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Kenwood Academy

Kenwood Academy (previously Kenwood High School) is a public 4-year high school and middle school on the south side of Chicago, Illinois. Kenwood, a CPS school, opened in 1969. Enrollment in Kenwood High School is restricted to residents in its attendance area, which runs from Lake Michigan to Cottage Grove Avenue east to west and 47th to Midway Plaza north to south. The school is flanked on all sides by E. Hyde Park Boulevard, S. Lake Park Avenue, S. Blackstone Avenue, and E. 50th Street. However, the football field stretches the campus north to E. 49th Street along S. Lake Park Avenue. Kenwood High School also provides a magnet program for kids entering 7th grade who pass a tough entrance test. The magnet program invites children from all throughout the city who have a 6 or better in reading and math. The International Center for Leadership in Education named Kenwood a School of Distinction and a Model School in 2004. On November 3, 1965, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) began development for Kenwood Academy, then called Kenwood High School. The CPS identified the necessity for a modernized new high school on Chicago's South Side during the baby boom's final years. In 1962, to ease overcrowding at surrounding high schools, CPS established the Kenwood Upper Grade Center, a neighborhood elementary school that was eventually turned into a high school. The school had 900 kids in a structure designed for 500.

Residents of Hyde Park, Kenwood, and Woodlawn were concerned about the influence a new school might have on the racial composition of the surrounding communities and schools. Before Kenwood High School, these kids attended Hyde Park High School in Woodlawn. Woodlawn protestors argued that a new high school in Hyde Park/Kenwood would effectively segregate Hyde Park High School. Rather than building a new school, these advocates advocated expanding Hyde Park High School. After much debate, the Chicago Board of Education approved the construction of Kenwood High School on a location surrounded by 51st Street to the south, Lake Park Avenue to the east, and Blackstone Avenue to the west.

The school was built in March 1968. At $7.4 million, it was then Chicago's priciest high school. The new school at 5015 South Blackstone opened in September 1969 with 700 students. During its first decade, the school's demographics were 79 percent black and 21% white. The school's current demographics are 84 percent African-American, 5% white, 4% Hispanic, 3% Asian, and 4% multi-racial or other. Elizabeth Mollahan–Jochner, former head of Kenwood Upper Grade Center, led the new Kenwood for 18 years, until her retirement in June 1987. The Chicago Board of Education and CPS declared the school a "academy" and "a school of distinction" in 1977.

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