Award Year: 2013

Mark T. Skinner West Elementary School

1260 W Adams Street
Chicago, IL, 60607-2530

(773) 534-7790

Deborah Clark, Principal at time of Nomination

City of Chicago SD 299

School Website


As a model school, it is our desire to provide the best educational experiences possible for our students through continuous monitoring and improvement of our practices.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 38%
  • White: 18%
  • Hispanic: 12%
  • Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 1%
  • Asian: 17%
  • Native American: 1%
  • Two or more races: 13%
  • ELL: 5%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: %

Skinner West is unique. It is the only Chicago Public School serving a combination of kindergarten-8th grade classical, neighborhood, and special needs students reflecting the racial and ethnic diversity that makes up the city of Chicago. Twenty years ago, Skinner served only 250 students, and today, due to its stellar reputation, the student enrollment has more than tripled in size.

Academic rigor and acceleration have been a part of Skinner’s instructional practice long before Common Core Standards were introduced. Classical students are taught one year above grade level in reading and math and the same instructional expectations apply to the neighborhood students who are ready for the strong academic push. Students who work on grade level are provided the appropriate pacing and necessary supports to reach their growth targets. Setting the bar high has yielded amazing results: 93-100 percent of students meeting/exceeding national norms in reading, math and science. In the past five years, students in the exceeds category have increased to as high as 76 percent in reading and 80 percent in math. Skinner West has consistently ranked in the top ten schools in the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago. The positive and nurturing environment is filled with happy and polite Superstars!

Skinner’s belief in the importance of developing the whole child is reflected in the balance of academic and extracurricular activities offered at the school. Parents are an integral part of the school’s success through volunteering, fundraising and seriously monitoring daily homework and all short and long term projects. Anyone who visits Skinner West witnesses the passion for learning and pride in achieving excellence throughout the entire school community.