Category Archives: Education

Documentary Film Workshop at Chicago Filmmakers

Think you’ve got the idea for the next great documentary? Or maybe you’re just looking to make that Kickstarter video pop.

Chicago Filmmakers, at 5720 N. Ridge in Edgewater, is hosting a two-day workshop in the genre March 15 and 16.

Students will learn from professional teachers working in the industry, and will “develop the foundational skill-sets necessary to continue crafting content on their own that looks and sounds professional regardless of production budgets,” according to an announcement from the organization. “Whether creating a crowdfunding campaign video for an independent project or piecing together a testimonial video to demonstrate a company’s new product or event, this course will provide students from all professional backgrounds and filmmaking experience levels the opportunity to master new lucrative skills under the guidance of seasoned professionals.”

The cost of the workshop is $300 for members, $315 for non-members.

Chicago Filmmakers is a not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to helping people acquire the tools they need to become a filmmaker.

To learn more about the upcoming workshop or others go to the co-op’s website.

Flatts and Sharpe Offers Free Lessons to Federal Workers’ Kids

Flatts and Sharpe Music Company owner Chris Bell was inspired when she saw that St. Gertrude’s food pantry was offering help to federal workers who are not being paid during the government shutdown.

“They are just another small neighborhood organization that is doing something, and I thought, we’re a small neighborhood organization, we should do something too,” she said.

Bell will offer free lessons for the month of February to children of anyone affected by the shutdown.

“There’s no reason that children should suffer,” she said.

Flatts and Sharpe has about 600 music students between their Rogers Park (6749 N. Sheridan) and Norwood Park locations, Bell said. So far only four students have applied for the free lessons. But that doesn’t mean the response was small.

“For every one person who requested help, there were about 30 people who replied that they would donate for scholarship. I thought that was so great,” said Bell.

Government workers are expected to be paid for the time they miss from the shutdown. But Bell said she won’t ask them to pay for the free lessons.

“No way. They are going to have enough catch-up on their hands as it is,” she said.

Bell noted that one of her students, a Rogers Park resident, has both parents working for the federal government. Nationally, about 800,000 workers are not being paid during the shutdown. Many of them, including TSA officers and air traffic controllers, are still required to work.

Bell said Flatts and Sharpe offers lessons from a wide variety of instruments.

“Everything except bagpipes and the harp,” she said with a laugh.

School Quality Report Has Good News for Rogers Park

Chicago Public Schools released its fifth consecutive School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) and Rogers Park elementary schools, high schools and charter schools are highly ranked.

The SQRP is the Board of Education’s policy for evaluating school performance and it includes college enrollment, persistence, priority student group growth, and a target test participation rate of 95 percent, according to the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) website. This newer strategy uses a 5-tier rating system.

In the 2018-19 report, five of the Rogers Park schools were K-8, one schools includes grades 6-12, one school was grades 9-12 and one school was K-12. The schools included New Field School, Field School, Kilmer School, Jordan School, Gale Academy, Sullivan High School, Chicago Math and Science Academy (CMSA) and Acero de la Cruz School. There rankings have improved or remained the same since last year.  

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The CMSA has received a 1+ ranking for the past four years, and it is currently ranked 69th in Illinois by the US News and World Report.

Alderman Joe Moore (49 Ward) released a statement Oct. 29 congratulating the eight schools located within Rogers Park schools for their high rankings; all of the schools received scores of 2+ or higher. There are five rankings in the SQRP system: 1+ is the highest score and 3 is the lowest.  

The New Field School has the most improved ranking in Rogers Park in this past year, according to Moore.

“By last year, New Field’s rating had dropped to Level 2,” Moore said. “Under the leadership of its dynamic new principal, Corey Callahan, and an engaged Local School Council, New Field soared back to the coveted Level 1+ rating.”

The SQRP has many purposes, such as showing parents and community members individual schools and district academic success. It also recognizes and identifies high growth schools and helps guide the Board’s decision-making processes around schools actions and procedures.

Sidelined By Van Dyke Verdict, Senn Homecoming Better Late Than Never

Senn High School’s annual homecoming pep rally, scheduled for Oct. 5, had to be postponed when word came that a verdict in the murder trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke would be read that afternoon. Van Dyke was found guilty of second degree murder. And violence that had been feared if a not guilty verdict came in, did not materialize. Homecoming festivities were held Oct. 8.

Our team of Senn High School students were on hand to record the fun.


Sullivan Boosters Creating Refugee Welcome Space, Casual Study Lounge

When a group of Sullivan High School supporters asked what they could do to help the school, principal Chad Adams realized he could fill two needs by fixing up one room.

Over the next few weeks, a group of volunteers will pull up the carpet, paint the walls and add new furniture in the school’s library, turning it into a coffee-shop-like hang out spot for all students, as well as a unique welcoming center for Sullivan’s large refugee population.

The room will still function as a library, Adams said. But he hopes it will be a new focal point for the school, especially for new arrivals struggling to fit in.

The simple goal, Adams said, is to “make Sullivan a better place for our students.”

Backing the work is a new booster group, the Friends of Sullivan, with the help of the Rogers Park Builders group. Money is still being raised for the project. You can learn more about it, and make a donation, at the Friends of Sullivan website

“The recreating of the library is going to affect our students in a way the will feel like home,” said Sullivan teacher Sarah Quintez, who works with immigrant and refugee students.

As many as 150 of Sullivan’s 700 students are immigrants and refugees, Adams said. It’s important to make then feel welcome, and make sure they have access to support programs. The new welcome center will also be a place just for them to hang out, Adams said. He stressed, however, that the rest of the library space will be for all students.

“We are very excited about this change for our students, not just immigrant students but every one of our students,” said Adams.

Supporters are also working with a local artist to create a mural that will reflect the many different cultures at Sullivan.

Civil Leadership Class Urges Middle Schoolers To Get Involved

Civic engagement isn’t the first subject you expect to hear about from a typical group of middle schoolers. But a group of Rogers Park and Edgewater young people were happy doing just that on a recent visit to their summer classroom.

“Civic engagement is getting involved in the community and helping those who need the most help,” said Burabari Denuate, 14. “Sometimes there’s others who have the power to make a difference, but really don’t take it.”

Gregory Wade, 14, described civic engagement as being “a place where people can come and express themselves and learn how to be better leaders… it’s important because we’re the next generation.”

The students are part of an After School Matters program on civil leadership. Based on the Loyola University campus, it is being offered to Rogers Park and Edgewater middle school students from five neighborhood schools.

“I really think this program is a great introduction to students about civic engagement and how they can identify within themselves what their civic identity is and be able to have the tools and resources to be able to create change,” said Saeed Rose, one of the program’s instructors.

The students all have the opportunity to create change within their schools. Each of the five schools worked together to compose a plan that they hope brings positive change in a particular area.

For example, Aiden Murphy, 13, explained that the Kilmer group will be working on improving the bathrooms. Likewise, Danitzy Rosillo, 12, told us that the Swift group wanted to focus on the issue of students disrespecting teachers.

Dezyr Smith, 13, said that the Pierce group will be focusing on what she described as “drama” in their school, referring to a variety of issues like bullying, gossip, and fighting.

“Drama as in any type of way that students interact with each other in a negative way,” she said.

Pierce was not the only school to choose drama for their plan. Denuate said the Field group was focusing on something similar.

Rose said the program is not about simply solving a problem. It’s about making a positive, lasting impact on the world around them.

“It’s a great opportunity to be able to build something organic and continue to grow,” said Rose, “and the experience will always stick with them. We’ve created a space for them to really be able to share and express how they feel about issues in their society.”

“My favorite part is being able to come together and discuss,” said Smith. “Because it makes students feel like they are in their school community. I recommend it to other students who want to make a change… and I feel like this program really makes a difference.”