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Letters from the President

August 30, 2018

Dear DePaul College Prep Parents and Guardians:

The 2018-2019 school year at DePaul College Prep has successfully begun. Classes and athletics are underway and the energy in the building is positive and contagious.  This is an especially momentous time for us because DePaul College Prep will celebrate its 5th Anniversary this year!  

More than ever, we are All In for DePaul Prep!  This year especially we invite you to join us in offering Cheers to 5 Years of Catholic education at DePaul Prep. You are our primary partners in the education of your child and we are blessed to have so many committed and dedicated parents at DePaul Prep. Many of you attended our New Parent Breakfast on August 14 and our Partners in Education Breakfast on August 23.  At both breakfasts, our new Principal Dr. Megan Stanton-Anderson and I had an opportunity to welcome you to the start of the year, to talk about our progress over the past 5 years and to convey plans for this year. Dr. Stanton-Anderson brings great wisdom, experience and energy to her role as our Principal, and we are so fortunate that she has joined the DePaul Prep team.

Dr. Stanton-Anderson and I invite you and your family to mark the official start of the school year by participating in DePaul Prep’s Family Mass, Sunday, September 9 at 10 am in our gym.  This is a wonderful opportunity to worship with other DePaul Prep families and to ask for God’s blessings on our students, faculty and families as we begin this important academic year.  All are welcome and encouraged to attend.

After four years of positive changes, we are now confidently moving into a thoughtful growth phase in our fifth year of operations. This year we welcomed a record number of freshmen (155) and total enrollment has grown to 500 students.  That trend will continue with your help and prayers.

And while we will continue to build on a foundation of trust, care and excellence in all aspects of our educational processes, sadly, we recognize that the start of our school year coincides with the announcement of a grand jury report from the State of Pennsylvania about decades of clerical abuse of minors in that state.  Like you, we are angered, horrified and disgusted by this appalling news. Church authorities failed these children and their families. That is inexcusable.

In times such as these, we as people of God must remain steadfast about the protection of minors in our care.  At DePaul Prep, we follow strict guidelines that include: fingerprinting and background checks of all employees and volunteers; safe environment and behavior training for all employees and volunteers; submitting to an annual database search by the Department of Children and Family Services verifying background checks; and Mandated Reporter training. As teachers and administrators, we are Mandated Reporters under Illinois law for signs of abuse and will not hesitate to take appropriate action immediately should situations warrant.

We place the highest priority on this responsibility.  Your children are sacred to us and we are committed to educating them in a safe, faith-filled and academically enriching environment.  I invite you to contact me directly should you have any concerns. Please be assured of our commitment to you and to the safety of your children.

I also invite you to work closely with us this year to remain vigilant about your student’s emotional wellness and academic progress.  We will be offering a series of training sessions for parents and students including recognizing signs of depression and suicide (September 5 at 6 pm); and time management and executive functioning (November 15 at 6 pm). Future sessions about college readiness and financial literacy are also planned.  Please check our calendar at www.depaulprep.org and plan to attend these important sessions.  

Our primary methods of communicating with you are through our website, online newsletters, and Schoology. If you have not already done so, please contact us about setting up your Schoology account. This amazing online tool enables you to see how your student is progressing on a daily basis, keeps you informed about homework assignments, and alerts you to important educational sessions and programs designed to keep you better informed about your child’s progress.

Finally, thank you for your support for DePaul College Prep – both in the past 5 years and as we embark on our very bright future.  We thrive on your partnership and wise counsel, and we are most grateful for your financial support which enables us to continue our progress.  

Join us on October 3 at Maggiano’s Restaurant, 111 W. Grand Avenue at 11:30 am for our third annual Faith in our Future Luncheon to learn more about DePaul Prep’s plans for the future. From October 1 through January 15, we will conduct our Fund for Excellence annual appeal to support tuition assistance for students.  We ask every family to contribute to the Fund for Excellence at whatever level is comfortable for you. We also ask you to contribute to at least one other fundraiser throughout the year. Here are some of the many opportunities from which to choose: All In Raffle tickets were sent home with your student today;  Poker and Casino Night on November 2; the Tom Kleinschmidt Endowed Scholarship Fund; our Walk to Wrigley in Spring or a new event – Spring Fling: Cheers to 5 Years! a gala party at Misericordia’s Jean Marie Ryan Center on April 13, 2019.  More information about all of these events can be found on our website.

Your contributions help us to bridge the gap of $3,600 between the cost of tuition and the true cost of educating each child. Your contributions ensure our future.  Your contributions help us to achieve our vision to educate young women and men who are committed to achieving justice, equity and compassion in our City, in our Church and in our world.

Please pray for victims of abuse that they may seek and receive help and comfort in their pain.  They have endured unimaginable horrors.

Please pray that God continues to bless the DePaul College Prep community and families.   In turn, I will continue to pray that we will always be worthy of your trust.

Thank you for joining the celebration of Five Years for DePaul College Prep!  

With kindest regards,


Mary A. Dempsey
President

Dear DePaul Prep Families,

On behalf of Dr. Stanton-Anderson and myself, thank you to everyone who joined us today for the Partners in Education Parent Breakfast. It was wonderful to see our returning parents and meet many of our new ones. As mentioned, we are sharing a link to the information and plans presented this morning. We hope all of our new parents will join us in being All In for DePaul College Prep!

I look forward to an exciting new school year with all of you.

Sincerely,

Mary A. Dempsey

Dear DePaul College Prep Families and Friends:
 
The hallways of DePaul College Prep are filled with the quietly nervous talk of our undergraduates as they prepare for and take final exams this week.  In only a few days, we’ll say farewell to these students and to the 2017-2018 academic year. 
 
This has been an extraordinary year in many ways.  On May 19, the first, four year class of DePaul College Prep graduated on the campus of DePaul University.  It was a lovely ceremony, preceded the night before by a solemn Baccalaureate Mass at St. Hyacinth Basilica.  The members of the Class of 2018 were our 82 pioneers. We’re proud to report that 100% were accepted to colleges and universities, 14 graduated as part of the International Baccalaureate cohort (full diploma and certificates) and 8 graduated as Illinois State Scholars.  They and their families enrolled at a new school in 2014 and helped us develop the strong foundations of academic excellence, faith formation and service which are the hallmarks of DePaul Prep today.  As the inaugural members of our new DePaul College Prep Alumni Association, the Class of 2018 continue to be leaders for whom we remain deeply grateful.
 
On May 30, we conducted our first Convocation for undergraduates, faculty and friends.  This will become an annual tradition at the conclusion of each academic year. Convocation is an opportunity for us to give thanks for the year, to bless our freshmen, sophomores and juniors as they anticipate the leadership roles they will take on in the new academic year, to thank those who are retiring or leaving, and to pray for a safe and healthy summer for the entire DePaul College Prep community.  As Ms. Flo Merkl-Deutsch, our Director of Mission and Values said in her remarks, Convocation “is a celebration of gratitude and an exercise in knowing who we are, why we do what we do, and why this place matters.”  Convocation and Graduation also gave us an opportunity to bid a special farewell and thanks to Mr. Richard Lang (43 years), Mr. Phillip Birch (39 years) and Dr. James Quaid our transformative Principal for the past 5 years, as they move to the next phases of their lives. 
 
This July, we will welcome our new Principal, Dr. Megan Stanton-Anderson.  She will continue to lead DePaul Prep forward academically and actively direct the faith formation of our students.  Dr. Quaid, Dr. Stanton-Anderson and I have already begun to meet to ensure a smooth transition.  You will be hearing more from Dr. Stanton-Anderson this summer, and I look forward to our families getting to know her.  The Board of Directors and I are confident that you will be very pleased that she has accepted our invitation to become DePaul Prep’s next academic leader.
 
Last week the Wall Street Journal wrote an editorial entitled “The Catholic School Difference”.  The editors cited research which confirms what you and we experience every day.  That is, that self-discipline which is regularly reinforced in Catholic schools helps students in their studies today but also later in life.  The study conducted at the University of California-Santa Barbara analyzed national data and found a strong correlation between the self-discipline which is valued and reinforced in Catholic schools and overall better student behavior. They offer three key judgments:
 

  1. Schools that value and focus on self-discipline will likely do a better job of fostering it in children.
  2. Other schools should consider both explicit and implicit methods to replicate a “Catholic Schools Effect.”
  3. Don’t underestimate the power of religion to positively influence a child’s behavior.

 
At DePaul Prep, we know that self-discipline, faith and respect foster better relationships and allow students to focus on achieving academic success rather than on correcting bad behaviors.  Many students remark to us that what they like best about DePaul Prep is the welcoming attitude among students, faculty and administrators.  That welcoming attitude doesn’t happen spontaneously.  It is a result of a great deal of dedicated work by our faculty and administrators to reinforce our core values of Faith, Respect, Excellence and Service each and every day.  It is our belief that every student can learn, that every student is valued, that every person is to be respected, that every person is a child of God.  And it is a result of continuing to work with our students to answer St. Vincent de Paul’s central question: What Must Be Done? to make ours a more just, inclusive and equitable society.
I conclude this last President’s letter of the academic year with Ms. Merkl-Deutsch’s final words at Convocation:

“As we enter into the season of summer, embrace the opportunity to rest. Rest is sacred, and renewal is necessary. Enjoy quiet moments to listen and allow for the gifts of this year to become part of you.
 
I offer one last thought from Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Summer Day”:
 
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?”

 
May God continue to bless you and all you hold dear. I wish you and your families a summer of peace, faith, good health and great joy.  We look forward to welcoming everyone back in August but for now, savor each day of this glorious season of summer.

With kindest regards,

Mary Dempsey
President, DePaul College Prep

DePaul College Prep announces Dr. Megan Stanton-Anderson as its next Principal.

Dear DePaul College Prep Families and Friends:
 
I am pleased to tell you that the search for DePaul College Prep’s next Principal has concluded successfully.  We are proud to announce that our next Principal will be Dr. Megan Stanton-Anderson.  Dr. Stanton-Anderson will assume her role as Principal of DePaul College Prep on July 1, 2018. 
 
Dr. Stanton-Anderson comes to us with 25 years of experience in public and Catholic education as a teacher, principal, teacher and principal coach, and district level and school based administrator.  Throughout her career, she has centered her focus on instructional leadership, curriculum mapping, assessment, and creating opportunities for all students to learn. 
 
For the past 3 years she served as a Regional Director for Turnaround Schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago where she was responsible for the academic success of a portfolio of schools which are academically and operationally at risk.  This responsibility includes significant focus on leadership development and shifting teacher practice from a traditional approach to teaching and learning to a more student centered and effective pedagogy.  In supporting and coaching school leaders, she has been deeply involved in building trusting, interpersonal relationships over time to further collaboration among teachers and principals.
 
Prior to working as Regional Director, Dr. Stanton-Anderson served for 9 years as Principal of Alphonsus Academy & Center for the Arts where she transformed the school by revamping and aligning curriculum across grade levels; developed a standards based curriculum that reflected best practices to ensure academic excellence for all types of learners; was a staunch advocate for professional development and ongoing training for teachers; educated teachers about data analysis and assessment literacy; developed strategies to introduce social emotional learning, arts integration and technology integration into the curriculum; established strong lines of communication with parents; and developed a robust academic partnership between Alphonsus Academy and DePaul University which significantly improved the quality of instruction and teacher practice at the Academy.  She has also served as an adjunct faculty member and curriculum map trainer in the School of Education at DePaul University.  Under her watch, enrollment at Alphonsus Academy doubled, and the school developed a reputation as an outstanding Catholic school.
 
Prior to joining Alphonsus Academy, Dr. Stanton-Anderson worked for 14 years in California as a teacher at an inner city Catholic school in Los Angeles and as both a teacher and an administrator for several major grants supporting professional development and school reform in elementary and high schools in the Long Beach Unified School District.
 
Dr. Stanton-Anderson speaks widely and continues to consult about instruction and curriculum mapping for teacher teams and principals.  We are delighted that she will bring her many gifts to DePaul College Prep. 
 
Dr. Stanton-Anderson holds a BA in Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an M.A. in Education from California State University- Long Beach, and an Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of California-Irvine, Department of Education.
 
The search process for our new Principal involved members of DePaul Prep’s Board of Directors, administrators, faculty and the President of our Parent Association.  I extend my deepest gratitude to all for their tireless work to make this search a success.
 
I am grateful that Dr. Stanton-Anderson has resoundingly and affirmatively answered St. Vincent de Paul’s central question: What must be done? by accepting this opportunity to join DePaul College Prep as its next academic leader.  I look forward to working closely with her to continue to realize our Mission and our Vision and to help our students learn how to live our Core Values of Faith, Respect, Excellence and Service every day.  Please join me in welcoming her as our Principal.
 
With kindest regards,


Mary A. Dempsey
President, DePaul College Prep

March 8, 2018

 

Dear DePaul College Prep families and friends, 

I am writing to give you some important news about DePaul College Prep.  In late February, Dr. Quaid informed me that after 5 transformative years as our Principal and academic leader, he has decided that it is time for him to move to the next phase of his long and respected career in Catholic education.  At the end of this academic year, we will reluctantly say farewell to Dr. Quaid and wish him well as he returns to Fenwick High School where he previously spent 21 years as a teacher, Dean and Principal and is a member of the Fenwick Hall of Fame.  In his return to Fenwick, he will be teaching and providing assistance to the school’s admissions and student services departments.

As Dr. Quaid has said, the transformation of a struggling school into a successful academic operation is a 3 to 5 year process.  Having succeeded in turning DePaul Prep into an academically strong school with a promising future over the past 5 years, he now believes the time is right for a new Principal to continue the next phase of this work.

The Board of Directors and I have already begun the search for our next Principal.  I am happy to tell you that Dr. Quaid has accepted my invitation to be part of our search committee.   He and I and the Board want to ensure that his successor will continue the accomplishments of the last 5 years.  Our intent is to have our next Principal hired before the end of this academic year in May. I will continue to update you on our progress.  Please contact me directly if you have any questions.

Dr. Quaid leaves us with a remarkable legacy of accomplishment. As our academic leader, Dr. Quaid was the architect of turning a failing school into today’s DePaul College Prep.  He revamped our curriculum, hired new faculty, expanded professional development, established our strong Catholic identity, implemented our academic partnership with DePaul University, secured our status as an International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme school, successfully completed the AdvancEd accreditation process, successfully completed the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) accreditation process, raised test scores and the overall academic profile of DePaul College Prep, and helped me to implement our five year strategic plan – Vision 2020: Faith in our Future.  Thanks to his tireless efforts, DePaul Prep’s academic reputation has been firmly established within the City of Chicago. Our five straight years of increased enrollment are due in great measure to the school that Dr. Quaid helped to create here.

Any challenge that the Board of Directors and I asked Dr. Quaid to undertake for the betterment of DePaul College Prep and its families, he accomplished with intelligence, diligence and excellence.  But this has been a very intensive process filled with many long days and nights.  After 5 years of nonstop work on our behalf, Dr. Quaid feels that our foundation is strong and that it is time for a new academic leader to build on that base. He has more than earned the right to proudly acknowledge the enormous impact of his leadership, and to continue his good work with students at a measured pace that also allows him to spend more time with his family.

As a school community, we will come together this spring to thank Dr. Quaid for his tireless work on our behalf and to wish him well in his next role.  DePaul College Prep is the academically challenging, welcoming Catholic high school it is today thanks to him.  Our future is strong and our academic vision is secure thanks to him.  With God’s grace, we will continue Dr. Quaid’s work.  We are grateful to him for setting DePaul College Prep on the right path for success. 

Please join us in wishing Dr. Quaid many blessings on his continued work in Catholic education.

St. Vincent dePaul, pray for us!

 

With every good wish,

Mary A. Dempsey

President of DePaul College Prep

 

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