April Meeting Highlight: Our Local Schools

AT THE APRIL MEETING, representatives from area schools gave presentations on the educational opportunities and programs at our local schools.


Agassiz Elementary School – 2857 N. Seminary
Represented by Scott Fishman, President of the Friends of Agassiz parent association.

Agassiz has about 450 students. It is a neighborhood/lottery school meaning that students within a determined boundary are guaranteed attendance and remaining spots are given via a lottery drawing. The school has students from all over the city, but the ratio is moving towards neighborhood kids as there is an increase in families moving into the neighborhood. Agassiz is a Performance Art Magnet School with full-time art, music and dance teachers. The school produces a Spring Musical and a Dance Show with all grades participating. The school is growing its library and resource center adding laptop computers and Ipads. After school programs include Band, Tae Kwon Do, Theater coordinated with the Children Emerald Theater on Southport. The schools world language is Arabic.
Mr. Fishman alerts the neighborhood that the schools 100th Anniversary will be on May 20 with a Silent Auction and Wine Tasting Event. Go to www.friendsofagassiz.org for more information or at 773-534-5725.

Burley Elementary School – 1630 W. Barry
Represented by Catherine Plocher, Principal.

Ms.Plocher has been principal for one year and was Burley’s assistant principal before that. Enrollment is at 580 students. It is a neighborhood/magnet cluster school focusing on Literature and Technology. They average two classes per grade ranging in size from 25 to 34 students. Ms. Plocher noted that the student population is pretty consistent with many students attending all years through 8th grade graduation. The school has a very diverse ethnic and racial make-up. Burley stresses the “love of learning” focusing on making reading a passion for the students. Burley has over 50 after-school clubs or associations for students and parents. They offer the Merit Music Program for K through 6th grade and for 7th and 8th graders who wish to pursue their music education. The Friends of Burley recently raised funds and built a new playground and track behind the school. For more information call 773-534-5479 or email Ms. Plocher at ceplocher@cps.edu.

Prescott Elementary School – 1632 W. Wrightwood
Represented by Jennifer Lister, Chair of the Local School Council (LSC).

Ms. Lister gave the membership a quick history lesson of the schools recent history. In 2008, the LSC ousted the principal and installed current principal Erin Roche. Underperforming teachers were replaced. Nevertheless, as a school with low enrollment (190 students), in 2010, Prescott was put on the CPS Closing List. Parental support got that decision overturned and Prescott remained open. Currently the school has enrollment of around 300 students and growing. Test scores at the school have improved 19 points. 90% of Prescott’s faculty has Masters Degrees. The school has a dedicated Reading and Writing curriculum and is supported educationally by DePaul University. Foreign language required for the students is offered in Spanish and Mandarin. The Music Program is associated with the Chicago Children’s Choir. For more information contact the school at 773-534-5505.


Lakeview High School – 4015 N. Ashland
Represented by Jennifer Miyoko Sutton, Program Manager.

Many of us who grew up in the neighborhood either attended Lakeview HS or had a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle attend Lakeview HS. Lakeview is the oldest operating High School in the State of Illinois. Lakeview is also a neighborhood/lottery school.

Ms. Sutton laid out Lakeview’s new education plan which started for the 2012-2013 school year. Lakeview’s new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Early College Pathway Program challenges students with a rigorous and relevant STEM curriculum that will prepare the student for the opportunities of a 21st century global economy. The Pathway will ensure all students develop a strong STEM literacy to give them a competitive edge to gain admission to selective Colleges and Universities and scholarship opportunities. The student can gear their Education Partway to four main disciplines: Humanties: Science, Math and Technology; Music and Visual Arts or World Language. The STEM Program collaborates with various companies and schools including Microsoft, DePaul University and the Illinois Technology Foundation for work-based, real life learning opportunities.

Ms. Sutton closed her presentation noting that Lakeview HS has over a 90% graduation rate, has no student disciplinary issues or has ever been on any type of academic probation. Lakeview offers college and career coaching to all of its students. For more information go to: www.lakeviewhs.com, contact Ms. Sutton at email = jmsutton@cps.edu or 773-534-5449.

This four-school presentation reinforces that excellent educational opportunities are available to our children and supported by our tax dollars. Don’t ditch out to the suburbs where you think the schools are better. Suburban schools are huge and the size can sometimes eliminate educational and athletic opportunities to the student. Stay in the city for the diversity and the ability to walk 5 minutes to a store for a liter of Coke instead of having to drive 15-20 minutes out of your subdivision to the store.

What else happened at our April meeting? Check the May Newsletter.