Beginning this summer, Mason School in North Lawndale will begin a new high school program modeled on the Spry Community Links High School in Pilsen. At Spry, the goal is to foster better connections between the school and outside institutions that can have a positive impact on student achievement. Spry high school students attend school for three years and three summers, have classes that start later in the day to accommodate teenagers’ body clocks, and participate in internships and college bridge programs to encourage post-secondary education. Former CPS principal and administrator Carlos Azcoitia, who launched Spry Community Links, will help launch Mason’s new program in the current building, which is underutilized. The first 9th-grade class will be capped at about 35 students, and current Mason Principal Tonya Tolbert will expand her role to oversee the high school as well. For more on the Community Links model, see Azcoitia’s essay.

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