Boots on the Ground

Parents organize Friends of Kenwood to fill budget gaps

Danielle McDaniels, Chairperson of the Kenwood Academy Parent Advisory Council and board member of Friends of Kenwood (FOK), spoke in the Kenwood Academy library to parents about the launch of FOK (Hafsa Razi)

On February 2, at Kenwood Academy High School’s library, Kimberly Harding announced the launch of a new parent fundraising organization, Friends of Kenwood (FOK), along with a plan for an army of committees under the organization. Harding is the president of the board of the nonprofit group, which aims to “ensure the future of Kenwood [Academic Center] & [High School] as the premier education Academic Center and Academy in Chicago and the world.”


An Underfunded Education

Illinois budget cuts hit destination universities for CPS kids

Sources: Chicago Consortium on School Research, Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Office of Management and Budget, Columbia College, Southern Illinoisian. Data Visualization by Jean Cochrane

CPS students headed to college are most likely to attend a school facing budget cuts

Police | Politics

Paper Trail

What are the consequences of destroying police misconduct files?

Ellie Mejía

“These records are vital to our work, and their destruction would pose a great challenge to our ability to investigate these cases.” Robert Olmstead


The Aftermath: Choices

Report shows that families made hard choices in wake of the school closings

Creswell claims that arguments about utilization have been walked back in favor of rhetoric around “saving” students from poor schools, in order to validate closings that weren’t as economical as they promised to be.


Childcare in Crisis

Funding shortfall threatens early education programs statewide

Courtesy of Illinois Senate Democrats

Betty Skorusa has a lot to worry about. As the director of Montessori Foundations of Chicago, a McKinley Park daycare center, Skorusa depends on payments from the Childcare Assistance Program (CCAP), which subsidizes childcare for low-income families and parents enrolled in school statewide. But on January 29, Skorusa and thousands of other childcare providers across the state received a letter from the Illinois Department of Human Services announcing that, due to a $300 million shortfall in funding for CCAP, providers that serve children on financial assistance will experience payment delays until the end of the fiscal year in June. Continue reading


More than a Dorm

La Casa Student Housing acts as a support system for students and community

Hafsa Razi

La Casa Student Housing stands at the corner of 18th Street and Paulina, a six-story building that seems even taller next to the short tiendas and houses nearby. Here, at the edge of Pilsen’s zócalo, across from the old St. Vitus’ Catholic Church, this building supports a carefully formed community. Continue reading

Education | Music

Musician and Maestra

Diane Ellis in the classroom and on stage

Ian Moore

Diane Ellis, the band director at Dixon Elementary School in Chatham, spends most of her weekdays teaching students in both general music classes and afterschool band programs.