Hundreds of families in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood are celebrating the opening of an $85 million high school. But to make way for that school, the neighborhood lost four others.
CBS Chicago reports that the new Englewood STEM High School replaces Robeson, Hope, Harper and TEAM Englewood high schools, which the district has said were plagued by low enrollment and poor performance.
Over the last 10 years, enrollment at those schools dropped 70% to 85%, according to the school district.. About 90% of students from the Englewood neighborhood were attending campuses outside the neighborhood.
Chicago Schools Chief Executive Officer Janice Jackson said last year that because enrollment at the four old high schools in Englewood was so low, students had access to only the basic minimum classes and activities.
“They don’t have access to advanced placement courses," she said. "They don’t have access to all the sports, school activities, and all the other things that make up a rich high school experience."
Englewood parents have high hopes for the new school.
"Hopefully, it’s a better school and better academics—better opportunity,” said Englewood STEM parent Charnell Woods.
The three-story building has an outdoor sports facility, and a school-based medical center designed to prepare students for careers in science and technology.
The school is opening with only freshmen this year; more than 400 freshmen have registered. A new grade level will be added each year until Englewood STEM has grades nine to 12 in September 2022.
Two of the schools Englewood STEM is replacing—Robeson and TEAM Englewood—already have closed. Robeson closed last year, and the new school was built in its place. TEAM Englewood graduated its last class of seniors in June.
Hope and Harper high schools are still open, but being phased out. They aren't accepting new students, but those who were already enrolled can finish out high school at those campuses if they choose.