CAPE Classrooms: Stepping Stones… A Pathway to Parents
At New Sullivan Elementary, near 83rd and Lake Shore Drive, the visual art lead teacher Tracy Netter has been partnering for four years with long-time CAPE teaching artist Juan-Carlos Perez. They have worked diligently together to weave visual arts into the literacy curriculum in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classrooms, to great success. They have also expanded their work beyond the scope of their projects with students to bring parents into the school to create art and a sense of community. Juan-Carlos recently related a moving story from this parent program:
At the same time this project was taking place, the Principal was making an effort to bring together the diverse and disconnected populations that exist in the school. In this changing Chicago neighborhood socio-economics, ethnicity and language are barriers to parent interactions. The school administration welcomed the Stepping Stone Project as way to bring together parents at the school.
Their message to the students was that they should always be ready and willing to take on a challenge- that even though they are parents and old by their children’s standards, there are still many experiences out there that can enrich life. They took on something new and did not let fear get in the way. They expressed to the students that, though they are older, they still continue to be students of this world.
The response was amazing. The parents received a roar of applause, cheers, tears and standing ovation.”