Stepping up to More Responsibility

Adolescence is a wonderful time of development.  Kids have new skills and abilities, and also are itching for more freedom and responsibility.  They want to do it all, but they still need guidance and support.  

As our middle school students grow, we look for opportunities for our middle school students to take leadership in the school community.  One venue for this is student government, which all middle school students have the opportunity to participate in.  

This spring, student government organized Chicago Friends School’s first ever Spirit Week — a week of fun, themed activities that united the whole school.  During one of these activities the students in student government taught the whole school how to make tie-dye shirts.  

In addition, our seventh graders are taking advantage of another opportunity for responsibility — individual service projects.  Our seventh graders have researched a community need, interviewed a professional who helps to meet this need, and devised a project, to be done in school over a month, to help an organization in the community.  This is a natural extension of the school’s commitment to service, and also the Middle school student’s increased ability to be autonomous and responsible.   They help themselves while they are helping the world.

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Karen Carney

is the head of school. Karen’s career demonstrates a rich and diverse set of skills: project oversight, curriculum development, educator training and mentoring, and classroom instruction. Prior to coming to Chicago Friends School, she worked as a senior specialist in science curriculum for American Institutes for Research. Before this, she oversaw educational programming at the Adler Planetarium, first as its director of education and then as associate vice president for visitor experience and learning. She has also worked in instruction and teacher development at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Learning Sciences Research Institute and has authored more than 20 scholarly papers, book chapters, and conference presentations.

Karen is an active, dedicated Friend (Quaker) and has held various leadership positions at the Evanston Friends Meeting. She enjoys baking, cooking, and painting and is a member of the Playmation improv comedy team.