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The Alexander Graham Bell Elementary School earned its fourth city girl’s basketball championship in 2022. Head Coach Mark Kline has worked at Bell as a teacher for 30 years.
Kline emphasized the two most important factors regarding the team: They actually play as a team and the players know what is expected of them.
“Playing defense is what wins ball games. The ability to switch from one defense to another is key. We focus primarily on man to man, but when we have to make that shift we win games,” he explained.
Coach Kline shared that because of the pandemic the team had to work hard to get back into shape. Normally the team has a certain cohesiveness that flows from one year to the next. Team conditioning was a major factor this year compared to other years.
Vanderpool is one of the schools that gives Bell a run for their money. Many would say that Vanderpool has the best girls basketball player on the elementary level in the state. No. 33 is the coach’s daughter but like many teams, championships are not won by one great player.
Bell defeated Vanderpool for the city championship in 2020. Kline stated that their success came from being able to double and triple-team the opposing player at will. “She did not have the type of player support that we have.”
The Legacy school lost this year to Bell in the city championship. They began to tire in the final quarter because of the relentless defense they faced.
Gabriella Gonzalez, Bell’s point guard highlights the importance of her position. She stated that “players may get confused with the plays and it is the job of the point guard to control the action and even slow down the pace so that we are not rushing the play.”
Bell School is a Chicago Public School. It serves approximately 1,000 students from pre-school through 8th grade. and has 3 major programs: Neighborhood, for grades K-8 students who live within the attendance district; regional Gifted, for grades 1-8 with admission determined by CPS testing; and deaf, for pre-K through 8th for students with IEPs indicating eligibility.
Bell’s faculty and staff under the leadership of principal Kathleen Miller are dedicated to the values of professionalism and dedication. The participation of parents is necessary for transparency, creativity, and collaboration in decision-making. Support of outside partners along with parents and staff creates an environment of mindful communication and a unique community of learners.
They have cultivated a tradition of excellence and high expectations for all of their students. The school has won multiple awards over the years and strives to serve as a model public elementary school educating a diverse student population. Its excellence reflects the hard work of its faculty, staff, and administration, and their high level of parental involvement.
Written by Omari Jahi
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Interview: Coach Mark Kline and team; March 25, 2022
Featured, Top, and Second Inset Image Courtesy of Alexander Graham Bell Elementary School
First Inset Image Courtesy of Omari Jahi – Used With Permission