Back of the Yards high school challenges, engages students

Monday, September 15, 2014
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CHICAGO (WLS) -- Back of the Yards College Preparatory High School, which includes a rigorous International Baccalaureate or IB program, opened last year. It opened as a response to a lack of neighborhood school options, opined by Mayor Rahm Emanuel who said that parents had no choice but to send their children to schools all over the city.

Five hundred freshman and sophomores now attend Back of the Yards College Prep. Honor students from across the city compete to attend the school along with a lottery system for honor students in the community . The IB program likewise engages and challenges students to excel. In the advance physics classes, students create their own space ships.

"I like math and sciences," said student Makiah Watson. "Physics is the combination of both and you learn a lot."

"We are trying to give kids the sciences to better their community and family and go outside and be successful," said physics teacher Sarah Schneider.

Teachers make leaning fun even as students are expected to perform at the highest level.

"The teachers do not let you fall through the cracks," said student Richard Cirilo.

"What is expected here of the kids are going to be motivated learners they are going to come to school ready to learn and open to a rigorous course work," said principal Patricia Brekke. "It will prepare them for a secondary education."

Brekke says students have a voice here in their future these are some of the brightest students in the city and they want to do well.

90 percent of the students are Hispanic, and many of them bond because of their ethnicity

"We are all Latinos and we have this connection," said student Melissa Chio-Salinas.

CPS officials believe that the addition of an enriching and innovative academic institution like Back of the Yards College Prep marks an exciting chapter for this community that will help prepare future generations of students for scholastic and professional success.