Is this the classroom of the future?

Even as Chicago Public Schools is investing $135 million into assembling curriculum for all grades and subjects, another initiative in teaching and learning has been taking root in Chicago schools. Personalized learning, funded by philanthropists and supported by education reformers, harnesses technology to provide tailored lessons and hands the nitty-gritty of instruction over to computers.

We took a deep dive into personalized learning at CICS West Belden, an elementary school in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side. We found an approach that has excited teachers and students alike, but remains mostly untested by independent experts, even as the district continues to invest in its expansion.

We’re Cassie Walker Burke, Adeshina Emmanuel and Yana Kunichoff, and we round up Chicago education news every week -- just for you. Please send any tips or story ideas our way:

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The Week in Review

New leadership? Amid the swirl of rumors over who Mayor Lori Lightfoot will appoint as school board president, that of former city clerk Miguel Del Valle has stood out. Here are four things to know about him.

Pre-K FYIs: With the first round of preschool decisions coming down this week through the city’s online application, and plans for “universal” pre-K still incomplete, we rounded up answers to common questions.

Flowing funds: After a months-long impasse with Chicago Public Schools over funding, the city’s 100-some charters will receive $19 million more next school year under a new funding formula. See our school-by-school breakdown.

Curriculum advise: Creating curriculums from scratch can be daunting. One teacher gives some suggestions for what Chicago should consider as it takes on a curriculum revamp. Read more.

Legislative movement: With Friday the last day of the legislative session, lawmakers are looking at bills tackling the teacher shortage and better protect students from sexual assault. WBEZ and the Chicago Tribune have the updates.

Handcuff horror: Jake DiProfio was handcuffed at his elementary school in Colorado four times this year. He’s 11 years old. Chalkbeat Colorado reports on the district’s effort to reconsider its policy on restraining students.

Looking ahead

The Newberry Library and the Chicago Public Library will hold a discussion and film screening about segregation and public education on Saturday afternoon. Here are the details.

A city-wide meeting for any parents, teachers or community advocates interested in Local School Councils will take place on Saturday, 10 a.m. at National Teacher’s Academy.



The Noble charter school network honored twenty of its educators as part a new “Distinguished Teacher” program this year, which comes with a $10,000 yearly prize aimed to help keep exceptional teachers in Noble classrooms.

“It feels great to be honored for staying in the classroom when many other people are choosing other paths,” said Rachel Hercule, a freshman literature teacher at Muchin College Prep. “I appreciate being able to hone my craft and work with incredible people that help me be my best all the time.”