Making Neighborhood High Schools a Viable Option – How?

February 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm 120 comments

Ok, I am back, recharged, and ready to discuss.  Thanks for keeping the conversation going.  I read a lot of the posts and there was a lot of interesting topics that could use a post of their own at some point.

Based on the most recent postings about the efforts it would take to make some of the highschools in the Tier 3/4 neighborhoods into an option that more parents would consider, I thought that might be a good topic.  Someone suggested it might take more fundraising than it does for elementary schools.  Do you guys agree with this?  It might take some discussion to figure that out.

Obviously a first step is having a group of parents start learning about the school and report back on what they find.

What would YOU want to have in place to feel good about sending your child to Lake View, Amundsen, Mathers?  How can the school convince you that it’s “safe?”  (FYI, a parent I know from Evanston Township High School just reported to me that basically every kid in that school gets high.  Yes, many kids there also excel at academics, but just so we know it’s not something that is absent in “good” suburban schools.)  Do you need the “gentrified parents’ stamp of approval” that is partially what helped turn around many of the north side elem schools?

I know Lake View has lots of AP classes.  Amundsen has an IB program.  What do you need to know to determine if these are academic enough for your child?

Can 3 or more northside high schools ALL make a shift to draw more Tier 3/4 students?  Or does it make sense to concentrate efforts on one school?

Should these schools even CARE about attracting more local kids when they already have plenty of students?

These are all questions I have and I need help getting my head around them so I’d love some opinions.  Looks like I will officially be in the Amundsen zone now so I do plan to check out the school once I’m setting into my new home.  It is about 2 block from where I’ll live and would be amazing to have my son be able to walk there.  I think I’ll avoid looking at the school’s current test scores for a while just so I can keep up some hope.

I’ll answer outstanding emails this week too.  Sorry for the delay!


Entry filed under: High school, Uncategorized.

The “Do It Yourself” Post High School Letters POST NEWS HERE: Part 1

120 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jen  |  February 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Stevenson just had a couple kids arrested on drugs charges. It’s not something that’s avoidable.

  • 2. anon77777777  |  February 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Maine South sees lots of paramedics for school (drug) emergencies. We all want to think life in the suburbs is so great? Yes, it is way easier to get kids into good high schools, but there are plenty of negatives too.

  • 3. MarketingMom  |  February 21, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    What is considered a “safe” school? I have a neighbor who has a daughter currently attending Northside Prep and was surprised to learn that an unusually large number of students there have problems with drugs or alcohol. This is an issue no matter where you decide to send your kids to school.

  • 4. NWP  |  February 21, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Has anyone gotten the SEHS letters yet?

  • 5. chicago mom  |  February 21, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Letters are mailed this week OAE told me this morning. The neighborhood HS issue is a huge thing. If these schools would improve the selective enrollment thing wouldnt be so nuts!

  • 6. Mia  |  February 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    NWP – They are mailing this week (not sure what day they start actually going in the mail). My understanding is that includes IB programs as well as SEHS. Catholic schools were mailed last week (friends received letters from Ignatius and others). If someone gets a chance to call OAE later today and find out if any went out today that would be great (my track record with getting correct info from them seems to be subpar).

    Perhaps a new post could be started for when the results start coming in :).

  • 7. Don't Panic  |  February 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Mia, Just got through and they are still saying sometime this week but would not say a specific day.

  • 8. Mia  |  February 21, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Thanks Don’t Panic 🙂

    In the trib article on the tier changes, I thought I read that 18,000 applications were recieved for 6,000 spots – that’s a lot of letters to mail!

    Do the high schools mail their own letters at the same time, do they have to wait for some sort of “green light” from OAE?

  • 9. Don't Panic  |  February 21, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I think some people have actually gotten the packet from the school before the letter from OAE. But you have to get the letter because that is the official form of acceptance. I am like you and very anxiously waiting results, Mia.

  • 10. mom2  |  February 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I don’t think that drugs are the biggest concern with the parents that I know. We are quite aware that high schools in every part of this country have a certain amount of drugs and alcohol issues (as did high schools when I grew up).

    I think when people mention safety, they are talking about gangs and violence. Being threatened, fights in schools, etc.
    Parents are also concerned with their child making friends with kids with the wrong attitudes in life (it’s not cool to be smart, it’s fine to have a baby in high school or right after high school, doing homework is optional, it’s fine to “disrespect” your teachers or other school administration, etc. etc.)

    AP classes or an IB or STEM program is not enough to get me to feel OK about a neighborhood high school. I would need evidence that my child would be at school with others with similar values and attitudes. I know you cannot completely prevent exposure to others that think differently (and yes, diversity and being exposed to different kids of people helps you in life). However I’m certain that a side benefit parents find in the SE schools (besides rigorous curriculum) is that nearly all of the kids there are proud of being smart and have goals of doing well in school (which means studying and behaving in class and outside of class) and going on to college. That’s what I would want at least on a smaller percent scale at the neighborhood high school.

    How to get that? I think you need to have separate selective programs within the school (the way they do at Lincoln Park). IB, double honors, drama and regular programs work well because the IB and double honors programs bring in the kids with those values and aspirations. Having those kids at the school benefits the rest of the school in terms of scores and in parents willing to the give school a try.

  • 11. Humboldt Park Mom  |  February 21, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Are you kidding me? All of those high schools are fine high schools. If your child/family is there to get an education, they will do fine. Also, drugs and alcohol are at every high school. It does not matter if it is private, charter, religous, city, suburban…do you not remember high school?

  • 12. Mayfair Dad  |  February 21, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    The short answer: keep the sociopaths away from the kids who want to learn. Zero tolerance for drugging, gang banging, assault, egregious displays of disrespect. Remove the animals from the general student population and don’t apologize for it.

    When the school is safe and the bad element removed, the academics will improve.

  • 13. RL Julia  |  February 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    At this point, the biggest draw to me for a high school is that the high school has the ability to provide an appropriate education for ALL its student no matter what their dreams, goals and capacities are – this means that there are opportunities, programs and educational options for kids who are academically accelerated as well as appropriate interventions for ESL, for kids interested in vocational education, etc… I have to say I am more than a little jealous of ETHS’s ability to offer its student’s summer school classes for credit allowing them to get ahead (not just make up classes previously failed) and the idea that they are able to appropriate serve the child who is accelerated at math but not so in English or vice versa.

    While I am not particularly worried about violence within schools (only because I don’t think it happens too often), I would be concerned about schools that do not have the ability to organize some sort of safe passage for their students allowing them to leave school and get home safely.

    I also really like the idea of schools (like Amunsen) which have health centers on their campuses as well as active intermural as well as competitive sport opportunities.

  • 14. cpsmama  |  February 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    @8 HS get a list and they send their letters out as soon as OAE says they can. Sometimes students get the HS letter before they get the OAE letter

    In past years, acceptance letters from OAE went out a day or 2 before rejection letters (ie student did not get into any SEHS that they ranked)

    Good luck to all waiting for HS letters this week.

    It’s common knowledge that there is a drug/drinking problem at NSCP. They have breathalyzers at the entrances to their school dances. There have been scary incidents of excessive drinking leading to injury and hospitlizations. This is not unique to NSCP- (sigh) it is a fact of life at all HS in CPS and suburbs.

  • 15. jmg  |  February 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    “animals”? really? if you are afraid of teenagers remember that other people will find your kids just as intimidating and make the same judgements

  • 16. cpsmama  |  February 21, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    MFD: I agree, but in practice, SEHS (and other HS) do NOT practice zero tolerance for drug and drinking violations. They tend to sweep those incidents under the rug. They do seem to actually practice zero tolerance for violence, although many fighters still get to come back after serving a suspension. Depending on who the student is, schools like to give second chances…. and third and fourth chances.

  • 17. Esmom  |  February 21, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    “The short answer: keep the sociopaths away from the kids who want to learn.”

    Exactly right. I think this is the key in any high school environment, anywhere.

    Although that brings to mind the movie Breakfast Club. In John Hughes’s world, even the sociopaths were capable of imparting wisdom and experiencing growth. But alas, life is no John Hughes movie!

  • 18. anon888888888888  |  February 21, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    15 – “animals” based on behavior — not age. You read about teen “animals” in the news all the time. I don’t what them near my kid, how about you?

  • 19. Ravenswood Mom  |  February 21, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    I realize this is really short notice, but if you are interested, the new Winnemac Park Neighbors group is meeting tonight and will have candidates for the LSC at Amundsen at the meeting. More details on meeting time and location at Meeting starts at 7:00 pm at Dolce Casa Cafe (4947 N Damen).

    In addition, Stephen Reynolds (reynolds_stephen at yahoo dot com), is gathering contact info of people who are interested in starting a Friends of Amundsen group.

  • 20. Mia  |  February 21, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks for the info on the letters (and the good luck wishes). Will be relieved to finally know.

  • 21. Mia  |  February 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    @18 – i know plenty of kids in the gifted programs in various schools who are bullys and “discipline” problems, but apparently have parents that either turn a blind eye/deaf ear to their behavior or don’t care. I don’t want them near my kid – but they will probably go to SEHS.

  • 22. anon2525  |  February 21, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    21 – just hope they don’t get in.

  • 23. MayfairAM  |  February 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    I agree with mom2…having a SE option with in a school seems like what it would take to get us interested in a local hs. The culture it creates cannot be underestimated.

  • 24. Mia  |  February 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    But isn’t that essentially what exists already w/in some of these larger neighborhood schools (the IB programs, etc.)?

  • 25. Eric  |  February 21, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    @11 Humboldt Park Mom

    Preach on!

    @13 RLJulia

    I think you’re right. I remember the media playing up an incident AT Crane, when it actually happened in the neighborhood. Same with Derrion Albert. I feel like the blanket longer school day is an attempt to address the safe passage from school to home.

    My sister and cousin went to St. Ignatius and it had many of the same discipline issues that i saw at my public neighborhood school, but worse cause they had cars and big allowances. What’s worse is the inflated sense of entitlement that some of them had. I remember Daley’s son threw a desk out of the window at Ignatius and had an alcohol-fueled party at their beach house where someone was beat with a bat, so it can happen anywhere…

  • 26. notanon  |  February 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    25 – The private schools tolerate less nonsense than CPS. But if you are a Daley the rules might be different. I recall he did not graduate from Ignatius so was he eventually asked to leave?

  • 27. anonymous parent  |  February 21, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    @24 Eric –
    Your kid has obviously never been harassed or beaten up at school. Mine has, and unless there are major changes in the years ahead there’s no way we’ll send him to our neighborhood high school (Admunsen).

  • 28. Gwen  |  February 21, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Just got off phone with CPS, first batch of letters did go out today.

  • 29. Don't Panic  |  February 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Thanks, Gwen. Now time to obsessively wait for the mail carrier daily. Good luck to all here waiting for news.

  • 30. CPSDepressed  |  February 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    There’s definitely drugs and alcohol everywhere, and if you think otherwise, you’re kids are going to have a lot of fun.

    That being said, my concern with the neighborhood high schools is that they aren’t set up for college prep. They don’t have a critical mass of students, teachers, and counselors to work with these kids. It’s not so much that they aren’t capable of it, but that they haven’t had to do it on any large scale. If they have an influx of college-bound kids, how will they handle it? I don’t want to hear about the one kid who worked hard and had the amazing teacher who helped her get into Yale, I want to hear about the 100 kids who went to state schools and graduated 4 or 5 years later.

    My other concern is discipline. Although drugs and alcohol are at every school, I want to know if it’s limited to dances or if it’s so bad that pot smoke wafts from the restrooms. Likewise, cliques and bullies are everywhere, but they are worse in some places than others. What’s the gang presence? Do people feel part of the school itself or part of a subset? What do you with troubled kids?

    And: will a change in school demographics discpline and cliques worse? Will parents who give a lot of money be able to get their kids on a special track – or get the principal to look the other way if their kids are caught with drugs? Will there be a lot of “Just ignore those poor-scoring gang-banging seniors because your child will be fine anywhere, and wait a few years and you’ll see a real difference!”

    I think there are a lot of concerns that can be addressed over time, but they are real. And, of course, if the schools are at capacity and working well for the populations that they serve now, the principal may not have an interest in making changes. I’ve seen how difficult change can be in many elementary schools. It’s not easy.

  • 31. mom2  |  February 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    @CPSDepressed, I agree with your entire @30 post. I especially agree with, “I don’t want to hear about the one kid who worked hard and had the amazing teacher who helped her get into Yale, I want to hear about the 100 kids who went to state schools and graduated 4 or 5 years later.” Thank you.

  • 32. tmaglaris  |  February 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    @12 MFD: You hit the nail on the head. If the proper environment exists, students will learn.

    @30 – maybe not all schools should be college prep. Not all kids are college material. I understand that everyone should have the opportunity, but we also need to figure out how to provide for those students who are not college bound, as many students just aren’t.

  • 33. mom2  |  February 21, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    @32 – I think the point of @30 was to say that in order to feel comfortable with a neighborhood school, it would need to provide college prep for more than just a handful of students. It doesn’t have to be a full college prep only school, but it does have to have the curriculum, etc. for a good portion of the student body.

  • 34. rubie  |  February 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Morgan Park HS. What about making this one an option for all local students? It seems to be mostly a racial divide at MPHS, with the whites not choosing the school. Maybe it’s also a class divide, with middle-class blacks not choosing the school. It does have an AC and an IB program.

  • 35. rubie  |  February 21, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Are people ever “animals”? Really?

  • 36. rubie  |  February 21, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    I remember a faculty molester at Harvard. Student bullies. Etc. Animals? Hmmm.

  • 37. rubie  |  February 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    While I’m at it, from Whitney Young, I remember a gang-affiliated student bringing a gun to class (scary), along with gay-bashers, racists, and bullies. Among all the nice students. Oh, and some sexist and racist teachers. Among all the nice teachers. At St. Ignatius, a rapist. High test scores are not an inoculation against “sociopathic” behavior.

  • 38. rubie  |  February 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    To clarify: A rapist who was a student.

  • 39. AB  |  February 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    @30, I agree. In order to feel comfortable sending my child to a neighborhood high school, I would want to know that the school prepares a good cohort of its students for college. I mentored two high school students from the West Side last year. Their school offered AP classes, but my mentees (and lmost of their fellow students) scored 1s, maybe 2s (out of 5). The scores were not enough for college credit, nor did they demonstrate mastery of the material. So it’s not enough just to offer AP or IB classes. The school needs to begin preparing the students, starting in 9th grade, to actually succeed in those classes. The AP and IB test results in turn indicate readiness to succeed with college-level work.

  • 40. IB&RGC Mom  |  February 21, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    @39 that is one of the main things I was going to mention. It doesn’t matter if you have a million AP classes, if most of the kids are not passing the AP exam what is the point of the AP classes. Not saying that is the case, but I am curious how many kids are passing the classes at the SE’s as well as at the neighborhood schools. Anyone have info on that?

    Also, I want a school that my kids will be proud to go to. The one thing that I see that is the same among kids at NS, WY, and LT (I only know a few high school kids) is that they are all so proud of their school. I wish every school was a school to be proud of, but unfortunately they are not.

    How many kids graduate, how many kids go on to college, how many of them finish college, what colleges are kids from that school going to, etc.? Not all kids will go on to college, but I want my kids to so I want them in a school that will truly prepare them.

    Safety is key also. Too bad it even has to be a consideration as all schools should be safe, but sadly that is not the case. Yes, there will be drinking, drugs, and violence at all high schools, but how often and to what extent? Everyone is posting rare instances but some of our neighborhood options are accustomed to acts of violence, gang banging, etc.

  • 41. BuenaParkMom  |  February 22, 2012 at 12:56 am

    For any IB program I would need to know how successful the kids in the program are at passing the test. Also, having spoken to various people, if attending a neighborhood public school I would want to make sure there wasn’t a high percentage of competing gang members within the same school.

  • 42. Mich  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:11 am

    For me it is the standard view of education. Our local school has a large number of girls who don’t finish due to getting pregnant and dropping out, the culture is that it is just fine to do that and that is NOT ok for me to send my daughter to that type of environment.

    I went to public high school, and yes, there were always girls who got pregnant, kids who used drugs, fights at school, it is reality. But the school I went to also had more kids who highly valued their education, kids weren’t by and large hoping for Stanford but they were focused on getting into a state university.

    That to me is a successful neighborhood school, one where learning is prized and the rest is considered part of life but not the culture of the school.

  • 43. Just so we are clear  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Kids in suburban schools / affluent schools use drugs at a much higher rate than kids in inner city schools. Where there is money there are drugs. I know people don’t want to believe this but it is true.

  • 44. klm  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:43 am

    As for this discussion, statistics don’t lie. If I have to hear another argument about how a HS where 0-2% of the 11th grade students meet college-readiness standards is really no worse than WY, Northside, (or God forbid a suburban HS like New Trier or Lake Forest with all those ‘stuck up rich white kids’, oh and average ACT scores of 26.8 and 27.5 by the way) etc., because those schools have drugs and bullies, too, I’ll want to scream.

    Yes, there’s drugs, sex and screwed up/mean people everywhere –who doesn’t know that? However, I’d rather my kids be around “mean girls” and potheads that are taking AP classes and thinking about college (Northwestern vs. Cornell or UIC vs. Indiana) rather kids who are planning baby showers for their best girlfriend and complaining about what a jerk their baby daddy is and whose life trajectory involves staying with their mothers, working a series of part-time $9/hr. jobs and finding the best Section 8 housing, Link cards, predatory consumer lending, etc.

    I hear all too often how people who went to inner-city HSs are prepared for “real life” because they’re exposed to “real” people. Whatever. Oh yeah, and they had to drop out of college, go back home and take remedial classes at community college because they were totally not prepared for college-level academics at schools like NIU or SIU (e.g., my own sister and one of my best friends growing up), never mind Michigan or Northwestern.

    I grew up in an inner-city area with a low-achieving HS. I went to a SICP, Loyola, Fenwick-type HS. Virtually everybody that thought I was a “snob” for going there is still poor, uneducated and virtually guaranteed to stay that way –and I’m not happy saying so. It’s sad.

    People who insist that their kids will get an OK education and be just fine for attending Wells, Senn, etc., “I wouldn’t want them to be around all those kids who think they’re better than everybody else, my kids are prepared for the ‘real world’ by going to a public HS with lots of low-income kids, etc”, are really fooling theirselves.

    I guess nobody should want to go to Harvard or Princeton because there are too many rich, spoiled kids from prep schools who do drugs and have too much sex, too preoccupied about getting into snooty grad schools, etc. Better to “keep it real” and stay with one’s own people and go to Truman College or maybe Chicago State, that way one will be prepared for the “real world”.

    I KNOW comparing HS to college is NOT a perfect argument for pointing out the issues here, but I know people (family, cousins) that want the best for their kids (maybe even medical school, pharmacy school, etc.), but they seem so oblivious that the HS where their kids are going virtually guarantees that this will never happen. Why the disconnect and why do so many people want to trash high-achieving schools and praise failing, low-achievement schools?

  • 45. IB&RGC Mom  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:53 am

    @42 – I agree! Very well put.

    @43 – I don’t think anyone doubts kids in the suburbs are doing drugs. We hear it on the news all the time. The other day I saw on the news that heroin is becoming the drug of choice for kids in Naperville because it is cheap. One girls parents were on whose daughter overdosed. I don’t think we will find a high school where there is no drug use going on (or do we except to), but we do want to find a high school that there are no gang fights, weapons brought to school, and focus on negativity.

  • 46. Chris  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:54 am

    “Why the disconnect and why do so many people want to trash high-achieving schools and praise failing, low-achievement schools?”

    Is anyone here actually doing that?

    Seems that the genesis of the “drugs” discussion was the “I don’t want my kid going to a school with kids who drink, have sex and smoke pot, like they do at my neighborhood CPS HS” and the response being “get over it, no matter where they go, the other kids will be drinking, having sex and smoking pot; if that’s your *only* objection to the neighborhood HS, then it’ll be fine”.

  • 47. klm  |  February 22, 2012 at 11:27 am


    Maybe I was internalizing things I’ve heard through the years and made an automatic connection to this discussion.

    But, yes, I know many people that are actually doing that: namely firends I grew up with and distant relatives.

    Look at all the hoopla going on because CPS wants to close Crane HS –by any measure a “failure factory”. Nonetheless, there are parents and students protesting its closure, saying how great it is, etc. Same for any of the schools CPS wants to close because they’re offering a substandard education to too many kids –it’s not the low test scores that virtually guarantee a lifetime of economic difficulty for most students that’s the problem, it’s “outsiders” and people not from “our” neighborhood that are part of some “plot” that will benfit some politically connected rich people that want to open a charter school, etc. Academic standards are somehow a “side issue” over feelings that people are being “dissed” over the conclusion some unrelated people have that their kids’ schools are “bad”.

    Also, on this site every time there’s a discussion of this kind, somebody insists that their cousin’s boyfriend’s second cousin’s best friend went to “X” high school (average ACT 14.1, 0.3% of students meeting ACT college readiness standards) and then went on to Stanford, graduated summa cum laude and now is chief neurosurgeon at the Mayo Clinic, etc., so how dare anybody say it’s not a good school?

    Having grown up poor, I guess I do have a chip on my shoulder. It’s just that so many good people I’ve know through the years have been so poorly served by their public HS, without actually realizing how lousy an education they were getting, that I’m kinda’ gunshy about this whole subject.

    Sorry for overreating, but it’s a raw nerve for me.

  • 48. Chris  |  February 22, 2012 at 11:37 am

    ” part of some “plot” that will benfit some politically connected rich people that want to open a charter school”


    “Having grown up poor, I guess I do have a chip on my shoulder. It’s just that so many good people I’ve know through the years have been so poorly served by their public HS, without actually realizing how lousy an education they were getting, that I’m kinda’ gunshy about this whole subject.”

    Not quite “poor”, not in Chicago, but yeah, me too. And I went to a HS that was perceived as “good” (nicely high test scores, measured nationally), certainly was better than most CPS HS’s are now, and wherein the college counselors would make presentations to the “smart” kids about “what your college options are if you don’t get a 19 on the ACT” which provided automatic admission to 2d-tier state schools at the time. Oh, and that have a ~70% grad rate and less than 50% going on to *any* sort of college.

    I totally agree that, as currently constituted, CPS HS’s are inadequate–there is *maybe* one acceptable attendance area HS. And anyone who seriously argues the point is … misguided.

  • 50. CPSDepressed  |  February 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    @47: hear hear!

    II want my kid to go to college. He might, he might not, but he should be prepared to go if he does. I do not think for one second that he would do just fine at Crane, Dyett, or Clemente.

    I know that not all kids can go to college, nor do they want to. But I think that even in a high-poverty system like Chicago, it should be more than 10% or whatever who manage to graduate. In fact, I think it’s even more important that kids in a high-poverty system be prepared for college, because how else are they going to break that cycle?

  • 51. Mia  |  February 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Okay – i’m going to redirect you to a site with statistics on the percentage of kids in CPS who go on to college. It is 55%, not 10%.

  • 52. CPSDepressed  |  February 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Not who go to college – who graduate. Most state universities are darn close to open admissions. How many actually make it through freshman year?

    Only 6% of CPS graduates have a degree by age 25. Are you seriously okay with that? Yes, or no?

  • 53. CPSDepressed  |  February 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    I often feel like people here are so busy defending teachers that they forget that we are dealing with the futures of actual, living, breathing human beings.

  • 54. Mia  |  February 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Okay – now I’m confused. The report (very interesting by the way) that you directed me to says that 45% of of CPS graduates graduate from college w/in 6 years – where are you getting the 6% from? Also, that is 2004-5 data, the trend has been upward – see the site i linked to earlier.

    And yes, I will defend teachers, taken as a whole (again there are bad ones) I don’t beleive that teachers are the reason kids are failing – societal and family factors weigh in so much more than teachers ever will.

  • 55. CPSDepressed  |  February 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    The six percent was the preliminary results. The 45 percent was the revision, and that’s 45% of those who go to college, not all CPS graduates. So we have a number of 24.75%. Pull out the kids in SEHS, and what do we have left?

    And, of course, only 70% of CPS students graduate from high school. So, extrapolate this further, and we have 55% of 70% going to college, and 45% of those kids graduating. That means a child entering CPS in first grade has a 17.83 percent chance of graduating from high school.

    Are you okay with that number? Yes, or no?

  • 56. CPSDepressed  |  February 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    That should be, “graduating from college”.

  • 57. HSObsessed  |  February 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    In that CCSR report from 2006, the students who were tracked graduated CPS around 1998-2000. Much has changed in 14 years.

  • 58. Mia  |  February 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    @55 what???? No, I’m not okay with that number. Where did you get 24.75% from? And they weren’t preliminary results – they were incorrect results. Did you read the report? They said it turns out that Urbana and Carbondale and others had sent incorrect information.

    @57 – thanks for that clarification – a lot has changed in 14 years.

  • 59. HS Mom  |  February 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    @44 – Please consider that most people do not have a choice between Wells and Northside Prep. And yes, it is human nature and probably good for the kid’s moral to make the most of one’s situation by finding fault with all those “snobby” schools. It is also a good thing for people who aren’t Rhodes Scholars to have options like Senn IB and Noble and to have those options viewed as viable and promising by colleges and the public in general. If they are not viewed that way, we need to make that happen for the kids. Starting with actively working on bettering the schools and changing public opinion. I know – easier said than done. I think in some respects, in some schools we are close.

  • 60. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    When you say “are you ok with that number?” are you referring to being OK with the schools? Or with the student population?

    I don’t know that we can blame CPS for the dropout rate. They may be able to do all they can when the kids are there (not saying they ARE, just saying they COULD) but to me, it’s the parents who allow kids to drop out and I think many of us have voiced a concern with having our kids being around other students who feel that this is an acceptable option. So that I agree with as being “scary” to me. I don’t know that I’d go so far to say that the schools are failing because of the drop out rate among lower income kids who have no reason to stay in school if they see nothing except minimum wage work as their life options. You’d need to create on damn exciting school to keep a kid there who had no other compelling reason to stay.

  • 61. HSObsessed  |  February 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I’ve been perusing data on the HS’s graduated rates, college enrollment rates, drop out rates. Updated (not outdated) info is all there to be looked at by anyone who wants to look at current numbers.

    The question that’s always hard to pinpoint is, what is the threshold of acceptable levels of “negative”? How high does the college enrollment rate of students have to be before a CPSO parent believes it’s high enough? Northside Prep is currently the highest rate of college enrollment at 91% for 2011. Nine CPS HS have a rate of college enrollment of 80 to 90% (the other SEHS plus Kenwood and Ag). FIve CPS have enrollment rates in the 70s%: von Steuben, Morgan Park, Lincoln Park, Simeon Career and Bronzeville. Maybe that’s the line? We want a HS atmosphere of at least 2/3sish of the kids heading toward college? Just musing here during my lunch hour.

  • 62. Mayfair Dad  |  February 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    @ 61. I think that is a meaningful benchmark but not the whole story. Safety, campus climate, student diversity, class offerings, average ACT score, other stuff I’m not thinking of.

    Maybe the Obsessives on this thread could agree to a rubric and then let’s see where the schools net out. My guess is you’ll find a few diamonds in the rough, a few charters mixed in with the usual SE suspects.

  • 63. mom2  |  February 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Specifically for the college enrollment, 70% sounds pretty good. Of course, as others have said, the drop out rate, how much of that 70% is a city college and safety (not talking about drug use and having sex) of the school/student body must also be considered.

  • 64. Mia  |  February 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    mom2 – the website i posted earlier,,
    does have links to reports that include the “selectivity” of the colleges – i for one am still happy to see that they are going to schools, even if they are city colleges, it’s still furthering and improving yourself, and it’s a positive sign

  • 65. RL Julia  |  February 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I thought this discussion was about what would need to be available/functioning in a neighborhood high school to make it a possible choice.

    In reading the above comments, I would just add not to underestimate the power of money to fix many problems for individual kids. While we like to think that this country is a place where there is a lot of social/economic/class mobility the fact is, most people end up where they started (klm being the great exception to that). I would surmise (although I don’t have the study at my fingertips) that a kid from a family with more money would have a better chance of going to college from Wells than a kid from a poorer background- but as klm points out not vice versa.

  • 66. mom2  |  February 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Mia, I am happy to see that those kids are going to college, even if is a city college, too. That wasn’t the purpose of the question in this area. The question was what would it take for the school to be a place where I would consider “good enough” to send my child. Huge difference.

    Sometimes I think you feel strongly in the need to defend certain schools because you think it is an attack on those schools or the teachers at the schools when someone says it isn’t good enough. I certainly don’t think that the teachers are to blame in most cases. The parents and the neighborhood and the culture and socioeconomic issues etc. are to blame. The purpose of this post wasn’t to even go there in terms of blame. It was just a list of what we are looking for and hopefully what CPS could do to help us get more schools to that level. All this, so we aren’t so crazy focused on the SE schools and complaining about the unfairness of the Tier methodology for gaining a spot at 5 schools (or Lincoln Park IB/double honors).

  • 67. Eric  |  February 22, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    @ Kim 44 and 47

    “…statistics don’t lie”

    This is true, but statisticians can skew data so that results look favorable or not. I’m not saying this is actually happening but most of us aren’t knowledgeable enough to know what the stats actually mean.

    “If I have to hear another argument about how a HS where 0-2% of the 11th grade students meet college-readiness standards…”

    In my opinion, this is one way in which stats don’t tell the whole story.

    The college readiness stat is based on the PSAE, which includes the ACT. A study by DePaul found a strong correlation between ACT scores and parent income rather than 1st year college readiness.
    I know many on here are tired of me saying this, but about 1000 colleges and universities (like DePaul) have stopped requiring ACT scores due to the relation to socioeconomic status.

    This is also interesting if we look at the high schools with high avg. ACT scores. To enroll in these schools you have to have info on them, and have the capacity to apply, which points to parents having more education and higher income.

    Of course this is not all set in stone, but the issue is not only at the high school level, but the academic and administrative systems that govern our schools.

  • 68. Chris  |  February 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    ““If I have to hear another argument about how a HS where 0-2% of the 11th grade students meet college-readiness standards…”

    In my opinion, this is one way in which stats don’t tell the whole story.”

    Then what’s the restof the story? Do you think that, despite the poor PSAE results, those schools are performing satisfactorily?

  • 69. Mia  |  February 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    mom2 – I agree with you as far as the intent of this post – if you go back and look at the thread, I only posted to clarify what someone kept stating as fact that statistics, not me, statistics (and it turns out statistics in the material they referenced and kindly posted) indicate are not true.

    I am in no way saying that there is an abundance of good HS choices in Chicago, though many posters in other posts on this site have opened my eyes to possibliites beyond the limited world of SEHS and LPIB, for which I am very grateful. I just don’t like when numbers are thrown around that are not acurate.

  • 70. chicago mom  |  February 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Has Anyone received SE HS letters yet?

  • 71. Angie  |  February 22, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    @67. Eric : “This is also interesting if we look at the high schools with high avg. ACT scores. To enroll in these schools you have to have info on them, and have the capacity to apply, which points to parents having more education and higher income. ”

    So the teachers and/or CTU reps have no problem with rallying the low-income parents to protest the closings of failing schools, yet they are not capable of giving those same parents the information about the SE and magnet schools and helping them with the application process?

  • 72. Mia  |  February 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Angie – my, my you are a union hater aren’t you? Everything is their fault, right? I was at the rally on Monday, and I’m not low income, nor were dozens and dozens of northside parents that were there.

  • 73. Chris  |  February 22, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    “the closings of failing schools”

    [snark (not directed at Angie) deleted]

    I’d expect Eric to dispute your characterization of them as “failing”.

  • 74. Angie  |  February 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    @72. Mia: which school closing did you protest? What are the test scores and other stats at that school?

  • 75. Mia  |  February 22, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Chris – did you read the report on the turnarounds published and featured in both the Trib and the Sun-Times today? The issue (for me – can’t speak for Eric) isn’t whether they are failing but rather (1) why are they failing, (2) is the proposed fix actually any better than the current system, and (3) what are other alternatives that can be explored if the answer to (2) is as it appears from this finding.

    And as a taxpayer – I am concerned about the amount of tax dollars that would go to “turning them around” when other options – that may very well have better outcomes – haven’t been explored and may still exist.

    Apologies to mom2 for getting off topic on this thread again!

  • 76. Mia  |  February 22, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    I went to Monday’s rally which started at Lakeview – and which was about all of the turnarounds being voted on today (I believe there are many, don’t have all the names) and the lack of community input on the decision.

    You simplify everything Angie – it all comes down to – what are the scores? Since that is how you look at the world, why not look at the report in both of today’s papers about the success rate of the “turnaround” schools. You may find that your precious scores will show you that they perform no better, and are actually outperformed by neighboring CPS schools. Learn about how once placed in this “watched” status the schools are starved of funds or community input, and then given to AUSL with large amounts of our tax dollars to “turn them around” – yet the results aren’t there.

    Read more about it, and let’s talk then.

    Mom2 – my last post here – going back to obsessing on the SE letters – which is my real reasong for visiting this whole blog to begin with!

  • 77. Chris  |  February 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    “I am concerned about the amount of tax dollars that would go to “turning them around” when other options – that may very well have better outcomes – haven’t been explored and may still exist.”

    On the basis of … what? … do you believe that other alternatives have not been explored?

    Also, I read the report, which has a clear tone of advocacy–a tone which, if one did not agree with the view being advocated, is strong enough to cause a reasonable person to question the analysis.

    Agreed on questioning the allocation of $$.

  • 78. Angie  |  February 22, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    @75. Mia: And I, as a taxpayer, am concerned about throwing the good money after bad, and letting people responsible for failure to keep their jobs and continue to do business as usual. I would much rather see my taxes go to the private company that can do something useful with them.

  • 79. Gwen  |  February 22, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    I haven’t read the reports discussed here, but really, private companies? How do you feel about the parking meters?

  • 80. Maggie  |  February 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Mia, the fact that there were only “dozens” of protesters – in our humongous school system – says it all.

  • 81. HSObsessed  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    @40 IB&RBC Mom — Here’s a link to the data on all AP level of enrollment and % rate of scoring 3 or higher. Citywide, 14% of kids take an AP class and the rate of scoring 3+ is 31%. It’s my understanding that AP tests are very difficult, and even if the kids don’t score high enough to get college credit, they still benefit from the rigor of the courses.

    AP stats for some of the non-SE high schools we have begun discussing: Amundsen 21% enrolled in an AP class, 9% scoring 3+; Lake View 12% and 42%; Lincoln Park 29 and 60; Mather 12 and 42; Taft 9 and 30.

  • 82. cps grad 87  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    For our neighborhood high schools to become viable options, the local families have to be willing to send their kids there. But they don’t because the current student body at these high schools is not local, thus the cycle continues.
    The district, along with each individual high school, should devise a marketing/outreach plan to get these kids interested in the school while they are still in grade school.
    But,…. since CPS is the most incompetent, corrupt institution in the city, THAT’S not going to happen.

    As for today’s board vote to close or *turnaround* under-performing schools: a grave injustice is being done to each and every student who has just lost their school. Those students will either be shipped to another school outside of their neighborhood or be subjected to the turnaround model where perfect strangers come in and take over. First, the turnaround model has yet to be proven as an effective way to handle under performing schools. Second, the parents, teachers, students, and communities at these schools were NOT involved in the discussion of how to improve their schools. Third, the private company (AUSL) that is paid to take over has special interests on the school board (which is appointed by the mayor). Finally, CPS officials and board members are NOT listening to the most important of all stakeholders in education, and that is the parents. They are playing with the lives of our children by treating them like a social experiment.

    Speak up, people. Before it’s too late.

  • 83. HSObsessed  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    @81 – Or try this link instead to see AP classes info. I edited the table down to eliminate the gender and race data, so it’s fewer columns and easier to read.

  • 84. Mich  |  February 22, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    @HSObsessed – thanks for those AP stats. To me the most interesting one is that 21% of Amundsen kids enroll in an AP class but only 9% score 3 or higher on the exam – that is correct, it isn’t backwards?
    If so, where is the disconnect there? In who is taking the classes? In the teaching of the classes? That is something that ought to be heavily examined. Because the others are what I would expect, fewer kids reach for AP but of those that do, more make a good showing on the exam. So why is Amundsen backward? If Amundsen wants us local parents to consider them, they have to explain that anomaly.

  • 85. HSObsessed  |  February 22, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Mich, yes, that’s correct. That was all 2010 data, BTW. There might be different reasons for a low-appearing pass rate. Maybe it’s teaching quality, But another reason could be that Amundsen encourages a broader swath of kids to enroll in AP classes. If that’s true, that’s a good thing! As I said, many in the education field believe that kids benefit greatly from the rigor, challenge, and level of knowledge gained from the class, even if they don’t score high on the difficult final exam. It may be because Amundsen encourages/allows more kids to enroll, their pass rate “suffers”. But if we overemphasize pass rates, then administration is incentivized to very carefully select the kids who are “allowed” to take AP classes, basically creating a barrier to entry. So there are a lot of moving parts.

  • 86. IB&RGC Mom  |  February 23, 2012 at 12:13 am

    HSO, thank you for that info! It is really helpful for me trying to help my daughter rank schools for next year. I keep changing my mind with each open house we attend, and when I think about other things like class offerings, etc.

    This list is very eye opening. Schurz would be my neighborhood high school and there they have only 5.2% of the students enrolled in AP classes and of them only 23.9% scoring 3 or above. So basically at a school of over 2000 students only 27 of them are doing well on AP exams. And as a tier 4 parent I am supposed to consider that an option to help turnaround neighborhood schools? I am sorry, but that is not going to happen!

  • 87. Eric  |  February 23, 2012 at 2:22 am

    @68 and 73 Chris

    We’re all adults here who just want the best for our kids, there’s no need for sarcasm or animosity via your continued “deleted snark.”
    If you want to dispute what I say, then do it and back it up, rather than trying to tear me down through unnecessary comments.

    Being critical is part of being constructive. I’m trying to offer a research-based critical eye based on my research and work in the field. I don’t have all the answers, I don’t pretend to, and I’m suspicious of anyone who thinks they do. We can all see that something is wrong with CPS. That’s not being “obstructionist,” it’s the first step to fixing a problem.

    “Then what’s the restof the story? Do you think that, despite the poor PSAE results, those schools are performing satisfactorily?”

    I don’t know the rest of the story because we can’t get an apples-to-apples comparison. For instance, if a kid has not been read to prior to coming to school, but now has the fundamentals to read by 1st grade due to the school, then in my opinion this school is performing well. In fact, this is miraculous.

    Conversely, If a kid comes in knowing how to read can we attribute the same success to the school?

  • 88. Eric  |  February 23, 2012 at 3:41 am

    @ 75 Mia

    “The issue (for me – can’t speak for Eric) isn’t whether they are failing but rather (1) why are they failing, (2) is the proposed fix actually any better than the current system, and (3) what are other alternatives that can be explored if the answer to (2) is as it appears from this finding.

    And as a taxpayer – I am concerned about the amount of tax dollars that would go to “turning them around” when other options – that may very well have better outcomes – haven’t been explored and may still exist.”


    Check out veteran CPS teacher Ray Salazar’s experience with AUSL training. This is a good indicator as to why it’s not working:

  • 89. Chris  |  February 23, 2012 at 5:58 am

    eric: “I don’t know the rest of the story because we can’t get an apples-to-apples comparison. For instance, if a kid has not been read to prior to coming to school, but now has the fundamentals to read by 1st grade due to the school, then in my opinion this school is performing well. In fact, this is miraculous.”

    The question presnted dealt with HS’s with sub 2% “college readiness” as deteremined by psae scores. You said that didnt tell the whole story, and now youre shifting to an example about first graders. If you dont know the rest of the story, how can you know, with the certainty you seem to possess about it, that the psae scores don’t tell the whole story? Maybe those HS’s really are failing in all important ways.

  • 90. anonymous  |  February 23, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Eric, I have also felt that Chris’ postings are not research-based arguments. Wish he would post in that manner, instead of attacking select phrases of a post. He could leave out the snark altogether.

  • 91. Mayfair Dad  |  February 23, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Another example of a non-viable neighborhood high school.,0,1191996.story

  • 92. Eric  |  February 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    @89 Chris

    “Maybe those HS’s really are failing in all important ways.”

    Maybe they are. I never said they weren’t.

    My example addresses the crux of the issue, if we base our judgements on uneven assessments then we can’t tell how prepared (or not) kids are.

    The 10-year DePaul study found that one can’t determine if someone is ready for college through ACT scores, which is how CPS gets the “college readiness” stat. In fact, one of DePaul’s main finding is that kids with high ACT scores don’t necessarily make good college students, their parents just tend to have higher incomes.

    The school in Kim’s example may or may not be preparing kids, but the schools with high avg. ACT scores also may or may not be preparing them either.

    The avg. ACT scores tend to be the way that many on here judge a school and a student. Schools like DePaul, Smith, Bard, NYU, Knox College, Wake Forest, etc. have made the ACT optional because it’s not the best indicator for whether or not a kid is ready for college.

  • 93. Esmom  |  February 24, 2012 at 9:59 am

    @92. Yes, other studies have also shown that ACT scores are not great predictors of college success, especially the reading and science portions. We want hard data and black and white indicators but unfortunately there is so much gray area when it comes to college readiness. Like everything in life I suppose!

  • 94. SSK  |  February 24, 2012 at 10:33 am

    any one know whether there’s any correlation between scores on the Catholic high school exam and the selective enrollment exam. My son does well on the ISAT, but there was a 20 percentage point drop between his ISAT scores and his Catholic high school exam. Should I assume he is going to score low on his selective enrollment exam?

  • 95. Magnet mom  |  February 24, 2012 at 10:37 am

    So last night, here in the 48th ward, Edgewater, we had a ward master plan meeting. It was held at Senn HS. The auditorium was redone and it’s beautiful. The principal spoke breifly, she is new, only two years there. She stated that there are currently 75 students in their new fine and performing arts program. Next year they have 100 seats available and received more than 1500 apps.! This is a good start.

    Would i send my kids there even though Senn is a 10 minute walk from my house? It has an IB program too. NO WAY. Not yet. I am lucky and my 3 kids are at a great magnet elementary school, one of the top 20 in the city.

    But what am I going to do? I joined the new 48th Ward Education Committee. I will put all my energy into this group to try to effect positive change at my local HS so that I can feel comfortable sending my children there. It’s grossly unfair that there are so few “good” choices for northside children that are capable and collegebound. With 3 kids, private school isn’t an option for us. Plus, I strongly believe in public education for all the right reasons.

    I encourage all of you to seek out committee or other ways of enacting change in your neighborhoods too…..

  • 96. KeepHopeAlive  |  February 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Not any neighborhood high school options for families on the south side either. We all need to unite and demand quality, local and non-selective options for our families ACROSS THE CITY.
    We must keep in mind CPS works for us; we pay their salaries; we should have the option to hire and fire them, the same way they are broadly firing good CPS teachers as they hastily close down schools. They are not providing quality (and safe) education for all.

  • 97. Uptown mom  |  February 24, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Magnet mom – I’m in the 46th ward, but Senn is our neighborhood high school (though we’re a 10-minute walk from Lakeview). It’s a long way off for us, but I’d love if you’d keep this board updated on any changes happening at Senn and ways for people to get involved (I also get Osterman’s newsletter and will look for info there). I agree that there should be excellent options for all city high schoolers.

  • 98. cpsmommy  |  February 25, 2012 at 3:24 am

    @96: “We must keep in mind CPS works for us; we pay their salaries; we should have the option to hire and fire them, the same way they are broadly firing good CPS teachers as they hastily close down schools.”

    I agree with you. Sadly, CPS, the Board of Ed and Brizard do not (in reality) work for us – they are Rahm’s puppets. Until this changes, you will see a political agenda drive change, not change centered on improving educational outcomes for all.

  • 99. Magnet mom  |  February 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    @97, will keep all updated on what the motions are and if there will be any sort of actual change enacted.

  • 100. sosidemom  |  February 26, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    There is a group of parents in the 19th ward that would like to see Morgan Park become a viable option, which for many families it is not at this point. It does offer AP choices, IB program, AC program, so it has the bones to be what many are looking for. Once a contract principal is in place, we’d love to work with administration to see what can be done to make it a first choice for the neighborhood.

  • 101. bcmom  |  February 26, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    @100 – With all those programs, why is not a first choice now?

  • 102. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  February 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I think it’s funny how many of you downplay the threat of violence, or use anecdotes about some rich kids you knew or heard about doing bad stuff once as proof that it’s not a problem.

  • 103. KeepHopeAlive  |  February 28, 2012 at 8:44 am

    @101–Because of the racial imbalance at the school (i.e., 96% black). Although the feeder neighborhoods are a nice racial balance, CPS has “allowed” non-neighborhood students into the school for years and hence it has lost its potential of becoming a true neighborhood high school attended by local kids, regardless of color.

  • 104. HSObsessed  |  February 28, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I know this will quickly get buried by all the SEHS news, but today’s Lake View HS news: It is one of five CPS HSs that will have a STEM program in place starting this coming fall. Participants will be able to work toward a combined HS/AA degree during their high school years in specific subjects, including software programming and database analysis. Currently partnering with City Colleges, working on other college partners. Lake View’s corporate sponsor is Microsoft. Students are free to apply to/go to four-year colleges afterward, of course. Sounds like a great program for the right kids, who already have an inherent interest in this area.

  • 105. HSObsessed  |  February 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Full details

  • 106. Chris  |  February 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    cpsmommy: “Until this changes, you will see a political agenda drive change, not change centered on improving educational outcomes for all.”

    Do you honestly believe that an elected school board would *not* be driven by a political agenda? The Water Reclamation District board is elected, has a much, much less politically-sensitive fiefdom than public education, and the board’s election and decisions are *still* driven by political agendas. Just a matter of whose agenda gets priority.

    I seriously doubt, in Chicago, that the agenda of “improved outcomes for all” would get significantly higher on the priority list than it is now–faces would change, but things would mostly stay the same–board members would owe loyalty to those who helped them get elected and, unlike now when all fealty is to the Mayor, it wouldn’t be entirely clear who owes whom.

    Which isn’t to say that the current system works, but I think that investing energy in the school board issue detracts from other areas where pressure/change is more likely to create positive outcomes “for all” (or, at least, most).

  • 107. anonymouseteacher  |  February 29, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    @104, I like that LV is getting a STEM program. I don’t like it that kids can stay and get their AA there. Why? Because that means there’ll be students who are 20-21 years old attending in the same building as 14 and 15 year olds. I was super excited about the STEM program (it won’t benefit me) until I heard that. My feeling now is that many more parents will exclude LV from their list of possibles because of the ages of “kids” attending.

  • 108. PortageParent  |  March 3, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Yep, completely agree with #107 anonymouseteacher. Grades 9 to 14? No. I can’t see 14 year olds and 20 years olds housed together as a real alternative. If it had been an accelerated program for grades 7-12, that would have been genius.

  • 109. falconergrad  |  March 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I was going to post about CPS buying Luther North, but found a great post to cut and paste from here:

    Of course, we live by Luther North, so I am biased. But the facility is there with athletic fields, etc. I believe they did recently sell it to a church but the school still operates in part of the building. I am not sure how their enrollment is, but I think some alumni are trying harder to support it after hearing it was struggling. I wonder if CPS did want to buy it, but maybe they did not want to sell it to them? Here is info about the crisis and sale:

    Here is what’s new at Luther, for anyone who is interested:

    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.

  • 110. cpsobsessed  |  April 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Jeff Newman who is running for the Amundsen LSC sent me the following information about the number of candidates for some North side schools and his observations on it. As a note, each LSC has 6 parent, 2 community, and 2 teacher spots. From Jeff:

    I did a quick analysis of the LSC candidate list published by the Center Square Journal (which they could only get via a FOIA!). Of the 10 schools with the largest number of community representatives who filed (out of 540 schools total), 4 are high schools, and none of those 4 has a full slate of 6 parents running. And 3 of the 4 HS’s are in a tight cluster on the north side: Amundsen, Lake View, and Senn.

    There are a variety of ways to explain this outcome, but one that’s not very believable is that it’s just a fluke.

    Parents Community Teachers Staff
    LAKE VIEW HS 2 12 5 1
    WATERS 9 9 2 0
    AMUNDSEN HS 5 8 4 1
    PALMER 6 8 3 1
    COONLEY 13 7 2 1
    LASALLE 10 7 4 1
    MANN 11 7 2 1
    PHILLIPS HS 0 7 2 1
    RUGGLES 9 7 2 1
    SENN HS 2 7 2 1
    SMYTH 8 7 2 1

  • 111. EdgewaterMom  |  April 7, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    @110 I am not really sure what he means by “There are a variety of ways to explain this outcome, but one that’s not very believable is that it’s just a fluke.” Could you or Jeff please clarify?

    As for Senn, there has been increased interest from the community, including talk on this blog and on RuthsList, which most likely led to the increase in community involvement. The head of the LSC is a current parent and hopefully there will be more parent involvement in the future.

  • 112. falconergrad  |  April 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    There is a meeting to discuss some land on the NW side. It looks like CPS may have an interest. I will report back what I find out. There are two neighborhood meeting that night, so I have to choose…

    38th Ward Community Meeting
    38th Ward Alderman Timothy Cullerton, together with the Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development, the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Public Schools and the City Colleges of Chicago will host a meeting at Wright College on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM to discuss proposed improvements in the Ward and the status of the vacant land at Irving Park Road and Oak Park Avenue.
    Where: Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett
    When: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
    Time: 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

    For additional information, please call the 38th Ward Office at (773) 545-3838

  • 113. falconergrad  |  April 12, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Just wanted to summarize the CPS info I got at the ward 38 meeting. I believe the names of CPS staff on the panel were Jim Dispensa, Lizzie McGuire, and Pat Taylor (COO?). This is what I got out of it.

    There is currently no specific school planned for the city owned Dunning Read parcel of land. They will advocate to build a school (or schools???) there. They did show enrollment stats for nearby elementary schools, I think they were Locke, Dever, Canty and Bridge. But they said a high school is not off the table either. Could be a K-12 campus??? They want a land conveyance for 19 of the 42 acres in the parcel. The plot is already picked out. 99 year leases with option to buy for $1. Someone asked how they would pay for it, they really had no specific answer. Kind of sad as this land is on year five of ten years allowed for development before it reverts back to the state.
    I asked about Luther North and if they had tried to buy it when it went up for sale recently. They said they had engaged in initial discussions as they often do for large parcels that become available.

    They also said this is the beginning of discussions about what CPS could build on the Dunning Read parcel and made it sound like they really wanted input from the community and city at large. So there may be more meetings coming in the near future.

  • 114. IB&RGC Mom  |  April 12, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    @113, thanks for posting. I am in the ward, but couldn’t attend the meeting. Please post if you hear about upcoming meetings.

  • 115. falconergrad  |  April 13, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Does anyone know if this Facebook group is still active:

    I am not on Facebook so I don’t think I can post there, so if someone could post my summary there or anywhere else it would be of interest, I would appreciate it.

  • 116. Eric Masi  |  November 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    I am looking for a high school for my son, but it doesn’t have to be a public school – I’m open to private. My concern is that his test scores won’t be close enough to perfect to get him in the more desirable public schools. I know this sounds like a cop out, but are there consultants who could help find a school for my son?

    Thanks in advance your your help (anyone and everyone)

  • 117. cpsobsessed  |  November 14, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    @Eric, check the Resources page. Couple options there.

  • 118. IBobsessed  |  November 15, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    @116 See Dara has particular expertise with private high school admissions. Attended a seminar she conducted and it was worthwhile.

  • 119. XCPSmomba  |  November 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    116 – You missed the open house at St Patrick last night, 5900 W. Belmont. Excellent school. Has classes in 3 ranges but students can be all over. Your son should shadow there, and Notre Dame in Niles, Guerin Prep, Gordon Tech, Loyola and St. Ignatius. If you can pay the tuition, you don’t have to deal with CPS nonsense. What a concept!

  • 120. Alcott College Prep K-12  |  January 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Exciting Alcott informational note

    Thanks to all of you who joined us at the Town Hall meeting on Tues. morning or came to hear the strategy summary at the LSC meeting Weds. night. At the Town Hall, Mr. Estrada unveiled his vision for Alcott College Prep. From pre-K through 12th grade, our goal is to prepare our children for success in college and beyond through a rigorous academic program, while maintaining our focus on educating the whole child. Over the next few months, we will be revising our CIWP and drafting a 5-year strategy to reflect our new focus as Alcott College Prep.

    The administration and staff are exploring curriculum and instruction options, which will include more AP courses at West and and may include IB for all students pre-K through 12. For those of you who are less familiar with IB, in the younger grades it’s about a teaching philosophy that emphasizes inquiry-based, experiential, hands-on learning, with an IB diploma curriculum for those in 11th and12th grades. Please visit for additional information.

    While our educators explore curriculum and instruction options, there is work that our amazing parent community can do to move our strategy forward. We have divided the work that needs to be done in the near term into 4 areas and will be building working groups to tackle that work:

    1. Re-launch the high school [team leads: Tasha Seitz ( and Evelyn Fitzgerald (]: Our goal is to make our high school a strong alternative to the selective enrollment high schools, both for East students as well as for their counterparts at other north side schools that place a similar emphasis on academic rigor.

    2. Marketing and identity [team leads: Ms. Moody ( and Colleen Scrivner (]: We would like to get the word out about Alcott College Prep, our preK through 12 school. This branding will be used internally to strengthen the link between both campuses and externally to promote our school to CPS, businesses, universities and other potential partners.

    3. Facilities and technology [team leads: Joe Wallace ( and Jeremy Agulnek (]: Our goal is to fully integrate technology into the learning experience. This team will be made up of parents and staff and will begin with a technology audit at both campuses. This team will also address improving our facilities at both campuses.

    4. External grants and partnerships [team leads: Ms. Allen (nkallen1@cps,edu) and LA Plax (]: We need to target grants that will help us to fund our college prep focus. We also need to build innovative relationships with corporations, universities, and other organizations.

    Please consider joining a working group that piques your interest. Your brain power is greatly appreciated and will directly benefit all of our children. Feel free to email a team lead and let them know of your interest.

    Thanks for your support. Stay tuned for our next Town Hall meeting in April!

    The Strategic Planning Steering Committee:

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

  • 6,163,065 hits

%d bloggers like this: