Nettelhorst School

Nettelhorst School
View of Nettelhorst School in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood.png
3252 North Broadway Ave.


Coordinates41°56′30″N 87°38′41″W / 41.94167°N 87.64472°W / 41.94167; -87.64472Coordinates:41°56′30″N 87°38′41″W / 41.94167°N 87.64472°W / 41.94167; -87.64472
School typePublic K-8
School districtChicago Public Schools
PrincipalYasmeen Muhammad
Campus typeUrban

Louis B. Nettelhorst Elementary School is a public K-8 school in Lake View, Chicago. It is a part of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) school district.

Its namesake is Louis Nettelhorst, Sr., a German immigrant who once headed the Chicago Board of Education from 1888 to 1892.[1] An 1893 Chicago Tribune article described him as "one of the most popular German-American citizens of Chicago".[2]


It first opened in 1892. For many decades Nettelhorst had a good reputation. In the 1950s its reputation began to decline.[3] Around 2000 few Lake View parents enrolled their children in Nettelhorst and the school had low test scores.[4] Children from other Chicago elementary schools that had too many students had been sent to Nettelhorst instead.[3]

In 2001 parent Jacqueline Edelberg met with principal Susan Kurland.[4] Edelberg desired to enroll her children in a neighborhood elementary school instead of doing so at a private school, going into a magnet school application process, and/or moving to the suburbs. Kurland asked Edelberg what it would take for her to place her children in Nettelhorst. After Kurland accepted Edelberg's demands, Edelberg established a parental group,[5] "Roscoe Eight", for the purpose of improving Nettelhorst; it was named after a playlot on Roscoe Street.[3] The parental group advertised Nettelhorst, beautified the campus, and organized committees to address specific aspects of the school. Parents personally painted corridors of the school.[5]

By 2003 CPS chose Nettelhorst to become a "community school" in an effort to lure families back to CPS, and a community enrichment class program called Jane's Place, as part of a partnership with the Jane Addams Hull House Association, opened at Nettelhorst.[6]

By 2009 families moved to Nettelhorst's attendance zone for the express purpose of enrolling their children there, and the school's academic performance had improved significantly.[3] Edelberg and Kurland later wrote a book about her experiences, titled How to Walk to School. The authors argued that the manner of grassroot-style fundraising and activism for Nettelhorst may be used to improve other American schools.[7]

Student body

In 2011 the school had 632 students.[4] In 2010 31% of the students were classified as low income. In 2001 77% of the students were low income.[8] In 2003 it had 380 students.[6]

Academic performance

In 2010 86% of Nettelhorst students were at or above the Illinois academic standard level. In 2001 35% were at or above that level.[8]


The school includes a cafeteria that uses a French bistro theme along with a kitchen designed by Nate Berkus; the kitchen had a cost of $130,000.[8]

One classroom has a 1940 mural done by Ethel Spears and commissioned by the Works Progress Administration, Horses from Literature. The Chicago Board of Education had the mural restored in 1996.[9]

Feeder pattern

Students zoned to Nettelhorst are also zoned to Lake View High School.[10][11]


  1. ^ "Nettelhorst is Candidate of Athletic Antecedents." Chicago Tribune. October 21, 1930. page 13. Page image. "The Nettelhorst school is named in his memory."
  2. ^ "Nettelhorst is Dead." Chicago Tribune. Wednesday March 15, 1893. Retrieved on December 29, 2016. Page image
  3. ^ a b c d Golus, Carrie (2009-08-10). "Revolution starts at the playground". University of Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  4. ^ a b c Wilson, Beth (2011-01-10). "Nettelhorst Elementary School's Remarkable Turnaround". Chicago. p. 1. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  5. ^ a b Wilson, Beth (2011-01-10). "Nettelhorst Elementary School's Remarkable Turnaround". Chicago. p. 2. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  6. ^ a b Jacobson, Linda (2003-12-03). "'Community Schools' Cooking Up Local Support in Chicago". Education Week. Retrieved 2016-12-29.
  7. ^ Cucchiara, Maia Bloomfield. Marketing Schools, Marketing Cities: Who Wins and Who Loses When Schools Become Urban Amenities. University of Chicago Press, April 23, 2013.ISBN 9780226016658. p. 11.
  8. ^ a b c Michie, Gregory. We Don't Need Another Hero: Struggle, Hope and Possibility in the Age of High-Stakes Schooling. Teachers College Press, April 25, 2015.ISBN 0807772011, 9780807772010. Google Books PT 109.
  9. ^ Gray, Mary Lackritz. A Guide to Chicago's Murals. University of Chicago Press, April 1, 2001.ISBN 9780226305967. p. 270.
  10. ^ "Elem North" (). Chicago Public Schools. 2013. Retrieved on September 30, 2016.
  11. ^ "HS North/Near North." Chicago Public Schools. 2013. Retrieved on September 30, 2016.

External links

Media files used on this page

View of Nettelhorst School in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood.png
Author/Creator: vitaly, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
A view of Nettlehorst School facing north.