Located on the far west side of Chicago, the Austin community served by Cluster is the city’s largest neighborhood, both in terms of population and land area. It is also one of Chicago’s most neglected in terms of educational opportunities. Consider the following:
- 64 percent of freshmen at Austin public high schools graduate within five years, and only half of those graduates go to college.
- Less than eight percent of the students at Austin high schools are considered “college ready,” according to standardized tests.
- Reading is the biggest deficit these students have to overcome. Two-thirds of Cluster’s new students are at least a year below grade level in reading. Forty percent are two or more years behind.
- Cluster serves a low-to-moderate income population, with 95 percent of its students qualifying for their school’s free lunch program. The Austin community has a 27 percent poverty rate.
- Cluster is the only one-to-one academic tutoring program in the area.