My two sons attend South Loop Elementary School and have since Kindergarten. We couldn't be happier with the school. They strive for academic excellence and really do an amazing job of creatively teaching the kids. The student body is very diverse, and is probably the most diverse school in Chicago. My kids have a great understanding of and comfort with all other cultures. This is the future!
The South Loop families care deeply about the school and often open their wallets to pick up where public funding leaves off. The teachers have all been great- both demanding and fair. I believe Mrs. Shelton, principal, really cares about the school and the success of the students. I find her to be open and approachable.
The school is incredibly over crowded, but that's because it's a high performing school that is highly sought after.
The principal, Shelton, believes in only not having poor performers...great students need not apply. She does not support differentiation in the classroom and believes that all kids should only be at the grade level standard from the common core. If kids have demonstrared mastery, too bad...you are learning too much. She doesn't believe in letting kids work to their potential.
We've been at SLES for several years now and are disappointed with the increasingly negative environment.
The school leadership, the principal, in particular is blatantly rude, shows reverse prejudice- treating her African American and Hispanic families with disregard, holds childish grudges, and seems rarely happy. On the flip side she certainly knows her students and does maintain an open door, but as a principal those seem to be the things that are non-negotiable, and what good are they when the communication is sour.
Given her demeanor it is our belief that she is modeling negative behavior for her staff and students and in turn there is a culture of disrespect. We've dealt with a few teachers who believe in motivating/ encouraging students by belittling them. Many teachers are very 'old school' and not fit to prepare our children for a college or career of the 21st century. This past year we learned that the assistant principal "left" given some physical encounters with students. His casual demeanor was misleading when in reality he was negatively interacting with them- smacking them upside the head, bumping into them intentionally, etc... These incidents are actually documented with the district. Just another example of the contagious negative behavior. Additionally the school has a bullying issue. No surprise there.
Now there are certainly plenty of good caring staff, teachers, and families at the school who contribute to creating a positive learning environment but the overall experience is not one that deserves a recommendation. There are also lots of 'clicky' families, low school spirit, and poor parent engagement. We had been warned by other families, who had come and gone after only a few years, of the poor school culture and the warning is one we wish we certainly would have heeded.
This school is not a 9 as indicated. I would agree with the many comments regarding the behavior of Administration starting with the Principle. Her ability to maintain her position must be related to the Chicago Teachers Union inability to address poor performance or the detrimental behavior of their members. In my opinion the Principle is rude, inappropriate and unlike her formulated communication to parents when she is requesting donations, she is not respectful nor grateful to parents participation in helping SLS. The school can no longer allow outside of the neighborhood enrollment yet one of her close friends daughter is permitted to be enrolled even though she lives in the suburbs. It is a shame that the school parents do not unite to give SLS the leader these kids deserve.