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,

I hope this message reaches you all in health and happiness.

As we enter the final month, we are in deep reflection about the 2016-2017 school year. We are reflecting on our successes and accomplishments in order to repeat and broaden the impact of the good things we have done. We also reflect, probably more so, on the areas where we fell short of expectations so we can identify the gap between our thinking and the execution and work to remedy whatever situation needs to be improved.

In terms of our successes, we have plenty to feel good about. The success of our scholars is the result of the collective efforts of our scholars, our families, and our teachers. We are not yet at our gold standard, but we feel pretty good about where we are and the work we’ve done. Some of our successes include:

  • High Jump: Rowe has 12 6th grade scholars who were accepted to High Jump. Typically, High Jump only accepts 2-3 scholars from a single school. Having 12 speaks to the incredible work our scholars, families, and teachers have done to make our scholars exceptional candidates for opportunities like High Jump.
  • Hamilton: Nearly 20 Rowe scholars participated in an exciting opportunity with the cast of Hamilton which resulted in them being invited to seeing the performance.
  • Facility Growth Complete: We have begun construction at the middle school that will finalize, when complete, our growth as a school. At the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, we will have more than 1,000 in scholars in two buildings.
  • Girls on the Run: Rowe had one of the largest contingents of participants at the Girls on the Run 5K this spring. Additionally, several of our scholars are featured on the GOTR website.
  • Girls’ Rugby: The young women at our middle school have blazed a path by being a part of the first girls’ rugby team at Rowe. Though they are all new to the sport, their competitive drive and commitment to each other is something we can all be proud of.
  • Academic Rigor: Our teachers, K-8, have done a wonderful job of raising the academic rigor across the building in the ELA and Math. Through some strategic partnership as well as ongoing professional development, we feel really good about the learning our scholars have done this year.
  • Science is Life: We added a science department to our elementary school so now scholars in 2nd – 5th grade have a dedicated science block. When we think about things on a large scale, such as the ascendance of the US from an agricultural country to one that is built on industry and technology, science is the engine to many of our advancements. Immersing our scholars in rich science instruction from 2nd – 8th grade is critical to their future academic prospects.

In terms of our areas of growth, while the reflection process isn’t over, we have identified a couple of areas that are getting quite a bit of our brain energy at this point. In no order of preference:

  • Our values as a Rowe community: Rowe has grown from a school of 125 scholars to a school who next year will have more than 1,000 scholars. During that time we’ve transitioned principals and less than 10% of our current staff was here from the beginning. What attracted many of you, as well as many of our staff to Rowe are the values the school believes in. Our work in this area though revolves around defining what those values mean for us as a much larger school and how we, as adults, internalize and embody our values.
  • Habits of Scholars: At the conclusion of the 2017-2018 school year, we will have nearly 200 Rowe alum in high schools throughout the city, state, and country. Providing them the tools to complement their academic skillset is critical for their college and life success. Identifying those skills and our approach for cultivating that needs to occur.

Our mantra this year is "Good to Great." Through the teamwork dedication of our scholars, staff, and you all, we are on that path.

Thank you all for your support.


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