schools

Brett Callow of Emsisoft

In April, Illinois Valley Community College’s servers shut down. It happened soon after COVID-19 closed down the campus and shifted classes online. Hackers locked the college out of its own networks. That caused its website and email system to crash. 

In the directory where files should be, the hackers left a message demanding cash for ransom.  

Whether it’s the global pandemic or social unrest, nearly everyone has experienced some trauma in 2020.

It’s hard to grasp the long-term mental health implications of COVID-19. But many Americans have already seen their mental health suffer during the pandemic.

Spencer Tritt

Only weeks from the first day of school, some districts are reversing course and choosing not to have any in-person instruction right away.

Several teachers’ unions are calling on their schools to start the year virtually. Educators in Elmhurst are opposing their district’s back-to-school plan.

Max Schoenberg is the president of the Elmhurst Teachers’ Council. He says Elmhurst District 205’s plan would bring hundreds of students back into its buildings.

On a new Teachers’ Lounge, host Peter Medlin sat down digitally with Ayla Peczkowski. She taught English & Special Ed at the Roosevelt Community Education Center in Rockford. Now she’s going to be in an administrative role at East High School, also in Rockford.

They talked about Ayla’s mixed feelings about schools reopening, teaching her students about news literacy during the pandemic and much more.

This episode goes in depth on what goes into a reopening plan. And there’s a story highlighting the struggles international students have faced during COVID-19.

Spencer Tritt

It’s just less than a month before the first day of school, and DeKalb is releasing their plans to reopen amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Students returning will see a different kind of classroom from what they left in March when schools shut down.

Schools are enforcing health and safety guidelines to try and limit the spread of coronavirus. Students will be required to wear masks. Classrooms will be reoriented to account for social distancing.

DeKalb’s plan uses a hybrid in-person and online format.

On a new Teachers’ Lounge podcast, host Peter Medlin had a long chat with Huntley Middle School Principal Amonaquenette Parker.

Parker talked about the big lessons she learned about education during the pandemic and her perspective as a Black educator and mother as the country has started having more conversations about racial inequality and police brutality.

The conversation covered a lot of ground, so they also talked about when Parker’s mom was her boss for a few years and her love of cheesy romance novels.

Spencer Tritt

The State guidelines that were announced Tuesday for schools to resume in-person classes this fall need more work. That’s according to one of Illinois’ biggest teachers unions.

The pandemic put schools across the country in a tough position. They know many don’t consider the quality of e-learning equal to that of in-person instruction. But, even with new in-person safety protocols, some parents say they aren’t going to feel comfortable sending their kids to school.

Peter Medlin

What’s the vision you have in your head of P.E. class? Hoping not to get picked last in dodgeball? Are you climbing a rope?

  

That’s what physical education was for a lot of people. But now, in many schools, technology is crafting the next generation of gym class while teachers focus more on mental health than getting fit. 

 

 

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.

Last February, a threat made on social media forced a lock-down across the DeKalb County School District.

It was a part of a wave of threats made to schools in days and weeks following the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. The incident in DeKalb did not end in tragedy, but it made school district officials think about their emergency protocols.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois

DeKalb and Sycamore schools are finishing up necessary repairs on their water fixtures. That’s after some buildings had traces of lead in the water supply.

Six DeKalb elementary schools and two DeKalb middle schools recently had unsafe lead levels detected in the water. That’s according to reports shared by the school district.

Rockford Public Schools / RPS205.com

Plans to build two new elementary schools in Rockford are back on track.

The Rockford School Board voted last night to proceed with its ten-year facilities plan -- particularly the construction of the two schools that will replace five outdated buildings on the city’s southeast side, at a cost of $42 million.

The board had delayed a vote so members could determine if the district really could afford the schools on top of major renovations and everyday expenses.

hiring.niche.com

Some northern Illinois high schools were top-ranked by a database that grades schools across Illinois and the country.

All four public high schools within District 155, which represents the Crystal Lake area, were rated among the best schools in the state and nation.

Without a budget agreement in Springfield, a possible government shutdown gets closer. And for already cash-strapped schools, it's not just state money that's at stake, but federal money, too.

Schools have three major sources of funding: Local property taxes, state money and federal dollars. Depending on how wealthy or poor an area is, those three sources vary in weight.

But schools in high-poverty areas tend to need extra educational mediation...that's where federal money comes in.

Rockford Public Schools / RPS205.com

The Rockford School District is looking at closing seven to nine elementary schools. The district currently has 35. 

Five members of the embattled East St. Louis School Board filed motions this morning in St. Clair County Circuit Court asking a judge to reverse the state of Illinois' decision to have them removed.

The members argued in court documents that the unanimous Illinois State Board of Education vote Thursday was unconstitutional and infringed on the "fundamental right to vote."

Illinois schools face deep cuts

Jun 8, 2012

Illinois schools would see $200 million in cuts in the budget approved by state lawmakers last week. An Associated Press analysis says if the governor signs the budget, Illinois would fall further behind in providing basic education funding for each student.

Rockford-area dental screenings improve smiles

Jun 8, 2012
capl.washjeff.edu

A successful dental screening program in several northern Illinois school districts will continue this summer,  and will even expand this fall.  

The screening program identifies students who may not regularly see a dentist for reasons including lack of insurance or transportation. During the past school year, more than 900 students in the Belvidere, Harlem, and Rockford School Districts received dental treatment.