Education | Features

Losing Harper High School

In a good school-bad school paradigm, Harper High School’s rich hundred-plus-year history risks being forgotten

L-R: Helen Tyner, Derrick Lawson, Sherry Williams (Maggie O'Brien)

Harper High School is the oldest neighborhood school in Englewood. Over the last century,  thousands of residents have graduated from there. Yet last month, the Chicago Board of Education voted to close Harper High School in the next few years. It is, by all accounts, considered a failing school. But for those who go to Harper now, the decision threatens to tear apart the social fabric that’s been woven across generations.

Education | Media

Don’t Stop the Presses

Teachers are fighting to keep journalism education alive—despite the odds

Lizzie Smith

Kids are already doing [journalism], but we’re not talking to them about how to do it correctly or how to do it really great,” explained Liz Winfield, who runs the journalism program at Benito Juarez Community Academy in Pilsen.

Education | Features | Politics

Why Is CPS Closing NTA?

Before NTA conversion proposal, emails reveal multiyear history to the plans for a new neighborhood high school

Lizzie Smith

The Near South Side is one step closer to getting a new neighborhood high school—and the National Teachers Academy (NTA), an elementary school for a small but densely populated strip of the area, is one step closer to closing its doors. Two weeks ago, the Chicago Board of Education approved Chicago Public Schools’ controversial Near South Education Plan, which will repurpose the elementary school’s campus as the site of the new high school.

Education | Interviews | Music | Radio

SSW Radio: Sergio Mims, Plus Sign, and More

Students at the UIC FAST Adult Education and Career Transition - Center for Literacy work on exhibits for "Our City, Our Museum" (milo bosh)

This week on SSW Radio we continued our series on WHPK DJs, interviewed a local rapper, and heard from students developing museum exhibits telling their stories of their communities


Where Do I Send My Kids?

Three CPS educators on why they want their kids to attend public schools

Kamari Robertson

When students’ education is on the line, having more options isn’t always better if it means that parents and their children are being forced to choose between non-negotiable fundamental values like community, academic rigor, and safety. Yet, many parents and their children face this predicament when selecting between public neighborhood, public selective enrollment, or private schools in Chicago.


Beyond the Levels

Public forum questions how well CPS’s current rating system serves students and communities

Kamari Robertson

On Monday, February 12, over eighty people braved the cold to attend a public forum about school ratings in Chicago, titled “What Makes a School Great?” at Kenwood Academy High School. The event was the last of three forums about assessment put on by the coalition Parents and Teachers Driving Testing Policy; the first two focused on special education students and early childhood education, respectively. This forum was sponsored by seven local and national education advocacy groups. The audience included teachers, administrators, afterschool program providers, local school council members, and public education advocates.

Education | Stage & Screen

Student Activism Takes the Stage

Hancock College Prep turns conflict, from the personal to the global, into theater

Courtesy of Hancock High School

The day before the opening night of Hancock College Preparatory High School’s theater showcase “Content Warning: Real Life,” the students in Sarah Baranoff’s Drama II and Drama III classes are thrumming with nervous excitement. In the darkened performance hall within the West Elsdon selective enrollment high school, students walk in and out with costumes in hand, leap on and off the stage, and chatter in the audience seats.

Education | Food

Scraps to Sustenance

How sustainability organizations help CPS students reduce food waste

Courtney Kendrick

When Illinois House Bill 5530 was passed in July 2016 and became a Public Act, many educators and cafeteria workers were unaware that excess cafeteria food could legally be donated to food pantries and homeless shelters.