Kalyn Belsha is a national reporter based in Chicago for Chalkbeat.org. Previously she covered education for The Chicago Reporter, a nonprofit online magazine that investigates issues of race and poverty. There she chronicled how Chicago’s historic school closures in 2013 impacted the city’s African-American communities. Belsha partnered with Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting to tell the story of one Chicagoan who made it her life’s mission to stop future school closings after her grandchildren and community lost their neighborhood school.

Prior to The Chicago Reporter, Belsha covered education for the magazine’s sister publication, Catalyst Chicago. There, she wrote about the growth of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, holes in the early educator pipeline and inadequacies in bilingual education. Belsha also covered education in Chicago’s west suburbs for The Aurora Beacon-News, a publication of the Chicago Tribune.

Belsha used her Spencer Fellowship year to investigate the growing exodus of black families from Chicago to other cities in the South and the Midwest, and the impact of this major demographic shift on education. Her work will roll out in 2019-2020 school year, including narrative, audio and data visualization components.

Examples of Belsha’s work:

Thousands of black students leave Chicago for other segregated districts

My town, Chi-Town

English learners often go without required help at Chicago schools

Behind sale of closed schools, a legacy of segregation

Inside Noble