South Side Schools Thread (Guest Post by Maureen Kelleher)
March 26, 2014 at 10:41 pm
We now have an official South Side post where people can share information and questions about schools on the South Side – written by an ex-CPS writer! Woo!
*Please note that the commentary below reflects subjective comments about these schools written in 2014. You’re encouraged to post further information in the comments and to visits schools yourself. With schools, beauty often lies in the eyes of the beholder and people experience schools differently.**
As long as I’m posting, I’ll out myself. My name is Maureen Kelleher and I spent 10 year covering CPS for Catalyst Chicago, mostly focused on high schools. These days I write about education beyond Chicago and am raising a four-year-old with my husband in Back of the Yards, so knowing the South Side schools has become personal. I’m focusing on elementary schools and throwing in all kinds: CPS, charter, and parochial.
For this post I’m going to list schools by neighborhood that are (or perhaps should be) getting buzz on the blog and invite South Side readers to add, comment and share their impressions.
Orozco is a bilingual gifted center that should have more kids going on to academic centers and selective enrollment high schools. Got a new principal recently and I don’t know how that is going. Two Catholic schools: St. Pius and St. Procopius. Pius is small and looking to grow. Procopius has a strong dual-language program I know of CPS teachers who send their kids there. On Zillow, Walsh and Perez get high ratings. I believe Perez is on the upswing from what parents tell me. It’s small. Jungman in East Pilsen was on the closing list and fought its way off.
James Ward has the numbers as a great neighborhood school. Sheridan Math and Science magnet is here and is well-regarded. Healy gets good reviews on Zillow. Armour was on the school closing list last year but won a reprieve.
Chinatown/Bronzeville I’ll kick off with NTA, both for its neighborhood program and RGC, Haines, which gets good reviews and has good test scores (if memory serves), and St. Therese, which offers Mandarin to everybody and conversational Spanish. (We thought about it but rumor has it you have to get on the wait list when your child is born.) Daystar Academy is a Christian school in South Loop/Bronzeville that I know has drawn families.
Little Village: Saucedo is a magnet that made news for boycotting ISAT. It shares space with Telpochcalli, a neighborhood small school with dual-language Spanish, a strong arts program, and test scores that scare some people away.
McKinley Park/Back of the Yards
Namaste Charter in McKinley Park offers the option of dual-language Spanish and focuses on health and wellness. Chavez Elementary is Level I and apparently didn’t accept out-of-neighborhood kids this year. It is very strong in math and improving in literacy. I’ve been there and I’m impressed.
Other RGS in mid-South
Beasley RCG is at 52nd and State, in the heart of what was the Robert Taylor Homes. I just met one of their kindergarten teachers and liked her, but the school has struggled for years to attract and keep families from beyond the immediate area. Carnegie RGC in Woodlawn has had pretty similar struggles, I believe–feel free to correct me on this.
Non-Beverly Far South RGCs and Classical Schools
Lenart is small, located at 81st and LaSalle (so near the Ryan). Poe is at 105th and Langley. I visited there years ago and really liked it–Poe parents, tell us how it is now! McDade Classical is at 88th and Indiana.
Ray has long been the most coveted neighborhood elementary school in the area, but it has been through some principal turnover lately and I gather parents are feeling disenchanted. Shoesmith is an up and comer; as is Harte.
Kershaw has an IB Primary and Middle Years program–they teach Mandarin.
A Near North Montessori veteran founded The Montessori School of Englewood to bring Montessori back to the children Maria Montessori started the whole thing with. I toured it last fall and think they will grow into a marvelous school. (But they don’t do Spanish–at least not yet–so we won’t be going there now.) Almost hate to put it here but figure they won’t get deluged, even by us South Siders. http://tmsoe.org
Vanderpoel, Kellogg, Sutherland get rated above 5 on Zillow. Clissold has Montessori. Keller RGC is here.
I’d do more but I have to go make dinner. Bring on your comments!
Entry filed under: South Side. Tags: south side cps schools.