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).