Academy of Scholastic Achievement
Fall-Winter 2012
ASA Raises $22,000 in 2nd Annual Fundraiser


2012 ASA Academy Awards
From left: ASA Student Services Director, Nicole Simpson, Ed.D.; Otha U. McCoy II, 2012 recipient of the Service Award; and ASA Principal, Gladys B. Simpson, at The 2012 ASA Academy Awards dinner in November.

The Academy raised more than $22,000 at its annual fundraiser, The 2012 ASA Academy Awards. Approximately 150 guests gathered at the Hilton Lisle-Naperville in Lisle on November 3rd for the event.The evening featured raffle give-a-ways, a silent auction, dinner and dancing. This year's awardees included Otha U. McCoy II, who received the Service Award; William E. Johnson, who received the Corporate Citizen Award; and ASA Alumni, Shannon Jones, who received the Alumni Award. First Eagle Bank served as the event's Gold Sponsor. The Academy would like to thank all of its guests and supporters for helping make the 2nd annual gala a success. Visit the photo gallery on our school website or our Facebook page for more pictures.

2012 ASA Academy Awards
ASA English Teacher James Kosin, his wife, Cassie, and student Ashton Moss, at The 2012 ASA Academy Awards. Kosin kicked off the night with a warm, gracious welcome, while Ashton stirred the audience with his inspiring student remarks.

ASA Earns $35,000 in Literacy Grants 

ASA Reads Workshop 2011
ASA Literacy Coordinator Elissa Knight leads a literacy workshop with staff. ASA Reads, the school's literacy initiative, has been successful at helping improve reading scores amongst the school's lowest performing readers.

     Thanks to two generous supporters, ASA Reads, the Academy's literacy initiative, continues in earnest this school year. The William G. McGowan Charitable Fund and the Speh Family Foundation have provided the Academy with $27,500 and $7,500 respectively, to continue the program.

     ASA Reads, is a tailor-made literacy program started in August 2011 that is helping the Academy increase the reading skills of its lowest-performing readers. Last year 66% of program participants achieved a one-year grade level gain in reading; 24% received a two-year grade level gain; and 10% received a reading gain of 3 grade levels or higher. The program has helped ASA create a culturally-relevant reading library; adopt diagnostic tools to help pinpoint students' reading strengths and weaknesses; institute research-based instructional strategies across the curriculum, and help boost students' vocabulary, fluency and comprehension skills. 

     Funding assistance from McGowan and Speh enables ASA to expand the program from 97 students to 150, institute a Student Assistance Program (SAP) to boost student attendance, and Institute Family Literacy Nights to encourage students, their families and residents throughout Austin to read more.

     For more information about the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund and the Speh Family Foundation, please visit their websites.  

ASA Breaks Ground on New Science Lab 
Parking Lot Demolition
A demolition crew breaks ground on ASA's soon-to-be state of the art 1,600-square-foot science lab. The lab is slated to be functional by late-February.

     Demolition crews broke ground this fall on the soon-to-be state-of-the-art science lab. The new lab will add approximately 1,600 square feet of additional space and will hold one laboratory and one classroom.       

     "We're really excited about the lab," said Gladys B. Simpson, Principal. "The new facility will enable our students to learn on a level-playing field with other high school students in the area."

     The school received a $200,000 grant from the state and is in the process of raising additional capital. Funds are also being used to build a new parking lot that will increase the number of parking spaces for staff and guests. The new lot also will feature a new drainage system, additional lighting, parking spaces for the disabled, and bushes, trees and shrubbery to beautify the lot. Construction is slated to be completed in February.  

Science Lab as of 12.27.2012
Exterior of the new science lab, currently under construction.
Students Visit WGN-TV, Channel 9 
Students in WGN Studio
ASA students Artizis Homan (left) and Lorenzo Corbin (right) join ASA Video Film Teacher Philister Sidigu (center) on the set of the WGN-TV news studio. WGN-TV Morning News Anchors Frank Holland and Robin Baumgarten pose behind them. 
     ASA students got to meet some members of Chicago's Very Own. ASA Video Film Teacher Philister Sidigu accompanied students Lorenzo Corbin and Artizis Homan to the WGN-TV studios on December 19th. The outing was organized by Sidigu who comes to ASA via a joint partnership between the Alternative Schools Network (ASN) and Community TV Network.
      "I organized the event with Tyra Martin, the Entertainment/Segment Producer at WGN-TV," said Sidigu. "She really likes the work we are doing at Community TV Network." The students toured the news studio, the performance studio, and the former studio where Bozo the Clown was taped. The students also met Morning News Anchors, Robin Baumgarten and Frank Holland, and film critic and entertainment reporter, Dean Richards.
     "It was fun," said Homan, a video editing enthusiast. "We got to sit at the news desk and see how they position themselves in front of the camera during taping."
     "That was my first time ever going there," said Corbin. "It was a cool experience! I had never done anything like that before."
     The students topped off their tour with a visit to a toy drive being given at WGN by Academy Award-winning actress, Jennifer Hudson. The students saw the Chicago native and donated items to her toy drive before heading back to class. 
     Sidigu says the students have been invited back to see the taping of an entire morning news segment. Both students are excited about returning to WGN.
     "Next time we go there, I'd like to ask how many monitors are running at the same time while they're taping the news," said Corbin. "I'd also like to see the weather room to see how they do the weather."   
Students Rally to Stay in School and Vote
Gladys Simpson introduces ASA
ASA Principal Gladys B. Simpson introduces herself and ASA to the crowd, to a rowdy ASA applause. 
     Nearly 20 ASA students joined hundreds of students from all 22 campuses of Youth Connection Charter School (YCCS) for a Back-to-School/Get Out The Vote rally. The YCCS-sponsored event took place in Daley Plaza, downtown Chicago, on October 4th.
     YCCS President Sheila Vinson kicked things off by congratulating each student for returning to school and not dropping out. She also encouraged students to vote in the November presidential election. Vinson went on to encourage students to get their parents, siblings, relatives, and friends to the polls as well.     
      Notable speakers included: Illinois State Senator, Mattie Hunter, Cook County Assessor, Joseph Berrios, and Cook County Clerk, David Orr. Following the speakers, YCCS students staged a mock voter registration, highlighting the importance of voting. Immediately following, Vinson and a half-dozen students dropped off hundreds of signed voter registration forms at the Cook County Board of Elections Office. The forms had been completed at voter registration drives at participating YCCS campuses in the weeks leading up to the rally. Visit our Facebook page for more pictures. 
ASA at the YCCS Back To School Rally
About 20 ASA students joined hundreds of students across YCCS at the YCCS Back-to-School/Get Out The Vote Rally in October.  
Volume: 5  Issue: 1
In This Issue
Financial Literacy Grants
ASA's New Science Lab
Students Visit WGN-TV
Another Basketball Win

 Register Now for Second Semester!

The Academy is registering students now for the second semester. Are you planning on re-enrolling? Do you know someone who is looking to return to school? If so, call the registrar today at 773-921-1315 or e-mail us at [email protected] 


Ready For Work! 


Student Job Search
More than a dozen ASA students joined Junior Counselor Antonio Breashears for a job-hunting trip downtown Chicago in December. The students met at Water Tower Place and went store to store picking up, filling out and submitting applications to local retailers. The trip followed a week-long bootcamp on resume writing and job interviewing skills.

Student Job Search (3)  
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Santa Claus  Bears Gifts Santa Claus  

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas made an early visit to the Academy in December. He came bearing gifts big and small - only for those students who had been good all year.  He also arranged a luncheon for students and was present to help judge the annual classroom door decoration contest. See the pictures below. Can you guess which classroom won? 
Room #106 Pictured above is Room 106.
Room #200 Pictured above is Room 200.
Room #201
Pictured above is Room 201.

Room #202 Pictured above is Room 202.

Room #203 Pictured above is Room 203.
Room 201 Pictured above is a table of presents in Room 201.

If you guessed Room 106, you guessed right! The classroom took top honors in the door decoration contest. Room 200 came in second place, followed by third place winner, Room 201. Congratulations to all of our student decorators!
ASA Wins Holiday Basketball Match-Up
Coach Jones calls the plays
It was the ASA Trojans on top in what has become an annual holiday basketball match-up between ASA and Community Christian Alternative Academy (CCA) in North Lawndale. The Trojans, led by Coach Jesse Jones, took home the victory in a 49-47 nail-biting win against the Cougars on December 19th. Way to go team! You make us proud!

team photo



 ASA Mission 
To accept students where they are academically, socially, and emotionally by educating, supporting, celebrating and empowering students to achieve a higher quality of life.




 ASA Vision  

To cultivate compassionate, self-sustaining, globally-minded, critical thinkers who can compete and succeed in the world economy.




 ASA Core Values






Academy of Scholastic Achievement
4651 W. Madison Street ~ Chicago, IL 60644
p: 773-921-1315 ~ f: 773-921-1121

A Youth Connection Charter School Campus