A coeducational day school serving students JK-12

It's middle school Project Week, which means it's 4@45 where fourth grade students get the full middle school experience at 45 N. Dearborn!
Students got a locker for the week. They got to meet fifth grade teachers. Fifth graders gave them a tour of the middle school. And they get to have their classes in the middle school building this week. 

Students were greeted by fifth grade buddies, who gave them tips on opening lockers followed by special tours of the Middle and Upper Schools. The fourth graders followed their usual schedule but they also were introduced to the fifth grade teachers and had a special RoundTable class with the middle school counselor. They loved walking independently through the buildings. The highlight was always the lunchtime choices!

Check out some photos!

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Fourth Graders Experience the Middle School

It's middle school Project Week, which means it's 4@45 where fourth grade students get the full middle school experience at 45 N. Dearborn!
Students got a locker for the week. They got to meet fifth grade teachers. Fifth graders gave them a tour of the middle school. And they get to have their classes in the middle school building this week. 

Students were greeted by fifth grade buddies, who gave them tips on opening lockers followed by special tours of the Middle and Upper Schools. The fourth graders followed their usual schedule but they also were introduced to the fifth grade teachers and had a special RoundTable class with the middle school counselor. They loved walking independently through the buildings. The highlight was always the lunchtime choices!

Check out some photos!

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Join upper school students Molly and Ella and Ms. Merrell, science teacher and Global Online Academy site director at Latin, to learn more about the GOA offerings and the benefits of taking a GOA class.

TRANSCRIPT

Amy Merrell  0:15  
Besides being exposed to a topic that isn't offered at Latin, so just exposure to different things, taking courses from teachers from different schools and with students from different schools, I think opens your eyes to different viewpoints, increases your collaboration, because you have to collaborate with people in different time zones and different schedules. And I think that's a skill that will help students even after Latin.

Molly 0:41  
The favorite part of my class was, you know, of course, the different community of GOA. I got to meet so many different people. But I also really enjoyed getting to take more control over my learning. And I think it helped me build more skills.

Ella  0:57  
So my class, because it was about specifically medical problem solving, we did a lot of kind of patient presentations where you would do some research into the symptoms and then present a possible diagnosis. And then also some group projects that we do a similar concept, but with people from around the country.

Amy Merrell  1:16  
Hi, my name is Amy Merrell. I am a science teacher and the site director for Global Online Academy here at Latin.

Ella 1:20  
I'm Ella Reese-Clauson. I'm a senior.

Molly 1:22  
And I'm Molly McKee, and I'm a junior.

Amy Merrell  1:23  
So Global Online Academy or GOA is a consortium of about 120 schools from around the world that offer a variety of online classes to students. And so the classes are taught by teachers from those 120 schools. So Latin students have the opportunity to take these courses, and learn from teachers from all over the world. And with students from schools all over the world. These courses are counted just like Latin courses are so they go for a grade and are on transcripts. GOA is started in 2012. And when it started, we had less than 15 students enroll. And we have just it has gotten progressively bigger interest has grown as GOA has gotten bigger. And so we are now at total for this year we have 62 students enrolled for both semesters. And so I think it's grown quite a lot. They've also opened summer opportunities as well. So that is another place that GOA has grown. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors can take classes. And there is a wide variety of classes. So I'm not going to go over all of them. But they're some of the most popular ones are the psych classes. So Neuro Psych, Abnormal Psych and Positive Psychology. Prisons and criminal law is another really popular one, as well as there's a variety of computer science classes that students decide to take. And some new ones that students are in there's been growing interest in are Intro to Investments, and also Entrepreneurship, which are two kind of newer additions that students have taken.

Molly  3:14  
So I considered taking a GOA class just because well, first of all, I liked all the options, and after sophomore year, I wanted to pursue a similar topic, because I took Nazi Mind the first semester. And I was really interested in like everything that we learned about in that class. But I think the main thing that pushed me to taking a GOA was a COVID and the pandemic because it opened up so much free time in my schedule, and I thought GOA would be a great way to fill it.

Ella  3:44  
Adding on to that, I think that also like Ms. Merrell mentioned, the specificity of the courses was really appealing to me because I think that at Latin we have some really great general courses whereas GOA helps you to go kind of into more niche subject areas. I took Medical Problem Solving one which ended up coincidentally having Ms. Merrell as a teacher.

Molly 4:06  
I took Introduction to Legal Thinking, and I'm signed up for a criminal law one next semester because I liked the first one so much. GOA classes can fit into my schedule a lot and really nicely just because it's not as rigid of a structure like normal classes. It has a lot more independent learning and a self-regulated working pace, I guess. So it was like really easy to fit it into whenever I had free time.

Ella 4:33  
So my class, because it was about specifically medical problem solving, we did a lot of kind of patient presentations where you would do some research into the symptoms and then present a possible diagnosis. And then also some group projects that we do a similar concept, but with people from around the country.

Molly 4:53  
I think with GOA you get a much wider variety of project types than you would in normal classes. I had debates with other students or wrote example legal documents. And I feel like I never actually wrote an actual essay, which is something you would expect to do in a typical class. So it's nice to get a different variety. The favorite part of my class was, of course, the different community of GOA. I got to meet so many different people. And, I think it was also, at least in my class, it was everyone's first time taking a GOA. So, everyone was kind of like in the same boat and we were all experiencing the thing, this class for the first time. But I also really enjoyed getting to take more control over my learning. And I think it helped me build more skills.

Ella 5:44  
I really enjoyed the class I took. And I, like, Molly, really enjoyed the aspect of collaboration, especially with people from other time zones, which was very difficult to navigate, because we all had very different schedules. But it was really cool to meet people who had different kinds of work styles and schedules and being able to learn to collaborate. And then also, I was really interested in the course material. So I loved all these kinds of diagnostic presentations. I think that if you have a specific interest in one kind of genre, or subject, then I would absolutely recommend taking a GOA because it helps you to go much more in-depth into that one topic. And, it's just an all-around really great way to have a much more flexible class. And to learn that kind of whole new skill set.

Unknown Speaker  6:38  
The only challenging part of GOA I found was the time differences. I think everything else was really great. Especially with the material that I was learning about, I got to hear a lot of different perspectives and I feel learning with other people from different countries, you get a lot more out of it than you would with just taking the class with people from the US. Definitely agree with what Ella said, I think it's a great way to explore your interests further.

 

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Upper school student athletes

Latin’s Athletics Department celebrated the following seniors who have committed to the next chapter of their athletic career: 

  • Alice M. ˈ23 will be running track & field at Harvard University
  • Carly W. ˈ23 will be playing field hockey at the University of New Hampshire 
  • Akili P. ˈ23 will be running cross country and track & field at University of Michigan
  • Megen S. ’23 will be playing basketball at University of Illinois at Chicago 
  • Ago G. ˈ23 will be rowing at Yale University

Congrats and Go Romans!

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Thomas Hagerman, Head of School
Over the past four months, I have been asked frequently about my educational philosophy and how I intend to implement it here at Latin. Recognizing that there are many audiences for this answer, I would like to differentiate my response.

The one-word version: Engagement.

Mabel Slade Vickery founded Latin School of Chicago with a shared vision of developing a school that is inclusive, student-centered, and interdisciplinary.

Enduring understanding comes from meaningful content combined with a powerful social context. In other words, when students are exposed to interesting and relevant curricula in a stimulating learning environment, they remember the information longer, have a richer conceptual understanding of it, and are able to transfer that knowledge to other situations.

The five-word version: Student-centered approach to learning.

In order for students to best engage in learning, their unique aptitudes and needs must be recognized and understood by the individual students, their teacher(s), and parents/guardians. Perhaps the most effective and well-researched student-centered approaches are proficiency- and/or standards- based learning. These entail an individualized approach to instructing children, along with assessments that demonstrate ongoing, formative progress. Rather than simply reducing a student’s nuanced or inchoate understanding of a concept into a summative and overly simplistic letter grade, the focus of feedback should ensure that everyone involved in the scaffolding of a student’s success has a good understanding of where they are on a continuum of mastery on a particular skill or concept. Final scores may complement this understanding, but not supplant it.

A more extended version: A progressive education approach to learning.

Mabel Slade Vickery founded Latin School of Chicago with a shared vision of developing a school that is inclusive, student-centered, and interdisciplinary. In part, her views were influenced by the “founders” of the progressive movement, namely John Dewey and Francis Parker. They rejected the rigidity of the one-size-fits-all approach of the past and, instead, focused on responding to the interests of students and individualizing curriculum and instruction accordingly. While idealistic in some ways, it was also grounded in pragmatism. Dewey once famously said, “Education is not preparation for life. Education is life itself.” As such, his practices and teachings included an emphasis on the development of community, civic engagement, and active citizenship. Schools as communities was a radical, but important shift in the history of education to personalize and contextualize the learning experiences for children, teachers, and families. 

During graduate school, I had the good fortune to learn from many influential progressive education pioneers, including:

John Locke–Truth and knowledge come from experience;

Jean-Jacques Rousseau–Rote learning and memorization are not ways children retain information;

Johann Pestalozzi–Learning requires a holistic head, heart, and hand approach;

Friedrich Fröbel–Play and experimentation are essential elements of learning; and

Maria Montessori–Methods of assessing students must be authentic, intentional, and multi-dimensional.

Our promise to Latin families is that we will prepare your children to pursue their passions and lead lives of purpose and excellence.

These individuals and so many others helped to shape and influence my own approach to teaching students and leading schools. Collectively, these philosophers, educators, researchers, and practitioners created a tapestry of both important aspirations and practical strategies that have impacted my work over the past 30 years. Perhaps the most significant aspect of my interest in joining the Latin community was the understanding that these were shared beliefs and values.

Of course, having a philosophy and translating it into action are two different things. As a Head of School, it is important to keep our vision at the forefront of decision-making, articulate goals for both curriculum choices and instructional approaches, evaluate programmatic success using a variety of high-quality metrics, address areas that need improvements or corrective actions, and provide appropriate resources and supports to accomplish these lofty aims. Embedded in this approach is supporting our teachers, who are experts in their fields and child development, and ensuring that our parents remain active partners and advocates on behalf of their children. 

Our promise to Latin families is that we will prepare your children to pursue their passions and lead lives of purpose and excellence. We fulfill this commitment by believing in the inherent possibility of every child, fostering a sense of individual and collective agency, instilling a sense of social responsibility, and encouraging our students to dream–then make those dreams a reality!

 

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