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Education

Waukegan provides excellent learning opportunities for its students at the elementary, high school and college level. One way that Waukegan is providing this excellent education is by continuing to explore and make continuous improvements to better serve the Waukegan community.

A new superintendent, Theresa Plascencia, is bringing innovative ideas to Waukegan School District 60 to provide exceptional educational opportunities. The largest district in Lake County, Waukegan District 60, serves about 17,000 pre-K through 12th-grade students.

Nicholas Alajakis, chief of staff at Waukegan School District 60, explained one of the changes the district will implement this summer will be offering a free summer school program to kindergarten through eighth grade students. The idea came listening to parents, who are eager to find more summer opportunities for their children. It also will help students progress in their learning.

“This is helping students to prepare for the next grade and to give them enriching curriculum in English, math and STEM fields, to bring some robust programs to these students during the summer when that summer loss often takes hold,” he said.

Some exciting changes coming next school year will be providing across the district an all-day kindergarten and restructuring the high schools: All freshmen and sophomore students will attend the Brookside campus, and juniors and seniors will go to the Washington campus.

“We think this will allow us to give more grade specific support to our students so we can really focus on getting them on track when they first come to our high school,” Alajakis said.

The district includes 24 buildings, and many of these also have received or will receive a little makeover. Among the completed improvements was equipping five buildings with full air conditioning.

Putting a priority on getting technology in students’ hands, Alajakis noted next year the district will be beefing up its one-to-one initiative, providing a device such as a Chromebook in every high school and middle school students’ hands.

“Technology is the future. The way students are learning today is changing monthly, not just every year,” Alajakis said. “We have to stay on top of it, and we have to be sure the resources we’re giving our students are state of the art and that our students are learning to be leaders and learners for the future.”

Alajakis said their goal is taking a close look at how the district can better serve the Waukegan community. So far, the district is receiving positive feedback, excited with its direction and a better understanding because the community is taking part in the decisions.

“There is excitement for the future and the direction we’re going in, and we’re happy to see that because we want people to buy in and we want people to get involved,” he said. “That is how you push the school district forward. When you have a strong public school district, it leads to a stronger community.”

The College of Lake County Lakeshore Campus in downtown Waukegan offers all the benefits of the main College of Lake County campus but on a smaller scale. The campus provides a full range of academic choices, including all of the college’s associate degree options and several certificate programs. Lakeshore also offers GED and English as a Second Language courses as well as non-credit continuing education for personal enrichment.

Starting in 1981 as a storefront expansion site, the Lakeshore campus has continued to grow to become a vital part of downtown Waukegan. And the college also is continuing to grow and improve to meet students’ needs. A $47 million project, which is expected to begin in May 2018 and anticipated to be completed in 2021, will provide new classrooms and space for one-stop enrollment services, life sciences, library adult education, administration and child care. The existing buildings also will be upgraded with new finishes and upgraded infrastructure, and additional space will be provided for student interaction.

The new and existing campus buildings will be centered on a redeveloped pedestrian quad planned in the current Madison Street right of way. The quad will feature outdoor student seating areas, newly developed green space, a student drop off circle drive and short term parking spaces.

Schools

College of Lake County
19351 W. Washington St., Grayslake
(847) 543-2000
www.clcillinois.edu

College of Lake County (Lakeshore Campus)
111 N. Genesee St., Waukegan
(847) 543-2191
www.clcillinois.edu/lakeshore

Robert Morris University – Illinois Lake County Branch
1507 S. Waukegan Rd., Waukegan
(847) 578-6030
www.robertmorris.edu

Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep
501 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.
Waukegan, IL 60085
(847) 244-6895
www.cristoreystmartin.org

Chicago Community Learning Center
2835 Belvidere, Ste. 205, Waukegan
(847) 672-8585
www.cclctraining.org

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