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Englewood, Chatham

‘Game-Changer’ Englewood STEM High School Is Attracting Students From Outside The Neighborhood, Principal Says

When completed in fall 2019, it will have room for 1,200 students, but its first freshman class will be 300-360 students, the principal said.

Conrad Timbers-Asur is the principal of the new Englewood STEM High School that will open in fall 2019.
Lee Edwards/Block Club Chicago
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ENGLEWOOD — More than 150 students have ranked Englewood’s new STEM High School slated to open in fall 2019, and about 20 percent of students who have applied and ranked the school are not from the surrounding neighborhood, the school’s principal said. 

The new $85 million school, currently under construction at 6835 S. Normal Blvd., is expected to be completed in mid-August 2019. When completed, it will have room for 1,200 students, but its first freshman class will be 300-360 students, principal Conrad Timbers-Asur said at a meeting Wednesday night. 

The school intends to add a new class of students every year until grades 9 through 12 are serviced beginning in school year 2022-23.

The school will partner with Kennedy King College and a soon-to-be-announced industry partner, Timbers-Asur said. He previously served as principal at Urban Prep Bronzeville for two years and was named to the Englewood school’s top post in November. 

The building will have 35 classrooms and will also include six science labs, three music rooms, a library/media center, lunchroom, computer lab, gym, student-based health center and an Allied Health room. 

Credit: CPS
A rendering of the school building.

So far, 157 students applied and ranked the high school as their top choice for the 2019-2020 school year. Applications to attend a CPS high school for the 2019-2020 school year are available until Dec. 14 on the GoCPS website.

Of those 157 students, about 80 percent of the students who applied or registered to attend the school are from the surrounding community, the principal said. It’s a “game changer” that students from outside the Englewood community would apply and consider attending the school, he said. 

Another 200 students applied and ranked the new Englewood STEM school in their top three choices. A total of 530 students have applied and ranked the Englewood high school in their choices, Timbers-Asur said. 

“It really is a testament to what the potential of the school is that you have students from across the entire city say they want to come to our high school,” he said. “There’s 945 students within the boundary. Of course, we won’t get 945 students our first year but to really provide as many opportunities to students as possible is my goal.”

Any prospective eighth grade students living in the school’s community boundary is guaranteed a seat in the school’s general education program, according to CPS. Neighborhood students aren’t required to apply to attend the New Englewood STEM High School, but it is highly recommended that students select and rank the school as part of their preference on the GoCPS portal.

Students living outside the community boundary are required to apply to the school using the CPS portal. 

Credit: CPS
The Englewood STEM High School’s boundaries were featured in a handout at the meeting.

Academically, the new Englewood STEM High School will feature work-based learning, school-wide STEM instruction and early college education. The goal is to produce graduates with career certifications who are ready to enter STEM-related fields. Students will also be able to earn college credit. 

Through a STEM Pathways program, students will have the opportunity to learn about several careers in health care, computer programming, web design, software applications development and computer repair/installation, the principal said. 

The new Englewood STEM High School include girls and boys basketball, baseball, softball, track and field, cross country, freshman football, girls volleyball, boys lacrosse and girls and boys soccer. Activities will include marching band, choir, martial arts, boxing, STEM-related clubs, animation club, graphic design, entrepreneurship, cheerleading, majorettes and pom-pom.

Additional clubs and activities may be added in the near future based on students’ interests, Timbers-Asur said. 

The still unnamed school’s mascot could be a hawk, falcon, jaguar or black panther, with black panthers currently in the lead, he revealed at the meeting.

Credit: CPS
Potential mascots shared at the meeting Wednesday.

For now, Timbers-Asur is working to hire the school’s teachers and administrative staff.

“Teachers have to love educating students. Regardless of where they are, they have to have high standards,” he said. “The soft bigotry of low expectations cannot be tolerated.”

The Wednesday night meeting was the first of a series of monthly meetings Timbers-Asur plans to host in the community. The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for January 2019 with more details to be announced.