Educator Spotlight: Celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week

Written by Chicago International Charter School
04 May 2021
Posted in Educator Spotlight

Teachers change lives and inspire thousands every day even while facing all of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to thank them! We want to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, which runs from May 3 through May 7 in 2021, by spotlighting teachers this week who have made a difference at CICS. One educator, Brandi Pearman, embodies that.  Ms. Pearman was awarded the Essential Educator of the Year in April 2020. She was celebrated for her teaching during remote learning and her continued dedication to educating her students about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Read her inspiring story.

Brandi Pearman is a first grade STEM teacher at CICS Lloyd Bond. She is also a member of the Phi Kappa Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She joined the sorority on May 5, 2002 while she was a graduate student at Eastern Michigan University; it is a family legacy as her grandmother joined in 1945 and her mother was also a member. The Phi Kappa Omega Chapter’s motto is “Service to All Mankind” and for Ms. Pearman, “That mindset doesn’t stop at age 22 when you get your degree.” This motto is something that she embodies while a teacher at Bond and in life. 

Alpha Kappa Alpha is one of the sororities and fraternities that comprise the National Pan-Hellenic Black Greek letter organizations that are often referred to as the Divine Nine. The history of these service organizations date back to the early 1900’s. The organizations were founded at five universities including Morgan State and Howard University, both HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). 

Ms. Pearman is currently focused on two of the organizations’ program targets, those of the Arts and Global Impact. She has been involved in projects such as Soles4Souls, an organization that turns unwanted shoes and clothing into opportunity and has collected dresses for little girls and in a Vision Fair eyeglass drive for children. This year, Ms. Pearman is a part of the Chapter’s annual book drive with Lloyd Bond designated as one of the schools that will receive books. 

As a first grade STEM teacher, Ms. Pearman isn’t in a position to talk to her students about the sorority but it does influence the perspectives she brings to her students. Her class has more young girls than boys and she makes sure that the girls are participating in everything to do with math and science. “I don’t ever bring up the idea that math is stereotypically a boy’s subject. I push a narrative of inclusion and I make it relevant to their lives. I want them to understand that telling time, counting money, buying things and baking cookies are all math-based.” The tight community of teachers at Lloyd Bond also ensures that her themes and messaging are carried into the next grade level.

Ms. Pearman is also a part of the schools’ Parent Involvement team. She worked on the Parent Playbook and Parent University, a way to learn new skills that will help them support their children in remote learning. Last fall, Ms. Pearman participated in a live Facebook Panel with and for parents. The Pink Table Talk, sponsored by the sorority, offered tricks and treats for  managing in a virtual learning environment and addressed some of the challenges that mothers in particular were facing in remote learning. Ms. Pearman was able to bring her perspectives both as a teacher and as a parent of a second-grade boy. “Now, more than ever, we have put more effort into investing in building strong relationships with our parents.” Ms. Pearman believes that these relationships are an integral piece of why her young students have thrived and will continue to do so when students are able to return to in-person learning. Brandi's passion for service and education is what she believes makes students and families a cohesive unit 

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