In Winnetka, focus is on the excellent school system

Chicago’s North Shore is a great place to live for a number of reasons, ranging from the proximity to the city and cultural events to activities on or around Lake Michigan. But for many families, it comes down to community and schools. And it might be tough to find a place that better exemplifies the ideals of a close-knit society and values of education than Winnetka.

Winnetka’s role in progressively advancing school curriculum dates back more than a half century. Carleton Washburne, the district’s superintendent from 1919 to 1943, was the architect of innovative programs that focused on individualized instruction, hands-on learning and social development. His work was known as “The Winnetka Plan,” but has been widely incorporated by schools across the nation. Winnetka also was home to one of the country’s first nursery schools in 1929.

The community’s commitment to its young people can also be found in the nonprofit Winnetka Alliance for Early Childhood Development, which promotes the healthy growth and development of children up to age eight. Its member organizations include public, private and parochial schools in addition to childcare programs.

Nearly 50 percent of the households in Winnetka have kids under the age of 18, with the majority of children being in grades one through eight. It is a “Leave It to Beaver”-type community, where youngsters can get to school on their own. 

Winnetka gets its name from an American Indian word for “beautiful land.” It is that, and much more. Just ask any family that lives here.

—Steve Hudson, The Hudson Company







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