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Friday, January 28, 2011

Rock for Reading Celebrates 500,000 donated books

Look at what I've found here. Another video about Bennett School and from the same organization that I blogged about earlier. Description:
Rock for Reading celebrates giving away it's 500,000 book at Bennett Elementary School in Chicago, IL.
Almost 20 seconds into this video (posted on February 1, 2010) you will see the late Principal Barbara Ellis talking about her love for reading and the books provided to Bennett students were what she used to read once upon a time. The duration of this video is about 3 minutes.

Monday, January 24, 2011

1954 8th Grade Civics Test

I posted this on another blog almost three years ago but figure it'll be relevant here as well. In the 8th Grade my class had to take an exam for not only the US Constitution but the Illinois Constitution as well. My scores were 106 for the federal constitution and 98 for the state. My then 8th Grade teacher really drilled us on this back then.

I found an example of a 1950s Civics Test this morning. Almost looks like the test I took back in the 8th grade many moons ago. I don't know what the Preamble to the Constitution was worth, but when I took the constitution exam I had to memorize and recite the Preamble for extra-credit and with practice I was able to do it flawlessly.

Anyway, this test was used to illustrate the difference in the school system of today vs. the school system of the 1950s. Look at this description...
What more proof do we need that our children are being deliberately dumbed down than this standard 1954 civics test on the U.S. Constitution on which Kenny Hignite received a 98 1/2, Excellent, indeed!
I have no way of knowing what the schools teach in the classroom these days. Especially as it comes to learning the Constitution. I would be disappointed that our schools doesn't give tests like this anymore.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Farewell to Handwriting?

This story from CBS Sunday Morning reminds me of my handwriting lessons from back in the day. I still have examples at home of my handwriting in Kindgarten, but unfortunately not much of my cursive work. And I can certainly believe that handwriting has given way to typing on a computer these days.

It might've been 3rd grade when I started using cursive. I simply don't remember anymore. :(

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Morehouse College wants more Black male teachers in American classrooms

Click for Morehouse website
Morehouse College is one of the most prestigious of our nation's Historically Black Colleges/Universities, but it's safe to say it's one of the prestigious of our nations colleges. Morehouse is not only historically Black, but also the only college that educates Black males.

It's interesting to see an update from Morehouse College President Robert Franklin, where he is talking about the weather situation in Atlanta:
Before I conclude, I’d like you all to be aware of an exciting event which you will hear more about in the days ahead. The U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will conduct a town hall meeting on the Morehouse campus along with alumnus, trustee and award winning filmmaker Spike Lee. The town hall will promote President Obama’s Teach Campaign aimed at dramatically increasing the number of African American male teachers in the nation’s classrooms.

Currently, the U.S. hires over 180,000 teachers a year. Only 4,500 of them are African American men. Although the Black student population is 17%, only 7% of all teachers are African American. Morehouse is in a position to impact this national phenomenon for the good. Stay tuned.
BTW, I believe Dr. Franklin is himself a product of the Chicago Public Schools as I read somewhere that he was a graduate of Morgan Park High School. He did give a commencement speech to (Empehi) back in 2009. Oddly enough I graduated from Morehouse that same year and he shook my hand as I strolled the stage.

Also, the bottom of this blog contains the symbols for both Harlan Community Academy and Morehouse College.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Grassroots effort to restore recess

The Shedd School backlot
 In the nearly five years since Lynn Morton helped begin an effort to restore recess to Chicago elementary schools, she says, she has never come across anyone who doesn't like the idea.

From parents to principals, teachers, Chicago Public Schools leaders and lawmakers, everyone seems to agree that the city's youngest students need time in the school day to play, exercise and socialize.

"In its essence there is no one who is opposed to recess," said Morton, 41, one of an estimated 300 parents organized to work on the issue by Chicago's Community Organizing and Family Issues, or COFI.

When it comes to turning it into policy however, recess in Chicago is more of an obstacle course than a playground. Once a routine part of the school day, it has been squeezed out by curriculum demands, crowding and safety concerns. And what seemed like a step toward restoring the practice — a recent decision by the General Assembly to appoint a task force to look into it — was the victim of what state Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Chicago, called legislative red tape.

Over the years, Morton and fellow parents, mostly from the city's Austin, Englewood, West Town, Humboldt Park and North Lawndale neighborhoods, have lobbied principals, CPS officials and legislators for the restoration of recess. Their campaign mirrors a national push led by groups ranging from the National PTA to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The movement has gained additional currency in recent years from the focus on childhood obesity.
 Read the whole thing!

If I recall correctly, recess was fazed out before I left for Bennett after the 6th Grade. I thought part of it was the fact that during the year before I left Shedd, we started having a breakfast/lunch program. Before that students were usually expected to bring a lunch from home.

We'd have recess at 10:30 AM and then we'd eat lunch at 12 Noon. Also at 12 Noon once upon a time we were able to leave school and go home to eat lunch. Eventually that policy would change and we would have to eat lunch at school.

Either way in that picture above, a lot of time was spent in the backlot at Shedd School during recess, once upon a time. :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Scene outside of Shedd School after school Friday

Click the photos for a better resolution.
 The flag was at half-staff on the flag pole outside of Shedd School.
Then the tribune to Mrs. Ellis on the outside marquee. Bennett didn't sport this on their board outside of that school on Wednesay.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Difficult LSC meeting on January 12th...

I wrote in my notebook twice about people getting emotional :'(, it was a really sad meeting under the circumstances. I was actually looking forward to seeing Mrs. Ellis again, but I had no idea December was going to be it. Some of the staff said that she was actually on vacation and she even came in at some point before she passed on.

There was some business discusses such as new computers and the new copier at Shedd School that was agreed on the previous month. This was the first time I didn't speak at the meeting. It was easier to do being the only one there, but there were more people there. Not sure how many parents but none spoke or identified themselves as such. One man said he was president of the No Child Left Behind program at Bennett.

In public participation the ones who participated was a 5th Grade teacher at Shedd and the President of NCLB who discussed ways to reach out to the community. An issue I am concerned about, but on this occasion I chose to hold my fire at that time. Actually I wanted to tell Mrs. Ellis about this blog, and sadly I waited too long.

Any event the meeting was called to order at 3:55 PM and I left when the LSC went into closed session at 4:42 PM. Here's the acutal agenda.

The previous post has info on funeral services.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A current Bennett student found this blog...

Comment published in the Bennett/Shedd Elementary Wesbite post. BTW, the official Bennett-Shedd website link is now broken. It's the second comment in there:
I attend bennett elementary. I am glad to say that the class of 2011, always puts their best foot foward. Some people may think that what we do is not so great. But I disagree, as long as we try our hardest, and shoot for the stars we will always be great. And thats something I think everyone should no about my school.=D!!! And R.I.P to our principal MRS.Ellis she will always be apart of the class of 2011. Do to the fact that we are her last 8th grade class. love much ~Ms.Brown

Thank you for visiting Ms. Brown. By calling yourself that you should consider being a teacher. :P

Also know that Mrs. Ellis was my third grade teacher once upon a time before eventually becoming Bennett-Shedd's Principal. And I think she's earned the tribute your class will give her when you graduate.

UPDATE: I saw at a FB group Bennett-Shedd Elementary School that Mrs. Ellis, funeral will be on January 15, 2010 this saturday at Antioch Church on 6300 S. Stewart.

UPDATE 7:36 PM -  Went to the LSC meeting today here's a flyer for Mrs. Ellis' funeral services

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sad news!!!

Well this morning I found out that my former 3rd grade teacher and the current Principal at Bennett-Shedd Elementary School Barbara J. Ellis had passed away yesterday. I don't have anymore information than that, however, I called Bennett School today to ask about the LSC meeting tomorrow. Current information is that it will still be held tomorrow. I expect to be there tomorrow afternoon.

That being said, it's really unfortunate that she WILL not be there tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I went to the New Regal Theater once on a field trip...

One memory I have attending elementary school was my one and only field trip to the "New" Regal Theater to catch a production of The Queen of Sheba when I was in the 7th Grade. I don't know how I missed this story of this theater from FOX Chicago back in November.

What opened as the Avalon in the late 1920s became a mainstay for years, but business waned.
The old place closed down, reopened, closed again and now is back with a new vibe with an appreciation of history.

It is today, looking toward tomorrow, with a nod toward yesteryear.

"Historically the Regal Theater represents quality and in the heart of their community. We want to offer entertainment you could find downtown Chicago, but here on the South Side as well," McCoy said.

Today you can find all sorts of acts and entertainment there.

While the competition is tough, the New Regal Theater offers something to please almost everyone, including a jazz on Wednesday series that is unbeatable.

"This place is great, and we really appreciate what they have done with it," Florence Honey said. She has returned to the New Regal Theater, a place she often came to as a little girl. Now, older, she loves it even more and plans to come back again and again.
The old Avalon Theater was renamed for the Regal Theater in the late 1980s. The original Regal Theater was located in the Bronzeville neighborhood where the Harold Washington Cultural Center now stands.