Moving to Chicago and looking for an elementary school? Beware of the school ratings published on all the real estate search portals, because they will steer you away from some of the best elementary schools in Chicago. In this post we list the top 10 best elementary schools in Chicago that are underrated by the dominant school rating company.
We previously released the top 5 Out-Performing Elementary Schools in the summer of 2020, and those schools are still incredible institutions where the educators are killing it.
The 5 schools from our last post:
- Dirken Park Elementary School
- Goudy Elementary
- Hayt Elementary
- Palmer Elementary
- Perez Elementary
All 5 of these schools are doing something right! Without a doubt, children from all walks of life will get a great education in an inclusive, safe environment at these 5 schools. Parents, please ignore the biased ratings you see on the real estate search platforms! These schools are worthy of a closer look.
Today’s post focuses on 10 additional elementary schools that deserve recognition.
In addition, we previously released the Top 8 Out-Performing Neighborhood High Schools, which are particularly discriminated against by unfair school ratings.
Not one neighborhood high school in Chicago ranks above a 6 on all the real estate search portals.
There are many private and magnet or selective enrollment high schools that have high ratings, but every single neighborhood high school has a low rating.
Our algorithm reveals several neighborhood high schools deserving scores of 7 or better, and the Top 8 which were published in March 2021 are listed below (in alphabetical order):
- Amundsen High School
- Hubbard High School
- Kennedy High School
- Lincoln Park High School
- Mather High School
- Senn High School
- Solorio Academy High School
- George Washington High School
Since the last post of the top 5 out-performers, the Dept of Education has released new data for the 2018-2019 school year. In addition, we have adjusted our ranking algorithm as described below.
The 10 schools in this new list are analyzed using the new data and our new algorithm.
You can see all Chicago schools and how they rank on our system on our website, just type Chicago in the Metro Search Box.
Chicago Public Schools
CPS is one of the largest school districts in the country, and there are several options for families when deciding where to send their kids to school. This post focuses on neighborhood schools, where all children that live in the attendance boundary are guaranteed admittance.
But families can also enter a lottery where they list their top school preferences and roll the dice on gaining admittance to other schools outside of their neighborhood school. There are also selective enrollment schools where kids test in, and of course private schools with tuition.
Chicago Public Schools has hundreds of great elementary schools, and you can read more about why we support CPS as a school district that has produced an exemplary learning environment for kids.
The SchoolSparrow Method
Our mission at SchoolSparrow is to empower families with an equitable school ranking system that shifts focus away from parent income. Our ratings provide more truth about how schools are performing.
The reason is that test scores are 70-80% attributed to parent income, not school quality.
The ubiquitous system that exists today does not adjust for parent income, and as a result, their ratings are biased towards privileged schools where parents have high incomes. Consequently, many high quality diverse and global majority schools are underrated.
High quality schools in urban areas are obscured by this biased rating system. Urban schools and neighborhoods are being hurt by the system in place today.
We’ve ranked the top schools in the city of Chicago by normalizing test scores for parent income. Schools are ranked based on how they perform compared to their expected scores (which take parent income into account) rather than ranking by raw standardized test scores.
The schools you’ll find on this list are the top 10 best elementary schools in the city of Chicago that are often overlooked due to unfair low scores on other ranking systems.
But please always remember, the best way to determine if a school is the right fit is to tour the school.
TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW!
Make your voice heard by sharing or retweeting our message to all the real estate search portals: start showing fair school ratings because parents should have a more balanced view on school quality when making a housing decision.
Just for Reference
The points referenced for each school below refers to the percentage of kids who meet or exceed state standards on the Reading/Language Arts (RLA) section of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) standardized tests in Chicago. We make adjustments to test scores to account for kids with limited english proficiency (LEP) and children with disabilities (CWD). Furthermore, we calculate an expected score for each school based on the economic profile of the school, and schools are then rated by the extent to which they have a departure from the expected score.
These out-performing schools are listed in ALPHABETICAL ORDER!
So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 Elementary Schools in Chicago! SchoolSparrow’s Out-Performers:
1. Burroughs Elementary School – 3542 South Washtenaw Avenue, Chicago, IL 60632
Burroughs Elementary has some incredible stats. Chicagoland schools with similar parent income profiles earn an average of 29 points.
But students at Burroughs Elementary exceed this average by 164%! Overall, they earned a total of 76.6 points! Roughly 77% of non LEP/CWD students are proficient on the RLA portion of the standardized test.
Our hats are off to the students, parents, community partners, administration and especially the hard working and dedicated teachers who are making a difference. Due to their outstanding achievements, SchoolSparrow awards Burroughs an A+ (10/10), while the other guys grant only a 6/10.
We believe every word of this statement from their website:
“Its highly energized and dedicated staff works hard to help the students experience success in learning. We are committed to providing and developing an environment where school and community work together to foster student achievement so that our students can attain and exceed national norms and academic standards.”
Considering this school? The median home value for this area is $233,670. Check out this listing for a comfortable two-bedroom two-bathroom condo for $244,900. Also, the residence is a five-minute drive from the school.
2. Cleveland Elementary School – 3121 W Byron Street, Chicago, IL 60618
Chicago schools with similar parent income profiles score an average of 30.8 points after accounting for LEP/CWD students, meaning 30.8% of non LEP/CWD students are deemed proficient on the RLA portion of the standardized test.
But Cleveland Elementary blows the expected score away with 64.4 points, more than double the average score at schools with similar income profiles! This makes Cleveland Elementary a huge outlier.
That’s why SchoolSparrow awards Cleveland Elementary an A rating (10/10) while all the real estate platforms assign a weak 6/10, steering new families moving to Chicago away from this awesome school.
But is Cleveland Elementary focused on the test? We seriously doubt it, with programs like Latin Dance, Sports, Art Club, Drama Club, Media, Design Dance, and Improv Club to name a few, it seems that Cleveland holds true to their mission:
“Cleveland School is committed to working with parents and the community, in providing each student a research-based multifaceted education in a safe, nurturing environment that promotes academic bilingualism through biliteracy, self-discipline, perseverance, and academic rigor.”
Interested in this school? The median home price for this area is $511,211. Check out a listing for a spacious two-bedroom two-bathroom condo for $349,000. Also, the residence is a three-minute drive from the school.
3. Cooper Elementary Dual Language Academy – 1624 W 19th Street, Chicago, IL 60608
Chicago schools with similar parent income profiles score an average of 26.5 points after accounting for LEP/CWD students.
But Cooper Elementary blows the expected score away with 60.0 points, more than double expectations!
That’s why SchoolSparrow awards Cooper Elementary an A rating (10/10) while all the real estate platforms display a blasphemous 5/10. What impact is this having on the neighborhood around this awesome school?
Cooper Elementary boasts a wide variety of extracurricular activities including art, science and choir among others. It seems Cooper Elementary is focused on the whole child:
“The mission of Cooper Dual Language Academy is to challenge and engage students in all content areas while developing their ability to master higher-level thinking, inquiry-based learning, and reading/writing across the curriculum.”
Impressed by this school? The median home price for this area is $322,252. Look at this listing for a stunning two-bedroom two-bathroom condo for $289,000. Also, the residence is a four-minute drive from the school.
4. Haugan Elementary School – 4540 N Hamlin Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
Schools located in the Chicago area with similar parent income profiles score an average of 25.9 points, but Haugan Elementary exceeds this expectation by an incredible 163% and earns a total of 68.1 points, making it one of the best elementary schools in the city of Chicago!
Greatschools biased system rates Haugan Elementary 4/10, but this school deserves a much higher score. SchoolSparrow’s algorithm awards Haugan our highest rating: A+ (10/10) for their amazing job at educating students. Congratulations to the students, parents, administration, and especially the dedicated teachers who are going above and beyond at Haugan Elementary. You deserve widespread recognition.
Moving to Chicago? The median home value for this area is $263,185. Look at this listing for a freshly furnished two-bedroom two-bathroom condo for $197,000. Also, the residence is a two-minute drive from the school.
5. Henry Elementary School – 4250 N Saint Louis Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
Chicago schools with similar parent income profiles score an average of 27.4 points after adjustments are made for LEP/CWD students.
Meanwhile, kids at Henry Elementary exceed this expectation by 140%, earning a total of 65.8 points!
On the surface, Henry Elementary’s reported overall score from the Dept of Education of 20% proficient seems below average given the income profile of the school. So how is that we are showing 65.8% proficent? Because our rating system adjusts all schools for LEP/CWD student populations. Let’s unpack this:
The raw data shows 308 students took the test with an average 20% proficiency. But 159 LEP students scored under 5% proficient, and 73 CWD students scored less than 5% proficient. Assuming these students scored 5% proficient, the remaining students who are not LEP/CWD, must have scored 65.8% proficient to get to an average 20% for the school overall.
We’ve made an assumption that there are no students that are both LEP and CWD. But even if we swing the pendulum the other way, and assume that ALL CWD students are also LEP, still the algorithm shows Henry significantly above average compared to its peers. This school clearly deserves an upward adjustment given a higher than average population of LEP/CWD students. It is more fair to make this assumption, rather than giving no adjustment at all which is what the other rating sites are doing.
Due to their efforts, SchoolSparrow’s algorithm awards Henry Elementary an A+ (10/10). All the real estate search engines display an unfair 5/10 rating due to the biased rating supplied by the other guys. Henry Elementary is an exemplary school and they deserve widespread recognition for their achievements.
Interested in moving here? The median home value for this area is $511,211. Check out this listing for a two-bedroom one-bathroom condo for $205,000. Also, the residence is a two-minute drive from the school.
6. Jungman STEM Magnet Elementary School – 1746 S Miller Street, Chicago, IL 60608
Jungman Elementary scores a 10/40 on our diversity scale, which means at 2 races are represented by at least 10% of the student population. Children at this school get exposure to kids from other backgrounds and cultures and get some cognitive benefits of being exposed to diversity.
Chicago schools with similar parent income profiles score an average of 26.6 points.
But hold on to your seats folks, students at Jungman Elementary triple expectations by earning a total of 80.2 points when adjustments are made for their higher than average population of LEP/CWD students!
In 2018 it was announced Jungman Elementary would become a STEM Magnet school, while still maintaining its neighborhood school status. At the time of this publication, it is unclear what % of students are neighborhood kids vs kids who applied for the lottery and gained admittance from other areas of the city.
For going above and beyond, SchoolSparrow’s algorithm assigns Jungman Elementary an A+ rating (10/10) Meanwhile, Greatschools only gives it a 5/10, and as a result, family’s are completely overlooking this school as an option. What a mistake!
From the CPS Website:
“The state-of-the-art STEM lab is equipped with a Broadcast Studio, 3D Printers, HP all-in-one Sprouts, a Carvey, and Creative Learning Systems software to support students’ STEM learning experiences.
Jungman STEM Magnet is a 1:1 technology school with each learner having access to their own device.
The school has extensive partnerships during and after school to support the Arts as well as offers academic and enrichment after school programming. Additionally, there is an optional school-based after school day care program.”
The median home value for this area is $322,252. Want to move here? Check out this listing for a move-in-ready three-bedroom two-bathroom condo for $259,000. Also, the residence is a three-minute drive from the school.
7. Little Village Elementary School – 2620 S Lawndale Ave, Chicago, IL 60623
Little Village Elementary School has a diversity rating of 10 out 40, so the school has at least two races represented by at least 10% of the student population. Children at this school get exposure to kids from other backgrounds and cultures and get the cognitive benefits of being exposed to some diversity.
Schools located in the Chicago area with similar parent income profiles score an average of 25.8% proficient on the RLA portion of the standardized test.
Students at Little Village Elementary School exceed this expectation by over double at 54.7% proficient when adjusted for LEP/CWD student populations!
Greatschools rates Little Village Elementary School a 4/10, but this school deserves a much better score. SchoolSparrow’s algorithm awards Little Village Elementary an A (10/10) for their amazing job at educating their students. Congratulations to the Little Village school community for your dedicated support of Little Village students, we recognize your hard work!
From their website:
“At Little Village Academy, we inspire all students to become global citizens by providing them with a rigorous and integrated instructional program that is inclusive to meet their academic and social-emotional needs. We create a safe environment that is nurturing and student-centered in which all voices are heard and diversity is respected.”
Looking for a home near Little Village Elementary? The median home value for this area is $182,566. Look at this affordable three-bedroom two-bathroom condo for $105,000. Also, the residence is a five-minute drive from the school.
8. New Field Elementary School – 1707 W Morse Ave, Chicago, IL 60626
New Field Elementary School boasts a 30/40 diversity score, so at least 4 races have 10% representation at the school! Students at New Field will receive all the proven cognitive benefits that come with diversity. Research has shown students in a vibrant environment like New Field Elementary developer better problem solving and teamwork skills, more empathy, and more acceptance and respect for people from different backgrounds.
These are the kids that we want leading the next generation!
Chicago schools with similar parent income profiles score an average of 28.9 points. But students at New Field Elementary blow away expectations, earning a total of 70.9 points!
Given their incredible student performance, SchoolSparrow ranks New Field Elementary with an A+ rating (10/10)! Meanwhile, Greatschools only gives it a 4/10.
From the CPS website:
“Teachers and students are a community of learners committed to using evidence-based strategies and collaborative practices to foster a respectful and safe place, where each student’s strengths and needs are addressed. CleThe school is also committed to the arts and has partnerships that include the Old Town School of Folk Music, the Chicago Children’s Choir, Lifeline Theatre, Ravinia, and Design Dance. “
The median home value for this area is $236,438. Want to move here? Check out this listing for a two-bedroom one-bathroom condo for $144,900. Also, the residence is a three-minute drive from the school.
9. Reinberg Elementary School – 3425 N Major Ave, Chicago, IL 60634
Reinberg Elementary School earns a respectable score 15 out 40 for diversity!
When it comes to standardized testing, Reinberg Elementary School students excel in that area! Chicago schools with similar parent income profiles score an average of 31.3 points.
At Reinberg Elementary School, however, its students exceed this expectation by nearly double at 61%!
For their hard work and dedication, SchoolSparrow ranks Reinberg Elementary an A (10/10). Meanwhile, Greatschools misses the mark with a 5/10.
No way is Reinberg Elementary simply teaching to the test. They have a STEAM program that is deeply embedded in their culture:
“STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. In a learning environment, STEAM is an interdisciplinary approach where core academic concepts are paired with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, fine, media, and performing arts and math. Students do this in contexts where they can make connections between school, community, work, and the global workplace enabling the development of STEAM literacy and with it the ability to compete in the new economy.”
Think this the place for you and your kids? The median home price for this area is $324,799. Look at this listing for a cozy two-bedroom one-bathroom condo for $139,000. Also, the residence is a seven-minute drive from the school.
10. West Ridge Elementary School – 6700 North Whipple Street, Chicago, IL 60645
West Ridge Elementary School is the final school on this list. This elementary school earns a whopping 40 out 40 in diversity! At least 3 races are represented by at least 20% of the student body.
Students at West Ridge Elementary will receive all the proven cognitive benefits that come with diversity. Research has shown students in a vibrant environment like West Ridge Elementary developer better problem solving and teamwork skills, more empathy, and more acceptance and respect for people from different backgrounds. No doubt students from West Ridge Elementary will be fine global citizens one day.
But how do students do on test scores?
Well, Chicago schools with similar parent income profiles score an average of 30.6 points. But students at West Ridge Elementary School double this expectation, earning a total of 70.9 points!
SchoolSparrow’s algorithm assigns West Ridge Elementary School an A+ rating (10/10)! Meanwhile, Greatschools unfairly rates it a 5/10. Parents, don’t let these low numbers steer you away, West Ridge is a quality institution and you should have a visit before passing this one over.
We’ve learned that a strong principal and community partners are indicators of success, here is a comment from their mission statement:
“West Ridge School in collaboration with parents, teachers, and community will create and participate in a teaching and learning environment that will provide rigorous educational experiences that meet the needs of students in literacy and interdisciplinary content areas while integrating technology and character education. The curriculum will build all students’ skills in inquiry, understanding, knowledge, high school, and college and career readiness to achieve success in the future.”
The median home value is $336,753. Here’s a listing for a two-bedroom two-bathroom condo for $189,000. Also, the residence is a two-minute drive from the school.