Remember the old days when the foyer of an elementary school was institutional in tone, and the only “artwork” visible was of a former principal long-ago deceased?  Well, you won’t find that at Evanston’s Kingsley School, where Monday they unveiled a high-tech photographic and video display that is representative of the Facebook generation.

A project of the Kingsley PTA, the group recruited artist-in-residence Cecil McDonald, Jr., to work with the school’s fifth-graders to produce a multimedia extravaganza that employs a 55-inch flat-paneled monitor, flanked by two 22-inch screens, that features students articulating what Kingsley means to them in their young lives.

McDonald, an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College in Chicago, whose work has been exhibited widely and is in several public and private collections, has been in residency at Kingsley since January 2012. Working with the teaching staff, he asked fifth graders to consider and reflect on their time at Kingsley and what they hope to bring to the future.

“During the art-making process,” he explained, “we were able to give voice to the hopes and fears of the students, bringing them closer to each other and the adults in charge of their care and education.”

Top: Parents gather around the lobby display at the unveiling Monday night. Above: Kingsley PTA President Candance Chow explains how the project came to be.

Kingsley PTA President Candance Chow credited the entire Kingsley community for their efforts in making the project possible.

“The Kingsley community worked hard to create these works,” she said, “and to raise funds to make improvements around the school. And now, we’re so proud to unveil our amazing lobby installation.”

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. Waste of money

    The school is sorely in need of more materials for math differentiation, and we put in TVs? Not to mention that that the AAP recommends reducing screen time for all children, and we basically put a tv show in the lobby? A free lending library or rotating displays on something like important scientific discoveries would have been a more educational choice.

  2. A TV screen is amazing?

    What statement is made when a giant monitor flanked by two smaller monitors is termed AMAZING?  It may be that very thinking that is a stumbling block in education today.  

    When we were children, everyone learned with the exception of the 1 or 2 ADHD students (that we didn't even know were ADHD at the time).  Instead of seeking solutions, perhaps we should get back to basics and employ teaching methods that were proven to work.  Technology in the classroom has not proven to be the buoy that everyone thought it would be and, with the ongoing required license renewals, it is far more costly for taxpayers year over year.  Middle School, after our children have learned the basics of reading and math, is soon enough to introduce computers.

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