Twins (l.to r.) Nneka and Nnenna Ukpaby of Olympia Fields, were selected tonight in Southland College Prep Charter High School’s public lottery to be members of the 2012-13 freshman class of the first and only public charter high school in Chicago suburbs. (Photo by H. Chip Johnson).
RICHTON PARK, IL—(ENEWSPF)–April 8, 2012—A public lottery was held Wednesday, April 4, 2012 to select members of the Southland College Prep Charter High School’s class of 2016.
Some 292 elementary school students who applied to enter the first and only public charter high school in Chicago suburbs and their parents attended the event.
“This third public lottery of Southland College Prep Charter High School is another milestone in our history. Students selected at this event will have an opportunity to be among the early graduating classes of this state-of-the-art 21st century school whose curriculum is focused on preparing its students to enter and then graduate from college, “ said Dr. Blondean Davis, Superintendent of Matteson Elementary District 162 and unpaid CEO of Southland College Prep.
Southland’s 2012-13 freshman class of approximately 131 students were selected using a lottery machine containing numbered ping pong balls that were drawn at random by school officials during the public event in the high school’s Commons.
By law, an Illinois public charter high school may use only residency in the school’s district as a criteria to select its students. Admission to Southland is on a non-discriminatory basis with respect to race, ethnicity, disability and religious preference. Successful completion of elementary school and residence in District 227 serving: Country Club Hills, Flossmoor, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Matteson, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, Richton Park and Tinley Park are the only requirements to enter the public lottery.
Currently, 244 freshmen and sophomores are enrolled in Southland College Prep, which opened in August 2010.
In April 2011, Southland students, faculty and staff moved into the 85,000 square foot three- story building in Richton Park, a former national insurance company call center, which was totally renovated into a secondary school.
Over the next two years, additional classes of approximately 125 students each will be added to reach Southland’s enrollment cap of 500 students set by the Illinois State Board of Education.
According to Dr. Davis, “Southland College Prep offers a choice for students and a hope for the future. Every child has a right to learn and can achieve the 21st century skills needed for success—to think critically and to problem solve.”
Dr. Davis’ conviction that “children can achieve their highest learning potential when given the opportunity in an encouraging, student-centered, academically challenging environment,” was a major factor in creating the new public charter high school for students in nine south suburbs.
Christian Royston ( c.) and his parents of Matteson, IL. celebrate his being selected tonight in Southland College Prep Charter High School’s public lottery to be a member of the 2012-13 freshman class of the first and only public charter high school in Chicago suburbs. (Photo by H. Chip Johnson).
“Southland College Prep Charter High School is designed to prepare all of its graduates for academic success in college. They will graduate from a college of their choice,” Dr. Davis predicts. The new school incorporates proven best practices to ensure student success and it has a team in place to provide all eligible students special education and related services, she said.
Southland’s students use 21st century classroom tools including an electronic portfolio of work and a blog for each subject area. Students engage in technology-based collaborative learning with other students, have access to video conferencing and technology assisted home-school communication to keep parents informed of progress.
“Southland Charter offers a choice for students and hope for the future. This new school provides students with a comprehensive educational program that is both creative and rigorous. We have small class sizes with a 17:1 pupil teacher ratio, an extended nine-hour school day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and an emphasis on foreign languages and the arts,” said Dr. Davis.
During the final 90 minutes of the school day, Southland students have such options as art, debate, dance, chorus, student council, yearbook, speech, creative writing, poetry and a session on future business leaders of America.
The physical education program at Southland is focused on fitness and health. Students participate in aerobics and cardio exercises in addition to a variety of games and activities requiring stamina and agility. The school currently fields teams in bowling, cross-country, golf, track and volleyball. Next academic year, Southland plans to add boys’ basketball and girls’ softball to its sports program.