English

 

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Andrew Brown
Mr. Brown hails proudly from the Queen City of Cincinnati, OH. During a year in which most of his students were not yet born, he moved to Chicago to attend Loyola University, where he received his Bachelors of Arts in English. Many years later, he returned to school, this time at the University of Illinois Chicago, where he earned his Masters of Education. In a former life, Mr. Brown was an actor, performing primarily at ImprovOlympic in Chicago as an improviser. He was also a field organizer in his home city for President Obama’s 2008 Presidential Campaign. Mr. Brown is beginning his fifth year as an English teacher at North Lawndale College Prep (NLCP). He loves it here, as he has the privilege of making a living teaching the brilliant, resilient and dynamic young people who attend NLCP. He is particularly passionate about language, a fascinating study he is able to engage in every day. Mr. Brown loves to spend his spare time with his wife Meghan and young son Jack. Mr. Brown enjoys cooking, reading, watching sports, and playing guitar. His favorite books are On The Road, American Pastoral, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.
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Celena R. Santana
Ms. Santana is excited to begin her 5th year teaching and is in her 2nd year teaching at North Lawndale. She joins the Christiana English department after teaching at the Collins campus last year. She will be teaching Intro to Lit & Comp and American Lit to the freshmen and sophomores. Ms. Santana is a Chicago native and has spent most of her career teaching on the far south and west sides of the city and has loved every second of it. She is a huge Cubs fan and believes this year is THE year for them! You will always hear music coming out of her classroom so don’t be surprised if you catch her mid-song from the Hamilton soundtrack which has been her obsession for the past year. Ms. Santana is looking forward to the 2016-2017 school year and is hopeful that this will be the best year yet!
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Kianda Lee
Kianda Lee has at least 6 years of experience teaching Middle School Language Arts and 2 years of teaching Freshman Literature. She is a product of the Chicago Public Schools system. After high school Kianda attended Harold Washington College in Chicago for 1 year and transferred to Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia to pursue her Bachelor of Arts in English. She enrolled in Chicago State University’s Teacher Certification Program and obtained her secondary teaching certificate. Currently, Kianda is enrolled in Chicago State University’s Library Information Science program and looks forward to receiving her Master of Science degree in May of 2017! Kianda is married to an educator, Tony Lee and has two wonderful daughters, Kimari and Taraji. In her spare time Kianda loves shopping, singing and spending time with her family.
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John Kuhn
Mr. Kuhn joined NLCP after teaching at a dropout-recovery program in Englewood for two years. Before that, he taught English in Ottawa, IL, and in New Delhi, India. Mr. Kuhn has a bachelor’s degree in English Education from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA, and he has a master’s in journalism from Northwestern. He likes to read and to write, and he relies on those two things to learn about both the world and himself. Kuhn said he feels lucky to be a part of NLCP, and to have the opportunity to work with such a creative, resilient student body and thoughtful, hardworking staff.
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Qiana Petty
Qiana Petty was born and raised on Chicago’s Westside. Her desire was to always use her many talents to serve the community. She received a full, four year scholarship from NAACP and chose to attend Dillard University in New Orleans, LA. During the year of Hurricane Katrina, Qiana graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Later, Qiana Petty taught and led professional developments at a local alternative high school network for eight years. In 2011, she received her Master’s of Arts in Teaching from Chicago State University. Her love for the community and education led her to NLCP. Her aspiration is for all students to realize their purpose and begin to fulfill their destiny. Recently, she was nominated and won 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year
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Javin Cotton
Mr. Cotton received a B.S. in Communication Education with a minor in English Education from Illinois State University. He is currently enrolled at Concordia University Chicago completing an M.A. in Educational Administration. Mr. Cotton teaches Freshman and Sophomore English Honors. He is extremely active in his community, tutoring at the Boys and Girls Club and volunteering at his grammar schools. He is a purpose-driven individual that strives to push everyone to reach their highest potential. He was honored with Teacher of the Year 2016 at North Lawndale. His favorites include: Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison; Harlem Nights; Lion King and Broadview. His interests are: Bowling, Music, Dance, and Singing. His favorite quote is: “What does that have to do with the Price of Tea in China?”
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Kristina Liesman Oganeku
Mrs. Liesman (Oganeku) is excited to be returning to North Lawndale College Preparatory High School for the 2016-2017 School Year. She started at NLCP as a long-term substitute teacher in the spring of 2014, and then returned as a full-time teacher in the spring of 2015. She has taught a variety of English classes at NLCP, but is looking forward to teaching American Literature, Composition and Rhetoric, and Film and Literature this school year. Mrs. Liesman (Oganeku) received her BA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in English Education and a minor in Spanish. She is a member of the Illinois Association of Teachers of English (IATE). Mrs. Liesman (Oganeku) believes that all students can learn when given the correct tools and loves to connect literature to everyday experiences. She enjoys spending time with her husband and her fur-babies (dogs: Aubrey and Toews), cooking, reading and watching sports (Go Blackhawks! Go Packers!).
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Susan Keiffer-Barone, Ed.D
Susan Keiffer-Barone has been a teacher of English Language Arts for thirty-three years and on three different continents. She earned a dual degree in English and biology, and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her doctoral studies in Curriculum and Instruction and served as Distinguished Teacher in Residence at the University of Cincinnati. She has published her work in Educational Leadership and worked as a book reviewer for the Journal of Staff Development. She served as department chair at the Inter-Community School of Zurich Switzerland and volunteered in Moshe, Tanzania. She has taught all grades at NLCP. She is the mother of four amazing daughters, and she and her husband Charles are avid travelers, having visited all 7 continents.
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Veriner James
Mrs. Veriner James has been an educator for 15 years. She began her career as a 2nd grade teacher. To date, Mrs. James has taught nearly every grade level and served as a School Administrator. Recently, Mrs. James returned to NLCP, after 6 years, to serve as Department Chair for the English Department. Mrs. James holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Behavioral Science (National Louis University), a Masters in Secondary Education (University of Phoenix), and a second Masters in School Leadership (Concordia University). Mrs. James will begin her journey towards becoming Dr. Veriner James fall of 2016. When Mrs. James is not in the classroom, she enjoys traveling with her husband and 11 year old son. Mrs. James is an active member of her church and enjoys singing. In 2015, Mrs. James wrote and released her 1st song entitled, “Song of Deliverance.” Mrs. James describes herself as a fearless, passionate, and lively person. Her mission is to provide students with a quality education. Although most of Mrs. James’s students describe her as “strict”, they understand her passion comes from a place of love. Mrs. James’s favorite mantra is “Don’t stop when you’re tired…stop when you’re done!”
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Jason Patterson
Mr. Patterson approaches teaching English with passion, creativity and sharp sense of humor. ” I feel that it’s so important for teachers to make language come alive.” That’s what he strives to create every day at NLCP, imagination and love for the power of language. You can often hear laughter or passionate discussion coming from his classroom. But it doesn’t end there, “I think we also need to push students beyond their comfort levels for optimal growth to occur. Teaching in that tension creates a delicate balance, but it’s worth it, to be sure.” Mr. Patterson brings over 20 years of teaching experience to NLCP this year, over 10 on the west side of Chicago. He has taught at the 12th grade level for 17 years.

English language arts proficiency is the cornerstone of a twenty-first century education.

Language proficiency is the cornerstone of every education. Language is the medium of thinking and learning, and skilled use of language is essential for academic success, participation in society, and contribution to a better world. As English has grown as the communication tool of business and governments in the twenty-first century, reading, writing and speaking proficiently and thoughtfully in English is the central to our students’ future.

We believe that language learning is life-long. It is essential to provide students with vertically and horizontally aligned language experiences. This promotes an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the different functions, contexts, and varieties of English. Students are coached in acquiring developmentally appropriate skills for using English for different purposes. As language expresses identity, students will be encouraged to take risks, experiment with language, make choices about their own learning and to make approximations in written and spoken English. We believe that language learning is a developmental process (Holdaway, 1986) and the cornerstone exploration of our school.

All students can learn.

We believe that all students can learn, and are learning. It is our responsibility to channel and individualize their learning to broaden both knowledge and skill in textual analysis and language use. We believe that students have “all kinds of minds” (Levine, 2002) and we must use a variety of materials and methods to help them to grow. To this end, all core texts are available in print, audio and video, and we provide alternative texts that promote language development, as well as extended texts that broaden student language experiences. We must consistently revise curriculum to maintain its relevance and quality. We provide equal access to the English curriculum for both additional language and special needs students in mainstream teaching classes. The course instructor and the EAL and ES Departments will provide additional assistance with specific language development through extra classes and tuition.

Learning is a construction based upon prior knowledge and experiences.

We believe that language learning is a construction, based on student prior knowledge and experiences (Vygotsky, 1962). Thus, our language program is learner-centered, and works toward the “zone of proximal development” for our students. We foster an environment that encourages creativity and experimentation, while providing challenges and high expectations for students. Language learning requires interaction and active participation, and we utilize a variety of cooperative learning strategies, such as literacy circles, peer editing, team projects, small and large group discussion and formal debate (Routman, 1994). Language is best developed when students understand and control (and feel empowered by) the learning process. Thus many assignments are open-ended, there are opportunities for student choice of topic and text, and we provide negotiated rubrics for every assessment task.

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Electives