Potential Academic Center at Lane Tech – Sign Petition if you Support it!

January 22, 2011 at 10:27 am 181 comments

So the big buzz right now is the possible Academic Center (7th and 8th grade) that could be opened at Lane Tech.  Apparently they have room in the humongous building.  An Academic Center is an accelereated program that kids have to test into.  Typically if you gain admission, you are guaranteed a high school spot as well.  Admission to these centers is based on the special CPS Academic Center test, ISATs from 6th grade, and grades.

Obviously adding more spots in programs like this is a good thing since they’re so limited right now.  Some of the classical schools only go up to 6th grade (such as Decatur) so those kids needs some good options for middle school as there aren’t enough to go around right now. 

Is there any downside?  I guess perhaps more of the “brain drain” on the neighborhood schools, but that seem like status quo with the CPS system.  I can also foresee this possibly upping Lane’s reputation thereby raising test scores to get in… thereby meaning my son has less of a chance!  But seriously, I think encouraging CPS to keep moving forward with academic programs is a worthy goal.  Here is the info….

Lane Tech is trying to get an Academic Center as another option for academically advanced 7th and 8th graders.  They have met with CPS and Alderman Schulter and are close to getting approval, but they need to show that the community supports the proposal.  Please sign the Petition and send it to your friends, colleagues, relatives, etc.  Thank you.  (As a note, I don’t know who wrote this and is thanking us, but whoever you are, you’re welcome!)

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181 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jill Martensen  |  January 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Thanks for plugging the petition. This is great news for all as it will maximize options! Remember, the students who generally go to Academic Centers are from the OAE and magnet programs in the city. It should also be noted that private school students often transfer to ACs to ensure placement in a SEHS. I am simply speaking about the Magnet and Options Programs within CPS in this case. Having these spaces open up will increase the potential for all students as it will not only be a viable option for everyone, but also has the potential to open up spots at the other schools when seats are vacated for this program. Program expansion is always good! Sign the petition and let’s get this done!
    Jill Martensen
    Decatur Classical School LSC Chairperson

  • 2. RL Julia  |  January 22, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Please note , there are currently 275 7th graders at the Taft AC program. Not all of them are from OAE schools and/or magnet programs. There are a good many from neighborhood schools (including my son and a handful of his classmates). The AC centers are a great way for students who maybe didn’t test into a program earlier to be with kids of like abilities.

  • 3. Mike  |  January 22, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Here’s an idea: how about Lane fills all this extra space in the high school with HIGH SCHOOL students. Lane is a selective enrollment school that although larger than most turns away students every year and they’re talking about using extra space for 7th and 8th graders????

  • 4. My kid  |  January 22, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    If they do this and my kid gets in she’ll go . . . even if lightning does strike and she gets into Whitney. In fact the possibility of this is the only reason we even applied to AC’s for next year. Taft if a fine option, but not fine enough to have her be on the bus at 6:00 a.m., plus continuing there for high school is not a possibility. If we are going to stress out over 7th grade we’ll do it in familiar surroundings.

  • 5. also obsessed  |  January 22, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    I’m with you Mike. How many 7th and 8th graders do they have room for, I”m curious? 100? 200? why can’t they fill it with high school students…..

  • 6. mom2  |  January 22, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    I’m with cpsobsessed on this in one regard – if they offer this, it will be great for Lane and will make it less likely for my next child to get into Lane – less spaces and tougher to get in. I know Lane is a great place and I want those spots for my next child (bright but not quite as bright as the one that is already at Lane). Very selfish, but just how I feel. If they do let Lane do this, then please please please open up another SE high school on the north side of the city (or fix up the few neighborhood high schools near Lane to the point where the scores reflect a fully college bound student body.)

  • 7. cps Mom  |  January 22, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    4, 5, 6 – on the surface I thought great! if they offer something grab it. But agree I think there is more need for HS than 6/7. If, in fact it is a matter of adding additional spaces. I wonder how they can magically create more seats in the same space.

  • 8. different perspective  |  January 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I don’t think this should be viewed as an either or type of situation. There is a clear need for another Selective Enrollment High School on the north side. Not a spruced up neighborhood school. Not a revamping of Lake View. Taft is better, but not there. But a test in high quality academically accelerated Selective Enrollment High School. On the other hand, having an accelerated program start for 7/8th graders on the north side at Lane Tech is sorely needed as well. Currently there are no accelerated middle schools (e.g., Academic Centers) associated with Selective Enrollment High Schools on the north side.

    So this should be a no brainer. More choices are good for students with the wherewithal and interest in advancing their education. An Academic Center at Lane Tech is a no brainer.

    According to the information available on the LT website, this Academic Center has been BLOCKED for TWO YEARS by opposition from several local elementary schools who are concerned their students will leave. Why should the narrow minded interests of several elementary schools block students who strive for more? Why shouldn’t these schools step up to the plate to compete? More options are good for students. Who is thinking about the students here.

    No — having an Academic Center at LT does not mean that there should not be another SE on the north side. There should be BOTH.

    By the way — academic centers are 7/8, not 6/7 grade. There are many students languishing in mediocre elementary schools that could benefit from an early exit. GEEZE GUYS. SIGN THE PETITION.

  • 9. cps Mom  |  January 23, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    you’re right, I meant 7/8. I still think the need is greater for selective HS. There are many excellent elementary schools on the north side and Decatur kids have no problem with placement. But, since there are no new Selective HS’s on the horizon (as far as I know) what about filling the open space with HS students? I would like to see an academic center but the other need is greater. You’re right – this isn’t being presented as an “either/or” but again, why is there unused space with so many needing placement?

  • 10. HSObsessed  |  January 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Jill, I’m curious as to why Decatur only goes up to 6th grade, as that is extremely unusual in CPS. Also, has there been any attempt to extend it to 7th and 8th? It seems that the need for Decatur 6th graders to place somewhere else for 7/8 puts a lot of pressure on those families to create new opportunities elsewhere.

  • 11. RL Julia  |  January 23, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    It seems to me that since there are only three academic centers – and all those kids clamoring to get into SE high schools that there is a clear need for at least three additional academic centers – one on the west side (perhaps connected to the up and coming Westinghouse), one on the south side and one on the north side). For a brief moment, there was the idea of using Thurgood Marshall Middle School (which is nearly empty and a huge mess) as the LT AC. While I think Marshall Middle School is getting a little better, there is still plenty of room for an AC that feeds to Lane.

  • 12. Hawthorne mom  |  January 23, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    #10, Decatur only goes to 6th grade because they don’t physically have any more space for any more classrooms.

  • 13. Jill Martensen  |  January 23, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    To answer your question about Decatur, all Classical Schools were opened as feeder schools into Academic Centers, there were originally 4 classical schools (Decatur, Skinner, McDade and Poe) that sent their students directly into 3 ACs (Whitney, Kenwood, and Morgan Park) . Rightly so, they discontinued the automatic feeder program and made the opportunity to attend ACs available to all students. However, CPS only made 1 Classical School into a full elementary program- Skinner. Theoretically, one can say there really isn’t a reason to extend the program to include 7/8th grade because Decatur works 1-2 grade levels ahead. We would have to have 6-12 certified teachers to teach it and would not be able to offer HS level courses such as the ACs do. We have asked CPS for it though. We were declined due to space restrictions as our building is too tiny to support more (bigger) students. No money to add on to our building and no where to move us…Curiously, they moved Edison, and opened another magnet program (Disney 2) in existing spaces…when both of those buildings would have suited our needs just fine! If you visit our website, under the LSC tab, the history of our plight to get a 7th & 8th grade is there under 7th & 8th Grade Exploration Committee Reports. We even got as far as Rufus Williams coming to our building with the Capital Improvement office reps, and then he resigned!
    Ugh. With last year’s budget cuts, like many schools we had to concentrate on saving our teachers and put all else on hold.

    I understand and agree with all the comments here. There are not enough spots for the children of Chicago. The Mayor tells us to stay here, raise our families and use public education, however they don’t do enough to keep us. Even at Decatur we lose families to the suburbs because siblings don’t test in, or even get placed elsewhere. If your not lucky enough to live in a neighborhood that has a viable option for your specific needs, you have no choice but to pay tuition or more to the burbs. If I was CEO of CPS, I’d have all schools equipped with in house “gifted programs”. There are so many brilliant students who have a bad day on the one day a year they are allowed to test or have testing anxiety. There should be consideration of teacher recommendations in my opinion. Who knows better if a child needs more, the teacher who sees them every day or a one day tester? But I’m not politically connected enough to get that job! LOL

    Please sign the petition. Having another option really helps us all.

  • 14. Jill Martensen  |  January 23, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    PS. There are actually 6 Academic Centers.

    Whitney Young (west loop),
    Harlan (south),
    Kenwood (south),
    Morgan Park (south),
    Lindbloom (south) and
    Taft (north)

  • 15. Y  |  January 23, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Actually, there were only two ACs in the beginning (1979) – WY and Kenwood. I don’t think Morgan Park was added until the mid-80s. As an early graduate from Decatur, it made a lot of sense to be able to go automatically from a classical school program to an AC since that was part of the entire design and appeal of the two programs working together seamlessly. The current setup requiring classical school students to re-test for AC admission and potentially not getting in is a huge flaw since there are so few options for seventh graders. It doesn’t seem very likely that a student completing a classical school program could go back to their neighborhood school for seventh grade.

  • 16. Jill Martensen  |  January 24, 2011 at 8:03 am

    You are correct,Morgan Park was added later a short time later (5 years or so). I didn’t specify since it was there when the feeder program was still intact.

    Since then, the inequity is opening more ACs on the south side, than on the north side. I know that until recently, the north side parents didn’t support CPS as much as south side parents, but these kind of programs are what makes the difference… All the difference for some families when choosing CPS over private/parochial schools.

  • 17. Jill Martensen  |  January 24, 2011 at 8:16 am

    PS. Y (Decatur Alum.)
    We are currently having a pledge drive…feel like helping out your old school? Info. on the home page at http://www.decaturclassical.org.

    No, I ain’t too proud to beg! LOL.

  • 18. Christine  |  January 24, 2011 at 10:52 am

    There is some talk about a fine arts magnet going into Senn High School, too.

  • 19. RL Julia  |  January 24, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Thanks Jill, I stand corrected.

  • 20. MarketingMom  |  January 24, 2011 at 11:42 am

    We do not need another selective enerollment H.S. on the north side. There needs to be more selective enrollment high schools period. Question – Why would I want to sign a petition that will allow kids who are in private school or go to Decatur to have another leg up against my kid, so when he goes to apply there will be limited spots?

  • 21. CPSmama  |  January 24, 2011 at 11:57 am

    If Lane’s AC is approved, CPS will allow them to admit 120 7th graders in year 1 and 120 the next year, for a total of 240. I think it would be hard to put in place for 2011-12 since the SE apps are already in.

    When Taft’s AC started it had less than 50 students sign up. Over the years, more and more students attended. The fact that it now has 275 is a testament to the need for another AC on the north side.

    P.S. Jill Martensen for CEO! LOL

  • 22. RL Julia  |  January 24, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Ummmm, because maybe your kid will get into an academic center in 7th grade and will be set for high school?

    From what I can tell from having a kid in an academic center (although it is only Taft which for some reason that I can’t quite get, everyone considers to be terribly second rate) – the advantage of going to an AC (at least according to my son) is that everyone is interested in learning, everyone does their homework (gasp) and turns it in everyday and the class moves at a slightly faster pace. He also takes a language every day. I don’t think he gets tons more homework than he did in the neighborhood school he went to last year – although I understand that if he was at Whitney Young’s AC it would be tons of homework.

    My point being is that I don’t think that the AC’s take kids who weren’t’ going to do well in school and transform them into academic superstars – most of the kids were doing well enough already to make them contenders for the SE’s provided they stay on track. Same competitors, different package. Also, given that Lane also seems to be considered a lesser SE, I’d imagine that at least half of the kids in any Lane Academic Center would try and get into a more selective SE (ahh, the arrogance of youth).

  • 23. ChicagoGawker  |  January 24, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    I signed the Lane Tech petition and then read the following article on how you can screw your kids chances for a competitive university by sending them to the most competitive HS you can find:

    Most top universities pick kids from the top 10% of their class. How hard is to be in the top 10% at the SEs? Thoughts from current parents of SE kids???

  • 24. Mayfair Dad  |  January 24, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I am a big proponent of Academic Centers. Many 7 – 8 graders who graduate from neighborhood schools are not prepared for the rigors of a SE high school — the ACs offer a chance for good students to “ramp up” their study skills and compete for spots at top high schools. Even with the emphasis on 7th grade report cards (needs to be re-tooled, IMHO) the student is better off in the long run. So I am in favor of Lane adding this option — great opportunity for kids from neighborhood schools.

    Now to really poke the bee’s nest: I think the Albany Park Multicultural Academy should become the Academic Center for the Von Steuben High School Scholars Program. Neighborhood 7 – 8 graders should return to Hibbard (since enrollment is down and school no longer overcrowded), and Edison Regional Gifted should be relocated to a site more conducive to their mission. Finally the taxpayers of the 39th Ward will have an opportunity to send their children to the spectacular facility their TIF dollars built.

  • 25. mom2  |  January 24, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    @20 – “We do not need another selective enrollment H.S. on the north side. There needs to be more selective enrollment high schools period.”
    I agree that we need more everywhere, but you are wrong that we don’t specifically need another one on the north side. I am certain that if you looked at the data, you would see that there are more students that have the scores to qualify for an SE high school that live on the north side than south or west.
    If there were more SE options for our students in our general area of the city, there would also be more support for an AC at Lane. It is certainly the right move for Lane and would be nice for some families, but it would take away spots at Lane for 8th graders applying to Lane. (Maybe some of those that would have gone to Payton, etc. would stay at Lane and leave open those spots for Payton, etc., but not enough to make this concern invalid.)

  • 26. CPSmama  |  January 24, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    @RLJulia: The reason Taft’s AC is considered “2nd rate” is because a large percentage of its students don’t stay at Taft for high school.

    @ChicagoGawker: None of the SE HS’s rank their students. And colleges are aware when a student attends a highly competitive HS and they do not require top 10% of class when the student is already in the top 5% of students citywide.

  • 27. Jill Martensen  |  January 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I love this dialogue! Thanks everyone for piping in on this issue. I know that it is a hard decision and really is about what you think would best benefit your own child.

    The reality of the situation (IMHO) is inequity in all OAE programs on the north side. Out of 9 SEHSs, only 2 are on the north side. Out of 6 ACs, only 1 is on the north side. There are 2 ACs currently in SEHSs, and neither of those is on the north side.

    We really need to get our representation up. I love when CPS tells me that more south side families use public education than north side families, gee…really, look at all their great options! I almost choked when a CPS employee (who shall remain nameless) told me I should be applying to the south side SEHSs since the 3rd and 4th tiers are under represented over there and our chances of getting a spot would be higher. SERIOUSLY?

  • 28. cps Mom  |  January 24, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Academic centers are now called Selective Enrollment elementary schools – true? With the addition of SEES schools I think that we need to evaluate how the process works. Now we’re going to be reserving seats for select students? Maybe we need to add a SEES to every SE HS and just start enrollment at 7th grade.

    You do need to consider ramifications of SEES. I know a brilliant student living blocks from Northside who accepted a position at Whitney AC. He went from straight A’s to a’s and b’s and wouldn’t have made it to Northside (being Tier 4). They also told him at Whitney that he would risk losing his spot if he applied. This kid is an Einstein and I believe the grades fell to B by design. For this reason, I am not in favor of teacher referrals in SE.

  • 29. Y  |  January 24, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I believe the real answer to the problem is having more acceptable high school options on the north side, not more SE slots. The fear for everyone is the precipitous drop-off beyond the SE programs. There are a few other acceptable programs (Lincoln Park IB, Alcott, Taft AC, Von Steuben, etc.) but the vast majority of the neighborhood high schools worries parents.

    If you look at the cutoff at Lane for second round offers, most of the scores are in the mid-700s. These are very good students but this is going pretty far down the list for kids who are coming predominately from the north side. This indicates to me that SE opportunities are available for most students who want it. Lane may not be NSCP, WP, or WY but it is a SE with solid academics.

    @CPSMama – You are correct about the students standings at SE schools. However, universities and colleges typically will not admit more than a handful of students from any given school. Colleges are trying to create a mix of students from different schools and regions. So, a student who is at the bottom half of the class at an SE is at a disadvantage since the top colleges will likely offer admissions to the students in the top part of the class. The student at the lower part of the SE class may be better off at a non-SE but acceptable high school where they would stand out to an admissions officer.

  • 30. CPSmama  |  January 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    @ Y: There are plenty of good colleges for all of Chicago’s SE HS students. I think that there is a very unrealistic expectation among SEHS students and parents who think that they should all get into ivy league schools or top 25 colleges. That is never gonna happen. (Side note: did you see Race to Nowhere yet?) The vast majority of SEHS students end up at UIC and U of I-primarily due to finances. And both of those schools are excellent options.

  • 31. question  |  January 24, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    to Mayfair Dad, where would you suggest CPS relocate ERGC?

  • 32. RL Julia  |  January 24, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    @CPS Mama – so that’s it. As far as I can tell, Taft’s IB program is really rigorous and really pushes the kids in it. Its the kids (and maybe the parents) who have the prestige problem. We sent my son there with at least a partial expectation that he was set and would never have to take another entrance exam again if he didn’t want to but he apparently has set his sights on an SE school -and here we go. Another example of the grass being greener, I guess. I am not convinced that the education at Taft is significantly worse or better than it is at an SE school – but an SE school is full of nothing but SE students while Taft is still mixed (which was actually one of the things my husband and I liked about it – it seemed so “normal”).

  • 33. CPSmama  |  January 24, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    @RLJulia, good luck to your son. We have found that the transition from Taft AC to SEHS is a smooth one. Plus their credits (and grades) from Algebra, Spanish I, Survey Lit and US Hist transfer with them.

  • 34. Jill Martensen  |  January 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    One would think that Taft HS, (with its AC, IB Program and Honors Program) that is pulling neighborhood boundary students from some of the north side’s best elementary schools (Saughanash, Edgebrook, Norwood, Oriole etc) would be an excellent option.

    PS. RL Julia…didn’t mean to correct you, I was simply supporting your statement with more facts! LOL

  • 35. James  |  January 24, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    #28 —

    I think you put your finger on one of the risks of the Whitney AC. While it does give you the option to stay at WY for high school (which is a good school, of course), if your kid goes the AC route and gets a B in 7th grade, then he or she will have removed himself or herself from consideration at Northside and Payton. Unless your kid would be perfectly happy to stay at WY (and do they really know in 6th grade?), might be better to keep them in their elementary school for 7th and 8th grade instead of putting them in the the heightened academic rigor of an AC. I know a couple kids that went to WY AC in 7th grade, got a B (or even two), and so could not consider the full range of SE HSs when it came time.

    Just more stress and things to consider…

  • 36. Jill Martensen  |  January 24, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Sorry forgot to add, CPS Mom -When I talk teacher recommendations, I mean that they would be in support of test scores, not in place of.

    I agree that the “brain drain” issue is evident in many schools, elementary and HSs alike. Our neighborhood school bad mouths other programs in hopes of keeping students to up their own test scores…Hey Principals….shouldn’t it be about what’s best for the student and not your school stats?

    My son is the WY AC currently, and while it is more difficult, straight A’s are possible. I plan to take advantage of the 6 year plan as I think it sets a good educational goal, and really how many times can I test this poor kid! Although I do know parents who do move their kids closer to home (NSCP or Lane) for HS.

    But for my two other kids, Lane Tech is another option I welcome wholeheartedly. And if they don’t get into an AC, I can hope for fill in spots at other programs that will open up by this new program.

    PS. Mayfair Dad, I knew that statement about moving Edison again would get a response… You’re a brave man! LOL

  • 37. CPSmama  |  January 24, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    @CPS Mom: You are correct, WY is rigorous and it is hard to get straight As- even for “Einsteins”. However, WY cannot legally tell a kid that they’ll lose their spot in HS if they apply for other SEHS’s.

    @James: There are very few kids who go to WY’s AC who don’t want to stay for HS. They love the place. It is usually a parental decision to force them to leave for NS or Payton.

    As for staying in an easy elementary school to increase the odds of getting into a SEHS – there are many families who are using just that strategy. I personally would worry that they are in over their heads in HS after skating through elementary school?

  • 38. CPSmama  |  January 24, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Clarification: Admission to AC’s is based on ISATs and grades from 5th grade not 6th grade as the first paragraph states

  • 39. RL Julia  |  January 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    @36 and 38, we found it hard to balance the potential educational needs of our son going into 7th grade against what might be his needs/desire as a 9th grader. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that despite the hype around the AC’s, that the neighborhood school well prepared him well.

  • 40. cps Mom  |  January 24, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    According to WY, if a student applies in the selective enrollment process they enter the pool with everyone else. This is new. Tier 4 takes a chance. In the case of my friend, their preference was Northside but were stuck. They are happy at Whitney but they did not receive their 1st choice. I’m sure many stick with the plan (especially with the new rules) because NS and Payton are no longer available to them.

    I wonder how many students from Decatur would continue with Lane – don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great program and I’m sure there will be some – but will they hang on to their “reservation” at the expense of others only to make a switch at the start of school? Just speculation and not point of contention. I do think the SE system needs a major overhaul and I don’t think we’ll see it soon (how long did we have the old system that everyone went along with?)

  • 41. Decatur mom  |  January 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    You can’t really hang on to anything. When you accept one spot your other options are gone and opened up to others.
    I personally think that people would chose Lane over Taft simply for the ability to stay put. Pretty sure also that Whitney will continue to be everyone’s 1st choice….but most parents want to be done with testing as soon as they can.

  • 42. Mayfair Dad  |  January 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    @ 31, that is the multimillion dollar question.

    A stand-alone building for one thing. It should stay North. Perhaps if an underutilized CPS or Archdiocese building was available to be repurposed, otherwise build something brand new. The problem with a new build would be the howling of all the parents from overcrowded Region 1 schools waiting for additions.

    I am told the reason ERGC landed where it did was because the mostly-empty APMA building was about to be turned over to a charter high school operator unless a plan to increase utilization took root.

  • 43. RL Julia  |  January 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I personally was disappointed tofind out about the level of feel bad that some of the Decatur kids had about going to Taft -in that it was a distant second choice/second rate school (that they can’t wait to get out of as soon as possible). My son was puzzled since he could have gone to Whitney (at least according to his scores) but put Taft as his first choice. I hear that there is a similar thing at Von Steuben – where the kids tend to define themselves by what SE they didn’t get into instead of being proud of getting into and going to a great school.

  • 44. cps Mom  |  January 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Oh yes you can – for example, you can enroll at LP and selective at the same time. I know someone who held his spot at Payton until the day school started. You are right in that one cannot apply for more than 1 selective enrollment school.

  • 45. CPSmama  |  January 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    @cps Mom- your friend is wrong. WY AC students are allowed to test for NS & Payton without losing their HS spot at WY. This is straght from OAE.

    However, if a WY AC student has anything other than straight As in 7th grade there’s no reason to enter the SEHS pool to try for NS or Payton. The same will be true for a Lane AC student, although, they may want to try for WY which some tiers can get into with a B.

    If Lane runs its AC correctly, it will probably be able to retain more AC students than Taft currently does.

    I called OAE and your

  • 46. cps Mom  |  January 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Wow – thanks for that (too late for my friend). She said she was told which I guess if you have to ask someone at the school you might not get a completely accurate answer. Because of the B situation they would not have made it but certainly would have if he stuck with the elementary school. Good point, same thing could happen with Lane. A B in an honors level course could keep one in place. You would really need to consider the 6 year plan when looking at AC’s. One other complaint she had about the WY program (not with regard to her child) is that the math was so hard that you had these “elite” kids having to attend summer school for D’s. Just mentioning it to get all the cards on the table for potential applicants. I’ve enjoyed looking at the possibilities here and just hope to provoke further thought. I do agree with options!

  • 47. Jill Martensen  |  January 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Our principal is working on the “second best to Whitney” issue with us all. It’s a hard stereotype to change.
    I think it’s mainly because until recently it was our only option. There was no Taft, no Northside, no Payton or Jones. We really had only there to go, and if you didn’t get in at 7th grade when our program ended you were devastated.
    Also the fact that Decatur is one of 3 schools city wide where you MUST find another school at 7th grade, makes it more likely that parents are looking for a 6 year program so they can be done with testing.
    It really isn’t snobbery, it’s simply old habits die hard. Ya know?

  • 48. James  |  January 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    #44 —

    Small point. You can APPLY to several SE HSs. You will, however, only get a letter ADMITTING you to one — the highest ranked one for which you qualify. There is no way, as there was before last year, to be admitted to more than one SE. This is, in my opinion, one of the good changes they made to the program last year.

  • 49. HSObsessed  |  January 24, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Neighborhood schools that have advanced programs within them will always be hard-pressed to have the cache that SEHS have, because the widely published standardized test results of the school will be lower. This is true of Lincoln Park HS and it’s unfortunately true of Taft. Taft’s IB program students post average ACT scores of 24.6, which is right up there with the current crop of students at Jones, and higher than the average ACT at Lane, and yet many students leave Taft for Lane.

  • 50. Jill Martensen  |  January 24, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    That’s awesome to hear about Taft’s composite score.

    Northside is around 28, Payton 27, Whitney 26 and Jones 24 and Lane 23….

    So why isn’t everyone staying at Taft when entering the AC? It’s ranking up there with the SEHSs.

    Does anyone know where it ranked in that Chicago Magazine study? I only paid attention to the elementary school list for obvious reasons.

  • 51. Jill Martensen  |  January 24, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    I found this on the Tribune site…

    You can look up all schools’ stats. It says Taft is a 19..still not bad!

  • 52. Stressed Out  |  January 24, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    @ HSObsessed. That’s interesting about Taft’s ACT score for the students who are in the IB Program. I’ve seen statistics for individual schools but not for individual programs. Can I ask where you saw this piece of data?

  • 53. RL Julia  |  January 24, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    My impression is that everyone is wants to leave Taft because of the cache of the SE’s to students and parents. Not many (if anyone) knows that the IB program is equal to that of an SE. There are a whole cadre of kids who are busy feeling bad because they didn’t get into Whitney – they don’t want to stay at Taft simply because its not Whitney, it isn’t a SE, and they have been academically successful and expect that they should be able to do better – why go to U of I when you got into Harvard? All these kids have academic high expectations for themselves and don’t mind competing – they did get into Taft after all – why not try to get into Payton?

    Also, from a few conversations I’ve had with faculty – they almost seem to accept if not promote the idea that at least some of the kids will go elsewhere and seem more than a little proud of the idea that Taft AC kids are going to all different SE’s and not just staying at Taft and going to the IB program.

    Finally, there have been numerous discussions on this blog about Lincoln IB – a fine and rigorous program unto itself which is also considered to be a second choice to the SE’s simply because (as far as I can tell) there are non-SE kids in the same building and somehow this makes a difference. Perhaps it lessens the cache and bragging rights? Perhaps it means that the IB kids are just a subset of a larger school population that is not entirely academically overachieving and that this is somehow undesirable.

    I am sure some people will also mention that Taft is not centrally located which it is very true – but then again, neither is North Side.

  • 54. Chicago Gawker  |  January 24, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Do the IB programs do admissions according to the top 40% scorers and then by Tier top scorers like the SE HSs?

  • 55. 6th grade mom  |  January 24, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Ok, a few questions for those who may know.

    The proposal for the Lane Tech Academic Center does not appear on the board agenda for this month’s meeting. Does this mean it is shelved until next year at least? I hope not, but don’t see how they could approve it any later than this month since the HS notifications go out next month so they probably have to figure out by then whether to leave room for the middle school kids.

    Does anyone know whether Taft has decided for sure to go to Track E? If they do, that option would be off the table for my family due to the logistical nightmare of having multiple kids, in the same school system no less, with such different schedules.

    Finally, for anyone with kids at WY, do most students survive the commute from distant corners of the city in fairly good spirits? To an outsider it seems sort of daunting to sign my kid up for that (should we be so lucky) for the next 6 years.

  • 56. Jill Martensen  |  January 25, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Hi 6th Grade Mom,

    The proposal for Lane Tech will be on the February agenda. There is a vetting process for all items to be placed on the agenda and as of last week, Abigayil Joseph of the OAE had started that process. The petition (HOPEFULLY EVERYONE IS SIGNING) will be used as a support document for her proposal.The proposal says the AC will open for the 2011-12 school year, they are ready! When we met with the OAE, they said just like when Coonley opened mid process, they will notify families that have already tested of another choice and have them re-rank their options. So if you already tested for this upcoming school year, you’ll get to choose Lane!

    Track E is “year round school”, actually it’s simply one month shorter in the summer and 3 weeks off at Winter/Spring Breaks instead of 2. I personally think all CPS schools are heading in this direction, but they should rip the band-aid off all at once since so many families have multiple schools to contend with. I find it hard enough to deal with HS vs Elementary scheduling…and that’s really only for PD days etc. Having multiple school years will only confuse ME further…Principal Tavardian has told his LSC that he is for it, but if the parents/staff aren’t then he won’t push for it. I do not know if they are or not….. Julia any word on this?

    Whitney, depending on where you live of course, is not such a bad commute. They have cluster busing that picks up at a neighborhood school “in your area” (unless you are on the far nw side-then your closest bus pick up is at Saughanash). WY is also right off the Racine Blue Line stop. I put my 13 year old on the bus at 6:45am for an 8:30 start time. They get to school before 8:00am which I don’t get but with transportation on the chopping block every year, I don’t questions it when they do offer it! LOL This is only about 30 minutes earlier than I do for the Decatur bus. (Maybe I’m just used to ridiculous bus times?! LOL) He is fine with it. I gave him the option of taking a later “el” but he prefers the bus…says he can catch 30 more minutes of sleep and not miss his stop. Teenagers!

    Chicago Gawker…yes it’s the same testing process.


  • 57. ackie mom  |  January 25, 2011 at 8:32 am

    @ #55: As it currently stands, there is bus service for the academic centers. It’s a transit style bus service that picks the students up at a neighborhood school in your area (not necessarily the closest neighborhood school) with only a few bus stops prior to arriving at the school for each bus route. The bus arrives early enough to get situated before classes begin.

    If your child gets involved in any extracurricular activities, you will have to make other arrangements for the afterschool commute. So far, it’s working out for us. I work downtown, so my child hops on public transportation and meets me at my job on those days. Others may car pool.

    WYAC started at 7 am last year, but the time was adjusted to 8 am this school year.

  • 58. HSObsessed  |  January 25, 2011 at 8:36 am

    @52, you can find the statistics about the Taft IB program on the Taft website. Go to Special Programs, IB Diploma, 9th Grade Application, and then the PDF called “IB frequently asked questions.”

  • 59. RL Julia  |  January 25, 2011 at 8:48 am

    The word on Taft going Track E is that they won’t know until May (eek!). I don’t think that they are getting the sort of neighborhood support for the change that they need but I don’t know for sure.

    Taft starts at 7:30 and the school bus is at the neighborhood school at 6:20 for my son. If he takes the el (its an eight block walk to the Harlem stop on the blue line) or if we drive him he doesn’t have to leave until about 6:45 to get to school on time.

    What it has meant for us is that my son has to be in bed by no later than 9:00 (although he does read for a while).

    As for Track E – I have a daughter at another school which isn’t Track E the dual schedule thing is a pain to contemplate but I know people with kids in Track E schools and they all really like it. I for one wouldn’t mind planning a vacation/time off in October when everything is cheaper than during the summer and spring break and the weather is still nice out.

  • 60. HSObsessed  |  January 25, 2011 at 9:10 am

    @54 — Admissions to the IB programs is separate from the SE HS admissions process and does not involve selection by tier. To be eligible to apply, the candidate must meet a certain level of ISAT score (depends on the program – for LP HS it is 90 percent or better in both reading and math, for Taft it looks like currently 60th or better), take a separate entrance exam, and then a committee reviews the candidate’s academic and attendance record, and there is an interview. For LP HS, the same process is used for out-of-neighborhood students applying to attend LP HS through either the IB or the Honors/AP program.

  • 61. mom2  |  January 25, 2011 at 9:53 am

    @54 – HSObsessed is correct. In case it helps you understand better, my child easily was accepted into the Lincoln Park IB program but did not have the point totals to get into the “top 4” SE schools due to being in Tier 4. Tiers didn’t play a role in the IB selection process. The IB test and the interview were key to that selection. My child selected Lane over LPIB and is very happy.

    Regarding Track E, I also would like the ability to take a trip while everyone else is in school and prices are low. HOWEVER, if they start school earlier in the summer, this would cause significant problems as I know of several students that plan summer jobs as camp counselors and the camps require you to be there for all of it and camp ends after Track E begins. I know someone said all the camps would change if all of CPS changed, but some camps are not just for CPS students. Some take in private or suburban kids or even kids from out of state. This will not fly for those families.

  • 62. Lane admission  |  January 25, 2011 at 10:25 am

    #56 writes: ” When we met with the OAE, they said just like when Coonley opened mid process, they will notify families that have already tested of another choice and have them re-rank their options. So if you already tested for this upcoming school year, you’ll get to choose Lane!”

    This was not my experience when my now second grader was admitted to Coonley during its first year. It was not until I got the selection letter, spoke to OAE on the phone to decline the round one selection, and SPECIFICALLY asked about Coonley, that I was told about it and how the process would work. They didn’t even begin notifications for Coonley until after round one was complete. It makes me wonder how many students in second grade at South Loop and Pritzger would have gone to Coonley if they had been informed.

  • 63. Mayfair Dad  |  January 25, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Thoughts on the above thread:

    An option other than ACs is the International Gifted program (formerly IB Prep), offered at Lincoln and Ogden International. This is a test-in gifted program that begins in 6th grade. Next year the brand new Ogden International Elementary school will open. Added advantage is Ogden International Gifted students are automatically accepted into Ogden International High School IB program. Mayfair Son loves it. Worth a look.

    Mayfair Son is one of those typical teenage boys who prefer skateboarding to doing homework, resulting in (gasp!) a few Bs in 7th grade. After I got over my disappointment of not being able to brag to neighbors that the young genius was headed to Northside College Prep, we started looking at our real options:

    – Ogden International IB (he is grandfathered)
    – Taft HS IB program (our “neighborhood” high school)
    – Lincoln Park HS IB Program (the oldest and most selective IB program in the city; we had our one-on-one interview with Ms. Tookey last weekend. So far we are very impressed!)
    – Lane Tech (Mayfair Son does exceedingly well on standardized tests, so his point total is still high enough to be considered for Lane Tech, another impressive option)
    – Von Steuben Scholars Program (another “off-the-radar” option for bright kids who may have stumbled in 7th grade.)

    Am I sorry we pulled our son out of the neighborhood school where 7th grade As were a certainty? No – our son is a better student for having gone to Ogden. We are big believers in the IB approach, standards and methodology. Wherever he lands for high school, he will succeed.

    As far as ACs go, many families from Palmer and a few from St. Ed’s are sending their kids to Taft AC for 7th & 8th grade. The heavier workload and high school level algebra better prepare the kids for high school, SE or otherwise. Especially teenage boys, who get bored easily and have a natural tendency to slack off, the idea of going to Junior High might give them a jump-start.

    There are several worthwhile options to consider on the NW side if you are willing to look past the SE High School designer labels. But we still need more!

  • 64. Y  |  January 25, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Question for parents with kids in AC programs-

    From a historical perspective as a former AC student back in the 80s, we were in our own environment in seventh grade and then started taking classes with the regular high school students beginning in eighth since we were taking freshman and sophomore level classes. What is the current setup at the ACs for your seventh and eighth graders? Are they integrated into the high school classes immediately, transitioned into classes with high school students as they become ready, or do they remain completely separated until after eighth grade?

  • 65. Jill Martensen  |  January 25, 2011 at 11:21 am

    I didn’t know that IB programs are not judged on the same 900 point criteria…is this new? It is on the GEAP (SEES now) application, I thought as a school under the OAE’s umbrella, the “tier thing” was in affect. SO GLAD to hear it’s not, I will confirm.

    I also know people who have gone to Ogden and LOVE IT! Decatur invites them (along with many others) to our 7th & 8th grade fair every year. I agree with Mayfair Dad, there are overlooked options out there….and yes, we still need more! LOL

    Question about Taft…If you are at the AC do you have to test into the IB program or is it automatic that you may stay? Taft is not my neighborhood school so it is my impression that if we chose Taft AC, we’ll need to test again for HS. Also that the Honors Program is for neighborhood kids only…. Can this be confirmed please?

    #62…I was in the pool that year too and before any acceptance letters went out, I received a separate letter asking if I wanted Coonley Gifted as one of my selections…???? Then I got a phone call asking what my real first choice was Gifted or Classical, that was before the application changed and you got to chose schools in BOTH categories. Ahhh… the good ole’ days!

  • 66. CPSmama  |  January 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    @64: WY AC students have their core classes with other AC students and their electives (ie. band, choir, orchestra, foreign lang)w/ HS students. Taft’s AC students have all their classes, including electives, with AC students. One caveat: If an AC student tests super high on ISATs in math or science, they may be placed into higher level courses with HS students. For example, one 7th grade math whiz in my kid’s AC class at WY tested into Calculus as a 7th grader!

    @65 Not all Taft’s AC students get into Taft’s IB program. They have to apply internally but there is no test. It is based on grades, attendance, discipline. Most with decedent grades seem to get in, and some who don’t still get into Taft’s honors program.

    There are a handful of AC students at Taft who struggle with grades & disciplinary issues, and they aren’t allowed to stay at Taft (even in the regular HS program) unless they are within Taft’s neighborhood attendance boundaries.

  • 67. Mayfair Dad  |  January 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    The Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center Scholars Program is a magnet school. The lottery is not tied to the 900 point – 4 socioeconomic tiers policy like SE high schools. However, the application asks for race and sibling information, so presumably that plays a part in admissions.

    – 77th percentile in ISAT Reading, Math and Science
    – Essay Requirement
    – Teacher Recommendation

    Lincoln Park HS International Baccalaureate Program is a magnet school. The lottery is not tied to the 900 point – 4 socioeconomic tiers policy like SE high schools.

    – 7th grade ISAT scores at the 90th percentile and above in both Reading and Math
    – Entrance test which includes written literature interpretation.
    – Review of academic record and attendance
    – Interview with student and parent

  • 68. Decatur mom  |  January 25, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Isn’t Albany Psrk Multicultural Center a feeder for Von Stubem?

  • 69. Mayfair Dad  |  January 25, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    @ 68. Good question. From perusing the Von Steuben website, one might conclude admissions were lottery only, 5th stanine or above for general students. Doesn’t mention anything about attendance boundaries.

    The kids at APMA are effectively the 7th and 8th graders from Hibbard Elementary. APMA boundaries do not include any other nearby schools, although several are at capacity or overcrowded. That’s why it sat mostly empty until ERGC moved in.

    My guess is the neighborhood high school for APMA kids is Roosevelt unless a special deal exists with Von Steuben.

  • 70. ChicagoGawker  |  January 25, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Anyone know what is an IB certificate versus an IB diploma?

  • 71. cps Mom  |  January 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    My understanding from touring Von is that it is only magnet (lottery) or the Scholars Program (IB). According to them the average ACT of the Scholars program was just under Northside.

    Many of the applications ask about race (even selective) but it is not supposed to be a determining factor. They use it for tracking and you may chose to decline to answer.

  • 72. Mayfair Dad  |  January 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    @ 70: Read this


    “The IB Diploma Programme is designed as an academically challenging and balanced programme of education with final examinations that prepares students, normally aged 16 to 19, for success at university and life beyond. The programme is normally taught over two years and has gained recognition and respect from the world’s leading universities.”

    Translation: IB standards and curriculum are independent of watered down Illinois State standards, therefore more rigorous and meaningful.

  • 73. ChicagoGawker  |  January 25, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I read that and would love for my kid to do IB for HS. My question comes fromt the Taft IB webpage that states that some of their students graduate with an IB diploma (only 8 or 9 per year recently) and the rest get an IB certificate. I have a feeling that some don’t pass the required rigorous exams at the end and they get an IB certificate showing they have been through the program, but not the actual, internationally recognized,IB diploma. Can anyone confirm?

  • 74. CPSmama  |  January 26, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    @73, Yes, not all of he IB students at Taft get the IB diploma. I asked how that would look to prospective colleges and was told that the child is accepted to colleged based on being an IB diploma candidate, and that the results don’t come out until end of sr. year so it doesn’t have a negative effect.

    IB seems to rigid for me/my children. Basically every class that the child will take in 4 yrs of HS is decided in 9th grade. I prefer a ibit more flexibility.

  • 75. RL Julia  |  January 27, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Does anyone know when the academic center at Lane will be voted on?

  • 76. CPSO Fan  |  January 27, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    there is a vetting process to even get on the BOE agenda. That is already under way supposedly….they hope to be on the Feb. agenda.

  • 77. Jill Martensen  |  January 28, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Hey All,
    You can keep up to date on what’s happening with the Lane Tech Academic Center proposal on FaceBook.


  • 78. HSObsessed  |  January 29, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Trib story today on the proposed academic center. Jill is quoted. Petition has gotten 1300 signatures.


  • 79. SEfairness  |  January 29, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    While I sympathize with Jill and the plight of Decatur parents who find that there are few SE options beginning at 7th grade (no one seems to have mentioned Lincoln pre-IB along with the better neighborhood schools that have spots in 6th and 7th grade due to family’s moves or students transfer to SE options), I’ve never heard of a Decatur student not finding a place to go for 7th and 8th grade.

    I have, however, heard stories of children who are bright and hard working and didn’t get into any SEHS.

    A few things I’m wondering. Why is the Principal at Lane so invested in getting this program? How many children will deprived of a Lane HS spot because of this program? Jill, you’ve spoken so passionately about having this option, but can you tell us what it means in terms of the number of children that will be locked out of a high school spot? Is it a1 for 1 trade-off?
    And if it is, why should we support that trade-off? Are children who will likely end up in a SEHS, albeit, not until 9th grade, more deserving than kids who will be shut out of those spots given the automatic admittance of these kids into Lane HS

    If you haven’t read it yet, go to Lane’s website and read the principals description of why the program is needed. I’d love to hear a healthy discussion of her reasons. One of her points is that the program will mostly draw private and parochial school students. Really? Well, if that is the case, that is even more reason why I don’t want resources taken from high school freshman and doled out in this way.
    She also says there are 3 elementary schools that oppose the plan, Jill, just out of curiousity, what school’s is she speaking of?

    Finally, I think most will agree, that SEHS high schools shouldn’t be open only to kids with almost straight A’s and 2/3s of the admission based on testing results! It’s incredible that we can’t come up with a more holistic and accurate way to assess fitness of rigorous academic programming.

    Indeed, you know that % ranking on the ISAT that counts for 1/3 of your child’s admission score. What that is, is NOT the full scale score (which is the top chart on the fancy form CPS sends home and shows if your child, meets, or doesn’t meet or exceeds) standards. No, instead what CPS uses to determine 1/3 of your child’s fitness for high school is the SAT score which is literally just he first 30 items on the reading portion and the first 30 items on the math portion of the ISAT. So it is just those multiple choice questions. It doesn’t include the short answer questions or the extended response questions. I understand the Blue Ribbon Commission recommended that CPS use the full scale score for SEHS admissions, but has anyone even seen that report?

    To LP IB’s credit, I understand that they do look at the full-scale ISAT score–but why don’t the others.? If god forbid a kid has a stomachache on day one of testing and gets 5 wrong put of the first 30 questions on the reading section and or math section, and have a B, they can probably kiss goodbye their chance to get into a SEHS. No one cares how they did on the rest of the test. It isn’t fair, and either is taking away seats at LANE HS for that same kid!

  • 80. cpsobsessed  |  January 29, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Very good points #79 – definitely worth people taking into consideration.

    I *have* heard of kids from Decatur not getting into the WY program and complaining the the school sort of implies they’ll all end up there. But at the very least, there is some level of hassle involved for those parents for 7th grade. Not the end of the world, but not ideal either.

    I’m curious about the seats at Lane and whether those could be made into high school spots (or if they’re taking away from HS spots.) Good question.

    I’m also curious about this first-30 question issue. Are you looking for the Blue Ribbon Commission report? I will try to dig it up….

  • 81. DecaturParent  |  January 30, 2011 at 1:49 am

    I do not know why everyone is concerned that Decatur kids will have a leg up on other children in neighborhood schools. News flash —- they already have the leg up. They are studying material well advanced of what neighborhood schools are. If my Decatur child went to Lane Tech AC no worries you would have your spot for HS because the goal for my child is set higher on Northside. The majority of children from Decatur go from Decatur to Whitney anyways. I do not see that trend changing because Lane gets an AC. Perhaps the few who may have gone to Taft will select Lane AC instead for 7th grade due to the location being closer to home. To be brutally honest as a parent I am not even interested in Lane Tech AC or Lane Tech HS for my child but have signed the petition because it gives ALL children the opportunity to get into Lane AC and stay through HS. I am signing it more for the benefit of the non Decatur child. Not because it gives my Decatur child a better opportunity. I have no interest in sending my child to Lane AC or Lane HS.

    Also Decatur does not imply to any child that attends Decatur that they will get into Whitney young. Nothing is handed to Decatur kids they earn it. If it were just handed to them we would not be having this discussion because we would be sitting in our new building with a 7th and 8th grade. These conversations always become an Decatur vs. whoever school/child. Bottom line is you can not compare an apple to an orange. Our children are completely different in their needs not only academically but also on a socio-emotional basis as well. I signed this petition for your neighborhood school child. Not mine.

  • 82. LR  |  January 30, 2011 at 2:47 am

    I think if Decatur needs a bigger school to accommodate 7th and 8th, then we should be petitioning for an addition on site. It seems like everywhere I look CPS schools are getting additions. Why not Decatur? The K-6 thing is nonsense to me – particularly for Decatur where there are no 7th-8th AC options close by (And no, I don’t consider Taft or prospective Lane Tech close to Decatur. It’s better than Whitney or the others mentioned, but really not close).

    And I don’t get this: “Theoretically, one can say there really isn’t a reason to extend the program to include 7/8th grade because Decatur works 1-2 grade levels ahead. We would have to have 6-12 certified teachers to teach it and would not be able to offer HS level courses such as the ACs do.”

    The reason this makes no sense, is because Regional Gifted Centers also run 1-2 years ahead, and they go through 8th grade. I didn’t know this until my daughter started Bell’s options this year. All of her textbooks are 2nd grade, so it starts off 1 year ahead. And when students get to 5th grade, they have the opportunity to walk up a grade in certain subjects. So, for instance, the highest level 8th graders are in Geometry. That would be high school level. And theoretically, everything else the 8th graders do there is 9th grade level. Why couldn’t this work at Decatur? Is going to an AC really superior to what Bell or other RGC’s offer in 7th and 8th? I have a hard time believing that to be true because almost every single student in the 8th grade options program at Bell last year got into a SE high school – heavily Northside College Prep. So, again, why couldn’t Decatur just continue the curriculum through 7th and 8th with the track that the students there are on (1-2 years ahead)? It doesn’t require 12 teachers at Bell and it wouldn’t at Decatur, either.

    This would work…I’m sure CPS is purposely stubborn about funding this type of expansion/addition to Decatur because they WANT Tier 3 and 4 people coming down to Whitney and the south side AC programs. Or Taft. Well, I don’t agree with the impact that has on the kids (that is one hell of a commute for 7th and 8th graders). I will support an extension of Decatur’s Classical Program through 7th and 8th, and any associated funding because that is what Decatur needs.

  • 83. DecaturParent  |  January 30, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    LR if only it were so easy. CPS does not give schools that continually EXCEED the state standards by 95% or more additions to their buildings. Skinner(west) only received a new building because it also became a neighborhood school. Skinner(east) is in an old run down building and is only classical SE kids. Just to give you an idea of the #’s we are talking to build a new addition; Edgebrook’s new addition is 18 million dollars. Also, since our children are from all over Bucktown, Lincon Park, Lakeview, Rodgers Park and even Midway area. We do not have an alderman to go to asking for funds etc. The neighborhood does not support the school and part of getting a new school is having the support of an Alderman. EGRC had the support of Alderman Laurano(sp). She wanted that school in her neighborhood to bring up the perceived real estate values etc. and on the flip side Alderman Doherty (sp) want it out of his neighborhood because the neighborhood was experiencing over crowding and this was cheaper than building a new building. It did not relieve overcrowding though as Oriole Park is still bursting at the seems and their children k – 3rd are still in mobiles that are falling a part. They do not set foot into the school building until 4th grade. So with that said CPS is not going to give Decatur 18 million dollars. BUT, If you started a petition for Decatur’s new addition I would be happy to sign it.

    I also do not understand the 6 to 12 teachers comment. I am thinking perhaps she meant teachers who could TEACH 6 to 12th grade as that requires different certifications. I also would have no issues in my child attending Bell for 7th/ 8th grade or Ogden, Beaubien, Skinner. However, those seats are already taken by children who attend those schools. Sure a few leave but not enough to take the 30 children who graduate Decatur each year into those schools. However, in the coming years there will be 2 double classes that graduate from Decatur of 60 children (2013 and 2014). Those are going to be really tough years competition wise for all children born in those years (2001/2002). The other option of course is I put my child in the neighborhood school for 7th and 8th grade where they will get all A’s with their eyes closed and still compete against your child for the same seat for HS. Honestly, it is a silly argument because with each scenario the end result is still the same.

  • 84. Jill Martensen  |  January 30, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Hey All,

    PLEASE let’s not make this a Decatur issue.

    It is a NORTH SIDE issue. An AC at Lane Tech would benefit all the children on the north side. I would be supporting and pushing this no matter where my children attended school.
    I”m sure you all know that there are many HIGHLY qualified students who don’t get spots in OAE programs just out of pure bad luck, those children would directly benefit from being able to test into an accelerated 7th & 8th grade program and remain for high school. Having a shot at that type of education even if they don’t start at K, will greatly benefit those students as well.

    The truth is that there are just not enough spots on the north side (or city wide for that matter) for our children. Let’s support each other and get this fixed one step at a time!

    Jill Martensen
    Decatur LSC Chairperson

  • 85. dazed and confused  |  January 30, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    I agree- this should not be a Decatur Issue. This is about trying to get more options available on the North Side. And while I understand that there is a concern about draining from Bell & Coonley doesn’t that mean that if that were to happen my child then had another chance at getting into the coveted Bell or Coonley slots? Since I live between those two schools it would be like hitting the lottery for me 🙂
    It’s tragic that we don’t have enough slots to meet the needs of all kids. When I rule the world I’ll build an extension onto Decatur, I’ll make Northside have a middle school, I’ll get every neighborhood school the resources they need. In the meantime I’ll sign the petition. baby steps.

  • 86. Decatur Mom  |  January 30, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    I agree with Jill and “Dazed”…

    I think those fill in spots will be an added bonus too. I may have to think about leaving Decatur if I could get into a program closer to home….
    Yikes, how this could shake things up. Very exciting to think about!

  • 87. different perspective  |  January 30, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Did anyone see the article in the Tribune — seems like this may be moving forward. Again — this is NOT a Decatur or a Bell or a Coonley issue. There is a dire need for more academically accelerated slots on the north side. An academic center at LT would be a fantastically positive thing for ALL students with academic aspirations in the area.
    I also think that another northside prep caliber se school is needed on the northside. We northsiders deserve it. Doesn’t have to be far north or far west. Just north. On the north side. That’s where the predominance of high scoring students live. That’s a simple fact that OAE must be keenly aware of. Not a dressed up Lakeview. Not another neighborhood school. WE WANT ANOTHER SE SCHOOL ON THE NORTHSIDE. With the turnover in alderman — this would be a good time to ask.

  • 88. Decatur Mom  |  January 30, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Sorry didn’t read up far enough to see your questions. Was just told you had asked me questions…

    I think that the schools that Dr. LoBosco is referring to are Bell and Coonley’s options programs. Again, I think it is important to mention that if that does happen to affect when children leave these two programs, it is more spots for other students. Any time a child in need of these special programs has another shot at them, it’s good news in my book.

    Just for the record, I want to tell you that my son who is now at the Whitney Young AC, came from Edison Regional Gifted Center, and another child took his place there from a neighborhood program! So every spot helps a child.

    I do not think any child is more deserving than another! Ever!
    I know plenty of my neighborhood school’s children that I know are in need of a higher caliber curriculum. I feel overwhelmingly lucky to have hit the “CPS jackpot” with my children. I do not feel it is a right, but an absolute privilege to have access to these sorts of school. That is why I support this.

    A lot of other options have been mentioned in this thread too. I know there is a FB page called North Side High School Initiative that is a group working on upgrading programs in neighborhood schools on the north side. I applaud them and their efforts. I would love to see all CPS schools step it up a notch.

    I am representing myself as Decatur LSC Chair on this issue because more 7th & 8th grade options are needed for Decatur kids. Believe it or not, some do not get spots at other programs and unfortunately, unless they live in Saughanash or Edgebrook, most chose private/parochial schools over their neighborhood CPS schools. However, if I was not the LSC Chair I would still be 100% behind this.

    I do not ask anyone to do anything they think would harm their own child. We have to make decisions regarding our child’s education as best we can.

    Hope that helps,

  • 89. Decatur Mom  |  January 30, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    PS. I’m at Decatur Mom’s house!

  • 90. Decatur Mom  |  January 30, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Wine and “Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest” with Jill is a good night!

  • 91. cpsmama  |  January 30, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    @#81: you are sadly mistaken about your description of Decatur kids. I assume that you have primary age child which would explain your lack of knowledge. As a mom of 2 Decatur grads, I can assure you that Decatur kids are not all the same. The vast majority of Decatur kids do not (gasp) get into Northside for HS in 9th grade. And most (double gasp) do not get into WY for 7th. And those who do get into WY for 7th often can’t leave for Northside b/c the 7th grade curriculum at WY is very challenging and many kids get 1 or more B’s, effectively locking them out of NS. (Whew, I’m out of breath from gasping so much)

    Oh, and your quote couldn’t be more inaccurate:
    “Our children are completely different in their needs not only academically but also on a socio-emotional basis as well.”

    Wow- that’s quite the condescending attitude you have.

  • 92. cpsmama  |  January 30, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    P.S. to # 81

    It’s too bad that you’re not intersted in Taft or Lane’s AC because they would be your best chance of your child getting into NS for HS.

  • 93. Hawthorne mom  |  January 30, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Does anyone know if there is a document out there listing what percentage of students from each elementary school gets accepted into each SE HS? For example, what percentage of kids from school X go to Lane, what percentage go to Payton, etc….Or conversely, do high schools share which elementary schools their incoming freshman come from?
    I just emailed OAE about this, but I am not very confident I’ll get a response.

  • 94. cpsobsessed  |  January 30, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    @93, a couple years ago someone on NPN (maybe it was HSOBsessed?) had seen a document like this, but it was one of those elusive CPS documents that couldn’t be located again on any web site.
    I feel like I remember it wasn’t as eye-opening as one would think. There were kids from every top school (and other schools) feeding into every SE high school.
    I feel like they stopped making it public, but certainly let us know if you find out anything!

  • 95. cpsobsessed  |  January 30, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Wonder what would happen if we put in a research request? Or if the North Side High School Initiative group did?


  • 96. SEfairness  |  January 30, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    We can go in endless circles about the fact that there are not enough academic options out there for our kids. What I’m trying to figure out and NO ONE SEEMS TO KNOW (or maybe know one cares to know or post) is the question of who is being displaced by a 7th/8th grade program opening up a Lane Tech?

    Again I repeat the questions:

    Why is the Principal at Lane so invested in getting this program? How many children will deprived of a Lane HS spot because of this program? Jill, you’ve spoken so passionately about having this option, but can you tell us what it means in terms of the number of children that will be locked out of a high school spot? Is it a1 for 1 trade-off?

    [Of course there will be kids who are locked out, because a certain percentage of those AC kids will stay at Lane, meaning that children who have slightly lower ISAT scores or grades will be locked out a chance to go to Lane or any SEHS b/c Lane appears to take scores that are lower than the other SEHSchools].

    And if it is, why should we support that trade-off? Are children who will likely end up in a SEHS, albeit, not until 9th grade, more deserving than kids who will be shut out of those spots given the automatic admittance of these kids into Lane HS

    If you haven’t read it yet, go to Lane’s website and read the principals description of why the program is needed. I’d love to hear a healthy discussion of her reasons.

    One of her points is that the program will mostly draw private and parochial school students. Really? Well, if that is the case, that is even more reason why I don’t want resources taken from high school freshman and doled out in this way.

    Finally, I think most will agree, that SEHS high schools shouldn’t be open only to kids with almost straight A’s and 2/3s of the admission based on testing results! It’s incredible that we can’t come up with a more holistic and accurate way to assess fitness for rigorous academic programming.

    Indeed, you know that % ranking on the ISAT that counts for 1/3 of your child’s admission score. What that is, is NOT the full scale score (which is the top chart on the fancy form CPS sends home and shows if your child, meets, or doesn’t meet or exceeds) standards. No, instead what CPS uses to determine 1/3 of your child’s fitness for high school is the SAT score which is literally just he first 30 items on the reading portion and the first 30 items on the math portion of the ISAT. So it is just those multiple choice questions. It doesn’t include the short answer questions or the extended response questions. I understand the Blue Ribbon Commission recommended that CPS use the full scale score for SEHS admissions, but has anyone even seen that report? [Yes, CPSObesessed if you can find he link to that report that would be great.]

    To LP IB’s credit, I understand that they do look at the full-scale ISAT score–but why don’t the others.? If god forbid a kid has a stomachache on day one of testing and gets 5 wrong put of the first 30 questions on the reading section and or math section, and have a B, they can probably kiss goodbye their chance to get into a SEHS. No one cares how they did on the rest of the test. It isn’t fair, and either is taking away seats at LANE HS for that same kid!

  • 97. Jill Martensen  |  January 30, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Yes, the 90 spots would go to the 7th graders and away from the 9th graders. HOWEVER anyone can test for a spot at 7th grade just like at 9th grade. Lane simply wants to hold onto students they are losing from the north side schools to places like Whitney Young. Note: They open 1000 spots yearly for students. There is a cut off score for entrance to all the SE HS. You have to meet that to be admitted. I’d be interested to know if there’s ever spots left open because not enough students qualify…I’ll ask Dr. LoBosco when I talk to her next.

    I know that the SAT10 scores have been used for this process all along, so that is nothing new. Don’t know the answers to the rest of your questions.

    Sorry if this isn’t as coherent as I normally am. Fun girls night!

  • 98. cpsmama  |  January 30, 2011 at 11:45 pm


    In all lieklihood, the kids who would get Lane AC spots in 7th grade are the same kids who would have gotten Lane or another SE HS in 9th. Plus, it can be harder to get into an AC than into SE HS b/c there are way fewer spaces in ACs.

    And as Jill said, Lane’s principal would like to attract high scoring kids to a Lane AC so she has a chance to keep them for HS (Lane already attracts a number of 900-point scorers for HS each year who choose Lane as their first choice). Again, any kid that stays at Lane is a kid who doesn’t go to one of the other SE HS which opens up spaces at those other schools.

    To me, it is unfair that certain CPS elementary principals feel that they are entitled to “keep” their high scoring kids for 7th & 8th grade.

  • 99. cpsmama  |  January 31, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Link to Blue Ribbon Power Point:


    (P.S. last year’s SE cutoffs in rounds 1 & 2 are still in the News section of OAE’s website)

  • 100. Jill Martensen  |  January 31, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Ok, some facts:

    There are 104 elementary schools listed in the North/Near North zone on the CPS schools A-Z site. Let’s say- just for estimating sake, that every school graduates two classes of 8th graders each year….approx. 60 students per school (some more some less-some don’t go to 8th grade), so about 6,240 kids need HS spots yearly.

    Lane Tech takes in 1000 students by itself, not including other coveted spots at Northside, Whitney, Payton and Jones. So suffice it to say a student would have to be in the top 10% of the pool to enter into a SE HS program. That is not uncommon in education pools.

  • 101. HSObsessed  |  January 31, 2011 at 9:14 am

    @94 – yes, that was me. You have a good memory! Actually, you can still view the stats on where 8th grade graduates enroll for high schools, by elementary school, but the data has not been updated since 2005. It’s on the CPS Research and Accountability website. There isn’t one for Decatur, since the 6th graders don’t enroll in a high school right away. However, I think we can take as a given that Edison’s population is very similar to Decatur’s (test-in, very small school, far north location). The 27 graduates of Edison in 2005 went to Northside (8), Payton (7), von Steuben (7), and LP HS (5). None went to Whitney Young or Lane. For 2004, the 24 graduates went to Northside (2), von Steuben (13), Payton (5), LPHS (1), Young (2), and Lane (1). They don’t track/list when a child goes to a private high school.

    I’d love it if CPS posted updated stats, since it’s been 5 years now.

    Here’s the link for the Edison data, so you don’t think I’m making stuff up.


  • 102. HSObsessed  |  January 31, 2011 at 9:19 am

    ^^^^Go to the tab “Other” and then “High School Enrollment Report”.

    Also @94, yes, a few years ago, for a little while, the CPS website had reports by high school that listed how many kids from different elementary schools enrolled in the high school. I wish I had downloaded them right away, but I didn’t, and they were removed for some reason. So, they do exist but are not on public display.

  • 103. Jill Martensen  |  January 31, 2011 at 9:49 am

    I don’t have statistics since the students leave our building but I can tell you just from the community gossip, that if they went to WY they stayed, or went to Northside, If they went to Taft, they went to Lane or Northside.

  • 104. cps Mom  |  January 31, 2011 at 10:38 am

    For Jones, at parent orientation they mentioned that 115 schools represented the initial 150 seats for the first options. This was different from any other year.

    For the record, I am against AC seats at the expense of HS seats. You don’t even know how this year, under new rules will shake out.

  • 105. concerned parent  |  January 31, 2011 at 11:31 am

    RGC’s are not the only schools working 1 to 2 years above grade level (so thanks for your concern #81). Many prefer to stay at the same school that their child has attended for maybe 7 years. Even though this is “not just a Decatur issue” – it is the only school that ends at 6th grade for 30 students. I did not see any other school quoted in the trib.

    The questions posed by “SE fairness” are real concerns to many parents. Starting the enrollment process early to accommodate 30 kids that have to find a space (and some that don’t even want to go there, according to #81) seems unfair at face value. There seem to be many more stand alone, programs within schools and excellent elementary programs than there are SE HS spots. And why do we need to make special consideration for private school kids? Don’t they go through the same process as everyone else?

    yes #87 we want another SE school on the northside but in the meantime, lets not take away spaces that we already have.

  • 106. Jill Martensen  |  January 31, 2011 at 11:51 am

    No worries, you have to do what’s best for your child.

    Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and comments.

  • 107. MarketingMom  |  January 31, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    @87 – I am tired of hearing folks say we need more SE schools on the north side because this is where most of the smart kids are and you think you deserve it. Geesh! Do you think I enjoy shuttling my kids back and forth to the north side for decent elementary and high schools? At least you have good schools up there. However, there are other parts of the city where there are NO options. We need more great schools period. However, my family has chosen to live in the far west neighborhood that we live in and have to accept this. Just like Decatur kids know that their program only goes to 6th grade and have to accept that as well. Blame the system.

    I just cannot support the petition in good faith. As I have said before, I am not in favor of other students my child cannot compete with (Decatur, private, parochial) getting a lock on their 2nd and 3rd choice spots that my child could have gotten. Just because I don’t live on the north side doesn’t mean I haven’t paid my dues either. Sorry!

  • 108. CPSmama  |  January 31, 2011 at 12:40 pm


    “yes #87 we want another SE school on the northside but in the meantime, lets not take away spaces that we already have”

    So basically, it is your positition that gifted 7th & 8th grades should have less options so your kid can get into SE HS?

  • 109. Decatur mom  |  January 31, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    We respect your decision Marketing Mom! You are correct, we know what we are getting going in and every Decatur kid lands somewhere. It may not be their first choice but just like everything else it all works out in the end.
    CPS will do what they want… Regardless of how badly I want this and how badly you don’t. Unfortunately, it’s really not up to us.
    Hang in there CPS Sister!

  • 110. MarketingMom  |  January 31, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I want all children to have more SE HS options throughout the city, not just north side gifted children

  • 111. cpsobsessed  |  January 31, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    One thing to keep in mind about the Edison data (regarding post #101) is that Edison used to be located much farther northwest than it is now. So assuming it had a large share of kids from the northwest side, you can imagine it would limit the number who choose WY, given the location.

    I feel like I recall a discussion when HSObsessed posted the info on NPN that LOCATION played a big part in determining where kids end up. Yes, academics and school personality are important, but when it comes down to it, who wants a 9th grader commuting for an hour each way across the city?

  • 112. cpsobsessed  |  January 31, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Regarding Lane, I feel like it’s crazy not to support additional SE spots in the city (assuming it’s not a zero-sum game and a new Academic Center on the north side detracts from one on the south side.) CPS has not typically excelled at mapping out the academic “black holes” in the cities and trying to fill them as we might imagine they would.

    But I do wonder if it isn’t more efficient to just add extra high school seats at Lane if there is room. I’m not sure I get why they’d go with the academic center if they have extra space. It just seems like expanding the number of seats would be easier. I need to read the link that SEFairness posted from Lane about their intentions. I suspect that Lane may be trying to up their academic status by including the Academic Center? Not that there’s anything wrong with that…. just wondering why the AC push?

    I guess part of me feels like we should say “yes” whenever CPS offers up any extra SE spots anywhere, just to make it clear that the city needs more.

  • 113. concerned parent  |  January 31, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    #108 – My position is that “there seems to be many more stand alone, programs within schools and excellent elementary schools than there are SE HS spots” as I stated. Like the others, I object to taking away from SE spots to add 7th and 8th grade spaces. No one can answer the questions of @96 – why can’t these openings be added to the SE HS 9th grade?

  • 114. RL Julia  |  January 31, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I have a couple of questions – there has been some discussion about the SEHS exam/selection process being too test-centric- what are recommendations that should be used to process the high number of applications received? Any ideas?

    The only reason I can think of why Lane doesn’t want to add spots to its freshman class is that of positioning/status. Lane is already sometimes snubbed (on this blog and in other venues) as being sort of the “lesser” or second tier SE. If they want to improve their standing (which no doubt they do) – there is really no incentive to make their classes – which are already about eight times the size of every other northside SEHS any larger.

    While I don’t think it is right per se – I don’t really blame them either. Having an academic center will also raise the standard a little – TONS of kids will apply to the Academic Center at Lane allowing them the pick of the litter so to speak at 7th grade- rather than 9th – and then they have two whole years to convince those kids and parents that Lane is really the best SE to go to. Not a bad strategy really.

    That fact that there is more supply than demand isn’t really anything that the SEHS’s (or any other school) care about – unless it is going to allow the individual school to expand. The only people who care about that fact are parents.

  • 115. cpsobsessed  |  January 31, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Very well put, RL Julia.
    From a “marketing” perspecitve it makes perfect sense for Lane. And indicates a principal (or LSC or whoever) that likely has this goal in mind.

    I think it boils down to whether we as parents need to focus on the bigger CPS system or try to duke it out for limited resources. I’ve been thinking about it a lot since the Lakeview post came up. You’re right though, why should Lane care about helping the system by taking in more (lower-scoring) high school kids. They’re already doing a big share of the SE high school eduction…..

  • 116. hawthorne mom  |  January 31, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Kids in CPS take the ISAT and then an admissions test, correct for entrance (in addition to calculating their grades). What do kids from Catholic schools do? Do they use a portion of the Terra Nova’s or do those students have to take the portion of the ISAT that is used as well?

  • 117. James  |  January 31, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    #116 — OAE specifies acceptable alternatives to the ISAT for kids that don’t take that test. Terra Nova is among the listed alternatives. I know a number of non-Catholic private schools have their kids take the Iowas, which is also listed as an alternative. Here’s the link:


  • 118. Ascrazyasitsounds ...  |  January 31, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    If an outsider were to read this thread, they would come away shaking their heads at the insanity and selfishness of this discussion.

    What “we” are saying, then, with this incessant emphasis on SE schools is that we should simply test ALL our children and rank every child according to their tests and slot them into a school. Then, we must rank every school as to what proportion of students they will take. And in the end, we’ll have the Top X schools, the next XX schools, and (heaven forbid) the bottom XX schools. Of course, all of this will be based solely on how your child tests. Let’s, however, were we to do this, NOT call the bottom XX schools neighborhood schools. Let’s just rename every high school in the city according to its rank.


    THIS is how ridiculous the whole SE school system becomes in the end.

    Again, this is why we NEED neighborhood schools that are SAFE and have gifted and AP programs and such for ANY student within those walls that meet those criteria. This is what the venerated suburban schools have, and you know what? It works!

  • 119. RL Julia  |  January 31, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    @118 -I completely agree except you forgot the part where some parents complain that their kids don’t test well but still deserve a slot at CPS Top X and other parents complain that the tests are racist and classist and keep the (insert racial identification/ neighborhood) kids unfairly at the bottom and still other parents who then complain that their kids did just fine jumping through the hoops and they don’t understand why they have to (potentially) give up their kids slot to another kid who is just as deserving but doesn’t test as well and etc… because even if those indicators are whacked and stressful and ultimately don’t mean a thing, those kids still didn’t do as well and letting (too many of) them in means that the school isn’t as good.

  • 120. James  |  January 31, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    #118 —

    And if we had some eggs and ham, why, we’d have eggs and ham! Gosh, all we have to do is wish we had safe and challenging neighborhood schools and, poof, there they are!

    The notion that all the Chicago Public School system, one of the largest and poorest in the country, has to do to fix itself is act like Naperville or Winnetka is laughable.

    Worse, you say we’re”selfish” for wanting to stay in this city (not flee to the “venerated” suburbs) and stay in this public school system while at the same time helping our kids get educated. Very interesting definition of selfish.

  • 121. Mayfair Dad  |  January 31, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Done deal. When CPS says they’re “thinking about it” it is already confirmed. Public input is window dressing.


  • 122. Hawthorne mom  |  January 31, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    In my opinion, yes, neighborhood schools need to be beefed up and made acceptable for all kids who will at least attempt to learn. But I think that in order for that to happen, at the high school level, many students would have to be removed from the premises permanently.
    I do believe that any student who flashes gang signs, brings weapons and starts fights, etc, needs to be removed permanently from regular school and put in alternative school. From my experience in elementary schools and what my high school teachers have told me, city wide, this is probably 20% of our student population.
    Schools will not improve until disruptive and dangerous students are removed. Don’t agree? Go spend a week at Clemente or Robeson.
    Of course, that would just be the beginning. Teacher quality has to improve, funding has to improve, accountability for families and school administration has to improve. But no matter how much the adults in the equation improve, until the students like the ones in the Derrion Albert fight–of which there are many–lose their right to an education when they ruin it for every single other kid who cares even a bit, nothing will happen.

  • 123. Hawthorne mom  |  January 31, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I meant “what my high school teacher friends have told me”.

  • 124. NEXTSTEPS  |  January 31, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    As Jill posted @97–“the 90 spots would go to the 7th graders and away from the 9th graders…”

    Accordingly, spots are being taken away from SEHS students at Lane and given to AC students.

    If this doesn’t sit right with you, I would recommend that you please not sit still. Obviously your voice counts. In the Tribune Article the Lane principal said: The CPS officials said they supported the accelerated program but wanted the school to show community support. Hence the on-line petition.

    Please make sure your concerns are heard:
    Contact Terry Mazany–does anyone have an email address? If not call 553-1500.
    Call or email Alderman Schulter 773-348-8000 or ward47@cityofchicago.org
    call or email the members of the Board of Ed. Does anyone have their email addresses? Looks like if you call 553-1600 you can get it or at least get them a message. And call Abigail Joseph: aljoseph1@cps.k12.il.us (the OAE director) And while you are at it, it wouldn’t hurt to let Lane’s principal know your concerns.

    This train has definitely left the station, but that doesn’t mean our concerns shouldn’t be aired. Maybe at a minimum they would find a way to add AC students without displacing children from entering the SEHS program at Lane.

    Please act quickly, This will surely be up at the February board meeting. Eveyone’s Voice Has A Right To Be Heard!

    Thank you.

  • 125. HSObsessed  |  January 31, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    I remain neutral on the LT AC issue, but I think a legitimate question to ask is how the AC students who continue on at LT (which I think would be most of them, @81 DecaturParent’s comments notwithstanding) factor in to the tier admission system. Meaning, LT HS admits 1000 freshmen per year, with 400 admitted now by pure score, and then 150 for each socioeconomic tier. If 60 of the AC students continuing on as freshman live in tier 4 addresses, does it reduce the number of available freshman spots for tier 4 students to only 90? Or, will tiers be considered when admitting to the LT AC in order to ensure balance? Are tiers currently considered for admissions to the Taft or WY ACs?

    Separate from that issue, I’ve been browsing through data on where 8th graders enroll in high schools, and I’ve noticed a very interesting trend. Years ago, when kids at magnet schools failed to gain acceptance to SEHS, there would always be a certain number that “had to” enroll in their neighborhood high schools, if private high school wasn’t an option. But with the establishment of dozens of contract and charter high schools in the last five years, that seems to have changed, and kids enroll in those instead. For example, Jackson Magnet’s graduating class in 2005 had a fair number that went to Farragut, Prosser, and Juarez, which aren’t exactly top choices for most people. However, by 2010, not a single graduate went to a neighborhood high school (except Lincoln Park, and that was likely for one of its citywide programs). Instead, the Jackson kids who didn’t go to SEHS went to Noble Street charter, Chicago Bulls Prep, Chicago Hope, UIC College Prep, Phoenix Military Academy. It makes sense, since safety is one of the biggest reasons that parents and kids fear the neighborhood schools, and charters do a good job of keeping peace, given their relative small sizes, highly motivated teachers/staff, and self-selected student population.

  • 126. Hawthorne mom  |  February 1, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Charter schools also keep the peace because they are allowed to get rid of any student who doesn’t follow the rules. This is something regular schools are not allowed to do, except in the most extreme cases, but should be allowed to do.

  • 127. Decatur mom  |  February 1, 2011 at 8:03 am

    The AC students that stay for HS wouldn’t be in the pool… So NO it wouldn’t take away from the tier selection of 25% each tier etc. That’s simply based on the applicant pool. If anything it would probably make the school higher in tiers represented closer to Lane since parents would be hesitant to put their younger students on a cross town bus. IMO

  • 128. RL Julia  |  February 1, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Thus far, academic center students get a school bus – if you are within a 1-6 mile radius of the school.

  • 129. Decatur mom  |  February 1, 2011 at 8:07 am

    PS. Yes the selection process is the same for the AC as for SE HS. Tiers and all!

  • 130. HSObsessed  |  February 1, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Yes, Hawthorne mom, that’s one of the complaints of parents of neighborhood high schools, that a few bad apples spoil the barrel, and the school can’t do much about it. FWIW both Emanuel and Chico include in their education plans a need for more “alternative” high schools for those who have shown that they can’t function in a normal environment. Whether this will ever come true due to funding is another question, but both candidates have stated that they are in favor of that as a way of stabilizing neighborhood schools.

  • 131. Decatur Mom  |  February 1, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I’m still angry at Chico for taking away feeder programs for Classical Schools to ACs and the ONLY giving a 7th & 8th grade to Skinner…he’s the one who started this mess. LOL

    I hope whoever is our next Mayor (likely one of these two gentlemen) keeps that particular campaign promise. I strongly believe that a few bad apples can spoil the bunch, not to mention pro-active steps to save those children from themselves are not out of the question. Sometimes life hands you lemons, but you don’t need to chuck them at someone’s head!

  • 132. Mayfair Dad  |  February 1, 2011 at 10:15 am

    @ 125 and others: whether your child competes for a spot in 7th grade at Lane Tech AC or competes for a spot at Lane Tech HS in 9th grade, your child will still be competing with the same bright kids from across the city. Decatur kids currently don’t have a choice; they must find a junior high solution. Other parents will need to evaluate if moving their child into Lane Tech AC for junior high makes sense for that particular child. Unfair? No. Strategy required? Yes.

  • 133. Ascrazyasitsounds ...  |  February 1, 2011 at 10:29 am

    James, I think you’re missing my point. Of course we’re not going to turn Chicago schools into suburban schools. And of course, they’re not going to be safer overnight.

    But what you’re then saying is that the ONLY students who deserve safe, challenging schools are the SMART students. And that is what I am saying is selfish. And I stand by it. Because it is.

    My kids go to a neighborhood school, in case you haven’t figured that out.

    Hawthorne Mom — I agree. I’ve posted about that before (and actually worked at an alternative high school in my sordid past).

    I’m just stating an opinion that is the flipside to the search for more SEs and more ACs and more and more accommodations for those students who may simply have had one, single good test day when they were five years old.

    I truly don’t expect anyone to agree with me. But I do like to present an alternative view.

  • 134. RL Julia  |  February 1, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Maybe the real solution isn’t how to accomodate the 60-80% of the kids who want to learn but how to find viable alternative educational solutions for the 20% of the kids who are truly disruptive, disinterested and dramatic.

    To be honest with you, I am not so convinced that that ANY school or high school regardless of who is attending it is completely free of bullies, garage taggers, gang bangers , drug dealers or whatever it is people are afraid of- I just assume that the kids at the SEHS’s are smart enough to be on the down low about their extra curricular activities.

  • 135. Hawthorne mom  |  February 1, 2011 at 11:06 am

    HSobsessed, I’m glad the two front runners have addressed the need for more alternative schools. But I am not going to hold my breath that anything will happen. And even if it does, maybe then they’ll at least be able to get rid of the small percentage of kids who currently bring guns to school with the intent to shoot or the kids who assault teachers and STILL are only suspended. (let alone all the other knuckle heads who disrupt, flash signs, and do less violent acts, etc….) I remember subbing at Drummond years ago, before it was a good school, because a 7th grader attacked a teacher by slamming a chair into her and broke her leg. All that happened was the student was suspended for a week. Imo, that kid lost their right to ANY school, alternative or otherwise by doing that.

    This is, of course,why everyone, including myself, is freaking out, trying to figure out strategy to get our kids into a good high school. And in Chicago, a good high school, for the most part means a selective enrollment high school.

    I believe every kid has a right to an education, until they begin stealing other children’s right to an education. I don’t believe in the right to an education at all cost any more than I believe in life long tenure for teachers (I don’t, and I am a teacher).

  • 136. Jill Martensen  |  February 1, 2011 at 11:33 am

    From Dr. LoBosco Lane Tech’s Principal.

    “…there will be no displacement of SEHS students for 2011-12”

    So good news to this year’s applicants at least.

  • 137. Ascrazyasitsounds ...  |  February 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm


    “I just assume that the kids at the SEHS’s are smart enough to be on the down low about their extra curricular activities.”

    : )

    And maybe more than 80%! I taught at an alternative high school in Pilsen. These kids WERE the gangbangers and pregnant teens. They did want to learn, but they needed so much more than a traditional learning environment could ever give them. They needed counseling and daycare and accommodations for visits to parole officers (seriously). But, honestly, most (not all) of them truly wanted to learn.

    HOWEVER (since I like to see all sides), would I want them in my child’s high school? No. Should dangerous (as some were) and disruptive students ruin the educational opportunities for everyone else? No.

  • 138. RL Julia  |  February 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    @135 Hawthorne mom – while no one should have to do something as hard as teaching under the circumstances you described at Drummond- isn’t education in some ways the only option. Yeah – no one wants to deal with the out of control dangerous student – but its not like throwing them out of school makes them , their issues and bad behavior disappear off the planet or that there is someplace else for them to go. Despite a society that loves to lock people up – it still remains a whole lot cheaper to educate than incarcerate.

  • 139. cps Mom  |  February 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Jill – I have a few questions about this
    How many students are projected for the AC?
    How will the space for the AC be carved out of Lane? Will they take over existing classrooms, if so, will the number of students per class in the SE increase?
    If there is no space taken from SE in 2011-12 will there be in 2012-13 and forward?
    Will Lane be eliminating any programming to do this (for example, I know that they have/had a tech program, I’m not even sure how kids are admitted to that).
    Any further details that you can give in how they are planning to carry this out would be appreciated.

    Sorry if this is repeat – I’m just trying to get a handle on the logistics here.

  • 140. Jill Martensen  |  February 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    CPS Mom,
    Lane’s whole proposal is on their website…but I’ll tell you what info I know.
    I would think that yes, the 90 spots that go to 7th graders will eventually be taken away from 9th graders, like early admissions.
    They plan to use the top floor, which is now used for a handful of Freshman classes, and add all the AC kids up there. The AC will take Honors Alegebra for instance with Freshman students. So they will mingle mostly with the 9th graders to keep them a little less trampled on! (LOL)
    To my knowledge no program cuts are being made at all. Just adding some exceptional 7th & 8th graders to mix in to the school and help boost scores etc.
    Anyone will be able to test for these spots.

    I’ll check back to see if you have more questions in a bit…gotta run to school now….

  • 141. cps Mom  |  February 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks for redirecting me. I have just a few thoughts.

    I wonder what AC parents think about their 7th or 8th graders taking classes with 9th graders? I believe that the AC at Whitney is completely separate from the high school.

    I also see the point made earlier about catholic schools. The way it’s presented is “don’t worry we will be taking kids mostly from private schools”. I can see that not sitting well with many (including the private schools).

    I am also curious as to what, if anything, the principal has to say about finding unused space that could have gone to the high school. Is there actually reason to set the space aside? Maybe just for purposes of establishing an AC (a noble one at that). I get the feeling politics more than parents desire to maintain the few SE HS spaces that we have, is standing in the way.

  • 142. Mayfair Dad  |  February 1, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    6th 7th 8th and 9th graders all learn harmoniously sharing the same hallways at Ogden International West (formerly Carpenter). Admittedly, its a much smaller school than Lane and next year the junior high kids will rejoin the younger kids at the new building.

    Still, if there is a designated floor and maybe a certain door the younger students are directed to use at Lane, shouldn’t be a problem.

  • 143. CPSmama  |  February 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    I believe Lane is also planning to have different start/end times for the AC students.

    WY’s AC students are with only AC students for their core subjects but are mixed in wtih 9-12 for their electives. And it’s no big deal.

    Taft’s AC students are only w/ other AC students for all classes unless they test high for math or science, then they are with 9-12 for those classes.

  • 144. Jill Martensen  |  February 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    My son is at Whitney in 7th grade (left Edison to go there) I can back up what CPS Mama is saying about the electives being with the whole population. My son has seniors in his Computer Programing class and LOVES IT. They are all very used to seeing the AC kids there and are very good to them.

    The 4th floor at Lane is the only floor that doesn’t complete the circle on their campus. It’s hard to schedule much up there in that large of a building because all the kids would be late for classes. There are only two stairwells that lead to the 4th floor and so safety/overcrowding is an issue. It’s really not usable space on a larger scale.

  • 145. Y  |  February 1, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    @141 – CPS Mom
    From my experience as a former AC student, it really wasn’t much of an issue when we started taking high school level classes with high schoolers as an 8th grader. You have to remember that in high school, kids can be from multiple grades in any class since students have individual tracks. While certain classes are dominated by kids from a specific grade level, there is usually a range.

    We were in our own classes, including high school level Honors Algebra and Latin in 7th grade. Then, many of us started to take a full load of freshman classes in 8th grade with 9th graders. In 8th, I remember being in a geometry class, which is usually for sophomores, and there were 8th, 9th, and 10th graders. There were no problems with this arrangement.

  • 146. cps Mom  |  February 1, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    sounds like a lot of positive experiences. I know that some parents (especially of girls) are concerned about a 7th grader exposed to high school life a little too soon.

  • 147. Mich  |  February 2, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I am of mixed mind about this and want to know a lotmore about it. If it takes away 120 potential spots from high school applicants then I am not fond of it. On the other hand, if they have room for an extra, say 300 kids, and only fill 120, then can still offer the same number of slots for high school, then it would be fine. Sounds like something that needs more open discussion before the decison is made.

  • 148. Hopeful  |  February 2, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    #122-Hawthorne Mom – Bravo! You are absolute correct!
    Change will only come about with accountability for the negative influences affecting the educational environment.

  • 149. Jill Martensen  |  February 2, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    If CPS green lights this there will still be Public Hearings to hash out details….
    stay tuned.

  • 150. Mayfair Dad  |  February 3, 2011 at 10:07 am

    @147 Mich – It’s a done deal. Public hearings will be held during Spring Break and will be very poorly publicized. There will be a few nifty PowerPoint slides but no opportunity for public debate.

    By “hash out the details” what Jill means is there will be a .pdf posted on the cpsoae website telling you how it will work.

    Welcome to Chicago.

  • 151. cps Mom  |  February 3, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Agree with Mayfair Dad – If this works for CPS’s agenda it will be done in their way. One thing I’ve learned from these “community meetings” is that they take all the input down, they don’t even respond to issues anymore and then they have a backroom meeting to decide how it will go down. Let’s take an issue like ohhh lets say “how grades are calculated in SE applications” – if the data will not fit into the neatly calculated tier/points in a way that will promote CPS’s desired outcome it’s not going to happen.

    I got off the subject a bit but my feeling here is that CPS is not totally behind this given the way they were so uncommitted in the Trib article. They may listen to objections.

  • 152. CPSmama  |  February 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    ^ doubtful cpsmom. There’s too much community support for this one. I know there are some on this board who are against the plan, but you are in the minority. Lane has tons of signers on the petition. I agree with Mayfair dad that its a done deal.

  • 153. cps Mom  |  February 4, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I hope I’m wrong and that community support and need do mean something.

  • 154. CPSmama  |  February 4, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    ^not sure what that means. There is community support in FAVOR of the AC at Lane and there is a NEED for it. Do you disagree? There is also a separate need for more SEHS spots. However, Lane isn’t proposing nor has CPS given it permission to add SEHS spots. That’s not on the table. An AC is on the table.

  • 155. mom2  |  February 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Has there ever been talk about having all CPS schools either go through 8th grade or all go through 6th grade (to avoid all this)?

    If someone gets into an AC and then does poorly, what happens to them? I assume the AC classes are all accelerated/honors level. Correct? Is that how it would be at Lane?

    I also assume that someone could try to get into an AC and, if they fail, they could try again at the high school level without penalty. Correct?

    It is terrible that someone, in order to play the system, would have to possibly take their child out of a school that they like with all their friends and send them to an AC just to assure a high school spot. I hate all these games.

    Let’s just focus on getting rid of the trouble making kids at the neighborhood schools and totally revamping the curriculum and facilities in order to accommodate kids needing a college prep education.

  • 156. cps Mom  |  February 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    I understand there are some different and maybe conflicting needs here. If the community supports an academic center – as it seems to – I hope that CPS will listen from the standpoint of bettering the programs offered. Picking up additional SE seats or at least not losing them would make that an even sweeter victory.

  • 157. 6th grade mom  |  February 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    155- until this school year I agreed with you, it seemed disruptive to move kids in 7th grade, which, as I recall, was hands down the worst year of my life.

    But, as my kid has moved thru sixth grade (and his school goes to 8th grade, nobody has to leave) it became apparent that the interest, from the kids, in AC’s is really high. Probably the top 1/4 of the class is applying. And of course most of them will walk away disappointed as there are so few spaces. I think that the academics and getting the HS application process over with is half of the appeal but the other half is feeling ready to move to a bigger pond, the elementary schools are geared, physically, to the needs of smaller kids and after visiting one of these schools one’s elementary school looks like an anthill. And moving to a rigorous HS env. seems as healthy a rite of passage as any. So I no longer see much of a downside. And maybe I’m naive, but I don’t know how or why a parent would make their kid switch schools if the kid wasn’t on board, after all the kid has to do all the work to get into such a school.

    At the same time, I don’t think it would be good to have all the SEHS spots fill at grade 7 as this would move the “hell year” pressure down to really young kids, 5th graders. And risk missing some kids who mature enough to, say, care about grades, a little bit later.

    Much as I’m in favor of the proposed center I’m not at all sure it will happen. There would be a significant cost involved, the bus service that all AC’s offer, so in this economic climate who knows.

  • 158. Hawthorne mom  |  February 4, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Is there any other option than “hell year”? I mean, what if there was some way to opt out entirely? What if every single high performing child refused to take the SE test in 7th grade?

    I realize this would never happen. But still, we are basically telling our 11 and 12 year olds that their entire future depends on this one year of grades and two tests. (unless we are one of the few families who can afford private HS and have that option) This is not a message I want to give to my kids. I wonder if there would be some way to band together and say “no more” to our political leaders….and get them to actually do something about the problem students in our neighborhood high schools.

    I don’t know, I’m just thinking out loud. I keep praying and hoping we can leave the city before then. All I want is a decent, safe, reasonable high school for my children. It doesn’t have to be the best. I don’t need an average ACT of 28. 21-22 would be just fine. Every single night I sit down with my first grader to do her homework I worry. I try to give her extra work so she’ll stay competitive and then I think, this is nuts. She should be outside playing with her friends, not doing more subtraction work.

  • 159. mom2  |  February 4, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    @158 – I couldn’t agree with you more!!!!! Oh, how I wish there was something we could do as a team. But I will not send my child to our neighborhood school with the current average ACT score, the uniforms, the disruptive kids, the safety issues, the lack of focus on education being number one within those families, and the average student that isn’t even reading at grade level. I can’t do that and if hell year doesn’t work out for us, then the city loses what I think is a valuable family (and we will not be the only ones).

    I guess if we could somehow get everyone (and I mean everyone) to agree to just go to the neighborhood school, things would change. But, that will never happen with the lack of so much there.

  • 160. LR  |  February 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Wow, just read the Trib article and didn’t know Lane Tech had a fourth floor (apparently that is where the 7th/8th grades would be).

    Just out of curiosity, can kids in AC programs graduate early if they have appropriate credits and if they want to?

  • 161. cpsmama  |  February 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    ^ yes,AC kids are able to graduate 1 year early b/c they have 9th grade classes in 8th grade.

  • 162. RL Julia  |  February 6, 2011 at 8:15 am

    @158 – Having survived a couple of “hell year” in both 5th and 7th grade, I have to say 5th grade is easier because the kid is less aware and is excited by the opportunity. On the other hand, it is what you make of it. If only from reading this blog – you should be able to develop a healthy list of high school programs that are safe and deliver a satisfactory education. In the meantime, feel free to stop making your 1st grader do the extra work. She will be fine. In first grade, she doesn’t have to be competitive. Infact, as far as I noticed, kids really didn’t have to be competitive until 3rd grade (or if you were willing to ignore the ISATs) 5th grade – and then only if they were trying to get into an AC.

  • 163. LR  |  February 10, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Thanks, #161. I did some research on Whitney Young’s website. Their brochure states that after sophomore year, students have the option of doing 2 solid years of AP classes or doing an internship at one of many places (U of Chicago, The Art Institute, St. Xavier, Loyola, DePaul, etc.) for dual h.s. and college credit.

    I guess as a Bell options parent, I am just trying to figure out how it would benefit my daughter to go into Lane Tech’s AC program after 6th grade instead of finishing at Bell (other than she would be guaranteed a spot at Lane and not have to go through admissions testing again for 9th). I mean, doesn’t she get high school credit for algebra, geometry and all the other freshmen level classes she would take at Bell? Or does she have to go to an AC for that? Is that why they think that an AC at Lane would attract kids from Bell and Coonley’s options programs?

  • 164. cpsobsessed  |  February 10, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Good point LR – if you have a child in a gifted program, it would be a tough choice to move a kid to Lane Tech AC for 7th grade. The upside is you’ve at least got a spot in a SE High school, the downside is you’ve possibly uprooted your child uneccesarily if they get into a different SE HS that they prefer. (Although admittedly I haven’t even thought of the HS credit topic.)

    I’m guessing the Lane AC would be ideal for kids from Classical school that don’t have 7th/8th grade and kids from neighborhood programs. I’m imagining that private school parents would still be holding out hope for one of the “top” SE schools and are likely not going to embrace Lane until some time has passed and the school has a more “elite” reputation. Or maybe I’m wrong. Saving $30K+ over 2 years might be appealing. Certainly would be for me!

  • 165. cps Mom  |  February 10, 2011 at 11:55 am

    There is a test given by CPS that must be passed in order to receive HS credit for elementary Algebra and Geometry. The better public and private schools also have their own test that students must pass in order to by-pass entry level HS math. Entry level math at some of these schools may already be at honors level – many students are not able to by-pass freshman math even after taking Algebra in 7th or 8th grade. Although most kids from gifted programs will make it. It’s really no big deal either way because you will be offered an AP track that best fits your child.

    I was talking to a friend of mine with a son at Northside. We both are having similar experiences – good ones – but both agree that we feel like “empty nesters”. The kids get involved in sports, dating and facebook. Those nights of reading a novel under the covers until the wee hours are over. I would carefully consider the idea of a 7th grader in HS and the thought of your child growing up too soon – unless they are way under-challenged in any elementary setting. If a kid has an accelerated background, they are going to get into any of a number of schools with many advanced placement options.

  • 166. past experience  |  February 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    The only time a child receives high school credit for Algebra (and possibly Geometry) within CPS is if they attend an AC program for 7th and 8th…..because they are technically taking high school math while attending the AC. They still need to test out of the classes with a CPS test, but I am fairly certain they also get credit. This is no longer true for RGC–it use to be but this changed over the last few years. The teachers teaching those math classes are not accredited for high school math, so the class doesn’t count as a high school credit. Not a big deal in my book. The same holds true with some of the English and Social Science classes–so invariably, many of the AC kids who enter 9th grade at a SE HS other than the one where they attended 7th and 8th, may have a different course sequence than their peers. That can be good and bad…..just depends on on how you look at it. One thing I can say from past experience is that regardless of the school the child attends (be it an AC, a RGC, and sometimes a good neighborhood school) many of the text books used (for example in math) and some of the classic literature studied is often re-visited in high school–there is no way getting around this.

  • 167. cps Mom  |  February 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    @166 – Your comments are very valuable, but your first statement is not correct. Many other schools, charter, magnet and elementary now offer accredited algebra classes. Students passing both the CPS test and the placement test offered by their HS will receive HS credit. This is not just a AC thing. Unless I’m reading this wrong, I’m confused by your statement.

  • 168. math CREDIT clarification  |  February 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    This is what the CPS website reads:

    In order for students to be eligible to take the examination for placement or credit, they must be enrolled in an approved algebra course that has been approved by the Office of Mathematics. All middle grade algebra students taking an approved high school algebra course at an elementary school setting are eligible for placement only. To receive high school credit, middle grade algebra students must take algebra at a high school setting and be taught by a teacher with a type 09 certificate in Senior High School Mathematics.

    So according to CPS, to receive HS credit (which is all I am referring to), the Algebra class must be taken in a high school setting, and be taught by a teacher with a type 09 certificate for HS math credit–both criteria must be met. I only know the north side RGC (Bell, Beubian and Edison) and these schools do not meet BOTH requirements. Yes, the kids that attend these schools can take the Algebra or even the Geometry exit exam, but they will not receive High school credit. The advantage of receiving HS credit is that it goes toward your HS requirements–so often AC students can graduate early.

    See website:


  • 169. cps Mom  |  February 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Well – students (mine and others) from a magnet school taught by an accredited teacher have received credit – I assure you. I know of a child from a charter school that has received credit and a school on the south side that walks to a nearby high school (Brother Rice) to take algebra (which I find interesting). Your link is not CPS and I can tell you for a fact that non AC students receive HS credit for math. It really doesn’t matter from the standpoint that he’ll have more credits than required by the time he graduates. He will also be taking summer classes so that he can take AP social studies and science – which he is interested in doing. I do know of some kids that did not pass the school test and are required to take Algebra again – this is OK too since the bar is set higher and it’s important to master math 1 concepts. Students are offered the option of taking summer classes to skip up a level eventually taking AP classes. I would agree that a student in an AC probably has an easier time of it given that they are likely from gifted programs and are already taking the Math 1 offered by the school. But again – high school credit for math is not limited to AC students.

  • 170. cps Mom  |  February 10, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    My guess after re-reading the link is that there is either a type-o or the definition of “high school setting” is pretty loose. There have got to be some RGC folks on this site that have experience with math accreditation that would offer their in-sight.

  • 171. more on Math creidt...  |  February 10, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    #169–that’s great that your child received credit for the math they took in grade school–as I stated in the previous email, the value of CREDIT in the high school world is that they closer to the finishing line. If you look at your high school website, they may publish what your child needs to graduate. My kids go to Northside–the website states they need 3 credits of Math, but the school recommends 4. What I am telling you is that although they both took wonderful Algebra in their RGC by some fabulous teachers, they did not get CREDIT for those classes. Kids who attended an AC did–because the teachers are high school accredited. I am just stating the CPS policy from their website–and yes, the link I provided is a CPS website for Math and Science, given to me by the RGC coordinator. Along the side of the page on the website, you will see which schools participate in this math initiative. Our RGC (on the north side) was very clear about this at the beginning of 8th grade–to inform us of some of the changes in the board policy. They wanted us to understand that our kids could test out of a certain Math class (say Algebra or Geometry) but would not get credit for it. Kids from schools like Bell, Beubian and Edison (the ones I am familiar with) use to get credit for Math back in the day, say 4 years ago, but now, according to CPS, they only recognize a class taught by an accredited teacher as stated on their website. If you have found your way around this rule then good for you–just stating my experience from my high schoolers who took a lot of advanced math at a RGC but never got credit for it at their SE HS. My friends who have kids who attended an AC and they are now in a SE HS did receive CREDIT for many classes–and from what I have heard, it is because they have been in a HS setting. Also, the whole point of this blog is to inform–and I should have specifically pointed out in my 2 previous posts that it was a response directed at LR #163 , who asked about credit and how it relates to kids who attend a RGC like Bell.

  • 172. cps Mom  |  February 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    OK – I think we’re saying the same thing (almost). You say credit is given if taught by an accredited teacher. I say these teachers can be found at schools other than AC, in particular at some magnet and charters (I’m sure at RGC’s also). I don’t understand what you mean by “the value of that credit”. A HS credit is a credit, am I missing something here? My SE HS will not issue credit unless you pass their test as well – regardless of which elementary school or AC you are from. All SE schools recommend 4 years of math (even though you only need 3 for college) or 4 years of language even though you need only 2 – for example. Speaking specifically about credit for HS algebra – it is available to all students (regardless of school) if you take an approved course and those courses exist outside of AC’s.

  • 173. credit  |  February 10, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    1 credit = a high school class. An Algebra class taught in an Academic Center counts as a high school class and therefore, that child starts 9th grade with 1 credit (let’s say) for the Algebra…..that same child might get additional credits for other classes as well, such as Survey of Lit or whatever. Those credits go towards their total needed to graduate, so some kids can start high school (after attending an AC) with 3 or 4 credits and therefore, be closer to the finish line. My kids did not attend an AC, but still took Algebra, and though they were basically doing high school math in 7th and 8th grade at their RGC–it doesn’t count as a credit towards their total needed to graduate.

  • 174. P.S.  |  February 10, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Passing the test does not constitute as credit. Credit comes when the class is being taught by a high school accredited teacher

  • 175. cps Mom  |  February 10, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Yes – the class can be (and is) taught at grade schools by a teacher with class 09 level at schools other than AC. Why don’t you believe me on this? We were not alone in receiving a HS credit for math. Are there no RGC’s that offer algebra for credit?

    @174 – which test? The CPS test or the individual high school test? If you take an approved Algebra class by an accredited teacher, receive a minimum of C grade and get a “pass” or “high pass” you will get credit for HS algebra. Another thing that is true is that individual schools have their own requirements and will administer their own test. If the student passes that test they will get credit for Math 1 and move directly to math 2.

  • 176. which test?  |  February 10, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Referring to the Algebra exit exam….many think that taking the exit exam and getting a high pass means they get HS credit for taking Algebra (Math I) in elementary school. It merely means you get to go on to Geometry (Math II). Perhaps each school has their own system….a few 7th and 8th grade teachers at RGCs have an 09 certificate but they are not in a high school setting and so the math class they teach doesn’t qualify as a high school level class (even though the same books are used/same concepts are covered). I am only speaking in reference to a RGC–and so if your school does it differently then so be it.

  • 177. cps Mom  |  February 10, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    OK – curious as to why things are different. We all agree here that this 1 credit does not matter in the scope of HS requirements and all the advanced classes that any given student has the chance to take. The only message that I would want to leave is that it is not necessary to attend an AC to get into AP classes or even graduate early (if that is the desire). Many schools reach out and connect with local colleges and universities for college credited classes. Kids getting a jump on high school by attending AC’s are in a great position to tap into those upper level classes and so are others. I am truly amazed and happy about all the options that can be tailored to the students academic level and artistic abilities. Good luck everyone on this upcoming round of high school enrollment.

  • 178. edgar  |  February 11, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    What extra space? Having attended lane myself, I think this idea is ridiculous. There is no extra space in that “humongous” building. Classrooms have upwards of 40 kids. If anything, they need more space just to house the high school students they already have there. I dare any one of these parents to walk the hallways after classes are done and see how how much space there is.

  • 179. Lane admission  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I heard this is not being voted on in the Feb meeting. So is the proposal dead? Any insight would be appreciated.


  • 180. IB&RGC Mom  |  February 28, 2011 at 2:26 am

    I read this article quite some time ago (right after I had signed the petition), just came back to it, and started to read all the posting. This is all great information! I only got through about 80 postings and will have to come back to read the rest later. I didn’t know about the Academic Centers until my daughter was midway through her 5th grade year. At that point we started to stress the importance of getting A’s. Because she is at a RGC her ISAT scores are very high and she felt like she did well on the entrance test, but she did have a B in one class. I am afraid this B may keep her out of WY AC. I did apply for Taft as well, but wasn’t sure if she would accept should she get in. That was just based on the little I had read about the school and program. I also didn’t like that it didn’t automatically feed into the high school and really want the 6 year option so the stress will not be as high during the 7th grade year. Reading the posts I have I am beginning to think it will be a very good option should she be accepted, BUT I would love to have a 3rd option within reach at Lane.

    I did see some posts that kids at Decatur do have a leg up (this would be the similar for kids at some RGC’s and other advanced magnet programs) when it comes to the testing as they have covered the material before and have been groomed for testing, but we cannot forget they also are not getting any extra credit for taking advanced classes. Their A’s count the same as students from barely meeting state standards schools A’s. Also they may need a 93% for an A and some schools count 90% as an A. So they can be in a class that is considered (but not counted as) high school level, get a 92% and get 25 points off that a student with a 90% at another school will not get docked. Last I had heard it was the letter grade and not the percentage that is looked at. So in some ways they are at a disadvantage if the A’s don’t come easily for them. The programs are very rigorous and I honestly fear the stress of 7th grade especially after seeing “The Race to Nowhere” and would love to have Lane as one additional option to securing a spot in a SEHS.

    I do feel for the Decatur students and parents when it comes time to find placement for 7th grade. This is stress that they may have to feel again once if they have to move on to SEHS and that is stress that some people don’t feel until it comes to to apply for college because they have perfectly good schools within reach for grade school, middle school, and high school. The City of Chicago need more options. More Academic Centers, more SEHS’s, MORE OPTION’S. Especially on the North Side. We shouldn’t have to feel this much stress just to ensure our kids get a good education. I really do hope that my daughter is accepted into an AC that feeds into an SEHS and then we won’t have to feel the stress to compete for a coveted SEHS spot in 7th grade. Well that and she will be getting the high school credit she deserves. If she stays in her RGC, she will be taking classes that will be at the same level, but will not count as high school credit. She may be able to test out of the same classes in high school, but really who wants yet one more test!!

    Being that those of us in the CPS system have to really research to find out what our options are, I don’t see how private school students will be taking too many spots from us as they would have to dig to find out their are options as well and may find out too late. Would they know they have to apply by mid December the previous year and that the previous years grades and scores are what they are looking at? Some might, but it is not like this information is really easily available. Well that is unless you are CPS obsessed. 🙂

    Also, I don’t see this as taking hardly any spots from anyone trying to get into the high school as #1 there will probably be only a few spots available for 7th grade (I believe there are only 124 spots for 7th graders at WY AC), #2 these kids would very likely be the same students who would test into the SEHS there when it comes time for high school, and #3 there is still a chance that they test into a different SEHS therefore leaving that same spot open.

    Lets hope that we continue to have more options and that our neighborhood schools continue to improve and not have to worry about holding students back that should have more advanced options available to them, i.e. this “brain drain” I have read in some of the postings above.

    Thanks everyone for all the great information.

  • 181. Greetings from Lake Wobegon  |  February 28, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly that more SE high schools are needed all over the city. And once we get all kids into SE high schools, we should declare victory and rename them non-SE high schools.

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