Wednesday, January 9, 2013

We finally had to say goodbye to the city of Chicago in preparation for further adventures in Milwaukee to take place; however, before we left, we did get to experience one more school in Chicago: Cooper Elementary. Cooper Elementary School is a part of the Chicago Public School system and is located, once again, in the Pilson neighborhood (which, of course, prompted another trip to Nuevo Léon for lunch). The building was covered in beautiful, mosaic murals on the outside and filled with attentive, determined children within. About 95% of the students at the school were Hispanic and about 98% of the school is considered to be low SES.

After meeting a little longer with two of the coordinators of the Chicago Semester Program—who were such wonderful hosts to us during our final hours in the Windy City—we were off on our next Amtrak train to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

We arrived around 4:45pm where we met Jackie Verhulst, the principal of Cross Trainers Academy and our ride to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. Our first hours here were a little stressful and our anxieties started growing about what was ahead of us as we moved our belongings into our rooms at the mission. But thankfully, after spending some time with Jackie, receiving a tour of the facility, and coming back together to debrief, we felt prepared and ready to take a longer-term look at a different sort of urban educational system.

(This last picture was everyone's response to the latest episode of the TV show "The Bachelor"...except for David, who refused to watch).

That's all for now! Take care.

1 comment:

  1. I want to echo Michael’s comments to his blog contribution regarding our recent visit to Cooper Elementary in Chicago and add a “shout out.” (I’m trying to be hip. Is that term still current?)

    I want to acknowledge the hospitality and expertise of our hosts from the Chicago Semester: Dr. Lisa Hensey, Student Teaching Program Coordinator, and Ms. Carole Kolconay, Student Teaching Placement Coordinator. Beginning with a warm welcome while in their twelfth floor office that overlooked the intersection of State Street and Adams, our work together offered a thoughtful glimpse into the workings of the Chicago Public School system that educates approximately 440,000 students each year. This is a massive undertaking that impressed us deeply. The challenges and the joys of this work are myriad.

    Since Wednesday (1/9/13), we have been living in the Milwaukee Rescue Mission and working in Cross Trainers Academy, a Christian school in the Mission. Yesterday we worked in classrooms in the morning, toured a bit of Marquette University in the afternoon, and went on home visits with our host teachers after school. We are unpacking the challenges of students whose families live below the socio-economic poverty line. We are reading about, thinking about, and talking about resources available to the students with whom we are beginning to develop a bond (after only one morning!), considering that socio-economic resources are one measure of resources, but not necessarily the only definition of a resource. We continue to work with that issue in the context of the students and the schools with whom we are engaged.

    Will keep you posted, though our internet access is not readily available in all locations of our work. Take care. We’re thinking of you all (even if we don’t write every night) as we experience new things.