Chicago’s Butler College Prep Stands Out

Recruiting from HBCUs a key to its success

Butler College Prep
(Image: iStock.com/kali9)

Here’s a really great feel-good story out of Chicago, a city that has become nearly synonymous with gang violence. And here’s what I love—the boys at the coed Butler College Prep are outperforming the girls! The gender gap is real, but it’s now boys who are lagging behind.

Award-winning blogger Marilyn Rhames interviewed Christopher Goins, an HBCU graduate and Butler College Prep’s founding principal. He’s making waves in all the best ways—by showing low-income black students how to excel.

Here’s the excerpt below.

Christopher Goins is the founding principal of Butler College Prep, a four-year-old charter high school on the far South Side of Chicago with a student population that is 95% low-income and black.

Much like Goins, who is a bold and snazzy dresser, Butler stands out. Though surrounded by the blighted blocks of the Pullman community, Butler has fast become a model of what urban education should look like, particularly for African American boys.

“I know black kids,” Goins said. “I do.”

Last August, Chicago Magazine rated Butler the best charter high school in the city. The year before that, the Illinois Network of Charter Schools recognized Noble-Butler as the state’s highest-performing charter school for academic growth among African American students. Chicago Public Schools currently gives Butler the highest rating it can offer, a Level 1+. And though Butler is among 17 other schools in the city run by the Noble Network of Charter Schools, it is arguably the most culturally responsive to its community, as more than half of the staff are people of color.

Goins and I recently sat for a candid conversation specifically about how to best educate African American boys. And he has some pointed advice for white school leaders—even those within his own Noble Network.

What data suggest that the black boys at Butler are excelling beyond the norm?

The number of black males from CPS and throughout the country that are actually graduating from high school going into college is somewhere around the 20% range, and the ones that actually graduate from college is maybe like 13% or 14%. The fact is that in my senior class—granted it’s only 77 of them—100% of those males have been accepted to college, and while we don’t know exactly how many of them are going to actually matriculate, you can look at their average ACT score and compare that with the rest of the nation.

Read more at the Education Post.