February 15, 2016
All Means All: How Umoja's work with schools is changing the game for post-secondary success.
We sat down with Mr. Augustine Emuwa, Vice Principal at Sullivan High School earlier this year to talk to him about his experience with Umoja and his overall vision for all Sullivan High School students.
1. What excites you the most about this year’s freshman class?
I am most excited that we are managing to get more kids on-track, percentage-wise and population-wise. We have a larger class and right now, we are trending above where we were last year. I finally found a way to connect with more students because, here at Sullivan, we now have more processes in place [like Umoja's Freshman Seminar] to make sure I do that, which I like. I like the personal connection piece the most.
2. Describe Sullivan High School in five words.
Diverse, amazing, complex, community and gateway.
3. What is your overall vision for Sullivan?
My big picture vision is that our school will graduate 100% students. Honestly though, it’s simple: 90/90/90 − 90% of the kids are free/reduced lunch; 90% of the kids are here every single day; and 90% of kids are on-track, ready to go to college to make some sort of huge stride in life. So, overall, that’s my goal for Sullivan. Right now, we aren’t where we want to be, but we’re getting closer and closer to that reality every day.4. Where do you see Sullivan graduates in 10 years?
Oh, wow. I see Sullivan graduates all over the United States, all over the world. Some students are local and they are giving back to their community. They have more civic leadership types of jobs. Others are taking advantage of their technical skill sets because we have a business program and medical program here at Sullivan. No matter when our kids are, I feel like they should be able to tap into their understanding of who they are and have identity and be able to build a plan for themselves. It doesn’t matter if you are here, Australia, New York, you should understand the process of building a plan that fits you and who you are as a person.
5. What do you appreciate most about Umoja and its efforts?
I love that Umoja is on the ground! This makes for a fluid and strategic partnership, something I need to make my vision for Sullivan a reality. Umoja builds the partnerships and the relationships with the right people in the building. Umoja's not just tight with the principal, but you also have counseling staff, Seminar teachers, and you have a pretty good gauge on who's the informal authority in the building. Umoja understands the policy and the limiting dynamics of being in a big district like CPS. Navigating through all that is just amazing.