BEVERLY — Two Beverly schools involved in a proposed merger are on different paths according to the results of the latest Chicago Public Schools evaluations.
Kate S. Kellogg Elementary School in North Beverly achieved the highest rating possible — a Level 1+. The school at 9241 S. Leavitt St. improved from the second-highest rating or a Level 1.
Meanwhile, Sutherland Elementary School at 10015 S. Leavitt St. in Beverly fell from Level 1 to Level 2+ in the rating system that assigns schools one of five scores, ranging from Level 3 (worst) to Level 1+ (best).
Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th) has proposed merging the two schools, pointing to dwindling enrollment by families living within the neighborhood boundaries of both schools. His plan has been mostly met with outrage at a series of community meetings.
The only other school in the ward to fall was George F. Cassell Fine Arts School in Mount Greenwood. It too dropped one spot from a Level 1 ranking to a Level 2+, according to the Chicago Public Schools Quality Rating Policy.
Meanwhile, the schools maintaining their ranking include Barnard (Level 1), Keller (Level 1+), Mount Greenwood (Level 1+), Morgan Park High School (Level 2+) and the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (Level 1+).
Courtney Sinisi is chairwoman of the Local School Council at Cassell. She reminded those concerned by the lower ranking of the school at 11314 S. Spaulding Ave. that its Level 2+ status is reflective of the previous year.
She said last year was marred by a leadership transition that began with the mid-year retirement of Principal Denise Esposito. Assistant principal Cory Overstreet filled the void but was later supplanted by Eileen Scanlan.
Scanlan was principal at Kellogg last year. And as luck would have it, Overstreet is now serves as interim principal at Kellogg.
Sinisi, along with many other parents, backed Scanlan for Cassell's principal job. Overstreet was largely favored by the teachers, according to a poll taken while both sides were deadlocked. That said, Sinisi believes the school will quickly rebound under Scanlan's leadership.
"When I look at the data, I am upset about it," Sinisi said Friday. "I don't want Eileen to get bad-mouthed for something she didn't do."
Overall, nearly 200 schools improved their rankings in the latest evaluation, CPS announced Thursday, meaning 400 schools are now considered to have the top two ratings in terms of quality.
These scores decide how much autonomy principals have over their own schools, and they're widely touted as a marker of each school's relative reputation.
For the 2016-17 school year, 202 schools were rated Level 1+, and 198 were rated Level 1, according to the announcement. That's an increase of 32 schools and 36 schools, respectively, in each category, from the year before.
Meanwhile, CPS reported only nine Level 3 schools this year, compared to 23 such schools the year before. Level 3 schools are considered to be on probation and qualify for "intensive support."
There are 516 total CPS-run schools operating around the city and 125 charters.
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