Good/Bad First Day Back?

Good/Bad First Day Back?

Thanks for all the comments last week.  I hope the first day back is going well.  There’s lots of coverage of the Safe Passages program and the school closures in the media– understandably, I guess.  Assuming nothing untoward happens at those schools today, what else is going on around CPS, in terms of new programs, policies, changed staffing, or other complaints or compliments you might have?

Workers keep watch over new Chicago school year AP: Thousands of Chicago Public Schools students will head to new schools Monday, the first day of what Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called “a new beginning” for the nation’s third-largest district after a number of schools were closed….

CPS’ first day awaits amid budget cuts, school closings Chicago Tribune: About a year after a strike shut down Chicago Public Schools for seven days, 403,000 students return to classes Monday in a district shaken by school closings, hammered by

CPS Students Head Back to School: ‘There’s Just a Lot of Unknowns’ DNAI: District, students face many questions as school begins following following tumultuous year.
Chicago School Closures Send Kids Through Dangerous Areas NPR: Chicago is preparing for the first day of school, which has extra challenges this year. The city closed about 50 schools recently, so some children will have to walk through dangerous neighborhoods to get to class. The city is expanding its “Safe Passage” program, training workers who will be stationed on school routes to protect students.

Safety first: CPS ‘Safe Passage’ program gets first test Monday Sun Times: The eyes of the city will be on Chicago Public Schools “Safe Passage” routes Monday morning as thousands of children walk unfamiliar sidewalks to newly assigned schools in the wake of massive school closings. “We’re ready,” said Alice Henry, principal of Johnson School of Excellence in North Lawndale, which is welcoming about 60 students from the now-shuttered Pope Elementary. “We’re in good shape and I’m confident this is going to be a smooth transition.”

First Day of School Looms For CPS WTTW: Chicago Public Schools students are headed back to school on Monday following the closing of nearly 50 schools and the introduction of new safe passage routes. Paris Schutz has the latest.
Editorial: Rewarding success at CPS Tribune Editorial: Monday, the first day of classes, marks the close of an agonizing, frustrating summer for Chicago Public Schools. It has been a summer dominated by often-harsh clashes over spending cuts and closing schools. So it’s probably no surprise that something…

CPS’ first day awaits amid budget cuts, school closings Tribune: About a year after a strike shut down Chicago Public Schools for seven days, 403,000 students return to classes Monday in a district shaken by school closings, hammered by budget cuts and forced to confront safety concerns with an unprecedented increase…

Violence plagues some new ‘Safe Passage’ routes WBEZ: Safe Passage is already in place near 35 Chicago high schools and four elementary schools. CPS and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration are expanding it this year to allay safety concerns for the roughly 10,000 students who will be heading to new receiving schools this year, sometimes through dangerous gang territory.

State website to add teacher disciplinary action Tribune: With a computer click, you can see if a lawyer was disbarred, a medical doctor put on probation or whether a host of other professionals were disciplined — from accountants to veterinarians.

What should public education be? CPSObsessed: What do YOU think is/should be the role of the U.S. education system and specifically the system in Chicago, where we have a large population of lower-income students to educate, a sizable population of English Language Learners, diminishing budgets (much like the rest of the country,) and a very large school system overall.   These all pose challenges beyond those of many other U.S. school districts.

Filed under: Daily News Roundup


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  • The Illinois Central buses were vandalized over the weekend. So, busing late, late, late. Safe?

    Stupid criminals.

  • Safe Passages shooting last night -- Sun Times Not sure how much weight to give these reports

  • Emanuel wants to talk about full day kindergarten but media want to talk about closed schools

  • The [Monday] Papers
    By Steve Rhodes

    "Students from Chicago's 47 shuttered elementary schools will head to new schools today," Linda Lutton expertly reports for WBEZ this morning.

    "And while most will go to so-called 'welcoming' schools the district has packed with resources, upgrades, and special safety provisions, new data show that many will not. The students from shuttered schools are enrolled in a whopping 287 schools across Chicago, forming a diaspora throughout the school system."

    Which lays to waste all claims made by CPS about the "new" educational experience kids from closed schools will experience this year. The purported pipeline from closed schools to "welcoming" schools is actually a dizzying maze from closed schools to all points hither and yon.

    "Chicago Public Schools insists that the majority of the nearly 12,000 students from the closed schools are signed up at the designated welcoming schools, where it did big fix-ups, from paint to iPads. The district made $155 million in building improvements at those schools, adding computer labs, science labs, and installing air conditioning in every classroom . . .

    "But numbers obtained through an open records request show some 2,200 students from closed schools have not enrolled in welcoming schools, suggesting that the ripple effects of the largest school closure in recent American history could go well beyond the communities where the closures took place."

    The consequences are significant. City leaders ought to be ashamed. Go read the whole thing...

  • In reply to district299reader:

    thanks, steve, but linda herself said that 78 percent of kids were going to their assigned welcoming schools and 2k kids just isn't that many given the size of CPS. context?

  • for some lighter fare: Best (and Worst) Back-to-School Advice | The Second City Network

  • We are apparently supposed to be horrified by these pictures of now-closed CPS schools @chicagoan @WBEZeducation

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    Alex is cool with gang graffiti, bust-down playgrounds, and the bizarre "censoring" of school names.

    Maybe you can chalk it up to distance decay. After all, the view from Brooklyn is a bit hazy. That said, he would probably be all too willing to put Syria "in context" if he were a real journalist.

  • Linda also titled the article:
    Closing schools diaspora
    Children scatter from closing schools to 287 schools in the system.
    So I suspect she's not suggesting that this a small concern.

    Obviously you're clearly biased, but how you can write that 2000 is a small number in context (of an estimated 12,000 or so students forced to move due to school closings.) It is literally 1/6th of the affected students.

  • In reply to marrs96:

    thanks, marrs -- i am of course biased -- as are we all.

    linda is great, but to me, "diaspora" implies a really large number/percentage of individuals and/or a large proportion of the given sub-population.

    12,000 out of CPS systemwide is substantial and even historic but not diaspora-like according to my understanding of the word, and 2k out of 12k is also substantial but less than 20 percent of the group.

    that being said, linda might not have chosen the headline -- editors and others often add those things on at the end.

  • Mayor cancels walk with students after confronted by

  • How to plan, from comment at

    . Chicago School GPS | August 26, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Thanks, CPSO! And here is an overview of some of the changes between this year and last year, from

    Overview of Changes to High School Process

    The following provides an overview of the upcoming changes that the Office of Access and Enrollment (OAE) will implement this fall for the 2014-2015 application process. The changes are primarily associated with the online application process; the paper application process will remain unchanged.

    CPS students are assigned a Personal Identification Number (PIN) via an eligibility letter
    Last year: All eighth grade students who wanted to apply online had to first request a PIN through the online application site.
    New this year: PINs will be provided to all CPS eighth grade students via the eligibility letter sent to school counselors by OAE. The eligibility letter will also identify the schools/programs for which the student is eligible to apply, based on their seventh grade ISAT scores.

    Non-CPS students must submit academic information in order to receive a PIN
    Last year: Non-CPS students applied for their PINs without submitting their academic information to OAE.
    New this year: Starting August 26, non-CPS students will download and complete a Non-CPS Eligibility Request Form and submit it, along with their academic information, to OAE for processing. Once the information is processed, OAE will mail the student an eligibility letter that contains their PIN.

    Parent online self-service scheduling
    Last year: All students first applied online and waited for OAE to schedule their Selective Enrollment exams, IB information sessions, and Magnet auditions.
    New this year: Parents/students will be able to use the online application site to schedule and reschedule their own appointments.

    Early Testing = Early Results
    Last year: All students, regardless of when they tested, received their results in February with their notification letters.
    New this year: Testing will begin in October. All students who sign up for a test that is administered in October or November will receive their exam results within three weeks of their testing date. This will help inform students’ decisions regarding the schools to which they wish to apply.

    This means that families should do their research on schools earlier rather than later to help them schedule info sessions, auditions and exams for the schools they are interested in. Come on out to our Hidden Gems HS Fair on 9/22/13 to meet public and private school representatives and student ambassadors, as well as workshops for parents and middle schoolers on admissions, testing, scholarships, executive functioning, essay writing, college readiness, etc! One stop will save hours of confusion and research.

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