How Chicago Public Schools students develop empathy by writing profiles, research papers, and speeches

In my Chicago high school classroom, two to three times a quarter, students produce writing that can live and breathe outside the classroom. Usually, research papers don’t make the cut. As the 2017 New Yorker article “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds” explains, “Providing people with accurate information doesn’t seem to help [to convince them];... Read more »

No importa que Julián Castro no habla español

Una de las críticas del candidato presidencial Julián Castro es que no habla español con fluidez. Pero, como hispanohablantes en este país con la habilidad de votar o no, tenemos que sobrepasar esta crítica que podría descalificar a un candidato con la capacitación de mejorar a este país. No podemos obsesionarnos con esta falta linguística... Read more »

A Best Man's Toast Inspired by The Alchemist

On Saturday, I had the honor of being the best man at my good buddy Fred Castillo’s wedding.  I celebrated his marriage and success with a toast inspired by one of my favorite books: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. If you’re not familiar with it, the book tells the story of a Andalusian shepherd boy... Read more »
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Chicago Public Schools student wins Dear Mayor Lightfoot essay contest

Chicago Public Schools student wins Dear Mayor Lightfoot essay contest
Last month, Rachel Kim, South Side Weekly‘s outgoing education editor, had the idea to hold a student essay contest this summer. The theme for the contest was topical: as Lori Lightfoot was to be sworn in as mayor, we wanted to hear what middle and high school students from around the South Side wanted Mayor... Read more »

How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez inspired Chicago Public Schools students

How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez inspired Chicago Public Schools students
Each year, Chicago Public Schools students at Hancock College Prep pitch ideas for a graduation ceremony theme.  The quote should be from a socially responsible person who made an impact during their senior year. This year, Senior Emily Aguado submitted a quote from Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  This is how Aguado explained the significance of the... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools student reflects on Hancock's first Selective Enrollment class

Last Thursday, Hancock College Prep’s first Selective Enrollment class graduated.  This is the speech David Rodriguez, the valedictorian, delivered before diploma distribution. We sit here today, as the first Selective Enrollment graduating class and, although a great feat, we must remember those who came before us and treasure the path we have paved for those... Read more »
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Guiding Principles the Chicago Public Schools Curriculum Equity Initiative should adopt

Chicago Public Schools leaders are right: Teachers spend too much time and money finding resources and planning instruction. When our time gets devoured with finding texts, designing learning experiences, and creating assessments, we lose time and energy that should be devoted to interacting with students.  We burn out quickly. Different teachers have different demands. I... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools students discuss sexual assault through slam poetry

Cortez, Eveny, Sonny, and Maria are the a group of students at Hancock College Prep who are part of the Slam Poetry Team. To educate their community about sexual assault, they wrote and performed “Teal” at the Hancock Talent Show. Listen to their interview on Sound Cloud with Hancock Podcast Club member Jarel Alcantar below. Listen... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools student loves basketball jerseys but fears the trouble they bring

Chi-Teens, the podcast produced by Hancock College Prep’s after-school club, invited Chicago Public Schools senior Uriel Acuña to share his essay about growing up with an awareness of gun violence. Uriel loves basketball–and he really likes wearing jerseys.  But, Uriel realized, sometimes wearing the wrong piece of clothing can bring a young man trouble. Listen... Read more »
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Chicago Public Schools and city leaders break ground for new Hancock College Prep building

Chicago Public Schools and city leaders break ground for new Hancock College Prep building
On Saturday, Mayor Emanuel, Alderman Marty Quinn, Representative Michael Madigan, and Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson joined the Hancock College Prep community to break ground for the new Hancock College Prep building on 64th and Long, a few blocks east of Central Avenue on the city’s Southwest side. Hancock Principal Devon Herrick was the... Read more »