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published March 26, 2012

We Are Not Waiting for Superman

Westinghouse College Prep Selects 3 Breakthrough Students

Last winter we wrote about four students from Breakthrough's Nettie Bailey Student Achievement Program and the trials and tribulations they experienced applying to high schools.  If you live in Chicago and attended public school, you know how hard it is to navigate the public school system to gain entrance to a good school.

We are ecstatic to report that Breakthrough students Shayna, Javion and Jade have been accepted into East Garfield Park’s newest and most rigorous high school, Westinghouse College Prep and Deangelo will attend Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy!  This is cause for joyful celebration for a job well done!

A ‘Selective Enrollment’ school, like Westinghouse, is designed to meet the needs of Chicago’s most academically advanced students and teachers expect students to be self-driven and highly engaged. Opened in 2008, Westinghouse is not a neighborhood school, you have to test very high to even be considered and their selection process is highly competitive, they receive thousands of applications each year for ONLY 300 freshman spots. 

Shayna, Javion, and Jade, now considered ‘Academically Advanced Students’, largely because they have strong parental support as well as a Breakthrough Network guiding them along the way.  Marcy Currie, Director, Breakthrough Youth Network, and her dedicated team work with students and parents to ‘find the perfect school fit’.  "We want to make sure that our 8th grade students and their parents know their high school options.  We host parent meetings to assist families in deciphering what schools their child qualifies for based on test scores, grades, attendance, etc.  Because the process is complicated and tedious, we want to walk through this together.  We help students prioritize and think through factors that they might not have considered; such as, distance from home, college prep curriculum, diversity, and class size.  Each school is unique and has a different focus and we want the 8th graders to find the perfect fit for them.  We are proud of our 8th graders and what they’ve accomplished, and we expect great things from them in this next leg of their educational journey!"

Shayna chose ‘selective enrollment’ where she will be exposed to a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that includes Advanced Placement options as early as freshmen year,  four years of Spanish or Mandarin Chinese and an Accelerated Math Program. When asked how she felt about being accepted Shayna replied, “it’s going to be a new atmosphere. I’ve gone to a small school prior to this- this is a BIG school and I feel happy but a little anxious about it.” In addition to her academic program, she hopes to try out for the softball and swimming team and join the creative writing and acting clubs.  Way to go Shayna!

Jade chose the ‘college to career’ track where she will be exposed to a college preparatory curriculum in her chosen career field as early as freshmen year. She will be immersed in her career pathway throughout the four years of high school, including field experiences during her senior year. Jade can choose from Health Science, Business, Oracle, or Broadcast Media & Technology. Jade has been at the same school since pre-school and knows Westinghouse is going to be a new experience.  “I’m really happy to be accepted and I feel proud of myself for getting in. I think it’s going to be hard to make new friends because I’ve had the same friends for so long at my old school”.  Jade is also going to try out for the softball team and is very interested to pursue broadcasting and journalism.  Perhaps she could write the follow up article next year?

Javion, like Jade, is on the ‘college to career’ track. He has gone to the same school for all 8 grades and although he plays his cards close to his chest, says this about next year, “I know it’ll be different, I’m anxious but confident about going.” He has plans to try out for the basketball team and we hear he’s pretty good at the hoop!

Deangelo will attend Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy where he will join 580 other students in a rigorous college preparatory curriculum.  Opened in 2007 as part of the Noble Street Charter System, the school adhere's to a philosophy of scholarship, honor and discipline called The Noble Way.

We invite you to pray for these four students.

Westinghouse is a clear example of what the ‘new norm’ could be for East Garfield Park. We want to ensure that ALL children in East Garfield Park are sufficiently  prepared and challenged to attend the school of their choice.