Noble Opens 17th High School

Noble Opens 17th High School

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After months of pushback from existing local schools, the Noble Network of Charter Schools opened the doors of a 17th high school.

About 190 freshmen are enrolled at Noble’s Mansueto High School, which is less than the 250 students the district projected would attend. The school is temporarily operating in New Life Community Church on the Southwest Side.

The location is only temporary as Noble builds a $25 million state-of-the-art facility on the site of an old RC Cola bottling plant on 47th and California. The new school is being built with the help of private donors, including Morningstar CEO Joe Mansueto.

One mother who fought hard to get a Noble school built on the Southwest Side is elated she doesn’t have to drive across town to take her 14-year-old to school.

“When they open the new high school, I can walk,” said Lulu Raigoza. The Raigozas spoke to WBEZ last year about their advocacy and what they thought of the pushback over the new school.

Principal Darko Simunovic is a graduate of Lincoln Park High School and the son of Bosnian refugees. He said he believes there’s room for multiple schools on the Southwest Side, which is not losing population and has several overcrowded schools. He said he hopes to find ways to partner with other public schools in the area.

“I think we have a really great opportunity on the Southwest Side to say, ‘Hey, let’s not go back and forth with each other, let’s commit to working together,’” Simonuvic said. “If I’m not doing something well and [nearby] Hancock [College Prep] is, I want to go learn from Hancock.”

The new Noble-Mansueto school is currently in the process of becoming an International Baccalaureate school and will also offer a dual-language program, allowing native Spanish speakers to study literature in both English and Spanish.

Becky Vevea is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow her at @wbezeducation.