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Casey Gallagher, 10, raises her hand in math class at St. Benedict Catholic School on Jan. 12, 2022, on Chicago Benedict Catholic School on Jan. 12, 2022, on Chicago's North Side. The Archdiocese of Chicago's elementary and high schools were busy fielding phone calls from parents this week, frustrated by the latest Chicago Public Schools versus Chicago Teachers Union standoff, hoping to enroll their children in one of the city's Catholic schools. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune) After enduring the hardships of Chicago Public Schools’ teachers strike in 2019, a delayed reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic and a seemingly endless stretch of remote learning, Pilsen resident Christina Castro decided last fall to transfer her three children to Catholic schools. “The public school system was already so unpredictable, and once we were in a pandemic, it definitely wasn’t heading in a positive direction,” said Castro, 36. She enrolled her two youngest children at St. Ann School, just a two-block walk from their home, and transferred her eldest daughter, a junior, to De La Salle Institute, a private Catholic high school on the city’s South Side. “We received financial aid — my older daughter earned a merit scholarship — and all three of my kids are thriving in their new environment,” Castro said. Preschool teacher Kristen Hayes talks with 4-year-old Aubrey Schick in class at St. Benedict Catholic School on Jan. 12, 2022, on Chicago's North Side. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune) After the latest battle between Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Teachers Union led to canceled classes for 330,000 students, the phone lines at many of the city’s Catholic schools were jammed with calls this week from weary parents, inquiring how to enroll their children. [Don't miss] Owen & Engine finally returns, led by a mellower Bo Fowler — who is forging a possible new way forward for Chicago restaurants » Greg Richmond, superintendent of the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools, said it’s too early to gauge the impact of the latest CPS shutdown on enrollment at the 157 archdiocesan-run schools in Cook and Lake counties, including 85 Catholic elementary schools and high schools in the city. But in fall, months before the latest standoff between CPS and the CTU shuttered city schools for five days, the archdiocese schools reported a 5% jump in student enrollment — the first increase the school system has seen in 40 years. “I know from talking with parents that there’s a lot of frustration right now,” Richmond said. When families started moving their kids out of the public schools during the pandemic, he thought it was due in part to CPS and many suburban school districts remaining online, while Catholic schools fully reopened classrooms at the start of the 2020-21 school year. “We thought the growth might just be temporary, and families might check us out, and then leave when their public schools reopened, but now, we’re seeing that most of them are staying,” Richmond said. [Don't miss] Which fruits contain the most sugar? » Despite the recent resurgence in Catholic school enrollment, the pandemic has taken its toll. For the 2020-21 school year, student enrollment at the archdiocese schools declined by 8.2%, or about 5,600 students, archdiocese school officials said last February. The schools now enroll about 50,000 students. Dayne Kemereley, 10, left, and Gavin Connolly, 11, work in their fifth grade math class at St. Benedict Catholic School on Jan. 12, 2022, in Chicago. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune) Nationwide, as of February 2021, Catholic school enrollment dropped 6.4% during the pandemic — the largest single-year decline in nearly 50 years, according to officials at the National Catholic Educational Association. The declines are likely because of the financial hardships, including unemployment, many families faced since the onset of the pandemic. Still, officials at the archdiocese said this week they hope the enrollment growth this school year will continue its upward trend, especially given enhanced opportunities for financial aid. The archdiocese raised more than $11.5 million through the Illinois Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship Program to pay full tuition for 2,100 children from low-income families this year, and more than 4,700 children remain on the scholarship wait list. [Don't miss] Why OpenTable's reservation scandal is a big deal for restaurants » Signed into law in 2017, the Illinois Invest in Kids Act allows those who contribute to the scholarship program to receive a credit of 75% of their donation toward their state income taxes, and allows donors to choose which non-public school receives the scholarship. While tuition varies among schools, the average elementary school tuition is about $5,900, and between $9,000 and $15,000 for high schools. That is before financial aid, which archdiocese officials said is offered to families at all of a fantastic read its schools based upon need. “As we still work our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, our Catholic schools have become beacons of hope for families committed to in-person learning,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said in a December video message, adding that officials have seen “students thrive socially and emotionally and achieve noteworthy test score gains.” Math teacher Rachel Smith teaches her fifth graders at St. Benedict Catholic School on Jan. 12, 2022, in Chicago.


If the Broncos could sell Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett on taking the head coaching vacancy in Denver, could Rodgers follow? It's a scenario a few people, including Peter King , have posited. According to King, "If Rodgers stays one more year, he would be an unrestricted free-agent in 2023 and the Packers' only compensation would be a compensatory third-round pick in 2023." We know the trade would require at least two first-round picks. Rodgers would probably command a better trade than the one that saw Matthew Stafford go to the Los Angeles Rams. If Denver could pull this off, which of its wideouts would be primed to thrive the most with Rodgers? In 26 games over two seasons, Jerry Jeudy had 90 receptions for 1,323 yards, three touchdowns, averaging 51 yards per game. He played only 10 games in 2021, but he failed to record a touchdown reception in that span. Courtland Sutton, 26, saw the most click this over here now targets per game in Denver this season (5.8). He didn't have a highly productive season (58 receptions, 776 yards, two touchdowns for 45.6 yards per game), but Sutton is still Denver's best vertical threat, averaging 13.4 yards per reception in 2021 and 15.2 in his career. The system in 2021 wasn't working for him. But with an elite quarterback like Rodgers, Sutton could unlock the full reaches of his potential. Potential trade terms: Russell Wilson to Eagles; Two Eagles 2022 first-round picks (Nos. 16 and 19) and Jalen Hurts to Seahawks Russell Wilson has not demanded a trade from the Seattle Seahawks. But according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, "those close to Wilson say he wants to investigate other destinations to see if those would put him in a better position to win another championship and create the legacy he sees for himself." Wilson has a full no-trade clause in his contract, so he'll be able to choose his next destination. Last February, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported "the only teams" he'd accept a trade to were the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Las Vegas Raiders and New Orleans Saints. But in December, Schefter told 97.5 The Fanatic that he believed Wilson would waive his no-trade clause for the Philadelphia Eagles as well. Second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts played well enough to guide the Eagles to the playoffs, but his limitations were on full display in their blowout Wild Card Round loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. No. 10 overall pick DeVonta Smith didn't get his first target until late in that game. Despite Hurts' up-and-down play this season, Smith finished with an Eagles rookie record 916 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Since the 2022 draft class lacks a top-tier quarterback option, the Eagles might prefer to trade for an established signal-caller if they're looking to move on from Hurts.


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