Interview on SE High Schools with OAE and SE Scores This Year vs Last Year 2012

March 3, 2012 at 2:41 pm 123 comments

Ok, here is my write-up of the interview.  Some of the comments are paraphrased, based on my recollection and messy notes.

Feel free to comment or share your conspiracy theories.

The chart above (thanks to the Sun Times!) shows the change in scores versus last year.  I highlighted differences of 20+ points in the Min and Mean scores.  I don’t know how to un-fuzzy it.  The actual scores are listed here:

Interview with Katie Ellis

Director of the Office of Access and Enrollment

How would you explain the goal of the Tier system?

The goal is to promote socio-economic diversity in the schools.  There are certain neighborhoods “in isolation” within the city, both poor and wealthy.  The goal is to promote diversity, to bridge the gap, and bring students together.

The factors that go into the Tier definitions correlate with educational achievement.

Starting 29 years ago CPS used race to support diversity.  We build great, racially diverse schools.  Then the consent decree reversed that policy.  So the question was, should turn back on the success of these schools that were created for diversity?

The city of Chicago says “no,” that diversity is still important to use.  We’ve looked at what would happen without the impact of the tiers and it looks a lot like NYC does.

We understand that kids are disappointed when they don’t get their first choice but the goal of diversity is something that CPS really believes in.  We’re trying to strike a balance between social diversity AND giving the top kids a seat.  We’re striving to successfully balance that.

What was the reaction to the higher cutoff scores this year within the OAE office?

We immediately noticed that the scores when up across the Tiers. That was very apparent.

Why do you think that happened? I first thought it was the Tier 4 cutoffs, but when all the cutoffs were posted I saw that it was across Tiers.

There were more applications this year.  Around 14,000.  More competition.

FYI, there are around 30-35K kids per class.  Around 9-12% of the applications are from private school students.

There were also fewer seats this year.  This was based on the numbers to replace the current graduating class.

What is the story with 2nd round offers?

The goal is not to make second round offers.  We make more offers than there are seats, so we try to anticipate how many kids will turn down offers.

The SE test seems to allow for a lot of kids to get 300 points which ends up with a lot of kids having very high scores (which leads to frustration.)  Can’t we have a test that discriminates better?

**REVISED:  To clarify, CPS gives points based on the percentile. The percentile tells a prospective student where he or she fared based on everyone else who took the test.  When we look at the actual scaled scores, we see a large range of scores. Therefore, just because a student scored better than 99% of people taking the test, that doesn’t mean he or she got a perfect score on the test.  Also, this doesn’t mean that we are not grading the full test.

Three hundred points does not necessarily equal a perfect score on the test, and when we look at the actual scale scores, you can see that. It’s harder to give points based on a scale score because every year, depending on the competition level, the number of points you would give would have to change. Percentiles are an easier way to convey to parents how students are actually doing.

Why can’t the SE test happen earlier so kids can know their whole 900 point score BEFORE applying to schools?  This would help frame their expectations and be more efficient for touring schools.

We have to allow time in the fall for kids to take the ISATs if they missed them.   These scores are used to see who qualifies for the SE test.  So once it is all scheduled, we end up with the SE test happening when it does.  The other option would be to allow everyone to take the test earlier, but this is a big expense for the district (since all kids could take the test, but roughly only half would qualify for application to the SE schools based on their ISAT scores.)

Why do the letter mail out late every year?!

We do the best we can, trying to make sure everything is accurate.  We worked that weekend to get them out on Monday.

Why does it take the whole week to post the cutoff scores?

There are a few kids who experience calculation errors each year.  We work to resolve those and post only the final cutoffs.  We don’t want to post anything inaccurate so we wait until those issues are resolved.

What is the story about birthdate being used as a tiebreaker?

That is the 6th criteria after other test-based criteria and has never actually been used.  But it exists, just in case.

What are parents supposed to do who have kids who have very good scores, but not good enough to place into an SE high school?  Where does CPS see as a place for these kids?  The neighborhood schools still look pretty scary.

The portfolio office is analyzing this.  The goal is to have a good option for everyone.  We know we’re not there yet, but that is the goal.  We encourage parents to be open minded about their options and be thorough about seeking options.

What is the selection process for out-of-neighborhood kids at neighborhood high schools such as Lake View?

It is lottery based, with no Tier impact.  Last year LVHS had 1200 applicants outside of their area.

Is there a department or person in CPS who can help parents who are trying to improve their neighborhood high school?

(Sounds like not really.)  The portfolio office might be a place to start.

Entry filed under: High school.

High School Letter Post 2012 Part 2 The Great Tier Debate

123 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Northside Mom  |  March 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Does anyone know…

    1) What is the enrollment capacity of Lake View High School?
    2) How many students are enrolled?
    2) What percentage of the Lake View enrollment comes from the neighborhood boundaries?

  • 2. anonymouseteacher  |  March 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    What is the neighborhood around Westinghouse called? That’s like Chicago and Kedzie, approximately. That’s not too far from a place my husband used to teach and seems like it might be sort of okay at least during the day, especially if parents were dropping off and picking up. Their cut off scores would welcome a lot of good students headed to college who aren’t perfect.

  • 3. cpsobsessed  |  March 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    According to, Lake View has 1560 kids. I believe it is at capacity.
    I also believe it is 75% out of boundary.
    That means in an average year, 390 freshman enter.
    Around 100 from the neighborhood, 290 from outside.
    CPS reports that the school got 1200 applications last year.
    It appears to be operating almost as an informal magnet school, no?

  • 4. Northside Mom  |  March 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Thanks for the follow-up. Two more questions.
    1) What neighborhood elementary schools feed into Lake View?
    2) What is the total number of 8th grade students at these schools?

  • 5. cpsobsessed  |  March 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Feeder elem schools for some north side high schools:

    Mather are: Rogers, Boone, Clinton, Jamieson, Peterson and Solomon.

    If anyone else is interested, the feeders for Amundsen are: Budlong, Chappell, McPherson, Waters, most of Coonley, and part of Ravenswood.

    For Lake View: Bell, Audubon, Hamilton, Blaine, Burley, Greeley, Jahn, Schneider (being phased out), Nettelhorst, most of Ravenswood, and part of Coonley.

  • 6. justanotherchicagoparent  |  March 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I wonder if the 243 slots lost this year were all due ‘numbers to replace the current graduating class.”?

  • 7. justanotherchicagoparent  |  March 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Edited; 🙂 I wonder if the 243 slots lost this year were all due to “numbers to replace the current graduating class.”?

  • 8. cpsobsessed  |  March 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    My sense is that it is that number, plus taking into account what happened last year (no 2nd round) so being a little more careful in how many offers are extended.,0,5806321.story

    fyi, this Trib story says there were 3987 seats available. That is roughly 10% of the kids in that grade, including private school kids.

  • 9. justanotherchicagoparent  |  March 3, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    forget it I can’t type.*last

  • 10. justanotherchicagoparent  |  March 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    So Lane didn’t lose any seats because of AC ..will they lose seats next year?? worried 7th grade parent.

    thanks for the link

  • 11. junior  |  March 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Regarding improving neighborhood high schools, I believe these are under the new consolidated department, called something like Office of Parent and Community Engagement (sorry I didn’t actually look up the name). They have set up a number of CACs (I believe this stands for community action councils) for various high schools that are at work at drafting improvement proposals. I know that one exists for Clemente.

  • 12. justanotherchicagoparent  |  March 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    wow so according to that article they lost 281 seats not 243 ..

  • 13. AW  |  March 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    @2 — I’m curious about Westinghouse too. It’s actually not too terribly far from our home. Earlier this year, my husband took my boys to a K-8 chess tournament at Westinghouse. He said the facility was really nice and the principal (who spoke briefly to the assembled chess kids/parents) was impressive. Playing around w/ the point calculator, it looks like a Tier 4 kid could have 2 B’s and scores at the 85th percentile and still make the cut. A definite option for a smart but less than perfect student.

    Anyone out there w/ first hand experience re: Westinghouse — for better or worse?

  • 14. Angie  |  March 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    What’s the reason for having less SE seats this year?

  • 15. HSObsessed  |  March 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    @4 2012 enrollment data for the feeder K-8 schools to LV HS, Chicago’s next premier neighborhood high school, googledocs link below.

    BTW, this year’s LVHS freshmen class scored an average 15.9 on the Explore test, which exactly tied with their freshmen counterparts at Von Steuben, which has long been considered a solid high school for north side kids. New principal, motivated area population. Everything is pointed in the right direction.

  • 16. JeanneToo  |  March 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    @15 – thanks for that data! Question – what does “PE” mean for grade level?

  • 17. mom  |  March 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    @15 – I thought Burley fed into LVHS, too? If not, something is odd. Burley is our local school and Lakeview is our high school. How can that be?

  • 18. tier 4  |  March 3, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    CPS holds its debate program at Westinghouse over the summer and my son went the summer before high school. We went over to the neighborhood and drove around and then parked to check out the metra station. As soon as we got out of the car, and older gentleman approached us to warn us about the neighborhood, walking around and leaving the car unattended. I guess we stuck out. He took the kedzie bus successfully and safely–it stops right outside the school. He also took the Metra a few times–it’s an odd schedule–and it is right across from the fire station. The green line is about a 10 minute walk away and I was less okay with that walk. I would definitely not want to be walking around the neighborhood at night. I think it can be managed safely on public transportation. I hear good things about the school.

  • 19. tier 4  |  March 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    garfiled park

  • 20. HSObsessed  |  March 3, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    @16 – I think PE is for PreK 3 year olds, while PK is Prek 4 year olds. I could be wrong.

    @17 – Yep, sorry, I was working off the list posted above and it leaves out Burley from the LVHS feeder schools list. I corrected the graph now.

  • 21. Best wishes  |  March 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Remember there will not be a 2nd round -and- all CPS students MUST turn in copies of the SEHS and OAE’s letters to elementary school’s counselors before the indicated confirmation date. Please don’t sit on indecision.

  • 22. RL Julia  |  March 3, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    A co-worker’s daughter transferred to Westinghouse from a parochial high school two years ago. She is currently a junior and both she and her parents are thrilled with Westinghouse – lots of opportunity for a dedicated student, a beautiful building and fairly small so everyone feels connected. She is definitely college bound and everyone concerned with her education feels that Westinghouse has done a good job.

  • 23. Deanna  |  March 3, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    I’m not surprised that CPS’s answer to what about neighborhood kids and their neighborhood options was no answer at all. I’m ridiculously tired of the Boards run-around on important issues. It seems it’s always, “we are looking closely into that,” or “we are working with that department to resolve that,” but never any concrete responses. I’m tired of my children being a pawn in their political game. It’s sad. It’s unjust. It’s insulting.

  • 24. Chicago School GPS  |  March 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    #1 & #3- When I called Lake View HS a few days after the SEHS letters came out and the STEM program was announced, I was told by the school counselor (very nice but didn’t get her name) that
    1) They are still accepting applications even though the deadline has passed;
    2) They do not know when they will be sending acceptance letters to those students outside of their attendance boundaries;
    3) They typically accept 400 students, about 350 are from outside their boundaries and 50 in neighborhood.

    I strongly suspect (know) that they will have more than 50 neighborhood kids this time around given Lane’s rise in scores, so I am not sure how that will impact their outside boundary acceptances but I would encourage everyone who lives outside the boundaries to send in an application soon.

    There is a meeting on the new STEM Program at Lake View on March 7 @ 6:30PM at Lake View.

  • 25. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 4, 2012 at 12:33 am

    @10, I think I remember Dr. LoBosco saying more then once that they would not be reducing the number of offers due to the AC kids. Not sure how that is possible, but I know it was a big concern of many when the AC was about to come to fruition.

  • 26. anonymous  |  March 4, 2012 at 12:46 am

    — I also want to know how and at which schools CPS lost 281 seats.

    — It’s Family and Community Engagement run by Jamiko Rose.

  • 27. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 4, 2012 at 12:46 am

    @13, from the open house at Westinghouse I was really impressed with the school. The facility is great. I would be nervous about the commute to and from due to the neighborhood, but looks like others speak from experience. I guess it really depends on your confort as I know people have concerns with other SE neighborhoods as well. One thing I was really impressed with is that they have a strong focus on writing. They also seem to have a great language department. I do have a concern about the diversity (or lack there of). Any school made up of 70-75% (don’t remember the exact percentage, but it was in another post) of one race is a concern.

  • 28. anonymous  |  March 4, 2012 at 1:14 am

    Can anyone figure out where the 281 freshmen seats have gone?

    Data is from Selective Test Prep web site.

    NSCP 1,400 total, 260 freshmen
    WYoung 1,400 total 9-12, 350 freshmen
    Brooks 745 total, 195 freshmen
    Jones 750 total, 160 freshmen
    Lane 4,278 total, 1,200 freshmen
    King 885 total, 220 freshmen
    Lindblom 2,159 total, 135 freshmen
    WPayton 835 total, 210 freshmen
    Westinghouse 1,200 total, 600 s.e. and 600 vocational. 150 s.e. freshmen

    What is missing?

  • 29. to IB&RGC Mom post#27  |  March 4, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Why is 75% race of a “concern?” Is it because the majority are African-American? No one says that when NCP & Peyton are majority white and an African-American family sends their child to the school!!! What do you mean?!?!

  • 30. wide net mom (formerly 8th gr mom)  |  March 4, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I’ll chime in here. Westinghouse is one of our “final four” (since this is our very own March Madness) and that is one of our considerations in making a decision — rather than a “concern”. My daughter has spent her first 10 school years at a neighborhood school with amazing diversity — racial, religious, cultural, socio-economic, etc, so the predominance of any one group of ANY kind would be a significant change for her. What we talk about at home is how/if she thinks it would matter. (She doesn’t.) At least for us, this would have been a discussion about NS, WP, or our neighborhood high school.

    Also – at the WCP open houses we attended, it was mentioned that Westinghouse had the greatest increase in diversity last year of any SE school, or something to that effect. I expect that to probably continue over the next few years as the school becomes more well known.

  • 31. wide net mom (formerly 8th gr mom)  |  March 4, 2012 at 8:30 am

    @27 Re: the Westinghouse commute — before we ranked Westinghouse second behind Jones, my daughter and I did the morning commute together to see what it was like. It was urban, dingy, ordinary, and completely uneventful & non-threatening. Granted this was before 8 a.m., but it gave me a much better feel for the commute.

    Also – the writing focus as well as the strong language department are very much part of the school’s appeal for our family. Very impressive.

  • 32. wide net mom (formerly 8th gr mom)  |  March 4, 2012 at 8:45 am

    One last Westinghouse comment — my daughter also applied to and was accepted at the academy section of WCP — the “vocational” seats, which I would categorize as “pre-professional”. The four areas are medical, broadcast journalism, accounting & business, & IT. Again, very impressive programs. The application requires a recommendation & essay about the area of interest, not just point totals. Another potential alternative to the increasingly crazy SE process.

  • 33. wide net mom (formerly 8th gr mom)  |  March 4, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Ok – I lied. One more WCP comment. I’ve been involved in CPS since the mid 90s, and I remember when NS opened their doors and came begging for students at our neighborhood school for the first two years. Couple years later — you couldn’t get in. Payton opened, and local parents hesitated as they were very worried about the commute and neighborhood because of Cabrini Green. Couple years later — you couldn’t get in. About five (?) years ago, Jones was encouraging applications in our neighborhood school with parent presentations to our 8th graders. And then you couldn’t get in.

    This is why, when I first heard of Westinghouse on CPSO, I took interest and looked into the school. Westinghouse is “the new kid on the block” and I predict will rise in status and cache over the next few years. That’s not why we applied, but I might suggest 7th grade parents at least give it a “look-see” next year. It’s the old “if you build it, they will come” story — it just takes a while for momentum to build and for the first few families to continue to build (and validate) the reputation.

    Just part of my “wide net” advice for next year — keep an open mind. CPS doesn’t do a lot of things very well, but it does seem they know how to put together some excellent SE schools.

  • 34. cpsobsessed  |  March 4, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Interesting comments about westinghouse and the potential to flip to being a cant-get-in school. That has certainly happened a lot in cps. Regarding the commute, it makes me think of the discussion about loyola up in wilmette (?) And the parents who organize car pools. Seems like a solution for westinghouse as well.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 35. wide net mom (formerly 8th gr mom)  |  March 4, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Back on topic — what I would like to know from Ms. Ellis (and may write to ask altho moot at this point):

    Why are an individual child’s scores and offer not available online through the same server (or whatever) through which online applications are made? Why are we at the mercy of the USPS? For those of us that have really crappy mail service (no mail til Thursday), it was a loooong week. Had WY been our choice, we would not have known until after the shadow day had passed.

    Same theme — why is an additional hard copy of the SE letter not available for pickup until a full week after mailing? I understand holding off crazed parents for a couple of days so that your office isn’t stormed, but again — a week or more? Unacceptable, especially given a shortened timeline. Which leads me to….

    Why are families not given additional time to decide when OAE is delayed with letters of any kind — SE, IB, or magnet? Especially right smack dab in the middle of ISATs? I can imagine that the time is needed to resolve the PD process etc in a timely manner but it’s still unacceptable to me that the burden is put on the families rather than the government entity.

    What the heck is a core score?

  • 36. wide net mom (formerly 8th gr mom)  |  March 4, 2012 at 9:32 am

    WCP car pool is in the works if that is her final choice. Also of possible interest to you — she shadowed at Amundsen IB Friday — also very positive.

  • 37. wide net mom (formerly 8th gr mom)  |  March 4, 2012 at 9:45 am

    One more question for Ms. Ellis –

    Why are school counselors not in the loop for the various results processed through the OAE? That doesn’t make sense to me, when they could certainly assist students with options/ideas if the results are disappointing — as they were for so many kids in our school that thought they would not have any issue getting into Lane. We have a very proactive counselor & yet I was feeding her info about the jump in cutoff scores that I had gleamed from this list.

  • 38. cpsobsessed  |  March 4, 2012 at 9:51 am


    As far as I was told, this is not a priority for CPS, much to my disappointment and amazement. How can this not be a no-brainer?

    I relayed a reader’s comment to Katie that CPS seems to have a one-size-fits-all approach in many ways yet we don’t have a consistent grading scale for the district?

    The explanation is that it will never really be “consistent” given that grades vary across schools, teachers, gifted programs, etc.

    Well, I still say we need to make our best effort! The Tier system isn’t perfect either but we’re using it because it’s the “best effort” that can be made now, assuming a goal of socioeconomic diversity.

    Very disappointing.

  • 39. Southside Tier 4- couldn't get any worse than that  |  March 4, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I’m a Tier 4 southsider w/a 7th grader. I grew up on the northside, so I know the northside schools, and if you NS Tier 4s think your highschools are bad, you’ve seen NOTHING. We live in Bronzeville, but share a zip code with the wealthy South Loop — such a joke. Our closest high schools are Dunbar and Philips — neither of which could top Amundsen or Taft on their WORST day.

    CPS Obsessed: Thank you for securing the interview w/Kate Ellis. She mentions that a perfect score of 300 is based on “portions” of the test. Does anyone have any idea what portions she refers to?

    Also, I have read that the ISAT percentile rank is based on the first 30 questions. Is this truth or Urban Legend?

  • 40. cpsobsessed  |  March 4, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Thanks for the notes everyone and the back-to-normal tone. I noticed a few friends on Facebook commenting that they have move past the angst of the past week (It really was angsty, even for those of us who do not have kids in 8th grade. The cutoff scores are really scary.)

    Anyhow…. @39, yes, supposedly it is the first 30 questions that count towards admission. I think the trouble is that you don’t know what sections your child is taking on what day. But it seem like it makes sense to tell them (for now) to focus on the early questions in a section.

    For the SE test, I’m not sure if it is also the first questions, but it appears to be a pared down portion of the test (and given they use this system for ISATs, it seems likely they do the same for the SE test.) In a way, if it’s something like 30 stinkin’ questions, why not administer it to all CPS students on one school day? I guess it has to be more regulated than than. Anyhow, it is yet another one of those CPS oddities and makes you realize how one or 2 questions can determine an in-or-out decision….

  • 41. pantherparent  |  March 4, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I can only speak to Northside and what I can tell you is the numbers you quote are inaccurate. Northside’s enrollment level, per Principal Rodgers, is pegged at 1,080 meaning 270 open seats for the incoming freshman class.

    Looking at the cutoff table, Northside filled 255 seats leaving 15 open for principal discretion, so they are right on.

    In general, schools will fill as many freshman seats as outgoing seniors. This number can vary over time as enrollment numbers were an inexact science. I believe one parent posted about Payton still trying to get the classes at a consistent level going back to their start. This may account for some of the variation.

  • 42. HS Mom  |  March 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    @28 your numbers for Jones are off too. Current enrollment 850 with about 200-225 freshman seats. This will go up next year with the new building.

  • 43. Tier 4 IEP (Dyslexia) Mom  |  March 4, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Not sure – but – I’ve “heard” 15% of seats at SE are for IEP students? Could this be what makes the seat total difference or is it included in the numbers? BTW – Any insight as to how they determine IEP student admissions? Also heard & wondering if AC guarantees SE seat – if so – is that to the school they go to AC at or do they have choice of SE?

  • 44. cpsobsessed  |  March 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Entry into the ACs give you entry into that high school. You can still apply for other schools and move, but you get no advantage elsewhere. But obviously part of the appeal to parents is getting a foot in the door for high school.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 45. Tier 4 IEP (Dyslexia) Mom  |  March 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Ah – ok! Any info on IEP SE admissions or where to find info out – does it by any chance fall under PD? Also – I see the pressure now going from 7th graders down to 5th/6th graders for AC entry…kind of scary!

  • 46. Westloopeducator  |  March 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    This is not a conspiracy theory–its a fact. The Chicago tribune reported today that CPS changed large blocks of the north side into Tier 4 from tier 3. This was done after the applications were in. When Emmanuel saw that too many deserving white children whose parents work for a living would be getting into selective enrollment schools, he changed the rules of the game to allow more blacks and latinos from so called poor neighborhoods to get in. The purpose of this was to ensure and secure his voting block with these groups. He is playing a strict numbers game, he does not care about hard-working white families. He, like Obama, only caters to those groups who take (ie.after school programs, free lunches, free shool supplies,etc) and not to those who pay taxes like all those tier 4 hard working families who now have to either send their children to loust CPS schools or go further into debt by sending them to private schools.

  • 47. New-ish  |  March 4, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    @ 29.

    Our family is seeking a racially and economically diverse public HS for one child, who already has experience in school where he is in a minority. We also hope to find a school with an average ACT score of 25, at least. And that’s a major requirement for us.

    We are least interested in any school (public or private) with 75 percent of any one race, either white or black or Asian or Latino or Native American. Maybe 75 percent bi-racial-identified might work, however. We’d also do all-girl.

    Ditto for colleges in the future, from what we want at this point.

    But, we might get nothing on our wishlist. So, it’s all probably moot for us.

  • 48. New-ish  |  March 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Make that all-girl or all-boy — our kids don’t care about that, and the girl would actually prefer a single-sex high school.

  • 49. mom  |  March 4, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Regarding the portion of the ISATs that are nationally normed and count towards the SEHS, I’m pretty sure it is the first 30 questions on the first section of math and the first 30 questions on the first section of reading.

  • 50. pantherparent  |  March 4, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Could you please post that link to the Trib article?

  • 51. mom  |  March 4, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Ms. Ellis is right about one thing, even if they did change the grading scale at cps to all be 90/80/70 or even if they use percentages rather than A, B, C to give points, there would still be complaints about this system because it is much harder to get a 90% (for example) at school A vs. school B. Bell gifted vs. Bell general, Taft AC vs. Blaine, Hawthorne vs. Burley, etc. etc.

    However, they need to use grades as a criteria because some kids don’t test well, but they shine in projects and they end up doing better in school than those that can answer questions on a timed test. I understand their issue with this, but it is really strange that they don’t mandate a one size fits all for grades for many other reasons.

  • 52. anonymous  |  March 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    CPS-O, if you could ask Katie a few more questions, would you ask her

    1.) If the political will was there, how many more s.e seats in central neighborhoods does CPS need to fill just half of the current demand from qualified applicants?

    2.) Why was Payton and Northside built for so few students?

  • 53. pantherparent  |  March 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    @51 mom
    I know you didn’t suggest this, but one thing I would not want to see happen is to make an A from an AC or gifted school worth more than an A from a neighborhood school. I think that would unfairly tilt the Tier 4 field toward those kids.

    My two oldest both could have attended Taft AC but preferred to stay at their neighborhood school. That should not count against them.

  • 54. northside parent  |  March 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    To 53, there is so much more work at a RGC or AC than a regular program–I have had kids in both RGCs and in neighborhood schools. I use to think as you do–that an A from a RGC or an AC shouldn’t count for more but as I watch the way this unfair HS admissions unfolds, I am beginning to believe that going to a RGC or an AC and doing well should count for something in this process…..the game has changed dramatically over the years and I suppose this is something I think that should be considered too.For example, taking an AP class in HS over an Honors class has more weight—why can’t this be added to the criteria for this competitive HS admission? I know it will never happen–but I still can wish, can’t I? Full disclose–I still have a child who attends a RGC and works her butt off and does well–and I live in tier 4 (or what CPS calls tier 4–like most of the city) and we have been in the public schools for 12+ years.

  • 55. mom  |  March 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    @53 – I totally agree with you. I know that there are classes at some schools that are harder or more advanced than others and those are NOT always the AC or gifted schools. It would be totally unfair to give more credit for an A at one school than another. I’m sure that is why they are trying to ignore the difference in grading scales now.

  • 56. mom  |  March 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    @54, I understand your thinking, but how would you confirm that gifted school A isn’t any harder than gifted school B or that gifted school B is worth so much more than magnet school A (with most kids exceeding expectations on all tests), etc. etc. What makes a school like Nettlehorst worth less than Bell gifted and equal to a low performing school in the worst neighborhood? I just think you can’t go there.

  • 57. northside parent  |  March 4, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    yes, I know it is just wishful thinking on my part…..I have never worried about HS admissions before now (have 2 in a SE HS and did nothing more than just support them for the 7th grade/8th grade tests, grades, etc) and they both got in. Didn’t think much about their high scores when they got in a few years ago but as I watch the way this thing unfolds, I am pretty certain the last child would need to score perfectly if she wanted to go to the same school as her siblings….the whole things sickens me (like the rest you):)

  • 58. pantherparent  |  March 4, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    @56 mom
    Well put.

    Another issue is about kids that did not get into an RGC when they were little (like mine despite 98 for one and 99 for the other on the test.) I like that they are afforded another equal opportunity to gain admittance into a selective enrollment school.

    Otherwise, with weighted grades, the RGC and AC kids would monopolize the seats at all SEHS, and that doesn’t seem right.

  • 59. pjs  |  March 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    I believe that an A at an academic center is absolutely more difficult, in certain subjects. In 7th grade they take some high school honors classes for high school credit. In 8th grade it’s all high school honors classes. The kids at these schools leave with between 6 and 9 high school credits.

  • 60. pjs  |  March 4, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Forgot to add it’s a 93 – 100 scale at AC.

    These programs are very demanding.

  • 61. RL Julia  |  March 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    PJS – I disagree – My son at who is taking high school algebra at an AC still credits his 6th grade math teacher for teaching him all the math he knows. He had some awesome teachers at our neighborhood school who were quite hard graders and taught him tons. At the AC he has had some teachers who were not quite as inspiring or on top of their game.

    Bottom line, I don’t think you can make a blanket assumption – unfortunately even when the class is honors, taught in an academic center or is for high school credit.

  • 62. pantherparent  |  March 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Decided to re-read the interview and came up with this nugget regarding the fact that so many students score so high on the entrance exam:

    “We need a way to simplify the scoring for the 300 points and it’s complicated to use the full test, so a portion of the test is used, which does result in many kids getting high scores.”

    It’s complicated to use the full test??? First of all I bet we could pull together some seniors from these SEHS and come up with some ways to use the whole test pretty quickly.

    And not using the whole test is what causes the problem in the first place. If you pull only 30 questions, or 20, or 10, the chances of people getting them all correct increases. If you use 500 questions, you can more easily differentiate between students (assuming these questions are difficult enough where they won’t get all 500 correct.)

  • 63. HS Mom  |  March 4, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Am I missing something – aren’t all these tests bubbles on a scantron sheet? What is complicated about running the paper through the computer which is something that has to be done anyway? Including ISAT (other than the writing portion). For that matter, since I presume the writing portion of the ISAT is graded, why couldn’t this section be used as a writing portion for HS applications?

  • 64. anonymouseteacher  |  March 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    I think an SEHS school(s) should be built specifically aimed at the kids who are either awesome in the humanities or awesome in math/science. Giftedness is often so lopsided and very few children excel highly in all subjects. I’d like to see CPS address this issue by creating test into schools that allow kids who are advanced or gifted in Language Arts or in Math/Science to shine. The best private gifted programs out there run by universities cater to kids strengths. CPS should too. Why not a SEHS that draws kids who are doing math 3-5 years beyond grade level? Surely there are several hundred kids in 7th/8th grade in this city who could start their freshman year in Calculus. Or a school that focused heavily in writing and language arts? I know there are a lot of students out there who are reading or writing at spectacular levels. Instead, those kids are just another sub-group who are screwed in this process because they, like most truly gifted children, have uneven levels of achievement by subject matter.

  • 65. dunningmom  |  March 4, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    @46 westloopeducator, I don’t think this is only a race issue. We are a latino family in Tier 4, whose daughter missed the cutoff for Lane by a few points. How do you think we feel? I think it basically says that if you are a family who values living in a safe neighborhood and make the necessary financial decisions and sacrifices to afford to do so, you are going to be penalized regardless of your race.

  • 66. Gwen  |  March 4, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    It is the first 30 questions of reading and the first 30 of math. Not an urban myth. Go look at your prior year’s ISAT results, you’ll see that it states clearly how the % ranking is determined. Also, not a mystery, you can ask the teachers what the test schedule is. They are not mixed in questions – the first 30 math, first 30 reading, very simple.

    I was very surprised to hear that they only take a “sampling” of questions for the SE exam. That makes no sense. The ISAT exam (which has the graded XR portions for both math and reading it makes sense to have a small subset (the SAT 10) that is normalized for national percentages), but the SE exam is only for the kids trying to get into SE high schools, how can they not grade the whole thing. How ridiculous!

  • 67. cpsobsessed  |  March 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    As you point it out, it does seem crazy to use a subset of the SE test! Let me double check on that. I swear that’s what she said but it seems absurd now that we discuss it.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 68. anonymouseteacher  |  March 4, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    @63, if I remember correctly, the writing portion of the ISATs was dropped because it was too expensive to score.
    Does the SEHS admission test require an essay written during the exam time? If not, it should. A writing sample would be beneficial in the selection process. I taught in a suburban school district years ago that demanded its 3rd graders be able to write a 5 paragraph essay quite well and within 40 minutes on the spot. 7th graders should be able to do this without much trouble.

  • […] Interview on SE High Schools with OAE CPS Obsessed:  Ok, here is my write-up of the interview.  Some of the comments are paraphrased, based on my recollection and messy notes. Feel free to comment or share your conspiracy theories. […]

  • 70. Westinghouse Parent  |  March 5, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Our daughter is a freshman at Westinghouse and she loves the school and curriculm. We as parents were also hesitant about the school and neighborhood surroundings. Until we drove down kimball on a school morning & after school, to see what the enviroment was like. The CTA has bus stops on Kimball & Kedzie. They have plenty of after school activities and more students are starting up their own clubs, which speaks volumes about the students. Are the majority of students African-American? Yes, they are! I dont know why race is a issue here,when your teenager probably loves wearing his/her Derrick Rose jersey & Air Jordan’s sneakers. BTW- Students at GWCP come from all over the city (Northside,Southside,Westside,Eastside).

  • 71. justanotherchicagoparent  |  March 5, 2012 at 10:27 am

    @68 I remember them dropping the writing part of the Isats because of funding issues also.
    No SEHS’ do not require a written example, until the principal discretion round, than I do believe a child has to write a letter(personal statement no longer than 1000 words) stating why such child thinks he/she will make a great student

    I hope they use the whole SE test score not just a sample.These children work so hard to get into these schools.It would be ashame if they didn’t.

    Lincoln Park IB used to use the whole ISAT score, a test at a high school level I believe, a written analysis of a reading passage and an interview.Then they had a mandatory meeting to weed out those who were not involved as much.I believe downtown now has eliminated some of these steps.

  • 72. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2012 at 11:29 am

    ** See the revised response from CPS to the question about the ranking of the SE above in the originial post.

  • 73. momof2boys  |  March 5, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    @71 they still do an interview and writing sample for LP IB. 7000 applicants for 186 spots.

  • 74. Lilith Werner, PhD  |  March 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Regarding the new STEM program at LVHS: neighborhood students need not apply and are guaranteed a seat. However, we are currently looking for a way to identify how many local students would now like to register at LVHS for next year (e.g., perhaps a letter/email of intent to our counseling department). Knowing our neighborhood projection helps us plan much more effectively and efficiently for next fall. Historically, we generally have over one hundred freshmen from their neighborhood who attend each year. I am excited to see how many more neighborhood students will register this year as LVHS freshmen.

    Students outside of neighborhood who have already applied and been accepted will be guaranteed a seat; additional students who have applied will be granted seats off of waitlist as seats become available. Just an fyi: we had 1300 applications out of district this year. Any applications that come in now from out of district immediately get placed at the bottom of the waiting list.

    If seats are still available after the entire waitlist is exhausted, additional seats will be opened up via end of year application, managed by CPS Office of Access and Enrollment.

    I invite you to come this Wednesday, March 7, at 6:30 p.m. to LVHS, for a community information session in the Auditorium. After the session, I will have counselors available for those neighborhood parents who wish to register their student(s) or for those who wish to make an appointment to register their child in the near future.

    Lilith Werner, PhD
    Lake View High School

  • 75. mom  |  March 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Dr/ Wermer. thank you again for posting information on this forum. I personally have several more years before we will need to find the best high school for our child, but I am thrilled to see all that Lake View is doing now. I hope you continue to work towards getting more neighborhood parents and students wanting to attend Lake View High School. The STEM is a great start, but you may still find parents wanting programs that really emphasize college prep (this one sounds good but focused on associates degrees?) and maybe are a bit more selective in nature before they will consider it.

  • 76. mom  |  March 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Sorry – Dr. Werner (typos)

  • 77. relieved mom  |  March 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    CPS-O Thanks for securing and sharing the interview with Katie Ellis — very helpful. If you have a chance for any follow up, I would be very interested in the breakdown by tier of the 14,000 applicants. According to a Trib article before the letters came out, when they recalculated the census tracts, 30% of the city is now “Tier 4” and I am wondering about the impact of that on how many applicants come from each of the Tiers…and what, if any, consideration that breakdown is given.

    @46 I know it’s very disappointing to see your tier go up (we went from Tier 3 to Tier 4 after the first year) but they reevaluate the Census tracts every year. It came out later this year because of the 2010 census numbers coming in, and the census tracts changing a bit. I would expect one benefit of the information being available later rather than earlier is to minimize fraud. I attended a meeting at Lane last year that was hosted by the “Blue Ribbon Committee” and they were very open about the tier system being created to keep diversity in the SE schools.

  • 78. Lilith Werner, PhD  |  March 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    I think certain press outlets have provided misleading information.

    STEM IS college prep and even if our partner is one of the City Colleges and not a four-year university, students will earn college credit automatically through the STEM program. Will they earn an associate’s degree automatically? Only if they choose to apply for one. Will they walk out our LVHS door in four years and be successful in highly selective university settings with advanced technology skills and up to two years of college credit? Absolutely. Will they be guaranteed an interview with Microsoft for internships and jobs during and after LVHS? Yes. Do students have to take a test like AP to gain potential college credit? No. Will parents save money on college credit earned during four years at LVHS? Yes. Will selective universities judge LVHS STEM graduates more favorably? Without a doubt: STEM is a well-known, highly articulated, integrated, and rigorous program.

    The Microsoft partnership just happens to be the cherry on top of this academic sundae.

    We are all excited about the changes happening and believe that the 21st century learning environment being created at LVHS is the one that neighborhood parents have been clamoring for.

    Lilith Werner, PhD
    Lake View High School

  • 79. genxatmidlife  |  March 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Frankly, all if this news and discussion about the state of CPS high schools has us strongly considering other public school systems as an option in the future. Our children have more than a few years before the first hits 8th grade, but it’s not that long, and it appears that a lot needs to be done in CPS to accommodate A students who aren’t perfect test-takers, gifted kids who excel more in one area vs. another, and just plain good students.

    I see Westinghouse and Lake View mentioned on here. Lake View would be great in terms of location, but in five years, would there be any spots for someone outside of the neighborhood? Looks like demand will settle that before it even gets started for us.

    My kids are smart — one scored 98th percentile for a SE elem school but didn’t get in. The other gets very good grades even as a young student. But I can’t expect them to have a perfect performance at school and on the very day they take an entrance exam. There is too much chance involved in that scenario.

    My husband and I had opportunities to move during the real estate boom to some very nice suburbs, but we chose to stay in Chicago. We love our community, our home, our children’s friendships, etc. The high school discussion is one thing that makes us doubt our decision.

  • 80. HS Mom  |  March 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    According to the Suntimes, fleeing to the suburbs might be more complex than you think

    It would seem to me that working on neighborhood schools, providing adequate college prep or technical programing for all students at various achievement levels, creating a fair system for selective education for high achievers that benefits families in all areas of the city would be most desirable for city dwellers.

  • 81. mom  |  March 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    @78 Dr. Werner, Thank you again for more detailed information on Lake View and STEM. It really does sound wonderful! Do you have any expectations on how long this program would be funded? I have concerns that it could be pulled after a couple of years if it doesn’t achieve something CPS expects it to achieve. Should I be worried?

    Also, how are you communicating these changes to the parents of the local feeder schools? They may not attend your March 7th meeting and I would hope they would receive all the correct information rather than hearing things through the media or others.

  • 82. dad2  |  March 5, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    @64.anonymouseteacher – “I think an SEHS school(s) should be built specifically aimed at the kids who are either awesome in the humanities or awesome in math/science.”

    I love this idea – for purely selfish reasons. My one child is actually highly gifted (I mean this as a purely pyschological term, and not as a bragging parent) all around, but definitely really excels in math and loves it most. A school like you described would be ideal for him and probably the only financially viable option for us to meet his needs. Why not make that type of school merit only, and have other “tinkered” entrance criteria for the original SEEH(s)?

  • 83. genxatmidlife  |  March 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    @80 A great neighborhood HS would be ideal vs. having to move. I question whether or not it’s possible in the next five years or so to do that to enough schools to make a significant difference. I recently met an “old-timer” from our neighborhood who said he moved his family up to the North Shore when his kids got into high school and then moved back down when they went to college. Let’s say in five years families from my neighborhood are chosing between Amundsen and New Trier (or York or any of the other well-known suburban high schools). I’m not sure even with strong parent support a school like that could compare to a strong suburban high school.

  • 84. anonymous  |  March 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    “Bare bones school district = less interest in homes = lower real estate values. You don’t need kids to understand that math. ”

    Here’s how Steinberg does the math at the end of his article.
    Could apply to CPS right now.

    Add to that complete Mayoral control, a bad habit of not listening to parents. a 31% poverty rate for children.

  • 85. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I feel like the city has been like that for a long time and it appears that tier4-style parents are staying in higher numbers than ever.
    So for those who threaten a mass exodus of the “tax payers”, not sure I agree.

    However CPS themselves admit that the “black flight” among af-am familes on the side side who had the means and motivation to get out did just that. This is what has left the schools there under enrolled and with very low performing students — leading to the closings. You gotta feel good that families made a point to give their kids something better, but the result is difficult to deal with.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 86. Another Mom  |  March 5, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Morgan Park HS had “white flight” it appears. The neighborhood did not, however.

  • 87. Lilith Werner, PhD  |  March 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    A call to any of the dedicated community members of Lake View HS that I know read/post on this website: please consider putting in your application for the LSC election. Completed applications are due to the main office of the school (4015 North Ashland) no later than 3 p.m. on Thursday, March 8.

  • 88. TeachinChi  |  March 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    The principal at Westinghouse might very well be the best in the system. What is happening there is outstanding and the facilities are top notch.

    I don’t know much about LVHS, but I think visiting and opening up options is imperative. I have been teaching in Chicago since the mid 90s. All these special schools were created to keep white people in the school system – they are the diversity if they are less than 10%.

    The best thing everyone can do is not play into that political nonsense started by Daley and Vallas and look for real o

  • 89. TeachinChi  |  March 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Sorry got cut off…

    Parents should be looking for real options that meet their kids where the are at and let go of this extreme need for a SEHS name.

  • 90. BuenaParkMom  |  March 5, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Dr. Werner,

    Can I put in an application for my 3 year old now? 🙂 Although he could walk to Lakeview when the time comes he is officially out of boundaries. For some odd reason our assigned high school is Senn although we are just north of Irving Park Road.

  • 91. Over It!  |  March 5, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Where is the principal pick application? The website says it will be posted no later than March 5, 2012. Why must everything about this process be so shady???? Shall I check back at 11:59 p.m.?

  • 92. Gayfair Dad  |  March 5, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    @84 I like my low property taxes now. Shh!!

  • 93. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 6, 2012 at 12:14 am

    @29, I didn’t realize you would assume my comment was due to the fact that the one race is AA. I mentioned that because we value diversity. I said I would be concerned with any school made up of that large of a percentage of ANY one race. I would have the same feelings if it were White, Hispanic, or even… Asian (like in NY)!

    I realize I probably shouldn’t have made that comment as there have been many people that are equating tiers with races, etc. and many comments have been racially fueled. I apologize if what I said was taken offensively. I feel the same way about Schurz as it is 80% Hispanic and my daughter is Hispanic. I really do like the diversity of many of the SE schools. Unfortunately I don’t think the tier system trying to force that diversity is working for many reasons, but I will leave that to the other threads.

  • 94. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 6, 2012 at 12:23 am

    @wide net mom (formerly 8th gr mom)

    Thanks for the additional info on Westinghouse. I definitely think it will be one that we apply to as part of what will be our wide net strategy next year which is why we attended the open house in the first place. I am glad I went to the few open houses I did last year as I will be going to a ton next year (next school year that is).

  • 95. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 6, 2012 at 12:32 am

    @29, also NS is not even going to be on our application (or if it is it will be low ranking just because you never know what will happen with CPS). 40% to 75% is a big difference in my book, but then again, I believe you were assuming my daughter was white. And Payton at 33% of one race is not near 75%. I really am not interested in making this about race and wish that everyone else weren’t so eager to do so either.

  • 96. mom  |  March 6, 2012 at 10:03 am

    @95 – I agree that things should not be about race. It drives me crazy. However, when stories like this come out, it keeps putting the focus back there instead of on things such as behavior.,0,7613498.story

  • 97. OMG  |  March 6, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Why don’t the individual schools have there own test to get in? If you want to go to NS or Young you take an entrance exam at their school that was designed by their staff and allows them to except students based on their standards. So if you want to apply to 3 different school you take 3 different test. I had to do it when I was deciding which catholic hs to go to. If you weren’t really interested in a particular school then you do not apply. You could even charge a small fee ( maybe 10-20 dollars) to apply. Of course waivers would be given to those truly in need. Schools could then use that money to fund some of their programs and to pay for the materials for testing and so forth. IDK just a crazy idea that seems simple.

  • 98. SutherlandParent  |  March 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    @86, it’s true, the demographics of Morgan Park High don’t reflect the neighborhood or even many of the neighborhood elementary schools.

    According to CPS, as of 2009-2010, the largest demographic at MORGAN PARK HS was Black. As of that time, this demographic made up 95.6% of the student population. The second greatest demographic was White at 2.2%.

    For some of the feeder schools, in 2009-2010:
    The largest demographic at MOUNT GREENWOOD was White. As of that time, this demographic made up 80.4% of the student population. The second greatest demographic was Hispanic at 14.1%.

    The largest demographic at CASSELL was White. As of that time, this demographic made up 76% of the student population. The second greatest demographic was Black at 15.3%.

    The largest demographic at CLISSOLD was Black. As of that time, this demographic made up 62.6% of the student population. The second greatest demographic was White at 29.8%.

    The largest demographic at SUTHERLAND was Black. As of that time, this demographic made up 49.2% of the student population. The second greatest demographic was White at 44.4%.

    The largest demographic at ESMOND was Black. As of that time, this demographic made up 98.3% of the student population. The second greatest demographic was Hispanic at 0.8%.

  • 99. Another Mom  |  March 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    What would it take for MPHS-area families of all races to send their students to MPHS?

  • 100. SutherlandParent  |  March 6, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Another Mom, I wish I knew how to turn MPHS back into a real option for all neighborhood students! MPHS has some strengths, like an IB program and an AC program. A lot of the kids in the feeder schools live in Tier 4, and our local high school should be a real choice. But it was so crowded for years, and the search for a new principal has dragged on for so long that it’s worrisome. And I don’t think many people have faith that CPS is really committed to investing resources into neighborhood high schools. There seems to be more interest in adding a few more seats to the Ag School than boosting MPHS.

  • 101. M R  |  March 6, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Need to decide fast…….Lane Tech or St. Ignatius. Thoughts?

  • 102. MeLastYr9  |  March 7, 2012 at 10:28 am

    101 – St. Ignatius. This is the sure bet (I know it is expensive!) but who know what will happen with CPS in the next few years. St. Ignatius teachers won’t go on strike and books and equipment will be available to your student.

  • 103. LSmom  |  March 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I’d say Lane Tech, it’s a fine school and four years of tuition would pay for year or two of college.

  • 104. M R  |  March 7, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Decision made…….. Lane Tech and we are very happy 🙂

  • 105. cpsobsessed  |  March 7, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Yay! Thanks for the update and congrats!

    I still can’t believe how fast people I know have gone from worrying about lane being ok, to worrying that their kid will never get in. 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 106. About Lane  |  March 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    @105 – You are so right! It is strange about the change regarding Lane. For those working on getting their child into Lane, I think there will be student movement. I am hearing of students that did get Lane acceptances will probably turn them down. Many students had their heart set on other schools. I have heard of several different students planning on LP IB if they don’t get into their first choice by PD (and turning down Lane).

    Lane Parents – Does Lane still offer electronics, trade skill classes? How are the computer tech classes? College Prep course work is extremely important, but for my child, I think learning trade skills would also be very beneficial. I wish it didn’t have to be either, or.

  • 107. Hoping  |  March 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    @106 – I SO hope that you are right!

    My student was RIGHT on that 839 score for the Tier 4 cutoff and (while Katie Ellis of OAE says that it’s their goal to “not” to have a second round,) we’re PRAYING for a few openings to get our kids – that lost a tie-breaker – in…

  • 108. Waiting...  |  March 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    @ Hoping – I feel your pain. My kiddo was 838 – tier 4. Hopefully, we’ll be right behind you if there is a second round.

  • 109. NW Side  |  March 9, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    @About Lane

    Unfortunately Lane got rid of most of the shops to become a college prep. This is a shame because WTTW just had a show about how there are 169,000 unfilled positions with foundries in this country because no one has the skills. Instead of worrying about more SE schools I think the CPS needs to worry about the future skilled workers like electricians and mechanics. Not everyone is cut out for college and skilled workers today can make much more than a college grad.

  • 110. cpsobsessed  |  March 9, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    I was just thinking that as well when I had a plumber for $125 an hour. Why can more kids be trained? And it’s hard to get a plumber!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 111. liza  |  March 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    It is really a shame that CPS has cut their vocational type programs. Two of my uncles, who had absolutely no interest in going to college, went to CVS way back in the day, got into trade schools when they graduated and became very successful owners of their own businesses. I think the current push that all kids should go to college is just not working for all kids. Look at the commercials that push the message that you can attend college from home in your pajamas! I have a hard time accepting that as getting a real college education. I truly wish they would put more emphasis on building more vocational type programs in high schools. Maybe it would help with the poor graduation rate if kids who are not the best scholars, or simply do not have the interest in going to college had an opportunity to use their talents in a meaningful way which might put them on a path to a career. I really do feel sorry for these kids – they really get nothing to inspire them, or at the very least, give them a nudge in a path to a career. So many of the students I have had in my class over the years could really have benefitted from some type of alternative.

  • 112. Gwen  |  March 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Liza – CPS actually has a lot of Career Prep programs – from nursing (you can have your LPN at the end of it) to culinary arts – and plumbing and welding too.

  • 113. cps alum  |  March 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Anyone interested in the lack of vocational education opportunities in American high schools, and the implications of the “everyone should go to college” message that is fervently sold by politicians and the media should read “Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work” by Matthew B. Crawford, a fascinating read.

  • 114. Anom  |  March 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    In this economy, it sure seems like the blue collar jobs have more opportunity than white collar. It is disturbing to hear how college grads graduate with a large debt and then have trouble finding jobs.

  • 115. liza  |  March 10, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Gwen, I know programs are offered, but according to some of my students they are difficult to get in because of limited number of spots. I guess I wish they offered more than they currently do. I have also heard from other teachers that some of the programs simply do not get the necessary funding to run a truly effective experience. Like I said, I am going just on hearsay from others, but with CPS I think I naturally lean more to what I hear from the students and teachers. I hope I am misinformed! If these programs are available to students, then maybe these options should be given a little more emphasis to 7th and 8th grade students. I know when I taught in the upper grades, they weren’t really pushed as possible options. Also, many of the vocational programs are only offered in less than nice schools. I don’t think I would want to send my kids to most of the schools that offer these programs.

  • 116. Chicago School GPS  |  March 31, 2012 at 3:19 am

    This was on WBEZ’s “Afternoon Shift” with Steve Edwards on 3/30/12:

    Magnets and Selective Enrollments- As students find out whether or not they’ve been admitted to Chicago Public Schools’ selective enrollment and magnet schools, CPS executive director of access and enrollment Katie Ellis and WBEZ education reporter Linda Lutton take your questions on the admission process and the schools themselves.

    Highlights (sorry, but my bullet points were lost in the post so it’s a bit hard to read):
    SEHS: 14,000 applications for 3,500 seats
    SEES: 13,000 applications for 1,500 seats
    Set a record this year due to growing reputation of these schools, economy, etc.
    Payton had 29% of freshman from private grammar schools
    Test prep is not cheap
    Katie Ellis said CPS is one of few districts who keep the selective enrollment tests secret to try to keep test prep enticement low.
    Why not more of these SEHS & SEES schools? CPS trying to find right mix with their Portfolio management office. While 3-5% of a general population is truly gifted, their objective is to provide/emphasize great options throughout the city.
    Magnet schools- 40% slots (after siblings) do go to those living within 1.5 mile radius.
    CPSOAE goal is to provide more options for all students and they are evaluating all schools within all networks.
    Linda Lutton said parents are overlooking other great Magnet and SEHS schools already in the city by focusing too much on the “elite 4 SEHS” or other well known magnets.
    Said there are excellent programs already in place that are just not as well known and the word needs to get out about them to break any barriers that parents are putting up for considering them (CPSObsessed and other blogs help a lot!)
    Callers asked the following:
    Tier 4 competition: Katie Ellis discussed goal of socio-economic diversity. 30% seats are rank, 70% distributed equally by Tiers with equal number of school age students in each tier (Tier 4 has more tracts with less population density).
    Northside Prep has 40% of freshmen from Tier 4 and more Tier 4 applicants overall.
    Linda Lutton said the wealthier tiers were represented 2 to 1 in the incoming freshmen class for the top SEHS (NS, Payton, WY, Jones) and those schools have about 70% middle income rates.
    Increasing academic pressure on kids to get into these SEHS:
    One half of students admitted to NS/Payton scored 895 or above (out of 900 points)
    Northside- 57 out of 200 incoming freshmen scored 900
    Payton- 46 scored 900
    Katie Ellis said that the culture of “top 4 selective enrollment or bust” among parents needs to change and aims to educate parents about the other school choices already out there.
    Linda Lutton said that to evaluate some of these other options (like Lindblom, which she really liked) you should:
    Go to the schools to see for yourself, you may be pleasantly surprised,
    Read comment boards (like CPSObsessed- thanks!)
    Gauge parent involvement, which is a huge factor in a successful school.
    Also, don’t overlook your neighborhood school.
    Lastly, they touched on how the younger kids are feeling the pressure to perform earlier to get into the AC programs, RGCs, etc.

    For what it’s worth, I spent the bulk of my last weekend at the Museum of Science and Industry for the 62nd annual CPS Student Science Fair (top 230 7th to 12th grade science projects citywide) and I have to say, I saw a LOT of high schools I had never heard of or which I didn’t think had notable reputations but was very emboldened to see the stellar work coming from their students. Needless to say, top performing kids come from many more schools than parents think!

  • […] According to an interview you did with CPSOBSESSED.COM, you stated that some ISAT tests are given in the fall.  Why are students being allowed to take […]

  • 118. ChicagoGawker  |  April 9, 2012 at 9:13 am

    While the blogger asked some questions on the minds of us all, I find myself so put off by the the title of her blog, “GOOD and BAD parents” (not parenting, PARENTS), even though I agree with most of her examples. Righteous much?

  • […] According to an interview you did with CPSOBSESSED.COM, you stated that some ISAT tests are given in the fall.  Why are students being allowed to take […]

  • 120. ChicagoGawker  |  April 9, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Done promoting your own blog here yet?

  • 121. MayfairAM  |  May 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Does anyone have information regarding the ISAT testing in the fall? I cannot seem to find much on the ISAT website.

  • 122. decisionchallenged mon  |  March 5, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    My son got into northside and lincoln park ib – he is having a heck of a time making a decision – any thoughts from IB parents or Northside parents?

  • 123. Paula  |  March 31, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    @decisionchallenged: I just came across your message, and suppose you’ve already made a decision by now. But in general, I’d think about a child’s specific interests and future goals, for starters. For example, NS has an amazing art program, so if you have a budding artist, that’s something to consider. Last year we were in exactly the same boat as you, NSCP & LPIB acceptances. My son chose NSCP mostly because of a specific program there that aligns with his career interests. The other factor is that, for us, the commute to LP would have been awful (we live on the far NW side). Good luck with whatever path your son has chosen!

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