I recently ran into my friend Mary Dempsey, who is such an incredible Chicagoan. She is currently the President of DePaul College Prep, and before that she was Commissioner for Chicago Public Library—among many other city-centric posts she has held. I was fascinated by all that she has accomplished during the high school’s short five years, so she was kind enough to share more about their mission and all they have to offer. Here are the top nine things I learned:
They are an academic partners with DePaul University: This means so many great benefits for students--curriculum enhancements, faculty resources, artistic and athletic resources, and dual enrollment options. Last summer 13 juniors took advantage of the dual enrollment opportunities, earning college credit through the university for a reduced fee. Additionally, student athletes play games on the collegiate sports fields and art students perform on the collegiate stages.
The school is growing quickly! Current enrollment is 500 students, and the current freshman class is double the size of last year’s graduating class.
They have AP and honors classes, in addition to International Baccalaureate.
Service is a huge part of the school: Every student is required to participate in at least 20 hrs of service per year.
Great student to teacher ratio: Mary noted the school’s welcoming atmosphere and small student to teacher ratio of about 11:1. Everyone knows each other at school.
Diversity is important: The current racial breakdown of the school proves it!
They have a 100% college and university acceptance rate!
Extracurriculars are popular: 88% of students participate in extracurricular activities or sports. They currently support 38 clubs, and a full range of sports.
STEAM Lab is SO cool: STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math, and the Lab is a maker space where kids learn to create robotics, digital media, art and design. Students learn through hands on experimentation how to create real-world results like how to write and edit film, digital media, design a bridge, and game design.
When I spoke to Mary about her short and long-term goals for the school she said this: “ Short term, to continue pursuing excellence in academics and athletics. We have a new principal and she is deeply focused on our students, looking at their social and emotional learning, and of people of faith and service. Long terms I’d like to grow to a school of 1,000, while continuing to focus on diversity and welcoming as many different types of students as possible.”