Northwestern University graduate tells Chicago Public Schools students not to isolate themselves

Northwestern University graduate tells Chicago Public Schools students not to isolate themselves
In June, Northwestern graduate Osbeyda Navarette delivered the keynote speech at the Hancock College Prep commencement ceremony.  As the first Hancock alumna to earn a degree from this highly selective college, this first-generation college student gave Chicago Public Schools graduates insight into world outside their teen experience. What I appreciated most about this speech was the... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools students react to Jason Van Dyke trial

When possible, relevant, and appropriate, my Chicago Public Schools students apply what we learn about writing to real-world controversies.  Today, they examined the opening statements of the Jason Van Dyke trial, where a white Chicago police officer is on trial for the murder of 17-year-old African American Laquan McDonald. We listened to a few segments... Read more »

Former Chicago Public Schools teacher discusses the importance of self-care

Former Chicago Public Schools teacher discusses the importance of self-care
As part of a project between Chicago Public Radio and the Teacher Project at at Columbia University Journalism School, a few local teachers shared stories of learning from their students. My friend and former Chicago Public Schools colleague Lisa Ehrlich discusses the importance of caring for ourselves as we teach students with complicated lives.  Click... Read more »
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Chicago Public Schools teacher discusses the importance of mentorship on Vocalo Radio

Thank you to Vocalo Radio for inviting me to be part of their “This Is What Chicago Sounds Like” series, a series that captures the diversity of our city. Chicago has shaped my life by instilling in me the idea that must use my intellect to help people.  So I try to use my writing... Read more »

Three podcast episodes all teachers and policy makers must listen to

As Chicago Public Schools teachers prepare to return to work next week, I thought this would be a good opportunity to share three podcast episodes about education that made me think and feel and ask some questions that I still haven’t answered completely. Revisionist History: Carlos Doesn’t Remember A good buddy and CPS librarian introduced... Read more »

Celebrating July 4th with Jose Feliciano's stylized version of our national anthem

These days, finding pride in being American comes with difficulty.  Tense, toxic, divisive, and disdainful, American culture appears problematic in so many instances.  As a first-generation American of Mexican descent, I cringe and curse after learning of every injustice under this malignant presidency. Still, I cannot live life in this America feeling poisoned and powerless. ... Read more »
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Newest Selective Enrollment high school in Chicago Public Schools to get a new building—finally

Newest Selective Enrollment high school in Chicago Public Schools to get a new building—finally
On Saturday, June 16, 13th Ward Alderman Marty Quinn, Rep. Michael Madigan, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced at a small press conference that Hancock College Prep will get a new building. Details of the new building will follow.  What we know at this point is that the new building will be in the 13th Ward... Read more »

How to save a class discussion that's dying

As a Chicago Public Schools teacher, I know effective whole-class discussions are part thoughtful planning and part luck. Sometimes an instructional approach works so well that we expect the same results the next time we use it. And sometimes, that works out. Other times, we wonder, “What the heck happened?” I thought I had found... Read more »

How a nonprofit coffeehouse brings arts and healthier food to disadvantaged communities

Coffeehouses exist everywhere.  But a new nonprofit approach to this popular business can be a way to bring the arts, opportunities, and healthier eating to disadvantaged communities. My latest article for Latino Rebels tells the story of the Sabinas Coffeehouse in San Antonio, Texas which, for a year and a half, has become a place... Read more »
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When your 12-year-old son faces racism in Little League

Please see the May 1 update at the bottom of this post. As parents, we walk a fine line between solving our children’s problems and letting them struggle on their own. My 12-year-old plays baseball on a travel team with a West Lawn team from Chicago’s Southwest side. This morning, we drove around Beverly, Mount Greenwood,... Read more »