At McLean and Leavitt, Pulaski Elementary School is the neighborhood school for many Bucktown families.  In early 2008, Alderman Waguespack began asking Chicago Public Schools Office of Academic Enhancement to consider bringing an International Baccalaureate program to the schools.  While IB programs exist at other elementary schools on the north side, there are none in the 32nd Ward.  For various reasons, Alderman Waguespack believed Pulaski was the right location for the program.  At about the same time, many Bucktown families were looking for a change at Pulaski.  They also met with CPS, requesting an IB program at Pulaski.  Involvement of the neighborhood families was the deciding factor for CPS.  Assured of the strong support of the Bucktown Community Organization and parents throughout the Pulaski attendance area, they began to pursue the program change.

International Baccalaureate programs are available for students aged 3 to 19.  They’re designed to help develop intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world. Currently, there are more than 793,000 IB students at 2,870 schools in 138 countries.  The potential move to IB was discussed at various community meetings and hearing both at Pulaski and downtown at the Board of Education.  Resistance to the change was discussed, questions were answered and, eventually, there grew a large majority of supporters.  The Pulaski community, the BCO and Alderman Waguespack are all exciting about the future of Pulaski.  “The most exciting thing about this change is the tremendous neighborhood interest.  People that were considering moving to the suburbs are now staying in Bucktown and enrolling their children in Pulaski, “said Steve Dillinger, BCO Education Committee Chairman and one of the founding member of Friends of Pulaski.

In September, 2010, Pulaski International will begin with Kindergarten through 3rd grade.  Grades 4th through 8th will continue in the neighborhood program and become IB grade by grade, beginning in September, 2011.  In March, 2010, Patrick H. Baccellieri became principal at Pulaski.  He was formerly the principal at South Loop Elementary School, which is now one of the most sought after schools in the city.  At Pulaski, Mr. Baccellieri is joined by many amazing, dedicated teachers, staff and volunteers.  Among them is Ms. Sandy DeChant.  A volunteer with Chicago Conservation Corps at the school, she was recognized for her service with a ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield.

This summer, Pulaski will see many improvements to the school building as Mr. Baccellieri gets ready for the new school year.  While the campus consists of two buildings, there is currently a cafeteria in only one, requiring students to spend valuable time going between buildings.  Next year, a second cafeteria will be ready so that no longer needs to happen.  Small classrooms for kindergarten and first grade are being enlarged to accommodate many work stations and learning areas, all restrooms are being redone with new fixtures and floors and a fourth preschool classroom is being put into place.   Outside, new landscaping is being installed and exterior improvements executed.  Mr. Baccellieri adds “I’m exciting about making the changes over the coming year and I know that, with what we already have in place, these changes will improve the school significantly.”

Pulaski International
2230 West McLean Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647