WBEZ | back to school http://www.wbez.org/tags/back-school Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Back to School with The HistoryMakers http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-25/back-school-historymakers-113064 <p><p>The <a href="http://www.thehistorymakers.com/">HistoryMakers</a> is the nation&rsquo;s largest African-American video oral history archive. It designated the Library of Congress to serve as the permanent repository for its collection of interviews, which currently boasts more than 2,700 first-person testimonies.</p><p>And the project has another dimension: Friday morning more than a dozen men and women are taking part in the 6th annual Back to School with The HistoryMakers program at several schools throughout the city to give their testimony of pursuing education and overcoming challenges.</p><p>Julieanna Richardson, founder and executive director of The HistoryMakers, joins us with more on the idea behind HistoryMakers and its importance, not only to young African American Americans, but to all of us.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 25 Sep 2015 12:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-09-25/back-school-historymakers-113064 Another clue that school's in session: the traffic http://www.wbez.org/news/another-clue-schools-session-traffic-112913 <p><div>When the school bells ring at Sandoval Elementary, Hernandez Middle School, and Solorio High School, hundreds of students pour from the three buildings, nestled on either side of 55th Street in Chicago.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Many of their parents sit waiting in cars. It doesn&rsquo;t take long for traffic in the entire area to come to a near standstill.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For many in the Chicago region, the start of a new school year marks the beginning of another season: nine months of traffic headaches.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;When it&rsquo;s time for dismissal, it&rsquo;s just&mdash;it&rsquo;s crazy,&rdquo; says one safety patrol officer as he troops through puddles to usher children from one side of the street to the other at the intersection of 55th Street and St. Louis. (He asked that we not print his name, since he didn&rsquo;t have permission to speak.) &nbsp;Cars honk from blocks away. &ldquo;Every afternoon it&rsquo;s a big headache,&rdquo; he says.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>People block the alley, park illegally. People park in places that block the buses. &ldquo;Some parents even park on top of the railroad crossing, on top of the sidewalk,&rdquo; he says.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Sarah Jindra, who for years worked as a WBEZ traffic reporter and is now with WGN-TV, says traffic reporters don&rsquo;t have a good way to gauge traffic on the city&rsquo;s smaller streets--or even on larger arterial streets. But the return to classes is definitely noticeable on the expressways and Lake Shore Drive. &ldquo;The morning commutes are lighter in the summer when everybody is off of school, and then it does get a little bit heavier for those morning commutes when kids go back to school, and obviously the teachers and parents are more on the roads as well.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Chicago Public Schools is the state&rsquo;s second-largest employer, with 40,000 employees going to and from work when school is in session.</div><div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/school%20traffic%20MAIN%20PHOTO.jpg" style="margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px; height: 405px; width: 540px;" title="A return to school means snarled traffic in many Chicago neighborhoods, including the area around 55th Street and St. Louis Ave. (WBEZ/Linda Lutton)" /></div></div><div>A generation ago, many more Chicago kids went to school <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/more-chicago-kids-say-no-their-neighborhood-grammar-school-110604" target="_blank">closer to home</a>. Now, it&rsquo;s common for the district&rsquo;s nearly 400,000 students to travel past 5, 10, 20 schools to get to their school. Just a fraction of CPS students receive a ride on a yellow school bus (this year it&rsquo;s about 5.5 percent); many travel on public transit. But others are being driven by mom, dad, a neighbor or relative.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Nationwide, the percentages of kids who walk or bike to school have<a href="https://planning.unc.edu/people/faculty/noreenmcdonald/McDonald_Aalborg_WhyKidsDrivenSchool_JAPA_2009.pdf" target="_blank"> plummeted in recent decades</a>--replaced with a car ride. In 1969, 41 percent of U.S. children walked or biked to school; by 2001, that number was 13 percent. Some 55 percent of kids get driven to school or drive themselves. That&rsquo;s up from just 20 percent a generation ago. (<a href="http://saferoutesinfo.org/sites/default/files/resources/NHTS_school_travel_report_2011_0.pdf" target="_blank">A 2009 study</a> found that more than half of elementary school children in the U.S. now get a car ride to school.) The trends have raised concerns about the environment, children&rsquo;s health&mdash;and traffic.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Consuelo Jimenez lives just a half block from Sandoval, Hernandez and Solorio schools. &nbsp;She says when school is in session, the traffic jams at entry and dismissal times determine the rhythm of her day--when she goes out, when she comes home, even whether her home nurse can visit.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>She says parents treat her alley like another street--with cars parked along the garages and drivers completely ignoring the &ldquo;one way&rdquo; sign in their efforts to avoid the jam-packed streets, where traffic sits for at least a half hour after dismissal.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Sometimes we can&rsquo;t enter our garage because they&rsquo;re parked there,&rdquo; says Jimenez.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;On my husband&rsquo;s days off, if we&rsquo;re out and notice we&rsquo;ll be arriving home at 3 p.m., we say, &lsquo;No, we won&rsquo;t be able to go home.&rsquo; We&rsquo;ll go the store to wait for the traffic to let up.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Jimenez says lots of parents live nearby&mdash;but they still pick their kids up in cars. &ldquo;People are too lazy sometimes to walk even three blocks,&rdquo; she says.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Parent Johnny Gonzalez was picking up his stepkids this week at Sandoval and Hernandez; he said he lives close by--but he comes by car because he&rsquo;s driving home from work anyway. &ldquo;I just come straight from work and pick them up, or their mom comes straight from work.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp; &nbsp;</div><div>Chicago Department of Transportation spokesman Mike Claffey says the agency hasn&rsquo;t calculated whether traffic is worse when school&rsquo;s in session, or where the worst spots in the city might be. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Our big priority is to get drivers to slow down when they&rsquo;re around schools, to look out for the little people who are coming and going, as well as the big people.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Thus, the city&rsquo;s 20 mile-an-hour speed limit when children are present. Though that&rsquo;s almost unnecessary along many streets near schools&mdash;where traffic is barely moving anyway.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Linda Lutton is&nbsp;a WBEZ education reporter. </em><em>Follow</em><em> her at&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation" target="_blank">@WBEZeducation</a></em></div></p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 16:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/another-clue-schools-session-traffic-112913 CPS deploys street teams for back-to-school reminder http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-deploys-street-teams-back-school-reminder-112846 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/back-to-school_150904_nm.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On a balmy morning this week Marcus Petty knocks on doors in the South Chicago neighborhood. He&rsquo;s armed with a clipboard and flyers.</p><p>His task is to make sure Chicago Public Schools parents know where their child is enrolled for the fall.</p><p>Petty checks contact information, gives out CPS literature about start times and important phone numbers. He asks questions like: <em>Will the student be there the first day? Do you have any questions or concerns? Can we update your contact info?</em></p><p>This particular morning Petty hits 40 homes. He has a list of addresses from CPS, and he goes from place to place. Many are homes where CPS didn&rsquo;t have correct contact information. In the hot hours he&rsquo;s out, Petty finds a good chunk of abandoned homes or that the family doesn&rsquo;t live there anymore.</p><p>Students in CPS return to classrooms on Sept. 8. But the district often has a hard time reaching all parents to make sure they know where to send their children on the first day of school. Families get lost for myriad reasons: they move, they change contact info. For the past several years, CPS has hired street teams to check in with them.</p><p>Petty is with Black United Fund of Illinois, one of 14 vendors CPS has hired to conduct summer door knocking.</p><p>Black United Fund got about 3,000 addresses to check. The South Side nonprofit pays workers like Petty between $11 and $13 an hour to canvass neighborhoods such as Roseland and South Shore.</p><p>Henry English, CEO of Black United Fund, says using community groups to canvass is critical.</p><p>&ldquo;It makes a difference when Ms. Brown from down the street comes knocking on your door or somebody that you know from the neighborhood comes knock on your door expressing interest about your child&rsquo;s education,&rdquo; English says.</p><p>It&rsquo;s also about the money. School funding follows the child, so attendance is critical. Decreased enrollment &mdash; even by a handful of students &mdash; can mean less money for schools that need every dollar.</p><p>This school year, CPS predicts it will enroll 396,000 students. &nbsp;</p><p>Nkrumah English is program director for Black United Fund and says it&rsquo;s important to keep track of children in a district with many families who move around.</p><p>&ldquo;The families are transferring them out of the school without giving notification,&rdquo; English &nbsp;says. &ldquo;So the school would be expecting them to start the starting date but that kid will be in a whole &lsquo;nother school or maybe whole &lsquo;nother state.&rdquo;</p><p>In total, CPS is paying the 14 vendors $200,000. Kindergarten and 9th grade are sensitive years because it&rsquo;s either the starting point or a transition. In a system of choice, students may change their minds about which school they&rsquo;re attending up until when school starts so CPS focuses more on those families. &nbsp;</p><p>The district&rsquo;s public policy chief Arnie Rivera digs through school data to determine which households need a personal visit.</p><p>&ldquo;We were targeting students that historically had truancy issues, and just lack of attendance on the first couple of days of school and making sure we get those kids especially off on the right foot,&rdquo; Rivera says.</p><p>Rivera says it&rsquo;s important for the district to make contact with students early on &mdash; not just to get them in the door but to assess what additional support they might need.</p><p>&ldquo;If we see that we&rsquo;re seeing some challenges one the first couple of days, it&rsquo;ll give us time to readjust and self correct,&rdquo; Rivera says.</p><p>In the meantime, the door knocking will continue this weekend and through the first day of school.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a>.&nbsp;Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p></p> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 15:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cps-deploys-street-teams-back-school-reminder-112846 Morning Shift: August 11, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-11/morning-shift-august-11-2015-112622 <p><p>If your high school son or daughter&rsquo;s first class starts before 8:30, that might not be such a good thing for their health and academic success. As Chicago Public Schools announces changes to start times for some schools, we talk with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about a recent study on what effect the timing of the opening bell has on teenagers.</p><p>The grocery industry has undergone a lot of changes in recent years to meet the new demands and realities of today&rsquo;s consumer: more pre-made, hot to-go food, wine bars and cafes and often a more social atmosphere. Dollars stores are changing their business model too, by offering more food, often of the gourmet variety. We have that story from Monica Eng.</p><p>Crain&rsquo;s Chicago Business real estate reporter Dennis Rodkin stops by with details about the return of architect Helmut Jahn to Chicago.</p><p>And we hear another perspective on the problem of prison overcrowding from a victim&rsquo;s rights advocate.</p></p> Tue, 11 Aug 2015 10:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-11/morning-shift-august-11-2015-112622 Doctors help devise a plan to keep kids healthy this school year http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/doctors-help-devise-plan-keep-kids-healthy-school-year-101556 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/doctor%20office%20flickr.jpeg" title="(flickr/myfuture.com)" /></div><p>As kids scramble to squeeze the last ounce out of their summer vacation, health professionals say mom and dad should save a few drops for a check up. At home, parents have some control over their child&#39;s environment, diet and schedule &mdash; but all bets are off once that first school bell rings. So before parents send their kids back to school, Northwestern Memorial Hospital&#39;s <a href="http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/emergencymed/faculty/Khare.Rahul.html" target="_blank">Dr. Rahul Khare </a>and <a href="http://www.nmh.org/nm/physician_terry_michael_a_11529" target="_blank">Dr. Michael Terry</a> share their tips for keeping kids out of the nurse&#39;s office (and in one piece) this year. If you have a question for the good doctors, call <strong>(312) 923-9239</strong> during <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> Wednesday or join the conversation on Twitter at #848.</p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>Emergency department physician Dr. Khare&#39;s back to school safety tips:</strong></span></p><p><strong>&bull; Beware of heavy back packs</strong>: Backpacks exceeding 15 percent of the child&rsquo;s weight can cause back pain. A heavy bag can also throw off a child&rsquo;s balance making it easier for them to fall over.</p><p><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; When looking for a backpack remember these three things:</strong></p><ol><li><strong>Use two straps.&nbsp;</strong>Backpacks with only one strap put all the strain on one shoulder causing unevenness. Make sure the straps are a good fit. The straps should not be too high where they pull on the shoulders, but not too low where it strains the back.</li><li><strong>Opt for thicker shoulder pads.</strong>&nbsp;Shoulder straps with padding will provide more comfort. If the straps are causing too much strain, look into backpacks with wheels.</li><li><strong>10 percent rule.</strong>&nbsp;Aim for your student to carry 10 percent or less of their body weight. Remember, kids can carry their books in their arms as well to forgo some of the weight.</li></ol><p><strong>&bull; Check ups</strong>: Start the new year with a physical exam. Make an appointment before the school year starts to avoid missing class time.</p><p><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Speak to your doctor about:</strong></p><ul style=""><li><strong>Immunizations.</strong>&nbsp;Make sure your child is up to date and your school has a copy. Ask for a copy of their records so you have them on file just in case after school programs or daycare facilities request them.</li><li><strong>Growing pains.</strong>&nbsp;If your child is experiencing growing pains make sure they are not something more serious like scoliosis or troubled knees.</li><li><strong>Nutrition.</strong>&nbsp;Ask your doctor how many calories your child should be consuming during lunch. The number varies drastically during puberty.</li></ul><p>&bull; <strong>Allergies:</strong> Before school begins make sure to call their teacher before and learn their allergy policy. It&rsquo;s also important to speak to your child about how to handle emergency situations.</p><p><strong>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Make an action plan</strong></p><ul><li>Discuss their medicine and emergency plan with their teacher</li><li>Make a card including your child&rsquo;s allergic reaction symptoms, picture, and treatment. Give copies to all the lunch room and all of their elective teachers</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>If your child has a severe allergy:</strong></p><ul><li>Give them a medical ID bracelet that cannot be easily removed</li><li>Provide the school with multiple doses of emergency medicine</li><li>Encourage the school to create allergen free lunch table</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <strong>Remember to be careful around these accidental triggers:</strong></p><ul><li>Homemade play dough made with peanut butter</li><li>Icing containing egg whites</li><li>Classroom crafts using nuts</li><li>Classroom birthday treats</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>&bull; Bacteria and Viruses</strong></p><p><strong>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Easy ways to stay germ free</strong></p><ul><li>Teach your children to wash their hands correctly. Use warm soapy water and wash until they have sang the happy birthday song twice.</li><li>Wash your hands before and after you touch your mouth, eyes and nose.</li><li>Talk to their teachers about their disinfecting policies. If they don&rsquo;t already sanitize the desk regularly, have your child wipe down their desk with antibacterial wipes.</li><li>Keep hand sanitizer in your child&rsquo;s backpack, desk or locker.</li><li>Avoid the community pencil sharpener. Opt for a handheld one. It will work better, quieter, and won&rsquo;t spread bacteria.</li><li>Avoid borrowing crayons when coloring.</li><li>Get the flu shot! It is the best and easiest way to protect against the flu.</li></ul><p>NOTE: If your child is not feeling well, has a cold or the flu, do not send them to school. This will only spread the germs, get other children sick, and prolong their road to recovery.</p><p><strong>&bull; At home</strong></p><p><strong>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Prepare for the new school year at home</strong></p><ul><li>Start putting your children to bed earlier and waking up earlier as it gets closer to the start of school year.</li><li>Designate an area in the house to keep backpacks, lunches, and other things for school. Put a list of things to remember next to this area.</li><li>Create a family calendar that your children can easily access. They can add their own dates such as homework or play dates. It will encourage great organizational skills.</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>&bull; Back to college/high school</strong></p><p><strong>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; For students going to high school or college</strong></p><ul><li>Make sure their immunizations are up to check, and look into meningococcal vaccine (MCV4) and HPV vaccines for both girls and boys.</li><li>Talk to your teen about the dangers and consequences of binge drinking and unprotected sex.</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Terry (team doctor for the Chicago Blackhawks) tips for student athletes:</strong></span></p><ul><li><strong>Preparation for fall sports season should begin even before the start of the school year </strong><ul style="list-style-type:circle;"><li>Athletes should work with their coaches or school athletic trainers to develop a conditioning program that will gradually build endurance and strength.</li><li>Diving into intense workouts may cause injuries which may delay the start of the sports season or even force the athlete to sit out entirely.</li></ul></li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><ul><li><strong>When in training, young athletes should focus on three major factors that affect sport performance: hydration, nutrition, and rest</strong><ul style="list-style-type:circle;"><li>When practicing or competing in the heat, drink water before, during and after activity to decrease the risk of heat-related illness.</li><li>Athletes should choose healthy, nutrient-rich foods to fuel their bodies during athletic participation.</li><li>Young athletes also need plenty of rest and adequate sleep to perform at a competitive level.</li><li>Too little sleep and unhealthy food choices make young athletes prone to injury and limits their ability to perform.</li></ul></li></ul></p> Wed, 08 Aug 2012 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/doctors-help-devise-plan-keep-kids-healthy-school-year-101556