Education is vital to the health of a neighborhood and community for several reasons. First of all, education is the essential preparation of young minds and bodies for all of the other five elements. Highly effective education will prepare children and young adults not only for self-sufficiency but also for lives of service to and appreciation of others. ZDC encourages the children in MidTown to be good students, to graduate both from high school and college or a trade school and then to return to the neighborhood to invest themselves in the ongoing process of making MidTown a great place to live, work, worship and play.
Education is also vital to the health of a neighborhood because high-performing, high profile schools can be a wonderful point of pride. These schools constantly remind everyone in the neighborhood that we must always be preparing ourselves for the future. These schools are an inspiration for everyone to keep learning and growing. ZDC believes that the neighborhood is best served by a variety of educational activities including continued learning for adults.
And lastly, education is, itself, a valuable and powerful economic engine for a neighborhood. Schools bring into the neighborhood teachers, staff and administrators with generally high levels of education. When schools, their employees and their students spend their money in the neighborhood, it strengthens the local businesses and provides more jobs for neighborhood residents.
It is for all these reasons that in 2008 ZION Development began working to bring a charter public school into the MidTown neighborhood. We are so pleased and proud that on August 16, 2010 we, along Patriots' Gateway Center and Chicago International Charter Schools, Inc., were able to open a Kindergarten through Fourth Grade charter school in the heart of MidTown. This charter school, CICS-Patriots' Campus, will add Fifth Grade and will expand to serve nearly 500 students by 2012. Also by 2012 ZION expects to open a second facility to serve grades Six through Twelve. Nearly 1,000 students will attend this facility!