Mayor Rahm Emanuel announces new IB program coming to Roberto Clemente Academy


Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Announcing that Roberto Clemente High School will be the third International Baccalaureate (IB) wall-to-wall school in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system was the purpose of a press conference at the high school on June 22. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that the IB program is rigorous and that it appears that the three key elements for a successful IB program are present in the school and community.

The three components are a principal who is not scared to be held accountable, teachers who inspire and parents who are involved. On top of that community leadership is important.


Jose Lopez on the left with Marcey Sorensen on the right

First year principal at Clemente, Marcey Sorensen began the press conference with statistics that supported the Mayor's belief in choosing the school as one of the five new IB schools. Emphasizing the school's concentration on student outcomes, she reported that during this year:

  • 90% of the freshmen were on track rate (30% improvement over last year)
  • graduating seniors are scheduled to receive over $2.25 million in scholarships and college grants
  • 99% of this year's graduates were accepted by colleges and universities
  • attendance increased by 10% for the entire school

Jesse Ruiz

"Starting in the fall of 2013, CPS is committed to developing a portfolio of high quality school options and programs that meet the needs of students and families in every neighborhood," said  Jesse H. Ruiz. A partner in Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP’s Corporate & Securities Practice Group, Ruiz serves as the Vice Pres. of the CPS Board, to which he was appointed in May 2011, and a community resident. 

Emanuel looks at the importance of education choices for students and their parents. In March, Jean-Claude Brizard, CEO of CPS announced that 5 new  wall-to-wall IB schools would begin in fall  2013 with final authorization set for 2016. In a wall-to-wall IB school, every freshman and sophomore  participates in a Middle Years Program (MYP). At the completion of the sophomore year, students can proceed to either the full Diploma Program, opt for an IB certificate where students can take one or more IB classes, opt for an IB career related certificate or fulfill an IB core requirement. Ultimately, every student at Clemente will touch the IB Program in some way.


Prosser High IB student gives view of the program, introduces the mayor and requests a letter of recommendation. Moreno and Soto next to mayor

“Bringing this one-of-a-kind IB Program to Clemente helps create an environment that encourages success for every student,” said 1st Ward Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno.  “I am pleased to partner with CPS and the Mayor to make this a reality.” Moreno reports that he began working with CPS more than a year ago to address the educational needs in the area. "This three-tiered approach to IB will be the first in the world."

It is expected that in the next year, before the program begins, guidelines, standards, policies and procedures will be determined as to the selection process that will be implemented for the parent/teacher student selections into the program.

"Our area is a very diverse one. Once the feeder schools (local grade schools) realize how good the school will be, there will be involvement beyond the Hispanic population and that will be paramount to the program's success," responded Moreno to the question "How and when will populations other than Hispanic be part of the program's planning and implementation."

The decision to convert Clemente into a wall-to-wall IB school was made after significant engagement with the Humboldt Part community and discussions with key community stakeholders.

“The Mayor's initiative to make Clemente High School a wall-to-wall IB school - which will ensure access to every student - is indeed a major milestone for this community,” added Representative Cynthia Soto. “It will help to frame, content-wise, our Community As A Campus concept which we have been working on for most of the schools in my 4th state legislative district.”


State Senator William Delgado

“We wholeheartedly welcome the Mayor's effort to transform Clemente into a wall-to-wall IB school,” said Puerto Rican Cultural Center Executive Director Jose Lopez as he pointed out that this wonderful opportunity is happening 40 years after the building and opening of Clemente. “This will serve as the bedrock for the ‘Community As A Campus’ vision, where all residents can participate in a learning process where they are engaging in creating self-sufficiency within a collective and democratic community building experience.”

“Today’s announcement is a victory for the students and families throughout my district. Clemente’s new IB program will provide our students with strong qualifications, making them very competitive for college admissions,” said State Senator William Delgado.  “ I am very grateful for the Mayor’s support of this unique and important program.”

Within the last 6 to 9 months, the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research revealed that CPS IB students are 40 percent more likely to attend a four‐year college and 50% more likely to attend a more selective college. Additionally, IB student’s college retention rate is nearly 90 percent. 

Clemente's capacity is 3,000 students. Enrollment in 2009-10 was 1,588 and it dropped to 1,007 in 2010-11.


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