Portfolio of a Chicago-based education reporter

Clips

Thousands of black students leave Chicago for other segregated districts — The Chicago Reporter

Many African-American families fleeing the poorest pockets of Chicago are ending up in cash-strapped, low-performing school districts in the Illinois suburbs and northwest Indiana.

 

When Chicago closed her kids’ school, she decided to fight back — Reveal and The Chicago Reporter

As Chicago Public Schools prepares to shut down more schools, it faces continued resistance from people like Irene Robinson, whose community was fractured by previous school closures.

 

Private schools, poised to grow in Illinois, move into closed Chicago public schools — The Chicago Reporter

Four private schools are moving into closed Chicago public schools — and each of them hopes to benefit from the state’s new tax-credit scholarship, which makes a private-school education free for many low-income families.

 

For one black family, a cycle of school closures — The Chicago Reporter

Terronda Harris’ kids went through a traumatic school closure five years ago. Now that she’s finally found them a good elementary school in a gentrifying neighborhood, the district is turning it into a high school.

 

English learners often go without required help in Chicago schools — The Chicago Reporter

Many bilingual programs in Chicago are violating state law by failing to provide adequate services to students whose native language is not English.

 

Jordan’s Jasper — The Texas Observer

The work of Jasper’s first professional black photographer shines a light on the segregated past of an East Texas town known best for the racially motivated murder that occurred there in 1998.

 

Behind sale of closed schools, a legacy of segregation — The Chicago Reporter

Four years after Chicago’s mass school closures, dozens of school buildings were still empty without plans for reuse — burdening the African-American communities where they’re located.

 

In Kansas City, a lesson in transforming closed schools — The Chicago Reporter

Both Chicago and Kansas City carried out mass school closures in poor, black neighborhoods. But they had vastly different approaches to finding new uses for the empty buildings.

 

Inside Noble — Catalyst Chicago

The Noble Network of Charter Schools educates one in 10 public high school students in Chicago. But some question whether the charter network’s strict discipline code and focus on testing is working for all students.

 

Dual language programs to expand, but fears over money linger — Catalyst Chicago

As Chicago Public Schools adds programs aimed at helping English learners become fully bilingual, some fear chronic budget cuts are undermining the expansion.

 

Parents see state commission as ally in keeping charters open — Catalyst Chicago

Chicago Public Schools wants to close four low-performing charter schools. Parents hope a controversial state commission will keep their kids’ schools open.

 

Four charter schools contest proposed closure — Catalyst Chicago

After opting out of their neighborhood schools, parents at four mostly African-American charter schools are fighting back against Chicago Public Schools’ decision to close their schools.

 

Promise, and challenges, in Chicago’s dual language expansion — Hoy Chicago

Dual-language programs are expanding in Chicago. With that comes a number of financial and academic challenges. [This work originally appeared as a three-part Spanish-language series in Hoy Chicago.]

 

Parents and child centers rally as state funding runs out for day care subsidies — Aurora Beacon-News

The state’s budget impasse has had dire consequences for low-income parents who rely on state subsidies for day care.

 

East High student says bullying led to self-injury — Aurora Beacon-News

For years, students bullied Lago Delsol Guzman about her weight and appearance. She reached a breaking point and checked into a rehab facility after she started having suicidal thoughts and cutting her arm.

 

As costs rise, East Aurora defends contract with alternative education provider — Aurora Beacon-News

What East Aurora spends on its alternative education contract has increased sevenfold in recent years. The school board says it’s worth it, but there’s questions about how successful the programs have been for vulnerable students.

 

Alternative ed students caught in limbo as East Aurora ends contract — Aurora Beacon-News

East Aurora is ending a controversial contract with a provider that provides alternative education offsite. It’s prompted concerns among students who say they’d rather drop out than return to a regular school setting.

 

Former alternative education teachers seek lost pay — Aurora Beacon-News

After East Aurora decided not to renew an alternative education contract, the nonprofit provider started having money troubles — and stopped paying staff.

 

Vietnamese-American teens struggle to learn language — The Beaumont Enterprise

On weekends, Vietnamese-American teens gather at local temples and churches as they struggle to learn their family’s native language — and connect with the country their families left behind during the Vietnam War.

 

Teen shot dead in Aurora ‘split’ between gang ties and family life — Aurora Beacon-News

Gianni Aguierre was 17 when he was shot and killed on his front porch. For years, his family, teachers and mentors had pleaded with him to sever his gang ties, fearing for his safety.