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Afternoon Edition: Oct. 13, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

Daniel Jackson, a second grade teacher, stands in front of Dixon Elementary School, where he works.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be sunny and breezy with a high near 70 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 49 degrees. Tomorrow will be a little warmer, but cloudy, with a high near 73 degrees in the forecast.

Top story

Facing a shortage of educators of color, CPS looks to groom its own students for teaching jobs

Walking around Mollison Elementary in Bronzeville growing up, Daniel Jackson didn’t see many adults who looked like him.

“There were not many Black male teachers in my school when I was a student,” Jackson recalls. “And we already know that schools have many more women than men. Then there’s more white men than Black men in the school buildings.”

Jackson, who grew up in Englewood and Bronzeville, set out to help his community by filling a void. So he went to Illinois State University, earned a teaching degree and came right back to Chicago Public Schools for a year as a student teacher. He then landed his dream job as a second grade teacher at a CPS school, Dixon Elementary, in Chatham.

Looking to confront a dire shortage of teachers of color that’s years in the making, CPS officials are now unveiling their latest effort that would put more students on the same path Jackson took.

The district is launching an initiative called “Teach Chicago Tomorrow” to create a pipeline of homegrown educators. Interested CPS students will go to City Colleges for general education coursework and an associate degree, then Illinois State University for a bachelor’s degree. ISU classes will be held in Chicago at the university’s National Center for Urban Education in Garfield Park. After a year-long student teaching gig, grads will get priority access to jobs at CPS.

“The goal is to build a network of new teachers who look like Chicago kids, come from Chicago communities, are invested in Chicago’s neighborhoods, because ultimately they’re CPS graduates,” said Matt Lyons, CPS’ chief talent officer.

Only about 11% of the district’s 350,000 students are white, but half of its 22,000-strong teaching force is white.

Meanwhile, about 10% of CPS’ 100,000 high schoolers indicate on career surveys that teaching is a career they’re interested in, Lyons said. Yet only about 140 CPS grads are among the 1,200 to 1,600 teachers hired by the district each year. The goal is to get closer to 500 homegrown teachers every year.

“We’re positive we’re going to reach far more students than are navigating the system on their own right now,” Lyons said. “There’s a set of students already interested in teaching, and not as many as could be are finding their way through the process.”

Jackson said teachers who come from the communities they serve are better able to connect with their students because their familiar experiences growing up form bonds that strengthen kids’ education, he said.

“Being raised on the South Side, teaching on the South Side, there’s a strong connection and bond that I can relate to them on outside of the academic setting,” Jackson said.

Read Nader Issa’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. A Chicago police officer was hurt this morning after driving her squad car off Foster Avenue and down an embankment, shutting down the outbound Kennedy Expressway for several hours. The officer was taken to a hospital in fair condition, officials said.
  2. Illinois health officials reported 2,851 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 29 additional COVID-19 related deaths today, pushing the state’s death tally past the 9,000. The state’s average positivity rate has continued to grow over the last week.
  3. A year after admitting a botched rollout led to quality issues with new SUVs produced in Chicago, Ford executives said the problems are in the past and production lines here are working three shifts per day to meet increasing demand. The Chicago Assembly Plant now employs about 7,100 workers — 1,000 more than it did a year ago.
  4. Chicago Police Supt. David Brown told the first class of recruits to enter the police academy since the nation saw video of George Floyd’s death that they need to stay true to the values they learned in childhood, eschew the blue wall of silence and stop all crimes — including ones committed by fellow police officers. Here’s what else he said.
  5. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and her two rivals, Republican Pat O’Brien and Libertarian Brian Dennehy, agree that a lot needs to change — but they part ways on what and how. Rachel Hinton breaks down how they differ.
  6. The Blackhawks statue outside the United Center on Madison Street was vandalized early yesterday morning. It will be temporarily removed and sent in for repairs, officials said.

A bright one

‘Splatter Theater,’ though online this year, will not skimp on gore

The flagship show of the Annoyance Theatre, “Splatter Theater,” won’t be drenching any stages with blood this Halloween season. Instead, the long-running North Side horror spoof will be dirtying people’s homes.

The key gimmick of “Splatter Theater” is its generous use of stage blood, which drenches the walls and the performers as characters are slashed, stabbed and disemboweled.

With indoor stage productions all but prohibited by the city’s COVID-19 restrictions, the Annoyance has moved the show online but promises to keep the gore abundant. Actors across the country will be performing live from their homes — some with white walls and white costumes to better accentuate the splashes of crimson. Taped video segments will amplify the carnage.

Musicians Adam LeBlanc (left) and JC Brooks (pictured in a split screen) perform in a music video that opens “Splatter Theater” this year.
Provided

“Splatter Theater” is an Annoyance fundraiser this year, and only three 9 p.m. performances are planned. Tickets for the first two, Oct. 24 and 30, are pay-as-you-can, with a suggested donation of $20. The price is fixed at $20 for the Oct. 31 show, with an optional virtual costume after-party for $10 more.

“Splatter Theatre” premiered in 1987 at Cabaret Metro (now Metro) as the inaugural production of the Annoyance, then called Metraform. A sequel, “I Know What You Did Last Splatter,” debuted last year.

Read Darel Jeven’s full story to learn how to get tickets.

From the press box

AJ Hinch, the former Astros manager who’s spent the last 10 months suspended from baseball as a result of the sign stealing scandal, appears to be the White Sox’ top choice to replace Rick Renteria as new manager. If Hinch is interested in the job, it could be a good fit given the young talent on the South Side.

Hiring Hinch would bring some moral baggage, but as we’ve seen in the past, big league teams can be willing to get a bit dirty in the hunt for a World Series, Rick Telander writes.

Your daily question ☕

What’s your favorite thing about this time of year?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What have you learned about yourself during the coronavirus pandemic? Here’s what some of you said…

“I was blessed with a couple of food boxes and I learned that I can be an even better and more creative cook. I used several types of produce that I had never eaten before and that now I’m a huge fan of.” — Polonia Sarabia

“I needed a dog. My border collie mix puppy has given me so much joy and stability during this insane year.” — Kalli Ricka

“That I’m a pretty good landscaper and painter. Not so much a handyman though.” — Bill Pionke

“That I am quite content to spend days at a time with myself doing the things that I want to do instead of the things that I had to do. I have read a number of books; written a couple of short stories; and did a great deal of volunteer work for causes that carry meaning for me.” — Jim Rafferty

“I love working from home and I love solitude.” — Denise Donnelly

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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