The awesome thing one Chicago principal did to reward students’ reading

The Chicago Public Schools District may be amid turbulent times, but that hasn’t stopped teachers, students and administrators from doing amazing things, the Huffington Post reports. Case in point: Principal Nate Pietrini slept on his school’s roof last week in an effort to excite students about reading. Pietrini, of Hawthorne Elementary Scholastic Academy, told students that if they did a certain amount of reading in the month leading up to the school’s “author week,” he would camp out in a tent on the school’s roof. The students reached the goal, so Pietrini got out his camping gear, pitched a tent and took to the top of the building…

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Chicago Mayor defends action as tough but needed

Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded Saturday to widespread criticism of his plan to close 54 Chicago Public Schools, saying he wasn’t interested in doing what was politically easy and that the pain of the closings doesn’t compare to the anguish of “trapping” kids in failing schools, the Associated Press reports.

“If we don’t make these changes, we haven’t lived up to our responsibility as adults to the children of the city of Chicago,” Emanuel said in his first public statements since Thursday’s announcement. “And I did not run for office to shirk my responsibility.”

Emanuel was out of town when his schools chief, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, announced the closings. It is the largest number of CPS schools to be shuttered in a single year, and officials say it will affect some 30,000 students in the nation’s third-largest school district……Read More

Chicago teachers vote to return to classroom

The walkout was the first for a major American city in at least six years.

Teachers agreed Tuesday to return to the classroom after more than a week on the picket lines in Chicago, ending a combative stalemate with Mayor Rahm Emanuel over evaluations and job security, two issues at the heart of efforts to reform the nation’s public schools.

Union delegates voted overwhelmingly to suspend the strike after discussing a proposed contract settlement that had been on the table for days. Classes were to resume Wednesday.

Jubilant delegates poured out of a South Side union hall singing a song called “Solidarity Forever,” honking horns and yelling, “We’re going back.” Most were eager to get to work and proud of a walkout that yielded results.…Read More

Chicago teachers strike for first time in 25 years

As the strike deadline approached, parents spent Sunday worrying about how much their children’s education might suffer.

Thousands of teachers walked off the job Monday in Chicago’s first schools strike in 25 years, after union leaders announced that months-long negotiations had failed to resolve a contract dispute with school district officials by a midnight deadline.

The walkout in the nation’s third-largest school district posed a tricky challenge for the city and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said he would push to end the strike quickly as officials figure out how to keep nearly 400,000 children safe and occupied.

“This is not a strike I wanted,” Emanuel said Sunday night, not long after the union announced the action. “It was a strike of choice … it’s unnecessary, it’s avoidable and it’s wrong.”…Read More

Safe passages

DAREChicago has had major problems with gangs attacking people throughout the city, including school kids going to and from school each day. I’m sure many of us remember the terrible online video that showed…

Chicago has had major problems with gangs attacking people throughout the city, including school kids going to and from school each day. I’m sure many of us remember the terrible online video that showed the fatal beating of high school honor student, Derrion Albert, as he headed home from school last fall.

Now there is good news from Chicago. The city plans to spend $25 million in federal stimulus funds on three school violence prevention programs. About $10 million will go towards a mentoring program for 1,500 high-risk students. The mentors will help the students find jobs and line up tutoring and social services.…Read More