Beyond Academics at Golder College Prep Chicago_ IL

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					Beyond Academics at
Golder College Prep / Chicago, IL

Golder College Prep                                      chool administrators,        friend created an environmentalist club,” one
                                                         teachers, and                student explains. “I like that I can get credit for
Principal: Rosa Alanis                                   students herald              being a part of something like that.” Some student
School schedule: 8:00am–3:20pm                           Golder College Prep’s        clubs count for enrichment credit, while others
                                                  engaging enrichment                 are more casual and do not provide students with
Early release: 8:20am–1:40pm (Fri.)               opportunities as one                credits. Administrators attribute the high level
Additional time compared to                       of the distinguishing               of student engagement and the lack of discipline
surrounding district: 80 min/day                  elements of the school’s            problems during enrichment activities to the fact
and 7 days/year                                   design. Students at Golder,         that students can create these electives around
                                                  located in Chicago, Illinois,       their own passions and self-select into classes and
Student Population                                are enrolled in a robust            clubs that interest them.
Grades served: 9–12                               academic schedule: All
Number of students: 540                           students take two English           Community service experiences are a central
                                                  classes and two math                component of Golder College Prep’s enrichment
Qualify for free/reduced lunch: 88%
                                                  classes throughout their            program. Every quarter, each student must
Students Scoring At or Above Proficient           tenure at the school as well        complete five hours of community service.
on the Illinois Standards Achievement             as college-prep science,            Students must switch service sites each quarter,
                                                  social studies, foreign             in order to learn about a range of social issues,
Test in 2010
                                                  language classes, and               have a diverse set of experiences, and meet as
(difference compared to surrounding                                                   many new contacts as possible. “This semester
district)                                         more typical “specials
                                                  classes” including physical         we’re going to Nicaragua to build wells,” says
ELA: 47% (+14%)                                   education, art, and music.          a senior at Golder. The community service
Math: 49% (+20%)                                  In addition to this full            requirement “is good for our transcripts” the
                                                  program of studies, over the        student says. “And I’ve made good connections.”
                                                  course of their four years
                                                                                      One particularly popular activity is ROTC.
                                                  at Golder, students also are
                                                                                      Currently, 120 students at Golder College Prep
                           required to complete 200 hours of enrichment
                                                                                      participate in ROTC training as an enrichment
                           activities outside of the traditional school day.
                                                                                      activity. “It’s not about training to be in the
                           To fulfill this 200-hour requirement, students
                                                                                      military,” says a student who is involved. “It’s
                           can select from a diverse array of activities that
                                                                                      more about training on how to be a good citizen.”
                           take place after the seven-hour-and-20-minute
                           school day ends or on weekends, or during                  The school also partners with other organizations,
                           school vacations (including summer). “We                   such as “Summer of a Lifetime” and “Right Angle,”
                           have everything from cooking to guitar to                  to provide Golder’s students with opportunities to
                           documentary filmmaking during a semester,”                 leave Chicago for the summer to enroll in college
                           says Michael Kucera, assistant principal of                courses. These summer programs count toward
                           curriculum and professional development,                   students’ enrichment requirements and provide
                           describing the after-school electives available            exposure to the academic, social, and cultural
                           on the Golder campus. These after-school                   opportunities and challenges that exist in higher
                           enrichment classes generally occur in either               education. Such experiences are particularly
                           two one-hour blocks or one two-hour block per              important because over 90 percent of the students
                           week. “But,” Kucera adds, “students can also get           at Golder will be the first in their families to
                           enrichment credits for activities that are not             attend college. The school emphasizes that to truly
                           affiliated with the school—from participating in           prepare its low-income student body for college, it
                           anything from Drivers’ Ed to boxing to summer              must not only provide strong academic programs,
                           programs at universities.”                                 it must also expose students to the types of
                                                                                      activities that students from more affluent
                                After-school enrichment activities can be initiated
                                                                                      backgrounds participate in during high school.
                                and run by school staff members, outside
                                instructors, or even students themselves. “My

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