Sunday, June 24, 2012
I absolutely enjoyed Springfield, and I'm not just saying that. I got a huge opportunity that doesn't come too often in life. I think that young voices were heard on the trip, and I hope that it made a difference in some of our State Reps' lives. Who gets to meet some of their State Representatives during their freshman year of high school?
The trip started at 5:30 a.m. Even though it was a little early for most of us, we still had a little buzz that kind of traveled around the teacher's parking lot as we waited for our bus to come pick us up and get the show on the road. We finally got to Springfield, IL about 10:30 am. and everyone was dressed in their casual attire and ready to have discussions with State Senator Emil Jones III, who is actually a graduate of Morgan Park High School, in the State Capitol Building. I think he was definitely on the same page as us as far as our thoughts were on immigration, environmental and educational issues.
What was really the ice breaker of the day was meeting State Representative Monique Davis. She was kind and very encouraging when it came to answering questions. She was really concerned about our life plans. She asked about our goals and future careers that we were thinking about. I think it really showed that she is very interested in our futures. . She was very open with us about her thoughts about the CPS Board of Education and what her expectations and ideas were on improving the education in Chicago Public Schools, so we can do just as well as the charter schools in the Chicago area. She was on board with uniforms but not on board with longer school days, which got everyone's attention and was probably the best discussion to conclude our visit.
When we got back on the bus, the only chatter heard for the most part was about the answers heard from the state Reps and commenting on certain questions asked. It turned out to be a great trip that I would love to do again.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Friday, May 25, 2012
During the 2011-12 academic year, more than 800 students participated in 40+ stewardship days at natural areas throughout the Lake Calumet region on the city's south side. Fifteen high schools engaged classrooms in hands-on science activities enabling students to learning about ecosystems, biodiversity, and the threats that non-native invasive species pose to our ecology.
This year student groups were asked to present their stewardship work over the course of the year. Students created presentation boards, videos, slide shows, games, and field guides of the plants and animals at their adopted ecosystem. Students did a great job building and presenting their materials.
As one student said at the end of the day: CIMBY is a great opportunity and it can change your life. The goal of CIMBY is to raise the next generation of environmental leaders and activists. CIMBY students are lucky enough to move beyond the textbook into our natural areas to gain a deeper understanding of the threats to our environment and how they, together, can work toward solutions.
Many, many thanks to the amazing teachers and CIMBY staff who gave countless hours to helping make these exciting opportunities available.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
|Isaac Castelaz from Chicago Academy receives |
SL Administator of the Year Award
In addition to recognizing the work of our excellent SL Coaches, awards were also given to outstanding leaders in service-learning:
SL Coach of the Year
Deborah Hawes, Morgan Park High School
Teachers of the Year
Adam Heenan, Curie
Eddie Marie Gonzalzes, Morgan Park
Jeschelyn Pilar, Hancock
Administrator of the Year
Isaac Castelaz, Chicago Academy High School
Students of the Year
Adonis Hill, Hope College Prep
Stephanie Navarette, Kelly High School
Kaylan Elder, Al Raby High School
Emmanuel Cherry, Hubbard High School
Tasanee Durrett, Morgan Park High School
Erika Castillo, Curie High School
Community Partner of the Year
Alliance for Climate Education (ACE)
Congratulations to this year's winners. Their accomplishments are truly astonishing. But our thanks go to all of the nominees who were recognized for their contributions and to all coaches who have served so faithfully this year.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Monday, May 7, 2012
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Friday, May 4, 2012
Monday, April 30, 2012
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Northeastern Illinois University made its pottery room available for Mather students and teachers to create the bowls. Students spent 5-6 hours at the university creating bowls for a community event to take place on May 04, 2012. At the Empty Bowls event, Mather staff, community members, students, and families, will gather to share a simple meal and learn more about food insecurity issues in the Chicago and around the country. All proceeds from the dinner will be donated to the Lakeview Food Pantry, an organization working to provide emergency food aid to individuals and families.
Jennifer Brown, an art teacher at Mather who organized the project, received some start-up funding through Donors Choose, an online opportunity for teachers to raise funds for special projects. Ms. Brown was assisted by other Mather faculty at the event.
We already look forward to the Empty Bowls dinner at Mather on May 04, 2012.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I had an awesome week! I was one of the two advocates from Chicago that won a scholarship to Washington D.C. to attend the Save the Children 10th Annual Advocacy Day. The point of Advocacy Day is for us, the young children, to go speak to our Congressmen and Senators; and let our voices be heard about what they can do to help the malnourished children around the world, as well as here in the United States. It was a success!! There were many children from around the US participating in the two day event.
The first day were workshops where everyone got to know each other and work together to make posters showing awareness of what is going around the world and what we, the people, can do to help. Unfortunately my flight was canceled on the night before the event started. I was stuck in New York City for the night, and I needed to be in Washington the next day at eight in the morning. So yes, I was stressed at first because I didn’t know anyone who was going to attend the event and I was going to arrive real late to the workshops. Although my flight was canceled, I got to explore New York! Especially Times Square, it was AWESOME! The next day I got on a flight at 10:30 a.m. to Washington. I had butterflies in my stomach on my way to D.C. I was excited yet nervous about meeting new people.
I finally arrived to D.C. at 1:00 p.m I had missed the workshops and all that was left for the day was a luncheon with all the participants for Advocacy Day and the Staff of Save the Children. There were also special guests in the luncheon, such as Jonathan Capehart, who writes about politics for the PostPartisan blog, and Alex Wolff, a musician from Nickelodeon.
In the luncheon Jonathan discussed the upcoming elections and how teenagers and younger children feel like their voices aren’t being heard. Personally, in my high school many seniors are about to be 18 years old, meaning they’re able to vote, they think that the Congressmen and Senators won’t pay attention to what they have to say about ways the Congressmen can do more for their community. But in reality, we the children are the ones that play an important role for change. The Congressmen care more about our opinion, rather than the adults. You see, we’re the future, we are the ones who will create more in life and they know that. That is why the next day the participants were divided into groups depending on where their hometown was. Each of the participants was going to go speak to their Congressmen and Senators from their location back home in the Capitol Building.
The goal was to speak to them about why they should not cut the budget on the School Lunch Program here in the United States. Not many children are going to be able to receive free lunch in school with these cuts. Just last year 3.5 million children experienced food insecurity, so now if they cut the budget the number will increase.
Another budget cut the government wanted to do was lower the percentage of how much money would go overseas to help the malnourished children in developing countries. I got to speak to Senator Mark Kirk, Senator Richard Durbin, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, and Jesse White Jr. My partner, Helena, and I succeeded with our speech. All of the Congressmen and Senators agreed with us; they were in favor of not cutting the budgets.
This was truly a mark in my life, a trip I will NEVER forget! Especially because I got to go inside the tunnels under the Capitol building to get to the four different offices of each Senator and Congressmen and I had the chance to speak directly to them. One of the great moments from the trip was also making new friends from different states. I got to meet teens from Philadelphia, Tennessee, Texas, and from many more. Thanks to my avid teacher, Mr. Hardin for getting me, and my classmates, involved in the United Nations Millennium Goals and to Mrs. Walker for introducing me to the Save the Children Scholarship. Both of my teachers have truly blessed me with this wonderful moment! I hope that one day we will all step up and have our voices be heard, together we can all make a change!
Curie Metropolitan High School
Monday, April 16, 2012
Friday, April 6, 2012
In preparation for their meeting with the alderman, students participated in an activity called Speaking Truth to Powerful People. The activity asks students to name a issue that is of concern to them, devise a solution or strategy, then identify the person in power who can help them get what they want to build the common good.
Students identified student leadership programs in every school, and curricular relevance strategies as issues of concern to them. In mock meetings with decision-makers, students were tested (not the standardized variety, but authentically) to see how they presented their ideas to a powerful decision-maker. The students learned quickly from one another and did a great job.
Following the mock meetings, students met with Alderman Cappelman for an hour sharing their experiences with the alderman and insights about the community. In a lively and free-wheeling back and forth discussion with the alderman, our students raised questions of economic development, curricular relevance, youth and arts programming, and adequate support for the disenfranchised, particularly those experiencing homelessness.
During an afternoon reflection experience led by the Center for Civic Reflection, students contemplated the question: Does one need to know anything about the person(s) you are helping/serving? and were asked to complete the statement: A helpful person needs to....The thoughtful and engaged discussion that ensued demonstrated the power of experiential learning. Students were able to dig deep into their experiences to engage in thoughtful conversations with one another.
The Alternative Spring Break culminated with a celebratory barbecue where students share their final presentations, musical talents, and new friendships with each other. The final question on the lips of many students? When will this happen again?
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
On 3/3 a small group of students met me at Juan Diego Community Center (Centro Comunitario Juan Diego) on 88th and Commercial to help pack food for their food pantry. When we arrived we were deeply saddened to see that number of families waiting for food and learn about their near bare cupboards. We were only able to give about 8 cans of food to each person. When our group reconvened for our reflection, we decided we needed to collect food for them and stock their pantry. In four days our little cooperative designed and put up posters around the school, spoke to their Division Teachers and collected HUNDREDS of cans of food, boxes of pasta, rice, and other non-perishables. We followed up by returning the next Saturday, 3/10, to deliver our goodies to them and help sort and hand out bags again! It was great, we were able to help, in just two Saturday mornings, over 100 families.
In the meantime my Spanish I classes were learning about the work of Cesar Chavez and what he meant to the Hispanic community. On March 8, we went to El Instituto del Progreso Latino, and our students paired up with an adult student going through the Citizenship process. We interviewed them, quizzed them, worked with them and we learned A LOT. When we reflected on this the students went wild; they loved it and they wanted to stay longer. They have been asking to return ever since. We wrote stories about the adults and on March 21 and took a follow up trip to Radio Arte 90.5 in Pilsen. We recorded our stories and 6 students read their stories in English and Spanish LIVE on air. We even had several that our adults that we interviewed listen to the program as we recorded.
On March 14, a group of seniors interested in going into teaching once the get into (and out of) college, went to a Kimochis training. Kimochis teaches high school students how to teach appropriate social-emotional skills to little kids. They went to training at 320 N. Elizabeth. New Service-Learning Coach Lucia Estrada and I took 4 girls to receive the training and Ms.Estrada is now leading these girls, recruiting more students to participate and we are still scheduling with our local elementary to implement the amazing opportunity! Keep on the lookout for more about Bowen and this project.
On March 20 a group of dedicated seniors led and sponsored a blood drive at the school. Not only did they students coordinate the event, work and recruit, they also registered students and helped them after blood was drawn, distributing snacks, water, and ice packs! It was a great job, and we helped save over 109 lives.
On March 26, we had a wonderful math teacher, Mr.Shawn Espinosa, take a group of students to the Marilynn Rabb Foundation where they worked with hunger issues and sorted and packed food and handed them out to needy families at the Laribee Police Station.
Lastly, and the most exciting part of this month, was the Celebration of Cesar Chavez at the Reflection Day at Benito Juarez High School. Ms. Estrada and I took students who participated in at least one of the above listed events. We watched an amazing cultural show then split up and participated in workshops with other schools. We were even fortunate enough to be asked to lead a workshop which other students attended that talked about Propaganda and Protest art and how Cesar Chaves influenced that movement through his peaceful protests! We culminated the great day with a march through Pilsen, carrying signs and yelling chants to commemorate the 350 mile march that Chavez did in his protests.
Six community organizations based in Chicago's diverse Uptown community benefited from the talents and energy of CPS students participating in the first annual Alternative Spring Break program of Chicago Public Schools.
CPS students served at Chinese Mutual Aid Assocation, Sunlight African Youth Center, Grassroots Curriculum Network, Kuumba Lynx, Christopher House, and Cornerstone Community Outreach.
Students planned and implemented activities for children participating in spring break programs at Christopher House, Sulight African Youth Center, and Chinese Mutual Aid Association. The students were in awe of the high spirited energy of the children and left the day having learned much about what it takes to organize a high quality youth program. Students also helped the Kuumba Lynx program build a studio for community use, supported the food distribution programs at Cornerstone Community Outreach, and organized historical materials to create a new Uptown study curriculum that is student-friendly and speaks the truth.
During their final day of the alternative spring break, students will meet with 46th ward Alderman James Cappelman and share their insights with him. To cap off their experience, students will gather for a barbecue and share their thoughts about how the week has impacted them. We're looking forward to an exciting culmination.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
Foreman students also made a successful visit to World Vision on Wednesday, March 14, and went again the following day for the service-learning trip. World Vision is a community organization that accepts donations of new products from big box companies and re-distributes them among schools and community organizations.
To wrap up their Chavez Month of Service, students also participated in the Chavez Day of Reflection on Saturday March 24th. Students joined hundreds of other students in exploring Chavez through the arts and participating in the march commemorating the 46th anniversary of the 350 march from Delano to Sacramento by Chavez and the United Farm Workers.
Foreman Peer Jurists are also busy at work with Peace Week . Students sold white ribbons to raise funds for care packages for our troops in Afghanistan and Thursday students held a Day of Silence in honor of those lost to violence.
Foreman Peer educators were excited to win the Mikva Teen Council Health Grant, and they will teach HIV/AIDS awareness to freshman homerooms and make contraceptives available to all our students.
On the advocacy front, all entire sophomore class conducted a letter writing campaign to our state senators to oppose HB 14 which would legalize concealed weapons in Illinois.
During the month of February, the senior board and class raised funds for the Pennies for Patients through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We raised 500 dollars and are eligible for a pizza party for our winning homeroom.
Foreman students and teachers have been extraordinarily busy during the past months engaged in service and civic action. Congratulations!
Thursday, March 29, 2012
In her comments, Koya named the opportunity to engage students in new ideas and new opportunities as a wonderful part of her job. In particular she recalled her trip to New York City's central park with 25 students as part of the Outdoor Nation Conference. Subsequently, her students traveled to Minneapolis for a regional Outdoor Nation Conference during the summer of 2011.
Ms. Koya will continue to expose her students to new experiences this summer, having been chosen as one of five teachers nationally to travel with Global Explorers to Costa Rica. She will accompany 10 Chicago Academy High School students for an amazing rain forest adventure in August.
In her address Koya praised the profession of teaching and said she could not imagine a different profession for herself. Congratulations, Saswati. We are proud of you.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
This school year hundreds of students participated in a program called Elections in Action, which is facilitated by Mikva Challenge, a non-partisan, non-profit group that works to increase student participation in our democracy. Students spent several sessions, either in class or in after school programs, working through curriculum covering the importance of voting, how elections work, and understanding the ideology of major and third parties. Students also identified their own personal ideology and what they believe about issues that face our democracy.
From there students examined why people do and do not participate in elections and what makes a good candidate. Finally, students identified a candidate, or several candidates, they wanted to support.
In order to fulfill the requirements of the program students had to have three campaigning experiences lasting at least two hours. This was a great opportunity for students who were at first too intimidated to even call a volunteer coordinator to find themselves phone banking for one or going door to door across Chicagoland to canvas for their candidate. Once completed students write a reflective piece about their experience.
This first-hand and ground-level view of democracy is one that empowers students to recognize that the electoral process is one that they can play an important part in, both as volunteers and, hopefully one day soon, as candidates!
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Thursday, March 8, 2012
During the final visit to the senior center, students prepare a gift for their senior citizen buddy, present these mostly hand-made gifts, then sing together with the seniors. Music is a powerful source to connect people with their memories and with each other.
Many thanks to the teachers - Catherine Yackee, Lynn Santoyo, Donald Davis, and Katrina Vafakos for their extra time and effort in facilitating such an important and powerful program with their sudents.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
- Student-Student relationships
- Classroom management
- Principal-Student relationship building
- Longer school day