Richards Career Academy
5009 S. Laflin Street


Coordinates41°44′17″N 87°34′22″W / 41.7381°N 87.5729°W / 41.7381; -87.5729
School type
School districtChicago Public Schools
CEEB code141095[1]
PrincipalEllen M. Kennedy
Enrollment229 (2019–2020)[5]
Campus typeUrban
Color(s)  Royal blue
Athletics conferenceChicago Public League
Team nameWarriors
AccreditationNorth Central Association of Colleges and Schools[2]

Ellen H. Richards Career Academy[6] (formerly known as Richards Vocational High School) is a public four-year vocational high school located in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. Opened in 1946, Richards is operated by the Chicago Public Schools system and is named for environmental chemist Ellen Henrietta Richards.


Richards was established by the Chicago Public Schools in September 1946 as an all-girls vocational school.[7][8] At the time of its opening, enrollment was 230. The school was initially housed in a former elementary school building at 2535 South Green Street which was used as a barracks during World War I. Prior to Richards, the school building served as a branch of the Englewood High School.[9]

The early vocational courses offered at Richards consisted of Home Arts, Dressmaking, Basic Business Training, Bookkeeping, Beauty Culture, Art, Commercial Art, English, History, Commercial Geography, Science, and Physical Education.[9] This curriculum remained unchanged until the 1961–1962 school year when a course in office practice was added.

By the 1962–1963 school year, the enrollment had more than doubled, reaching 870.[10][citation needed]

Due to the construction of the Stevenson Expressway, the school was moved from its South Green location to 3031 South Wallace, another building that once housed an elementary school in 1955. The school moved once again to its present location, 5009 South Laflin Street, during the 1967–1968 school year. The new location was selected to provide a new and much larger building, specifically designed for a vocational high school with a increasing enrollment, which was about 1,300 at the time.[9][citation needed]

Richards became co-educational during the 1988–1989 school year.[citation needed]


Richards competes in the Chicago Public League (CPL) and is a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). The school sport teams are nicknamed Warriors. The girls' basketball team were regional champions and Class 1A in 2018–2019.[11]


  1. ^ "High School Code Search". College Board. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Institution Summary for Richards Career Academy". AdvancED profile. North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  3. ^ 1995 Richards Vocational High School Yearbook, Chicago, IL. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  4. ^ 1979 Richards Vocational High School Yearbook, Chicago, IL. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  5. ^ Chicago Public Schools: Richards
  6. ^ The College Board Guide to High Schools, 1994
  7. ^ Illinois Career Education Journal, Volumes 7-9, 1949. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  8. ^ Vocational Education Improvement Act Amendments of 1967: Hearings ..., By United States. Congress. House. Committee on Education and Labor. General Subcommittee on Education. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Directory of Federally Aided All-day Trade and Industrial Education Programs, by James Reason Coxen, Lucile Allen. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  10. ^ Illinois Vocational Progress, Volumes 8-10, 1950. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  11. ^ IHSA Chicago (Richards). Retrieved December 2, 2019.