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Archive for August 27th, 2010

Parental engagement in school makes a difference

Posted by Admin On August - 27 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

State Board urges families to get involved in students’ academic life during new school year 

  

Springfield, IL  – The Illinois State Board of Education is encouraging parents to volunteer in their children’s schools and monitor students’ academic progress as schools around the state open their doors for the start of a new year. Studies show parental involvement improves students’ learning experience and academic performance.

 

“Parents and family members can significantly impact their children’s attitude and performance in school by getting involved with school events and activities,’’ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “A parent doesn’t need to spend every week at school to make a difference. Even a few hours each year can enhance your children’s learning experience and benefit their school.’’ 

The Illinois Parent Teacher Association promotes “Three for Me,” a National PTA program that encourages families and community members to pledge three hours a year volunteering on school-related work in or outside the school building. National program results have shown that parents generally spend at least three times the goal – or nine hours per year – once they make the commitment.  Volunteer work can take place in or outside of school. For more information on the program, visit the Illinois PTA site at http://www.pta.org/three_for_me.asp.

 

“Good family involvement requires schools working as partners to identify a variety of opportunities for family members in the community to engage in,’’ said Debra Strauss, President of the Illinois PTA. “Research shows that family involvement positively impacts student success regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or education level because they’re focused on their children and that attention reaps positive results.’’ 

There is widespread consensus that family engagement is a critical ingredient for children’s success from birth to career and offers an economic benefit. A 2009 Harvard Family Research Project report noted that schools would have to spend $1,000 more per pupil to reap the same gain in student achievement that an involved parent brings.

 

The key to success, experts stress, is for both families and educators to develop ways to generate more family and community involvement. Some ideas for parents include: 

  • Volunteer to read in your child’s classroom.
  • Volunteer to help teachers organize their classrooms before the school year, during breaks or at the end of the year.
  • Chaperone for a field trip.
  • Serve as a translator during school-family meetings.

 

Some ideas for administrators and teachers include: 

  • Make family engagement part of the core instructional strategy.
  • Establish a monthly breakfast or lunch between parents and school faculty.
  • Host a school-family event off the school campus.
  • Host family movie, reading and game nights.
  • Invite local businesses owners, older adults and other residents who may not have children to the school for events and activities.
  • Identify tasks that can be done by working parents before or after the school day such as cutting or organizing supplies.

Berrios announces Senior Policy Plan

Posted by Admin On August - 27 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

 Chicago, IL – Democratic candidate for Assessor Joseph Berrios on Thursday announced several policies that he will enact if elected on November 2nd. However his top priority will likely come sooner, and affect all senior property owners in Cook County.

“Now, more than ever, we need to help our seniors. Times are tough, and they deserve to be protected. That’s why I plan to work with legislative leaders immediately to eliminate the annual senior tax exemption renewal requirement,” Berrios said. “Seniors should automatically have their exemption renewed each year. I don’t want seniors who are rightfully entitled to forget, and miss out on this very important exemption.”

 There are nearly 285,000 senior citizen property owners in Cook County, said Berrios, who is working with lawmakers to eliminate the annual senior exemption during this fall’s veto session in Springfield. Under the automatic rollover system used by the Cook County Assessor’s office, seniors who showed proof of age and residency needed to apply for an exemption only once. Each senior saves hundreds of dollars through the exemption, Berrios said.

 Berrios is currently working with legislative leaders, and believes that the annual exemption requirement will be eliminated during veto session. Berrios made the announcement at his new campaign office, located at 664 W. Diversey Parkway in Chicago. He also announced several other initiatives that will help seniors when he takes office:

-Create a Senior Outreach Department 

A  newly created Senior Outreach Department at the Assessor’s office can help make the senior exemption and senior freeze more accessible to seniors and easier to understand. This will be a one or two-person department which will help facilitate new and existing senior programs. This department existed five years ago, but was eliminated by the current assessor. 

“During these difficult economic times, we need to make sure our seniors have the proper attention and understand which tax breaks they are afforded,” Berrios said. “We will work with the City of Chicago, as well as the State of Illinois, to attend various events and conduct outreach.”

-Implement a medical care deduction

Given the high cost of medical care seniors are faced with, Berrios will work with legislative leaders to create policy that would allow for the deduction of non-reimbursed medical and prescription drug expenses when determining income eligibility for a Senior Tax Exemption and/or Senior Tax Freeze. This is currently done in Nassau County, as well as in the state of Washington.

Deductions would be calculated from non-reimbursed medical and prescription drug expenses, non-reimbursed home care, and non-reimbursed amounts paid for nursing or adult family homes. These would require receipts and insurance proof that they were not reimbursed or claimed on 1040 income tax forms.  

-Create a user-friendly assessment notice

The current assessment notice includes just the prior assessed value and current assessed value. Berrios will redesign the notice to include assessment and appeal history for the past five years. It will also include sample comparables on each property owner’s block, including Recorder of Deeds transactions

-Heavily promote the long-time occupancy exemption

Currently, more than 270,000 people are eligible for this exemption, and are notified. However, only one-third of those eligible actually file for the exemption. Once elected, Berrios will create an intensive outreach program so that those eligible will actually apply for this exemption. While this isn’t solely a senior issue, Berrios would have his new senior outreach program work to ensure that seniors become aware of this exemption.

“Songs of War and Peace” opens Chicago Chamber Choir’s season

Posted by Admin On August - 27 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

First-time collaboration: Chicago Chamber Choir and Milwaukee Choral Artists perform together  

  

Chicago, IL —To open its 15th season, the Chicago Chamber Choir (CCC), a skilled choral ensemble of 40 singers under the artistic director of Timm Adams, collaborates for the first time with the esteemed Milwaukee Choral Artists (MCA) for “Songs of War and Peace.” Performances take place October 23 in the Milwaukee area and October 24 in the Chicago area.

“Songs of War and Peace” is a special choral meditation on the human cost of war and the hope for peace. The program, featuring music inspired by conflict and the frailty of the human condition, will showcase the skill and creativity of CCC and MCA, separately and together. CCC will perform “Go Down, Moses” from Michael Tippett’s oratorio A Child of Our Time, “Alleluia” by Randall Thompson, “Find the Cost of Freedom” by Stephen Stills and others, while MCA will offer, among others, “Hard Times Come Again No More” by Stephen Foster, “Only Light, Only Love” (with the CCC women) by Joan Szymko and “August 1914” by Joel Boyd, winner of MCA’s Young Composer Contest for 2010. CCC and MCA will perform works together in Latvian, Greek, Hebrew and Latin. This diverse and emotional program includes music inspired by the ravages of several wars, including the Civil War, WWI, WWII, the Vietnam Conflict, as well as the wartime oppression of the Jews and the Greek women of Souli. The complete repertoire, subject to change, is enclosed. 

CCC’s 2010–11 season continues with “Canciones de Navidad: A Spanish Christmas,” the second in a series of Christmas Around the World concerts, December 12 at the Music Institute of Chicago and December 16 at St. Pauls United Church of Christ in Lincoln Park, and concludes with “Soar: Songs of Wind and Air,” the third concert program in its Singing the Elements series, April 9 at Our Lady of the Brook Parish in Northbrook and April 10 at Unity Lutheran Church in Andersonville.

Founded in 1996, the Chicago Chamber Choir promotes the joy of choral music by offering seasonal concerts and charitable performances that educate and entertain children and adults in the Chicagoland area. The choir’s repertoire is culturally diverse and international in scope. Seasonal concerts feature a balance of sacred and secular works, including time-honored classics as well as contemporary selections. As part of its mission, CCC actively seeks performance venues that bring music to under-served individuals and communities. The choir has performed in Chicago’s inner-city schools, retirement homes, homeless shelters and rehabilitation centers. Artistic Director Timm Adams, who has conducted CCC since 2000, is associate professor of music at Rockford College, where he teaches private voice and music theory, conducts three choirs and musical-directs the Performing Arts Department’s mainstage musicals.

CCC’s most recent CD, Hymns & Spirituals: Strength for the Journey, showcases its strongest repertoire: a collection of beloved and soul-stirring hymns and spirituals. Among the highlights are “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord,” “Give Me Jesus,” “Ride the Chariot” and “There is a Balm in Gilead.” The CD is $15 and is available at CCC’s concerts as well as chicagochamberchoir.org.

The Milwaukee Choral Artists (MCA), under the direction of Founder Sharon A. Hansen, is Wisconsin’s premier professional choral ensemble and one of only a handful of professional women’s choral ensembles in the country. Founded in 1998 as a chamber ensemble of professional solo singers, MCA is regularly hailed for its imaginative programming and has quickly established itself in the mainstream of professional music making both within and beyond Milwaukee. Milwaukee Choral Artists enjoys regular appearances with Present Music, Milwaukee’s internationally acclaimed contemporary music ensemble. The Milwaukee Choral Artists performs three regular season concerts each year at historic venues throughout the Milwaukee area. Committed to presenting music from diverse cultures, the ensemble has performed music in 28 languages from more than 40 world cultures since its inception. For more information, visit milwaukeechoralartists.org.

The Chicago Chamber Choir presents “Songs of War and Peace” with the Milwaukee Choral Artists Saturday, October 23 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, 1615 N. Wauwatosa Avenue in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin and Sunday, October 24 at 4 p.m. at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Avenue in Evanston. Tickets for the October 23 performance are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $15 for students, and are available by calling 262-628-5022 or visiting milwaukeechoralartists.org. Tickets for the October 24 performance are $18 in advance, $20 at the door, and $15 for students and groups of 10 or more. Season subscriptions for all three of CCC’s Chicago-area concerts are $50 for adults, $40 for students. Tickets and information are available at chicagochamberchoir.org or 312-409-6890.

State’s Attorney Welcomes South African Visitors

Posted by Admin On August - 27 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez recently met with guests from South Africa during their Chicago visit. The group learned about the judicial system in Cook County by touring several facilities, including the Cook County Juvenile Center, local suburban courthouses and the Chicago Police Department.

Attorney Anita Alvarez

Pictured (left to right) are: Mpho Malaoa, Malibongwe Women’s Development Organization; State’s Attorney Alvarez; Beatrice Truter, Councilwoman, Women’s Development Issues; and Leonard Maart, Chairman, Community Police Forum and Pastor of Presbyterian Church Elsies River.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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