Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Public Schools’

Nine-Year-Old Stands Up for His School (Video)

July 26, 2013



Asean Johnson, take a bow!

In less than two minutes, nine-year-old Chicago Public School student Asean Johnson on Wednesday unloaded a heartfelt plea to save teachers while excoriating the Board of Education that signed off on last week’s massive budget cuts and teacher layoffs.

“One thing I don’t about this board is that you only give us two minutes to speak and you give these corporate businesses, what, an hour to speak?” the student said during his emotional speech (embedded above).

The Marcus Garvey Elementary student first roused school closing protesters during three days of rallies in May when he gave a blistering speech that decried the school closings as racist while imploring school officials to invest in and support schools rather than close them.

Johnson spoke during the public comments portion of the Board of Education’s monthly meeting, part of day-long protests by Teachers Union members, parents and students.

With tears sliding down his cheeks Johnson told the school board, “You are slashing our education. You’re pulling me down. You’re taking our educational opportunities away.”

Johnson called for parents and teachers to be in control of the board and for their voices to be heard. “Don’t let the bank control this board,” the 9-year-old pleaded. “You are saying this is all about the kids … I’m a student myself and I’m pleading and begging that you help these parents who are low-income. Give them what the need. Give them these schools.”

A tear fell from Johnson’s chin after the moderator asked him to wrap up his remarks. Before departing the podium, Johnson advised the board, “You need to go tell the mayor to just quit his job.”



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Principal Rewards Students for Reaching Reading Goals

June 2, 2013



Now that’s the kind of Principal our children so desperately want and need!:

The Chicago Public Schools District may be amid turbulent times, but that hasn’t stopped teachers, students and administrators from doing amazing things.

Case in point: Principal Nate Pietrini slept on his school’s roof last week in an effort to excite students about reading.

Pietrini, of Hawthorne Elementary Scholastic Academy, told students that if they did a certain amount of reading in the month leading up to the school’s “author week,” he would camp out in a tent on the school’s roof. The students reached the goal, so Pietrini got out his camping gear, pitched a tent and took to the top of the building.

The principal proved he actually slept on the roof by broadcasting two video webcasts during the night. He read students bedtime stories in each of the webcasts. He told The Huffington Post that 350 students logged in to watch.

During the school’s “author week” students and teachers are supposed to celebrate the joys of reading and writing. He said he believes the roof challenge motivated kids to take author week — and their reading assignments — seriously.

“I had several parents look at me and say, ‘I used to have trouble getting my kids to read but now they’ve been doing it … this may have turned a leaf for them,’” Pietrini said over the phone.

He said that his young students were all for the challenge.

“Probably 2-3 weeks before [the night] I slept [on the roof], I would have kids coming up to me everyday saying ‘you’re gonna sleep on the roof mister,’” Pietrini said.

While Pietrini said he would gladly sleep on the roof again next year, he said he may let students decide what he should do to incentivize reading in the weeks leading up to author week.

“I’d be more than happy to do the exact same challenge or even find something even a little more risqué or dangerous. I may put something out there for our student council to make that decision,” Pietrini said. “I’d absolutely do it again next year.”

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