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Dixon School in Chatham One of Tops in CPS in New Ratings; Earle Also Up

By Andrea V. Watson | November 2, 2015 6:29am | Updated on November 2, 2015 9:40am
 Performance ratings have improved at Earle STEM Elementary.
Performance ratings have improved at Earle STEM Elementary.
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DNAinfo/Andrea V. Watson

CHATHAM — Arthur Dixon Elementary School earned the highest ranking a school can get based on a new CPS report.

“It’s a good school,” parent Lesley Chinn said. The Park Manor resident discovered the news from the principal.

“Dixon Elementary School has always been a top-notch school of excellence in the community,” Chinn said. “To receive such a high rating says a lot, and I hope for much continued success.”

The neighborhood school at 8306 S. Saint Lawrence Ave. in Chatham earned a “Level 1+” for the 2014-2015 school year from Chicago Public Schools, up from a “Level 1” the previous year.

The highest ranking is a "1+." Ratings are based on data that was gathered the previous school year.

 A new report ranks Chicago schools.
A new report ranks Chicago schools.
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DNAinfo/Andrea V. Watson

For 2014-2015, 170 schools earned the highest ranking, 162 achieved “Level 1,” 119 ranked “Level 2+,” 174 were rated “Level 2,” and lastly, 23 were rated “Level 3,” CPS said.

“As our students continue to build on their academic progress of the past several years, we’re also encouraged to see the quality of our schools moving in the right direction, thanks to the hard work of our principals, teachers, parents and students,” CPS CEO Forrest Claypool said in a press release.

Reading and mathematics levels have gone up at Dixon, which has 594 students. Nearly 99 percent of students at the school are African-American and 81 percent are low income.

In 2014-2015 the school bested 99 percent of schools nationwide in growth in reading scores on the Northwestern Evaluation Association of Academic Progress exam, or NWEA MAP.

That's up from 2013-2104, when students' growth on reading tests was better than the growth at 75 percent of schools nationally during the 2013-2014 year.

When it comes to math, the growth in test scores in 2014-2015 was better than 99 percent of schools nationally, up from 2013-2014 when it bested just 10 percent of schools nationally.

Read the full report here.

CPS officials did not respond to requests for comment on the scores at specific schools, but issued a written statement when the report cards were released.

“Ratings will help us develop and coordinate support for every school and provide a clearer picture of each school’s strengths and where they need to improve,” CPS Chief Education Officer Janice K. Jackson said in a press release. “For teachers and principals, the new ratings will help them understand what needs to be done to help students achieve. As a former principal, that kind of guidance is critical to success.”

Chinn calls Dixon a “good fit” for her son, saying that the teachers “work well with the students.”

“They make sure that learning is fun and engaging, while challenging the students to reach their fullest potential so they can compete in society,” she said.

“I enjoy the open door policy of communicating with my son's teacher on how he's doing in school and what needs to be done on my end to make sure he is successful.”

Dixon isn’t the only school doing better.

Performance at Charles W. Earle STEM Elementary improved over the last year, according to the report.

The neighborhood school at 2040 W. 62nd St. earned a "Level 2" for the 2014-2015 school year from Chicago Public Schools, up from "Level 3" the previous year.

Reading and mathematics levels have gone up at Earle, which has 486 students. Based on the Northwestern Evaluation Association of Academic Progress exam, or NWEA MAP, students' growth on reading tests was better than the growth at just 9 percent of schools nationally during the 2013-2014 year, the report shows.

There was drastic improvement for 2014-2015. The reading growth on the NWEA MAP for all students was better than the growth at 48 percent of schools nationally.

 Students on Oct. 30
Students on Oct. 30
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DNAinfo/Andrea V. Watson

When it comes to math, the growth in test scores in 2015-16 was better than 60 percent of schools nationally, up from 16 percent of schools nationally during the 2013-2014 school year.

Same goes for Longwood Academy, 1309 W. 95th St. The Auburn Gresham school teaches students in grades 3-12.

It earned a “Level 2+” for 2014-2015. The academic year before it was at a “Level 2.”

Students' growth on reading tests was better than the growth at 29 percent of schools nationally during the 2013-2014 year. For 2014-2015 the growth was better than that at  66 percent of schools.

On the opposite side of spectrum, Daniel S. Wentworth Elementary School, 1340 W. 71st St. has dropped in performance levels. The West Englewood neighborhood school earned a “Level 2” ranking for both the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 academic years.

Reading and mathematics levels have gone down at Wentworth, which has 568 students. Based on NWEA MAP, the growth in reading scores was better than the growth at 62 percent of schools nationally during the 2013-2014 year, the report shows. But there was a drop for 2014-2015. The reading growth last year was only better than that at 17 percent of schools nationally.

When it comes to math, the growth was better than 45 percent of schools nationally during the 2013-2014 school year, but better than just 37 percent of schools in 2014-2015.

Here's the full report for Earle and Wentworth.

While some schools have seen improvement, schools like Emil G. Hirsh Metropolitan High School in Grand Crossing have seen none. The school has earned a “Level 3” ranking for eight years. Student growth in 2014 was “below average” and student attainment was “far below average,” CPS said.

The full report for Hirsh is here.

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