Evolving Success Story at Chicago’s Spencer Elementary

Principal working hard to change culture at inner city school

By: Lauren Fitzpatrick

Article Reprint


spencer 4Don’t play with the Spencer kids.

Shawn L. Jackson heard his grandmother’s warning as a child visiting her home in Austin.


Grandmother’s Iron

The son of teachers, Jackson was sent to her house near the school now called Spencer Elementary Technology Academy when he was sick, and she was strict.
But his job today bucks her long-ago admonishment.


“The irony of becoming principal of the school is priceless,” he said from his office inside the school he runs, a school that had been failing itself and its children, when he took the reins in 2007.
“Not that Spencer kids were bad,” he continues, reminiscing. “Their philosophy differed about how kids were supposed to play.”

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