Through former Mayor Daley’s New School Initiative Program, Ariel was awarded a corporate sponsorship of a Chicago public school in 1996. Hence, the birth of Ariel Community Academy – a public school located on the south side of Chicago. Currently, Ariel Community Academy (ACA) offers classes from kindergarten through eighth grade serving 518 students and their families. Ninety-eight percent of the student body is African-American and over 85 percent of the students receive subsidized lunches. ACA chose to target the North Kenwood neighborhood precisely because it was one of the most underserved communities in Chicago. Today, the neighborhood is more vibrant, and ACA is a center for community and family life. ACA's impact extends well beyond the building itself, creating higher academic standards and achievements through a unique corporate-family-school partnership. In short, the vision remains to create a model community school — where the doors are always open; where teachers, parents and members of the community work in partnership to provide world-class educational opportunities and where financial literacy is not just taught but practiced.
Ariel Community Academy Results
The Academy has outperformed all schools in the district and is one of the top elementary schools in all of Chicago. Once again, in 2009 the Ariel Community Academy was a recipient of the Illinois Spotlight Schools Award under the Illinois Honor Roll program (this award recognizes academic progress in closing the achievement gap in poverty areas). Additionally, the Academy is one of the top performing schools on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) in the entire region. A sample of the results is below:
Beyond the student achievement on standardized tests, almost 1/3 of Ariel graduates test out of Algebra before their freshman year — a major achievement considering the dire statistics around math competency and graduation rates in typical public schools.