Portfolio of a Chicago-based reporter

Writing

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.

The question of tech equity — Catalyst Chicago

Unequal access to computers, fast internet and teachers trained to use technology puts many low-income students of color in Chicago at a disadvantage.

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

A look at why, four years later, most of the 43 school buildings left behind by Chicago’s mass school closures are still vacant with no 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.

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.

Inside Noble — Catalyst Chicago

A deep look at the controversial growth of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, where one in 10 Chicago public high school students is educated.

Man killed in Aurora shooting lived life marked by joy and pain — Aurora Beacon-News

Years before 33-year-old Bryce Stiff was shot and killed, he was the victim of another crime. He was brutally beaten by three men who targeted him because he was gay, a hate crime that would scar him for life.

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.

Using ‘innovation’ to get more children into preschool — Catalyst Chicago

Small-scale experiments across Illinois are helping enroll more hard-to-reach children in early education programs.

Summer counseling aimed at getting more grads into college — Catalyst Chicago

Chicago Public Schools is investing in summer counselors to boost college enrollment, but they don’t make up for cutbacks that have drastically reduced counseling during the school year.

Colleges team up to help early childhood workers get degrees — Catalyst Chicago

A federal grant aims to get more early childhood workers credentials that improve their wage-earning potential and the quality of education for young children.

State looks to meet demand for early educators with specialized training — Catalyst Chicago

A look at how colleges across the state are trying to boost the number of qualified preschool teachers who work with children with special needs and children learning English.

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

In the wake of mass closures of Chicago’s public neighborhood schools, an Illinois commission is making it harder to shutter low-performing charter schools targeted for closure by the district.

Four charter schools contest proposed closure — Catalyst Chicago

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

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

A three-part series on the financial and academic challenges of expanding dual-language programs in Chicago Public Schools. This work originally appeared in Spanish 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 and early educators who rely on state subsidies for day care.

East Aurora program gives high school students a jumpstart on college — Aurora Beacon-News

A pilot program that lets high school students take a full course load at a local community college could improve their chances of earning a two- or four-year degree.

Parochial school built by German immigrants turns 150 — Aurora Beacon-News

Some Aurora families have sent five generations to a no-nonsense Lutheran school first started by German immigrants shortly after President Lincoln died.

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 to a culture left behind after the Vietnam War.