The Process of Revealing the True
Set back in the "rough" part of Northern Chicago, Gale Math and Science Academy had record lows in attendance and academics. The surrounding community was being affected by crime and the school was struggling to stay afloat. 2016 marked the catalyst for change when CPS leadership removed the school's principal and assigned an interim one month before the school year began.
Interim Principal, Augustine (Augie) Emuwa had his work cut out for him and knew he couldn't accomplish change on his own. With the help of his assistant principal, staff and over 30 community partners he placed an emphasis on commUNITY and growth. Their core values became the driving factor and their curriculum was revamped. While Gale was under "construction," Augie reached out to ILS to visually communicate the change that was occurring and the direction they were heading.
How we impacted the brand using our
7-Step Creative Process
1. Listen & Learn the why
Understanding target, core values & beliefs
After sitting with Augie and seeing the transformational work that was happening at Gale, we clearly saw that the picture of the community was not consistent with the school's new direction.
The students simply needed role models to look up to, adults to believe in them and a community to foster their growth. Gale's desire to provide those elements are evident in their motto, "We Grow Kids."
Everything from the front their logo to their classrooms needed to be filtered through this mindset and their values.
2. Research & Develop
knowing the market & what set them apart
Students need more than academic help to drive results. Gale revamped their curriculum to improve learning, but they also work with community partners to invest in the whole child through mentor-ship and experiential learning. This provides the social and emotional support that the kids need and in turn improves their learning ability.
Gale has put on events like Men and Women's Days to aid in students growth. They also put an emphasis on teaching the kids to become producers in society, which is cultivated through their indoor greenhouse space and their outdoor garden.
Processing the Strategy together
Gale invited us into their space and revealed their heart for the kids and the desire to see them grow. We attended and captured a number of school and community events, including the inauguration of their garden space, their first Men's Day, a community MLK Service Day, and more.
Because of this, we were able to understand and visualize their truth - their identity. We saw how they interacted with the kids, how they emphasized unity and drive, and what their vision was as a school. As a result, we were able to visually communicate the culture we experienced with the surrounding community.
Speaking their language & Emotionally Connecting
In the past, Gale was the elementary school in the Roger's Park community that focused on Math and Science. As the community developed over the years, urban farming advocate Anthony Boatman, invested time and resources in creating a community garden next to the school. As the school was growing, it built another building, the annex building, in which it establsiehd a rooftop greenhouse. In understanding this Gale's History, both the Principal and Assitant Principal understood the landscape in which they were entering into - it was not one focused on Math and Science anymore, but on agriculture.
"It's all about looking at things from a growth mindset. We grow kids, because we want kids to do the exact same thing our plants are doing in the school community. If a seed doesn't work, then we've got to figure it out. What we're really trying to do is grow our kids so they can grow our community." [article on DNAINFO.COM]
- Augie Emuwa, Principal
Knowing that using the green space was the platform in which to speak, we utilized this in their design, keeping a common theme of life and growth by implementing imagery that spoke to that - plants, leaves, trees, birds, etc.
WEB DESIGN, MARKETING, & STORY
Going to Market
With the ability to influence its narrative through visual media, Gale embarked on a journey to communicate to it's community all that was happening inside the school. The changes that took place, events that were happening, and the vision the leadership had was now being communicated to those vested in the community and beyond. In capturing what the leadership was doing, other community partners got involved and continued to build upon it. The Girls Day Summit is an example of what was birthed through telling the story of Gale's Day For Young Men, and innitiative brought through rebranding at the school.
“Prior to this work, I would never have understood the impact that quality branding has on human capital. As we were building a new team, instead of having to look for candidates to hire, they approached us with a passion/desire to work and invest in our school and community.”
Augie Emuwa | Principal, Gale Community Academy (2016-2019)