H-F adds Lead Higher initiative


Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School District 233 was recently accepted into the Lead Higher Initiative, a national effort spearheaded by the non-profit Equal Opportunity Schools, in support of the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, and supported by the U.S. Department of Education, International Baccalaureate and the College Board. Lead Higher is also backed by generous contributions from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Tableau and Google.

As a member of the first Lead Higher cohort, Homewood-Flossmoor will receive match-funded technical assistance from Equal Opportunity Schools to join the fewer than one percent of diverse schools in the country to close participation gaps in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs.

“While we are just getting started with EOS, we anticipate that this effort will not only have positive, potentially life-altering effects on the students we recruit into AP, but also on our teachers, administrators and the wider school community,” says Dr. Von Mansfield, superintendent of District 233.

Dr. Mansfield — along with District 233 Board of Education President Richard T. Lites — was recognized by White House Cabinet Secreatry Broderick Johnson during a celebratory event, held Wednesday, Sept. 21, in Washington, D.C.

Lead Higher seeks to enable secondary schools to fully reflect their racial and economic diversity at the highest academic levels in K-12 education, and to elevate the national conversation about low-income students and students of color beyond achieving proficiency to a focus on academic excellence. To accomplish these goals, Lead Higher and its school partners will, over the next three years, transition 100,000 low-income students and students-of-color into a successful AP or IB experience and in so doing enable a fivefold increase in the number of schools nationally reflecting student diversity in those programs.

Equal Opportunity Schools has partnered with more than 350 high schools across the nation to provide the opportunity for 33,000 more students to succeed in rigorous high school courses.

“By building on their best academic programs and the systems already in place, selected schools will implement what are among the highest impact strategies for boosting college readiness while narrowing the achievement gap,” says EOS Founder & CEO Reid Saaris.

Substantial research indicates students receive a number of benefits and significantly boost their chances of completing college if successful in just one AP or IB course in high school.

Out of several hundred schools considered for Lead Higher, Homewood-Flossmoor is among the 117 new schools selected for participation in 2016-17. Through a year-long partnership, EOS will support schools by providing field-leading data analysis to measure student- and school-specific causes of participation gaps, develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing those causes, and by fall 2017 transition all of the historically underrepresented students who have been identified as likely to benefit from AP/IB into one of these course opportunities. Once there, students will benefit from plans EOS the schools develop to ensure their success.

Homewood-Flossmoor Community High School District 233 is a three-time National Blue Ribbon award-winning school and an IB World School that offers more than 20 Advanced Placement courses. The campus is located at 999 Kedzie Avenue in Flossmoor, Ill. For more information, call or click: hfhighschool.org, 708-799-3000.