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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:08pm
Thu Dec 11, 2014

Strides Being Made In Improving CPS Arts Education, But Challenges Still Remain

The "state of the arts" in the Chicago Public Schools district has improved over the past two academic years, but there remains much work ahead to ensure all students have access to quality arts instruction, according to a recent report by Ingenuity Inc., a Chicago-based arts education advocacy organization.

For the report issued last week, Ingenuity examined the progress that's been made towards the goals and recommendations in the city's three-year CPS Arts Education Plan, which was approved by the Chicago Board of Education in November of 2012 and made arts a core subject.

Over the first two academic years under the plan, "growth was seen in almost all categories of arts instruction, including minutes of weekly instruction, staffing, arts integration and professional development, and number of arts partnerships," the report reads.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:03pm
Wed Sep 24, 2014

Chicago Coalition To Revitalize Dyett High School Stages Sit-In At Mayor's Office (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

More than 50 Chicago education activists escalated their fight late Tuesday afternoon to save Bronzeville's Walter H. Dyett High School from closing at the end of this academic year.

Protesters chained themselves together and staged a sit-in outside of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office on the fifth floor of City Hall to demand equity for the 13 remaining seniors at Dyett.

The Chicago Board of Education voted to phase out Dyett in 2012 due to poor academic performance, and the school is slated to close completely in 2015 after its last senior class graduates.

The activists with the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, a group spearheaded by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), also urged the Emanuel administration to endorse their community-driven blueprint to keep Dyett open beyond 2015 and offer global leadership and green technology classes at the school, along with other programs involving agricultural sciences and cultural awareness. Community members have been developing the education plan for several years and formally presented it to the school district at the Chicago Board of Education's monthly meeting in April.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
2:09pm
Fri Jun 27, 2014

CivicLab's 'Democracy Design Studio' To Launch New Tools, Programs For Activists

Progress Illinois profiles the Chicago-based CivicLab, which turns one year old next month, and its latest efforts to aid local activists.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:33pm
Mon Jun 23, 2014

Report: CPS Closings Limited Parental Involvement, Adversely Affected Children

A new University of Illinois report shows that last year's round of 50 Chicago public school closings has had a negative impact on both parents and students. Progress Illinois takes a closer look at the report's findings.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:42pm
Mon Jun 16, 2014

Education Activists Bring Dyett High School Fight To Alderman's Front Door (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

About a dozen Chicago education activists pitched a makeshift campsite outside of Ald. Will Burns' (4th) South Side office Monday morning in protest of the school district's plan to close Walter H. Dyett High School at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

Back in 2012, the Chicago Board of Education voted to phaseout and close the Bronzeville neighborhood high school, located in Burns' 4th Ward, due to poor academic performance. Dyett is scheduled to close completely in 2015 after its last senior class graduates.

Members of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School, spearheaded by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), are upset with Burns because the alderman does not support their specific proposal to keep Dyett open beyond 2015 and transition it into a open-enrollment "global leadership and green technology" neighborhood high school.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:25pm
Mon Jun 9, 2014

Chicago Education Activists Target Ald. Burns Over Future Of Dyett High School (VIDEO)

Chicago education activists are ramping up their fight to save Walter H. Dyett High School from closing at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. 

At a news conference at City Hall on Monday, a coalition of parents, students and South Side community leaders blasted Chicago Ald. Will Burns (4th), whose ward includes Dyett, for not supporting their proposal to keep Dyett open beyond 2015 and transition it into a "global leadership and green technology" open-enrollment, neighborhood high school. Toting signs reading "Stop disinvesting in black children," members of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School called the alderman's lack of support for their community-driven, academic plan "disrespectful" to the families who live near Dyett and accused Burns of "ignoring" the needs of neighborhood children.  

Quick Hit
by Anthony Burke Boylan
12:19pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Chicago Non-Profit Uses The Arts To Help Local Youth Process Gun Violence

Eighteen years after its founding, Changing Worlds still helps children discover themselves by learning about cultures — their own and those around them — through nontraditional methods.

Originally serving immigrant and refugee students, Changing Worlds aides children in exploring their culture and expanding their worldview through the arts. But now, the organization is just as likely to help children use art to express their feelings about gun violence in their neighborhoods.

“After 9/11, we helped Muslim students tell their stories and fostered a better understanding among their peers,’’ said Kay Berkson, a social worker, social documentary photographer and founder of Changing Worlds. “Today, one of our programs is in Englewood, where children might express their concerns about murder and death and lack of confidence in the future through poetry.’’

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