Students at DeVry University Advantage Academy (DUAA) get the rare opportunity of earning a high school diploma and a full associate’s degree from DeVry University without paying tuition nor accessing their federal aid. Juniors and seniors from around Chicago spend half of their day with Chicago Public School teachers and the other half in university courses taught by DeVry professors. “It’s an important opportunity and such a game changer, not just for our students, but their entire families,” said Principal Carolyn Eggert.
DUAA’s mission is to develop independent and empowered learners. Carolyn and her lean team of 12 offer the resources to help students get there. The small school allows Carolyn to know each student well, making failure practically impossible by “keeping on top of them and reviewing their data,” Carolyn said.
When the partnership between DeVry University and CPS began 12 years ago, the idea was to create a faster track to the professional world and to create career ready adults. Unexpectedly, Carolyn witnessed, “Once [students] realized they could do college, they wanted to go on to get a bachelor’s degree.” DUAA now has a college enrollment rate of 90 percent.
Not only does Carolyn focus on her students’ achievement, but also her teachers. She encourages her staff to get multiple academic certifications to expand their teaching expertise. She offers professional development directly to the DeVry professors who teach her high schoolers. Those professors continually express how it shapes them into better teachers.
Unlike other CPS principals, Carolyn must balance the additional stakeholder of a partner university. Both CPS central office and DeVry University have their own set of rules and expectations. Carolyn said, “I bring people around the table, I understand regulation and I am able to be creative to get everyone’s needs met.” As a result of this strong partnership and Carolyn’s dedication to the program, DUAA can offer a one of a kind dual enrollment dual degree program for Chicago high schoolers.