During Jan. 20 LSC meeting, Thompson, students win awards, generous funding granted to Lane programs


A screenshot from the meeting live streamed on YouTube.

By Aidan Sadovi, Managing Editor

The first local school council (LSC) meeting since the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) school stoppage was a dense one, as the Lane community received awards and commendations, clarification on contact tracing, and significant shifts in funding, including more than $15,000 to be allocated to Lane’s Esports team. 


Council members first commended students of Graphic Design teacher Amy Diamond, whose work was being shown at a CPS Senior Portfolio exhibition in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Lane students Anina Alpert, Halle Murphy, Amanda Smithivas, Alexis Strong, Erin Brunell, Juliano Llorente and Julia Stuenkel were cited for their outstanding work. 

Lane Principal Edwina Thompson was congratulated by LSC members and the Lane community for winning the “Keeper of The Dream Award.” The award, given out by an association called “The Leader’s Network,” seeks to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and “recognizes individuals who show strong leadership qualities and involve them in their communities.” One former recipient is longtime U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill. 

Public Participation 

During Public Participation, LSC Student Representative Sean Groh asked about Lane’s status when it comes to microwaves, an amenity the LSC had agreed to purchase in response to past feedback from students.  

Principal Thompson replied that three microwaves arrived before Christmas, and they will be put in the lunchroom, though it is still unclear who will be responsible for cleaning the appliances. 

Principal Report 

In her principal’s report, Thompson spoke to the need to clarify CPS contact tracing and COVID policies in response to a recent watchdog’s findings that CPS misled parents about case counts at respective schools. 

First though, Thompson went over some upgrades to certain classrooms and facilities. 

The Driver’s Education Building received new windows, according to Thompson. More pressing to students, however, is the development that the school is working to replace Lane’s driving simulators in the Driver’s Ed building, a welcome change to many students and drivers ED instructors who know the older simulators well. 

As part of a push for a more equity-centered education, Jan. 28th’s professional development day was used as an opportunity to share the progress that has been made in the field of equity at Lane, according to Thompson. 

Ald. Matt Martin

Thompson said that she recently met with 47th ward Ald. Matt Martin and members of DePaul College Prep to discuss recent parking issues that have arisen in the neighborhood. Between Depaul and Lane, commuting students and parents usually clog up the streets in the morning, but problems such as “U-turns into Addison” as Thompson brought up, have led to a distressed environment that has, in turn, distressed residents and neighbors. 

Also in relation to the alderman, Thompson said that Martin had donated 3000 KN95 masks to Lane Tech. CPS previously promised schools that every building would receive packages of these more effective masks in lieu of the less effective cloth ones, yet Principal Thompson said the school has not received any from CPS, though the shipment was slated to be received by the end of the month. 

As of the following week, some Lane advisory teachers passed out KN95 masks to their advisory students they said were from the district. 

Contact tracing 

Though it’s unclear whether her addressing of contact tracing concerns in the latter part of her principal’s report is related, during the week of Jan. 19, CPS parent and software engineer Jakob Ondrey had found evidence that CPS had misled parents and stakeholders through the CPS COVID-19 dashboard. 

Thompson gave an overview of the process and how the school does (and doesn’t) work with the district in the contact tracing system. 

The process, she said, begins when a student who was in a school building and tested positive self-reports their case to the district. The district would then ask a school like Lane to submit information like seating charts and details about social distancing, such as who a student ate unmasked with/or near, which could inform officials as to who should be contacted after being identified as a close contact. Those who are vaccinated and masked around someone who tested positive will not be contacted. 

Though Thompson said this contact tracing procedure is not able to be conducted by Lane as a school, she did say the district does enlist Lane to take charge of students’ remote learning when quarantined. 

The principal said that quarantined students are “technically” only to receive 25% of instruction that in-class students receive. 


After a council member asked when the school would receive its share of funds from the “Moving Forward Together” CPS fund, Thompson said that it would probably arrive when CPS gives Lane its budget, possibly around March. Thompson also said CPS was committed to giving schools their budgets earlier this year than in years past. 

The budget Lane has had for the last two years has been funded for 4,506 students, though Lane’s enrollment has not always been around this number and is currently at 4,382 students, according to Thompson. 

Thompson said the “magic number” of students that Lane is aiming for is 4,450, saying it is a comfortable number for Lane’s building based on the number of classrooms and teachers. 

If the fund “holds [Lane] accountable” as Principal Thompson said, or allocating less money based on the smaller amount of students,  there will be a loss of money, though Thompson said she is prepared with a plan of “how to fill that gap,” including increasing freshman and LTAC numbers, along with other sources of funding still open. 

Thompson said that the SAT prep classes that Lane administers with the help of “Moving Forward” funding has reached a record of 580 students. 


PPLC representative Rebecca Daly said that the group was still in “exploratory stages” on the topic of scheduling, looking at the “pros and cons of the current schedule” and what the pros and cons would be for other schedules, such as a block schedule. 

Daly said if the group were to take any steps forward they would be “minimal try-this-out changes.” 

LSC chairperson Emily Haite inquired into whether myrtle and gold days, which were utilized during last year’s online schooling, could be brought back, because she’s received feedback from students who are eager to see their return. Daly said that it has been included as one of the many scheduling options that the PPLC has discussed. 

Friends of Lane (FOL)  

Friends of Lane’s annual appeal for donations has brought in over $300,000 according to Haite. Friends of Lane will also host a gala on May 6.

Alumni Association 

No representatives from the Alumni Association were present. 

New Business 

There were four purchase orders and three fundraisers to be approved during the meeting. 

Purchase orders

$11,666 for ATI physical therapy, for athletic trainer services provided to Lane athletics for the winter season. 

$20,784 to Apple for Macbook Pros for music class. The purchase was previously approved in November by the LSC, but the Macbook Pros were unable to be sold, as the company was changing some of the computer components before being put out again on the market. The price also increased $636 from then. As the LSC confirmed, the previous order was not bought.  

$15,909.90 to Best Buy for “gaming computers” and $1,087.07 for the subsequent monitors for Lane’s Esports team. Principal Thompson said that the team is  “incredibly excited” and that the steep price is not too much for the team to ask for, “considering the equipment they need.”  LSC members also pointed out that some high school students have been awarded Esports scholarships as reasoning for approval, and that the team has “been meeting for a few years At the January 20th LSC meeting, 

While the exact total is not yet clear, no more than $120,000 to the Sheraton hotel for this year’s Senior Prom, which the CPS Board of Education will also need to approve. This amount would also only be if the entirety of the class, around 1,110 students, go to the prom. “There probably won’t be more than 800,” said a council member. This money will be gained from student fees, as Thompson confirmed. 

All of these purchase orders were approved unanimously. 


Lane Tech Basketball boosters. Though the boys basketball team already had a Snap Raise online fundraiser on Nov. 15, it was during a school audit, so the fundraiser needed to be approved retroactively. 

Lane Buddies Program. The Buddies are going to sell pins to raise money for World Autism Awareness Day and will be selling pins in March and April. 

School play. The 7th-9th grade edition of the school theatre company will be performing March 30 through April 7. Because they are selling tickets, it must be approved by the LSC as a fundraiser. 

All fundraisers were approved unanimously. 

School Positions

Though the board of Education gave Lane the ability to hire six new Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) positions through COVID relief funds, Lane, according to Thompson, is having a difficult time filling these roles. 

“There are no benefits, $15 per hour — and a lot of people just don’t want to get back to work,” Thompson said. 

Principal Thompson also said, however, that the BOE would allow the school to use this support to create a school-level position. She continued to say that there would be an open position soon, as an unidentified staff member has said they are moving to Europe. The librarian assistant position they occupy, as Thompson suggested, could be closed once they leave, creating an opportunity for another one to be created. 

“It could be a relations rep or student advocate, something that we could utilize and be flexible throughout the building,” Thompson said.  

Student Representative Dalya Lessen Ellemcave asked the principal whether the library would still be able to operate its extended hours for students without this position; Thompson confirmed it would.

The new position, the principal added, would not need to be confined to traditional hours or scheduling. Thompson suggested the job could even be held on weekends, and that it could be a “3 to 7 [p.m.]” job.

Thompson said she talked to a dean from North Park University to see if there would be students interested in a position. 

Old Business

Symbol committee 

LSC president Emily Haite said the responses from the symbol survey from last spring have been officially compiled.


Thompson said that an explanation of the many symbol choices needs to be sent out. 

She also said that the committee will “continue with the process that [the LSC] voted on,” which is taking the choices from the most recent survey and send[ing] them out to the larger Lane community. Then the student body and staff will vote on the top three choices. 

“Our goal is not to make this last for another year,” Thompson said. 

“The goal is to have this in place before graduation,” she continued. 

Student Online Privacy Protection Act (SOPPA) 

As councilperson Haite recapped, teachers, including computer science teacher Jeff Solin, sent a letter to the Lane Tech LSC for approval to send to the district in regards to the CPS interpretation of the SOPPA law. The editorial board of The Champion also signed onto the letter. 

The LSC’s point person on the SOPPA situation, Patricia O’Keefe, gave a rundown of the research and “digging” she did in regards to data-sharing contracts and the process itself, part of which included talking to the current CPS Chief Information Officer. O’Keefe confirmed that the Adobe suite, which had been blocked from student use for much of the current school year, is cleared for use. 

In regards to Student Newspapers Online, or SNO, which The Champion has not been allowed to use, O’Keefe said that “if it’s a tool that’s not specifically for K-12 that’s fine, and I’d be happy to do whatever I can to help that.” 

O’Keefe said that in regards to non-for-profit university tools, such as MIT’s Scratch, she would have to do more research. 

“The process is really arduous,” she said. The CPS official she talked to said that they were working to make the CPS SOPPA process smoother, however. 

O’Keefe added that she could adjust the letter to make it more up to date or even advise the LSC not to approve/sign it. 

Several LSC members advised adjusting the SOPPA teacher letter before sending.