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AGC Educator a Finalist for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching

8 Feb

We are thrilled to announce that Saskia Gorospe-Rombouts is a finalist for the Golden Apple award for excellence in teaching.

Over 650 outstanding educators from around the Chicagoland area were nominated this year, a record for the Golden Apple awards. While nominee should be celebrated for their contributions, only 5% of nominated educators were selected as finalists. Ms. Rombouts joins a group of 30 of the best educators in the region. These incredible teachers serve different communities at diverse school models.

Ms. Rombouts has been inspiring teachers and students alike at the Academy for Global Citizenship for 8 years. Ms. Rombouts joined our community in 2010 to create AGC’s Dual Language program.

A native of Spain, Ms. Rombouts has spent her career improving bilingual education, as a writer, educator, consultant, and a teacher-trainer.

As a bilingual educator, and the parent of a bilingual child, she felt passionately about the need to support bilingualism in schools. At the time, Dual Language immersion programs were even more uncommon within public schools. Ms. Rombouts created AGC’s Dual Language program over two years of study and observation of existing models. Based on best-practice research, her approach is a two-way immersion model, with native Spanish speakers, native English speakers, and simultaneous bilingual students learning collaboratively. Instruction begins at 80% in Spanish and 20% in English and shifts gradually to 50-50. The objective is for all students to read, write, and speak in both languages fluently by fifth grade.

Ms. Rombouts embodies the qualities we seek to develop in our students. She is a creative and tenacious leader and an empathetic global citizen. She is driven by her passion for helping students find and develop their strengths, and one of the hardest working people we know.  In addition to leading 1st grade Dual Language, Ms. Rombouts coaches educators an emerging Dual Language program at Spry Elementary (a partnership made possible through a grant from the Illinois State Board of Education) and teaches a Methods and Materials course for New Language Learners at Erikson Institute.

We are so proud of Ms. Rombouts and all of the outstanding educators in our school and our city.

Ms. Rombouts joins her colleague, Berenice Salas, in this honor. Ms. Salas,  who teaches Individuals and Society, a Middle School social studies course at the Academy for Global Citizenship, was recognized as a finalist for the 2017 Golden Apple Awards.

Saskia Gorospe-Rombouts, hiking with her son Itxaso, who is currently a 4th grader in AGC’s Dual Language program.


Annual Golden Apple Awards Finalists Announced
Awards recognize excellence in teaching and outstanding school leadership
CHICAGO (February 8, 2018) – Golden Apple, a leading Illinois nonprofit committed to developing great teachers, today announced the finalists for the organization’s prestigious educator awards: the Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching and the Stanley C. Golder Leadership Award.
A record number of nominations for the 2018 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching were submitted this year, totaling more than 650 Pre-K through 3rd grade teachers from the Chicagoland area. Five percent of nominees were selected as finalists, for a total of 30 educators who will be considered for the award this spring. The 2018 finalists include the highest percentage of Chicago Public School teachers ever selected, many of whom are bilingual and teach in two languages to help English-language learners.
The Stanley C. Golder Leadership Award, presented in memory of Stanley C. Golder, a founding board member of Golden Apple, honors exemplary performance and excellence in school leadership of a Pre-K through 12th grade principal or head of school from the Chicagoland area. Seven school leaders were recognized as 2018 Golder finalists. Nominations nearly doubled from previous years.
“This year’s award finalists, selected through an anonymous process, represent accomplished educators who are embracing very complex assignments to enrich and advance the lives of students,” said Alicia Winckler, Golden Apple President and CEO. “These awards shine a bright light on the incredible work happening in our schools. On behalf of Golden Apple, we applaud the teacher and school leader finalists for their initiative, innovation, dedication and perseverance.”
Fellow educators, students, parents and community members nominate teachers and school leaders for the awards each year. For more information and photos of finalists, visit
2018 Stanley C. Golder Leadership Award Finalists:
1. Kathryn Baal, Loyola Academy, Wilmette
2. Victor Iturralde, Solorio Academy High School, Chicago
3. Gregory Jones, Kenwood Academy High School, Chicago
4. Jason Patera, The Chicago Academy for the Arts, Chicago
5. Catherine Plocher, Augustus H. Burley School, Chicago
6. Stacy Stewart, Belmont-Cragin, Chicago
7. Jose M. Torres, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Aurora
2018 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching Award Finalists: 
1. Julie Ahern, Andrew Cooke Magnet Elementary School, Waukegan
2. Erica Barraza, Lotus Elementary School, Spring Grove
3. Lisa Buchholz, Abraham Lincoln Elementary, Glen Ellyn
4. Lisset Carrasco, Grover Cleveland Elementary School, Chicago
5. Jodi Christoforou, Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary School, Arlington Heights
6. Nancy Cordova, Calmeca Academy of Fine Arts & Dual Language, Chicago
7. Meghan Dolan, John M. Palmer Elementary School, Chicago
8. Heather Duncan, South Shore Fine Arts Academy, Chicago
9. Jeri Faber, Ringwood School Primary Center, Ringwood
10. Gwendolyn Faulkner, McKenzie Elementary School, Wilmette
11. Ann Fehser, John Laidlaw Elementary School, Western Springs
12. Cheryl Frawley, Betsy Ross Elementary School, Forest Park
13. Maureen Gallagher, Arthur Dixon Elementary School, Chicago
14. Carrie Garrett, Lynne Thigpen Elementary School, Joliet
15. Michael Golub, Mary Gage Peterson Elementary, Chicago
16. Saskia Gorospe-Rombouts, Academy for Global Citizenship, Chicago
17. Melissa Halusek, Pleasantdale Elementary School, La Grange
18. Melissa Holland, Jordan Community Elementary School, Chicago
19. Rebecca Kelly, Arbor View Elementary School, Glen Ellyn
20. Alyssa Lipuma, Brook Park Elementary School, La Grange Park
21. Dawn Majer, Ardmore Elementary School, Villa Park
22. Xenia Martinez-Downs, Little Village Academy, Chicago
23. Kristin Mitchell, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Literary and Fine Arts School, Evanston
24. Caitlin Reusche, Suder Montessori Magnet School, Chicago
25. Megan Shore, Oakbrook Elementary, Wood Dale
26. Daneal Silvers, Edison Regional Gifted Center, Chicago
27. Anita Unzueta, Little Village Academy, Chicago
28. Lisa Washington Kuzel, The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Chicago
29. Brittany Williams, Brentano Math & Science Academy, Chicago
30. Kary Zarate, George B. Swift Specialty School, Chicago

Insight and Wonder Part I: Student Spaces and Rituals

21 Oct

Our first task, as we work to develop our future campus, the Midwest’s first energy net-positive school, is to cull the hopes, desires and expectations of our stakeholders. For so many, this school has been a nearly decade long dream. The opportunity to engage all stakeholders in shaping our future campus has sent ripples of excitement through our hallways!

In addition to our incredible architects at Studio Gang, we are working with Wonder, By Design and Rosan Bosch Studios, both international experts in designing learning spaces. Wonder, By Design, whose co-founders Christian Long and Trung Le helped write The Third Teacher, has been working with AGC for years to help envision this campus. Our incredible design team has been focused for the last two months on stakeholder workshops and observing the rituals and culture of our school community to inform the development of our design brief or “manifesto,” for this future campus.

The first stage of this process was for our design team to immerse themselves in AGC’s school day processes. They took photographs, set up time-lapse cameras, observed rituals, sat in on democratic school meetings, and learned alongside students during our 8 hour school day (twice). This “Insight Week” was an intense series of three 12 hour days, from 7 am democratic school meetings to late night dinners with our external partners, mirroring the busy life of AGC’s families and staff.

It has been incredible for all of us to reflect on our very special community of learners through the eyes of our design team. Here are some of the moments they chose to capture while observing our students. Next, we’ll explore their workshops and interviews with our staff, our families, local leaders, external partners and experts in sustainable design.

BACK TO SCHOOL DAY 1: K-2nd Grade Observations at 47th Street.


In our small rented-spaces, students and staff use space creatively, including turning walls into kid-height chalkboards and storing supplies on windowsills. How can these uses be incorporated into a new design?


Students have their own space outside our classrooms for coats, water-bottles, take-home projects and their “outdoor shoes.” We ask students to bring slippers to protect our floors and carpets and to improve indoor air quality by limiting what is tracked through our halls. Reusable water bottles keep students hydrated and reduce the need for trips to the water fountain and disposable drink containers. How can we honor student spaces in a future campus?


“Todos los niños son estrellas brillantes/ All children are bright stars!” Our bilingual school features handwritten signs – an opportunity for our students to practice translating writing, and reading in other languages. Many students and staff switch openly between languages.


Todd Zima, Principal at Studio Gang Architects and Trung Le, Co-Founder of Wonder, by Design observe the many uses of our parking lot area. How will flexibility of spaces translate into a new facility?


Wonder, by Design founder Trung Le and Rosan Bosch Studios founder Rosan Bosch chat while AGC’s Maintenance Manger, Danny, builds a larger run to allow our schoolyard chickens more space to play on nights and weekends when they cannot run free in the yard.


Reading nooks and cozy spaces abound in our tiny barrel-factory. How will our state-of-the-art new campus meet our need for comfortable and cozy spaces?


Chef Eddie gives a high-five during lunch. Our on-site food programs allows our students, staff and families to connect directly to the journey of food from farm to the table and allows our chef, who is also an AGC parent to see first-hand how students react to dishes and tweak accordingly.

IMG_0877 IMG_0720

BACK TO SCHOOL DAY 2: 3rd-5th Grade Observations at the Annex building on the campus of Phoebe Hearst Elementary School.


AGC supports our teachers professional development through coaching. Literacy specialist and founding AGC teacher, Meredith bounces between classrooms in both buildings to support teachers and students.


Seating options in our 3-8th grade building allow older students responsibility over their learning experience and help meet a variety of student learning styles.


Teachers and students design their classrooms to meet their needs and wants. How can this flexibility grow with us?


Student, staff and families all said that natural lighting was a priority. Current AGC students can look forward to the natural light in our middle school classrooms, on the second floor of our Annex building next door to Hearst Elementary School.


AGC and our neighbors at Hearst worked with Openlands to create this native plant garden and outdoor classroom in the space between our two buildings. The murals, designed by the Green Star Movement and created with help from students at AGC and Hearst, say “grow” and “conserve.”


Principal Jenn Moore supports a student council meeting held at a small table under the stairs. Student council meetings follow many of the same structures as our staff’s democratic school meetings, with rotating roles like “leader,” “process observer,” “note taker,” and “caboose.”


During recess, students used tall brush cuttings to build a fort around the base of a tree. They requested that no trees die during the construction of our net-positive campus.


AGC 4th Graders Ask McDonalds to “Retire the Clown” in Local Protest

18 Nov

Last week, on Tuesday, November 12th, AGC’s 4th grade classes joined Corporate Accountability International in protesting McDonalds’ restaurants targeted marketing to children. Their demands were simple: retire the clown! The students’ homemade signs included slogans like “Kids NOT Lovin’ It.” kids not lovin it Siram Madhusoodanan, the director of Corporate Accountability International’s “Value the Meal” campaign, explains that McDonald’s marketing “take[s] advantage of the developmental vulnerability of kids.” In his coverage of the protest for the Chicago Tribune and Pioneer Local, Chuck Fieldman adds “just as the Marlboro Man and Joe Camel were used by tobacco companies in cigarette advertising before being retired, it’s time to retire Ronald McDonald.”

AGC 4th grader Joaquin Valencia and his family were interviewed for the article, as they stopped eating McDonald’s altogether four months ago. “I loved it,” Joaquin said, “but I know that food isn’t good for me.” “Fast food is easy and cheap,” his mother, Minerva acknowledges, “but we need to educate ourselves about what we eat and have to make healthier choices.”

Healthier choices are a foundation of AGC’s educational program and philosophy. Nutritious, local and scratch-made foods are showcased in AGC’s breakfast and lunch menus, explored in AGC’s curriculum, whose International Baccalaureate Programme includes Units of Inquiry like “Farm to Table,” and “We are What we Eat;” and reinforced by the school culture, including in parent-run events like the Taste of AGC Fall Harvest Festival.

4th grade teacher Trey Thompson explains how this field trip fits into AGC’s philosophy and curriculum: “We have a pretty progressive view on how food affects kids, and we eat all organic food at our school. We just finished a unit of inquiry on persuasion, so this was a great exercise in talking about how people are persuaded.” Read the full Chicago Tribune article here.

AGC Seeking Wellness Teacher

31 Oct

One of our amazing colleagues will be following her husband out of state for an exciting career opportunity, leaving a vacancy in our Wellness program. Please help AGC find our ideal candidate by sharing this job description far and wide.


Third and Fourth Wellness/Physical Ed Teacher/Instructional Interventionist

The Academy for Global Citizenship is seeking a full time Third and Fourth Wellness/Physical Ed Teacher/Instructional Interventionist for the 2014-2015 school year.  This is a position with a flexible schedule that will grow into a full time Wellness/Physical Ed position for the 2015-16 school year.

Teachers are responsible for helping our children learn, classroom management, participating in professional development, providing feedback to others, assisting in the development and improvements of curriculum, and communicating to staff and parents regarding student performance. Teachers must be committed to promoting in students the student profile qualities as described by the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP): inquirers, thinkers, communicators, risk takers, knowledgeable, principled, caring, open-minded, well-balanced, and reflective.  Teachers report to the Principal.

Responsibilities include:

  • Teach Wellness/Physical Ed
  • Be an active part of the third and fourth grade teams
  • Providing in-classroom set up with partner teacher for the first four weeks of school
  • Working with the Literacy Specialist to establish a schedule for student intervention
  • Providing small group interventions outside or in the classroom
  • Providing classroom coverage for designated partner teacher during testing
  • Lunch and recess duties


The Academy for Global Citizenship…

  • Believes great teaching can transform the world
  • Strives every single day to make our school a remarkable place
  • Is not afraid to take risks to do what is best for students
  • Takes our name and mission seriously
  • Doesn’t settle for good but strives for great

We are looking for staff who…

  • Believe in culturally relevant teaching
  • Establish relationships with the families in our community
  • Want your work to define best practice
  • Respect and thrive in a dynamic, changing, and growing environment
  • Have a big heart to match a big brain

Working at AGC means…

  • Being surrounded by extraordinary, inquisitive students and hard-working, like-minded colleagues
  • Being held to high standards for continuous personal and school improvement
  • Having high academic expectations for every student in the school everyday
  • Getting your hands dirty in our school garden
  • Supporting Teaching through interdisciplinary International Baccalaureate Units of Inquiry, balanced literacy, arts integration, and TERC Investigations Math
  • Working in an environmentally friendly setting
  • Working hard and thinking outside of the box to do what is best for our students

Preferred Skills and Experience:

  • 2+ years of related experience
  • Strong leadership skills and personal drive
  • Familiarity with an educational environment
  • An entrepreneurial spirit

Education Requirements:

  • Bachelors degree or higher
  • State of Illinois teaching certificate in physical education


To view up-to-date grade level vacancies and to submit an online application, please visit:

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, gender, age national origin, or disability.


Third Grade Thinkers Yoga

18 Feb

How does AGC help our third graders do their best on the ISAT (the Illinois Standards Achievement Test)?  Not only do we implement a robust and challenging curriculum, we also attend to our students’ physical and emotional wellness.  Yoga is a wonderful tool for doing so.  In preparation for our testing days in a few weeks, our students and their families will have a “Third Grade Thinkers Yoga Retreat” this afternoon.   Below is the guide our third grade teacher Regina Harris created.  It is full of beneficial yoga poses you can do with your children at home or at school if you are a teacher!

Third Grade Thinkers Guide to Yoga

Earth Hour Everyday at AGC

20 Apr

Regina Harris is one of our second grade teachers at AGC and wrote this piece about how her students celebrated Earth Hour!

During a recent unit on architecture, my second grade students explored various types of building materials and local and global structures, which include housing, schools, bridges, temples, office buildings, etc… We also made 3D structures of the Willis Tower of Chicago and the Empire State Building of New York. We discussed how much lighting energy these types of buildings would require to operate.

Then four Roots and Shoots student leaders from second grade presented Earth Hour information during one of our school’s daily community circle, with the lights off. (Community Circle is the part of our day where all the students come together to share information with other classes. It is an excellent opportunity for students to exercise their leadership skills.) These students held up the 3D structure of the Empire State Building to explain how this famous US landmark planned to participate in Earth Hour to help reduce energy consumption.

Finally, these four students challenged all of the staff and other classes to take part in Earth Hour by turning off all the lights in their homes on March 27th. These Roots and Shoots students also made and displayed posters to promote Earth Hour participation. When school resumes next week after spring break, the students plan to share what they did at home to honor Earth Hour. Finally, the students came up with the idea to have “Earth Hour” each week at school where they would complete work “in the dark” to continue to reduce our school’s electricity use.

Well done second grade!

Waiting for lunch? Why not do a little yoga!

15 Apr

At AGC, we see yoga as another instructional tool in our teachers’ belts.  It is a great way to bring energy, focus, or calm to a classroom of students.  Not only do we do whole school yoga at the end of each day, but our teachers also seize moments like waiting in line for lunch as a prime opportunity to do tree pose!  Here is Nora Ryan, one of our kindergarten teachers, doing just that.

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