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Gordon Tech partnership details revealed

By Sean Boswell
On October 29, 2012

Gordon Tech High School, a Catholic institution located in the Irving Park neighborhood on Chicago's North Side, is collaborating with DePaul University in an "unprecedented" way.

"This is the first time I'm aware of DePaul's involvement with a Catholic college co-ed prep high school in the city," said Rob Karpinski, DePaul's Director of Catholic School Relations.

Gordon Tech president Kelly Jones said that unlike other partnerships with universities, this will be university-wide. The partnership means Gordon Tech and its students will have access to DePaul's departments, academic professionals, technical and athletic and innovation resources.

"Gordon, five years ago, had an enrollment of 390 students, today we have 540 students," said Jones.

Gordon has also had five consecutive years of rising ACT scores.

D e P a u l ' s involvement with Gordon Tech was initiated by the Archdiocese of Chicago. The archdiocese said that the university was the ideal school to help with Gordon's upward trajectory.

"DePaul has a long history of working with schools in the city of Chicago. Most of that involvement has been programmatic, so they go in and work with a group of teachers for professional development or they place student teachers in a school as the students at DePaul are working for their degree," said Karpinski.

DePaul is also currently working with Lakeview High School, something that was requested by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"What DePaul can do is help (Gordon Tech) create the programs that students need to make their applications to college stronger," said Karpinski. "We're gonna go in and help them across the board with curriculum, college counseling, facilities, board development, marketing and research."

A Chicago Tribune article about the partnership noted that some Catholic high schools were struggling to stay open. "Our goal is to be a top-tier option for the serious student on the North Side of Chicago," said Jones.

The Big Shoulders Fund, a non-profit organization that helps Chicago Catholic schools, was very supportive of the move.

"If you look at the need for quality education in the city, it's high. I would influence any high school in the area to try and engage with universities and partnerships," said Josh Hale, executive director at Big Shoulders.

The benefit that comes to DePaul in this collaboration is that "Catholic education gets stronger," said Karpinski.

In a press release by Gordon Tech announcing the partnership, DePaul President Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., said, "DePaul believes that strong Catholic education benefits the entire community. We welcome the opportunity to support a Catholic institution with a rising academic profile like Gordon Tech."

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