We appreciate all the families who choose Distinctive Schools, and thank you for being part of our Distinctive family! Happy National School Choice Week from all of us at Distinctive!
It takes a village: EL Supports & Updates
Guest Author: Lori Fink, Distinctive Schools EL Network Coordinator
Personalized Learning from an English learner (EL) lens is super exciting, because it is very inline with WIDA’s Can Do philosophy, as well as Distinctive Schools’ strategic plan, to embrace the cultural and linguistic attributes each of our students bring to school. Likewise, relationships are at the heart of everything we do, and our students come from diverse backgrounds. Personalized learning promotes developing relationships and a deep understanding of student cultures. If we are to truly develop successful young people, we must focus on building relationships with our entire school community. Hence, as we look to establish impactful relationships with diverse students and families, an integral step is to develop strong school and home partnerships.
In order to do so, Chicago International Charter Schools (CICS), Bucktown, Irving Park, Prairie, and West Belden, managed by Distinctive School, have a Bilingual Advisory Committee (BAC). The goal of the BAC is to facilitate leadership development of parents in order to advocate for the academic, social, and cultural development of all ELs. This year, our campuses have had tremendous success through the inclusion of the BAC in the school community. Participation has supported student academic and social-emotional success, celebrated and overcame language and cultural differences, and continues to empower families to be engaged in their child’s education.
Highlights: At CICS Bucktown, BAC parents organized a Fall Fest Potluck. A record breaking 75 students and parents participated. Families enjoyed food from different cultures and an authentic performance representative of music from the Andes Mountains.
CICS Irving Park’s BAC helped to design and promote culturally and linguistically responsive classrooms by organizing a family history project and bulletin boards representative of classroom communities. Throughout the month long project, there was an excitement amongst the students and faculty as everyone was sharing and learning about each other’s culture.
At CICS Prairie, parents strengthened their leadership skills by attending parent trainings hosted by the Office of Language and Culture. Parents learned about bilingual education, immigration rights, and parental involvement. They were able to bring that information back to the school to share with the greater community.
Just like learning is personalized for our students, Distinctive Schools also provides personalized learning for our parents. For instance, voice and choice helps drive our parental engagement. By asking families what they want, we are able to seek out meaningful opportunities that meet parent needs. It is through this model that we look forward to continuing to strengthen, bolster, and grow parent and community collaboration to provide a distinctive educational experience for all of our stakeholders.
Trailblazer teachers and staff hold a vital role in developing school reform, and we are grateful for their innovation, commitment, and dedication to our network! This month we are featuring a Trailblazing Teacher from CICS Irving Park.
This month's Trailblazer is someone who keeps his students and student-centered learning at the heart of his work. He is willing to take risks in instruction, and because he is willing to challenge his students, they are productive, responsible, and engaged. He understands that his students have various needs and skill levels, and addresses student needs individually. He personalizes math for his students, giving them options and a variety of ways to problem solve. This educator is a leader, extremely driven, and willing to do whatever it takes.
We feel so fortunate to have him at CICS Irving Park, please join us in congratulating a Trailblazing Teacher, Mr. Matthew Hoeft!
Mr. Matthew Hoeft: Featured Trailblazer!