Principal Scott Grens Resigns from LVHS

JOINT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM LVHS PARTNERS, THE LVHS PAC (PARENT ADVISORY COUNCIL), AND THE LAKE VIEW HIGH SCHOOL LSC

 

It is with regret that we must announce that Principal Scott Grens has submitted his resignation from Lake View High School effective June 30, 2016.  In speaking with our organizations’ leadership about his decision, Principal Grens emphasized that this was an extremely difficult decision for him and his family. We sincerely, and with great respect, thank Scott for his successful efforts to fundamentally renovate the culture, community and future of LVHS.

 

In his two years as principal of Lake View High School, Scott has worked tirelessly to implement our shared vision of building the premiere neighborhood high school in Chicago, with a high level of personal attention and openness with students, staff, and the broader community.

 

The outcome of his efforts has resulted in a remarkably strong and committed community foundation that will ensure the sustained success and growth of Lake View High School.  Some of the fundamental improvements we have enjoyed in this short time include:

 

  • Tremendous LVHS enrollment growth from our neighborhood middle schools, including a 20% increase for the 2016-2017 school year.
  • Increased visibility and support from parents, alumni, local aldermen, state representatives and the entire Lakeview community, who have recognized the talent, dedication, and abilities of the LVHS student body and faculty and helped to create a dramatically stronger sense of school spirit (“Wildcat Pride”).
  • Continued improvements to the curriculum including successful implementation/expansion of STEM program and diverse offerings with Arts and Humanities tracks.
  • Formation and growth of Lake View High School Partners 501c3, Parent Advisory Council (PAC) and reactivation of the Booster Club.
  • Strong business and academic partnerships, including Microsoft, DePaul, Northwestern University, and the Chicago Cubs.

 

This dramatic increase in support and visibility of LVHS over the past few years has led to significant achievements including:

 

  • Earned a rating of “Level 1” on the 2015 CPS School Quality Rating Report
  • Obtained the Top Rating of “Well Organized” on the 2015 5Essentials Survey
  • Celebrated $14,269,337 Total in Scholarship Earnings
  • Involved 65% of Students in School Spirit with 26 Sports, 32 Extracurricular Clubs, and Multiple STEM and Arts Partnerships
  • Placed 2nd in the CPS City Championship for Baseball
  • Celebrated Wrestling and Cross-Country Qualifiers for State
  • Became STEM Tech Fest Champions for the Third Year in a Row
  • Provided 27 Courses Offering College-Credit
  • Created Paid Student Internship Opportunities Sponsored by Microsoft

 

Please be assured: our path forward has not changed. Our resolve, commitment and organizational support remain as steadfast as ever. Students, parents and community members have expressed enthusiasm for continued progress in the school and remain as energetic and invested as ever, with all groups looking forward to welcoming and partnering with the next principal.

 

In addition, the Lake View High School LSC is already moving forward with development of a plan to ensure a smooth transition that will provide the school with a highly qualified interim principal as soon as possible and, ultimately, the identification of the person who is the best fit to lead LVHS to even greater success in coming years.

 

We will provide regular updates to keep the broader community up to date.  In the meantime please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions to info@lvhspartners.com.

Extensive LVHS Capital Improvements Kick off the 2015 School Year

Principal Scott Grens celebrates the new College & Career Lab at Lake View High School, one of the many changes that took place over the summer.

A large-scale capital effort was a welcome surprise for Lake View High School (LVHS) students earlier this month – including the renovation of dozens of classrooms and the Counseling Center, remodeled public and faculty spaces, a new College & Career Lab, and a fresh look to the new “Wildcat Room.”

“We worked on securing these improvements over the last year,” said Principal Scott Grens, “These renovations will have a tremendously positive impact on our students and teachers this year and beyond.”

Principal Grens walked parents through the upgraded spaces as he listed the academic benefits the school-wide renovations would deliver for students and families. His tour included the Wildcat Room, a multi-purpose room generously renovated by the Chicago Cubs to host university speakers, the STEM Challenge, and other events for students.

“These upgrades across the school are sending a positive and powerful signal to LVHS students, faculty, and community. The real investment corrects misperceptions of LVHS and aligns with the huge increase in parent and community involvement we’re experiencing,” says Grens.

“Among all of the updates, I’m particularly excited by the build-out of our College & Career Lab,” Grens continued. “One of our primary goals is to ensure that LVHS students matriculate to the universities that best suit their visions and dreams – in other words, their ‘match school’.”

To make this vision a reality, each LVHS senior’s goal will be to complete six university applications as part of their Senior Contract. “Individualized college support requires the right people, resources, and environment,” said Grens. “This year, I’m proud to say, we’re better positioned than ever to support our students.”

Final Numbers: LVHS Seniors Earn 781 College Acceptances

End-of-year data from last year is in, and the 2015 LVHS graduating class saw a total of 781 college acceptances, a total amounting to nearly three university acceptances per senior. “This number represents a range of colleges, matched to a huge range of higher education goals among our seniors,” said Erin Howell, College & Career Coach.

“The numbers are great, but it’s the stories behind the numbers that I’m so proud of. From Ivy League to outstanding state schools to smaller specialized colleges, our 2015 LVHS seniors are spread across the United States and taking the aspirations and learnings from LVHS with them,” says Principal Scott Grens. “Whatever university a student aspires to, it is our job to get them there; and, these numbers demonstrate that our team is doing that.”

This year, 41 LVHS students have already been nominated for four-year, full-tuition Posse Scholarships, awarded to students with outstanding academic and leadership credentials.

If you are interested in learning more about Lake View High School – Chicago’s Premier Neighborhood High School – please visit the school website at lakeviewhs.com and visit the LVHS Open House on October 24th from 9am-12pm.

The University of Chicago Awards LVHS Top Rating in School Performance

The 2015 University of Chicago’s nationally regarded Illinois 5Essentials report uses survey data from over 80% of LVHS students and teachers – as well as a large sample of parents – to report year-over-year changes in U of C’s five essential components for school success. At LVHS, the anonymous survey showed major yearly increases across the board, in some cases matching or exceeding scores given to local selective enrollment high schools.
2015 highlights include:

  • 89% of teachers would recommend the school to parents
  • 95% of teachers feel respected by other teachers
  • 93% of teachers believe the staff works hard to build relationships with parents
  • 90% of students believe that teachers work hard to make sure everyone is learning

Of the 5 essentials for an effective school, LVHS increased between 11 and 28 points in each of these categories between 2014 and 2015:

  • Effective Leaders
  • Ambitious Instruction
  • Collaborative Teachers
  • Supportive Environment
  • Involved Families

“While these numbers demonstrate the incredible progress our school-wide team is making across the board, we’re just getting started,” says Principal Scott Grens.

Astrophysics at Princeton via Lake View High School and the American Dream

Astrophysics at Princeton via Lake View High School

Above: Don Geci, LVHS Senior, Celebrating his Acceptance in Astrophysics at Princeton


There are stories of inspiration and success in education – and then there is Don Geci.

The LVHS senior’s acceptance to Princeton is one chapter in an incredible 18-year story: Stillborn and revived during the Kosovo War; four months trekking with his family through forests and mountains, searching for safety; arrival in the US with little knowledge of the language, nearly no money, and one American family willing to host them.

Don offered to share the story of how LVHS helped him achieve a goal he has held for 10 years – being able to repay his parents for their hardship while simultaneously achieving his dreams in astrophysics.

In the process, he provides a real-world look at Chicago’s Premier High School – the actual inside story about the school’s teachers, student body, academic rigor, spirit, and achievement.

Q: Chicago has a “selective” process around high schools, which can create the perception that neighborhood high schools have a less capable student body. Tell us a little about the cohort at Lake View.

A: The student body here is very much like a family. Since the week I found out about the acceptance, I’ve almost been late to some of my classes because of high-fives, hugs, and congratulations from so many students (editor’s note: I witnessed several of these first-hand while we walked through the school). That is the sort of spirit you find here.

Prior to Lake View, I attended a private school in the city because my parents had heard misconceptions about Lake View. They can’t be blamed; we arrived in Chicago a month before the school year started, and misconceptions are mostly what are available. After a couple days of attending the private school, I asked my parents to transfer me, as I wanted a more advanced science program. When my parents were called in to meet the counselor at my private school about the transfer, I was asked to leave the room – but I continued to listen through the wall. The counselor gave them the same uninformed story that I guess is going around: “I’m just worried about his safety at LVHS.”

Where do they get this? They’ve probably never been inside Lake View. In four years, I have never had a confrontation with another student. This is as supportive and safe a high school cohort as can be.

But at the time, not knowing any better, the counselor’s words worried me. However, in the second period of my first day, I had already made five of my first friends. And it’s felt like home ever since.

Not only have my peers been very supportive of my goals, but also of my passion for astrophysics. Over the past four years, I’ve given hundreds of “lunchtime lectures” – discussions on science over lunch with students and faculty.

And while astrophysics isn’t the sort of topic that’s paramount in everyone’s mind, my peers show great enthusiasm for it during the lectures, an appreciation for the knowledge. This was even more evident when Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and Interstellar were released. Many came to me with questions regarding the films. Discussing Cosmos was especially significant, considering Sagan’s series served as one of my inspirations, and I’ve dreamed of hosting the third.

Overall, there really is a spirit at LVHS that’s pervasive – and I’ve felt it rising over the past couple of years, with our new administration and partnerships. When you actually spend time in the school, you can feel the school rising. I’m proud of that.

Q: Our readers will be interested in your insight into LVHS’s academics. Where has the school most supported your success?

A: Every time I’m asked about LVHS, I always mention the faculty first.

So many of my teachers have become mentors and counsel. Because my first passion is science, I’ll give you one quick related example.

Mrs. Zagorski, my freshman physics teacher – and now one of my closest friends and counsel – shares my inquisitiveness and passion, and this was apparent to me in the classroom. But to my surprise, she invited me to an incredible series of astrophysics lectures at the University of Chicago outside of the school day, and this became a tradition of ours. We have a great history together, and I’ve had a similar relationship with other teachers. Astrophysics/Cosmology with Mrs. Zagorski; Chemistry with Mr. Cram; World History with Mr. Vast-Binder; Bach and Debussy with Mr. Mendoza; Ayn Rand and Fitzgerald with Mrs. Stephani, and more. What all these teachers have in common is that they have a passion for the subject they teach. To me, there’s no better characteristic to look for in a teacher.

Q: What extracurricular activities have you taken advantage of at LVHS?

A: I have been captain of swim team for two years and MVP for the last three. I’ve been the National Honor Society VP, and VP of the Key Club, which does community service.  I was the founder and lecturer of Science Club, which I began with the help of Mrs. Zagorski. I’ve been a Chicago Scholar and Cubs Scholar for two years. I had a great internship at Northwestern University, where I learned more about exoplanets through data from the Kepler Space Telescope. I also served on the Lake View Peer Jury – this is the “judicial branch” of the LVHS student government. If a student has a problem – tardiness, for example – we talk about the consequences, and discuss how something like tardiness is not trivial. Five students and a teacher discuss the problem with the student, and we focus on working out a solution with them, to work themselves out of that situation. Another great resource within LVHS.

Q: What are your post-LVHS plans?

A: I plan to go to university and complete my undergraduate with a degree in astrophysics, likely at Princeton. I’ll go onto graduate school for my Ph.D and stay in university as a post-doc for research purposes. I would love to make a significant contribution to my field. From there, I hope to slowly start in science communications, perhaps author a few books, give guest lectures, host a television show, that sort of thing.

LVHS Senior Represents Chicago at White House Science Fair, Sets Sights on Congress

LVHS Senior Represents Chicago at White House Science FairMoving from City Science Fair to the White House as the sole representative of Chicago might suggest a future in science, but Lucy has other plans – becoming a Congresswoman. A two-time honoree at the City Science Fair, Lucy recently chose from a number of university offers – including U of I at Urbana, Michigan State, Iowa, and others – and selected The University of Mississippi, due to the strength of the political science program.

“My incentive to model an electronic pancreas is personal,” says Lucy, “as I come from a long line of diabetics and wanted to contribute to a cure. I love the experience and environment of Science Fair, but apart from science I spent all the sleepless nights of getting it right because I knew it could help people.”

Lucy’s long-term goal of becoming a Congresswoman is built around the same desire to bring positive change to the world, and she notes that beyond meeting with the President, Vice President, the Administrator of NASA, and even Bill Nye, it was the other projects at the White House that inspired her most.

“There were five kindergarten students who created a Lego-based device that turns pages for people who are paralyzed,” says Lucy. “Across the board, the students I met made me so hopeful for the future.”

Asked about her experience at LVHS, Lucy is quick to point out that as an Ambassador for the school, she works to correct misperceptions and hearsay about the school.

“It seems like people believe the first thing they hear, whether it’s true or not,” says Lucy. “People should learn for themselves, like I did, and as more parents and students are doing.”
“Coming from Audubon, LVHS is the perfect size for me. There are so many opportunities – I was able to play varsity softball, participate in the French Club and Alliance Francaise, participate in the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, compete in Mock Trial… every year, there is more to experience here. That’s not talk. That’s the truth.”

Asked about academics, Lucy recounts her experiences as a freshman. “I was a high-performer at Audubon, so I was recommended into Honors classes, and I’ve stayed mostly an Honors and AP student. I like the faster pace of the classes, and all of my teachers have made themselves available outside of the school day to help me where I needed it.”

But Lucy says that the school’s overall culture and spirit has been particularly supercharged over the last year, and that you can feel it in the hallways.

“I feel it more every month – knowing this school from the inside, I’m glad to see that the old stories about Lake View are finally giving way to the truth.”

Watch Lucy’s recent appearance on ABC TV here.

Students Spend 24 hours @ Art Institute and Win Design Competiton

Teen Council at the Art Institute of Chicago threw an overnight teen design competition on March 8th. Working with Design Mentors, teams of teens competed to Re:Imagine the museum for chances to win grand prizes. Teens chose their favorite design category to compete in: Fashion Design, Interior/Architectural Design, Industrial Design/Designed Objects, Illustration/Graphic Design, Digital Design, or Interpretation.Team Anna V. won the Graphic Design Competition using her original sketches.

Students Spend 24 hours Art InstituteEven though Anna is looking to college for pre-med she still likes to sketch anatomy and physiology. Her interest in art and design also spill over into her goal of becoming a doctor. Damien also competed in the category of Digital Design. He had previously won the IEE Hack Challenge.

These two students demonstrate how the arts and the sciences are blended together here at Lake View.

Check the event out:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Art-Institute-Teens/174053202465

https://instagram.com/artinstituteteens