“Leap into Spring” Benefits PACHS

by Kevin Garcia, Integrated Paseo program
The L-ACT Project and UIC Integrated PASEO were able to fundraise over $500 for Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School thanks to, “Leap into Spring”, an event that was created and hosted by Ahmed Chaudry and Kevin Garcia. The event took place at La Casa de Don Oscar y Doña Blanca where customers who wanted to contribute towards the fundraiser and enjoy good company relished drinks and tacos.
PRCC Executive Director José E. Lopez appreciated the notion of the fundraiser, but more so how it brought individuals together from different parts of the community and the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. Also, he mentioned to remember that while a check helps any budget issue, it is the conversations that we have with individuals and what we learn from each other is what really makes an event special and helps an organization grow.
L-ACT and UIC Integrated PASEO hope to host more events the future that will bank on the success of “Leap into Spring”.
Puerto Rican Cultural Center raises over $4000 for PACHS by PRCC staff

Puerto Rican Cultural Center raises over $4000 for PACHS by PRCC staff

Recently, as part of a drive to help address the severe economic situation that the Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School is facing, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center raised over $4000 among its membership. Several programs including Integrated Paseo, and El Rescate undertook small fundraising initiatives. Individuals made personal donations, others raised money using their family networks. All in all it was truly a huge success.
Thank you to the following programs and individuals:
1)   Lourdes Lugo $1000
2)   José E. López $750
3)   Integrated Paseo $518
4)   El Rescate
Students at Albizu Campos are Mastering Mathematics on Khan Academy

Students at Albizu Campos are Mastering Mathematics on Khan Academy

by Diamond Montana, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School
Many students in our community feel that they just aren’t good at math. They think intelligence is fixed, but it isn’t. The brain is like a muscle: the more you use it, the more it grows.
To help our students realize they they can learn anything, our Escuelita is participating in LearnStorm. Powered by Khan Academy, LearnStorm is a nine-week challenge where students can earn recognition for themselves and their school by mastering math skills and building a growth mindset.
Last week, our school had students received eight points for Mastery and 11 points for their Hustle.  Students earn mastery points by mastering math skills at their level on Khan Academy. Hustle points are designed to reward students who push themselves to keep learning, no matter what their level. Students earn hustle points by taking on challenging skills and working hard to complete them.  With our students’ hard work and us to encourage them, we can even receive a special trophy to commemorate our students’ achievement!
Let’s go Puerto Rican High School!
Albizu!! CAMPOS!!

Analyzing How Communication of POV Reveals Belief Systems

by Melissa Godinez, 10th grade English teacher

It was a very important week for MYP English 2 literary scholars at Clemente. While other students across the city are preparing for winter break, Sophomore Wildcats were drafting their English 2 unit final. Over the past seven weeks, students have been reading Harper Lee’s inspiring novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Students’ purpose for reading was based on the idea that belief systems are revealed through the communication of our point of view, particularly our core beliefs about race, class, and gender roles. As students read, they examined each character’s personality traits, experiences that impacted their identity, and how they communicated their belief systems. Through their analysis, it was discovered that characters reveal their belief systems in two ways: verbal and nonverbal communication.

The first character students analyzed was Calpurnia. As an African-American living in the Jim Crow era in Alabama, how did she reveal her belief systems and was it effective? Our budding literary scholars engaged in purposeful, intense conversations that focused on these questions. After lots of debate and examination of evidence, some of our scholars pointed out that we cannot call her communication effective until we truly know her core belief. What does she truly believe about people? They dug deep into the root of Calpurnia’s belief system about class by examining only one short passage from the novel. While this was a challenge at first, they understood why analyzing shorted passages would ultimately prepare them for future close reads in AP and IB DP assessments and college papers.

With this purpose in mind, our scholars set out to find one character that they felt most effectively revealed their core beliefs about race, class, and gender roles and revisited the novel for 1-2 page passages to analyze. Now, they are ready to dig into the text to complete their response to literature before going on break! So this week, when most students have visions of sugar plums dancing in the their head, Clemente scholars have textual evidence, belief systems, and To Kill a Mockingbird dancing in theirs!

#IBLearners: Novels, Hashtags and Essays

#IBLearners: Novels, Hashtags and Essays

by Wendy Baxter, 9th Grade English Teacher
Clemente Freshman have been engaged IB learners during their first unit as high-school students. They are enjoying reading the exciting and relatable novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie. As they read, students write summaries, answer inferential questions, create Twitter hashtags, or draw Instagram pictures which encapsulate the chapter. For example, after reading a chapter about the main character making an important three point shot in a basketball game against his ex-best-friend, one student, Danielle Mrzena, creatively thought of two hashtag summaries: #epictrickshot and #jumpandgrin. These summaries provide a vehicle for students to creatively and critically think about a chapter, the characters, and how they are important to the novel as a whole. They have used these ideas and summaries to develop character comparisons, of which they will express in a thoughtful and academic essay.
The past week, students have been rigorously working on this compare and contrast essay. Initially they were apprehensive, as this was their first high-school essay. However, students took on the role of IB Inquirers and Thinkers with pride, and the task became much more manageable as they deepened their understanding of the characters, their personalities, and their similarities and differences. Students were given the option to either critically examine two different characters, or themselves and a character. They were also given the choice of which characters to write about. The students appreciated the agency they were given with this essay, and the freedom to explore their own favorite characters. They were then tasked to develop a claim about their chosen characters, to find quotes from the novel to prove these claims, and to apply correct MLA citations. Students enjoy using the laptops in class to type their essays on Google Docs within the Google Classroom I have created, where they can access their documents on any computer anywhere. I also have the ease of viewing their essays directly from my laptop, where I can make suggestions, provide comments, and be supportive throughout this challenging assignment. Students were able to produce thoughtful, informative, and scholarly compare/contrast essays that they were proud of.
Welcome Danette Sokacich – New Principal of PACHS

Welcome Danette Sokacich – New Principal of PACHS

The Board of Directors of the Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School (PACHS) is proud to announce that Danette Sokacich has been officially named the new principal of the high school. Ms. Sokacich has worked at PACHS for nine years and has served as the Assistant Principal and on the school’s Leadership Team.
For many years, Ms. Sokacich directed the Lolita Lebrón Family Learning Center (FLC), a PACHS program that provides supportive and academic services to young parents with an emphasis on parenting and literacy skills. The work of the FLC has been presented at many professional conferences, such as the American Educational Research Association, Mid-Western Educational Research Association, National Association of Multicultural Education, and the Healthy Teen Network. Prior to her role as Assistant Principal, Ms. Sokacich taught courses in History and English at the FLC.
Ms. Sokacich completed her M.A. Ed. in Educational Leadership at Northeastern Illinois University and her Secondary Education certificate in History and English at Illinois College. She is a New York City Teaching Fellow, and holds an M.S.Ed. in Childhood Education from City University of New York-Lehman College in the Bronx, New York. Ms. Sokacich also holds a B.A. in History from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.
In addition, Ms. Sokacich serves on the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health School Network, the Advisory Council for the Teen Parenting Program at Christopher House, organizes activities with the Advocates for Adolescent Mothers, and is on the Event Planning Committee of The George Washington University Alumni Association-Chicago Chapter.
Please join us in welcoming Danette Sokacich to her new position at PACHS.
She can be reached at danettes@pedroalbizucamposhs.org,
The Board of Directors of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School