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Meet Phillip Jackson of Chicago Grammar School located in the River North neighborhood in Chicago

Today we’d like to introduce you to Phillip Jackson and Oscar Martinez.

Phillip and Oscar, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
After working with children with learning differences for many years, I could not understand why the great teaching methods used for these children were not used with the typical child. The methods could really make the “ordinary” child extraordinary. I made a point of incorporating the methods into our program. I also wanted to move away from the narrowness of such much current curriculum by providing a classical liberal arts and sciences program beginning in elementary school. Besides having a strong academic program, we also have art and gym each day — such a rarity. We have worked hard to integrate the arts into the academic program.

I could not submit without listing a neighborhood but there was only LA options — we are in River North neighborhood in Chicago.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No, it has been difficult communicating our actual program without a conversation. Most people have not had an experience with a classical liberal arts and science program. They see classical and they think memorization and rote learning rather than the means to critical thinking and cultural literacy.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am most proud of our graduates. After spending years with us, they have gone off to high school as thoughtful, considerate, knowledgeable and thinking individuals.

What were you like growing up?
I liked setting up businesses. I would put a stack of comic books in a wagon and walk around the neighborhood selling them to other kids. I also sold snow-cones this way. I had a movie projector, so I set up a theater in the garage and showed those 8 minute shorts of Shirley Temple or Godzilla and sell popcorn and drinks. I liked school and music — I became serious about music in 7th grade and pursued my clarinet studies through high school and into college.

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