The partnership between Senn High School and Loyola University Chicago was established in 2012 with the focus of supporting a public neighborhood high school in the Edgewater community. This partnership represents a powerful model for how universities and schools can partner to support one another.
The Senn High School and Loyola Partnership
In the case of our partnership, Loyola has not approached this relationship with a specific agenda or set of programs and strategies, but rather has listened and worked with Senn to identify opportunities for engagement that support teachers, strengthen academic success, build college access and success, and advance civic engagement. In working to best understand the areas for growth and development, Loyola has then been able to strategically leverage its vast resources. To support the overall goals of the partnership and to facilitate the initiative's many programs and projects, a full-time faculty member is placed on-site at Senn High School, ensuring the success of the partnership.
The core principle of the Senn/Loyola partnership is mutual benefit, as together we seek to support and strengthen neighborhood-based public education. One way that both Senn High School and Loyola University Chicago benefit is through teacher education practices. Senn is a foundational partner in the Teaching, Learning and Leading with Schools and Communities teacher preparation program. Loyola benefits by placing and educating teacher candidates in the school, while Senn benefits by having a steady stream of teacher candidates to assist its teachers and support its students in the classroom.
In 2018, McCutcheon Elementary School was brought under the umbrella of the Senn/Loyola Partnership, through the Community Schools Initiative of Chicago Public Schools. As one of Senn's feeder schools, having a presence at McCutcheon enables the partnership to engage students from the day the enter kindergarten through to their high school graduation.
The Schools 2020 Partnership, founded in 2017, supports neighborhood public schools in the Rogers Park community, including Sullivan High School, Kilmer Elementary School, Eugene Field Elementary School, New Field Primary School, Jordan Community Elementary School, and Gale Community Academy. Based on the success of the Senn/Loyola partnership, Loyola University Chicago recently launched Schools 2020 and hired a full-time director to work in a more expansive capacity with the public schools in Rogers Park. Funding for this partnership comes through Loyola Plan 2020 (2015-2020), the strategic planning process of the university, which asks the university to commit resources to local neighborhood schools in support of public education.
Schools 2020, as a broader initiative, seeks to support neighborhood-based, public education on Chicago’s Far North Side by engaging, incorporating, and strengthening current community schools work in several of the member schools and expanding community schools development to other school partners. Loyola University Chicago is in a unique position to play a pivotal role in the continued growth, development and success of neighborhood public schools within the Rogers Park community.
Plan 2020: Building a more just, humane, and sustainable world.
Schools 2020 is a strategic approach to community engagement that can fulfill the intent and purpose of Plan 2020 while building on an impressive foundation of existing partnerships between Loyola University Chicago and neighborhood public schools in Rogers Park, Edgewater and Uptown. The University’s five-year strategic plan, specifically identifies Rogers Park and school partnerships (Priority IV, Strategy 7C) as important and promising areas of engagement.
Expanding Our Impact
Our university-school partnerships will continue this approach as our work expands through the development of formal Community Schools partnerships with partner schools. Chicago Public School’s Community Schools Initiative (CSI) recruited Loyola to serve as the official Lead Partner for two neighborhood schools receiving CSI funds (Sullivan and Kilmer), and to co-apply with CSI for new funds from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to expand services to four additional neighborhood schools (Eugene Field, Gale, McCutcheon, and Clinton). These grants will ensure that Loyola University and Schools 2020 will be securely embedded in our partner schools as collaborators in education and community building.