RICHTON PARK, IL.–(ENEWSPF)–October 3, 2012—Southland College Prep Charter High School, the only public charter high school to serve Chicago suburbs, has been awarded a U.S. Department of Education one-year charter schools program grant of $185,000.
The award to Southland College Prep is one of 20 grants totaling nearly $ 4 million to directly fund charter developers for the planning, program design and implementation of new charter schools, according to an announcement by U. S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.
“Every child deserves access to a world-class education, and quality charter schools are an important partner in reaching that goal,” said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D), who met Southland College Prep faculty and students when he toured the new school in December, 2011.
“This grant will allow Southland College Prep to continue the hard work of educating a highly diverse group of students in the south suburbs. Congratulations to Southland on this award,” he said.
“We greatly appreciate the confidence that the U.S. Department of Education has placed in Southland College Prep, now in its third year of operation,” said Dr. Blondean Davis, Southland College Prep CEO.
“This grant will go a long way toward helping us fulfill our dream of providing an academically challenging program for our students,” she said.
“We will use these funds to continue our mission to provide a high quality curriculum, technology tools and enrichment activities for our students,” Dr. Davis noted.
“Southland’s current 350 students are being challenged to think critically and to problem solve for the 21st century skills they need for success,” she said.
“The nine south suburban communities of nearly 70,000 residents served by this rigorous college preparatory high school, acknowledge the recognition and support that U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. have placed in us to advance our grant application with the U.S. Department of Education,” said Ronald Bean, chairman of Southland College Prep Charter High School.
“Their confidence is not misplaced in Southland College Prep, for our dedicated administration and faculty are fully focused on preparing all of our graduates for academic success in a college of their choice and to earn a degree,” Bean said.
Admission to Southland is on a non-discriminatory basis with respect to race, ethnicity, disability and religious preference and based on successful completion of elementary school and residence in District 227’s four elementary school districts which include: Country Club Hills, Flossmoor, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Matteson, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, Richton Park and Tinley Park.
Southland College Prep, launched in August, 2010 was created in partnership with Matteson District 162 with the support of community leaders and parents to provide a high quality secondary public school option to residents of nine southwest suburban area communities.
District 162 has consistently made progress from 55 percent to 82 percent of students meeting or exceeding state learning standards.
The first three year classes at Southland College Prep were selected by public lottery because applicants far exceeded the available places. In August, 2013, enrollment is scheduled to increase to approximately 500 students as set by the Illinois State Board of Education.
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 charter public high school for students in nine south suburbs.
The new school incorporates several intervention strategies to insure student success and has a team in place to provide all eligible students special education and related services.
Southland is located at 4601 West Sauk Trail Road, Richton Park, on eight acres in a three-story, 85,000 square foot, state-of-the art learning center with small class sizes, an extended but rigorous nine-hour school day and a college prep curriculum which emphasizes foreign languages and the arts.
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.
Lifelong sports are offered at Southland. Students choose among cross country, track, volleyball, golf, tennis, swimming or bowling at nearby facilities. A basketball team is in formation.
Southland has a widely heralded theatre arts/ forensics program whose members compete in numerous regional, sectional and state speech tournaments.