About Us » History, Mission, & Values

History, Mission, & Values

Who We Are

Instituto Justice & Leadership Academy is a second chance high school designed to serve students between the ages of 16-21 years old, who are seeking a more personalized and individualized program. We provide students with a rigorous academic program while simultaneously providing strong social emotional supports. Our educational philosophy is rooted in social justice and focuses on rebuilding students’ perspective of learning in order to navigate life in a meaningful and purposeful way.

We define social justice as a way of life that challenges an individual to realize the power and potential in themselves and their community. IJLA seeks to empower students to become decision makers in their own lives and to use their education to become productive agents of change.  We do this by encouraging youth who may have faced injustice to actively participate in various community actions that fight against all forms of oppression. We prepare our students to respectfully question our society at all policy levels and encourage students to model what they believe by becoming critical thinkers and leaders cultivating a cycle of individual success and lasting social justice.  We cultivate a safe environment that promotes critical reflection in order to transform the world.


Our History

Our namesake, Rudy Lozano, is a local hero who represents unity and equity for all people. Lozano was an important figure in organizing black-brown unity, labor movements, the inclusion of Latinx history into the curriculum at local schools and universities, and voter rights for marginalized communities. He played a significant role in the election of Harold Washington, the first African American mayor of Chicago. Lozano was murdered shortly after Washington's election, but IJLA is committed to keeping his legacy alive by carrying on the struggle for equality and justice in our community and beyond.

Our Mission

IJLA is a restorative learning community that engages students, through praxis, to strive for self-actualization. With our innovative approach, we prepare ALL students for college and career success empowering the next generation of revolutionary scholars. We invigorate hope and restore students’ hearts and minds to reclaim their education, graduate, and transform into agents of change.

Our Values



We recognize that every challenge is an opportunity, even in the face of adversity.  We overcome obstacles with love and resilience.



We work to actively dismantle systemic oppression and ensure access and opportunity for all.



We are courageous and steadfast in achieving our goals and celebrate our own and others’ successes.



We honor each individual and embrace diverse backgrounds, values, and perspectives to build a stronger, more nurturing community.



We are constantly evolving in mind, body, and spirit.  When we engage in ongoing reflection, we become agents of change for our community and ourselves.