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Samantha Smylie is currently the state education reporter for Chalkbeat Chicago. Before joining Chalkbeat’s team, she worked at the Hyde Park Herald covering housing, education, retail and development in the Kenwood-Hyde Park neighborhoods on the city’s south-east side. She was a reporter fellow for City Bureau and participated in Propublica’s Data Institute. She had bylines in Block Club Chicago, the Chicago Reader and South Side Weekly.

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Illinois to make teacher evaluations optional for second year

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This Illinois teacher welcomes back her kindergarten students — this time, as second graders

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Will the bus come today? For some Illinois families, school transit still a gamble

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Why one Illinois school district is betting on teacher improvement 

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COVID in schools and the pediatric vaccine timeline: 8 questions for Dr. Ngozi Ezike

Illinois’ top health official answers questions about school outbreaks, pediatric vaccine timeline, and efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19

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Illinois board of education moves to change state test by 2023

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As Biden calls for school COVID testing, Illinois program reaches nearly half its schools

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Illinois gives school districts leeway for remote instruction amid COVID outbreaks

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What’s keeping Illinois school district leaders up at night? Finding bus drivers

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COVID-19 surge on Illinois school campuses shows need for mask, vaccine mandates, health official says