February 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm 566 comments


I know there are readers who are going to be getting information soon about high school admissions.

Feel free to share your news/information here in the comments section.

Information is power, as they say… so let’s get empowered.  (Actually, maybe they don’t say that in the city of Chicago, but I still like to keep the dream alive.)


Entry filed under: High school. Tags: , , , , .

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566 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Christine  |  February 18, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Good luck to all the families awaiting results. I hope they come out on time. That would mean that in 1 month I’ll get to post the elem school results. I’m so excited. I can’t to read the HS results.

  • 2. bagg  |  February 18, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Daughter accepted to St. Ignatius. I posted this earlier…It appears that there were many more applications at Iggy this year, and thus more rejections. Increase in applications probably due to the perception of no acceptance at SEHS.

  • 3. Prep Dad  |  February 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    My daughter took the SE exam and she would love to get into Whitney Young, Jones College Prep or King H.S. No preference in any of these fine institutions. I just hope and pray that we get an acceptance letter or call soon. She attends a top magnet school in the Beverly neighborhood and has done extremely well. We used “SelectivePrep” and she has excellent grades in seventh grade and perfect attendance. So we are praying!

    In case we don’t get into a Young/Jones/King, I had her sit for the Queen of Peace Catholic High School exam last month. I also submitted her an application to Kenwood Academy High School’s magnet program called the University of Chicago Honors Program. And I submitted an application for the U of Chicago Charter High School,as well. The lottery for that school is in March. Some of the students that have graduated from there, have gone on to Ivy league colleges and universities. So hopefully something will pan through.

    This has been a stressful two years and I will be glad when it is over and we have a acceptance letter in our hands. I am dreading this process for my son who is in fourth grade now. When dealing with CPS, its never too early to start planning and prepping for AC’s or high schools.

  • 4. Prep Dad  |  February 18, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Also, I should add that she was accepted to Queen of Peace Catholic High School in Burbank IL. That is a great school and I am glad that we at least have a back up school. I would love NOT to pay tuition but is willing to do so, assuming we don’t get into any of the above schools mention.

  • 5. cps Mom  |  February 18, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Prep Dad – there is nothing better than the feeling one gets as a parent after that last high school test is taken and everything is done. You have a great line up of schools and an acceptance will follow. Good luck to everyone. I look forward to hearing.

  • 6. Prep Dad  |  February 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    @cps Mom-Thanks for your kind words of encouragement! I was afraid that I had applied to too many high schools for my daughter. The reason I did so, was because last year, I read on cps obsessed that a few parents had only applied to SE schools and their child wasn’t accepted to any, regardless of high test results, etc. I jsut thought that maybe we should apply to a few “back-up” schools.

    Good luck to everyone throughout this process!

  • 7. been there  |  February 18, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Prep Dad- you’ve done the right thing. The guidance counsler at my twins’grade school told us to “cast a wide net”when applying last year, which we did. We went from fretting that they wouldn’t get in anywhere to having to make some tough choices as the acceptance letters came in. I hope you have the same”problem”! Also remember that the SE letters due soon are for 1st round. Nscp was the only se that didn’t have a 2nd round. Best of luck to everyone!

  • 8. seteacher  |  February 19, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Hi all. I seem to remember a thread a while back discussing mid-year admissions. I don’t recall if it was focused on elementary school or HS. I know that the SE school I am at has admitted 4 students at the new semester. Two were from private and two were from other CPS. Just a thought to keep in mind.

  • 9. 32nd street Mom  |  February 19, 2011 at 10:24 am

    SETeacher: were they freshman or upperclassmen? I’ve heard of some sophmores getting in later when there is a space. Your point is I think, that kids get in at all times. I know a family who got an SE offer last June, after they had already settled on a parochial school; they took the SE offer and are very happy, after initially being heartbroken at missing their tier cutoff by a couple of points. The next few weeks or (months) can be a rollercoaster ride for folks who don’t get in the first round. What a system!

  • 10. seteacher  |  February 19, 2011 at 10:30 am

    32nd STMOM: All were sophomores and freshmen.

  • 11. Happy Camper  |  February 19, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    The mail just came. Our 8th grader got a letter from the IB program at Lincoln Park (she’s in) but there was nothing from the Office of Selective Enrollment. So… more waiting ahead. Are we all in this situation? Does anyone know anyone who got their answer today, Saturday, about the Selective Prep schools?

  • 12. George  |  February 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    No SE results from CPS for us today but my daughter did get into the double honors/ AP program at Lincoln Park wich is what we applied for. Guess we have to wait till Tuesday cause of the holiday Monday: (

  • 13. westside mom  |  February 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Remember that blizzard? And the two snow days? We heard that letters were delayed and will be out Tuesday. So relax and enjoy the weekend.

  • 14. George  |  February 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Maybe the office personel will decide to use their mandatory furlough days and take all of next week off as well : )

  • 15. Anonymous  |  February 19, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Hey guys! Does anyone know if the SE results have been sent yet or when they will be here! Anxiously awaiting the letter to hopefully get into Walter Payon!

  • 16. Jill  |  February 19, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I spoke with someone and they were working on the letters and stated that they would go out either yesterday or Monday. I asked if they were working on Monday and she stated “no” so I am hoping that they went out yesterday. The mail holiday on Monday will back up my mail for a week! Why can’t they send an e-mail or post the letter on the parent portal?

  • 17. Anonymous  |  February 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Im not sure if I will be able to wait that long haha! An email would be much less stressful! So we should be expecting the letters sometime this week? I hope so! What school would you like your child to get into?

  • 18. Jill  |  February 19, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    I’ve tried to worm the answer out of them. I even offered to help with stuffing envelope! We are hoping for Jones (and hoping to get the answer before we have to put a deposit down for Mt. Carmel on Wednesday). How about you? Which school are you hoping for?

  • 19. Anonymous  |  February 19, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Haha good idea! I hope you get your lettter soon, would hate if you had to put a deposit down than ended up not needing to!! We are hoping Walter Payton! Good Luck to you!

  • 20. cps Mom  |  February 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    You can stall on those deposits. Just tell them you need time to discuss and make sure with your family – they’ll wait.

  • 21. Jill  |  February 19, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks for the input regarding the deposit. Augh – waiting is no fun!

  • 22. bagg  |  February 19, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Also received acceptance letter from LP IB.

    Jill, such a short deadline for mt carmel. How much time are they giving you to decide? We have one month for $500 St. Ignatius deposit.

    We’re hoping Jones/Payton/Whitney. What is the deadline for parent decision to SEHS?

  • 23. Anonymous  |  February 19, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    We need a $600 deposit for Loyola! Very anxious for our SE letter!

  • 24. J  |  February 19, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Bagg – We received the acceptance on Tuesday. The acceptance letter never actually states that the deposit is due on Wednesday but it strongly implied. I am not sure about the timeframe for SEHS acceptance. Good luck. Oh why is Monday a mail holiday??????

  • 25. Danny  |  February 20, 2011 at 11:54 am


    Because of presidents day

  • 26. good luck  |  February 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    last year the SE letters were at least a week late.

  • 27. cpsobsessed  |  February 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    I’ve been thinking about Rahm’s HS situation… obviously he’s going to look bad if he wins and doesn’t send his child to a CPS school. I’m stll gonna assume his child will get in a SE school, but if they don’t… geez, then what? In the past, the Mayor (or someone who is in tight with the president) could have made a phone call and been at the top of a discrection list. But those days are gone!

  • 28. Mayfair Dad  |  February 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Mayfair Son accepted into Lincoln Park IB program. It was a very happy Saturday morning. Waiting for the SE high school letter like everybody else. I was also told the Von Steuben Scholars letter is always late.

  • 29. cpsobsessed  |  February 20, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Yay for Mayfair Son! That’s great news!

    So… are the Lincoln Park IB and Von Steuben admissions totally separate from SE? In theory you could get in 1 SE, LPIB, and VSS?

    Also, I realized that I have no idea what the admission criteria is for the Catholic high schools. Can anyone clue me in?

  • 30. bagg  |  February 20, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    We are very blessed that we already have 4 choices (pre-SEHS notification). However, we (spouse, daughter and I) are at a quandry as to which HS to choose. The three of us have chosen different HS. How do we make the final decision? How much weight do we give to the student’s choice?

  • 31. Anonymous  |  February 21, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Does anyone know when we should be expecting our letters!!???

  • 32. RL Julia  |  February 21, 2011 at 8:26 am

    #30 -what a lucky problem to have. As someone who was sent to a high school I knew I actively didn’t want to go to, I can only say, it wasn’t a successful experience (I lasted two years and then was able to switch to the school I wanted to go to) . I guess the key is to figure out what it is about your daughter’s pick that appeals to her (not so easy, I know) and what it is about her pick that you don’t care for and negotiate from there. VIsiting the school (if that is possible) and/or talking to a family/student who already goes there might also help. At this stage in the game, you probably should give her preferences and ideas some weight.
    IIf she is making a decision based on where her friends are theoretically going – and nothing more, you can always point out that she’ll make friends anywhere – in 9th grade, everyone is going to be new and looking for a friend.

    Good luck!
    Congrats to Mayfair son!

  • 33. Jennifer  |  February 21, 2011 at 9:01 am

    I also went to a school I didn’t want to go to, I was glad my parents didn’t send me to the school my elem school friends went to but they picked religious school over a SE school (not in Chicago) and I resented them for it badly.

    Congrats to all the kids getting the letters they wanted! I wish they’d send the elementary letters, I know it’s going to be another month but the suspense is killing me, especially because we’re holding off on a home purchase until we hear!

  • 34. copy editor  |  February 21, 2011 at 9:54 am

    The Catholic schools tend to have more of a “whole child” approach, looking at grades and test scores, special talents, and Catholic connections. A Catholic child will have an advantage over a non-Catholic child; a kid whose mother is a Georgetown alum will have an advantage at St. Ignatius over a kid whose mother went to U of I because Georgetown is a Jesuit school. The grades/test score thing is important, but not by as much. Loyola, for example, has a special ed program for kids who don’t test well. It costs extra, but at least they offer it.

  • 35. cps Mom  |  February 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

    CPSO – Von Stueben and LP have their own separate admissions. Von has an application along with an essay and LP has a test along with a written literary analysis. The beauty of applying to these programs is that they do not interfere with SE choices or process. Many people will accept offers to these programs and are safe to wait until the second or more rounds of SE selection. For example, accepting LP keeps you in the lottery for SE if down the road you get an offer for Payton, Whitney, Jones – you can then make a decision to move or not. If, however, you get don’t your preferred choice for SE, LP or Von is a given and you have something great in hand.

    Catholic schools have their own test and criteria. Since they can pick as they deem appropriate, politics, alum affiliation, race, religion all come into play.

  • 36. cps Mom  |  February 21, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Also wanted to add that that’s great about Mayfair son. We could see this coming being a prime example of a smart kid fighting a B in an advanced program. I am very happy for you – sounds well deserved.

  • 37. Schuyler Colfax  |  February 21, 2011 at 10:23 am

    There is talk among the Catholic high schools of going to a consortium similar to the SE HS exam. A key feature is that they’ll require a $500 deposit before the SE acceptance letters are mailed.

  • 38. HSObsessed  |  February 21, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Congrats to all the good news of acceptances from everyone!

    Re: how much to allow a kid to choose their high school — I think that people with elementary aged kids who are thinking ahead don’t realize how much things change between receiving acceptance letters for kindergarten and receiving them for 9th grade! I know from friends with high schoolers that the kid’s opinions are often very different from the parents. I guess you could theoretically force your child to go to a school they don’t want to go to, but you can’t force them to like it.

    @27 – I think Rahm’s kids will get into a SE high school, just a matter of which one. However, if they choose to go the private route, I don’t think it will look bad. We have a long history of local and national leaders who choose private schools, and it doesn’t seem to be a black mark.

  • 39. Anonymous  |  February 21, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Cant wait for our letters! Hopefully we will be receiving them sometime this week, maybe tomorrow? What schools did your children apply for??

  • 40. cps Mom  |  February 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    @37 – that’s interesting. It would certainly give them an opportunity to cash in on “selective mania”. Even if they made the fee applicable to tuition they could get thousands of kids to take the test in order to have a good catholic school option. They would then need to make the entrance requirements more transparent and eliminate patronage.

    I wonder if CPS could get away with charging a testing fee of some kind.

  • 41. adad  |  February 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    I’m guessing that CPS could not charge a fee since this is public education and is supposedly open to all. Many would denounce a fee as a means of excluding those less fortunate. Catholic schools are private institutions and can set their own rules (to some extent.) I can understand why the Catholic schools would want to charge a deposit so that people think twice about accepting a spot or rejecting one and leaving the school hanging.

  • 42. Ann  |  February 21, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Does anyone have feedback on Taft? It is our neighborhood school and if we don’t get in SE I know my son will want to go there over the Catholic school he got into (St. Viator). We applied for AVID at Taft, but no word on that. Also interested in when second round SE offers were made last year. We are trying for Lane.

  • 43. cps Mom  |  February 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    yes, understood. I was just daydreaming that by charging a fee (determined by tier??) the money could go toward creating more SE programs – stand alone or within an existing school guaranteeing a larger % of kids a space. It would be interesting/beneficial to know out of the 13,000 applying to SE what the real need is. For example historically out of the applicant pool what % of kids go private/charter/IB/move if they don’t get 1st or 2nd choice schools. What % are relegated to neighborhood schools with no other choice. It seems that there are enough qualified students that would prefer SE if given a viable option and that it should be part of a grand plan to provide that as part of public education. Let’s hope that Rahms kid either gets in or, heck, just misses a cut off like many others and we see some interest in this area.

  • 44. Heidi  |  February 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    A newbie to his website and waiting for SE letters too. We got an automated call this morning at 9:30 saying that the letter was sent.

  • 45. cps Mom  |  February 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    second round offers went out right after the acceptance deadline for round 1(which I believe was close to 2 weeks). Things will happen quickly now.

  • 46. Heidi  |  February 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    All of us thinking that the letters would be in the mail Friday (AKA delivery Saturday) was a bit cruel. I guess I am to suppose that letters were mailed late Friday or early Saturday.

  • 47. RL Julia  |  February 21, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    @42 on Taft. Currently my son is in the 7th grade AC there. It seems like the impossible to find “normal” high school – they have an IB program which even though its not on a lot of people’s radar is quite rigorous – my impression is that is it reasonable to get into but there are no easy A’s and they really work the kids. I don’t know so much about the rest of the school except that it seems to be a nice place – very normal. For Chicago it is extremely white. The principal is highly regarded by other principals and teachers throughout the system (for what that is worth) and it seems to be a good place to go to school overall.

    Two things that might make a difference – I know that the principal is very interested in having the school go to Track E. Taft requested this for the next school year but was refused by the board ( I don’t know why – although a friend in the neighborhood said that she wasn’t in support of it – so maybe there isn’t a lot of neighborhood support). However, I expect he’ll try again. The other is that I know that the IB program is on a 93 and above= an A scale – not the lower grading scale used by many schools.

  • 48. J  |  February 22, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Heidi – You received an automated call stating that the letters were mailed? Did anyone else receive such a call? We did not. What information, if any, did they give out? Should I be nervous that we didn’t receive that call?

  • 49. momof4  |  February 22, 2011 at 10:33 am

    We did not receive such a phone call.

    From what I understand, the letters were not mailed until the 19th.
    Hopefully we’ll all receive our letters by tomorrow.
    Good luck everyone.

  • 50. MarketingMom  |  February 22, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Good luck to all who are waiting on letters. I am not looking forward to being in the same boat in a few years.

  • 51. J  |  February 22, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I called the office today and they stated that the letters were mailed on Friday night.

  • 52. no way  |  February 22, 2011 at 11:52 am

    37. Schuyler Colfax | February 21, 2011 at 10:23 am
    “There is talk among the Catholic high schools of going to a consortium similar to the SE HS exam. A key feature is that they’ll require a $500 deposit before the SE acceptance letters are mailed.”

    No way!!! You can’t even apply to both Loyola and SICP. You have to select the school you want to test with. The other catholic schools will accept Loyola’s and SICP’s test scores but you have to formally withdraw your application before they will send them. If you want any scholarship such as at Scholastica, you have to test there.

  • 53. momof3byos  |  February 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    we rec’d a call too. not much was said except that it was mailed and we didnt get anything by march1st, call the number….

  • 54. waiting for mail  |  February 22, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Well, the mailman came around 11:30 and there was no letter – and no phone call such as the ones that were mentioned. We’re on pins and needles and not entirely confident about OAE’s computer programs or precision in handling the mail…

  • 55. Got Mail  |  February 22, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    We received our mail and letter this morning. Daughter admitted to Northside. So, they are on their way.

  • 56. stalking the mail carrier  |  February 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Mail came, no letter.

  • 57. cps Mom  |  February 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Letters are out – a friend got into Jones.

  • 58. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    So does everyone know what their child’s score/900 is? Do you calculate it yourself or does CPS send you a letter with the total?

    Also, for those who are getting into NSCP, Jones, etc…were you/your friend expecting to get in based on the child’s score? Or does it feel like you really don’t know what will happen?

    I imagine if a child has 890/900 they can expect to get into their top choice. I just wondering how uncertain it all is.

  • 59. mom  |  February 22, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    My kid had an 890/900 last year in tier 4. Would have gotten into all of them last year but I doubt if he would have gotten into Payton this year.

  • 60. cps Mom  |  February 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    cpso – the one missing element is the SE test. You do not get the results until you receive your letter. The letter states your final score, the school that is offered based upon rank and qualification or that there is no offer, and instructions for accepting or declining. Based upon how well your child tests and published scores you have some idea where things will fall but that’s about it. The scores for the SE exam tend to be lower than ISAT, sometimes surprisingly lower. Unless your child has an exceptionally high score going into the test and is a excellent test taker the outcome is usually a nail biter.

  • 61. Got Mail  |  February 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    The letter contains the total score for your child, along with test results for the exam. Naturally, one does not know the relative status of your child until the CPS test results are disclosed. We know our daughter had 600/600 based on grades and the standardized tests, but the outcome of the CPS admittance test really is the deciding factor. Once you see that, you can pretty much know whether you are in.

  • 62. CPSmama  |  February 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    SE entrance exam is not particularly difficult (ie it is not a “gifted” test, more of an achievement test like ISAT), so in all likelihood, a kid going into the SE exam with 600 points should score pretty high on the SE exam. Of course, 12 points off can be enough to knock a kid out of the running for some of these SE high schools.

    FYI- Heard from an SE principal that CPS will not be releasing SEHS cut-off scores this year for any of the rounds. If true, it will be a step backwards to how it used to be.

  • 63. mom2  |  February 22, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    @62 – Why do you think they will not release the cut-off scores this year? What are they afraid of?

  • 64. SE Exams vs. ISAT  |  February 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Supposedly, the SE scores are “nationally normed” (as are the ISATs for these purposes) – while at the same time, virtually every kid who’s commented avers that the SE was easier! One would tend to think that unless the SE test were devishly tricky in some way that there would be a strong correlation.

  • 65. Not releasing cutoffs?  |  February 22, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    #62 – that truly would be a step backward (or a step off the cliff, even.)

    Actually, it already seems a little crazy that the rank order of preferences for schools is submitted BEFORE the total score (i.e., the SE score) is known. I sense that with grade inflation and pressures on inflating ISAT for NCLB purposes, thousands of kids are walking in with 600s and possibly unrealistic expectations.

    It’s been a while for me, but I think I knew my SATs before I sent off those applications for colleges…

  • 66. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    wow, youre right… that is INSANE that the kids have to rank the schools before they know their final score. does it all work out because you just put the ones you want at the top of the list and you get into the one your score falls into? Or I suppose if you have not-so-great scores, maybe you’d be better off giving preference to a school that had lower scores?
    Totally bogus if they don’t release the cutoffs this year.

  • 67. bagg  |  February 22, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    no SE letter today.

    For those that have received results, would you mind indicating:
    * school
    * tier
    * choice # (1 – 6)

  • 68. mom2  |  February 22, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    I also think it is wrong to have to rank schools before you know your score (you did get your ACT/SAT results long before you apply to college), but their system really makes it so that doesn’t matter too much. You can put the most difficult schools to get into (based on past year information) at the top of your list (if you like those schools) and as long as you also put other schools on the list, you will end up in the school where you match (assuming you score high enough to get into at least one of them).
    As far as the cutoffs and other statistical information not being shared, I hope this information is incorrect. But if not, I would hope that people will make a big fuss about that. The whole purpose of an open and documented process is that you have an open and documented result, too. Otherwise, people will continue to believe that things are “not fair” or that there is something fishy going on behind the scenes. If they want to prevent that, they need to be an open book.

  • 69. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Yeah, that’s how the rankings for the gifted/classical work out – efficiently since they just keep working down the ranking list.

    I can imagine that CPS got a lot of grief last year when people were comparing the entry scores by Tiers and complaining that kids in Tiers 3-4 were being passed over for kids with lower scores in Tiers 1-2. I mean that’s the nature of the game, but it’s hard to see it spelled out so clearly.

  • 70. been there  |  February 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    FYI…THe OAE sends a letter and then the SE high school sends another letter. My daughter got her letter from the SE high school last year, but never got the one from OAE. You need the OAE letter to accept your offer; My husband had to go the OAE office to get a copy and sign it. If you don’t get a letter, make sure to call sooner than later, as the high schools will have their welcome nights very soon.

  • 71. mom  |  February 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    The gamesmanship of ranking ended last year. You just pick your top four choices and you get the highest one you qualify for.

  • 72. cps Mom  |  February 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    this year 6 picks and can be in any order you’ll get the first you qualify for! Much better system. I can’t see how they can’t release the cut-offs. How else can you decide whether to accept or reject an offer and chance going to the second round???? Last year the strategy was that if you were close to the cut off you had a solid chance of making round 2. This played heavily into the decision process. Looks like they want people to except what they get blindly without playing the odds.

    I do see what you mean about CPS getting a lot of grief about the disparity between a tier 1 and tier 4 score.

  • 73. momof4  |  February 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    We did just now receive a letter from Northside extending an invitation to my daughter to join “the premier learning community in Chicago.” But we did not receive a letter from OAE. Something got mixed up somewhere, but she’s going to Northside!

  • 74. Not releasing cutoffs?  |  February 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    I tend not to be “obsessed” enough to fully understand how the preference rankings are implemented alongside the scores. I recall in the past from back-and-forths on boards like yours that there WAS some strategy involved – e.g., student A with lower scores who ranked Payton #1 might get a spot over a student B with higher scores who ranked it #2, and then B might be stuck with their 3rd or lower choice. Allegedly, this was rectified, but I don’t think it’s as simple as #71 says.
    “An applicant will be considered in both the score-only rank list and the SES tier rank list for each school identified on the student’s application in the student’s order of preference until the student is selected by a school or until the student’s school preference list is exhausted. “

  • 75. waitingmom  |  February 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    No, it actually is no as simple as #71 says as far as rank. You pick your six schools in the order that you want to attend and you are then given the highest one that you qualify for. This of course does not play into tier and rank, but you no longer have to play the game of how to rank schools.

  • 76. momof4  |  February 22, 2011 at 3:30 pm


    Which letter/s did you receive? From OAE, or NS, or both?

  • 77. mom2  |  February 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    @74 – last year was the first year where they match your top choice with the first school on your list (in your order of preference) where you qualify. It used to be that it did matter a great deal if you put Payton first and Northside second, you could never get into Northside because they would see that you didn’t put them first and you could end up with your third choice. Now it really is more simple.

    @72 – I don’t think that you are correct that your rank order doesn’t matter. That actually makes no sense to me as you may want (for example) Lane more than Jones, so you put it first. In your example, you could end up with Jones instead of Lane because you might have higher scores and this year, the scores needed for Jones are higher than Lane.

    Your suggestion would also imply that there is a clear order for everyone when it comes to the SE schools which is also not true. Who is to say that every year, from now on, Payton takes the highest scores, then Northside, then WY, then Jones, then Lane, etc. As times change, that order could be different (especially with the way they keep dabbling in changes, and maybe adding a Academic Center at Lane, etc.)

  • 78. cps Mom  |  February 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    @ 74 – it has been made much easier. If you score 750 and rank Northside 1, Payton 2, and Lane 3. You’ll get into Lane it the tier and score make their cut-off. If, however your score is 890 and you rank Lane 1, Northside 2 and Payton 3 – you’ll get Lane because that is your first choice even though you qualified for Northside. Now, you just rank the schools in the order you want them.

  • 79. copy editor  |  February 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    At my son’s school, the counselor told seventh grade parents that the SE high schools see the student’s entire file and thus will consider things like attendance and discipline when extending offers. I’m not sure if he was telling the truth or telling us a lie so that we wouldn’t let our kids off the hook about attendance, etc. Does anyone know about that? Could that be why the scores aren’t being released?

  • 80. cps Mom  |  February 22, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    @77 did you mean @72? – I don’t think that this is what I implied. I was talking about strategy and being able to use cut-offs to do that.

    BTW – I just heard from a friend in tier 2 that ranked Jones #1 and Whitney #2 and she got Whitney

  • 81. Jennifer  |  February 22, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    But surely that would be taking a huge risk that a massive number of kids would qualify for a school they have all applied for – they surely can’t accept everyone who qualifies so how are they going to allocate then?

  • 82. cps Mom  |  February 22, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Oh I see @72 should be clearer to say put the schools in any order that you desire (in order of importance) – my bad

  • 83. mom2  |  February 22, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    If a massive number of kids “qualify” for a school, they are taken in the order of points (by points and tiers) until the spots are filled. I am told that if there is a tie when they get to the end, they can then look at other factors such as classes with certain grades or attendance, but those should not be factors in almost all cases. Once the spots are filled, they are filled and those that “qualify” for that school go on to their next highest ranking.

    CPS Mom, I don’t understand your question to me. You said, “this year 6 picks and can be in any order you’ll get the first you qualify for!” What I was saying is that the order you rank them matters a great deal. Is that what you meant about “any order”?

  • 84. mom2  |  February 22, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    CPS Mom @82 – sorry, we were typing at the same time 🙂 Glad we cleared that up.

  • 85. Loser  |  February 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    will the SE acceptance letters be from the school you were accepted to or the cps board of academic enhancement? Anyone know?

  • 86. waitingmom  |  February 22, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    @ #85 You get a letter from Academic Enhancement and then if you were selected for an SE school, you will get that letter as well.

  • 87. Loser  |  February 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    @ #86 Thank you so much….

  • 88. Bagg  |  February 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Do you still receive a letter if you are not accepted to any sehs?

  • 89. Happy Camper  |  February 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Still waiting —our mail carrier gets here around 4 pm usually.

    I would like to reiterate word for word a previous comment since, as we leave this site and move on to the next joyous challenge in the art of parenting teenagers, there will be parents of younger kids counting on our collective wisdom — especially if CPS decides to keep numbers and stats more hidden in the future:

    For those that have received results, would you mind indicating:
    * school
    * tier
    * choice # (1 – 6)


    I promise to do so after we’ve received our letter —hopefully today!!!!!!

  • 90. Confused  |  February 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    My son’s friend received the letter today and got into Northside, Payton and Witney!!!??? is that possible ????

  • 91. momof3boys  |  February 22, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    @89 not that i mind giving out that info (which i will) but wouldnt it just further frustrate people whos kid didnt get in if he/she was from a higher tier? i know when my youngest got into a sees a couple of years ago with a score much lower than many of the posters’ kids, i felt horrible that my kid got in and theirs didnt. the comments that followed my posts were awful… my ds does well in his school but i cant say he’s a genius…

  • 92. CPSmama  |  February 22, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    @90- not possible. Your son’s friend probably ranked those schools, but there is supposed to be an “X” near the school for which he was selected. Many kids make the mistake of seeing the schools listed without reading whether or not they were selected for that school

  • 93. now a hsmom  |  February 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    My daughter scored 900/900. We are Tier 4.
    First choice was NS. Second choice was Payton.
    She did not list choices 3-6.

    She will be attending NS.

  • 94. Got Mail  |  February 22, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    #76–we received a letter from OAE with the offer, test results and score. We also received a separate welcoming letter from Northside.

    #89– info is as follows:
    * Tier 4
    * Northside was first choice

    As to the concerns raised by #91, I am somewhat sympathetic to the issue you raise; however, on the other hand, as long as individual scores are not released, I think further transparency on the process and results is a good.

  • 95. cpsdadof2  |  February 22, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Very instructive. Will post results when received.

  • 96. Confused  |  February 22, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    @92. thank you! you are right, he did change his FB status and only listed one school; Northside. i’ve heard that he went into the entrance exam with 600. that explains the acceptance to northside. 🙂

  • 97. George  |  February 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    That is a great idea to post your score, tier, and rank. It sounds like that is the only way to keep the CPS process honest if they are not going to publish their cutoff scores. I will be posting our score as soon as we get it.

  • 98. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    I think that sharing scores is a good thing, despite the anguish it can bring some families.
    If CPS doesn’t publish anything, it’s hard for parents to know whether there’s a chance to hold out for another school higher on their list (that is how it works, right?… like the gifted/classical programs?)
    I think the beauty of information sharing now that we have the Internet can help parents/kids make more informed choices.
    I’m still astounded by the reports of 900’s. Dang. Pretty impressive.

  • 99. George  |  February 22, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    There is no anguish for me and the posting does not identify your child publicly so no problem : )

  • 100. bagg  |  February 22, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    “now a hsmom” and “gotmail”, congratulations to your child and entire family.

    I was the original requester of posting specific results and appreciate that you are sharing the info. When we get the letter, I too will be posting results.

    There are many other forums (e.g., college confidential) that highly encourages parents/students to post detailed acceptance results (SAT/ACT, grades, extracurricular) to help the following year’s batch of parents. And of course we have all found that parent submitted information is invaluable especially in the navigation of the CPS process.

  • 101. curious onlooker  |  February 22, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    This process is still a few years away for me… but I’m wondering whether the kids getting into such great high schools (congrats!!) are currently enrolled in gifted/classical programs or neighborhood programs?? One of my kids is in a RGC and the other is in a (good) neighborhood program… I’m wondering whether the more rigorous curriculum in the RGC program translates into a significant benefit for high school placement???

  • 102. Heidi  |  February 22, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    @101 – Can’t speak to getting in yet as no letter has arrived but my daughter went to a RGC and had a 600 going in to the test…

  • 103. Happy Camper  |  February 22, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Quick thought:

    Tier are relevant for “only” 70% of the applicant pool —as far as I know. Kids scoring 900 on 900 all belong, one would assume, to the 30% of “top of the crop” kids accepted based on score only i.e. without taking tiers into account.

    (Another thought: I assume that given the socio-economic makeup of our city, most kids scoring perfect or near perfect scores come from higher tiers…

    Stats on the makeup of that 30% top scorer would be interesting.)

    No letter today for us. 😦

  • 104. cpsdadof2  |  February 22, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    No letter today. Tomorrow is another day.

  • 105. Prep Dad  |  February 22, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    We got our letter today for our daughter and she was accepted to Jones College Prep (our second choice)! I am happy because we don’t have to pay tuition for a catholic school. Our first choice was Young H.S and third choice King. We are happy about Jones College Prep accepting my daughter. I don’t know much about the school but from what I heard it was is a great school. I am looking forward to the new school year and for my daughter begining her educational career at Jones College Prep!!!

  • 106. HSObsessed  |  February 22, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Congratulations to everyone on all the good news.

    I would be very surprised if CPS did not release data on the cut off points by rank order and by tier, for round one and round two, given that the Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendations specifically included that as a way to make the process as transparent as possible. Here’s a link to last year’s numbers, for anyone who may be interested.

    Click to access Selective%20Enrollment%20High%20Schools%20–%20Cutoff%20Scores%202010-2011.pdf

  • 107. HSObsessed  |  February 22, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    And you also need the scoring rubric so you can translate the ISAT percentiles to the 300-point scale, etc.

    As the parent of a child who is not great at math and will likely not get an A in that subject in 7th grade, I find it kind of depressing. Getting a B instead of an A means 25 points off, which knocks a Tier 4 child out of the running for NS and Payton completely, no matter if they get perfect scores on both reading and math ISATs and the SEHS exam. Payton and Jones required lower scores, but still in the 90s. The cut off scores have been rising every year, too. 😦

    Click to access Scoring%20Rubric%20–%20Selective%20Enrollment%20–%202011-2012.pdf

  • 108. cps Mom  |  February 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Prep dad – Jones is great, will see you there.

    Two that I know that got into Jones and Whitney were from magnet schools. I know that at Jones of 150 first round offers they were represented by 105 schools from all over the city. Someone from Northside may be able to comment on a RGC advantage. As long as the students from RGC’s get the A’s the testing part follows. I think that we are going to see many more A’s as schools are realizing that they penalize the kids if they issue a B or C grade – I wouldn’t be particularly comfortable with that for many reasons.

    This, however, is about celebration. I am astounded about so many perfect scores with so few posts. Congratulations to everyone.

  • 109. cps Mom  |  February 22, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    @107 – do not fret a B. There are many great options other than NS and Payton – you’ll see.

  • 110. Sara  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Payton is accepting 250 students this year, so that’s an additonal 80 students over last year. That’s good news for all of you who listed Payton as your first choice. Young is our son’s first choice.

  • 111. Prep Dad  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Why are Payton accepting so many more students this year?

  • 112. Anonymous  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Waiting for our letter! Hopefully tommorow and from Walter Payton! Please wish us luck!!!

  • 113. Huh?  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    @110 – Another example of how scattered the admissions information is…how do you know how many students WP is accepting?

  • 114. Prep Dad  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    @Anonymous-Good Luck!!!! Payton is a great school.

    My daughter got her letter today. She was accepted to Jones. I am happy. I hope you and your family get some great news, as well.

    @CPS Mom-I agree with you, that there are many great options beside NS/Payton. Those schools are good but there are nine other SE schools plus some high schools with magnet programs and good charter high schools too.

    Good Luck Everyone!!!!

  • 115. Payton Alumnus  |  February 22, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    @111 – The Class of 2011 currently has ~250 students. Thus, when they graduate, ~250 spots open. Essentially, however many students graduate each year determines the number of positions available for the incoming class. The Class of 2010 had ~170 students, so the current freshman class similarly has ~170 students – this accounts for the additional ~80 positions.

  • 116. Huh?  |  February 22, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    @115 – Thanks, I guess that’s a reasonable explanation, although it’ seems odd that one class can be nearly 50% larger (or smaller, it must zigzag every few years) than the one behind it.

  • 117. cpsmama  |  February 23, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Don’t forget that some of Payton’s 250 spots will go to NCLB students. Is that number 25 again? Same for the other SE HS who agreed to take NCLB students this year (NS, WP, WY, Lane, Jones, ??)

  • 118. cps Mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 8:38 am

    @117 – that was supposedly changed to 5%

  • 119. CPSmama  |  February 23, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Principal discretion is 5% – is that the same % for NCLB?

  • 120. bagg  |  February 23, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Can someone pls summarize the %? is this correct?

    30% highest test score
    60% tier
    5% NCLB
    5% principal discretion

  • 121. cps Mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I believe that the 10% (5+5) is off the top so in essence the 30% is 30% of 90% or 27% making tier 63%

  • 122. bagg  |  February 23, 2011 at 11:24 am

    then, is this correct?

    5% NCLB
    5% principal discretion
    27% (=30% of 90%) highest test score
    63% tier

    Which in essence, the NCLB and prin discretion is taking away from the highest test scorers? This doesn’t seem correct.

  • 123. waitingmom  |  February 23, 2011 at 11:32 am

    So we have a letter from Lane but no letter from OAE yet. Has anyone received OAE letters yet? My son’s first choice was Lane and he got accepted into Lane Alpha but I can’t pass along any other info without his scores.

  • 124. cps Mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 11:32 am

    If the 10% treatment (I’m not certain) is correct it impacts both – 63% instead of 70%

  • 125. Lindblom Principal  |  February 23, 2011 at 11:56 am

    There are completely separate parts.

    The main admissions process has the 30/70 split.
    Each of us is afforded up to 5% of our previous year’s freshman class for principal discretion.
    Those of us who are eligible to receive NCLB students may receive up to 5% of our freshman enrollment (not to exceed 25 students).

    I hope that clears it up!

  • 126. CPSmama  |  February 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    ^ Lindblom Principal -thanks for clearing that up.

    Can you (or anyone) confirm that NCLB students must have a minimum point total of 650?

  • 127. Waiting for mail (again)  |  February 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Mail came (to Bucktown) around 10:30am and, again, no OAE letter today, but there _was_ a letter from Payton – I promised not to open anything before she came home from school but the envelope is..kinda on the diaphanous side 🙂

  • 128. 32nd street Mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    #123..I would call OAE by Friday if you don’t get your letter. You have to let the central office know that you accept your offer, as well as letting Lane know.
    Congrats on getting your first choice!

  • 129. 32nd street Mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    #127..Payton wouldn’t send you a reject’re in…

  • 130. mom2  |  February 23, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    @123 – Congratulations to your son on getting into Lane. We are quite fond of the school. It has some really wonderful teachers and counselors, and so many things to offer from what I hear are the most AP classes and choices in the city, to sports, music and arts and tons of clubs and an all-around amazing 4 years. He should be very happy and proud.

  • 131. No letter in Roscoe Village  |  February 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Mail just came. Still nothing.

  • 132. bagg  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    reposting…will student still receive a letter if student is not selected to any of the SEHS?

  • 133. Anxious  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I am at work, expecting any minute to have an anxiety-induced stroke. I don’t know how I will make it to 5 pm to go home and check the mail.

  • 134. AnxiousMom#2  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    @133. i called in sick today. i couldnt go to work and wait till 5 or 6pm. still no mail. i hope it comes today. My son already got into Latin and LP Double Honors but waiting for SE letter. latin is 30K/year! i hope he gets into SE.

  • 135. momof4  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    For next year, could the OAE email responses instead of relying on a fickle mail system? A quick email response would help all of us in terms of reducing anxiety.
    Don’t universities and colleges e-mail acceptance/rejection letters?
    There’s got to be a better way!

  • 136. cps Mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    @132 Yes – if no offer you will get a letter asking if you want to remain in the pool (assuming the same as last year)

  • 137. Waiting for mail (again)  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    @132 – I’m fairly certain the test score letter from the OAE goes regardless of selection. I say this because I saw a twitter written by a girl who hasn’t gotten any of her choices.

  • 138. AnxiousMom#2  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    so, im not suppose to open the mail till my kid gets home but if we get a letter from the school is good news, right? but if we get a letter from OAE, its bads news or might be good cause the school might not have sent one? UGH!!!!

  • 139. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Ok, I don’t have a teen, but there is no WAY I could NOT open a letter until they got home!
    I see it as the culmination of 13 years of parenting. You DESERVE to open that letter!! (In my humble opinion.)

    Just FYI, don’t try to microwave it open. Tried that once. Burnt the envelope and contents.

  • 140. 32nd street Mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    If you tested, OAE will send you a letter with your score and if you were accepted to any of your choices. My daughter’s friend got her letter yesterday and she didn’t get into any SE school on her list. If you get accepted for the 1st round, you will also get a letter directly from the school that you were accepted into. If you don’t get any letter from OAE within a few days, call them.

  • 141. 32nd street Mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    I steamed the letter open and glued it back shut…

  • 142. Waitingmom  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Everyone receives a letter from OAE no matter what results are. If you receive a letter from the school, take that as a good sign. I only know of a very small number of people who have received the letters from OAE. I am baffled by this because schools can’t send their letters until they have confirmation that OAE’s letters went in the mail.

  • 143. Waiting for mail (again)  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    The mayoral election results should have been sent to the candidates by US mail

  • 144. bagg  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    waiting, waiting… today would not be a good day for my postal guy to be sick.

  • 145. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    @143, ha! That’d be great. Wonder if Rahm’s kid got their letter yet?

  • 146. AnxiousMom#2  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    @142 yeah, taht’s odd right!?
    @ 139, i also thought i had the right to open it but was told differently by other parents? i guess if im trying to find out if i have to pay for private or not, i should open the letter!!!

  • 147. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    I suppose it’s a sign of respect to let the kid open it first (and lets them feel they had something to do with it when we know it was all us.) Just kidding.

    I have a friend who’s college-age son had to get a bunch of letters of recommendation for grad school and she wanted to read them, just to see what great things people were saying about him and he was all squirrely and felt they were private. Bah.

  • 148. AnxiousMom#2  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I feel like going around the neighborhood to look for my postal lady. haha!

  • 149. retired teacher  |  February 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    This time of year is so stressful for parents and more importantly the children. There is no room for error and unfortunately the kids suffer. The system is flawed. It doesn’t take in to account so many factors. Public education is wonderful but high quality public education high schools is severely lacking. We need more SE HS. Thirteen and fourteen year olds have a gret deal of maturing to do and schools should be providing a safe environment to enhance this growth. My heart hurts for all those kids not getting the school they want. We are failing the kids.

  • 150. Jo  |  February 23, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I agree with the retired teacher. This process is insane and sad. Quality high schools on the Northside are lacking at least ones you can get into. It is NOT fair because we pay alot in property taxes and my child has the right to a quality education regardless of race and income. In fact, all children has a right to the education they want and a safe environment.

  • 151. Grace  |  February 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    @ 79 and 106 — I agree that it is very important for the public to know the cut-off scores for all the schools to make the process transparent and fair. Without that, who can tell.

  • 152. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    While we’re on the high school topic (and the shortages of good spots in the city) please take the time to LIKE the Facebook page of the North Side High School Initiative.
    Once this week of letters is over, I will post some info about them and their goals. But one key goal is to grow the number of people following them, so they have more leverage with the new Mayor.!/pages/North-Side-High-School-Initiative/144692425652

  • 153. cps Mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Everyone – you’re almost at school’s end. Shouldn’t they be able to open their own mail? How exciting for them.

  • 154. AnxiousMom#2  |  February 23, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    exciting if they get in 🙂

  • 155. CPSmama  |  February 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Last yr my kid got a letter from OAE saying not selected for any school. (Crushing would be an understatement particularly since we knew others in lower tiers got in w/ lower points) However, after 1st round deadline passed, my kid got in via rank in 2nd round. Remember, there are kids who turn down their spots to go to IB programs or private school. That opens up spaces in SEHS. So, even if your child gets “bad news” in an OAE letter this week, there’s hope 🙂

  • 156. bagg  |  February 23, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    I’m not a member anymore…are there any HS postings on NPN?

  • 157. Mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    @156 — No. It’s preschools. And, a month from now, it will be JK and K.

  • 158. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Not seeing anything on NPN. They revised the site to look more snazzy and the discussion board is a bit cumbersome to use, unfortunately.

  • 159. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Actually I saw someone on NPN recently mention something like “those kinds of posts are now on CPSObsessed.” 🙂

  • 160. Mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Re: NPN — also, the vast majority of NPN parents, something like 85%, have kids under 5. The oldest the kids get on that site are maybe 3rd-5th or 6th grade. And we’re talking about a handful of parents with kids that old. There just is not any sort of critical mass, at this point in time, of parents with kids going into high school. Now, in a few years, maybe . . . but only if they get the new website functioning better.

  • 161. bagg  |  February 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    cpsobsessed and HSobsessed, I think y’all should start a HS/upper elem version of NPN. As you can see, there’s a whole lot of us here wanting to connect with like-minded parents. But make it free, or ask for donation once per yr to subside cost.

    I was an NPN member a long time ago back when Faith and then Cherrie were the Exec Directors. I liked the home-grown feeling of the organization. Now, NPN is all about parties and socials. Back then, NPN was about fostering parents helping parents…not anymore.

  • 162. Southside Aunt  |  February 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    @ # 155 Cpsmama. You said your kid got in on the 2nd round . Was it there first choice school?

  • 163. cps Mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    @154 – I agree that it would be sad news if a kid gets nothing. Not sure if it’s worse seeing it in writing or hearing it from Mom. With 6 options I think it may be a good idea to put in a school that is a “shoe in” even if you would not necessarily attend. You never know, after the dust settles and the options weighed and investigated you might change your mind.

  • 164. AnxiousMom#2  |  February 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    I’m starting to worry. again NO letter! this is not a good sign.

  • 165. cps Mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    sorry – hit post too soon. It would help boost confidence to get a yes no matter what. Also, a big mistake people make is only choosing 2 or 3 schools and regretting it later. This is really advice for those looking on in distress.

  • 166. Happy Camper  |  February 23, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Second hand info: a friend’s daughter DID NOT get into Payton with an 894 on 900 —Tier 4.

    It was her first choice.

    She did get into WY with that score, her second choice.

    I’m elated that our daughter got into the IB at Lincoln, something we found out last Saturday. Still no letter from the OAE for us today. I think without the IB certainty, we would all go loco in my house!

    Congrats to all the kids (and their families) who got into the school of their choice! Good luck to the nervous bunch still awaiting news…

  • 167. cps Mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    @166 – no wonder they don’t want to post results

  • 168. RL Julia  |  February 23, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    So does an acceptance at Lincoln IB mean that you can say no to the second or third SE option in hopes of getting a 2nd round invite to the first choice SE?

  • 169. bagg  |  February 23, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Finally, mail arrived and only received one CPS letter. Daughter says that she will open letter later tongiht.

    What does the OAE letter envelope look like? The envelope that I received has the CPS logo with the Jones name and address. Is this the SEHS letter?

  • 170. AnxiousMom#2  |  February 23, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    @169. based on previous entries sounds like she got into Jones! good for you. we still didnt receive a letter yet

  • 171. mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    wonder if this is a girl thing? Last year, my son told me to open any and all letters and call him.

  • 172. bagg  |  February 23, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    speaking of girls vs boys…Heard that there were many more girls applying to private schools this yr (parker, latin, st. ignatius, loyola, lab, etc) than previous yrs.

  • 173. HSObsessed  |  February 23, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    @161: “cpsobsessed and HSobsessed, I think y’all should start a HS/upper elem version of NPN.”

    I thought that’s what we are already doing here? : )

    I was a member of NPN from around 2001 until a few weeks ago. When the really nice NPN staffer e-mailed me to confirm my cancellation with her sentiments about how they need experienced parents to guide others, I suggested that they offer a reduced rate for people with kids over a certain age, or people who had been members a certain number of years. It’s a great resource and I enjoyed the discussion boards but $45 a year is steep when only 10 percent of the posts are of interest to people with school-aged kids.

  • 174. Jodi  |  February 23, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Daughter recieved letter from Young, it drove me crazy, but waited till she got home. She was accepted. No letter from OAE. By the way, we are in Tier 4.

  • 175. AnxiousMom#2  |  February 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    60625. Lincoln Square. what tier is that?

  • 176. bagg  |  February 23, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    HSobsessed, wow $45. Last I joined, fee was only $25.

    If you and cpsobsessed seriously want to create a free, HS- NPN type of website, try to get Cherrie to join you. I think Cherrie’s oldest kid is in 8th grade and is probably going through the same process. Heck, maybe she’s reading these postings. My friend is still in contact with her and can probably hook you guys up. Send me an email.

  • 177. Christine  |  February 23, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    I didn’t join NPN because I never understood the draw of it for the fee provided. I still don’t get it esp given the majority of parents have kids under 5 and you can probably get the same info from other free sites.

    Congratulations to all the families on the admissions!

    My son is in PreK so I’ll be stressing, obsessing, and stalking the mail lady next month for those results.

  • 178. George  |  February 23, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    My daughter received her letter from Lane but not the letter from downtown. She is invited to join the Alph Program and the School of Honors/AP Program. She already received her LPHS Honors/AP letter as well. Lane was her 3rd choice after NSCP and Payton but we do not know her final score till we get the OAE letter. Will post her numbers when they arrive. My oldest graduated from NSCP, my middle child is at Lane now and my youngest will attend there as well. They are all fine choices so we are happy : )

  • 179. bagg  |  February 23, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    daughter’s friend (boy)

    * school – Payton
    * tier – 4
    * choice #1
    * score – 900

    3 friends @ Northside (1st choice), 6 friends @ whitney – all tier 4 (various choices). Unknown scores.

  • 180. waitingmom  |  February 23, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    @bagg #179
    Did your daughter’s friend get the OAE letter today? Seems so odd that hardly anyone has the OAE letter and almost all are getting their school letters instead.

  • 181. HSObsessed  |  February 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    @175 – Most of Lincoln Square looks to be in Tier 3 but here is where you figure out for sure:

  • 182. bagg  |  February 23, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    daughter doesn’t know if news from payton or OAE letter.

  • 183. Heidi  |  February 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    In at Whitney Young – first choice – no OES letter though – we are Tier 4….

  • 184. miracle matias  |  February 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Today i just got denied by lincoln park high. I wanted to know what are my chances of getting into lane tech; i get great grades, i do well in school, also i feel that the selective enrollment test was really easy. I feel that theirs not a big chance for me anymore but if you have any comment you can e-mail me at

  • 185. KE  |  February 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    My daughter got her letter today. Third choice-Lane (Honors/AP Program and Alpha Program. Very excited! No score letter though. If you appeal to your 1st or 2nd choice can you still accept the 3rd choice or does the appeal letter cancel your confirmation with the 3rd choice?

  • 186. Anxious  |  February 23, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Acceptance letter from Walter Payton! The OAE letter is still No-Show, but we can deal with that. So proud of my boy getting his first choice!

  • 187. Anonymous  |  February 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    @ Anxious. We are anxiously awaiting our letter from Walter Payton! Congratulations to your son! What grades did he have? What were is standardize testing grades? What tier do you live in? Please answer these questions so I know what to expect!! And what was your total amount of points??

  • 188. Jeffpark  |  February 23, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Received letter from Lane today. No letter from OAE.

  • 189. Mary  |  February 23, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Daughter has been invited into the Alpha program at Lane. Can anyone comment on their experiences with the Alpha program?

  • 190. mom2  |  February 23, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    @KE – I believe that if you want to try for round 2, you must give up your spot at Lane and take a huge risk.

    Everyone, when you finally do get those OAE letters, even though you have told us where your child got in, would you please still share your tier and their score? It will help us all. Thank you.

  • 191. George  |  February 23, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    My son is a sophmore at Lane in the honors/AP track. We declined the Alpha program because he wanted more freedom of choice in selecting courses and did not like the focus on science fair for 4 years. He is happy and doing extremely well.

  • 192. Jeffpark  |  February 23, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    My son was invited to apply to the Alpha program, but I did not see a separate application. I see an Honors enrollment form. Is this all we need to complete or should there be an Alpha application form?

  • 193. cps Mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Miracle – don’t give up hope. There are many people who still haven’t heard. If you have good grades A or B and test well you still have a chance. Even if you don’t get in right away, you can stay in line for spaces that open up later. Make sure you send your letter back saying that you want to stay in the pool. LP is pretty hard to get into now – do they have a waiting list? Have your parents call to find out. Did you apply to any other schools? I would be interested in knowing which ones.

    @185 once you accept – that’s it, you are out of the pool for SE and bound with your choice. You can also accept an offer and apply for principals discretion. It would be next to impossible to make that decision without knowing what the cut-offs are.

  • 194. Happy Camper  |  February 23, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Our child got into Payton —the neighbor had gotten our mail today and just came over…!!!! What a surprise to find that out at 7pm!

    Some people tell us it’s a no brainer, she should go to Payton; we still want to think about it since we have a few days to decide between this and the IB program, which, supposedly, is fantastic, especially for kids gifted in math —which is our child’s case.

    No letter from the OAE though so my little story is not helpful in terms of statistics. I don’t know what her final score was though not quite 900.

  • 195. Anonymous  |  February 23, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    @Happy Camper. I am waiting for our letter hopefully from Payton! What were your daughters standerized testing scores? What were her report card grades? What tier do you live in? What is your ethnicity? I am just curious so I know what I should be expecting! I have heard very great things about both schools, especially the IB program! Please answer me asap!!

  • 196. Southside Aunt  |  February 23, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Wow. Jus got some intersting results :My goddaughter’s friend got into Northside Prep:

    TIER 1
    SCORE 761

    anybody from Tier 2 gotten results yet ?

  • 197. Lanekid  |  February 23, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Ok, so today my child received a letter from lane saying he got in. But however, I thought that you could only get into one school, so does that mean that he wont get into anything else? Or could he? We have not received letter from oae

  • 198. Steffi Zimmermann  |  February 23, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    @KE #185 From what I understand, if you want to apply for a “principal’s discretion” spot, you do NOT decline the school you have. (That would be crazy — bird in the hand…) You keep the one you got, and then you apply. The application process is from March 4-18. You can find all the information at the CPS Selective Enrollment website — click where it says “Principal’s Discretion” — it gives all the details there. Read it thoroughly because it’s quite involved. Good luck.
    P.S. Here’s the link:

  • 199. Anonymous  |  February 23, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    @ Southside Aunt. I cant believe he got into Northside with that score, they usually require much higher scores! It must be because of the tier? Congratulations to them!!

  • 200. Grace  |  February 23, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Anyone remember Northside’s cut-off last year?

  • 201. waitingmom  |  February 23, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    First round Northside cutoffs last year
    rank – 894
    tier 4 – 882
    tier 3 – 863
    tier 2 – 850
    tier 1 – 850

  • 202. Norwood mom  |  February 23, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    That Northside number cannot be right. Probably 871. Whoever posted that, you should check the number.
    #197 If you got the Lane letter that means your child got into that selective enrollment school and not any of your higher choices.

  • 203. Anxious  |  February 23, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    @187 — my son was well placed going into the entrance exam…straight A’s and 99th percentile on standardized tests and we live in Tier 2. The unknown was the test. We chose not to go through the test prep classes because my son REALLY didn’t want to take them, so my wife bought two test prep books for the Catholic school entrance exam, divided it up into 6 lessons a week for 2 months and we spent 20 minutes a day on it. He’s a good boy, but by the end he must have wished that we’d spontaneously combust.

  • 204. George  |  February 23, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    #192 Jeffpark–There should have been a white paper application for the Lane Alph Program in your envelope. If it is missing call the school and have them e-mail you a copy.

  • 205. James  |  February 24, 2011 at 7:23 am

    To #194 —

    Congrats to your daughter on getting into Payton. As between Payton and LPIB, I personally don’t think it is close, especially if she is good at math. Payton has an amazing math program. The school just won a national award for its program, its department chair is probably the leading high school math educator, and it structures its math program so that every kid is challenged appropriately. It is just a tremendous part of a great school. IB is perfectly fine and I know kids in that program who do great. But Payton, and especially its math program, is really something.

    Again, congrats to her, whatever she decides.

  • 206. KCK  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:02 am

    To #203

    My cousin is now a 6th grader, would you mind sharing what Test Prep Books (Title/Publisher) that your wife purchased? Thanks.

  • 207. cps Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:19 am

    @62 and 64 – SE exam vs. ISAT – Our experience has been exactly the opposite, most think that the SE test is harder. Yes, it is a standardized test but not necessarily “easy” and should be taken seriously. This is a test that needs to be prepared for. Sounds like your kids were well prepared. My son felt very good about the test but did comment that the math section was more difficult. I have heard similar comments about this year’s test. There are 2 additional parts (vocabulary and grammar) that students are not necessarily practiced in since they are not on the ISAT. Please realize that even though your kids may breeze through it, many others find that the SE test is the main source of point loss. In addition to this, CPS has stated that this test could change from year to year as far as difficulty is concerned and is a factor in score trends for any given pool of applicants. Theoretically, if scores continue to rise as they are, this is an area that can be adjusted.

    @79 – SE selection has nothing to do with attendance or any other factors other than the grades in the core classes. Acceptance is determined by score alone by a computer. In the case of a “tie”, for example 50 kids have an 863, the cutoff will be adjusted to either include all or none of that group. According to CPS, there is latitude within the number of seats to adjust to the score cut-offs. This info is according to CPS community presentation when asked what they do about tied scores.

  • 208. Not Selective Anymore  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I do know that the information about NSCP and Tier 1 is correct (poster #196). I believe there has been a dramatic shift in the SE schools admissions this year. There will not be an 850 cut off this year. The SEHS will be accepting students in the 700s, and YES, including Northside. The lower scores will be coming from Tier 1 and Tier 2, and almost-perfect scores from Tier 3 and Tier 4.
    The selective in selective enrollment will have a very new meaning for next year’s freshman class in SEHS.
    In my opinion, this is a tragedy. Many SEHS will be working with many at-risk students next year, in what was supposed to be a gifted environment.

  • 209. Grace  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:24 am

    @207 re: your answer to 79 in case of a tie, how is the cut -off adjusted to include all or none? Could you give an example?

  • 210. Grace  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Independent auditor anyone?

  • 211. Scores  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Last year, NS & WP refused to take any kids with less than 850 points in any Tier. That is why NS’s Tier 1 & 2 cutoffs were 850. They filled in with students from other tiers w/ score of 850 or above. This yr CPS required that they take their 17.5% from all 4 Tiers, so Southside Aunt’s facts could very well be correct and NS’s Tier 1 students may have scores in that range. NCLB students’ scores may be even lower than that.

  • 212. HSObsessed  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:37 am

    @208 – I would hardly call any of the students admitted to any of the SE HS “at risk.” These are the brightest, highest-achieving kids from their neighborhoods. Perhaps you don’t mean it, but your statements make it sound like even the best of the best of poorer kids are not good enough to learn side by side with yours. Is that how you really feel?

  • 213. copy editor  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:37 am

    @Not Selective Anymore: if you think scores in the 700s are represent at-risk students, you need to get out more. That might not be “gifted”, but that’s not exactly slacking off, especially for kids who don’t have access to selective prep, etc.

  • 214. Not Selective Anymore  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:38 am

    NS, WP, and the other SEs lost their battle to keep the 850.
    And yes, the NCLB scores could be much less than the 700s.
    I did not believe the original intent of these schools was remediation, which is where a great deal of resources will be spent next year.

  • 215. Not Selective Anymore  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Yes, I do believe that kids with 700s or less – and it doesn’t matter to me if they even come from Tier 3 or 4 with such scores – will have trouble in pressure-cooker environments like Payton. These schools are not set up for kids with 600s and 700s.

  • 216. adad  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Honestly, after reading all these posts I feel stressed, and my kid is only in 1st grade. I think we’ll move for high school, because this is just ridiculous!

  • 217. CPSMama  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:52 am

    As a parent of a kid who scored in the high 700s, I can assure you that my child is not “at-risk” and had ISATs and SE exam scores in the 91st percentile plus a couple of 7th grade Bs.

  • 218. AnxiousMom#2  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:00 am

    @208 “n my opinion, this is a tragedy. Many SEHS will be working with many at-risk students next year, in what was supposed to be a gifted environment.” wow! that was pretty ignorant!!!

  • 219. Grace  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:05 am

    NS, WP and others are very challenging environments even for top-scoring (895+) students. There is lots of homework requiring in-depth analysis and writing, advanced math and real, laboratory-based science. Very few elementary schools in CPS provide a similar level of preparation, and those that can come close only sent a handful of “rank” students to these high schools last year. This year, it will be different, of course.

    It really isn’t a matter of a less well-off child sitting and learning next to another who has more. Has nothing to do with it. We should have a variety of good h.s. options that suit all our children, so that they can succeed wherever they are.

  • 220. Grace  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:09 am

    @216 adad. Know how you feel, and so do 200,000 other former Chicagoans who have left the city since 2000.

  • 221. Waiting for mail (Day 3 - It finally came)  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Yesterday we got the Payton letter (postmarked 2/22) and today we got the OAE letter (postmarked 2/21 – although allegedly they were sent Friday?)

    We’re Tier 3, Payton was choice 1.
    SE Test scores were 99 in all 4 categories, total points 900.

  • 222. mom2  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:12 am

    @not selective anymore – where did you hear that they are no longer allowed to have their own cut-off score? I know it is frustrating for some people that these few top SE schools will not have their own set of rules, but it will help to make more sense of the numbers (if they release them). It didn’t make sense to me last year that they (NCP and Payton) could have cut-off scores of one number and WY and Jones might have another, and Lane another or maybe no cut off score at all, etc. Either one cut-off score for all SE schools (so you don’t end up with students that could never keep up) or none at all, but not different rules for different schools.

  • 223. cps Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:20 am

    @209 Grace – 50 was probably a bad number. Lets say after tier, score and preference are all taken into consideration and you have 10 kids with an 888 at Northside prep tier 3 which is the cutoff for that tier. If there are 6 spaces available, they will take them all. If there are 2 spaces available they will take none.

    A friend contacted OAE – they are not releasing cut-offs until all the confirmations are in sometime in April. I assume that this includes all rounds given the date. Last year cut-offs were released around March 3 right after 1st round offers and it did not reflect acceptances.

  • 224. bagg  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:25 am

    This all makes sense now. I know of a student tier 3 with IEP (and very substantial learning issues) accepted to northside. Although I don’t know his total score, I highly doubt that it’s in the upper 800’s.

    I agree with other posters, not selective anymore.

  • 225. MarketingMom  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:29 am

    @ Not selective anymore
    I understand tensions are high, but there’s no need to put down groups who are from a lower tier. A 700 is not remedial or at risk and will be able to compete with Buffy and Jody. Do you not want your child to attend school with other children from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds? There goes the neighborhood!

  • 226. Grace  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:31 am

    @223 If they take none, I imagine those 2 seats go vacant?

  • 227. AnxiousMom#2  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:32 am

    yes, i’ve also heard of a kid with 80’s in ISATs, no straight A’s, a Bell’s regular program, Tier 3 got into Northside.

  • 228. Disgusted  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:33 am

    @215 – Wow. I thought we were beyond this. Let’s not forget we are talking about beautiful, bright children of all sizes, shapes, colors and socio-econimic backgrounds. In your usage, “At-risk” is an ugly term with uglier connotations.

    These kids are not and should never be reduced to a mere number.

    btw….my kid get a letter from Lane and is in the Alpha Honors Program. I have no idea what her number is (the downtown letter hasn’t arrived).

  • 229. AnxiousMom#2  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:34 am

    my goes to Lincoln elementary IB so far kids got into Northside, Payton, Whitney, Jones. No Lanes yet. and we still didnt receive letter.

  • 230. Grace  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Marketing Mom, from what I’ve heard from the students I’ve known, those top schools are pressure-cookers.

  • 231. cps Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Grace – They say that the admission number is not hard and fast there is room to add a few more seats. I’m guessing that either the differences from other tiers off-sets somewhat and then the final number is adjusted slightly (hopefully up)

  • 232. KE  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:42 am

    I know of kids that went to my daughters school that were given A’s just because of who they know and they tested poorly, so that kind of talk is unneccessary. My daughter was accepted to St. Iggy and had one B during 7th grade and some of the straight A kids didn’t get in. So there are some politics behind this scoring from the teachers. @ adad – I don’t blame you for headed out to the suburbs or even to another state. This stress on these kids is horrible and the fact that we don’t put this much of an effort into all of the cps schools is disappointing. Kids that can maintain a B average and test well should be allowed to get into gifted programs because in Chicago, that is rare. But grades can’t be given away like that when kids don’t earn them.

  • 233. cps Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I wonder if people still think that it’s worth losing seats at Lane to a 7th and 8th grade academic center. These kids will be able to get into Lane at 9th grade anyway. Where will tier 4 kids go?

  • 234. Grace  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:49 am

    @232 This blog had a good conversation a while back about alternatives to the s.e. schools for all those tier 3 and 4 kids who score well but aren’t in the stratosphere? There should be more guidance from principals and OAE on rigorous high school programs that exist OTHER than s.e. schools.

  • 235. Jennifer  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:52 am

    216. Adad – I don’t blame you. I’m sitting reading this and wondering if giving up Lake Forest High School is really a smart move.

  • 236. Grace  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:54 am

    @233 I don’t know much about where you might be living. But I wonder if you spoke with your alderman about getting the IB program in all your neighborhood elementary schools and local high school as well. This, in addition to the A.C. program at Lane, might fit the need.

  • 237. CPSMama  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Let’s not forget that kids from Bell, Edison & Hawthorne (& other elementary schools) could get perfect scores of 900 points w/ 90% A’s in 7th grade while others got B’s with 93% in 7th grade (Beaubien, Taft AC, others). The point system is not all that it’s cracked up to be. Until the grading scale issue is rectified, it remains patently unfair.

  • 238. Have 2 kids in SE high schools  |  February 24, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    NSCP and Payton are very TOUGH,even for 900 kids. I know ranked kids (894-900)from last year who have received their first ever C or D and are freaked out. I know and have felt the anxiety about getting in, but that’s just the beginning. Doing well at these schools is hard for everyone, but the rewards are great if your child works hard. The problem for a lot of kids coming from regular elementary schools is that not that they aren’t smart, but that they’re not prepared for the rigor of the curriculum. The SE schools know this and have lots of help available for Freshman to adjust. BTW, kids with IEPs are in a seperate pool of their own and are not ranked by tier. Each SE school must take a certain amount and the applicants are chosen in ranked order of their scores. Don’t compare your child’s score with a child with an IEP. Congrats to all who got in on the first round.

  • 239. at risk  |  February 24, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Scores in the 700’s are not at risk. My kid scored way way high and is not doing well at his SE school because of poor study skills and lack of organization. Kids with much lower scores but who are harder working are doing a lot better.

  • 240. cps Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I understand your thought – I don’t see Roosevelt becoming a viable option anytime soon and I do understand that they have a “gifted program”. Same to be said about Bateman elementary. Lane is a few blocks away – not for me but my neighbors who currently attend Charter schools.

    I don’t think that many on this post would be able to defer to their neighborhood high school as an option.

  • 241. RL Julia  |  February 24, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    1. Any school can be a pressure cooker if your kid is the type to react to the pressure. There are plenty of kids at the SE’s who take it in stride. This is why it is important to take the kid’s personality into account when looking at a school. Many, many schools can deliver a great education to a motivated student.

    2. The way the SE lottery works is based on a very narrow set of assumptions about how to define talent (which I don’t happen to agree with). I highly doubt that kids with less than 850’s are inherently incapable of doing SE level work. They might not get straight A’s but as it was pointed out in the Payton freshman orientation last fall, that even with an entire group of overachieving, high testing freshman, someone was going to get a B or even (gasp) a C and a quarter of the class would in fact be in the bottom quartile of the group – because someone is always going to be at the bottom of the class.

    3. Having kids in both neighborhood and test-in schools, the biggest difference is attitude and parental involvement/anxiety level. The kids at the test-in school are a lot more school focussed – in that they care about grades and do their homework. Its not that they are necessarily smarter per se. They just jump through the scholastic hoops a lot more often than the other group does – which is more about values and behavior choices than about ability and intelligence.

  • 242. Grace  |  February 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    @ 237. I’m thinking along your lines. In addition, I feel that there is a big, unexplained difference in the rigor of many CPS elementary schools — differences among and between the gifted, classical and magnet schools. Why such a variety of curricula for essentially the same kinds of kids?

    I also see a big gap between the curriculum at the elementary s.e. level and at the s.e. high school level. I would LOVE it if NS or WP could suggest curricula essentials for 6th, 7th and 8th grades in literature, writing, math and science.

  • 243. Waitingmom  |  February 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Just got the letter from OAE.
    My son had 852 and got into Lane Alpha. Lane was his first choice and we are tier 4.

  • 244. KE  |  February 24, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    It has become so competitive because of the economy. No one wants to pay those private school fees. I get it, things are tough these days. But there are some really great schools in the suburbs. Then there is the issue of selling your home in a bad selling market in order to move.

    I am hoping for some good scores for an appeal to WY. I have heard a lot of kids say that they didn’t want to go to WP or NS because they are so academically driven. These kids still need social interaction and activities. I am hoping that they lengthen the school day. Our nation has the shortest school day and year, if I am not mistaken. We try to cram so much into a year.

  • 245. justamom  |  February 24, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Got letters from OAE and Northside on Tuesday. Thrilled and terrified at same time! My son has an IEP, score was 869, Tier 3, Northside first choice. Nice to know that SE’s have some support for students as they adjust to the rigors involved.

  • 246. Hawthorne mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I can’t be sure, of course, but as this blog becomes more popular, I wonder if some of the “I know a kid who got into NSCP with a score in the 700’s in tier 4” is pure baloney. Troll-ism. Unless a child has an IEP, regardless of tier, until I see something put out in writing by the board of education stating their cut offs, I just don’t believe it. Not at northside. Maybe other selective enrollment schools, but not that one.

    At the same time, I can relate to people who want to leave the city to avoid this whole high school nightmare. We want to. But our tier 2 condo is worth 25% less than what we paid for it and economists expect another very dramatic fall in prices again this year. If we ever want to leave,we’ll have to foreclose. If we are still stuck here come jr. high, it just may come to that.

  • 247. bagg  |  February 24, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Can someone pls explain the IEP program at SEHS? How different is it from the regular program? is the grading system different? and more importantly, how does it effect college acceptances?

  • 248. Have 2 kids in SE high schools  |  February 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Agree about the trollism, Hawthorne Mom.

  • 249. justamom  |  February 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    from Northside’s website:
    “The Special Education Department provides services to students with current Individualized Educational Programs (IEP). These students participate in the selective admissions process with accommodations consistent with their IEPs. If admitted to Northside, they attend classes at the Honors or AP levels with the general education population. Students are expected to access the same curriculum as their peers, though accommodations and/or support services on the IEP may be necessary. The same curricular outcomes are expected for students with disabilities. Therefore, the role of special education staff is to provide supports which enable students to meet course standards.”

  • 250. the heckler  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    just curious all you hs parents, if along with the scores you’re so kindly supplying, if you could name the elementary school or program too? I have a 4th grader, jumped the CPS ship this year to private, even after offers of seats at both Bell gifted and Edison. It’s a long story, but now that I have parental/educational experience in both arenas, would love to know where kids are coming from who get into SE/IB/Honors HS’s.

  • 251. Grace  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    @244: CPS elementary school day is one hour shorter than CPS high schools and suburban elementaary and high schools.

    Nice work, if you can get it?

    @246: No baloney, no hooey. CPS is insisting that each s.e. school take the full 17.5% of students from all 4 tiers. To refresh your memory, take a look at the cut-off scores last year for Lindblom, Brooks, Westinghouse, King, and you will see what I mean.

  • 252. mom2  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    @Hawthorne Mom – You may be right about trolls, but just in case you didn’t read that correctly, @196 mentioned a score in the 700’s for Northside for a Tier 1 students, not Tier 4. If they really stopped allowing cut-off scores, it could be possible.

  • 253. mom2  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    @243 WaitingMom – congratulations on your son getting into Lane – his first choice. How wonderful!

  • 254. AnxiousMom#2  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    and keep in mind she said 761 and Tier1. she didnt say 600s or 700s. 761 is high 700’s.

  • 255. mom2  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    @Grace, do you know this for sure (that they are required to take the full 17.5%)? How do you know this? Is it posted somewhere?

  • 256. mom2  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    @CPSMama – Don’t get me started on the grading scale, but when you do mention it, don’t forget that this same issue affects the high school level, too (90=A at Payton and Northside, 95=A at Lane, etc.) When they fix it, they better fix it everywhere.

  • 257. Dad  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Wow, admissions to SE schools seems almost as capricious as admissions to private schools!

  • 258. Mayfair Dad  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Mayfair Son update: Total SE points 774 after posting a few 91 Bs in a gifted program in 7th grade. The kid is a math and science whiz but uninterested in language arts. Tier 4 so its rough sledding with unimpressive composite number.


    Accepted into Lincoln Park IB and Double Honors programs.
    Accepted into Von Steuben Scholars program.
    Missed point cut-off for first round at Lane by 15 points and received bid from Westinghouse instead. We will decline Westinghouse and hope for a second round bid from Lane.

    The moral of the story: expand your definition of an acceptable high school and you will discover great options other than the “Elite 4.” Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket – apply to high schools outside of the SE process.

  • 259. cps Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Also remember that @166 mentioned that an 894 Tier 4 did not get into Payton. I do not see any posts here for Payton tier 4 lower than 900.

    I know of a tier 2 student with scores in the 700’s that got into Whitney. That was not the case last year.

    If anyone knows of tier 1 or 2 scores please post them completely anonymously to add clarity since there will be no posting of cut-offs until April.

    I do think that it’s great that CPS is willing to work with families that are involved in their child’s education on a level less than gifted. Now all they have to do is supply the demand.

  • 260. CPSMama  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    ^Mayfair Dad,

    Judging by last year’s cutoffs, your Tier 4 son should get into Lane with his respectable score of 774. Many Tier 4 kids (or Tier 4 parents) will opt for private schools when they get Lane as their SE choice. Good luck

  • 261. cps Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Hey Mayfair Dad – great advice and congrats again. How do you know about the cut-off? Did they tell you in the letter?

  • 262. Happy Camper  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Received today letter from OAE with scores (acceptance letter from Payton came yesterday):

    * school – Payton
    * tier – 4
    * choice #1
    * score – 894

  • 263. trying to stay calm  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    RL Julia. I couldn’t agree more. I also have children in a school which has both a neighborhood and a gifted program and one child in each. I’m on close terms with kids and their parents in both programs. There is little difference in my mind between the capabilities of the high achieving neighborhood kids and the “gifted” kids. I agree that parent involvement is a huge factor, but I have also observed that a child that is more willing to follow direction from parent/teachers will do much better in this type of competitive environment than one who questions and challenges this system, but may actually have more raw intelligence. But how do you measure that sort of thing apart form grades and test scores?

    As much as I understand the parents who micro-manage their children’s education to the point of psychosis (which I admit I’m guilty of myself at times!) I have to question whether this is all very healthy for the kids themselves. As I tear my hair out waiting for letters to arrive, I’m also trying my best to keep it all in balance and not transfer my anxiety to the extent possible to my children. They get enough of that from their peers, not to mention the fact that 7th and 8th grade are no picnic hormone-wise either. There has to be a better way, and I can only hope that the options will improve.

    Good luck to all and congrats to those who’ve gotten good news!

  • 264. justamom  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Mayfair Dad — when did you hear news about Von Steuben honors acceptance? We are still waiting on that one.

  • 265. Albany Park Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I’m still waiting on next month’s K letters but just saw that OAE has released the 2011-2012 cut offs for SEHS.

    Click to access SEHS%202011-2012%20–%20First-Round%20Scores.pdf

  • 266. Grace  |  February 24, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    I was toldby a good source that they had to take the full tier. I will try to get that confirmed soon. Stay tuned.

  • 267. mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    The new system (no cut offs of 850) seems more fair when you think about it. I have heard that CPS SE has a cut off of 650 for the six different SE schools–but nobody from OAE can/will confirm it. This system seems more fair than what they did last year–where they plopped 25 NCLB kids each into 4 different SE schools after the fact and gave each school $$$ to support the kids. That seemed really unfair, especially children who missed an acceptance by a few points. The other reality is that many of those children from the last year’s system are struggling at the SE high schools–and really, no amount of money can help that situation. Regardless, this system is a new reality for CPS (the P stands fro Public) and parents will have to get use to it. My initial reaction was “Oh my” when I first heard of some of the changes, but when you think about it, a point score of 750 is a B student– a B student may initially struggle when they arrive at a rigorous SE HS (my child who went to a rigorous elementary school also struggled in her adjustment to HS), but in the end, giving the B student from a poorer neighborhood the chance to excel is a good thing….isn’t it? The thing I am trying to understand is if this is the new NCLB initiative or if each of the schools will also receive additional students as a part of that. it would be nice if CPS wasn’t so secretive about everything–and would let the Public know. I am thinking about some of this stuff from a new paradigm and I don’t have a child going through it this year, so maybe I would feel differently if I did.

  • 268. Mayfair Dad  |  February 24, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    @ 261: I was using last year’s cut off scores as a reference; I need to look at the new cut off numbers, thank you Albany Park Mom !

    @ 264: Our Von Steuben letter arrived today.

  • 269. trying to stay calm  |  February 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Mayfair dad- My son has the same issue (opposite subjects) excellent at language and science, math, not so much. Great grades, but an inconsistent test taker. We knew going in that we had to look outside of the box because of this. We have an excellent school consoler thank goodness. He also applied to Von Steuben, LPDH, Alcott, Ogden, Prosser IB, Lakeview Math and Science Academy, etc. I’m wondering are all the Magnet and Honors schools sending letters at the same time? We have only received letters from St. Ignatius and Lincoln. We are also really hoping for Lane as it’s pretty much across the street from us.

  • 270. Elated  |  February 24, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Still no letter from downtown, but kid has been accepted into:

    Von Steuben Honors Program
    Lincoln Park Double Honors/AP Program
    Lane Alpha Honors Program

    Nice to have three very good choices.

  • 271. cps Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    @265 perfect – thanks for that. Now we can quit speculating.

  • 272. mom2  |  February 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    @Happy Camper, based on the first round scores/cut-offs, I think your second hand info about the friend not getting into Payton must be a bit off. With an 894 in Tier 4, they should have gotten in. Maybe it was 884?
    @Mayfair Dad, I think things are looking very good for your son. Great choices already and I think he will easily get into Lane on round 2. Then you will have to decide 🙂 Nice problem to have.

  • 273. James  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks for posting the cutoff scores. Great information there. And it confirms that two things posted here yesterday were wrong. First, no kid fromTier 1 was admitted to Northside with a 761 score. The minimum Tier 1 score for Northside was 792 (806 for Payton). Second, a Tier 4 kid with 894 would have gotten into Payton since there were Tier 4 kids admitted with scores as low as 889 (891 for Northside).

    I’m glad CPS did the right thing and made this information public.

  • 274. Grace  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Where did they post the cut-offs? link? Thanks!

  • 275. Southside Aunt  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    @ James. I posted about the score 761. It’s my goddaughter’s friend and it was re- confirmed. In fact her mother went to school asking how it is that possible. ( My goddaughter didn’t get into Northside prep , lives in Tier 4 and has higher scores )
    School explained that. Northside prep is required to fill that 17% of Tier 1 kids. meaning. even though no kids met the 792 cutoff point they had to go lower to fill in their requirement. So not enough Tier 1 kids score 792+ .

  • 276. Albany Park Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    @274 link is in post 265

  • 277. mom2  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    @Southside Aunt – if what you say is accurate, then these cut-off scores mean nothing. I thought these scores were the actual numbers based on who they made offers to – not some arbitrary number that they made up as to what they had hoped for or would have allowed if they weren’t required to take others to fill spots. This makes no sense at all.

    Maybe she has an IEP and those are different cutoffs?

  • 278. cpsobsessed  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    I posted the link to the score cutoffs in the body of the post, so if you need it again, it’ll be up there.

  • 279. cps Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Southside Aunt is probably right – could be NCLB assignment. They said that these kids would be in the regular pool.

  • 280. Question about scores  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    @273- James- – that would look like the case but all of the talk about IEP’s makes me wonder if things aren’t necessarily as they appear. Did a tier 4 894 Peyton applicant get passed over for a tier 4 IEP student with an 889? ?

    Not that the IEP student isn’t “worthy”; statistically the difference in performance is miniscule but if true, it reaffirms my belief that IEP’s are the way to go in CPS ! ! ! !

  • 281. Northside and Jones mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    @246-my daughter knows the kid with a 761 in tier 1 that got into Northside. It’s totally true as #251 explained, they have to take the required percentage of kids for each tiers even if they have to go below the cutoffs.
    We also know of a kid, same school but in tier 4 with an 882 score that did not get into Northside.
    My daughter went into testing with a 600 and said the test was very easy and believed she did very well, however she was accepted at Jones College Prep, her second choice. We still have not received the OAE letter and don’t know her scores but she’s in tier 4 and did not get her first choice, which was Northside.

  • 282. bagg  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    advice needed. daughter has 880 points, tier 4, accepted first choice jones first round. 2nd choice Young.

    3rd choice is Payton which had 889 points min first round tier 4.

    Would prefer Payton. Should i throw back into pool and hope to get Payton in 2nd round?

  • 283. James  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Southside Aunt —

    With all due respect, what you are saying doesn’t make sense given the information just published by CPS. There really are only three possibilities. One, your goddaughter’s friend was admitted under an IEP. Two, she was admitted as a NCLB student. Or three, CPS is lying about the cutoff scores. Or, I suppose, four, your goddaughter’s friend is mistaken about the score.

  • 284. question?  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    #280-What do you mean IEPs are the way to go in CPS?

  • 285. mom2  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    @Northside and Jones Mom – if what you and Southside Aunt say are true, then the posted cutoff scores are totally meaningless. Why even bother showing a number for minimum, when it isn’t true in any way shape or form?

    @Bagg, why didn’t your child put Payton first if that was her first choice? Why third?

  • 286. Dad  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    How do I apply for an IEP for my kid?

  • 287. HSObsessed  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    @bagg — I’m not positive but I don’t think it works that way, that you get to re-rank your preferences in a second round. Maybe someone who went through this last year can confirm whether in a second round, CPS goes only by your previously stated order, or allows you to change. I would be surprised if they allowed changes, as that adds a whole new level of bureaucratic process into an already complicated system. I would say take the Jones spot! It’s a great school and is slated to have a fantastic new facility by her sophomore year.

  • 288. Northside and Jones mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    @277, Southside Aunt is totally correct and yes, it seems as though the cut-off scores mean nothing if they are going to accept kids with the lower scores.
    By the way, this kid is NOT an IEP student.

  • 289. bagg  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    @mom2 – we prioritized based upon realistic chances of acceptance. Daughter had 580 at Dec 17, doesn’t test well and we thought that the test would be difficult. She surprised us with all 300 points.

  • 290. HSObsessed  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    @bagg — anyway, I just looked up last year’s Payton cut off scores for Tier 4 for second round were 888, and I would predict they will be higher this year, so I wouldn’t risk it.

  • 291. CPSMama  |  February 24, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    The Tier 1 student w/ 761 in at NS is probably an NCLB student.

    @Bagg: I don’t think you can give up a school that you ranked 1st to try for a lower ranked school. But you should call OAE and ask them that question. Even if they tell you yes, I wouldn’t take the chance b/c you have to give up the Jones spot and you will not get it back.

  • 292. Northside and Jones mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    @James, options 1,2 and 4 are not it but I will not assume what CPS is doing.
    @mom2, my daughter’s school councelor explained it his way as to the reason why a 761 was accepted at Northside:
    CPS has to accept a minimum percentage of kids from each tier, if they do not have enough kids meeting the minimum required score, it is totally possible that someone with a lower score will be accepted, regardless of cut-off numbers.

  • 293. mom2  |  February 24, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    @Bagg, for future reference (if you or anyone else is going through this again), with the change in policy, it never hurts to rank your choices by what you really want rather than having to play the system and rank based on “realistic chances”. They go through your priorities and give you the first one where you meet the points.

    @Northside and Jones mom – thank you for the information. I am sad about this because it once again means that CPS allows certain schools to have different cut-off scores than others. Why is that OK? Then, the school can post that these are their cut-off scores (which implies standards but actually means nothing if you really look into it). But, then the school really has lower cut-off scores but they don’t tell anyone what they really are. Wow, CPS does it again.

  • 294. Southside Aunt  |  February 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    @ Mom2. I agree.
    I’m glad we have this platform here we can share our information . It’s makes this waiting game easier. After reading this blog , I’ve learned so much more about CPS. Which has been very useful.

    Still haven’t recd anything for my niece. =(

  • 295. Grace  |  February 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    @bagg. have you considered applying a principal selection form for Payton? That way you don’t lose your spot at Jones, but you still have a chance, if the criteria work for your child.

  • 296. Jeffpark  |  February 24, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    We received the CPS letter today (received Lane Aplha letter yesterday)

    * school – Lane
    * tier – 4
    * choice #2
    * score – 860

    Because of one B (91 avg.) in 7th grade my son never had a chance to get into Northside or Payton. I am very proud of his score and Lane seems to be a good fit for him.

    Question for those familiar with the Alpha program…should I encourage him to sign up for Aplha or should he just go for the Honors program?

  • 297. mom2  |  February 24, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    @296 – My child is not in the alpha program, so I cannot speak about it personally. We do honors. However, I do know that you don’t need to decide without getting more information yourself. I think Lane is having an evening as soon as next week where you can go and get your questions answered.
    I do know that many kids decide to skip the alpha program when they see how strict it is regarding classes you must take. It sounds great for someone that loves science. It also sounds great for someone that may be scared about the size of Lane because you tend to have your classes with the same alpha group of kids and get to know them very well.
    Once you go to Lane and see all the AP choices for honors students and other class choices left for all students, you will have a better idea what you will want to do.

  • 298. bagg  |  February 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I just looked at the principal discretion requirements and I think I am emotionally drained to pursue this avenue. Essay/personal statement and 3 letters of recommendation will definitely put me over the cliff.

  • 299. cpsobsessed  |  February 24, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    @298 bagg. Ha ha! That made me laugh. It does sound daunting.

  • 300. person  |  February 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    i just got my se scores letter today and they said i have not been accepted to any of my choices of schools. it says “i regret to inform you did not receive an offer from any of the Selected Enrollment High Schools to which you applied.” im really upset now i never would have thought this wouldve happened.

  • 301. annegallagher  |  February 24, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    @ Person # 300 , What were the scores? School of choice? Tier?

    There’s still round 2

  • 302. experienced Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks to those that have given great details about their less than perfect scores. I commend you for coming forward – I think this is all very helpful. What, CPS creating a cheerier than reality picture – Gasp!

    Dad – believe me, you don’t want to have to deal with the issues of IEP. These kids are smart and truly in need of assistance. There are no freebie hand outs here. I applaude CPS for finally assisting IEP students. In the past, IEP kids were allowed accommodations on tests and even a break in the minimum requirement to test. They were still held to the same point criteria as others (in schools like Payton, NS and Whitney) so a child with dyslexia (for example) needed to get an A in reading even though that was impossible for him/her. It’s about time CPS.

  • 303. mom2  |  February 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    @300 – where did you apply? What was your score? If you are close, you could still get in somewhere in round 2. Don’t give up hope just yet.

  • 304. Northside  |  February 24, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I know 100% the nscp letters went out Friday evening. I stuffed them. You will be receiving letters from the school prior to getting letters from the office of admissions. They usually take about a week to 2 weeks longer to receive these letters.

  • 305. Mayfair Dad  |  February 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    @ 282. Savor the success of the Jones offer. I wouldn’t risk a play for Round 2 at Payton because the total number of spots available will be miniscule. (A play for Round 2 at Lane, by comparison, makes more sense because of the raw number of seats likely to be available – huge freshman class. Cut off drops by almost 100 points, opening up spots for smart kids from Tier 4 who managed to get a few Bs in 7th grade).

  • 306. James  |  February 24, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    A question for those who insist that a kid with a 761 score was admitted to Northside under regular admissions. If you’re right, then what do you think these “cutoff” scores mean? They aren’t even numbers, like the 850 we saw for Northside last year; they are odd numbers, like 792 or 891. Don’t you think that that suggests that those are the scores of the last kids taken from each of the tiers, ie, the last of the 17.5% from each tier? If they aren’t that, then what are they? And if that is what they are, then they mean (a) the 761 kid didn’t get in as described or (b) she got in via an IEP or under NCLB, not regular admissions.

  • 307. Lanekid  |  February 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    @296&297: yes, lane is having an info meeting on March 2nd, at the school at 6:30. We also got our scores today from cps. He is tier one, and got an 778 with an acceptance into lane, his 3rd choice. Now when I first saw his score,I was a tad upset he didn’t get a better score, but i had to realize that he was at
    An academic center in 7th grade (lindblom math and science academy) he was taking all honors classes there and earned credits. We are planning to transfer his credits over and to hopefully get him in honors classes. So know matter where you are in the city, a smart kid is a smart kid.

  • 308. Grace  |  February 24, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    I’m sorry, person — There might be another way. Do you have a school counselor who can help you consider other options besides s.e. schools? Can your parents call the Office of Academic Enhancement for advice?

    (OAE staffers who read this blog — would you help?)

  • 309. dad  |  February 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Received today letter from OAE with scores (acceptance letter from Northside came yesterday):

    * school – Northside
    * tier – 3
    * choice #1
    * score – 900

  • 310. Have 2 kids in SE high schools  |  February 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    306: Agree! The tier 1 minimums go from 650 (that may be the SE cutoff?) to 806 at Payton. Last year, two schools insisted on 850 cutoff, but obviously weren’t allowed that this year. Again: IEP kids are not in the regular pool, and their scores are not reflected on that chart..
    Getting an IEP is not an easy process and they are not given unless really needed.

  • 311. bagg  |  February 24, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    @310, can you pls clarify? lindbloom principal@125 posted:

    100% main admisssion: 30% top, 70%tier
    5% NCLB
    5% principal discretion (up to 25 kids)

    Where does the IEP students fall into? or is it in its own category?

  • 312. cps Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    CPS obsessed – is it possible to contact “person” maybe “miracle matias” so that someone can counsel and walk him through it?

  • 313. George  |  February 24, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Daughter got 3rd choice Lane Alpha, or Honors/AP.
    Teir 4
    Score 860

    We are all happy since my son goes there already and is kicking butt in the honors / AP track.

  • 314. cps Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    @311 – there is no % for IEP – it’s on a case by case basis. Here is where they look at more than the number (but the number too). The applications are separate and have information about the childs plan.

  • 315. bagg  |  February 24, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    @314, thank you for the explanation. What’s your guesstimate as to # or % of IEP incoming students at each hs? 25? 50? 5%?

  • 316. Anonymous  |  February 24, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Unfortunately, we were not admitted into Walter Payton. Were accepted into Lane Alpha Program
    Entrance Exam-98%
    Total points-868
    Does anyone know how the principals discretion works??? And what is the likly hood of you getting picked for that??

  • 317. confusedparent  |  February 24, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Anyone know how the cut-off scores work? My daughter’s score was equal to the cut-off for Whitney Young Tier 4, but they bumped her to her next choice, Lane. Does the score have to be above the cut-off??????

  • 318. George  |  February 24, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Just noticed that my daughter’s score and other scores posted are above the listed maximum for Lane.
    She had a 860 tier 4 and the min/ max is listed as 782/830 so what gives?

  • 319. Hawthorne mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Believe me, you don’t want your kid to have an IEP. The Chicago system is horrific in its services to kids with disabilities. The Special Ed departments do the best they can, but they are terribly overloaded, not given support from most administrations, etc….I’m a teacher and I’ve gone so far as to tell every single person I know with a child with any kind of special needs to get the hell out of CPS. I’d sell my soul before putting any kid of mine in a CPS special education program. We’d live in a storage room or in the basement of our in laws first. It is NOT an advantage by and stretch of the imagination. Two family members, who work in a CPS special education program, one who teaches and is herself in a wheelchair, tell stories of TA’s digging their long nails into the skin of kids they have to lift. At our neighborhood school, the principal demanded that the case manager stop documenting that a milk-allergic child was being given milk daily…..and because of some other disabilities she was not able to control her bowels and the school just let her sit in excrement for hours at a time. Students with cognitive disabilities are not treated much better….there are just too many kids with special needs and too few staff. IEP’s are often falsified in terms of hours met (yes, i’ve seen it with my own eyes), administrations direct staff to stop referring kids to be evaluated because there are too many at the school already….I could go on. You do not want your child to have an IEP and especially not in CPS.

  • 320. very sad right now  |  February 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Ugh, we got bad news today, no acceptance at S.E.’s

    Tier -4
    Total points 777
    87% on Selective Enrollment test
    3 A’s and 1 B in 7th grade
    91% Reading and a very unfortunate and uncharacteristically low 66% on Math ISAT

    This is really disappointing because our child’s ISAT Math score was 20% lower than past years for some reason.

    Does anyone know if it would be worthwhile to pursue a principle’s discretion spot based on this?

  • 321. waitingmom  |  February 24, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    @ #318 – her score indicates that she got in based on rank not tier. The max for Lane in rank was actually 900 and minimum for rank was 830, so she was placed with Lane before the tier placement took place. Congrats on Lane!

  • 322. George  |  February 24, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Thanks waiting mom! I guess I am not smarter than an 8th grader 🙂

  • 323. James  |  February 24, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    George (#318) —

    It means your daughter got in by rank, not tier. 30% of the class is admitted by rank regardless of tier. For Lane, that 30% was made up of kids with scores between 830 and 900, which included your daughter at 860. When they then went to the tiers, the 17.5% of the class comprised of Tier 4 kids had scores between 782 and 830.

  • 324. Anxious  |  February 24, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    OAE letter finally came. So the particulars are:

    Walter Payton – 1st Choice
    Score: 900
    Tier: 2

    And I’d like to throw out the bomb. I am not upset that there will be NCLB slots at Payton. It could be a life-changing experience for those students — and for our kids as well. Our kids certainly will not be worse off for it. We would probably all be better examples for our children if we modeled charity and openmindedness.

  • 325. Jodi  |  February 24, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Score 882
    Tier 4
    daughter got her 2nd choice of Whitney Young, her 1st choice was payton.

  • 326. Been There  |  February 24, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Just to be clear: if your child had a 900, he/she was in the 30% rank, no matter which tier you live in. It is good to hear of 900 kids in tier 1 or 2, as the assumption has been that most of the ranked kids are in 3 or 4 and that it (unfairly) opens up more spots for tier 3 & 4 kids with lower scores.
    This is why they went from the proposed 50% rank to 40% last year and 30% this year…wonder if they’ll lower rank or do away with it from now on…

  • 327. Chicago Gawker  |  February 24, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    For those of you posting acceptances, can you tell us a bit about your kid? Eg. went to gifted CPS, magnet, a parochial school, not a great speller, weak in math, tutored to the nth degree before….
    Would make it more informative for us. Thanks!

  • 328. cps Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    319 Hawthorne mom – you are talking about the severe and profound programs – not a pleasant experience, obviously. Although there are some schools (including selectives) that have their act together on this. The more common IEP is the student with a learning disability or unable to focus, take notes, difficulty with fine motor skills etc. These kids are in the regular classroom and may or may not have an aid and usually have a resource room that they can go to to take tests etc. These programs are actually pretty good (depending on the school, I’m sure). These are the kids competing for SE spots along with everyone else. IEP’s are only given out when needed and usually not at all if the child is a high performer. Kids requiring moderate accommodations such as extended time for ADHD usually get 504’s and are not considered in the IEP pool. I believe that the selectives have between 4 and 10% IEP. Those schools that have historically had only 4% did so only because that 4% happened to score high enough to make cut offs. Schools like Jones and Lane have always taken kids based upon their plan along with the score.

  • 329. ackie mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Keep in mind that there will be additional spots opening up at the SE ACs due to some students opting to accept spots at other SE high schools closer to home vs remaining in their guaranteed spot at the current HS. For example, my child did not sit for the SE test due to a desire to remain at WY for high school, but some students/parents are in the process of deciding to accept spots at NSCP. So, I’m assuming guaranteed spots for WYAC students that choose another SE or private school will open up for second round offers.

    @327: Child attended a Christian school, suburban public school, CPS RGC and now an AC (Whew!). Strong in key subjects, extremely strong in math (currently in honors Geometry as an 8th grader) signed up for accelerated honors Adv. Alg/Trig for 9th. Spelling is average. No tutoring for any subject or entrance test.

  • 330. cpsobsessed  |  February 24, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    @312 cps mom: Yep, on it. Had the same thought just as you posted.

  • 331. cpsobsessed  |  February 24, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    I guess I’m still floored by the realization that a Tier 4 kid basically needs a perfect score to get their first choice. Unbelievable.

  • 332. cpsmama  |  February 24, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    @320-don’t fret yet. The second round may open a spot for your child at Lane if that is a school that you ranked. If that doesn’t happedn, I say try principal discretion. Does your child have other decent HS options?

  • 333. SE scores  |  February 24, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    For post #300 & 320- my daughter got the same letter last year. It was dissappointing, but she had already been accepted at a private school (which softened the blow somewhat) and she was accepted to Lane in the 2nd round. Depending on your points, you may also get in to Lane or somewhere else in Round 2. Good luck and don’t let this SE HS stuff get you down. You are much more than your points 🙂

  • 334. Anonymous  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    What are the chances of principals discretion working for Walter Payton with a score of 868, tier 4, straight A’s, 98% on the entrance exam??

  • 335. very sad right now  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    @332 and @333 thank you for the encouragement. We’re not giving up yet and we do have other options, we hope, (we haven’t yet heard.) Hoping second round scores are close to what they were last year.

    Unfortunately that low Math ISAT kept us out of Lincoln IB and possibly Von Steuben (unless we get lucky in the city-wide lottery.) What gets me is how one bad testing day can really impact his/her future and outweigh a whole year of good grades.

  • 336. Waiting for mail (Day 3 - It finally came)  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    @334 – based on those numbers, it was (uncharacteristically, in this forum, at least) the ISATs that dragged the total down – averaging in the 90th percentile. His 98% SEHS test represents a marked improvment – while the ISATs were administered nearly a year ago. Had the ISATs been on par with the SEHS test, he’d be looking at a score of 893, well over the Payton T4 threshold.

    The Princ. Disc. form in step 3 refers to an “extenuating circumstances” criteria in which the scores are not representative and at first blush, it would seem that a big difference between ISAT and SE would at least indicate something was weird last Spring.

    The other criteria (not necessary, it says you may choose one or more) have to do with unique skills, social responsibility, and ability ot overcome hardship. So, it seems to me it would be worth a shot, if say, something awful happened around ISATs, the kid can do something that would add to the bragging rights of the school, he does charity work and has endured hardship.

    Then again, hopefully someone in this forum has better anectdotal evidence about Principal Discretion success stories. The press has indoctrinated me to look at this as either clout or WY’s beefing up its sports programs.

  • 337. cps Mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    To add to the above – you will have the best chance of applying at Lane because there are more seats available. Some people get overambitious. I have heard of people making it especially if the scores are close to the cut off. Get a letter of recommendation from a teacher and/or principal, dig up all the certifcates or awards. Demonstrate a real need (family depending on it etc) and put together an interesting letter. Good luck.

  • 338. esme  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    My niece got into Northside.

    *1st choice
    *tier 4

  • 339. Norwood mom  |  February 24, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    #320 If Lane was one of your
    choices you should get in on the second round since your score of 777 is not that far from the first round cutoff. You could also try principal discretion at Lane. I think 777 is too low to get in the other schools. Good luck.

  • 340. Grace  |  February 25, 2011 at 6:41 am

    I also don’t understand these numbers. Can the principal of Lindblom or an OAE staffer please clarify?

    100% main admisssion: 30% top, 70% tier
    5% NCLB
    5% principal discretion (up to 25 kids)

    Lindblom principal’s numbers add up to 110%. How does it actually work? Do the NCLB and IEP kids come out of the rank 30%?

  • 341. Grace  |  February 25, 2011 at 6:46 am

    @331. cpsobsessed | February 24, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    “I guess I’m still floored by the realization that a Tier 4 kid basically needs a perfect score to get their first choice. Unbelievable.”

    cps obsessed — when the Blue Ribbon Committee came up with their recommendations, I could see this coming. What do you guess is the breakdown on racial breakdown this year?

  • 342. Grace  |  February 25, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Blue Ribbon Committee report:
    “reducing the tier percentage greatly increases the number of high scoring students who would not likely receive an offer to attend any SEHS,”

  • 343. Waiting for mail (Day 3 - It finally came)  |  February 25, 2011 at 8:19 am

    @341 – A Tier 4, assuming As in the core subjects, and roughly equal percentile rankings in the two test sittings, needs those percentiles to be about 97-98 for Payton & NS, and about 93 for Jones & Young. While high, these are not perfect. Each percentile should correspond to about 160 kids if the census of about 16,000 highschoolers is correct.

  • 344. Grace  |  February 25, 2011 at 8:29 am

    When CPS gives the breakdowns, you’ll see that the majority of the students accepted on rank had perfect scores, I bet. And I’m sorry but I don’t quite understand your math — probably my deficit. I think of it as a percentage of the freshman class size, which varies considerably with the school.

  • 345. Waiting for mail (Day 3 - It finally came)  |  February 25, 2011 at 8:52 am

    @344 – the breakdowns are out and a link is posted at the top of this page. The rank cutoff scores for Payton and NS are 897. The average is reported to be 899. If the scores are equally distributed, then 1/4 of the rankers got 900. If 30% of the students are rankers, then only 7.5% percent of the students got a 900.

    So there’s room for error.

    Cpsobsessed was referring to Tier 4, not rankers (I thought.)

  • 346. Grace  |  February 25, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Sorry, I don’t mean to belabor this, but if scores were equally distributed for rank students, then the mean would be 898. But it’s 899, so it’s probably skewed toward the high end.
    And by breakdown, I didn’t mean the cut scores, but the number of students accepted at each score for rank and tier.
    We got that last year, a bit later, I think. I don’t know how the 10% of NCLB and IEP students fit in.

  • 347. momof4  |  February 25, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Will anybody be applying for principal discretion? I read through the handbook and at first glance, it appears to be daunting. But I think a lot of kids would make a strong argument for themselves. It would just take an investment of time, but I would strongly encourage families to take advantage of this policy. Your child’s school counselor should be helping kids who didn’t get their first choice to help them fortify their application for the principal picks. Please don’t be dismayed or disappointed. There’s lots of second chances under the new policy.

  • 348. SEN  |  February 25, 2011 at 10:02 am

    My daughter has an IEP for speech at a CPS school and I have been very happy with everything.

  • 349. Hawthorne mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 11:11 am

    I am glad some people have had good special services experiences. Still, based on my experiences, with both severe needs and mild ones, I personally wouldn’t do it. Speech is a little different in that it can be so mild that really isn’t a big deal. Though, I do know one family that had to wait 18 months to get their CPS school to finally give them a speech eval (they were non-attenders, but the district is obligated to serve them). I currently work with one family who has a child with cognitive issues and the school has dragged their feet incessantly. The mother has spent thousands of dollars on legal fees to get her child served.

    Everyone has to do what they need to do, but from my perspective, if either of my kids had any kind of a mild or serious learning disability (beyond speech, and in that case, I’d just simply come straight in with, “you have X many days according to sped law to evaluate and begin serving my child, and if you don’t follow that law to the letter, I have a lawyer on retainer to make it happen”), I am so dead serious that I’d foreclose on my home and move to a suburb that I know and have seen in action to have great sped services.

    I am sure there are some schools that serve kids better than others. But generally, they don’t.

  • 350. Need info...  |  February 25, 2011 at 11:20 am

    My son has an offer from Westinghouse College Prep.Does anyone have any academic info. on this school? If we decide to take their offer,would my son be able to transfer to another SEHS after his freshman year?

  • 351. Waiting for mail (Day 3 - It finally came)  |  February 25, 2011 at 11:21 am

    @346 – I don’t mean to belabor this either, and it just shows the need for more data – for example, a distribution of the rankers by tier or by age.

    If the scores equally distributed from 897-900, the average is actually 898.5. This would round to 899.

    But yes – I too have no idea whether NCLB cuts into the 30%, or whether it’s applied before or after the first round.

  • 352. Does PD really work?  |  February 25, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Why isnt their a sibling rule for the SEHS?? I have a kid currently at Lane,my daughter did not get accepted at Lane but has a offer from Westinghouse.We are going 2 apply 4 the PD at Lane.But do you guys think ,that would help her get in 2 Lane due 2 her brother being a current student at Lane??

  • 353. cpsobsessed  |  February 25, 2011 at 11:33 am

    For anyone interested, 3873 blog hits yesterday. Obsessed parents unite! 🙂

  • 354. cpsobsessed  |  February 25, 2011 at 11:36 am

    @350 Need info: I looked up that school on
    It is a SE school but I don’t see any test results or other academic info for the school. Nor did I see it in the big excel file of high schools I downloaded from CPS.
    I see it’s a very small school so it may have some sample size issues that prevent them from reporting test scores?
    I would inquire with the school. From what I’ve seen, high schools that are SE and high schools that are small both perform well in CPS, so it sounds promising.

    I don’t know what happens for sophomore year. I assume kids have to test again and try for a few open spots?
    Does anyone here know about that?

  • 355. cps Mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    – Regarding NCLB % – 125 Lindblom explains how that works
    – whether it’s 894 or 895 or 896 It’s all relative. Bottom line tier 4 has to score exceptionally high to get in. In all honesty, I’m glad to see these top schools expand their benefits to kids that are not getting perfect scores. This is truly a step forward. I do feel a sense of injustice in that tier 4 kids are held to a higher bar. We still have too many well deserving kids left out.
    – Westinghouse – we had 3 kids from our magnet school accept last year (2 high achievers with one test out of whack, like the above). They like it a lot, on the volleyball team and have tested out of Algebra 1 taking advanced classes.
    – Principals discretion – I know of 1 kid that got into Whitney on prin. des. he had an 849 and a sibling. One other that applied to Jones who had an 829. Many applied and did not get in.

  • 356. bagg  |  February 25, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Thank you everyone for your advice of 2nd round chances (1st round Jones). Because we are leaning towards private school, I think we are going to give it a go and throw it back into the pool and see what we end up with in the 2nd round.

    Are there advantages in submitting the form earlier? i.e., first come first serve?

  • 357. adad  |  February 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    While I can understand cps Mom’s sentiments about offering opportunities to lower scoring applicants I think that we should keep in mind that the tier system does not necessarily reflect the inhabitants of an area. Last year we were tier 3 and now magically our condo-apartment riddled street has turned into tier 4 while the next block over is still tier 3 and full of million dollar houses. We are hardly even close to being a tier 3 family, let alone tier 4. We just happened to have moved to this area 15 years ago. While this might not be the norm, there is no way my child would thrive at Mather unless some huge changes were made. That would be our option if he didn’t score “perfectly” on the test. Hopefully this will improve by the time 8th grade roles around for our family. Just saying…

    And congrats to all who have been accepted, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for others.

  • 358. responsetoadad  |  February 25, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    We are in tier 4 but our local public school, while excellent, does not reflect that. Most of the kids go to catholic school. I probably would not have considered Mather either, but I have recently talked to people who actually have children there or who looked at it as an option and it appears to have some good things going for it.

  • 359. Hawthorne mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    I just looked at the income levels for each tier.
    My tract used to be tier 2, now we are tier 3. Our income just makes the tier 3 cut off.
    It is a little baffling to me that the tiers only go up to 250K. I know a lot of people making more, some way more than that. I am also a little surprised that so many people in Chicago make less than 60K a year as a family. It has always seemed to me that everyone I know has so much more money than we do, but I guess that is not reality.
    Personally, I think there should be a 5th tier added for families making above 250K. There must be a significant portion of families in Chicago at that level based on the home prices I see, even with our current recession.
    I also always though the tiers looked more like this
    1- under 30K
    2-under 65K
    3- under 120k
    4-under 500k
    I guess that gives me something to be grateful for today. There’s something to be said for having enough money to feed a family. I don’t know how so many people do it on so little.

  • 360. tier 4  |  February 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    There are a lot of kids living with grandma in apartments in our tier 4 neighborhood. There are also a lot of asian immigrants who probably aren’t high economically but really push academics. The higher economics of the neighborhood go to catholic or jewish schools. In any event, I think she’s getting a great education there after a transfer from an excellent catholic school and her classmates are actually very kind to each other.

  • 361. Waiting for mail (Day 3 - It finally came)  |  February 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    My sympathies- and best wishes – to all who are STILL waiting for the mail carrier, and planning strategy for the next few weeks. Despite avowals over the years never to become “obsessed” with CPS, I found myself these last few days losing hours of time (as an independent consultant, it’s all too easy to translate that into $$) clicking “refresh” on this site, reading the stories and thinking about the whole sordid process. Changes should definitely be made, and with a new administration, you could and should mount a grassroots campaign to start them before memories fade and the status quo gels. Parting thoughts before I go on an enforced diet excluding cpsobsessed for a while.

    – The notion of even HAVING selective enrollment at all. There were and will continue to be many voices (Mosely-Braun’s, for e.g.) saying things like “all schools should be good.” It’s hard for all but the hardest of hearts to argue with that, but as is the case with all sound bites, the devil is in the details. I think we’d all agree that if there were no selective enrollments, the quality of a school would be determined solely by the wealth of its surrounding neighborhood or suburb. I also think that selective enrollment schools can “lift all boats” – providing examples and success stories for the system as a whole. NYC has had selective public schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science for decades, producing Nobelists, Pulitzer winners, etc.

    – The allocation of slots by four Tiers is bound to create further animosities, disappointments and a simmering class warfare that I believe jeopardizes the system. This was a confabulated attempt to replicate the race-based affirmative action of the system after the Court ruling, and I think the jury is still out on whether it’s even accomplishing that. In the meantime, absurdities abound on a case-by-case basis. My little block in tier 3 has a McMansion on one end and a crumbling six-flat rental on the other. I know of dozens of divorced families with one parent in tier 4 and a second (supported) parent in a lower tier – of course they use the lower tier for CPS mail. And honestly, when I hear out there of some tier 4s who are “waiting for the mail” to tell them whether they have to shell out $120K for 4 years at Latin, why they didn’t invest about $500 a month for a crash-pad in a tier 1 during the application process.

    – What rarely seems to be recognized is that a selective enrollment school, in this city, anyway, achieves results (ACT scores, college placements) primarily BECAUSE it’s selective, and not because, by some design, it has better-paid teachers, equipment or physical plant. Social engineering and political appeasement to lower the requirements of some, but not all, students probably does NOT help an 80th percentile student become a 98th percentile student.

    – At the same time, intelligently engineered diversity in the student body benefits all students and private schools and corporations even recognize this as a competitive edge. There are artful ways to accomplish this – for example, by offering the examinations in other languages for ESL kids, or by subsidizing exam prep in underprivileged neighborhoods, that might even obviate the need for different scores. And honestly, I have to admit as a parent whose girl has been in an elem. school with primarily tier 4 families, I look forward to NOT hearing about so-and-so’s TrueReligion jeans and seeing the fleet of Lexus SUVs piloted by stay-at-home moms. No offense, but it’s just not the world she can expect to work within when she’s (I hope!!!!) supporting herself in 4 years.

    – Finally, the use of grades in the selection process – for example, where I read above that one 91% B was enough to keep a kid out of the running for NS and Payton – has got to be amended, and it’s not enough to harmonize the grading scales (although that should at least be done, and can be done simply by having the numbers reported instead of or with the letters!) Grades from school to school are completely incomparable, and are manipulated from every direction by parents, teacher prejudice, cheating. Replace them by quarterly subject-based exams city-wide. Each school is free then to adopt their own styles and standards, etc.

    Well, folks, it’s been one looooong, strange trip. My daughter hoped (and worked) hard for her first choice for 8 years, and where she often saw few benefits for those efforts, yesterday she did. She embarks into a world where Ke$ha tells her to get tipsy, Enrique tells her that he’s f’ing her tonight, and the arbiters of taste come from the gyms of New Jersey (not quite Princeton.) Good luck to all – be creative about options if things didn’t work as planned, be vigilant and critical if they did, help the next generations, and don’t rely solely on CPS to educate your children.

  • 362. tier 4  |  February 25, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    To waiting for mail. I LOVE your last paragraph!

  • 363. cps Mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Hawthorne Mom – what you’re saying making perfect (better sense). I don’t think this will accomplish the real goal of racial diversification even though we’re calling it socio-economics.

  • 364. James  |  February 25, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Hawthorne Mom #159 —

    Household income is just one of six factors that determines the tier into which a particular census tract falls. The others are percentage of households headed by a single parent, the percentage in which English is not the only language spoken, the percentage of home ownership, the level of adult educational attainment, and a factor that takes account of the quality of the local school. All of those facts are weighted equally to determine where your tract falls. It is not just about income, though that is one of the factors.

    But I agree that it can be a little bewildering. We were Tier 3 last year, as was a virtually identical neighborhood next door. This year, we magically became Tier 4 while the neighborhood next door remained Tier 3. Neither neighborhood changed as far as I could tell. This being Chicago, I wonder if complaining to an alderman with juice or to someone with some sway can get these things changed. I hope not, but I wonder…

  • 365. bagg  |  February 25, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    @361. Waiting for mail, good luck to your daughter and your family.

    I’m sure we’ll chat again in 3 yrs when the college process begins (or have you started already). See ya back in this board here or at

  • 366. southside mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    @ 361:
    Very ignorant on the Kesha/Enrique stuff. I hope you’re not providng this kind of example for your kid. Please grow up.

  • 367. northside dad  |  February 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Very ignorant on the Kesha/Enrique stuff. I hope you’re not providng this kind of example for your kid. Please grow up.


    I agree. I thought the 361 post was good up until that point. Hopefully the new school will teach her something though.

  • 368. confusedparent  |  February 25, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Hey southside mom and northside dad, if you really are totally unaware of what messages Ke$ha and Enrique are sending — indeed, the messages of sex and drugs that permeate much of popular culture from TV to music to movies to even books — then I’d suggest you need to open your eyes, not tell others to grow up.

  • 369. Not yet CPS Mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    #361 – Are you seriously suggesting that Tier 4 parents should game the system by renting a place in a Tier 1 neighborhood?

    It’s kinda sad that you already are putting down the school (and the kids who go there) where your daughter is going to spend the next four years.

  • 370. Mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Can someone explain to those of us who have no idea who Keisha or Enrique are what is ignorant or not about what was said. I gathered they are musicians with dirty or inappropriate lyrics. No? So, I took what was said to merely be expressing concern about the more grown-up realm of high school the poster’s daughter will soon enter, which did not seem particularly ignorant to me. But, again, I have no idea who Kiesha and Enrique are.

  • 371. Mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Now, I’m really confused. Do Keisha and Enrique attend the high school where the PP’s daughter will be attending Ias suggested by 369) or are they musicians???

  • 372. confusedparent  |  February 25, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Ok, Mom — Enrique Inglesias and Ke$sha are musicians. You can Google them and make up your own mind.

  • 373. Mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Well, that’s what I thought at first (before post 369). But I’m still confused about what is ignorant about what 361 said if they are in fact musicians with trashy lyrics.

  • 374. Grace  |  February 25, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    The kids would be laughing at us adults regarding this last bit!

  • 375. Mayfair Dad  |  February 25, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    @ 361: Right on. Believe it or not, this current system is a big improvement over the previous system. Many of us on this board went to the public hearings and brought up the very issues you raise. The greatest injustice occurs to the low income families who move to an apartment in a safer Tier 4 neighborhood to escape gang violence and make a better life for their kids. You can devise the greatest plan in the world but if the data is imprecise your plan will never achieve the desired results.

  • 376. Not yet CPS Mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    After thinking about it – I realize #361 could have been sarcastic with her comments.

    But lest we go off about Ke$ha and Enrique – let’s get back to the topic of HS.

    I initially got offended by #361’s comment about renting in Tier 1 because I’m Tier 4 and can’t afford Latin (or any top tier private school), and if I want to pay for my kids’ college, I can’t afford to send them to private school at all, so I’m counting on my CPS options.

    Thanks to all that have shared their news so far. I’m really interested in what happens to the kids that don’t get into any of their choices. What will you do? Move to the suburbs? Go to private school? Go to your neighborhood HS (which for me right now – is definitely not an option). I’m years away from my kids being in high school – but the fact that CPS has no real great options other than the SE high schools really scares me. Maybe someone can enlighten me if there are other options – but all the focus seems to be on the SE schools.

    My husband says that if we had a solid option for high school, without testing or lottery, that we could stay in Chicago – but without that, we’ll need to move. And I don’t really want to move to the suburbs.

  • 377. cpsobsessed  |  February 25, 2011 at 3:01 pm!/pages/North-Side-High-School-Initiative/144692425652

    Just a reminder to LIKE the North Side High School Initiative group on Facebook. A small start to some hopefully big changes down the road in improving high school options in the city.

  • 378. cpsobsessed  |  February 25, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    I love the #361 post. My goal when I started this blog was to point out the absurdities of our crazy school system (and raising kids in it) and so much of that is captured there.

    Ok, off to look up Enrique….

  • 379. okStill  |  February 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    374 – What about the people who worked hard and played by the rules ? They spent their time and hard work living in tier 4 and their reward past grammar school is not much for their kids. Off to private HS for us.

  • 380. Sorry, Hawthorne Mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Hawthorne Mom,

    Welcome to the new America.

    The tiers are supposed to be divided up into 4 segments of roughly equal population in each. Like most Americans, your view of how income is distributed in our society is skewed. Please read
    this article.

  • 381. bagg  |  February 25, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    @379 okstill, because many families have your perspective, there was fierce competition this year to obtain spots at private HS as well. I know of students that are on the waitlist even though the older sibling is currently enrolled at the private HS.

    The testing at private schools, ISEE and catholic test, is much harder than the ISAT and SE HS testing. Students normally scoring in the ISAT 90’s % typically score in low 70% on these private school tests.

  • 382. okStill  |  February 25, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    381 – if true that is really interesting. My son has top grades, good ISAT’s, did not get into Lane. But DID get into honors program at private Chicago HS. What a joke.

  • 383. RL Julia  |  February 25, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I guess, I’d rather have tiers (as inaccurate as they may be) than race as a selection criteria. The fact still remains, there are many fine high school options in Chicago (that are not just the top four or five northside SEHS’s) and every kid deserves a great education (and that education can be gotten many places) – not just those kids who test well on a given day or year.

    #361, I disagree – What makes the SEHS’s desirable is that they appear to be everything a parent wants for their kid education-wise plus they provide the credential to others that the child in question IS very special and very smart and that of course reflects positively on the parent.

    II don’t believe that the SEHS’s get extra money or that their teachers are paid more and Whitney Young (or Jones or Lane) are certainly not new school facility-wise by anyone’s imagination. I would argue that there is at least a bit of social engineering going on. Put a whole bunch of motivated, intelligent kids together with their empowered, motivated, parents and watch the school become more not less for the experience – the sort of kids who end up at the SE’s might also be the types not to cover the school in graffiti or gratuitously break the facility down as quickly – although I don’t know that for sure.

    The important thing to remember is that while the SEHS’s are wonderful places to be sure, they are not the only game in town worth having skin in – and that by my reckoning, while I am thrilled to hear about all those lucky kids getting admissions to the SEHS’s – that doesn’t make them somehow more deserving (or even necessarily smarter) as much as it makes them extraordinarily lucky to have had the opportunities and communities they have had that have allowed them to play in this absurd game.

  • 384. Not yet CPS Mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    #382 – you’re saying exactly what I’m afraid might happen to us in a few years. Except private school is not an option for us.

  • 385. ChicagoGawker  |  February 25, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Happen to agree with 361 re Enrique “Sleep with me now, say the word and we’re gone. I can see it going down. You’ll be screaming Loooove”. (Sung in a very upbeat, catchy way that’s hard to dislike) and Ke$ha brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack. However, my 10 year old is already familiar with these songs, so it starts way before HS. Believe 361 was only expressing parental anxiety about unsupervised teenage activity. Sorry to digress.

  • 386. Hawthorne mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    #380, yes, I can see my view has been skewed.

  • 387. copy editor  |  February 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    @361, that is beautiful. And all the haters, you can try to limit your child’s access to Ke$ha, but trust me, the kids know who she is. And you might want to find out a little about what the kids are listening to in order to provide a little guidance.

    This reminds me a little of parents who tell me that they would never let their kids on Facebook, when I know that their kids are Facebook friends with my kid.

  • 388. Grace  |  February 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    This is off topic, and I apologize, but just in case any of you are interested in a lunch with recess for your elementary school children, I got this from IL Raise your Hand.

    “On Wednesday, February 23, 2010, members of Raise Your Hand presented to the Board of Education an option to lengthen the school day by 45 minutes. …

    “Raise Your Hand stumbled upon … a policy that allows any CPS school to have recess and a longer lunch period by adding 45 minutes to the typical school day. …under the Modified Open Campus Policy.

    ” Together we can make make this happen. Join Us. To read all the details… go to Extra Time for Lunch and Recess – Yes We Can! Please contact us at if you want to join us in this effort

  • 389. waitingmom  |  February 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    My husband teaches in a SE school and NO – he does not get paid more. Just wanting to clarify.

  • 390. Mayfair Dad  |  February 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    That Ke$ha is a trampy little thang, isn’t she?

    I’m feeling a lot of anxiety, frustration, anger and disillusionment on the board these days. To the newbies who have just joined the conversation, welcome. We aren’t usually this stressed out.

    Rahm really has his work cut out for him. How do you fix a broken public school system without breaking the few parts that actually do work?

    I hope and pray the new mayor is as smart as people want to give him credit for. Let’s all resolve to channel our pent up rage at the machine into community activism and do our part to improve education. Get informed and get involved.

  • 391. copy editor  |  February 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Ke$ha is my guilty pleasure, and my child must never know that!

  • 392. cps Mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks 361 for putting the time and thought into your post. I found it to be very thought provoking and motivating. I enjoyed the pop culture references and obvious creativity – believe you me, I never thought that I would stay in the same room with an Eminem song being played much less finding myself humming “Not Afraid” in the shower. Inappropriate lyrics are the least of concerns once you enter HS. You must be feeling great right now after the 9 year journey, so thanks for your wisdom.

    My reasons for getting involved over this past year have been because of my own personal nightmare getting my son into HS. After long hours at the kitchen table, studying, prepping, prodding, extra classes and workbooks, (no wonder the kid listens to Eminem) we were derailed with 2 B’s one of which was a 92. He had to score perfectly on the tests. I was most surprised about the caviler attitude of the school who at the time thought it was no big deal, he would get into a good school anyway, and the dismissive attitude of CPS when encountered with this inequity at the community meetings. I then took to the internet. I think I did a good job creating awareness – the school changed their grading scale, CPS nodded toward the issue with a promise to make change next year and I have all kinds of support here. My son did get into a great school – we were tier 2 (now 3 BTW, so things would be different) but this was always about the distress involved in the process because, like Mayfair Dad, we were open to different programs and I knew he would get something. My goal has always been to share my experience and what I know about others so that the up and coming CPS community could benefit. I’ve gone back and forth with some but hope that my input has been helpful.

    A couple thoughts on the 361 post. About grades – what is now happening is that A’s are doled out (or withheld as a form of punishment). I completely agree that it is impossible to standardize grades between schools and home-schooled. Understanding the value of grades as a measurement of more than knowledge, my feeling has been to eliminate them greatly or altogether because there is no uniform measurement. I’ve changed my mind, I love your idea of uniform quarterly tests. I think it’s very possible and very fair.

    On tiers – agree there too. What we have now is progress but not it. The system is flawed and welcomes abuse – so I don’t blame those that can do it. The only way CPS will change this is when the racial % are not adding up the way they want. We’re headed in that direction too. Great suggestions BTW.

    I like to consider myself an advocate for the kids. Along those lines, I would love to hear more about the kids that are landing charter spaces and non-SE programs. What are your experiences and how can your insight help others?

    One thing I’ve taken away from this site – there is value in the neighborhood school. I know that’s another topic needing support and restructure. Lets hear those success stories too.

  • 393. copy editor  |  February 25, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I hear you on the grades, CPS Mom. In fifth grade, my son’s teacher gave him a C in English, mostly for laziness. I know why she did it and I couldn’t really argue (and didn’t argue), but it was like, oh, okay, now he can’t go to an academic center. Thanks, teacher! Thanks for screwing my kid out of that opportunity!

    And that’s where the tension is so awful. Kids with Cs can go to college, but kids with Cs can’t go to a college-prep high school. That just seems so backward, especially given that in seventh grade, not all of the kids are mature enough to understand the stakes.

  • 394. Waiting for mail (Day 3 - It finally came)  |  February 25, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    You made me fall off my cpso wagon so quickly. My comment up in @361 was an ironic commentary on how we – this community – are banging our heads and pulling out our hair to get our kids into chem labs and calculus classes, while the media tells them nonstop that cool, attractive and rich young adults are partying and hooking up every night. Not a beaker nor an equation in sight for them. Thus, ours is a challenge no matter where they go to high school and it doesn’t end after the letters are mailed. But I suppose this is a complaint repeated by every parental generation from Mozart to Elvis to the noise I played in the 80s. I sincerely apologize to parents who thought I was referring to actual kids in my kid’s school (she would only dream…sigh.)

    @369 – I wasn’t suggesting that Tier 4 parents SHOULD go out and game the system. Rather, I was suggesting some of them probably already ARE gaming the system. It’s a gameable system, and that’s why it should change. Is a child with a wealthy dad with his home in tier 4 Lincoln Park and his ex’s in trendy tier 1 or tier 2 Ukrainian Village really “overcoming the same obstacles” as one with two working parents in tier 3 Logan Square? Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. Who knows? In this city, your address doesn’t tell your life story, and that’s a good thing. I’d advocate for several schools that are completely merit/rank based, with special accommodations way before the testing process for disadvantaged kids to give them a more equal footing. Some other SEHS schools would retain the combination of rank and allocation by socioeconomics. I guess the one good thing about tiers is that they are democratic.

    As MayfairDad says, this is a system that has some working parts, and others that are broken. Some of the problems are big picture – like how many schools should even be selective – and some are just technicalities that turn into heartbreak. Like…

    The grades that are As at one school and Bs at another are particularly distressing because that could have been fixed so easily simply by accessing numbers in the computer and using those in this year’s scores instead of the letters. In fact, it might not be a bad idea for the grade portion of the score to be broken down more finely. There’s a pretty big difference between a student with a 99 A and one with a 92 A. Use all quarters instead of the year’s average. Maybe drop the lowest quarter in each core subject. Something like that. Plus, I still have no idea why the first quarter of 8th grade isn’t included. The tests are all make it or break it on a single percentile or two, but the grades are quantum leaps at 25 points a pop. It’s just not necessary.

    I still think all schools should face the same tests because that might (big ?) encourage innovation as each school has a more granular eye on its relative progress. Yes, that’s “teaching to the test” but that’s not necessarily a bad thing if the test is good.

    Anyway, since the kid is out of earshot I’m going to forget about all this and unwind with some CeeLo, uncensored version.

  • 395. AnxiousMom#2  |  February 25, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    my son went to a gifted program. A’s and B’s in 7th grade (92 is a B) did well (95% and 97%) on ISAT’s. I have no idea what happened to him on the SE test. 😦
    i feel like cring and i’m so mad. he worked really hard but we are now off to private school.

  • 396. Been There  |  February 25, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Btw- Tier’s changed this year because of the Census. The tier’s are based on Census tracks and some folks who were in 2 or 3 last year were bumped up because of genitrification in their track since 2000.
    Congrats to all who got in on the first round. My twnis were both admitted last year to their first choice on the first round and it was an enomourous relief to our family. I felt like we won the lottery and indeed we did. (my worst nightmare was that one would get in and one would not)
    It would be nice if folks who are really disappointed right now let us know how things pan out on the 2nd round and P.D.

    I also have a 7th grader, so we’re not free and clear of this nightmare yet.

  • 397. cps Mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    396- the tiers changed because of a 6th criteria by CPS.

    395 and others with “no go”. There is hope for a round 2. The freebie would be nice but keep reminding yourself about the benefits and the satisfaction you will have by doing everything in your power to position your child. He can only benefit by the advanced education that he has gotten to date.

    I have seen offers extended up through July, even August so it’s far from over.

  • 398. Waiting for mail (Day 3 - It finally came)  |  February 25, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    @395 – in addition to hanging on for round 2, it wouldn’t hurt to look into principal discretion, either. If the SE was far out of whack with the ISAT, and there’s no reason a principal has to ignore the fact that a 91 would really be counted as an A from another school just because the CPS computers do.

  • 399. HSObsessed  |  February 25, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    So many interesting topics….

    @352 – there is no sibling preference at SE HS, just as there is none for gifted/classical elementary programs.

    @354 – I don’t have first or even second hand info about Westinghouse, but it’s the newest SE HS, with a brand new facility, only two years old. The school is a hybrid school, with partly SE program, and additionally, career academies that focus on broadcast technology, health sciences, and the like.

    Westinghouse is already quickly becoming more competitive, as the cut off score for rank for first round went up a full 12 points since last year. I think its location near the Kedzie green line stop will be key to drawing lots of great students from all directions, something that has certainly helped Jones rocket forward.

    As for applying to other schools for sophomore year, it can be done when spaces open up, but it’s basically by principal discretion, and each pick must be approved by the central OAE.

    @359 – About income levels within a tier: Keep in mind that those numbers you posted are not the range of income levels within each tier. Each tier is made up of hundreds of census tracts that are tiny, just a few blocks by a few blocks in the densest populated areas, and the numbers are the median income within a census tract. So in Tier 4, some individual census tracts have a median income of $61K, some have a median income of $250K, and then all the rest are in between. Also, as James said, median income in a tract is just one of six criteria used to calculate the tier, and they are equally weighted.

    @376 – What do people do if their kids don’t get into SE HS? From what I have heard, a fair number move to the suburbs, although I haven’t known anyone who has done that. Of course a fair number go to privates. At my child’s school, I’ve noticed about 10 percent go on to private high schools. And all the rest find a space at all the other alternatives out there, including IB programs, new high schools, magnets, charters, military high schools, etc. We’re two years away from all this, but in addition to the SE HS, I’ll be checking out LP IB, LP AP/HH, LP Fine Arts, Ogden, Alcott, Von Steuben, Chi Arts, DeVry, Noble network, CICS Northtown, and who knows what else will be available by then. I personally think Taft seems like a great choice for anywhere in the northwest area, and they accept applications citywide for their IB program, which has gained a great reputation.

    I’ve said this before on other sites: This is an exciting time to be sending your child to CPS. When I started looking into the elementary school situation 10 years ago, there were only a handful of schools that were considered “acceptable”, and the drill was: Have your child tested for gifted at Edison/Decatur/Bell, try for the lottery at LaSalle or Hawthorne, or live within the Lincoln attendance boundary. Otherwise, move to Naperville. Now there are a few dozen K-8 schools in north/northwest/central alone (and plenty more elsewhere; I’m just not as familiar with them) in which families have found a great learning environment for their kids. I feel like this is bound to happen similarly at the level of middle school programs and high schools. Ten years ago it was Whitney Young or Lane Tech, and that was if you were a hardcore progressive liberal without the funds for private school. Or a house in Oak Park. I jest. But seriously, the CPS high school sitch was even worse, and look how far we’ve come already, with new options coming on line all the time. You can accuse me of Pollyannaism now. It won’t be the first time.

  • 400. Hawthorne mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    #399, that helps me understand the tiers and income better….that each tract has a median income within that range, not that there aren’t people above and below in each tier. In my neighborhood there are so many people living below the poverty level.
    I have a theory that at least some of the families in my neighborhood are here illegally (basing this theory about what friends tell me who work in non-profits in the area and my personal friends who are illegal) and did not fill out census data due to fear of immigration, which would exclude a large population of people living in severe poverty. (I am talking about friends in a family of 6 living on less than 10K a year and families like them)
    If those numbers didn’t get reported, our area could appear more wealthy than it is. Plus, this year I know they considered the quality of one’s neighborhood schools. All 4 of the closest schools to me have reading scores at or below the 50% mark. I can only guess that when comparing schools across the system, 50% is not considered bad when there are schools at the 20-30% marks. I guess that must have “helped” increase our tier to 3.

    You mentioned the other high school options. While I am not thrilled with any of those, I suppose they can’t be all that awful and we can always do enrichment on the side. I would think most or all of those schools would offer honors and AP classes.When I think about it, I went to a really crap high school just outside of the Chicago limits and because of special programs, I turned out okay, even though many kids came from housing projects. We were just tracked into different levels and I never really saw the kids who were not in the higher level classes….I’d compare it to ETHS, but much, much, much worse.
    I agree that the high school situation now has more options, but how many students were applying to schools back in the 80’s? It is my understanding that Chicago didn’t have much of a middle class in CPS schools back then. I wonder has the ratio of applicants to options improved or do we now simply have more options and more applicants, all the while not really increasing any more true options?

  • 401. South Side Mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    #400: I went to the LP IB program from 90-94, so I guess I sort-of fit into the people who applied back in the 80’s *well, I guess I applied in 89, went in 90* My sister also went to Lane around the same time. I sure hope Lane has improved since then. My sister and I literally had the same math class and textbook when I was a freshman and she was a junior.

    I don’t remember much about the test/interview to get in (ie whether it was hard or not or what kind of competition there was–it was pre-internet, you know?) I can say that on the whole, my fellow students and I didn’t prep for test back then, we just took it and either got in or not. Is it more selective now? Who knows? It definitely seems like much higher stress/stakes now, for sure. (FYI, I tested my preschooler for SEES this year.)

    I am partial to the IB…I can say that my fellow students literally came from all over the city, from Sauganash, Rogers Park, and Portage Park all the way to Hyde Park and even Beverly. But now there are IB programs all over the city, so the commutes should be less harsh now.

    On the whole, after getting an IB diploma versus my sister’s experience at Lane, I would say that I got the better end of the bargain. An IB diploma is literally transferable around the world and at the very least, gets you lots of college credit here in the US. I know you can get a good education at the SE schools, but there is something to the collegiality and rigor of the IB program that I find more attractive on the whole.

    Also, as an FYI, only about 2/3 of my starting freshman IB class actually finished all 4 years of the program, so class sizes got smaller over the years. Not sure what their retention stats are now.

  • 402. Hawthorne mom  |  February 25, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Btw, I am NOT saying that kids from housing projects can’t be in AP classes….just that none of the students from the poor area right around the high school were ever in any of the upper level classes that i took or my friends took. I am sure that there are some really astounding kids who have beaten incredible odds and worked really hard to earn spots at some of the best schools. And I am glad for that.

  • 403. Researcher  |  February 26, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I did some research on Westinghouse College Prep one of the SEHS….It’s not the old school that everyone remembers..checkout their website…..this school looks like its gonna be up with the Northsides/Paytons/Youngs in a couple of years….

  • 404. Researcher  |  February 26, 2011 at 12:04 pm

  • 405. Retired Teacher  |  February 26, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I found it interesting that only these last few posts mentioned Westinghouse. I believe that this is a school that will rank right up there with Jones and Payton in the coming years. I have several friends who are teaching there and swear it’s the hardest job they have ever had, but the most rewarding. The students are smart, the administration supportive and teachers extremely dedicated. They are a very data driven school and high ACT scores are the goal. Probably not a bad 3rd or 4th choice school, given the chances of getting into NS or Payton.

  • 406. Dionne  |  February 27, 2011 at 1:25 am

    My son got into first choice, Whitney Young, but for new very good reasons, would rather be at Jones, the school we then ranked 2nd. He obviousy would have gotten in if we had put it first. What is the best strategy?– don’t want to risk giving up spot in case nothing materializes in 2nd round, and somehow principal discretion doesn’t seem like it makes sense. Advice, please.

  • 407. Saabing43  |  February 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I have to say that this was one of the most stressful week I have ever experienced waiting for letters to come in the mail. For some odd reason I had no mail delivery from my post man for the dates of Feb. 23,24,25th. I was so frustrated that I went downtown to the Office of Accademic Enhancement for my results. My son did not get into any of the SE schools but he did get accepted into a Magnet HS which was his first choice. I was so happy to find that out . I finnnaly received my mail on 26Feb11. He was also accepted at a Catholic HS and a few Charter HS as well. I think that in the future they should develop a altternate system of notification such as either phone or website that is password protected so that parents can easily and quickly find out their childs status as opposed to waiting for a grueling week or two for results. I am glad that this blog exists and it does help knowing that it was not just me who was very worried about getting the acceptance letters in the mail.

  • 408. James  |  February 27, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Dione # 406 —

    With the exception of Tier 1, the cutoffs for Jones are equal to or higher then the cutoffs for Whitney, so it isn’t obvious that your son would have gotten into Jones had he ranked it number one instead of Whitney. You’d have to check your son’s score against the cutoffs. But, in any event, I think turning down Whitney and hoping for Jones on round two would be pretty risky, especially since Jones’s incoming class is relatively small and it isn’t clear how many round two spots there will be there. I’d say keep your Whitney spot and go principal discretion at Jones.

  • 409. CityGal7  |  February 27, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    406 – count your lucky stars that you even got into Whitney. Lots of kids got nothing. I would NOT chance the Jones thing. BTW – open house at Jones last fall, impressed with the Principal, not anyone or anything else at the facility.

  • 410. cps Mom  |  February 28, 2011 at 8:41 am

    406 – It all depends on how important your reasons are for giving up Whitney and if you’re OK with getting your 3rd or 4th choice if it comes down to that. Most people look beyond the open house when they make these important decisions.

  • 411. lane, chiarts  |  February 28, 2011 at 9:11 am

    My daughter was also accepted into lane; we’re tier 2. I don’t have her totals in front of me, but I think it was 820ish. She had listed Lane as her first choice. She got invited to the Alpha program, as well as the honors program.
    She also auditioned and got one of the few spots for ChiArts/visual arts. Does anyone know what the academics are like at ChiArts? She is leaning towards Lane, selecting the honors/art route, because she thinks that the academics are better and she will still be able to concentrate on art – and have a lot of opportunities that a large high school offers. But the allure of the ChiArts program’s visual arts is tempting. Any thoughts?

  • 412. mom2  |  February 28, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I believe that Lane has a pretty significant arts program and classes with much higher academic standards than Chi Arts. You should at go to the general meeting being offered at Lane and then ask if you might be able to meet with someone from the Lane Tech arts department to see what they offer and then compare. While the school is large and they may not offer you the opportunity to meet individually with staff or re-visit the school, if you call and ask about doing this, I believe they will offer it very willingly. Molly Hart is in charge of admissions and she is great to work with.

  • 413. Reseacher  |  February 28, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Does anyone know if Noble St. College Prep or Pritzker College Prep have better rigorous programs than Lane Tech or Lincoln Park H.S.???

  • 414. CPSMama  |  February 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    @411- Agree w/ 413 that academics are much better at lane. However, I don’t think you can mix honors and art concentration at Lane- at least not all 4 yrs. But your daughter can take honors classes and take art as her electives each year. Honors and Alpha at lane seem to be the only way to get 4 yrs of foreign lang.

  • 415. CPSMama  |  February 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    ^ I meant I agree w/ 412 .

    @413- not based on test scores. Noble’s average ACT was 18.8, Pritzker’s was 20.6. Lane was 23.1. Lane selective enrolls, Noble & Pritzker are open enrollment/lottery admissions w/ many 1st generation college students from disadvantaged backgrounds

  • 416. mom2  |  February 28, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    @411 – in case you didn’t see this, here is a link to Lane Tech’s art department web site.

  • 417. copy editor  |  February 28, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    @414: what? Ordinary kids at Lane can’t get four years of a foreign language? That’s pretty crummy, given how international our economy is and how most competitive colleges expect to see four years of a foreign language. That’s one of my problems with Noble Street – UIC Charter, in fact: they offer just enough language (2 years of Russian) to cover the bare minimum of a college prep education.

    Honestly, do people understand what kind of world we live in today?

  • 418. lane, chiarts  |  February 28, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    @412; Thanks for the input; we are planning to head over on Wednesday. Not sure how to get the info through the mail to OAE by 4/4 if we don’t decide until that night … like many, our letters were on the late side.
    @414/416 – Thanks! Actually, there is an honors/art track which includes taking a specific sequence of art as well as a number of electives. I’d be happier if the art department pages weren’t three years old; however, their ceramics department blog is very up to date. Maybe the department isn’t web savvy.

    Anyone else concerned about how large Lane is? The most recent yelp reviews (which you do have to take with a grain of salt) really complain about getting lost and the bureaucracy of it. It concerns me, as my daughter is usually the quiet one who won’t ask questions and could get lost in a crowd…

    Thanks again, I wish I had found this site a while ago!!!!

  • 419. Mary  |  February 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    418 – I definitely have some anxiety about the size of Lane, but I look at it this way: all of the prestigious, highly-regarded schools in the suburbs (e.g. New Trier) are enormous, so it must be something that most kids and parents can get used to. As you suggest, it depends on administration. I have yet to meet a family actually attending Lane who is not very enthusiastic – you hear the same thing over and over – “We didn’t really want Lane, but it’s been great…” From a social perspective, I think there is something great about a big school – no group or groups can control the social scene – there’s room for everybody and always a new friend to meet or club to try. So, we’re giving it a try!

  • 420. mom2  |  February 28, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    @418 – Regarding Lane’s web site(s), I agree that they should be more up to date and web savvy. I think they have come a long way on their main web site (they have someone new working on it), but it still isn’t where it needs to be and some departments are not utilizing the web as much as I would like.

    Regarding Lane’s size, I know many people worry about that. But our experience has been that the size is more of a benefit than a negative.
    They do a great job with the summer freshman connections program and various team tryouts over the summer so that your daughter may have already become comfortable with the school and made some friends before school even starts. They have Senior mentors that are assigned to a group of freshman in case they need someone to show them the ropes early on. They have a closed campus for Freshman so the lunchroom is usual filled with freshman and that makes it less intimidating at lunch time. You have your own counselor that you can go see at any time and you have a homeroom group and teacher that you start off with every morning to learn what is going on every day (with a TV show produced by Lane kids that shares information, too).
    For some of my child’s friends, they are finding the smaller schools great for classes, but maybe not so great for making new friends. You are sort of locked in with the kids you have at your school. At Lane, if you aren’t finding your new group of friends to really be what you want, there are so many other really nice kids to hang out with and get to know. And we are finding that the kids are really nice and always giving each other high fives in the halls, etc. Not what you would expect from such a large school.

  • 421. cps Mom  |  February 28, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    401 – Southside mom – wonderful explanation of IB. Sounds like a great option to SE.

  • 422. Anonymous  |  February 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Does anyone know about principals discretion? Unfortunately, we were no admitted into Walter Payton, but we were admitted into Lane Tech Honors and Alpha program. Just checked out the link for the cutoff scores for Payton, if we lived in tier 3 we would have been in! I am curious about the chances of getting chosen for principal’s discretion etc.

  • 423. Grace  |  February 28, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I know of 2 children who got into 2 schools on principal discretion last year. Don’t know details. The guidelines are on the CPS web site.Good luck.

  • 424. K's Dad  |  February 28, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I’m surprised that Payton College Prep only had 79.5% of their graduates enroll in college last year. Am I reading this correctly? Here’s the link to the data:

  • 425. Gayfair Dad  |  February 28, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    @424. Some of those elect a “Gap Year”, which is promoted as a legitimate choice, and some of the more privileged choose to take advantage it.

  • 426. Gayfair Dad  |  February 28, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    @411: I feel a student attending ChiArts is in better hands artistically than a student attending New Trier. I have experience at both. Additionally, there is a very strong commitment to ChiArts financially–7 year endowment program.

  • 427. Sheri Khan|One Beta Mom  |  March 1, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Congratulations to all the parents and students whose letters read what they wanted them to read!!

    Sigh. We aren’t in the same boat.

    -Lane listed as first choice and really my child’s only desired choice
    -Straight A 7th grade student with excellent attendance and test scores
    -Did not do so hot on the SSE exam. Not sure what happened.
    -Rejected for Lane
    -Accepted to Lincoln Park’s Double Honors program
    -Accepted to a Catholic school’s something-or-other Honors program (and with this honor comes an enormous price tag, of course)

    We’re going to follow the Principal Discretion process and see what happens. He’s had his heart set on Lane for several years, so we were extremely disappointed.

    If we accept Lincoln Park, will that hurt with the appeal at Lane?

    I feel like we’re stuck. If we don’t accept Lincoln Park, appeal Lane, and we’re rejected again, we will have no choice but private.

    And how’s Lincoln Park anyway?

  • 428. mom2  |  March 1, 2011 at 7:29 am

    @427, I wouldn’t give up hope on Lane for round 2 since the class size is so big and you can see just by reading these posts that some people don’t want Lane due to size or thinking that only the top 4 will do (wrongly in my opinion – what is wrong with the 10th best school in the whole state of Illinois?). So, there should be a good sized round 2 that your son could qualify for.
    As far a Lincoln Park double honors goes, we know a large number of kids that ended up at Lincoln Park Double Honors last year because of the changes in policy and most were from Tier 4 and just missed the cut off at Lane (also A students that don’t test well, or A/B students). I think they seem quite happy, but I haven’t asked their parents about their opinion on the quality of the school. I can tell you that the quality of those students I mentioned is quite outstanding. Sometimes that is half the battle (finding a school with high quality students and families so you don’t worry quite as much about your child’s choices in friends – not that you don’t worry every moment while they are in high school – but it helps).

  • 429. Grace  |  March 1, 2011 at 9:38 am

    @424 I couldn’t find the WP data. (help?) But it doesn’t seem right that 20.5% of students would choose a gap year… too high for so many very motivated students.

    Could this % reflect the number of freshmen students that don’t go through all 4 years at WP? Would be good to know. thanks.

  • 430. Exasperated  |  March 1, 2011 at 9:43 am

    @427 – Your post has forced me to contemplate moving out of the city. We, too, are/were looking at Lane for next year but if your child did not get in with straight As and great test scores (except for the entrance exam) then Lane simply may be out of our reach. I know I am stating the obvious, but this is completely insane and unhealthy for our kids.

  • 431. Exasperated  |  March 1, 2011 at 9:47 am

    @427 – Which Catholic school did you get into?

  • 432. HadEnough  |  March 1, 2011 at 9:53 am

    @430 – We have the same issues as 427. Tier 4 – no Lane.
    Also accepted into Catholic high school honors program. My checkbook and my son are headed there.

  • 433. HSObsessed  |  March 1, 2011 at 9:56 am

    @429 – It’s under College Enrollment Data Excel file, then the tab School Overall.

    @427 – I agree that you should wait until second round offers come out because there’s a chance he can get an offer then. You can compare last year’s cut off scores for Lane for second round to get a better idea if he comes close.

    As for LP HS, I think it’s a great option. OK, I’m biased as it’s our neighborhood high school. However, three quarters of the kids there are admitted through three citywide programs, so they’re motivated to be there. From what I’ve heard, with 2100 students, it’s big enough that everyone can find a niche. It has classes, clubs, and sports for all. There is a new principal with energy and ideas. For many years, parents talked about safety concerns but I haven’t heard that as much recently, so I think that’s fading away. I think there’s a meet-and-greet event for parents and kids accepted to the AP/HH program coming up, so maybe a site visit and talking to others there will help you and your son decide. Good luck!

  • 434. cps Mom  |  March 1, 2011 at 10:03 am

    @427 – you can accept LP and stay in the pool, also try for principals discretion. Tier 4 is a big problem – article in the Trib today. I think people need to be a bit more open minded about the various programs that are out there. You also need more than 1 SE school that you would consider attending and realize that your first choice may not be it and move on. Also, consider that the student population at these programs will be changing because of many great students, like those that have posted above, that need a spot. It already has at Lincoln Park. Comment above about programs having many “1st generation college students from disadvantaged backgrounds” are not necessary and only cloud the issue for those considering their options to SE. I would encourage anyone with tough choices to contact the schools and arrange to meet and explore what their program is about – the schools are all very accommodating. Be happy that you have a choice.

  • 435. HSObsessed  |  March 1, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Here’s a link to the Trib article that @434 references.

    It’s actually six criteria now used to determine tier, not five. I’m surprised that the Trib reporter got that wrong.,0,2317976.story

  • 436. Grace  |  March 1, 2011 at 10:50 am

    thanks 434 & 435. Seems like this is a good time for the North side high school parents to advocate for a new school, since CPS policies are limiting tier 4 options?

  • 437. Greetings from Lake Wobegon  |  March 1, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Selective high schools for all!

  • 438. cpsobsessed  |  March 1, 2011 at 11:27 am

    @436 Grace: I guess this is a key question… whether parents should push for a new SE school. Surely if there were money to spend, the answer would be “why not?”
    On the other hand, Lake View High School, which is one of the top neighborhood high schools (granted, that is not saying much) is filled 70% with out of neighborhood kids. What if efforts were focused on that school — adding more academic programs such as those at Lincoln Park HS? What if all Tier 4 parents on the north side whose child didn’t get into a SE HS decided to send their kids there?
    Would that not be easier than starting a whole new school? Let’s face it… even if a new SE high school is built soon, a lot of Tier 4 kids STILL won’t be getting into it!
    Doesn’t have to be Lakeview… could be efforts at Taft or von Steuben, or some place else.

    Just something to think about. I don’t know the answer, but I’m hoping over time we can discuss the pros and cons of the different options.

    I know that doesn’t help parents this year. I feel your angst and it’s maddening and depressing that there’s not a quick fix.

    Looking past at post #3 here, I think the key is to cast a wide net and keep an open mind. If there are lots of parents in the same boat, there HAS to be a shift in some of the existing schools in terms of being viable options, much as there has been with the elementary schools.

  • 439. lakeview mama  |  March 1, 2011 at 11:52 am

    The trib article fails to mention that last year WP and NS had cutoff scores of 850. My son, tier four, had straight As (94% is an A at our catholic school), great Terra Novas and aced the SE exam and didn’t get into Northside or WP this year but would have last year. It was hard to explain to him, but he is okay with it. He did get into Whitney but has decided to go to Ignatius. We are lucky that we always planned financially for that option. I agree that tier 4 parents are going to get fed up by this system because our taxes our skyrocketing! I also agree that Lakeview High School should commit to the neighborhood and make a push to sell itself to its feeder school population.

  • 440. PrivateOK  |  March 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    439 – Tier 4 – Also planned for the possibility of tuition costs. Rahm has his work cut out for him with the SE HS mess.

  • 441. mom2  |  March 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    If Lakeview High School is filled 70% with out of neighborhood kids, this is sort of a chicken and the egg situation. Who will jump first? Most parents I know don’t want to send their child to Lakeview exactly because it is 70% out of neighborhood kids with all the issues that this brings with it. Not sure you could get a large enough group of neighborhood parents to send their kids there unless they were assured that this percent would be vastly different while their children were there (and as others have said – that the school has the staff and programs and educational options/classes to compete/compare with the SE high schools.)

  • 442. Exasperated  |  March 1, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    @432- Which Catholic school did you get into?

  • 443. @432  |  March 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    My son’s first choice — 5900 W Belmont.
    Open House + lots of answers for parents = all good. We are looking forward to a very stimulating 4 years.

  • 444. CPSnoMore  |  March 1, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Son going there also. He shadowed at all the catholic schools you can think of. Also considered Jones, Lane, Lincoln Park. Liked this one the best.

  • 445. James  |  March 1, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    I agree with those who are saying that this year’s admissions cycle portends some serious issues for Tier 4 and Tier 3 parents with high scoring kids in the future. As much as we might all like to “keep to an open mind” and be “thankful we have choices,” the fact is is that it is galling to see some highly talented and motivated kids from those two tiers get shut out of the top SE schools in favor of kids from Tiers 1 and 2 who score dramatically lower. Should CPS shrink the percentage of kids admitted by pure rank yet again, as they did last year in reducing it to less than a third of the incoming class, this will only worsen.

    And what will the effect of that be? Perhaps it will be that many of these squeezed-out Tier 3 and Tier 4 kids will migrate to the other SE HSs and other CPS programs. But the effect may well also be for those kids to leave the city altogether or head to private schools. One wouldn’t think that that is something we would want to have happen. Again, I know there are other decent options out there besides the top 3 or 4 SE schools. But when your kid would have qualified to get in there last year or the year before and is now getting shutout simply because you live in the “wrong” census tract, it is upsetting and unfair. And, frankly, I worry that this new admissions policy may affect the schools themselves in a couple years, especially the schools with smaller class sizes like Payton. Will those schools remain among the very best high schools in the country when larger and larger portions of their incoming classes are made of kids who would not have been admitted a few years ago? I doubt it.

    By the way, lakeview mam #439, at Payton, the Tier 4 cutoff was exactly the same this year as it was last year: 889. So if your son didn’t get into Payton this year, he wouldn’t have last year either. Northside’s Tier 4 cutoff did go up from last year’s 882 to this year’s 891, so he might have gotten in there last year while he didn’t get in there this year. Frustrating, I know…

  • 446. lakeview mama  |  March 1, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Yes, 882 is what he scored and Northside was his first choice for SE. Last year, Payton had a very small class, this year it was larger. I do believe had cutoff scores been in place for both schools, the tier 4 scores would have gone deeper. It is okay for us, but I don’t think the average ACT scores will be as high as they use to be in four years time. I wish everyone the best of luck at the school they choose.

  • 447. PrivateSchoolNext  |  March 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    TIER 4 – The real frustration is the fact that the kids have been working hard and 7th grade was hell. It is not this way in the suburbs. Slap in the face to city employees. The kids, worked, worked, worked, did what they were told and still can’t get in. So now what? Move to the suburbs and take a loss on the house? Pay for privale school tuition? Good luck to Rahm.

  • 448. cps Mom  |  March 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I do completely see your point James. To add to that SE high schools are looking at eliminating space to go to 7th and 8th graders or adding tech programs with neighborhood preferences. I do believe that what is now happening to the Tier 3 and 4 kids is not fair and do not agree with the economic engineering that is going on.

    With that said, I know that my business has been irreparably hurt by the recession along with those in real estate, construction and banking. Selling to move to the suburbs is only an option for those who can afford it or can get financing. Many of us are trapped and cannot even afford health insurance much less school tuition. I think that for those of us who are “stuck”, we need to not only explore all the options available for our kids but also feel good about where we are sending them.

    I would encourage some free thinking like post #361. The sections of SE enrollment that are subject to discretion or preference (grades and tiers) need to change. There needs to be a true evaluation of the number of SE seats needed and that need must be addressed with selective programing. If a line is drawn at 650 then all those scoring over 650 (after accounting kids going to private or moving) need to be accommodated.

  • 449. Sheri Khan|One Beta Mom  |  March 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    @431 – My son got into honors at St Pat’s…. and at such a low bargain price too 🙂

    @4328 – @430 – We’re going to take the advice and accept Lincoln Park while waiting for Lane’s second round. We’re also going to work on the appeal process in the meantime.

    @430 – Move from Chicago? We considered it for about a minute. This is our home, and we love Chicago, so we’re goning to make it work! It is a very frustrating process no doubt.

    @434- I am indeed happy that we have a choice!

  • 450. Tier4Mom  |  March 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    449 – Sherri — St. Pat’s in indeed a bargain when compared to St. Iggy + Loyola. Their tuition is much higher plus mandatory dontation. YIKES. Lots of kids did not get into either of those schools this year.

  • 451. Jeffpark  |  March 1, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    My son was accepted by St. Ignatius, Lane, and Taft IB. We are very grateful that he was accepted to Lane and that is where he will go. There is no way we could pay the $14K a year plus mandatory donation, and still save for college. Maybe if he was an only child, but he has a younger brother that will be going through this in a couple of years. We also considered moving, but decided against it. We like our Tier 4 neighborhood. Although we have a tiny house, we would only be able to afford a shoebox in Park Ridge or Glenview.

    I really hope we are making the right choice by trusting CPS to educate our children.

  • 452. cps Mom  |  March 1, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Thanks 449 and 451 – I’m going to revise my comment from “those who are stuck” to “those who enjoy Chicago and plan on staying”. Bottom line – don’t discount the fact that many tier 3 and 4 people depend on non-SE programs.

  • 453. confused  |  March 1, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Can someone explain how a child who was within 2 points of the cut-off at Lane this year for tier 4, could be wait-listed at number 570 (!!) at Lakeview? It just doesn’t make sense to me. I suppose if everyone who applied and got in to an SE school also applied to Lakeview’s Math and Science Academy as a back-up and then decided not to go there, it might mean something to be in the 500’s on a waiting list. But that still seems crazy to me. Any ideas anyone?

    Also does anyone know anything about Amundsen High School’s IB program?

    Trying to make sense of all this and thank you in advance!

  • 454. K's Dad  |  March 1, 2011 at 10:57 pm


    Apparently, not all the College Prep graduates are going to college.

    I looked at some of the University of Chicago study tracking students. Some of the top RGC students don’t ever graduate from high school.

    Selective enrollment isn’t a guarantee of a good life is it? Its annoying that politicians were using clout to get unqualified kids into programs where they didn’t fit. At least the Tier system will identify some kids with potential, but less coaching and test prep. I’m still not comfortable with principal discretion.

  • 455. Grace  |  March 2, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Interesting point, K’s Dad. The Inspector General pointed to WY and Lane as serious abusers of principal discretion, but not WP or NSCP. So my guess is that the graduation rate at WP and NSCP more likely reflects the social problems that some children unfortunately face, coupled with the challenge of a very rigorous curricula, long commutes, and heavy homework. If the student’s elementary school lacked a rigorous curricula, he will lack skills others take for granted.

  • 456. RL Julia  |  March 2, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Lots of things happen to kids in a lifetime – just because a kid doesn’t make to college doesn’t mean that they were unqualified for admission into a program or that the space was wasted. I can think of a handful of kids who didn’t make it to college from RGC or SEHS’s – kids whose lives were complicated by parent death, mental illness, parents losing jobs, divorce, parent or sibling disabilites etc…. one or two just simply burnt out on school. They aren’t unqualified, they are no less bright or deserving, they just acquired too many barriers to make it college right out of high school – and since they are all still living, they might make it to college yet. It wasn’t their fault or the school’s fault that these things happened to them and that their lives took a different path.

  • 457. suburban mom  |  March 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Rather than go through what I have been reading on this blog, my husband and I moved to suburbia 3 years ago. We couldn’t be happier. Our commutes are a little longer, but all three of my children are in top rated schools. There was not question as to where my son would go to high school. He was programmed into both honors and support classes. There was NO WAY i would sacrifice my childrens’ educations in order to live in Chicago. Much of what the city has to offer can be had in the suburbs as well. If anything is lacking, we just go into the city. Enough said. Yes, we sold our home for less than we paid. Yes, we didn’t get to buy anything nearly as big as our chicago house. But, hey…i was not going to put my kids through the farce of SE application and potentially tell them he wasn’t good enough because we made more money then the next guy.

  • 458. two cents  |  March 2, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Yoo hoo, suburban mom, have you noticed the real estate market the past 4-5 years. We are trapped. Don’t rub it in.

  • 459. Grace  |  March 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    RL Julia, you’re right, of course. Life isn’t always an easy road, and hardships often defer dreams. More reason to reach out to tiers 1 and 2, and to support them as much as possible.

    Here’s an excerpt from quite a long article, where the admissions head at Georgetown explains his thinking, which seems to follow along the lines of CPS and sound fair and enlightened to me.

    Getting In To Top Schools, By Alvin P. Sanoff

    Dean of admissions at Georgetown — Deacon: Over a generation, as the competitive pressure increased, there’s also been a lot more outreach to diversify the student population—geographically, socioeconomically, and ethnically.

    And in the zero-sum game, the Andovers or Exeters became the net losers. Those families are among the most powerful, affluent people in the world, and they’re using the consultants to try to buy another edge.

    Much as elite colleges have reached out and diversified, the mobility in society has shifted and changed again, and the advantages have ultimately gone back to the affluent. There are more affluent people than there used to be, a larger number of poor people, and a slightly shrinking middle class. And the vast majority of the spaces in the Ivies, the Georgetowns, and so on are populated by people from that small but growing group of the affluent.

    A financial if not cultural elite still controls the vast majority of the spaces at the top schools. And increasingly so—almost getting back to the way it was in the first part of the 20th century.

    What’s happened? Don’t underestimate the impact of sticker shock. When the price tag for tuition, room, and board is $50,000 a year and rising, a large percentage of the population just opts out. We’re scouring the country, hoping to give free rides to kids from families with incomes below $60,000. But you can’t find very many people at that income level who’ve got an exceptional SAT score. Unless we put the thumb on the scale in the admissions process, we’re not going to find anybody.

    Meanwhile, all the top colleges look fat and happy, right? We get thousands of applications and enroll classes with the highest SAT scores ever. But are we influential anymore? All we’re doing is preserving the elites

  • 460. Jeffpark  |  March 2, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I have a strong feeling that Lane is a good fit for my son. I believe the size and diversity are an asset. If I didn’t, he’d be going to private school. There is no guarantee if we’d move to the suburbs, he would like the suburban high school even if it was top rated, and at that point it would be too late. With the higher taxes we would definitely not be able to afford a private high school. So I feel we have more options if we stay in the city.

  • 461. RL Julia  |  March 2, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks Grace! I agree. Until about 1960-70, most colleges (except for land grant/state universities) did not consider it part of their missions to provide educational opportunities (that might lead to greater social mobility) to person outside the norm. I think it is also important to note that part of the attraction of these schools is who you meet while you are there – just as much as the teachers or instructors at the place. “The Chosen by Jerome Karabel provides a great (if not lengthy) discussion about ivy league admissions policies through about the last 100 years.

  • 462. Glad Dad  |  March 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    My daughter received an 834 total, 285 out of 300 on cps se test. First choice young, second jones and third lane. Accepted into lane in ap/honors program and alpha program. Low score in math on se test and B in math in 7th grade. I think we as parents have to take more responsibility for what we provide for our kids and that is not just sending them to school everyday but studying with them, getting them extra tutoring or prep exams that we found online and in libraries. We picked the schools that we did because we are a south side family and the commute works for those locations. Also got into St. Iggy honors/ap program. This was a nice idea of having this blog but not when it gets racial or predjudice. We are in tier 4 and we are black (african-american). What difference should that make? This program needs a lot of twicking, so does ‘no child left behind’ and ‘affirmitive action’. I am not going to say how or even talk further about. I am truly sorry that things didn’t work out for some families but there are other rounds and there are even families who may give up there spots. All is not lost. If you go on the cps site, it will show you the timeline for this process and principal’s discretion. Excuse my typos, not really caring at this point but don’t give up on it. We are choosing lane be even we are are going to try for one of our other picks. If you believe in god, pray on it. If you don’t, put your kids in a place that they will be successful. Believe it or not, we are all wondering, what the hell is going on. If you have questions, call cps about the other rounds and don’t get caught up in speculation on here. Yes, I am a motivational speaker and instructor. Look for positives, I know the private schools are expensive in this economy. That is all we have ever done and that is what has changed in chicago. People just don’t have the money to send their kids to private school. I get it! Also check the school in your district because a lot of schools are stepping up their programs because of these se programs. Find out what will benefit your kid and get your kid into college. Do ACT and SAT preps early. Several programs that are offered throughout chicago. Buy the book, train your kid. Find out where they are weak and get them a tutor at the school where they go now or at the school that you want them to attend. Park districts have programs, YMCA, etc. This can be done and they can still received a great education. And if you don’t have time, remember ‘None of us have time”. You have to make the time. This should be a site to search for guidance or information and to share information. It shouldn’t become personal or become a bash site. What? I can say something because we got in somewhere? If we didn’t we would have found a way to work through it. I actually looked into the neighborhood school and found out that they have an IT program and an Engineering program. Things are getting better around Chicago. Hopeful they start replacing these do nothing teachers with teachers that care and are successful in the classroom. I think bad grades in the classroom can also be attributed to the instructor if it is consistent and not just isolated to the same children. Morgan Park High School use to be one of the top schools in Chicago in the 80’s when I was there and since they and other schools changed policy about behavior problem kids and having them in class with kids with learning disabilities brought the grades down. Then the no child leave behind program….I get what it is for but the bad grades still count against the schools overall grade.

    Ok, I am kicking away the soap box. I am truly sorry about the outcome for some of you but you have to stay with it and not feel sorry for yourself because your kid needs you to be strong. There will be other rounds. Test preps. Tutors. Faith is all you have right now. Good luck! See you lane techers at the meeting tonight!

  • 463. Glad Dad  |  March 2, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Also, I agree that moving is a good and bad idea. You will get killed on the sale of you house now but it is cheap to buy in the burbs because of all of the foreclosures. Beware!

  • 464. What Happened??? ...Sheila & Caleb  |  March 2, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Please help. My son (Caleb) took the SE exam and listed his choices as:

    1) Whitney Young, 2) Jones, 3) Payton, 4) Lindblom and 5) Lane Tech

    His overall score on the SE exam is 868 and we are in Tier 4. When we received our letter it stated that he was accepted into Westinghouse College Prep??? We didn’t even list the school as an option, mainly bc of distances.

    How could this happen? Is this possible for CPS to do by choosing a school for you, even if you don’t list the school?

    We will accept the offer to Westinghouse College Prep. I heard some good things about the new SE program and advance math program, at the school. I am just happy (and so is he) that we got into an SE school someplace. But I am SHOCKED, that they selected a school we didn’t even list.

  • 465. cps Mom  |  March 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    @464 – They are trying to diversify the schools and give you an option even though your high scoring tier 4 child didn’t make it. Last year offers went out to high scoring tier 3 and 4 students asking if they wanted to consider some of the other schools (Lindblum, Westinghouse, King). I think that’s great. I also think that you are really progressive in your thinking by accepting. As I mentioned above, I know 3 students from our school that accepted last year. They are doing well with advanced classes and great sports options. Congratulations and good luck to you.

  • 466. What Happened??? ...Sheila & Caleb  |  March 2, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    @CPS MOM-Thank you for clearing that up for me! I was so lost and shocked. I am okay with Westinghouse College Prep (even if we didn’t list the school as an option). After going on the school website, I found out that they offer advanced math courses (you can complete 5-6 math courses before graduation and they offer Madarin Chinese (and travel opportunities). I was so impressed! They have a new facility-school building, offer Chinese language which is good because my child attend Andrew Jackson Magnet School now and he has studied Chinese for nine years so far.

    I don’t care where the school is located , neighborhood wise, as long as the school is excellent. We live in the old Chinatown and are neighbors are Asian and some African Americans. We love it!! We want our kids to be around ALL kinds of kids. I don’t care about race or if the child is from a poorer background. The world is made up of all types of people. I don’t believe in living in a bubble and I am White. I noticed that Westinghouse ,majority make-up is; African American, Asian and Latino, and that is fine with me.

    My hubby is a cop and I am a nurse at Rush Hospital (West Loop). Because of my husband night schedule, he can drop Caleb off in the morning and I can pick him up or meet him on Roosevelt, or he can take the train. Either we are happy!!!

  • 467. 6th grade mom  |  March 2, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Sheila – You should call CPS. There may have been a mistake, your son’s scores were high enough (per the cut off data) to get into at least a couple of the schools you applied for, so maybe there was a mix up in the letters. I am sure they would offer you on the first round the choices you did apply for before inviting you to consider a school you hadn’t applied for.

  • 468. cps Mom  |  March 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    This is interesting – the three I mention are from Jackson (1 from Chinatown). I’m sure you’ll know them! You can get your own references there.

  • 469. What Happened??? ...Sheila & Caleb  |  March 2, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    @CPS MOM- Really???? The kids from last year are from Andrew Jackson Language Academy? Wow! I am so shocked. I do remember at least two from last year getting acceptance from Westinghouse College Prep(even though I don;t know if they listed the school as a choice). I am so blown away by this.

    @6thgrade mom-We are content with Westinghouse College Prep. I will not fight it and we are actually happy that he have been accepted to any SE school. Westinghouse seem like a good school with great academic programs and new school facility. I have to say that I was shocked that he got an 868 on the SE Exam. He is an average scoring kid. He is good in math, though.

  • 470. Proud City Dad  |  March 2, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Suburban Mom: I’m very happy to hear you are happy in the suburbs. No one hear is begging you to move back, believe me.

    I would point out that there are some things moving to the suburbs can’t get you — not with all the money and smug superiority you throw at it — like the #1 high school in the State of Illinois or the best math department in the country. AND a skyline.

    Put THAT in your juice box and suck it.

  • 471. Grace  |  March 2, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Really, now, we are all just trying to do the best for our families. Let’s play nice. kk?

  • 472. cpsteacher  |  March 2, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    @Whathappened…Westinghouse is a fabulous school. I hope you attended the pre-orientation tonight and had the opportunity to hear Dr. Jackson (principal) and Dr. Jones (asst. principal) speak. Dr. Jones’ comparisons of the marketing of various schools was right on the mark.

    In case you missed it, he referenced the GEM (growth entry metric scores) of schools. While most compare ACT scores, Westinghouse is using the GEM score as one measure of its success. He advised all parents to really look into curriculum, not just courses.

    Good luck! I am sure you will be thrilled.

  • 473. What Happened??? ...Sheila & Caleb  |  March 3, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    @cpsteacher- My husband and I attended but we missed half of the program. I did catch some of Dr. Jones speech. I was quite impressed with the school building and the curriculum! Like I said before, even though we didn’t list the school as an option, we have accepted to join WCP’S next Freshmen class. My son loved that they offered soccer and track as well. We are happy just happy he got into an SE. He is looking at their advanced math program and Madarin Chinese course options.

  • 474. Glad Dad  |  March 3, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Proud City Dad – and let’s not forget that in the suburbs taxes are usually up to $13,000. You are lucky if they are under $8,000. Might as well pay for private school. If you took a loss on the sale of your home and you pay high taxes….that is a lose-lose situation but it’s a quality education that your kid is getting, light pockets but peace of mind.

  • 475. Glad Dad  |  March 3, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Grace, I do agree. That is the most important thing. We all want the best for our families. No need to vent or get nasty on here.

  • 476. Hawthorne mom  |  March 3, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    #474, what suburbs are you talking about? My husband and I are desperately trying to move to a suburb to be closer to his job (and to have a guaranteed good high school) and we found we could buy a nice single family home for under 200K with taxes around or less than 5K per year within a 15 minute drive of the city limits. Not every suburb is crazy with taxes, I can think of at least a dozen with good schools and reasonable housing for about that price.

  • 477. Sleeper School  |  March 3, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    While all the talk on this blog is about Northside,Payton.Young,Jones,Lane..The school that will have all the rave in about 2 years is Westinghouse College Prep!! This is the sleeper school with all the makings to be #1 in the state! We went to the info. session last night and I must say it was AWESOME! Talk about a really Diverse school..Some folks dont want to go there because it’s on the westside? What? U never seen a black or hispanic person before? Remember the name! Westinghouse College Prep!!!!

  • 478. Sleeper School  |  March 3, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Everyone on this blog seems to be obsessed with Payton,Northside,Young,Jones,Lane..But let me say,that the sleeper school to watchout for is Westinghouse College Prep! This school has the potential to be #1 in the State..Some folks are afraid to even ask for a shadow day.Just because it’s on the Westside..I remember when Payton opened its doors & everyone said,Walter Payton H.S?? Westinghouse has had 13,000 applicants in it’s 2 years of admitting incoming freshman..When getting a your child a good education.Travel means nothing!!!

  • 479. Sleeper School  |  March 3, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    why arent my comments being posted???

  • 480. ???  |  March 4, 2011 at 9:24 am

    why arent my comments being posted??

  • 481. sleeper school  |  March 4, 2011 at 9:29 am

    why is everyone so obessed with Payton,Lane,Jones,Northside,Young?? The sleeper school to watchout for is Westinghouse College Prep! This school is has gotten like 12,000 applicants since it opened 2 yrs ago…Has a very strong academic program & it’s sports teams are on the rise! Dont worry about the neighborhood,as the school has very tight security..Check it out for yourself…

  • 482. Grace  |  March 4, 2011 at 10:41 am

    @476 Hawthorne mom, I have tunnel vision from living in the city for so long, but would you tell us about the more reasonably priced suburbs / schools you like?

    @478 WP, NSCP, WY, Jones and Lane have a proven track record and OAE doesn’t have to market them.

    CPS has to figure out how to keep students safe in order to integrate high schools. Blair Holt, Derrion Albert — 68 young people killed last year, 500 shot.

  • 483. anonymous  |  March 4, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Congratulations to all. Again, this board really focuses only on the SEs. I’d be curious to see who might be going to LP (in any program), Lakeviw, or any of the new high schools (Ogden, Alcott, and future Audubon).

    Anyone on this board going these routes? My nieces and nephews are in the burbs and I can tell you that it’s the safety and the breadth of programs that I envy. It’s not the gifted programs. Believe me, my niece would be gifted anywhere but her highly competitive high school. Still, she has AP classes and honors classes, etc. And my nephew in Oak Park loved his school for its options –despite the fact that it could also be considered a “scary” school to some. They have gang issues there, too.

    So, for me, it’s about having SAFE schools with options for high achievers as well as options for those exploring the arts, sports. etc. I guess it’s more of a safer LPHS I’m hoping for for my kids.

    I honestly don’t think I want my kids going to school with ONLY over-achievers.

    Am I alone? Anyone else? If your child could go to a safe school with a gifted/AP program within the school, would you choose that over a strictly selective enrollment school? Or, is it the cache? Or is it the knowledge that ALL the students are highly motivated academically? I’m curious.

  • 484. Grace  |  March 4, 2011 at 11:11 am

    @ 480 From where we live, there isn’t a safe neighborhood public high school with a rigorous academic program. So mine travel nearly an hour each way to get a fantastic education at an s.e. Mine have found truly great teachers, and other students who are wildly funny and fun to be with.

    It is not the same as a good suburban high school, I’m sure, in part because of those long commutes. And CPS has enormous budget problems, etc., remember when R.H. cut sophomore baseball? But it works for us.

    I’m with you on the breadth available at suburban high schools safety, and the absence of stress regarding admissions, big pluses.

  • 485. cpsobsessed  |  March 4, 2011 at 11:30 am

    @SleeperSchool, your comments were going into spam for some reason, which I never check.
    Turns out if it weren’t for the spam filter we’d get to see a lot of links on weight loss and sex tapes! Lot’s of weird stuff in there.
    Anyhow, sorry for the delay.
    Maybe try inputting a different (fake) email address when you make a comment.

  • 486. Exasperated  |  March 4, 2011 at 11:31 am

    @480 – You are not alone. I completely agree with you and am seeking the same thing for my kids. I would definitely prefer a safe “regular” school with AP options than a purely SE school.

  • 487. cpsobsessed  |  March 4, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I’m curious about Alcott too. I know a parent who helped get the school started and I need to check in with her. But I guess I thought I’d hear more about parents applying there as a possible option. (It’s lottery if you’re outside the neighborhood, but another option is to get a child into Alcott for 8th grade so I was wondering if any of that was going on.)

  • 488. sleeper school  |  March 4, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    @482….Your right Lane has been around since the Cubs last World Series Title! Jones & Young have been around for a while too…NSCP &WP have been around for about a decade and have done more academically than Lane/Jones/Young combined…Like I said,WHCP cut-off scores are rising.While Lane/Jones have dropped….@482 Let’s continue this chat in 2 yrs. when WHCP moves into the top 3 SEHS…For the record OAE does not market any SEHS!!! We Parents decide that for them!

  • 489. mom2  |  March 4, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    @cpsobsessed – I recently spoke with a family with kids at Alcott (not the high school). I asked them about the high school and they said that right now they would never consider the high school for their kids due to the size, sharing a building with another school and the current perceived level of their students. They hoped it would change by the time their kids were ready for high school, but they were disappointed with how it got started so far. It is just one opinion, but that is what they said.
    Now, if they started a feeder high school for students from specific schools such as Burley, Blaine, Nettlehorst and Hawthorne and put this school somewhere near those schools and, for the first year or maybe two, they only allowed students from those schools to attend, it could start a real trend towards the idea of safe high schools that are not picked by SE standards. Then, once the school has that good reputation (that I think it would have), they could open it up to others like Alcott is currently doing.

  • 490. Grace  |  March 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    @489 Check out the new Ogden combined elementary and highh school as a model. I don’t know how it works myself, but it might be a useful approach. And a beautiful new building is going up as we type.

  • 491. Grace  |  March 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    @488. May God bless us, everyone, especially Westinghouse : )

  • 492. Grace  |  March 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Headline: Chicago Public Schools ‘principal picks’ opens today.
    by Roz Rossi

  • 493. mom2  |  March 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    @490 Grace – The Ogden combined elementary and high school method sounds very interesting. Do you think it could be applied in the same manner for a group of elementary schools rather than just a one to one? Maybe several elementary schools with similar philosophies or nearby locations or student bodies could form one high school?

    Click to access High_School_flow_chart.pdf

  • 494. Grace  |  March 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    @493 — I think it is well worth exploring that question, why not use a model that works, that will help all kids get a good education. The Nettlehorst parents seem really impressive, maybe you should call over there?

  • 495. Grace  |  March 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Follow this link for a good laugh! See Jon Stewart and Diane Ravitich on the insane teacher bashing and union busting. : )

  • 496. cpsobsessed  |  March 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    @495, Thanks Grace! I’ve been meaning to watch that but lost track of it. SO very funny!!

  • 497. Grace  |  March 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Don’t you think we should do more to actively support Chicago Public School teachers? Maybe embed the vided on your Home page? Maybe start an online petition Jon Stewart to hold a Rally for Teachers? Really, I’ve had enough of this crazy tal about hunting down the bad teachers and that large class sizes don’t matter.

  • 498. Hawthorne mom  |  March 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    @482 Grace, I am a big fan of Brookfield. My in laws live there, it is 20 minutes from my husband’s teaching job in Downers Grove (DG-also a great, reasonably priced, low taxes there too) and both housing and schools are very good. The Brookfield elementary schools have class sizes under 20, and RBHS is ranked in the top 100 high schools every year. We looked at a lot of nice (not drop dead beautiful rehabs, mind you) homes for under 200K and the taxes were low. Downers Grove, Clarendon Hills, parts of LaGrange, parts of Naperville and other suburbs all offer low taxes and given the housing market, decent housing options for middle class families.
    The city is great, for sure. But my husband has been doing a 3.5 hour a day round trip commute by train and bus for 3 years now and it is crazy.
    Plus, I just don’t think I have the stomach to put my kids through the pressure of having to be perfect just for the chance to go to a safe high school. If I have the option, I’d rather not have my 11-12 year old doing test prep more suited to a 17 year old looking at colleges. And while at one point I said I wanted to teach in CPS schools forever, I can see that teaching in an easier district might be good for my family life and my other relationships. CPS teachers leave the profession at a rate of 50% within the first 3 years. There is good reason for that. The too large classes, the crazy administrators, the public who seems to hate us, and all the support we’ll never get unless we teach in a school like the one my kids go to drives good teachers out…..I love teaching, but I don’t think I am willing to give my entire life to it again.

  • 499. cps Mom  |  March 4, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I love cps teachers – they have been so good to my son willing to put in extra time etc. I am not, however, crazy about the union. I know teachers who feel the same. I think the union puts teachers at odds with parents.

  • 500. Grace  |  March 4, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    As a parent, I’ve never considered the union an impediment to my relationship with a teacher. It’s just never come up.

    But I’m really unhappy with what’s going on in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio etc. and I worry that Rahm will want to do the same thing once he’s in office.

    I can’t get over the fact that the President and Arne Duncan haven’t stood up for teachers.

  • 501. Grace  |  March 4, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    As a parent, I’ve never considered the union an impediment to my relationship with a teacher. It’s never come up.

    But I’m really unhappy with what’s going on in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio etc. and I worry that Rahm will want to do the same thing once he’s in office. I can’t get over the fact that the President and Arne Duncan haven’t stood up for teachers.

  • 502. glad it is over  |  March 4, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    @489 Now, if they started a feeder high school for students from specific schools such as Burley, Blaine, Nettlehorst and Hawthorne

    It is called Lakeview High School.

  • 503. bagg  |  March 4, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    @500, speaking of Rham, anyone find out where his son will be attending HS?

  • 504. Sheila  |  March 4, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    @bagg, I read that his his son will be attending Northside College Prep.

  • 505. Sheila  |  March 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    @Sleeper School, the area where Westinghouse College Prep is located isn’t as bad as I thought. My son was accepted and I live in Chinatown. I was suprised because we didn’t list the school, however, we accepted the offer. I am white and think that the school has a lot to offer. We attended the pre-open house and fell in love with the school. It is very diverse, new state of the art building and the curriculum is rigorous. I think many people are closed minded about the Westinghouse because of they are close minded. Some people in Chicago, only want their kids at SE’s of LPHS. Even though, there are a lot of other good options in Chicago. Oh well, it is unfornate and its their loss and our gains!

  • 506. mom  |  March 4, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    My kid went to debate camp at Westinghouse last summer. I was worried about the neighborhood but he took the Kedzie bus which dropped him off right in front of the school. Metra also runs on an abbreviated schedule. Would not want to walk around there at night but I could say that about a lot of neighborhoods.

  • 507. sleeper school  |  March 5, 2011 at 8:10 am

    @505-Sheila…AMEN to your comments!!!
    @506-Mom….AMEN to your comments!!!
    I’ll be seeing both of you at Westinghouse!!!

  • 508. not NSCP  |  March 5, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I heard Rahm’s kid is going to WY – not Northside.
    Has anyone heard anything?

  • 509. Grace  |  March 5, 2011 at 10:29 am

    If you liked seeing Diane Ravitch on the Jon Stewart show,
    she’ll be speaking in Chicago on Saturday, March 12 at the UIC Forum. Tix are $15. Check it out at the CTU www.

    Follow this link for a good laugh!)

    As one CPS teacher put it on the district 299 blog: “… the plethora of testing alone is like exposing radiation to our students. They only learn how to take the tests and they are intellectually weakened because of it. “

  • 510. cps Mom  |  March 5, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Shelia you’re right – it is their loss. Those that view Chicago as what they read in the papers need to get out more. I agree safety is paramount but you would know a lot about that since your husband is a police officer.

  • 511. Grace  |  March 5, 2011 at 11:03 am

    IF you’d like informed opinion on education in Chicago, follow this link to
    Mr. Klonsky writes about a March 2 forum at UIC with Rahm.

    “… mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel won’t have much of a honeymoon…. Emanuel’s school plan, which sounds a lot like Mayor Daley’s and the Civic Committee’s Renaissance 2010, was under assault by last night’s panelists before an appreciative, standing-room-only crowd.

    The panel was organized in response to a statement on Myths & Realities of Chicago School Reform, written by a group of Chicago researchers called CReaTE (I was one of the signers to the statement). Last night’s panel included some of the city’s top ed researchers and academics as well as community and union union activists, parent and student and community organizers. The main message was, talk is cheap. Let’s get organized.”
    Mike Klonsky also has the clip of Matt Damon on the Piers Morgan show discussing his disappointment with President Obama’s education policies.

  • 512. Grace  |  March 5, 2011 at 11:36 am

    View Sen Bernie Sanders Amazing Speech DEC 02 2010

    In December, Sanders spoke out against continuing the Bush tax breaks for billionaires: $700 billion worth of tax breaks to the top 1%. He warned that the Administration would begin to try to balance the budget by cutting education and other social legislation that “bring a modicum of stability” to the lives of working families.

    We need to look at why the neighborhood high schools aren’t where they should be. We need to be sure Rahm doesn’t cut teachers and increase class size.

  • 513. Grace  |  March 5, 2011 at 11:37 am

    OOOps! I meant to post a link, not embed the video. Hope i haven’t offended anyone!

  • 514. mom2  |  March 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    @502 – “@489 Now, if they started a feeder high school for students from specific schools such as Burley, Blaine, Nettlehorst and Hawthorne

    It is called Lakeview High School.”
    Not really. I think you have actually missed the point. Lakeview High School has the majority of its students from OUTSIDE the general area. It is not a school that most of the above school’s parents are willing to send their child and a lot of that has to do with who is there right now. I wish Lakeview only took students from within the school boundarys, but that isn’t how CPS works.
    I am suggesting a solution for parents that want their kids to go to school with other like-minded kinds/parents/families and don’t want or need the SE process/schools/etc. The parents at those elementary/middle schools are happy at those schools and I believe they would be willing to send their kids to a high school that has a student body that continues in those same ways. Lakeview is not that place and it only could be if they had a way to start over with everything. They can’t. It isn’t fair to the kids that are already there.

  • 515. curious  |  March 7, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Has anyone applied for Principal select in the past? Trying to help a friend’s son determine how much information should be included in his response, i.e., should he complete a mini portfolio of himself? Straight A’s in 7th grade, above average on 7th grade test, average on entrance exam trying for Whitney but overall score was closer to a Tier 2 schore for Whitney not the Tier 4 that he lives in. Trying to get some ideas to have him stand out from the rest…

  • 516. bell mom  |  March 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    @483, @514

    I agree that there is an all-or-nothing emphasis on SE schools and very little discussion of the alternatives. As a parent of an eighth grader at Bell who may very well end up in the Lakeview Math and Science Academy, by missing the cut-off for Lane by only a couple of points, it is discouraging to hear so many negative things about Lakeview. Oddly our school counselor highly recommends the honors program at Lakeview and a good number of Bell graduates have gone there. Both they and their parents like the program very much from what I’ve heard. Furthermore, Bell’s former principal, Bob Guercio has been hired as a consultant to improve the school. Granted the regular program leaves a lot to be desired. However, I’d like to know why people have such divergent views on the school? I’m curious @514, are you referring to the honors program or the regular program? Why would our school counselor recommend it so highly if it weren’t a real option for a talented student who got unlucky in the selective enrollment process?

    We are currently awaiting second round results, but may very well have to consider Lakeview as an option should that not work out, and are unsure of how we’ll proceed if it doesn’t. Is there something I’m missing about Lakeview that I should be aware of?

  • 517. mom2  |  March 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    @516 – You know, it is my attitude about Lakeview that keeps it in the position I am complaining about. I am sorry.

    I do not know if the kids in the honors program are all students from within the school boundaries. If they are, and more and more students come to Lakeview from wonderful schools like Bell, it can only get better. That would be great for everyone!!

    My reason for posting what I did is because I am aware that the majority of students at Lakeview are not from the schools I mentioned earlier in this thread and I have been told that the majority of students are not from within the normal boundaries for Lakeview (maybe that needs more research).

    I had written in post 489 about an idea of making a new high school with only students from specific middle schools near each other. I had a list, but Bell fits that model, too. Someone said that my idea is already Lakeview High School, but I disagreed because most of the students are not from those schools and that is the whole point.

    The students I know that attend Lakeview were the ones that either struggled in some of the better elementary schools or goofed off a lot. Otherwise, they were not from the neighborhood schools. Those I know are from other parts of the city with unsafe high schools and they found their way into Lakeview to escape that (good for them, but not what I was trying to achieve with a new high school).

    But, on the other hand, if parents like you and others continue to give Lakeview a shot, then they will have less spots for these other kids and maybe it could, someday, become that school. I am not a patient person and I am not as informed as I think you need. You should most certainly do your own research.

  • 518. cpsobsessed  |  March 8, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    @517, you are correct that only 30% of kids at LVHS are from the neighborhood.

    I’m getting ready to post some info from the North Side HS Iniative, but last night I looked up the elem schools that feed into LVHS. They are:

    Audubon (split between 2 HS zones)

    plus a range of good private/parochial schools.

    Your point is totally correct. What if every family from all those schools who’s child did not get into an SE high school that was conveniently located decided to send their child to LVHS. Seems like with a few years of prep work, it could be an attractive option for the neighborhood. You have parents that have learned how to work together to help their school flourish. I know the obstacles are greater, but so is the mass of involved parents.

  • 519. mom2  |  March 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    @cpsobsessed – I think it would have to go a bit further than just “every family from all those schools who’s child did not get into an SE high school that was conveniently located decided to send their child to LVHS”. In order for it to really be what I am hoping for, I would want every family from all those schools – even those with children that COULD get into a conveniently located SE high school.
    My concern is that those parents won’t do that as long as the Lakeview High School has test scores that make it look like it isn’t as good as the SE schools (even if it really is just as good, but doesn’t have those star students to bring up the score). That is where I was going with this new feeder school idea for a small group of schools here and there. But, I would love it if is was simply “go to Lakeview” to get everything you can get at the top SE high schools.

  • 520. cpsobsessed  |  March 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I don’t think you’re ever gonna get kids turning down Northside for a neighborhood school. Even now, anecdotely, I’d say that kids leave the top elem schools if they get a spot in a gifted/top magnet program. It’s just too hard for parents too pass up.
    But we now know that many Tier 3 and 4 kids with really high scores are getting shut out of the top north side schools and could easily bring up the test scores at LVHS. The scores at Blaine, Burley, and Bell indicate that if those kids went to LVHS, the scores would go up there. They’d have to.

    I think the challenge is getting that first class of kids to make the move. It’ll take a similar approach as the Nettelhorst movement… the group of parents holding hands and walking their kids in. Only now the kids will have to be the strong ones as well. I see it as challenging but certainly attainable. I don’t know that I’d send my kid there next year, but there HAS to be plenty of frustrated parents in the same boat on the north side right now….

  • 521. HSObsessed  |  March 8, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    @514 mom2 – You’re right that Lake View HS has 70 percent students from outside the boundaries, and that’s because they would be underenrolled and shut down if they didn’t have special programs to attract other kids from elsewhere! I don’t know Lake View students specifically, but my guess would be that the kids who apply to the citywide programs at Lake View, who submit their transcript, test scores, and maybe an essay in an effort to gain access to a challenging academic program focused on math and science — they are not the ones who are the rabble rousers at LVHS, if there are any. I am pretty familiar with Lincoln Park HS, which had a reputation for decades of having a questionable safety record, and I can tell you it wasn’t the kids in the IB program or the AP/Honors program, who came from all over the city, who were the problems. It was the kids who live within the boundaries, who don’t bother to apply to any special programs or selective schools, and who is not that motivated to do well in HS, but guaranteed a spot there. So I think your thought process of not allowing “outsiders” in is flawed.

    Keep in mind that the vast majority of kids currently in 8th grade in most of the feeder schools listed do not live within the enrollment boundaries of their schools, and likely also not within the enrollment boundaries of LVHS. I would guess that many 8th graders at Bell, Blaine and Burley live within their school’s boundaries, and that in 3-4 years we’ll see a large crop of local kids from Nettelhorst and Audubon. Interamerican and Hawthorne are magnets and theoretically have 30 percent enrolled who live within 1.5 miles but that’s a huge swath. Ravenswood, Jahn, Greeley etc are a long way from producing critical masses of 8th graders who live within their boundaries.

  • 522. HSObsessed  |  March 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    And I don’t mean to sound negative. I think LVHS seems to have a great location, nice facility, motivated students and faculty. I watched this video that the school put together to market itself a year ago and it made me optimistic about the viability of the school as a neighborhood high school.

  • 523. cps Mom  |  March 8, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    @516 What about a shadow day? You would learn a lot. Your 8th grader would see first hand what the school and the kids are like. He/she would also get a good feel for the curriculum and the teachers.

  • 524. anonymous  |  March 8, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Does anyone know the chances of getting chosen for principals discretion? Or any details about principals discretion! Thankss

  • 525. Cubs Mom  |  March 8, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    I am really suprised to hear that Lake View High School wasn’t a good school. I don’t live in the area so I assumed that LPHS, Amundsen IB, Taft, Lake View and Von Stueben were decent or at least a second option for kids that don’t get into an SE on the northside. I guess not. What is wrong with these schools as options? Why don’t you want your kids in these schools? I just want to add that I attended a less than stellar high school in Chicago and still did well in life. I have a three college degrees and a good career. I think that if a child want to be someone in life, then they will achieve success regardless of the high school.

  • 526. anonymous  |  March 9, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I have met several LPHS students who were NOT in the IB/DH programs who loved their experiences at LPHS. One, a babysitter of ours, said that he would take his experience at LPHS over his college experience any day.

    He was not going to Harvard. He was going to a city college. But, he was a really great kid — kind of a nerd. And he was certainly a child I would love my own children to befriend.

    Another has a sibling at an SE and she goes to LPHS (not IB/DH). She also loves it and is in “competition” with her sister at the SE (I think it’s Lane) over who loves their school more.

    A third also just graduated from LPHS (not IB/DH) and is attending Northeastern Illinois University. He is also exactly the kind of kid I’d love my own children to befriend. Kind. Thoughtful. Well-behaved.

    All live within the boundaries.

    I wouldn’t give up on neighborhood high schools just yet!

  • 527. Grace  |  March 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Follow this link for a look at a very new PAC in Chicago that supports Rahm’s agenda on CPS, and could well be about breaking the teachers’ unions to cut staff and increase class sizes.

    Those of you who want improvements to your local high schools will need to move quickly — before the Aldermanic run-off elections. Contact your aldermen with your plan. IMHO, one of the quickest and best plans to improve any neighborhood school is to adapt the model CPS is using for the brand new South Shore International Collegiate Prep school.

    SSICP will have a neighborhood program and two magnet programs.

    Of the 300 freshmen coming in the fall: 100 will be enrolled in the neighborhood program, 100 in the new vocational magnet program (medical and law) and 100 in the I.B. magnet program.

    There are admissions requirement for the magnet programs.

  • 528. Patty  |  March 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    @Grace, I really like SSICP admission (IB & Magnet program only) model. I drove pass the new building and it look really nice! My child was denied admission to an SE school despite her good test score, so I submitted an application to SSICP IB gifted program, last week. I hope we get in bc this is our last free option. I will be forced to pay for St. Francis H.S.

  • 529. Grace  |  March 10, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Good luck Patty!

  • 530. cb  |  March 14, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Hi, can we plse start a thread re SE /RGC elementary schools? The letters are going out starting today,. 3/14-3/16!!

  • 531. MarketingMom  |  March 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    My child attends one of the north side magnet schools and Lakeview H.S. is not seen as an option for us…sorry! Maybe 10 years from now, but there are few parents willing to make their child a guinea pig

    In regards to principal discretion, I do not trust that all the principals will be fair. I gather that clout still plays a role. Tell me who would deny Rahm Emanuel’s child a spot at their SEHS?

    Lastly, fleeing to the suburbs is not all it is cracked up to be. I know many families in Oak Park that pay big bucks to send their kids to private school.

  • 532. Patty  |  March 14, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    @MarketingMom, Rahm son is attending Nortside College Prep next year. Of course, no school would deny his kids. I agree wit your statement about fleeing to the suburbs. What is happening at LakeView? Just curious.

  • 533. Waiting for mail (Day 3 - It finally came)  |  March 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Patty, I assume this is just speculation or cynicism, since the principal picks run from March 4th through March 18th, and so aren’t final. If Rahm’s kid is going to NCP, he’d have to have gotten in the same way everyone else has (so far.)

  • 534. Patty  |  March 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Yes, Rahm son took the SE exam, just like all of the other kids did in the City. He was selected for NSCP. I remember when Rahm made the annoucement on tv. I am sure his son is bright and smart. I just highly doubted it, if they would have turned his son down for admission, being that Rahm is the Mayor.

  • 535. mom2  |  March 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    @Patty, Is Rahm’s daughter attending a CPS school or is she going back to her old private school? I can certainly understand her wanting to go back with her old friends, but it would be great if both of his kids were in the CPS system so he sees what things are like from a parents point of view.

  • 536. Patty  |  March 14, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    @mom2, I believe she is going back to her old private school. I agree with you, in that I wish both of his kids attended CPS so he could experience what we go through on both levels. Hopefully, Rahm will still make some changes that will benefit both, elementary and high schools across the entire City.

  • 537. cps Mom  |  March 14, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    LOL What tier is he in and did he have multiple addresses to chose from??? 🙂

  • 538. Jeffpark  |  March 14, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Good question cps Mom.

  • 539. Anon  |  March 15, 2011 at 7:24 am

    If you missed hearing Diane Ravitch speak this past Saturday at the UIC Forum, here is the start of a story on it by Catalyst magazine.

    Catalyst Notebook Blog

    * Ravitch speaks to hundreds of Chicago teachers
    Posted By Cassandra West on March 14, 2011
    Diane Ravitch, the education historian and author, told hundreds of Chicago Teachers Union members Saturday they can’t let the corporate reformers dismantle the education profession…

  • 540. CPS Tiers  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:19 am

    @CPS Mom (#537) — Rahm lives in Tier 3.

  • 541. cpsgrad  |  March 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Rahm is a multi-millionaire and lives in tier 3? I live in tier 4 and make less than $60K but my son did not make it into WYoung as a tier 4 but would have as a tier 3.
    What a crock!! This system is so broken!

  • 542. Freefall  |  March 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    It’s a bad set up.

  • 543. cps elementaries  |  March 21, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Alcott Elementary’s eighth grade class of 46 placed 16 students in SEHS. Two students scored 900/900. Six going to Payton alone. Additional students got offers from Lincoln Park IB.

    Alcott is a neighborhood school with no stanine cutoffs, no magnet advantages, and a diverse student body: 31% low income, 11% special ed., 6% Limited English Learners, 43% non-white.

    Alcott placed over 35% of its eighth grade class into selective enrollment high schools and additional students into LP IB. The success of a small neighborhood school should encourage all city dwellers. It can be done, and in an evironment that is not hand-selected.

  • 544. Alcott -- awesome!  |  March 21, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Another wonderful school is Jane Adams elementary on the far south east side of the city.

    It placed 50 students in SEHS for next fall. It has an in-house comprehensive gifted program for OAE It is tier 1, I believe.

  • 545. Patty  |  March 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    This is fabolous news!!! Which SE high schools are the students from Jane Addams going to? Yes, I heard of Jane Adams and it is located in Hegweisch, I believe.

  • 546. Patty  |  March 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    @cps elementaries, I heard of Alcott and I know that it is a great school. I am very proud that so many of its students got into top high schools programs.

    Congrats to all of to all students on their high school endeavors!

  • 547. Alcott -- awesome!  |  March 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Not sure which SE HS. Jane Adams has large Hispanic population. Tier 1. It is on the East Side, neighborhood north of Heg.

  • 548. Patty  |  March 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Where did you get all of this information from? I would like to review it.

  • 549. Patty  |  March 21, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    @Alcott – – Awesome, 50 students selected for SEHS is a lot! I am impressed and happy for them all.

  • 550. cps elementaries  |  March 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    @548 The 8th grade stats were announced at the LSC meeting. Elementary school counselors and principals have access to the information. Counselors handle transfer of files so students must drop off a copy of their acceptance letters with the counselor. Privacy policies likely prohibit general publication of the data. (I’ve looked everywhere for other schools’ information and found nada).The demographic stats about Alcott are from the CPS 2010 Report Card.

    BTW: Some SEHSs post their LSC minutes and/or Friends of… minutes on their websites. It’s a good way to check under the hood of any school.

  • 551. Patty  |  March 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    @550, thanks so much for that information.

  • 552. Privacy?  |  March 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Wondering if privacy policies likely prohibit general publication of the data. Seems to me that some principals would be very proud of the number of students that they send to SEs. Only looking at numbers admitted, not names.
    This information would be helpful. For example, It would be great to know if an in-house gifted curriculum, like at Jane Adams has, does a good job preparing the kids. And if other neighborhood schools could offer this program? CPS should let parents know this information.

  • 553. Patty  |  March 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    @552, You are absolutely correct, that data would help a lot of parents out with making school choice decisions. I should tell you too, that Disney Magnet School (4500 North Marine Dr.) has an in-house gifted program as well and they send a significant amount of their students off to SEHS’s including Payton, Young, Lane, King and Jones. I know this information because my friend children attend Disney Magnet.

  • 554. cps elementaries  |  March 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Just want to reiterate the point of posting the Alcott SEHS results. Alcott is a NEIGHBORHOOD school. No magnet admissions cutoff at stanine 5, no in-house gifted program, no CPS special treatment.

    Neighborhood schools can achieve great results for ALL children, not just a segregated pre-selected group of tested/vetted gifted kids. This is what CPS should focus on replicating because it raises all students’ achievement.

  • 555. Another Neighborhood/magnet school  |  March 21, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Just read about Frazier magnet in the North Lawndale neighborhood on blog district 299. It is the only CPS school — charters included — where 90% of its students are low-income and ethnic minority and 90% have reached 90% on the ISATs. The only one.

    Started in 2007, it offers an IB program for Primary Years and Middle School Years. In Chicago, all other IB programs start at the Middle School Years.

    It has before- and after-school programs, Homework club, intensive help, etc.

  • 556. Esmom  |  March 22, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Wow, congrats on most of you for making it through this process. You are made of much stronger stuff than me. I’m one of those who, after a few years of tossing and turning as 7th grade began to loom, decided to throw in the towel and head to the burbs.

    We were lucky, we managed to sell our house even reduce our mortgage significantly since home prices are much lower here than the Northcenter neighborhood we left. Finally I can rest a bit easier knowing right now where my kids will be going to HS (and that they’ll be at he same school).

    They (and I) loved their old school and we left with much regret but life goes on…and they have adjusted more quickly than I ever would have imagined. I guess we can always go back to Chicago once high school is behind us but yet I can’t help but feel that it’s a shame we felt we had no choice but to leave.

  • 557. rianna  |  March 24, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    If I were Northside, I would sure take Rahm’s kid– his niece who went there just got named a Rhodes scholar.

  • 558. Patty  |  March 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    555. Another Neighborhood/magnet school -I think that is so impressive! I never even heard of Frazier. It is great to hear that 90% of Frazier’s students scored so high and is doing well!!!

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  • 560. lawmom  |  May 26, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Rahm’s son Zach would have hit the requirement from Tier 4 for Northside. The whole bunch attended Anshe Emet with my daughter and all are very bright and hard working. This year at least 15 of the 43 kids in the 8th grade were accepted into Payton (maybe more) but only two opted for Northside. The girls will go back to AE to finish their grade schooling. A Jewish education was important to the family.

  • 561. CPS Kid  |  February 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    i got into whitney with a 895 score
    but the website said to get into northside you needed only a 891 to 897 for a tier 4 person which is bogus

  • 562. CPS Kid  |  February 28, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    yall ever heard of burley elementary it is such a boss school and i attend it the teachers are so nice and the kids are so smart

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  • 565. Johana  |  February 23, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    I just graduated from Payton. It is an amazing school. I do have to add that there is a distinct correlation between kids with higher scores doing better in environments like Payton. Parents should realize that just because your child got in, does not mean he/she will do well in the school. Payton is a fast-paced environment and many kids find it hard to keep up. I stress picking a school that best fits your child’s needs while also challenging them a bit. Research the schools to find out which is the best for your child. Do not blindly pick a school based on it’s ranking. If your child is willing to work hard every single day then Payton is a great choice.

  • 566. lawmom  |  March 19, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    While this document dates from 2010, I found it an interesting read as it relates to students with disabilities and their representation in SEHS. Also, the first few pages are about principal’s discretion at the magnet school level — also interesting.

    Click to access King_Transcript_3.pdf

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