A November 2004 report by the Illinois Facilities Fund highlighted South Shore as a community in need of higher-achieving schools. Researchers examined neighborhood demographics, population trends, public schools enrollment and achievement, and private school options. Their recommendations for strategies to improve area public schools—a potential starting point for the community planning process recently launched by the Coalition for Improved Education in South Shore—suggest:

Increasing the performance level of existing schools through after-school programs and tutoring provided through the No Child Left Behind law.

Opening a new, full-site elementary magnet, charter or contract school. (At the time the report was issued, no such options existed in South Shore. Since then, the School Board has taken action on this recommendation by approving a charter elementary school.)

Using extra capacity in four under-enrolled, low-performing elementary schools to introduce a magnet program, school within a school, or other choice offerings within the existing buildings.

Evaluate the space use and academic performance of the new small schools that make up the South Shore High School campus before making further facilities changes or adding new high school choice options.

For a full copy of the report, “Here and Now: The Need for Performing Schools in Chicago’s Neighborhoods,” contact the Illinois Facilities Fund at (312) 629-0060.

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