What’s new in CPS – JANUARY 2015


Thanks for ChicagoSchoolGPS for the link to next year’s calendar:


Here is news about the PARCC from catalyst–I didn’t know that CPS would only be testing 10% of students this year.


Feel free to post other news or discussion topics in the comments section below:


January 19, 2015 at 9:08 pm 37 comments

CPSO Update (and a PSA)

Hi CPSO readers.  I will be out of commission for a bit.  My mom was hospitalized this week; after being sick for several weeks with a cough and what we thought was the flu, an infection spread to her brain requiring emergency surgery.   The doctors say the prognosis is pretty good for a return to normal and to normal cognitive functioning.  Right now it’s hard to see that happening as it feels like a long way to progress.   But I’m remaining hopeful.

I’ll be sure to make posts as we get closer to the key upcoming dates for test scores etc, but not sure how much I will post before that time.   If anyone has news or articles that would be worth posting, feel free to email me and I can put stuff up to keep the conversation going.  And PLEASE keep the conversation going.  Though I’m not contributing, I’m still reading all the posts as a diversion.

And finally a PSA: I’ve learned that all “regular” winter illnesses like flu and particularly pneumonia can affect older people much more significantly.  If you have a sick parent, please be sure to stay on top of their medical care and get them to a doctor (and/or get a 2nd opinion) rather than waiting it out or waiting for your parent to ask you to help.

Hopefully I will be back soon to continue the obsessing.

January 19, 2015 at 1:44 pm 36 comments

Fun Quiz – what type of CPS parent are you?




Now for something just for fun.  A quiz by a CPS parent (not me) to identify your CPS parent persona.

I am the upbeat parent.  Woo!

And as you know, we do things old-school around here and I can’t figure out how to imbed the fancy link.  So just click on the url link above.

January 6, 2015 at 8:46 pm 26 comments

SEHS offers by Tier (for kids that are currently freshmen)

blog 1230

Always fun to see this data.  I will see if I can find out the # of actual kids (not applications) who applied, but these numbers give you the general gist of things.   Tier 4 kids continue to get roughly twice as many seats as Tier 1 kids.  At PNJY, Tier 4 kids comprise 42% of the freshman class.

Other Fun Facts:

  • Whitney young had the most applications overall
  • Lane had the most Tier 4 applications
  • Acceptance Rate among Tier 4 kids (as a % of Applications:)
Westinghouse 27
King 24
Lindblom 21
South Shore 19
Lane 18
Brooks 13
Jones 7
Young 5
Northside 5
Payton 4

This comes in a timely manner – my 6th grade son told me last night that all the kids in his class know where they want to go to high school and college.  He doesn’t know any of these schools yet.  I (maybe stupidly) have kept him in the dark about the whole process, vaguely alluding to 7th grade as the year I’ll crack down on homework and grades.

I really don’t look forward to explaining all this to him.  Any pointers?


December 30, 2014 at 1:19 pm 293 comments

New School Ratings out today


CPS announced the new ratings program today.  The SQRP system.  “SQRP”… just rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Some interesting points from the press release:

Instead of Level 1,2,3 there is now 1+, 1, 2+, 2, and 3.  So if you look at a school see if it has a plus or not.

Over half the schools in CPS are now Level 1 (meaning 1+ and 1) which is considered good standing.

Very few schools are Level 3 anymore (previously 185, now 44.)

12 Schools that earned a Level 1 last year but had significant changes affecting them get a grace period of 1 year before they lose their Level 1 status (I assume this is designed for Receiving schools… so they don’t look crappy this year on account of absorbing kids from a lower level school.)

I haven’t yet found the scoring system for this new system.  Anyone know where that is?

Have you looked at your own school’s ratings?  When you find your school here http://cps.edu/Schools/Find_a_school/Pages/findaschool.aspx   I suggest clicking on PROGRESS REPORT to see lots of data including the results of the survey that parents and teachers took about the school.

Press release:

CPS Releases Comprehensive School Quality Ratings

Rankings Provides Students, Families and Educators with School Performance Details;
Charter Warning List Updated

 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today released its new school quality ratings to provide students, families and educators with the most accurate and comprehensive assessments of schools performance as well as fairly allocate educational supports to ensure schools can achieve the high academic standards set by the District.

 “SQRP was designed to empower informed choices by providing students and families the most comprehensive indication of school quality ever provided by the District,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “For teachers and principals, the new ratings will provide the framework to fairly and accurately measure schools’ performance, as well as help guide our decisions in providing support.”

 Rather than disproportionately relying on test scores, SQRP looks at a broad range of indicators of student success such as student attendance, academic growth and school culture.  The new policy adopts the use of five categories of performance as compared with the former three categories – providing a greater level of granularity for school performance while maintaining classifications already familiar to the school community. 

 The new SQRP ratings are based on data collected during the 2013-14 school year and show that 161 schools achieved the highest rating of Level 1+ and 154 schools were rated Level 1, with 118 schools rated Level 2+, 159 at Level 2 and 44 schools at Level 3.

 Based on the SQRP ratings, 330 schools are now in good standing, and 54 schools will receive provisional support from the Central Office.  A total of 148 schools will continue to receive intensive support to help improve academic achievement.

 The previous performance policy – the school rating system before SQRP –  ranked 174 schools at Level 1, 231 at Level 2 and 185 schools at Level 3.  Under the former system, 201 schools were on probation.

 “The expanded ratings will help us develop and coordinate support for teachers and principals and give a clearer picture of the strengths of each school,” said Byrd-Bennett. 

 As part the SQRP policy, 12 schools were allowed to maintain their Level 1 ranking for one year despite earning a lower designation.  These schools experienced a condition or an event that had a significant impact, such as a significant change in student population, a significant change of the school’s teaching staff as compared to the prior year or a change of principal.

 “Schools that experienced a significant change that may have contributed to a lower rating deserve a full school year to recover without an impact to their rating.  By giving schools a one-year reprieve, we are recognizing the effect of the change on students, teachers and leadership without unfairly burdening the school with the additional requirements of a lower level school,” said Byrd-Bennett.

 In addition to the new ratings, CPS identified six charters schools to be placed on the Charter Academic Warning List as a result of failure to meet academic standards as specified by the SQRP and the school’s contract: Amandla Charter School, BSICS- Betty Shabazz Campus, BSICS – Sizemore Campus, CICS- Larry Hawkins Campus, CICS- Lloyd Bond Campus and Polaris Academy Charter School.

 No charter campuses are on the Academic Warning List for a second straight year, as all five campuses on the previous Warning List demonstrated academic achievement on the new SQRP.  Three schools previously on the Warning List showed substantial improvement: UNO Rufino Tamayo Campus earned a Level 1+ rating, and CICS Basil Campus and Catalyst Circle Rock Campus earned a Level 1 rating.

 Charter campuses with persistent performance less than Level 2+ may face sanctions, up to and including non-renewal, at the time of agreement renewal.

 In August 2013 and with amendments in August 2014 and November 2014, the Chicago Board of Education approved the use of the SQRP beginning in School Year 2014-15 to provide a highly detailed assessment of district schools. After using a Performance Policy that placed schools into one of three rating levels, CPS changed to SQRP, which places schools into one of five rating levels, utilizes performance benchmarks tied to national standards and uses metrics better aligned to the District’s strategic plan, including college enrollment and persistence.

December 3, 2014 at 9:52 pm 96 comments

Comparing SEHS Admission Systems in Chicago, NYC, and Boston


Chart Source: Gotham Gazette, Map Source: Princeton University Press


This interesting article in the Gotham Gazette compared the selective enrollment entry systems of NYC, Boston, and Chicago and the resulting racial balance of students within those schools.

Of the three, NYC SEHSs are the least racial balanced to population due to their one-score entry process.  Chicago is considered the best balanced (only one to use the Tier system.)  The article also points out that we have the most SE highs schools (and the highest % of students enrolled in SEHSs.)  Boston has only 3 SEHSs and is pretty well balanced, despite the lack of using race/socio-economic status.  Perhaps having fewer schools impacts this in some way?


About NYC:

The city admit students to their selective high schools via a one-test-score system.  No Tiers, no grades, no standardized test.  It all comes down to how well you do that one day on that one test.

This article points out: “Tweaking the exam is about all the power that the City can exercise over the admissions policy to its specialized high schools. The test-only mandate for entry has been enshrined in state law since 1972. De Blasio, though, spoke about altering the admissions process to these schools as a mayoral candidate and has followed up similarly since taking office. He has expressed a belief that a single multiple choice test can not adequately measure a young person’s potential and a vision for more diverse student bodies at these elite schools.”

We’ve discussed Stuyvesant HS in NYC before, which has a very high percentage of Asian students (something like 70%?!?).  According to this chart, Asian students dominate the entire NYC selective high school system, comprising 60% of students vs. 15% of the population.  Impressive!  Conversely, Af-Am and Hispanic students are getting very few SEHS seats in NYC.   I’d be curious to see how racial makeup would look in Chicago if we just used the one admission test.

The article has a very good/simple/accurate description of the progress of the admission system in Chicago.  If you’ve ever wondered about that, check out the link.

November 22, 2014 at 10:08 am 98 comments

Petition for Illinois to delay the launch of the PARCC test

You may have seen posts from Raise Your Hand already, but I’d urge people to consider signing this petition to ask the Illinois State Board of Education to delay the launch of the PARCC as the high stakes test in IL until some issues with the methodology are refined.

CPS itself is also in favor of a delay (which indicates the mess that this test is in.)

CPS and BBB alone don’t have the authority to delay the test launch since it’s a state decision.  To let ISBE know that both CPS and parents support delay, more signatures are needed on the petition.

Try the sample test here:   (I’ve tried it and it’s horribly, horribly clunky and cumbersome to use, particularly for math. As a research person, I see multiple ways that this methodology will contort the scores as a way to represent how much a child knows.)




November 9, 2014 at 10:35 pm 31 comments

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