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Principal's Message


Dear Hancock Students, Families and Community Members, 

When I first joined the Hancock family as an English teacher in 2009, I was excited to have an opportunity to work with students and families in the same community where I grew up. Throughout these past ten years, I have had the pleasure of watching Hancock blossom into a thriving school community. We secured a school improvement grant that helped us organize our systems and practices, obtaining a level 1 rating as a neighborhood school.  And when we were named the new selective enrollment school for our district, we pushed ourselves to redesign our curriculum to support the needs of the students that we service. Each transition brought about improvement that has shaped us into the Hancock we are today. In 2019, Chicago Magazine ranked Hancock as #7 among the best high schools in the city. We have increased the number of students graduating with earned college credit to over 77%. We also successfully supported close to 80% of students from the class of 2019 in college enrollment promptly after graduation. And we have had the highest college persistence rate yet, with 79% of students from the class of 2017 enrolling in their second year at a post-secondary institution.  

As a former Hancock teacher, Dean of Students, and Assistant Principal, I am now honored to continue this work as your new Interim Principal. Our vision and mission is personal to me, not only as an alumni of this community but now as a parent of a student here. If we want to empower our students to be confident in themselves as learners in top-tier institutions, then we need to ensure our practices allow them the space to think critically, while providing them with opportunities to engage in authentic collaboration with their peers. And if we want our students to lead civically engaged lives in their communities, then we must encourage and support student voice so that they have the ability to provide input, and feedback to their school experience. Though we have made much progress, I also know that we have areas to further grow; I am working closely with teachers and staff to create goals that will help us get there.

Eagles, I challenge you to push yourselves to be the best version of yourself possible, taking advantage of opportunities available, but also reaching out during times of need so we can help you develop tools to balance the priorities that land in your path. We are proud of the practices we have in place that support students in being active members of our school community.  Families, I encourage you to think about ways that you can support Hancock as we continue to push our students to struggle productively, think critically and challenge themselves as they become independent young adults. Whether it is creating an ASPEN account to connect with us about your child’s progress, or attend a parent workshop to learn about the college application process, it is my hope that we continue strengthening our partnerships as we work together in supporting the success of our students. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. 


Vanessa Puentes