This week, six CPS principals joined their academic counterparts from Paris in signing a Memorandum of Understanding – a pledge to actively encourage the study and appreciation of language, art and culture by students and staff from both France and the United States.
The signings were witnessed by CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and Francois Weil, Superintendent of the Academie de Paris. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the French Delegation traveled to two of its new partner schools – the Chicago School for the Arts and Marie Curie High School. Other partnering schools include Murray Language Academy, Alcott College Prep, Whitney Young High School, and Abraham Lincoln Elementary School.
“This was a very important day for CPS and the public schools of Paris,” said Mark Armendarez, principal at Lincoln Elementary. “It’s a chance for our students to learn from each other, and an opportunity for educators to instill a sense of global responsibility in our children.”
Located in Lincoln Park, Abraham Lincoln Elementary serves a population where nine percent of the student body has French as its first language.
“All students in grades K-8 study French,” said Armendarez, who hopes that the partnership between Chicago and Paris will open the door for the exchange of ideas and pedagogies. “We have two French programs, one of which is specifically geared toward our native French speakers, who hale not only from France, but from Belgium, Haiti, and numerous other countries.”
The primary goal of this partnership is to create a tangible appreciation for global citizenship. Students from Chicago and Paris will learn to study language, art and culture not in a vacuum, but with practical applications in mind. They will use digital tools like Skype and e-mail, and will form international teams to create and present projects, all in the hope of gaining an international perspective and improving their skills as global thinkers.
“This educational and cultural partnership will facilitate challenging learning opportunities, an appreciation of diversity and a broadened multicultural worldview,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “It is an honor for us to host our colleagues from the Academie de Paris this week, as this collaboration affords us a valuable opportunity to share ideas and best practices for a 21st Century education that prepares our students for success in school and in life.”