Located in Lincoln Park, on the corner of Ashland and Wrightwood, Prescott Elementary School is a neighborhood school with cluster focus on reading and literature. Two years ago, Mr. Erin Roche joined Prescott as principal. He and Prescott Parents have been actively involved in bringing in corporate partners and additional fundraising. As a result, there have been many changes to the school. In January, Alderman Waguespack was told by Chicago Public School that Prescott was being proposed for closure in June, 2010, based upon low enrollment. The Alderman opposed the closing. While it was true that the school was under enrolled, its maximum enrollment was less than what CPS was reporting. In addition, the quality of education at Prescott was extremely high and the staff was talented and dedicated. While the enrollment may have been low, the school was not being given an adequate opportunity to demonstrate their tremendous potential for growth.

Several hearing s were conducted, allowing Board of Education representatives to hear arguments from interested parties. Between the two hearings, over 700 people provided objections to the closure. Alderman Waguespack spoke at both meetings about the growth that has been demonstrated at Prescott, the importance of the community support, and Prescott’s strong leadership. Residents that have students at Prescott highlighted the amazing development of their children and how children who were previously struggling were now thriving and learning. Even residents without elementary school-aged children spoke of the positive changes they’ve witnessed over the last few years and the need for Prescott to be their neighborhood school.

Finally, a press conference took place in early February attended by WGN, CBS, ABC and other print and broadcast media. Alderman Waguespack, Marilyn Stewart, Chicago Teacher’s Union President and others spoke to the media. The public had a chance to see the tremendous opportunity that existed at Prescott. That evening, CPS determined that Prescott would no longer be recommended for closure.

“The events of January and February brought forth a profound sense of community and commitment to Prescott School,” said Mr. Roche. “It was a team effort by parents, neighbors, teachers, staff, administration, elected officials, and partners. Every group contributed significantly– from Prescott partners Alliant Credit Union, Erikson Institute, and DePaul University to officials such as Alderman Waguespack. We are now a tighter community of learners! And there is increased interest in the school. We are looking to open a 2nd Kindergarten as a result of the parent interest in the high-quality education that Prescott offers all students. This experience– while difficult– allowed us to live up to what one of our beautiful school mosaics says, ‘We are the authors of our lives’.”

With the proposed closing averted, enrollment is climbing at Prescott, with two full kindergarten classes anticipated for this September. Most recently, four Prescott students won scholarships to Facets movie camp and Science Teacher Kathy Eggert was accepted into NASA’s Space Camp summer program. Jennifer Lister, President of Prescott Parents, adds “Prescott has become the school that we had all hoped it would become. Not only do we have highly accredited and compassionate teachers guiding our children in every grade level, but we have built a caring school community that helps create a life-long love of learning for our students. Thanks to Principal Roche and his team, Prescott now emanates a sense of pride, spirit and ambition for the students, the faculty and the entire school community. Alderman Waguespack joins Lincoln Parkers and the rest of the 32nd Ward in looking forward to many years of Prescott Elementary School educating our community.

Prescott Elementary School
1632 West Wrightwood Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614