SE High School Scores – This year vs. last year 2011

March 1, 2011 at 3:04 pm 165 comments

I’ve gotten some interesting analysis and POVs from 2 different blog readers that I’d like to share.

The first is some information from Selective Prep (a test prep service) about the shift in scores needed for SE entry and what it might mean for kids entering high school in the next few years.

The second is from a blog reader, Peter Bernstein, an economic consultant who teaches at DePaul and is the parent of a CPS student. I’ve attempted to imbed his nice tables but I know the 2nd once looks small. If you can squint, it’s pretty interesting.

Thanks to both for some thought-provoking data!

From SelectivePrep:
Admissions scores decline as more students are admitted by tier

This year average admissions scores at nearly all Selective Enrollment High Schools declined. Lane Tech, Young, Payton, and Northside College Prep saw declines of 12, 10, 8, and 6 points respectively. This decline comes after years of successive and often significant point increases.

This decrease in scores was precipitated by a change in CPS’ admissions policy. In November 2010, CPS changed the admissions formula from a 40%/60% Rank/Tier mix to a 30%/70% Rank/Tier mix. Students are admitted in the Rank category if they have the highest scores, regardless of their socio-economic Tier; while students in Tiers are admitted on the basis of their scores in comparison with other students in that Tier. This change effectively increased the percentage of students admitted in each Tier from 15% to 17.5%. While the scores of Tier 3 and Tier 4 students admitted to the most competitive schools increased or were flat, this was more than offset by an increased number of students from Tiers 1 and 2 with lower admissions scores.

Students in Tier 3 and Tier 4 needed to get perfect or nearly perfect admissions scores to get into the most competitive schools. At Northside, for example, the average score of an admitted Tier 4 student was 892 and for a Tier 3 student it was 889 on the 900 point admissions scale. The average score of an admitted student in Tier 4 at Payton was 892 and for a Tier 3 student it was 884. Effectively, Tier 3 and 4 students seeking admissions to these schools needed to get in the top 5% on both their 7th and 8th grade tests – and of course all A’s in 7th grade.

Additionally, the change in admissions policy made it possible for students with lesser academic records than in previous years to be admitted to Selective Enrollment High Schools. The lowest score of an admitted student declined across all schools, but this decline was particularly dramatic for the most competitive schools. Last year the lowest score of an admitted student at Lane Tech was 736, but this year it was 688 (-48 points). At Northside last year the lowest score was 850; this year it fell 58 points to 792. At Payton last year it was 855, and this year it was 806 (-49 points). At Whitney Young last year it was 818, while this year it was 784 (-34 points).

According to Matthew Greenberg, partner of educational services firm SelectivePrep, “Where a student lives is playing an increasing role in whether he or she is admitted to a top Selective Enrollment High School. This means that a student needs to focus intently on those factors he/she can control.” He added, “While straight A’s in 7th grade are mandatory for students targeting the more competitive schools, the margin for error in test scores has narrowed for students from higher Tiers. Students need to aim for superior scores on both the Seventh Grade Standardized Test and the Selective Enrollment Entrance Exam.”

From Peter:

With the release of the selective enrollment high school point totals for 2011, it is possible to compare each of the nine schools with their 2010 scores. I calculated the 2011 average score by taking the weighted average of the school’s average scores for Rank (30 percent of students), and each of the four tiers (70 percent of students in total). My calculation for 2011 is compared to the average scores from 2010, found at the CPS and various other web sites.

One difference this year is that only 30 percent of students were admitted based solely on having the highest scores (“Rank’) with 70 percent coming from the students having the highest scores in each of the four census tiers. That differs from the 2010 policy in which 40 percent of students were admitted by Rank and 60 percent by Tier. As a result of having fewer Rank admissions, overall average scores were a bit lower this year than last, with seven of the nine schools showing a decline. Lindblom (+11) and Jones (+6) were the only two schools to show an increase in their average point total from last year. By my calculations, Jones actually moved slightly ahead of Young, 859 to 858. Last year, Jones was 15 points behind Young. Northside and Payton continued to be the two highest-scoring schools.

The average of the test scores of the nine schools in 2011 was 805, six points lower than in 2010.

Cut-off Scores
Another area of interest is the minimum scores for admission for each school, also known as the cut-off scores. As most of you know, 40 percent of the admissions are based entirely on the student’s score (referred to as “Rank”) and the other 60 percent are drawn equally from the highest performing students in each of the four census tiers designated by the CPS.

In general, the cut-off scores were higher in 2011 than in 2010 for the Rank category with Lindblom and Jones showing the biggest increases. Cut-off scores for students from Tiers 4 and 3 were sometimes higher and sometimes lower, depending on the school. Cut-off scores were lower for students coming from Tiers 1 and 2, especially for students coming from Tier 1, where they were anywhere between 9 and 58 points lower in 2011 than in 2010.

As an aside, the cut-off is the minimum score for a student from a given Tier, not the average score. For example, the minimum score for a Tier 1 student admitted to Payton was 806, but the average score for all the Tier 1 students admitted to Payton was 849.

I don’t have data for average scores by tier in 2010, but it seems to me that the lower cut-off scores for Tier 1 and Tier 2 suggest that the selective schools had fewer applicants from these areas in 2011 than they did in 2010. If so, the CPS might think about how they can get more high-performing students from the Tier 1 areas to apply to the selective enrollment schools. The CPS might also consider reworking how they categorize different census blocks into the four tiers. With the release of the 2010 census data, it is likely that several areas will see their tier change next year.

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165 Comments Add your own

  • 1. One point  |  March 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    You use the phrase “highest-scoring schools”, but I think one needs to be careful here, because the schools did not score anything, the incoming students did.

    One might tend to make the leap that the schools with the best scores, both incoming and at the ACT scores, are the best schools. But in New York, when they switched to measuring schools’ performance in a relative manner (i.e., how well the students did exiting the school relative to how well they did entering the school), many parents who thought their kids were attending ‘A’ schools received rude awakenings when many of the top schools were graded ‘C’ in performance.

  • 2. mom2  |  March 1, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    @1 – “But in New York, when they switched to measuring schools’ performance in a relative manner (i.e., how well the students did exiting the school relative to how well they did entering the school), many parents who thought their kids were attending ‘A’ schools received rude awakenings when many of the top schools were graded ‘C’ in performance.” I would find that sort of measurement very interesting. Would they ever do that for the SE schools here? How do they measure it?

    Regarding Peter’s chart, I actually find it interesting for Tier 4 students that assumed it would obviously be harder to get into the top 5 schools now that rank was a lower percentage, that it seems to show that you needed only one point higher to get into WY this year in Tier 4. And it was just as easy to get into Payton this year as last year and easier to get into Lane in Tier 4. That is surprising. I know Payton’s class size is larger this year, so that could be explained, but it doesn’t explain others. Any thoughts?

    Also, does anyone know if a school must keep on taking from specific tiers in round 2? For example, let’s say that 20% of the tier 1 students that were accepted to Northside decide not to go (too far or whatever reason). Must they make new offers to only lower scoring tier 1 students or can they, at some point, give spots to other tiers? If they must stay in tiers, I assume the cut-off scores could go much lower after round 2.

  • 3. cps Mom  |  March 1, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Last year round 2 went according to tier. Anything after that was by rank. Northside and Lindblum did not have a round 2. This could all be subject to change. There will still be further changes to cut offs after round 1.

  • 4. glad it is over  |  March 1, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    ” And it was just as easy to get into Payton this year as last year and easier to get into Lane in Tier 4.”

    Really? Easy would not be the word I would use.

  • 5. mom2  |  March 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    @4 – oops. Sorry. I REALLY didn’t mean easy. This whole process is anything but easy. I take that back!
    I just meant that it I thought this new process would make it more difficult for the higher tiers for all of the top 5 SE high schools.
    I wish CPS would release the statistics for last year and this year (once over) as to how each school actually broke down by tiers.

  • 6. cps Mom  |  March 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    These tables do not account for the change to tiers. In fact there are many more kids from tier 3 and 4 that were excluded this year that would have made it last year. Last year at tier 2 we qualified for all of our SE choices. This year at tier 3 we would have only qualified for our 3 and 4 choices.

  • 7. Sara  |  March 1, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Young accepts over 400 students and Lane Tech accepts about 1000 students. How can these schools be compared to smaller schools like Jones, Payton, and NSP? Also Young admits another 110 academic students whose numbers aren’t reflected in the data. Imagine what the data whould be if you peeled off the top 200 studemts at Young and Lane Tech. In my humble opinion, these two schools are the schools to beat!

  • 8. What about my kid  |  March 1, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Anyone care to guess what scores will be needed this year for Edison, Decatur, etc – elementary selective enrollment schools?

  • 9. bagg  |  March 1, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Are these the final scores that CPS will publish? I thought the initial scores represent only the first round. Will they not adjust these stats based on round 2?

  • 10. HSObsessed  |  March 1, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    How ’bout getting a discount code from Selective Prep for cpsobsessed readers? ; )

  • 11. James  |  March 1, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Sara #7 —

    We don’t have to “imagine what the data would be” if we compared the top students at Lane to all of Northside; that data is available. Lane’s top students are represented by the 30% of its incoming class admitted by pure rank. Using your number of about 1000 students admitted to Lane, that means about 300 students are in this category, a number slightly larger than the entire incoming class at Northside. These cream-of-the-crop Lane students have scores ranging from 830 to 900, with a mean score of 855. That 855, while impressive, is lower than the mean score of EVERY tier at Northside, with the exception of Tier 1. So, no, Lane’s top students do not outscore students admitted at Northside.

    I point this out not to denigrate Lane at all. It is a fine school and many top students choose to go there. But it simply is not nearly as competitive as Northside or Payton.

  • 12. K's Dad  |  March 1, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    @8 – Great question. What scores will be needed for Edison, Decatur, etc.

    My guess is around 145 for the 30% Ranked slots & Tier 4. It’s hearbreaking to write that number. That’s 3 standard deviations above the mean, so its the 99.865%percentile. However, the city probably has 40,000 (?) kids around age 5, so there will be enough kids with scores that high to fill those slots.

    Will CPS ever report the elementary school scores?

    I wish the very best luck.

  • 13. bagg  |  March 1, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    @10 HSobsessed, save your money. Just use Kaplan and Princeton test prep books. The books help to isolate areas of weaknesses. You can then purchase additional books that focus on improving the specific area.

  • 14. klm  |  March 2, 2011 at 9:46 am

    These stats are really informative. Like many CPS parents, it’s my dream for my kids to go to Payton or Northside. I have to say, I’m tempted to move into a Tier 1 neighborhood while my kids are in 7th grade, since this evidently would make their chances od admission so much more likely. I’m a little stunned by how much of an advantage Tier 1 students have. Am I alone?

  • 15. adad  |  March 2, 2011 at 9:52 am

    @ K’s Dad – good guess. Two years ago my child scored a 146 and did not get into Edison, Coonley or Decatur (they still had the Racial Decree) but scored the exact same last year with the tier system (we were tier 3 then) and was admitted to 1st grade. So, I think you’re right. I’d guess high 140’s+ to get into K at those schools. Crazy.

  • 16. cpsobsessed  |  March 2, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Sorry, I am in a crabby mood today so I’m not going to hold back. 🙂

    @14 klm: Tier 1 students have an ADVANTAGE? If you consider coming from very low income households with parents who are not educuated/may barely speak English, many single-parent households, surrounded by low-performing schools an advantage, then yes! They have a huge advantage.
    OK, obviously I’m being facetious, but what I want to point out is that those kids are the top of their tier. They are the smartest/hardest working among their 1/4 of the city. They just haven’t had the same opportunities as the Tier 3/4 kids which is hindering their performance on the tests (in my opinion. Not sure what the other opinion is other than to say that Tier 1 kids are dumber/less hard working.)

    In each tier, the top kids are chosen. So within Tier, no kids have an advantage, as CPS is pulling out the very top kids in each tier.

    On the other hand, which kids are getting the 30% of spots based on score alone? CPS has not divulged that, but based on the data we see by Tier, one could conclude that it is disproportionately Tiers 3 and 4.
    By that calculation, you could conclude that it’s the Tier 3-4 kids who have the advantage as they have a shot at more open spots, given their socio-economic lot in life.

    Just another POV…

  • 17. cpsobsessed  |  March 2, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Ok, my next soapbox rant….

    I fully agree that it is frustrating to see kids who have near-perfect scores in Tier 4 be shut out of Northside, Payton and Jones.

    But looking at Peter’s nice table (click on it to enlarge) we can see that a Tier 4 child can get into a school with a score of 652 or higher (King.) Lane is 782, Brooks 727.

    When there are a lot of Tier 4 kids scoring really high, not everyone is going to get into the same 1 or 2 schools. I looked at the Tier map and as we all know, Chicago is highly segregated by Tier. If we really expect the schools to be mixed Tier, kids are going to have to travel to get these schools all mixed up.

    I guess I’m trying to make 2 points:

    1. Top scoring tier 4 families need to think outside the box of 2 schools.

    2. And/or maybe it’s crazy and inefficient to try to balance the schools by Tier when huge pockets of the city are not balanced by Tier.

    Ok, more rants later. 🙂

  • 18. Christine D  |  March 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I’m really not surprised the overall scores are what they are for Tier 1 and Tier 2, when you take into account, as I just read, that 85% of CPS is low income. I’ve looked at the the income stats for the schools we’ve applied to for SEES but I never really thought about CPS overall.,0,1814347.story

  • 19. Grace  |  March 2, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I agree with your rants, CPS-o. Points well made.

  • 20. Mom  |  March 2, 2011 at 11:31 am

    @16 I think you are making assumptions that the kids who score at the top of Tier 1 and get the coveted SE spots are actually from poor, disadvantaged, low-income, non-English speaking backgrounds, as opposed to being kids from better-off familiies who just happen to live in Tier 1 (and therefore score at the top of that tier). We know for a fact that the Tier system is not perfect — it allows million-dollar homes and fancy condos to fall into tiers they don’t belong. (Check out the million dollar homes around Hamlin Park, a Tier 2 tract; or the reports we’ve heard of fancy condos located in Tier 1; or the people who have rented apartments in Tier 1 — I know of at least 1 case.) Since there are so few SE spots (especially at the most-coveted schools), what is to say that the top scoring Tier 1 kids aren’t just kids from advantaged backgrounds who did fine, but have no claim to any disadvantage that should allow them to take a spot over a higher-scoring kid from the same background who happens to live in Tier 3 or 4? It would be interesting to see the actual family financials of the kids admitted (as opposed to their Tier status). Not having seen that, I would not leap to the conclusion that merely because the child has a Tier 1 address, he or she is a member of the deserving disadvantaged group we’d all agree are worthy of a leg-up.

  • 21. cpsobsessed  |  March 2, 2011 at 11:33 am

    But to reiterate, everyone feel free to voice your own opinion… that’s the point of having a board like this.

  • 22. cpsobsessed  |  March 2, 2011 at 11:38 am

    @20 Mom, you’re definitely correct. Unfortunately CPS can’t make it work at the HH level due to the volume of students and lack of funds to staff that effort.
    But, given the small size of a census tract, I think one can(hopefully) conclude that more often than not, the Tier is a valid predictor. If not, the score rankings would look similar across Tiers or totally random, which they don’t. I think the score rankings that seem to match up with the Tiers allude to some validation.
    But I work in an analytic field, so often when data isn’t perfect (which Tiers are not!) you looks for some type of pattern to prove/disprove at least some level of validity. I see some here.
    But yes, maddening for the people who don’t fit the Tier mold.
    I wish CPS could find a better way. Just not sure it exists.

  • 23. mom2  |  March 2, 2011 at 11:40 am

    @17 – Regarding your two points – I agree that tier 4 families should look outside of the 2 school box, but not sure I agree that they should look at every SE school or schools far from home. Some, but not all, tier 3 and 4 families have the advantage of options to not go to a CPS school. So, I totally understand them only being willing to look at schools in what they consider safe neighborhoods or those that are convenient to get to on a daily basis or that don’t require very long commutes, etc. So, I have to agree with your point number 2. It may just be crazy to expect all schools to be balanced by tiers when some families will never do this because of the things I mentioned above.

  • 24. mom  |  March 2, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Please pay attention to your individual child. It may be YOUR dream that your child go to NSCP or Payton but that might not be best for your child. My son scored high enough to get into all of them but because of his interest in sports, it was really WYHS or Lane. I personally thought LPIB was the best program of all but it is not my life.

    People, before the tier system was put into place, there were quotas for non-minorities so it was really hard to get into these schools. The real difference is middle class minorities who had an advantage before but now do not because they live in higher tiers. This sounds as if it is working as it should.

  • 25. copy editor  |  March 2, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    NSCP and Payton are not right for every kid. They are small, and they can be intense academically – maybe too intense. They don’t have the wide variety of clubs and sports that a lot of schools have, either. I’ve heard of kids who go to NSCP who are so burned out senior year that they won’t consider a competitive college. Some kids thrive in that environment, but not all kids do. My kid would hate it, so it would not be our first choice even if he had 600 points going in the SE exam.

  • 26. Dad  |  March 2, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    I suggest that instead of engaging in the farce of rejecting near-perfect Tier 4 applicants in favor of Tier 1 applicants with scores around 100 points lower, CPS should just have random lotteries in each of the tiers. This would remove the heartbreak and anguish of so many children working so hard to be perfect, only to come up with nothing. It would also end all of these rants about the unfairness of a system that either rewards/penalizes affluence, intact families, and advanced education. Just make admission more random so that merit becomes a non-issue.

  • 27. mom2  |  March 2, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    @26 Dad – If they did that, then the schools would no longer be special and in short order, no one would seek them out as their school of choice.

  • 28. klm  |  March 2, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    The point I was trying to make was that pidgeon-holing kids according to which Tier they live in can, in some instances lead to some real instances that many people find unfair. One of the parents from one of my kid’s soccer classes was telling me how happy she was that they were in a Tier 1 zone for CPS purposes, since things were based on the 2000 Census. We’ve become friends, set up play dates, etc. Lovely people, really they’re great. BUT, both parents are physicans and they live in a newer house that I estimate to be in the 4,500-5,000 s.f. range, complete with a designer kitchen bigger than many Chicago apartments, drive a Volvo SUV and a BMW, etc. Are these the kind of people that need a 100 point boost? (The area around Old Town/old Cabrini Green has many such families since the newer construction literally borders torn-down or still-existing public housing) Also, I live in a Tier 4 neighborhood, but there’s a fair amount of public and Section 8 housing with single-mother, low-income families -mainly minority, some former Cabrini Green residents. But since their current neighborhood wasn’t poor in 2000, suddenly kids from these families are “privileged” and have to pay a 100 point “penalty”? So, yes, sometimes things REALLY are unfair and it’s just not yuppy “power parents” from Lincoln Park or the Gold Coast complaining that their kids didn’t get into Northside or Payton over a kid from Lawndale because of a few points and now they have to consider “lesser” schools or move to the suburbs so that their kids can go to New Trier…, etc.

  • 29. CPSMama  |  March 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Tier system is not fair b/c changes in neighborhoods over time. Previous race-based system has been determined to be illegal and was not fair b/c not all minorities are “disadvantaged” (some have 2 parents w/ advanced degrees, are weathly, etc.)

    There is no perfect system for SEHS admissions- CPS is doing the best it can within the law.

    And, college admissions aren’t any more fair (probably less fair b/c of legacy admits, etc), so if nothing else, CPS will prepare us for that process which is 4 short years away :\

  • 30. edgewater  |  March 2, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Didn’t Northside and Payton play some game with the cutoff scores last year– saying they wouldn’t let in anyone under 850 regardless. That likely meant fewer Tier 1 and 2 than there should have been– how did CPS justify that.

    Another factor that would make minimum scores lower in all tiers was that Payton was accepting many more students relative to last year.

  • 31. 6th grade mom  |  March 2, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    12- I don’t think they will/can release the cut off scores for the elementary schools (except for the AC’s and other middle school programs which accept many more students) as most SEES schools only accept one class of 30 kids each year and therefore there are so few kids in each group (rank and the 4 tiers) that there would be a real danger of identifying a kid w/ their score if the scores are released. It would violate student record confidentiality laws to release student data that would likely be individually identifiable. So, I suspect this blog will continue to be our main source for the SEES stats.

    Regarding the tiers, I applaud the intent of the program, but think it is telling that a person from outside Chicago designed it. While I understand that there are definitely neighborhoods that truly qualify as tier 1 or tier 4, here on the North side at least there are many more neighborhoods that are economically integrated to various extents and so you really can’t tell whether the individual family has none or all of the socio-economic factors considered in the tier system by their census tract. I don’t think all cities are like this and think it has something to do with our housing stock, most neighborhoods contain both single and multi-family housing and the tier assignment seems to mostly come down to which is more common in that neighborhood. Resource impossible as it is, I think reserving a percentage of seats for applicants with specific educational risk factors and verifying those factors would be the only fair system.

  • 32. HSObsessed  |  March 2, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    @14 klm – Related to whether we will see people trying to “game” the system now that addresses and tiers are more important. I know what you mean. There are those who might try to use a friend’s Tier 1 address for purposes of applying to SE HS, and that’s certainly illegal. Renting an apartment in Tier 1 solely for the purpose of using the address to apply to SE HS is probably less clearly illegal, but certainly against the spirit of what is being attempted (mixing kids from all the SE levels). However, if a family from a higher tier were to actually pick up and move into and live in a rental apartment in Tier 1 for the six months necessary for the process (December of year apps are due to April the next year, when proof of address is needed to enroll the child in the SE HS), that seems like a big hassle but perfectly legal. I wonder whether we’ll see any of that.

    I do agree that there will always be some exceptions to the profile of the tier; i.e. a child of two college-educated parents earning high incomes who choose to live in a neighborhood that is designated as lower tier, but those will remain the exceptions. If you look at the map of the census tracts, there are more than 800, and most of them are very small, so even with the mix of housing stock we have in Chicago (as in all big cities), I really do think the tier level is going to be generally accurate with regard to the average socioeconomic status of the inhabitants.

    Somewhat related to what @24 mom was talking about, under the new system, white kids have access to a higher number of slots at each school. Under the race-based system, SEHS admitted 35 percent of seats to top scoring white applicants and 65 percent to the top scorers of applicants of all other races. So under the new system, white kids are actually given an increased chance of being admitted: They have a shot at 30 percent of the rank seats, and then 17.5 percent of the remaining seats, with offers going to the top scorers within their tier. That’s a shot at 47.5 percent of the seats, an increase over the old 35 percent.

    @26 — I think that’s a great idea about admission by lottery, after reaching a certain criteria. This might be similar to what von Steuben does, where you have to reach a certain stanine in ISATs, and then you are entered into a lottery for admission. (Although I saw recently on von Steuben’s website that you also have to submit an essay, submit your report card, letter of recommendation, and then there are lotteries for siblings, proximity within 2.5 miles, and then citywide by SE tier! I had no idea it was so complicated over there.)

  • 33. HSObsessed  |  March 2, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Here’s a very interesting article in Catalyst Notebook.

    Two things caught my attention:

    1/ Last year, Huberman allowed two SEHS to set “minimum scores” for admission. (I assume it was NSCP and WP?) This year, current/interim CEO Mazany nixed that.

    2/ The schools sent out 1,000 more letters in the first round than they did in the second, knowing that many will turn down the offers since they didn’t get their first choice (probably based on last year’s responses). This explains somewhat why the lower scores are so much lower than last year: They just went “deeper” into the pool. It also does not portend well for second round offers, as there simply won’t be as many, so be wary of relying on last year’s second round numbers to have any relation to this year’s.

  • 34. HSObsessed  |  March 2, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Sorry, I’m tired. Last post, I promise. The above should read:

    2/ The schools sent out 1,000 more letters in the first round THIS YEAR than they did LAST YEAR…

  • 35. cps Mom  |  March 2, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    the 2 schools were Northside and Lindblum

  • 36. James  |  March 2, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Payton had a cutoff of 850 last year, but all students from all tiers scored above that so it didn’t come into effect. Recall that Payton’s class last year was relatively small, so that may have been why the cutoff wasn’t reached. Northside also had a cutoff of 850 last year. It hit the cutoff for Tier 1 and Tier 2 so its minimum scores for kids last year in those tiers was 850.

  • 37. Waited for mail (it eventually came)  |  March 3, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Expect this board to *really* light up after Round 2 – assuming there even IS a Round 2. According to that Catalyst article, they sent out 1,000 more first round acceptances than there are available seats (and there are only 2,000 SEHS seats.) I’m not sure WHAT the contingency plan is, if everyone actually accepts their first round assignment (I guess they could just expand each school by 50%, no problem 🙂 But let’s assume that doesn’t happen. After all, they’re using statistics based on an entire one year’s worth of data under the new system.

    The article did not dig into the mechanics of the overbooking. Was it applied evenly among the rank and tier groups? The same at all schools? Was it factoring the greater probability of declining an acceptance at a school the student ranked as his 6th choice versus first choice?

    This makes Round 2 a very strange thing, now. And who knew this was going to happen in advance? It seems extremely unlikely that there is any benefit in declining a reasonably acceptable second choice spot in hopes of a first choice now. I’m guessing the decliners will come predominantly from tier 4s going private or venturing into the alternatives after getting second or third choice and so the averages of the less selective schools will drop. Not that this drop will help anyone hoping to get in, because apparently the schools have a cushion in enrollment. But do I believe we will now see some disgruntled tier 4 parents whose kids did not get into Jones or Young on the first round, but with tier 4 scores that are higher than the revised tier 4 cutoff (which at that point will no longer accurately be called a “cutoff” but just the minimum score.)

    I also wonder how many tier 1 families were “surprised” (pleasantly, of course) about getting in to NCP after having put it down as their first choice, thinking this was a stretch, expecting it more likely that they would wind up in school a little closer to home. NCP is pretty much smack dab in the middle of tier 4 tracts for miles. It’s a long haul up from the red tracts. But those students are trapped now, because opting out of NCP would not put them in the running for schools in the south.

  • 38. cps Mom  |  March 3, 2011 at 9:06 am

    There are over 3000 seats in SE. All the SE schools attract students from all over the city especially the top schools. People will commute (and don’t mind it) to go to an SE. Don’t count on people opting out because of location.

  • 39. cps Mom  |  March 3, 2011 at 9:15 am

    One other thing. People have commented on the fluctuation in class size from year to year. CPS has historically “overbooked” in anticipation of turn-downs so this is not necessarily based on 1 year experience. What has happened in the past is that they have had more than anticipated acceptances and have needed to adjust class size upward. Last year was the first time they put out only the required offers resulting in a nightmare multiple round situation and also a problem for the non SE programs waiting for commitments. I’m sure that CPS prefers that the rounds are limited. Definitely makes sense from a planning point of view all the way around.

  • 40. James  |  March 3, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Northside is actually in a Tier 3 census tract and has a Tier 2 tract directly to its south. It’s true that the areas to the north and northeast of it are Tier 4, but there are many tracts in Rogers Park, Uptown, and areas immediately south of the school that are Tiers 3, 2, and even 1.

    Payton, for what it’s worth, is in a Tier 2 tract and is surrounded by Tier 1 tracts. Of course, it’s also a short walk from the Gold Coast…

  • 41. dette  |  March 3, 2011 at 11:33 am

    @klm-to the poster who stated those living in tier one have an advantage , please get a reality check. Kids living in this tier have so much less as far as resources and just trying to come home safely from school is a challenge. They may not score as high as a kid in tier 3 or 4, but again, how many of them are lucky enough to live in a 2 parent household, etc? Its all relative. I have a child appying to RGC for K and live in tier 1, am a single parent, and dont consider myself advantaged at all. My child naturally loves to learn, we started at a young age, and its all about your own efforts. So if u want to move to my tier 1, come right ahead-the gang bangers would love to have you.

  • 42. bagg  |  March 3, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I dropped decline SEHS at CPS office. They said that 2nd round letters will be mailed out at least 2wks from the March 4 due date.

  • 43. What?  |  March 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    42– Not sure what you are saying here. Can you be a little clearer on the date of 2nd round letters? Thanks.

  • 44. bagg  |  March 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    sorry…I had short period of time to type.

    2nd round of SEHS letters will be mailed out on or about Mar 18 (which is two weeks after the mar 4 deadline)

  • 45. Just an Idea  |  March 3, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Here’s an idea. CPS should have two SE high schools (ie: Northside & Payton) that select 80 or 90 percent of their admissions by test score alone and that test being the ACT. I hear many kids get perfect scores on the exam so they aren’t really getting credit for all of the knowledge they have gained, but they can be penalized for one “B” maybe in a subject that’s a year or two above grade level. I highly doubt an 8th grader would score a 36 on the ACT so no one would hit a ceiling. They could use GPA for tie breakers for the last few seats. The other 10 or 20 percent would be principal/OAE discretion to allow deserving kids the chance to enroll. It would mean a little more effort on the part of the parent/s and maybe the child’s school to get the paperwork together and maybe a little more manpower at the two schools and OAE to go over the applications, but I think it may help the kids who are really smart but get one “B” in 7th grade or kids who have a rough 7th grade for personal/family/medical reasons or just the kid who is working really hard and shows promise in spite of a rough home life. It’s incredibly wrong of CPS to expect tier 4 kids to be nearly perfect if they want to get into Northside or Payton. AND just having two schools set up this way would allow all of the really bright kids a chance to continue at the pace they’re accustomed to even if they aren’t a straight “A” student. I believe NY currently has their admissions set up by score alone. I think this might be a good compromise. Just a thought.

  • 46. bagg  |  March 3, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    @45, Your idea is somewhat how the set-up for admission was back in the 80’s. Back in the day, there were basically only two SE schools: Lane Tech for the northside and Lindbloom for Southside. Student had to be in the top 5 or 10% of graduating class (private or public) to be admitted in the school. If you lived north of madison, you went to Lane, south of madison to Lindbloom. And thus, the students at Lane were known as “Lane Brains”.

  • 47. LR  |  March 3, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Yech…I feel sick to my stomach after reading all this. My oldest is in 1st grade, so we are a ways off from high school. She is very bright, but she does not have a competitive bone in her body. And I’m not the type of parent that’s going to care if she gets straight A’s in 7th grade.

    Can someone who has a child at one of these SE schools (Northside, Payton, Lane, or wherever…) reassure me, is your child happy? Because all I really want for her is a high school that’s safe and where she’s happy. And all this competition just seems like 4 years of no fun at all. Actually, 6 years of no fun at all if this all starts in 7th grade.

  • 48. Just an Idea  |  March 3, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    @bagg: Funny, back in the day, we thought the future would be so much better. What the H*** happened?! All of Chicago’s bright, motivated students need to be challenged regardless of race/income level/zip code. My kids are a couple of years away from this mess but close enough that it scares me. I think they certainly need to change the admission’s test. I hear of too many perfect scores. No one should get a perfect score on the test. No one should hit a ceiling. And giving them the ACT test would give them an exposure to the test that will matter for college which most of the kids will probably go on to attend. And really, the smaller, brainiac schools are not for everyone….even some kids who may qualify. They may want to go to a larger school with more sports, etc. CPS can use tiers or whatever else they come up with next for the other selective enrollment schools. It’s just an idea for a compromise of sorts….

  • 49. cps Mom  |  March 4, 2011 at 9:12 am

    @47 – When my son was in 2nd or 3rd grade our thinking was “sure we would really like to send him to Northside or Payton”. Whatever school it would be we knew that we would need to gear up because of the way things work in Chicago. We prepped and explored all the options, went to the school HS fairs and open houses starting at even 6th grade so that my son was on board with the whole idea. What we found was that there were many programs that were a good fit for my son. When it came to applying for SE he wanted nothing to do with Northside (even though I begged) because with only 4 choices it meant that he would have to take off Westinghouse. He received multiple offers because he did a decent job in school and we were open to various programs. Yes, it can be overwhelming to see the near perfect scores needed to get into some of these schools but there are many great options. You may find yourself going down a completely different track than expected.

    I do feel that Chicago has so much more to offer in the way of special programs in the way of selective programming, IB, college prep and the arts.

    I hope this helps you.

  • 50. klm  |  March 4, 2011 at 10:09 am

    @dette. I was simply stating a fact that Tier 1 kids really do have an advantage in gaining admissions to SE schools (sometimes areally big one). I never, ever once suggested than in LIFE, it’s advantageous to be from a Tier 1 neighborhood. People can argue about how SE should work, but I was simply pointing out that assuming one’s Year 2000 Census Tract is a proxy for socioeconomic advantage/disadvantage can be tricky sometimes. How does anybody really know what an individual has gone through in life and how hard they have had to strugle with family issues, health and financial problems, etc., –so there can be some real and some would say justified feelings of unfairness surrounding SE admissions when Tiers can seem out-of-date or somewhat arbitrary when so much depends on which Tier one lives in. I’m sure there are instances of people literally living on the “wrong” side of the street in terms of census tracts. In short, living in a Tier 4 neighborhood doesn’t mean living in Disneyland and nobody knows what an individual has gone through in life, what advantages they did or didn’t have, etc., and to find out that one can’t get into one of the more academically advantageous SE schools (and all the positive effects that would have on one’s future life chances) when others with much lower scores got in is not complete nonsense or part of some “privilege” complex. Reducing an individual to a cultural stereotype because of the neighborhood/census tract they live in presumptuous, incorrect and I’m sorry, but just plain unfair. BTW, my family lives in a Tier 4 neighborhood, but we’re neither rich, white nor highly educated –just regular people trying to get by and do the best for our kids. Just in the same way that you would’t want people assuming your child’s one the the gangbangers that you describe in you neighborhood simply because you live in a Tier 1 census tract, don’t assume my kids have every advantage in life because of the Census tract they live in because they don’t. The fact is, we can’t afford to move and we have no extra money for private school, tutors or other “advantages” other than hard work and CPS, so yes, we have a lot riding on where our kids end being admitted and I don’t think it’s ridiculous for people to discuss “fairness” when it comes to their kids’ only options for academic opportunities.

  • 51. bagg  |  March 4, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Does CPS provide elementary school statistics of the incoming freshman class? I would not be surprised if there is a large % of students coming from private elem schools. I know dozens of private school kids that will be attending Payton and Northside next yr.

  • 52. mom2  |  March 4, 2011 at 10:31 am

    @47 LR – I believe my child is very happy. 7th grade was the year from hell. Back then, attendance mattered, too. So, kids were coming to school sick to keep perfect attendance and kids were working like crazy. Many kids stopped doing after school activities for one year just to stay focused on getting straight A’s. BUT…after 7th grade, things really have been great. Now that my child is at Lane, while there is a lot of work, in my opinion it is just the right amount of work. For kids that have made it into these schools, I think they are able to find a way to balance the work load and still have time for sports, clubs, music, and hanging out with friends.

    I really believe that most parents want just what you want – a high school that is safe where they are happy (adding in that they are able to learn enough to go on to a safe and happy college/university so they can go on to having a safe and happy life). There are some parents with students that really are gifted in the true sense of the word and they would demand more than this. But, I think that is rare. The SE schools in CPS really offer what the best high schools in the suburbs offer (and maybe a bit more) without having to move to the suburbs. We need more of these!

    I have spoken with many parents that feel once their child gets into a good high school, they can relax because it is much easier to get into college than a CPS SE school.

  • 53. Waiting for mail (Day 3 - It finally came)  |  March 4, 2011 at 10:35 am

    @51 – I’ve never seen such a thing, but an ambitious person could probably compile it from each elementary school. Our Principal just announced fairly detailed statistics (including % that qualifed to take SEHS exam and that stuff)
    Of 85 8th graders:
    14 – Walter Payton College Prep;
    8 -Northside College Prep;
    7 -Whitney Young Magnet HS;
    10 -Lane Tech College Prep;
    1 Jones College Prep;
    1 Lindblom College Prep.

    I suspect a school nabbing fewer seats might have a more reticent principal. But I am of the opinion that schools should report their statistics so that prospective families have an idea what to expect.

  • 54. bagg  |  March 4, 2011 at 10:51 am

    @53, thanks for the info. I think HS acceptance info that you just provided is equivalent to the college acceptance info that HS publishes. If I were a parent of a pre-schooler this is the info that I would clearly search out. I would pay to obtain a cheat-sheet of all elem (or at least the northside public and private schools). Maybe as a group, we can post our elem stats and then cpsobsessed (if she inclines to do so) could permanently post it here on this website? Please…

  • 55. Waiting for mail (Day 3 - It finally came)  |  March 4, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Do any of you fellow stat & census wonks out there know –
    how many freshman are there in total? how many qualified to take SEHS entrance exam. For some reason, 13,000 sounds like the latter number – I’m too lazy to search this out.

  • 56. Waiting for mail (Day 3 - It finally came)  |  March 4, 2011 at 11:09 am

    …in CPS, I mean, although the totals for private and parochial would be interesting, too.

  • 57. cps Mom  |  March 4, 2011 at 11:25 am

    CPS announced that they had 13,056 applications last year. I don’t see any announcement for this year.

  • 58. cps Mom  |  March 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Times article – SE principals not happy with having to take lower tier 1 scores.

  • 59. happykid  |  March 4, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    In response to the person who asked whether these children were happy, my freshman at Lane is having the time of his life. I’m surprised that there is so much work and the grading scale is ridiculous but he is getting a great education and having a very rich high school experience. It’s the most challenging time as a parent though because I have had to really impose boundaries because his first semester grades were terrrible (and he had near perfect test scores) and he is more interested in his very active social life than in school but yes, he is very very very happy.

  • 60. HSObsessed  |  March 4, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    @51 – I read recently the Lane Tech principal said that about 15 percent of the freshmen classes usually come from private schools. I don’t know if that’s more or less than other SE HS would report.

    @53 – The CPS website does include these stats of where each elementary school enrolled their graduates in high schools, but they haven’t updated them since 2006, so it’s kind of old. I’m SURE they have this info and agree it would be really useful to update it. Should we bring pressure on them somehow to do this?

    I have noticed that individual schools often print the lists of their own 8th graders in the newsletters in the spring months, and those are often publicly readable from their websites, so if you’re interested in a specific school, it might be worth hunting around for that.

  • 61. WonderingAloud  |  March 4, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    @53 – What tier is the elementary school?

  • 62. kenner has chutzpah  |  March 4, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Unbelievable that she is complaining about the process when the Inspector General has recommended barring her for life from making principal picks. Not sure but my hunch is that she may be losing a lot of black upper and middle class families because of the tier system. WYHS is a great high school and it, like all teh other schools, can absorb some Tier 1 and Tier 2 students who generally have not had the opportunity to take test prep etc.

  • 63. Waited for mail (it eventually came)  |  March 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    @61 – it has about 2/3 of its 8th graders from a very tier 4 neighborhood. The other 1/3 are admitted selectively at 6th grade, and so come from all tiers, though eyeballing says they too are mostly tier 4 and 3.

  • 64. SE Mom of 2  |  March 4, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    @47- i have 2 kids in 2 different SE hign schools-Lane & WY. I would say both are happy with their school. Both are doing well academically and a little too well socially, LOL.

    They work hard, have HW almost every night, but it’s not hours & hours of HW every night. They do have some nights with tons of HW- sometimes caused by their own procrastination, sometimes due to mulitple teachers giving long assignments on the same day. When this happens they do gripe about it (to me) but they survive.

    They also have plenty of fun with friends, hanging out, going to games, cheering on their teams. The opportunities at these 2 schools for school spirit makes school more fun, in my opinion. WY has pep rallies for its sports teams when they go downstate, but it also has pep rallies for its Chess team and its Academic Decathalon teams. Lane has an awesome football/track stadium which makes going to football games a really great experience for its students (& parents too!)

    Some of the other SEHS seem to be less “school spirit-y” and more “compete againsttheir own students” but that could just be my perception as an outsider.

  • 65. cps Mom  |  March 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Why is it that the assumption is that Tier 1 and Tier 2 students do not take test prep? Is it because they don’t take the “selective Prep” course? Plenty of T1 and 2 kids not only take Selective Prep but they also study from the books, on line sources and free tutoring offered by various organizations. Otherwise they would not score as high as they do. What makes a difference is everything that is done up to taking tests in 7th grade. While there are plenty of middle to upper middle class residents in these tiers, a tier 1 child is more likely to go to an under-performing school. The students at these schools with no family support will not even come close. That is one problem that the charter schools are tackling. It is unrealistic to expect that if you plop a well intentioned child with a deficiency in their education – for whatever reason – to expect that they will ever catch up with their classmates. The dilemma seems to be is that this does have more of an impact on the African American community. So, how does that impact both the child and the school? I don’t know the answers but obviously the SE principals have a concern.

  • 66. zande  |  March 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Reply to Are they happy?
    Yes and no. I have one senior at Payton and a sophomore at Lane. The Payton kid is organized, hard working, gets everything done 100% and loves high school- it’s the right environment for her. The Lane kid is floundering academically although he loves the sports and social life. Lane is HUGE and disorganized kids can slip through the cracks. It also seems to hide a number of less than fabulous teachers- 700 teachers there, can you imagine keeping track of them all? So my answer is to try to find the right fit for your child. I wonder if Jones might have been better for my son, but he wanted Lane for the sports and friends also going there. The positive is having so many choices for public high school- with IB, charter, and magnets such as Von, there really are a dozen solid high schools available to you. Good luck and keep sane!

  • 67. tocpsmom  |  March 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    It would be interesting to see how many tier one and tier two kids are enrolled at selective prep. Yes, people CAN study from test prep books on their own but it would not happen in my family. My kids are way too unorganized and the friction of making them do it on top of everything else justifies the cost of an outside class. I’m not sure that most Tier 1 an Tier 2 families have that option.

  • 68. mom2  |  March 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    @66 – While I tend to sing the praises of Lane most of the time, I do agree with you about Lane “hiding a number of less than fabulous teachers.” We have had to deal with that ourselves. My child has friends at other top SE schools and some of them have had less than fabulous teachers, but because the schools are so small, it is much more obvious to everyone, including the administration, that they exist. Not sure if it makes it any easier to do something about it, but it certainly makes it more noticeable.

  • 69. cps Mom  |  March 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Considering that we were tier 2 along with a friend who happened to be tier 2 and a classmate who was tier 1 – this was at the Northside campus. They also have a southside campus. I find it a bit insulting that the image of tier 1 and 2 families are that they’re so dirt poor that they can’t spring for $350 to help further their child. Especially when they send their kids to public school and have no tuition. Not to mention that there is financial aid available for this. The HS school fees alone were $400 – which people gladly pay to have a great education free of charge.

    I know that many of those at Selective Prep are tier 4 gifted students looking to secure spots at Northside and Payton. They are not the only ones concerned about furthering their child’s education.

  • 70. bagg  |  March 4, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    @67, we did not do select prep but did opt for books. The key is not for the kid to get organized, but instead for the parent to become organized. It’s really not very difficult to plan. Perform a diagnostic test, identify problem areas, and then focus the studying on these particular areas.

    Quoting Eric Zorn from today’s article, “..don’t leave education up to teachers or the initiative of your kids. Take charge. Crack down. Focus those students of yours on getting excellent grades and test scores.”

  • 71. tobagg  |  March 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Let me guess Bagg. You are not a single parent working full time getting home after 7 everynight and scrambling to pay bills. You probably have a very cooperative (daughter?) most likely and you probably have only one child? I will outsource when I can. Spare the parenting lecture.

  • 72. ericzorn  |  March 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Funny how Eric Zorn omitted finishing his 7th grade son’s project, which was the subject of his column last year.

    @cps mom–sounds like you DO have an advantage of being in a lower tract. there are many people who find fronting those kind of fees in this economy very burdensome–if they even know about it.

  • 73. cps Mom  |  March 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    How is it that I have an advantage – I’m white and care about my childs education? You have no idea what my income is, single mother etc. Instead you assume because I’m white I lucked out with a tier 2 designation. Can I extrapolate from that that a person of color in a tier 4 was at a disadvantage any different from anyone else in tier 4. Is a tier 1, 2, 3 or 4 child at a disadvantage if they could care less about school and learning and don’t take part at all?

  • 74. cpsobsessed  |  March 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    If I can step in on behalf of my profession (marketing research) I’d like to give a mini speech about data. Data is/can be used to draw general conclusions. It’s what I do at my job every day. I make conclusions that help marketers decide what to do with their ad dollars by looking at a lot of numbers and looking for some kind of trend in the data. There usually is one that makes sense. BUT it doesn’t mean that the conclusions I draw at 100% true 100% of the time. People need some kind of information drawn out of vast amounts of data for it to be helpful, otherwise our brains would explode and nobody would be able to make big decisions that affect groups of people.
    Case in point: Data indicates that Tier 1 families have less income. This is a fact, on average. Does this mean that every Tier 1 family is poor? No. On average, do they have less money than a Tier 2-4 family? Yes. Does having less income, on average mean that you often can’t pay for things like test prep classes. Most likely. Do some families in Tier 1 pay for test prep classes? Yes. Are Tier 4 families who have more incomes more likely to pay for test prep classes than Tier 1 families? Yes. Do ALL Tier 4 families pay for test prep (or can they afford to?) No.

    You get the idea. Using data to make generalization leads to conclusions about average people, not specific people. There are always exceptions, but that doesn’t make the conclusions less valid. If “conclusions” are mixed up with “stereotypes” that is a different story.

    I guess the moral is that people will be using data to discuss the “average” person from a Tier which in no way implies that every person from the Tier is the same. Please try not to take it so personally. And I will try not to take it personally when the suburban people come on here and slam us for being lame parents. 🙂

  • 75. cpsobsessed  |  March 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Interesting about Eric Zorn’s article. I forgot how he discussed that last year. Appealing a grade. Heh. I remember how he dissected a math problem to appeal a grade. He took it very seriously but it sounds like his kids are probably Tier 4 and didn’t get the super-high scores needed for the schools he/they wanted.

    In the past, I’m sure someone like him would have had an “in” at a SE high school because of his high profile in the city, but no more. I feel like he hints at that, perhaps.

    Anyhow, at least he is publicly voicing the concerns of a lot of city parents.

  • 76. ericzorn  |  March 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    to cpsmom. Whoa! When I said you had an advantage I was thinking an economic advantage at being able to afford test prep. YOU filled in the race, caring about your child’s education. Quite frankly, that never entered my mind. I never made those assumptions but you must be feeling that people are making those assumptions?

  • 77. copy editor  |  March 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Thank you, CPSObsessed, for your comments @74. Thank you.

  • 78. cps Mom  |  March 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    What the averages don’t measure is the emotional value associated with education. While yes a tier 1 family on average makes less than 2-4 does not mean they are unwilling to spend on education. The comment I hear over and over is that they are willing to “find it”. A theme that was used over and over in a documentary about Providence St. Mel. The poorest of family’s with financial aid were willing to beg, borrow steal to get the money. My neighbor – he is out of work, she works part time – have scraped everything together to send their kid to Catholic school as opposed to going to the neighborhood school. That’s what I’m talking about. For anyone who cares that’s what’s happening, including Selective Prep. When it comes to education the opportunities are available – even more so – for those who can’t afford it IF they want it and put the effort into that endeavor. So please, stop qualifying tier 1 and 2 families with “they probably can’t afford test prep” and something else I’ve read “they all have flat screen TV’s though”. I don’t have a flat screen TV and would sell my body on the street to educate my child.

  • 79. bagg  |  March 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Speaking of data, is there a website that provides stats of SEHS and the colleges that graduates are attending?

    Something like this:

  • 80. mom  |  March 4, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    I think late in teh year some of the high school newspapers list where the graduates are going. I’m not sure if anyone formalizes it. Ignatius is a great school–but there are many people from our grammar school who got in there but did not get into a SE high school. If you want to go to UND, it helps.

  • 81. cps Mom  |  March 4, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    @70 – I just read the Zorn article. Excellent advice from both him and you.

  • 82. idk  |  March 4, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I don’t know. I confess that I was all over my son in 7th grade and am still all over him at his SE high school. I let him slide somewhat in 8th grade and he sure slid. I have never appealed a grade but I did finish some extra credit science that he left on the computer and I did send him to school sick. He STILL is not internally motivated. My daughter is the opposite. I keep thinking that at some point he will hold himself up but whenever I let up a bit he slides. It’s very wearing and exhausting. I agree with a commenter on Zorn’s article:

    “As for the super parent stuff: I have to say I think Eric is over the top. I’m an involved parent, but I’m the parent, not the teacher. I’ve edited more papers than I can count. I’ve edited two (more than once each) on “The Canterbury Tales” to the point that I can tell you I hate “The Canterbury Tales” and Chaucer. I do NOT read the same books as my kids are reading so I can grill them and discuss the book. I did not and would not check homework every night. I feel strongly that at some point kids have to take responsibility for their own work, and middle school is certainly that time. And advocating for changing a grade? I remember Eric fessing up to that last year. I was very, very surprised he did that. Wendy, doesn’t that drive you crazy when parents do that? “

  • 83. Dad  |  March 5, 2011 at 12:11 am

    @bagg: Wow, Ignatius’ placement is awesome. It would be hard for any high school to match up with their placements at the top colleges. Any school that is sending anywhere from 3 to 8 kids per year to HYP has got to be doing something right.

  • 84. bagg  |  March 5, 2011 at 9:36 am

    @83, I agree. I would like to compare Iggy’s stats with SEHS which I still haven’t been able to find. It’s all fine and dandy that the SEHS selects top scoring students. However, IMO the proof in the pudding is where these kids are heading to college.

  • 85. ChicagoGawker  |  March 5, 2011 at 9:37 am

    I would really like to hear more discussion on the social environment at the various SEs, IBs, and Magnet HSs-from current parents and those admitted in the last weeks. We are all very focused on academics and scores, but the social scene is also critical to me for navigating the options. How did you all weigh what you perceived to be the social environment and peers your child would have? I am not naive enough to think that any HS does not have a number of students drugging, drinking regularly, engaging in risky sexual behavior, as well as swearing at and bullying each other from Freshman year forward. However, when the number of students this describes at a school reaches critical mass, it changes the social environment to one I prefer my kid not be in. For example, (this based totally on hearsay and rumor and might not be true) I hear that Lane is rough this way. Not so? Doesn’t matter? Tell me about it. What’s it like at WY or WP? I am not looking for a fairy tale HS where all the kids are goody 2 shoes, and I expect my kid will make mistakes, but it is very important to me that she have many choices of friends that are focused on academics, activities and interests, and not consumed by Ke$ha like behavior. How do you assess this at a school? What is your kid’s HS like socially?

  • 86. copy editor  |  March 5, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Keep in mind that a lot of the kids going to top colleges from St. Ignatius are legacies, who will always have an advantage.

  • 87. mom  |  March 5, 2011 at 11:16 am

    wyhs sends a lot of kids to the ivies and selective black colleges. you really can`t compare sicp and se schools on this. different economics and support. if you want your kid to go to notre dame go to loyola or sicp.

  • 88. mom2  |  March 5, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    @85 – I can only comment on personal experience and that may not be the same for everyone. My child attends Lane and has never once been bullied or seen anyone else being bullied. The kids are super nice and funny and hugging and giving high fives in the hall. It is very social at Lane which could be an issue for some kids, but not social (at least not so far) in the negative way you describe.
    Now, as far as drinking and drugs, my child has been to several parties this year and the parties for Lane kids have been the cleanest (no drinking, no drugs, parents always home, etc.) The parties of kids from Payton and Northside have actually been the worst in terms of drinking and drugs. Maybe its the stress or the parents just think that since they are such top students, they don’t need to worry about them making poor choices in this area. Not sure.
    I am not at all trying to say that in general the kids at the top two schools have the most social issues, this was just our experience. What it does say is that it can and does happen in all high schools with all types of kids, even the smartest. As a parent, we should be aware of these things and handle them as we best see fit (calling to make sure parents are home, etc.)
    I think the thing that I found reassuring so far is that at the top 5 SE schools, we haven’t heard about violence issues. If we can get through high school with only the normal suburban sort of issues I grew up with (drinking parties, some kids having sex before they get married, etc.) then I will be pleased with our high school choice. (Not that I enjoy having to deal with under age drinking or sex (and not that I have had issues with my own, yet), but that is what you get with nearly all teenagers in some capacity).

  • 89. Waiting for mail (Day 3 - It finally came)  |  March 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    @84, 86 – I’ll agree with @84 that SICP is doing something right, but also with @86 that placement at HYP is not that surprising for the wealthy, clouty families feeding into SICP and could have little to do with a differential effect of the school.

    The number of National Merit Semifinalists might be a better, and more objective, indicator. The numbers released for Fall were:


    Of course, as with all stats, the numbers require context, an exercise left for the reader. For example, Walter Payton has a class size about double that of the Lab School, but about the same number of Merit Scholars.

    If your feeling really wonky and want to engage the suburbanites in statistical combat, you’ll have to contend with these National Merit counts:

    NEW TRIER H. S. 40

    The Math and Science Academy sticks out, it’s not really a suburban school but one that starts at 10th grade and gets kids from around the state (the country?) with what is probably a purely merit-based admissions policy.

    New Trier’s senior class has got to be over 1,000, so its per capita Merit scholar count still trails Payton’s, but not by much.

  • 90. bagg  |  March 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks everyone for the info. But strictly for my own purposes, I’d like to view the stats on colleges. Does a SEHS list of colleges exist?

  • 91. iggy  |  March 6, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    there is no doubt that sicp is a terriific school and all the supports and resources are there to astudent who wants them. for those who want a more diverse or public school option for free, it is great we have se schools. i`m convinced that high school is more important than college. my best teacher were in high school-not college, grad or law school. take a look at bob herbert“s op ed piece in the ny times today. my kid is gettting a very solid traditional education at his se high school and is doing more studying than most college students apparently. he`s probably learning the best life skills from his sports coaches. bottom line, i`ve known kids who have thrived or flopped post sicp. it,s about the kid. this wwas sent from my phone. forgive typos.

  • 92. NoLegacy  |  March 6, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    SICP is not totally legacy. You can call anytime and they will tell you the pecking order of acceptance — Chicago catholic grammar school grads followed by suburban catholic grammar school grads and the few remaining seats go to public school grads. Legacy is not happening at SICP without a VERY SUBSTANTIAL donation. SICP is becoming a rich kids school only.

  • 93. Chicago Gawker  |  March 6, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    @92 Can you clarify your last comment? What have you observed that indicates it is becoming a rich kids school only? Of course the 12k tuition…but, that is substantially below Latin and Lab. Are they giving away less financial aid? Families I know, mentioned that they wanted a deposit before they told what their FA award amount was.

  • 94. klm  |  March 7, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Much of the concern about Lane is in fact based in fact. However, most of the “bad behavior” parents are concerned about seems to be from the pre-2005 period or thereabouts. During the 70s, 80s, 90s there really was a significant “bad element” at Lane –drugs, sex, lax academics, etc. –(I’ve heard this over and over from family and friends that are alums from this period, including a current Chicago Police Officer that dealt with kids from the school). However, given the current climate (more middle class people staying in the city, lower crime, increased competition for places at ‘good schools’, etc), things seem to have improved immensely. First off, it’s more difficult to be admitted there, hence students are more “academic” on average than before. Secondly, the “culture” of the school seems to have changed for the better –better behavior, higher expectations, etc. (this according to a friend’s spouse who teaches there). Also, this is very anecdotal, but I’ve noticed that the behavior of the students ithat I come into contact with is much improved as compared to 10-20 years ago (less profanity, respect for the children close by, etc.) –I’ve been going to the McDonald’s nearby for years and the kids now are really nice and respectful aroung my kids. Years ago, I’d be there for lunch and was almost always disgusted by the behavior of some Lane kids, the screaming, the profanity, the disregard for other people around them, etc. –I would assume some of them were dropouts from their thug and gangbanger demeanor and language. Anybody whose kid does/will attend Lane can feel pretty good that the “bad days” are over, at least from what I can see and hear.

  • 95. raisesagoodpoint  |  March 7, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I would go to the schools you are curious about before and after school. Go to the local hangouts and observe. Stand around the outside of the school. Pick up their student newspaper. That will give you an idea of the climate.

  • 96. ChicagoGawker  |  March 7, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Thank you @94 and @98. Can you go the the HS only during the official open house tours or is there some other way to visit them during school hours?

  • 97. Mayfair Dad  |  March 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Lane Tech has been a popular choice for kids from our neighborhood for the past several years and the parents I know have nothing but good things to say. I work nearby and occasionally visit Hero’s, Wendy’s, Popeyes at Western & Addison and the students I encounter are well behaved and respectful. Don’t be fooled by the hip-hop clothing glamorizing thug life…that’s just the fashion these days. Yes, it is a big school but so is U of I in Champaign.

  • 98. cpsobsessed  |  March 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I admit to being biased (negatively) by the way the CPS high school kids dress. Although most days my 7yo son looks like he could be a street urchin, given his ratty appearance.

    @97 Mayfair Dad, I’ve lost track. So where is Mayfair Son going to high school? And are there younger Mayfair Kids?

  • 99. A reader  |  March 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I have been following this blog since we have been going through the high school admissions process. My son got into Northside, but since we are tier 4 and I have a 7th grader this year, I have spent a lot of time looking at all options. We love Lane, this was our 2nd choice.

    I have attached a copy of Lane’s May 2009 newspaper, the last pages have where all the graduates are going to school (the May 2010 did not list this information.

    In 2009, Lane had the following:

    Princeton – 1
    Harvard – 2
    Yale – 1
    Northwestern – 5
    University of Chicago – 6
    Stanford -2

  • 100. Mayfair Dad  |  March 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm


    The current plan is Lincoln Park IB; we are waiting to find out if Mayfair Son will make the second cut at Lane Tech having missed the first cut by a few points. We declined Westinghouse, Von Steuben Honors and Ogden International.

    So my hunch is Lincoln Park IB but remember Mayfair Mom is a proud Lane Tech alumna.

  • 101. Mayfair Dad  |  March 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    @ 98 again

    Mayfair Twins are at Disney II and loving it.

  • 102. klm  |  March 7, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    I’ve heard that both Northwestern and the University of Chicago have a “soft spot” for CPS grads (in the same way schools like Dartmouth and Brown will try harder to admit local blue-collar and 1st generation college kids from New Hampshire and Providence, etc.) –looking at the above stats for Lane, I’m wondering about this . Obviously, I’d be thrilled if any one of my kids went to either or both institutions for college. I recall reading that Northwestern was recruiting heavily for CPS applicants (as a way to increase socioeconomic diversity, etc.) and was offering lots of aid money specifically to attrract CPS grads. I know that the University of Chicago does the same. Does anybody have any info or insight on this? It would help in the “big picture” of deciding what to do. Also, I KNOW people are by now SICK TO DEATH about all the debate about Tiers, etc., but I will tell you my family will be moving to the best “Tier” (i.e., Tier 1 or 2) when the time comes time for high schools admissions. I am from a “First Generation” uneducated immigrant family and my spouse is a literal political “refugee” (think what has been going on in North Africa as of late). We are in a Tier 4 Neighborhood –we thought paying an extra $200 per month in rent would be worth it, in order to deal with less fear of crime, etc. Also, as immigrants we probably are pro-typical in obsessing about our kids’ educations and statistical chances of obtaining the “American Dream”, (what immigrant parent doesn’t want their kid to be a doctor? Ha!). So the difference of 100 points for admission to Northside has put the Fear of God in us –we don’t want the “penalty” of living in a Tier 4 neighborhood to affect our kids’ chances of getting an excellent public education (which is the only kind we can afford). If worse comes to worse, we’ll move into a trailer park in one of the suburbs with really good public schools, but we like Chicago and we’ll aim for Northside, Payton or WY. All this talk of Tier 4 kids being ipso facto “privileged” is crazy –Rogers Park is NOT Glencoe or Beverly Hills (it’s full of low-income, but aspirational families like ours). I’m now ironically very happy that we were never able to afford to buy a home –we can easily rent in the “right” Tier when the time comes for SE HS admissions!

  • 103. Tier system  |  March 7, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    KLM – I don’t blame you one bit. We’ll start seeing those Craigs lists ads listing tier soon enough. The idea of using tiers is ridiculous when you consider not only households with parents living separate but also the ability to use addresses of grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends with a 2 -flat. This component can be easily manipulated.

    Looks like they may be considering a change according to recent news. This has got to be very frustrating for families.

  • 104. Chicago Gawker  |  March 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    KLM- That’s the beauty of renting. I can easily move to Tier 2 in 7th grade, which is 2 blocks from our Tier 4 block. I will definitely consider it. I will twist my self into a pretzel, or whatever else I have to do to get the kid into a good HS. Education is priority #1, above home ownership, better clothes,vacations, a nicer car, you name it.

  • 105. Dad  |  March 7, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    If a critical mass of Tiers 3/4 families like KLM’s do the same thing, those well-supported kids will bring average scores for Tiers1/2 higher and the cutoffs will rise.
    Then the supply of housing in Tiers 3 and 4 will bloat with all those fleeing, and housing prices will plummet even more, attracting families who have become priced out of their old Tier 1/2 neighborhoods. Those new arrivals will bring down average scores in Tiers 3/4.
    In the great shuffle, score differentials will disappear, and the Tier system will become unnecessary.
    Meanwhile, Chicago’s stubborn neighborhood segregation will finally have been dismantled!
    CPS officials are genius!

  • 106. Dad  |  March 7, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    @Mayfair Dad: I got into a tangle last year with someone who thought my positive impression of Lincoln Park IB was not tempered by knowledge of some “real life” issues with actually being in the program. How have you worked through some of the concerns about safety, lack of balance, etc?

  • 107. Mayfair Dad  |  March 8, 2011 at 10:58 am

    @ 106 Dad

    Mayfair Son is currently in the International Gifted (formerly IB Prep) program at Ogden, so we have been believers of the IB movement since he applied in 5th grade. Lincoln Park IB has always been on our radar screen. Ms. Tookey – the program director – is very impressive and serves as combination principal / den mother for the IB students. So we are moving forward on the strength of the program and not necessarily the reputation of the entire school. That being said, the vast majority of LPHS students attend as part of a magnet program. Does LPHS have “urban” issues? I suppose it does but that was not the vibe I got over several campus visits. I hope my 6′ 2″ athletic son is not the target of bullying and I trust him to steer clear of trouble. Our biggest concern is his study habits, not any danger – real or imagined – the student body poses. He will have to kick it up a notch, or drop to double honors. I think he will struggle at first and then find his groove. He’s a very capable kid when he applies himself.

  • 108. rosel  |  March 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    responding to #102 on the soft spot– that really take me back– in my large lecture organic chem class at UChicago (1988) the prof started out by asking everyone from Lane Tech to raise their hand.

  • 109. attagirl  |  March 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    @102 NU started a Good Neighbor, Great University program last year with hopes to continue it:

  • 110. Nora Curry  |  March 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    I am looking for preschool for my son. I see a lot of stats about scores, but there are so many things that can affect that besides the school. I’m more interested in curriculum and about teacher and administration attitudes and investment in the kids. Of course, that can be tough to measure in a score, but it occurs to me that one way to see that might be teacher absences. Speaks to morale at least. Does CPS collect that info or anything else besides test scores, race and language info? Is it available somewhere? Thanks.

  • 111. Mayfair Dad  |  March 8, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    @ 110: Look for the school report cards available at the Illinois Board of Education website. Lots of interesting data if you want to do the deep dive. Not sure if teacher absences are recorded but it would be a helpful stat to know. Good luck.

  • 112. HSObsessed  |  March 8, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    @110, you can get a lot of info on any individual school on the main CPS website, under Find a School. Once you enter a name and click through, there are three tabs with lots of info, including results from surveys about how safe the students and parents feel, how well the school communicates, etc. It’s also very useful to open the PDF of the SIPAA report, which is a report each LSC board has to prepare every 2 or 3 years to outline the status and plan for the school. It often contains interesting stats and their perspective on what the schools has in strengths and challenges.

  • 113. RL Julia  |  March 9, 2011 at 10:52 am

    The SIPAAA does have record teacher absences and turnover in it. Around pg. 14 under School Characteristics right before the Five Fundamentals: Instruction section. The Five section is interesting because it talks about instructional goals. You might also read to see how many National Board Certified Teachers the school has. I wouldn’t base my decision SOLEY on it, but its interesting to note.

  • 114. Mayfair Dad  |  March 10, 2011 at 10:10 am

    SIPAAA = School Improvement Plan for the Advancement of Academic Achievement. Collaborative effort between the LSC (Local School Council) and the principal with input from teachers and parents, and students at the high school level. The roadmap that defines need areas and priorities for a school, which in turn determines how budget money is spent. Every parent should be familiar with their childs’s school SIPAAA, a copy can be obtained in the school office (required by law) or posted on the school website.

    Just left another blog where ignorance of LSC mission/protocol was rampant, so I won’t assume everyone understands LSC-speak. Hope this is helpful.

  • 115. HSObsessed  |  March 10, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    @114 – Posters on that blog are generally crazy, although some of the active long-time ranters seem to be gone now. I wish it weren’t like that, because Russo does a decent job of aggregating any CPS news every day. Besides that blog, I also read Catalyst Notebook, which has actual reporters and some original content. Any other blogs/sites that you suggest for us obsessors?

  • 116. cpsobsessed  |  March 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I think the quality of SIPAAAs differs greatly between schools, but a well written one would really impress me (and a poor one would depress/scare me.) Also, the SIPAAA must be aligned with budgets, so there may be initiatives/ideas that don’t get captured in them. Just another PITA of working in a big bureacracy.

    @115, can you post the link to Catalyst Notebook?

    The Huffington Post has a nice education section that often has Chicago contributors.

    Peter, who created the nice This Year/Last Year tables above is rumored to be working on something else for us which would be awesome. (hint hint hint) 🙂

  • 117. cpsobsessed  |  March 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I also wanted to bring attention to a long yet thought provoking comment/rant/POV that was made in another post that I think is worth a read…. (see @13)

  • 118. HSObsessed  |  March 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    @116 — Of course.

  • 119. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 12, 2011 at 12:49 am

    So I found this article just posted interesting…

    I had no idea that after the SE schools the 7 next top preforming high schools are charter schools.

    I also think single gender schools would be a good idea as long as they are providing an education as good as the SE schools. I went to an all girls high school and got a wonderful education without as much distraction.

    I really hope Rahm reads this site and all the posts and hears the concerns of the parents and students that contribute.

  • 120. ChicagoGawker  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I read the above suntimes article, and there is a comment from a CPS IB HS parent that I find alarming. Which HS is this? Is this a common occurence?
    ‘Meh’ writes,
    5:29 PM on March 11, 2011

    Sadly, there is a HUGE stigma attached to attending a Chicago public high school, at least the schools other than Northside or Lane. My daughter is in an International Baccalaureate program, is an Illinois State Scholar, in the National Honor Society, with a weighted GPA over 5.0 and other than being accepted is getting NO scholarship offers from schools!! FIVE AP classes and not a thin dime!

  • 121. Christine  |  March 17, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Here’s a link to an article posted on the trib where the CPS person said 85%,0,1814347.story

    She may have misspoke, I don’t know, and meant that 85% of eligible people had filled out the FAFSA.

    There’s a press release on the CPS site that indicates 73% of 19K kids graduating this year were eligible for Pell and Map grants. Amount of Pell grants awards are income based grants.

  • 122. ChicagoGawker  |  March 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    “Meh” was complaining about no merit scholarships. And the Pell grants are not merit based. I do know that selective colleges look at the average ACT scores for a HS as an indication of its academic rigor and as a way to judge student class rank and grades. So does this mean if you go to Taft IB, the average ACT of the school is going to drag you down even if you did the rigorous IB?

  • 123. jan  |  March 17, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I’ve read enough. Parents, read the top post regarding exit testing. As taxpayers why don’t we see that info? Interesting. My advice to the parents of young children, look into the programming. What math program do they use, then RESEARCH. Just pulled our children out of their small school that used Everyday Math. We didn’t understand the program till about fourth grade. Do you know anything about IMP program at Northside? If not, do. Do these graduates have the necessary background to enter competitive engineering, biology, science, physics programs? How about language arts? Very interesting things occurring in the education departments at the university leve re: LA; how is the analysis of the literature done? Does it increase in complexity or is it flat? Dig. Dig. Dig. FYI: Kids in our old school took the $400 prep test. The ones that targeted NS/Payton got in (A students), but it has nothing, NOTHING to do with systematic teaching of content in their middle school years. By the way, this school enjoys a wonderful reputation – knee-deep waiting list – and I can tell you most incoming parents don’t know a thing about the program, or process oriented instruction, project oriented instruction, constructivism in the classroom — I can go on and on. Are these incoming students really prepared for NS/Payton’s rigorous critical thinking, abstract thinking, higher order education?? I don’t know. Unfortunately we as taxpayers have only a few schools to choose from and that’s just unacceptable. For me, I’m comparing what I can between Payton, Loyola, Ignatius. For the parents of younger children keep digging and rant to your alderman!! Good luck

  • 124. Mayfair Dad  |  March 18, 2011 at 9:38 am

    I recommend the book “Crazy U” which is a humorous and insightful glimpse into the college admissions process. A good Spring Break read for parents.

    Also seek out the blog College Confidential which is like cpsobsessed but national and really, really obsessive.

  • 125. ChicagoGawker  |  March 18, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Thanks, Mayfair Dad. Onto the next obsession!

  • 126. crazy u  |  March 22, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks for the reading tip. Parent of a kid who scores off the charts and is at a selective enrollment school not doing that great academically but having a blast. Unless there is dramatic level of increase of maturity, I am NOT paying a ton of money for college. I just checked out some community colleges–what a deal–and you can get the general ed requirements out of the way. I suspect that the education is just as good at that level as the ivy league u I attended.

  • 127. HS scores, shmores...  |  March 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Forget about scores. Word is that panic is setting in at CPS over the SEHS racial statistics. Specifically (and exclusively) the number of African American students earning seats is down from last year’s number. Political factions, aldermen & special interest groups are gearing up to force CPS to set aside additional seats for AA students – as was done last year.

    Wonder if this means that the number of rank seats will again be cut to accommodate the Blue Ribbon Commission goal of raising AA enrollment at SEHS.

    From the BRC Final Report 9/22/10:

    “Looking at the data, the BRC was most concerned about the decline in African American acceptances in the 2010‐2011 admission cycle…Of all scenarios examined, three things seemed to increase the African American population. They include removing the language variable from the SES formula, increasing the tier percentage, and reducing cut scores (independently or in concert.)”

    Why does CPS bother with the cruel charade of collecting students’ grades,ISAT scores and SEHS entrance exam results if they are just going to supplant their own admissions model with political, after-the-fact set asides?

  • 128. E  |  April 19, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Are the high school admissions tests different for WY, Payton & NS? Someone told me that they are but I have not seen comment on that anywhere.

  • 129. KIKI  |  May 1, 2011 at 8:22 am

    As far as I know everyone takes the same selective enrollment test.

  • 130. KIKI  |  May 1, 2011 at 8:23 am

    They may have you take a seperate math and reading test once you are accepted as did my daughter had to do for Brooks., but I think that’s just to see where you are and what kinda class they may put you in.

  • 131. EM  |  May 1, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Is the high school selective admissions test different than the seventh grade selective admissions test? Do the tests change fro so-called “aptitude” to “achievement?”

    Someone said parents need to think outside the box — meaning not only focus on Whitney and NS. And I suspect parents will: they’ll think themselves right into the suburbs — or increasingly into temporary Tier One apartments. You think you can prepare to beat CPS’ algorithms and political necessities but you can’t without moving.

  • 132. CPSstudent  |  July 28, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    As a CPS student i must say some things. Payton and Northside may be the “best” aka highest scoring ACT/SAT test scores that doesn’t mean that they are right for every child. Many 8th graders chose WY, Jones, LT, LP (ect.) because they know they will get a good education but wont be 100% focused on school and homework. I would also like to point out that not all students that live in tier 1 and 2 go to their neighborhood schools, many of them (like me and many of my friends) go to “gifted programs/schools” or ” academic centers.” I would also like to say that not all students in tier 3 and 4 got to amazing schools and even if they do it doesn’t mean that they do well in them. In my class more than 1/2 of us got into either WP or NCP but there were also people who didn’t get into any SE school. Everything depends on each students situation. I would like to wish every student good luck.

  • 133. smadness  |  September 27, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I really wish CPS would adopt a more sane approach to this process like a selective lottery. The fact that a 12 year old missed a couple points on a Social Studies exam in 7th grade and hence got a B+ instead of an A and so missed the cut off by 10 points or whatever is crazy. They should set a cut off point and throw everyone into a lottery for that school who applies and everyone has the same chance of getting in. No set asides for race, tier, income etc. It’s heartrending when you see great kids not being accepted anywhere who are good students, good atheletes and socially responsible and being rejected based on some arcane algorithm that’s tells them they aren’t good enough.

  • 134. RL Julia  |  September 27, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    What I am wondering is why the cut off for application to the SEHS’s is getting Stanine 5 on the Math and Reading ISATS – Does anyone really get into an SEHS with scores around 50% (which is what I could figure a Stanine of 5 translates into). Why not have the cutoff be higher?

  • 135. mom2  |  September 27, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    We’ve had this discussion before. Some kids don’t test well, but do very well in class and end up being some of the best in their SE classes. So, I think that may be why they don’t require higher stanines. If they aren’t overall good students, they certainly get weeded out with grades and the SE test.

  • 136. CPSDepressed  |  September 27, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I suspect that some of the kids with lower scores end up at the SEHS on the far south side, like Brooks – which are not a realistic option for kids from the north side because of the commute.

    But the shortage of viable seats is frustrating. CPS needs better high schools. It needs better schools at all levels. It is ridiculous and wrong to put kids through this.

  • 137. stellarstudent  |  October 14, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Bottom line is that the acceptance should be based solely on academic merit. I’m sure there are Tier 1 students who are just as smart as the one’s from Tier 4.

  • 138. RL Julia  |  October 14, 2011 at 10:58 am

    All things being equal acceptance should be based on academic merit but things are fair from equal at CPS in terms of the quality of education doled out, the preparedness of students entering CPS, the amount of support given to various students etc…

  • 139. IB&RGC Mom  |  October 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    @137 If that was the case, my daughter who has been in a Regional Gifted Center and Academic Center since she was in 1st grade would have a chance of getting into a school where she could continue at the level she has been working at. Not sure if that will happen since we live in a half decent neighborhood that is considered tier 4. Hopefully she does not get any 91% B’s in any of her accelerated classes this year. She is currently in 7th grade. The stress of it is already too much. Not the classwork, just the need for perfection to get into a good high school because of the neighborhood we live in. I think she will be fine, and we would be happy if she gets into Lane which is currently her second choice as she really wants to go to Whitney. Hopefully she does well enough to get in.

    The next few weekends we will be attending open houses. I almost think it is wrong to go to some of them when she may not stand a chance since she can only get a few points off of the total score to get in, but I feel like we have to go to all that we can to see what they have to offer. Wouldn’t it be nice if things changed and selective enrollment meant selective enrollment based on achievement and not neighborhood. I have no doubt she can get into any of the SE schools that she would have to travel all the way across the city to attend, but that is not something we want to do.

  • 140. spaghettiwestern  |  October 14, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    So the bottom line for those who live in tier 3 and 4 who aim to get their children into schools that they qualify for but can’t get into because of location is to relocate a tier 3 or tier 4 apartment prior to applying to the most selective high schools. Let’s talk about this as a real strategy because without thinking this way the choice of high school is outside our hands.

  • 141. IB&RGC Mom  |  October 14, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    I think you mean tier 1 or 2 apartment, but yes that would give them a reasonable chance to get into one of these schools. Only if everyone does that the tier 1 and 2 cut off scores will be unachievable.

    I do think they are updating the tier map so I can’t wait to see if it has changed. I know there were plenty of neighborhoods I cannot afford to live in that were lower the tier 4. Last I checked the CPS site they would have the update in Nov.

    Cross your fingers you don’t have to move. Or consider moving to the burbs because who knows what will happen when it is our time to apply. Or if you have enough time start saving for some of the better private schools.

  • 142. CPSDepressed  |  October 14, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I’ve mostly made my peace with the tier system because I understand that there are huge differences in school quality and family stability in this city. The schools are for all children, and there has to be a way to give all children access. I’m not thrilled about it, but I also don’t think any reasonable person would consider my family to be disadvantaged.

    However, I’ve noticed that friends in Tier 3 and Tier 2 are far more relaxed about high school admissions than I am. Some days, I feel envious.

  • 143. Myra  |  October 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    @140 – No wonder some people think those living in Tier 1 & 2 are fooling the CPS selection process. Really? Maybe you should actually live in those neighborhoods. You’ll soon realize there are families that work just as hard as you do and care for their children enough to get them to school (a substandard or failing school) every day with the hope of making a better life for their kids. Oh yeah, they really love living in Tier 1 & 2 neighborhoods. (insert sarcasm here) Don’t be insulting with your rationale. Tier 1&2 kids still have to perform well once they get accepted into those SEHS. Let’s do away with this tier system and with giving opportunities to those kids who are just as capable of succeeding in the SEHS. NOT!

  • 144. spaghettiwestern  |  October 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    “Tier 1&2 kids still have to perform well once they get accepted into those SEHS”

    But they don’t have to perform nearly as well to get there. There are well-off people living in tiers 1 and 2, and less well-off people living in 3 and 4. The tier system does nothing but make more oblique CPS’ goal of raising the number of African Americans in the SECS. It is critical that able African American students get the opportunity to go to good schools, but it is also infuriating and frustrating that my child has to get a near perfect score for the same opportunity.

  • 145. cpsobsessed  |  October 14, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    The problem is that race wasn’t working any better (and we can’t use it anyhow) so what can be done instead? Well, as well all know, more good high schools….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 146. IB&RGC Mom  |  October 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    CPSD, I envy you for making peace with the system. Unfortunately I cannot make peace with a system that will keep my child out of one of the top 2 schools for 12 points off of 900 while other kids get in with 94 and 106 points off. It is a huge difference. Especially when the grading scale is not consistent in all CPS schools.

    Myra, I lived in a tier 2 neighborhood just prior to living in my “tier 4” neighborhood. In my tier 2 neighborhood we could not afford a house and rent was expensive because it was considered up and coming or trendy. There are plenty of neighborhoods in lower tiers that we wish we lived in. There are plenty that are not very desirable as well. Our problem is not with all kids being afforded a decent education. Our problem is with a system that is so unfair. All kids deserve a good school and unfortunately there are just not enough to go around. If my daughter gets a few B’s in her accelerated classes she will not be able to get into any of the top 5 SEHS’s and the rest are to far to commute to. Our neighborhood high school is just isn’t an option we are willing to consider at this time.

  • 147. CPS doesn't really want socio economic diversity  |  October 15, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Yep. I know wealthy people who have an empty apartment just for this reason. And allow a few friends to use the address as well.

    The only way to do this (socio-economic tiering) is to require submission of W2’s upon acceptance and prior to registration.

  • 148. Jonesing  |  October 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    If Jones gets set-aside neighborhood seats, that could help the south Loop kids, correct? Even if they don’t test in, from what I’ve heard. Anyone know the latest?

  • 149. CPSDepressed  |  October 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    There are no neighborhood set-asides for the SEHS. That was done away with long ago.

  • 150. spaghettiwestern  |  October 15, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Yes, there’s a chasm between scores required for top tier and those for lower. And it’s been shown that the number of minorities only increases when they expand the range. Is there a lawsuit there waiting to be over the range? This new system really does not guarantee that the most deserving kids get the opportunity for best education. All it does is serve to satisfy an imposed quota — unspoken though it may be.

  • 151. IB&RGC Mom  |  October 16, 2011 at 1:06 am

    I thought it was causing some schools to be less diversified. I think I had read something about Whitney Young having a less racially diverse incoming class when they started the tiers.

    I think I am even more nervous then ever after going to the Jones open house today. The line to get in was crazy. The line wrapped all the way from the front of the school down Harrison and all the way down Plymonth. I literally got in line at the corner of Plymonth and Polk. I was there over 3 hours and they kept the presentation short and after that you pretty much just toured the school on your own.

    I did like what I heard in the presentation in the auditorium and from a few of the students I spoke to while waiting in line.

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