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ISBE launches podcast to celebrate extraordinary educators and connect schools with great ideas while learning remotely

ISBE launches podcast to celebrate extraordinary educators and connect schools with great ideas while learning remotely

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today launched a new podcast that will celebrate extraordinary educators and connect schools with great ideas while learning remotely. Called We Love Illinois Schools, the podcast will showcase the creativity and agility of the people who work in and around education in Illinois. The podcast will share resources and opportunities to inspire teachers, administrators, students, and families.

The first episode, airing on National Census Day, takes a look inside the 2020 Census and encourages schools to help support a complete count. The episode features an interview with Anita Banerji, who leads the organization Forefront’s Democracy Initiative, Census 2020 outreach, and civic engagement work. Schools can use the episode as part of remote civics instruction.

“The current stay-at-home order has changed how we reach out to and communicate with educators,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “Students are learning remotely, teachers are working from home, and the conferences and events we normally host are canceled or postponed. But when one door closes, we look for a window. ISBE’s podcast gives us another way to connect with and inspire educators and students. I am constantly amazed by Illinois’ teachers and students, and I am happy to share another avenue to celebrate and support their efforts."

ISBE takes its cue from Illinois students themselves, who have embarked on similar ventures as schools have begun remote learning. Student journalists in Geneva Community High School and Ball-Chatham School District showed their production prowess with remotely produced newscasts. Students at Michele Clark Academic Prep Magnet High School in Austin created their own podcast to help classmates manage stress during the current crisis.

Students in the orchestra program at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in Chicago Public Schools even created the theme and transition music for ISBE’s new podcast.

The first episode of We Love Illinois Schools raises awareness about the 2020 Census, which will determine Illinois’ number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and certain federal funding streams for the next 10 years.

For the first time, Illinois residents can take the census online. The State of Illinois strongly encourages Illinoisans to complete the census online, by phone, or by mail to protect the health and safety of census takers, who will visit in person the homes of Illinoisans who have not yet responded to the census.

Illinoisans can take the census online at, by phone at (844) 330-2020, or by completing and returning the census invitation they receive in the mail. Governor JB Pritzker committed $29 million in fiscal year 2020 for census implementation, which is one of the largest state investments across the country.

Schools can celebrate National Census Day today by checking out ISBE’s new podcast (of course), as well as sharing information on social media and using the U.S. Census Bureau's Statistics in Schools lessons while students are learning remotely.

Listen to the first episode of We Love Illinois Schools on the ISBE website at, and look out for more episodes coming soon to your favorite podcast platform.