Students Self-Calm With Rock Gardens, Yoga and Mindfulness Traning

27 Aug

“This made me feel so calm,” reports an AGC 1st grader while drawing paths through a bowl of salt and glitter, “now when someone tells me to calm down, I know what to do.”


AGC’s K-2 Wellness classes found inner peace this week while making Japanese rock gardens. “Some children did it for 15 minutes without a sound,” says Ms. Jayaram, “they felt so calm and peaceful.” Through this and other activities in Ms. Jayaram’s Wellness class, which, for their current Unit of Inquiry is focusing on strategies for “inner peace,” help students at AGC develop crucial self-control skills.


Mindfullness board

Often, children are asked to adjust behavior, but lack the skills or knowledge to do so. “My parents are always telling me to be calm, and I didn’t know what to do. Now I know what to do,” explains a student in Ms. Jayaram’s class. Other strategies explored during this unit have included yoga, mindful breathing, and guided mindfulness meditation. After each activity, students are asked to reflect on its helpfulness. Their responses have been overwhelmingly positive. 


Research shows that students who are taught to manage their own energy and stress levels achieve higher GPAs, work habits, and cooperation behaviors. Relaxation programs can also increase emotional balance and reduce feelings of helplessness and aggression. At AGC, we have found these curriculum, nutrition education, social-emotional curriculum and support, and the Responsive Classroom approach to be instrumental in creating a peaceful, vibrant and positive school environment. This approach allows us to fulfill our mission to foster mindful leaders who take action now and in the future to positively impact their communities and the world beyond.

For young students, Ms. Jayaram recommends”Sitting Still Like a Frog” for Guided Mindfulness Meditation and the “MindUp” mindfulness curriculum. 

AGC 7th Grader Featured In Behind the Docs Interview Series

25 Aug

“I believe we’re all going to have an open mind and we’re going to have different views of the world and how to help it.” – Tavaris West, AGC student

 Today, Microsoft Office published an interview with AGC 7th grader Tavaris West, about how Powerpoint helps him organize his independent research and share knowledge with his peers. “It felt good to teach other kids something I enjoyed and it seemed like they enjoyed it too,” Tavaris said of his presentation. Read Tavaris’s full interview here. This interview was in conjunction with Microsoft Office’s #behindthedocs series, a celebration of Microsoft Office’s 25th anniversary.

We are so proud of Tavaris for his poised and thoughtful interview, in which he brilliantly reflects the spirit of the Academy for Global Citizenship and The International Baccalaureate Programme. Tavaris is “such an amazing mentor to the younger kids,” says Angela, whose son is in 4th grade, “and an excellent representative of our school. [We] watch Tavaris at breakfast high-fiving the table of 4th grade boys, as many as he could get to! He’s a natural leader and the kids truly look up to him!” 

At the Academy for Global Citizenship, we work to create a learning environment that fosters mindful leaders who seek knowledge and understanding as a path to positive change. In service of this mission, the community of AGC parents, teachers and staff encourage students to embody the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile. The IB learner profile helps create a common language shared by students in 140 countries around the world as they strive to create a better and more peaceful world. 

From the time they set foot in our halls as Kindergarteners, our students learn to be: inquirers (to be curious and independent researchers), knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled (to act with integrity, justice and honesty) open minded, caring, risk-takers (to approach uncertainty with forethought and determination, to be resilient in the face of challenge and change,) balanced, and reflective. 

Tavaris and his peers have been using these terms to shape and describe their experience at AGC. These words empower students to hold themselves and their fellow students accountable for their role in our peaceful community. It is common to hear young students in the lunch room encouraging a younger sibling or peer to try an unfamiliar food item with the phrase “Be a risk-taker!” or to applaud a peer for being “knowledgeable” about a toy or game. 

Students at our bilingual school learn these terms in both Spanish and English and, in early grades, get help from associated hand gestures and songs, like this adorable example from our Dual Language 1st grade class, set to the tune of Gagnam Style. 

“Open minded kids don’t laugh at others / open minded kids are cool at all hours/ open minded kids try new things/ open minded kids are the thing.”

“Open minded, I recommended it for a better world… open minded, let’s make a better world.”


“Ms. Jayaram, I want to be a Wellness teacher.”

20 Aug

During wellness, this week, K-2 wellness teacher Arathi Jayaram and her students were feeding AGC’s schoolyard chickens some meal worms. Saul, an AGC 1st grader, said, “I am just going to watch so I can learn, because I want to work here [at AGC] one day.”

Ms. Jayaram asked “What do you want to do at AGC, for your job?” and Saul replied “I want to be a teacher.” “What do you want to teach, Kindergarten, 1st Grade….” “Ms. Jayaram,” he said “I want to be a Wellness teacher.” Ms. Jayaram then shared with Saul some ways that he could serve as an apprentice and learn the trade.

Wellness is a daily class at AGC, a unique combination of Physical Education, Social and Emotional Education, Nutrition Education and Environmental Education, often centering around work in our schoolyard garden. Students enjoy wellness classes  We hope that by the time Saul is ready to lead his own Wellness class, Wellness programs will be common in schools around the country. 

To learn more about AGC’s wellness and sustainability program, visit our sustainability pages online. Consider supporting AGC’s wellness initiatives with a one-time or monthly donation. Click here to learn about the many ways to support wellness and other unique programs at AGC.

Saul and Ms. Jayaram in the garden.

Saul and Ms. Jayaram in the garden.



AGC Seeks Stellar Business and Sustainability Manager

19 Aug

AGC is looking for a passionate environmentalists with a strong background in business administration for a full time, on-site Business and Sustainability Manager. 

We are calling on all our friends and advocates to share this job posting far and wide to help AGC recruit the best person for this role. Please share this post with any and all with a passion for environmental and financial sustainability, green business, and public education.  


Business & Sustainability Manager 

The Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC) is a non-profit Chicago public charter school, located on the underserved Southwest side of Chicago. Our innovative and holistic approach to education aims to foster systemic change and inspire the way society educates our future generations. We are producing a replicable model for learning in the 21st century, including the construction of a net-positive energy campus.


The Business & Sustainability Manager is tasked with managing the day-to-day financial and operational needs of a public elementary school. To ensure AGC’s unique mission is reflected in our daily operations, the Business & Sustainability Manager works with the administrative and operations staff to source and manage resources sustainably. The ideal candidate is a passionate environmentalist who is highly proficient in QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel. While this position is collaborative across the AGC community, the Business & Sustainability Manager reports to the Principal.

Monitoring School Sustainability:

  • Maintain and continuously improve AGC’s Environmental Sustainability Policy (ESP) and initiatives with the aim of becoming a national model for environmentally sustainable school operations.
  • Ensure sustainable practices are researched, developed, implemented and evaluated in compliance with the school’s ESP, particularly pertaining to operations.
  • Oversee sustainable food sourcing, working with AGC’s kitchen staff, organic meal provider and school leaders to strategically evaluate costs, enhance sustainable sourcing and lower food miles.
  • Work with AGC’s School Garden Coordinator and Organic Chef to integrate schoolyard garden produce.
  • Serve as an ambassador for sharing AGC’s best practices in sustainability by presenting at conferences, hosting tours and attending related networking events.
  • Lead future net-positive energy campus developments as they pertain to sustainability; participate in key architect and design meetings.

Business Administration:

  • Administer effective accounting and budgeting efforts, including payroll, insurance and benefits.
  • Prepare annual budget in collaboration with the Administrative Team. Ensure timely internal and Board review of the financial condition and performance relative to financial objectives.
  • Monitor budgets to ensure that all expenditure of funds meet all state, federal, local, and grant guidelines. Provide accounting and reporting for all gifts, grants and donations.
  • Manage procurement and inventory of school supplies and process expense reimbursements.
  • Manage data for school testing, demographics, and enrollment.
  • Maintain QuickBooks data entry.
  • Manage banking business and technology related vendor relationships, flows of funds, procurement, etc., and ensure an effective system of internal control is present by enforce financial and accounting policies.
  • Oversee the annual audit and ensure compliance with all reporting entities, including Chicago Public Schools, and an array of foundation and government funding sources.
  • Serve as a liaison with AGC’s E-rate consultant on the funding application processes and reporting


  • A fervent commitment to environmental sustainability and related experience
  • Entrepreneurial thinker with a desire to support the vision and mission of AGC
  • Meticulous attention to detail and strong problem-solving capabilities
  • Proven ability to communicate clearly and perform at a high level under pressure


  • Competitive salary and benefits commensurate with experience; growth opportunities available.


  • Please submit your cover letter and resume to, addressing the following: Write about your most profound learning experience and how it’s impacted your life.

inspecting the garden in sunlight

Year Seven, Week One

15 Aug

While many students are soaking up the last rays of summer, students at the Academy for Global Citizenship are wrapping up their first week of the new school year, but they’re not upset. As Seth, a current 7th grader and and member of AGC’s very first cohort told mother Mirza: “you see, the first week is always cool and fun it’s the second week when they pull you in!”

We’d love to take this opportunity to share a few more quotable moments from our week of school:

      • “Mommy, you can go now. I’m okay,” Aaron said as I continued to linger the first day of school. My little one was so ready to start kinder!” – Perla, mother of Aaron (Kindergarten) and Pedro (4th Grade.)
      • “I asked Joaquin how was his first day at school and he said it was “good”. I then asked him “How is your new teacher?” and he replied ‘She is so great mom!’ He had a smile from ear and ear. I can’t remember the last time I have seen him smile like that. It almost brought me to tears of joy because he was so happy. – Yeida, AGC Instructional Interventionist and mother of Joaquin (3rd Grade) and Diego (5th Grade)
      • “Joaquin was so excited to start 2nd grade that he forgot his book bag, school slippers and water bottle, but he was still showing off his excitement with a beaming smile.” – Maribel, mother of Joaquin (2nd Grade)
      • “I asked Christian how his first day was and he said ‘awesome mom! I love third grade!‘ I loved his response it almost made me cry because, he had a really hard time liking school.” – Mariana, mother of Christian (3rd Grade)
      • “Michelle greeted me after dismissal to say that she met Daisy and Puddles (AGC’s Chickens) she couldn’t believe the school had such animals roaming around!” – Claudia, mother of Michelle (Kindergarten)
      • “How was school Owen? ‘It was good, I get to sit on a couch and, Ms. Phillips, I like her! We gotta be good because Fun Friday is gonna be awesome!’ What about you Syd? ‘Oh well Ms. Gehl she is the cutest ever and she has the cutest little baby named Lucas? And the new wellness teacher is Mr. Casper like the boy and but I miss Ms. Jayaram Ms. Mac and Ms. Moore’…all in one breath!” – Melana, mother of Owen (5th Grade) and Sydney (3rd Grade)

AGC Seeking Special Education Teacher for Maternity Leave

5 Aug

This week, returning staff and new hires gather for professional development, team-building, and to grow our community. In addition to new colleagues, we also welcomed some younger additions to the AGC family this summer. While Ms. Lopez is on leave taking care of her little, we are seeking to hire a 3rd-7th grade Special Education Teacher. 

Learn more and apply here. Please share this posting with IL certified SPED Teachers.

AGC Network News Exclusive

29 Jul

Yesterday, AGC’s summer campers wrote and produced a news segment to advertise the last Farmers’ Market of the season. This is news worth watching!

These creative youngsters have done a wonderful job putting on this market for a handful of regular customers. This week, for their last market, we would love to see our students’ hard work rewarded, please come show support, we promise you’ll get the best prices on hyper-local organic produce and homemade crafts. This week, students will be selling homemade soap and stuffed animals, among other crafts in addition to produce and healthy treats.

summer 2014 soap

Students add essential oils and flowers to create unique soaps.

Take a look at some of their great work this summer:

Thanks to the incomparable Jenni Schneiderman for creating this program, Corenna Roozeboom for helping our students develop a passion for produce, and all the 2014 Summer Camp staff, campers and parents for making every day a delight at AGC.


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