This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Pritzker Elementary School1
Posted November 13, 2014
- a parent
We had a less than stellar experience with Pritzker. The first year we were here my oldest had a terrible experience with bullying. Her coat was slashed and she was physically harmed, without the teacher doing anything about it. The only option was to move her up a grade, which was much better for her. My other child spent about 6 hours a day reading, because no one cared what he did as long as he wasn't causing trouble. He came out of that year with very poor grades, which is unfortunate because he is capable of much more. What you have to know about this school is that it is basically it is two schools- the gifted section that they flaunt and the neighborhood section which is doing very poorly. Most of the fundraising goes to gifted classes and very little of it goes to the other classes. The art/dance/theatre teachers, however, are fantastic as is the preschool teacher. And Ms Pagany in 6th grade is one of the best teachers I've ever had the privilege of knowing. Needless to say, we found better schools and are much happier.
So far, so great. Transferred our daughter after her former school moved its start time to 7:30 a.m. (gah!) Did judge Pritzker by its well-worn cover, but shouldn't have. Its teachers care, its extracurricular programs are plentiful and diverse, and its parents are active and welcoming. Just recently, the guidance counselor invited our daughter to a 1/1 new student lunch to track her progress and get to know her. They are vested in her, and she can tell. There's no better comfort for a parent.
I went to this school for 2 years (middle school) and it was just so-so. I had teachers ranging from good to awful (some making sure i'd succeed while others threatened to fail me for no reason). The atmosphere is slightly odd, and looking back I wasn't very happy there. There was a bullying problem in multiple classes that was not dealt with at all, the teachers and adults being completely unresponsive. Not the best school, could improve greatly with effort, communication, and a reevaluation of how things are done there.
After 5 years of my child at Pritzker and 20 years as a professional Educator I think I have a background qualified to "rate" this school. It is not a coincidence that their test scores have fallen consistently for the last 3 years. To this point my experience with the RGP has been disappointing. The bulk of the assessed work is being done at home. The standard of "Teach, Assess, Adjust" is unknown. The Admin. and Teachers commonly blame the students for problems. "How could whole gifted classes be a problem? I ask." For a parent and professional Educator to be disappointed in a gifted program that should tell you how severe the quality of the regular program is. The responsibility falls on the Admin. and their lacking leadership and integrity. I leave off with one word, Charade!
There are many anonymous complaints about the school and I have heard negative things about the Spanish teacher on other forums. However I disagree and think she is doing an excellent job with my son's Spanish development. He was having trouble earlier and it would be easy to blame her but I found that he was not putting the effort forward in class, forgetting to bring homework home and we as parents were not working with him. Fortunately there is Spanish spoken in my home so perhaps it is easier but I still will not blame the teacher. Edward Reagan parent
I have children in both programs at Pritzker and both are so happy. The fine arts classes are amazing, and rare at an elementary school these days. The music, art, drama, and dance teachers are amazing. All the homeroom teachers we've had have been dedicated and thoughtful. They take great care with the children and have balanced the different learning styles among the kids. The student population is more economically and racially diverse than most CPS schools. The Library and science lab are new. The technology lab is being reahabbed next. There is full A/C, many wonderful extracurricular activities, and many very involved parents. Every school has weak spots and Pritzker is no exception. There is friction between the parents of the two programs. Each side feels the other gets more attention. The administration can be slow to react to issues, often because it is trying not to exacerbate this friction. I've heard a lot of complaints about the Spanish teacher's ability to run a class and my child in Spanish does hate it. I wish that were different. Overall this is a great school and we are as happy as our children.
This is our third year at Pritzker and we are very happy there. Pritzker has an outstanding arts programming with amazing art and music teachers. They offer drama and dance to all ages. My child started at Pritzker in the 1st grade and we felt immediately welcomed by the community. This is also one of the truly diverse schools in the city and that is one of its assets. The front desk staff I have always found to be helpful. They know my child by name and know what classroom she is in without having to ask. Once, when my child forgot her lunch at home, the front desk staff went down to the lunchroom to make sure she took a hot lunch even though she did not have any lunch money with her. The parents have done amazing things at this school, including a recent library renovation, upgrading the auditorium sound system, purchasing an ipad cart and more. The school does 1-2 musicals every year which include all the children who want to participate. The PTO sponsors great activities, the highlight of which is Science Night which included viewing solar flares through a telescope. The teachers are great and really dedicated to the students.
This is my son's 2nd year . He had a wonderful teacher last year. I can only say positive things as I have an older son and have noticed the difference in learning . I see quite a lot of parents actively involved in the school. This to me means a lot. I hope that this school continues success .
As a parent who was involved with this school for over 3 years I am not shocked by the bad reviews of Pritzker! My daughter attended the fine arts program and I was shocked by the fact that there was very little supervision, bullying, yelling at students, unsupervised lunch and recess ( I became a volunteer because I was extremely concerned). The front desk staff and administration are rude, unwilling to answer/ address important questions about the level of violence/ bullying (yes! There is a lot of bullying and any parent/ person who says there isn't is a sorely mistaken!). If a parent raises concerns/ is too vocal about the problems in the classroom the administration blames the teacher or the parent raising concerns. I'm honestly not sure how someone could give this school a great review?? I wasn't impressed with my child's home room teacher ( music and art teachers where ok). I really wish I would have had a chance to observe the classroom/lunch/recess before we enrolled our daughter!
My children attend this school and have are in both tracks (fine arts and options) for several years now. They are both very happy with the school. Fine Arts opportunties are exceptional and available to ALL students, in all programs. Parent groups are open to ALL parents of all backgrounds and all parents are strongly encouraged to get involved with the school in any way they wish! No one is excluded. I The accusations of constant violence and bullying have not been our experience at Pritzker at all. Though of course statistics cannot speak to individual student's experience, those researching the school might want to check out the 5Essentials survey (completed by students and teachers, and developed by The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute. This survey has a lot of objective statistics and information on CPS schools. Pritzker's safety ratings (bullying, safe environment) were very strong, and well above CPS average. You can find out this and much more data about the school at the CPS survey link https://cps.5-essentials.org/2012/s/610229/measures/safe/