsweek, September 22

Leading News

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