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Horace Greeley Elementary School

Horace Greeley Elementary School is located on Chicago’s North Side, close to Lake Michigan and Wrigley Field, serving students in grades K-8. As a community school, it partners with East Lakeview Neighbors Association, APS/Duke University and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. In 2007, Greeley was named a National Blue Ribbon School. It has adopted the World Language and Heritage Language programs and caters to students from the neighborhood. Greeley also attracts gifted students from all over the district because the school is a specialized Regional Gifted Center geared toward students whose first language is Polish, Russian or Spanish. In addition to educating gifted English-speaking students, gifted students who are English language learners and traditional students, the school also serves special needs students with its special education inclusion program.

Specialization and versatility are hallmarks of the school. For example, if gifted students lack English proficiency, educators face the unique challenge of teaching advanced material to these eager, capable students who often speak little English. Monolingual English-speaking students, on the other hand, take Spanish four times a week. Meanwhile, monolingual Spanish-speaking students gradually transition to English as a Second Language programs after first mastering essential skills in their native language.

Besides its focus on language, Greeley offers comprehensive arts education. Partnering with Urban Gateways for at least a decade, the school provides extensive arts programming during and after school. In-school curriculum includes mandatory arts instruction. Younger students are exposed to dance, drama, music and visual arts, while older students participate in an intensive 30-week study of the visual and musical arts. Every year, students study a different artist; Andy Warhol is a recent example.

A recent administrative transition at the school went smoothly thanks to the veteran staff’s careful planning. The retiring principal hired the incoming principal as her assistant four years earlier, allowing for plenty of on-the-job experience for her successor.

Greeley offers teachers a collaborative environment. Faculty members are allotted four preparation periods a week in the upper grades and work together in study groups with younger students to plan, revise and improve curriculum and methods of instruction. A U.S. Department of Education report noted that “teachers conduct their own action research, share strategies, try new ideas, and use data to determine success.” Likewise, new teachers are part of a proven district mentoring system that equips new educators with strategies and resources and provides feedback to help them grow in their careers.

Students who stay after school take advantage of remedial academic and arts enrichment. For those struggling academically, a team identifies concerns and supports. Teachers also make themselves available to students during open periods and before and after class. Greeley’s administrators, educators, counselors and parents all work together to nurture student success.


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