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Lindblom High: A South Side success story

A dramatic story is unfolding on Chicago’s South Side, but it’s not the one we’re most familiar with — the heartbreaking gang violence that terrorizes residents of all ages and traumatizes entire neighborhoods.

This is a good news story about something that’s going right, and the lessons we can learn from the positive experience.

It centers on Lindblom High School, a one-time educational gem in West Englewood that bottomed out a decade ago but came roaring back to reclaim its old glory as a beacon of opportunity for its students and staff, and a symbol of pride for its neighbors and alumni network.

Lindblom is our latest “Good Government Spotlight” — a regular BGA feature that highlights public officials who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to serving the citizens of Illinois.

Since 2005, when the comeback began, Lindblom principal Alan Mather has worked along two parallel tracks:

◆ With an eye toward attracting top students and convincing parents to send their children there, he designed a creative academic program that distinguishes Lindblom from many other CPS high schools.

The curriculum features challenging and interesting electives, including language classes in Mandarin and Arabic, and an academic center that enrolls seventh and eighth-graders looking for an educational challenge.

◆ At the same time, Mather sought to repair and rebuild relations with nearby schools and local community leaders.

As a result, Lindblom is now viewed as an integral part of West Englewood, not an isolated island.