November 1st was an incredible evening of inspiration and giving at the Inaugural Distinctive Schools Gala. We celebrated our partnerships, our unfailing optimism, and hope for bright futures.
In May of 2011, we began our journey as Distinctive Schools, after receiving the opportunity to manage three K-8 public charter campuses with Chicago International Charter School (CICS). We wanted to make a difference in the lives of students, families, and school communities, and engage and motivate students through their unique needs and interests.
As a result, we embarked on our personalized learning journey, which was highlighted at the Gala. Classrooms went from traditional desks in rows to flexible learning environments. And, today, Distinctive Schools' students are active partners in their education, and teachers and staff design learning experiences that provide students with the right content, at the right time, in the right place, using the right mode of instruction.
Additionally, we expanded our network. Today, in partnership with CICS, Distinctive Schools currently manages four K-8 elementary schools in Chicago: CICS Bucktown, CICS Irving Park, CICS Prairie, and CICS West Belden. At the start of the 2017-2018 school year, Distinctive Schools proudly partnered with Central Michigan University in the opening Distinctive College Prep – Harper Woods and opened Distinctive College Prep - Redford at the start of the 2018-2019 school year.
Campus spotlights were shared at the Gala as well. These included empathy conversations at CICS Irving Park, as they explore how to include student voice in school design; collaborative culture at CICS Prairie, as they further engage with students, staff and families; continued growth of Bulldogs Belong at CICS West Belden, as they develop social-emotional learning trait focuses and community outreach; middle school mentoring at CICS Bucktown, so every middle school student has their own personal champion; and continued academic progress at Distinctive College Prep: Harper Woods and Redford, as they add grade levels each year to become K through 8 campuses.
However, we couldn't have done this work alone and are grateful for our advocates, supporters, and community members. Their generosity helps us positively impact countless lives, as well as close the opportunity gap and provide equity and access for all students
We are also incredibly grateful for our Distinctive Citizen Award honoree, Desirée Rogers, and Ron Huberman, Distinctive Citizen Committee Chair. Their dedication to Distinctive Schools is appreciated, and we are thankful for their leadership and sharing their limitless optimism across our network.
With that, we want to express our sincere appreciation to all our advocates, supporters, and community members. We couldn't do this great work without you!
We made unforgettable memories at the Inaugural Distinctive Schools Gala, and we look forward to creating many more in the years to come!