Students learn to click a mouse and end up with their own laptops

At the North Kenwood Oakland campus of the University of Chicago charter schools, even the preschoolers are tech-savvy. By the time they reach 6th grade, each student gets his or her own laptop. But despite the emphasis on technology, North Kenwood Oakland does not consider it an educational magic bullet. Technology is merely a means of enhancing good educational practice.

Equity the goal for technology

Gage Park High School

Chicago lags behind the nation in student access to computers, and within CPS, computer access varies widely from school to school, a Catalyst survey finds. The district has pledged to level the playing field and provide more equity and better teacher training.

Technology divide ‘isn’t in schools, it’s in the home’

Nichole Pinkard became interested in technology and urban youth when, as a professor at the University of Michigan, she noticed that few kids from Detroit were entering the computer science program. Now, as director of technology for the University of Chicago’s Center for Urban School Improvement, Pinkard helps integrate technology into the classrooms of the university’s charter schools. Pinkard talked to Associate Editor Maureen Kelleher about her work and how urban schools can make better use of technology.

‘Speed dating’ for new principals breaks down hiring barriers

You wouldn’t call it a love connection, but then again, something must have happened between Erick Pruitt and O’Toole Elementary’s local school council on a winter evening this past February. That’s when the district and school reform group Designs for Change co-sponsored the Leaders to Leaders conference, an annual matchmaking event to hook up new aspiring principals with LSCs looking to hire someone in their schools’ top leadership spot.

Q&A with Miguel del Valle

Sen. Miguel del Valle, vice-chair of the Senate Education Committee, talked with Senior Editor Elizabeth Duffrin about school closings, education funding and what legislators will tackle when they return to Springfield.


A collection of facts, figures, and news briefs about school reform—both in Chicago and around the country.

Comings and Goings

MOVING IN/ON Matthew Stagner has been appointed director of Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Chicago. He was formerly director of the Center on Labor, Human Services and Population at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. He replaces Mark Courtney, who is stepping down to devote more time to research but will continue as a faculty associate at Chapin Hall and as a professor at the university’s School of Social Service Administration.

Budget fat at CPS

Each year, Chicago Public Schools tells us how the central office has sacrificed to help balance the budget. Yet, Cross City Campaign’s recent budget analysis shows that CPS has at least 600 more central office staff members on the books than it claims to have and that CPS did not cut $25 million out of central office as it had asserted.

Foundation disputes story

The MacArthur Foundation has a long history of involvement and investment in reform and improvement of the Chicago Public Schools. As such, we are pleased to see the substantial interest in such efforts by local and other national foundations. The characterization of MacArthur’s current involvement and support of district efforts is, however, inaccurate.