The Joseph Sears School’s tradition of excellence began in the 1890s when Joseph Sears, Kenilworth’s founder, donated land for a schoolhouse and what he conceived as a model community. Today, Kenilworth School District No. 38 provides a Junior Kindergarten through Eighth Grade education at The Joseph Sears School for approximately 525 students living in Kenilworth, as well as a portion of Winnetka and a section of Wilmette.
Sears' students consistently rank in the 98th to 99th percentile nationally on standardized tests. In statewide testing by subject areas, Sears ranks among the top districts in the state. The Illinois State Board of Education recognized The Joseph Sears School with the 2012 Excellence Award for exemplary academic performance on the Illinois Learning Standards, as well as the 2012 Certificate of Financial Recognition, the highest financial rating provided. Additionally, SchoolSearch recognized Kenilworth School District No. 38 as “a top school district” in Illinois in November 2013, of which the District has been identified each year the award has been announced. Recently, Chicago Magazine rated Sears School as the top school in Cook County.
The size, intimacy and structure of Sears affords students a unique learning experience over a long period of time. Small class sizes favor optimal participation, personal development and a sense of belonging. Kindergarten through Fifth grade classes are self-contained for all classes except art, world (foreign) language, music and physical education. In Sixth grade through Eighth grades, instruction is departmentalized. With the education of the individual child as the central focus, Sears strives to provide an educational climate in which each child builds a core body of knowledge, masters key skills and develops useful habits of study, including an understanding of the creative process and superior critical thinking abilities.
In addition, our faculty helps each child acquire self-knowledge and expects each child to develop strong values and standards for themselves, as well as to practice responsible citizenship within the broader community. We also follow the Common Core State Standards, which will serve as a universal guide as to the best practices in education today. According to the Illinois Board of Education, “the goal is to better prepare Illinois students for success in college and the workforce in a competitive global economy." In addition, students and teachers will continue to grow in their use of technology as Sears stays committed to being prepared for 21st-century learning.
Since the District is small, all children live within walking distance of the School. A tunnel provides safe passage for students crossing Green Bay Road. Children have the option to go home for lunch, bring their lunch or purchase lunch sponsored by the Joseph Sears School Parents' Volunteer Association (JSSPVA). Kindergarten through Eighth graders attend school from 8:20 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. with 55 minutes for lunch. Junior Kindergarten, available to four-year-olds on a tuition basis, meets in the morning from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Board of Education Members: