Chicago Public Schools is monitoring students’ social media for ‘worrisome behavior’

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Chicago Public Schools is monitoring students’ social media posts for signs they might engage in violence on campus or harm themselves so that school staff — and in some cases police — can intervene. 

A Canada-based company the district hired started scouring public posts for threats and “cries for help” last month. District leaders say the program is key in efforts to prevent violence and self-harm as the district responds to an uptick in school shootings nationally and in the number of local students expressing suicidal thoughts.…Read More

Arne Duncan: College completion–not simply access–critical to nation’s future

Making higher education the norm for everyone in the nation—and ensuring that people have not just access to higher education, but also the support to complete that education—is paramount to the nation’s future success, said Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education and former CEO of Chicago Public Schools.

Duncan, who is a distinguished senior fellow at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, sat down during an EDUCAUSE 2022 session and discussed some of the biggest challenges higher education is facing—and college access and completion dominated the conversation.

Questions came from Michael Berman, retired CIO, California State University, Office of the Registrar; Brian Baute, industry principal for education with RingCentral; and Jessie Minton, vice chancellor for technology and CIO of Washington University in St. Louis.…Read More

Reading Plus Approved As An Education Technology Products And Services Vendor For Chicago Public Schools

WINOOSKI, Vt. (August 16, 2021) – Reading Plus, an evidence-based online program that uses personalized instruction to improve students’ reading proficiency, today announced its approval as an education technology products and services vendor for Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The three-year contract offers school administrators in 638 schools across CPS the opportunity to select Reading Plus as an accessible and engaging instruction and intervention solution that supports in-person and virtual learning.

Reading Plus is an adaptive literacy program that is used by more than 1 million students across the country. It develops comprehension, fluency, stamina, vocabulary, and motivation to read in students—including Tiers 1-3 and multilingual learners—and improves reading proficiency by 2.0-2.5 grade levels in a single school year when used with fidelity.

“It’s incredible to partner with one of the largest school districts in the United States to help foster literacy growth for students,” said Steven Guttentag, CEO, Reading Plus. “We look forward to working with educators within CPS to further build skills and nurture student growth, success, and above all, a love of reading.”

Reading Plus holds the highest Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) evidence of effectiveness ranking—level one for “strong evidence”—illustrating a statistically significant effect on improving student outcomes. In 2020, the program doubled its content library to over 2,500 engaging and diverse selections to provide students with meaningful representation and culturally responsive texts as they grow into global, lifelong learners.…Read More

Rosetta Stone Announces Winners of the Emergent Bilingual Educators of the Year Award Program

Rosetta Stone Inc. announced the 10 winners in its first Emergent Bilingual Educators of the Year award program. A total of $20,000 in grant donations and $75,000 in subscriptions to the Rosetta Stone® English for Education language learning program were awarded to teachers of English learners (EL).

Victor Machado, an ESL teacher at East Side High School in Newark, New Jersey, won the $10,000 grand prize, along with a schoolwide semester’s subscription to Rosetta Stone English. The two runners-up are Timothy McGrath and Virginia Valdez. McGrath is a K-5 ELL teacher at West View Elementary School, a small inner-city school in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Valdez is a kindergarten teacher at Minnie Mars Jamieson Elementary at Chicago Public Schools. Each won $5,000 grants as well as the schoolwide semester’s subscription to Rosetta Stone English.

Machado was nominated by the Bilingual Department Chairperson Brian Donovan who submitted an essay describing how Machado helps his students. Donovan wrote of Machado: “He is able to synthesize all the tools required to educate a student and turn his class into a fun engaging ESL lab, where technology is used to leverage student achievement and where students take ownership of their education.”…Read More

Are you a Hooray, Hmm, or Hell No educator?

Change is hard. How can you get reluctant teachers to embrace change and try new innovations in teaching with technology? At ISTE 2016, popular ed-tech speaker Jennie Magiera shared several strategies for doing just that—turning those “yes, but…” objections into “what if…” adventures.

Magiera, a former Chicago Public Schools teacher who is now the chief technology officer for School District 62 in Des Plaines, Ill., said there are three types of people whom ed-tech leaders will encounter when they encourage their staff to innovate: “hoorays, hmms, and hell nos.”

The “hoorays” are those who are eager to try new tools and techniques in their classroom, she said. The “hmms” are those who watch with interest but aren’t ready to dive in right away, and the “hell nos” are those who actively resist.…Read More

Looking for an innovation model for your school? Try asking students

Two Chicago schools find looking to students a very freeing experience

How do you combat student engagement problems and encourage students to take an interest in their own learning? For many schools the answer seems to be some variation of personalized learning, as interpreted by school administrators or outside curriculum savants. For two Chicago-area schools, however, the solution came down to asking students: How do you want to learn?

LeViis Haney and Karen Breo, the Chicago-area principals in question, recently spoke about their experiences in reshaping school culture at a panel during the ASU GSV Summit in San Diego, a conference that brings education investors and philanthropists together with educators and ed-tech entrepreneurs. The panel, centered on how schools can go about choosing an innovation model for themselves, brought together a handful of school leaders who had taken part in pilot programs from LEAP Innovations, an organization which helps facilitate that process.

A few years ago, Haney, the principal of Joseph Lovett Elementary School, noticed a school culture of stagnation. Students learned at their desks, typically from worksheets given to them by teachers who were disengaged with students and the teaching process. “We were experiencing very low levels of engagement and it manifested itself in a lot of data points that were not conducive to teaching and learning,” he said. “We knew we had to do something to change the culture. What would create a fun environment for kids?”…Read More

Lawsuit accuses security guard of handcuffing first-graders for talking in class

The attorney for a family suing Chicago Public Schools over the alleged handcuffing of a first-grader in 2010 said Tuesday that the boy was among several 6- and 7-year-olds who were detained and handcuffed for hours for talking in class, reports the Chicago Tribune. In an email to the Tribune, attorney Michael Carin said school officials at Carver Primary School on the Far South Side authorized the on-campus security guard in March 2010 to discipline some first-graders who were being disruptive…

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Chicago charters ask public schools for more money; debate takes shape

There’s a debate smoldering, just out of the media spotlight, behind the scenes of Chicago public policy, the Huffington Post reports. It’s one that pits some of the city’s wealthiest individuals and most powerful political interests against a larger but more disparate group of activists, organizers and union workers. At stake, at least according to both sides’ rhetoric, is nothing less than the fate of the city’s children. The debate is between supporters of charter schools–with names like Pritzker, Zell, and to a certain degree Brizard and Emanuel–and believers in reforming the traditional public school model…

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Brizard, Emanuel suggest CPS teachers make home visits

In a press conference coordinated with the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO)’s announcement that their organization, which oversees a network of charter schools, is adding instructional days to their forthcoming academic year, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and new schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard suggested that the group’s charter system offers a model of the direction in which Chicago Public Schools should head, the Huffington Post reports. Namely, Brizard suggested that CPS teachers should begin to make two annual “home visits” in order to forge a better connection with students’ families, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

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