Home » Entries posted by Maureen Kelleher

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“Taste of Back of the Yards” raises scholarship funds, promotes local leaders

On Saturday, May 21, more than 100 neighborhood residents and community leaders gathered at Back of the Yards College Prep High School for the annual Peace and Education Scholarship Fundraiser. This year’s event, “Taste of Back of the Yards,” featured dishes from a dozen local establishments, plus specialties created by parents from Lara Elementary and […]

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Adult education thrives in Back of the Yards

More than a decade ago, Veronica Ocampo’s oldest child began Head Start and Ocampo found an amazing program” that helped her achieve a lifelong dream: to go to college. Today, Ocampo is studying early childhood development at Harold Washington College and teaching with the UIC Center for Literacy’s Family Start Learning and Support Services, better […]

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Southwest Side might get new charter schools

This summer, community leaders, parents and educators across Chicago will be reviewing proposals for new charter schools in their neighborhoods. Back of the Yards could be home to as many as three of them. Chicago Public Schools has divided the city into four regions—North/ Northwest, West, South/Southeast and Southwest sides—and is just launching Neighborhood Advisory […]

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Federal grant brings 21st-century learning to neighborhood schools

Two neighborhood schools—Morrill Elementary in Gage Park and Tilden High School in Canaryville—are reaping rewards from a $3 million federal grant to support innovative learning. Both schools have dedicated, redesigned space for high-tech, project-based learning focused on student interests. Teachers credit training and mentoring from Columbia College, the leading grant partner, for helping them rethink […]

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Op-ed: Undocumented Central American minors in Chicago

Recently, the news has been full of headlines about thousands of young, undocumented children coming to the U.S. border from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. According to a July CNN news story, U.S. officials estimate between 60,000 and 80,000 children will leave their countries and travel unaccompanied to the United States, fleeing violence in their […]

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Building brains all summer long

Summer vacation has just begun. Long lazy days for children to chase the ice cream truck and play in the open fire hydrant, right? Not if they’re going hold on to what they learned during the school year. (Not to mention if there’s going to be water in the hydrant when your house is the […]

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High school is the new college

As this newspaper recently reported, the brand-new Back of the Yards High School only has room to hold about half of the graduating 8th-graders in Back of the Yards each year. Some parents are disappointed that their children are not guaranteed a place at our new school. But the reality is, until Chicago Public Schools […]

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Coming together to take back Cornell Square Park

As the weather turns spring-like, neighbors of all ages are beginning to spend time outside again. It’s a great time to reconnect with Cornell Square Park, 1809 W. 50th St. All winter long, a determined group of neighborhood residents, including parent leaders from nearby Daley and Fulton elementary schools, have been gathering to envision new […]

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“Working minimum wage isn’t going to get me far”

What’s the secret to getting by on a minimum-wage job? Chris Fallet, a 19-year-old resident of Brighton Park, has learned some of the tricks. He earns $8.35 an hour—ten cents above Illinois’ current minimum wage—by working half-time in the new Jewel-Osco at 1340 S. Canal. Fallet’s top tip: “It helps having roommates because the cost […]

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What’s up with that? Local youth step up for their communities

By the time you read this column, Chicago’s primary election results will be in. We’ll know who won some hotly contested Northwest Side primary races. We’ll also know how successful grassroots groups like the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council were in getting out the vote to show support for raising the city’s minimum wage to $15/hour […]