Breaking Stereotypes in Africa through Photography
Media Contact: Shayla Butler, 312-604-2101, email@example.com
Breaking Stereotypes in Africa through Photography
Peter DiCampo and Austin Merrill with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting share “Everyday Africa” project with Perspectives Charter Schools
CHICAGO, IL – December 13, 2013 – Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting grantees Peter DiCampo and Austin Merrill will talk with middle school students about a collection of images shot on mobile phones across the continent, in an attempt to re-direct the focus towards a more accurate understanding of what the majority of Africans experience on a day-to-day basis: normal life. They will be at Perspectives Middle Academy on Friday, December 13, 2013, located at 8131 S. May St., from 8:15 – 10:15 a.m.
Students at Perspectives Middle Academy located in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood will learn about DiCampo and Merrill’s photojournalism project Everyday Africa. “Peter and Austin are using photography to break down stereotypes about life in Africa,” said Mark Schulte, Education Director at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. “They just receive an audience engagement grant by the Open Society Foundations, and we’re really excited to share their work with students in Chicago and around the country.”
Perspectives Charter Schools seeks partnerships with organizations that provide educational opportunities from outside the classroom to gain perspective on global issues and themes that have been taught inside the classroom. “It is an honor and privilege to work with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting,” said Rhonda Hopps, chief executive officer of Perspectives Charter Schools. “This is the fifth visit to our schools by an award winning journalist and it reminds our scholars here in Chicago that there are actual people doing genuine work all around the planet to help all of us appreciate what is happening throughout the world.”
As journalists who have lived and worked on the continent for years at a time, DiCampo and Merrill find the extreme not nearly as prevalent as the familiar, the everyday. After Peter bought an iPhone “…and taking snapshots while photographing other stories around Africa, he began to notice that his less “serious images” were showing a more complete, more rounded view of Africa than any of his well-planned projects did on their own,” according to an article written by James Estrin in The New York Times Lens blog.
Peter DiCampo is a documentary photographer whose goal is to contribute his work to a dialogue on international development. He launched his freelance career while also working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Ghana. His current long-term project, "Life Without Lights," explores the varied social and economic implications of global Energy Poverty and raises questions on energy’s future. The work earned him the top prize in The British Journal of Photography’s 2010 International Photography Awards and additional awards in the 2011 PDN Photo Annual and 2011 Anthropographia Awards for Human Rights. "Life Without Lights" has been the subject of solo exhibitions in London, New York, and Vienna. It was accepted into the curated exhibitions at the 2011 LagosPhoto Festival in Nigeria and screened at Visa Pour l’Image in Perpignan 2010. In addition to these accolades within the world of photography, Peter has partnered with various NGOs and energy experts at events that foster discussion on solutions to Energy Poverty. Peter’s photography and multimedia work have been published by National Geographic, TIME, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, GEO, Wired, Good, Businessweek, CNN.com, MSNBC.com and The Boston Globe, among others. His NGO clients include Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), International Committee of the Red Cross, Human Rights Watch, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Carter Center, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Peter has received three grants from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, in 2009, 2011, and 2012. He joined the VII Mentor Program in 2010.
Austin Merrill is a writer and editor based in New York. His writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, The New Republic, Wired, The New York Observer, Tin House, Good and other publications. Projects have included a piece about the Ivory Coast national soccer team’s efforts to end the Ivorian civil war; a story about U.S. Army Rangers training West African soldiers in counter-terrorism tactics in Timbuktu, Mali; a feature on efforts to eradicate Guinea Worm disease in northern Ghana; and reporting from Angola and South Africa for the Vanity Fair blog on the 2010 World Cup. Austin’s introduction to Africa was as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ivory Coast, where he worked as a rural water and sanitation engineer. He later returned to Ivory Coast and was based in Abidjan, the economic capital, as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press. While with the AP he covered the Ivorian civil war as well as politics and culture in Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and elsewhere.
Peter DiCampo, Austin Merrill, Mark Schulte and principal Sauda Porter including a select number of students will be available for photos and one-on-one interviews.
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The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is an innovative award-winning non-profit journalism organization dedicated to supporting the independent international journalism that U.S. media organizations are increasingly less able to undertake. The Center focuses on under-reported topics, promoting high-quality international reporting and creating platforms that reach broad and diverse audiences. Learn more at pulitzercenter.org
Perspectives Charter Schools is a network of five open enrollment public schools in Chicago that provides students with a rigorous and relevant education, based on the ethical principles of A Disciplined Life. A Disciplined Life is the core curriculum that guides instruction and learning at Perspectives where students, parents, teachers and staff commit to living A Disciplined Life by adopting 26 principles that promote character development in line with academic excellence. Perspectives offers Chicago's families an education choice rooted in strong academic preparation while instilling key social and emotional education that builds individual character and grooms each student for success well beyond high school and college. Learn more at pcsedu.org
Parent Leadership Forum at Perspectives/IIT Math & Science Academy
The Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) brought together more than 80 parents, guardians, educators, public charter school leaders, community members and elected officials from across the city to engage in thoughtful and meaningful conversation on critical issues impacting Chicago schools and communities at a Parent Leadership Forum. The event took place on Thursday, October 10, 2013, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., at Perspectives/IIT Math & Science Academy located at 3663 S. Wabash Ave, Chicago.
This event celebrated the participants of the Parent Leadership Training program, a three-week series of lecture and participant-centered activities aimed at raising awareness about the state of public education and inspire parents to serve as advocates for high-quality schools in their communities.
“We believe that when all stakeholders come together we can ensure all children receive the high-quality education they deserve,” said Vincent Casillas, Community Outreach Manager at INCS. “This event will celebrate the INCS inaugural cohort of parents who have successfully completed the INCS Parent Leadership Training Series.”
“At Perspectives, we collaborate with our parents and guardians to ensure seamless integration of academic preparation and character education at school and at home,” said Rhonda Hopps, CEO of Perspectives Charter Schools. “It is our privilege to educate Chicago’s students for college and prepare them for life. It is equally our honor to host the INCS Parent Leadership Forum this fall."
A Disciplined Life (ADL) is the core curriculum that helps students develop positive self-perception, healthy relationships, and the tools for productivity at Perspectives.
Check out event photos and a new Parent Leadership video! If you're interested in the INCS Parent Leadership Training program, contact Vince Casillas, Community Outreach Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Personalized Learning for Middle School Students
Imagine a classroom where everything moves at your pace. As soon as you master a concept, the class moves on to a new challenge. If you get stuck on a problem, the class keeps working on it until you figure it out.
Thanks to the support of partners like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Perspectives Middle Academy (PMA) in Auburn Gresham is moving closer to that ideal. In their literature and math classes, PMA students spend part of the class working on online learning programs that are targeted to students’ personal levels. Teachers are able to pull students in small groups and give them individualized attention.
“Students who fall behind get to catch up at their own pace, and students who master objectives quickly constantly get to take on new challenges,” said PMA principal Sauda Porter.
Perspectives has invested thousands of dollars in the technological upgrades and training that make this “personalized learning” model possible. Teachers have flown out to schools around the country to learn from other educators and gather best practices. Perspectives CEO Rhonda Hopps believes that PMA can provide a model for how to implement personalized learning throughout the Perspectives network.
“At Perspectives, we believe that every student has the potential to succeed in college and beyond,” said Hopps. “By using the latest technology to provide each student with a personalized path, we will help all of our students reach that potential.”
Internship Program Gives Juniors Experience with Prospective Careers
Every year hundreds of juniors from across the Perspectives network participate in a five-week internship throughout the Chicagoland area. The program aims to provide every student with the opportunity to form a healthy relationship with a professional role model, help them develop awareness of career choices, and to introduce them to the culture of the business arena. Over the years, hundreds of companies and organizations have provided this valuable experience, where students work in the offices of their mentors on Wednesdays from 9 am to 3 pm for five weeks during the winter.
“There are five main objectives to the Perspectives internship program,” according to Program Director Jane Esser. “We align the program to core principles of A Disciplined Life.”
- Inspire students to attain higher academic achievement through exposure to the professional world.
- Help students build lifelong networks.
- Inform students about the pros and cons of a career of their interest.
- Teach students some of the basic protocol used in the professional arena.
- Advise students on future life choices, especially as they start to think about the process of applying to and attending college.
Moreover, students complete a career interest survey and attend a career panel while staff at Perspectives Charter Schools solicits mentors and makes every attempt to pair students with mentors compatible with their career interests. Mentors are encouraged to communicate with the school on a regular basis and asked to complete evaluation forms that detail the student’s progress.
“We start the five-week internship with a mentor breakfast at each campus,” said Esser. “It is important that our mentors know where our students attend school and to meet with key staff while laying out the ground rules to ensure success for everyone involved.”
“Mentoring and interning at an early age is an important experience for our students,” said Rhonda Hopps, Perspectives CEO. “On one hand, it opens the minds of our students to the kind of work they could do after high school and college graduation. On the other hand, adults are exposed to students full of hope and ambition and who live A Disciplined Life.”
Heather Haines, principal at Perspectives Leadership Academy and Perspectives High School of Technology, believes that internships are an influential part of a Perspectives education. “Students tell me every year how much they learned and grew through their internship,” said Haines. “We are extremely grateful to the individuals, companies, and organizations, like Ernst & Young, that welcome our students and show them how A Disciplined Life can be lived in the workplace.”
Become a mentor; host an internship for a Perspectives student. Learn more at www.pcsedu.org, or send Program Director Jane Esser an email to email@example.com.
Perspectives Students Take Flight with AAR
Global aviation and technology company AAR CORP. gave high school juniors and seniors their first glimpse of aviation education and careers during “Taking Flight,” a daylong excursion to AAR’s 1.6 million-square-foot aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at the Indianapolis International Airport.
Even at 6:30 a.m., a lesson in math factors could be heard on the bus carrying students from Perspectives/IIT Math and Science Academy (MSA) in Bronzeville. Upon arrival in Indianapolis, the students toured the Aviation Technology Center at Vincennes University where they learned about careers as avionics technicians, aerospace engineers, aircraft mechanics and air traffic controllers.
“These students are being prepped for careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. AAR is providing them memorable exposure to real-world applications of their studies,” said AAR Director of Recruiting Greg Dellinger.
After touring the Aviation Technology Center, which includes a wide range of fixed- and rotor-wing aircraft and engines, the students were transported in style across the airfield in a Boeing 737 to AAR Aircraft Services. Equipped with safety glasses and insatiable curiosity, the students visited the impressive facility and learned what aircraft maintenance entails.
Rhonda Hopps, CEO of Perspectives, believes that field studies like this give students valuable insight into the rewarding careers they can attain. “Our schools are founded on a rigorous education model called ‘A Disciplined Life’ that drives academic performance and builds character and responsibility,” said Hopps. “It also stresses the kind of soft skills necessary to succeed in the workplace, such as interpersonal communication, leadership and creativity.”
"This collaboration with AAR ties into our classroom instruction and weaves it into something tangible for students,” said MSA Principal Julie Puzon. “This opportunity helps them think about where they'd like to go, what future they would like and what career opportunities are out there."
The Expo: A Disciplined Life 2013
Friends of Perspectives including, parents, teachers, students, alumni, business and community leaders, celebrated student research and presentations about A Disciplined Life at the third annual “A Disciplined Life Expo” (Expo) on Thursday, October 17, 2013, at Perspectives Rodney D. Joslin Campus, 1930 S. Archer Avenue. Read Wendell Hutson's article about the ADL Expo in the DNAinfo Chicago.
Approximately 50 students from across the Perspectives network presented at the Expo communicating what it means to live A Disciplined Life (ADL). Guests learned first-hand about the 26 principles of ADL—which provide a common language for students, parents, teachers and staff at Perspectives. The A Disciplined Life Education Model combines academic rigor with a focus on character education that helps students develop positive self-perception, healthy relationships, and the tools for productivity. It is a curriculum, a conversation, and a set of practices that shape a culture of excellence.
Presentations by middle and high school students varied in topics, including “How ADL has transformed their lives from a developmental viewpoint” to exploring qualities of leadership. Others shared their internship experiences in and around Chicago while some described their understanding of environmental issues to learning to “respect differences” both at home and abroad.
We use 26 principles of A Disciplined Life at Perspectives as a social and emotional learning curriculum designed to guide classroom instruction and manage expectations,” said Diana Shulla-Cose, founder and president of Perspectives. “For example, one ADL principle is to take responsibility for your actions. When redirecting students and supporting students, we will use this example as language of how to direct students and ensure character development.”
The 26 principles of A Disciplined Life are posted throughout each school and are taught in every classroom. Every semester, students take an ADL course and study how to apply the principles to areas like financial literacy, social activism and personal relationships. Students also complete a “Summit Project”, an in-depth study of an individual principle and how they demonstrate it in their own life.
The principles are integrated in all aspects of the school community. From the classroom to the playground, from the front office to staff meetings—A Disciplined Life unites students, parents, and staff in a common purpose. The Expo showcased a sample of Summit presentations and provided scholars a safe place to build friendships with education stakeholders throughout Chicago while emphasizing the unique social and emotional learning approach to education embodied by A Disciplined Life at Perspectives.
Richlyn Whittaker, a junior at Perspectives High School of Technology, shared his personal story of hope through A Disciplined Life and his involvement at school and in athletics at Perspectives.
Guests enjoyed food and refreshments courtesy of Lisa and Michael Kornick—mk The Restaurant.
“We kindly show gratitude for our school leaders, teachers, and students who live A Disciplined Life by example everyday,” said Rhonda Hopps, Perspectives CEO. “They inspire me. I am proud of their hard work at school and their dedication to making a difference in our communities.”
For information on bringing A Disciplined Life into your community, contact Diana Shulla-Cose at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 26 principles of A Disciplined Life
Educator Portrait, “Live a Healthy Lifestyle” at Perspectives High School of Technology
By Amanda Hussain
November 20, 2013
CHICAGO—I traveled nearly 7,000 miles to the opposite side of the planet this summer with six Perspectives students. It was an honor to be a chaperone and to experience new people, sights, sounds, foods, customs and history of China. Together, we proudly represented Perspectives Charter Schools and A Disciplined Life at the Beijing International Education Exchange. We joined more than 700 students and educators from around the world to learn more about the Chinese language and customs.
Every morning, I enjoyed amazing conversations with our students about Chinese history lessons, the people they were meeting, their experience as A Disciplined Life ambassadors, and how they were maturing in such a short amount of time. I was learning and growing, too. They reminded me of the 26 principles of A Disciplined Life by exemplifying what it means to be grateful, kind, open-minded, and willing to learn from each other and their new friends. One might think that visiting a new land, culture, and people would forever change me, but actually, I was profoundly changed by the interaction I shared with our students.
I teach 10th grade literature, 10th grade composition, and 12th grade A Disciplined Life classes at Perspectives High School of Technology at 81st and May in Auburn Gresham. For more than two years I have watched hundreds of students develop positive self-perception, healthy relationships, and the tools of productivity. In addition to teaching at Perspectives, I am part of OneGoal as a Program Director.
I was inspired to become a teacher because I grew up with really good teachers. I know that had they not been in my life, attaining my dreams would have been that much tougher. Because of them, I want to repay the favor and support my students to dream big and convert them into reality—no matter the obstacles.
I became a OneGoal director because in the field of education, we spend a lot of time preparing students for college, but not enough time experiencing the fruits of our labor. I want to make sure that not only have I done my job as a teacher; which is to help students get more opportunities to further their education, to prepare students for the rigor of college, and to set them up for emotional success, but I also want to help them be successful when they go to college and beyond.
I am actively studying the A Disciplined Life principle of “live a healthy lifestyle.” I believe that in order for the mind to be healthy, one must keep the body healthy as well. In high school I was a three-sport varsity athlete and it was easy to stay healthy and fit. Today, as an adult, it has been harder to find the time to exercise and eat right, so that is why I make time in my busy schedule to workout and eat healthy.
A Disciplined Life makes my job as an educator rewarding and easier. It creates a space where common language and high expectations help students become educated for college and prepared for life. Personally, I find it reassuring that character education is equally valued as much as academic learning at Perspectives. I hope that my own college experience will serve as an example to my students. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Loyola University Chicago and a minor in Italian. I finished my master’s of arts in Secondary English Education at New York University.
Teaching is challenging. During my very first week at Perspectives I had a student cry during a reading assessment. She told me "I know I am not a good reader, but I try really hard." I remember hearing the sadness in her voice and I could not help but feel blue as well. Together we set up a personalized learning plan that would comfortably improve her reading skills. This young woman showed me that satisfying results can be achieved through ‘demonstrating perseverance’ can lead to satisfying results. In just one year she met and exceeded her reading goals. I cried that day, because even though it was her hard work, I may have had something to do with how she felt about herself and potentially helped her become more confident as she goes on to college.
My students inspire me. When I see them work hard it makes me want to work that much harder for them.
Amanda is living A Disciplined Life 26 principles at a time.
***Educator Portrait is a monthly feature that highlights the commitment to quality teaching at Perspectives.
VIDEO: Anthony Davis Gives Back to Perspectives
To celebrate Boost Mobile's commitment to the Chicago community, Boost Mobile teamed up with their brand ambassador, NBA player and Perspectives Charter Schools alumni Anthony Davis to bring the Perspectives Rodney D. Joslin Campus a new basketball court just in time for the new school year.
2013-2014 Perspectives Warriors & Wolves Basketball Schedules
Follow the 2013-2014 action of the Perspectives basketball teams and cheer for the Warriors and Wolves girls and boys with #WarriorsHoops and #WolvesHoops. Connect with Perspectives Athletics on Twitter at @PCS_Athletics.
Interns at Lundbeck Focus on STEM Education
Source: Lundbeck website
Lundbeck’s partnership with Perspectives Charter Schools focuses on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, which extends their global corporate commitment to cultivate and enhance classroom learning to prepare the next generation of scientists.
Perspectives students discuss their futures in science with Lundbeck's Peter Høngaard Andersen, Senior Vice President of External Scientific Relations and Patents, during the Lundbeck Science Lab dedication at Perspectives/ IT Math & Science Academy. (Stevin Zorn, Executive Vice President of Lundbeck Research USA, pictured via live video.)
Perspectives/IIT Math and Science Academy is a charter school for grades 6-12 that opened in 2008 on Chicago’s south side. In partnership with the Illinois Institute of Technology, it was developed as a model for public school STEM education. Lundbeck’s partnership with Perspectives has two main components:
- A volunteer mentorship program engages Lundbeck employees who share their real-world experience to inspire students toward meaningful careers in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. Lundbeck researchers connect with students in person through discussions and presentations in the classroom, or even via computer technology to talk about their work in real time.
- Funding for infrastructure improvements to the school’s science lab, now named “Lundbeck Science Lab” have supported renovations to encourage hands-on learning, and have made it possible for the school to offer Advanced Placement Chemistry to students. Most important, this investment is giving the students access to science facilities that measure up to the commitment and dedication of the teachers who are guiding them.
The Perspectives partnership is a critical aspect of Lundbeck’s commitment as a global corporate citizen, and connects students to unique educational and career-focused opportunities earlier in their education.