Rahm announces new IB high schools and programs to open

March 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm 206 comments

The CPSObsessed switchboard is lighting up with the news!

I did NOT see this one coming.  I’ve been wanting to do a post on the IB programs lately as I’m not all that familiar with them and the CPS admissions information confused me a little bit.  Also, we continuously hear how rigorous these programs are (with a substantial attrition rate.)  Thanks to everyone who sent me the info as it was breaking and to HSObsessed for writing the info below.  She also says the video is “sweet.”  Rahm? Really.  I better take a look…

During a lunch time announcement at Curie, Rahm Emanuel announced that CPS will expand its high school IB program from serving 3,500 currently to serving 6,000 to 7,000 students, including five “wall-to-wall” IB high schools, and five new programs within other schools as well, all by “early 2013”. Emanuel said this is the first expansion of IB in Chicago in 15 years. He spoke about how parents are taking their families to the suburbs instead of staying in the city for high school due to the perceived lack of options, and that this will serve that need. He spoke about how the new all-IB high schools will be another option in addition to charters, the STEM programs, and the SE high schools.

Lots of questions remain: They didn’t say where the high schools will be, and it may not be determined yet, because they said they would work with aldermen and principals to see where the need is greatest. Not sure if they will phase out the neighborhood programs and phase in all-IB. Not sure if entry will be all-competitive, or if neighborhood kids have automatic entry but must be in the IB program. Not sure if these 10 initiatives are in addition to or instead of the existing programs.

 Hopefully CPS will post documents with details soon.

 Video of the news conference is here.


Sun Times story:


New research paper on CPS IB programs.  Beware, it’s 72 pages.  I am going to try to read it as it came to me, recommended by a CPS IB teacher.


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206 Comments Add your own

  • 1. HSObsessed  |  March 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Nothing more on cps.edu or the oase or whatever it is, either. Geez, it’s been two hours, people! Do we have to get all our news via Twitter?!

    Yes, I thought Rahm was “sweet” on the video, but I’m a huge fan. You can tell he’s a dad and that he absolutely has the best interests of Chicago’s kids in mind at all times. (Although I disagree on his position of 7.5 hours a day in school for K-8.) It was also funny how the camera had to go back for a much wider shot when JC Brizard took the mike from his dimunuitive boss. See, these are things we can discuss on a blog, which are off limits to reporters for WBEZ. 😉

    The current Curie IB students seen on the video standing behind him at the conference were also very sweet, but every one was a girl! Where are all the boys in the program?

  • 2. MarketingMom  |  March 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    This is good news. I am glad he is finally adressing the reality that folks are leaving because of the lack of HS options. I hope they put these schools in all areas of Chicago and not just on the South and North sides.

  • 3. cpsobsessed  |  March 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I think I read some where that it is one per region. Whatever these regions are. So should be around the city.

    The current IB programs do not use tier. Wonder about the new ones…..

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 4. EdgewaterMom  |  March 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I was wondering what he meant by “1 in each region”. Are there 5 official regions for high schools? They really should have backed up an announcement like this with more data!

    What are the regions? Are they going to “take over” an existing high school, build a new one (doubtful), re-purpose an existing building?

    I am assuming that they will be keeping the existing 15 IB programs, so that will make 20 IB programs in neighborhood schools and 5 “wall to wall IB” schools.

    I read the report about IB students in CPS that came out yesterday from the University of Chicago and it is very promising. It seems like the IB population is naturally diverse, unlike the SEHS population (which is somewhat diverse, but only due to tiers and other measures to give everybody a chance). I wonder if that will begin to change once the IB programs are in the spotlight. I wonder if tiers will now be factored into IB admissions.

  • 5. HSObsessed  |  March 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    It was just vaguely mentioned about five regions. I’m assuming they will be north, northwest, west, southwest, south.

    Rahm cited that 75% of current IB students are Latino or African-American (did not mention Asian). He said 77% of current IB students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. This was to preface a statement that people shouldn’t start saying that these programs are just for some elite population, but are indeed diverse and accessible to all.

  • 6. ChicagoGawker  |  March 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Where in the world would they put 5 new “wall to wall” IB schools? If they only, say, expand the existing IBs at Taft and Senn to the entire school, I don’t see how it could work in terms of all the students there being academically prepared to handle rigorous IB. I’m not sure it would be a big draw for neighborhood people either, if it’s perceived as the same old neighborhood HS with just a bigger IB program.

    If not that where, physically, would they put them? Buy buildings?
    Maybe the St. Scholastica HS bldg in RP will be bought by CPS?

  • 7. EdgewaterMom  |  March 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I can’t find anything on the website about “regions”, but they do divide the map into “zones”. However, there are only 4 zones. From http://cps.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/HowtoReadtheMaps.pdf

    North Zone that includes all CPS elementary schools north of Fullerton Ave.
    • Near North/West/Central Zone that includes all CPS elementary schools south of
    Fullerton Ave. and north of 35th St.
    • South Zone that includes all CPS elementary schools south of 35th St. and north
    of 87th St.
    • Far South Zone that includes all CPS elementary schools south of 87th St.

  • 8. vb  |  March 23, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Getting more IB programs is a good thing. But only if the IB programme quality is followed. I heard that some CPS IB programs had a “IB diploma” rate of 3% (3 out of 100 IB students received an IB diploma). At good quality suburban schools, the IB diploma rate is around 75%. I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but I have doubts that the CPS IB program is up to par.

  • 9. EdgewaterMom  |  March 23, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I hope that they will publish the IB diploma rates and ACT scores of students in the current IB programs. I have a feeling that it will vary widely from school to school.

    Overall, I am very impressed with everything that I have seen about the IB programs at CPS, but I have really only scratched the surface.

  • 10. mom2  |  March 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I’m conflicted on this one. I love the idea of more rigorous school choices, but I don’t want this to hurt what appears to just be getting started with improving at least a few of the north side neighborhood high schools and getting good families to consider these schools. If they add a full IB school on the north side and another one downtown, those two alone might cause those parents (that were willing just yesterday to put all their efforts into making their neighborhood high school “the place to be”) to give that up and start hoping for a place at these extra high schools.

  • 11. HSObsessed  |  March 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    @8, are you referring to the one suburban high school in River Forest that offers the IB program (a private high school)? Besides the one in RF and one in Peoria, all other Illinois high school IB programs are in CPS. See link. Where did you read those statistics?


  • 12. Alex  |  March 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    EdgewaterMom, here are the 5 regions:


  • 13. Vet  |  March 23, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I’m a big fan of the IB programme and curricula. We have one at my school and while our diploma percentage is not as high as LP or suburban schools it really bolsters our academic community. We also have non-diploma candidates enrolled in IB coursework. They love it.

    Increasing the IB base by installing programme’s in our neighborhood schools could really strengthen our general enrollment facilities, but separating the programmes out would just further gut neighborhood schools of quality, higher achieving, and/or dedicated and committed students. I will hope for the best but knowing Emanuel’s and Brizard’s policies and rhetoric I realistically think the latter is more likely than the former.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  • 14. Emily Haite  |  March 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    A step in the right direction!

  • 15. HS Mom  |  March 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    @1- I’m a fan too. Rahn has been very vested in education. His recognition of educational achievement is greatly appreciated.

    @6 – Here’s the Times article. They say “existing” schools so that sounds like conversion to me. Some High Schools, like Roosevelt are actually quite small designed to hold roughly 1200 kids.


    @10 – I think this program could put Amundson and Senn on the map – also other neighborhood schools that will include the program. Sounds good for neighborhood schools

  • 16. cpsobsessed  |  March 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Regarding High School IB programs, a collegue with a child at Lycee Francais has been telling me about the growing high school IB program there. They take kids who do not speak French and currently the classes are very small. Tuition is $15K per year. Could be an option for those who did not get a spot in an SE school this year….. just FYI.

  • 17. Mayfair Dad  |  March 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    YES! Let’s start the rumor CPS has purchased the St. Scholastica campus for a new wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate HS.

    Actually large enough to do a full K-12 (like Ogden International) and offer the entire IB curriculum.

    C’mon, Gates Foundation, throw us a bone and buy the St. Scholastica campus for CPS.

  • 18. vb  |  March 23, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    @11. HSObsessed, My information in the IB diploma rate is old, but it comes from Fairfax, VA and Scottsdale, AZ. Those schools had about a 75% diploma rate a few years ago. Littleton, CO website says “Our IB diploma rate is 93 percent, ” http://littleton.littletonpublicschools.net/Default.aspx?tabid=2691
    According to Wikipedia, the global pass rate is 80%:

  • 19. Magnet mom  |  March 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Senn expanding their IB program would be HUGE draw as that would fill up all the seats with either the arts track or IB. It’s been on my watch since my kid was in K. It’s so unrealistic to think that all qualified kids will get SE seats with the competition so stiff. Senn is surrounded by Tier 4. We parents here want it desperately to be an option. There is a tour 3/26 at 6pm with refreshments at Senn. I wonder if they will speak about this expansion idea.

  • 20. junior  |  March 23, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Sounds like these will be located in neighborhood schools and should help those schools out quite a bit. WIth the announcements of computer science and IB programs, I think Rahm and CPS are making quick progress toward helping neighborhood schools reach a critical mass of appeal to higher-achieving students who might otherwise leave the system. IB program is not a preference for my own kid, but the good things about it are that it is rigorous, it is third-party accredited, and many parents/students have already bought into successful elementary IB programs.

  • 21. ChicagoGawker  |  March 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    @18 Magnet Mom –
    What is it that would be that different than the way things are now in terms of quality/safety if Senn had all their spots either IB or Fine Arts? I mean they already have IB, and looks like they are going to get Fine Arts, so why would expanding IB be the tipping point for making the Tier 4 families flock to Senn? Not challenging you, just sincerely curious why you think this. Would you send your child there if the IB diploma rate was 10%?

  • 22. anonymous  |  March 23, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Is this more than just wishful thinking?

    There is a big CPS deficit now. There is no money for a quality 7.5 hour day.

    So where is the money coming for an expanding quality IB program?

  • 23. cpsobsessed  |  March 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    It’s funny we’re talking about the St. Scholastica building — my boss has kids in a catholic school and the talk there is that they want the archdioses to turn it into a coed catholic high school.
    Supposedly it’s a great facility, except for the lack of full size gym.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 24. JKR  |  March 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    #16. Already checked it out. It’s a lovely program, very supportive staff. VERY SMALL. 1 kid in the program right now and they’re planning on 10 at the most next year. (the English IB kids have some classes with the French students) They are building a new school, so soon they’ll have more room. Too small for my dd. but she shadowed and liked the teachers and the other kids in the french program. As you say, may be a great option for some folks. They told me “your child will leave here speaking French”.

  • 25. HSObsessed  |  March 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Finally, CPS posted their press release. A few more deets: They’ll launch a community feedback process to gather input regarding locations and announce the locations in fall 2012. Applications will be taken starting in October and first classes will enroll in fall 2013. Admission will be based on grades, ISATs, and interview (same as currently) with a neighborhood preference. The IB program is actually only in the 11th and 12th grades, so the freshmen and sophomores will be in honors or IB Middle Years classes, and then apply for the IB program in 10th grade.


  • 26. Christine  |  March 23, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    I read somewhere (I think) that if a child graduates with in IB Diploma then they can go to a European University (if they get accepted). Is that true?

  • 27. Angie  |  March 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    @21. anonymous: “So where is the money coming for an expanding quality IB program?”

    Maybe they’ll use the money they are going to save by closing those low-quality schools.

  • 28. liza  |  March 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    This sounds wonderful, but has anyone checked into what it takes to launch an accredited IB program? I was under the impression that the school must apply and it is a very rigorous process to get the actual go ahead from the directors of the IB association. A former colleague of mine was involved in the process of applying for and actually opening such a program at a high school. You had to be able to prove that you had qualified and committed staff, a curriculum plan, enough space, materials, etc. to even be considered. If I remember correctly, this process took more than one year. I believe it took closer to 3 years.

    Okay, I just looked at the IB website (IB.org). They say it takes at least two and up to three years to get a program up and running, and that is if they even accept your application. I’m sorry, you can talk about how “sweet” he looked, but Emmanuel needs to do his homework before he makes these statements that truly show how arrogant and uninformed he is about education policy and basic procedures. Does he truly believe because he says so, it will come true? As my grandma always said, if wishes were horses, we all could ride.

  • 29. Angie  |  March 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    @27. liza: IB Diploma program starts in 11th grade, so they have plenty of time to get it done. New high schools will open in fall 2013, 1.5 years from now, and there will be 2 more years until the students complete grades 9 and 10.

  • 30. cpsobsessed  |  March 23, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    I’m reading that IB report and it says in the current programs that kids take honors or AP classes in 9-10th grade.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 31. HSObsessed  |  March 23, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    @27 liza, CPS has plenty of experience applying for and receiving full accreditation for the IB programs: They have 13 fully accredited programs already, and two more currently going through the process, at Ogden International and South Shore. I’m sure you did your homework as well by carefully reading the CPS press release, which contains all that information and specifies that the new programs will get started in 2013 with “final authorization set for 2016”.

    The IB organization requires that the school apply and “prove its stuff” first before getting the final accreditation, and then there are tough guidelines for keeping it.

  • 32. PortageParent  |  March 23, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Hmmm…I’m just trying to imagine where, in the north side network, these programs will go. Let’s try to figure this out.

    It looks like the only north side high schools that are not charters or do not already have a “special” program in place are: Sullivan, Mather, Wells, Steinmetz, Foreman, Kevlyn Park, Shurz, North Grand, Clemente, and Roosevelt.

    Mather would seem like an odd choice since its boundaries are right up against two schools that already have IB programs (Senn & Amundsen). Clemente is one of the “small schools” with a lot of interesting internal programs (night school, etc). Shurz has been noted here as trying to implement a fine arts program. North Grand is brand new and seems to serve the overflow of Kevlyn. (btw, holy cow!, that north grand is an amazing building!). Roosevelt has got something in the works…career sections (?) or something within the school. Steinmetz is so very far nw and close- ish to Taft, which already has IB. I don’t know enough about Sullivan, Kevlyn, Wells, or Foreman.

    So, what is anyone’s best guess for the “wall to wall” or the added programs?

    My guess is Shurz for the added IB. It’s huge and could hold IB and fine arts (ala Senn). It serves kids from Logan square all the way to Portage park (double points for socioeconomic diversity ;).

    The “wall to wall” has me stumped, though. What school could they possibly turn over? Where will the current students go?

  • 33. local  |  March 23, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    How’s that IB program at Morgan Park working out?

  • 34. PortageParent  |  March 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Woops…pardon my previous post. Steinmetz already has an IB program.

  • 35. ilona  |  March 24, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Maybe Rahm Is a good dad but as a mayor he should be a little bit more concern with decisions that target ethnic groups such polish and italian. His no Pulaski and Columbus Day at schools made him less popular among these groups. If anybody should be celebrated, Christopher Columbus is for putting America on the map and Kasimir Pulaski for his heroism and sacrifice that leaded him to his death for an american freedom. We don,t see too many foreigners willing to die for this country, don’t we?

  • 36. donna  |  March 24, 2012 at 6:21 am

    Bringing IB programs into more schools is a great idea. But, like so many CPS initiatives, this just comes off to me like another spin job.

    According to the IBO.ORG site, the process for application, planning and verification itself takes three years. Will Chicago, in all its craziness, be exempt from this time line? According to the web site:

    “IB World Schools must undergo an exhaustive authorization process in order to offer one or more of the programmes, which includes a study of the school’s resources and commitment to the IB mission and philosophy.
    IB teachers participate in a wide variety of professional development opportunities to constantly update their knowledge and share their expertise with colleagues around the world.”

    Have schools begun this process in order to begin next year? Have they already applied? Or will there be a big rush to get the applications in by the April 1 deadline?

    A 7.5 hour day to be followed with the amount of work necessary for success in this program seems like a lot for students who have other extracurriculars. As a neighborhood school option, I would assume any student could get in, right? Does this mean that a student not academically ready could be in the program? How will this work when a student does not have the skills necessary for the curriculum?


  • 37. ChicagoGawker  |  March 24, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Please people read the previous posts before posting questions that have already been answered.

  • 38. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Perhaps chicago can move faster with approval because they have so many IB programs in place already as a district and it is more expansion than establishment?

    I read the long IB success report last night and it talks about the blatant skepticsm the public had that CPS could get all the current IB programs up and running quickly back in the later 90’s. In fact CPS faced a big range of skepticism about it. I guess we’re not the first generation of obsessors. 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 39. HSObsessed  |  March 24, 2012 at 8:51 am

    New Trib article on it. New deets:

    The Trib reporter said that JCB said that the new 5 wall-to-wall IB schools would not have “selective enrollment requirements”. This reporter seemed to interpret that as meaning all neighborhood kids would be admitted. (I didn’t hear that at all. I think “no SE requirements” is code speak for “no tier system applies” but there is an application process based on grades, test scores, etc.)

    Curie has 30 graduate from the IB program and an equal number drop out.

    Curie got 3,800 apps this year for 136 spots.

    The program requires 7-8 hours of homework a night during junior and senior year of high school.


  • 40. kikiandkyle  |  March 24, 2012 at 9:12 am

    @25 Christina anyone can apply to and be accepted at a European University. An IB diploma wouldn’t make any difference.

  • 41. ChicagoGawker  |  March 24, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I’m still working my way through the 75 page report…, but at this point I’m not seeing how this will change the landscape for Tier 4 types looking for college prep and safety who don’t make SEHS. Look, there is already IB at Senn, Taft etc, and hardly any of that demographic even consider these schools. People even turn down LPHS IB and go private. The big question is the wall to wall IB schools which might be attractive, but if CPS just turns, say, a Sullivan HS (viewed as beyond hope) into a wall to wall IB, I’d like to see how many of my friends take the leap and send their kids there. Not going to happen. I don’t wish for these things, just being realistic.

  • 42. PortageParent  |  March 24, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Gawker- my thoughts exactly. There are so many north side high schools that already have an IB program and it doesn’t seem to be giving them much of a boost in popularity or academic achievement (ex: Steinmetz numbers are abysmal).

    It’s the wall to wall concepts that have potential, but it would have to a complete and total turn over or new school. That seems unlikely given the financial state of CPS. Taking an existing high school that is utterly failing and calling it an IB school, while giving preference to neighborhood students doesnt seem like much of a change. But who knows what Rahm has up his sleaze?

  • 43. wy mom  |  March 24, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I think if the whole school becomes IB then it has a real chance and ppl should look at it. My area has 5 schools that are IB Middle Years Programme (gr 6-8)~however, the teachers at my son’s school have expanded the program to serve all grades. The IB MYP then feed into IB HS Schools. But realistically in my area, I don’t know any parents in my area that send their kids to the IB HS (a small program w/in the neighborhood hs). If the IB HS wasn’t housed in a neighborhood HS and it’s own entity, I know many that would look at it as a viable option. You would have students who want to be there and therefore, doing homework and being engaged in classes, etc. If my neighborhood school which houses an IB program became a school of just IB students, I’d probably would seriously look into sending a lad’s there. It would house only IB students, kids from my area who tested and want to go to school, not made to be there until the last bell rings. I like the IB HS program, I just don’t like where it’s housed.

    The IB programs along w/SEHS are very demanding and rigorous. There is no way with the amount of work that is required that any of these high schools could follow a 7.5 hr school day and since there is no new funds in the budget, and unfunded day as well. I can’t believe the Mayor is even thinking of adding anymore time to outstanding schools as WY & NorthSide. As you can see from Curie School’s IB program and the achievements @ the SEHS~they have all performed magnificently~all in the time frame of the CPS schools~no added time was need to achieve their desired goals. But what you have at these schools are students who want to learn, achieve and be there!

    I don’t know how CPS will get the funding for IB HS or how teachers will be accredited for their program by a certain time, but I think its a viable option in the future.

    Anything that doesn’t require Charters/Privatization is good for the future of CPS!

  • 44. EdgewaterMom  |  March 24, 2012 at 9:47 am

    @38 Thanks for posting that article. I really wonder if this is what Brizard said, or if this was the reporter’s interpretation. I am assuming that the reporter interviewed Brizard, because he did not say much about the IB program at Rahm’s lunchtime press conference.

    “One neighborhood high school in each of Chicago’s five school regions will base its curriculum entirely on International Baccalaureate standards. Those five schools will not have selective-enrollment requirements and will give neighborhood students first shot at admittance, Brizard said.”

    “Five other high schools will join the existing 13 schools that offer smaller baccalaureate programs that accept students selectively based on grades, standardized test scores and interviews.”

    I really hope that they have it wrong. There is no way that they can just take an existing high school (and its existing students) and suddenly turn it in to an IB school. That makes no sense!

    I was also shocked to read that they expect 6 to 7 hours of homework in Jr. and Sr. year. I realize that it is a rigorous program and that students will have to work hard, but 6 hours of homework per night seems pretty extreme.

  • 45. BuenaParkMom  |  March 24, 2012 at 10:00 am

    At HSObsessed – There are other privates that offer the IB. The Lycée also offers the IB program at the high school level in addition to the French Bac (similar program, but done in French language). The Lycée has an extremely high pass rate on their diploma programs and every child at the high school level is in one of the two program. British School also has the IB program.

    I do think think it’s great that they are adding IB programs. However, people are correct when they say the pass rate to actually obtaining the diploma is important. If only 3 out of a 100 kids are passing that is a real problem and not a very successful program.

  • 46. bucktownmomof2  |  March 24, 2012 at 10:17 am

    When are Bucktown/Wicker Park families going to start demanding a good choice for their kids. LVHS and LPHS look like top quality schools compared to our choices. I’m really hoping this area is considered. I often feel that we are sort of the city educational black hole.

  • 47. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Bucktown/wicker park really is. I hung around there a bit last summer and the number of stollers was insane. They need someone to mobilize them soon…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 48. bucktownmomof2  |  March 24, 2012 at 10:34 am

    The problem is that if you are looking for a quality neighborhood school here, just by virtue of location, you are including a large area of poverty and gang territory…much more so than further north. How can CPS start or improve an existing school that creates a safe, quality environment when so many kids in the neighborhood aren’t prepared or interested in that – especially with a requirement that kids are in school until 18. I don’t see any way for Wells or Clemente to turn into the kind of place where my mostly As and some Bs kids can attend in a few years.

  • 49. wy mom  |  March 24, 2012 at 10:35 am

    @#45~be a voice for your area~did you run for your local high school’s LSC? That’s a good way to start demanding good schools.

  • 50. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Bucktownmom, I think you hit the million dollar question. Many of us live in neighborhoods that will still serve some “undesirable” kids in terms of gang activity, fighting, etc. I think we all can agree that needs to be dealt with.
    On the other hand, the schools also have kids who be nature of their socio-econ background and poor elem schools may not be great students nor have college aspirations (some may not have HS grad aspirations) BUT they may not be “troublemakers.”
    Someone pointed out on a post a couple weeks ago that living in the city can require you to send your kids to HS side by side with this population. Except for the SE schools, (or exclusive IB) we’re not gonna have schools 100percent full of kids with “high education” backgrounds (aka “gentrified kids.”. Yes, this is happening in some north side elem schools, but the HS boundaries are too big for this to happen.
    If all Lake View HS feeder schools attended LVHS it could possibly come close.
    But I think the challenge is to find a way to make the co-existing happen.
    So parents can embrace the IB or arts programs at amundsen, senn, new IBs, etc.
    At the very least they DO give an advanced academic option on the neighborhood.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 51. TeachingintheChi  |  March 24, 2012 at 10:53 am

    The money will probably come from the teachers who don’t get raises anymore.

  • 52. Todd Pytel  |  March 24, 2012 at 11:08 am

    #20 – I’m the math department chair and a long-time IB teacher at Senn. Our diploma pass rate in the last few years has varied between 30-50%. I would expect that rate to increase significantly in the next few years, as our MYP program is attracting even stronger students and is doing an even better job preparing them for DP. Also, the Fine Arts program is already running at Senn. I know less about the details of that program, as I don’t teach in it, but I’m impressed with the people running it – they have real experience and connections in the Chicago arts community, they’re not just random art/music/drama teachers that needed a job.

    The questions about the relationship between the IB program and the general programs in neighborhood schools are certainly reasonable and important. I can’t speak about other schools, but I can say that at Senn, even the 9th grade MYP students quickly form their own academic community. By the time they’re juniors in the Diploma Programme, that community intensifies into being their own little universe. That being said, Senn as a whole is a pretty quiet place, even for the general population. If anyone would like to visit, I’m sure Principal Lofton would welcome that. Parents of our recently accepted MYP applicants were invited to visit and sit in on classes at any time of their choosing – several came to see my freshman Algebra class. Our students and teachers throughout the building do great work, and we’re happy to show that off. I believe we still have a handful of spots to fill for the MYP program for next year. If you’d like more information about the program or would like to schedule a visit, please contact David Gregg, our MYP coordinator, at 773-534-2501 or at dgregg@cps.edu.

  • 53. Chicago Mama  |  March 24, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I’m not sure the bac pass rate is better in France. Or it wasn’t when I was there. In France, the IB is required for admission to university. There is no other way to get around it. Community colleges do not exist. You don’t pass your bac, your education is over and your career path is stunted. But you can try again 2-3 times. I went to a tech/sciences lycee and I remember some 22- and 23-y/os following terminale again so that they could get into university.

    HS have only a 6h,8 min day – not 7.5 like elementary.

  • 54. ChicagoGawker  |  March 24, 2012 at 11:29 am

    @51 Todd -Thrilled to hear from you and to get Senn news. Please stick around and post some more. My 5th grader is currently at a private and I would love for my kid to experience the kind of diversity Senn has and do IB vs. having to move to the suburbs. There are others in the community who feel the same and we are forming a group. If the new CPS IB initiative raises the profile of IB, maybe more college educated type,nonminority parents will consider Senn. I see increasing the diversity there to include more of that type as benefitting us all.

  • 55. HS Mom  |  March 24, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Regarding an IB program being successful with a low % of actual IB diplomas – according to the U of C report, students benefit from the program with or without the diploma in terms of better outcomes, success continuing on to 4 year institutions and are more likely to attend the better colleges and universities. I can only imagine the the select students with the actual IB diploma are at the very top of the spectrum. Overall sounds like a win/win for IB programs.

    Regarding IB being in demand in schools that also have a neighborhood program – I think a poster here cited that most Taft A/C students did not make it into the Taft program. Lincoln Park was only accepting straight A students. Curie, 3500 applicants for 160 spaces. I know for a fact that Curie gets top applicants mainly from the south side. As far as Amundsen, Senn and the others, I have heard from those that have actually taken the time to look at the programs that they are serious choices (more than likely after selective enrollment). With the huge number of good high performing students that CPS has, it’s nice to know there is an option at the neighborhood level that would allow them to break away from the pack.

    Regarding the “stand alones” I totally see them as becoming equally popular as Selective Enrollment. I would certainly have loved to not only have the option to send my son to a 100% college prep school but also have the choice of what type of education he could receive. These are not neighborhood programs.

    @42 – longer day for HS is 7.5 vs. 7 hours that they currently have. Not sure if you have high school kids but with a rigorous program the extra time is designed to help them out.

  • 56. EdgewaterMom  |  March 24, 2012 at 11:35 am

    @53 ChicagoGawker – I completely agree! I am really looking forward to the community meeting at Senn on Monday. I know several families that attended the meetings for the Senn IB program (their 8th graders were considering it) and they all had very positive things to say about it (although they ended up choosing a SEHS). The more I learn about Senn, the more hopeful I am about it being a good choice for my now 4th grader.

    I think that as more neighborhood families really learn about what is going on at Senn, more will be willing to send their kids to Senn. I think that all of the press that the IB programs at CPS are getting will be positive for Senn.

  • 57. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Based on the IB research document, the pass rate internationnaly is 80percent and 70percent in the US. It is not a simple test, but a multifaceted eval process.

    I’d love to understand the obstacles to more students passing. I think it feels like a barrier to some parents to see the lower pass rates….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 58. wy mom  |  March 24, 2012 at 11:48 am

    #54 my son is a frackie @ wy~that means he was in the academic center for 2 years and now a freshmen. The extra 1/2hour won’t help any of the kids. Their day is rigorous and many commute for over an hour one way.

  • 59. HS Mom  |  March 24, 2012 at 11:52 am

    @57 – that’s too bad. Interesting that WY has an issue with this.

  • 60. wy mom  |  March 24, 2012 at 11:57 am

    @58 Why? Dr. Kenner is doing a stellar job as principal, the teachers are the best I believe in the City and students there achieve their desired goal, all in the normal CPS school day? Why would they want to extend the day? Whether students commute from the NorthSide or SouthSide, why extend their day?

  • 61. IBgrammar  |  March 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    The IB high school program is rigorous . . . 6- 7 hours of homework per night. Most students graduate with the HS diploma, but not the IB diploma. The test is super hard and most students miss it by 1 – 2 points and no matter how hard the parents complain, there are no ways around the passing grade. You either got it or you didn’t. But even without the IB diploma, many colleges are impressed that you finished the program.

  • 62. RL Julia  |  March 24, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Kinda weird – my son applied to Ogden IBHS but ultimately dropped out because he didn’t attend the mandatory interview process. Was completely unsurprised when he didn’t get an offer – however, yesterday got a voice mail message from Ogden just making sure he had a school to go to….. and if not, to please call. What’s up with that?

  • 63. Edgewater Member  |  March 24, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    Senn is on an interesting trajectory and is moving fast to meet community demand–there is a clear plan developing between the school and the community to make the school a viable option for Edgewater families. There have been a couple of meetings already. So far, we have learned that Senn is a neighborhood school, but it offers multiple programs. Two are selective: MYP/IB and Senn Fine Arts. The other program is AVID, which is not a selective program and seems to work more with the mid-level students and getting them into the college planning process. This is a something-for-almost-everyone approach that has real appeal.

    Realistically, Senn’s challenge has been to create a serious, safe learning environment that the community believes in and feels comfortable sending children to. Senn got a new principal last year, and change has been dramatic. During the Mayor’s and the Alderman’s education forums at the school this year, it became pretty clear that this is the school to watch.

    There is a community forum at Senn this Monday, March 26th at 6:00 p.m. Parents on Ruth’s List and other organizations have put together a list of questions for the principal. Should be insightful.

  • 64. Chicago Gawker  |  March 24, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    I heard tonight at an Edgewater party that the principal at Senn has been known to frequent the EL stop in the morning to ensure that kids don’t get distracted away from going to school by the negative neighborhood influences aka gang members and drug dealers.

  • 65. Todd Pytel  |  March 25, 2012 at 12:39 am

    @63 – Chicago Gawker, Ms. Lofton and her posse (our Curriculum Coordinator and Science Department Chair) are at the El stop every morning, rain or shine.

  • 66. Disgusted  |  March 25, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I am thinking Rahm has felt the wrath of tier 4 parents and is trying to stop the “white flight” that is about to happen. I know 3 families that have children with 893+ scores and didn’t make it to NS Prep that have put their homes on the market up here on the far NW Side. They have had it with being the highest tax payers getting the least services including police protection and funding for schools. In ones exact words, ” Let the tier one start paying for Chicago’s mess.”

  • 67. EdgewaterMom  |  March 25, 2012 at 9:52 am

    @65 Disgusted. Was NS Prep the ONLY school that they considered acceptable for their children? With a score of 893+, I think that there would have been several good schools to choose from.

    If that is their attitude, then I can’t really help thinking “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

  • 68. anonymouseteacher  |  March 25, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I have to say, I have always written off Senn. I’ve also written off any high school turn around process because honestly, I thought it was impossible. But, given the recent interest by at least 25+ families in working with Senn, the principal at Senn and the high dedication I have heard of among teachers there, I have changed my mind. I actually think it might just be the first high school to turn, even before LVHS. (though I hope that one does too) My family isn’t staying in the city, so it might be easy for me to say since I have zero risk in the game, but GO SENN!!! Edgewater families are tight knit and if anyone can do it, as long as Lofton stays, I think it is possible.

  • 69. WHEW!  |  March 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    66 that was really nasty. I totally get the parents’ feelings. So many taxes, so many responsible choices for their kids and what do they get for that? Suburbs sound really tempting. . . I’m paying for private now so I get to pay tuition and support all the deadbeats in the city by being a responsible citizen.

  • 70. Uptown Mom  |  March 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    @65 & 68: Ouch. Tier 1 residents “pay[] for Chicago’s mess” and are responsible citizens too. Please don’t paint with such a wide, ugly brush. (@65, I know you’re repeating someone else’s words, so mine are directed at your quote.) I am sure there are “deadbeats” in every tier.

    I understand the disappointment of not getting into one’s first choice, but @66 is right, there are other top SEHS for which a score of 893 would qualify. At times, it does sound more like elitism and privilege than about high quality high school education. I truly worry that such an attitude undermines important lessons for our children that they can be resilient, roll with the punches in an unfair world and make the most out of less than optimal circumstances.

  • 71. PortageParent  |  March 25, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    About the new IBs, this article says that they will “accept all comers”. How is that possible?

    This paragraph of information seems backwards to me:

    “Under Emanuel’s plan, five neighborhood high schools devoted exclusively to the rigorous International Baccalaureate curriculum — touted by the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research for producing “dramatic” results — will come online in the fall of 2013, one in each of the city’s high school regions, and will accept all comers. An additional five schools — also in each zone — will offer the program alongside traditional curriculums, but unlike the neighborhood IBschools, they will have IB admission requirements.”


  • 72. RL Julia  |  March 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I have a hard time believing that NCP is the only acceptable choice for those families. Convenient choice maybe, first choice -sure but only choice? That just seems like setting yourself up for failure -or at least disappointment to say the least. One the other hand, if their backup plan was to move -then power to them! I am curious- do you what suburban school system do they think is on par with Northside (or any of the SEHS’s for that matter)?

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

    @70 – Thanks for the link to the new Sun Times article. That’s really bad, if the five new IB high schools will accept all comers. They really need to screen to make sure there’s a certain level of academic achievement already, a certain level of core knowledge that all the kids are bringing in freshman year, as well as a commitment to the IB program, with its project-based based, writing-intensive, independent study focus. If they just fling their doors open without some screening, they’re setting the kids and the schools up for failure. There has to be middle ground.

  • 74. ib mom  |  March 25, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I will bet all of my french baguettes that Clemente will have an IB program and most likely the whole school will go IB.
    The little schools within a school thing that Bill Gates started has not been good for any of the CPS high schools. I had heard that CPS was dropping the small schools program.

    Pulaski IB elementary school plan was to have an IB high school in the area that they could feed into ie Clemente. The only other option I see is De Diego closing but that is not going to happen.

    Wells will have to much to deal with when they get incoming students from Crane HS. which is closing this year.
    I think Crane school is being taken over by a charter called talented and gifted- lol

    I also heard rumblings that something big was going to happen at Clemente next year from the alderman.

  • 75. ib mom  |  March 25, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    in regards to Ogden- They are now screening the kids that apply because they had a lot of problems with the first freshman group. Many did not come from Ogden elementary so they had to fill the seats with kids from Cabrini and other low income pockets in the immediate area.
    Since many Ogden students live in a tier 4 area they did not get into selective enrollment schools.
    Ogden ES parents said clean up the HS or we are not sending our kids to the West Campus. So that is why Ogden HS instituted the interview process. I am sure your son would have passed with flying colors. Just dont wear a hoodie or pants below your waist! LOL

  • 76. Disgusted  |  March 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    The people I sope of that have kids in Norwood Park are disgusted at the fact that they pay the highest taxes in the city and Rahm pulls all the cops from this beat in 16th district to other areas and since he has done that there was a shootout in Edgebrook and one in Norwood Park. The riff raff knows where the people with money are. And now their kids score near perfect and can’t get into NS Prep while some bustouts from the west side that pay no taxes get in with 830 or 840? Let’s be honest why would you stay in the city as a tier 4. If the city ever gets rid of residency restrictions this city will turn into Detroit overnight. Every single neighbor of mine (city workers) would be gone in a heart beat. We are tired of supporting the bust outs.

  • 77. Disgusted  |  March 25, 2012 at 5:29 pm


  • 78. Chicago Gawker  |  March 25, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Thank goodness, the reality is that the economy of this city does not depend upon “city workers” who BTW pay a fraction of the property taxes they would pay in the suburbs on the same house

    Encourage your friends to get out a bit more and talk to people outside their NW side enclave, or @66 expand your social circle beyond your private school friends, maybe even get to know some renters who are poor and immigrated here. They may then realize that poor, single parent renters are not necessarily deadbeats and maybe working their asses off to just survive without city job overtime pay.

  • 79. parent  |  March 25, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    @#$% goes on everywhere in this city. We all pay high taxes. I live in a tier 2 neighborhood and pay through the nose. There has always been crime on the North side of town. I hate to say it but the police only show up after a crime has been committed.
    I have never met a pro – active police officer. I always hear ” Well mam there is really nothing we can do if these guys are hanging out on the side of your house” Then a few hours later gun shots erupt in my alley and THEN 10 squad cars! Calling 911 is proactive waiting hours for police to act on your call, futile in my tier 2 neighborhood.

    I am very off topic and I apologize.

  • 80. PortageParent  |  March 25, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    72- HSobsessed – I don’t know if it’s just the reorder for that article got his/her info wrong or what. I hope its not the case that ths reporter is privy to some real info. It just doesn’t jibe with the CPS press release for the new IBs. Curiouser and curiouser.

    73 – ibmom – ha! To bet all your baguettes is pretty serious. Are you sure you want to chance it? 😉 Thanks for the word on Clemente. Do you think that Clemente going all IB would make it a viable option?

  • 81. PortageParent  |  March 25, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    ^ reporter not reorder ^

  • 82. HSObsessed  |  March 25, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    @79, yes, I’m hoping the reporter misinterpreted, because the press release does say admissions to IB is based on grades, test scores, etc. A preference may be given to neighborhood applicants, but that’s usually a point break, i.e. I think LPIB gives kids from within the neighborhood boundary a 25-point break, but it doesn’t guarantee admission.

    Maybe someone said to her “selective enrollment criteria don’t apply” and she interpreted that to mean that there will be no selection of students based on any criteria, when in reality, that’s code for “no tier system a la the SEHS is in place for admissions to IB programs”. Big difference.

    I did love the Sun Times reporter’s use of the word “ballyhooed” in connection with Noble Streets network of schools.

  • 83. ibmom  |  March 25, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    79- not sure if Clemente will be the school for my daughter 5 years from now. I can only hope that all the new high schools coming up will be viable options in 5 years when my daughter is ready for 9th grade. I just cant throw her to the wolves 🙂

  • 84. RL Julia  |  March 25, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    @74 – thanks – so do you know why Ogden is calling kids it already rejected for next year’s 9th grade class? I mean the letter we got didn’t have a waiting list number on it (nor should it have) or anything. As for the interview process- that seems to be pro forma for the IB admission. He had to go to one for the Taft IB application as well. Ironically, he wasn’t asked to interview at Lincoln.

  • 85. bucktownmomof2  |  March 25, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Just curious, if Clemente goes IB, I’m guessing that a lot of those kids come to Wells? If so, that combined with incoming Crane kids will be a disaster. Way too many gangs coming into one school. I hope the city has a plan. I’m all for more IB schools, but that’s a lot of transfers to put into one school that is already very poorly performing.

  • 86. HS Mom  |  March 25, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    @79 – It would become an option if the school becomes application based along with academic requirements. My guess is that “wall to wall” will go that way. I also suspect that this may be an opportune time to close out failing schools in a “positive” way avoiding all the backlash. So, In that regard, placement of these schools may depend on how neighborhood needs are met and how boundaries can be reworked…..North Grand has a lovely new building.

  • 87. PortageParent  |  March 25, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    82 – ibmom – I hear ya. I’ve got a 5th grader now and I can just feel that 7th grade year breathing down our necks. I’m very worried for him. Now, my 1st grader, not as much. After seeing how much changed in elementary in just the 4/5 years between K applications, I have some amount of hope for the younger kids. Not a lot, but some.

    81 – HSo – yep, hoping it was a mix up. Otherwise, this idea would be an epic fail on Rahm’s part. I have to say the ballyhooed bit made me snicker. In a good way.

  • 88. PortageParent  |  March 25, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    HSo – Yes! I’m so glad you mentioned that North Grand building. It’s amazing! But, taking that would probably stir up some trouble in the neighborhood.

  • 89. PortageParent  |  March 25, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    HSo – is there a way to find out which, if any, current high schools might be under enrolled? That might give us some clues.

  • 90. HS Mom  |  March 25, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    sorry 86 directed at 80

  • 91. PortageParent  |  March 25, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Sorry. My #88 was to HS Mom #86.

  • 92. PortageParent  |  March 25, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Man, we are really getting our wires crossed tonight! I blame CPS. 😉

  • 93. Edgewater Member  |  March 25, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    It will be interesting to see which schools are selected for IB. Don’t know that the label of IB is enough to turn a school. The Clemente thing is interesting, but past politics don’t die easily.

    Let’s see what happens at the community meeting at Senn tomorrow night. Huge difference at Senn this past year, so I want to know the long term plan. I expect many questions will be about IB. Principal Lofton is straight forward. Yes, she is at the train in the morning. I am with the other post. GO SENN!!!

  • 94. HSObsessed  |  March 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Feeder elementaries into Senn:

    All of Hayt, Peirce, Swift, Goudy, McCutcheon, Stewart, Stockton, Brenneman.

    Most of Trumbull.

    Parts of Ravenswood, Armstrong and Kilmer.

    Go Senn! It’s great to see excitement building over a few different north side high schools.

  • 95. Hopeful 4 Options  |  March 26, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Morgan Park High School has a great IB program. It will probably bcome a stand alone IB school bc it’s already accredited. It’s a long process for a school to get accreditation and for the teachers to bcome certified to teach IB programs. If that school bcomes only IB then I will def look into that school for my kids or they wont go there…too many kids from other neighborhoods that cause trouble and not the environment I want my kids in for school.

  • 96. Mayfair Dad  |  March 26, 2012 at 9:41 am

    @61. Nobody in an IB high school program is doing 6-7 hours of homework per night. Your hyberbole is neither helpful or insightful.

    At LPHS, the administrators and teachers warn you that your IB student should expect to do homework for every subject, every night. However, they also suggest that students not spend more than 30 minutes on any one subject unless it is a major research project. It is not uncommon to spend 2.5 – 3 hours per night on homework, but 6-7 hours is unheard of.

    Also review the IB information available on their website. The program is not designed for “genius” kids, but curious motivated kids. Any child stanine 5 or above, with the proper parental encouragement and self determination, should thrive in this curriculum.

  • 97. far northsider  |  March 26, 2012 at 10:01 am

    @84 – If Ogden is calling people on their applicant list, it sounds like they didn’t fill their freshman class. I heard from an Ogden HS teacher that they received 1800 applications this year for 100 seats; perhaps they didn’t interview enough of their applicants to make up for the kids that were offered admission and decided to go elsewhere.

    Maybe this will be an option for kids that didn’t get into any of the SE schools?

  • 98. ChicagoGawker  |  March 26, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Mayfair Dad, people keep repeating what some teacher from Curie (I think) was quoted as saying about HS IB. I heard her say on the WBBM soundbite- “7-8 hours of homework a night”. I don’t believe this is true for;she was either taken out of context or exaggerating for the sake of discouraging those who don’t want to work hard.

    The 75 page report shows that even kids who don’t get the diploma have real academic gains and are attractive to college admissions officers, so that’s great. (I wonder if non minority kids who
    don’t get the diploma are attractive to them just for going through IB without the diploma. I’m thinking NOT. Ergo the concern of some us regarding the real ability of thes IB programs to prepare our kids for college. Will a 30-to 50% diploma rate do that?)

  • 99. cpsobsessed  |  March 26, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Linda lutton, from wbez had her daughter apply to curie IB and she mentioned 3 hours of homework a night (I’m taking her as a reliable source given linda’s extensive knowledge as a school reporter.)
    That still seems like soooo much homework to me!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 100. Joel  |  March 26, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I think Clemente and North-Grand are in the same HS network; if that’s the case, NG should get it as they’ve cleared out the previous corrupt admin and the new team is very good (worked with both at Farragut). It would be a prime spot to start an IB program.
    CPS is doing a good thing by opening up more places to IB; the facts from the Consortium research seem to demonstrate quite considerably that students who go through the program, regardless of final diploma status, are better prepared for university. The rigor/expectation is there. This I like. However…
    CPS killed Farragut when we lost our vocational programs. Culinary, Medical Assistant, Cosmetology (I miss getting my haircut by those girls!), Cabinetry/Carpentry, Automotive (our last one still hanging on), Fashion Design. These programs allowed some of our worst students to have motivation to come to school and build up their skills in the core subjects because they saw a tangible and viable output for them.
    If CPS is keen on IB, then hopefully they’ll also look to Europe to see that they offer a variety of secondary options for their students, of all academic levels. This needs to be addressed to cover the needs of all HS-level students in a city like Chicago which is so vastly disparate.
    Also, IB is not Common Core standards, although the IB program will holistically and organically cover all the CC standards. I like that people seem to be getting that test-prep, CRS-based teaching, and overemphasis on standardized testing (this mainly goes on in low-scoring neighborhood schools, or at least mine) are not the way to critical thinking skills.
    As a teacher concerned with the low rigor at my school, I would die and go to heaven to teach at this level of expectation, knowing that standards have to be met no matter what in order to maintain being accredited. That’s why I love my AP class so much. And frankly, it would take some time (like, years at my place), but I know that my students are capable of rising to it (like they do in AP). It’s a school-culture changer.
    Hell, I might rip up my law school acceptance letters and stick around to teach at the IB schools!

  • 101. Taft IB Mom  |  March 26, 2012 at 11:08 am

    One CPS exec intimated that Taft could be a wall to wall IB school a few weeks back. It seemed absurd at the time so, we did not take it seriously. However, Friday’s news makes it seem that they might not have been kidding. Only by expanding the programs at existing schools that have large student populations (Taft, Curie and Morgan Park) could the goal of expanding the IB program city wide to the numbers they are talking about be achieved in the timeframes they are talking about.

    Even on this blog, the Edgebrook parents are talking about moving. Then, Lo and Behold! Rahm is telling parents who are looking to move: STAY! there will be options for YOU! You better bet that one of the options will be for the Norwood Park/Edgebrook families -could it be TAFT!?! A new option for them instead of Taft!?!?!

    Historically when the Selective Enrollment choices were only aptitude based – the largest number of students in Selective Enrollment HS came from the Taft attendance area. WIth the addition of Tiers – the families on the Northwest side have had the biggest upset to their apple cart! They are not happy.

    We do not endorse entitlement or snobbery that might have been attributed to a previous post by someone from Edgebrook and agree with another post that if only Northside is “good enough” for them then, we wish them well in the suburbs.

    However, there is a LOT of Chicago beyond the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Edgewater, Bucktown, etc. and we deserve some TLC from CPS too!

    While CPS has been setting up Ogden HS and Alcott HS and even recently adding the Microsoft program to Lakeview – NOTHING – absolutely NOTHING was done for the only high school on the far Northwest side – with the largest attendance area in the city for a neighborhood school: Taft.

    I know that there are Taft haters on this blog – everyone has their right to their opinion. Our opinion is that our time has come – past due actually! It would be terrific if the high school families on the Northwest side FINALLY got something from CPS too. With the selection of our new principal – the current AP: Ms. Mary Kay Cappitelli – Taft is poised to improve even more – if it only could get some support from CPS.

  • 102. HS Mom  |  March 26, 2012 at 11:21 am

    @101 – It will be interesting to see if “wall to wall” means a large school like Taft. I immediately thought smaller due to the selective nature of the program. But, hey, I’m just glad to see it happen.

    One point to make – SE has never been “aptitude” based. Prior to tiers the system was race based. Also, there were issues with discretionary placement. We have never had a straight merit system.

  • 103. Chris  |  March 26, 2012 at 11:41 am

    “3 hours of homework a night …
    That still seems like soooo much homework to me!”

    But what if 2 hours of it is just doiing assigned reading (which, to me, seems most likely). Does that still seems like so much? Doesn’t to me–had I done all of my assigned reading in HS, 30 minutes/class/night of *just* reading would have been about on target in my recollection for core subjects. Add in some math problem-working, some Second Language study, time on a longer-term project, 12 to 15 hours a week of homework–for juniors and seniors–seems non-excessive (tho, admittedly, maybe not “reasonable”). Chapter in a good history text should take 30 minutes; enough of a novel to discuss in class-30 minutes, etc, etc.

  • 104. Mather Mom  |  March 26, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Mather gets no love, either! And it has a lot of potential.

  • 105. Chris  |  March 26, 2012 at 11:46 am

    re: Northside locations:

    Near North is sitting there, empty, a block and a half from a red line stop. Seems a reasonably viable wall-to-wall location. Yes, too close to too many other options, and therefore rich get richer, but there’s no one who gets displaced, either.

  • 106. Mather Mom  |  March 26, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Northwest side families also get screwed by the lack of magnet schools.

    I see people who are in the proximinty area of several magnet schools. We are in the attendance area of zero magnet schools.

  • 107. Mayfair Dad  |  March 26, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    We need to start a NW side movement for CPS to purchase St. Scholastica campus and open a wall-to-wall IB high school program, or co-share campus with a STEM high school program. It would be nuts not to acquire that facility and make something great happen.

  • 108. Chris  |  March 26, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    “We need to start a NW side movement for CPS to purchase St. Scholastica campus”

    You know you’re going to get a Charter School there, right? Current support for charters + Diocese track record of leasing to Charters = near certainty, imo. After the possible “senior campus” year, of course.

  • 109. Mayfair Dad  |  March 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    @ Chris: certainly the charters have the federal grant money – and Rahm’s blessing – right now. I wouldn’t be opposed to a charter so long as its a charter operator with a successful track record. Not all charter schools are created equal.

    I don’t think Rahm ruled out charters getting involved in this new IB bonanza, did he?

  • 110. Chris  |  March 26, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    MFD: “I don’t think Rahm ruled out charters getting involved in this new IB bonanza, did he?”

    If he didn’t explciitly say (I didn’t watch the video): “absolutely not; this IB expansion is *in addition to* whatever teh Charters may do”, then he didn’t rule it out.

    I’ll just bet you a dollar Scholastica end up either a Co-Ed Catholic school or a Charter, and no chance for a “regular” CPS school.

  • 111. Taft IB Mom  |  March 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I think Mayfair Dad is usually on target but, this time I’m confused!?!?!

    I must be getting my geography wrong or something.

    I believe Pulaski is the road in the center of the city. East of Pulaski is the East Side and West of Pulaski is the West Side of Chicago.

    Those of us that live on the Northwest side near O’hare (can’t get more Northwest than that) can’t fathom any more CPS money being poured into schools EAST of Pulaski before the schools WEST of Pulaski and specifically North of the Kennedy get some LOVE from CPS.

    That’s I believe where the Northwest side is!!

  • 112. Mayfair Dad  |  March 26, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    @ 111 – The opportunity to do something with St. Scholastica is too exciting to ignore. Other interesting parcels: North Park Village (alderman killed the idea in response to senior citizens who opposed); tract of land on Elston next to driver’s license facility (new Mariano’s – woo hoo!) and bulldozing the K-Mart at Foster & Elston to create a vertical high school visible from the expressway (just think of selling the naming rights – Groupon High!).

    Not as familiar with the landscape west of Central. Didn’t Avondale neighborhood get a new high school recently? Isn’t there an old Eli’s cheesecake factory parcel for sale?

  • 113. Mayfair Dad  |  March 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    @ 110. I wonder also if the archdiocese has plans for this gem. With all the pent up (disappointed) Tier 4 demand in this area, why not a St. Ignatius North? I suspect a rigorous coed college prep option would be well received.

  • 114. Chris  |  March 26, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    “I believe Pulaski is the road in the center of the city. East of Pulaski is the East Side and West of Pulaski is the West Side of Chicago.”

    By area, maybe, by population, no way.

    Also, just physically, only north of North Ave.

  • 115. ChicagoGawker  |  March 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    MFD, remember St. Scholastica is in Rogers Park. Are NW siders willing to put their kids on the Touhy ave bus or drive in the Touhy ave parade ea. morning to get their kids to a school in a hood looked upon as, well, not NW side like? I live a little over a mile from there and though were Catholic, I’m rooting for a wall to wall IB, charter or not.

  • 116. Chris  |  March 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    MFD: “With all the pent up (disappointed) Tier 4 demand in this area, why not a St. Ignatius North? ”

    Had the same thought. Haven’t there been rumblings about another top-end HS from the archdiocese? With some blahblah about using Gordon? Maybe I’m imagining things.

  • 117. LastYr  |  March 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    113 – no chance . . . even though Ignatius and Loyola are coed and crowded to capacity, the ardiocese needs to help maket schools like Gordan and Guerin prep, both coed, both great schools, both under utilized. I highly doubt they would open a new coed hs.

  • 118. ChicagoGawker  |  March 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    @117 I agree. I will literally eat my hat if the archdiocese opens another co-ed HS in the next 2 years. Most don’t realize most were started by religious orders of priests and nuns, and not directly by the archdiocese in the first place. They have neither the organization nor $ to do big innovation in secondary ed.

  • 119. LastYr  |  March 26, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    118 absolutely. I would expect more mergers and /or closings, not openings. Don’t think the Jesuits are rolling in money either. . . maybe?

  • 120. Mayfair Dad  |  March 26, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    @ Chicago Gawker: Build it and they will come. Remember how people scoffed when Payton opened in the shadows of Cabrini Green, or Jones next door to a homeless mission? The quality of program will be a draw, especially wall-to-wall IB. As Chris points out, a charter operator is likely to be involved. And I hear what you are saying about religious order vs. archdiocese, but still, the Catholic church loves its real estate. It wouldn’t shock me if they tried a new school model at this location rather than part with the asset.

    I suggest a little Frank’s Red Hot with the hat when the time comes.

  • 121. ChicagoGawker  |  March 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Lease=nice cash flow, MFD.

  • 122. MarketingMom  |  March 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    I would be willing to join a movement for better high schools on the northwest side (west of Pulaski). We have been underserved and schools like Steinmetz, Prosser and Kelvyn Park just do not cut it for me. My hope is that CPS would take a more strategic approach to these locations and look to see where kids are going to school that live in areas such as Old Irving, Portage Park, Galewood and Sauganash. Most are traveling East.

  • 123. Nope77  |  March 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    122 — no most are traveling to private. . . or charters.

  • 124. donna  |  March 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    @122 – What about the IB program at Prosser?

  • 125. ibmom  |  March 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Rahm was at Clemente today. I think I am going to keep all of my baguettes!

  • 126. Chicago Gawker  |  March 26, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Great turnout at Senn tonight with about 70 people plus many Senn faculty. Based on what I heard, I would be inclined toward their well established IB program over being the guinea pigs at a CPS experiment. Safety and academics all on the upswing, and local parochial school kids already enrolled for next year. “Elite education without the elitism”. Whoa, so ready for that after private school. Lofton has only been there one year and has made real strides. She gets it and is not afraid to kick butt where needed.Stay tuned. IB director was impressive. Fine arts program and Avid also, every kid has a cohort when entering.

  • 127. anonymouseteacher  |  March 26, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    I also think St. Scholastica will be taken over by a charter, which is too bad, because we already have one failing charter school in Rogers Park. CMSA has an average ACT score of 16. The kids who go there are decently behaved kids trying to escape Sullivan, our neighborhood high school with an avg. ACT of 15 with very serious gang and violence issues. But we don’t need another charter here, especially CMSA has been allowed to stay open even though it is utterly failing academically. (wasn’t that the whole point of charters? That they could do better? And if not, they’d be closed?) And last I heard, there were plans to turn the old St. Jerome’s school into a charter, though those plans may have fizzled out.
    I wish St. Scholastica would re-open as an IB school that only accepted kids with the scores to succeed.

  • 128. SW Side Momma  |  March 27, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Does anyone know anything about the IB program at Kelly? I was looking on their website the other day and was surprised they had a program there.

  • 129. EdgewaterMom  |  March 27, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Senn announced at the community meeting last night that they are probably going to open up more spots for next year’s IB program and that they are doing a 2nd round. http://www.sennhs.org/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=237058&id=0

    If anybody is looking for a program for next year, I would really encourage you to contact Senn and learn more about their program. I think that every parent/community member who attended the meeting last night walked away very impressed with Senn and Principal Lofton. They have come a long way in a short time and it looks like test scores will continue to improve.

    I really think that Senn is a school to watch. In a year or two, we may start seeing comments on here saying “Whew, I got into Senn!” (the Fine Arts or IB program).

  • 130. cpsobsessed  |  March 27, 2012 at 7:58 am

    In regards to the IB’s I slogged my way through the 72 page report on them and was very impressed. It IS a rigorous program for sure. But the impressive part was about the study habits and collegiality (?) with the other students and teachers that the IB programs foster, which helps to prepare kids well for a college environment.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 131. HSObsessed  |  March 27, 2012 at 8:08 am

    OK, so it looks like the new wall to wall IB schools will indeed by open admissions, yikes. Not sure that’s a good move. Linda Lutton on WBEZ reported at this link, with excerpt from her article below:


    Currently, students are admitted to the IB programs based on grades, test scores and an interview. Admissions are not as competitive as they are at the city’s vaunted selective enrollment high schools.

    But CEO Jean-Claude Brizard said he intends to make it even easier to get in. The new stand-alone IB high schools will not filter students at all. They will be neighborhood schools open to anyone who wants to go.

    Brian Spittle, director of the Center for Access and Attainment at DePaul University, thought he heard wrong when Brizard announced there would be no admissions criteria to the new IB high schools.

    “I can’t quite see open admissions to IB—oh my goodness. I mean, it would be intriguing! But I think you need some kind of a process, if nothing else to make sure students know what they’re getting into,” said Spittle.

  • 132. cpsobsessed  |  March 27, 2012 at 8:10 am

    @HSO – wow. That is certainly surprising. Oddly surprising.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 133. cpsobsessed  |  March 27, 2012 at 8:20 am

    So how is this gonna encourage people to stay in the city for the IB programs? We all have to move into that neighborhood zone?
    Still baffled by this.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 134. HS Mom  |  March 27, 2012 at 8:31 am

    I don’t think open admission is a very good idea at all. It will definitively take the value away. I guess this would create more interest in the neighborhood IB’s. From the tone of the article, this makes the IB more like an experiment. What a disappointment if this is in fact what happens.

  • 135. EdgewaterMom  |  March 27, 2012 at 8:31 am

    @131 Intriguing is not the adjective that I would have used! I really hope that they re-think this policy. I don’t think that they can expect the average student to commit to, and be able to succeed in, an IB program.

  • 136. PortageParent  |  March 27, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Ah, CPS, thanks for another let down. The stand alone IB announcement was so exciting…for 2 days. I don’t believe for a second that noncompetitive neighborhood IBs will keep people in the city who are looking for academic excellence and safety (or the idea of safety through a group of like minded kids).

    Its just like the longer day issue. CPS realizes that the 5 hr 45 mn day is too short and parents want more. Then they go over board by insisting on 7.5 instead of the already working 6.5 day. In the same way, CPS sees that parents want accelerated programs and more of them to accommodate the kids who didn’t get into SEHS. But instead of going with the already working IB process, they go overboard with an open to all policy.

    ibmom- Yep, I think you will be keeping your baguettes, but they probably won’t taste as good after this. 😉

  • 137. another CPS mom  |  March 27, 2012 at 10:17 am


  • 138. SR  |  March 27, 2012 at 10:19 am

    @ 126 & 129 – I had to leave the Senn meeting early last night, but was curious how long it went and whether there was a tour at the end.

    I left feeling very impressed by the IB program and much more positive about the school as a whole. I thought it was interesting that the principal described Senn’s neighborhoods as Edgewater and Andersonville even though most of Uptown also feeds into the school. It sounds like Uplift pulls a lot of Uptown kids, but there must be a lot who go to Senn.

  • 139. mom2  |  March 27, 2012 at 10:33 am

    @137 – why is it that the CTU cannot understand that by keeping wealthy tax payers in the city, CPS gets more money for all public school children in the city? This is a benefit not something that harms the poor kids in the city.

  • 140. HS Mom  |  March 27, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Two conflicting articles. Which one is it? Leave it to CTU to F up the opportunity. With schools in each of 5 districts, does this not benefit all?

  • 141. mom2  |  March 27, 2012 at 10:35 am

    If the IB schools and programs becomes less selective, people won’t find them a solution for the lack of SE spots near their home. I’m back to hoping people with really stay focused on sending their kids to their neighborhood high schools. Go Lake View, Go Senn!

  • 142. PortageParent  |  March 27, 2012 at 10:49 am

    “CPS officials say that admissions criteria for IB programs in the new schools will be the same as they are for current IB programs.”

    -from the article posted at #137

    So…which is it?

    And what in the bleep is wrong with the CTU on this subject? Playing the race card right out of the gate, when we are talking about a school in each zone? They really really need to find a more thoughtful line of argument.

  • 143. ChicagoGawker  |  March 27, 2012 at 11:17 am

    @138 I baled out of the Senn meeting at 8:10 (It began at 6) to ride herd on homework at home. People were still asking questions, but it seem near the end. I doubt if there was a tour at the end, since it went late. Anyone wanting the numbers and specifics on safety improvement and academics, someone from our Edgewater group took excellent notes, and may be willing to share.

    One of the IB people pointed out that there is a misconception that low IB diploma rates at 50% equal low quality and trouble with college acceptance. The IB certificate is apparently favorable viewed as well, and colleges know that the diploma is very tough to get, so just going through the program is impressive. I would like to learn more about that. Also I’m thinking that the betterprepared a student at the elementary lvel coming in , the fewer hours will be required to complete the ample hhomework.

  • 144. RL Julia  |  March 27, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Most people’s problems with CPS high schools usually have more to do with the student body attending (and the repercussions of that) than anything else. I like the idea of having more IB programs within neighborhood high schools but I don’t know how you can maintain the rigor of the program to maintain the IB accreditation and have open admissions. Not every kid is interested in school (unfortunately). Not every kid (unfortunately) arrives at high school prepared to do high school level work -this does not bode well for success in an IB program.

  • 145. ChicagoGawker  |  March 27, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Meant to say also: I’m also thinking that if you have a kid achieving in the 8th and 9th stanines, there isn’t any reason to be too worried that the diploma won’t be within reach, if they do the work. And that is no more than they would need to succeed at an SEHS, isn’t it?

  • 146. mom in the city  |  March 27, 2012 at 11:28 am

    “CPS officials say that admissions criteria for IB programs in the new schools will be the same as they are for current IB programs.”

    -from the article posted at #137

    This is the accurate one…to maintain an IB accreditation you must use their guidelines…they have a strict testing policy to get in. Many who do not get into SEHS, will get int IB…however, IB is very rigorous. I hope this happens as it would be tremendous for the City and our kids!

  • 147. Mayfair Dad  |  March 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Several years ago, my esteemed colleague Gayfair Dad encountered then-congressman Rahm Emanuel in the frozen food section of our local supermarket and had a lengthy conversation about implementing the IB program at our neighborhood CPS school. At that time, there was a federal money available through an initiative designed to ramp up US competitiveness through AP and IB programs, another aspect of the Bush education plan that did not garner nearly as much attention as NCLB. Congressman Emanuel was very knowledgeable and helpful, although our school did not follow through on his offer of assistance – the semi-retired principal was unwilling to make the effort and the complacent seasoned CTU teachers were not enthused about the extra training involved, unless extra pay was involved. Rahm knows the IB program inside and out, and I wonder if the federal money is still out there under a different name. This would be a really nice opportunity for Arne Duncan to throw us a bone.

    Don’t even get me started on CTU playing the race card…

  • 148. Chris  |  March 27, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    “Then they go over board by insisting on 7.5 instead of the already working 6.5 day.”

    Okay, I point I’ve made before, and skepticism understood, BUT: If *you* were going to enter into contract negotiations with your employees, and you were CERTAIN you were going to impose a longer workday on them, with no intent to provide a corresponding wage increase, how could you not at least TALK about making the work day even longer than your actual goal? You’d be negotiating against yourself.

    And the “there’s no evidence they don’t mean it” is worthless, because any leak *at all* on this ruins the negotiating leverage. They have to insist that it’s 7.5 period, to make (say..) 6.75 or 7 seem like a compromise. If they went in at a solid 6.5, they’d have issues, too.

    And, you say, “why alienate parents along the way”–assume that they “settle” for (again, say) 6.75, including 15 minutes for breakfast–and state that the reason they did so is that they “listened to parents”–> do you think the vast majority of parents are going to hold a grudge against an admin who “listened to them”? I’m not tlaking about the (tiny subset) who post here, I’m talking about the *other* 200,000 families in CPS.

  • 149. PortageParent  |  March 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Thanks for that tidbit, Mayfair Dad. It’s encouraging to know that Rahm really understands IB and is not just throwing things out there randomly.

    146 – mom in the city – Thanks for that point. That makes sense.

    It’s funny…did anybody else feel like Rahm was a speaking right to us when he gave this press release? My husband and I have a 5th grader and had been discussing (for the first time ever) the idea that we might have to leave the city for high school. At the same time, we are all going nuts on this blog about lack of options. And then, bam! There’s Rahm offering up IBs. I feel like he’s watching us right now….

  • 150. PortageParent  |  March 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Chris- I was just making an observation. I don’t want to debate the longer day on this thread. So I shouldn’t have even brought it up here. I think (hope) you’re probably right about the negotiation tactic.

    …so anyway…what are your thoughts on the IBs?…

  • 151. Mayfair Dad  |  March 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    @ 149 – I’m sure the idea has been percolating for awhile, but the timing certainly felt like he was asking Tier 4 families not to bolt the city because of the latest SE high school admissions disappointment.

  • 152. EdgewaterMom  |  March 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    @149 I think that CPS (and many individual schools) ARE reading parent blogs. CPS even sent CPSObsessed an email when they mailed test results so that she could spread the word on here. This blog (and RuthsList) was mentioned several times at the meeting at Senn last night. Social Media can be a powerful tool!

    I am sure that it is very interesting for them to be able to read exactly what parents are concerned about and are talking about. It obviously does not mean that they are always going to act on it to give us what we want – and we do not all want the same things. The fact that they are reading is a great indication that they want to make changes and want to work with parents.

  • 153. Chris  |  March 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    “so anyway…what are your thoughts on the IBs?…”

    1. Can’t believe that CTU responded so poorly–it was a B- effort for a HS student. How do you screw up the *fact* that “totally open enrollment” is incompatible with “IB accredidation”. Unforced error.

    2. Wondering if the WtoW IBs being “neighborhood” means “neighborhood by region”. Betting so.

    3. Would prefer more emphasis on AP ala carte options rather than prix fixe STEM and IB. But anything that provides more options to kids who try is great.

    4. Wondering how bad teh “warehouse” HS’s will be in a few years if the IB/STEM expansion all works out. Who’s going to be left at the HS’s of last resort, and where will they be?

    [on the longer day, just wanted to remind everyone that it isn’t a single issue, and it’s inextricably intertwined with the contract–don’t believe everything the Admin sez until (like the school calendar) it’s actually set out in detail; they need misdirection at least until there is a contract in place]

  • 154. Sped Mom  |  March 27, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    @ 153. Chris | March 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm – “4. Wondering how bad teh ‘warehouse’ HS’s will be in a few years if the IB/STEM expansion all works out. Who’s going to be left at the HS’s of last resort, and where will they be?”

    Who’ll be left? My child. Special needs.

  • 155. Sped Mom  |  March 27, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    @ 147. Mayfair Dad | March 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm – “Don’t even get me started on CTU playing the race card…”

    Race issues in CPS is probably a bigger issue to some of us parents than to you. CTU is correct to point out the impacts of policy and actions on different racial groups. And, don’t even get me started on the disabilities card… (haha)

  • 156. Another Edgewater Mama  |  March 27, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    This is to second the sentiments about the Senn meeting last night. What was most impressive was that Principal Lofton was forthright and transparent about the issues Senn faced in the past and continues to face as it strives to improve. The school community is clearly willing to reach out to the larger community and work together toward making Senn a more successful school. I would be thrilled to see Senn become one of the wall to wall IBs while sharing space with the Fine Arts magnet. There is no reason Senn cannot become the crown jewel of the Edgewater/Andersonville neighborhoods. As it stands, there is still room to improve at Senn. A school with an average ACT score of 16.5 does not inspire confidence and will not draw families who are looking for an option to SEHS. I am hopeful that Principal Lofton will continue the upward trend at Senn.

    As for St. Scholastica’s future, the archdiocese has been contemplating another top tier high school in the vein of Ignatius and Loyola for the north side. The issue has been that they do not have the money to build a new school. The Scholastica facilities are fantastic and it would be a great option to have an academically rigorous program at Scholastica at a lesser price than Ignatius or Loyola (perhaps closer to the Gordon or Holy Trinity tuition levels). Hopefully, the archdiocese will see this opportunity and take advantage of it. Or CPS will see this as an opportunity for a wall to wall IB. Either way, I would be ecstatic.

  • 157. Chris  |  March 27, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    “Who’ll be left? My child. Special needs”

    As I’ve said before (here, too, I think), I believe its partly quasi-intentional, trying to “force” your kids out of CPS one way or another.

  • 158. Mayfair Dad  |  March 28, 2012 at 8:21 am

    @ 155 Sped Mom.

    “CTU is correct to point out the impacts of policy and actions on different racial groups.”

    Sigh. When will it end?

    When we stop making a big deal about race, race will cease to be a big deal.

    CTU wants to talk about the impact on different socioeconomic groups? Fine. When they talk about the impact on people of one specific skin color, they are playing race-based politics. Its BS.

  • 159. HS Mom  |  March 28, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Great to hear about Senn!

    Mayfair Dad – I was just about to say that. “Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to help keep middle-class families and their kids in the city,” is interpreted by CTU as “”Attracting more white middle-class families back to the city” may mean less funding for the 40 percent of school…”. Sounds like a racial play on words.

    5 schools plus 5 programs. Yes one will probably be majority white on the northside while the rest are majority black or mixed. It benefits everyone. According to the BEZ article there are smart kids in neighborhood schools that don’t seem to be able to make the cutoffs needed. The IB proposal sounds like it will restructure neighborhood schools for the better. I hope that efforts to better the education of our kids are not going to be over scrutinized again.

  • 160. Chicago Gawker  |  March 28, 2012 at 10:31 am

    @Edgewater Mom, The 16.5 ACT average at Senn surely is not characteristic of the IB kids. Their average ACT must be much higher. While we would like to see the whole school average continue to rise, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect to see a score that rivals Lane or Jones in the next few years. What may be the turning point is if those of us in the neighborhood who send our kids to magnets, RGCs, parochial schools, and private send our kids to Senn. It seems the quality of instruction is there, it’s just that there are not many academically strong feeder schools right now. If we wait until the ACT is 24, we’re going to be waiting forever.

    My comfort level concern is more about social environment, but I’m keeping an open mind. She’s sent to the office now to remove silver nail polish, so it will be quite a change. The IB program sounds like a tight knit supportive environment, maybe better than throwing my then 14 year old into a huge suburban HS where we are new and there is not much community. She can walk to Senn !

  • 161. Another Edgewater Mama  |  March 28, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Here’s a recap of the Senn meeting, done beautifully by Ruth’s List member Rob Olmstead, who agreed to let us repost on CPS Obsessed:

    So for those of you who couldn’t attend, I wanted to throw out a recap of the meeting at Senn High School.
    >About 70-80 people attended the meeting where Principal Lofton outlined where Senn has been and where she hopes to take it. Lots of teachers and administrators were there as well.
    >Principal Lofton is in her second year and has, as far as I could tell, taken a multi-prong approach to trying to turn the school around. She was forthright in admitting that Senn has had a lot of problems, and has a ways to go, but has taken big strides in losing its negative reputation. Here’s some highlights:
    >When she came in, the school was dead last in Area 26 (apparently an administrative boundary in CPS on the north side of about a dozen high schools) in something called “Performance Policy Points, a dashboard of sorts for CPS schools. Senn hit only 22% of the possible points in 2010. Rickover Military Academy, which shares building space with Senn, was first at 73.3%. In one year, she was able to up that to 42.9%, and get it in the middle of the pack. She wants that number to grow even more.
    >”But so what? We don’t serve metrics. We serve students,” said Lofton, who seemed to place an emphasis on educating students rather than teaching to the test.
    >The International Baccalaureate program has been at Senn since 1999, and with the new administration’ s embrace of it, is not going anywhere soon. It emphasizes international awareness, includes a component of students doing individually focused research and includes 5 years of a foreign language between grade school and high school (for those schools participating in the “Middle Years Program,” such as Pierce. Haight (I know I’m not spelling that right; someone please correct me) is next up to join the program. Kids who are in MYP have an inside track to getting into Senn’s IB program. Lofton sought to address a number of the comments on this board from parents (like myself) who feel, yeah, my kid is smart, but what if they can’t put up the near-perfect numbers required for one of the magnet schools? Those in the MYP have an average of 5.5 stanines (again, probably not spelling that right), which is fairly average, as far as kids go. Kids in
    the program overall average a 790/900 test scores, A-B grades, and 8 stanines. Forty-four percent of the IB kids are within the Senn attendance area.
    >In 2007, 2008, and 2009, the school had about 110 applicants for the IB program. In 2010, it went to 385 applicants. In 2011, it had 677 applicants. In 2012, it had 1,732 applicants. Of that last number, they will seat about 140 students in the IB program. There are about 1053 total students enrolled at Senn. (Another 430 at Rickover).
    >A question was asked about CPS’ new focus on IB, and what an all-IB school in the five CPS regions could potentially do to Senn’s IB program, and whether Senn could become an all-IB program. Lofton says never say never, but she doubts that if an all-IB school opened nearby it would mean the end of IB at Senn, which has had the program since 1999. Particularly since administrators are so positive about it. She also doubts Senn would go all-IB, as that would mean the end of new important programs that have just gotten underway. But what happens, she emphasized over and over, is, to a great extend up to the community. Senn is improving as she, teachers, students and particularly community members take ownership of it and get involved. She doesn’t think more IB schools will hurt Senn’s IB program if the community continues to get more and more involved.
    >IB generally prepares students well for college, and even if students attend the IB program and graduate without that IB designation, recent studies have found they generally do better in college than non-IB students.
    >The IB “diploma program” (and I hope I’m not mixing up two programs here) is specifically geared toward success in college, with students taking college-level, two-year courses. Exams are mostly not multiple choice, but designed to test true knowledge. There is also a CAS (cretivity/action/ service) component, designed to make students well-rounded individuals in their community (which also has the effect of making them more attractive to college recruiters). One of the reasons IB is so successful is that its standards are not set on a local level; it’s national and international. “You can’t water it down; we don’t own it.”
    >IB is just one of the special programs going on at Senn (see further down). But first some other topics:
    >–Many Ruthslisters asked what the community can do to help:
    >–We can come in and work with a kid one-on-one
    >–Visit, look and voice your input on what you think can improve
    >–Let her know what’s working in the middle schools and what’s not. After hearing from parents whose kids had “passed” algebra in the 8th grade and been placed in advanced geometry but could not handle it, they moved many of those kids back through algebra instead of moving them to quickly to make sure they really got it.
    >–Come in and do mock interviews (in whatever your profession happens to be) with sophomores, who often “slump” after the excitement of freshman year but before the junior-senior college-quest gears up
    >–Come in and help security by monitoring an exit for however much time you can spare
    >–Come watch a school performance. The kids want objective feedback, and feel rewarded when it’s more than just their teachers watching them perform.
    >–When possible, positively reinforce kids. One of her biggest challenges is getting kids to know the community cares about them. Yes, they have to learn they cannot hang out in the tot park. But when they do something good, tell them. “That would go a long way.”
    >When she came to Senn, she found about 700 discipline reports that hadn’t been entered into the CPS system, giving an artificially low snapshot of the problems. She worked to get them all entered, despite the way it would make Senn look. But she did more than just push paper. She and others at Senn analyzed the discipline numbers and found that about 12 students were responsible for about 30% of the “level 4-6” infractions (the really bad infractions) , and 29 were responsible for about 55% of the level 4-6. (Those numbers may be a little off; there was a slight disconnect between the PowerPoint and the numbers spoken, but the point was the same: a minority of kids were responsible for the bad acts.) So, she came down on them. She let them know if they wanted to stay, they could, but they could not cause trouble. Those who stopped causing problems were welcomed; those who didn’t were disciplined, suspended, expelled or, when warranted, arrested for
    illegal acts. Last year, the school had 79 arrests. “I have had a talking-to by my superiors” over those numbers. But a spreadsheet of the numbers shows a trend: only a handful were repeat offenders (from what I saw, about 5-6); for the rest, the encounter was enough to straighten them out.
    >She and other teachers also started congregating underneath the Red Line at Thorndale during peak times, observing and watching and just generally getting in the way of gang members who were trying to recruit Senn students and middle-schoolers.
    >The emphasis has sent a message, she thinks, and she believes the school is at a turning point. She sees it in the way kids huddle around a table, working together to solve a class problem because getting good grades is now the emphasis; being the class cut-up in the back is no longer cool.
    >While she would love to have more security staff, she had to make decisions. Do I have two security staff members, or one more teacher? Given that the first year sent a message, she felt comfortable that it had sent a message and went with the level they have now in favor of teachers and programs and education. It also is in line with her efforts to teach students that they should do the right thing because it’s the right thing, not because someone’s watching. (Although there are dozens of cameras at the school.)
    >She started the arts program small in order to do it right: There’s about 25 kids in the fine arts program, 25 kids in the theater program and next year begins the orchestra arts program. The focus is different than the Chicago Academy of the Arts (correct me if I got that name wrong; its the CPS arts academy). It’s geared toward getting kids arts jobs after school and after college. Every kid has to have a digital portfolio and learns the ins and outs of the arts professions, as opposed to the merely theoretical.
    >This is another college prep program. Tomorrow they’re being certified by the AVID program, and she’ll know at what level they’re being certified by the end of the day, hopefully. This program is accessible to anyone in the neighborhood and emphasizes tools for college success: note-taking skills, visits to college campuses, and help with the college application process.
    >Even students not in a selective enrollment program are made to feel part of a selective group by dividing students into cohorts. Packs of students generally stay in the same classes and with the same teachers so they don’t get lost in the large enrollment of the school.
    >Some parents/community members asked if kids can cross-polinate, so-to-speak. That is, can you be in IB and do arts programs, and vice-versa. I wasn’t too clear on the answer to this, so anyone jump in if they got a better read on it than I did. But for the most part, it sounds like you stay in small groups, but the “ninth period” (last one of the day) allows you to do things outside your normal niche.
    >They have an AP program with the basics (like biology) and are trying to grow it (Chemistry and Physics are coming).
    >I may mix some of these up, but they all have a consistent message: not letting kids get behind and giving them a sense of what the real world is like:
    >–Recovery policy. If a kid tanks a class, they make them retake it before ACTs roll around, even if that means having to miss that elective class they wanted to take.
    >–Instructional recoup: If you show up late, you stay late. Welcome to the real world.
    >–Save Your Grade: At about the 10th week of class, they try to ID kids behind in their class, and if you are, in 9th period, you go and get extra help in that subject. This is school-wide, including IB, Lofton emphasized, because everybody has their weak areas.
    >As far as colleges kids get into, Northeastern and others tend to be the norm. She wants that to change. She is thinking no less than Harvard, Stanford, etc. She has gotten students from her old school (Steinmetz) into such schools and sees no reason why it can’t be done here.
    >About 40% of Senn students graduate. But, for those who attend all four years, 75% graduate.
    >One question I forgot to ask was the college acceptance rate for (1) the school (2) the IB program (3) the fine arts program (4) the AVID program (5) CPS magnet schools (6) CPS schools in general.
    >In two years, she has taken the ACT average from about 15.5 in 2009 to about 16.5 (now equal to CPS’ average).
    >The incoming eighth graders are coming in at higher scores than years past (I didn’t get these down; if anyone has them, feel free to add).
    >–She knows some parents want options for those who don’t plan to go to college. She just doesn’t think this should be the focus. College should be.
    >–When she arrived, Senn’s focus was on out-of-neighborhood recruiting, primarily to make it an athletic powerhouse. Because UPLIFT opened in uptown and took away a significant number of students (and funding with them), the past administration worked to recruit heavily from out of neighborhood. She didn’t believe in it and, additionally, it wasn’t working. Most of the old sports coaches are gone, and when she came, much of the football team walked off too another high school. “And we’re OK with that.”
    >–She does not believe in the “haves” and “have-nots.” The goal is not to create a two-tier system at Senn where IB’s get the cream and the rest get the crap (my words, not hers). “You have to have equity.” (her words). Every student has to be educated, or we all suffer as a society. That does not mean she favors programs for under-performing students the sake of programs. They have to work. When she arrived, Senn had an “Achieve Academy.” This was the program for kids who turned 15 but had not yet passed elementary school and couldn’t stay there. There were about 100 kids in the program; about 30 showed up on any given day. Their first year, they learned no science. Period. They didn’t get prepared for passing school tests, let alone ACTs. Many of the kids were from out of the neighborhood. It cost $850,000 a year and didn’t do much. She ended it; the academy kids went back to their neighborhood schools.
    >–Improving educational content in general. She wants kids reading Shakespeare. She also thinks technology is important and has beefed up computer labs and gotten math classes graphic calculators.
    >–Attendance is up. She’s gone from about a 78.6 attendance to 86.79% attendance rate.
    >I’ve tried to give Ruthslisters as objective a report as I can muster. I’ve sure I’ve put my own spin on things inadvertently. I’m sure I got a few facts wrong (the PowerPoint was only onscreen and not a handout, so I wrote as quickly as I could) But now that I’ve tried, let me give you my biased opinion. It seems to me that Principal Lofton is hell-bent on turning Senn around. Many things were impressive, but what was most impressive to me was the acknowledgement that, yes, things were bad at Senn and the reputation was deserved. And it still needs to improve. Before moving onto another career, I spent about 13 years as a reporter and I can tell you, there was no surer sign of guaranteed failure than a politician/administ rator/muckety- muck who insisted everything was just fine when it clearly wasn’t. People sugar-coat stuff because the truth, initially, alarms people. But in the long run, what alarms them more is dishonesty, and Lofton seems to know
    that it’s the long run that counts. She is no polyanna and knows what everyone in this community is thinking: “I want to support this community; I want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, but when it comes to my kid, if I don’t see a path to a good education, I am going to bolt.” [again, my words, not hers.] I think everyone is struggling with this, and Lofton acknowledges it and deals with it head on. Yes, there was a lot of deliberately good P.R. at this event. But if there wasn’t, who else would get the word out? Principal Lofton was very tactful about reminding the community that it is only as good as we make it. She answered every question until no one had any questions left, and she seemed ready to go for another 3 hours. She seems tireless and the changes she has made in just 1 1/2 years are impressive. She’s clearly invested in this community. Are we?
    >Rob Olmstead

  • 162. EdgewaterMom  |  March 28, 2012 at 11:52 am

    @Chicago Gawker I completely agree! I think that qualified students can get a great education at Senn now. You definitely have to consider the incoming scores of the freshman to understand what they are dealing with. The scores are improving each year – and there is a significant increase from their incoming scores. However, if we all wait until we see great scores coming from Senn before we are willing to send our kids there it will never become a great neighborhood school.

    I think that many people in the neighborhood feel the same way – we think that it has great potential, but still have some reservations. I will admit that right now it does take a leap of faith regarding our comfort level with the social aspect at Senn. Now that they have stopped taking kids from out of area for the general program at Senn, and as the IB and Fine Arts programs grow, I think that we will start to see a diverse group of students that will be a good fit for our kids. My daughter currently attends a magnet school that is extremely diverse and it is a fabulous environment. She is surrounded by kids of all backgrounds and they all get along very well. I would love to see the same thing for Senn.

    We all want to have good neighborhood schools, but we have to be willing to work and take some risks to make it happen. I think that the combination of the great leadership at Senn and the strong community leadership in Edgewater could be just the ticket to make it happen.

    I really encourage anybody who is even remotely considering Senn to visit the school. While it may not be that impressive on paper, when you see the building and meet the teachers, students, and principal, it is very impressive. Test scores alone do not tell the whole story.

  • 163. Magnet mom  |  March 28, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    @161 Thanks. Excellent write up.

    To do something hands-on for Senn and the 48th ward, please volunteer for the education committee that meeks every 6 weeks. Go to the 48th ward website to find out more info.

  • 164. Todd Pytel  |  March 28, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    @161 – Thanks for the repost of the Ruthslist notes. I believe they accurately capture both the letter and spirit of what Ms.Lofton had to say. As a Senn faculty member, I had one very minor correction and two comments I wanted to add…

    Correction: “Tomorrow they’re being certified by the AVID program, and she’ll know at what level they’re being certified by the end of the day, hopefully.”

    This is not quite accurate. Our AVID program has been certified for the last 5 years or so – you can’t advertise the program without certification. What Senn is applying for is National Demonstrator status – essentially, that we are an exemplar of AVID implementation to be used as a reference point for other schools nationwide in their certification process.

    Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance today to chat with the AVID coordinator to see how things went.

    Comment #1: “In 2011, [the Senn IB program] had 677 applicants. In 2012, it had 1,732 applicants.”

    A lot of parents were clearly alarmed by the huge increase in applicants in the last year and were wondering just how selective the process is becoming. I would say that it is indeed becoming more selective, but that it’s difficult to measure that merely by the numbers. The most recent application process was the first one that was entirely administered through CPS central office instead of requiring applications to the individual schools. Hence, it was much, much easier for students to apply to a large number of programs. Certainly, at least some of those additional ~1100 applications were a matter of convenience – it’s easy just to check another box on the form. Just how many of them fell into that category, I couldn’t say. But, as the notes stated, the admissions criteria are not at the level of the SEHS schools.

    Also, I would note that the MYP teachers (of which I am one) all come from the philosophical standpoint of neighborhood schooling – we are dedicated to seeing all students in our program succeed, not just to see if they sink or swim. We offer a rigorous curriculum and challenge our strongest students, but we also motivate, differentiate, and support as much as we possibly can to provide access to students that may have had a less than ideal academic preparation for our program.

    Comment #2: “Come in and do mock interviews (in whatever your profession happens to be) with sophomores, who often “slump” after the excitement of freshman year but before the junior-senior college-quest gears up.”

    Speaking solely for myself, I thought this was the best thing I heard all night. I teach a regular sophomore class, and I think those students would benefit *tremendously* from this kind of involvement. Sophomores (everywhere, not just at Senn or in any particular program) feel like the real world is so far away from them, when of course it’s getting incredibly close. I would *love* to see community members give our sophomores any idea of what that world is going to look and feel like.

    Thanks again for the repost, and thanks to all the community members who joined us on Monday night. It was great to see so many people supporting our neighborhood school.

    Todd Pytel
    Mathematics Department Chair
    MYP Algebra, DP Mathematics Teacher
    Senn High School

  • 165. cpsobsessed  |  March 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Great input on the Senn meeting. Very impressive.
    Perhaps I am emotional because of my move, but I got all teary eyed reading about a principal and staff who go to the El to intercept students. That is really incredible. What commitment.

    I am curious about Senn keeping out any non-neighborhood kids. So they take IB and Fine Arts. Will their enrollment go down initially because they are excluding out of neighborhood kids? I assume they can just choose to do that?

  • 166. Chicago Gawker  |  March 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I didn’t understand them to mean they intend to keep out neighborhood kids. The situation was that previously a disproportionate number of students came from outside the neighborhood. The local community was then not invested in the school and things went downhill. They are trying to make it primarily a neighborhood school, one that reflects all the demographics of Edgewater. Anyone in the city can apply to the IB program.

  • 167. Chicago Gawker  |  March 28, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    I meant “keep out NON-neighborhood kids”.

  • 168. cpsobsessed  |  March 28, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Sorry, I meant keep NON-neighborhood kids out. I know that senn and lake view are over 60percent non-neighborhood so cutting off that group would seriously cut enrollment. Maybe it’s not as extreme at senn.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 169. Chicago Gawker  |  March 28, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    But that group will not be cut off. They want a different type of non neighborhood kid now- focused and serious enough to apply for and enroll in Fine Arts Magnet or IB.

  • 170. EdgewaterMom  |  March 28, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I am not sure what the % of non-neighborhood kids is, but I don’t think that it is quite as high as at Lakeview. I don’t think that a neighborhood school ever HAS to accept kids from outside of the neighborhood, but I assume they will only get $ for teachers etc based on the number of students enrolled. Maybe as Senn expands the IB and Fine Arts programs, they can still keep roughly the same number of students even if they limit the general population to neighborhood students. Obviously they also want to attract more neighborhood kids who would not have considered Senn in the past.

    For students who are not in the Fine Arts or IB program, the AVID program looks like a great option. It is designed to help average students improve their study skills and prepare to go to college. So, a student does not have to be able to get into the IB or Fine Arts program to get a good education at Senn.

    I have to say that I heard about the principal waiting at the El long before I learned much else about her, and I thought that it was fabulous! I am not sure that I would have had the guts to stare down gang members and keep them away from my students. It sends a very strong message to students and to the neighborhood – she cares about the students and she is not going to tolerate gang activity.

  • 171. ChicagoGawker  |  March 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    For universities view of the IB program, and college success rate vs. taking AP courses look at :


    An Admissions Director at Harvard (unnamed, ok that’s a little fishy) is quoted,”GPA is not nearly as important a factor in university admission as the IB Diploma. If a student has to choose, choose the Diploma over protecting the GPA.”

  • 172. Chicago School GPS  |  March 31, 2012 at 3:30 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.

    For my synopsis, go to comment #116 on the Interview on SE High Schools post

  • 173. southie  |  March 31, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Need info about the experience in the current Morgan Park HS IB program. Anyone know anything about it?

  • 174. southie  |  March 31, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Re: An Admissions Director at Harvard (unnamed, ok that’s a little fishy) is quoted,”GPA is not nearly as important a factor in university admission as the IB Diploma. If a student has to choose, choose the Diploma over protecting the GPA.”

    Yes, colleges do value IB DIPLOMA over AP. I can vouch for that. Don’t worry, it’s not misinformation.

  • 175. BuenaParkMom  |  March 31, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    I’m surprised that Senn said Uplift is keeping the majority of Uptown’s high schoolers. It’s just not true, only about 30% of the high schoolers are from the neighborhood at this point. In fact there was a history of Uplift trying to recruit 7th and 8th graders from the neighborhood’s elementary schools that basically backfired for awhile and the schools were actively discouraging neighborhood kids to go there as a result. At any rate, approximately 60% are from the south and west sides. I think everyone in Uptown would love to borrow Principal Lofton for a few months to stand on the Wilson El platform after school lets outs. Our Alderman is currently doing something similar but I’m sure could use the back-up 🙂

  • 176. anonymouseteacher  |  March 31, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Is Uplift an alternative school or a charter? Or is it an actual neighborhood high school?

  • 177. wy mom  |  March 31, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    @ 172

    MPHS has a gr8 IB program. Several elementary schools in that ward have IB Middle Years Programme which can feed into the IB program at MPHS. There is testing to get into the program.

  • 178. SR  |  March 31, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    BuenaParkMom, Principal Lofton didn’t say a majority of Uptown kids go Uplift, she said that when Uplift opened (in 2004? 2005?) there was a significant drop in enrollment at Senn as kids chose Uplift over Senn. Even if that’s only 30% of Uplift’s kids, it sounded like it was a big hit at the time and Senn responded by trying to recruit from other neighborhoods. Lofton reversed course and is focusing on neighborhood kids, and the arts and IB programs. I mostly thought it was interesting that she didn’t mention Uptown when she talked about Senn’s “neighborhoods”. I would be interested to learn why an Uptown kid would choose Uplift over Senn.

    Anonymouseteacher, my understanding is that Uplift is a magnet school (7-12 grade) with a social justice focus. So there is no neighborhood preference, but it’s not an alternative school or charter. I’m not sure if there are other magnet high schools like this or not.

  • 179. anonymouseteacher  |  April 1, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Thanks SR, good to know. I remember when Uplift was a jr. high called Arai and they closed it because it was so very bad. I subbed there once. I was in a bilingual room with pretty nice kids, but the day I was there we had to lock our doors and stay inside the room because there was some kind of gang fight happening in the hall and police had to be called in. I stopped taking calls to sub there after that. Fun times!

  • 180. Edgewater Member  |  April 2, 2012 at 11:05 am

    According to Uplift’s application, which you can get off their website, they are open to every student in Uptown. They are not a selective enrollment, magnet, or charter school. They have a focus on social justice. Not sure exactly what that means as a program. Principal Lofton said she is re-dedicating Senn to the immediate neighborhood. Non-neighborhood students will be limited to IB and fine arts. But even those programs would give preference to the neighborhood students as long as they meet entrance requirements.

  • 181. MayfairAM  |  April 2, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I would be interested in hearing what other northwestsiders are considering for high school if the SEHS are not an option for them. It sounds like Senn is the go-to option for my northeastern friends, is Taft the option for the nw side?

  • 182. Mayfair Dad  |  April 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I will be watching the new principal at Taft very carefully. Many Northwestsiders were hoping for a bold choice; the LSC very abruptly offered the job to the current AP prior to the candidate forum (after the forum date was announced, hmmmm…). Right now the Taft Academic Center is a farm system for SEHSs, very few AC kids remain at Taft for high school. This might change over the next few years.

    Von Steuben Scholars Program warrants a close look.

    Since you live in beautiful Mayfair, you are close to the expressway and the CTA blue line, so choices like Payton, Jones and Whitney Young are not out of the question.

    Lane Tech principal announced her retirement, so this is another story to watch carefully.

    Quite a few kids go to CICS Northside from the ‘hood. Many parents I talk to consider this an upgrade from Taft. Some don’t.

    Catholic high schools are very popular: Res, St. Pat’s, Notre Dame, Loyola.

  • 183. MayfairAM  |  April 2, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Thanks Mayfair dad!
    See ya at the park some time!

  • 184. ExCPS  |  April 3, 2012 at 8:19 am

    182 – If you have a son, take him to the open house at St Pat’s and have him shadow. You will be surprised how academic, challenging and inspiring the school is. You don’t have to be catholic to attend — most “religion” classes are historical. Prior we were a CPS family, and are very glad our son decided on St. Pat’s. Give it a look.

  • 185. Mayfair Dad  |  April 3, 2012 at 9:34 am

    @ 182-183. Attended the Phantom of the Opera at St. Pat’s over the weekend and was reminded what a clean, wholesome, well-run facility it is. There is a lot to be said about a Catholic boys high school education and the sense of community at St. Pat’s. Tuition is not crazy compared to Ignatius, Loyola, Notre Dame. Definitely a choice you should keep in mind. I can easily see my 5th grade son thriving in this environment.

  • 186. Family Friend  |  April 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    @74. I’m weighing in a little bit late here, but Crane is not being taken over by a “talented and gifted” charter school. All charter schools are non-selective. The school is called Chicago Talent Development HS. It uses the Talent Development Program, developed by Johns Hopkins and used with great success in inner-city schools in Baltimore. BTW, Chicago Talent Development was founded by the SEIU in collaboration with IFT, after a survey of SEIU members ranked quality of education as the #1 issue in Chicago.

    This discussion about IB is very interesting. I believe the Lincoln Park IB program is the most academically rigorous in the city. The SE high schools may be more popular and may be better choices for some kids, but they are not more challenging.

    Eleven years ago I was agonizing with my second daughter over a choice between the proven– St. Ignatius, where my first daughter got a great education — and the unknown — Walter Payton, which had just opened its doors. We took a flyer on Payton and have no regrets. Now I am in much the same position with my “family friend.” We have just about settled on Ogden IB, absent a Principal Discretion pick at Lane, but after what I have read here maybe we’ll take a second look at Senn IB, where she was also admitted.

  • 187. Family Friend  |  April 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Regarding St. Scholastica: I don’t think the archdiocese has control, although it may have influence. The property is owned by the Dominican order.

  • 188. ChicagoGawker  |  April 3, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    @186 That’s correct. The property is owned by the sisters, but the diocese must give them permission to sell/lease. Hope it pays for their retirement; they deserve it.

    Do look at Senn; the middle years program (grades 9-10) Director is David Gregg dgregg@cps.edu. Limited spots still available last we heard

  • 189. Breaking Exciting News for Senn HS  |  April 17, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Looks like Senn is getting something close to wall to wall IB. Principal Lofton sent out this message to the Edgewater community today:

    “Senn is in consideration to become a wall to wall IB school. Senn would
    remain a boutique neighborhood high school with Senn AVID and Senn Magnet Fine
    Arts remaining within the school. However there would be a major expansion of
    the IB program and the creation of a new option for community students.
    Community involvement is vital.
    > An emergency Senn IB Wall to Wall Expansion Community Forum is being held this
    Thursday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. in Senn Hall to give an overview of what the
    change might entail. A significant partnership with Loyola University is on the
    table and would provide unique opportunities for Senn programs and would
    redirect the education and field experience of education majors, including
    future IB teachers.
    > We hope to see parents and community members this Thursday, 6:30 p.m., in Senn
    Hall to share and provide input.”

  • 190. kate  |  April 18, 2012 at 11:00 am

    UPCOMING MEETING FOR SENN regarding the IB announcement –
    Principal Lofton has shared the following info/meeting date with the Senn community.

    Senn is in consideration to become a wall to wall IB school. Senn would remain a boutique neighborhood high school with Senn AVID and Senn Magnet Fine Arts remaining within the school. However there would be a major expansion of the IB program and the creation of a new option for community students. Community involvement is vital.

    *** An emergency Senn IB Wall to Wall Expansion Community Forum is being held this Thursday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. in Senn Hall to give an overview of what the change might entail. *** A significant partnership with Loyola University is on the table and would provide unique opportunities for Senn programs and would redirect the education and field experience of education majors, including future IB teachers.

    We hope to see parents and community members this Thursday, 6:30 p.m., in Senn Hall to share and provide input.

  • 191. HS Mom  |  April 18, 2012 at 11:09 am

    This is pretty significant – thanks for posting Kate and 189

  • 192. RL Julia  |  April 18, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Does this mean that Senn would no longer be an option for out of catchement area kids- or could one still test into its IB program?

  • 193. kate  |  April 18, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    HOping to make Thurs.’s mtg to find out. I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess …. : )

  • 194. ChicagoGawker  |  April 20, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Learned at last night’s meeting-“Wall to wall IB” is as yet undefined by CPS. There is a meeting with the national IB board and CPS to explore how it could be implemented. The intent is to expose all students with in the HS to the aspects of IB that have proven to engage students and produce the academic gains proven to happen with IB. Although the curriculum is the same, there are different models of student participation in IB. My online google research showed HSs that even allow students to take an IB course here and there, alongside AP courses. This would seem to be the least desirable model considering that the recent report showed that only student participation in the full IB curriculum yielded the impressive results. “Dabbling” in IB seems to be inconsistent with its cohesive, interrelated curriculum. However, a student need not have IB diploma as the goal to do the full IB experience. They can take all the courses and opt out of the extended essays and presentations required for diploma. I was happy to hear acknowledgement last night by Senn admin., at least, that an IB diploma track is not suitable for every student. It is rigorous and requires family commitment and student work ethic. So it seems that CPS is not going to force every unprepared neighborhood student into an IB diploma track in this new IB initiative.
    Senn will remain a neighborhood school with its existing AVID and Fine Arts magnet. Students from outside its boundaries will be able to apply to the IB diploma program, but preference will be given to the neighborhood.
    There is no high stakes “testing” into IB like with the SEHS, and this is part of the beauty of it IMO. Standardized test scores are considered but there is an interview process.

  • 195. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 20, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    #194~so do you think that IB schools that are already in existence will expand that curriculum like Senn or was that just Senn specific. I was hoping it was the existing ones would be expanded or possibly go wall to wall. This is such a wonderful program and true even if you don’t get the diploma, colleges are impressed w/going through the program.

  • 196. Clemente IB  |  May 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Clemente will be a wall to wall IB High School.
    I heard it from an Ald. Moreno spokesperson. I asked if the school knows it’s going to be an IB school ( with laughter) Was told the principal knows.

  • 197. another cps mom  |  May 31, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Today’s free NYT College Life Fair at Navy Pier seems sparsely attended. Round two just started and runs until 8 p.m. Speakers and booths staffed with college recruiters. Might want to hit it now. No discounted parking, though.

  • 198. anonymouseteacher  |  May 31, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    I wonder what it means that Senn will remain a “boutique” neighborhood school? I’ve seen that line elsewhere regarding Senn and it just seems like such an odd way to describe a school. Maybe a northshore neighborhood or some Southport store in Lakeview, but a neighborhood high school?

  • 199. cpsobsessed  |  May 31, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Yeah, that IS odd. Namaste, Quest maybe. But Senn?
    Maybe referring to the IB as a “boutique” within the school?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 200. IB obsessed  |  May 31, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    I’ve heard the principal at Senn use that term, and I had no idea what it meant,but what does come through loud and clear from her is that the school is now all college prep, AVID and Fine Arts Magnet stay.So I think that what is meant by boutique is many boutiques within the school. At least for now, who knows what it will look like in 10 years. Wall to wall IB will not mean that every student is in the IB program, at least for now.. They had some meeting with IB and CPS honchos to explore ways to integrate the hallmarks of IB into every ’boutique’. There ls growing involvement and interest in the neighborhood community groups to make it an option for all college bound neighborhood kids. 40 of we families got together and did a dessert train for the Int’l Night last week. Performances of dancing and singing from the 4 corners of the earth; their native countries. Most immigrants or 1st generation. It was actually very moving. I really don’t want to see it become another LP HS and I get the feeling most there don’t either, but want to see academic growth.

  • 201. another cps mom  |  June 1, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    About that NYT College Life Fair, that seemed sparsely attended…

    I see that all the SEHS already have mucho on-campus visits by college recruiters each week, it seems. At those SEHSs, students, who obviously have higher ACT scores, don’t need to attend a college fair at Navy Pier, as the college recruiters come to their HS door.

    So, a college fair open to students in the Chicagoland region, is really aiming to get students who might have the high ACT (well, 21 or higher, at least) and likely from traditionally marginalized populations (AA & Latino, & perhaps also low-income and 1st generation students).

    Students from Von Stuben and Northside seemed to attend the fair with their college guidance counselors, who were panelists at the event. Also, some charter school kids, such as Urban Prep were out in force.

    Really, I wonder: How many (in total numbers) HS juniors and seniors likely to post an ACT score of 21+ AND who are NOT attending a private or CPS SEHS are there in this city. That would be the population who might attend such a fair.

    Supposedly, suburban kids were going to attend the p.m. session of the fair (after their school day), but I bet those schools get plenty of colleges recruiting on campus too.

    Hmmm. Is a puzzle.

  • 202. another cps mom  |  June 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    WHICH seemed sparsely attended…


  • 203. HS Mom  |  June 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    The fair being held during the school (and work) day makes it tough to attend. In the announcement we received, they suggested that CPS students attend during the day. Not sure why but that landed the notice in the garbage.

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