FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, September 3, 2015
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced that a new open enrollment, arts-focused neighborhood high school and community innovation lab will open in Walter H. Dyett High School for the 2016-17 school year.
“Walter H. Dyett has a storied history of serving students and the community of Bronzeville, and this new neighborhood arts program and community center will continue this proud tradition and ensure a bright future for the children and families of Bronzeville,” said Frank Clark, President of the Chicago Board of Education.
The Bronzeville Community Action Council (CAC) recommended an arts program, along with a request for increased technology resources to equip students with 21st century skills, as part of the 2013 CPS Educational Facilities Master Plan. The school is expected to serve 550 students when it is fully enrolled, with neighborhood residents getting the opportunity to enroll first.
“Our objective was to make the decision that best meets our children's needs, and this plan creates the opportunity for a unique, world-class high school on the south side,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “Working with community partners, we arrived at a solution that meets multiple needs: creating an open enrollment neighborhood high school, producing an enrollment stream that can weather population changes, filling the critical demand for an arts high school on the south side and working with education leaders to create a technology hub.”
By opening a neighborhood high school with an arts program, CPS is honoring the legacy of Walter H. Dyett, a former CPS music director, and helping to provide education options to more than 500 students from the South Side who applied but were not accepted to arts programs at Curie High School and Senn High School. Dyett will be an open enrollment neighborhood high school, ensuring that students in the area have another high-quality option but also allowing the other 12 nearby high schools to maintain stable enrollment.
CPS will work with the Bronzeville CAC and other community members to select the principal to lead the new Dyett High School.
In addition to the neighborhood high school, CPS plans an Innovation Technology Lab that will be open to students from other schools and the community, as well as CPS principals and teachers integrating technology into their classrooms. The Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) has agreed to serve in an advisory role in development of the lab.
“The Innovation Lab will serve as a community hub of innovation on the Southside, linking together the resources of local universities to ensure that students have access to resources and can gain the skills needed for the next century,” said Janice K. Jackson, CPS Chief Education Officer. “CPS principals, teachers, students and families will benefit from professionals with expertise in science, technology and math.”
The Bronzeville community identified several specific elements key to their vision in the CPS Educational Facilities Master Plan. Their vision includes: “a variety of rigorous academic and extracurricular options for children and families ranging from IB and STEM programs to Fine Arts and Alternative options for off-track youth.” It also includes: “Increased technology resources in all schools to equip students with 21st century skills.”
CPS will also partner with the Chicago Park District to offer programming that allows the gymnasium and the swimming pool to be available to the community when the facilities are not being used by the school.