May 23, 2014

Educator Advisory Committee Members Develop Innovative Initiatives

The Fund is committed to our belief that great principals and teachers are the key to creating classrooms and schools that help all children succeed. That is why we created the Educator Advisory Committee (EAC) in 2013.  The EAC is made up of principals and teachers from both district and charter schools across the city of Chicago, all of whom share a commitment to accelerating student learning in both their classrooms and schools.

Members of the EAC meet with the Fund team to inform investments and offer invaluable feedback throughout each fund. To thank them for their time and strategic insight, The Fund awards grants that EAC members can use to support innovative initiatives in their classrooms and schools. You can read about some of the 2014 EAC projects below.

Jeremy Robinson; Teacher, Rauner College Prep
In his 11th grade American Literature class,  Jeremy promotes a love of reading by allowing students to read independently for the first 20 minutes of class. Recently, he improved the effectiveness of this portion of class by incorporating the use of iPods that contain audiobooks. Students who want to read a book with the support of an audiobook narrator may check out one of his iPods at the start of class and read with it. This initiative has proved very successful. With support from The Fund, Jeremy plans to expand it by purchasing several refurbished iPods, as well as a collection of engaging young adult novels and their accompanying audiobooks.

Gerardo Arriaga; Principal, Tonti Elementary School
Gerardo will leverage support from The Fund to bring an interactive educational animal show of real reptiles and other creatures of nature. He believes this will help his primary grade students understand the life of different animals as part of their units on the study of animals. The presentation will be done during Tonti’s science week, in which students from all grade levels are provided with opportunities to learn concepts and skills that are part of the New Generation Standards. After the presentation, students will be writing and describing the features of the reptiles and their environments.

Paul Riskus; Teacher, Urban Prep – Bronzeville 
Two years ago, the Urban Prep – Bronzeville campus implemented Advanced Placement courses. This year was its first official year teaching a full AP Biology course, and many students have excelled in this rigorous class. As the Science Department Chair, Paul is thrilled to see this type of growth at the school he has been at during the last three years. With support from The Fund, Paul will fund laboratory materials for AP Chemistry and AP Biology. This funding will truly help his AP students excel, and will lead to passing scores on their AP exams.

Michelle Willis; Principal, Gillespie Technology Magnet Cluster School
Michelle knows that technology can support learning at Gillespie, and she plans to expand the school’s current project “Gillespie Academy” to another grade level. The Gillespie Academy is a collection of student-produced instructional videos in which students explain how to solve problems. Classmates are able to view the videos to assist them with specific skills they need assistance with. With The Fund’s support, Michelle will be able to purchase additional flip cameras, storage devices and supplies to expand and sustain the Gillespie Academy project.