“Don’t judge a book by its cover”. I am sure that you have all heard this saying a countless number of times and today, I quote a parent from the West Side of Chicago that uses this expression to inform people that just because a neighborhood seems bad it doesn’t necessarily mean that good things can’t come out of it, such as a good education. I found this to be true when we individually researched certain areas of the West Side and their schools. In North Lawndale, there is a school called the North Lawndale Charter School. It is a public high school and the enrollment is around 401 students. According to parent reviews, this school specializes in preparing their students for college and each student has the advantage of a closer relationship with their teachers due to their small numbers. The school website mirrors all of this quite effectively, offering a wide range of clubs, athletics and mirrors active student involvement.

While investigating schools in the Austin area of Chicago, I experienced the familiar internet search engine frustrations. I found many sites with Austin Community High School statics, but no website directly working with the school. I began to think that Austin Schools would be far from top-notch. Finally I stumbled upon on a website of all the public schools in the Austin area.  Once finding this site, my first expectations of the school changed. Not only did the site show important news at all the schools but also information on their local community learning centers. Although each school does not have their own site the community sites providing information about all the schools is effective. Austin Community High School is definitely not the school I expected it to be when I could not find a reliable website. The student ratio is 1:9 compared to the average of the state’s which is1:18 and only two percent qualify for reduced lunch. Although I was impressed with the information I found the Austin Schools should display their institution better by producing individual websites and making them easier to find and navigate within.

Coming from the West Side of Chicago and growing up down the street from the Garfield Park area, I didn’t realize how many schools are located in that area. I didn’t attend elementary school or high school in that area so I didn’t really know about the public school system. While searching the websites of the schools I wasn’t really able to find any statistics on the schools and good information wasn’t provided. As I continued my search I came across a school by the name of Holy Family Ministries. This elementary school serves over 160 children with tutoring, after school programs, and a good education. This school also provides a program which is called Little Learners Academy that serves like a daycare for children 3-5 years old for working parents. They also provide a summer camp for children ages 6-12 for 4 weeks. These schools in the Garfield Park area may have the reputation for being a “bad” school but when you do the research or actually know the students that attend the schools in the area you know that these students are receiving quality education and have the potential to become something great.

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