In October 2012, DePaul entered into a partnership with DePaul College Prep (formerly Gordon Tech College Prep High School), a Catholic, coed high school in the West Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. The shared vision of the partnership is to help DePaul Prep realize its goal of becoming a top-tier Catholic school of choice able to compete with the city's selective enrollment public high schools and top-tier Catholic high schools. The center coordinates DePaul's role in the partnership with various colleges and departments across the university, and is leading efforts to provide expertise in understanding market needs and building high-quality academic programs.
The collaborative effort began with a strategic planning year that focused on enhancing the school's curriculum, college counseling, technology and facilities to meet the educational needs of college-bound students. DePaul will assist DePaul Prep in ongoing strategic planning efforts and gather feedback from key constituents, including students, parents, parishes and community leaders.
Selected highlights from the second year of the partnership with DePaul Prep include:
- Coordinated support from departments university-wide for new initiatives and academic support at DePaul Prep, including:
- College of Education, which provided professional development for teachers through the Catholic School Council.
- College of Computer and Digital Media (CDM), which worked with the school to create a position, titled Director of Connected Learning, to support and coordinate the use of technology throughout the curriculum. CDM also provided teacher professional development and curriculum support.
- Richardson Library, which gave DePaul Prep faculty visiting professor status, giving them access to all online resources for research, teaching and learning. Library staff also hosted a professional development day for DePaul Prep faculty.
- School of Music and the Theatre School, which worked with DePaul Prep to better integrate arts into the college prep curriculum.
- Theatre School, which created a partnership program for DePaul Prep in which faculty, students and parents can participate in The Theatre School's productions and programs.
- Facilities Operations, which assisted with the school's improvement through the donation of furniture for classrooms and the library.
- Career Center, which planned a two-day series of presentations for students participating in the DePaul Summer Experience program.
- Provided oversight during the second application process for authorization to become an IB World School. DePaul Prep was granted candidacy status from the International Baccalaureate organization in the summer of 2013.
- Hosted the Class of 2017 for their first day of high school on the Lincoln Park campus and presented on the importance of a four-year college prep curriculum leading to a four-year university.
- Hosted 23 incoming DePaul Prep freshman for a summer program called DePaul Summer Experience (DSX). Honors-level and college prep students came to the Lincoln Park campus for nine days to create a video presentation encompassing a personal investigation, college planning, career goals and a path through DePaul College Prep.
- Hosted Gordon Prep's graduation ceremony for the second year at Saint Vincent de Paul Church for 94 graduates.
DePaul is represented on DePaul Prep's newly formed board of directors, further extending the university's expertise in curriculum development, admissions, marketing and recruitment. Although governance of the school lies with the lay board, the Congregation of the Resurrection (the sponsoring congregation of the high school) continues to sponsor the school to ensure its Catholic mission.
This multi-departmental approach to this academic partnership is one illustration of DePaul's strategic commitment to engage Catholic high schools, which educate a large proportion of students of color from low-income families.
For more information about DePaul College Prep, visit the school's website.