Friends of Schurz H.S. sets Sept 22 meeting, seeks members
by BRIAN NADIG
The inaugural meeting of a new organization to help raise funds and promote Schurz High School will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, at the school, 3601 N. Milwaukee Ave.
“We all know from the news that these are challenging days for the Chicago Public Schools,” Schurz principal Daniel Kramer said in a statement. “The parents, students and staff of Schurz High School are thrilled by the generous offering of time and energy by community members in founding the Friends of Schurz.
“With great hopes for the future, we seek your help in making Carl Schurz High School the destination high school on the Northwest Side of Chicago, a shining example of all that our neighborhood high schools can and should be for the City of Chicago.”
For years, Schurz has struggled to attract students from the Old Irving Park neighborhood where it is located. Traditionally many of the families living near the school have sent their children to selective enrollment and private schools.
Last year about 92 percent of the school’s 2,039 students came from low-income families, and the school’s racial breakdown is 81.4 percent Hispanic, 9.4 percent black, 5.9 percent white, 1.3 percent Asian and 2.1 percent of other backgrounds, according to the Chicago Public Schools.
Kramer said that this year’s enrollment is down slightly in part because three high schools that are located within two miles of Schurz recently opened. Those high schools are Disney II Magnet, 3900 N. Lawndale Ave., Intrinsic, 4540 W. Belmont Ave., and ASPIRA, 2989 N. Milwaukee Ave.
“This affects our enrollment and our budget. That’s why Friends of Schurz is so important,” Kramer said.
Kramer said that he is encouraged by the fact that several young Old Irving families have reached out and offered to help to make sure that the school has the programs which will make Schurz a viable option for their children when they reach high school age. “I applaud that,” he said. “That is when real change happens.”
The Friends group plans to network with community organizations and promote the school’s achievements and curriculum, including the school’s International Baccalaureate Program, which encourages critical thinking and is intended for high-achieving students.
“Did you know the Schurz orchestra program is considered the second-longest continuously running orchestra in the State of Illinois, second only to the Chicago Symphony?” Kramer said.
Fundraising, marketing, volunteer and social are among the committees being considered for the Friends group. At the Sept. 22 meeting, group organizers hope to recruit board members, seek input for a mission statement and set a calendar of events.
Childcare for children age 4 years and older will be available at the meeting, and parking is available in the lot across from the school.