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   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 94 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 76 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

Fall 2014: Applying to High School

SEHS Open House Dates 2014

Use this thread to ask questions, post news about open houses (any type of high school) and share testing info.

I’ll try to get more open house dates from the other (non-SEHS high schools) to post.

In the meantime, SEHS Open House dates are above.

Man, that can take up a LOT of time!  Choosing the early test option (that allows your child to know their score early) can help make the touring process more efficient as you may be able to eliminate certain schools from your repertoire (and may want to include others to widen your net.)

Which reminds of me of the CPSObsessed reader High School Mantra:  CAST A WIDE NET

September 28, 2014 at 10:50 am 644 comments

Fall 2014: Applying to Academic Centers and Intl Gifted Programs


As a quick review, Academic Centers are for 7-8th grade (apply in 6th grade.)  Entry into an AC guarantees you a high school spot in that school (and you can still apply to other schools for high school if you wish.) Students can earn up to 8 HS credits while in an AC.

International Gifted Programs are for grades 6-8 (apply in 5th grade.)  The program includes intensive study of English, French, social studies, laboratory science, mathematics, technology, arts, physical education, library science, and advanced research. The International Gifted Program is designed to allow intellectually able students to be schooled in their least restrictive environment and to mature at an accelerated pace.


Academic Centers

(No dates listed for Taft, Morgan Park yet)

Harlan Academic Center
9652 S. Michigan Ave

Oct 18 10-11:30 am
Nov 15 10-11:30 am

Kenwood Academic Center
5015 S. Blackstone Ave.

Nov 8 10am- 12 noon

Lane Tech Academic Center
2501 W. Addison St.

Nov 2 10am – 12 noon

Lindblom Academic Center
6130 S. Wolcott St.

Nov 1 10am – 11:30am

Young Academic Center
211 S. Laflin St.

Oct 19 10 a.m. to 12 noon

International Gifted Programs

Lincoln International Gifted Program
615 W. Kemper Pl.

Nov 4 9:15 am

Ogden International Gifted Program
1250 W. Erie St.

Oct 23 6-8pm

September 27, 2014 at 7:15 pm 243 comments

Test Prep: Pros and Cons


Interesting discussion started in the elem thread about test prep.

As I see it:


What can it hurt?

Kid gets extra learning time

Helps a child feel more comfortable taking the test as it will feel a bit familiar

Can potentially give your child an edge in testing (my assumption is that this is truer the older the student is, say middle school, high school test prep versus Kindergarten test prep)

Teaches kids that if you want something, you should work hard/prepare for it


Costs money if you pay someone (I feel did some informal “test prep” with my son when he was little, but I could also call it “teaching him stuff he needed to know anyhow.”)

Gives some kids in the system a possible unfair edge over others (typically meaning that higher socio-economic kids get an advantage)


Feel free to continue the discussion here:

September 25, 2014 at 1:47 pm 132 comments

Fall 2014 – Applying to Kindergarten / Elementary School

Bye mommy! Now you can look at Facebook all day long!

Bye mommy! Now you can look at Facebook all day long!

Kindergarten/Elementary application time here!

Welcome! After the long wait from infanthood, it is now time to being charting the waters of CPS elementary school.  

Applying has never been easier, now that it’s all online.

You can apply for a PIN (needed for online enrollment) now.  It will be mailed to your home within a week.

Applications will be accepted starting October 1st.

Details are here and the OAE site now covers almost everything you need to know, very well organized:

When entering Kindergarten (and older grades as well) you have several options:

Gifted and Classical schools – these schools require a test for entry.  For Kindergarten, the tests are given at the same time and kids are tested one-on-one.  For older grades, the kids test in a large group and the gifted and classical tests are on different days.   There is often debate about whether to apply early so your child gets and early test date (benefit: avoid blizzards, get it out of the way) or wait until the end of the application period to apply (benefit: kids may hit that magical reading breakthrough you’ve been waiting for.)  The test scores are normed by age, so it shouldn’t really matter when you do the testing.

Magnet schools – these admit kids via a lottery process.  People who live within 1.5 miles of a school get preference in a proximity lottery.  Others are also admitted, based on Socio-Economic Tier.

Neighborhood schools (also includes Magnet Cluster school, which are just neighborhood schools) – these are schools that admit kids from te neighborhood that surrounds a school.  If you don’t want to attend your own neighbohood school, you can apply to others who have room to spare.  This can only be done through the online application process.  Not every school has space, so it’s wise to fine some ‘up-and-coming’ schools that are growing and have seats to fill.  Or give you local school another look, with some other parents.   Building up parent interest is often a great way to build community and create/uncover a good local school.

One factor that can influence your chance of selection at a school is your Socio-Economic Tier.  Your address determines your Tier (Tier 4, highest socio-economic level, Tier 1, lowest.) NOTE: the tiers for the current application process have not been update yet, so current Tier information may be out of date!!

These are explained here, very cleary by OAE:

Feel free to post questions, comments, or suggestions below.

I don’t see open house dates posted yet, but ideally you’ll tour the schools you’re most interested in.  It’s possible to get a call very late in the application season or even over the summer and have 24 hours to make a decision, which may or may not allow for touring a school at that point.



September 23, 2014 at 9:03 pm 278 comments

Older Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,159 other followers



Get up to the minute obsessive updates on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 4,094,591 hits


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,159 other followers