The Fourth Grade Backpack Challenge Paves the Way to High School

So last week I wrote about the new book The Make-or-Break Year, which details the challenges of keeping Chicago’s high school freshmen on track to graduate. While the book zooms in and out between the big-picture challenges and the teacher-student struggles to help keep kids in school, today I want to zero in on a foundational issue that starts well…

Talking Freshmen On Track and “The Make-or-Break-Year” at 57th Street Books

Healthy skepticism fuels good journalism, smart research and thoughtful education. And yet, as Emily Krone Phillips tells us in her new book, The Make-or-Break Year, “the movement that occurred in Chicago to support freshmen hinged not on skepticism, but on belief. … Belief that the dropout crisis was something that could be solved. Belief in the research that showed ninth…

What ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Means for My Black Daughters and the Schools They Attend

As the Black mother of two Black girls, I am always acutely aware of how Black girls are harmed in this society. However, there are some moments in America, when it is amplified that me and my girls, are truly at the bottom of the totem pole of those deemed in need of protecting. This weekend, the Lifetime docu-series, “Surviving…

I’m a Chicago Teacher Who Has Watched Many Javions Fall Through the Cracks. Here’s What Would Help.

Originally posted on Chalkbeat by Gina Caneva on January 4, 2019. As a Chicago Public School teacher and librarian for the past 15 years, I’ve seen many students fall through the cracks. I remember the young man who sat in my class at the beginning of his senior year, eager to learn. By the end he was failing, having missed…

To Maintain a Culture of Trust, CPS Must Ensure Data Privacy and Safety For Undocumented Students

This op-ed is co-authored by Olivia Albrecht, youth organizer for the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, and BPNC President Anita Caballero.   Last year, the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council supported undocumented students from across the Southwest side as they organized Coming Out of the Shadows assemblies at their schools. The celebrations were beautiful moments of resistance, where students chose to speak…