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‘Redefined Redesigned’ high school offers Open House

Tuesday, January 30, 6:45pm, at South Suburban College

by Melanie Jongsma

SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill. (January 8, 2018) – Ask Neil Okuley why a new high school is needed in South Holland, and his answer might include statistics, anecdotes, and references to books about education, business, religion, and history. But all of that passion and evidence can be summarized in one simple fact— The American educational model that was developed in the 1800s is no longer best meeting the needs of 21st-century families.

At a December information meeting, Okuley referred to some of the books that have shaped the thinking behind Unity Christian Academy. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
“It can’t,” says Okuley (pronounced OAK-ly). “Too much has changed. New skills are needed. The jobs we are preparing kids for now did not exist in the 1800s—or in the early 2000s! The networks and technology and systems that surround us now—we have to incorporate those into our learning experience.”

Redesigning everything

Okuley is the Academic Dean of the new Unity Christian Academy that will begin classes this August. UCA’s bold tagline is “High School: Redefined. Redesigned.” They want to make sure people understand that creating a high school for today’s students means more than simply adding smart boards to every classroom or having a school app. It requires redefining the purpose of high school, and redesigning everything in order to achieve that purpose—the curriculum, the schedule, the relationships with local businesses, even the tuition structure.

Neil Okuley (standing) and Unity Christian Academy have been hosting a variety of information sessions, such as this one from December 2017. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
That kind of change can be difficult for people to wrap their minds around, so Okuley and UCA have been systematically hosting a variety of information sessions. The Open House scheduled for Tuesday, January 30, is the next opportunity available to the general public.

Partnering with SSC

The event will take place at South Suburban College, which is significant because SSC is partnering with UCA, making their science labs and classrooms available to the new school. The unique benefits of that partnership are among the discussion items at the January 30 Open House. Other information highlights include:
• Unity’s curriculum overview
• Schedule and calendar details
• Program details regarding our innovative approach to high school internships
• A tour of the science facilities
• Time for questions and conversations

No matter how much you’ve heard

Okuley says the Open House will be relevant to families whether or not they’ve heard of Unity Christian Academy and whether or not they’ve attended previous events. “We’ll cover the basics for newcomers,” he says, “but there are always new developments as we march toward opening day, and we share those updates at each event. So we encourage families to attend as many events as they can!”

An RSVP isn’t required, but it does help with planning. The RSVP form is available at www.WeAreUCA.org/openhouse.

South Suburban College is located at 15800 State Street in South Holland. The Open House will be held in the Kindig Performing Arts Center at 6:45pm on Tuesday, January 30.


Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.