My name is Nicholas Cartagena, or as many of my students call me, Mr. C. This year marks my 11th year with Chicago Public Schools. For the last nine years, I have proudly worked at Lorca Elementary, a place I consider home; a place where I was lucky enough to be part of since day one in 2010. Since then, I have devoted my time and energy to the students, families, and school community. As a 7th and 8th grade language arts teacher, I pride myself on meeting the needs and interests of my students and fostering a learning environment that is supportive, stimulating, and encouraging for all students. My other roles include: Middle Grades Literacy Department Chair, Instructional Leadership Team member, After-school Program Coordinator, Athletic Director, 5th-8th Cross-country coach, student council sponsor, and founder of FGL Weekly, our school's weekly broadcast news program.
I graduated from Loyola University with a B.A. in History in 2005 followed by a M.Ed. in Secondary Education (6-12) from DePaul University in 2008. More recently I earned my English as a Second Language endorsement from National Louis University. In 2016-2017, my principal, July Cyrwus, nominated me to serve as her ally in the Cahn Fellows Distinguished Principals program out of Columbia University Teachers College in New York City. As her ally, we built upon our personalized learning efforts and fostered student success via passion projects.
I have a true passion for teaching reading and writing, rooted in the social sciences, and helping students strive to be their best. In my class, I pride myself in selecting a rich, diverse range of texts that challenge students to think critically about the world and allow them to hone their craft as writers. Students are expected to master content and showcase their learning in a variety of ways.
My current objective is to build upon an enrichment program at our school which allows students to engage in passion projects that showcases their learning, creativity, and innovation, while at the same time building upon their academic, organizational, team-building, social-emotional, and problem solving skills. In partnership with LEAP Innovations, I have advanced personalized learning into my practice and classroom. As a Lorca personalized learning lead, I work with a dedicated team to ensure that our school fosters a learning environment that is learner-connected, learner-focused, learner demonstrated, and learner-led..