The 2019-2020 GCE Yearbook is off to the press and we can’t wait to share it with our community. We made a lot of memories this year and the yearbook is a great way to celebrate each student’s contributions. We are working hard to ensure that every student receives a yearbook at little to no cost this year. We believe that each student has earned a yearbook to share with their families.
For the past two years, students in the Food For Thought class have visited the Metropolis Coffee Company’s roastery to learn about the life of the Coffee plant. They’ve toured the state-of-the-art roastery and gotten a behind-the-scenes look at each step of the process. Metropolis is dedicated to serving a stellar cup of coffee, but what’s even more important to them is respect. Respect is at the core of the company’s philosophy, from farmers to consumers.
The students were not able to take a physical tour of the facility this year, but Carrie Shemanski, Director of Marketing and Customer Experience, brought the visit to them. Carrie jumped on a Zoom call to talk about the ins-and-outs of sourcing, roasting, brewing, and serving coffee. She led the students in a virtual coffee cupping experience and gave them tips on identifying and describing flavors. The ultimate question is, of course, “How many cups of coffee do I have to drink before they stop tasting like coffee?”.
The students in the Food For Thought class are investigating the guiding question, How are food systems shaped and how do they shape the world?. As a part of this investigation, the students studied the Agricultural Revolution which led the class to the question, What would it be like to return to humanity’s roots as foragers?. The Eat The Neighborhood tour with Dave Odd is the signature Field Experience of the course; teacher, Brent Mix has partnered with Dave the last two years for this much-anticipated experience.
Dave of Odd Produce is Chicago’s only professional forager. He led the students on a virtual version of this tour through the North Park neighborhood. The experience showed the students that there are food and medicine all around us, we just have to know what to look for.
Juniors are taking a course called Policy. The first Unit, called “Legislate,” investigates the ways that policy happens through legislative bodies. For the most part, our curriculum focuses on the Federal level of the US government; in past years, our students have spent considerable time with the City of Chicago’s legislative body, the Council. This year, we were thrilled to be joined by Connie Jordan, Public Defender in Cook County (who had also visited us in February with Latoya Hughes, a State’s Attorney).
Please refer to this document for polices regarding grading and assessment during Connected Learning at GCE Lab School.
Please refer to this guide for staying healthy and how to communicate issues concerning health with GCE Lab School.
Please refer to this guide for earning and submitting Civic Engagement credits for the spring term.
Please refer to this guide for earning and submitting Health & Wellness credits for the spring term.
Shortly after we closed our campus for COVID-19, our learning community came together to design an online version of Final Presentations, where ordinarily, students demonstrate what they’ve learned. It was awesome.
You can help support our innovative high school as we step boldly into a changing world.
If you missed our first-ever totally virtual Final Presentations live, it’s now available to watch the recordings. Check out how our amazing students embraced a new experience and explore ideas of significance through guiding questions, such as:
- What do my dreams say about who I am?
- What is the impact of legislation intended to curb climate change?
- How do ideas from the past affect us today?
- What is the future of renewable energy?
- How meaningful are we?
- How can questions shape the world?
- What is an epidemic and how do we prevent one?
- How can information act like a disease?
- How do misconceptions about mental disorders develop?
- Who defines what information is too sensitive for the general public?
Dear GCE Community,
Routinely, we call the GCE community a family. Isolated now in our respective homes, navigating this unfamiliar landscape, we remain invested in the wellbeing of our students and families.
In the meantime, members of our team will be in and out of the school building. Generous parents and community members have helped us put together a store of non-perishable food items and toiletries for any student in need. We can also be available to help troubleshoot technology issues and other concerns. Please contact me, Kiley, Kim, or any other faculty member you trust if you need anything.
All students should have received an email/calendar invitation from their advisor for a virtual meeting at 9:00 am tomorrow morning. If you have not received this invitation or do not know how to connect, please reply to this email now.
Inspired by a high school friend of mine, I have assembled these few nuggets to keep in mind as we enter this new mode of operation.
1. Be kind to yourself. Teachers, be kind to your students; students, be kind to your teachers. Everyone is stressed. And that’s ok.
2. GCE is better suited than a number of other institutions for remote learning. We maintain our curriculum online. A large number of course resources are also already available online. Our students have familiarity with these tools. Nevertheless, this is a shift for us, and faculty need to retool. Please be patient with them.
3. We will not recreate our classrooms online. We are working now to imagine creatively how the experiential elements of our program can be exercised over this new medium. We are a lab school, and this is a new experiment. We will learn together. In some times we will accomplish excellence; in others, we may not. Again, please be patient with one another.
4. We are all at home, but this is not a vacation. To be successful in teaching and learning. each of us must work, and we will require the support of whole households.
5. This public health situation is exactly the kind of global circumstance that animates GCE’s curriculum. Our sophomores have been studying public health for the better part of the year. It is the speculation of GCE that matters of global concern, requiring a collaborative and creative response, maybe increasingly routine. It is our responsibility and opportunity to learn together with our students at this moment.
6. Students, your teachers will miss seeing you every day. It is much more difficult to provide quality instruction when we cannot see you working. Communicate. Over-communicate. Then give us just a little time to reply. These are busy days, and we have other students too. We will do our best to communicate too. We will try to tell you why we are prioritizing some things over others, why we are assigning the work that we are. We want you to perceive that our choices are purposeful.
7. Seniors, we know you continue to angle toward graduation. Please, please, please communicate any college or aid decisions you receive. Or other kinds of opportunities too. If we are still working on applications, communication is even more important.
8. Families, the faculty are, in real time, doing very significant labor at no additional compensation and with not enough training. I am exceedingly grateful to our small team, working long hours, caring for our students, supporting one another, and delivering still a substantial, dynamic learning experience. Teachers – most of us – consider ourselves learners first. It is likely the reason we are teachers. We want students at all levels to learn and, more, to develop a lifelong disposition toward learning. What I have seen in the past days is nothing short of jaw-dropping—teachers coming together, creating communities across the globe, trying to help each other learn so we can help our students learn. Please support our faculty.
9. Anxiety is difficult to manage in “normal” circumstances, but it is compounded massively by a climate of anxiety and fear around a crisis. Schools are feeling tremendous anxiety. Teachers are feeling it. Students are feeling it. Families are feeling it. Make your own strategies for anxiety mitigation. Take a walk. Text a friend. Play a video game. Bake a treat. Whatever would be in any way soothing, do it. This is not normal; let’s not force ourselves to pretend it is.
10. Social distancing can feel very isolating. Even those who recharge by being alone are feeling isolated. Reach out. Talk to friends. If you have older neighbors or colleagues or family members, they may be particularly afraid right now. Reach out. Make plans to talk to and be with small groups of people, and keep your plans. Help build community. That’s what will sustain us. Community.
With great affection for this community,
Head of School
Students in the Drawing Lines course took a deep dive into public art during our three-week Civic term. Students in this course were challenged to define the seemingly simple term, public art. In search of an answer, students took a tour of the murals in Pilsen with Luis Tubens of Pilsen Public Art Tours, they talked with Nathan Mason, Curator of Exhibits and Public Art at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, they visited Steve Weaver and Maryrose Pavkovic from Chicago Public Art Group, they toured public artworks in the Loop and Wicker Park, and they discussed the concept of placemaking with Katanya Raby from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. Students were out on the field almost every day learning from experts, collecting data, and exploring artworks in search of a definitive definition.
The class closed out the term by working with We All Live Here artist, Rich Alapack to wheatpaste a mural on the wall of Moody’s Pub in Edgewater. This unique experience gave the students the opportunity to assume the role of public artists; working against the elements and talking about the project with passers-by. At the end of this day, students were confident in their own definition of the term, public art and certain that there is no one definitive answer.
Students in Drawing Lines have been investigating the concept of placemaking specifically through art. So far in their investigation, they’ve looked at how public artworks may create places where people want to gather and how the process of creation may bring people together. They got a different perspective on placemaking during their visit to the Design Museum of Chicago where Tanner Woodford, founder and executive director explained that his donation-suggested museum is in itself a piece of public art. The museum not only fulfills the city’s need for a design museum but it serves as a place that educates and unites diverse groups of people.
The purpose of this Field Experience is to see how a place with the mission of gathering people through art may also be considered a piece of public art.
Students will meet Tanner Woodford, the founder and executive director of the Design Museum of Chicago to understand the impact of places and spaces as public art.
The students in the Drawing Lines course have been examining the power of public art in educating and uniting a community. As a part of their investigation, they studied the Mexican Muralist movement and the work the artists did to reunite a divided country. We are fortunate enough to live and learn in a city that has an incredibly rich public art scene. We visited the Pilsen community on the Southwest side of the city and got a tour of the beautiful murals that reflect the history and stories of the community. Luis Tubens of Pilsen Public Art Tours led us on a very informative and engaging tour that clearly demonstrated the impact of public art.
Students have been studying the social impact of the Mexican Muralism movement of the 1920s. The purpose of this Field Experience is to give this investigation local context by viewing the culture of murals in Pilsen, a Latin community known for its thriving art scene. Luis, the Director of Pilsen Public Art Tours and our tour guide will make connections between contemporary mural art and techniques and styles made famous in the 1920s.
Students will take the tour, taking note of how murals find a home and how they impact and/or transform the spaces they reside in.
GCE students can’t help but impress during Final Presentations. Students are challenged to share and demonstrate their learning from the term at each Final Presentation. With just a couple of guidelines, they are free to create dynamic experiences that showcase how they connect their learning to their own passions. This term’s presentations varied in format and allowed the guests to experience learning like a GCE student.
We are grateful for our passionate students and all of the people who came out to support the work they do.
After weeks of learning from different experts in the field, the Juniors were ready to build the prototype of their original bike designs. Each group of students was given a client profile for whom they had to design a bike. To prepare for this assignment, they met with the Director of Volunteers at Working Bikes, the owner of EarthRiders Cycle Shop, the Program Director at the Chicago Department of Transportation, and designers and engineers from the James Dyson Foundation. Equipped with a wealth of knowledge and some hands-on experience, the students sought out to build their prototypes using all scecondhand materials from the WasteShed, an awesome resource for teachers and makers!
Students in Design & Engineering received a visit from a team of designers and engineers from the James Dyson Foundation. We have a longstanding partnership with the Dyson Foundation, and we are so grateful we get to learn from their experts every year. This year, students were tasked with answering the prompt, “How does design solve problems?”. Under the guidance of the Dyson experts, the students worked in small groups to identify problems they face daily and started to design a product that could address that issue. Admittedly, the process was a bit messy, but according to the designers, that’s precisely the way it should be.