Lane Tech meeting Thurs March 17 5:30pm

March 14, 2011 at 12:49 pm 124 comments

A parent from Lane emailed me about a meeting at Lane this Thursday to discuss the proposed academic center (that may be a “done deal” in CPS but still needs a forum for input — sounds a bit like a dysfunctional relationship, but hey.) 

Join CPS Representatives to discuss the proposed addition of a 7th and 8th grade Academic Center program at Lane Tech High School.

Thursday March 17, 5:30 pm
(I cannot discern the actual location of the meeting inside the monster building.  If anyone knows, please post.)

There’s no info on the Lane Tech site, but a flyer was given to current parents.

If (as people report) kids who already tested for an Academic Center this year will be eligible, CPS needs to get this thing approved and offered up as an option.  It’s similar to a few years ago when Coonley RGC was offered up at the last minute.  I’m pretty sure that all happened AFTER initial first round offers were accepted.  So the next couple weeks seem critical in determining whether this Lane AC is going to open or not. 

I may try to get there, but it’s a little difficult given my Loop work and the meeting start time.  (I always say I’m going to “get places” and never do, don’t I?  I swear I have good intentions.  I need an intern who I can send to meetings…)

Here’s an article about the 3/17 meeting:
Looks like Noreen Ahmed-Ullah, the Trib education reporter is following this story, which is nice.  From her article:

Lane Tech has sought an academic center for two years, but this is the first time it’s proceeded this far. Lane Tech Principal Antoinette LoBosco said the community has gathered 3,000 petitions online in support of the program.

CPS officials will present plans for the program at Thursday’s hearing, along with explaining what adding the academic center would do to the number of spots available for students applying to Lane Tech’s freshman class in future years. If approved, the program hopes to start with 90 seventh-graders in the fall, then add eighth grade the subsequent year.,0,1315207.story

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124 Comments Add your own

  • 1. anxious mom  |  March 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    The timing is slightly different with Lane than Coonley. I know that with Coonley I knew about the school when I made the decision to reject our first round offer. Here you are taking a greater risk. Back in 2008 I don’t think anyone turned down Edison or Decatur for a possible spot at Coonley. However, I would think that there are several Decatur parents who would consider turning down Whitney for Lane, especially if their child scored incredibly high.

  • 2. Patty  |  March 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Its true, I called Lane Tech HIgh School today and spoke to the Freshmen Admission person. She stated the Lane Tech AC is opening this fall and students that have tested already will have first “dibs” on the their new AC’s slots.

    @Anxious Mom, what is wrong with Whitney Young AC? I thought their AC is a top notch program. Is it the distance? I know that Whitney Young and other Academic Centers offer its students bus service, to and from home.

  • 3. Patty  |  March 14, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I am curious about what is wrong with Whitney Young AC ? All students have bus service that are in AC programs. What will they do to fill seats if students turn down their seats for Lane? And what if students turn down Young for Lane but isn’t accepted to Lane at all. I am not trying to be noisy but curious on how this will work out and how seats at Young will be filled bc AC testing is over.

    Are students at AC’s guranteed admissions to SE’s?

  • 4. anxious mom  |  March 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm


    I don’t think there is anything wrong with Whitney. Its a fabulous program. For some I think it would be the location and the fact that I have heard Whitney is not generous with their A’s in 7th grade so its hard to transfer elsewhere in 9th grade.

    Also, Whitney was never really in the realm of possibility for us. My kid took only the test because of Lane being a possibility so I am very psyched about this. So I am hoping that all of the Whitney spots are taken first round and that she can squeak into the program. This seems to be more on people’s radar than Coonley was 3 years ago. With Coonley families were called up out of the blue who had never heard of the school.

    My kid did run out of time and guess at the last 3rd of the AC test so I have to hope that there were an inordinate number of “C” answers at the end, or that she was perfect in the first 2/3 of the test. And despite the vacant homes and foreclosures surrounding us we are tier 4 this year, which doesn’t help our cause.


  • 5. Patty  |  March 14, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    @Gwen, Oh ok!, Thanks! I was thinking that Young was losing its edge. I see that they still ave high test scores of 99%. I really hope and pray your child get into Lane. It is a great school.

  • 6. Politico  |  March 14, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    So by lane tech having a AC Program,that means they will reduce the incoming freshman slots by alot!!! They usually admit about 900 to 1,000 freshman every year.So it will be harder to get into lane in the 2012-13 year.It’s a good thing that Westinghouse College Prep opened it’s doors 2 years ago.As that means that parents will have more SEHS Options in the fall of 2011..Alot of kids that score high enough on the exam and dont get into WY. Will now have another option in Lane Tech 🙂 ….I believe WY only takes in about 150 kids into their AC Program..I’m wondering how many kids will Lane Tech offer seats too??? Since LT is a much bigger school than WY..

  • 7. Mayfair Dad  |  March 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    @ 6 & others:

    The kids that test into the Lane AC program in 7th grade are the same smart kids with motivated parents you would have encountered in 9th grade. No Net-Loss of seats really — just families deciding to get a jump on the competition. 5th grade ISAT scores just got a whole lot more interesting. And you thought you had a few years to go before developing an ulcer the size of a golf ball.

  • 8. Patty  |  March 14, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    How many students will be accepted into Lane AC? Lane is getting larger and larger. The school is already over 4000 students strong. Yikes! Young has 2000 students and I thought that was large for 12/13 year olds to navigate. When I went into Lane, I got lost. I wonder how seventh graders will handled being thrust into an environment with over 4000 students. The typical elementary school size has only about 200-400 students. This will be interesting and exciting to see take place.

  • 9. cps Mom  |  March 14, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    @7 I think 6 is referring to the seats lost for 9th graders going to 7th and 8th graders. They say they will lose 90 seats. Not bad unless you look at it as 50% of Jones freshman class or of Tier 4 student waiting for round 2 that might be number 910-1,000 in the final outcome.

  • 10. StressedOut  |  March 14, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    I thought I read a couple of months ago that if Lane was allowed to open the Academic Center, it was in addition to their enrollment. In other words it would not reduce the number of 9th graders accepted but increase the student membership.

  • 11. StressedOut  |  March 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    According to a Tribune artice dated January 28th, Lane would start with 90 7th graders. Then they will add 8th raders in subsequent years.

  • 12. cps Mom  |  March 14, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    In a prior thread to sign the Lane petition, it is explained that once the 8th grade class is enrolled next year they will take 90 less 9th graders to make space for the 7th and 8th graders. Normally it really wouldn’t make a difference to me but when I read in the high school posts from these kids scoring in the 700’s devastated about not getting into Lane, I think it matters. @6 is right – these kids will be able to get into any SE school so why should we give up the very limited SE high school spaces? Everyone wants more SE schools – this seems like a contradiction.

  • 13. cpsobsessed  |  March 14, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Thanks for the article, Stressed Out.

    So I get the point that there are no AC on the North Side that feed into a SE HS and I get that the Lane Principal probably wants to bump their cache a bit. I also don’t like that Decatur etc kids are left in the lurch for 7th and 8th grade, so this helps them.

    But I agree… if it is taking away from highly needed SEHS spots, seems like it’s not a net win. It’s just shifting some accelerated spots to lower grades.

    The program will also reduce the number of 9th-grade entry spots that will now be filled with Lane AC kids. Grumble.

  • 14. cpsobsessed  |  March 14, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    I added a link in the post with info on the Lane Tech meeting on Thursday.

  • 15. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 14, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    I still don’t think they will be losing SE spots since it will most likely be those same kids that would be getting those spots in 9th grade. Yes it will reduce the number of acceptances by 90 and yes it may drive up the score needed a tad bit to get in, but it may even open spots in 9th grade at other SE schools such as Whitney/Payton/Northside since some kids who enter the AC will prefer to stay put rather then be uprooted again.

    I just honestly believe the kids getting into AC’s are the same kids that would get into the SE schools come 9th grade. There are such few spots in AC’s and they get so many applications that it has to be an extremely low percentage of kids that actually get accepted. Also these kids have been preparing for this since 5th grade and would be preparing in 7th grade if need be. It is only 90 spots for Lane’s 7th grade. When I went to the WY AC open house I spoke to a OAE coordinator. She said they would have 124 spots for 7th grade and over 2000 applications. It was so packed I couldn’t get into the auditorium to find out what the teachers and administrators were saying. It was standing room only and with no visibility to the stage. Her suggestion was to consider Taft AC since there were so few AC spots available.

    I do think it is crazy that there are not more options or a better plan for kids leaving Decatur and having to find placement in 7th grade. More AC’s would be the best option for these kids and for others. I only hope that the parents apply to as many schools as possible to secure them a spot somewhere the education they have had thus far isn’t wasted. They go to what is often ranked the best elementary school in the city only to have to scramble to find placement in 7th grade.

    Of course I am looking out for my daughter first and foremost and to have her not be crazy stressed out in 7th grade (for those of you who haven’t seen “The Race to Nowhere” I suggest you see it) is my goal while still getting her into a school that she will learn at the same rate she has been. I would love for her to get a spot in the AC, but I also know that she would then be leaving a spot in a RGC that would possibly be for a Decatur or other very deserving student.

    Also I did call the OAE last week about Lane and they told me that if the Lane AC center did open this fall they would notify those who have already tested even if they accepted another spot in an AC elsewhere. – Someone may want to verify, but that is what the person I spoke to said.

    One thing I do worry about is the culture shock for these kids to have to be the first 7th graders to enter this very large high school. While they seem to have a good culture it still may be weird for the high school students having 7th graders on their turf. Still I love the idea of the 6 year program. The classical and RGC’s are supposed to have an education equal to 8th grade by the time they finish 6th. What better then for them to start a program where they can earn high school credits for high school level work!

  • 16. Patty  |  March 14, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    @IB&RGC mom, I agree with you 100% that the AC addition to Lane is an excellent idea. I think that there is only one other on the nortside (Taft) while the southside has four (MP, Lindblom (SE), Harlem & Kenwood, respectively) and one centrally located AC at Young.

    As I stated before, I did contact Lane Admission’s office today and admission officer told me that Lane will indeed,open their AC this year in the fall. The OAE will contact only students that have taken the AC exam already. I strongly suggest you (and others) to attend the Lane AC meeting, so you can learn more and maybe even network with some administrators at Lane and CPS.

    I don’t agree with another SE high school to be added. I think CPS should build a new cetrally located magnet high school that focuses only on the new STEM program. We are actually way behind other states, in regards to not having an all magnet STEM H.S.

  • 17. Gayfair Dad  |  March 14, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    When given the opportunity to have enrolled my child in an AC, I followed the advice of a respected veteran Principal to keep my child in a K-8 environment vs a 7-12 environment. Worked well for mine.

  • 18. Patty  |  March 15, 2011 at 1:03 am

    @G-DAD, I am glad the k-8 environment worked for your child. It has worked for my daughter as well. She is currently in a k-8 gifted center program. I never considered an AC for her. And I am not going the SEHS madness route either. I will be choosing a good IB HS program instead. However, I believe that we as parent should do what is best for our child. Some parents desire an AC and want to get their child into a SEHS where they are guranteed a high school slot and I see nothing wrong with that either. Which ever program is best for your child, that is the route you should take as a parent.

  • 19. Anonymously  |  March 15, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Here is something useful to do!

    The well-regarded Catalyst magazine, with excellent writing on CPS schools, is asking folks to suggest who they would like to see as the next CEO of CPS. Click on the link. Enjoy!

    Catalyst survey for next CPS CEO:

  • 20. cps Mom  |  March 15, 2011 at 8:34 am

    @15 – that is exactly the point. Kids that qualify for AC’s will get into SE regardless of the guarantee associated with an AC. The 90 kids that will be displaced are the ones that don’t meet the cut off. You know, the ones that had a bad test; the ones that depend on Lane Tech in order to get into SE.

    There are 25 kids in a Decatur 6th grade class that have to find a home for 7th grade. Where I do think that is a difficult situation, not optimal by any means, I find it difficult to believe that these kids will have any problem finding a school that wouldn’t welcome them with open arms.

    I find it a very sad statement that the concern to get a SE spot has come to this. Keep in mind that if you are not one of the lucky 90 7th graders you may become one of the unlucky 90 9th graders. I am not sure when the WY AC started but you can be sure that with the now 15,000 applicants for SE, they would have a tough time justifying space for an AC if they opened now.

    @4 – What makes you think that Lane will be generous with the A’s? The fact that AC parents use these spaces (whether they care to admit it or not) as an interim stop to Northside or Payton makes this Lane proposal (or should I say done deal) even more difficult to swallow.

  • 21. Wondering  |  March 15, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I obviously don’t know the neighborhood, but Ist it impossible to add space so that Decatur can go through 8th grade?

  • 22. Marrs96  |  March 15, 2011 at 8:57 am

    We have our daughter in the Lindblom AC program (7th grade) and honestly for her its been great. I think certain kids do well in a high school environment, but it does take time for students to become self-organized which will certainly affect most 7th grade students GPA’s (plus the expectations are much, much higher than in most grade schools.)

    Honestly from what I’ve seen if you are in the AC at Lindblom you stay at Lindblom, I would expect much the same for Lane.

  • 23. mom2  |  March 15, 2011 at 9:37 am

    I agree with those that say that once you are in a Selective Enrollment AC, I highly doubt that you would want to change schools in 9th grade. You’ve made friends, you are comfortable at the school, (and once you are at Lane, you love it). The goal for someone once in an AC would be to take the more rigorous courses that are offered and to gain high school credit early on. That way, you can take more electives and AP classes later on in high school which looks great for college (both getting in and financially). The goal should not be to then try to switch schools. So, those of you talking about getting A’s in 7th grade AC make no sense. It will be harder and a real challenge and that should be the point.

  • 24. Politico  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Dont we all love the SEHS & AC Programs?? We parents sometimes get to obsessed with all that CPS has to offer.Let’s not forget about the kids that are applying thru the Principal’s Descretion.But at the end of the day,we parents have to do what’s in the best interest for our children…Good Luck to all of you!!!

  • 25. RL Julia  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:52 am

    From my experience, 5th graders are a lot less aware of/prone to the stress associated with the AC process than the hysteria of the SEHS. Just like with the SEHS – people need to look beyond the AC’s when thinking about a place for their kid – if need be. There are more than 25 kids who are going to the AC’s from other schools besides Decatur – so while it might be a scramble, it isn’t an impossible situation.

    I think that Decatur has tried to expand but it hasn’t happened and probably won’t for a number of reasons I am not particularly clear on.

  • 26. curious  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Why then do so many kids want to leave the Taft AC program for another high school? I don’t understand it. Staying put there for 9-12 has never been a big choice for kids from the NW feeder schools. But that’s just what I have heard and I could be completely off base. Let me know what you have heard please.

  • 27. cpsobsessed  |  March 15, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Decatur is physically very small, so they are pretty much at capacity (although I believe the currently alternate each grade with 1 or 2 classes per grade, so that could be a way to make room for 7th and 8th graders.) But I recall the prinicpal saying on a tour a few years ago that they felt like if they went up through 8th grade, that a lot of kids would still try to leave to secure a spot at WY AC so they didn’t want to do it pursue it.

  • 28. cpsobsessed  |  March 15, 2011 at 11:15 am

    @26 Curious: I believe the issue with Taft is the large neighborhood element and that it is a large school. As a result, the academics are not as strong as at SE schools and from what I’ve learned this past week, when you have a school with a large neighborhood component (meaning high school age kids who are guaranteed a spot at the school even if they’re trouble/rough) combined with a large student body, it can result in a more “tough” atmosphere at the school than an academic one.
    I think that is the million dollar question regarding Taft (which SHOULD be able to keep the AC kids) or Lakeview. Can you attract more academic-minded families to that environment?

  • 29. SE Mom of 2  |  March 15, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Former Taft AC parent here- we left because of exactly what cpsobsessed said in #28- the neighborhood element at Taft dominates the school. The IB program at Taft and even its honors program are rigorous enough, but we didn’t want to put up with daily fights, smoking on the corner and a dress code (all courtesy of the neighborhood element) so we switched to an SEHS and have none of those problems.

    As for Lane AC- I think it is a good option. I agree that the 90 students who are allowed to stay at Lane for HS are the same kids who would get into Lane or another SEHS for 9th grade, so it shouldn’t really have a negative effect.

    BTW, This was apparently a good year to apply for SEHS b/c of the CPS decision to over-enroll schools.Lane’s principal said that they have 1250 incoming 9th graders next year. (Usually they take 1000-1100)

  • 30. RL Julia  |  March 15, 2011 at 11:44 am

    @26, 28 – O.K. – here’s my lame-o answer about why kids leave Taft as far as my husband and I have been able to figure from our son the 7th grader at Taft. Status. Most of the kids at Taft are 1. smart enough to get into Taft – so they are smart enough to be SEHE contenders (or at least think that they are – or have parents who think that they are). 2. Many of the kids at Taft are there because they didn’t get into WY. These kids feel like they have something to prove.

    Taft is a really nice school from what we can tell. For one- it is really balanced – smart kids are served via the IB program, regular kids are served through the regular program, its big but not huge. It is the closest thing to a regular high school I have seen/heard about in Chicago. The school community is friendly, the school seems safe enough. Its an ugly building but in a lovely neighborhood – however it is not 100% full of SEHS calibre kids and that means that everyone thinks that they can/should do better or that it is unsafe (because goodness knows no SEHS kid would ever do drugs, have sex, join a gang, bully anyone or act like a jerk in any way).

    Like Lincoln Park the IB program is really rigorous and they really work the kids – but until there are more ACs in schools that are not SEHS’s Taft will be the step-child of AC programs. Taft’s interest in going to Track E probably isn’t going to help much either.

  • 31. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Patty (@16) I did mean to thank you yesterday for the information you posted about the Lane AC getting set to open in the fall! I was excited to read that last night.

    Also, you make a great point about needing more magnet high school programs. I just equate SE’s with a better education (compared to a lot of our neighborhood schools) and I think we just need more options for a good education for all of the kids and I think more magnet programs would be great.

    For longer then I remember I always wanted my daughter to end up at Northside, but I have decided recently it probably wouldn’t be the best fit even IF she would be able to get the nearly perfect score (tier 4) to get it. Not that Northside is not a fantastic school. Many of the kids we know love and are so proud to be students at Northside, but I just don’t think it is the right fit for my daughter.

    If she doesn’t get into Lane or WY AC I know I will be exploring the other options out there for high school including IB. I have my younger daughter in a primary years IB school and I love it.

    CPS mom (@20) I see your point and I understand better with your explanation. Though I still don’t think it will be 90 less spots. I am sure some of those kids will leave to go elsewhere (not everyone is in it for the 6 year program) and some of those kids would be the same kids that would be given spots in 9th grade. I guess if the Lane AC does open (as it sounds like it will) we should keep watching how the cut off scores change and number of offers for freshmen, etc. to see the impact it truly had.

    And as far as your comment that it is sad that concern to get an SE spot has come to this I agree, but I am less looking at the fact that it is a SE spot and more looking at it as a spot in a good high school where my daughter will thrive and be happy and safe. I can only imagine that is what we all want and is the reason we try to research our options and stay current on what is going on with CPS. I would not send her to our neighborhood high school. I would look to private school options before ever considering our neighborhood school. I know that some people are luckier to have a neighborhood school that is safe and provides a good education and high school experience, but that is not the case with my neighborhood school.

    Also, there are people that are moving tiers to get a better shot at an SE spot. I think it is sad that it has come to this. I understand they are doing it because they want the best for their kids though. I am just trying to secure a spot in a 6 year program where my daughter will earn credit for the high school work she will be doing either way. In the RGC they won’t receive the high school credits for the high school work they do.

    Also I do have other reasons for wanting to switch schools for my daughter that go beyond securing a spot in an SE school. If she was completely happy where she was and had the close friendships that would make her want to stay through 8th grade I would without doubt keep her where she was and have her graduate with her friends. I understand that if that was the case the chances of her getting into Lane would be reduced with the new AC, but I would do it because I felt it was best for my daughter to stay put. Even with that said I am still for the Lane AC. It is all about options. They do need more on the North/Northwest side. I honestly hope we all will find the best options for our kids educations! And no that is not necessarily the highest scoring SE school out there. Nor is it necessarily an SE school at all, but we have to work with what we have and know.

    I love reading this blog and all the feedback. I think reading what everyone has to say and their opinions helps us to make better decisions for our children.

    Now I just have to learn how to write shorter posts. Sorry I have never blogged before.

  • 32. SE Mom of 2  |  March 15, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Getting HS credit as a 7th & 8th grader is a great benefit of ACs. It really gives the former AC students a “leg up ” in HS and frees them up to take classes that interest them or more APs if they want to. Those HS credits will transfer to any CPS HS as far as I know.

  • 33. HSObsessed  |  March 15, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I agree with @RL Julia re: why Taft AC students leave. The one former TAC kid I know and many of his friends left, mostly for Lane Tech, for many of the reasons RL Julia cited, as well as the fact that LT was centrally located and an easier commute for all of them.

    Putting on my Pollyanna hat now — I really wish that CPS were at a point at which parents felt confidence that their K-8 elementary school provided a rigorous enough curriculum in the 6-8 years that there was no need to look to other programs. Also, I wish that “trying for” a SEHS was something that most students did, but if they didn’t make the cut, that was OK because the neighborhood HS was good enough academically and from a safety standpoint. There is so much (understandable) angst involved in the process, the way the system is now, and that’s not a good thing no matter how you look at it.

  • 34. Anon  |  March 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    @27 So you know … many years back my neighbors’ sons went to Keller RGC. Like Decatur, it also only went up to 6th grade. It fed into the MPHS AC.

    Parents would sometimes bypass Kelle RGC for Lenart, bc Lenart went to 8th grade. Keller got a new building and went from k-8. It is very popular with great scores.

    Some Keller and Lenart kids still test and enter WY AC. There are always openings in the 7th and 8th grades at those schools. Of course, there are always neighborhood kids ready to jump into those openings, too. Works just fine.

  • 35. Patty  |  March 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I highly doubt it if students who are accepted to AC’s would pass up an SEHS acceptance. I do think that CPS need to add more IB, Scholars or STEM programs at the High School level for neighborhood high schools, just as LPHS, MPHS, Stueben have already done. That way students that are not accepted into SEHS’s (which clearly by now we all have learned that not every child will be accepted into an SEHS), could have other academically challenging program options. They could either chose to attend these schools or go the private school route.

    I think since Jones College Prep is getting a new building next year that CPS could use their old building (which is centrally located) to start a new all-magnet high school. The school could be split with two college prep programs; IB and STEM. Admissions could be based on stanines,etc and only accept maybe 400-500 students caps (keep the school small). I think this is a great idea, the school is in a safe location and everyone from all sides of the City could easily get to the school. Chicago is the only large city without a high school dedicated to the STEM program.

    However, I have a strong suspicion that the old JCP building is going to be given to CHI Arts, since they do not have a stabe home. I wish I could talk to CPS officials because Chi Arts could go in the old Near North H.S building, which CPS isn’t even occupying right now.

  • 36. Patty  |  March 15, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    @Anon, I never knew Keller Regional Gifted Center stopped at 6th grade. I am glad that they expanded to the 8th grade. That is the school my daughter attends. It is small and safe. The teachers, our test scores, and principal is excellent!

  • 37. Patty  |  March 15, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I would also like to add that I heard that both Luther South High School and Luther North High School are struggling to enroll students. I think that they should just go ahead and close both schools down and CPS should step in and buy both buildings. Both Luther South and Luther North are in decent and safe neighborhoods. CPS should turn both Luther South and North High Schools, with the soon to be old Jones College Prep building, into an all magnet high schools. All three schools could offer IB and STEM program. These schools could be either fall back schools, first choice schools for students that either did not get into an SE or for students that desire a more rigorous college prep course of study. Keep the schools small with only 400 or 500 students. Admission could be selective, interview required for both programs, parental involvement requirements and stanines would be a factor. I think this would be a great idea for CPS, if CPS would only listen to me.

  • 38. cps Mom  |  March 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    @29 – is that 1250 accepted offers at Lane? Does that mean that there will be no round 2 at Lane? That’s significant.

  • 39. cps Mom  |  March 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Patty – I hear you. I agree with you that keeping the school small would go a long way to alleviating some of the discipline problems and enhance the curriculum and learning experience for many. I think that it is wondrous what Lane is doing for the “big school” but it took a long time and selective admission. I think that they are truly the exception.

    Too bad you can’t get a spot on that education committee. You have my vote.

  • 40. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 15, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    My vote too. Patty your ideas are excellent!

  • 41. Stressed by CPS  |  March 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Most kids who attend Taft’s AC do think they can do better. The comments about neighborhood elements dragging the school down are mostly true. It is a great option for those students who need a little more rigor and who can succesfully complete freshman classes as an 8th grader. But opening up an AC at Lane makes it easier for those who live closer to that area AND being able to feed into the HS means one less test and acceptance/rejection letter they have to deal with. I spoke with my child’s principal and asked her opinion about Lane’s AC because this elementary school is close by. She thinks a lot of good elementary schols in the area will lose kids to Lane for 7th grade. And even though a lot of parents wouldn’t take their child out of some of these great schools, they will definitely have their children tested just to see what happens.

  • 42. Patty  |  March 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    @Stressed by CPS, I agree with your statements. I too am stressed by CPS, but honestly who isn’t. I think that the northside deserve one more AC. The southside has four AC’s. The northside could use one more because I know that there are more students that might desire or need that type of environment. I don’t know which high school that they could add the AC to, but I think it is needed. That way northsiders could feed into Lane, Taft, Young and another school to accomondate the demand.

    @CPS MOM & IB/RGC MOM, Thanks for the votes, Lol! In regards to Lane, I think Lane is an excellent school. I would’ve chosen it for my daughter but it is too far for us. Lane test scores are high, excellent curriculum and sports activities, just an all around fine institution.

  • 43. HSObsessed  |  March 15, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    @Patty, I like your ideas, too. About needing more IB programs, though. Did you know that there are IB programs in 12 high schools all over the city? The LP IB program is the oldest and therefore the best known, biggest and gets the most applicants, but 11 other high schools offer the same program and diploma. However, for some reason, they only graduate around 15-25 students each year, v. LPHS’s 85ish IB graduates. I’m not sure if this is due to lack of qualified applicants, lack of interest, failure to complete the requirements of the fairly rigorous components, or what. But anyway, anyone who wants the IB experience and wants to stay closer to home may have some good options.

  • 44. southside mom  |  March 16, 2011 at 6:15 am

    Patty, you are a genius! Love your Luther So & No. ideas!

  • 45. SE Mom of 2  |  March 16, 2011 at 9:01 am

    @38 I beleive it is 1250 accepted offers, but it might be just the number of offers. Keep in mind that some will accept to save the spot while they try principal discretion somewhere else or decide between Lane and a private school. I agree that it has signiifcant ramifications to people waiting for a round 2 spot or principal discretion.

    I also love Patty’s ideas about the Luther N & S bldgs.

  • 46. Mayfair Dad  |  March 16, 2011 at 9:17 am

    @ Patty 37:

    Sound reasoning. Which CHARTER operator will Rahm reward with this prime real estate?

  • 47. mom2  |  March 16, 2011 at 9:49 am

    For anyone interested in the Lane Tech Grading Scale, I have heard that there will be an LSC meeting at 5pm tomorrow in room 113 to vote on changing their scale to match Payton and Northside with the standard 90/80/70 scale. This meeting is 1/2 hour before the community meeting on the academic center (at 5:30).

  • 48. cps Mom  |  March 16, 2011 at 9:56 am

    I understand that one of the changes to SE that the principals will request is that LP and other CPS programs like Von Steuben be added to SE. This has become an issue for both LP and SE – students accept spaces at LP and wait for a SE offer. SE have to turn down high scoring tier 4 students that accept lower choice schools (afraid that they may not get another chance) and cannot go back to them. They are trying to avoid a round 2.

  • 49. Jill Martensen  |  March 16, 2011 at 10:06 am

    As LSC Chairperson at Decatur, I have tried for the past 7 years to get a 7/8th grade expansion of our program. We have gotten all the way up the food chain to the CEO meeting with us and touring our school with the Capital Improvement team….alas, no expansion is in the works. They just do not want to mess with a system that works, and works well. We even talked about moving Decatur to the then vacant Irving Park Middle School Building, but instead they opened Disney II in that space.

    Having another north side option for our students is great news indeed. I for one hope it gets approved on March 23rd! I would chose it over Taft for my second child who will test next year simply because it feeds into the SEHS. My oldest is at WY’s AC and is thriving. He will stay put there for HS, without even bothering to test for another school. It takes the load off to have at least one of my children checked off my “to do” list until college app. time. LOL I’d love to make that two!

  • 50. ChicagoGawker  |  March 16, 2011 at 11:17 am

    @49 Will it be a headache to have them at 2 different HSs when that day comes? AC students get bused, but that will end when they are freshman. How do parents deal with the trans to HSs across the city? Are the kids rising at 5am to take public trans? How many of you drop them off on your way to work?

  • 51. Mayfair Dad  |  March 16, 2011 at 11:38 am

    @ 47 – this is a very interesting tidbit of news. The only downside of the Lane AC that I could see was the tougher-than-necessary grading scale, so if a Tier 4 parent wanted the rigor of an Academic Center and the peace of mind of a guaranteed seat at Lane HS — but also planned to test for an “upgrade” at Northside, Payton,,– you might actually be hurting your child’s chances because of a 92 “B” in 7th grade at the AC. Then your child is literally trapped at Lane HS.

    I hope Rahm fixes this ridiculous inconsistent grading scale bullsh*t the first day on the job. Just send the memo. Done.

  • 52. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 16, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Ditto! I didn’t realize how many schools are at a 90% A because my girls are both at schools that are on a 93% A scale.

    And Lane at 95%!!! Hopefully they do get that changed! How more inconsistent can we get.

  • 53. Curious  |  March 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Jill — With Decatur’s success, you’d think CPS would want to grow the school. I imagine you included your alderman in the discussions. Does Decatur draw students citywide?
    BTW, there is a new report recommending how CPS should manage its school properties at the Chicago Teachers’ Union web site that might be of help to you. We can only hope.

  • 54. Stressed by CPS  |  March 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    I am curious to see how well the Lane’s AC will do the first year. I am sure people will expect it to rank high on the top 10 list but if it doesn’t, that doesn’t mean they won’t get there. It will be very new to many people so the success of it will come in time.

  • 55. Patty  |  March 16, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    @Stressed by CPS- I believe Lane’s AC will do fine its first year, test wise. I am sure they will need to get the right teachers, course of study and activities in place, but I think in their second year, the AC will be even better than the first year. I also beleive that the northside need one more AC, to make it even.

    While I am glad we have one more AC added to CPS, I strongly believe we need at least 3 more, all magnet high schools in Chicago, that will be selective in some way. I feel like we have enough SEHS’s already. And we do not need anymore Charter/Military Academies. I am sorry, but we have enough of those already and CPS need to take back its high schools. I am thinking about the; high scoring, above average and average (who desire a quality college prep curriculum with rigor) students, whom are denied admission into the nine SEHS’s, for whatever reason. Not every parent can or even want to pay for private high schools that are often over 10k per year. That is money that can be saved for college, obviously. CPS fustrates me so much. I called down there to pitch ideas often, but of course they want listen. I don’t know who else to go to because my Alderman isn’t accessible. I just really want our kids to have some real good options, in case they are not selected into an SEHS.

  • 56. HSObsessed  |  March 17, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Patty, you should submit your education proposals to which is Rahm Emanuel’s website to actively solicit proposals from citizens about what needs to be done for the city. Your voice should be heard!

  • 57. Lane Parent  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:58 am

    My daughter attended the Taft AC and is now at Lane. Both have been wonderful experiences for her. I believe her experience at Taft AC totally prepared her for attending a big school like Lane. The transition was effortless. Lane is a really great school, full of really nice, well rounded, smart kids. After the dissappointment of missing a slot at Northside by a few points, this really has been the best place for her. Their large selection of AP classes can’t be beat. Also, from what I understand the new AC will be confined to the 4th floor, similar to Taft’s AC wing.

    Taft kids leave because it’s a social stigma. The AC kids believe the other SE schools are better than Taft’s IB, and it’s a huge dissappointment to them to have no other choice than to stay there. Half my daughter’s friends were in tears the week that letters went out, because they didn’t get any offers and would be staying at Taft. We’re now thrilled that she ended up at Lane because it’s an easy commute from our Irving Park neighborhood. It would have been difficult for her to get to Taft with public transportation from here. Next I’m hoping I can get my 6th grader into Lane’s AC, so we don’t have to worry about the stress of SE placements again. This time we’ll be choosing Lane first!

  • 58. Been There  |  March 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

    The old Jones Building, which won’t be vacant until the fall of 2013, ( and that’s IF the new building is completed on time) is being considered for a new AC program for Jones.

  • 59. getting fooled by promoted "programs"  |  March 17, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Huge supporter of the Lane AC here, and one who has spoken to the principal on the need to properly train their potential AC staff, as I disagree with #57, as all Taft did is dump high school level hw on kids, not teach them how to analyze, synthesize or evaluate information.

    Which leads me to my next point-as involved parents, please do not get duped by a school that offers AP or IB programs as an indicator that they are “good”. There is a reason the less successful schools don’t share their scores-their kids aren’t actually learning the stuff at an AP level. Because it’s not being taught at an AP level or the kids aren’t comprehending on an AP level.

    Same goes for IB. LPHS will share its kids’ scores with you-will Taft? Nope. THE SEHSs will post their AP scores. Do Lakeview or Senn?

    It is VERY common (in CPS and elsewhere) that the veteran teachers get the AP classes (working, as always, under the-false- impression that the “smart kids” are “easy kids”), NOT the most qualified teachers.

    I’m not going to start bashing on teachers (they have been taking a beating for quite some time now), and PLENTY of AP/IB teachers are awesome…but I just don’t want you all-again, as involved and smart parents-to be fooled by fancy names without looking behind the “pedigree”.

    And I’m going to get REALLY cynical here and tell you that the College Board, while a non-profit-is still concerned with their bottom line. AP exams are $87. Schools keep $8 of that. And don’t even get me started on prep material costs.

    I promise I am not so grouchy in real life.

  • 60. HSObsessed  |  March 17, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    @58 Been There — Interesting scoop… Hmm, this makes sense. The South Loop school is very overcrowded and they’ve been struggling with space issues, and have spoken about moving their middle school years off site, a possibility which many did not like. Separately, South Loop parents are currently pushing Alderman Fioretti to get CPS to have Jones set aside a percentage of seats for neighborhood kids (this would be a highly controversial first for a SE HS) since they don’t like their neighborhood high school option. So, maybe they will push to have a Jones AC with guaranteed admission for all the South Loop school’s 6th grade gifted students?

  • 61. Interesting  |  March 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    @ 55 Patty — I know it is a lot of running around, but …
    After Rahm, consider reaching out to Terry Mazany. He is putting together a plan for the incoming CEO, and he is a very reasonable and very experienced person.

    Consider talking with Miguel del Valle. His web site shows his position on improvements to education. He is thoughtful and progressive.

    Also, try Ald. Latasha Thomas is the chair of the city’s Education committee — she was appointed by Mayor Daley and she is in a run-off.

    If you can connect up with a group of parents, you can all pay a visit to the aldermen in their offices downtown. Nice to call first.

    And you can call Jose Alvarez, CPS School and Community Relations, and request a meeting with the Director of the Office of High School Programs. It’s a great way to ask all the detailed questions about STEM, IB, etc.

    Patty, you have wonderful ideas. Just listen to all the people here who have responded positively to you!
    CPS is a byzantine place, but don’t give up just yet.
    All the best

  • 62. Grace  |  March 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    @ 59. Thanks!@ It is important to know that all IB / AP courses are not the same — thanks for this.

  • 63. Mayfair Dad  |  March 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    @ 59: I like you.

  • 64. Grace  |  March 17, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I second that. And who doesn’t like Mayfair Dad?

  • 65. my kid attended Taft's AC  |  March 17, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Mayfair Dad, Grace, I like you too.

    I was at Lane’s thing tonight-mostly peeps who were supportive of it-quite frankly, it sounds like a done deal-I think the only thing that would have PREVENTED it would have been a ton of protesters, of which there were none. ONE guy-an administrator from a Catholic school asked that we keep in mind that we’re not “for or against”…that we’re all pro child.

    BIGGEST thing: peeps that did NOT opt to test into ACs are NOT, at this point, eligible for the Lane AC. They said that when kids who tested get their AC letters (or IB I guess) next week (ish), they will also get a note that explains the Lane AC and gives them an option to “re-rank”. That did NOT go over well with most people, from families who did not choose to test to people who “had no dog in this fight” (which was kinda sweet).

    They gave the option for those who could/would not speak to email (only open for about 48 hours) their thoughts: Not sure if the G or the E or the C in that should be capitalized (stupid phone), so if it doesn’t work at first, tweak.

    I spoke though! $10 to anyone who was there who guesses who I was…

    This has been mkatac reporting. Good night.

  • 66. Stressed by CPS  |  March 17, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    #65…I was also there. I think I remember you. You can keep the 10 bucks though. lol. You said you have a sophomore at Lane? I have a freshman at Lane who also attended the Taft AC. It was an ok experience for me as a parent, a good one from my son’s POV. But he never intended to stay there because ever since 5th grade, he said he wanted to go to Lane. Coming from Decatur where you HAVE to leave after 6th grade, an AC at Lane would have been perfect for him and the location for us is perfect. But I’m happy he ended up there anyway. He LOVES it and I must say, so do I.

  • 67. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    I was there too. Mayfair Dad I think you were there right? Well since Jill Martensen posts with her real name we know who she was. I am really happy that Decatur students will have another option. Hopefully all applied to AC’s!

    Actually I was surprised by how supportive the staff, LSC, students, and alumni were. I am really hoping my daughter will get in. She did test for other AC’s.

    I do think it is sad that people who didn’t apply for other AC’s won’t have a chance to apply or test for Lane. I would be so upset if I was in your position. One mom mentioned having to go home and tell her child they could not apply. Heart breaking!

  • 68. my kid attended Taft's AC  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    @67-agreed. It will be the only bad PR on this decision…though my gut tells me that trying to deal with “new” applicants is just too unwieldy. At least for CPS. Though I was surprised by the Decatur dad who had “just heard” about the Lane dealio-I know I got wind of the petition at least a couple of months ago…

    And nope-my kid will be going to NSCP next year, I was the mom who mentioned how hard it is to uproot them in 7th grade only to have them all disband two years later. Given our experience though, had a Lane AC been an option for us two years ago, my kid would have done that and remained there. It was painful to watch her elation at getting in her top choice only to see friends NOT get in…and then even get the “how did YOU get in?” crap. Not fun.

    Power to the people, peeps.

  • 69. Stressed by CPS  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    #68 ok sorry I mixed you up with someone else but I do remember your comment. Did your child also go to Decatur? And also sorry I don’t remember all the comments on here nor do I read them all so I want to ask you was your experience/your child’s experience at Taft a good one?

  • 70. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    About that Dad – I thought he must not be on LOL.

    I thought about how they would administer this too and if they could even make it happen. The only way I thought they would be able to do something is like 1 test date with the kids that were actively seeking this program out (like next weekend), but I know it will still be a mess since the other letters are already out. I think they realize they will always have people that will not be happy, but still too bad they couldn’t have gotten the ball rolling (faster at least) a few months ago and have people have a choice in the matter. And for that matter too bad they didn’t have it a couple of years ago when you needed it!

    Your daughter should be proud of her hard work!

  • 71. Lane Parent  |  March 17, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    My daugher loved her experience at the Taft AC. Like any other program, the teacher made the class experience, and there were some teachers that were much better than others. She was well prepared for Lane. She started at a neighborhood school, not a gifted or magnet, and after Taft tested into all honors and AP classes at Lane. And I agree, the worst part was making so many good friends only to have half of them end up at other schools. Fortunately, several of them ended up at Lane also. Her one good friend that ended up at NSCP now wishes she had gone to Lane!

  • 72. ohreally  |  March 18, 2011 at 9:07 am

    I was at the Lane meeting last night and what I loved (besides the OAE official stating AC letters “would go out this week”–was it impossible to say “went out today” or “will go out tomorrw”) was the look of surprise on the officials’ faces when parent after parent expressed the lack of fairness in this year’s application process, Particularly moving was the mom who said “so I have to tell my 6th grade daughter that because she didn’t apply to a school that didn’t exist by taking a test for a school that she didn’t want to attend that she now has no chance to attend Lane next year.”

    My child took the test hoping to get into WY. If he doesn’t make it, do I think it makes sense that he gets the chance to be part of Lane’s inaugural AC class over hundreds of kids who would have made Lane their first (or only) choice? No. That 7th grade class should be comprised of students who want to be there–not by those who select it by default.

  • 73. Mayfair Dad  |  March 18, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Yes, I was there last night even though I have no dog in this fight. I always go to these things intending to listen and learn, and then I hear something that really annoys me and I am compelled to stand up and speak…and blog about it the next day.

    The notion that a family who didn’t apply to/test for an AC last December — because they had no intention of going to Taft or WY — are now ineligible to apply to/test for for this new opportunity at Lane that didn’t exist last December is unjust.

    Every time CPS pulls a stunt like this and gets away with it, we all lose because next time it could happen to our kid. Take a moment today to strike a blow for fairness, transparency and inclusion re: CPS decisions affecting our children:

    P.S. I arrived at the LSC Meeting a little late but heard the LSC recommended the Lane Tech grading scale be changed to 90-100=A, 80-90=B, etc. Final decision rests with the principal.

  • 74. Lanehopeful  |  March 18, 2011 at 9:26 am

    First, thank you all for your reports of the meeting last night. I could not attend because of work and child care issues but I knew that people here would report on what happened and I was not disappointed.

    While I sympathize with those families who did not apply because they did not know about Lane I don’t see how else they can do it. From my understanding those who currently applied get ‘first dibs’. Does that mean if theoretically if it doesn’t fill up they will have a summer application process?

    However, in our family we did know about the prospect of Lane opening up an academic center (not sure if it was from this blog or somewhere else). In fact my 6th grader and I attended the open house last fall, chased down someone who knew about it, were told that there was a big push from Decatur parents, reached out to Decatur parents, and signed our kid up for the AC test because of the possibility of an academic center opening up. At the time we were happy with the current school situation and were realistic enough to recognize that my kids scores wouldn’t be good enough for WYAC.

    The same thing happened with Coonley 3 years ago. I guess the lesson we should all take from this is to apply and test every year because you never know what can happen at CPS. I am now in a situation where I desperately want my kid to leave the current school and am kicking myself for not filling out an application for Alcott, Hawthorne etc. All those AC kids have to come from somewhere so spots should open at other high performing schools in the City.

  • 75. RL Julia  |  March 18, 2011 at 9:31 am

    I hate to be so mean here – but the families who were happy enough with their current school choices who chose not to apply didn’t. It might have been a nice option to have but apparently they didn’t think that anything was so terribly broken. In a perfect world its not fair but hey -what is. Anyone who reads this post for more than three minutes should be able to figure out that CPS is practically the definitive not fair.

    Sometimes you catch a break and apparently all the kids/families who want their kids into an AC regardless of what the AC might be just did.

    Next year will be different for sure.

  • 76. Mayfair Dad  |  March 18, 2011 at 9:57 am

    @ 75: I hear you, and usually agree with you, but…

    My frustration in this instance stems from the cavalier “ya snooze, ya lose” attitude that seems to permeate everything OAE does. Unless a parent devotes endless hours blogging, researching, obsessing about how the CPS “game” is played, your child loses out on significant advantages.

    This is something different. Why should a familiy be penalized for not applying for something that wasn’t even on the menu? It was not laziness, or indifference, or ignorance or contentment with the current school — the option didn’t exist!

    For every new CPS option that is introduced, the implementation plan should automatically include a new opportunity for people to apply. A public school system, paid for by public tax dollars, should serve the public (and not just people in-the-know).

  • 77. HSObsessed  |  March 18, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I agree with Mayfair Dad and the others who believe this is unfair. It’s also inconsistent with the way they handle other new schools, i.e. the new STEM magnet school in the West Loop. They are allowing people to apply now, separate from the magnet application that was due in December 2010. They aren’t just offering the STEM seats to families who applied to other magnet schools in the vicinity, like Jackson and Galileo. I do recognize, however, that applying to a magnet elementary does not involved taking a test, submitting grades, etc. and is therefore less complicated. Maybe the Lane AC could offer a one-time special application process for those who would have applied to Lane’s AC if it had been in existence, and use grades and ISAT scores only as a criteria.

  • 78. Junior  |  March 18, 2011 at 10:38 am

    No, it’s not fair, and I sympathize with people who miss out. But that’s how large systems work. Would it be fair to divert resources from an already strapped system to use to hold new city-wide testing for what may amount to a handful of spots in the new AC? Would it be fair to the kids who tested in January to compete against a new April cohort with a few more months of learning and development under their belts?

    As we know, you can’t make a system that is perfectly fair to all people at all times. Was the racial quota system always fair to everyone? Is the new tier system always fair to everyone? Would a system based solely on test scores be fair to everyone?

    This is life. Sometimes you’re the bug, sometimes you’re the windshield. If you’re the bug this time, I do sympathize.

  • 79. mom2  |  March 18, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I also agree that CPS should offer a very fast, one-day test, in March, for those that didn’t test in December. If they want to adjust for the couple of months of more education, so be it. Give those families and Lane a chance.
    It is just another perspective in all this – if Lane is required to only take those potential AC students that tested in December and not those that would have tested had they known, it also has the potential to hurt Lane a bit by starting them off with possibly a pool of lesser qualified students (many that didn’t make it at all, along with some that will re-rank for Lane). I’m sure anyone that even qualifies to test for an AC is a high quality student, but I bet there are some students out there that are more “gifted” that would have been a part of Lane’s first year of AC had they just known it was an option. Not as good for Lane.

  • 80. Junior  |  March 18, 2011 at 11:15 am

    mom2 < windshield
    mom2 = bug

  • 81. RL Julia  |  March 18, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I think one of reasons not devote a lot of time/resources to this is because the AC testing is sort of off to the side. Everyone tests for Kindergarten/1st grade and everyone tests for high school. Only a relative few test of the ACs.

    So, given that everyone agrees that not re-opening the test for people who didn’t apply, missed the date etc… is not fair – please explain to me how opening up the can and allowing more kids to test is somehow fair. I’m going to apologize ahead of time for being so crabby about this – and for the typos.

    First, to do this “fairly” you are going to have to have some assurance of fairly publicizing this new opportunity to everyone who might be interested. So really only the people who read the paper, hang out at the CPS website, have prinicipal who are up on this stuff (and get the memo in time and read it) are really going to know. Basically – its going to be a self-selecting audience of people already following this issue who want into Lane and Lane specifically and only – remember these are people who (up until last night) were happy enough at their kid’s current school not to have them tested for a different AC center.

    Second, what if 300 Einsteins come out of wood work and test specifically for Lane – do they only get to pick Lane? What if Lane doesn’t take them and do they get to chose a second AC? If not, isn’t that sort of unfair to the schools that aren’t Lane?

    Third – doesn’t re-opening the test to kids who only want Lane sort of unfair to the kids/families who already tested? Do they get kicked out of the pool if 300 better students decide to test for Lane but Whitney wants them? Do they not get into Lane specifically because they sat for a test in December or do they have to sit for a Lane specific test – in essence taking a test twice for the opportunity to go to Lane – that isn’t really fair either.

    So really no matter what you do – it isn’t going to be fair to someone. Who do you want to penalize?

  • 82. Lane Parent  |  March 18, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Totally agree, Julia. I’m quite sure there are already many more kids that have tested for the ACs than there are spots available. This new addition will help those kids who would have lost a spot due to relatively small amount of seats that currently exist. Adding even MORE kids to this pool will mean many more kids who really need the AC seat will not get one.

  • 83. Grace  |  March 18, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    May Fair Dad, you are right. OAE can amend this.

  • 84. Mayfair Dad  |  March 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Back in December of 2010, a pool of motivated students applied and tested for a limited number of spots in the Academic Centers that existed at that time. Students were asked to rank their choice of Academic Centers. For most families who reside on the north side of Chicago and who participated in this process, the logical choices were Whitney Young # 1 preference or Taft # 2 preference. Some families chose Taft # 1 preference because of bussing time concerns.
    The outcome of this process is known by CPS.

    Students and their families who participated in the December 2010 process should be informed of the outcome, and given the choice of accepting the seat offered at Taft or WY. Further, these students should be informed of a new opportunity at Lane Tech AC, and given the choice of declining their seat at Taft of WY and participating in a new citywide application/testing process for the brand new Lane Tech AC.

    A new citywide testing/application process for the new Lane Tech AC only should be announced and implemented as quickly as is practical. Rationale:

    Fair to the kids who competed for spots back in Dec 2010, because they are given the choice of accepting the spot they’ve already earned;

    Fair to the kids who made preference choices back in Dec 2010 based on incomplete information, because the existence of a new Lane Tech AC would most certainly have influenced their preferences;

    Fair to the kids who did not participate in the Dec 2010 process because the addition of a new Lane Tech AC changes the education landscape in the city

    Going forward, it must become standard operating procedure for CPS to provide a supplemental application/testing process for all new school offerings announced outside of the calendarized process.

  • 85. RL Julia  |  March 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Fair enough – what about the kids who sat for the test but were not offered a spot anywhere? What about the kid who wanted Whitney but didn’t score high enough (at that time) but got into Taft instead. So a kid already in the AC has to decline their seat to test for a potential seat at Lane? That doesn’t seem fair to the kid who wants to go to an AC but whose first choice (Lane) wasn’t available at the time of application.

    If enough Whitney kids go to Lane instead does this mean that Taft kid could be given a chance at Whitney?

  • 86. Mayfair Dad  |  March 18, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Let’s break down the scenarios:

    1. Kids who sat for the test but not offered a spot will have the opportunity to test for the new Lane Tech AC. New test.

    2. Kids who wanted Whitney but got Taft have a decision to make — accept the “bird in hand” Taft or decline Taft and try for Lane Tech AC. Fair because a choice is offered and the guaranteed seat Taft is not taken away, only declined.

    3. The “bird in hand” is 6 years guaranteed at Whitney Young. Do you decline your certain spot at WY for a chance at Lane Tech? Maybe a handful of parents roll the dice, but not likely. They are given a choice, and choice = fair.

  • 87. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Mayfair Dad, I don’t there will be a new test. I think they are just rolling with the test results they have to keep things as simple as they possibly can from an administrative standpoint.

    I am waiting to see what that letter says to know for sure, but my understanding is that you do not have to decline any acceptance, but will still get a chance to re-rank your choices whether you receive an acceptance or not.

    P.S. Thanks for the post on the grading scale at Lane. I was not able to attend that meeting.

  • 88. ohreally  |  March 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Mayfair Dad, can you please get a job with OAE because your scenario is not only fair but in fact doable.

  • 89. mom2  |  March 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    It is also my understanding that if someone was accepted to an AC, they get to keep/hold that spot and can still try for Lane. So, if they want to try for Lane, there is nothing stopping them from trying – even if they open up a new test for anyone else (including those that already tested but didn’t get into WY or Taft).

    P.S. Junior – I don’t have a 6th grader, so I am not a bug.

  • 90. cps Mom  |  March 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Just to throw in one more variable – aren’t their kids from Lindblom A/C that would want to go to Lane? Also, in the past IB programs – Ogden, LP and others were on the same application. What about those kids would they get another chance?

  • 91. Junior  |  March 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I’m sorry. It sounds a little extreme to initiate new citywide testing that would affect, what — 30? spots (assuming 2/3 of the potential candidates already tested) (With additional possbily many of those spots not changing in outcome). Would you have to start a new contract with the testing outfit? And spend money publicizing this in every school. Question — how much of CPS resources should be allotted so that maybe 15 kids (many of whom are already in SE programs) can change their current school for two years?

    “I don’t have a 6th grader, so I am not a bug.”

    Some bugs have 6th graders.
    You do not have a 6th grader…

    What can be deduced?
    (1) You are not a bug
    (2) You are a bug
    (3) You may or may not be a bug
    (4) Some gifted students have been know to eat bugs.
    (5) This thread is really starting to bug me

    No offense intended of, to you or bugs. Of course, I’m a windshield, and but you knew that because I’m so transparent.

  • 92. Stressed by CPS  |  March 18, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    To have a new test date and still meet the April 1st deadline of making your selection is pretty tight. Also, if you were not selected for WY or Taft’s AC, I don’t think it’s right for Lane to take a group of rejections just to fill spots. It seems their first year they will be taking kids who potentially scored under the minimum of what the other schools accept. I do think kids accepted to Taft will re-rank their choices and if they get into Lane, of course new spots will be open for Taft and then that AC will be taking in kids with possible lower than normal scores.

    RL Julia is totally right about whatever CPS decides every year, it isn’t fair to most people and others who it does help stay quiet. My kids are minorities. When race was a factor, of course I was happy because they had an advantage. When it changed to tiers, I wasn’t so happy because our tier doesn’t really match our actual status. But I had to just have faith in the system because no matter how much we rant and rave, we don’t have the final say so on anything.

    Also, reopening testing to every 6th grader means even the best elementary schools might lose some students to Lane or they might reconsider Taft or WY and those principals wiil be angry to lose kids and have to accept new ones over the summer to fill their spots. I understand both sides of reopening/ not reopening testing but I just wanted to share how reopening would cause other issues. No matter what, someone is happy and someone is pissed.

  • 93. Stressed by CPS  |  March 18, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    #90 CPSMOM-the AC test is different from IB and RGC tests so according to the OAE, the option to select Lane is for those who took the AC test. If you took all the tests then sure, you can select Lane. But if you only took the RCG test for example, then you don’t qualify for Lane. Actually, I am not sure how IB tests differ but I know that the RGC test is different than AC. I have a child who went through the process years ago but I don’t remember everything nor do I know what has changed since then.

  • 94. Mayfair Dad  |  March 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    @ 90 – 91

    1. Yes, students who were accepted into Lindblom should have the choice to decline guaranteed “bird in hand” Lindblom for a shot at Lane Tech AC. I suspect this decision would be driven by geography – families closer to Lindblom would tend to stay with guaranteed Lindblom option.

    2. Whether it is 30 seats or 60 seats at the new Lane Tech AC, it is significant. Remember these seats guarantee a spot at Lane Tech High School. As a point of comparison, a similar high school education at St. Ignatius will cost you $60K.

    3. IB program starts in 6th grade, not 7th. Not sure how RGC works. It is worth pointing out that these students would also have a choice to make because the test for the new Lane Tech AC should be citywide and inclusive, not exclusive. The Ogden IB program guarantees a spot at Ogden International High School, a pretty attractive “bird in hand” also, so not sure there would be many defections.

    4. Yes, many neighborhood schools and possibly even RGC and magnet programs would experience a loss of top-performing students who will want to pursue a chance for a guaranteed 6 years at Lane Tech. It is that attractive, a game-changer for the north side and entire city.

    5. I understand the desire to limit the pool of Lane Tech AC candidates to a pre-qualified list from last December. Certainly cleaner, easier and cheaper to implement for CPS. Certainly a favorable turn of events for students who landed at Taft AC and who will now get a shot at upgrading to Lane Tech AC competing against a smaller pool of candidates. But that doesn’t make it fair.

    Children should always be the windshield, never the bug.

  • 95. RL Julia  |  March 18, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Mayfair Dad – I was with you until the end of point 3 – choice does not = fair. To give an extreme example you are at auschwitz one line goes to the gas chamber one line goes to the concentration camp – two options, in theory two choices but which one is fair? Or if you want something where there was maybe more personal choice you are in the Warsaw ghetto – get on the train to go to a concentration camp or get shot – again two choices but neither are particularly fair.

    I see the light but I still think it is too confusing.

    Junior- you crack me up.

    Stressed – I really doubt that the quality of student at the ACs will be significantly lowered if Lane picks their students from the existing pool. There are enough smart kids to go around.

    Generally – does any one actually think that they belong in the tier they live in? I am in tier three and think that its pretty accurate. Am I the only one????

  • 96. RL Julia  |  March 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Oh yeah – one more thing about choice and fairness- if say they opened an AC at Shurz, would there be all this about the unfairness? Would there be a line around the corner for people to get in? Would there be concerns about maintaining the high quality of students? I doubt it.?

  • 97. adad  |  March 18, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I remember last year when the end results for the SEHS did not seem “fair” to the powers that be, they had no problem opening up a new application process for students who had not been admitted as well as those who hadn’t even applied, so that 100 additional spots were created and filled. Just an observation…

  • 98. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 18, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    RL Julia, I am tier 4 and I highly doubt that is accurate. Tier 3 maybe, Tier 4 – NO. I read in a post that Lincoln Square is tier 3. If that is true, I think I am tier 2 (ok, not really, but in comparison). I grew up in Lincoln Square. Couldn’t afford to buy a house over there, but yet the neighborhood I could afford is tier 4?? I have to check to see if that post was accurate as I haven’t verified for myself. I wish there was a map with all the tiers laid out. Is there?

    Also, Shurz is my neighborhood high school which is why I am actively seeking other options for my daughter! Sorry to anyone who goes to Shurz it may be a perfectly fine option for some, but I am basing my opinion on what I have seen. I know someone that went there a few years back. I don’t think they ever graduated – she was too busy getting into fights. I know some of what you make out of the school is based on the what you put into it, but still not a risk I want to take for my daughter. I haven’t looked at their scores recently either, but since my daughter is coming from an RGC I want her to keep learning at the pace she has been.

  • 99. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 18, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    And Junior while I always agree with all of your opinions your posts crack me up!! 🙂

  • 100. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 18, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    LOL, I meant don’t always agree!

  • 101. HSObsessed  |  March 18, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    @98 – map of the tiers, third PDF down.

  • 102. Mayfair Dad  |  March 18, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    @ 87: You’re probably right, but I still must howl at the injustice. That’s how I roll.

    @ 95: I am flattered to be compared to Oskar Schindler.

    @ 96: You’re comparing apples to oranges. No one wants to go to Shurz. A spot at Lane Tech is highly coveted, especially by Tier 4 students who didn’t make the cut for NS, Payton, Jones or WY.

    @ 97: Excellent point. If there’s a will, there’s a way.

    @ 91: Sometimes I feel ike a bug and CPS is a giant can of Raid.

    Its Friday night, when Mayfair Dad becomes Malbec Dad. Over and out!

  • 103. Patty  |  March 18, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    @IB/RGC- I think you are right to look for another high school option. I just looked up Schurz H.S test scores and it is extremely low. Their scores are; 18%-11%. I highly doubt if the school would challenge your child. When is your daughter graduating? Maybe check out Lane, NSCP, Young, Payton or Jones. Also I think LPHS (IB/Double Honors) and Von Stueben (Scholars Program) are also some good options as well. I hope this helps.

    I will be looking at Jones, Young and Payton next year for my daughter (7gr RGC). I think you get six choices so we will have to research at least three more SE high schools. I plan on maximizing all of my six options. But I will also have at least three fall back schools, just in case. This is the reason why I have been trying to lobby CPS for the last couple of years for at least 2/3 new all magnet high schools. It makes sense bc even if your kid qualifies and scores high enough for a SEHS, that dosen’t mean that they will get a slot.

    @cps mom-I have one kid at Keller Gifted School and one in magnet school w/an IB program for all grades. We have kids that come from all over the city and a few of them that tested for Lindblom/WY/Kenwod AC, have told my me that they want Lane now just so that they can be closer to their homes (less travel). I think this whole Lane AC process is going to be interesting

  • 104. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 18, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Patty I couldn’t agree with you more. I plan on having her apply to all of the schools you have listed (as long as that is what she wants to do). She is in 6th grade now so we did apply for AC’s. She did have a B in one class so I don’t know what will happen, but we just have to wait and see. Right now my top 2 have changed from NSCP and Peyton to Lane and WY, but that has been based on visits to the school and things I have heard from other parents. I do plan on visiting all of their open houses next year so things may change again. She works really hard for every good grade she gets and she does well but she is not always the most motivated to go above and beyond. As far as doing exactly what is asked of her she is terrific!!

    If she gets into Lane or WY AC she would stay put for all 6 years (unless she wants to change). If she doesn’t get in she will have to make sure to work hard in the 7th grade to get into the school she wants.

    How is 7th grade going for you? The stress of it makes me nervous which is why I am really hoping for Lane or WY AC. Good luck to your daughter!

    I have a 2nd grader at an all IB school and I have always thought their age difference was too much. Now I am glad it will be a while until I have to do all of this over again!

  • 105. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 19, 2011 at 12:12 am

    I just looked up Shurzs’ scorecard for myself, definitely not an option! Low academic performance – on probation – average ACT score is 15.5 and all this info straight from CPS’s website. I would rather pay for private school or move to the suburbs if these other schools were not within reach. Thank goodness I believe they are.

    Another thing that is interesting is that my neighborhood is considered tier 4 and Shurz is our neighborhood school yet almost 95% of Shurz is low income. Hmmm, how did they figure out these tiers again?

  • 106. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 19, 2011 at 12:25 am

    I found the tier map…

  • 107. Jill Martensen  |  March 19, 2011 at 6:20 am

    It was heartbreaking to hear all the parents talking about not having tested and now wanting the chance. Having been at Decatur for 7 years now, where you have to test in 6th grade, it has been on my radar for a long time that “it’s just what you do”…
    sigh. I even tested my 6th grader from Edison and he’s now at the WYAC. I must admit that it was far less pressure since he didn’t have to do it, we simply chose to…. and it worked out for us.
    For Decatur student’s it’s a must that sometimes doesn’t work in the child’s favor and they end up “repeating” things at their neighborhood school. There is so much pressure on these young kids today. It’s scary really. Tensions are high this time of year at our school. Inevitably tears will flow, just like with SEHS’s, only at a younger age.

    I do not see them re-opening the testing process. They didn’t for Skinner North or Coonley so they have precedent not to this time either. I’m on the fence about this one. I see both sides of the coin. I hate that someone has to lose.

    I LOVE the bug/windshield talk…but I admit, when dealing with CPS..I always feel like the bug. Sometimes I’m the annoying gnat buzzing around their heads and am simply swatted away. Other times I’m the roach that scrambles to stay unnoticed when the lights come on so as not to meet with the GIANT CAN OF CPS RAID. For once I’d like to be the bumble bee that helps them pollinate the flowers that are our future and make the world a more beautiful place. (Or the wasp that stings them in the ass! LOL)

    Good luck everyone, CPS letters are supposed to start arriving today, and we’ll be at the Metro Science Olympiad all day…you better believe the cell phones will be buzzing all day. (pun intended).

  • 108. just so you know  |  March 19, 2011 at 7:37 am

    OAE can offer an additional day of testing. They can get the message out cheaply. And they have done this before.

    Some years back Arne Duncan / CPS decided to move a RGC. The new neighborhood howled,. They said that Paul Vallas had promised the school building for their neighborhood children. They didn’t want the RGC children taking over their school.

    CPS Demographics did a survey and found that there were not enough neighborhood children to fill a school that size. Instead, CPS offered a second test day for gifted admissions, which was advertised in the local churches and held during the summer.

    Children were tested that summer. Eventually, three neighborhood children were admitted to the RGC that same fall.
    So anything’s possible, May Fair Dad.

  • 109. Anonymous  |  March 19, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Rally and march for school funding

    WHEN: Saturday,
    March 19, 2011 at noon
    Jenner Elementary
    1119 N. Cleveland

    Every year the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) program takes $250 million from CPS’s budget and puts them in the hands of wealthy developers, well-connected businesses and Wall Street bankers.

    Yet, 160 CPS schools have no library. Teachers are laid off, and class sizes are growing.

    Join parents, students, and teachers for a short march to tell big business: “Put kids first!”

  • 110. spell check  |  March 19, 2011 at 10:14 am

    103 Patty – Yeah! That’s what I’m talking about. Lane is on everyone’s radar – not just WY or Taft alternative. Ask your Lane teenagers where their friends live (especially this years freshman). I am a firm believer in maximizing the 6 options.

    Everyone – please don’t focus on just 1 or 2 schools so that there won’t be such a let down. Include schools that you are assured of getting into, maybe even the neighborhood schools special programs. Visit the open houses and contact the principals. Bring your child along so that they can get excited about all the options.

    It’s sad to hear about Taft kids feeling that they are attending a second rate program. It’s not a good thing when kids feel rejected – now starting at the 6th and 7th grade level. This is how we start out with life’s lessons!?! What can we do to change this? I think attitude and family support can go a long way but what about the community?

  • 111. Junior  |  March 19, 2011 at 10:14 am

    There are injustices we might buzz about, and then there are injustices we should howl about.

    160 CPS schools have no library.

    Everyone bemoans their place on the food chain. Just seems the ones at the top have the loudest voices.

  • 112. spell check  |  March 19, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Junior – we were writing at the same time and I think that we are saying the same thing.

    BTW – I’m an ant, I like to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.

  • 113. cps Mom  |  March 19, 2011 at 10:36 am

    patty/junior – spell check was not about your post – name is cps Mom

  • 114. RL Julia  |  March 19, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    My point about Schurz wasn’t made to talk about all the Schurz isn’t – it was more to point out that people want a new lottery because they want into Lane not specifically not because they want their kid into an AC program (which theoretically should be equal no matter the school it is housed in). If an AC program was opened in another (less desirable) high school there wouldn’t be all this talk about unfairness or standards slipping etc…There would just be a mass bolt towards the existing ones….just saying.

  • 115. Patty  |  March 19, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    @IB&RGC- Seventh grade is difficult, I won’t lie to you. My daughter is in Keller Regional Gifted Center and she works hard. I had to encourage her last year to start joining some clubs and activities (she is smart but somewhat shy). I also pushed her to go to school when she wasn’t feeling well because I didn’t want her to miss any days. So far she has perfect attendance. Her test scores are above average and she is taking prep courses through Selective Prep. I am hoping that by doing all of this that we will increase our chances with getting into an SEHS.

    Now, as for my son he attends Sutherland school (our neighborhood school that has an IB program for all grades). He is in 3th grade and is average with his test score and grades. He pretty much does what is required in class but seems to do good on the standardized tests. It is a large school but test scores are always high. I haven’t even thought about any high school options for him yet. He is active in sports, violin and drama. As of right now, he is too young to see which direction he will go in. We will continue to work with him and believe we still have some time to chose a school that is a good fit for him.

    As for my daughter, we toured all of the SE high schools this year, except Northside. I was impressed with all of them. We really liked Payton, Young and Jones. We will take advantaged of the opportunity to list six school. Young, Payton, Jones, Brooks, Lane and Lindblom all made our list. I am also planning to apply to Lincoln Park’s Double Honors Program & IB program. Additionally, she will take the catholic school test, just in case we don’t get into any of the above schools. I don’t want to pay for high school for none of my two kids because I would rather save that money for college. We want to buy both of them a used car and have a debit card with money on it for college. As well as have money saved up for any additional fees/tuition costs for college. So this is why I am pushing her so hard to get into a decent SEHS.

  • 116. Patty  |  March 19, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    @cps Mom, I am sorry for spelling your name incorrectly.

  • 117. Hawthorne mom  |  March 19, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    Having a working and used library (yes, there are schools out there that either don’t open their library and or don’t allow kids to check books out….many reasons for this) is in the top five predictors of literacy success among students. It is absolutely sickening to me that in the United States we have schools without working libraries fully staffed with a certified librarian.

  • 118. Patty  |  March 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    @RL Julia, I have to agree with you that if the AC were in a less desirable high school, that no one would even care. On the southside, anyone that desire an AC shoot for Young AC, Kenwood AC, MP AC and most recently Lindblom AC. The majority of parents really don’t care about Harlan AC because it is located within a less desireable high school.

    I have to admit that I don’t desire any AC becuase I am content and satisfied with the schools my two children are in right now. However, I can certainly understand why parents want their kids to get into Lindblom/Young/Lane AC’s so that they won’t have to go through this insane testing process all over again for high school. The top schools are the schools that everyone want their kids to gain admission into and that is why there is so much discussion going on about Lane and other schools.

  • 119. cps Mom  |  March 19, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    116 – no worries. the spelling name was an accident on my part from something else. I did not want to offend anyone because its the thought that counts NOT the spelling. Otherwise I’d be in bad shape with spelling and grammar.

  • 120. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 19, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Patty, good luck to your 7th grader. I am glad that she does find time for other activities and everything you are doing is exactly what I plan to do next year. You and I have a lot in common. Next year my kids will be in 7th grade and 3rd grade and I don’t even want to begin to think about high school options for my 2nd grader yet. She is at magnet IB and I absolutely love it. It is not as challenging as the RGC, but it is an all around great school. She is very bright but doesn’t always apply herself. I am hoping that will change!! The sooner the better, but I think she will come around eventually.

  • 121. Irving Park mom  |  March 21, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Update regarding Lane Tech AC (may or may not be “news” to some readers here):

    Tribune article 3/20/11
    “Accelerated middle schoolers can now apply to Lane Tech –
    CPS board to vote on academic center program Wednesday”,0,7633048.story

  • 122. Tattoo Mom (JM)  |  March 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    IT PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!

  • 123. Patty  |  March 23, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Congrats to all future Lane AC students and parents!!!!

  • 124. Mayfair Dad  |  March 24, 2011 at 11:05 am


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