Our Journey To Pulaski
— Debbie and Keith Gibbons
My husband and I moved to Bucktown in 2005 from Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village with the intent that we would raise a family in our new home. We found our house on a slow sports Sunday, the dangers of just “seeing what’s out there”. We did not have any kids at the time but knew that area schools would be a strong consideration. I grew up in the north suburbs and went to public school; my husband grew up on the northwest side and went to private Catholic Schools. We both valued the education we received but our goal was a public education for our kids. Our house is a block from Drummond, we heard great things about the school (then a neighborhood program), and voila, we became Bucktown residents.
From 2005 to 2007, we could tell you everything about the restaurants in Bucktown but did not know Ehrler or Walsh Park, Burr or Pulaski. In late August 2007 our daughter was born and things quickly changed. At two weeks old, our friend who has older children came to visit and the conversation quickly turned, “So where are you going to send her to school?.” My response, “we are just happy she’s home and out of the neonatal intensive care unit”. We laughed about it and joked that our baby needed to sleep through the night before we advanced her to preschool. However, the message was received. By four months, we had attended a few open houses and a “coffee” at a private school. And then word came out on the street that Drummond was no longer a neighborhood school.
We did a quick search on CPS’ website and identified Pulaski as our neighborhood school. With our daughter in tow (age 2), we visited the preschool classroom during the morning/afternoon break. Preschool teacher Ms. Lacour and the aid told us about the programs, engaged our daughter, showed class projects, artwork, and the immense creativity happening in the classroom. We walked away confident that our community would embrace our neighborhood school and that our children would receive a quality education in a diverse environment. Around the same time, the wheels were set in motion for Pulaski to become an International Baccalaureate school.
Fast forward, the “two year old” is now in 3rd grade and our son is in kindergarten. As active parents in the Pulaski community for many years now, we remain dedicated to raising our kids in the city, and have been absolutely thrilled with the school. We are amazed by the sense of pride, confidence, and love of learning our children express. We credit the environment and tone set forth by the experienced teachers at Pulaski. And a cherry on top, six other Pulaski students live on our little block. The sense of community is absolutely tremendous.
Through Friends of Pulaski, we are excited to participate in something very important in our child’s life – to take our school to the next level. We support the outstanding teachers we have, and hope to continue to attract great students and staff. Our highest priority will always be the quality of the education our kids receive and we recognize that the school requires resources beyond the city’s budget. All donations to worthy causes have significant merit but our focus is on supporting Pulaski and we are pleased to make financial contributions via monthly reoccurring donations. We strongly encourage everyone invested in the community to visit Pulaski and give their time and financial support according to their means.
— Bridget Brosnan
My story starts about 14 years ago when I started my career as a Hair Stylist at a salon in Bucktown/Wicker Park. Had you asked my 21-year-old self what I thought about the neighborhood schools, I would have given you a big “Why would I care?.” As the years went by though, and one baby later, my position at one of the fastest growing salons in Bucktown gave me the advantage to vet all the research my clients had been doing in the great “private vs. public school debate.”
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, where unless you chose Parochial school, you went to your neighborhood public school. I have always wanted the same for my son. Living and working in Bucktown made it a natural choice for me to send my son to Pulaski for Pre-K. (To be honest, we were renting an apartment in the neighborhood, just in case Pulaski wasn’t the right fit for us).
I distinctly remember the day we decided to buy our home in Bucktown, guaranteeing his spot in Kindergarten at our neighborhood school. It was only a few days into his first year at Pulaski when we realized that so many of his classmates were also walking to and from school every morning and afternoon. I loved the feeling we got sharing our walk to school in the morning with our neighbors-it was a real sense of community!
My son’s Kindergarten year I volunteered to do Kiss’n’Go one morning a week. I quickly discovered this was a fun way to start my day-greeting all the kiddos as they get dropped off in the morning. Two years later, I was manning my K’n’G post two days a week, as well as helping every Wednesday morning with what we call Wednesday Work. Yes we help teachers with their “busy” work like making copies and cutting out paper flower petals, but more importantly it’s an hour once a week that you get to catch-up with the other moms(and dads), network, share stories, etc. I truly believe the difference between a fine school and a great school is parent involvement.
This year I took a part-time position at the school helping with communications as their Parent Liaison. It has been a great opportunity to work closer with administration and the teachers, as well as feel like I’m having a direct impact on my son’s education. It has also allowed me to see firsthand where and how the efforts of the Friends of Pulaski fundraising have filled many needs. I feel like it’s more important now than ever before that Pulaski has a group like FOP to supply resources to the school that go beyond the city’s budget. I’ve always been an active participant in the “big” fundraisers in the past, like the Fun Run, Gala and Match Campaigns, so I also decided it was just as important to set up monthly recurring donations. Whether it’s $20 or $200, a tax-deductible donation recurring monthly is priceless when it comes to your child’s education. Please join me in supporting the school in both volunteering and financial support.