Dear LEARN Friends and Supporters,
On a recent Zoom with LEARN’s leaders, I shared with them a phrase I’ve been repeating since mid-March: “These challenging times will not only build our character, it will reveal it.” Despite tough circumstances, I am so proud of LEARN’s strength, dedication and perseverance throughout the last few months.
It is with profound sadness that I share the passing of a LEARN staff member, Ms. Annette Hudson. Ms. Hudson served as a paraprofessional for six years at LEARN Excel where she was beloved by her students and respected by her colleagues. Her impact is immeasurable and her legacy will continue through the lives of the scholars she educated.
The stress of the pandemic has been compounded by the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests. I wrote a very personal letter to my LEARN colleagues and want to share it with you. I welcome your thoughts.
At LEARN, we are committed to closing the achievement gap for Black and Brown students in Chicagoland’s most neglected and underinvested neighborhoods. Our is a fight for social justice, a fight to nullify the consequences of 400 years of systemic and legalized racism. It is a fight we are winning as evidenced by more LEARN scholars graduating from college versus students across the nation, regardless of race or income.
Please join us in celebrating what our brilliant teachers and children are accomplishing. Together, we can work towards a more equitable society, both for our scholars and families at LEARN and for our country.
LEARN South Chicago Campus Educator Wins Highly Selective Golden Apple Award
Michael Stewart, LEARN South Chicago Middle School Math Teacher, received the Golden Apple Teacher Award for Excellence in Teaching. Out of about 45,000 4th through 8th grade teachers across Illinois, only 10 educators were selected out of 732 nominees. Mr. Stewart received this very prestigious recognition for being the very best of the best as he personifies excellence in action. Congratulations, Mr. Stewart.
LEARN Delivers 268,962 Meals and 7,250 food boxes to Families During Trunk to Trunk & Food Delivery
Across LEARN’s ten campuses, 88% of LEARN students qualify for free or reduced lunch while at school. Recognizing the need to provide LEARN families with immediate access to food, LEARN schools are serving as ‘trunk-to-trunk’ pick-up sites for the Farmers to Families Food Box program. Any family in the community can come to a LEARN school and pick up a free, family-size produce, meat and dairy box. This program was developed to help farmers and ranchers bring much needed food access to our communities and will last through the summer.
We are also continuing our food delivery program through the summer. Our LEARN families receive a delivery of a 10 day supply of fresh and non-perishable breakfast and lunch food items right to their door.
8th Grade Graduation Celebrations
We are so proud of the 8th grade graduating class of 2020. These remarkable young people have shown great resilience and dedication in finishing their school year strong. Our LEARN community is excited to see the greatness our graduating scholars will bring during this next chapter of their lives. With the help of our staff and high school placement counselors, our scholars have been placed in great high schools and earned record-breaking scholarship awards. Join us in celebrating their accomplishments.
Preparing for the 2020-2021 School Year
In light of the Governor’s announcement that schools will reopen in the fall, LEARN is working hard planning a safe reopening for our staff and scholars. Preparing for various scenarios that meets the needs of our communities is complex but we are confident we will be ready for the first day of school.
To ensure that our buildings are safe and secure, LEARN is implementing the following across campuses: installing more hand sanitizer stations, providing staff and scholars with appropriate PPE, installing plexiglass in areas at schools that make social distancing difficult and stocking campuses with cleaning supplies. While these are only a few of the measures we are taking, we are committed to creating an extraordinary space for our scholars to learn.
The costs to prepare our schools for the 2020-2021 school year is staggering. Please consider donating so that our scholars have the support they need for a successful start of the school year.
Thank you for your unwavering support.
Greg White, President & CEO