By Tina Jenkins Bell
BAPA School Liaison
The beginning of the school year is a beautiful thing, and I have a front seat to all the excitement, living almost next door to Christ the King School and a block away from Kellogg School. I can sit at my window and watch our youth march to school, determined and ready. Sometimes they walk as families, parents included. Other times, they may walk alone or with friends. But, they move forward.
As face-to-face learning returns and school halls buzz with laughter, conversations, and excitement, we need to remember that COVID is still a “thing.” Learning deficits, stress and anxiety, and new educational directions or curriculums that address the world we’re trying to improve every day are all “things” that we must address in positive, progressive ways as a community. From parents with school-aged kids, to retirees or empty nesters, to all those in between, let’s survey our schedules to ascertain how we can assist an area school.
Willing workers are welcome
Educators and youth may be back in a physical school setting, but the pandemic has eaten away at their resources. If you have the time, here are a few ways you can pitch in.
Area schools need substitute teachers, particularly our Catholic schools. Christ the King published a call for substitute teachers; get details from Jessica Riley, firstname.lastname@example.org. IF you are qualified as a substitute teacher, check in at a local school.
School volunteers are needed. Chicago Public School volunteers must be cleared by CPS first; learn more at cps.edu. Contact area Catholic or private schools directly to determine prerequisites for volunteering.
Studies suggest tutoring will be instrumental as students reacclimate to in-person learning. CPS is currently recruiting people to become paid tutors; learn more at cps.edu. The BAPA Volunteer Tutor Corps will return this year to help area students. For information, contact me at email@example.com.
Community members who want to make a difference in the success of our schools can support CPS Local School Councils, school fundraising events, and other “friends” of the school opportunities. The best way to figure out a school’s needs is to follow Facebook pages, request school newsletters, attend open community meetings, or arrange a chat with the principal.
Renovations at Kellogg School wrapped up just in time to welcome students’ return to the building on Aug. 30. Kellogg now has a ramp to enter the gym area. Gym floors have been resurfaced and coated to a high shine, and restrooms have been updated.
Welcome to new principals
Welcome to new school leaders! Emily Hanlon is the principal of St. Walter-St. Benedict North elementary school. She wrote in a biography published on the web that she is “dedicated to supporting staff as they implement engaging instructional practices as a means of creating and nurturing growth mindset, emphasizing holistic learning.”
St. Barnabas School welcomed Jonathan Stack as its new principal. In his online biography, he shared, “My passion for education is not limited to the classroom. In every role I’ve ever held, I’ve attempted to not only improve the performance of my students but of my colleagues as well.”
Kellogg’s principal, Dr. Cory Overstreet welcomed ________ Jenkins-Alexander as principal in residence. Principals in residence are teamed with experienced, successful principals who help them develop as future leaders
Kudos to Horse Thief Hollow for creating a new scholarship with the Chicago High School of Agricultural Sciences (CHSAS); their first recipient is Kennedy Orr. Also, kudos to departing BAPA Public Education Committee Chair and former BAPA board member, Heather Wills. She promises to be just a call away, but we will miss Wills’ vision, time management, and diplomacy.
Back to the Start
No one escaped the isolation of the pandemic without challenges. Education experts say in order for students to advance we all need to pitch in where we are needed and can best contribute.