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Letters from the President

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 De Paul 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

 

 

Dear DePaul College Prep Students, Parents and Guardians:

As I was preparing to send our DePaul Prep community a message about how we celebrated Catholic Schools Week and our preparations for the Lenten season, our city and our nation were again shocked by senseless acts of gun violence.  Seventeen teachers, coaches and students killed and many more wounded at Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, while here at home, Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer, first responder, husband, father, friend gave his life to keep Chicagoans safe.  Innocents all, just doing their jobs and going about their day.  We deeply mourn their loss, we pray for them and their families, and we redouble our efforts to build a society that values peace and justice over violence.

As educators, our goal is to present facts, encourage exploration, and develop intellectual curiosity.  When faced with tragedies such as these, we collectively search for answers. As a community of faith, we turn to prayer and to each other for comfort.  As a school, we check and double check our building security measures and our safety drills and protocols.  We maintain our strong ties with our local police district.  In a school our size, we are fortunate to know each other by name. Our faculty, staff, counselors and administrators try to maintain a watchful eye over our students to be aware of signs that a student may be in emotional distress or pain.  We encourage students to seek help when needed and to be a friend when one is needed. We strive everyday to live our core values of Faith, Respect, Excellence and Service and to treat one another and everyone we meet with kindness, compassion and respect. 

During Catholic Schools Week, our students exemplified the finest spirit of DePaul Prep by collecting mountains of food, diapers and art supplies for the Elizabeth Ann Seton Food Pantry at St. Vincent dePaul Parish, Rincon Family Services and the Maryville Crisis Nursery.  Our Juniors went on retreat at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels Food Pantry, Misericordia and Rincon Family Services and learned about the grace that comes from service with compassion.  We are proud of how our students give of themselves to help others and we are happy that they learn a great deal about themselves and about the true meaning of giving from these experiences.

This week at our Ash Wednesday liturgy, Fr. Joe Malczyk, CR. delivered a beautiful homily about how Lent is not just a time to abstain and fast but a time to renew our efforts to be better people.  Our students certainly rose to that call in their collection efforts during Catholic Schools Week and their work and reflection during the Junior Retreat. In his homily Fr. Joe quoted the words of Pope Francis which are especially timely in light of the tragedies from which our nation and our city are now reeling.  I include the words of Pope Francis for you here.

Do You Want to Fast this Lent?

Fast from hurting words and say kind words.

Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.

Fast from anger and be filled with patience.

Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.

Fast from worries and have trust in God.

Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.

Fast from pressures and be prayerful.

Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.

Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.

Fast from grudges and be reconciled.

Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.

- Pope Francis

                                                                                                               

This Lenten season, may we all fast from hurting and practice kindness.

Remember Commander Paul Bauer and the faculty, coaches and students of Douglas High School in your thoughts and prayers. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.

St. Vincent dePaul, pray for us

Mary A. Dempsey

President

 

Dear Parents and Guardians:

The 2017-2018 academic year is officially underway at DePaul College Prep! Our hallways are buzzing with the voices of students as they rush to classes.  Our faculty are rested and ready to engage your children in learning.  The fall season for our student athletes is underway.  It truly is a great day to be a student, faculty member or administrator at DePaul Prep.

In June, I wrote to our parents to talk about our theme for 2017-18:  All in for DePaul Prep!

At yesterday’s Opening Assembly for all students, members of our administration spoke about expectations for this year and what it means to be All in for DePaul Prep!  There were consistent themes in all of our presentations—open your heart to others as Jesus did, practice your faith openly, be respectful, be kind to one another, do your best, follow the rules, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and be very proud to be part of DePaul College Prep.  DePaul Prep’s traditions begin today, and our students can say forevermore that they were here at the start.

We have much to celebrate.  Our academic partnership with DePaul University – the nation’s largest. Catholic university—continues to enrich our academics, performing arts and athletics.  Our faculty members are applying their knowledge and experience to their teaching in new and exciting ways.  Our parents are engaged and supportive of our mission and our core values.  Our students are eager to learn. Our enrollment is strong and growing.  We are absolutely All In.

As I did in my letter of June 26, I’ll include a few suggestions of how you can be All In, too.

  • Establish an account in Schoology, which gives you access to your child’s daily academic progress, upcoming assignments and communications from faculty. If you don’t already have a Schoology account sign on now. We will soon be communicating exclusively through Schoology so it will be important to have an account.  If you did not sign up at packet pick up days, email  itservices@depaulprep.org to obtain your access code. Include “Schoology Code” in the subject line. Once you have your code, go to: schoology.com, click “signup”, then “parent”, enter the code and follow the screen prompts. This is your personal account. 

  • Attend the Partners in Education Parent Breakfast in our cafeteria at 7:30 am on August 24, 2017, where you will hear from Dr. Quaid and me about what the new school year will bring.

  • Attend Back to School Night on September 7, 2017 at 7 pm.

  • Attend the Opening of School Liturgy with your family in our gym at 9 am on September 10, 2017 where we will come together as community of faith as we embark on the new school year.

  • Volunteer with the newly organized Parent Association.  For information about how you can participate on a working committee, as a grade chair or parent ambassador, please contact Parent Association President Laurel Elzinga: laurel_elzinga@hotmail.com.

  • Attend the Faith in Our Future Luncheon on September 28, 2017 at Maggiano’s,  

516 N. Clark Street.  

  • Attend Parent Teacher Conferences in October.

  • Attend athletic, arts and academic competitions and performances throughout the year.  

  • Support DePaul Prep through the Fund for Excellence annual appeal campaign from October 1 through December 31, 2017; the campaign for the Tom Kleinschmidt Endowed Scholarship; Poker and Casino Night on March 3, 2018; Hoops Mania and Walk to Wrigley in spring and other fundraising events and opportunities throughout the year.

  • Consult our new website: www.depaulprep.org for the school calendar and further information about DePaul Prep.

As we embark on a new academic year, we are filled with gratitude to you for entrusting your child’s education to us.  I conclude my letter with a reflection on gratitude by Thomas Merton, a monk, poet, and peace activist, which was read to our students in evening announcements at the conclusion of the first day of school:

“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything God has given us--and God has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of God’s love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from God. Gratitude, therefore, takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”

Let’s all have a great year!

With kindest regards,

Mary A. Dempsey

President

All in for DePaul Prep !

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