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North Side Principals Dish On What Makes Neighborhood Schools Great

By Ariel Cheung | January 5, 2017 8:01am
 Tamara Anderson (l.) writes an email to legislators concerning the state's education budget as her son Zion, 6, looks on.
Tamara Anderson (l.) writes an email to legislators concerning the state's education budget as her son Zion, 6, looks on.
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DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung

LAKEVIEW — Principals from five North Side schools will meet with parents Tuesday to discuss each school's merits and talk options with parents.

South Lakeview Neighbors organized a forum for the leaders of Lake View High School and Agassiz, Burley, Jahn and Prescott elementaries.

The forum will begin at 7 p.m. at the Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Each principal will give a short presentation, with time for audience questions afterward.

"Our goal here is to get parents excited about neighborhood schools, hopefully getting them to stay in the neighborhood as their children get to that age," said Jeff Heath, a South Lakeview board member.

Check out more information about the participating schools:

Agassiz Elementary School: Agassiz offers a fine and performing arts magnet cluster program, bringing in artists and musicians to work with its roughly 500 students through the use of grants and arts partnerships. The Level 1 school was one of the first in Chicago to open a program for students with autism. 

Younger students take Arabic lessons, while middle schoolers learn Spanish. The Lakeview school, 2815 N. Seminary Ave., offers violin and guitar lessons, dance classes, flag football and volleyball. Teachers and students applaud the school's ambitious coursework and support systems.

Burley School: Similar in size to Agassiz, Burley School is located one block south of Lincoln, Ashland and Belmont in Lakeview. The Level 1+ school ranks in the top 5 percent of schools in reading and math attainment nationally, and parents, students and teachers give Burley high ratings across the board when it comes to school culture.

Burley prides itself on offering teacher-authored curriculum and active learning not based on textbooks. As a magnet cluster school, it focuses on literature, writing and technology, and weekly art and music classes. Like Agassiz, it offers a lottery process for families outside the neighborhood boundaries. Extra-curricular activities include drama, cooking, woodworking, animation, dance and sports.

Jahn Elementary: Focused on fine arts, Jahn has given students opportunities to explore the street art movement of Buenos Aires and beautify their school. The school partners with Emerald City Theatre, DePaul University and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago to offer theater, art and music programs.

As an inclusive school, Jahn educates children with and without disabilities together with the goal of improving academic success and social outcomes for all the students. It also offers daily structured recess and social emotional curriculum. The North Center school, 3149 N. Wolcott Ave., is rated Level 2, and parents find it offers a welcoming community.

Lake View High School: Situated on the border of Lakeview, Uptown and North Center, Lake View High School touts the founder of the Harlem Globetrotters and "Happy Days" star Tom Bosley among its alumni.

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One of five STEM Initiative Schools in CPS, Lake View students learn computer coding and build robots before they can even drive a car. Almost 90 percent of its 2016 graduates enrolled in college, and the Uptown school, 4015 N. Ashland Ave., partners with Microsoft, DePaul and college readiness groups like College Possible and One Goal.

Prescott Elementary: As a literature and writing magnet cluster school, Prescott is a Level 1+ school of approximately 375 students. Ranked the No. 14 school in Chicago by Chicago magazine, students and teachers applaud Prescott for its ambitious instruction and supportive environment.

The Lincoln Park school, 1632 W. Wrightwood Ave., offers ballroom dance, theater, hip hop yoga and sports. Its students rank in the top 4 percent in reading growth nationally. It also has daily recess and bilingual support.