Posts filed under ‘High school’

Neighborhood / Magnet High School Information


As requested, please use this thread to ask questions, share, and learn about some of the non-SEHS offerings in the city.

Parents with kids at a neighborhood high school, please share your thoughts to help get the word out.

I’ll copy the comments from the other high school thread over here as soon as I have a chance.

February 26, 2015 at 10:26 am 178 comments

High School Acceptances 2015

Lincoln Park HS, built 1899

Lincoln Park HS, built 1899

Days away.  Best of luck to everyone in finding the school that is the best fit for their child, whether that is SEHS, magnet, neighborhood, charter, private, or high school homeschooling (AGH.)

Letters are due to mail out by this Friday 2/17 which means some people *may* see mail on Saturday, but most likely Monday.

How are your kids doing?  Any advice from parents who have gone through this before?

Lots of details here:


February 17, 2015 at 9:47 pm 809 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

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 652 comments

Hidden Gems High School Fair Sept 28th

That time of year is coming up… the time to start lookin’ at schools!  Yeah!

I don’t know what’s better than a fair with rides and corndogs, than a school fair with tables, flyers, and Principals!

Truly though, these school fairs are a great way to meet a lot of the leaders of some of the “off the radar” high schools.

Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows that the key theme for parents when applying to high schools is “cast a wide net.”  That net will feel much more strategic and comfortable if you really get to know some of the high school options in the city.  I had a lot of great one on one conversations there last year.  The list ranges from neighborhood high schools to private, so take you pick.

I have more high school open house info, as soon as I get organized and find it.  If you know of other events parents should know about to tour the high schools, feel free to post in the comments.


“Hidden Gems” Chicago High School Fair presented by Chicago School GPS

Sunday, September 28, 2014 @ 2-5 p.m.

St. Benedict College Preparatory High School, 3900 N. Leavitt (enter on Bell, south of Irving Park Road)

RSVP online for reduced admission and a chance to win raffle prizes

Join Chicago School GPS at our 3rd Annual Hidden Gems High School Fair where we will introduce you to “hidden gem” public and private Chicago high school options.  This event is geared to middle school parents and students.  In addition to hearing from “hidden gem” high schools in a forum setting, parents can attend planned seminars on:

  • High school admissions process

  • Private school scholarships

  • Executive functioning for middle schoolers

  • “Mini boot camp” on entrance essays

  • Entrance test strategies, and

  • Peer to peer info sessions for middle schoolers.

Come learn how to “widen your net” and find multiple Chicago high schools to meet your family’s needs!

Participating Schools include public, charter, independent, parochial, and boarding schools.  The list so far:
St. Benedict’s Prep
Beacon Academy
Wolcott School
Chicago Academy for the Arts
Intrinsic School
Chicago Hope Academy
Chicago HS for the Arts(ChiArts)
Harbridge College Prep Academy
Westinghouse College Prep
DePaul College Prep (Gordon Tech)
Disney II Magnet
Resurrection College Prep
Alcott College Prep
Chicago Waldorf School
Rickover Naval Academy
Global Citizenship Experience
Senn High School
Luther North
GEMS World Academy
St. Patrick High School
Willows Academy
Lake View High School
Chicago Virtual Charter School
La Lumiere School
De La Salle Institute
British School of Chicago
Amundsen High School
Notre Dame for Girls
Noble Network
Scattergood Friends School
Von Steuben (Scholars)
Notre Dame College Prep



September 10, 2014 at 8:08 pm 111 comments

Local Enrollment for Neighborhood High Schools

Thanks to HSObsessed for passing on WBEZ’s Tweet with this interesting data on the % of students at each neighborhood high school who live within the school’s boundaries.

I’ve included those with 1000 students or more and highlighted those with high and low local enrollment.  As HSO points out, on the north side, LVHS and Amundsen have a very low share of local students, while Senn seems to be attracting the neighborhood families (despite having selective programs (IB and arts.))

I think this is also interesting given the “sorting” article we just discussed.  that even aside from the SEHS, there is sorting going on.  Lots of kids are travelling out of their own neighborhoods to other high schools, meaning a neighborhood HS is not a neighborhood HS in the eyes of many Chicago families.  There is some kind of motivation to seek out a different (better) option.


cps hs 1

July 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm 389 comments

WTTW Digital Series on Selective Enrollment High School Admission – 5 students


I’ve been meaning to post this for a while – WTTW has done a nice web series on the SE enrollment process, following 5 kids from different elementary schools through the process.   The episodes are a nice length – 15-18 minutes each, so it’s easy viewing.

The episodes are also on YouTube

Most of us know about the process already so that part won’t be as newsworthy, but the fascinating part is getting a glimpse at some of these schools (both elementary and high school.)  I’ve noted a few episodes that are particularly interesting and some quotes/thoughts on them.  This was really my first time seeing the Disney pods! charter schools, a turnaround school, and some of the SE High schools.

Episode 2 highlights the 5 students’ elementary schools:

Wilmette Junior High: “Every single kid in our class is a masterpiece.”

UNO (Charter:) “There’s a strong expectation of behavioral compliance.”

Disney (Magnet:) “You have 7 classrooms in a pod, without any walls. It’s essentially an open space.” (See the principal and the open spaces)

Marquette School of Excellence (AUSL/Turnaround:) We are in a very data-driven mindset because we want the students to grow. But data doesn’t just come from test scores, it comes from natural observation too.”

District 149 STEM, Calumet City – 1 building with 3 “small schools” within it: “What I want to do is make you the most employable kids in the country.”

Episode 6 shows several high school options (could be a great preview for 8th graders to understand what to expect a bit on the tours)

Lane Tech


Whitney Young

New Trier


Golder College Prep (Noble Charter)

Episode 7 is about the administration at the elementary schools:

AUSL – Teachers have an open door policy for observation, teachers share feedback with each other to help each other improve, share best practice

UNO – I’m sorry, I can’t get past the principal phrasing everything like it’s a question?

Wilmette Junior High – just skip past the stuff about their arts program and new science lab or you’ll cry

Disney – Arts CPS-style, looks fun

STEM Cal City – The superintendent discusses Urban Prep wanting to open a charter in the district


I haven’t watched through the end yet to see what happens with the kids.  If you comment, please remember that these are real kids/families, so no judgy comments about them.

July 6, 2014 at 10:51 pm 46 comments

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