approach“North Lawndale College Prep gave me an Invictus Spirit that told me I could actually come from the Westside of Chicago and succeed in academia.”

– Darrian Thomas, NLCP Class of 2007, BA, Bradley University


At North Lawndale College Prep (NLCP), we invite every person who walks through our doors to share in our success. Whether a student, parent, faculty member, mentor, or donor, success is our single shared goal.

NLCP challenges students personally and academically to get them ready for college, but does it in such a way that it feels completely from the heart—with high expectations, collaboration and commitment—like a family. This spirit animates everything we do.

High Expectations

NLCP asks students to hold themselves to a higher standard. Having high expectations for themselves will yield results for everyone. To that end, our curriculum is demanding in preparation for life in college and beyond. We believe the real world starts now.

  • Every student works on an extended research project, every year. Pushing limits, while learning how to think deeply and write persuasively, is an important skill no matter where their academic careers may take them.
  • Students go on visits to colleges, spend summers at leadership camps and work with mentors from Chicago’s business community.
  • It’s not just our students on whom there are high expectations. Our teachers continually push themselves to better their practice. Last year, for example, nearly 20% of our teachers entered a program to become nationally board certified.

Only if we expect success, can we achieve success.


Students and staff at NLCP work together to create a school culture that encourages and supports everyone to succeed.

  • Student “Peace Warriors” show other students how to resolve conflicts using Dr. Martin Luther King’s principles of nonviolence.

“Every single staff member I came into contact with believed in me, motivated me, and encouraged me even when I didn’t believe in myself.”

– Nicole Branch, NLCP Class of 2002, BSW Clark University and MSW, University of Houston


  • Student Peer Writing Coaches collaborate with NLCP English teachers to help fellow students sharpen their writing skills.
  • Teachers meet with counselors every week to discuss how to support students who would benefit from extra assistance, either academically or socially.
  • Parents and families help out in the office and at sporting events.
  • Alumni regularly return to campus to work with students and share their experiences in college.

By working together, and by recognizing that everyone has a role, we all succeed.

Caring Commitment

While NLCP is demanding of our students, we also provide numerous avenues of support to make sure that everyone can succeed.

“Success is based on how much we give back.”

– Wanda Johnson, NLCP grandparent

  • Most classes have fewer than 20 students, so that everyone can get individual attention from the teacher.
  • Students who fall behind after freshman year are enrolled in a special, high‐contact program to help them catch‐up and get back on track.
  • New teachers are paired with “peer mentors” who help them transition into the NLCP environment.

These are just a few ways that NLCP stays committed to its students and staff so that everyone can achieve what they are capable of.