February 2023 School Update 

By Tina Jenkins Bell 
BAPA School Liaison  

I say this all the time because I’ve experienced it. The Beverly/Morgan Park community has some of the greatest school options, be it public, Catholic, or private. My children have attended all three.  

As a preschooler, my son Evan attended Beverly Montessori, and I’ve always loved that choice. Later, my husband and I sent first Evan and then Elijah to Catholic school where our priorities of faith and excellent academics merged. We would change gears after touring Kellogg Elementary, a school known for its academics, focus on compassion and character building, and interesting extracurriculars. Our sons wrapped up their elementary education there before going to high school. As a writer and educator, I was more than happy with the foundation of skills they had… foundations they still use.  

How else do I know we have excellent schools here? I’ve visited and toured our schools, talked with the principals, teachers, and some parents, attended graduations and other ceremonies. I inquired about the ways academics were prioritized and looked at the quality of extracurricular activities for expanding my children’s horizons. I asked teacher’s directly about their credentials for teaching my child. I considered my children’s safety as for the layout of the school and access to the school from the outside world.  

Other ways to discern a school’s quality. Often, they will share their quality ratings on their websites. Chicago Public Schools using Levels 1+, 1 and 2+ for high performing schools in good standing. Niche.com, privateschoolreview.com, and greatschools.org also provide overviews of our schools.  

Based on my own review, I have no doubt that our schools aim high, but the mark (high, low, in between) they hit is up to you to ascertain. Open house season is coming up. Visit them to see what they have to offer.  

This month we recognize area public schools as a part of National Public Schools Week, Feb. 21 through 25. If you want to know more about area public school offerings, see our profiles in this issue.  

If you want to get involved in your public school, Local School Council meetings are open to the public and a great way to get up to speed. Find meeting dates with the school profiles.  

Lots of Good News for Morgan Park Academy 

Five seniors at Morgan Park Academy (MPA) have sewn up their college decisions with early- acceptances by some of the nation’s top colleges and universities.  Four of those students are from Beverly/Morgan Park: Kaleb Bandele, Northwestern University, where he plans to study economics and finance; Orla Desmond, Brandeis University; Tom Gu, Babson College; and Marie Norkett, St. John’s College. 

Additionally, six MPA students have earned academic honors from the College Board National Recognition Programs. MPA junior Seth Turner and seniors Kaleb Bandele, Joshua Kirksy, Michaela Olimene, Oriella Ortiz, and Nora Perry received the National African American Recognition Award or National Hispanic Recognition Award based on their academic achievements and outstanding performance on AP Exams and/or the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10. 

Finally, MPA Coach Tom Drahozal was selected for Illinois State Basketball Hall of Fame after earning his 500th career win and an eighth regional championship last season. Drahozal was selected by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association for induction into the state basketball hall of fame this spring. Drahozal built the MPA girls program into one of the most successful in IHSA Class 1A, posting a 400-287 (.582) record across 28 seasons. Before that, he won 106 games in seven seasons as varsity boys coach.  

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