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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year and check out The Sixth Ward's "Year in Review"

If you're following me over at The Sixth Ward, perhaps you'll check out our "Year in Review" post. A number of significant stories that are being highlighted at the end of the year. We hope you have a wonderful New Year.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Happy Birthday from me and the Peanuts gang! Have a happy and safe one.

Also it will be snowing on this blog until at least March which would mark the end of the winter season. We can start looking again towards spring & summer! :)

EDIT 11:09 AM - And for this holiday Barking Dogs - Jingle Bells [VIDEO]

Friday, December 19, 2014

DNA Info: Residents Rip CPS' Rejection of Private School's Offer To Buy Vacant School

Levois J of The Sixth Ward :P
So the fight continues over what to do with the closed Shedd School - 200 E. 99th St. Shedd was closed in 2013 due to declining enrollment having been used as a branch of the larger Bennett School located at 10115 S. Prairie Ave.

Recently there was a meeting held at the office of 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale. It was advertised here on Saturday and this DNA Info article discusses the debate over the sale of Shedd.

The neighborhood of Roseland Heights had been in support of a religious school ultimately moving into the former school apparently CPS accepted the bid of a real estate developer. Needless to say the leaders of the Roseland Heights Community Association wasn't too happy about this development. Here's why:
In fact, Patricia Hernandez, an official with CPS' Department of Procurement, told the group that Shedd's sale wasn't technically part of those being repurposed in the June 2013 closings. Therefore, "soliciting community input is not required or incorporated into this process," a Dec. 9 email to the Roseland group states.

The email stated that the district was required by law to take the highest bidder.

"If that is true, why did they tell the Rescue Missionary School something different?" Tucker asked. "Why did they say they needed community approval?"

CPS officials did not address that in Wednesday's statement but said that the district did have the discretion to resolicit bids if necessary. They said, however, that community input will not be required in the process going forward.
This article mentioned in passing the meeting that took place with Alderman Beale regarding Shedd School. He had been quoted in that article but hopefully someone out there will let us know what happened at that meeting. And hopefully some updates regarding the rebid for Shedd School.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Follow The Sixth Ward blog for 2015 updates

If you're following the 2015 municipal elections please follow The Sixth Ward. The blog will follow elections in wards 6, 9, and 21 and there's a dedicated page which lists all the candidates that will be continually updated through the actual elections.

From time to time here you will have some updates as far as what's going on in wards 6 & 9 during the course of this campaign season. However, for more updates please head over to The Sixth Ward and feel free to follow our twitter and facebook pages.

Monday, December 15, 2014

9th Ward Alderman on CAN-TV "Political Forum"

[VIDEO] You know I wish I was more in tune to what's going on the CAN-TV call-in program Political Forum. Now that we're in the midst of municipal election season we're probably going to find plenty of incumbents willing to come onto this show to tout their positions on important issues and their accomplishments.

Last Wednesday December 3rd it was Ald. Anthony Beale's turn to talk about "jobs, raising the minimum wage, cab regulations, red light cameras, and more".

I haven't yet had the chance to watch the video above but everyone who reads this blog is more than free to discuss their thoughts on this appearance. The map of the 9th ward which you have seen here from time to time is shown below.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Meeting on the closed Shedd School


All Communities Are invited

Please join us for our Meeting on
Monday, December 15, 2014
Discussion: The Sale of Shedd School

Invited Guest: The Every Block & Educational Village Keepers community organizations, concerned citizens; union affiliates & Alderman Anthony Beale

Shedd school was closed in 2013. The school is in a one block park with ball field and play lot. CPS took bids to Sale the school. The top two bids were Rescue Missionary school, which had community support and a housing developer who's name is still unknown. On Wednesday December 3, 2014, we heard from Principal Marilyn Keeter of Rescue Missionary School to inform the community that CPS has given Shedd school to the housing developer. CPS has not given us the name of this organization. We thought that whoever made a bid for the property must have the consent of the community. CPS says soliciting community input is not required or incorporated into this process and it's up to Alderman Beale as to what will be done. If he truly cares about encouraging a greener ward he will not let this developer come into our community and take our green space to build houses.

We plan to meet with him
When: Monday December 15, 2014
Please arrive by: 3:30
Where: 9th Ward Office
34 East 112th Street Chicago, IL 60628

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

C-Span Student Cam 2015

[VIDEO]I'm a believer in such activities such as this. It's important that we can interest our young people in civics and having students do documentary projects on our government and public policy is as good a way as any. And consider the prizes although the competition will more benefit a school and it's teachers and students than the student themselves.

The image you see below is the theme of the 2015 competition. Want more information go to:

Also, I promise to advertise this much earlier than I see to have been able to whenever I bring this competition up.

Monday, December 8, 2014

CTA holiday bus and train...

Via Transit Chicago
Over at The Sixth Ward blogger JP Paulus posted some times when the CTA holiday bus would be on the south side. So the holiday bus will be running along the #3 King Drive bus starting at Chicago State University on December 9th. The holiday bus also ran on the #3 on Dec. 6th.

Also if you want to head to the bus terminal near 79th/Western the holiday bus will also run on Dec. 23rd. That's two days before Christmas Day. Here are scheduled runs on select bus routes throughout the city until the 23rd.
Via cta web/flickr

The holiday bus has been preceded by the CTA holiday train you can see a schedule of where you will see the train for this holiday season. The holiday train will be running on Dec. 16, 18, 20, and 22. The last run of the holiday train will be on Dec. 23 on the yellow line two days before Christmas Day.

Since JP has two young children he enjoys bringing them to the holiday bus and trains and have often done blog posts and pictures for that purpose. Hopefully you will do the same for your children.

BTW, I think it's time to start talking up the CTA Red Line extension so that one day in the future the holiday train can go as far south as Altgeld Garden!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Recieved this graphic from a leader of a neighborhood organization. I thought it was funny. Happy holidays to you all. Hopefully you have something to be thankful for!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Do you have an Instagram account?
Sixth Ward ig
In addition to posting here at the Shedd School/Public School blog, I also post at The Sixth Ward.

Over the summer I started an Instagram (ig) profile for the The Sixth Ward blog. Feel free to follow me over there. There are normally reposts from other local & sometimes national ig profiles but often there will also be snapshots from around the South Side. Feel free to check us out.

BTW, I do have a widget in the sidebar that shows all the posts to that ig account. So even if you don't have an actual ig account you will be able to follow what's going on there.

Also if you want to send me some photos to use on our Instagram feel free to e-mail me. My e-mail address is also located in the sidebar.

Happy holidays everyone.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tribune: Aldermen turn up heat on CPS' bond deals

Ald. Thomas by Chris Walker / Chicago Tribune
I was amazed to see that Ald. Latasha Thomas of ward 17 is leading this charge. I'm wondering if her leaving the city council at the end of her term has anything to do with this:
The Chicago City Council’s Education and Child Development Committee will hold a hearing to examine Chicago Public Schools’ borrowing practices, committee chair Ald. Latasha Thomas said Wednesday.

Eight aldermen signed a resolution calling for the hearing in the wake of a Chicago Tribune analysis of the school district’s foray into auction-rate debt. Leading the effort is 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti, who plans to run against Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the Feb. 24 mayoral election.

The Tribune found that CPS' 2003-07 issuance of $1 billion in auction-rate bonds, paired with interest-rate swaps, could cost the district $100 million more than traditional fixed-rate bonds would have.

"They were gambling with our children’s future," Fioretti said Wednesday in an interview with the Tribune.
Thomas said she had yet to see the resolution but was willing to explore the issue at committee level. Thomas, unlike Fioretti, typically sides with the mayor on major issues.

No hearing date has been set.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

No kid hungry

[VIDEO] NOTE: The video above is a preview for the documentary Hunger Hits Home. You can watch the documentary directly from the Food Network website via the VIDEO link in the brackets.

I saw a few minutes of this documentary on the Food Network this morning. This is an ongoing concern here in these United States where we're concerned about our young people struggling with hunger.

While this blog hasn't consistently tackled this issue we have posted about it on occassion. What was shared here at one point was an appearance on C-Span's Washington Journal was actor Jeff Bridges and Bill Shore talking about hunger in America.

In my mind yeah hunger is an issue but so is health. We want to teach our young people to eat healthy and that's as important as ensuring that they have something to eat.

BTW, over the years I have been tempted to share programs from Whole Foods Market to help schools start gardens. I know that they're not the only player as far a grocery stores in this activism. Perhaps to help not only the issue of hunger but of nutrition there are ways to attack this issue as well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

In honor of Veteran's Day

In honor of Veteran's Day I wanted to discuss the history of the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. The 54th was one of many units of Black military forces that served during the American Civil Ward. Typically on days such as this I want to discuss the role of Blacks who served in the US military during the history of this nation.

The story of the 54th was told in the film Glory which starred Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, and Morgan Freeman. This was a movie my 8th grade class watched in order to get us more in touch with Black history. Unfortunately aside from watching it in class and perhaps on TV at times over the years this film has been an afterthought.

Which is unfortunate especially since I could get in on such formats as VHS, DVD, and now I could download it via iTunes. It also opened my eyes to the role of Black troops during the Civil War one of the ending results was the ending of slavery in the United States. Black troops were certainly contributing to that cause.

Now that I think about it's time to own the 2012 film Lincoln. The first scene of the film involved President Abraham Lincoln speaking with Union soldiers especially a pair of Black Union soldiers who successfully recite the Gettysburg Address. The gist of the film involves the debate over the 13th amendment to the US Constitution to abolish slavery in the United States and certainly those Black soldiers contributed to the victory of Union forces in the Civil War.

May we honor all of our military veterans and their role in our history and honor their service to the United States of America!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Most public school students aren't prepared for college work, data show

Most public school students aren't prepared for college work, data show

Click the link above for the Newsalert blog to read more about this subject. I will write my thoughts in the near future. If you see the excerpt it's a shame. What can we do to get CPS students ready for college?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Open House for the Method plant in Pullman NEXT Thursday

This information was sent to people on 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale's e-mail list:
  • Open House

    Informational Session for the Pullman Community (9th Ward)
    Thursday, September 18, 2014

    Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
    250 E 111th Street
    Chicago, IL 60628
    (Enter Door #36)

    for more information on open positions or to submit your resume, please visit

    If you do not have a computer to apply for method jobs, no worries... 9/2/14 -10/3/14, please call 773.928.6000 x229 to schedule an appointment to use computers that are available, here you can apply for jobs, upload your resume, and complete a prescreen assessment.
An actual flyer is seen below.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

DNA Info: 'The Wiz' Screening Encourages Audience To Sing Along, Dress in Costume

[VIDEO] So the Studio Movie Grill owned Chatham 14 Theaters still have those Black World Cinema events every 1st Thursday. This Thursday The Wiz - released back in 1978 starring the late Michael Jackson and Diana Ross - will be shown at the Chatham.
Black World Cinema's movie night this month at Studio Movie Grill-Chatham will feature "The Wiz" — and audience members are encouraged to sing along and dress in character.

The movie, starring singer Diana Ross and the late Michael Jackson in the "Wizard of Oz" remake, will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday at the theater, 210 W. 87th St. Admission is $6.

Venisha White-Johnson, director of operations for the theater, said she hopes the audience will sing during some of the musical numbers.

"It's a fun way to engage the audience and have fun, too," she said. "We also want kids to come dressed up in their favorite 'Wiz' costume."

Free school supplies also will be given away, but White-Johnson said children are not required to wear a costume to receive the school supplies.
How appropriate that this event was scheduled because school has just started for the year.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Congrats to Jackie Robinson West #JRW

I want to offer a belated congratulations to the Morgan Park based Jackie Robinson West Little League team. They made it all the way to the Little League World Series and unfortunately lost to a team from South Korea on Sunday for the Little League baseball world title.

Unfortunately I never had the chance to truly watch them play but it's great to know this group of young men have already tasted success in their young sports careers. Here's hoping they will continue to have success not only on the baseball diamond but also in their lives away from sports.

Every young man or woman either playing youth sports or even playing in high school, college or professional can always have the ability to become a champion if they work extremely hard. That also goes for life whether in school or in a career as well.

Chicago was truly behind this team and this morning there is a parade for them.

BTW, Worlee over at The Sixth Ward shared his own thoughts on not only JRW, but also the state of Little League baseball on the south side. We need to provide outlets such as this for our youth to keep them out of trouble and team them skills that would help them not only in sports but in life.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Life skills

This reminds me we had to take a class on consumer education but the teacher who taught us this in my senior year of high school well I didn't get the gist of what we were supposed to know. All I knew was that I got credit for it.

Before I graduated from 8th Grade we had to take a basic skills proficiency which I also passed. It showed us a lot of things that we could use when we get out here in the real world.

Another thing learned before getting out of elementary school was that our math books had exercised with regards to balancing a checkbook. By the time I got to senior year of high school we had to do this on a PC. Although in that case we used an antiquated version of Microsoft Works which basically contained programs akin to word and excel but it wasn't on Windows 95 like the computer I had at home!

School contains the stuff we should learn academic during the course of our time in school. They're as important as the life skills contained in the image above - found on FB. Unfortunately schools don't teach that and most importantly this is not something you should get credit for anyway because you need to know these things.

BTW, it hits me that my 8th Grade teacher as an exercise had us fill out applications for McDonald's. Not sure what I got on that assignment but I knew what to do.

ALSO, we shouldn't just know how to vote as it's also important to know who you're voting for. Schools should always teach critical thinking schools to allow students to make the right decisions as far as votes, life, money, etc.

My experience was almost 20 years ago, perhaps CPS has changed or perhaps they have stayed the same. What do you think?

Friday, August 15, 2014

9th Ward Back to School parade, picnic, & health fair

I apologize for this short notice. This event is expected to occur tomorrow afternoon and is worth noting here.

Further information is below:
  • Alderman Anthony A. Beale's 15th Annual Back-to-School Parade, Picnic and Health Fair
    Join Alderman Anthony Beale for his 15th Annual Back-to-School Event Saturday, August 16, 2014

    Parade Kick-off: 11:00 a.m.
    Roseland Little League
    12483 South Michigan Ave.
    Picnic Immediately Following in Palmer Park
    201 E. 111th Street

    Alderman/Committeeman Anthony A. Beale
    34 East 112th Place
    Chicago, Illinois 60628
Flyer is below

Monday, August 11, 2014

Attending live sporting events?

When I was a student at Bennett/Shedd schools I only fantasized about going to a sports event since starting to watch sports in the 3rd grade. My first exposure to sports was watching what was believed to be exhibition NHL hockey with the Chicago Black Hawks. It was the most interesting sport I had ever seen.

Earlier than that though I had attended my first Major League Baseball games. At one point I went with my parents to both Wrigley Field and the late Comiskey Park. Unfortunately I don't remember either event or even as much as who the Cubs and White Sox had played and no idea what the respective scores had been.

Regardless during my time in elementary school I had attended a Bulls game which I do remember. The Bulls were playing the Houston Rockets however don't ask me about the score that escapes me. This game was played at the late Chicago Stadium and is also the place were the Barnum & Bailey Circus would perform!

That wasn't the only game I ever attended at Chicago Stadium. This score I do remember, the Chicago Black Hawks played the Soviet Union Red Army team in a losing effort 4-1. I saw a fight up close between a Hawks player and a Red Army player. They played physically and the fans showed their contempt for the Russians with their vulgar chants and vulgar T-Shirts on sale before the game. It was a different experience I had also attended with my parents.

Since then that was the last game I ever attended before two Chicago Bulls games when I was still in high school. It was one exhibition game and one regular season game that my mother had procured through her job and we sat in the club level at the then new United Center. Incidentially these games came during the season where the Bulls won their last NBA Title.

Finally my first live MLB game in many years I attended last Wednesday. The White Sox at US Cellular Field (I still call it by it's original name Comiskey Park) lost to the Texas Rangers 3-1. Both teams had good defense it seems, but offense counts and the Rangers were scoring the runs. It was also at the club level of the stadium where I had a nachos supreme and a bacon cheeseburger with pink lemonade. It was a great experience to watch live MLB baseball in spite of the fact that I kept getting distracted by my cell phone LOL!

As a matter of fact though, the pic above I snapped at the same White Sox game last Wednesday at the start of that afternoon game. I still hope to go to Wrigley Field in the future I talk about it but it needs to happen.

Are sports an important aspect of your life?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Science & Technology: It's fun you'll see!

[VIDEO] Recently this song just came into my head. I don't remember when this aired on TV, but it had to have been when I was still in school. It had to have been a message to encourage young people to consider studying science and engineering. Is it catchy to you as well?

BTW, this was a public service message from the National Science Foundation.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

HuffPost - 'This Is Are Story': Chicago Public Schools Are Failing

WOW, we see more public school bashing here.

"This Is Are Story" - this article states this is a theme for the senior class at Robeson High School. See something wrong with this short statement. Yeah one glaring one we should all know especially since a conjugated verb is substituted for a similar sounding determiner pronoun.

Either way this story is about the CPS and the statistics regarding our school system that doesn't make it look very good:
Four out of 10 CPS freshmen don't graduate.
91 percent of CPS graduates must take remedial courses in college because they do not know how to do basic math and other schoolwork.
• Only 26 percent of CPS high school students are college-ready, according to results from ACT subject-matter tests.
After you completely read this is public education more of a holding cell and should it be used more as a launching pad?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Reciept for Graduation 94

Wow! I never thought I'd find this around the house. Apparently our then school librarian - Mr. Hackenbrock - was also our school's clerk and provided this reciept for graduation fees. $30 apparently paid for two luncheon tickets which had been held at the old Martinique banquet hall near 95th/Western. Unfortunately that place was demolished and ultimately replaced by a Walmart & Sam's Club that sits on the site today!

It's funny that this reciept was likely made by a facsimile device. Handwritten save for probably the lines where you would fill in the date and the name. Come to think of it this receipt had to have been produced in 1994 because the year was already written on the original sheet and copied.

Quite a throwback!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

WBEZ: CTA overcharges kids to get to summer school, job programs

WBEZ/Linda Lutton
As often stated I don't have children yet. It would be unacceptable that CTA and CPS hadn't adequately einsured that students still get reduced fare to get back and forth between home and their schools. Especially during the summer session as indicated in this recent article.
In what appears to be another stumble in the city’s transition to the new Ventra fare-collection system, thousands of young Chicagoans are paying more in train and bus fares than they should be this summer.

Typically, students under age 20 going to summer school or jobs programs would pay reduced CTA fares—currently $0.75 per ride and $0.15 for a transfer.

But many have gotten a rude awakening this summer when they’ve used their student cards on buses or trains.

“I swiped it, and I had (added) a dollar. Usually a dollar is good for me to get over here, but it said ‘insufficient fares,’said student Cesar Fierro in the hallway of his high school, Noble Street College Prep. Fierro rides on a student Ventra card he purchased at school.

He’s been paying $4.50, every day, to get to and from summer school—if he has the money.

“Like yesterday I had to walk all the way home,” said Fierro. That’s a 4.5-mile hike, from Augusta and Milwaukee to Fullerton and Kostner.
 And while school officials attempt to solve this issue, they seem to get the runaround:
School staff at Noble Street say they’ve “easily” spent 10 hours on the phone over the last two weeks trying to get reduced fares for summer school students— “calling back and forth to Ventra, being sent to CTA, the CTA saying, ‘Go back to Ventra.’ It seems to be a very confusing time for the companies as well as the schools,” said Noble Street administrative assistant Nicole Baily.
CTA spokeswoman Lambrini Lukidis says that’s because reduced fares are for students enrolled in an educational program, not for all youth. “If you're enrolled in the regular fall term, once that term finishes, the entitlement on the Ventra card is turned off automatically,” said Lukidis.

For students to get reduced fares during summer, schools must submit each student's individual transit card ID number to the CTA (or to one of Ventra's subcontractors). Lukidis says the transit agency has been working since spring with schools to prepare for the summer session. She says 5,500 Chicago Public Schools students and 9,500 students from charters and private schools are already receiving the reduced fare.

“So we have mechanisms in place for this to work successfully, and it has,” says Lukidis. She blamed Noble Street's problems on a "miscommunication on how to activate and get all of those entitlements processed."
Well at least there's an explanation, not to keep this from happening again!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Tribune: Starting this fall, free breakfasts, lunches available for all CPS students

I can't believe according to this article, school lunches in elementary school could go for $2.45 on average. When I went to Bennett-Shedd it was .75 and went up to .85 cents. Perhaps the quality of food today is much better.

Regardless CPS has found some money to provide free meals to all students. That's certainly excellent news:
The high number of students living at the poverty level in the district qualified CPS to meet the required threshold for full reimbursement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to CPS officials.

In the past school year, lunch at a typical elementary school  for students who didn’t qualify for assistance cost an average of about $2.45. High schools charges slightly more.

The district expects to serve 72 million meals to students in the coming year, two million more than during the last school year.

“If a student eats that day, the district gets reimbursed,” said Leslie Fowler, executive director of CPS’ nutritional support services. “But if they don’t eat, then CPS doesn’t get reimbursed and there’s no cost associated with that meal. We can’t predict what they do or don’t do, but we hope we can encourage them to participate.”

In the past, the school district’s free and reduced lunch program for financially eligible students was fraught with fraud. Several CPS school officials, including principals and assistant principals, were accused by the district’s Inspector General of providing false income information on applications for the free lunch program.
Sooooo, I don't have children yet, however, as a parent I would have fought tooth & nail not to pay over $2/day to feed my child. They'd get sent to school with a lunch from home at the very least.

Still this development under which this program has been expanded one thing is for certain CPS is dominated by low-income students.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July

Independence Day is almost over, but that doesn't mean we can't use the Peanuts characters to mark this day. Also school's out for the summer anyway and even if either school is in session or there's a summer school session today would be a day off anyway.

However you marked this day in your personal life hopefully it was celebrated in a very safe way. Hopefully you were careful in firing your fireworks. And hopefully everyone was well fed by any BBQ foods.

Most importantly you celebrated the USA's birthday with friends & family!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sun-Times: CPS announces more than 1,000 staff layoffs

This is certainly an interesting if not a shocking development:
Before releasing its budget recommendations for the 2014-15 school year or enrollment projections, Chicago Public Schools announced staff layoffs on Thursday for 550 teachers and 600 other school staffers.

Added to the 147 staffers (including 76 teachers) who already got pink slips at three schools confirmed for a turnaround, 625 teachers and 671 other school employees are now looking for work.

CPS began notifying approximately 1,150 employees on Thursday that their schools would not retain them in the fall due to falling projected enrollment. That’s about half the number who got pink-slipped last year in the wake of a historic number of school closings, and district officials said on Thursday they believed that like last year, about 60 percent would be rehired at other CPS schools.

“The staffing changes are driven by declining student enrollment at each of the affected schools,” said schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett. Since the district doles out a set amount of money per child enrolled, fewer students lead to budget cuts, she said. The 550 teachers, she said, represent the lowest number of annual teacher layoffs in the past five years. And some help has been available for schools who have asked for it, she said.

The Chicago Teachers Union said the layoffs also mark the fourth time in the past five years in which more than 1,000 CPS employees lost their jobs in the summer. All of the teachers and at least 250 of the other staffers are CTU members.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What if I was a graduation speaker?

The school year is over and the class of 2014 - wherever they went to school - has since graduated. Many have listened to the messages of their commencement speaker. I've always imagined myself as a commencement speaker, but what would I say.

My last semester at Morehouse College I took a public speaking course  and our last assignment was the formal speech. It was in fact written with myself in mind, that is what if someone gave the speech that I gave in class to students such as myself back then.

Well who knows, but a pep-talk is never a bad thing. Indeed that was the basic title of my speech. At this point I'm too lazy to pull it out of my files and recite it for you. What can be done is that the rough speech is about me encouraging students to seek help when possible as to figure out what you can do with your lives. It's something that I've been entirely too proud to do myself too often.

When it was time to graduate high school I wasn't sure what was next. College was the next logical step but I had little idea and wasn't seeking much information on that path. My interest even before graduating 8th grade at Bennett School was the military, however, my parents didn't encourage that path due to my good grades at Harlan High School.

The problem was I was never entirely confident in those grades because I achieved them too easily back then. I was never an honor roll student in elementary school and while fortunes do change if you weren't already a student who often achieved high marks how does one overnight get high marks at the next stage of their educational careers?

All the same, the message to students is always consider the future. Don't freak out, and always remember there are people out there who will help you along the way. The key is to reach out to them if you need a nudge in the right direction. That was a message I figured out late, but no matter where you are in life you will need help along the way.

BTW - Published at exactly 10 AM on June 24th, 2014. According to these graduation tickets the exact 20th anniversary of my 8th grade graduation.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

2014 Children Summer Series at Studio Movie Grill

Click image to go to SMG page
A few years ago under the ownership of ICE Theaters, the Chatham 14 on 87th Street had a film series called "KidsRule Summer". Well things change and under new ownership - this time Studio Movie Grill - the Chatham 14 now has "Children's Summer Series". Although it had started as of late May 2014 it will continue through August

Thursday, June 19, 2014

9th Ward community meeting NEXT TUESDAY

UPDATE JUNE 18, 2014 @ 3:21 PM: I erroneously wrote in the title that the community meeting was on Tuesday night which was June 17th. My apologies for the confusion, I had been alerted to this mistake via e-mail to The Sixth Ward where this was also posted. The rest of the post is correct as the meeting is on June 24th, which is next Tuesday!

For those of you who reside in the 9th Ward tonight is Ald. Beale's monthly community meeting. It was posted to our FB page and is worth sharing here on the blog as well:
  • 9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale and City Department Representatives present a 9th Ward Community Meeting

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014
    6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

    Pullman Presbyterian Church
    550 East 103rd Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60628

    For More Information: Please Call the 9th Ward Office at 773.785.1100
    Thanks to Rev. Eddie L. Knox, Jr. and Pullman Presbyterian Church for their community support!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

DNA Info: Morehouse College Graduate Seeks To Become Chicago's Youngest Alderman

Corey Hardiman by DNA Info Wendell Hutson
I wrote about this young man this past March when he brought a group of students from his alma mater - as a graduating senior at that point - to the south side of Chicago for a spring break service project. Now he wants to unseat 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale and DNA Info profiles the recent college graduate:
"I know people may think I am too young and inexperienced and that I won't be able to raise enough money to put fourth a good fight but that's what they said (in 2008) about President Barack Obama," Hardiman told DNAinfo Chicago Monday. "If he was able to do it then so can I."

The aspiring politician, who is a member of Salem Baptist Church, said he is scheduled to speak at 6 p.m. Monday to residents at the Altgeld Gardens public housing complex on the far South Side, which is part of the 9th Ward.

"I am going to speak to residents to let them know their opinion matters to me and I want to hear their concerns regardless if they are a registered voter or not," Hardiman said. "Ever since I graduated from high school I have always wanted to enter politics to make a difference in my community."

In 2010 after graduating from George Corliss High School as a Gates Millennium Scholar, where Beale is also an alumnus, Hardiman predicted at Mayor Richard M. Daley's annual interfaith breakfast at U.S. Cellular Field that he would run for mayor after finishing college.

"Well, maybe I was aiming too high at the time," Hardiman said. "But I certainly think it is a realistic goal."

Among the biggest issues facing the ward, Hardiman said, is public safety, education and economic development. While he praised Beale, 46, for "finally" getting a Walmart store in the ward, he said much more needs to be done on an economic level.

"If we could get President Obama's library to the far South Side that would create unlimited opportunities economically," Hardiman said. "Gone are the 'ma and pa' businesses in the 9th Ward and we need to bring back those small, family-owned businesses."
Here's an FB page if you wish to follow his campaign for 9th Ward Alderman.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

DNA Info: Metropolitan Family Services To Host A Jazzy Fundraiser in Roseland
If you're looking for some events add this to your calendar via DNA Info:
The nonprofit Metropolitan Family Services, which provides social services to needy families, is hosting an annual Jazz at the Met fundraiser featuring live jazz from local performers at its far South Side office.

Music will be provided by local DJ Mike Burns and jazz artists The Beverly All-Stars featuring Liane Williams and Margaret Murphy, Jamiah On Fire and The Red Machine, and Russoul.

The event runs from 3-7 p.m. Saturday, June 21 at 235 E. 103rd St. Tickets, which are available online, are $50.
This event takes place no more than one block away from Bennett School!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Black Enterprise: Morehouse College President Talks ‘Education Crisis’ Facing Young Black Men

I'm sorry about missing this article from March 2014. Black Enterprise magazine interviewed the President of Morehouse College Dr. John S. Wilson. He discusses the education crisis amongst Black males:
BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke to Dr. Wilson about the crisis that faces young black men and what role HBCUs like Morehouse can fill to change the direction. Here’s what he had to say:

When you speak of the cradle-to-prison pipeline, what are some of the things that can be done?

The first thing we have to do is recognize that it’s a very serious issue—some would call it a crisis—and something needs to be done. You may think that goes without saying but it’s not. There’s a numbness that people in this country—black and white and around the world—have to what’s going on with the African American male. If other groups had the kind of educational data profile that the African American male has, it would be nothing short of a crisis. But for some reason, too many people find it tolerable or natural in some way.

So, I think recognizing that it is a critical issue that goes to the productivity and security of this country is step one. Step two is developing a sense of urgency once you recognize it; and step three is organizing to get better data about it and exchange a best practices designed to do something about the challenge. In the midst of all that, we need what we haven’t had and that’s a shining beacon on the hill—an institution that’s recognized worldwide as the destination of choice for men in general and in particular African American men and that’s Morehouse College.

What can be done on a personal level?

First, I think the steps that I outlined are relevant for individuals as well as institutions. Number two, parents can address the cycle by ensuring that their sons are exceptions to the general rule. And even if you’re not a parent, there are many organizations that care about this issue and you can align yourself with them and you can become involved— politically and otherwise.

I was very pleased that the President of the United States announced a “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative designed to get at this. I think some people have recognized that. I think the President is making an attempt to sound an alarm that there is a crisis.
It's worth reading the whole interview although it seems relatively short and there are two other published questions that Dr. Wilson was asked. What more do we need to do to keep our young men out of jail and keep them in school?

While I'm sure Dr. Wilson and others want to see more young men go on to achieve that undergrad degrees, what can we do to ensure our young men will achieve their high school diplomas?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Maintaining the closed Shedd School...

These pictures were shared on May 22 in the Bennett-Shedd Elementary School FB group. Then wrote in the comments that the grass had been cut by that Sunday afternoon. Then on the afternoon on June 5, 2014 I took a few snapshots with my phone outside of Shedd School.

I got more than just taking pictures of cut grass. I think putting gang graffiti on a school building abandoned or not is vulgar in the worst way!

 The pics below was taken near the school's front entrance and shows some gang graffiti. Very vulgar findings on a former place of learning. Here's hoping someone can take command of this building and be able to keep this school's grass cut and and vandalism off this property.

UPDATE June 7, 2014 @ 1:55 PM Crossposted to The Sixth Ward

Friday, May 30, 2014

Mechanics: I Ran for Local School Council and Maybe I Even Won!

The author of this article - Phil Huckleberry - discusses his experience as a candidate for his neighborhood school's LSC. He apparently won the election, but discovered at a recent meeting that the results have been challenged. That school's LSC won't meeting until next year after new elections, and the school's LSC functions would be governed instead by CPS' central office. Something pertinent Mr. Huckleberry said in his piece:
Now, this story isn't about me and my awe-inspiring 21 votes. It's not about whether or not there was some sort of problem with the election.

This is a story about bureaucracy.

I can rail against charter schools or say negative things about the mayor just like a lot of people who write words that get put on the Internet. I can talk about how great Karen Lewis is just like the next cherished Chicago journalist.

But here is the crux of the situation: Bureaucracies put bureaucracy first. And the reality is that Chicago Public Schools is a horrifically clunky bureaucracy, steeped in nonsensical inefficiencies, ultimately overseen by an unelected board who are themselves nothing more than hand-picked highly privileged bureaucrats. The system is failing its students because the system is more important than the students.

There are a lot of smart and dedicated administrators within CPS. But things are never truly going to turn around so long as everything is about CPS and not about the actual students.
I suggest you read the whole thing, and of course we hope to hear your thoughts on this.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

CSU Presidential Library Support Requested

We were aware of some meetings regarding the future Barack Obama Presidential Library as it pertains to Chicago State University. While Mayor Rahm Emanuel is encouraging a single bid for the city to become home to a library many sites in Chicago are seeking one especially the President's former employer University of Chicago.

You can check out Curbed Chicago's coverage of Obama's Presidential Library Chicago State's bid for the library. The contents of the e-mail you will see below.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Strausberg: Pfleger says no one shot or wounded last night is proof ‘We can do this’ #putthegunsdown

Fr. Michael Pfleger
An interesting account written by Chinta Strausberg for those events connected with #PutTheGunsDown from last Friday. Here's hoping everyone had a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.

Friday, May 23, 2014

5th District Candle Light Peace Rally #putthegunsdown

This rally will take place on tonight from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at 113th & Michigan. An event such as this is scheduled to take place at roughly the same time in neighborhoods throughout the city of Chicago. Please let us know if you're holding such an event in your neighborhood feel free to mention to us on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Is this a school/education or a neighborhood blog?

Sometimes I haven't figured out whether or not this is a neighborhood blog or an education blog. It seems to go both ways sometimes. Even then sometimes it pays to follow what's going on at CPS.

Today I'll do something different. The District 299 blog has a round-up of stories worth looking at. Also consider it's been 60 years since the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision of the US Supreme Court. Of course there are other issues of the day to consider there as well.

If I'm interested in education, it's time to follow those sources that follow public education in Chicago.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Black School Principal critical of Emanuel takes to blog, airs complaints

 Got wind of this story via the Newsalert blog:
 The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

"An outspoken elementary school principal who recently blasted the mayor’s office for silencing Chicago Public School principals in an opinion piece he wrote for the Sun-Times, is now airing comments from other school leaders on his blog.

Troy LaRaviere, principal at Blaine Elementary School in Lake View and a veteran of the U.S. Navy, called the administration’s interaction with principals “insulting,” in an opinion piece he wrote in Saturday’s Chicago Sun-Times.

“While publicly praising principals in speeches and with awards, behind the scenes this administration has disregarded principals’ knowledge and experience,” he wrote. “They have ignored and even suppressed principals’ voices in order to push City Hall’s political agenda for Chicago’s schools.”

When principals questioned the merits of Emanuel’s signature longer school day in 2012, for example, “CPS officials were then dispatched to tell the principals their opinions didn’t matter,” LaRaviere wrote."
You should read the original  opinion piece here it's pretty explosive!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Chicago Teachers Union votes to oppose Common Core Standards - Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Teachers Union votes to oppose Common Core Standards - Chicago Sun-Times

I've been hearing about this Common Core for a while and most of what I heard isn't good. I think it's time for me to check out what Common Core is and why the Chicago Teacher's Union is on record opposing this.

Here's an official statement from the CTU on this development.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

I wonder if elementary schools have events for Mother's, Father's, and Grandparent's Day like they once did during my time at Bennett/Shedd? Well today is the day to celebrate here.

In keeping with a recent tradition, we get a Snoopy/Peanuts character to mark this day.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter

Keeping with a recent tradition here another Snoopy image for Easter. I hope today is a safe and joyous one.

You know all the years I've spent in school I never recalled a time when Good Friday fell on Spring Break as it did for CPS students last week. Once CPS decided that Good Friday wasn't a regular holiday and my teacher declared that he wouldn't show up for work. Lo-and-behold he didn't show up for work that day and until my graduation from Harlan High School Good Friday remained a CPS holiday.

As school is back in session on Monday, here's hoping CPS students had a restful spring break and finish their respective school years very strong.

Monday, April 14, 2014

CPS on spring break

Worlee over at The Sixth Ward notes that while there is no school this coming week the Chicago Park District will be open in addition to other options. While there will be activities for young people during their break from school, there are many who won't have any supervised activities. Everyone should be vigilant this week.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

LSC elections & thoughts on the state of education

Monday and Tuesday are days for LSC Elections. Monday was LSC election for elementary schools and Tuesday are such days for the high schools.
It was my intention to post the above flyer over the weekend unfortunately it seems I kept running into a snag with regards to posting it online whether through Blogger or the FB page. Anyway if you're living at least in the Roseland Heights or West Chesterfield area you may have found this in your screendoors or mailboxes. Sharon Banks-Pincham represents the community on the LSCs for both Gillespie Elementary and Harlan Community Academy.

Hopefully you were able to be informed of the LSC elections on Monday and were able to vote. Hopefully you're able to vote on Tuesday for LSC members at your local high schools.

Speaking of education, on Monday Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax ranted about the state of education in Illinois. Many of us are concerned about the state of education in Chicago especially for the K-12 set. So he starts out with a piece comparing charter schools with the neighborhood public schools and states:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

DNA Info: Wi-Fi Hot Spots, Laptops to Be Loaned by Libraries Under Pilot Program

What do you guys think of this idea? Is this workable in the longterm?
The Chicago Public Library is planning to lend out wireless hot spots and laptops in one of the first programs of its kind in the country.

"Wi-Fi lending is a pilot program that we are interested in exploring in order to make the Internet available to people without this technology at home," said Brian Bannon, commissioner of the library system.

The system's "Hotspot at Home" initiative has been in planning stages for a while, but received a boost when the library decided to apply for funding through the Knight News Challenge grant competition earlier this month.

The details of the pilot program are still being hashed out, but will likely start out at 12 branches that are in communities where home broadband usage rates are the lowest.

As with checking out books, DVDs or fishing poles, anyone with a library card in good standing would be able to take home the devices.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Found my old 8th Grade graduation tickets

I'm so ecstatic right now! I found my two spare tickets from my 8th Grade graduation which was held at the Bennett School auditorium. Alas I have no other photos from this event, but I was glad to have finally completed my time at Bennett-Shedd. It was time for me to get out of there and it was time for the next great unknown - Harlan High School.

Hopefully I have some other memories around the house of that day. Mainly the program for the exercises, but at this point I'd have to search far & wide for it. Hopefully it will be found because I barely remember most of it.

At the same time I still have my tassel, kente scarf, even a medal that we wore during our exercises. That medal is a treasured possession of mine that fell apart in recent years, but had gotten repaired. The ribbon was red, black, and green like the "Black liberation flag". It's probably the only medal I will ever get!

And yes, this means that my 8th Grade graduation took place 20 years ago! That means I have just shown my age, sheesh!

Anyway, in between keynote speakers and other formalities we had to perform songs. One written specifically for our graduation and based on a popular song. And of course the Bennett School hymm. I just need to figure out why our teachers would torture us like that. LOL!

I think our keynote speaker was Bill Campbell who a major figure at WLS-TV channel 7 - our local ABC affiliate. Beyond some of those minor details I no longer remember our commencement. Although surely someone has some memories somewhere, yes?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Had the chance to see the Glee Club, however...

Glee Club and Morehouse Alumni sing college hymn on stage
I posted about the Morehouse College Glee Club coming to Chicago recently, unfortunately due to  being unable to get off work that night I wasn't able to make the show. However, I did get a chance to see them a little over two years ago at the Harris Theater. I wrote this post originally on March 7, 2012.

It hits me that 2011 and 2012 marks a milestone in my own personal history with Morehouse College. In 2001, I was accepted to Morehouse for the first time and Spring 2002 marked my first semester there. Back then I was talking a good game about supporting Morehouse, however, I have yet to put my money where my mouth is.

Anyway it's been 10 years since my acceptance and my first semester there. And of course after dropping out for a year and half due to money and it took me some time to finally graduate from Morehouse. I can't believe that it's been that long already. Where has the time gone?

Last night, I saw current Men of Morehouse perform at the Harris Theater. The Morehouse Glee Club came to Chicago and performed and impressed a lot of people who never got to see the Glee Club perform. This is the first concert I've been to involving the Glee Club. They often performed at college functions such as crown forums or even baccalaureate and commencement. Sometimes they perform at events such as that for the King Memorial.

Believe it or not, I hadn't planned on going. My mother just decided this was something she wanted to do and she had tickets through her job so we went last night. It was a great performance and say what you will about them the Glee Club has talent.

Here's an example of what they perform. They performed this very song last night in fact, "Betelehemu" [VIDEO]
This has encouraged my mother to support schools like Morehouse College. She may give a donation in the future and I would also be interested as well although I've yet to find a "Morehouse Man job". Also I have other goals as a function of being a Morehouse Man that I think would be valuable but I'll save that for another post.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The hope dealers

Last week students of Morehouse College went on spring break. Also last week a group of 14 Morehouse students led by Roseland resident & Corliss High School alum Corey Hardiman came to Chicago forgoing the usual spring break rituals - i.e. going to the beach - to engage in service on the South Side of Chicago. I'm going to share some of the media that I have found of these young men doing good in Chicago in early March

Mary Mitchell discusses these young men in a recent column:
Corey Hardiman and his crew could be kicking up sand this week in Florida.

Instead, Hardiman and 14 other students from the historically black Morehouse College are in Chicago shoveling snow — and delivering hope — to young people who have been impacted by the violence on the Far South Side.

Hardiman grew up in Roseland where he attended Lavizzo Elementary School and Corliss High School.

Now about to graduate from Morehouse, where he attended on a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholarship, Hardiman returned to his alma mater this week as an alternative to the spring fling most college students are enjoying.

“Dope has plagued our community for so many years, it is time to give out hope,” Hardiman told me. “Dope is for sale, but hope is free.”
Hardiman, 22, raised about $4,500 to pay for the bus tickets
Hardiman said he was inspired to do this by a literacy project he did in Philadelphia as stated in the Mitchell's column.

Also this article from the Tribune also discusses this service project. Below it's illustrated how well students who go to Roseland area high schools perform on the ACT tests:
In Roseland, the picture for black males is even more dire than the national portrait. According to Chicago Public Schools data, there arefour high schools that serve students in Roseland. At Corliss, Harlan, Fenger and Julian High Schools, only a little more than half of the student bodies went on to graduate in 2013, statistics show. The average ACT score at those schools was about 14, which is considered poor. The average score in the state last year was 20.
Wow, it's been years since I took the ACT and well my score was slightly above the average score for thos local high schools and much lower than the average score for this state. Although let me just admit that it's been years and who knows how they score the test these days. Assuming the ACT changes like the SAT.

Now here's some other media. Audio and some videos!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thinking about the past after a recent visit to a courthouse...

Looking outside of the courthouse
Recently, I was summoned to jury duty at the Cook County criminal courthouse when it hits me that many years before had been my first visit actual visit to this area. My 8th grade class at Bennett School took a field trip to the adjacent Cook County Jail where we were met by the inmates who's apparent goal was to scare us straight.

They made a unified statement telling us to think about it. Some of us smirked to which some of these inmates let us know that there was nothing funny about what they said. Some of us were passionate as whatever these inmates were saying struck a nerve. Some were in tears and others had an outburst.

Many of them tried to relate to us tales of what happened to put them in jail and some of my peers were finding themselves in the same situation anyway. In fact, I'm sure this experience probably saved a few of us that day. Unfortunately in spite of this trip, there is at least one classmate who was headed for trouble back then who is no longer walking among us today.

In fact that experience was the first time I realize that some of my peers were in gangs. It was a revelation that was only the beginning as I headed to one of the worst high schools in the city at the time. If I had no clue they were in a gang when I finally got to my assigned high school that fact would be thrown in my face.

Hopefully the youth of today don't have a trip such as this, one of the most unusual during my time in public school. Although perhaps a trip such as this should be reserved for the ones who are known to be trouble. Although if only we had a true crystal ball for the ones who's future are either dead & buried or constant trouble with the law.

If anything I'd rather hope we sent our youth to the courts for a tour of a courthouse. If only my grammar school had arranged for that back in the day instead of a trip to the jail. Perhaps someone in my class - especially myself - could've been inspired to be a lawyer or judge. Or the future 8th graders could be inspired to have a career in the law.

All the same, I'm satisfied only with having to make a rare trip to a Cook County Courthouse for jury duty. Thankfully no brushes with the law that would land me at either Cook County Jail or in a courtroom at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse. And I hope to keep it that way!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Morehouse College Glee Club coming to Chicago this month!
I've been knowing about this information for more than a month. Two years ago, I got to see the Morehouse College Glee Club in action at the Harris Theater. Of course many came to support the young men who make up the student body at Morehouse. Here's more information via Morehouse Chicago Alumni FB if you wish to attend this event.
The Morehouse College Glee Club is coming to Chicago March 21, 2014 at Harris Theater

Ticket information can be found at

Support Morehouse College and the Chicago Area Morehouse College Alumni Association in our quest to raise scholarships for deserving students in their matriculation at the college

For more information on the Morehouse College Glee Club

Also refer to the flyer below! Full disclosure, I'm an alum of Morehouse College although currently not a member of the Morehouse Chicago Alumni Chapter.