New School Construction
Englewood STEM High School Debuts After Four School Closures
- By Yvonne Marquez
- September 3rd, 2019
Englewood STEM High School in Chicago is open this week after the district closed down four high schools due to lack of academic achievement and under enrollment of students. Over the past decade the schools — Hope, Harper, TEAM and Robeson — experienced a 70%-85% declines in student enrollment, reported the Chicago Tribune.
The new three-story building was built on the grounds of the former Robeson campus which closed in 2018. More than 400 students are registered to start the school year and nearly all students are African American. In addition, 88% of students are low-income and 22% are “diverse learners,” meaning they have different learning needs.
The $85 million neighborhood school is brightly lit, with lots of windows and features colorful murals and inspirational words on the walls that integrates STEM symbols with traditional West African art patterns.
“One of the things that we were really adamant about was the power of images, and how images play in how people see themselves,” Principal Conrad Timbers-Ausar told the Chicago Sun-Times. “There’s some images that we wanted to have as students and families come to the school that they can see themselves doing different things throughout the building.”
Englewood STEM, which is the first new school to be built since the 1970s in the neighborhood, has an on-site health clinic on the first floor that’s open to students, staff and the community. Chicago Public Schools calls the classrooms in the high school as “world-class multipurpose educational spaces” where students will focus on science, technology, engineering and math. The gym/auditorium seats about 800 and the grounds feature an athletic facility with a baseball diamond and football field.
The school’s mascot is the panthers, which was chosen by community vote and inspired by the blockbuster film “Black Panther.”
Yvonne Marquez is senior editor of School Planning & Management magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.