Academics, COVID-19, Park Forest, Schools, Science

COVID-19: Southland College Prep Opens 10th Anniversary Year Remotely

Blondean Davis addresses faculty at Southland College Prep as the school opens remotely this year
Blondean Y. Davis addresses the school’s assembled faculty in a special 10th-anniversary video posted on the Opening Day of classes. Southland’s faculty will teach from their classrooms and all students will link remotely from home through September 30 when an evaluation will determine if it is appropriate to pivot to a hybrid system of remote and in-school instruction. (Photo: Karl Ray)

Richton Park, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Southland College Prep Charter High School opened its 10th academic year on August 24 remotely for its 565 students. They will spend the initial fall weeks in class at home fully remote while faculty will teach a full nine-hour school day from 7:37 a.m. to 4:37 p.m. in their classrooms.

The school is the only charter high school in the state to earn an “exemplary” designation by the Illinois State Board of Education, according to a statement released by the school Monday.

“In this unprecedented year, marked by so much disruption, the loss of so many traditional rites of passage, our students are remarkably resilient,” said Dr. Blondean Y. Davis, CEO.

“However, we took a creative, engaging, and entertaining approach to this special 10th anniversary opening of Southland to demonstrate a side of our faculty’s personality that many had not seen,” Dr. Davis explained.

In a pre-recorded video, Southland faculty members exchanged their traditional preppy blazer attire for new cardigan-style school sweaters and demonstrated a different side of their personalities to welcome their students. The video offered a dose of whimsy, lightheartedness and a bit of hijinks as teachers assured their students that, ‘we’ve got you,’ as a counterpoint to the many challenges of today’s world.

English, technology, science, foreign language, STEM, social studies, special education, physical education, music, art, dance, and administration members, were featured in the video.

In one scene, James Kowalsky, STEM chair and the Illinois Charter Network of Schools current ‘teacher of the year,’ is seen at his whiteboard working out a basic math problem while fellow math teachers distract him by flying a fleet of hand-made paper airplanes around the classroom.

An administration team staged a virtual etiquette skit.

The video closes with the Southland faculty standing on the school’s new athletic center floor, doing the popular line dance, “The Wobble.”

“Despite the many challenges imposed to maintain the health and safety of all during this historic pandemic, our goals since our founding in August, 2010, have remained the same—that every Southland graduate be admitted to a four-year college or university, has the financial resources to attain a bachelor’s degree and graduates.

“To continue to realize this goal, students needed to know that the entire school ‘family’ stands by them during these days,” Dr. Davis said.

Southland and Matteson District 162, of which Dr. Davis serves as superintendent, invested heavily in technology in recent months distributing computers for all students and distributed WI-FI hot spots throughout the community to ensure that students could connect remotely to their classes.

This is news from Southland College Prep.