Welcome to Chicago Unheard

There’s a new story emerging in Chicago—a story of academic progress in the city’s public schools.

Despite the endless political drama that surrounds the Chicago Public Schools, elementary students are making academic gains that outpace their peers in Illinois and the nation.

In high schools, more students are graduating and, slowly but surely, more graduates are earning college degrees.

While achievement gaps remain wide and there is still plenty of work to do to ensure all students are educated to their full potential, Chicago schools have come a long way from 30 years ago, when they were saddled with the tagline: “worst in the nation.”

It’s Your Turn

In April, a Chicago Tribune editorial asked an important question about Chicago’s remarkable academic progress: What are the elements in schools and their communities that are driving these gains?

While researchers continue to dig for answers, Chicago Unheard wants to hear from you—parents, students, teachers and staff, principals and committed neighbors. What are you seeing in your schools and neighborhoods that is improving learning and success for young people? And where are there still challenges our city needs to meet?

Tell us your stories.

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Maureen Kelleher

Maureen Kelleher

Chicago Unheard blog manager Maureen Kelleher also serves as a senior writer and editor at brightbeam, a nonprofit network of education activists demanding a better education and brighter future for every child. Before joining the brightbeam team, she spent a decade as a reporter, blogger and policy analyst. Her work has been published across the education world, from Education Week to the Center for American Progress. Between 1998 and 2006 she was an associate editor at Catalyst Chicago, the go-to magazine covering Chicago’s public schools. There, her reporting won awards from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the International Reading Association and the Society for Professional Journalists. A former high school English teacher, she is also the proud mom of an elementary student in the Chicago Public Schools. Find her on Twitter at @KelleherMaureen.

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