A new end game

Career education is no longer just about preparing students to enter the workforce. In line with a national trend of ‘college for all’ and the reality that most good-paying jobs require education beyond high school, CPS has overhauled its career education programs to make college the ultimate goal.

Charges dismissed

Thousands of defendants spend days, weeks and even months in Cook County’s criminal courts each year on low-level charges. Odds are that their cases will be dismissed.

Missing connections

Research has shown that parent engagement is an essential component of school improvement. The schools that welcomed students displaced by dozens of closings have an especially tough task on this front: More than a third of them have weak parent involvement, according to a 2012 Consortium on Chicago School Research survey.

Waiting on STEM, IB

When district leaders laid out their plans to close a record number of elementary schools, they promised that the new schools would be better academically than the ones being shuttered and rolled out plans to launch specialty programs in many of the welcoming schools.

‘Structured out’ of a job

Fifth-grade teacher Leland Sanford and Spanish teacher Christine Brown sat at his desk in the library, surrounded by brown boxes and barren walls. They were not happy. It was the Monday of the last week of school, and Sanford and Brown had just received letters saying that they wouldn’t find out for a few weeks whether they would have jobs in the fall.

Cashed out

A growing number of private buildings subsidized by the Chicago Housing Authority are struggling to pass inspections. Landlords have collected millions while tenants are stuck with substandard conditions.

Reading woes

CPS is part of a federal project to help teens better understand and discuss nonfiction in core subjects. Using an approach called “disciplinary literacy,” teachers aim to help students read history texts the way historians do, and science texts like scientists.

Boosting basic literacy

While most high school freshmen read at or just slightly below grade level, there’s another aspect of the teen literacy challenge: students who reach high school but read several years below grade level.

From novice to expert

Wells High School freshman reading teacher Jillian Connolly is one of a minority of teachers in CPS high schools with a reading specialist endorsement. Even so, Connolly says she wasn’t fully prepared to work with teen readers.