Weekly NewsBrief 9/21/20 - 9/27/20

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Thousands of students are missing from Chicago’s virtual classrooms. Here’s the plan to find them – By Yana Kunichoff, Chalkbeat Chicago

Chicago Public Schools said that 49,000 students failed to log into classrooms on the first day of remote learning, a figure it has now winnowed down to fewer than 6,900 after expanded outreach efforts.

The figures released at Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting offer the first look at how many of Chicago’s 300,000 students the school district is still trying to contact. They are a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges that Chicago faces in connecting with students remotely.

After school buildings closed in the spring, the district also reported thousands of missing students. Now, with a fresh start to the school year, officials detailed new protocols to find them, including tens of thousands of phone calls to vulnerable students, a mass flyering campaign led by Safe Passage workers, and security guards trained for home visits.

 

Maryland school systems can begin sports Oct. 7 – By the Associated Press

Local school systems in Maryland can begin fall sports on Oct. 7, Gov. Larry Hogan and State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced Thursday.

Formal fall sport season practices can begin Oct. 7 in preparation for a competitive season beginning on Oct. 27, according to the announcement.

The governor says allowing fall sports to start next month marks another important step in the state’s recovery from the pandemic.

The decision by the state schools superintendent was reached after recent discussions with the state’s education board and Maryland’s 24 local school system superintendents. The executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association also was involved, as well as parents.

Superintendent Karen Salmon

 

Grambling State’s education department recruits Black men to teaching profession – From the News Star

Grambling State University’s Black Male Teacher Initiative has joined forces with Clemson University’s nationally known Call Me MiSTER® program to aid in the recruiting and development of more Black men into the teaching profession.

The program addresses the alarming statistic that less than 2 percent of teachers in the U.S. are Black men. Grambling State’s Call Me MiSTER® initiative aims to increase the pool of diverse teachers who will serve the state’s schools.

The Call Me MiSTER® (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models) program was founded originally at Clemson in 2000. Call Me MiSTER® is a teacher leadership program that provides the participants, who are entitled “Call Me MiSTER® Scholars,” with the tools necessary to succeed as teachers.

“Increasing the number of Black men leading in the classroom is an essential step in impacting the dramatic racial disparities in the national K-12 learning space,” President Rick Gallot said.

 

Will the pandemic stall the free college movement? – By Natalie Schwartz, Education Dive

The free college movement was picking up steam before the pandemic hit the U.S. Sixteen states have enacted free college programs, and several others have extensive scholarship programs, according to the Campaign for Free College Tuition

But the economic turmoil may dampen some of that activity. "State budgets are obviously decimated by the pandemic," said Sandy Baum, a nonresident senior fellow at the Urban Institute, a left-leaning think tank. "It won't be surprising if, like lots of other programs, these programs are vulnerable during this crisis." 

Oregon lawmakers stripped $3.6 million from its promise program, which allows high school graduates or adults who complete their GED to attend community college tuition-free. It's a last-dollar program, meaning it covers tuition costs after all federal aid and scholarships are applied, though each recipient is guaranteed at least $1,000.

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