m-pena.0.jpeg

Mauricio Peña

Reporter, Chalkbeat Chicago

Mauricio Peña is a reporter at Chalkbeat. He joined Chalkbeat from Block Club Chicago, where he was a founding member. He covered Pilsen, Little Village, West Loop and Back of the Yards. He previously worked as an associate digital editor at Chicago magazine. He also worked as a breaking news reporter at DNAinfo Chicago, and an investigative reporter covering immigration and equality at the Desert Sun for the USA Today Network. He has an M.S.J. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

With the school year underway, Chalkbeat wants to share some of the inspiring moments and innovative lessons inside the classrooms.
The Chicago Board of Education on Wednesday voted 4-3 to buy nearly two acres as part of a land swap agreement with the Chicago Housing Authority for the proposed site of a new high school.
After 11 years of declining enrollment, Chicago Public Schools now serves 322,106 children, making it the nation’s fourth largest district after Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which serves 324,961 students.
Vaccine mandates, greener schools, mental health supports are among Chicago teachers union recommendations
After pausing in June, CPS will lay the groundwork during Wednesday’s board meeting for a controversial high school with critical votes to buy a $10 million property and spend another $5 million to plan the project.
State Rep. Kambium “Kam” Buckner outlined a platform for Chicago Public Schools that looks to tackle the district’s school funding model, staffing, and universal preschool for all 3-year-olds.
After hovering around 45% last spring, the average school is 39% fully vaccinated at the start of the new school year.
Chicago met its Tuesday deadline to get buses for 1,200 students. But the district is facing pressure from parents and advocates to make routes shorter.
Following two shootings last fall, Chicago’s Simeon Career Academy was flooded with crisis counselors but that soon faded — leaving some calling for long-term support to heal from the trauma.
The district said 93.4% of students showed up on the first day of school this year. Last year, 91% did and in 2020, just 84% logged on for a virtual first day.
Chicago’s Local School Councils, a facet of local school governance since 1989, vote on school budgets, approve the school academic plan, and select and evaluate principals.
COVID-19 cases among students and staff increase during the first week of classes as restrictions are looser and a highly contagious variant circulates.
The district is aiming to provide bus routes after Labor Day for 1,200 Chicago students still without transportation, before working to shorten trips.
Chicago district leaders will face staffing shortages, bus issues, and pandemic-related academic and mental health shortfalls in another high-stakes year.
Enrollment declines, staffing challenges and student mental health loom large after 2½ tumultuous pandemic years, but officials promise one of the “best years yet.”
Mask optional policy and school-based testing continue, but no quarantine requirement for students unless they test positive
Despite high voter turnout — largely buoyed by student voters — many of Chicago’s Local School Councils still have open seats. Data shows schools on the South and West Side account for the majority of unfilled seats.
After facing pressure to shift from punitive to restorative practices, Chicago Public Schools is making changes and reducing the number of police at schools, but details on how things are shaping up are hard to come by.
The state overpaid Chicago Public Schools $87.5 million between 2019 and 2022. Now, the district must pay $11 million annually through 2030.
As most Chicago high schools have moved away from police officers on campus, 40 schools will have at least one officer on campus this fall.
Roughly 2,500 out of the 57,000 students enrolled in summer programs have consented to school-based COVID testing, but the district cautioned the numbers are preliminary.
Amid pushback on a Near South Side high school, Mayor replaces Chicago school board member Dwayne Truss with a city council ally
A Chicago planning document includes proposals to create a Department of Learning, repurpose vacant schools, subsidize child care, and offer career training for people leaving prison.
Highland Park families turned to schools for grief counseling after a mass shooting in the suburb north of Chicago.
COVID vaccines for children under 5 are finally available. In the first week, more than 2,000 Chicagoans have gotten shots.
The approved budget includes $8 billion in operational expenses, $645 million in school building improvements, and $769 million to pay off debt.
CPS officials said the authorization will allow the district to be nimble and prepared for unexpected purchases.
Board members and community members have raised concerns around community engagement and adverse impacts on other schools in the face of CPS enrollment declines.
The district will resume testing for summer school starting July 6, and will offer testing during the upcoming school year.