Whole School Network

The purpose of the Whole School Network is for the school community to come together around a collective goal to improve their school and to be able to sustain those improvements themselves. Bethel acts to support and facilitate the efforts of the school community. School attendance is a major challenge for many children in West Side public schools. The reasons behind this can be complex and not always just because a child doesn’t want to attend. Broken homes, family issues, lack of clean clothes or basic necessities, as well as restricted access to transportation can all play a factor in why a child may be consistently absent.

To combat this problem, Bethel’s Whole School Network program is designed to increase attendance of the chronically absent by building capacity to get parents more involved with the school. The program has two primary goals which are to increase school attendance percentages by 15% of chronically absent students in grades k – 3 by June 2014, and to decrease truancy in grades k – 3 by 15% from the previous school year in grades k – 3 by June 2014. Operational in both Spencer and Depriest Elementary Schools, students in k – 3 grades are selected for the program. Monthly talks are given to these classes on the importance of attending school, outreach is conducted to get parents involved with the schools, and regular meetings are held with the school’s attendance teams and teachers.

In 2013, The Whole School Network Featured:

• 2 schools with operational programs (DePriest Elementary School & Spencer Technical Academy)
• 300 – 360 student participating (150 – 180 per school)

DePriest Elementary School


At Oscar DePriest Elementary School our focus is to provide strong instructional programs, a student-centered environment, and high-quality teaching. We offer special education programs for qualified students serving students with varying disabilities including autism. Our school has labs for computers, science, music, and art, offering Internet access in every classroom.


Spencer Technical Academy


Spencer Technology Academy is one of five technology academies in the Chicago Public Schools. Teachers use the latest technology in their instruction, incorporating SMARTBOARDS, Turning Point clickers, Audio Enhancement systems, and LCD projectors in their everyday instruction. Spencer Academy has three computer labs, two Science Labs, and full wireless capabilities.