John M. Smyth IB World achieves Level 1 status

There are few things more critical for the continued, and future health of our community than a successful implementation of Roosevelt Square. Closely linked to the success of Roosevelt Square is the success of Smyth School.

Smyth was the receiving school for four failing elementary schools (Riis, Jefferson, Medill, and Gladstone) that once served the children living in the Chicago Housing Authority’s ABLA Homes. These four schools were closed in the eight years between 2002, and 2010 after most of ABLA had been demolished to make way for Roosevelt Square, a socio-economically integrated, mixed-income community.

Combining, and consolidating schools poses a host of challenges as we learned when Chicago Public Schools closed a record number of elementary schools in 2013. Individually, the challenges these school closings posed paled in comparison to what Smyth faced in consolidating four failing schools in a community in which public housing was also being demolished.

CPS ranks schools in its district using a School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) which measures annual school performance. The SQRP for the 2016-2017 school year (based on 2015-2016 data) is the third set of school ratings under this policy.


SQRP is a five-tiered performance system based on a broad range of indicators of success, including, but not limited to, student test score performance, student academic growth, closing of achievement gaps, school culture and climate, attendance, graduation, and preparation for post-graduation success.

In a remarkable testament to what can be achieved when a community rallies around a neighborhood school to support it, Smyth just this year achieved a Level 1 ranking. The percent attainment at grade level on NWEA by individual grade levels over time shown in the graphs is quite impressive, and is a better indicator of achievement than is the aggregate snapshot on the Ranking Report for 2nd grade, and 3rd -8th grades.

This achievement is the result of extensive coordinated engagement at Smyth by two large teams of UIC faculty, sustained community engagement on the part of Smyth parents, and many residents from University Commons, and the incredible dedication of Smyth Principal Dr. Ronald Whitmore, his leadership team, and the teachers at Smyth.

C4C, and Dr. Whitmore, along with former UIC Director of Community Relations, Caroline Swinney, advocated for UIC’s deep engagement at Smyth, and we would like to recognize and thank the many dedicated UIC faculty, and their graduate, and undergraduate students who are committed to making Smyth an exceptional school. In addition, two not-for-profit organizations, Pilot Light, and Gardeneers, are engaged at Smyth and complement, and supplement the work of the UIC faculty.