Leading News Archives January 2019

January 31, 2019
In today’s Leading News, The Daily Herald looks at changes to K-8 standardized testing. Peoria Public Schools will reevaluate a realignment proposal and process. Young school board members serve – and hope to serve – on a few Illinois school boards. Cost increases will likely postpone a new cafeteria in THSD 113 (Highland Park). Also in the news, it’s 115 degrees (Fahrenheit, fortunately) in Adelaide, South Australia.

What's new with Illinois' standardized test
for elementary, middle school students
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 30

Board criticism forces Peoria school realignment plan onto slower track
Scott Hilyard, Peoria Journal Star, January 28

Putnam grad shows student can serve on school board
Derek Barichello, Ottawa Times, January 30

District 113 may delay $7.4 million cafeteria makeover
at Highland Park High School
Karen Berkowitz, Pioneer Press/Highland Park News, January 29

Here's your answer when someone asks
'How can it be so cold if there's global warming?'
Doug Criss and Judson Jones, CNN/The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, January 30


January 30, 2019
In today’s Leading News, several school districts are putting alternatives to snow days to the test with flexible learninge-learning, and digital learning. Meanwhile, a state Senate committee votes to put the definition back into the school day as that discussion continues. Also in the news,Illinois school districts get creative with snow day announcements.

Peoria schools to enact ‘flexible learning’ on Wednesday
Scott Hilyard, Journal Star, Peoria, January 19

Woodland kids learn from home on snow-covered day
Brent Bader, Ottawa Times, January 28

Gurnee students still learn on snow days with ‘e-learning’ program
WGN, Chicago, January 30

Illinois Senate committee votes to reinstate classroom time mandate
Jerry Nowicki Capitol News Illinois/The Pantagraph, Bloomington, January 30

Montmorency superintendent channels his inner Eagle
for cancellation announcement
Cody Cutter, Sauk Valley News, January 29

Midland principal announces school closure with music video
WEEK, Peoria, January 29


January 29, 2019
In today’s Leading News, it’s cold, getting colder (then warmer!), and schools are announcing closures. In one CPS high school, an entirely different kind of “chill” offers stress help to students. Meanwhile, the next definition of a school day continues under legislative discussion, along with raising the age to legally purchase tobacco products.

Temperatures plummet in Chicago area as polar vortex cold snap begins
Hannah Leone and Elvia Malagon, Chicago Tribune, January 29

Updated: Some area schools are delaying the start of classes today
or are closed because of the weather
Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, January 29

'We’re trying to get them to chill out a little bit.'
Lane Tech brings in therapy dogs to ease students' stress before exams
Kate Thayer, Chicago Tribune, January 22

State legislators consider question: What counts as a school day?
New state bill could revert to 5 hours and a teacher
Brent Bader, Ottawa Times, January 28

Illinois lawmakers consider raising tobacco-buying age to 21
Alton Telegraph, January 28


January 28, 2019
In today’s Leading News, a program that promotes STEM careers for high school students living in under-resourced communities is expanding to some Illinois communities. Decatur is considering an expansion of its alternative education program. Dixon schools will issue $6.5 million in bonds to cover additional construction costs. A dispute over a school district solar farm proposal will be discussed during a workshop hosted by the village board. Finally in the news, St. Charles Unit District 303 has agreed to move up the start of school by one week for the 2019-2020 school year.

Program promoting STEM careers among students of color
is expanding to Illinois
Manny Ramos, Chicago Sun-Times, January 25

From 15 students to 150: Decatur school district considers
changes, expansion of alternative education program
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald & Review, January 22

School board weighs options to cover $6.5 million in construction bills
Rachel Rodgers, Sauk Valley News, January 18

Solar field dispute pits school district
vs. Long Grove horse farm owners, residents
Bob Susnjara, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 21

District 303 will start a week earlier in the fall,
and parents' reactions are mixed
Lauren Rohr, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 16

January 25, 2019
In today’s Leading News, WTTW reports on “discontent” and the latest push for an elected school board for CPS. Litchfield CUSD 12 looks at its aging bus fleet. Hawthorn CCSD 73 approves issuing bonds for a new kindergarten facility. Hononegah CHSD 207 says it will take weeks to complete repairs after a fire in the high school auditorium. Also in the news, students meet with the Springfield SD 186 board after a social media contretemps.

School Discontent Prompts Calls for an Elected School Board
Paul Caine, WTTW, Chicago, January 24

Litchfield School Board Discusses Aging Buses
Mary Galer Herschelman, Hillsboro Journal-News, January 22

Hawthorn 73 approves bonds for new $13.5 million kindergarten center
Rick Kambic, Pioneer Press/Vernon Hills Review, January 10

Repairs could take weeks after Hononegah theater fire
Jeff Kolkey, Rockford Register Star, January 21

Southeast High students stand up for school after online backlash
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, January 22

January 24, 2019
In today’s Leading News, Rockford SD 205 explores dual credit offerings, including a criminal investigations class on the public safety pathway. Edwardsville CUSD 7 discusses technology commitments stemming from an education fund tax increase. Danville CCSD 118 seeks input on its student handbook. Bushnell-Prairie City CUSD 170 launches an after-school program to help students with reading and math. Also in the news, Wauconda CUSD 118 offers a refinancing plan to save a potential $2 million.

Rockford high schools partner with Rock Valley College on dual credit
Corina Curry, Rockford Register Star, January 22

District 7 fulfilling Prop E promises with technology
Julia Biggs, The Edwardsville Intelligencer, January 22

District 118 encourages input on handbook
Carol Roehm, Danville Commercial-News, January 19

After school program aims to improve students’ scores
Christopher Ginn, McDonough County Voice, January 18

Wauconda District 118 to refinance debt,
save $2 million and end payments early
Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, January 20


January 23, 2019
In today’s Leading News, DuQuoin CUSD 300 talks about legislation affecting the school calendar. Wilmette SD 39 will offer extended-day kindergarten. A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Naperville CUSD 203 staff and law enforcement after a 2017 tragedy. Also in the news, there’s discussion regarding school districts in attendance on the day honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dist. 300 School Board Report New law
may change definition of an instructional day
DuQuoin Call, January 22

Wilmette School District 39 rolling out extended kindergarten
with an eye toward offering full-day program
Karen Ann Cullotta, Pioneer Press/Wilmette Life, January 22

Judge dismisses lawsuit alleging police, school district
contributed to Naperville North student's suicide
Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, January 22

Arcola, Arthur schools opt to keep students in class on MLK Day
Lyndsay Jones, News-Gazette, Champaign, January 22

Rockford NAACP questions MLK school day in Winnebago
Chris Green, Rockford Register Star, January 21


January 22, 2019
In today’s Leading news, The Pantagraph reports on the potential for snow days to be replaced by “digital days.” Iroquois County school districts offer possible consolidation information. Elgin-based School District U-46 makes changes to improve security. Also in the news, THSD 214’s Buffalo Grove High School hosts a exhibit on civil rights history featuring the Freedom Riders.

Outside the classroom: Digital learning may end need for snow days
Kelsey Watznauer, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, January 21

Proposed legislation could put digital days in danger
Kelsey Watznauer, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, January 20

Unit 9 conducts consolidation informational meeting
Carla Waters, Iroquois County Times-Republic, January 18

U46 upgrading classroom door locks,
conducting surprise checks to step up security
Rafael Guerrero, The Courier-News, Elgin, January 17

'You need to try to right that wrong':
Freedom Rider urges Buffalo Grove students to fight racism
Christopher Placek, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 16


January 18, 2019
In today’s Leading News, Township HSD 211 (Palatine) ratifies a contract that averted a strike in December. A second charter school teachers strike is possible. McLean Co CUSD 5 offers higher pay to substitute teachers. Hinsdale CCSD 181 challenges students to unplug for a week. Also in the news, life lessons in imperfections are featured in art at New Trier THSD 203.

District 211 ratifies four-year teachers contract
Eric Peterson, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 16

Chicago International Charter School teachers set strike date
Mitchell Armentrout, Chicago Sun-Times, January 17

Unit 5 OKs raises for substitute teachers
Kelsey Watznauer, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, January 16

District 181 plans Unplugged Week to promote family interaction over screen time
Chuck Fieldman, Pioneer Press/The Doings, Hinsdale, January 17

New Trier student creates 'Mural of Mistakes' to highlight teens' imperfections and life lessons
Karen Ann Cullotta, Pioneer Press/Winnetka Talk, January 17


January 17, 2019
In today’s Leading News, ISBE’s 2020 budget request seeks a 60 percent increase to help remedy “deep structural inequity.” School leaders in Illinois say school meal programs will continue through the federal government shutdown; the U.S. Department of Agriculture says funding is guaranteed through March 8. Southern Illinois schools and organizations team up to assist students with adverse childhood experiences. CPS teachers request a 5 percent raise. Also in the news, a popular school/student communication app is costing more under some service providers.

State board asking for 86 percent hike in state funds
Doug Finke, State Journal-Register, Springfield, January 16

Schools: Children will be fed ‘no matter what’
Corina Curry, Rockford Register Star, January 16

Partnership teaches southern Illinois schools trauma response skills
Marilyn Halstead, The Southern Illinoisan, January 7

Teachers union seeks 5 percent raises,
says ‘rich people’ will pay for them
Mitchell Armentrout, Chicago Sun-Times, January 16

Students caught in middle of popular app's billing dispute with Verizon 
Jake Griffin, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, January 14


January 16, 2019
In today’s Leading News, the Rockford Register Star reports on the second round of the state’s tax-backed private school scholarship program. Decatur SD 61’s Ag Academy continues its work, with plans for a greenhouse, a rooftop garden, beehives and a barn. Indian Prairie CUSD 204 seeks what’s next in tech. Quincy SD 172 will survey its staff with the aim of improved working conditions. Also on the news, there’s a new space for the littlest learners in Kewanee CUSD 229.

Private school scholarships again up for grabs in Illinois 
Corina Curry, Rockford Register Star, January 14

Decatur's Ag Academy continues practical lessons in second semester
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, January 14

With laptops and Smart Boards in the classrooms,
District 204 seeking input on what's next for tech in school
Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, January 10

Survey targets making QPS a better place to work
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, January 10

New Belle Alexander space open for learning
Mike Helenthal, Star Courier, Kewanee, January 10



January 15, 2019
In today’s Leading News, with frozen precipitation on top of 16 inches of snow, Jacksonville SD 117 calls a special school board meeting. Zion SD 1 adds to intervention programs with EBF funds. Argenta-Oreana CUSD 1 and local law enforcement team up for safer bus stops. Streator THSD 40 adds nicotine to its student drug testing for extracurricular participation. Also in the news, a change in federal guidelines prompts Evanston/Skokie SD 65 to tell families it is “staying the course.”

Jacksonville schools closed again Tuesday due to snowy conditions
State Journal-Register, Springfield, January 14

Zion District 6 hires new teachers to add support, reduce class sizes
Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, December 23

'Keeping kids safe': Argenta-Oreana district teams with police
to stop people from passing buses illegally
Jalyn Cook, Decatur Herald and Review, January 9

Streator High adds nicotine to interscholastic student drug testing
Derek Barichello, Ottawa Times, January 13

District 65 pledges to ‘stay the course’ after DeVos revokes guidelines
protecting students of color from suspensions
Catherine Henderson, Daily Northwestern, Evanston, January 11

January 14, 2019
In today’s Leading News, the Tribune follows first-year teacher Jonathan White and discusses the number of black male teachers in CPS elementary schools. Officials are investigating an incident where a crossing gate hit a bus at a north suburban railroad crossing. Peoria Public Schools partners with Illinois Central College to offer dual credit classes. Northfield (Glenbrook) THSD 225 considers altering its academic calendar. Also in the news, school districts adapt to a change in school safety drill laws.

A lot of these kids need role models':
Following 1st-year black teacher Jonathan White
through his first months at CPS
Ted Gregory, Chicago Tribune, January 10

Warren Township High School investigating
after crossing gate hit school bus stopped for passing train
Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, January 11

Illinois Central College, Peoria Public Schools
to partner in dual degree program
Andy Kravetz, Peoria Journal Star, January 10

Glenbrook 225 is considering a calendar change.
Some surrounding schools already made the move.
Alexandra Kukulka, Pioneer Press/Glenview Announcements, January 8

New law makes changes to School Safety Drill Act
Cassie Buchman, State Journal-Register, Springfield, January 10


January 11, 2019
In today’s Leading News, Rockford SD 205 overhauls its start times for reasons that include reducing transportation costs. Naperville CUSD 203 considers a calendar that includes no student attendance on election days. Hoping to build a new school,  Iroquois West CUSD 10 will hold a $25 million bond referendum on the April 2 ballot. Districts plan withdrawal from the Mid-State Special Education group. Also in the news, Zion SD 6 students celebrate winning a “classroom makeover.”

RPS changes start times, dismissals at nearly all schools
Corina Curry, Rockford Register Star, January 8

District 203 would close school on election days
under calendar change proposal
Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, January 8

IW BOE to ask for school building bonds on April ballot
Wendy Davis, Iroquois County Times-Republic, January 10

Regional Boards Allow Petition To Withdraw
Mike Plunkett, Hillsboro Journal-News, January 10

Zion teacher wins $15,000 classroom makeover
with 'creative, collaborative' furniture
Yadira Sanchez Olson, Lake County News-Sun, January 10



January 10, 2019
In today’s Leading News, Oswego-based CUSD 308 authorizes an operating fund referendum, to be decided on the April 2 ballot. The Warren THSD 121 teachers union has voted to file an intent to strike. A potential residential development in Naperville raises questions for Indian Prairie CUSD 204. Hinsdale THSD 86 prevails in a lawsuit filed by a former board member. Also in the news, Galesburg CUSD 205 plans for facilities upgrades work to begin this summer.

Oswego School Board votes to place referendum on April ballot
Shea Lazansky, Kendall County Now, January 9

District 121 union takes step toward a teachers strike
Daily Herald, January 9

Indian Prairie school board won't take stance
on Wagner Farms homes despite public request
Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, January 9

Court again rules in favor of Hinsdale District 86 in Manley lawsuit
Kimberly Fornek, Pioneer Press/Hinsdale Doings, January 9

D205 planning for facility changes
Matt Koester, The Register-Mail, Galesburg, January 7


January 9, 2019
In today’s Leading News, outgoing governor Bruce Rauner highlights improvements to K-12 education in Illinois among his accomplishments. Sycamore CUSD 427 considers future tech projects. An anticipated student exchange program in Streator THSD 40 will wait until next semester for enrollment. Quincy SD 172 reconsiders on-site health clinics. Also in the news, Roanoke-Benson CUSD 60 expands its welding program and looks to increase class offerings in other skilled trades.

Rauner calls education achievements most important of administration
Doug Finke, State Journal-Register, Springfield, January 1

Sycamore School District 427 Board considering next steps in school tech
Katie Finlon, Kane County Chronicle, January 8

Program will focus on recruiting for start of school year
Derek Barichello, The Ottawa Times, January 7

Health care initiative moving beyond school-based clinic
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, January 4

R-B School Board looks into skilled trades classes
Cheryl Wolfe, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, January 7


January 8, 2019
In today’s Leading News, students spearhead an entryway change at Danville High School. North suburban high schools predict declining enrollments. The News-Gazette breaks down 2019’s education-related new laws; one of those laws allows school districts to employ temp agencies to find substitute teachers. Also in the news, Secretary of State Jesse White announced school library grants, awarded to 694 public school districts in Illinois.

DHS welcomes new entrance
Carol Roehm, Danville Commercial-News, January 5

Highland Park, Deerfield high schools
foresee 15 percent enrollment decline
Karen Berkowitz, Pioneer Press/Highland Park News, January 4

Laying down the laws: Schools edition
Lyndsay Jones, News-Gazette, Champaign, January 8

New Law Lets Schools Turn To Temp Agencies For Subs
Dusty Rhodes, WUIS Education Desk, Springfield, December 17

Grants announced for school district libraries
Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, January 2


January 7, 2019
In today’s Leading News, some districts see a financial drawback to students graduating early. The Tribune reports that CPS continues to deal with allegations of sexual abuse of children. Amboy CUSD 272 helps residents understand tax levies. Oak Park-River Forest HSD 200 outlines its renovation plans. Also in the news, Monticello CUSD 25 may alter future academic calendars to accommodate facilities projects.

A growing number of early graduates
is costing this school district thousands
Kavahn Mansouri, Belleville News-Democrat, January 3

CPS watchdog report:
Elementary teacher hired despite past sexual misconduct,
famed choir director mismanaged donations
Juan Perez Jr., Chicago Tribune, January 2

Tax questions answered at Amboy School Board meeting
Bonnie Morris, The Amboy News, December 21

'You are setting a legacy': OPRF board sets in motion
$32 million campus renovation plan
Steve Schering, Pioneer Press/Oak Leaves, Oak Park, December 21

Compressed 2020-21 planned
to accommodate Monticello school project
Steve Hoffman, Piatt County Journal Republican, December 26



January 4, 2019
In today’s Leading News, schools will be required to add two extra days next year, but what will the impact be on district budgets? Chicago Public Schools are still dealing with instances of parents cheating to get kids enrolled in coveted schools. Southern Illinois University is working on a program to assist rural school paraprofessionals with getting teaching credentials. Drivers who pass a stopped school bus in Highland CUSD 5 will soon be ticketed thanks to the installation of a new camera system. Finally in the news, two Decatur middle schools could be combined into one building under the district’s facilities plan.

Illinois adds two days to the school year.
What will it mean for instruction, costs?

Kavahn Mansouri and Lexi Cortes, Belleville News-Democrat, January 2

CPS watchdog found some CPS employees
cheated to get children into top schools

Mitchell Armentrout, Chicago Sun-Times, January 3

SIUC to train needed special ed teachers for rural schools
Gabriel Neely-Streit, Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, January 2

Highland’s bus fleet is getting cameras that may make bus stops safer
Kavahn Mansouri, Highland News Leader, December 21

Tentative plan: Combine 2 Decatur middle schools by August

Valerie Wells, Herald & Review, Decatur, January 3



January 3, 2019
In today’s Leading News, a study collecting data on “driver phone use, speeding, aggressive acceleration and hard-braking events” assesses traffic safety around school buildings, public and private. Granite City CUSD 9 settles a suit alleging sex-based pay discrepancies. Chicago mayoral candidates offer views on an elected school board for CPS. “It doesn't get to you unless it comes from a truck” resonates as Quincy-area high school students jumpstart their careers with CDL training. Also in the news, The Southern Illinoisan looks at how funding formula funds are being spent.

Study: Sangamon, Morgan get Fs for safe driving around schools
Steven Spearie, State Journal-Register, Springfield, January 2

Granite City school district paid 2 women less for years.
After lawsuit, it owes them $600,000.
Lexi Cortes, Belleville News-Democrat, December 21

On returning school board control to voters, mayoral candidates split
Adeshina Emmanuel, Chalkbeat Chicago/Sun-Times, December 28

QAVTC program helps students get closer
to earning a commercial driver's license while still in high school
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, December 29

How are local districts using new funding allocated
in the education funding formula?
Isaac Smith, The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, January 2


January 2, 2019
In today’s Leading News, new laws, including public K-12 education-related ones, took effect January 1. Barrington CUSD 220 will have a building referendum on the spring ballot. A DuPage County judge allows a suburban “adequacy level” question to proceed on the April ballot. Middle school students discussing sexuality has caused additional conversation at Germantown Hills SD 69. Also in the news, a new pilot program will allow school districts and planning teams to streamline the design-build process for new facilities.

New Illinois laws take effect Jan. 1, 2019
Bonnie Morris, Mendota Reporter, December 26

Barrington School District 220 voters to decide
$185 million building referendum in spring
Phil Rockrohr, Pioneer Press/Barrington News, December 21

Judge keeps District 202 tax-cut question on the April ballot 
Robert Sanchez, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, December 19

Germantown school’s handling of ‘sexuality talk’ draws protests
Holly Eaton, Chronicle Media, Woodford, December 31

Rauner approves streamlined school-construction pilot
AP/Belleville News-Democrat, December 20

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The links to articles posted here are selected daily from news sources across Illinois, provided as a service to our membership. These links go directly to the original source (print, broadcast, or online media) that originated the article. The purpose of sharing these links is to give readers of this blog a wider perspective on state and local issues impacting public education. IASB neither endorses nor verifies the content.