Features

INCS, ASPIRA Charter School, and Seed of Abraham Church Team Up with Local Community to Support Families This Thanksgiving

During these challenging times, the community means everything. Two weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday, The Seed of Abraham Church, located on the west side of Humboldt Park, gave away over 130 turkeys and bags of groceries to families in need on a Saturday morning. This has been a growing tradition that Pastores Miguel and Mayra…
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Illinois Network of Charter Schools Distributes 25,000 Masks to Local Schools

Acquired through FEMA program, masks will go to schools conducting hybrid learning or where staff use buildings at reduced capacity CHICAGO, IL – Today, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) announced the distribution of 25,000 washable cloth masks to charter public schools throughout the City of Chicago. In partnership with the Federal Emergency Management…
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Charters Lead: School Re-openings 2020

Kara Bickhem May, Director, Art in Motion To develop our remote learning plans, Distinctive Schools engaged in a thoughtful, reflective, and challenging design process over the course of three months. We established an internal task force, joined INCS working groups, curated an external advisory board, and spent weeks fine tuning the Distinctive Schools Community Care…
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Social and Emotional Learning At the Heart of Erie’s Remote Curriculum

Students and their families at Erie Elementary Charter School headed home in mid-March equipped with the tools necessary to continue their studies at home. Perhaps more important than the Chromebooks and paper packets Erie provided students are the social and emotional learning (SEL) concepts woven into the school’s remote learning curriculum. “Social and emotional learning…
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Worldwide Virtual Study Session Prepares HSA McKinley Students for AP Psychology Exam

This is the seventh in a series of inspiring stories of innovation and success with distance learning from charter public schools in Illinois. You can read more here.  Everything is different about AP exams this year, including how students prepare for the rigorous tests. The AP Psychology exam is scheduled for the week of May…
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An Extra Special Teacher Appreciation Week: Perspectives Admin Team Goes Above & Beyond

This is the sixth in a series of inspiring stories of innovation and success with distance learning from charter public schools in Illinois. You can read more here.  Several dozen Illinois and Indiana teachers had an extra special Teacher Appreciation Week this May. Eron Powell, Principal of Perspectives Leadership Academy and High School of Technology…
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How Polaris Charter Academy Keeps Students, Parents, and Teachers Connected

This is the third in a series of inspiring stories about the innovation and success with distance learning from charter public schools in Illinois. You can read the first two entries here. At Polaris Charter Academy, students learn on day one that “We are CREW, not passengers.” When such a strong school culture suddenly finds…
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#AceroLearnsEverywhere Remote Learning Program Designed to Reach Every Family By Prioritizing Equity

This is the second in a series of inspiring stories about the innovation and success with distance learning from charter public schools in Illinois. You can read the first entry here. In the immediate days after the first COVID-19 cases hit Chicago, the staff at Acero Schools put their heads together to look at the…
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Distinctive Schools Brings Innovation and Their Signature Joy Factor to Distance Learning

This is the first in a series of inspiring stories about the innovation and success with distance learning from charter public schools in Illinois.    With Illinois schools closed until at least the end of April due to COVID-19, the teachers at Distinctive Schools are getting creative around how they deliver distance learning to their…
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This Black History Month, Let’s Reclaim the Black Narrative

It was a story that I knew white admissions counselors would like: the little South Side Black girl who persevered in the face of insurmountable odds. I suppose it made sense at the time. I needed something to distinguish myself at my predominately white school, where everyone was very qualified for college, so I focused…
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Entrepreneurship teacher helps high school freshman develop mobile apps to meet community needs

                  Benjamin Franklin. Steve Jobs. Mark Zuckerberg. Travis Kalanick. Garret Camp. Reed Hastings. These men have changed society through the implementation of their ideas and represent some of the most prominent entrepreneurs. Thanks to the flexibility charter public schools have in developing unique curriculums, students at ASPIRA…
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Galapagos Rockford Charter School Helps Former Students Visit Uganda, Rwanda Before College

Studying abroad is often the hallmark of college students’ careers, but thanks to an Illinois charter public school, some students are receiving that experience earlier. Galapagos Rockford Charter School, an elementary school about two-and-a-half hours west of Chicago, has sent students to Costa Rica for the past three years. This past summer, the charter public…
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Aspiring lawyer “ahead of the curve” in college thanks to early exposure to law-themed curriculum in high school

Freddy Boyd has dreamed of becoming a lawyer since he was seven years old. Thinking of it now, Boyd says even his siblings can attest to his early love of debating. Boyd planned to follow the same path many aspiring lawyers choose: college, law school, and then the bar exam. His dream of studying law…
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From Detention to College Graduation, Charter Public School Alum Commits to Paying it Forward

When billionaire investor Robert F. Smith announced that he would pay off $40 million in student loan debt for the entire Morehouse College Class of 2019, Jamel D. Chambers was seated two rows from the stage and yet he missed the announcement. Jolted to attention by the jumping and screaming from his classmates, Chambers stood…
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Charter public school students grow and sell healthy produce for Chicago’s Southwest Side

Every Friday in July, about 30 students in Chicago’s Southwest side rallied together to sell broccoli, squash, carrots and other fresh vegetables and natural products to area residents. The budding entrepreneurs from the Academy of Global Citizenship’s summer program withstood the summer heat to ensure residents enjoy a healthy treat. “It’s been good because on…
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Charter school dean advocates for mental health care for students and families

Pointing to a picture of a recent graduate, La Norra Dennis’ eyes light up as she smiles. “That’s one of our students,” she explained with evident pride. “He’s doing really well. He was recently promoted at his job.” That student is one of many that bring a smile to Dennis’ face. As a dean on…
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Charter School Students Innovate for the Future

For more than 20 years, charter public schools in Illinois have led the way in preparing students to meet the demands of an ever-changing society. View this video to learn how charter schools enable students to engage in real-world learning and participate in the innovation impacting the world around us. Whether it is integrating the…
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How Southland College Prep got 100% of its senior class into college

Southland College Prep, a charter public school in the south suburbs of Chicago, recently announced that its entire senior class was accepted to colleges across the nation including Yale, MIT, Cornell, and Northwestern. The Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) followed up with the school’s Director of College Admissions to learn more about its winning…
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Chicago Charter School Network Sends Thousands to College with $491 Million in Scholarship Offers

Chicago’s Noble Network of Charter Schools announced this week that more than 2,400 seniors from its charter public high schools are heading to college with nearly half a billion dollars in scholarship offers. “This is our largest graduating class and our highest total of scholarship offers ever, so the number speaks volumes,” said Constance Jones,…
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Hundreds of Charter Public School Students Advocate for Peace in Chicago

At a time when many high school students focus on summer activities, Teyonna Lofton, a rising senior at Perspectives Leadership Academy, a charter public school in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, stood before hundreds of her peers to speak out against gun violence on Chicago’s South Side. “There is so much pain we carry as young…
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