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New rankings show Chicago's top-rated and most-improved public elementary schools

New rankings show Chicago's top-rated and most-improved public elementary schools
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By Hoodline - Published on August 20, 2019.

How strong are the public elementary schools in Chicago?

With a fresh school year kicking off, we analyzed newly released data from Niche.com — which include comprehensive report cards, rankings and reviews — to identify those schools that made the biggest strides last year and those that lead their peers.

McDowell Elementary School's overall rating improved the most among similar schools in Chicago, rising from a C- to a B-, according to data from Niche.

For the 2019-2020 school year, the school, located at 1419 E. 89th St., enrolls 170 students. Niche graded the school a B for academics (on an A-D scale).

The overall ranking comes from Niche's proprietary algorithms. A school's ranking might change due to many factors, including the relative rankings of similar schools and whether a school gained or lost peers due to openings or closings. Other numbers come from current public data from the U.S. government.

Academically, 37% of McDowell Elementary School's students scored as proficient or above in math, and 47% did so in reading. That's compared to city averages of 29% in math and 32% in reading. The school's improved overall rating is notable in that it serves a less-affluent population, with 95% of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch, 11% more than the city average.

It's not the only school that's climbed Niche's rankings this year. Tonti Elementary School saw its overall rating jump from a C+ to a B-. The school is located at 5815 S. Homan Ave. and is much larger, currently serving 1,060 students.

Niche graded Tonti Elementary School a B- for academics on an A-D scale. The school's latest math proficiency was at 33%, and reading proficiency was 29%. It also serves a less-affluent population, with 96% of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch.

Cardenas Elementary School also saw improvement in its overall rating, from B- to B. The school is located at 2345 S. Millard Ave. and has 610 students currently enrolled.

Niche graded Cardenas Elementary School a B+ for academics on an A-D scale. Its latest math proficiency was at 52%, and reading proficiency was 42%. The school also serves a less-affluent community, with 98% of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch.

While some public elementary schools in Chicago are moving up the ranks, others are consistently top-rated overall, including:

  • Decatur Classical School, with an overall rating of A-.
  • Poe Elementary Classical School, with an A- rating overall.
  • Ogden International School of Chicago, rated B+ overall.

Want more of the latest intel on Chicago schools? Hoodline also analyzed the latest Niche ratings for the city's public high schools.


This story was created automatically using data from Niche.com, then reviewed by an editor before publication. Click here for more about how and why Hoodline is automating local news. Got thoughts about what we're doing? Go here to share your feedback.