About Natasha Smith

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So far Natasha Smith has created 37 blog entries.

Arts Education on the Rise in CPS

By | November 29th, 2016|

This blog was authored by Paul Sznewajs, Executive Director of Ingenuity, a national leader in arts data collection and mapping that has partnered with CPS to track the quality of arts education in our schools. This week, Ingenuity released its 4th annual State of the Arts in Chicago Public Schools report, with data covering more than 90 percent of CPS students. Since we began collecting data in 2013—the year CPS created its first comprehensive Arts Education Plan—there have been significant [...]

What I Learned This Thanksgiving

By | November 22nd, 2016|

By Isabella Garcia-Ding This blog post was authored by Isabella Garcia-Ding, a 10th-grade student at Roberto Clemente Community Academy who organized a Thanksgiving food giveaway for her school community. The Give 3k Food Pantry and Turkey Give Away this November 17th was a success. My experience as a student organizing this food drive was unbelievable, because I was able to make a small idea turn into a charity event for Roberto Clemente Community Academy. I started Give 3k as an assignment [...]

Many Districts, One Mission

By | November 21st, 2016|

This week, Chicago hosted the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) annual conference, so I had the privilege of meeting fellow school board members from all over our state, and providing welcoming remarks to kick off the annual Chicago Schools Tour that was presented in conjunction with the conference. The tour included four schools with an arts focus, and showed our visitors how CPS is prioritizing arts education, even in challenging fiscal times. Some of the School Board members I [...]

A Veterans Day Tribute

By | November 11th, 2016|

Veterans Day is a time for our country to recognize the brave men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces.  On this Veteran’s Day, CPS is recognizing one Army veteran in a very special way. This afternoon, CPS  joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, and the Southwest Middle School community to announce a proposal for this school to be named in honor of Sergeant Robert J. Richardson – a beloved CPS teacher and [...]

What’s on the Table: The Independent Arbitrator’s Contract Recommendation

By | October 5th, 2016|

To download the overview: click here. CPS teachers do great work – guiding our students’ remarkable academic gains – and we want to give them the most generous contract we can afford within our financial constraints.  This is why we’ve paired an average raise of 14.15 percent over the life of the contract with the historic changes to quality-of-life issues that CTU has prioritized for years.   This framework led us to an agreement with CTU leadership once, and we believe [...]

ACT Scores Break District Record

By | September 20th, 2016|

In 2015, CPS students earned a composite ACT score of 18.2.  This year, that score rose to 18.4. This improvement may seem modest, until you consider that between the years 2005 and 2010, the District’s composite ACT score rose by the same margin: 0.2 points. In other words, our students did in one year what it took 5 years to achieve at the start of the millennium. What’s more, many schools did not stop there. Take Marshall High School, where [...]

What’s in Your Backpack?

By | September 7th, 2016|

Students at Brunson Elementary spent the second day of school comparing items in their backpacks. Not their school backpacks…their digital backpacks. These students recently completed “What’s In Your Backpack?” – a pilot program that saw them earning digital badges for exploring History, Art, Math, and computer coding during the summer. Part of CPS Connects, the District’s vehicle for personalized learning, this program was made possible by Brunson’s digital playground – an online resource that allows students to work at their [...]

District Progress Report Shows Gains Across the Board

By | September 7th, 2016|

Each quarter CPS students receive progress reports; a tool educators and families can use to make sure their students are on track, or to adjust their lesson and study plans if not. This year, CPS is taking that same measure of accountability and transparency to our district-level performance by releasing an Academic Progress Report.  This report includes data on key metrics from 2011 through the 2015-2016 school year, and will be continuously updated so all members of the CPS community [...]

CPS Students Set Record-High Grad Rate in 2016

By | September 5th, 2016|

Five years ago, just over half of CPS students graduated from high school.  Today, that number is 73.5 percent. This jump in achievement is a testament to the hard work of our students, and the commitment of their families, teachers and principals -- and it means that more than 20,000 CPS students earned their diploma this year. As we begin a new school year, we want to acknowledge the high bar set by these students for future classes: More students [...]

A CPS Record-Breaker: Class of 2016 Earns $1.1 Billion in Scholarships

By | September 2nd, 2016|

Before moving on to college and career this fall, the Class of 2016 set a high bar for future CPS students. Together, these graduates received $1.1 billion in scholarship offers, which is an increase of over 20 percent - or $200 million - from the previous school year.   $1.1 billion is a big number, so let’s break it down. Let’s look at how a fraction of these funds will forever change the story of three CPS graduates. “It’s always [...]