Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro Sunday attended the grand opening of a new state-of-the-art center to house the Northwestern Academy--a program to support Chicago Public School students in preparing for success at competitive colleges and universities. They were joined by students enrolled in the Northwestern Academy and their parents. The Academy will graduate its inaugural cohort of seniors this spring.
“I want to thank Northwestern for this effort. What they’re doing is leveling the playing field, so no student’s experiences, opportunities and dreams are limited by their background, their zip code or their family’s background,” Mayor Emanuel said. “And that is a tremendous statement by Northwestern University. Thanks to strong partnerships like Northwestern Academy, we are helping our students and families turn the dream of a college education into a reality.”
Located in Abbott Hall on Northwestern’s Chicago campus in Streeterville, the new high-tech center makes the Academy’s programming and support services more easily accessible to CPS students. The center was previously located on Northwestern’s Evanston campus.
Launched in 2013, the Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools is a multi-year college preparation and enrichment program for diverse, academically motivated students from Chicago Public Schools. Approximately 200 students from 40 CPS high schools are enrolled in the Academy this school year.
“We’re excited to provide this terrific new space for the Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools. The space is impressive, but what is more impressive is the young men and women who are in the program. They’re so smart, so inspiring and I’m glad that at least one already is coming here,” President Schapiro said.
Andrew Duarte, a senior at Ogden International High School in the International Baccalaureate program and Northwestern Academy participant, has been accepted early decision at Northwestern and will begin school here next fall.
“Thanks to the support I received at Northwestern Academy, I am proud to say that I will be graduating and attending Northwestern University this fall,” said Duarte. “I have worked hard in school to get into a great university, but I could not have done it without the teachers I have at Ogden and the support of the friends and mentors I met at Northwestern Academy.”
Cassandra Geiger, director of the Academy, said that 31 of this year’s 58 seniors already have been accepted at 55 different colleges and universities, with more acceptances expected in the coming months. Noting that the Academy space in Abbott went from concept to completion in just 18 months, she said, “It is a dream come true to see the space come to life, and that is because of Northwestern’s commitment to the students, and to making sure they have everything they need to do well and succeed.”
The Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools accepted its first class of students in 2014. Students apply for the Academy during the winter of their freshman year in high school and are accepted into the Academy in June as they complete their freshman year.
The newly rehabbed center provides classrooms designed to foster collaboration between students, Northwestern teachers and staff, as well as families. Each classroom is equipped with 21st century wireless and high-res technology capabilities to facilitate conference calls with prospective college and universities, as well as virtual tours of college campuses. Additionally, Academy Advisors provide student participants with on-site college counseling and advising and assistance on applying for financial aid.
“While CPS students are making remarkable gains and breaking academic records, we continue to focus on college readiness opportunities to ensure that they will be successful in the next steps of their education,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “I want to thank our partners at Northwestern for their continued partnership at Northwestern Academy, and congratulate the first cohort students on their hard work in preparing for college this coming fall.”
Northwestern Academy is a program of Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy. The program provides students with personal enrichment, leadership development, college advising and cultural and civic engagement. The Academy is supported by Northwestern as an extension of its Good Neighbor, Great University initiative to expand college access. The Academy is offered at no cost to students.
Northwestern’s investment in the Northwestern Academy is one of many longstanding partnerships the university has with CPS to provide Chicago’s students additional academic and enrichment opportunities. Just last week, Northwestern announced a newly formed partnership with Lake View High School where they will support students and teachers with tailored programs. This includes a new summer laboratory opportunity that will provide students the research-based skills of scientific discovery.
To support the record number of students graduating from CPS today, the Mayor and the District are working to ensure that students have access to the tools and resources needed to promote college readiness. In addition to partnerships with colleges and universities, this includes strategic investments in college-level coursework and dual-credit/dual-enrollment opportunities in schools throughout the city to improve college access and affordability for students citywide.
CPS students with a strong academic performance, determination and motivation to engage in rigorous academics, and a desire to explore college possibilities beyond those in Chicago are encouraged to apply for the Northwestern Academy. To apply, students must be a freshman in high school, and submit an application, recommendation and writing samples. Northwestern Academy will invite finalists to interview and meet with advisors.