Arlana Bedard heads up Pulaski School in Bucktown


Principal Bedard stops in a classroom as 4th grade teacher Mrs. Schoeniecker works with a student

With just about one month on the job, Arlana Bedard appears comfortable in her new role as Principal of  Pulaski International School of Chicago, 2230 W. McLean Ave. in Bucktown.

That comfort level is no doubt due to the fact that during her whole career she has been gaining experience that would prepare her for the many facets of her new position in the Chicago Public Schools system.  Pulaski has been in a transition mode for the last few years, changing to an International Baccalaureate school.

A Chicagoan, Bedard left Illinois for California after college. She taught middle and high school in Long Beach, CA, and  was working in a 6-12 grade curriculum position at the same time. Professional development and curriculum efforts as well as English language learning and addressing struggling readers have all been challenges that she has experienced.

Working on a district level with some of these activities Bedard was aligned with universities as well as grade schools  to colleges. She is versed in the need for continuum of educational information.


Bedard talks with Myra Diaz about the school's "tree of life"

A January trip to Chicago for a meeting made her realize that she wanted to meet and feel Chicago as an adult. She moved back home and began working as the Principal Intern at Morgan Park High School, then with a small school (which no longer exists) at Bowen High School, followed by three years in the Central Office. DeVry was her next stop.

Last summer, talking with friends about what was next, she talked about how much she enjoyed her experience with sixth graders. Subsequently she had the opportunity to join Pulaski. Pulaski had two interim Principals since Dr. Baccillieri left in June. "To join a school community in the middle of a year presents its own challenges," explains Bedard.


Outside her office, Bedard talks with a student and Rosabel Sanchez

"The school has goals in respect to student performance data. It is one of the wonderful things about this school and its community. The processes they followed have become institutionalized.  So one of my high level goals is to support the great work that is already going on and to work with people to identify the next steps."

Getting to know everyone is high on her priority list. She is meeting with parents, parent groups and different student classes. Though she recognizes that the Student Council is excellent, she is tapping into the "elder-statesmen" in the school to learn about their thoughts and experience.


Students enter a side entrance of the school

Considering the extensive amount of student and parent programming that goes on beyond the classroom, Bedard will need a lot of notebooks to keep track of all that she continues to learn about her new home. The school is pre-school thru 8th grade and has approximately 840 students.

This fall the school will reach another mile stone when they submit their papers for final authorization of the International Baccalaureate Primary Year Program, begun a few years ago. They will also be submitting initial papers for the Middle Year Program in this multi stage process for the Baccalaureate status.

"Pulaski is vibrant. It has so much energy. We have recognition in the broader educational community. It is an exciting place to be  and I feel fortunate to be a member of this community.  Throughout my career, working with parents has been my high point.  I want to have strong community partnerships serving young people and families," Bedard concluded.


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