Hyde Parkers react to School Progress Reports

By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
Staff Writer

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) released 2012 School Progress Reports to parents on report card pick up day. Parents in Hyde Park said the reports offer a more comprehensive look at the academic and social climate of each school and school administrators have taken steps to communicate with parents about what the reports mean for their schools.

The CPS 2012 School Progress Report measures the progress level of schools in areas such as student growth, student performance, graduation rate and school culture and climate. The schools also received an overall rating based on the school’s score on the performance policy.

Gregory Jones, the new principal at Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., sent out a letter with the progress reports in order to assure parents that the rating of “very weak” that the school received in the area of leadership would improve.

“In fairness to Kenwood, I believe the 2011-2012 school year was negatively impacted by the lack of stability in the principal position,” said Jones, who said the school had three different principals last school year.

The report also shows that Kenwood is a “Level 2” school with average student growth, below average performance and partially organized school culture and climate. The school’s percentage of freshmen on track to graduate rose from 70.3 percent in 2011 to 71.5 percent in 2012. The district average is 75.3 percent.

He went on in the letter to say that he would continue to nurture and support the programs that are performing at a high level and “commit expertise and resources to improving in other areas.”

Administrators at Shoesmith Elementary School, 1330 E. 50th St., are excited that the school’s first progress report for parents shows that the school is no longer on probation.

According to the progress report Shoesmith is now a “Level 2” school with above average student growth, below average student performance and partially organized school culture and climate.

The local school council will be discussing the report at its open meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5. The meeting will take place at the school.
Eva Nielsen, who is a member of the Friends of Shoesmith, said she appreciates the report because it is easy to understand.

“In the past we’d research schools by looking online,” Nielsen said. “This is more helpful because it pulls out the information that matters most.”
Nielson has one child at Leonard Magnet School in Berwyn, one at South Loop School and another in preschool at Ray Elementary School, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave.
Ray is a “Level 2” school with above average student growth and average student performance. CPS did not have enough data to give the school a rating on school culture and climate.

Maria Jossey Owen, parent of a student at Murray Language Academy, 5335 S. Kenwood Ave., said the progress report is a great resource for “parents searching for a new school or parents who work and don’t have a lot of time to spend at the school.”

Murray is a “Level 1” school with above average student growth, above average student performance and partially organized school culture and climate.
CPS School Progress Reports for charter schools will be available next school year.
To see the progress reports of other schools in Hyde Park, visit School Reports.

d.phillips@hpherald.com