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ABCs to College Degrees: Newest CPS Charter School’s Focus Cultivates Expectation and Desire to Attend College in Elementary School Students

Northwestern University Settlement launches new charter school in West Town with support from Rowe Family Charitable Trust, Exelon Corporation and Bain & Company



CHICAGO (Sept. 23, 2009) - With the college enrollment rate of Chicago Public Schools graduates at just 52.5 percent, the system's newest contract school campus will open this fall with a focus on making college an expectation for each student. Graduating from college will be a goal for every student at Rowe Elementary School, opening in the West Town neighborhood this fall.

The school is funded primarily through financial contributions from the Rowe Family Charitable Trust, Exelon Corporation and Bain & Company.
"A college degree is an invaluable investment for the future success of every CPS student, and we must continue to make every effort to teach our students that college is attainable," said CPS CEO Ron Huberman. "Thanks to the civic-minded individuals like John, Jeanne and Bill Rowe and committed support from corporate citizens like Exelon and Bain, we can reach even more students to show them that a high school diploma is not an end, but a first step toward a successful career."

Rowe Elementary is operated by the Northwestern University Settlement. The students and their families will benefit from the programs already offered by the Settlement, marking the first time an agency has fully incorporated all of its services into the daily activities of the school.

"Northwestern University Settlement offers programs in the community ranging from early childhood education to adult services," said Ron Manderschied, Northwestern University Settlement president and CEO. "We will wrap these services around the school with many of them taking place in the elementary school to ensure students and their families can easily take advantage of after-school or family programs."

At capacity, the new school will serve 600 students in kindergarten through eighth-grade. Contracted through CPS's Renaissance 2010 initiative, which seeks to create 100 high-performing schools in designated communities of need by 2010, Rowe Elementary opened on Sept. 8 with 150 students in six classrooms across grades K-2. 

This is the second CPS school supported by Exelon Corporation and Rowe Elementary's namesakes, Exelon Chairman and CEO John W. Rowe, his wife Jeanne and son Bill, and the Rowe Family Charitable Trust. These schools are the culmination of the family's life-long commitment to education and providing children with access to the kind of education needed to compete and succeed in the global marketplace.

"A solid education can drive individual success and transform communities," John Rowe said. "This elementary school will provide a positive environment for its students to spark their interest in education at an early age and motivate them to work toward successful careers attainable through a college degree."

Bain & Company, the global business consulting firm, has partnered with the Settlement to develop the school's blueprint by researching best practices in elementary education from across the country. The firm's expertise and proven track record of achieving results for both business and pro-bono clients was used to develop a strategic and operational plan for the Rowe Elementary School. From designing the school strategy and operating plan to supporting preparations for opening the school in September, significant Bain consultant resources have been devoted to ensuring a top-caliber educational experience for all students.

More information about the school and enrollment can be found at