Valedictorian Tyra Dixon’s Story of Perseverance

Tyra Dixon’s time at Excel Academy of South Shore, part of the Chicago Public Schools’ Options Network, has been marked by strong academics, student leadership and extracurricular achievements - shaping her into a well-rounded young woman. Her hard work and dedication resulted in being named the class of 2024 valedictorian. A member of student government, Tyra was elected Executive Bronco, a position that goes beyond the typical student government responsibilities and one of her many roles that allows her to demonstrate her leadership skills. “Once I became a Bronco, that's what really pushed me [...]

Valedictorian Tyra Dixon’s Story of Perseverance2024-06-18T14:17:15-04:00

SAFE Achieve Academy students build confidence through hair education

Eight students from SAFE Achieve Academy of Chicago, part of the Chicago Public Schools’ Option Network, recently visited Yvenetta "Midge" Welch, the dedicated owner of Issues Barber & Beauty Salon, for a tour and Q&A session at her salon. The students, part of a cosmetology class at the school, had the opportunity to meet stylists and chat with them about their profession, as well as practice some of what they had learned about washing hair. Throughout the spring semester, Yvenetta was instrumental in nurturing the students’ passion for hair styling and grooming as a potential career path. According to Joseph Haley, executive [...]

SAFE Achieve Academy students build confidence through hair education2024-06-18T13:14:09-04:00

Arien’s High Road Journey

Table of Contents Academic gains Ready for success beyond the High Road School Finding the right educational setting for a child with special needs can be an exhaustive search. Ashley Negron, the mother of Arien, knows this all too well. From the time Arien was just 3 years old, Ashley found herself struggling to get him the support he needed at school. Frustrated and wanting only the best for her son, Ashley decided to enroll him in the High Road School of Hartford, a decision that came with mixed emotions. "I didn’t [...]

Arien’s High Road Journey2024-06-13T15:00:42-04:00

Summer’s Success at BEST Academy

Table of Contents Finding the Right Fit Unwavering Support and Preparation for the Future When Mary enrolled her daughter, Summer, at BEST Academy in 2017, she hoped for a supportive environment where Summer could thrive. Today, nearly seven years later, Mary reflects on how BEST Academy has exceeded her expectations, providing her daughter with the tools to grow academically and socially. From her very first visit to the school, Mary said she recognized BEST Academy was the right choice. "Immediately I could tell it was the school for us,” she [...]

Summer’s Success at BEST Academy2024-06-13T15:03:29-04:00

Excel Academy of Southwest students checkmate the opposition to win chess tournament

Excel Academy Students from across Chicago recently gathered at the Excel Academy of Southwest for a day of competition. The school hosted the third annual Excel Academy chess tournament, where teams competed three-on-three-style.Jake Benke, director of the Southwest campus, extoled the virtues of chess as important activity that fosters critical thinking skills amongst his students.After four heated rounds, Excel Academy of Southwest took home the trophy with the highest point totals. The top player, Luis Vilchiz, was awarded a plaque and a customized chess board. He said he enjoys playing chess as he likes thinking about all the strategies and [...]

Excel Academy of Southwest students checkmate the opposition to win chess tournament2024-06-10T12:31:00-04:00

Showing understanding through art at the Sierra School of Sonoma

Elementary school students in Room F (aka The Wild Things) at the Sierra School of Sonoma recently exhibited their creative skills with a project on South African symbolism and abstract art. As part of their academic work Sierra students, ages 6 to 10 years old, studied several cultures in their social studies class, including South Africa. They created a variety of art and replicated objects based on what they have learned about the country. Third grader Mateo said it felt good to learn new things about another country. Another student, first grader Chevelle was happy [...]

Showing understanding through art at the Sierra School of Sonoma2024-05-24T10:29:10-04:00

Empowering the next generation through the art of storytelling

After weeks of meticulous post-production and an outpouring of support, 2023 SESI Teacher of the Year Kristi Hoffman and students from the Academic Six high school classroom at the High Road School of Wright City proudly present their Women's History Month podcast. The special project podcast features interviews with some of the remarkable women who help lead SESI.The spark for this project ignited when Executive Director Mary Claire Engel issued a challenge to her classes: explore Women's History Month creatively.“What started with the idea of sending interview questions to women throughout the organization led to a [...]

Empowering the next generation through the art of storytelling2024-05-20T10:33:09-04:00

Excel Academy leaders and students participate in United Black Male Educators of Chicago Public Schools inaugural conference

Several members of the Excel Academy community recently participated in an important event hosted by the United Black Male Educators (UMBE) of Chicago Public Schools. Students along with Dr. Anthony Haley Jr., regional director, Chicago, and Tyree Booker, school director, Excel Academy Roseland, who are members of the UBME, attended the organization’s inaugural student empowerment conference. The landmark event, held at Olive Harvey Community College, aimed to educate, empower, and elevate Black male students in grades 7-12 from across the District and the city. The conference is one initiative by CPS that helps address the [...]

Excel Academy leaders and students participate in United Black Male Educators of Chicago Public Schools inaugural conference2024-05-16T10:58:19-04:00

Celebrating creative expression at Excel Academy of Englewood

At Excel Academy of Englewood, part of the Chicago Public Schools’ Options Network, a recent event celebrated spoken words, music and the visual arts. The "Express Yourself" showcase provided a platform for both students and staff to share their talents. "Express Yourself" stemmed from English and art department lessons, where students including delved into the areas of poetry and painting. What simply began as an assignment soon evolved into a school-wide celebration, inviting participants to share their unique voices through poetry, songs/rap performances, or visual art such as paintings or drawings. Auditions, [...]

Celebrating creative expression at Excel Academy of Englewood2024-05-20T12:20:32-04:00