A coeducational day school serving students JK-12

The upper school student panel, consisting of members of LIFE’s leadership group and previous Latin in Rwanda members, moderated the conversation.

Sorensen and Cohen have revolutionary roles in the world of medicine, healthcare, human rights, as well as Rwanda. Needless to say, depth of experience granted them many relevant stories to share with the audience, which were provoked by thoughtful questions from Latin students and faculty. It was inspiring to hear how passions for social justice and internationalism manifest in careers. They have been advocates for those who are silenced, and given help to those in need. The conversation concluded with a discussion of what students can do as high schoolers to aid individuals affected by human rights’ violations. It was a wonderful way to conclude LIFE’s 2018 year as it solidified our answer to our biggest question: healthcare is a human right. (Insights by Summer C. ’19, Nick D. ’19, Margo W. ’19 and Anastasiya V. ’18)

In addition to speaking at the LIFE forum, Sorensen visited the International Human Rights Law (IHRL) upper school classes. During those discussions, she offered insight into patterns of government and citizen behavior previous to the perpetration of genocide and crimes against humanity. She spoke of her experiences while working with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. One specific experience that Sorensen highlighted regarded her prosecution of a perpetrator of the Rwandan genocide—Jean-Marie Vianney Mudahinyuka (Zuzu). As Sorensen explained, Mudahinyuka was a genocidaire suspected of murder and rape who escaped to America posing as an individual seeking asylum. Sorensen also talked about the responsibility of the international community regarding lack of healthcare and intervening when human rights violations are committed. The conversation concluded with a discussion of what high schoolers can do to aid individuals affected by human rights’ violations. (Insights by Emma B. ’20 and Eriko D. ’20)

The IHRL students have been eagerly preparing for their ICC trial simulation that will take place next month with the help of human rights attorney and Latin alum, Adam Weber '91. A former prosecutor for the ICC Yugoslavia, Weber offered advice to the ICC pre-trial panel and the individual case teams.

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LIFE Hosts Healthcare and Ethics Forum with International Human Rights Activists, Juliet Sorensen and Dr. Mardge Cohen

Latin’s Initiative for Ethics (LIFE) hosted a lunch forum on ethics and healthcare with two distinguished guests: Juliet Sorensen worked with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and currently is a professor of international law at Northwestern's Pritzker School of Law and teaches about human rights and healthcare; and Dr. Mardge Cohen is a former doctor at Cook County hospital and founder of its Women and Children HIV program, Medical Director of WE-ACTx, an international NGO that provides comprehensive HIV care in Rwanda and currently practices at Boston Healthcare for Homeless. 

The upper school student panel, consisting of members of LIFE’s leadership group and previous Latin in Rwanda members, moderated the conversation.

Sorensen and Cohen have revolutionary roles in the world of medicine, healthcare, human rights, as well as Rwanda. Needless to say, depth of experience granted them many relevant stories to share with the audience, which were provoked by thoughtful questions from Latin students and faculty. It was inspiring to hear how passions for social justice and internationalism manifest in careers. They have been advocates for those who are silenced, and given help to those in need. The conversation concluded with a discussion of what students can do as high schoolers to aid individuals affected by human rights’ violations. It was a wonderful way to conclude LIFE’s 2018 year as it solidified our answer to our biggest question: healthcare is a human right. (Insights by Summer C. ’19, Nick D. ’19, Margo W. ’19 and Anastasiya V. ’18)

In addition to speaking at the LIFE forum, Sorensen visited the International Human Rights Law (IHRL) upper school classes. During those discussions, she offered insight into patterns of government and citizen behavior previous to the perpetration of genocide and crimes against humanity. She spoke of her experiences while working with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. One specific experience that Sorensen highlighted regarded her prosecution of a perpetrator of the Rwandan genocide—Jean-Marie Vianney Mudahinyuka (Zuzu). As Sorensen explained, Mudahinyuka was a genocidaire suspected of murder and rape who escaped to America posing as an individual seeking asylum. Sorensen also talked about the responsibility of the international community regarding lack of healthcare and intervening when human rights violations are committed. The conversation concluded with a discussion of what high schoolers can do to aid individuals affected by human rights’ violations. (Insights by Emma B. ’20 and Eriko D. ’20)

The IHRL students have been eagerly preparing for their ICC trial simulation that will take place next month with the help of human rights attorney and Latin alum, Adam Weber '91. A former prosecutor for the ICC Yugoslavia, Weber offered advice to the ICC pre-trial panel and the individual case teams.

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Grid method in action

The Grid Method is a way of teaching that has proven successful in many classrooms at Latin across the middle school.

The Grid Method is an instructional framework for standards-based, mastery learning that is used in several science classes, language arts classes and language classes. Working from recognized standards, teachers create a grid of assignments and assessments for students to work through at their own pace. These assignments increase in complexity, from basic vocabulary up to higher-level thinking.

Grid method in action

A middle school science classroom has students working on a variety of activities according to the grid: some students are reading the materials; some students are building models of viruses; while some are researching them; some students are reading text materials; and some are working on the lab portion of the project.

Listen to Clara D. '26 describe her experience with a science project following the Grid Method. Along each step of the way, students need to show competency or mastery before moving up to the next level. This method allows students to work at their own pace and get individualized attention from the teacher when they need it. Students who master concepts quickly are able to forge ahead and do independent advanced work, whereas students who need more time are able to take it, within reason. Perhaps surprisingly, this method allows for a lot of personalized learning and one-on-one time with the teacher during class time, in small bursts right when the student is ready for it. Teachers monitor student progress for interventions and provide real-time feedback. It's an engaging way to meet the needs of all the learners in the classroom.  

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I Am Every Good Thing book

“I Am Every Good Thing” by Derrick Barnes, a book full of nourishing words and illustrations, was chosen as the lower school’s all-school read this year.

Written as a poem, "I Am Every Good Thing" encourages young readers to celebrate everything that makes you, YOU. This book affirms that kids can achieve anything they want to achieve and that it's okay for kids to make mistakes. It concludes with a beautiful message at the end:

"I am worthy of success, of respect, of safety, of kindness, of happiness. And without a shadow of a doubt, I am worthy to be loved." I am worthy of success, of respect, of safety, of kindness, of happiness. And without a shadow of a doubt, I am worthy to be loved.
"I Am Every Good Thing" by Derrick Barnes

On Thursday, October 15, all lower school students were excited to attend a virtual author visit with Barnes. Check out his presentation on the Lower School Library page on RomanNet.

Derrick Barnes author visit

Derrick Barnes, author of "I Am Every Good Thing," joined lower school students for a virtual author visit.

During a workshop over the summer, lower school teachers discussed "I Am Every Good Thing" and what ways the words and images will resonate with their students. They also talked about the concept of windows, mirrors and sliding glass doors in books best described by National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) member Rudine Sims Bishop, "Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author." Their reflection on this concept included a series of questions:

Who in your class will identify with the characters & storyline? (mirrors)

What will other students learn from the characters & storyline? (windows)

How will this create a deeper understanding of the world? (sliding glass doors)

Classroom activities will include deeper dives into the affirmations in "I Am Every Good Thing," relating to our school year's theme, Nourish.

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  • Our Voices
Graphic about intersectionality

According to Psychologist Beverly Daniel Tatum, identity is shaped by individual characteristics, family dynamics, historical factors, and social and political contexts. However, the concept of identity can be complex because the answer to “who am I?” largely depends on who the word around me says I am. (For more information on Tatum’s work, please refer to this essay, “The Complexity of Identity: Who Am I?”
Students at Latin begin learning about identity as early as junior kindergarten. In addition to thinking about the question, “who am I?”, young students begin building an understanding of intersectionality, a term used to describe how race, class, gender and other individual characteristics “intersect” with each other.

An exercise that helped prepare Latin’s lower school teachers for working through conversations around identity and intersectionality with students was thinking about this series of questions:

“How do you identify yourself? And͑ what is the most important part of your identity? Is it your sex, your race or ethnicity, your sexual orientation, your class status, your nationality, your religious affiliation, your age, your physical or cognitive abilities, your political beliefs? Is there one part of your identity that stands out from the rest or does your identity change depending on who you’re with, what you’re involved in, where you are in your life?” (SOURCE: Critical Media Project)

In the classroom, students have been working on creating identity maps and writing “I Am” poems and talking about “single stories.” Ask your student about the classroom discussions they are having related to these topics.