GCE Lab School, Lincoln Park Chicago

GCE OPENS NEW HIGH SCHOOL FACILITY IN LINCOLN PARK

Students returning to GCE Lab School this fall will walk into an innovative new space that transforms the high school experience.

CHICAGO, September 1, 2016/PR Newswire/– GCE Lab School has expanded into a new facility that redefines the high school’s physical environment. Located at 1535 North Dayton, GCE has created a profoundly unique “home base” that’s reflective of their project-based student-centered curriculum, and a compliment to the school’s City2Classroom™ learning model and partnerships. A ribbon-cutting event on September 22 at 6:00pm will formally introduce the new space to key donors and supporters of the school.

GCE’s approach was to take an older building with large open spaces and unique architectural elements, and build a living ecosystem for student engagement and ownership. Students were involved in the design and build process, where they identified materials that otherwise would have been disregarded and “upcycled” them. They influenced the design and utility of each space based on their learning styles, social interests, and material needs. The result is a one-of-kind space that facilitates active learning and collaboration, including:

  • Maker Lab Design with 3D/2D printing
  • Workshop Studios for 3D building, design, visual arts
  • Conservatory for eco-activities, social gatherings, presentations, music
  • Classrooms for workshops, conversation, mind-mapping, test-taking
  • Micro-theatres for audio/visual productions
  • Student-designed lounge
  • Student-organized library that permeates the walls throughout the school
  • Biomimicry inspired “greenhouse” features throughout
  • Kitchen for cooking classes, “kitchen table” discussions, food prep and eating
  • Outdoor space: The City of Chicago

About GCE
The GCE Lab School is an independent private high school where at least 50% of the students earn scholarship funding, resulting in a student body that’s truly reflective of Chicago’s rich diversity. GCE Lab School’s inquiry and project-based curriculum extends beyond the special walls of GCE as students indulge in City2Classroom™field experiences every week. The relationship between intimate community and infinite learning networks inspire students to expand and pursue their aspirations.

For further information, please contact Kate Klein, Head of School, at kate@gcechicago.com.

GCE Students

GCE LAB SCHOOL OPENS UP ADDITIONAL SEATS FOR INCOMING STUDENTS

Unique High School Experiences available as alternative to CPS for Freshmen and Sophomores at Innovative Chicago Campus

CHICAGO, June 13, 2016 — In answer to Chicago families’ growing dismay with CPS and the possibility of schools not opening in the fall, GCE Lab School has opened up 24 additional seats for incoming Freshmen and Sophomores for Fall 2016. GCE is extending this opportunity to more students as an alternate option to CPS, providing access to a premier education in one of Chicago’s most innovative high schools. Applications are now being accepted, with prospective student orientations on July 12th and July 21st. Acceptance letters will be sent out by July 29th. Scholarship opportunities will also be made available to those outstanding students demonstrating high academic achievement and need.

The GCE Lab School is an elite independent private high school where 50% of the students receive scholarship funding, resulting in a student body that’s truly reflective of the richly diverse city in which we live. The GCE Lab School’s inquiry and project-based curriculum breaks down the walls between school and the world. GCE takes students out of the classroom and into the real-world, providing them with tangible pathways to careers and future success. New horizons are opened and aspirations ignited, exposing students to opportunities not previously thought possible.

“Diversity is an essential component of the GCE learning experience. In order to become global citizens, students need to learn how to communicate, connect, and collaborate with people of different backgrounds, beliefs, and values.” – Eric Davis, school founder.

GCE students are excelling

The GCE Lab School has seen outstanding success among students where 100% of graduates have earned college acceptances, many top tier universities across the country. So much more impressive is that 80% of these students have earned merit-based scholarships. The first 39 GCE graduates alone earned more than $3.6M in merit aid; and 3 graduates earned the coveted POSSE scholarship. What makes this even more impressive, is that several of these students were not on track to graduate at their previous schools. GCE provided a transforming experience for these students, where they became re-engaged in their learning and invested in their futures resulting in successes they had not previously expected.

For further information, please contact Kate Klein, Head of School, at kate@gcechicago.com.

Kate Klein, Head of School

New Face at New Space: Klein Leaves CPS to Lead Innovative Chicago High School

June 1, 2016

New Face at New Space: Klein Leaves CPS to Lead Innovative Chicago High School

CHICAGO, June 1, 2016/PR Newswire/– GCE Lab School, an innovative inquiry and project-based high school in Chicago, is proud to announce that Kathryn Klein, a senior leader at CPS, has joined GCE as Head of School.

Replacing previous Head and School Founder Eric Davis who will focus on expanding the school’s learning model into districts across the country, Kathryn will focus on further establishing GCE as a leader in experiential instruction and best-practices resource for teachers in Chicago. She will also oversee the Fall grand opening of the expanded school facilities; a unique space that’s reflective of GCE’s innovative learning model, different in many ways from the typical high school.

A redefined high school experience that breaks down the walls of the classroom

Imagine if the entire city was the classroom. Every week students at GCE explore Chicago with hands-on learning in real-world environments. Through field experiences, guest workshops and apprenticeships, students augment their classroom instruction with practical, experiential learning. These experiences are made possible through a unique partnership with over 200 Chicago area businesses and nonprofit organizations. These City2Classroom partners provide students with real-world contexts to their classroom studies, answering the often asked question “Why do I have to learn this?” By breaking down the walls between the classroom and the world, students are exposed to tangible pathways to careers and future success.

About GCE

The GCE Lab School is an elite independent private high school where 50% of the students receive scholarship funding, resulting in a student body that’s truly reflective of the richly diverse city in which we live. Since its opening in 2010, GCE has refined its learning model and established itself as the premier high school in Chicago in inquiry and project-based learning. The response from colleges shows that it’s working – 80% of GCE’s graduates have earned merit-based scholarships totaling $3.6MM to universities and colleges across the country, and 3 have been awarded the coveted POSSE scholarships. With a new Head of School and expanded facility, GCE Lab School is ready to move to the next level of their development, exposing more students to opportunities not previously thought possible through learning that is relevant and engaging.

Media Contact:
Lisa Humphrey
Marketing Strategist
GCE Lab School

A Global Citizenship Experience

https://gcelabschool.org
lisa@glmeducation.com

 

GCE Students

Scholarships available at GCE Lab School

GCE Lab School has recently been given the opportunity to offer ten scholarships to incoming Freshmen and Sophomores for the Fall of 2016. This need and merit based scholarship will give outstanding students access to a premier education in one of Chicago’s most innovative high schools.

The GCE Lab School is an elite independent private high school where 50% of our students receive scholarship funding, resulting in a student body that’s truly reflective of the richly diverse city in which we live. At GCE, our inquiry and project-based curriculum breaks down the walls between school and the world. We take our students out of the classroom and into the real-world, providing them with tangible pathways to careers and future success. New horizons are opened and aspirations ignited, exposing our students to opportunities not previously thought possible.

“Diversity is an essential component of the GCE learning experience. In order to become global citizens, students need to learn how to communicate, connect, and collaborate with people of different backgrounds, beliefs, and values.” – Eric Davis, school founder.

We have seen outstanding success among our students where 100% of our graduates have earned college options, many to top tier universities across the country. So much more impressive is that 80% of these students have earned merit-based scholarships. The first 30 GCE graduates alone earned more than $2.5M in merit aid; and 3 of our graduates earned the coveted POSSE scholarship. What makes this even more impressive, is that several of our students were not on track to graduate at their previous schools. GCE provided a transforming experience for these students, where they became re-engaged in their learning and invested in their futures resulting in successes they had not previously expected.

We are excited to be able to extend this opportunity to more students, providing access to brighter futures. Our next admissions cycle begins on June 14th and will conclude on June 24th, with acceptance letters out by July 1st.

For further information, please contact Gillian Falknor, Director of Community, at gillian@gcechicago.com.

You can also learn more by visiting our website at gcelabschool.org.

GCE’s City2Classroom™ model breaks down the walls of the classroom

While there is much to be concerned about in Chicago’s public schools, there are some very exciting things happening in education outside of CPS. At the GCE Lab School students are finding success in a non-traditional experiential learning environment that takes them out of the classroom into the real-world to engage in hands-on learning experiences. Opened in 2010, the GCE Lab School (where GCE stands for Global Citizenship Experience) is a small private high school where 50% of the students receive scholarship funding. Located on the near north side at 1535 N. Dayton, in a shared space with the Menomonee Club, we have been developing and refining our model, growing each year and are now expanding into our own facility. This new space is truly unique, unlike any other high school in the city.

Breaking down the walls of the classroom
At GCE, our inquiry and project-based curriculum takes students out of the classroom and into the real-world through field experiences, guest workshops and apprenticeships. These off-campus forays aren’t special occasions for GCE students: all are in a typical day’s work as part of our school’s City2Classroom model. We partner with more than 200 Chicago-area businesses, agencies and cultural institutions to give students real-world, immersive experiences that augment and synthesize classroom work and provide practical and cutting-edge experiences to prepare them for a rapidly changing world.

We do something no one else does—we take what the kids are learning in class and then immerse them inside an organization so they get a real-world look at what those businesses and institutions really do, how they work, and the problems they solve. These Field Experiences aren’t field trips; they’re working assignments that students travel to on their own, participate in and structure multi-media projects around. In some cases, they’re mini-internships that require an extended, multi-week commitment. They’re the essence of our City2Classroom model, and a key to breaking down the walls between school and world,
Some of our City2Classroom partners include Guggenheim Partners, Goodman Theatre, CME Group, University of Chicago, PriceWaterhouse Cooper, Gravity Tank, The CHA, Home Depot, Invisible Institute.

GCE’s journalism class gets the inside scoop on the McDonald police video
In September, students in our journalism class sat with the Invisible Institute’s Jaime Kalven and listened to him talk about Laquan McDonald and Kalven’s then-ongoing court battle to get the video of McDonald’s murder released by the City of Chicago. At the Institute’s Hyde Park facility, they listened as Kalven outlined the city’s alleged cover-up of the incident, its $5 million wrongful-death payment to McDonald’s family and the chilling details he expected to see on the video if and when he could get it released. This experience made our students the only teens in the country with an in-depth, broad-spectrum understanding of the issue that weeks later exploded in protests around the city, federal investigations and administrative turbulence at the Chicago Police Department and City Hall.

Goodman Theatre and GCE partner on Stage Chemistry
Another GCE class was at Goodman Theatre, applying their math and science skills to a stage and set design project. Students looked at the theater from the perspective of an architect, stage manager, and set designer in order to apply math and physics to draw out the magic on stage. According to Willa Taylor, Goodman’s Director of Education, the success of this partnership has been so strong that the theater is now offering this stage chemistry course to other schools it works with as part of their education initiative. We are also developing a second course to offer students in the 2016/17 school year.
“The class we developed with GCE is so dynamic, so groundbreaking, that it would be a shame not to share it with other students,” Taylor said.

3 GCE students have received POSSE scholarships
What we are most proud of is the success our students are experiencing. 100% of GCE’s graduates are accepted into college, and 80% have received merit-based scholarships totaling more than $2.5MM in aid. Furthermore, GCE has had 3 students receive the coveted POSSE scholarship; 2 in the graduating class of 2016. What makes all of this even more impressive, is that several of these students were not on track to graduate from high school prior to coming to our school. At GCE these students became re-engaged in their learning and invested in their futures.

For more information, please contact Lisa Humphrey, Board Director, at lisa@glmeducation.com, or Eric Davis, School Founder, at eric@glmeducation.com. You can also use these links to hear directly from students on GCE courses and field experiences, and by visiting the GCE website at gcelabschool.org.

GCE Lab School students gain real-world insights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December, 2015                                  

It was a balmy September day when GCE Lab School students sat with the Invisible Institute’s Jaime Kalven and listened to him talk about Laquan McDonald and Kalven’s then-ongoing court battle to get the video of McDonald’s murder released by the City of Chicago. At the Institute’s Hyde Park facility, they listened in horrified silence as Kalven outlined the city’s alleged cover-up of the incident, its slick $5 million wrongful-death payment to McDonald’s family and the chilling details he expected to see on the video if and when he could get it released.

But their discussion with Kalven was no “Scared Straight” session: it was part of their journalism class. And it made them the only teens in the country with an in-depth,  broad-spectrum understanding of the issue that weeks later exploded in protests around the city, federal investigations and administrative turbulence at the Chicago Police Department and City Hall.

While the journalism class explored shattered worlds, the design and engineering class was at Home Depot, 1232 W. North Ave., investigating force and leverage by using sledgehammers to crush concrete blocks in their mission to create a better tool. Each student got a chance to break a stack of blocks, hammering home the classroom lessons in an equally tangible way.

Still another GCE class was at Goodman Theatre, applying their math and science skills to a stage and set design project.

These off-campus forays weren’t special occasions for GCE students: all were a typical day’s work as part of the school’s City2Classroom model.

Alone among its peers, GCE Lab School (the “GCE” stands for Global Citizenship Experience), located in Lincoln Park, partners with more than 200 Chicago-area businesses, agencies and cultural institutions to give pupils real-world, immersive experiences that augment and synthesize classroom work and provide practical and cutting-edge experiences to prepare them for a rapidly changing world.

The names that have linked with GCE to provide students with their once weekly “field experiences” form a pantheon of both power and essential Chicago: Guggenheim. De Paul. Goodman Theatre. Loyola. CME Group. University of Chicago. PriceWaterhouse Cooper. Gravity Tank.  The CHA.

“We do something no one else does – we take what the kids are learning in class and then immerse them inside an organization so they get a real-world look at what those businesses and institutions really do, how they work and the problems they solve,” said school founder and executive director Eric Davis.

The Field Experiences aren’t field trips; they’re working assignments that students must get to on their own, participate in and structure multi-media projects around. In some cases, they’re mini-internships that require an extended, multi-week commitment.

They’re “the essence of our City2Classroom model, and a key to breaking down the walls between school and world,” Davis said. “Field Experience invites students to explore the question: who is the best in the world and how may we learn with them?”

Through the Field Experience exposure to hundreds of industry professionals — corporate, non-profit and individual – the school guarantees its students get inspired, Davis said. “It answers the question about why we study subjects in a way that lends credibility to subjects, school, instructors, curriculum, and to the guidelines about behavior, expectations, and urban orienteering,” he said. “It invites parents to share their networks and City2Classroom partners to simultaneously give back while preparing for the future.”

Unlike many business ventures, forging the partnerships doesn’t take lengthy negotiation, Davis said. “We simply ask,” he said. “Nine out of 10 times, people say ‘yes.’ It’s a win-win: We contextualize the valuable work that people do in the world by asking if they’d like to share who they are, what they do, and why they do it. ”

GCE measures partnership success by student reflection, application of lessons learned, repeat participation and the partners’ increased involvement with the school, said Davis.

For Goodman, the success of its involvement with GCE has been so strong the theater is now offering the stage chemistry course it designed with GCE to the other schools it works with, said Willa Taylor, Goodman’s director of education.

“The class we developed with GCE is so dynamic, so groundbreaking, that it would be a shame not to share it with other students,” Taylor said. The course has been so successful that for 2016, Goodman and GCE are developing a second course to offer students, she noted.

The City2Classroom model is already spreading. Davis and his team have already trained faculty at six other Chicago schools in the model, and there are 15 more schools on deck to learn the system in 2016.

“There is definitely more than just the traditional, educational model that is effective, and our kids get out there daily and prove it,” Davis said.

For more information, contact Eric Davis at (312) 643-0991.

Coloring outside the lines equals success at GCE Lab School Nontraditional learning method spurs 100% college rate and off-the-charts enthusiasm

CHICAGO – As Chicago teens head back to school, a chorus of complaints can be heard in the hallways about the end of summer and a return to the study grind.

Not at GCE Lab School: Chicago Prep.

In fact, many of the students returning to GCE https://gcelabschool.org today have been so eager to get back to their classrooms that they spent the last few weeks of summer volunteering at the school, 1535 N. Dayton St., helping to build its new James Dyson Foundation Maker Lab, a research, design and engineering lab.

Set in a 30,000-square-foot former factory with both exclusive and shared space within the Menomonee Club Drucker Center, GCE – which stands for “Global Citizenship Experience” – is far from the traditional sedentary school. Named “The Most Innovative School Using Google” by Google Inc. in 2013 for its advanced use of the search engine’s services, GCE aims to “reinvent education and cultivate global citizens” said founder and Director Eric Davis.

Davis developed GCE’s City2Classroom educational model – an inquiry- and project-based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) and Humanities curriculum – that puts students in real-world environments to explore and hone their skills, embrace new technologies and thrive. The model lets kids engage, reflect and work collaboratively while connecting their classroom lessons to the real world.

In the City2Classroom model, students work in collaborative classrooms and also have weekly “field experiences” with guest workshops, case studies, and apprenticeship at some of the school’s more than 200 partner locations. Partners – which include CME Group, Goodman Theatre, Gravity Tank, Guggenheim Partners, Home Depot, 1871, Fifth-Third Bank and some of the city’s many cultural institutions – give students hands-on opportunities to examine the topics they learn about and test real-world applications. The kids explore careers, bolster classroom skills and knowledge, network and take ownership of their learning process while having fun and being challenged.

“During field experiences, the students gain prime networking skills and opportunities that 99% of traditional high-school students never see,” Davis said.

In its partnership with Goodman, for example, GCE developed a “Stage Chemistry” course which explored the science and math behind a theatrical production. Students had to adapt the theater’s “A Christmas Carol” to a new time and setting, and design and build a set to scale for their own production.

“The students loved it; it’s what learning should be — collaborative, respectful, challenging and inspired,” said Willa J. Taylor, Goodman’s director of education.

GCE has agreed to allow other schools to use the course, Taylor noted, and is also working with the theater to design a humanities course that explores social justice.

With a block schedule that focuses on just a few subjects during each nine-week quarter, GCE’s learn-by-doing approach is entrepreneurial, emphasizing engagement and self-directed learning over traditional curriculum and testing. Each student also benefits from individualized coaching from teachers, partners, families and peers.

Not all its students are found at the brick-and-mortar site on Dayton; some are online students, who participate in some activities in person and others from remote locations.

The school champions a diverse experience for students, integrating the four global citizenship principles of accountability, purpose, autonomy and gratitude to form the foundation of academic achievement. Extracurricular sports and clubs are offered according to student interest, and community volunteer work is encouraged.

While not focused on traditional desks-and-lecture learning, GCE doesn’t let students skate on standards. GCE’s approach gives grades and tests, but “real, detailed and guiding feedback is offered constantly so students have actionable next steps to progress and grow,” Davis said.

It’s paying off. Since it opened in 2009, all of GCE’s graduates have gone on to college at some 60 of the nation’s top schools; 80% of those students have snared merit aid.

While still small with about 50 students currently enrolled, GCE is already having a big impact on the local education scene. Since last spring, teachers at six other Chicago schools have been trained in the GCE model and will begin implementing the approach this fall. Davis said teachers at five more schools will undergo training this fall, and a third wave is scheduled for 2016.

It all circles back to Davis’ mission to reinvent education and spark enthusiasm for lifelong learning and, he hopes, a better world. “I want 100% of these kids to find their place in the world,” he said. “And make it better.”