Education Column 


By Tina Jenkins Bell 

BAPA School Liaison 

Can you believe it is May already? May with its good weather, increased outside activities, and field trips. May with its proms, graduations (for some schools), awards ceremonies, and what else? Teachers’ Appreciation Week celebrations, May 8 to 12!  

In whatever way the month of May manifests for you and your child/children, I hope this month gives you plenty of reasons to smile. Now back to Teachers’ Appreciation Week: don’t miss the opportunity to express your gratitude to your favorite teacher, staff member or principal. 

Eight Ways to Celebrate Teachers, Staff, and Principals 

  1. Write a letter expressing gratitude for ways a teacher specifically helped your child, expanded his/her/their worlds, or demonstrated care or kindness.
  2. Work with your student (s) to create an acrostic poem using the letters T-E-A-C-H-E-R. Put the poem on a poster board and decorate it.
  3. Create fun social media posts, expressing your gratitude and attach to BAPA’s and your school’s social media.
  4. Give electronic or physical gift cards to favorite restaurants or coffee houses.
  5. Give gift cards to area office or teacher’s stores. (The beautifully decorated classrooms and bulletin boards are often paid for by teachers.)
  6. Work with the PTA or parent organization to set up a continental breakfast in the teachers’ lounge. Leave heart-shaped notes of gratitude or teaching proverbs for teachers to take as they leave.
  7. Give the gift of self-care, such as gift cards to health clubs or massage or mani-pedi salons.
  8. Organize with your school principal and PTA or parent organization to create a memorable welcome on the first day of Teachers’ Appreciation Week by having students stand in a column, hands raised for a high-five as teachers run or walk down the hall. Give them a certificate of appreciation or a gift card as they emerge from the column of gratitude.

Congratulations to MPHS Seniors 

It bears mentioning that 2023 marks the second year Morgan Park High School seniors will receive an all-expenses paid college education, compliments of Hope Chicago, a not-for-profit organization that raised $1 billion to support Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students and families. Additional 18 seniors have already been accepted to the University of Illinois.  

Congratulations to MPA 8th Graders Who Qualified for History Fair State Finals 

Morgan Park Academy’s annual 8th grade history fair produced four qualifiers for the state finals in Springfield, Ill.  Lyric Artwell of Crown Point, Ind., and Delia Bergin, Alana Haaruun, and Simone Whitt, all of Beverly/Morgan Park, will represent MPA at the state level after being recognized by judges at the Chicago Metro History Fair regional competition.  

This year, the national theme of the project was “Frontiers in History: People Places, Ideas.”  Lyric, Delia, Alana, and Simone tackled this theme through a variety of historical lenses. Delia wrote a paper on Hedy Lamarr, the Hollywood screen legend whose scientific inventions helped aid the Allied cause in World War II. Lyric created an exhibit about the evolution of spears in human history, and how they intertwined with human evolution. Alana’s exhibit focused on historic advancements in anesthesia. Simone designed a website with research about the history of birth control clinics.  

Morgan Park Academy 8th graders participate each year in this popular and challenging competition, researching and presenting a long-form research project. Over three months of work during the winter, students researched primary and secondary sources and created museum-like exhibits, websites, research papers, and individual performances, with summary statements and annotated bibliographies.  

Chicago Metro History Day, formerly known as the Chicago Metro History Fair, is a project-based inquiry program that empowers students to become historians who conduct research and share their conclusions. 

Area Libraries Stepping Up and Out 

Beverly/Morgan Park libraries are stepping up and out! They are going the extra mile to remind us that they are not only a place to borrow books but a resource for many other things. A few months ago, the Walker Branch of the Chicago Public Libraries at 111th and Hoyne created a free clothing boutique for people to browse, pick, choose, and claim as they pleased. This was a wonderful event, particularly after emerging from the pandemic a few dollars lighter and with more pajama bottoms as office wear than khakis or slacks.  

The Beverly Branch at 95th and Damen often goes the extra mile, too, opening its doors for story times, community group meetings, and community events such as hosting concerts, teen hang outs, and other activities.  

They want to do more. The Beverly Branch is looking for a few good people to help them form a Friends of Beverly group to help increase their capacity to serve and partner with the community. For more details, contact Tamela Chambers, or 312-747-9643. 

Well, folks, that’s all I have for now. Remember, gratitude is in your attitude. Use the month of May to show a teacher, staff member, principal or librarian how much you appreciate what they do. 



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