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Pope John Xxiii School

Private | PK-8 | 292 students


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Living in Evanston

Situated in an inner city neighborhood. The median home value is $273,800. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,060.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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4 stars

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30 reviews of this school

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Posted October 11, 2013

It's really hit or miss here...some teachers are good but some are simply mean and out of date. This school had such a good reputation but I think the former principal let things slip for too long with some of these teachers. Ask around before committing. PJ does ask a lot in extra contributions beyond the tuition and some public school have more resources, depending on the needs.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 26, 2013

We transferred our child from a well respected public school because she was not learning to read. They just kept having her do the same things over and over and it wasn't working. Instead, she was feeling stupid and frustrated. Moving her to Pope John was the right decision. From third grade to seventh grade her Terra Nova Reading score went up 34 points and she is now in the 8th Stanine for reading. If your child is having trouble with reading and is in the lower elementary grades, this may be the school you are looking for. However, because the reading program is so good in the lower grades, by the time students reach middle school they are reading at a very high level. They are reading upwards of 15 novels a year. Some of the middle school novels are The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings (in the same year), Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and many other books they will encounter again in high school or college.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 8, 2013

This school is fantastic. It is caring, loving, and rich in its content and instructional delivery. The teachers are wonderful/ My kids transferred in and made multiple gains with test scores and emotional gains.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 1, 2013

Academics are not as good this year in the middle school. Several good teachers left and others do busy work or yell and give dimerits. Glad this is our last year.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 5, 2013

excellent teachers, strong academics, diverse community, wonderful athletic program. Pope John is the complete package.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 30, 2013

I am a former teacher and current parent at Pope John. I taught at PJ for 5 years before having my own children. Now that my son is preschool age, I would not think of sending him anywhere else. I think that it speaks volumes for the school that I saw the ins and outs of the school and am now sending my own child there (I can't say that about other schools where I have taught). The sense of community is amazing. The parents are so welcoming and friendly. The teachers are some of the best that I have ever worked with--and clearly dedicated, if you know how much money a Catholic School teacher makes, you know exactly what I am talking about. The level of respect that the children are taught at a young age is remarkable. Half of this years 8th graders are taking math classes at Evanston High school, which obviously says a lot for the academics. As far as the principal, she was a great principal to work for and I very much agree with her approach to discipline--which is one of the main reasons I want my children at Pope John.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 20, 2013

This school is not like it used to be--lots of meanness among kids goes unnoticed by teachers or its seen as a normal thing and ignored. Lots of nice parents, but a plan to focus on the caring part of the student day would help.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 25, 2012

My child attended this school for one year and was treated very poorly by the other children. Two years later she still cries about how unaccepting they were. The staff never noticed what was going on, or if they did, they did nothing about it. Truly ironic since this school is affiliated with a wonderful parish that preaches tolerance and acceptance. Our experience was a huge disappointment given what we'd heard about the school. It just didn't live up to the hype in so many ways.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 10, 2012

Fantastic education. Great teachers especially the middle school and Kindergarden. My son went here and then on to the High School ( ETHS) taking honors and 4 ap courses by jr and sr year. He now has been acceted to 10 Colleges and is going on to Clemson in South Carolina. Have your son or Daughter take the LATIN class and he or she will be prepared for anything at any school they go to! My son was just an average student when he started out here, they got him private math help at no charge, by the time he finished they had him prepared for High School in more ways then just the class room! Now he is so ready for college he can't wait to go. He is an only child too!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 9, 2011

This is a wonderful school with great academics and a close knit, caring community. The school teaches the subject matter, but also how to study, break down complicated material and really learn. Teachers are great about providing clear instruction and working with kids at all levels to engage them. The principal really knows the kids and works hard to make sure the kids have the right amount of challenge or extra help. We have had kids at two other schools on the North Shore (public and private) and this school is, by far, the best.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 16, 2011

PJ23: Great school! To the parent who says that if child does not excel, he is not welcome: I have 2 kids at PJ; 1 at the top and 1 at the bottom. I have been blown away by the lengths to which this Catholic school, without the rich resources of the public schools, has gone to support my low-scoring, low-performing child. At every step of the very laborious special-ed process, the principal and every teacher - classroom and support teachers included - have given help, support, advice, accommodation and instruction, and have been very kind and accepting of my low-performing child. The other kids have, too! This is completely unlike our experience in both Chicago & Evanston public schools, which were warehouses compared to PJ. I think the difference here is the level and type of parental involvement. I have been at PJ for years (2 kids several years apart) and seen petulant parents with badly behaving kids have negative experiences, and, happily, take their kids elsewhere. I have seen positively involved parents work well with the staff and their kids, like mine, have prospered. Note: Scores of IEP kids are not counted in the stats so they don't "mess up the school's scores".
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 27, 2010

My experience at this school is that children who do not excel are not welcome. It's possible that the school's academic success is in part achieved by pushing out kids who will lower test score averages. The principal is an enormous liability, with her biggest shortcoming being an unwillingness to work with parents in making decisions about their children. If your child isn't an academic superstar, you would have a much less frustrating experience at another school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 22, 2010

I have had three children attend PJ. It is an great school with excellent academics. The small classes, the students get phenomenal personal attention. The principal stands and greets the children every day at the door as they start and end each school day. You can't beat this small town atmosphere in our urban environment, and great teachers and scores add to the benefits of this gem in Evanston.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 23, 2010

My oldest child has just entered Loyola Academy and his education from Pope John has shown to be one of the best. The only freshman in the sophmore honors Latin class are Pope John Students. The Academic Advisory board stated that of all 200 plus school that feed into Loyola, Pope John students are by far the best prepared.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 27, 2010

I am a committed PJ23rd parent and can assure other parents evaluating schools that the quality of education, community, and Catholic formation is top notch. For additional objective sources, take a look at the US Dept. of Ed. website for details on the Blue Ribbon Award which the school earned in 2008. Secondly, check with top area High Schools on which schools produce the students ready to succeed in HS on day one. I know Loyola Academy for example is eager to enroll Pope John graduates as very well prepared students. The kindergarten is newly renovated and the physical plant continues to be rejuvenated by the principal, the supporting churches, parents, and generous supporters. Principal Musiala is very talented, extremely hard working, creative, and gets results all around. The school has thrived under her dedicated service.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 19, 2009

Pope John XXIII is a nationally recongized NCLB Blue Ribbon School. This award for academic excellence comes from the U.S. Department of Education and only 50 private school nationally were so recognized. The teachers are caring and dedicated to the students. Onver 50'% of the teachers have advanced degrees. The students are successful academically with supeior test scores. The honrs and advanced classes challenge the brightest and motivate all the students to try their best.
—Submitted by a teacher

Posted October 11, 2008

We are very grateful that our son has attended PJ23. First and foremost, it truly is a caring community, with a great group of families. It has been a very safe and nurturing environment for our son, now in 8th grade. The longtime social studies teacher and the longtime Latin teacher are especially terrific, and have contributed greatly to our son's education. The principal works very hard and genuinely cares about the students. I may not agree with every decision she makes, but I very much respect her. I highly recommend this school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 12, 2008

My daughter went to Pope John from preschool to 5th grade. I feel Pope John is a great school. My daughter received a great education. The school supported all the values I teach my child at home. The principal was great at running the school. I think private school principals have it harder than public school principals, a private school principal may have to stop a child's education mid year to enforce tuition payments....that's is not an easy job.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted July 9, 2008

I disagree with the comments about a weak principal. Many catholic schools struggle to stay open. PJXXIII is thriving largely due to the efforts of the principal. She is a fine educational leader and is able to attract and retain excellent teachers. The curriculum is solid and there are honors classes and electives in the junior high. A few of the teachers are probably the best my children will EVER have in a lifetime. Further, the principal understands the financial aspects of running a school and utilizing staff to wear different hats and service the students. She is quite creative and adept at placing staff. In all, even though I stand on tippy toes every month to pay tuition, the school is worth it!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 13, 2008

Pope John is a great school with a weak principal. The environment is caring and stimulating. The teachers are great to work with and many are above average, providing a superior education. The principal is unfortunately difficult to communicate with and is not properly supervised by the Pastors who are the School's CEOs. Most recently the principal has lost confidence in the school community over her handling of disciplinary issues.
—Submitted by a parent

Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

What is the GreatSchools Rating?

The GreatSchools rating is a simple tool for parents to compare schools based on test scores, student academic growth, and college readiness. It compares schools across the state, where the highest rated schools in the state are designated as “Above Average” and the lowest “Below Average.” It is designed to be a starting point to help parents make baseline comparisons. We always advise parents to visit the school and consider other information on school performance and programs, as well as consider their child's and family's needs as part of the school selection process.


Breaking down the GreatSchools Rating

Unfortunately, this school doesn't have sufficient data to generate an academic rating.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
Hispanic 52% 24%
Two or more races 16% 3%
White 13% 51%
Black 11% 18%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 8% 4%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 0%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

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Academic awards received in the past 3 years
  • Science Olympiad State Qualifier (2007)
  • Science Olympiad State Qualifier (2005)
  • Science Olympiad State Qualifier (2004)

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

School facilities
  • Computer lab

Arts & music

  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
Performing and written arts
  • Drama

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • French
  • Latin
  • Spanish

Gifted & talented

Instructional and/or curriculum models used
  • Accelerated credit learning
  • Honors track
School leaders can update this information here.

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School basics

School start time
  • 8:20 am
School end time
  • 2:50 pm
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • After school
  • Before school
School Leader's name
  • Rosalie Musiala
  • Coed
  • Roman catholic
  • NCEA
Fax number
  • (847) 475-5683


Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Accelerated credit learning
  • Honors track
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • Religious
Foreign languages taught
  • French
  • Latin
  • Spanish


Transportation options
  • None
School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
Partnerships with local resources and organizations
  • Archdiocese of Chicago
School leaders can update this information here.

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School culture

Dress Code
  • Uniforms
Parent involvement
  • Our parents are involved in many ways. they volunteer in the classrooms and they pariticipate in annnual fund raising acitivities. they are active in leadership roles on school organizations like the school board, the parent association, and the athletic board.
More from this school
  • Pope John XXIII draws from a rich heritage that dates back to 1886 from St. Mary's and St. Nicholas Schools. Pope John XXIII was consolidated 20 years ago. It is one of the most successful consolidations in the Archdiocese. We have a new multi-media center with over 8,800 books and 20 new laptops for student research. There are also 30 in the computer lab and 4 in each classroom.
School leaders can update this information here.



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Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
50% to Evanston Township High School
30% to Loyola Academy
10% or less to St. Ignatius or Regina Dominican High Schools
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1120 Washington Street
Evanston, IL 60202
Website: Click here
Phone: (847) 475-5678


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