The John Marshall Law School – Recognized for Legal Writing Training

John Marshall Law School pic

John Marshall Law School

A former legal officer and assistant superintendent of operations for Niles Township High School District 219 in the Chicago area, John Heintz leverages his knowledge and experience to write about education and legal topics at Second Rail Education. A graduate of the University of Chicago with an MBA, John Heintz works also holds a juris doctor from the John Marshall School of Law, which has been recognized for its excellent legal writing program.

The legal writing program at the John Marshall School of Law is ranked fifth in the country by U.S. News and World Report. The school maintains rigorous legal writing standards, and requires that all students take four semesters of legal drafting.

The John Marshall School of Law also supports students through its Writing Resource Center, which is overseen by a full-time writing specialist. In addition to helping first-year law students during their adjustment to the demands of legal writing, the Writing Resource Center helps students hone their writing skills during all stages of law school through individual meetings designed to take their writing to the next level. The center even helps advanced degree students and graduating students as they seek their first position in the legal field.

To learn more about the John Marshall School of Law and its Writing Resource Center, visit


The Meaning of the Eyes in The Great Gatsby


The Great Gatsby pic

The Great Gatsby

A co-founder of and senior legal consultant with Chicago-based Lydian, Inc., John Heintz served as the assistant superintendent for operations and chief legal officer for Niles Township High School District 219, within which he also functioned as an English teacher earlier in his career. John Heintz counts To Kill a Mockingbird and The Great Gatsby among his favorite books.

Written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925, The Great Gatsby involves fictional characters from different economic backgrounds living on Long Island, New York during the Roaring Twenties. While not particularly popular when published, the novel is now considered a literary classic. Some of the book’s prominent symbols highlight the era’s decadence and despair.

One such symbol is a billboard that overlooks the Valley of Ashes, a destitute environment between New York City and the fictional town of West Egg. The billboard features a pair forlorn eyes belonging to Dr. T.J. Eckleburg, peering over the desolate wasteland.

In one part of the book, the main character notes that the eyes are always keeping watch. In an interaction that takes place in front of a window where the billboard is visible, one person confronts an adulterer by saying that she can’t fool God. Some may conclude that the ever-present God sees everything and frowns upon the apparent greed, immorality, and selfish interactions set in the failed American Dream.

RIC Expands and Improves with Help of Prominent Donors


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Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The recipient of a juris doctor from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, John Heintz is a public attorney who recently served six years as chief legal officer with Niles Township High School District 219. Outside of his professional pursuits, John Heintz is a board member for the charitable foundation of Chicago’s Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.

Previously named the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), the trauma research and treatment center was renamed upon its expansion and relocation in March of 2017. The 1.2-million-square-foot hospital was under construction in June of 2016 when donors Pat and Shirley Ryan decided to contribute a significant amount of money to the funding of the hospital. The couple said it was their largest single gift, and while they wouldn’t disclose the dollar figure, naming rights for the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago reached over $100 million.

The new hospital features innovation centers with a specific focus on trauma-related issues affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, and muscles. It includes collaborative efforts from scientists, therapists, clinicians, and other medical professionals. An additional $8 million in funding was raised at the recent Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Gala.

Mountain Biking as an Olympic Sport

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Mountain Biking

The recipient of multiple graduate degrees, including a master of business administration from the University of Chicago, John Heintz is a senior legal consultant for Lydian, Inc., a firm he co-founded in 2013. He also recently served at Niles Township High School District 19, where he was the chief legal officer. When he isn’t working, John Heintz enjoys mountain biking in Chicago and surrounding areas.

Mountain biking began as a fringe sport in California during the 1970s following the development of bicycles that could better handle the bumpy off-road terrain. The creation of the Repack Downhill race in 1976 helped establish mountain biking as a competitive sport and, seven years later, a national mountain bike championship was established. The sport’s first ever world championships were held in 1990, and six years later it was granted status as an Olympic discipline at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Bart Brentjens of the Netherlands became the first man to win gold in the cross country event after finishing first in the two-hour-plus race, while Italy’s Paola Pezzo was the first woman to win gold. The sport has since been contested at six Summer Olympics and five individuals have won multiple medals, including both Brentjens and Pezzo. Other multiple medal winners include Julien Absalon and Miguel Martinez of France, as well as Sabine Spitz of Germany.

How Testing Bolsters Learning

Second Rail Education pic

Second Rail Education

A former assistant superintendent and chief legal officer with Niles Township High School District 219 in Skokie, Illinois, John Heintz is a co-founder of Lydian, a management consulting firm headquartered in Chicago. John Heintz also writes content for Second Rail Education, a blog he founded as a way to explore key educational issues in Chicago and beyond.

Critics have railed against increased standardized testing demands ever since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in the early 2000s. While standardized testing can detract from nuanced, individualized education, it is important to understand the importance of frequent testing, regardless of whether it is standardized or not.

Research has demonstrated that taking a test greatly improves the learner’s ability to retain material in the long term. According to a study performed by researchers at Washington University, the so-called “testing effect” on learning holds true even when students perform poorly on a test or receive no feedback on missed information. In the same vein, Harvard psychology professor William James famously postulated that attempts to retrieve information from memory improve retention far more than simply looking for the answer in a textbook.

One major criticism of standardized testing centers on the fact that it tests the sum total of students’ knowledge, meaning that little to no learning actually takes place. “Formative assessments,” on the other hand, are designed to expose gaps in knowledge and ultimately contribute to the learning process.

Using Technology as an Educational Tool


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Chicago education professional John Heintz has worked in a range of roles during his career, serving as a classroom teacher, legal consultant, and education entrepreneur. Before becoming chief legal officer and assistant superintendent at Niles Township High School District 219, near Chicago, John Heintz spent more than 15 years as a language and writing educator.

In the classroom setting, technology plays an increasingly prominent role, such that the teachers of the future will likely rely on technology as an indispensable component of classroom instruction. Considering that teachers have used videos for decades, it should come as no surprise that video streaming has become a ubiquitous activity in the classroom. Educational video developers such as Khan Academy and free video lectures from Stanford University make learning more accessible than ever before. Streaming video does not have to replace classroom teaching, but it can be used to supplement important lessons.

Although social media has been well documented as an in-class distractor, it can have merit if used in the right way. Teachers can post topics for discussion and solicit responses from students, keeping them engaged in the learning process long after the bell rings. Social media also gives students an opportunity to share resources and learning strategies with each other.

Local School Funding – a Barrier to Equality in Urban Areas

John Heintz Chicago

John Heintz, Chicago

As a senior legal consultant for Chicago firm Lydian, Inc., John Heintz offers high-end management consulting services to corporate leaders. John Heintz comes from a background in education, and previously served as the assistant superintendent for operations in Niles Township High School District 219 outside Chicago. He also continues to operate Second Rail, an organization working toward success and reform in public education.

Cities such as Chicago are overflowing with talent and human capital. Their selective enrollment schools produce some of the best students in the country, but their public schools are consistently outperformed by schools in nearby suburban areas.

Funding is one key problem. The public school funding system is based on property taxes, which means that wealthy areas tend to receive the most money for education. This creates large disparities. In Illinois’ wealthier districts, schools are spending $30,000 per student per year. In less wealthy areas, that figure is closer to $8,000.

A fleeing middle class can compound this problem. When big city schools do not meet expectations, many middle-class families move to the suburbs. They take their political capital with them, leaving families who are unable to move away with even less political clout.

Some experts suggest that changing funding structures may be the best way to foster equality between urban and suburban students. Local funding and control creates major disparities, so schools in and around urban areas may be best able to flourish under a more centralized funding system.