On Friday, March 7th, over 60 community leaders and clergy members gathered at Roberto Clemente Community Academy to learn about the school’s recent transformation and place within a larger education framework for the Humboldt Park community. A three-course lunch was prepared and served by Culinary Arts students, and Pastor Wilfredo “Choco” Dejesus of New Life Covenant Church opened the meal in prayer. During lunch, Clemente Principal Marcey Sorensen presented information on the current status of Clemente, focusing on the improved attendance rate, current 99% freshman on-track rate, recent ACT scores, and 100% college acceptance last year. She also articulated components of the International Baccalaureate program, such as active service and global citizenship, which shape teaching and learning at Clemente during the school’s first year of IB candidacy.
In addition, community members learned about the academic pathways available to meet the diverse needs of Humboldt Park’s youth. From the intensive IB Diploma Programme to 3-year CTE courses in Culinary Arts, Broadcast Technology, and Allied Health, Clemente helps students pursue various college and career goals. For those interested in both advanced academics and early career training, the IB Career-related Certificate is an additional option, melding components of both IB Diploma and CTE coursework.
Dr. Jose Lopez, Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, also addressed the group to articulate the education framework promoted under the Community as a Campus initiative. He shared the vision for networking schools in the community to provide coherent educational pathways from pre-K through college. Work is already underway to ensure instructional alignment and student support from local grammar schools, such as Moos Elementary, to Clemente, to post-secondary opportunities at Northeastern Illinois University.
Feedback from attendees was positive, and many community leaders expressed an interest in promoting Clemente as a viable educational option in the community. Leaders such as the CEO of Norwegian Hospital, the Director of Bickerdike Housing, and State Representative Cynthia Soto made commitments to partnering. Principal Sorensen and Dr. Lopez, as well as the larger school community, express their sincere thanks to attendees for their open-mindedness in learning about the school’s growth, and for their future efforts as advocates for Clemente and the Community as a Campus initiative.