Dear Parents and Community Members, 

Many people often wonder how the #1school1community initiative began.  It is a simple story really.  Three years ago when I had a child in kindergarten and another in preschool, I had a brief conversation with Alderman Smith on the blacktop after the Oscar Mayer Walkathon.   I asked her pointedly, "What are we going to do about high school?"  This seemed to be the common question that I had heard many times.  Most people could understand a decision to stay in the city and send your kids to a public elementary school, but when it came to high school this was a different beast.  I love this city, I love the feeling of living in a big city but having a sense of community that stems from attending a wonderful elementary school where my kids can walk to school.  Yet, when I asked people with older children why they don't send their kids to Lincoln Park High School, I always seemed to get a similar answer.  Lincoln Park High School was like the stepchild of the CPS selective enrollment process.  It was the "second choice" seemingly for all.  

So, I started meeting with Alderman Smith and Principal Boraz to educate myself as to whether or not this was actually true.  If it were true, I would surely need to be making other plans for preparing my now 3rd grader and 1st grader for high school.  This is exactly the reason people leave this city.  It is crazy to have to think about high school when you have a 3rd grader, but here in Chicago we do.  As a clinical psychologist who has worked with children and young adults, the thought of my 12 year old believing that in order to get into high school she could not get a "B," seemed like a surefire way to fast track her to anxiety.   Furthermore, my understanding of a Selective Enrollment school is to allow children who may not have a great neighborhood option for high school, the opportunity for a better education.  It did not make sense that living in Lincoln Park, families in the neighborhood did not even consider Lincoln Park High School to be an acceptable option let alone one of the best options.  The reality is that EVERY student in the City of Chicago deserves a great neighborhood high school, but sadly we all know that is not the reality. However, if residents of Lincoln Park, one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city, do not want to send their children to their neighborhood high school, how can we expect anyone else to do the same.  

I am hoping that by perusing this website, attending upcoming coffees, open houses and talking to many of the parents who have gotten on board with this initiative, you will find what I have.  Lincoln Park High School is not a "second choice."  It is an absolutely incredible educational experience with interesting and diverse teachers and students who are passionate about the education they are providing and receiving.  It is a school with educational and extracurricular options for every child with a holistic approach to learning.  It is not perfect, but with a community such as Lincoln Park, it should be the gem of our neighborhood.  We should all be proud to say that our child attends or will attend Lincoln Park High School.  

When my husband is asked "What are you going to do about high school," his answer has always been "Clearly, you haven't met my wife."  

I look forward to meeting all of you as we work collaboratively to make Lincoln Park High School the #1 Choice for our Neighborhood families.  

Warmly, 
Amy Zemnick
  


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