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Case Study

SULLIVAN HIGH SCHOOL

Transforming culture and community in a Chicago Public High School

WORK PRODUCED: Rebranding | Photography | Web Design | Traditional Marketing

Sullivan High School is the go-to-refugee school in the Chicagoland area  located on the North Side of Chicago in Rogers Park. It serves over 650 students from 38 different countries, speaking more than 35 differnt languages.

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The Process of Revealing the True

Brand Identity

Sullivan was no longer the thriving high school it once was when it was first erected in 1923 under the leadship of Robert Brazil. Since his retirement in 1993, the school declined losing it academic rigor. Complacency seeped into the neighborhood allowing gangs and violence to influence the community.

From 2005 through 2013, the school had been on academic probation with an all-time low of a 54% graudation rate. Classes were half-full and violence was on the rise. There were talks about turning the school around or shutting it down completely if something was not done. In 2013, Chad Adams was hired as Sullivan's new principal with a mission to redeem the once thriving school. With that mission in mind, he contacted ILS to help be a catalyst visually, in establishing change.

How we impacted the brand using our

7-Step Creative Process

1. Listen & Learn the why

Understanding target, core values & beliefs

After sitting with Chad and being present on campus, it quickly became evident that the heart of the school did not match the public's perception of it. There was a distinction between the students who found sanctuary in the school and the few who did not want to be there. The mood and tone of the majority of the students was not one of aggressiveness, but more of kindness, innocence, and curiosity.

Instead of trying to go back to what the school used to be, Chad took the time to understand the pulse of the school. It had changed and more change was needed.

2. Research & Develop

knowing the market & what set them apart

With our initial conversation, Chad and his team gave us an understanding of the surrounding schools and what they were facing. Students were starting to leave to private, charter or IB schools in the surrounding neighborhoods. Families did not feel confident about sending their kids to the community school any longer. 

Rather than trying to compete with what the other schools had, Chad and his team understood who their student population really was and catered  their school to them. Sullivan soon became a safe heaven for refugee families and their children. 

3. Collaborate

Processing the Strategy together

Realizing his students were from refugees families or immigrants who were trying to understand the American culture and get through school, Sullivan and his team adjusted. 

It was imperative to visualize the school that reflected their student demographic. The school was not to reflect aggressiveness, but instead patience, thoughtfulness, wisdeom and strength.

Chad and his team allowed the students to select a mark that connected with them, one sitting patiently, looking over the horizon from above.

4. Design

Speaking their language

Sullivan began communicating its values and core beliefs. It began casting vision and sharing what it had accomplished and where it would go. It inspired students, faculty, staff and its local community. By developing the International Academy, Sullivan was soon recognized as the leading school for refugees to attend school. 

Web design & marketing

5. Deliver

Going to Market

Sullivan High School was one of the first schools in CPS to publish a site that was visually driven and immediately show its values and culture. In comparison, most schools flooded their landing page with content that it was too overwhelming to find content, especially on mobile devices.

6. Measuring

results

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“ILS created our logo in such a way that embodies our student community. They're humble, patient, strong, and just like the tiger, almost looking above and beyond the horizon towards their future. This logo and our brand has been spot on and has helped us gain the traction we needed.”

Chad Adams | Principal, Sullivan High School

EXPOSED BRAND AWARENESS

If you are looking for some awesome, knowledgeable people to work with, these are the guys I highly recommend. Their friendliness and result-driven approach is what I love about them.

REVITALIZED TEAM MORALE

The staff, faculty and students took and pride and ownership in their school, willingly talking about it.

BUILT NEW RELATIONSHIPS

Sullivan was able to build relationships with key partners to help transform the school from the inside out. 

INCREASED SCHOOL RATINGS

Within a couple years, Sullivan brought it's school rating to a 2+, moving from Intensive Support to Good Standing.

ESTABLISHED SCHOOL STANDARDS

A trailblazer amongst schools, Sullivan's transformation has been publicized and looked to as a model to replicate. 

EXPOSED

Brand Awareness

Sullivan began to canvas the community with it's new look on a scorecard, helping drive it's narrative and public perception.

Revitalized

Team Morale

The staff, faculty and students took and pride and ownership in their school, willingly talking about it.

Built

New Relationships

Sullivan was able to build relationships with key partners to help transform the school from the inside out. 

Increased

School Ratings

Within a couple years, Sullivan brought it's school rating to a 2+, moving from Intensive Support to Good Standing.

Established

School Standards

A trailblazer amongst schools, Sullivan's transformation has been publicized and looked to as a model to replicate.