Features

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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Perspectives Interns Exhibit ADL Principles During INCS Internship

Kyla and Kayla, juniors at Perspectives Charter School, recently participated in a six-week internship at the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) to gain more experience in a work environment. This is one of many internships that Perspectives offers to juniors who attend the school. We asked Kyla and Kayla a few questions about Perspectives and their internship experiences,…
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Divvy Bikes and Education Funding

By Rich Haglund, Chief Operating Officer at INCS Now that spring appears to be fully present in Chicago, I face more competition for Divvy bikes (Chicago’s bike-sharing program). Sometimes I have to walk to a second or third dock near the train station to get a bike to ride to my office. I admit I’m…
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School choice is for teachers, too.

By Rich Haglund, Chief Operating Officer at the Illinois Network of Charter Schools Adults with the means to do so regularly exercise school choice – by moving, by attending private school, or by homeschooling their children. In most communities, unless a large percentage of school-consuming families exercise choice suddenly, the existing public schools are not…
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APA’s Read to Succeed Program Honors LEARN 8 Middle School

On Wednesday, March 15, students from LEARN 8 Middle School were honored by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.’s Midwestern Region (Alpha Mi and Mu Mu Lambda Chapters). Brothers from Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity for African-American men, read poems to students and emphasized the importance of reading and becoming educated citizens. The…
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Changing the Narrative One Tie at a Time

On Wednesday, September 21, young men from LEARN 8 Middle School participated in the Tied to Greatness ceremony. Men of color from the East Garfield Park neighborhood on Chicago’s west side taught the 8th grade boys how to tie their ties and encouraged them to combat the negative stereotypes seen in their environments. Sharing their…
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College-Bound Students Inspire Community at 87th Annual Bud Billiken Day Parade

Representative Christian Mitchell with several college-bound Chicago youth, minutes before the parade began Every summer, families on Chicago’s Southside gather to celebrate the start of the school year at the annual Bud Billiken Day Parade. This 87-year-old tradition launched with a noble purpose: “to provide underprivileged youth with the chance to be in the limelight.”[i]…
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Charter Community Takes Action to Bring High Quality Schools to Chicago Neighborhoods

On October 28, hundreds of charter school parents and supporters gathered before dozens of reporters and TV cameras prior to the CPS Board meeting chanting “Great Schools Can’t Wait,” “My Child, My Choice,” and “Charter Schools are Public Schools.” With the CPS Board vote just a few hours away, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools…
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