This Week With ISCA
Aug. 18, 2015

What parents should know about Illinois PARCC test heading into school year
Reboot Illinois
In the spring of 2015, Illinois students in grades three through 11 were introduced to a new state assessment called the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, which replaced the Illinois Standards Achievement Test and the Prairie State Achievement Exam. Unlike old standardized assessments, PARCC was designed around the new Illinois Learning Standards to ensure that what students are tested on is what they're being taught.More

Just days before Illinois U-46 kids back in school
Chicago Daily Herald
Staff members at School District U-46 are finalizing lesson plans, waxing floors, firing up school buses and leading team practices and teacher professional development as they prepare to open Illinois school doors for the 2015-16 school year. "There is something special, almost magical, about the first day of the school year," said Tony Sanders, chief executive officer at School District U-46. "We're excited to start the year and welcome back our staff, students and families."More

Chicago public schools to abandon pension commitments
Chicago Public Schools is plotting huge layoffs and abandoning its longstanding policy of contributing to employee pensions as other options for balancing the system's budget go by the wayside. The decisions come two years after Chicago closed scores of schools and gutted the system’s arts education curriculum and staff. The city's public education system typifies a vicious cycle of resource cuts, underperformance on tests, gentrification, and more resource cuts.More

Privacy tips to help teachers avoid a social media scandal
By Jessica Taylor
Thanks to social media, privacy is gone in the education world. Scandals and complaints involving teachers who misuse social media have been occurring more frequently around the U.S., which has led school districts scrambling to create new guidelines. Only educators can decide whether social media is right for them. There are benefits, but also risks when using it. This infographic gives some great advice on best practices for social media and teachers.More

Despite budget issues, Illinois schools rank among top in the nation
It's back to school for students across Illinois' Wabash Valley, and those in the Land of Lincoln are beginning the year without a budget from the state. It's no secret Illinois schools have faced their fair share of struggles. For years they have been plagued with budget woes and cuts in the classroom, but a new study is zeroing in on the work taking place in the classroom.More

Investing in students' mental health yields academic gains
Huffington Post
Earlier this summer, President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison. According to Obama: "When they describe their youth and their childhood, these are young people who made mistakes that aren't that different than the mistakes I made... The difference is they did not have the kinds of support structures, the second chances, the resources that would allow them to survive those mistakes." Unfortunately, "support structures" and "second chances" are severely lacking for many in America today, particularly in minority and low-income communities.More

Shout the Good launches as the anti-cyber bullying app
According to author Steven Loeb: If anyone has ever been on an Internet comment board, then you know how ugly this place can be. It doesn't matter what the topic is either. I remember once looking at the message board for the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie on IMDB — I have no idea why — and see an epic fight devolve between two people, resulting in one of them yelling at the other for posting on a message board instead of playing with her kids. And that was just over a kids movie, imagine what is said when it comes to something important, like politics.More

Emotion Revolution: Why bullying hurts
The Spokesman Review
A young boy seeks out a new friend and gets punched in the face. A high-school girl is subjected to catcalls over her weight. Kids of all ages take shelter in the perceived safety of their homes only to find themselves targeted by online trolls. These are all acts of bullying. Bullying has been around since the first instance one human decided to exert dominance over another.More

New back-to-school vaccines required for Illinois students
Oak Lawn Patch
As families prepare to send children back to school, immunizations and physicals should be on the back-to-school checklist. For many Illinois students attending public, private or parochial schools, this means showing proof of vaccinations against several diseases, including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), mumps and measles. More