Ravenswood School has an excellent fine arts program. It is one of the educational choices for the Emanuel family as they return to Chicago. Credit: Patrick Boylan
Like many Ravenswood residents, mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and his wife Amy Merritt Rule face the daunting decision of whether to send their three children to public or private schools. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Emanuel has not committed to sending his children, Zacharia, Ilana, and Leah, to public schools.
As Emanuel and his wife Amy contemplate what school is best for their family, three possibilities come to mind immediately: Ravenswood Elementary School, John C. Coonley Elementary School, and Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day.
The Chicago public elementary schools provide excellent options for students through 8th grade in the Ravenswood area. Ravenswood Elementary, located at 4332 N. Paulina St., about a block from the Emanuel home, is described on the Chicago Public School (CPS) website as “one of the best kept secrets in Chicago—a successful school in a quiet neighborhood.” The school is a fine and performing arts magnet cluster school that integrates the arts into regular classroom instruction. Ravenswood could appeal to the family due to its proximity and strong arts program. It received a good standing performance rating and earned a 57 out of 100 points from CPS. In 2010, 75 percent of students met or exceeded state expectations. (The CPS average is 75 percent also.)
John C. Coonley Elementary School, at 4046 N. Leavitt, is another excellent academic option for Ravenswood families. Coonley is a regional gifted center and offers an accelerated curriculum for qualifying academically advanced students. In May 2008 the Chicago Tribune reported Emanuel, who was then a U.S. Representative, said “that designating public schools such as Coonley as regional gifted centers will help keep families in the city.” As opposed to Ravenswood, Coonley received an excellent standing performance rating and earned a 96 out of 100 points from CPS. In 2010, 95 percent of students met or exceeded state expectations. Emanuel has already shown he is close to Coonley; he held a campaign kick-off event at the school and he even participated in the “Principal for a Day” program there last fall.
As Chicago’s first Jewish mayor, Emanuel might also consider a Jewish education for his children. Among many Jewish school options that Emanuel might choose in the city is Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School. The school, located at 3751 North Broadway Street, is a Blue Ribbon school and offers a dual curriculum of Jewish and general Studies. It is worth noting that the education there, like many private schools, comes at a price. A family can pay as much as $24,380 per student in tuition and fees. This school seems a possible choice for the family; two of his children attended here before the family’s move to Washington D.C. and Emanuel himself was a student at Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School as a boy.
During his victory speech Emanuel said “we need stronger schools and involved parents to prepare our young people for success.” As a public school graduate himself from New Trier Township High School in one of Chicago’s far north suburbs, Winnetka, one can only wonder whether Emanuel will select one of CPS’ fine elementary school options in the area, including Ravenswood Elementary or Coonley, or if he will choose a Jewish education for his children instead.