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Barnard, Clissold, Esmond Fall; Sutherland Improves In Latest CPS Ratings

By Howard Ludwig | October 23, 2017 12:13pm
 Barnard, Clissold and Esmond elementary schools all fell in the latest ratings by Chicago Public Schools.
Barnard, Clissold and Esmond elementary schools all fell in the latest ratings by Chicago Public Schools.
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DNAinfo/Howard A. Ludwig

BEVERLY —  Barnard, Clissold and Esmond elementary schools all fell in Chicago Public Schools latest evaluation, while Sutherland improved, a look at 19th Ward-specific data found.

The other public schools within Beverly, Mount Greenwood and parts of Morgan Park all maintained their ratings, according to the information released late Friday.

The neighborhood schools that saw declines all fell one spot. Barnard in Beverly went from a Level 1 to a Level 2+ in the rating system that assigns schools one of five scores, ranging from Level 3 (worst) to Level 1+ (best).

Barnard Principal Patrick MacMahon said his school's rating fell based on a tenth of a point drop. He said the goal for next year will be to raise the rating by working on reading as well as improving attendance.

"If those areas had been slightly increased we would have been a Level 1. We intend to still strive for a Level 1+, and we view this change as a bump in the road," MacMahon said.

Clissold in Morgan Park also fell from a Level 1 to a Level 2+. This school at 2350 W. 110th Place improved its rating last year — meaning the latest evaluation brings Clissold back to where it was in 2015.

Esmond in Morgan Park also improved last year to a Level 2+ only to fall back to its 2015 Level 2 rating this year. This school at 1865 W. Montvale Ave. will soon break ground on a $20 million renovation project.

Esmond has 282 students with the capacity for 840 students, according to CPS. Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th) lobbied for the improvements, saying much of the space in the school is dilapidated. He specifically pointed to a large addition that was added in 1971. At the time, the building — that is still in use — was said to have a 20-year life span.

Sutherland is again a Level 1 school after seeing its rating fall last year to a Level 2+ under leadership of Principal Eric Steinmiller. He abruptly resigned July 19, and the Local School Council hired Margaret Burns Sept. 14.

Burns, a Beverly resident, attributed the higher rating to an effort last year aimed at improving attendance. She believes the school is capable of earning CPS' top rating in a year or two.

"We are headed in the right direction and have a solid start in our new chapter," said Burns who served as assistant principal at nearby Barnard for four years before being named principal at Sutherland.

As for the high schools, the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (Level 1+) in Mount Greenwood and Morgan Park High School (Level 2+) both maintained their ratings.

The neighborhood elementary schools that maintained their ratings include Cassell (Level 2+), Keller (Level 1+), Kellogg (Level 1+), Mount Greenwood (Level 1+) and Vanderpoel (Level 1).

Kellogg was a Level 1 rated school in 2015 and improved last year to the top rating. Principal Cory Overstreet announced Friday the North Beverly school had maintained its top rating over the intercom.

"I wanted to recognize their hard work along with making sure everyone knew that they attend and work at one of the best schools in CPS," Overstreet said Monday.

The CPS ratings are based on a number of factors, including standardized test scores, the growth of those scores, attendance rates and graduation rates. Principals of highly-rated schools are permitted more autonomy.

CPS had 198 Level 1+ schools, 175 Level 1 schools, 137 Level 2+ schools, 122 Level 2 schools and nine Level 3 schools in its latest ratings. Schools with the lowest rating often face action from CPS.