General Background

In music, and overture gives us hints of possible ideas, concepts, and themes that hint at what is to come.   In other words, an overture “hints at something more substantial.”  It is our hope that something sparks your interest and a need for further discussion.

In public charter schools like ours, the most important goal must always be equity.  This graphic might be a good way to consider our roles.

Best Practise

The three things educators are talking about as it relates to virtual teaching relate to  student centered learning,  culturally responsive teaching, and engaged/active learning.  These pictures sum it up best.  We have begun our informal observations (8 teachers so far) and are looking for these key areas of best practice and how we can help you reach your best potential virtually.

1. Student Centered


 2. Culturally Responsive


3. Technology Infused For Content Engagement of Content 


Content Ideas

Writing Instruction


Using and Creating Stories with StoryCorps

StoryCorps Connect

 Teen Poetry Lab Workshops

Concept English CPR Sessions

We continue to hear a lot about the importance of engaging students.  We must remember to check and make sure we are all okay in times of uncertainty.  However, it is also important to remember that using our CPR (concept, process, and relationships) philosophy, that engaging with the wrong information can be harmful to students having an important understanding of the larger CONCEPT being taught.


We hope you enjoyed our September recordings of the CPR session.  Thank you to our teacher leaders for sharing their expertise.  If you missed them, here is a sample from session #3 – Courtney Rose from HSA McKinley Park.
Our second CPR sessions are coming up the week of October 19th.

Ensuring Equity for ALL

So many folks have asked me about the issues of race, equity, social justice, and also trauma.  My personal philosophy is that we must listen and I, as a member of the dominant culture, must be willing to learn from perspectives  other than my own.   One way is my involvement in a neighborhood book club.  We are currently reading “Racecraft:”
About the text:
“Most people assume that racism grows from a perception of human difference: the fact of race gives rise to the practice of racism. Sociologist Karen E. Fields and historian Barbara J. Fields argue otherwise: the practice of racism produces the illusion of race, through what they call “racecraft.” And this phenomenon is intimately entwined with other forms of inequality in American life. So pervasive are the devices of racecraft in American history, economic doctrine, politics, and everyday thinking that the presence of racecraft itself goes unnoticed. That the promised post-racial age has not dawned, the authors argue, reflects the failure of Americans to develop a legitimate language for thinking about and discussing inequality. That failure should worry everyone who cares about democratic institutions.” 
We  have also read “White Privilege” and “How To Be an Anti-Racist”  if you are interested in setting up your own book clubs, we are happy to help.
A recent series from the Illinois Nature Conservancy – “Race, Class, and the Environment” really helped me think differently and got me seeing the connections to our environment as well.
“We must add the perspectives of different people—people of color or people with different bodies or people who have experienced poverty—our perspective and our approach will be different.”


There is currently an 8 part series on Collective Trauma and how we can work to heal our communities.  We have found it fascinating to consider “language is culture” and our responsibility as  “teachers of language” and how it makes us, as writers and teachers of writing,  “cultural workers.”  Here are some of the readings from these sessions: