‘Little South Side School’ In Pullman Wins National Award

PULLMAN — Edgar Allan Poe Classical School has been named a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

By Andrea V. Watson | October 4, 2017 5:40am



The K-6 school at 10538 S. Langley Ave. in Pullman received the honor in the “Exemplary High Performing Schools” category for testing in the top 15 percent of all schools in Illinois. The school’s students achieved high performance among key subgroups.

“We’re excited beyond belief and overwhelmed that our little South Side school has gained this national recognition,” Principal Erick Dockery said. “It’s pretty awesome.”

The school celebrated its accomplishment with the mayor and other officials Sept. 28. Both Poe and Hannah G. Solomon Elementary School received the prestigious honor reserved for the best schools in the nation. Both schools are two of only 16 public schools in Illinois and 342 schools nationwide to be honored with this distinction in 2017.

“The Blue Ribbon award is a great honor and I am extremely proud of Poe and Solomon for joining the growing number of nationally recognized schools in the CPS community,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “This is a testament to the hardworking students, teachers, principals and administrators, and proof that a child can learn and succeed no matter what neighborhood they come from or type of school they attend.”

Dockery has been Poe’s principal for four years and just renewed his contract. He said the students focus on more than just academics, but service and leadership are two major target areas.

“Our culture is built on leadership,” he said, adding that faculty and staff are trained to instill key principles in the students just like those of Fortune 500 top executives.

“We want to instill these into our kids at an early age,” he said, “so being proactive, beginning with an end in mind, putting first things first, thinking win-win, if we can start them with these habits now, at 5 years old, we think we can better prepare them for success.”

These young leaders are also service-oriented, Dockery said.

In the past they’ve collected money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and donated it to an ill classmate. They even exceeded their goal of collecting 500 shoes for Share Your Soles, an organization that gives them to people in need. They collectively brought in over 1,500 pairs of shoes. And most recently they initiated a project to collect supplies for Houston after the hurricane, picking up where they left off the day after the celebration.

“I was really proud of them,” Dockery said. “This shows that this is really what we do and I think it’s one of the reasons we were awarded this prestigious honor.”