"New Englewood High School Should Combine 4 Schools Into Robeson, Group Says"
The following article was originally posted in DNAInfo
ENGLEWOOD — A proposed new high school in Englewood should combine four schools with plummeting enrollment into one at the site of Paul Robeson High School, community leaders said at a meeting this week.
The school, which would be built at Robeson's current site at 6835 S. Normal Blvd., could open by fall 2019, according to a presentation by the Englewood Community Action Council, a group working closely with Chicago Public Schools.
The council — which was created by CPS and has been meeting with local school councils, parents and aldermen for months and surveyed 1,200 community members — introduced its plan Tuesday night at Greater St. John AME Church, 6201 S. Throop St.
The Rev. Kevin Brooks, pastor and co-chairman of the Englewood council, said the group — whose 41 members include officials with other groups including Teamwork Englewood and the Resident Association of Greater Englewood — is standing up for the children of Englewood because “this is about them.”
“Our children have not been a priority because they’re black and come from working-class families,” he told about 50 people in the audience. “We’re letting the city know that we have a voice.”
The three schools that would be closed and combined with Robeson, which has 148 students, include:
• TEAM Englewood Community Academy High School, 6201 S. Stewart Ave., which has 143 students;
• Harper High School, 6520 S. Wood St., which has 160 students;
• John Hope Academy, at 5501 S. Lowe Ave., which has 122 students.
All three schools have the second-lowest academic ranking in the CPS system. Robeson has the lowest ranking.
Council co-chairwoman Dori Collins said Robeson would be an ideal location “mainly because of the campus it sits on and the square footage."
While the proposal requires new construction at the site, the group is working on an economic plan to support the price tag, Collins said.
Collins said that $75 million has been set aside in the CPS capital budget under the heading, "New Southside High School Construction."
During Tuesday's presentation, the group said the school would be a "STEM hybrid" that would "provide science and technology-based curriculum that will prepare students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in STEM careers and postsecondary educational opportunities."
It would also offer an international baccalaureate program as well as dual-credit enrollment, career and technical education, apprenticeships, internships and externships.
While officials did not say how many students the school would serve or when it would open, the presentation noted that Englewood has 1,189 sixth-graders who would be eligible to be in the school's inaugural freshman class.
A representative from the mayor’s office and CPS network chief Megan Hougard were both present, along with 17th Ward Ald. David Moore and 16th Ward Ald. Toni Foulkes. None of them made official remarks to meeting attendees, and CPS officials declined to comment.
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