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Stockton School Back On Probation

By Adeshina Emmanuel | November 28, 2012 9:19am
 Parents and students attend Humane Education Family Night at Stockton Elementary school in Spring 2012.
Parents and students attend Humane Education Family Night at Stockton Elementary school in Spring 2012.
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UPTOWN — Stockton Elementary School is on probation for the second time in three years, according to recently released school progress reports.

Stockton scored only 16 out of a possible 42 points on the latest progress report, well less than the 21 points needed to remain in good standing. 

The news came as a blow to the school's morale, which had been high in the aftermath of the Chicago Teacher’s Union strike earlier this fall, according to one veteran teacher.

“We had a lot of parent and community support during the strike at Stockton. The school community, I think, came back to school more focused and more hopeful that we would be able to help our children. So it was really a blow. It was really devastating to see that we were on probation,” said library teacher and union delegate Claudia Pesenti.

The school, at 4425 N. Beacon St.,  was on probation in the 2010-2011 school year with 20 out of 42 points, but was promoted to good standing for 2011-2012 after ISAT test score improvements helped it earn one more point.

But this year, Stockton's progress report score plunged when the percentage of students who met or exceeded standards for ISAT composite score fell by nearly eight points to 72.6 percent.  The system-wide average is 76.4 percent, according to the CPS website.

Much of the decline was fueled by a drop of 22 percentage points — to 57.1 percent — in students who met or exceeded science standards.

Teachers and parents noted that Stockton has a significant population of children experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and serves many students from the numerous shelters that populate Uptown. Children in these circumstances historically lag behind academically.

A school improvement plan authored by Stockton staff in August 2011 noted that the school had about 70 such students, a little less than 15 percent of the student body.

The Stockton community is “trying to work on a solution to bring those childrens’ grades up,” said Local School Council parent representative LaVera Lee, 64.

Stockton also faces other particular challenges given the mix of students it serves: About 28 percent of the school's students are special education students, which is the highest percentage out of all of Uptown's elementary schools — and about 17 percent of students are limited English learners, according to CPS.

Some special education students are eligible to take alternate assessments other than the ISAT, and some children in bilingual programs are excluded from CPS reporting for ISAT tests.

The school’s next steps will be to develop a comprehensive plan for how to bring student achievement up to par and escape probation status.