About Us

History of Rowe

In 1998, Northwestern Settlement co-founded the internationally recognized Noble Street Charter School, which now serves 11,000 students at 16 campuses. For the first eight years of operation, the Settlement provided the school corporation with back-office management services, including all financial management, development services, and human resources.

Through the Chicago-based Renaissance Schools Fund, the Settlement was introduced to Bain & Company, a global business and financial consulting firm with a deep interest in actively participating in public education reform. The two organizations joined forces in 2008 to create a new contract grammar school campus based on intensive research and national best practices. In 2009, the John Rowe family and Exelon Corporation joined the team, adding to the financial and operational strength of the newly named Rowe Elementary School.

Rowe Elementary School opened on September 8, 2009. Rowe moved into its permanent home in 2010 and is located at 1424 N Cleaver St – just a few blocks north of Division and east of Ashland. This West Town location allows Rowe to remain within walking distance of Northwestern Settlement and the programming the Settlement provides to scholars, families, and staff.

John & JeanneRowe Elementary School is named in honor of the Rowe family – John, the Chairman Emeritus of Exelon Corporation, his wife Jeanne, and their son Bill, an attorney. The Rowes have long supported education reform in Chicago, with a special interest in charter schools. As naming donor, the Rowe family has shown a remarkable willingness to commit their time, energy and resources to helping Rowe Elementary School reach its goal of becoming the best charter grammar school in the city, supporting over 800 children each year as they journey toward college and beyond.

The Rowes are also the founding donors of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, Rowe-Clark Math and Science Academy Campus, and the Patrons of the John Paul II Parochial School. Mrs. Rowe tutors at Rowe Elementary School and John Paul II and leads the “Girl Talk” group at Rowe-Clark. Mr. Rowe visits history and leadership classes at Rowe-Clark and serves on the boards of the Illinois Institute of Technology, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and New Schools for Chicago. William serves on the Noble Network Board.

The Rowe family wants to provide minority students from low-income backgrounds in Chicago with access to an education that goes far beyond the norm, helping to ensure a future of hope and opportunity. By naming Rowe Elementary School, they cast their vote along with Mayor Emanuel and education reformers from across the country who believe that public charter schools bring choice and opportunity to disadvantaged families and that a brighter future is possible when children receive the level of education and support that they both need and deserve.


Leadership & Teachers

A Message from the Principal

Dear Rowe Families, Friends, and Supporters,

It is a tremendous privilege to welcome you all to the 2018-2019 school year! I cannot adequately put into words how excited I am for this school year. This summer has been filled with meaningful learning for my leadership team and I as we prepare to lead Rowe to our best year yet. Specifically, we participated in a professional development event this summer that has refocused our efforts on the relationship between equity and instruction to ensure that we are actively, aggressively, and consistently deconstructing the impact of unconscious racism within our school context so that every scholar at Rowe has the opportunity to pursue the best version of themselves. This is will most prominently be on display via the work we put in front of scholars every day. At Rowe, college success is the ultimate outcome for every scholar, that means the work scholars are doing every single day must reflect that, and we must all embrace the productive struggle that comes with that.

With that in mind, we have set some really ambitious goals for ourselves moving forward. The three big goals heading into this school year are:

  1. On the 5E Survey, Rowe will earn a score of Organized
  2. On NWEA, by the end of school year 2020-2021, Rowe will be in the 90th percentile for attainment
  3. On our interim assessments, by the end of school year 2020-2021, Rowe scholars will average a 75% in ELA and Math

Why these goals? Let me start with 5E. There are many factors that go into a school being an exemplary school – specifically, Effective Leaders, Collaborative Teachers, Ambitious Instruction, Involved Families, and having a Supportive Environment. We are aiming to be excellent in each of these categories so we can ensure our goal of being an excellent school for all scholars and families is achieved.

With respect to NWEA – at the time of me writing this letter, we are not yet sure of what our SQRP rating will be this past school year. With that said, we are very confident in the work our teachers, our staff, and you all did on behalf of our scholars. Regardless of how strong the outcome will be; we know we need to always strive for better. NWEA is important not only for the SQRP score, but for its role in serving as a data point to predict college success. The short of it, scholars, on average, need to be at least in the 70th percentile to be deemed college ready. Being college ready, however, is not the goal at Rowe. The goal at Rowe is for scholars to be beyond readiness, we want our scholars to be successful – Dean’s List, Fulbright winners, Rhodes Scholars. For our scholars to be on that trajectory the 70th percentile is not enough. The 90th percentile is our goal.

Lastly, a huge part of our work this year is consistent exposure to grade level content. NWEA is not the best measure for strictly grade level content, our interim assessments are. That data point combined with NWEA will assure us sufficient information to make sure Rowe scholars are learning and growing at the highest levels.

The next question is how. How will we achieve these ambitious goals? That’s actually simple to answer, though not simple to do. We will accomplish these goals by continuing to build strong, trusting, and respectful relationships with all of you; and we’ll achieve these goals by continuing to make sure that every child at Rowe has an excellent teacher in front of them every single day. With that in mind, I cannot wait to welcome you all in for Meet Your Teacher Night on August 30th from 4:00 – 6:00pm so you can meet your teachers, both returning and new, as well as our new additions to the leadership team.

From a personal standpoint, September 4th cannot come soon enough. Through my 3 years as principal at Rowe, I’ve learned and grown so much as a person, as an educator, and as a leader. There have been so many wonderful moments that have affirmed what an honor it is to call Rowe home, and there have been moments that have challenged me to get better. I embrace both experiences with the same growth mindset: learn from it and get better.

My promise to you all is that we will continue to learn and continue to get better. I look forward to seeing you all soon.



Meet the Rowe Team

Mission & Vision

ROWf20090Rowe Elementary School, operated by Northwestern University Settlement, prepares students to succeed in and graduate from college by cultivating the desire and expectation to go to college and delivering an academically rigorous curriculum infused with unique social and emotional programming.

We best serve our students and their families by instilling in them the college mindset — holistically preparing them to successfully navigate the road to college graduation.  We believe that our community is full of brilliant young people who, when provided an excellent education, are able to compete at colleges across the country.

Three goals encompass our mission and help us achieve our vision:

  • Cultivate the expectation and desire to go to college;
  • Deliver a rigorous academic instruction; and,
  • Provide social and emotional support to students and families.

Northwestern Settlement

Northwestern Settlement was founded in 1891 by leaders of Northwestern University as a separate and financially independent institution.  It has been at its current location since 1901.  The Settlement is second in age only to Jane Addams Hull-House, and it is one of the few traditional settlement houses remaining in the entire country.

For nearly 120 years, the Settlement has equipped its neighbors with the tools they need to succeed.  Our entire program is based on the concept of individual and family self-help, and the underlying philosophy that every person deserves to maximize his or her potential to become a productive member of society. Through more than 70 different programs and services, our staff and hundreds of volunteers work with nearly 8,000 neighbors each year through core programming and 38,000 through our theater.

Holistic Programming
Northwestern University Settlement offers a wide array of programs and services in West Town/Humboldt Park and across the city.  With education as the driving force, the majority of programs fall into three categories: youth, arts, and social services.
Current programming includes the following:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • After School programs
  • Year-round residential camping
  • A food pantry
  • An emergency fund
  • An arts-in-education program that partners with more than 100 public schools
  • An AmeriCorps program
  • A senior citizens club
  • English as a Second Language classes

This holistic approach to community problem solving incorporates extensive networking with neighborhood schools, area universities, police departments, neighborhood governments, citywide non-profit organizations, local businesses, and other community-based organizations and service providers.

One of the most exciting aspects of the Rowe Elementary School, which at capacity will serve up to 1,100 low-income, minority students every year, is that in addition to a rigorous academic plan and discipline code, we will fully utilize other, existing Settlement programs as well.

  • Early Childhood Education and Rowe Elementary act as instructional partners. Children who graduate from our Early Childhood Education and enter Rowe Elementary do not lose momentum when they leave.
  • After School activities is provided by current School Age staff, rolling students into existing programming while also creating new programs to meet the specific educational and social/emotional needs of our students.
  • Our nationally recognized Adventure Stage Chicago develops arts programming that is an integral part of the school’s curriculum. It also conducts classroom residencies and after-school activities, and introduces students to the wonder of live theatre.
  • The Settlement’s House In The Wood Camp in Delavan, WI, provides one-week residential camping experiences for students in grades three through eight during the school year. The program includes environmental studies as well as social/emotional skills development, such as basic hygiene, learning to get along with others, making group decisions, living in a community setting, etc.
  • The Settlement's AmeriCorps Project YES! members work with students as mentors and tutors while partnering with teachers to provide additional support.
  • Family Services helps meet our families’ immediate needs in a variety of ways: providing food, rent assistance, utility and transportation assistance, book and uniform fees, and helping purchasing items like eyeglasses and prescription medications.

Our Campuses

Rowe Elementary School
1424 N Cleaver St
Chicago, IL 60642

Telephone: (312) 445-5870
FAX: (312) 445-5875
E-mail: rvelasco@nush.org

Rowe Middle School
1434 W Augusta Blvd
Chicago, IL 60642

Telephone: (773) 799-2730
FAX: (773) 799-2728
E-mail: dmorquecho@nush.org

School Creed

Every morning, scholars recite our School Creed as a reminder of our Core Values and what we are collaboratively working towards on a daily basis.

Scholar Creed 2016

What Are Charter Schools?

A charter school is a publicly-funded, independent school that operates under the terms of a binding agreement (a charter) and under the supervision of a local or national authority. While charter schools operate with some differences from their local school counterparts, they are regulated by the Office of New Schools in CPS and undergo a charter renewal process every five years. It is with great pride that Rowe Elementary School can announce that our 2015 charter was renewed through 2020!

Charter schools, as defined by the Illinois Network of Charter schools, are “...unique public schools that have the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Because they are public schools, they are open to all children, do not charge tuition, and do not have special entrance requirements.

Charter schools empower parents to choose a public school with a mission-driven curriculum and a strong school culture that best fits their student. Because of their flexibility, charter schools allow teachers to be leaders in their school and grant them the freedom to be innovative in their classroom to tailor instruction to the needs of their students.

Charter schools are raising the bar on student achievement for schools across Illinois by improving test scores, graduating more students from high school, and increasing college acceptance and persistence rates for all Illinois students.”

incs-logo- Illinois Network of Charter Schools, 2014-2015, https://www.incschools.org/about-charters/overview