Chicago

Map of LSC vacancies, 102 dirty schools, How I Teach

Hello! We’re Cassie Walker Burke, Adeshina Emmanuel, and intern Elaine Chen, and our ears are still ringing from the boundless (and all-hours-of-the-night) fireworks displays in every corner of the city. But we’re going to forge ahead and round up Chicago public education news like we do every week. Please send any tips, story ideas, or general shoutouts our way: chicago.tips@chalkbeat.org.

Our goal is 100 more newsletter subscribers by next Friday. Will you help us? Share this installment with a friend and help spread the word about our new site, which is dedicated to telling the story of public education in Chicago.

THE BIG STORY

PHOTO: Erica Nanton
Erica Nanton campaigning for her Local School Council in Englewood

On July 1, newly elected Local School Council members officially took office. But some 560-plus vacancies remain. So, as new council members show up for the first meetings of their two-year terms, many have discovered that their most pressing order of business is recruiting people to fill the council seats.

The newly elected also have to ensure that enough council members show up to meetings in order to vote on key decisions. Chalkbeat Chicago examined the communities hit hardest by the LSC vacancy wave—and what those empty seats mean for school governance.

THE WEEK IN REVIEW

LSCs heat up: At Skinner West, a recent argument among parents at an LSC meeting has spilled over onto YouTube. Block Club Chicago has more about the dispute, which included efforts to block recordings, even though LSCs must abide by open-meetings laws. 

D is for dirty: 102 public schools still haven’t passed “blitz inspections” conducted to make sure they are clean enough to open in fall. Chalkbeat Chicago has the list. 

Grant winners and losers: Even though the state boosted spending on preschool this year, some programs still lost out in a competitive grant process—which mean devastating cuts. WBEZ examines the impact. 

How I Teach: In this first installment of Chalkbeat Chicago’s How I Teach series, we introduce you to Lisa Caputo Love, a special education teacher at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy. She talks about why she became a teacher, the joys and challenges of special education, and how she combats “compassion fatigue.” 

Art of the matter: When this Tilden Career Community Academy “community connector” discovered his students’ interest in creative arts, he started an arts production studio. The Chicago Defender visits Tilden TV and Radio. 

LOOKING AHEAD

Challenging authority: In the wake of a sexual abuse scandal that’s shaking up Chicago Public Schools, questions from parents’ groups and lawmakers are putting the squeeze on Board of Education President Frank Clark and other top leaders. Chalkbeat Chicago looks at the org chart.

The search for a home: Even well-connected charters—like one backed by the Oscar-winning hip-hop artist Common—struggle to find buildings in Chicago. Chalkbeat Chicago details how Art in Motion is getting a second chance. 

A heated debate: The U.S. Department of Education has halted an Obama-era rule designed to stop students of color from being over-identified as having a disability. Chalkbeat’s national team examines the complicated research dispute behind the decision. 

#HIGHFIVE

As we’ve been talking to people about Chalkbeat Chicago, we’ve heard a lot about the need for balanced, critical reporting. But you’ve told us you also want to read about the good stuff, too. So we sign off each Friday newsletter with a High Five. Want to pitch us? Send a photo, with caption information, to chicago.tips@chalkbeat.orgPlease include #HighFive in the subject line.

A spring Parent U coding session culminated with an app development showcase at Truman College.

Parents who … code? Challenging the idea of what parents can do is exactly the point of a series of workshops being offered through CPS’ Parent University. Angelina Moya, the communications manager for CPS’ Office of Family and Community Engagement in Education, which runs the district’s Parent U, says the coding program—offered for free to parents and community members—is one of the most popular offerings in the program’s four-year history.

In spring, coding workshops were offered at five locations; starting in mid-July, a Friday morning workshop will take place at Sullivan High School in Rogers Park. “Parents can get involved and then engage with their kids over it,” says Moya. “It can change the conversation over the dinner table.” Since 2018, some 3,000 parents have engaged with Parent University, according to the district. Beyond coding, classes include cooking, gardening, financial literacy, English language, and even home health aide certification.