Afternoon Edition: What happens when schools suspend fewer students

Today’s update is about an eight-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Gage Park High School on Chicago’s Southwest Side has been cited for a focus on conflict resolution and restorative practices.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Good afternoon, Chicago. ✶

Last month, the unmistakable sound of a trumpet blowing “Joy to the World” filled a room at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

It wasn’t an early Christmas party willing lower temperatures. It was 64-year-old Dan Spees, playing his beloved trumpet after undergoing hourslong double lung transplant surgery just days before — something the longtime musician wasn’t sure he’d ever do again because of a pulmonary fibrosis diagnosis.

We’ve got the story on Spees’ triumph, plus more news from the community that you need to know today, below. 👇

Thanks for spending a little bit of your afternoon with us.

⏱️: A 7-minute read

— Matt Moore, newsletter reporter (@MattKenMoore)


Black CPS teens benefit most in shift from suspensions toward restorative practices

Reporting by Sarah Karp | WBEZ

A change sees results: Switching to restorative practices to respond to student misconduct in Chicago schools has led to a significant reduction in suspensions and arrests, as well as improvements in how students perceive their school climate, according to the University of Chicago Education Lab, which says this is the first study of the effects of a large-scale implementation of restorative practices on an education system.

What are restorative practices?: Restorative practices try to help students understand the consequences of their behavior and repair harm and represent a shift away from exclusionary practices, such as suspending and expelling students.

Who benefits: Over the last decade, rates for suspension and arrest rates for students dropped the most as schools switched to restorative practices, Education Lab Research Director Fatemeh Momeni said. Black male students, who historically have had the highest baseline suspensions and arrests, saw the greatest benefits, according to the study. This study focused on high schools, but the authors say the benefits were also seen in elementary schools.




Riot Fest owner and co-founder Michael Petryshyn says when he was growing up with undiagnosed autism, he was seen as “difficult but lovable.”

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

  • Riot Fest owner shares autism diagnosis: Mike Petryshyn, whose festival returns this week for its 17th edition, opened up to the Sun-Times about his recent diagnosis. “When I talked with my doctor, it was like a floodgate opened, and things finally made sense,” Petryshyn said.
  • Remains of swimmer identified: A 38-year-old man who jumped off a boat into Lake Michigan one week ago at 31st Street Harbor and never resurfaced has been identified as missing swimmer Bryan Jeffrey Jackson, officials said.
  • New training academy for violence prevention workers: As public funding flows into street-level violence intervention efforts, the University of Chicago launched a first-of-its-kind initiative Monday called the Community Violence Intervention Academy. Its goal is to give anti-violence workers across the country the tools to properly manage and scale up operations.
  • Chicago Humanities Festival kicks off Sunday: Headliners of the two-month arts and culture event include actors Henry Winkler and Bob Odenkirk, as well as Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and the Tyshawn Sorey Trio.
  • Evaluating Justin Fields: Talk about any part of the Bears’ 38-20 loss you want, but it all comes back to this — Justin Fields is not a great quarterback. There has been enough time to determine this, writes Rick Telander in his latest column.


Connect with the past at Chicago’s cemeteries


George S. Halas’ mausoleum at St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery & Mausoleums in Niles.

Robert Herguth/Sun-Times

This week’s recommendation comes from one of our staff reporters, Bob Herguth, who does investigative stories and oversees our Murals and Mosaics public art series. He’s also known, within his family, as obsessed with all things Chicago, to the extent that he’s tapped for local tours when friends and relatives visit from out of town.

“If you’re looking for something a little different, not really touristy, and also perhaps on the darker side, I’d recommend visiting some of our cemeteries,” Bob says.

“You could see Capone’s grave at Mount Carmel in the western suburbs, boxer Jack Johnson’s gravesite at Graceland up north. But given the season we’re embarking on, I’d suggest a visit to George S. Halas’ mausoleum in Niles.”

The season Bob’s referencing is football season, and Halas, if you don’t know, was the longtime Bears player, coach and owner, and NFL pioneer. The father of the team’s current principal owner, Virginia McCaskey, Halas died in 1983 and is interred in a crypt at St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery along Milwaukee Avenue.

📍St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery & Mausoleums, 6800 N Milwaukee Ave, Niles



Northwestern Memorial Hospital occupational therapist Brittany Hatlestad watches as Dan Spees plays the trumpet for the first time since having double lung transplant surgery.

Northwestern Medicine

Trumpeter marvels at making music again after double lung transplant

Reporting by Emmanuel Camarillo

As Dan Spees got ready to play his beloved trumpet in his hospital room at Northwestern Memorial Hospital last month, family and staff weren’t sure what to expect.

Just days before, the 64-year-old had undergone hourslong double lung transplant surgery for pulmonary fibrosis, or scarring of the lungs, caused by a rare immune disorder. His condition had forced him to put down his horn for good four months earlier.

But as Spees warmed up by playing scales, the notes came easier than he had expected. So, he looked to his wife for advice on what he should do next.

“I’m looking at her and saying, ‘What do I play?’ And she’s like, ‘Well, just do something easy,’” Spees said.

To the amazement of family and staff, the trumpet’s sharp, clear tones filled Spees’ hospital room as he proudly stood — hospital gown and all — and played “Joy to the World.” Spees and his wife shared a hug after the performance as they realized that he didn’t have to give up his passion after all.

“I really didn’t know if you would ever play again,” his wife, Jan, said as the two wrapped their arms around each other.

“It was really exciting,” Spees said. “I realized that there was no reason why I couldn’t do it again.”



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Editor: Satchel Price
Newsletter reporter: Matt Moore
Copy editor: Angie Myers

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