The Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School, established by educators and community activist guided by the methodology of Paulo Freire on July 13, 1972. to address the 72.9% dropout rate of Puerto Rican high school students documented by a study funded by the then Department of Health Education and Welfare entitled, “Puerto Rican Dropouts in Chicago, Numbers and Motivation” authored by Dr. Isidro Lucas in 1971.
Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School is a founding member of both the Alternative Schools Network of Chicago in 1974 and the Youth Connection Charter school in 1997, both premier institutions serving dropouts across the city of Chicago.
Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School has been recognized and awarded the prestigious U.S. Department of Education Exemplary Schools award, and visited by prominent educators from Korea, Japan, Hawaii, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and well-known authors such as Howard Zinn, Paulo Freire, Antonia Darder, Margaret Randell, Peter McLaren, Henry Giroux, Piri Thomas, Tato Laviera and Pedro Pietri.
Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School’s mission is to provide a quality educational experience needed to empower students to engage in critical thinking and social transformation, from the classroom to the Puerto Rican community, based on the philosophical foundation of self-determination, a methodology of self-actualization and an ethics of self-reliance.
Born of the practice of freedom, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School empowers young people to center belonging and love in order to envision personal and communal excellence. Our unique pedagogy upholds transformative learning expectations while still honoring the context and reality of our scholar’s lived experiences.
PACHS believes in restorative justice as a practice and has begun establishing Healing Centered Engagement practices. With Dr. Shawn Ginwright’s work as a guide, we understand that a healing centered approach is holistic and vital for our classrooms. A healing centered approach is holistic involving culture, spirituality, civic action, and collective healing. A healing-centered approach views trauma not simply as an individual isolated experience, but rather highlights the ways in which trauma and healing are experienced collectively.
The PACHS curriculum is competency-based education. It is an approach to teaching and learning that allows students to demonstrate mastery of concrete skills more often than abstract learning. It differs from traditional approaches to education by allowing instruction to be individualized and flexible in order to meet student needs and learning styles. Students are allowed voice and choice in determining how their mastery is demonstrated according to a predetermined proficiency scale; and with routine progress monitoring, students progress through skills at their own pace with teacher facilitation along the way.
The YD team of PACHS consists of a Dean of Restorative Justice and 7 mentors. Their approach centers social and emotional wellness and advocacy for their mentees. They empower youth in managing challenges that hinder them from graduating and pursuing post-secondary opportunities. YD also engages youth through personalized mentoring, academic attention and extracurricular activities. The team creates an environment that encourages learning, motivates students to develop skills, attitudes and knowledge needed to establish and continue a firm foundation for learning and career and workforce opportunities.
The Care Team is a team of licensed mental health providers and experienced mental health paraprofessionals from connected community based organizations here in the Humboldt Park area that provide direct services to our youth. This important team of dedicated professionals allows us to connect youth with the right kind of help based on their needs. The team provides direct intervention, skill building interventions, preventative services, and community referrals based on need. Our goal is to integrate the Care Team into our school climate and culture to meet the mental health needs of every student.
Green Community Builders YouthBuild Program
The Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School started its Green Community Builders YouthBuild Program (GCBYP) in March 2020. The GCBYP is designed to give PACHS students between the ages of 16 to 24 the ability to gain hands-on construction skills and build affordable housing developments in low – income communities. The youth also learn about financial literacy, mental toughness, leadership skills and soft skills in an effort to prepare them to work in the construction industry and beyond. PACHS has partnered with Revolution Workshop. Revolution Workshop’s trained and certified staff will train students in the construction industry. In addition to learning about the construction industry, the students will each receive weekly stipends and bus passes, mentorship, social support, and other valuable resources that will allow them to excel in the construction field and in life. GCBYP is committed to providing our students the best opportunities. The GCBYP affiliated with the Illinois YouthBuild Coalition and is a Provisional Affiliation member of the YouthBuild USA.
The PACHS Career and Workforce initiative provides students with post-secondary pathways that match their interests with the goal of having family-sustaining wages post graduation. We offer Dual Enrollment courses with Wilbur Wright College Humboldt Park Vocational Center or Northeastern Illinois University. We highly encourage students to pursue the STAR scholarship to earn free tuition at the City Colleges of Chicago. Students are also able to pursue a career in the trades via a partnership with Revolution Workshop entering into a pre-apprentice program.
Lolita Lebron Family Center
Founded in 1993, the Lolita Lebron Family Learning Center (FLC) was created by the Juan Antonio Corretjer Puerto Rican Cultural Center to address the issues of parenting youth who lacked a high school diploma due to the competing priorities of raising a family. This school year, the program serves 33 parenting youth ages 16-21, providing education classes, parenting and life skills workshops, intergenerational and family activities with a focus on Literacy skills.
The Urban Agriculture science curriculum connects students to competency-based education as well as hands- -on skills with the hope of striking a blow to the reality of our neighborhood’s status as a food desert. Students cu- rrently interact with our rooftop greenhouse and maintain several neighborhood planters. One goal that we have as a school is for students to connect to their culture as they create their own brand of Sofrito, taking it from seed to distribution.
The Instituto Abayarde After School Pro- gram serves over 100 students. Students are provided after school courses in Culinary Arts, Tutoring, Radio Broadcasting, Business Development, Parenting, Meditation, and Gardening clubs. The After school program is sponsored by the Alternative Schools Ne- twork of Chicago ‘s 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program. Our hope is to increase a student’s school connectedness through our after school offerings.