The smallest public elementary school in Brookfield, Riverside and North Riverside was the best last year, at least according to the Illinois State School Report Card.
Hollywood School received the only exemplary rating among the elementary and junior high schools in this area.
To be classified as exemplary by the Illinois State Board of Education, a school must rank in the top 10% of public schools in the state on a complex metric that includes many different factors.
The other schools in the area were rated as commendable. A school with a commendable summative designation has no underperforming subgroups, but does not rank in the top 10% of public schools in the state. The great majority of schools in Illinois receive a commendable rating.
“Coming out of the pandemic and continuing to be exemplary is just amazing because I know we don’t just do academics,” said Hollywood School Principal Kim Hefner said. “We do everything. We support the whole child so it’s great, it’s great.”
At Hollywood School last year, 76% of students met or exceeded the state’s proficiency standards in English Language Arts, while 64% met or exceeded the state standards in math.
“I’m proud of the students, proud of the staff, proud of the families,” Hefner said. “It’s a whole community effort.”
Hollywood is a small school with only one section of each grade. Its small size may have helped it achieve the exemplary rating because it only reported scores from three subgroups, boys, girls and white students. It did not have enough students of color to constitute a subgroup and did not have enough students who are not native English speakers to qualify as subgroup. Ames School was the only elementary school in Riverside Elementary School District 96 that had enough non-native English speakers to qualify as a subgroup.
Hollywood’s proficiency scores outpaced all the other schools in District 96. At Central School, 67% of students met or exceeded the state standard in ELA, while 63% did so in math. At Ames School, 64% of students met or exceeded the state standard in ELA, while 57% did so in math. Blythe Park students struggled with math, as only 49% of Blythe Park students met or exceeded the state standard in math, while 64% did so in ELA.
“The math results were not what the staff and I would have liked them to be,” Blythe Park Principal Casimira Gorman said in an email. “Fluctuations in test scores are usually the result of a combination of factors. Some of these contributing factors include specific cohorts of students who test that year, adjustments to a new curriculum, and post-pandemic challenges. During the summer and at the beginning of the school year, the staff and I spent considerable time analyzing students’ math data to determine specific areas for growth and improvement. Through whole class and small group instruction along with our Multi-Tiered System of Supports, we have a clear direction for our work this year.”
At L.J. Hauser Junior High School, 61% met or exceeded state standards in ELA and 56% did so in math.
Statewide, students did better in ELA than in math. Scores in District 96, and elsewhere are generally improving but not back to pre-pandemic levels, particularly in math.
In Brookfield, LaGrange Park School District 95 Brook Park Elementary School dropped to the commendable designation this year after being classified as exemplary last year. At Brook Park, 44.1% of students met or exceeded the state standard in ELA, down 4.1 points from last year’s 48.1%. But Brook Park students did better in math this year than one year ago. In 2023, 35.8% of Brook Park students met or exceeded the state’s math proficiency standard, an increase from 33.6% one year ago. Brook Park is in its second year of using a new math curriculum, Everyday Math.
Brook Park Grades 3-5 Principal Mike Sorensen said that the overall growth in student learning decreased a bit at Brook Park last year.
“We still had growth, but it wasn’t to the extent it was the year before,” Sorensen said.
Sorensen said that all schools have room to improve.
“I think every school including ours has room to improve on their data and we’ll continue to work but we’re proud of our kids. I think they work really hard; our staff works really hard.”
At S.E. Gross Middle School, scores in ELA improved a bit, jumping to 50.8% meeting or exceeding the state standards in 2023 from 49.7% in 2022. Gross had more high scoring students in ELA this past year with 16.3% of Gross students exceeding the state standard, up from 10.5% in 2022.
Math performance at Gross also slightly improved with 30.3% of Gross students meeting or exceeding the state’s math proficiency standard, up from 28% in 2022.
Scores improved considerably at Komarek School in North Riverside. In ELA, the number of students meeting or exceeding the state’s ELA proficiency benchmark jumped to 37.7% in 2023 from 28.2% in 2022. Math scores also improved at Komarek with the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the state’s math proficiency standard, rising to 25.3% this year, up from 21.3% in 2022.
Lyons School District 103
At Lincoln School in Brookfield, the only elementary school in Lyons School District 103 that serves students from Brookfield, only 15% of students met the state proficiency standard in ELA and just 12% did so in math. Lincoln received a commendable designation.
George Washington Middle School, which serves students who live in the southeast portion of Brookfield as well as all other students in District 103, was designated a targeted school, which means that one or more student subgroups are performing at or below the level of the lowest performing 5% of schools. The low performing subgroups at GWMS were Black/African- American students and students with disabilities. Schools with the targeted designation receive extra help from the state in an attempt to boost student performance.
Overall, only 15% of GWMS students met the state standard in ELA, which was a slight improvement from the 13% that met or exceeded the ELA standard in 2022. In math, just 10% of GWMS students met or exceeded the state standard, slightly higher than the 8.8% who did so in 2022.
Nearly 20% of white GWMS students met or exceeded the state standard in ELA, while 14.5% of Hispanic students and 11.4% of Black GWMS students did so. In math, 13.5% of white GWMS students met or exceed the state proficiency standard compared with 9.7% of Hispanic students. No Black students at GWMS met or exceeded the state’s math proficiency standard.
About 6.2% of GWMS students with Individual Education Plans and 5.1% of GWMS students with disabilities met the state standard in ELA. In math, only 3.7% of GWMS students with IEPs and just 3% of GWMS students with disabilities met the state standard.
Congress Park School
At Congress Park Elementary School, which serves the southwestern portion of Brookfield and is part of LaGrange School District 102, 43% of students met the state proficiency standard in ELA while 35% did so in math.