The real obstacle to staffing all Chicago Public Schools with social workers and nurses

Inequality increases with inadequate policies.  As Chicago Public Schools teachers nobly fight for more social workers and nurses in schools, we need to recognize the real obstacle to staffing these positions: certification.   Thanks to Kalyn Belsha, national education reporter at Chalkbeat, I learned that–before they can work in Illinois schools–social workers and nurses need additional certification... Read more »

Why I teach in the Chicago Public Schools

In my 25th year as a teacher, I still remind myself that I cannot forget what I do in the Chicago Public Schools and why. I teach writing in the Chicago Public Schools because it nourishes emotions and augments the mind.  We hear and use words so casually these days that they become like oxygen:... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools Students Discuss a Hot September without Air Conditioning

As part of Hancock College Prep’s Chi-Teens Podcast Club, Chicago Public Schools students discuss what it was like to be in school without air conditioning this September when 50% of the school days reached 80 degrees or higher. You can “Like” The White Rhino Blog’s Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter @whiterhinoray. To subscribe to the White Rhino... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools students evaluate effectiveness of Sandy Hook school shooting PSA

Image is everything, they say.  So as part of our focus on rhetorical analysis during first quarter, my Chicago Public Schools students evaluated the effectiveness of the new public service announcement about school shootings by the Sandy Hook Promise. Led by parents who lost children in the 2012 school shooting, the Sandy Hook Promise aims... Read more »

The value of debate teams in Chicago Public Schools

In an interview about coaching high-school debate, I said, “So much of debate isn’t about winning or losing, but about getting up there with confidence and engaging with others in an intellectual way. That carries so much value.” For years, Chicago Debates has sponsored a citywide debate experience in Chicago public middle schools and high... Read more »

Join Chalkbeat Chicago and Chicago Public Schools teachers at a storytelling event

Join Chalkbeat Chicago, me, and other teacher storytellers on Tuesday, August 27 at Marz Brewing from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for beer, food, and storytelling.  It’s free–but RSVP today using Eventbrite. You can “Like” The White Rhino Blog’s Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter @whiterhinoray. To subscribe to the White Rhino Blog, scroll down on your phone or go... Read more »

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 »

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 »