CICS West Belden celebrates TWENTY YEARS of operation this year! CICS West Belden is a neighborhood school that many call home and that is exactly what it is to our students, families and staff. West Belden is a community that exemplifies what a home is; a place that provides safety, learning, relationships, care, mentoring - and all of this is what has led to the success that this school has seen for the past 20 years.
Together, CICS West Belden leaders, teachers, staff, students, and families over the past 20 years have built such an amazing community. Through partnerships, continued and accelerated learning, and deep community collaboration, everyone has set a strong focus on positivity and culture as we collectively transformed and led this school! We have worked to reimagine school – what it is and what it can be time and time again – this is a community that I am so proud to be part of. From Learner profiles, to personalized learning plans to guaranteed viable curriculum and assessments, restorative practices to behaviors and discipline, to competency based and standards based grading, to the best darn 21st century flexible learning environments around, this team has continued to show up for our WB community as trailblazers and the most innovative educators in the entire education ecosystem. This school has been a pillar of excellence and innovation throughout Chicago Public Schools and for schools across the world. We celebrated together with an afternoon of refreshments and awards with our staff and community!
We presented the Heart of West Belden Award celebrating bulldogs who have served and remain committed to the WB community. These are the faces and smiles recognized throughout the WB hallways, and their many years of service to the Bulldog family truly make them the heartbeat of WB! The recipients are Sylvia Hernandez, Miguel Navarro, Gina Olivares, Nancy Rios and Johana Sauza!
The Torch Award honors two Bulldogs for their initial involvement at WB and for returning to serve our Bulldog community in their current roles! Alyssa Diaz, member of the class of 2009 now teaches 5th grade at WB and Mayra Barajas, member of the class of 2006 returned to teach kindergarten in 2020 and now serves on the bilingual learning team and is the proud parent of two current WB students!
Finally, the Lifetime Achievement Award honors the people who have not only been a part of WB pretty much from the beginning, but who have left an indelible mark on this family, this story, this school. They are foundational blocks on which everything else has been built over the last 20 years. The recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award are Kelly Pollack and Jerry Taylor!
We’re thrilled to share that CICS West Belden is on the path to becoming a COMMUNITY HUB! We will provide more opportunities for families – more than our school day, updated technology for classrooms, hiring community focused staff, expanding before and after school programming, a refresh for our camps building – and we’re just getting started!
Congratulations to all the awards recipients and to the entire West Belden community on truly inspiring 20 years, and many more to come!