Get to know the North Side High School Initiative group

March 10, 2011 at 3:58 pm 26 comments

Not sure if anyone remembers my New Year’s resolution for 2011: To get in touch with the North Side High School Initiative group to see what they’re up to/about. As January came to a close I hadn’t yet made a move, nor had I been flossing more often (other resolution.) But as luck would have it, someone from the North Side HSI got in touch with me. Not sure the dental floss is going to make quite the same effort.

So here is the lowdown on this group:

The group was formed by some parents whose kids are in a parochial school together, but like all of us, are looking ahead towards high school and wondering how we can expand some options. The parents who founded the group are in the Lake View high school district. As we know, there’s been some renewed emphasis on that school lately. The city has hired the ex Bell principal as a consultant to help LVHS flourish and find a way to attract a greater share of neighborhood kids (in particular, those who don’t get into a selective high school or might not prefer the rigor of one of those schools or might not want to travel across the city to get to school.)

So currently, there are parents in the Lake View district who are starting to connect with the school to see what some next steps are to increase community involvement (which as many of have learned is often correlated with a school’s success.)

The NSHSI group hopes to act as a central hub of parents from a range of neighborhoods who might also be working to improve their neighborhood high schools. Or possibly parents who might want to try to get another SE high school added to the north side (as a note, this is not their current objective) But the beauty of the idea is twofold:

It makes total sense for parents of multiple schools to work together to share ideas and options and resources, etc rather than having each school reinvent the wheel. It feels a bit daunting a job to undertake but the more schools can learn from each other, the better.

Power in numbers
There are some efforts that may require a lot of parents lobbying CPS together, so a “central group” would be vital in organizing these efforts.

The group is currently waiting for the new mayor and CPS admin to be put in place to plan their next move. But I’m hoping that we can have some discussions here about some ideas, issues, suggestions, etc that might help the group to grow and figure out how to make an impact.

I think it’s important to point out that they’re not a group of parents who are here to “fix things” or do all the dirty work for us. I see them as more of a central hub for parents of schools around the north side (or other parts of the city) to connect.

I’ll have some more posts coming soon where we can discuss some possibilities for how/if neighborhood high schools can be made more appealing to a wider range of parents and what steps might need to happen to get the ball rolling.

In the meantime, I’d encourage you to Like their Facebook page. The more parents who are members will show the new mayor that a lot of parents are concerned about this issue.
NSHSI Facebook Page

More to come….

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

High School Principal Discretion Period Now Open 2011 POST ELEMENTARY LETTER NEWS HERE!

26 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Grace  |  March 10, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Great idea.

    Re: Information sharing: Certain neighborhood high schools have magnet programs that kids travel a long way to attend, like the Lincoln Park I.B. program, bypassing other I.B. programs on the way.

    I’d like information on what makes that program so well-regarded.

    Prof. Brian Spittle of De Paul has done a good deal of research on IB graduates and how they do in college. He could be a good source.

  • 2. Grace  |  March 11, 2011 at 12:10 am

    No time like the present!
    I would follow the lead of Ald. Solis and Fioretti, who got their schools since Mayor Daley announced his retirement in September.

  • 3. Grace  |  March 11, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Follow this link to a story on how new schools are opened and others closed.

    ” Where new schools go – and how they impact enrollment at existing schools – is one issue that does not seem to be considered in current planning. …

    Who has clout

    More recently, lack of coordination has led to top-down decisions bordering on the absurd: a vocational training program closed at Collins High School after millions of dollars were invested in new equipment; $100 million budgeted for a new building for Jones College Prep after $23 million was spent for improvements on its existing building; South Shore high school students attending a decrepit building across the street from a new facility, built for them but then set aside for a new selective enrollment school; and most recently, two small schools in Austin that were merged and “unmerged” in the space of a week.”

  • 4. cps Mom  |  March 11, 2011 at 11:14 am

    I wonder what the 23M in improvements were to Jones. The building certainly looks the same as the 1960’s when it was built. Does this figure include fitness clubs and fields that they have to rent out because they do not have the facilities? The school has not announced the plans for the existing building yet. The article makes it sound like this is a “throw-away”.

    As far as South Shore is concerned, everyone has been screaming for these programs yet once the community gets it, they complain that this takes away from the existing program. I don’t get it.

    These new facilities, being in short supply, should go first to those who value the education and the opportunity. The reason some of these buildings are decrepit are not just about depreciation of the facility but about abuse of school property, graffiti and vandalism.

  • 5. Mayfair Dad  |  March 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Check out:

    I propose we approach the Gates Foundation to build TechChicago Academy on the site of the crumbling K-Mart at Foster and Elston Avenues. It would not be a SE high school, but similar to the Von Steuben model, where there is a minimum stanine for the general student body and a higher minimum stanine to qualify for the accelerated magnet program. Weeds out the gangbangers without becoming elitist.

    Hey Arne Duncan, how about a little something for your old hometown. Rahm, feel free to give this tool a swift kick in the pants.

  • 6. Patty  |  March 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    @cps mom, I agree with you! I don’t understand why people are so upset with the new South Shore International College Prep H.S. I think it is an great addition to CPS. I applied for the IB program for my daugther since she wasn’t selected for a SE. She has the grades and scores, so I am not sure what happened. I think the way they set up the new school; 100 neighborhood students, 100 magnet CTC students and 100 IB students, is a great idea. I am drawn to the IB program for some reason. I really like how it demands students to take four years of math, science, english and a foreign language. In addition to educational field trips, more community service hours required, travel overseas opportunities,. I hate to admit it but I kind of perfer my daughter in the IB program instead of an SE. I think that the program will still prepare her for college.

    @Grace, I am curious to see the professor findings on how IB students do in college. I am sure that they do fine though. I hear a lot of people talk only about LPHS IB, but I have heard good things from Amundsen IB and Morgan Park IB as well. For me, LPHS, Amundsen IB programs are too far for me. I am glad that South Shore new building is opening and an IB will be apart of the school. When I seen the application on this site, I immediately applied! This is a very good site for keeping parents informed of CPS programs.

  • 7. cpsobsessed  |  March 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    I think with new schools, they’re never going to please everybody. New schools open and people wonder why CPS isn’t fixing “all the schools.” If no new schools open, people complain about lack of options. In a system like CPS, there’s not one right answer so I respect that they’re trying new things.

    @6 Patty: Please keep us posted on the application process to the south shore school! I’m interested in following it and what you find out about it!

  • 8. Patty  |  March 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    @Mayfair Dad, the TechBoston Academy looks interesting. Why don’t you propose the idea to CPS? I don’t know how CPS decides on which schools are allowed into Chicago, but I think that school is a great idea. I think the school should be magnet though and maybe centrally located so that all students can access the school, that are admitted. Maybe over in the Payton HS area or downtown Chicago in a high rise.

  • 9. cpsobsessed  |  March 11, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    @Mayfair Dad, I have to laugh each time you mention the Kmart site, as they’re one of my clients at work and I’m sure they have no idea you’re scoping out the site for a school! It’s not really near public transport, is it? Except maybe the Elston bus?

  • 10. Patty  |  March 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    @cpsobssessed, The acceptance letters for South Shore International College Prep comes out next month and I will let you know how its turns out for us and about the new H.S as well.

    I agree with you that CPS will NEVER be able to satisfy everyone. That is just how life goes. When we got rejected to an SE, I wasn’t upset, I am use to CPS by now and had just prepared myself for sending her to ST. Francis H.S. Then I read on this site that the new South Shore HS would have an IB program and I applied the next day (since I work downtown)! This is a great site for parents. I would have missed out otherwise.

  • 11. Patty  |  March 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    @cpsobessed/Mayfair Dad- Are you talking about the Kmart down the street from the Target in Addison Mall?

  • 12. cpsobsessed  |  March 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    There’s a Kmart at 5033 N. Elston, near the highway and Foster. Probably wouldn’t notice it unless you’re going up Elston.

  • 13. Mayfair Dad  |  March 11, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    @ 9: Easy access to the expressway, Foster Avenue bus and the soon to be reinstituted Elston Avenue bus, not far from the Jefferson Park transportation hub. For the Kmart site to work, the school would need to be more of a vertical building, not horizontal. Team sports could use the facilities at nearby Erma Hernandez forest preserve and Gompers Park. We will sell naming rights just like a sports stadium, since the signage can be seen by millions of commuters on the Kennedy Expressway every day. I think John D. MacArthur International High School sounds perfect, since the multimillionaire philanthropist made his money at Bankers Life in good old North Mayfair…but Budweiser High works, too. Don’t tell your buddies at Kmart until I’ve ironed out a few wrinkles in my plan. Let’s just say Arne better not show his face in Chicago unless he ponies up some serious cheese for my high school! (Is that guy worthless or what?)

  • 14. cpsobsessed  |  March 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Groupon High!

  • 15. Patty  |  March 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    @Mayfair Dad: Good Luck with you new high school plans! Your idea sounds like an excellent educational opportunity for future students.

  • 16. mom2  |  March 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    I love the idea of Groupon High. Oh, my!

  • 17. Jennifer  |  March 11, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Groupon High – I love it. My husband would love to have his kids go there.

  • 18. Grace  |  March 13, 2011 at 11:08 am

    The director of corporate giving at Groupon will be part of a Chicago Tribune panel giving a talk soon on philanthropy.

    Maybe Mayfair Dad, you could approach her?

  • 19. Joe  |  March 13, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Does anyone have any information about Alcott High School? Does anyone or would anyone on this blog send their children there? I can’t find anything about the school except for basic things. Is it a good school? How are the test scores/students/teachers? Any info would be appreciated.

  • 20. Groupon High  |  March 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Groupon High is already proposed in the school voucher bill. In fact, you can send two students to Groupon High for a single voucher.

  • 21. Jo  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:38 am

    A great idea for parents to get involved with their highschool when their children are young to make sure the H.S. stays good and continues to improve and receive its fairshare of the education pie.

  • 22. Tammy  |  March 17, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Great info! Thanks for all your work getting this out to us confused parents.
    FYI – Northside is one word, not two.

  • 23. spell check  |  March 17, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Tammy, you should send that one into the spell check people that show a little red line under the word Northside every time you type it as 1 word.

  • 24. cpsgrad  |  March 18, 2011 at 11:04 am

    A group of parents on the city’s south west side is also banding together to demand a better high school option for their children. Morgan Park h. S. is their local school and although it boasts an IB program which attracts students from outside the boundaries, the neighborhood families are afraid to enroll their kids due to safety issues (too many non-neighborhood students are currently enrolled).
    The Ag school is another option but their is no guarantee of getting in as seats are limited.
    If CPS would “take care of” its neighborhood high schools (i.e., enforce attendance boundaries and provide adequate security) people would actually use them instead of fleeing the city once their children get to high school.
    This is not a race issue this is a safety and security issue. The south west side is an integrated community, as are their local public grade schools. Morgan Park H S is not integrated.

  • 25. cpsobsessed  |  March 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    @24 cpsgrad: If you know anyone in that group, they might want to connect with the North Side HSI group. If both are going to try to connect with the city, there is power in numbers and more efficiency.

  • 26. Mich  |  April 1, 2011 at 9:02 am

    @cpsgrad it isn’t just security, it is quality of education and it is clear that isn’t available at Amundsen. So enforcing the boundaries there just forces us to flee.
    I’d love to see banding outside of rallying one school. I live half a mile from Lakeview but due to boundaries I’m supposed to send her 1-1/2 miles away to Amundsen. Not in this lifetime unless there are some serious fixes to the school. And I’ve not found anyone to rally with me around Amundsen. So how about the North Side initiative start working with other areas of the North Side?

What do you think?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed




Blog Stats

  • 6,163,838 hits

%d bloggers like this: