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Lake View Students Can Soon Get Summer Labs, STEM Mentors From Northwestern

By Ariel Cheung | January 24, 2017 6:23am
 Lake View High School will be getting a fresh coat of exterior paint and some interior work will also be done as part of Comcast Cares Saturday, April 25, 2015.
Lake View High School will be getting a fresh coat of exterior paint and some interior work will also be done as part of Comcast Cares Saturday, April 25, 2015.
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Ariel Cheung/DNAinfo Chicago

LAKEVIEW — It used to be that all Northwestern University and Lake View High School had in common was a mascot.

But a new partnership between the elite university and the neighborhood STEM Initiative school will benefit Wildcats on both sides, giving the high school students access to a STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — education center, mentors and summer lab opportunities, officials said. 

Northwestern will bring "world-class" faculty and "invaluable knowledge" to Lake View "and help our students explore interests, fields and passions outside of our comprehensive offerings," Lake View interim Principal Paul Karafiol said.

Key to the alliance is Northwestern's Science in Society research center, dedicated to science education and co-developer of the mentor-based Science Club with Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools.

Students at Lake View, where 70 percent of students are Hispanic and 10 percent are black, need to see role models studying fields in science, technology, engineering and math, Karafiol told the Local School Council on Thursday.

"When you ask kids to draw an engineer, they draw a white man with coke-bottle glasses," he said. "Let's have some people who are engineers come talk about engineering."

Ideally, Lake View alumni studying at Northwestern can return to their alma mater and offer guidance to their younger cohorts, Karafiol suggested.

Northwestern already runs a mentoring program for freshmen at Mather High School in West Ridge, where Science in Society staffers work with students during and after school.

For Northwestern, the partnership with Lake View, 4015 N. Ashland Ave., strengthens student teaching options for graduate education students. It will also provide Lake View with teacher professional development — something the high school is in added need of after CPS cut four school improvement days to slash $35 million from its underfunded budget.

"We want to help build and maintain strong neighborhood schools and provide increased access to high quality education for Lake View's wonderful students," said Northwestern president Morton Schapiro.

The Northwestern partnership will complement already-existing collaboration with DePaul University and Microsoft, Karafiol said.

Summer labs at Northwestern for Lake View students will be developed along with technology training and college planning collaboration, with a pipeline for underrepresented students from Lake View to Northwestern.

RELATED: Lake View Seniors Soar As STEM School Sheds 'Last Resort' Reputation

Partnering with Northwestern "speaks so well for Lake View," Local School Council member Arnold Davis said.

"Huge hats off to you for pulling this off," Davis told Karafiol, who said meetings with Northwestern began his second day as the interim principal in July.

The collaboration came to fruition just as Lake View is launching its search for a new principal. Karafiol was appointed for a one-year stint as interim principal to provide ample time for the council to find a replacement for former principal Scott Grens.

Grens stepped down halfway into his four-year contract as Lake View's principal, moving on to a suburban elementary school.

The Local School Council expects its job posting to be published on Wednesday. The school community can offer comments on its goals for a new principal during the council's Feb. 16 meeting.

While Lake View's three assistant principals voiced interest in the school's top job upon Grens' departure, one has since departed. Angela Newton, who directed Lake View's STEM program, accepted a job as assistant principal at Disney II Magnet School in Irving Park.

Athletic director Brett Bildstein also left before the start of the 2016-17 school year.