Mayor Rahm Emanuel discusses the partnership between Loyola and Senn High School as Father Garanzini (right) looks on.

On Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, alongside Father Garanzini, announced a partnership between Loyola University Chicago and Senn High School in Edgewater, in which Loyola’s School of Education will provide assistance in teacher training and curriculum development in order to transition Senn’s current International Baccalaureate (IB) program into a full wall-to-wall IB school. This will make Senn the first neighborhood school in the city of Chicago to have a wall-to-wall IB program, and the first of five Chicago public schools that will be developing this program by 2013.

This announcement comes in light of a broader effort to connect the resources of Chicago’s higher education institutions to Chicago Public Schools (CPS), an effort that includes partnerships between DePaul and Lakeview High School, as well as partnerships in the Brighton community and South Shore High School.

In a press conference held in a classroom at Senn, surrounded by the presidents of Loyola and DePaul University, as well as Senn principle Susan Lofton, and aldermen from the corresponding wards, Mayor Emanuel stipulated that colleges should be held accountable to helping the communities they reside in.

“I want every four year institution, every college and university in the city of Chicago, as part of being a full member of the city of Chicago community, you must partner with a school, a neighborhood school, in the city to help with development,” he says.

“This is part of a new effort here in the city of Chicago to make sure our four-year institutions are not islands, but fully integrated into the city,” he later adds.

He says that Loyola, with its nationally recognized IB teacher training program was a “natural partnership” in achieving the goal of transitioning Senn to becoming a wall-to-wall IB school. He cited  a University of Chicago study that showed students who are enrolled in IB programs are 40 percent more likely to get into selective colleges, which motivated his goal of further developing IB in public schools. Though Senn already has an IB program, he pointed out that Loyola will be there in an advisory role while they transition to the full IB curriculum, and continue to help as they grow as a school.

“Loyola will have Senn’s back, in teacher development, teacher training, in the preparation, and course development, as [Senn] branches out from having an IB program to having a full IB school,” he says.

Following the Mayor’s remarks, Father Garanzini took to the podium and pointed out that though Loyola has always been involved in CPS in various capacities, this is a much more “dramatic partnership.” However, he says this commitment offers more opportunities for Loyola to give back, even beyond the School of Education.

“First of all, we have quite a few undergraduate students who like volunteering, so tutoring programs are very possible,” he points out. “We also have a nursing school, a school of social work, but our school of education, with its faculty trained to advance the IB program and train teachers in the IB program, is the most exciting part of this particular project.”

Father Garanzini also introduced Father Dennis Holtschneider, the president of DePaul University, who discussed DePaul’s partnership with Lake View High School, and their plan to help the school become STEM-based. There will also be opportunities for Lake View students to take classes for college credit.

To learn more, click here to read the press release issued by the Mayor’s Office.