When I visited Sherman School of Excellence, I was truly impressed by what I saw.

A former turnaround school, this West Englewood campus is now rated Level 1 – proof of what can be achieved with the right combination of leadership and teacher talent.  

Principal Mellodie Brown has a background in mentoring teachers, and it shows. When she came to Sherman four years ago, her goal was total collaboration and transparency. It wasn’t enough to have pockets of teachers on board – she wanted sincere buy-in from the entire Sherman community.

The result is a teaching staff that is in sync on academics, professional development, and social-emotional learning. I saw this in the classrooms I visited, and was pleased to see how engaged Sherman students were with their learning. I saw teachers relying heavily on data, and collaborating across grade levels to provide students with the best possible experience.

Sherman Elem teacherI also observed a school culture that is rich in literacy. Every available space has been transformed into a reading nook, with filled bookshelves and comfortable furniture that invite students to curl up with a good book.  It is also a college-going culture, with the names of universities peppered throughout hallways and classrooms.

At CPS, we talk a lot about engaging families in the education of their children, which is something that has improved greatly at Sherman over the past few years. The school partners with the James Jordan Foundation to host ongoing parent workshops, and Principal Brown invites teachers to LSC and Parent Advisory Council meetings to discuss how parents can help support Common Core learning in their homes.

The climate at Sherman has also improved, with the creation of a School Culture and Climate Committee and the adoption of the SOAR MODEL – Striving for excellence, Opportunities to show integrity, Academically engaged, and Respect and responsible.

With such positive things happening every day, it was clear during my visit why the “Sherman Eagles are Always Soaring”.