Waukegan’s LEARN 9 is Only Charter Elementary School in Illinois to Earn ‘Exemplary’ Rating

by Samantha Jacobs 

November 8, 2022

LEARN 9 recovers all their pandemic learning loss in a single year, defying state and national trends 

WAUKEGAN— LEARN 9 Charter Elementary School is the only charter elementary school in Illinois, and the only non-selective school in Waukegan, to earn an ‘Exemplary’ designation from the Illinois State Board of Education. The ‘Exemplary’ designation is the highest of four designations an Illinois school can earn and indicates that the school’s performance is in the top 10% of schools statewide. While the state saw a 7.5 % and 6.2% decrease from 2019 IAR scores in reading and math respectively, LEARN 9’s reading and math scores remained flat from 2019 to 2022, indicating that they have fully recovered from pandemic learning loss.  

“I am extremely proud to see the hard work of LEARN 9’s staff, teachers, students, and families shown in this exemplary rating,” says Maytee Diez, LEARN 9’s principal. “We are a data-driven campus that creates an affirming culture for our mostly bilingual students. We do this by ensuring our teachers share similar backgrounds with our students, and by prioritizing a personalized learning experience with the help of instructional aides.” 

To serve its majority English language learners, LEARN 9 provides a robust bilingual curriculum to support both English and Spanish language development, as well as the integration of community culture into the classroom. LEARN 9’s enrichment programs include art, STEM, Spanish, theatre, and physical education for all students.  

LEARN, a network of 11 schools in Chicago, North Chicago, Waukegan, and Washington, D.C., provides children with the academic foundation and ambition to earn a college degree. LEARN alumni graduate college at two times the rate of their peers, exceeding state and national averages. LEARN’s college graduation rate is 8 points above the national average for all students, regardless of socio-economic status or ethnicity. 


Founded in 2001, LEARN is an innovative network of tuition-free, high performing college prep public elementary schools open to all students. The first time a family walks into one of our schools, they feel the warmth and welcome that defines a LEARN school, and they discover that LEARN is unmistakably a child-centered place. Our families embrace the academic commitment and the nurturing environment that surrounds their children at LEARN. 

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