A Catholic high school on Chicago's South Side that tried unsuccessfully to become a co-ed institution is reopening next week as a boys-only campus with an emphasis on a STEM curriculum.
DNAinfo Chicago reports that Hales Franciscan High School became a co-ed campus in 2013 in an attempt to boost enrollment, but the change did not attract enough female students.
“That never worked out well.," says Melody Spann-Cooper, chairman of the school’s board. "Hale never reached a sustainable number of girls.”
In 2015-2016 school year, the school had only 37 students, and 18 of those students graduated, The Hyde Park Herald says.
School leaders closed Hales Franciscan last year to reorganize and prepare to return to being a boys-only school. The school opened in 1962 as an all-boys school focused on the African-American community.
A class of 50 freshmen is expected to begin classes on Tuesday. The school wants to limit enrollment to no more than 200 to 250 students once all grade levels are filled in the future.
“We have expanded Hales Franciscan’s model from a traditional Catholic school education to a traditional Catholic school education with an engineering entrepreneurship focus tied to community service learning,” says Anthony Daniels-Halisi, acting president of the school.
Hales has forged partnerships with the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Illinois Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.