Education

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This week, a conversation with Lissette Jacobson about growing up the daughter of Mexican immigrants, social justice, using football to bond with boys in her school and what it takes to be a successful administrator. She is the new principal of Pioneer Elementary School in West Chicago.

District 300

Eastview Elementary School in Algonquin was honored as a National Blue Ribbon School.

This is the first time in more than three decades (and the second time ever) a school in Community School District 300 has received the distinction.

The award recognizes either “Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing” or, like Eastview, “Exemplary High Performing” schools.

It’s based on student scores placing in the Top 15 in the state for Math and English.

Jim Zursin is the principal at Eastview.

Susan Stephens

Northern Illinois University wants to make the list of companies that it contracts with more inclusive. This year, its Diversity Vendor Networking Fair will focus on small businesses, as well as firms owned by women, minorities, people with disabilities, and veterans.

About a dozen children with complex medical needs have been kicked out of school over a funding dispute. The children reside at Children's Habilitation Center — a long-term care facility for children with complex medical needs, located in Harvey, Illinois.

On Friday, CHC filed a lawsuit against the West Harvey-Dixmoor Public School District 147, the Illinois State Board of Education, and several other school districts.

The STEM Read Podcast - Going Wild

Sep 30, 2019

Going Wild with Peter Brown and Dr. Holly Jones

In this episode of the STEM Read Podcast Gillian King-Cargile (@gkingcargile), Kristin Brynteson (@kbrynteson), and Melanie Koss (@melaniekoss) sit down with NIU Biology professor Holly Jones, Ph.D., and author of The Wild Robot Peter Brown (@itspeterbrown) to talk island ecosystems, endangered species, writing, and robotics. 

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Rich Egger, news director at Tri States Public Radio in Macomb, joins us for a special edition episode of Teachers’ Lounge. Public radio stations across the state collaborated on our “Enrollment Exodus” series chronicling enrollment challenges facing Illinois colleges and universities, especially since the 2015-2017 state budget impasse.

A four-year degree is not the only option for students when they finish high school. But many choose community college in an effort to join the workforce sooner and save on tuition costs.

Community colleges funnel a lot of students into four-year institutions.

So-called articulation agreements like the ones John A. Logan Community College has with Southern Illinois University let students feel secure their credits will transfer, and count toward a degree.

When Francisco Gamino arrived at Parkland College four years ago, he didn’t know how to balance work and find the time he needed to study.

A University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduate student and lecturer has filed a lawsuit against the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, alleging the university withheld public documents regarding faculty sexual misconduct that should have been released through public records requests.

RICH EGGER

Tammy Yates was excited to come to Macomb seven years ago. Yates and her partner Chad Hunziker opened Chubby's, a restaurant on West Adams Street, just a few blocks from the Western Illinois University campus.

"Just the vibe of the whole campus in 2012 was happy. It was positive and people were having fun," said Yates.

"It’s a little different now."

Changes In Store For NIU Title IX Office

Sep 17, 2019
Susan Stephens

Northern Illinois University's Title IX coordinator says there are changes being made to her office.  They come in a response to a student protest in May.  

Title IX prohibits sex discrimination at education institutions receiving federal funding.  Coordinator Sarah Garner says her office is currently in the process of hiring a Title IX investigator. 

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Since returning to DeKalb a decade ago, Maurice McDavid has held many titles. Some call him their teacher, others call him their preacher. To some of his elementary school students, he even goes by his hip-hop moniker, Mr. McDizzle. But above all of that, he's trying to be an advocate in the town he was raised in.

Also on the show, a topic with both international and personal ramifications: cybersecurity.

Former University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor Gary Gang Xu assaulted and threatened students while university officials downplayed complaints, a lawsuit says. He ultimately resigned, taking $10,000 as part of his separation agreement.

This article was produced in partnership with NPR Illinois, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.

FLORIDAHEALTH.GOV / FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

 

Over the summer, public schools across Illinois received kits designed to help staff members respond in the event of life-threatening injuries. Each kit contains Nitrile gloves, a MicroShield mask, QuikClot bandages, and a tourniquet — just enough supplies to help save one person from bleeding to death. Schools can receive up to five more free kits if they train more staff on a curriculum called STOP the Bleed

Photo by Spencer Tritt

Illinois’ teacher shortage has only gotten worse over the past few years. The legislature passed measures in the last year meant to help relieve the problem. But, as the academic year begins, school officials still have concerns.

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A mother and daughter, they both teach kindergarten at the same school. They come from a long line of teachers in their family. And this year, the next generation is putting on her backpack to share those same halls as she goes into kindergarten herself.

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Teachers with the DeKalb Classroom Teachers Association have been working without a contract since the start of the new school year. They just filed an intent to strike, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be one soon.

The union and DeKalb Board of Education have been negotiating since February. The most crucial issues for DeKalb teachers has been class sizes as well as the length of their contract.

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More than four billion private records were exposed by data breaches in the first half of 2019.

Illinois residents have seen their fair share of information compromises. In July, the state received a share of the Equifax settlement.

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A few days a week, Earlville high school juniors and seniors sit down for their first class in what's called their "college classroom." It's where they can take dual enrollment courses, and get college credit if they pass.

Last year, Earlville's graduating class was only 37 students. But they left with nearly a combined 200 college credit hours.

"Because we are a textbook, low-income, small country school, we're kind of proud of all the different opportunities that we can offer the kids," said principal Jeanette Fruit.

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She works with teenagers and young adult students with autism. She also happens to be a comedy writer. And she moonlights on top of that as an indie musician. She says her work has been described as a "girls' night out with Kacey Musgraves and Alison Krauss." On this episode of Teachers' Lounge we talked to Cora Vasseur about how all of that happened, and how her art influences her work with special needs students -- and vice versa.   

Also on the show, a conversation about student debt forgiveness; and two prominent Illinois politicians weigh in on the debt crisis.

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Teachers’ Lounge is a new podcast from WNIJ telling the stories of education in Illinois with the help of stories from Illinois educators. Join reporter Peter Medlin every other Friday (payday!) for a new episode. 

If you are a teacher, you know a teacher who you think should be on the show, or have a story about a teacher who inspired you -- send us an email at teacherslounge@niu.edu to join the conversation. 

Also, feel free to send us your ideas for stories and topics for the show to cover.

 

Report Highlights Higher Ed Inequity In Chicagoland

Jul 17, 2019
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Even with Chicagoland students in the same income range, white students have a much greater chance of getting a degree than students of color.

That’s according to a new report from the non-profit Partnership for College Completion. The group just released a report highlighting college access and success disparities in northern Illinois.

It finds gaps exist regardless of academics and have more to do with race and family income levels.

Photo by Spencer Tritt

 

Jim Vera teaches government at Oswego East High School. He often has his students, mostly sophomores, stand in all four corners of the classroom. The corners are marked "Agree," "Disagree," "Strongly agree" and "Strongly disagree."

 

He starts small. Do we have good sports programs here? They all pick a corner. Then the debate escalates until, eventually, they're discussing topics like if it's okay to burn the American flag. 

 

 

Peter Medlin

Over 100 Kaneland School District teachers and other members of the community rallied outside of Harter Middle School on Monday

They were there supporting the Kaneland Education Association as they continue to negotiate a new contract before their current one expires at the end of the month.

They wore all red, and held up signs with slogans like “Teachers need more than apples."

Raney Good is the Kaneland Education Association’s president.

Peter Medlin

A new report from the Illinois State Board of Education highlights how many children are developmentally ready for Kindergarten upon entering.

Results of Illinois’ Kindergarten Individual Development Survey or “KIDS” show only 26% of children met readiness standards in all of the measured areas. Thirty-nine percent met standards in none of the categories.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is starting to act on the flurry of bills sent to his desk in the wake of this year’s spring legislative session. Among the first that he’s signed requires schools to provide a minimum of five hours of learning time.


Chase Cavanaugh

Unemployment can happen to anyone, and state government and colleges have resources to help those who are looking to increase skills while they are between jobs. 

The state's latest jobs numbers indicate that unemployment was at 4.7% in February. However, this rate was higher in many of the state's metro areas. The highest was Kankakee, at 6.7%, followed by Rockford at 6.4. 

The number of school districts giving laptops and tablets to students has grown exponentially in just a few years. And the new technology is already reshaping the way work is done in the classroom. 

That's already happened at Pecatonica Middle School. The school, in a village of 2,000, went "one-to-one" five years ago. That means one device -- in this case, a Chromebook laptop -- per student.

As students sit down at their science class, they flip open their laptops. They've got a quiz tomorrow, so they immediately go to their Quizlet program to review.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker replaced most of the state board of education this week and appointed a new superintendent.

The board includes seven women and two men. The new superintendent, Carmen Ayala, is the first woman and the first person of color appointed to hold that position full-time.

"It's amazing. It's such an honor, I mean, it still hasn't hit me today,” she said. “Somebody texted and said, ‘You know, Carmen, today you made history in Illinois,’ and I was like wow! That's just amazing. It's an honor."

In his budget address today, Gov. J.B. Pritzker listed education as one of his top three priorities, requesting increased funding for programs across the educational spectrum, from babies to grade school to colleges and universities.

Now all he has to do is persuade lawmakers to go along with his plan to pay for it.

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