• Chicago special ed teacher killed after being caught in expressway shootout
    Special Education

    Chicago special ed teacher killed after being caught in expressway shootout

    A 67-year-old special education teacher was shot and killed when she got caught in the crossfire of a shootout on an expressway on Chicago’s South Side on Tuesday, according to police and reports.

    Denise Huguelet was shot around 10 p.m. on the Dan Ryan Expressway and was pronounced dead at a local hospital, WFLD-TV reported.

    Police said Huguelet was a passenger in an SUV driving in the southbound lanes of the roadway when she was shot.

    Police sources told WLS-TV that Huguelet was struck and another woman was grazed when they were caught between two cars shooting at each other.

    Illinois state troopers chased the vehicles at speeds reaching 120 mph before the suspects crashed into a trooper’s car and were taken into custody.

    Police have not released the names of the suspects and said charges are pending.

    Huguelet, who was on her way to dinner with her husband and son, had been a special education teacher at the Evergreen Park Elementary School for 24 years, the school district said in a Facebook post.

    “An Evergreen Park native, she was a dear friend to many colleagues who will remember her character as pure, honest, fair and kind,” the post said. “She was an incredible woman whose memory will always be with us.”

    The fatal shooting came one day after a 70-year-old grocery store worker, Yvonne Ruzich, was ambushed and killed by two men while sitting in her car outside her job at Baltimore Food and Liquor in Chicago.

    A spokesman for the Chicago Police Department said in an email to The Post on Wednesday that no new details have been released in that shooting and said cops are not connecting it to the new incident, “yet.”

  • Chicago expressway shooting kills special ed teacher, 67, heading home from White Sox game
    Special Education

    Chicago expressway shooting kills special ed teacher, 67, heading home from White Sox game

    Chicago’s crime wave claimed another victim Tuesday night: a 67-year-old special education teacher who was fatally struck by a bullet while traveling home from a White Sox game, according to reports.

    Denise Huguelet was pronounced dead at a hospital after suffering a gunshot wound to her back, FOX 32 of Chicago reported. 

    The highway shooting, around 10 p.m. on the Dan Ryan Expressway, was the 156th such crime in the city so far this year, surpassing the 128 total for all of 2020, and tripling the 52 total for all of 2019, the report said.

    Huguelet was riding home with her husband when suspects in two other vehicles started firing at one another, and Huguelet was killed by a crossfire shot, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

    She and her husband had five children and 11 grandchildren, local media reported.

    CHICAGO OFFICER INJURED IN SHOOTING THAT KILLED ELLA FRENCH SPEAKS OUT FOR FIRST TIME

    Illinois State Police later apprehended two suspects in connection with the shooting and recovered a handgun, FOX 32 reported.

    State Police tracked down the suspects after a police helicopter spotted their vehicle speeding away from the site of the shooting, the station reported.

    Huguelet, a resident of Orland Park, taught for 24 years in nearby Evergreen Park, was a beloved and dedicated educator, Evergreen Park Elementary School District 124 wrote in a Facebook post.

    “Her passion for students and her dedication to the community showed in all aspects of her work,” the school district’s statement said.

    “Mrs. Huguelet’s nature with kids was kind, yet firm, to ensure that students were taught the independent skills they needed to be successful in their futures. She cared deeply about the academic needs of students, and the social and emotional well-being of every students’ needs,” the post continued.

    CHICAGO MOM KILLED IN DRIVE-BY SHOOTING IN FRONT OF HER KIDS DAY BEFORE SON’S 7TH BIRTHDAY: FAMILY

    “An Evergreen Park native, she was a dear friend to many colleagues who will remember her character as pure, honest, fair and kind. She was an incredible woman whose memory will always be with us.”

    “She was a dear friend to many colleagues who will remember her character as pure, honest, fair and kind. She was an incredible woman whose memory will always be with us.”

    — School district statement

    The Chicago White Sox, who played the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night, also expressed condolences after learning about Huguelet’s death.

    “Our hearts are broken for the family of Denise Huguelet,” the team’s statement said. “She dedicated her career to making a difference in the lives of so many young students. The entire White Sox organization is deeply pained by the news of her passing and the loss of her warm, caring spirit that her friends, family and community remember well about Denise.”

    CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

    The Dan Ryan has seen 50 shootings this year, the Eisenhower Expressway 34, the Bishop Ford 25, the Kennedy five and the Edens three, according to FOX 32.

    Earlier this year, the Illinois State Police received $12.5 million to install high-definition cameras to help prevent expressway shootings and gather evidence to solve those cases that occur, the station reported.

  • CPS Chicago Public School special education plagued with troubles 3 years after state ordered reforms
    Special Education

    CPS Chicago Public School special education plagued with troubles 3 years after state ordered reforms

    Three years after state officials ordered special education reforms, the Chicago Public Schools are still rife with trouble, from thousands of families not receiving legally mandated services to dozens of employees resigning as leadership faces toxic workplace allegations.

    Families and advocates have long complained that inadequate policies and ineffective management have led to poor educational experiences for the school system’s disabled children, and many aren’t buying that a teachers’ strike or the pandemic are solely to blame for the latest overdue fixes.

    Former CPS CEO Janice Jackson, who left her position at the end of June, took over in 2018, around the time the district faced unprecedented demands to correct years of illegal treatment of special education families. Righting those wrongs was one of Jackson’s primary tasks, and on her way out three years later she said not doing so was one of her biggest regrets.

    As the nation’s third-largest public school district searches for new leadership and enters the next phase of pandemic education, advocates are as angry as ever and looking for systemic changes.

    “What’s most sad to me about it is that nothing has changed,” said Terri Smith-Roback, a South Side-based special education parent advocate.

    Just 2% of students given remedies

    A lengthy state investigation concluded in 2018 that for two years CPS had illegally refused vital services to thousands of kids — special education aides, transportation, summer school and therapy — that can make or break a disabled child’s educational experience.

    That systemic denial of services came as then-CEO Forest Claypool, with the help of outside consultants, cut the special education budget to help overcome the district’s financial deficit at the time, a WBEZ investigation found.

    State officials ordered the district to course correct by setting aside $10 million to help those families recover, and installed a monitor to oversee the special education department.

    Officials found 10,515 students were harmed and would be notified that they were automatically eligible for remedies, which could include reimbursement for prior transportation or private services, or free access to new therapy.

    In the three years since, only 214 of those students who were wrongly stripped of or denied services — about 2% — have received any compensatory assistance as of early July, according to records obtained by WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times. And district officials refuse to say how much money they have spent on the program.

    As time has passed, at least 2,900 of those 10,515 kids are no longer at the district and are harder to find, CPS data shows, including more than 1,000 who have graduated, another 1,000 who have transferred to other districts or private schools, 30 who have died and others who have aged out, moved to home schooling, been committed to institutions or the district has lost track of them.

    On top of those who were due automatic relief, another 1,500 children were identified as having potentially been harmed, CPS records show. The district planned to tell those families they could set up a meeting to make their case that they had been illegally denied services. As of July, only 16 of those students have received compensatory help and 360 have been deemed ineligible because they couldn’t prove their case.

    Some advocates have gone as far as accusing CPS leadership of not wanting the compensatory program to succeed.

    “They never admitted they did anything wrong,” said Mary Hughes, a special education advocate who works with the parent group Raise Your Hand. “And if they don’t give this money that was set aside to these kids, they can use it for something else like more administrative staff to just keep this bureaucracy rolling.”

    Teacher Natasha Carlsen, a member of the Chicago Teachers Union’s special education committee, said she thinks the problems go beyond money. If the district makes it difficult for families to receive those make-up services and, as a result, few remedies are provided, officials can use that as proof that CPS didn’t really hurt many children, she alleged.

    Smith-Roback, who’s a member of the advocate group that state officials mandated CPS to meet with monthly on this issue, said the problems with the compensatory process are “parallel to the reason why they’re in this mess in the first place.

    “It’s a delay and deny strategy,” she said. “And the whole reason that they’re in this mess is because they instituted policies … that unnecessarily led to delays and denials in services. They’re doing the exact same thing.”

    Advocates celebrated when the school district agreed to automatically provide extra help for some students without their parents having to prove in a meeting that they deserved make-up support. That was particularly important since most of the harmed students came from low-income families whose parents often have trouble navigating the complicated processes in the special education world, and they would have access to services they otherwise couldn’t afford — private tutoring, camps and expensive therapies.

    Yet even that program has been difficult to access, families have said. The letters and voicemail messages sent to parents informing them that they are due a remedy are vague and hard to understand, and advocates suspect the district is closing cases when parents don’t respond.

    “I think that their approach is, we need to keep this as tight and difficult to access as possible and they have done exactly that,” said Christine Palmieri, who became an advocate after her autistic son was denied an aide in the 2017 school year.

    CPS officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment from the Sun-Times and WBEZ.

    Stephanie Jones, head of the CPS Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services
    CPS

    Parents, CPS workers rip special education leadership

    The district has blamed the remote nature of work during the pandemic for not being able to meet with families who were denied services and determine the best remedies for their needs.

    Setting up phone calls and meetings during the pandemic was difficult in some cases, with a significant and documented lack of access to technology and internet for thousands of CPS families. What’s more, in-person meetings were also challenging if not impossible in some cases, as parents struggled with maintaining their children’s education while keeping medically vulnerable kids safe.

    But with about 60 employees in CPS’ special education department quitting over the past two years, there are concerns that an unwelcoming work environment has at least played a role in thwarting the rollout — and the district’s current ability to serve special education students.

    In late July, a committee of parent advocates wrote a letter to top district leaders calling for the immediate removal or resignation of Stephanie Jones, CPS’ special education chief.

    The group pointed to the mass departures of department staff, poor communication and collaboration with families and, critically, the snails-pace rollout of corrective services.

    “The impact of the turnover and vacancies in these positions is insurmountable, and has been felt all the way down to the local school [level],” the letter read.

    The same week, about 120 school psychologists, social workers and language therapists signed another letter to CPS officials detailing “grave concerns regarding the current leadership” of the district’s special education office, citing “spiteful, obstructive and incompetent behaviors.”

    Among the problems listed were intentionally poor retention of skilled workers despite staffing shortages, delays in receiving necessary work materials to evaluate students and a toxic environment in the central office contributing to lower-level managers and employees quitting. Those all were affecting clinicians’ abilities to support students, they said.

    “The loss of these highly-skilled, compassionate professionals negates progress that has been made in recent years, leaves our schools and students without critical supports and services, and makes the district increasingly likely to face” formal complaints, the letter read.

    The letter cited a May article on The Triibe website about a similar complaint against Jones.

    That same month, a department staffer who had recently resigned filed a complaint with district officials laying out a claim of “harassment and retaliation” and explained they were “unable to function at work due to it,” the employee told the Sun-Times in an interview. They described being berated by Jones and given the cold shoulder after pushing back in a conversation.

    Smith-Roback said the staff turnover in the department has resulted in new employees not fully grasping the breadth of the problems or the urgency in addressing them.

    “They don’t have their head around it,” she said. “We’re dealing with a whole group of people who are not well-educated about what actually happened.”

    Jones did not respond to a request for comment. But CPS defended her to the Triibe, saying in a statement “Jones has the highest integrity and is performing her duties with a steadfast commitment to serving CPS families and students with special needs.”

    Celeste O’Connor said it was a lot of work to get a remedy after CPS failed to provide proper services for her daughter, Chloe.
    Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

    Mom ‘tired’ of fighting for services

    Some 86% of the students who automatically qualified for a remedy went to schools with mostly low-income Black or Latino students. The school district has refused to provide information showing which students have gotten remedies.

    Celeste O’Connor, whose daughter has a developmental disability, said her experience shows how onerous the process is and how it advantages middle class families like hers.

    Her daughter’s individualized education plan — a legal document for students with disabilities that describes the services they’re entitled to — called for a special education teacher and a one-on-one aide in the 2016-2017 school year to help her stay on task and complete assignments.

    But her daughter’s school was not given enough money for special education aides or teachers, a common problem at schools districtwide. So her daughter had to share an aide with three other students and was with a special education teacher six hours a week less than she was supposed to be.

    “She was kind of thrown into the general education curriculum, without anyone to really walk her through what she needed or give her the support that she needed,” O’Connor said. “She got pulled out of the classroom a lot because there was no one there to give her support.”

    Her daughter’s school, Alcott Elementary School in Lincoln Park on the North Side, appealed twice before they finally got approval for more staff. But by then, O’Connor said, months had gone by with her daughter being shortchanged.

    In reviewing her case, CPS determined that she was not automatically eligible for extra help and would need to meet with district officials. At the first meeting, district representatives argued her daughter shouldn’t receive compensatory services because they didn’t have proof that she didn’t have a dedicated teacher. Eventually, she was able to show that her daughter went months without a dedicated aide or enough time with a special education teacher, and the district agreed she was due a remedy.

    CPS offered a list of programs that they were willing to pay for, but it was during the pandemic and they were all online. Instead, O’Connor did something she and advocates note is a benefit particular to privileged families: She had receipts for a literacy camp that her daughter attended when she wasn’t receiving the proper care at school, and O’Connor was able to get reimbursed for it.

    O’Connor said it was a lot of work to get the remedy, but she felt she had to pursue it because she worked with other advocates to make it happen. “I am tired,” she said. “My daughter has 13 specialists, she just had spinal surgery in February, I am trying to work and help other families.”

    She said she imagines other parents don’t have the bandwidth to go through all she went through.

    State Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Streamwood)
    Sun-Times Media

    Lawmaker: State needs to again hold district accountable

    State Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Streamwood) sponsored the legislation that forced CPS to provide families compensatory services. Asked this week about the lack of progress in the program, he said the Illinois State Board of Education needs to hold the district accountable.

    CPS officials have told lawmakers that the process of getting the compensation to families was delayed by the 2019 teachers strike and the pandemic, he said.

    “The question is: Do I buy it? I am not sure. I am not sure if they are using this as a cover to not really address the real issues,” he said.

    Crespo said what really disturbs him is that most of the students who were harmed are Black and Latino, widening existing achievement gaps.

    “Unfortunately, this impacts real life, real students. It’s not like building widgets where I can wait a year or two. Every day matters in the education and the care of these kids.”

    Kalaveeta Mitchell, the mother of two special education students, received a letter in February 2020 saying one of her two autistic children deserved a remedy, though it did not say which one. From her perspective, both of them suffered during the illegal overhaul of special education.

    Kalaveeta Mitchell has two special education students at CPS.
    Facebook

    She recalled angrily walking out of a meeting after district representatives said her son would lose speech and social work services, and he then stagnated for two years without any academic growth. Her daughter also experienced behavioral problems during that time.

    But since that letter a year and a half ago, nobody at CPS has followed up about a remedy, Mitchell said.

    “It was just insane. I never heard anything else after that, like, no meetings, no calls or anything like that. So it’s just in the wind,” she said.

    Mitchell accused the district of dragging its feet until her children age out of the district and are harder to reach. Her son is in his junior year of high school.

    “The biggest issue that we have in CPS, we have a lot of parents who are uninformed. And then for the group of us who are informed, it is always the pushback,” she said. “And it’s hard, because most of us are struggling to care for our children and pay for the things that they need.”

    Sarah Karp covers education for WBEZ. Nader Issa is the education reporter for the Sun-Times.

  • Student special education plans expired during COVID in Chicago
    Special Education

    Student special education plans expired during COVID in Chicago

    Before the coronavirus pandemic shuttered schools last year, David Rushing was an energetic 15-year-old who liked to play basketball and baseball. He was an avid swimmer and a member of the Jesse White Tumblers — performing high-energy stunts like backflips and somersaults, sometimes in front of large audiences.

    Then COVID-19 swept across the country and forced Chicago schools to close, leaving David, who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, unable to participate in sports and without the proper support to help him focus in online classes.

    At the beginning of his freshman year at Dunbar Vocational Career Academy last fall, David’s Individualized Education Program, a legally binding document known as an IEP that outlines what special education services and interventions a student should receive, was set to expire on Nov. 5, 2020. He was to be re-evaluated for a new plan the month before. But that didn’t happen.

    Within a matter of months, David’s life spiraled out of control.

    Yvonne Bailey, David’s biological grandmother who adopted him at a young age, noticed David behaving differently.

    David “got involved with the wrong people in the neighborhood,” Bailey said. “He was running away from home and staying out all night.”

    David’s case is not isolated. The pandemic year has uprooted support for students with disabilities in Chicago and nationwide, creating a backlog of old IEPs that could lead to widening academic gaps for students in need of special education services. Students with disabilities make up 14.6% of Chicago’s enrollment, almost 50,000 students. Nearly half of those students are Latino, and about 40 percent are Black.

    New data obtained by Chalkbeat shows that during the 2019-20 school year — which saw an 11-day teacher strike and COVID-19 school closures — more than 10,050 re-evaluations, initial evaluations, and annual reviews were incomplete, a more than threefold increase over the previous school year. More than 3,500 students, like David, were waiting for a re-evaluation that is required by federal law.

    The data shows improvements during the 2020-21 school year, but 1,768 students were waiting to be re-evaluated and 230 were waiting for an initial evaluation to get an IEP.

    Hidden from public view

    Delays in IEP re-evaluations were a pre-pandemic problem that landed Chicago Public Schools under state review. In 2018, the state board of education appointed a monitor to ensure that Chicago was not denying or delaying special education services to students. In June of this year, the state board of education approved another year of state oversight.

    Even though the coronavirus pandemic made it difficult to conduct IEPs in person, schools were still responsible for updating the plans and had to provide remote evaluations. Yet despite issuing waivers for such activities as standardized testing, the U.S. Department of Education never waived any part of federal law meant to protect students with disabilities.

    Correspondence between Chicago, the state board of education, and special education advocates in the city shows that as far back as September, officials had evidence that the pandemic had disrupted students’ services.

    In a September letter obtained by Chalkbeat through an open records request, the district’s Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services acknowledged that some evaluations were left “indeterminate.” The district promised in the letter that all evaluations would be completed during the 2020-21 school year.

    Some parents and advocates say that did not happen, and data released by the district show some students were still left waiting during the 2020-21 school year. But the full scope of the problem is not clear because Chicago Public Schools continues to withhold key data points that indicate compliance with federal special education law, including the race of children whose families seek evaluations and how many referrals were initially requested by parents or educators.

    Chalkbeat sent Freedom of Information Act requests to both the state board of education and Chicago Public Schools in March asking for data on how many students were waiting for initial evaluations to create an IEP and how many students needed to be re-evaluated to update their current IEPs during the 2018-2021 school years.

    The state board referred Chalkbeat back to Chicago Public Schools officials, saying that the state only has limited access to the district’s database that tracks the status of students’ IEPs. Chicago Public Schools extended the information request deadline several times. In April, Chalkbeat went to the state’s Attorney General Public Access Bureau for assistance, but the district still refused to provide the data. In late July, the district partially released data weeks after Chalkbeat filed a lawsuit against the school district in the Cook County Circuit Court. (Chalkbeat is represented by Loevy & Loevy, a civil rights firm.)

    The data Chicago released in late July offers a first public look at end-of-year numbers for the 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21 school years and shows how many re-evaluations, initial evaluations, and annual reviews were completed and how many were left incomplete. Across the three categories, students in need of annual reviews were most likely to face delays, with about 8.7% of eligible students waiting in 2019-20 compared to 1.7% the year prior.

    Rates of incomplete education plan re-evaluations in Chicago schools

    Network 2021 Incomplete 2020 Incomplete 2019 Incomplete
    Network 2021 Incomplete 2020 Incomplete 2019 Incomplete
    Other 66.08% 62.41% N/A
    AUSL 18.53% 40.63% 8.16%
    Options 17.61% 45.89% 20.48%
    Network 15 17.54% 14.44% 1.80%
    Network 3 14.02% 24.76% 1.06%
    Chicago Average 13.13% 25.14% 7.75%
    Network 16 12.44% 15.97% 6.79%
    Network 13 12.43% 36.47% 0.82%
    Network 6 12.14% 24.39% 2.65%
    Network 11 10.88% 31.53% 2.02%
    Network 10 10.84% 32.46% 1.10%
    Network 12 10.70% 26.49% 3.67%
    Network 17 9.75% 18.36% 0.87%
    Charter 8.48% 17.80% 5.40%
    Network 4 8.37% 29.57% 0.23%
    ISP 8.28% 21.37% 1.03%
    Network 9 8.23% 28.40% 0.90%
    Contract 8.22% 13.33% 1.49%
    Network 1 7.37% 27.18% 0.79%
    Network 8 5.70% 18.04% 0.25%
    Network 7 4.58% 23.05% 0.69%
    Network 14 3.58% 12.05% 0.51%
    Network 2 3.57% 28.07% 1.91%
    Network 5 3.23% 21.19% 1.53%

    NOTE: “Other” includes students who are enrolled in a separate day school, have been evaluated but have not yet enrolled, or attend a private school but receive services from CPS, such as therapeutic day schools.

    Annie Fu, Chalkbeat

    According to the data provided by the district, broken down by network, the 2019-20 school year saw the highest numbers of students waiting for a re-evaluation. The number of students waiting depended on where they attended school in the city and what type of school it was. Students who attended schools in Networks 11 and 13 — the former spans Englewood and parts of the Southwest Side and the latter cuts across neighborhoods on the city’s far south and far east sides — were unlikely to be re-evaluated during the school year.

    Also, the district’s turnaround school operator, the Academy for Urban School Leadership, or AUSL, which was tasked with managing some of the lowest-performing schools in Chicago until the district decided to phase out the program earlier this year, had a higher rate of non-compliance during the 2019-20 year, with 40.9% of re-evaluations left incomplete. Charters as a whole tended to perform better than city averages during 2019-20, with 17.8% of re-evaluations incomplete compared with a citywide average of 25%. The following year, however, charters did not comply as well as most of the district-run networks, reporting some of the highest numbers of incomplete annual reviews and initial IEP evaluations and reporting middle-of-the-pack numbers for re-evaluations.

    Chicago Public Schools denied a Chalkbeat request to interview a representative from the district’s special education department. However, district spokesman James Gherardi said there were complications re-evaluating students with disabilities due to the pandemic and a year of related school closures.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic added a layer of difficulty to the evaluation process that our school leaders and staff are still working through to ensure each student that needs an evaluation receives one,” said Gherardi.

    Families search for options

    (Left to right) Yvonne Bailey poses for a portrait with her adopted son David and her husband, Terry Bailey in front of trees and a small pond on a sunny day.

    Dunbar High School freshman David Rushing (center) was one of over 3,500 students affected by Chicago Public School’s failure to re-evaluate IEPs for its students in a timely manner.
    Courtesy of Yvonne Bailey

    That still leaves family members such as Yvonne Bailey, David Rushing’s mother, desperate to find help for struggling students.

    Bailey went to Equip for Equality, a nonprofit legal service organization, to get help with getting David’s evaluation. With Equip for Equality’s help, David was re-evaluated in the spring and a new IEP was written in April.

    Unlike Bailey, many Chicago parents are not able to access legal services. Instead, some have decided to leave the school district to ensure that their child receives special education services.

    For some families, the issue wasn’t the timeline. It was poor execution.

    Courtney Aviles moved to Cincinnati after spending a year trying to get her 5-year-old son re-evaluated for an IEP. When her son was in preschool, a teacher raised concerns about his fine motor skills, especially his ability to write.

    Before schools shut down in March 2020, Aviles’ son had an annual IEP meeting to assess current goals, at James B. McPherson Elementary School, on the city’s north side. Aviles, a former teacher in Florida, was taken aback to see that her son’s teachers and case manager, who previously worked with him, were not there to speak about his needs in the classroom. Legally, schools are required to have teachers and case managers present at IEP meetings.

    “As a former teacher myself, I feel that it greatly impacted our ability to conduct the IEP meeting,” said Aviles. “Having his teachers there to share their experience with and to advocate for my son would have made the meeting more productive.”

    During the annual meeting, Aviles and the IEP team agreed that her son would be evaluated for occupational therapy to help him write. However, schools across the state were shuttered in response to the coronavirus pandemic and Aviles’ son did not receive special education services for the remainder of the year.

    At the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, Aviles transferred her son to Helen C. Peirce School of International Studies. Prior to the start of the school year, Aviles emailed the school’s case manager to inquire about the occupational therapy evaluation discussed at her son’s last IEP meeting in August.

    Aviles did not hear back from the case manager until October.

    The case manager emailed Aviles to say that her son’s previous school had not finalized the assessment plan needed to get him evaluated for occupational therapy. Aviles signed a consent form to be connected with the school’s occupational therapist for an evaluation.

    However, Aviles’ son, who was supposed to be evaluated by Jan. 22, 2021, never received an assessment. In February, Aviles and her son’s IEP team again gathered to update his program. The team concluded that Aviles’ son would need a full re-evaluation — but that didn’t happen.

    By March, the family moved to Ohio. Aviles called it a “spur of the moment” decision after visiting friends for her son’s birthday. Aviles and her husband felt that they could make a good life for their children in Cincinnati. She said that while she loved Chicago, struggling to get special education services for her son was a major factor in her decision to move to another state.

    Aviles wished she would have pushed harder for her son’s services, but felt she had to maintain a good relationship with the school’s staff. “It could be a really delicate balance,” she said.

    A national problem emerges

    Rachel Shapiro poses on a sunny day outside of her Chicago home, cars lining the street behind her.

    Rachel Shapiro, an attorney at Equip for Equality, believes that schools in Chicago used the pandemic to cover their shortfall in evaluating IEPs.
    April Alonso for Chalkbeat

    The stakes for students who do not receive a re-evaluation are high, according to Rachel Shapiro, an attorney at Equip for Equality.

    “We explain it to parents that your child’s development could progress or there could be regression,” said Shapiro. “We have no way of knowing that without having some kind of standardized data.”

    When the district delayed special education services for David Rushing and Aviles’ son, both boys saw a regression in their skills and changes in behavior. David started to run away from home and Aviles’ son struggled to learn how to write.

    While working with parents, Shapiro claims that schools in Chicago were using the pandemic as a cover to only review IEPs and not perform evaluations.

    “Part of the evaluation is that it has to be thorough and contain multiple different assessments because we don’t want to diagnose students based on one assessment,” she said.

    A student’s IEP team — which includes teachers, case managers, and therapists — are supposed to meet every year to review a student’s progress, address any concerns, and update that student’s goals. The state requires re-evaluations every three years. Parents must be proactive in ensuring that their child gets what they need, said Shapiro.

    Shapiro suggests parents document requests in writing and ask for standardized assessments, progress data, and requests for IEP meetings. If things don’t go well, Shapiro says, parents can request a mediator from the state board of education or file a complaint with the board.

    According to Lindsay Kubatzky, policy manager at the National Center for Learning Disabilities, an advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., school districts across the country have a backlog of evaluations due to the pandemic. Also, some school districts were concerned about the validity of doing evaluations remotely.

    Kubatzky recommends that school districts communicate with parents about what to expect from the evaluation process this year.

    “We see that the strongest indicator of whether a school district is doing a good job at evaluating or re-evaluating is whether parents have the information that they need and have a good understanding of what the process will look like,” said Kubatzky.

    Kubatzky also urged school districts to use emergency federal funding to increase staff for evaluating students.

    “So one thing that they could do is hire additional paraprofessionals to work with students to do some of the evaluations or contract with outside evaluators to help with the workload,” said Kubatzky. “There’s resources outside of the school building that could be beneficial for students and families.”

    Chicago Public Schools said that it will spend $17 million to hire 78 nurses, 44 social workers, and 51 special education case managers for next school year.

    What’s next for students

    Since leaving Chicago, Aviles has turned to private occupational therapy for her son and has seen a lot of growth in his writing skills. In the fall, the 5-year-old will be attending kindergarten at a smaller school district in Cincinnati.

    “At CPS, he couldn’t even hold a pencil. He can write his name, he’s writing letters and he’s recognizing letters,” said Aviles. “It’s a huge amount of growth in a super short period of time and it’s really unfortunate that it took a move to do that.”

    Yvonne Bailey’s son, David, has been doing much better since he received an updated IEP. At the end of the school year, Bailey signed him up to attend in-person school two days a week. This summer, David was enrolled in the school’s football camp.

    David will be returning to Dunbar for his sophomore year. Bailey feels that in-person learning will be better for him, especially when more students are at school.

    “David does well around people. He likes hanging out with the kids like any kid at this age,” said Bailey. “So I think it’ll be better.”

    Samantha Smylie began this project at Chicago Headline Club’s FOIAFest 2021 Boot Camp under the mentorship of journalist Angela Caputo, an investigative reporter at APM Reports.

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  • Bootcamps

    S.T.E.A.M. — Chicago Youth Centers

    The Ministry of Schooling, Science, Analysis and Sport of the Slovak Republic is the central physique of the state administration of the Slovak Republic for elementary, secondary and higher education, academic facilities, lifelong learning, science and for the state’s assist for sports and youth. Lecturers – definitely these in most formal settings like schools – need to comply with a curriculum. 34 In November 2013, Ofsted’s survey of science 35 in schools revealed that practical science teaching was not thought-about important enough. Keep studying to get all the main points on three of our favorite online learning sites. Present extra materials or activities for students who lack essential background knowledge or skills.

    DK Science & Studying help a variety of International college students like me. They’ve large connections with many great Australian Universities which is why i chose this faculty agent. Similarly, Berland and Steingut ( 2016 ) additionally found that high college students engaged in engineering design tend to give attention to finishing design duties with out consistent effort to understanding the underlying ideas from mathematics or science.

    Essential Considering – STEAM takes students past the rote memorization of options and details; by finding and expressing STEM ideas by art, they develop a extra essential and deeper understanding of the subject material. Changing colleges all the time requires finding lecturers on the new college to collaborate with on creating and implementing STEAM classes.

    6. Scrible : This useful resource gives a digital platform the place students can share resources, notes, work, initiatives, and more with one another. STEAM programs and science affective domains. Take free on-line programs at your own pace and earn customized certificates in Management, Enterprise & Entrepreneurship, Civic Management, Public Management and issues reminiscent of human rights, good governance, elections and renewable vitality.

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    Explore the mysteries of Hogwarts fort, and experience pulse-pounding rides and sights that transport you into a world of magic and pleasure at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Rides and points of interest Studio tour – no go to to Hollywood is full without taking a tour of an lively studio. These rules have been supposed as a guideline for faculty members, students, and directors to comply with to enhance teaching and learning.

  • College Guidance and Counseling

    S.T.E.A.M. — Chicago Youth Facilities

    Look right right here for ideas for beginning a enterprise and for adding new services and merchandise to an present enterprise. Supporting teachers, leaders and artists using arts integration and STEAM schooling. By encouraging students to comment or electronic mail their thoughts, we are persevering with the conversation we began this 12 months in the classroom about history’s affect of their lives. It moreover works good for a lot of who need the information for a lesson nonetheless the website online is blocked for varsity college students.

    Whereas lecturers’ studying community has been researched widely (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999 ; McLaughlin & Talbert, 2001 ; Wineburg & Grossman, 2000 ), STEAM-RGT is unique as they concentrate on growing interdisciplinary curricular materials. Different applications offer all lecturers the chance to forgive their mortgage balances after 10 years of teaching service.

    Whether or not you need that job promotion or to sidestep into a brand new subject, you’ll need to commit to studying new abilities. Nicely, while you are studying these new expertise, you can even be required to code websites and software for non-revenue organizations. The problem has utterly fully completely different dimensions like efficient onsite assist, evaluation process and availability of present infrastructure, proper type of learning supplies how to be used for faculty children, in stipulated time.

    We deal with learning science, instructional equity, social and emotional learning, and proof-primarily based teaching methods. STEAM takes STEM to the following stage: it permits students to attach their learning in these crucial areas along with arts practices, parts, design ideas, and requirements to supply the entire pallet of studying at their disposal.

    Be taught to construct higher curriculum with this education grasp’s diploma. Students will explore numerous engineering careers. For many lecturers who are pregnant, college constructing reopenings have been a supply of tension. Therefore, the online sources you employ should a minimum of tackle technology, visible media, and other non-written forms of communication.

    The Improvement and Validation of Science Virtual Check to Assess seventh Grade College students’ Important Considering on Matter and Heat Matter. I started my profession as a mechanical engineer with 12 years of working experience in analysis & development department for a number of multi-national fortune 500 firms: Toyota, Volkswagen, Honeywell, & Seagate. His team designs products and studying experiences that combine the physical constructing and creativity we associate with brightly coloured LEGO units with digital programming skills for college kids and teachers of all levels.

    In some courses, it may not be permissible for all students to meet in-person, in the classroom at the similar time, and cohorts of students may need to rotate in-class attendance. At this point, some people begin to marvel why they cannot simply use WordPress’s website builder instead of an internet course plugin. It doesn’t matter what measurement your small business, LearnDash has the potential that can assist you construct a thriving on-line course enterprise from right inside your WordPress dashboard.