How one Englewood principal is redesigning summer school

[caption id="attachment_222870" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Principal Elizabeth Meyers watches as student paint murals.[/caption]

Elizabeth Meyers is the type of principal Chicago Public Schools wants to develop and keep. She seeks to give children a piece of the school: a mural they will walk by everyday, a ceiling tile they decorate that will remain after they leave, a tangible stake in the building. 

In a district where principal turnover presents a serious challenge to school communities, Chicago Public Schools is honing in on how to bolster leaders like Meyers by giving them the leadership training and autonomy to determine how to best serve their students. Meyers’ plan of action? Redesigning summer school.

Read Chalkbeat Chicago’s dispatch from Randolph Elementary School. 

Week in review

#TrackingtheContract: In the runup to a possible contract showdown next month, the Chicago Teachers Union is busy firming up its ranks outside the gaze of cameras and press conferences. Find the latest in our #TrackingtheContract feature. 

Lightfoot lays out plans: This week, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot offered the most detailed look yet at her education priorities, announcing she would add hundreds of aides, nurses and other support staff to schools and revisit the formula Chicago uses to fund its schools.  Chalkbeat Chicago reported. 

Combating teacher vacancies: Chicago Public Schools announced Tuesday that the district will add 10 schools to a program aimed at recruiting and retaining teachers at hard-to-staff schools. The “Opportunity Schools” program places early-career educators to teach in high-need schools. Chalkbeat Chicago had the story. 

Looking for leaders: The school district is looking for top administrators to oversee a $135 curriculum overhaul and its troubled special education program. Chalkbeat Chicago surveyed the leadership landscape at CPS HQ. 

A local history lesson: With the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Chicago race riots, the district will provide a teaching guide about the history of the riots, in line with the goal to offer more culturally relevant curriculum to Chicago students. Chalkbeat Chicago had more. 

Home for teachers: A stalled plan for a “teachers village” in the vacant Von Humboldt Elementary is still in discussion, and neighbors will get to weigh in at a community meeting on Monday. The proposal has faced challenges attracting funding and addressing the needs of teachers. Block Club Chicago reported.  

CPS’ TIF windfall: New numbers released this week show that Chicago Public Schools is a big beneficiary of the latest TIF surplus, to the tune of an extra $60 million of tax-increment financing meant for a Red and Purple Line project. The Chicago Tribune followed the money. 

Another college scam: Suburban Chicago families have found a loophole in financial aid, giving up legal guardianship of their children in junior or senior year of high school and then having students file for financial independence. ProPublica Illinois investigated. 

Looking ahead

More back-to-school bashes: There are still 10 Chicago Public Schools back-to-school bashes across the city where families can get free backpacks, supplies, and even immunizations. Find the full lineup here. 

HopeFest: HopeFest will host its annual back to school event at New Life Covenant Church on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. where families can receive free backpacks, school supplies, haircuts, and immunizations. Find details here. 

So Fresh Saturdays: Resident Association of Greater Englewood has its third summer picnic at Murray Park on Saturday, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. These “edu-tainment” festivals include performances from poets, dancers, and rappers for community members. The Facebook event is here.


A #HighFive to all of the Chicago high school students who are spending their summer taking the Museum of Science and Industry’s programming on the road to the city’s summer park and library programs. The teens are sharing science fun with ultraviolet beads, DIY kites, kaleidoscopes, and other live shows at the museum as well as locations across the city.