My Night at the Museum

My Night at the Museum

It was a late Sunday night with over two thousand people in one place. Even after a last minute venue change, this massive number of people was not expected and thus chairs were insufficient. What was this major event? Where was this and why were there two-thousand people in attendance? If you crave the answers, continue to read.


It was the day of the Chicago Community Climate Forum. This meant that people from all different ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds congregated for one night in the city.  The Field Museum had allowed the Chicago Community Climate Forum (CCCF for short) to use the space to teach many others about many different topics. What is the CCCF you might be wondering? Well The Chicago Community Climate Forum is a gathering of civic leaders and engaged residents focused on building strong communities and taking action on climate solutions in the Chicago region.” according to the event’s invitation. I was going because I had been interviewed for a video by FREE SPIRIT MEDIA that was shown  at the event. 

When we arrived at the field museum there was easy parking and I had thought that possibly there was not going to be many people at this event. The time we got  there was about seven pm. As we went inside of the Field Museum we noticed that there was many people for all of the noise had proven us to be true and when we continued there were tables set up for registration. My mom had pre-registered my family, so we continued to settle down and put our coats away and found a spot to sit.

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When we sat down we examined the place. There were many, many people that had all joined to learn more and teach about this topic. We learned many things and had a poetry performance were they danced and taught us about air pollution and how it affects communities. Also different speakers talked about important topics such as lead in water. It was an inspirational sight seeing that many people were caring for this event and to me this was astonishing for I’ve never seen so many people in such important event. Also from what was expected to be a 200 person event ended as a 2,000 person event which by itself is amazing that we can go over and beyond expectations. With all of these people it really does makes all the news about climate change destroying the planet a lot less depressing.

Overall this was a event that gave us all more information about ways we can improve our environments and awareness to all of these problems and also teach others about it and it would be amazing if all communities and people were able to join these events for I’m sure that it would at least make an impact on our everyday lives and reshape the way we think about things.

— Joaquin V., 7th grade

This blog post was written by a student serving as a brand ambassador in AGC’s after-school club “Telling our Stories.” Stay tuned for more! 

Academy for Global Citizenship Receives Top Rating from Chicago Public Schools!

Academy for Global Citizenship Receives Top Rating from Chicago Public Schools!

Handstand Sharper (1)

AGC is thrilled to announce that we have received a Level 1+ rating from Chicago Public Schools’ School Quality Rating Program! We received the highest possible ratings for our school culture, as measured by the 5Essentials “My Voice My School” assessment,  students’ reading growth, and our ability to close the achievement gap for high-risk demographic groups, among other measures.

Our students experienced reading and math growth better than 94% and 76% of US schools, respectively, as measured by the NWEA MAP assessment. The results of our 5Essentials assessment shows that AGC is a well organized to prepare our students for success, including engaging students, families, and staff in organizational leadership.

Flip through these slides to explore some My Voice My School analysis.

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The Academy for Global Citizenship was created in 2008 by a group of idealistic young educators who sought to reimagine school based on the needs of the 21st century. AGC was inspired by two critical problems: the inequity in access to high-quality schooling, and the urgent need to prepare engaged citizens who care for the earth, their communities, and themselves. We have worked ever since to challenge what’s possible in public education.

Those of you who have followed AGC’s journey over the last 10 years have heard the story of a 23-year-old Sarah Elizabeth Ippel riding her bicycle to the board of education to demand that they join her in reimagining public education. Her proposal was all but laughed out. Would-be supporters of this movement gently suggested that this was a great model… for a different population. They suggested that she make AGC a private school. Healthy organic food, mindfulness education, and the rigorous International Baccalaureate programme, they suggested, would be a big hit in a wealthy community. These suggestions only served as fuel for the fire, and Sarah Elizabeth was even more convinced of the urgency of  bringing this model to a community that needed high-quality public schools. Sarah Elizabeth returned to that board room with increasing determination until our charter was granted.

As we look back on the last 10 years, we are inspired by the growth as much as we are by the steadiness. The role of education is to prepare young people to inherit the world. As the world changes, so must we, and therefore we often say “the only constant is change.” The soul of our school — the mission, vision, values — and the things that make us unique, have been an outstanding constant.

Recently, while cleaning out an old closet, I came across a box of papers from 2007 –flyers and grant proposals written before AGC opened. I was struck by how little has changed. We had not yet hired staff or welcome students, and yet the school that was described is the school where I work every day. Although our staff model, budget, and facilities have changed dramatically, we are still doing the same work that was detailed in that very first proposal. Students participate in daily yoga and mindfuless, eat a healthy organic breakfast, learn about the natural systems of the earth in our school garden, and collaborate on globally relevant issues in their International Baccalaureate units of inquiry.

For AGC, reaching Level 1+ status is evidence of the incredible things that are possible in public education. This is proof that developing mindful global citizens can be a means to, and not a distraction from, excellence in education.

We have said for years that it is hard to quantify why we feel AGC is such a fantastic place for kids to learn, because the effect doesn’t always show immediately in a standardized score. There are so many factors in making this place special – mindfulness, passion for social justice and taking action, environmentalism, sustainability and asking ever so many questions. Our staff works so hard to meet every student where they are and think about them as a whole person. How do you measure all that? In the immortal words of Trey Thompson, ‘We are not a number!’ However, it is nice when the number you are assigned matches what we all know – AGC is the place to be.” – Internal Memo

To everyone who has contributed to making AGC what it is, thank you.

To everyone else — we want you to join us. Join us in this movement to reimagine education. Support a community that believes the impossible is possible. Come help us transform children into leaders, scholars into innovators, and classrooms into communities.

Click below to get involved:






What Does Peace Mean to You?

What Does Peace Mean to You?


Tomorrow, AGC’s community will come together once again for a Peace Parade through our neighborhood to celebrate International Peace Day. Click here to read about last year’s Peace Parade in a student article published on Education Post.

Our Third graders at the Academy for Global Citizenship have been helping to plan this event. They have been putting various communication skills into practice to understand and celebrate peace.  Our Third graders are in the middle of a six week study on communication as a tool to connect and impact the world around them.  The classes have been immersed in discussions and explorations of verbal and nonverbal communication, human innovations in communication, as well as expressing themselves through symbols and various written languages.  Throughout the day, teachers model and provide opportunities for students to develop a common understanding of the skills needed to be an effective communicator.

A goal for each unit in the IB Primary Years Program is for students to take some kind of action, whether small or large, local or global. This gives students a purpose in exercising what they have learned and helps to develop leaders looking to stand up for change and make an impact.  The third grade has taken on the task of planning a peace celebration at AGC in honor of the UN’s International Day of Peace on Thursday September 21, 2017.  They are planning an assembly, a march with chants and signs throughout the neighborhood and some appreciation circles to spread peace in our own school community.

To start the conversation and to put their listening, writing and speaking skills to practice, students were tasked with conducting “man on the street” interviews.  Students, visitors and staff were all asked the question: “What does peace mean to you?” They recorded and transcribed these quotes and took photos that represent peace to them and are eager to share these reports across AGC’s social media in a “peaceful” takeover of school communication with the world at large.

“What Does Peace Mean to You?”
“I think peace means everybody agrees with each other and nobody
fights with each other. You can have disagreements but instead of
fighting you can talk it out with people. You shouldent hurt other
people.” -Delilah, seventh grade
Peace means to me evrything and evryone gets along and evry one
appreciates each other and nobody means aney harm to each other.
Evreybody has agreements and disagreements but it also ends up not
harsh.” -Lucy, seventh grade
Peace to me feels like when I’m free to do what I like to do and I
also feel safe in doing it.” -Patrick, international visitor
Peace means respect from one person to another, respect towards the
things that everybody has, respect to every bodys beliefs.” -Mr. Bryan
Soto, wellness teacher
“It means that everyone can be calm and no more fighting.” -Valentina, first grade
“To me peace means you get to be free and give the same respect to
everyone else and how you want to be treated. And it means to be calm
and keep the peace.” -Bella, fifth grade

Peace means to be kind to each other or you are being kind to the
world.” -Sofia, fifth grade

Peace means that the country should be free and that everyone should
be welcome.” -Violeta, fifth grade
“I think peace means everyone being with each other and no
discrimination. That means where no one is being rude to each other.”
Mimi, sixth grade
Peace means to me a happy, joyful feeling.  People being together in harmony and helping each other.”
-Richie, sixth grade
“Paz significa para mi no hay nada malo tambien no pelear con alguien.
Siempre estar feliz y tener emaptia. Tambien solo ayundando a las
personas y tambien respetarlos, no enorjarte con ellos y si te enojas
can ellos hace una estrategia.” – Angel, fifth grade dual language
Peace means being helpful and stuff and not polluting or anything.
It means being nice and not doing bad stuff.” -Oscar, fifth grade
Peace means no wars, no violence.  Peace means friendship.” -Judas,
sixth grade

AGC Wellness Program Shared as Best Practice by Illinois State Board of Education

AGC Wellness Program Shared as Best Practice by Illinois State Board of Education

We are thrilled to announce a collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) the Illinois Principals Association and the Education Leaders Network. INCS selected AGC from among Illinois charter schools as a prime example of innovation and what is possible in education. ISBE is helping to share AGC’s innovative approach to whole-child wellness by hosting best-practice workshops with school leaders and developing a webinar which will reach thousands through the Education Leaders Network and ISBE.

Hear from AGC’s phenomenal teachers and students in this video, which shines a light on our unique approach to whole child education through the Wellness Wheel:

Implementing Educational Innovation from ISBE Video on Vimeo.

Our wellness program is just one example of innovation in action at AGC. As a laboratory of innovation in education, AGC shares this work open-source through initiatives like this collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education. Through this unique vision of scale, including a School Sustainability Handbook and 100% Organic school food pilot, AGC has impacted over 950,000 students around the world. As a Chicago public charter school, AGC relies on philanthropy for 25% of our operating budget, and we needs your help to continue to share best practices open-source.

Click here to make a one-time or recurring gift to support innovation in action at AGC.

AGC and the Lonely Whale Foundation Panel at Soho House

AGC and the Lonely Whale Foundation Panel at Soho House


soho panel.JPG
Dr. Liszt with Shedd’s Bridget Couglin and Hip Hop Caucus’s Liz Havstad.


This weekend, our friends at the Lonely Whale Foundation invited Dr. Amy Liszt to speak on a panel about sustainability and urban communities. To a packed house in the Music Room at Soho House

The panel featured Bridget Coughlin from the Shedd Aquarium, Leslie Pappas from The Common Ground Foundation, Jessica Yagan from Impact Engine, and Liz Havstad from the Hip Hop Caucus alongside AGC’s Dr. Amy Liszt. Emma Riley, of the Lonely Whale Foundation, who led the conversation didn’t intend to curate an all-female panel but the celebrated the coincidence nonetheless. Lonely Whale Foundation co-founder and AGC advocate Adrian Grenier introduced the event remotely, as he is in Bali working on ocean advocacy.

The discussion focused largely on the importance of fostering environmental stewardship within communities through schools, youth organizations, and community organizing groups. Ms. Havstad, of the Hip Hop Caucus, discussed the particular relevance of environmental issues within marginalized communities, reminding the audience that Flint, Michigan is still without safe drinking water, over a year after AGC families organized to send bottled water to Michigan.

We are grateful to the Lonely Whale Foundation for including us amongst such an inspiring group of leaders! We are honored to partner with the foundation on a dual-language marine science curriculum for K-5th grade.

Click here to learn about the Lonely Whale’s advocacy initiatives, including a campaign to remove 500 million straws from our ocean in 2017. 

AGC 7th Grader Selected as Youth Ambassador for Women’s March on Washington, Profiled in Local and National Press

AGC 7th Grader Selected as Youth Ambassador for Women’s March on Washington, Profiled in Local and National Press


7th grader Cora Haworth, 13, was selected to serve as a youth ambassador for the Women’s March on Washington this weekend. She will be joined by her sister, in 6th grade, her mother, and her grandmother, as well as many of her teachers, and AGC board members.

Cora was among a small group of teenagers selected from 300 applicants to serve as official advocates for the march, taking place this Saturday in Washington DC. For her application, Cora wrote an essay about what it means to her to be an advocate for causes in her community and beyond. She has been civically engaged “since she was a baby,” says her mother, Tricia Fitzgerald.

Click here to watch a profile of Cora and her mother on NBC 5. 

In this role, Cora will be a representative within the student body for the march. This week, she is visiting classrooms to educate students about the march and the power of their voice. She will continue to encourage youth advocacy and share her experiences after the march. Cora and her family will ride 10 hours each way on a bus this weekend with other advocates to attend the march.

The Haworths are used to a long commute. Since 2010, Cora and her three siblings have traveled to AGC every day from Beverly, spending as much as two hours in transit to attend a school that shares their commitment to civic engagement.  AGC’s mission is to develop mindful leaders who take action now and in the future to positively impact their communities and the world beyond. Students are given opportunities to practice civic engagement and advocacy throughout AGC’s interdisciplinary International Baccalaureate inquiry program.

We are humbled and inspired to see the mission of AGC shine through students like Cora. Click to read about Christina, Martha, and Katie, just a few of the AGC Middle Schoolers who have used their voice for good this year. If you know a Middle Schooler or Elementary schooler who would be a good fit for AGC, direct them to our admissions page. AGC is a tuition-free, open enrollment public charter school.


We are particularly excited to share this news so soon after Martin Luther King day. For all of us at AGC, MLK day is a time to reflect on our individual and collective responsibility to be advocates for good. As Dr. King said, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable.”

Read about Cora on DNA Info and Teen Vogue here.

CLICK HERE to watch Cora, Tricia, and AGC’s Aaron Fischer on NBC 5. 

[Consider a donation to help AGC support the next generation of mindful leaders.]

AGC Open House on January 21st | Casa Abierta el 21 de enero

AGC Open House on January 21st | Casa Abierta el 21 de enero

AGC is enrolling students for the 2017-2018 school year in grades K-8. We particularly encourage students enrolling in grades 3-8 to attend our open house on January 21 and shadow day on February 3rd.

As an open-enrollment Chicago public charter school, AGC provides an opportunity for students across the city to access a tuition-free authorized International Baccalaureate program focused on the growth of the whole child.



The Academy for Global Citizenship is an innovative Chicago Public Charter School, located on the Southwest side of Chicago. Our mission is to empower all students to positively impact the community and world beyond. In pursuit of this mission, AGC is committed to:

  Serving the whole child

  Modeling academic excellence

  Developing inquirers

  Cultivating international awareness

  Fostering environmental stewardship

  Facilitating collaboration within the community

An AGC education extends beyond a solid academic foundation. Organic, nutritionally balanced meals, daily yoga, gardening, wellness instruction and ecologically sustainable practices throughout the school encourage learners to develop healthy and sustainable lifestyles for themselves. Ultimately, the Academy for Global Citizenship engages the whole child in an enriching educational community focused on fostering academic excellence, international awareness, and environmental stewardship.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

K-2nd Grade: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

3-8th Grade: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30pm.

Prospective students and families are encouraged to get to know the Academy for Global Citizenship at our Open House. Visit us on Saturday, January 21, 2017, between 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at the 47th St. Campus. The Open House will begin with guided tours at the 47th building, which houses our Kindergarten to Second grade. There will be an Admissions presentation from 10:15 a.m.-11:15 a.m. We encourage all grade levels to attend the Admissions Presentation. The presentation will include a general overview of the International Bachelorette curriculum with a focus on our Dual Language program, as well as testimonials from some of AGC’s current students, parents, and faculty. The Open House continues with a tour of our Annex campus for 3-8th-grade from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Attending an Open House provides families with an opportunity to learn all about our school community. Families will meet AGC’s faculty, parents, and students. Representatives from AGC’s student council and AGC’s Community Council will be available to answer questions.



La Academia para la Ciudadanía Global
Sábado, 21 de Enero de 2017
Presentación sobre la escuela y admisiones:
10:00 a.m. -11:30 a.m. en 4647 W. 47th St. (K-2nd grado edificio)
Tour de edificio para grados 3 – 8: 11:30-12:30 en 4941 w. 46 St., Chicago, IL 60632

Todas las familias interesadas en matricular su hijo o higa pueden asistir a la casa abierta. El único requisito es vivir en la ciudad de Chicago y tener 5 años antes de 1 de Septiembre para Kindergarten.

Por favor marque su calendario!

Este evento es una oportunidad maravillosa para aprender acerca de nuestra escuela desde la perspectiva de nuestros maestros, padres y alumnos.
Familias y estudiantes de
Familias Prospectivas están invitadas el SÁBADO 21 de Enero

Se anima a conocer a la Academia para la ciudadanía Global en una casa abierta

Visítenos en sábado, 21 de enero de 2017, entre 10:00 a 11:30 en el 47th St. Campus. La casa abierta incluye una presentación de 10:00-11:15 La casa abierta continúa en nuestro campus de anexo, el 3-8 º grado del edificio, con una visita guiada de los alumnos.

La casa abierta comenzará con visitas guiadas el 47, en el edificio para nuestro Kindergarten a segundo grado. Animamos a todos los niveles para asistir a la presentación de la admisión. La presentación incluirá una descripción general del plan de estudios El Bachillerato Internacional, el programa de lenguaje Dual, así como testimonios de algunos de los estudiantes actuales de AGC.
Asistir a un Open House ofrece la oportunidad de aprender todo acerca de nuestra comunidad escolar de la perspectiva de: maestras, padres y estudiantes. Representantes del Consejo de estudiantes de AGC y comunidad Consejo de AGC estará disponibles para responder preguntas.

FAVOR de llamar a Maribel Mares 773-582-1100 Ext. 10
o mandar correo electrónico:

3rd – 8th Grade Shadow Day
Friday, February 3, 2017
7:30 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Register by January 27, 2017

What occurs on a shadow day?
• On February 3, CPS students do not have school however, classes will be in session for AGC students. Any student in 3-8th grade who is interested in learning more about AGC, is invited to “shadow” an AGC student throughout his or her day of classes and get a feel for the academic and social aspects of the Academy for Global Citizenship.  Experience why AGC is a great place to be!

Who can shadow at AGC?
•We encourage 3 -8 grade students to spend the day at AGC.

How do I schedule a shadow day?
Click here to register or E-mail: or call Ms. Mares at 773-582-1100 Ext. 10 by January 27, 2017 to schedule your visit.  It is important to let us know that you are coming so that we can plan accordingly for cafeteria meals. Shadows must register by January 27 to attend.

Can my child attend for half a day?

Yes, we can schedule your student for half a day from 7:30 a.m. – 11:45 p.m. Please let Ms. Mares know at the time of registration.

Whom will I shadow during my visit to AGC?
•Our goal is to help you have the best day possible.  Your host for the day will be a student at the same grade level. Know a current AGC student you would like to shadow?  We will make every effort to accommodate your request.

Where and when should I arrive?
•Please use the entrance on the west side of the building between 7:30-7:45 a.m.  A faculty member will meet you and introduce you to your AGC host. School begins at 7:45 a.m. with shadow pick up starting from 3:30-3:45 p.m.  Please arrange for pick up at the main office at the conclusion of the school day. If you are interested in a half day, please let Ms. Mares know.

What should I wear?
For non-AGC students it is a casual dress day:
– No offensive writing on the shirts which must cover the midriff and be long enough to be tucked in,
– No tank tops or frayed, tattered or torn clothing
– Gym shoes are preferred.
– Please wear appropriate outerwear, as students may go outside for recess.

Will my child need to bring or pay for lunch?
•You need not bring anything with you for the day.  AGC will provide our visitors with breakfast, lunch, and snack.


Viernes 3 de Febrero. Este día no hay escuela en las escuelas publicas de Chicago. Pero AGC si va tener clases en sesión.

¿Que ocurre en un día de sombra?

  • Estudiantes en 3-8 º grado que está interesado en aprender más acerca de AGC, estan invitados hacer “sombra” – seguir un estudiante de AGC a lo largo de su día de clases y tener una idea de los aspectos académicos y sociales de la Academia para la Ciudadanía Global. AGC es un gran lugar para estudiar!

¿Quien puede asistir en este dia?

  • Solamente estudiantes de 3- 8 Grado para pasar el día en el AGC.

¿Cómo programo un día de sombra?
• Se puede mandar correo electrónico: o llamada Sra. Mares en 773-582-1100 Ext. 10  antes de 27 de enero de 2017 para planificar su visita. Es importante que sepamos que viene para que podemos planificar para las comidas de la cafetería. Los visitantes deben registrarse por el 27 de enero para asistir. 

Puede mi hijo asistir a medio día?
Sí, podemos programar medio día, desde las 7:30 a.m. – 11:45 p.m. por favor deje la Sra. Mares saber en el momento de registrar.

¿Cuál estudiante va acompañar mi hijo durante la visita a AGC?
•Nuestro objetivo es ayudarle a tener el mejor día posible. Su anfitrión para el día será un estudiante del mismo nivel de grado. ¿Si usted conoce a un estudiante de la AGC, haremos todo lo posible para atender su solicitud.

Dónde y cuándo debo llegar?

•Utilice la entrada en el lado oeste del edificio entre 7:30-7:45 a.m. un miembro de la facultad se reunirá con usted y presentarle el estudiante. La escuela empieza a las 7:45 a.m. Favor de recoger su hijo a partir de las 3:30-3:45 p.m. en la oficina principal. Si usted está interesado en la mitad de un día, favor de avisar la Sra. Mares.

¿Qué debo llevar?

Para estudiantes visitantes la vestimenta es casual:
– ningún ataque ofensivo escrito en las camisetas que debe cubrir el diafragma y ser lo suficientemente largo para ser metido,
– Sin depósito tops o deshilachado, andrajos o prendas desgarradas
– Gimnasio zapatos son preferibles.
– Por favor, llevar ropa de abrigo, ya que los estudiantes podrán ir fuera para el receso.

¿Necesitará mi hijo a traer o a pagar el almuerzo?

  • También no necesita traer nada con usted para el día. AGC que nuestros visitantes disfruten de desayuno, almuerzo y merienda.


Support AGC on #GivingTuesday Next Week

Support AGC on #GivingTuesday Next Week

Tis’ the giving season! This is a time to give thanks and gifts, but it is also the time when most Americans make charitable donations. More than 80% of Americans do some charitable giving and the average annual household contribution in 2015 was $2,900. Approximately $1,000 of those gifts were made between Thanksgiving and New Years.

Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday on November 29 is a celebration of giving back. Last year, generous citizens donated $100M to causes around the world on Giving Tuesday, with an average contribution of $100.

For the students, families, and educators at the Academy for Global Citizenship, this is a critical time, as we work to recover after the largest funding cut in our history during the recent district budget crisis. AGC must raise $1,000 per student to close this gap.

Here are a few ways you can support AGC this Giving Tuesday, regardless of your budget. Remember, all of your gifts to AGC are tax-deductible! 

  • Give Stock: Donating stock or securities will allow you to earn the full tax benefits of the value of your shares and avoid capital gains taxes. Contact us to learn more.
  • Give Time: Tell the world about AGC by sharing posts from our blog, Facebook or Twitter feeds throughout the giving season.
AGC 8th Graders Write Passionate Speeches About Dakota Access Pipeline

AGC 8th Graders Write Passionate Speeches About Dakota Access Pipeline

[Cristy’s speech and this story have since been re-published by the Education Post.]

AGC students march on the UN’s International Day of Peace.

“500 years. 500 years that the Native Americans have been ridiculed by the whites, it’s been so long and yet you haven’t changed, money before humans.” 13-year-old Cristina Torres has been reading lots of speeches in Mr. Fischer’s class and knows that she wants to start her speech about the Dakota Access Pipeline with a bold statement. Torres knows she can support those strong words with strong evidence because she has been studying the history of indigenous peoples in one class and the history of manmade environmental impacts on U.S. in another.

Like all 8th graders participating in the common core, Cristy Torres is learning to write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. Because she is a student at the Academy for Global Citizenship, an International Baccalaureate public school with an environmental and social mission, Torres is developing these skills through concepts that are relevant to her time and place within an interdisciplinary unit of inquiry.

AGC Language and Literacy teacher Mr. Fischer feels that the political context helps draw students into the unit. “The speeches that we have been writing have been very helpful for students perspective taking skills.  I think there is a great deal of empathy being developed by our students.  I notice that many students are writing things like, ‘To us the land is more that just soil and water.’ They are thinking in terms of their place in the broader society, and getting a taste of what it feels like to use their voice in a structured, supported, serious way.”

AGC had found that, when it is developmentally appropriate, topics in social justice and environmental stewardship promote academic excellence and student-led learning. Developing the perspective of a global citizen takes time, and, in younger grades, students may not be ready to learn about things like climate change. AGC has an rule: “no tragedies before 3rd grade.” In the early years, AGC’s curriculum fosters the natural empathy and curiosity of children, inviting them to fall in love with nature and find wonder in the diversity of the human experience.

Torres and her classmates have been studying this issue from many angles and perspectives for six weeks. In Science class, she is studying the energy industry and how climate change impacts indigenous people. In Individuals and Societies, she is studying the history of indigenous peoples in America. In Language and Literacy, Mr. Fischer’s class, she is reading and writing first-person literature.

During weekly grade-band meetings and on professional development days, Cristy’s teachers got together to plan how the unit would align with common core standards, AGC’s sustainability program, and global citizenship continuum. These content standards are aligned within the International Baccalaureate framework and AGC’s cycle of inquiry. “We have deliberately planned the use of resources to work in conjunction with each other,” says Mr. Fischer. “We made sure that we were focusing on complementary events and time periods. We planned our assessments to complement each other but assess the students on different aspects of the criterion.”

Individuals and Societies Teacher, Berenice Salas (who is also an AGC parent) says that she appreciates collaboration because “we are really prioritizing holistic learning and the authentic learning process… not to mention the level of academic rigor that it demands! We are studying shared concepts, yet teaching our own disciplinary skills. We do not purposefully tell students, “you are learning an interdisciplinary unit…” they make those connections on their own- and when that moment happens, it is amazing! They also see their teachers collaborating and holding them responsible and accountable.

With the Dakota Access Pipeline and Standing Rock Protests so prevalent in the news, our students have developed especially passionate arguments. With Thanksgiving a few days away and protestors standing strong against pepper spray and water cannons at Standing Rock Protests, Torres’ words reverberate through the empty halls at AGC.


Without further ado, here is the full text of Cristina Torres’ persuasive speech assignment.

500 years. 500 years that the Native Americans have been ridiculed by the whites, it’s been so long and yet you haven’t changed, money before humans. I understand that money rules our society, it always has. I understand that money is important and those broken treaties have been repeated through history so it doesn’t seem like such a big deal but putting their basic need to water at stake is ridiculous. You say it’s safe, but if it was why did you change the location from an 80% white town to a sacred reservation?

The ridicule has been going on for centuries, not just going to dig a pipeline under sacred land but to strip them of their religion and tell them that what they believe is wrong. Referencing Red Jacket’s defense of Native Americans speech of 1805, “You have our country but are still not satisfied, now you want to force Christianity upon us.” (1). It’s all connected! Your reasons and excuses changing with time. The Energy transfer partners claim it safe, not commenting on the fact that there were 26 oil spills in the United States in 2016 alone! We have been breaking treaties, treating them like dirt, all while making it seem like we’re the winners. A vicious cycle that no one seems to want to stop.

Let’s take a moment to remember the 1862 massacre, the hanging of 38 Native American men with no real evidence, you say it’s behind us but now you’re killing them in a different way, endangering their water supply. You claim it’s safe, that the pipeline won’t do anything to their land but you can’t just act like it’s never happened before, their fears are reasonable. For example: on April 17, 2016, a petroleum products pipeline failed in Wabash County, Il, resulting in 48,000 gallons of diesel oil being spilled onto the Wabash River(2). Along with that on March 11, 2016, a leaking plug on a pipeline tank farm in Sioux city, Iowa about 30,000 gallons spilled. (3) In addition, there have been 26 other oil spills in 2016 alone, so the threat is there you’re just doing your best to hide it.

Let’s take a moment to think about the effects that the oil spill would have on all living creatures around the water, the wildlife would die off, the Sioux relies on the water in the Missouri and the plants and animals it feeds as their source of food, it’s not only the Sioux relying on the Missouri river, it’s over a million people. To be fair it’s safer to put the pipeline underground than using a train or a car, so it’s a no-brainer for some to put the pipeline underground and even make the pipe shorter by using a shortcut, but it matters when you’re short cut’s go through sacred land that time and time again your promise to the Native Americans but end up taking it for your own gain.

Losing land isn’t new for them; broken treaties since the 1800’s and you’re still honoring those who killed innocent families in the “Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890.” You’re going to say that was in the past but you’re taking their land, sacred land that contributes to greatly to their culture and society! You’re threatening their water supply all while digging a black snake into is horrifying! These most likely weren’t your intentions and you’re trying to improve our economy but this isn’t the way to go. “The military commissions that tried the Dakota was unfair and biased.”(4) So long ago and we’re still acting the same, blinded by money. We’re so blinded that we’re not listening to the people that don’t deserve this, they’re protecting their basic need, the need of water that we’re jeopardizing all while creating death at every turn. Digging up bodies and artifacts without any remorse or second thought.

All in all, the Native Americans have been ridiculed and pushed aside for centuries and it’s time we give them some respect! We’ve been repeating the same disrespectful and biased history by endangering their water supply and stealing and ruining sacred, religious, and cultural ground that we had already promised them. I know your intentions aren’t to kill off the indigenous people but all you care about it money and it’s getting in the way of your morals, we are oblivious to the facts that they have rights just as we do. Money runs the world but it shouldn’t run your mind. I hope you’ve gained a new perspective and understand how this action could endanger many lives, so think twice before you think.”

  2. Red Jacket Speech adapted by Newsela staff
  3. Jessica Plue. “UPDATE: The gas spill at Magellan Pipeline Company has been” Siouxland matters retrieve March 23, 2016
  4. Marczak,3 “The Dakota war of 1862: America’s Genocide 150 years ago Lingers on.”
AGC 8th grader Honored with Award and Scholarship at INCS Conference

AGC 8th grader Honored with Award and Scholarship at INCS Conference

AGC is tremendously proud to announce that our own Martha Lopez is recognized today at the Illinois Network of Charter Schools conference as one of two outstanding Eighth Graders!

Irma Salazar recommended Martha for this award. Says Irma:  “Martha embodies everything we would expect of an IB student at AGC. Not only is she dedicated about her educational career, but she is also passionate about taking action. She is eager to take on any academic challenge, is devoted to learning, and thoughtful about her contributions in class. She is very caring with all of her classmates, fair and open-minded. Martha is an inquirer who is not afraid to ask for help and provide feedback. Martha will also be the first student to speak up for her class or herself if she thinks something is not fair. She is a thoughtful and well-spoken communicator.

Martha is not only an excellent student, but is a well-rounded young lady. Martha is friendly, modest, and a natural-born leader. We can always depend on Martha to make the right choice, and lead by example.”

Martha submitted the following essay for her award:

“My name is Martha Lopez. I go to the Academy for Global Citizenship (AGC). I have been at AGC since I was in kindergarten. I think that AGC is a really good school. It’s different from the rest. Everyone here at AGC is kind. They help you out as much as they can. This school has helped me reach my goals.

AGC has showed me many IB profile learned traits. Those traits have gotten me to come out of my comfort zone. I have volunteered at the National Museum of Mexican Art for events like Day of the Dead workshops and Dia del Niño. This year I want to join my school’s student council. It seems like it’s a good experience and that way I can make sure to get others as well as my ideas out there. AGC is a unique school. It’s an IB school as well. At AGC, learning is different than all other schools. The teachers don’t just give us students notes to write down and a test right away. They make sure that you understand the lesson and they engage the students in learning. Teachers want students to participate as much as they can because that’s what’s going to get us to learn and understand. We ask all the questions we need to ask. When you’re at AGC, you feel like you’re with a family. The students and teachers all have great connections. AGC has made students love nature. We were shown how to garden and we were even showed how to raise chickens! We have a chicken coop at one of our campuses and students are able to go play and hold the chickens. AGC serves organic breakfast, lunch, and snack. Not only does AGC do this but they do many more other things for the students which students enjoy!”

We are proud of Martha and her classmates, who demonstrate every day the power of student-led, inquiry-based learning and our unique mission, vision, and values.


For Immediate Release


2016 Illinois Charter Excellence Awards Winners Announced

Outstanding Illinois charter school students, teachers, and advocates honored for academic success and commitment to students at the Illinois Charter Excellence Awards luncheon. Chicago, IL—The Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) is thrilled to announce outstanding individuals who are making a difference in public education and the charter public school movement with the 2016 Illinois Charter Excellence Awards. These honorees include high school seniors and eighth grade students who embody the missions of their charter schools, as well as exceptional teachers, school leaders, and advocates who work tirelessly every day to improve education in schools and communities across Illinois.

A special luncheon award ceremony will be held at the 2016 Illinois Charter Schools Conference on November 10, 2016 to celebrate the honorees amongst their families, friends, colleagues, and peers. This year, Invest for Kids has generously donated $30,000 to recognize the hard work, commitment, and achievements of the Illinois Charter School Principal of the Year, Illinois Charter Elementary School Teacher of the Year, and Illinois Charter High School Teacher of the Year. High school seniors will be awarded $1,000 scholarships for college, while eighth graders will be presented with $500 scholarships for high school. The Illinois Charter School Parent Advocate will be awarded $500 to help continue their efforts to improve education for all children.

“These students exemplify hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to learn; they stop at nothing to be the best that they can be and work to inspire others around them,” said Andrew Broy, President of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. “This would not be possible without committed teachers, school leaders, and advocates, like those awarded today, who have worked tirelessly to create the schools we need now and move student achievement forward. We thank you for exceeding expectations and going above and beyond for our students. You are appreciated, and you are making a difference.”

The following individuals were recognized as the 2016 CHARTER EXCELLENCE AWARD HONOREES:

 Illinois Charter School Champion of the Year: The Honorable André M. Thapedi

 Illinois Charter School Principal of the Year: Melissa Sweazy, UCSN – Esmeralda Santiago

 Illinois Elementary Charter School Teacher of the Year: Jessica A. Jaimes, Erie Elementary

Charter School

 Illinois Charter High School Teacher of the Year: Kevin D. Bradley, YouthBuild Mclean County

 Illinois Charter School Parent Advocate: Sonya Moore, University of Chicago Charter School –

Donoghue Campus

 Outstanding Illinois Charter School Senior

o Terrance Lee Lindsey, North Lawndale College Prep – Collins Campus

o Anthony Joel Rucker, Chicago International Charter School – Longwood Campus

o Cristal Valencia, Intrinsic Schools

o Stefanie Villalpando, EPIC Academy

 Outstanding Illinois Charter School Eighth Grader

o Carlos Isaac Montalvo, UCSN – Brighton Park Elementary School

o Martha Lopez, Academy for Global Citizenship

“Invest For Kids applauds INCS’ commitment to improving education in our state through the support of public charter schools,” said Barbara Wolf, Director of Charitable Giving at Invest For Kids. “We recognize that student success is directly related to the talents of school principals and faculty and that charter schools provide the environment where excellence in leadership and teaching can thrive. It is with great pleasure that IFK is able to demonstrate our high regard for enterprising academic leaders with well-deserved financial awards.”