WBEZ story on the IB High School Programs

April 25, 2012 at 11:12 am 309 comments

Linda Lutton at WBEZ has another great story(with data!) that shows the success of the many IB programs in the city, but talks about the reluctance of middle class parents to explore these spots/schools.  I’m certain the general consenus among middle class+ parents in regards to “you don’t send your kids to non-SE-High Schools has a lot to do with it.  Being housed within bad-reputation neighborhood high schools doesn’t help matters much.

I talked to Linda a few months ago and launched into my pre-high-school freak-out conversation that is always in the back of my mind.  She’s very reassuring about the range of “hidden gems” in Chicago, as someone who spends her days visiting schools across the city.  She assured me that the bad rap that many high schools have is unfounded — that a lot of good things are going on that parents don’t know about.  That kids won’t become gang members, ruin their futures, etc by attending non-SE high schools.

I’ve certainly learned a lot about the IB programs lately and they sound very promising.  They don’t use Tiers for entry.  Some of them look at the “whole child” rather than test scores.  Certainly seem like a good option….

Fifteen years after Chicago embedded International Baccalaureate programs in tough neighborhood schools, the programs have not attracted the middle class.

April 25, 2012

By: Linda Lutton


Middle- and upper-income Chicagoans scramble to get their kids into Chicago’s top high schools, turning to test prep, private tutors, and educational consultants.

If their kids don’t get in, for many it’s private school or the suburbs.

But Chicago has another set of high-quality high school programs—considered gems of the district—that middle-income parents have rejected. WBEZ looks at why.

* * *

Hidden away inside a dozen Chicago public high schools—struggling high schools, really—is some of the best teaching in the city.

That’s according to University of Chicago researcher Melissa Roderick.

RODERICK: It feels like a bunch of kids learning to be intellectuals. Critical thinkers, problem solvers, learning to think differently…

Roderick has been studying these International Baccalaureate programs, which the city embedded in tough high schools 15 years ago. She can’t stop talking about them:

RODERICK: …really great academic skills and a whole conception of themselves as learners…

IB classes are rigorous, there’s an international focus.

RODERICK: The ability to write. Everyone talks about writing, writing, writing.

Roderick’s research says these IB kids get great results, even though they don’t start out as the highest scoring kids in the city. 

LUTTON: So basically they come in with test scores that are lower than the selective enrollment kids…
RODERICK: …and they walk out I would say highly qualified and more qualified.

One private school in Chicago charges $26,000 a year for the same International Baccalaureate curriculum, originally developed for the children of diplomats.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expanding IB, and has pitched that expansion as a hook to keep the middle class in the city.  Only thing is, at least until now, the middle class hasn’t been interested.

PARIS: It’s a nonstarter.

Jim Paris lives near Morgan Park High School. He doesn’t care how good the school’s IB program is: he has police officer friends who work in the neighborhood.

PARIS: And they would have my head examined if I brought my two daughters to that school.
LUTTON: Why? What’s going on over there?
PARIS: Drugs, prostitution. There’s shootings, there’s just a plethora of gang problems over there.

A police helicopter flies over Morgan Park and other South Side high schools at dismissal some days.

At Hyde Park High School one recent afternoon, two police cars are parked, ready for fights. An officer tells me there was already a fight earlier, during school. He says police took 4 or 5 students out. Locked ‘em up, he says.

I tell assistant principal Antonio Ross that’s the sort of thing that makes parents with any other option reluctant to send their kids here—no matter how good the IB program is.

ROSS: That happens anywhere, though. I mean, incidents happen—you’re dealing with 14-,  15-, 16-, 17-, 18-year-old students. Things happen. And usually those kids that are not involved in those kinds of activities, they never have problems in four years of high school.

Inside Hyde Park High, Deshonda Wright helps coordinate the International Baccalaureate program. She agrees safety concerns are exaggerated.

WRIGHT: Absolutely, without a doubt. Exaggerated, yes, yes.

Wright faces other obstacles to attracting students. Selective enrollment schools have cachet; the neighborhood IBs don’t.

Parents who look up Hyde Park’s test scores see the dismal average for the whole school. The IB kids score miles above that, but there’s no way for a parent to know.

Hyde Park High sits at the edge of one of the most diverse middle-class neighborhoods in Chicago. But in the IB program here, 9 of 10 kids are poor. Ninety-nine percent are black. That means for now, IB kids are studying an international curriculum in a diverse city—from a segregated classroom.

Christine Whitley is an educational consultant who helps parents navigate Chicago school admissions.

WHITLEY: People say, ‘Oh, we live in a diverse city. We want diversity in our kids’ classrooms.’ But at the same time, white people won’t put their kids in a school that’s 99 percent black.

Whitley says she’s recommended neighborhood IBs, but says they’re a tough sell with parents.

The principal at North Side Senn High School, Susan Lofton, hears all the time there are not enough good high school options in the city.

LOFTON: It’s frustrating. It’s one of the reasons why I’m sitting here talking to you now. We need to get the word out. The glamorous schools—and they’ve earned it, props to them. They have had a lot of media attention. The smaller schools with the IB, the neighborhood schools… there has not been a lot of attention paid.

Lofton has spent hours plugging IB. Her best advertising is probably her students. I met a group of IB freshmen hanging out after class one day. Their families hail from Nigeria, Ghana, China, Pakistan.

SENN IB STUDENTS: When you wake up in the morning it’s like, ‘I can’t wait to go to Senn! Let’s go!’ I can’t wait to meet my friends…like first period I have Survey of Literature. And it’s fun! I can’t wait to get there!  ‘Cause we have educated debates. We get different viewpoints from everybody.
LUTTON: Like what did you do today? Do you remember?
SENN IB STUDENT: Oh, we did Romeo and Juliet—and we’re putting it in our own translations because we’re gonna act in front of people. And here’s the thing about the IB program…

Some days, she tells me, she feels like an author, like a philosopher.

Whitley, the educational consultant, says there are lots of reasons why Chicago’s middle class might start signing on to the neighborhood IB programs: Increased competition at selective schools. An economy that makes it harder to move to the suburbs or choose private school. A broader cultural shift back to the city.

But even as teachers and principals continue to wonder why middle-class families won’t go to the neighborhood IBs, some worry about what might happen if the programs do catch on. David Gregg is an IB coordinator at Senn:

GREGG: Part of me almost likes the fact that it was sort of a well-kept secret, because students who are lower scoring have been able to take advantage of this program.

Gregg fears that the kids who most need what IB has to offer—low-income and minority students, first-generation college goers—will get squeezed out if more privileged kids with higher test scores decide they want to come.

Chicago’s high school neighborhood IB programs
School # IB students %AfAm %Latino %Asian %White %Low-Inc ACT avg for IB*
AMUNDSEN HS 263 9 59 22 9 92 19.8
BOGAN HS 140 54 41 1 1 94 18.6
CURIE HS 369 6 82 5 7 91 22.7
HUBBARD HS 167 11 81 4 4 96 22.6
HYDE PARK HS 82 99 1 0 0 89 19.7
KELLY HS 473 0 67 30 1 93 22.4
MORGAN PARK HS 268 96 2 0 1 72 22
PROSSER HS 227 17 79 1 3 92 21
SENN HS 209 25 49 14 7 89 20.7
STEINMETZ HS 145 8 67 6 19 94 19.9
TAFT HS 178 3 20 4 70 43 24
WASHINGTON HS 399 3 87 0 7 91 18.4

*ACT avg is the school’s average 11th grade ACT score for current seniors seeking an IB Diploma. All race, ethnic and low-income data is from 2011-12 school year. Source: CPS.  

The neighborhood IB programs were modeled after Lincoln Park’s IB program, which began more than three decades ago. Lincoln Park’s program is highly exclusive.     

School # IB students %AfAm %Latino %Asian %White %Low-Inc ACT avg for IB*
LINCOLN PARK HS 374 7 20 22 43 34 27.6


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309 Comments Add your own

  • 1. another CPS mom  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Those are still some pretty low ACT scores for college entrance.

  • 2. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:32 am

    @1 the “pretty low” scores can be explained by the demographics. Most students at these schools do not have college educated parents and came from lower performing neighborhood schools, a significant number probably have English as a 2nd language. Based
    on those demographics, the scores are stellar. But everyone keep on avoiding these schools due ACT points, and there will sure be a spot for my 2015 freshman! I am not worried about the ACT scores I’m seeing; I want the critical thinking, globally oriented, learn to learn curriculum I’m seeing. And has anyone thought of how difficult it will be for your child to stand out from the pack at Northside to college admissions officers?

  • 3. sandersrockets  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Reality… bring more children that LOOK LIKE MINE and I’ll go. When the population of children are racially unbalanced, I’m not interested. My sons are also supposed to go to the IB at Morgan Park. We are not the right color. It is a harsh reality that people do not like to say out loud. I am not comfortable sending my children, no matter how good the program is, to a school that is not racially diverse. I send my children to CPS elementary and currently am paying for Catholic HS for this reason for my oldest and will do the same for my other sons as I don’t see a change occurring in the near future.

  • 4. Y  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:44 am

    @2: You are correct about the big picture of college. It is easier to stand out at these schools than at a SEHS, so college opportunties may be better via neighborood schools. We just have to make sure CPS is providing these schools with the same resources and facilities that the SEHS programs receive.

  • 5. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Steinmetz White pop 19%
    Taft 70%
    Senn 7%
    Amundsen 9%

    Any of those white enough for ya?

    It’s amazing how much more willing non-white parents are than whites for their children to be a minority in a school in order to get a quality education.

  • 6. Jennifer  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:50 am

    MT Greenwood parents WILL never send their kids to CPS schools it is cop heaven and.u know those.cops are.prejudice those kids will.end up at Marist, Brother Rice, McAuley etc not cps high schools

  • 7. HS Mom  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:51 am

    @2 – totally correct and smart! What resources do selective schools get vs. other schools?

  • 8. chicagodad  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:51 am

    I find it interesting that there is so much talk about how bad our schools are, yet the SE programs are flooded with qualified applicants and now the IB programs are in getting the attention they deserve, to the point that Rahm had to announce that 10 more IB’s will be opened “soon?” Even that number will not be enough for all the kids who have high abilities and scores. Why did it take the injustices of the tier system to bring this about? It’s no surprise that this has caught the top down, one size fits all CPS “leadership” completely unprepared. That’s what happens when your focus is on bringing the nation wide corporate deform agenda to Chicago and you don’t listen to parents and teachers.

  • 9. chicagodad  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:53 am

    @5 tell it!

  • 10. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:53 am

    While Morgan Park’s IB program is good, the school is dangerous. IB is a small part of the school. 268 out 1800 students…there are gangs and always trouble. But I really think if MP bcame a wall 2 wall school and neighborhood kids went there, then it would be worth looking at. Right now, MP doesn’t have many neighborhood kids attending. There are ALWAYS problems in, around school, but I still feel if it ever bcame wall2wall, neighborhood parents would look at it as a viable school for their children.

  • 11. NotSure88  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:53 am

    3 ??? Your comments are strange to me. My child attended an CPS IB grammar school with quite a mix. Pretty good education, not stellar. Now attends private… much better and a real mixed bag.

  • 12. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:55 am

    P.S. these schools will be “racially balanced” when you and I start sending our children to them instead of fleeing to Catholic HSs and the suburbs. “I don’t see a change coming in the near future” is a self fulfilling prophecy.

  • 13. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:56 am

    #11 why did you go private for hs? why not IB hs CPS?

  • 14. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

    I’m hoping for a racially balanced change…hopefully w/in next couple of years. But I did hear Rahm say that IB wall2wall will be new schools not existing IB pr in schools.

  • 15. sandersrockets  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

    My area is Morgan Park, that’s 1% white and 2% latino. My children are mixed latino. I am not leaving my area.

  • 16. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    #15~that’s bc ppl from out of the neighborhood use MP. No neighborhood kids go there. But if MP bcame IB wall 2 wall I think a lot of parents would look at that school.

  • 17. NotSure88  |  April 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    13 – Because we live in Tier 4 and missed Lane by a hair. We were not all that interested in the Taft IB program and Lincoln Park is good but a major pain for transportation.

  • 18. another CPS mom  |  April 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    IB obsessed:

    “It’s amazing how much more willing non-white parents are than whites for their children to be a minority in a school in order to get a quality education.”

    It seems that generally white parents in Chicago will not send their child to a school or program-within-a-school with fewer than 20-30 percent white students enrolled.

    It also seems that ALL engaged parents are looking for the best program for their child, no matter the race of the parent/s or child. However, it seems that some black families will access predominately white schools/programs but white families have that 20-30 percent “tipping point” because the white families feel they can access alternatives such as Catholic or other private schools. I can tell you there are plenty of black families that are rejecting MPHS for Catholic and other private schools.

    It’s all interesting.

  • 19. RL Julia  |  April 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    While I agree than many white parents are uncomfortable with sending their kids to a school that isn’t predominently white, I think that in all fairness, they would in greater numbers – if the school’s test scores and other educational benchmarks that white people use to define academic excellence (which is usually defined in ways the (often) favor white people) were on par with what they thought were acceptable.

    Additionally, since white people are mostly used to being the predominant culture in public venues (like schools) many white people don’t know how to act or feel when they aren’t the dominant culture and/or they interprete other culture’s ways of being or interacting negatively because it is unfamiliar. They also might be less willing to take a risk on a school because they are culturally unprepared to do so.

  • 20. Mich  |  April 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    It is difficult to be the “only” child integrating no matter who you are. And as much as balance and integration is desired, having no one that “looks like you” is difficult, especially as a child.
    My worry always is the surrounding school though. If the IB program is great, but walking to school you’re running the gauntlet, it isn’t worth it to many parents.

  • 21. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    #18~True, in my neighborhood, I don’t know any white, black or latino who would use the MPHS…they go to dif Catholic or private HS or CPS SEHS. That being said, I still feel that MP has a chance of becoming a neighborhood school if it went wall2wall IB. The kids from other neighborhoods would have to be phased out and neighborhood kids phased in, but that would take about 2-3 yrs if it started now and if neighborhood parents would send their children there.

    I’m a firm believer in the IB program.

  • 22. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 25, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    @18 Wasn’t there a point at which Jones and Whitney were fewer than 20 to 30% white many years ago? And then more whites enrolled to the tipping point? Now these schools have cache for even private school parents. Anyone around then and remember? What did that look like?

  • 23. RL Julia  |  April 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Jones and Whitney probably had the scores and they are centrally located which always helps.

  • 24. Mayfair Dad  |  April 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    @ 3 and others

    Before we start harshing on our southside brethren, let’s remember the racial balance on the northside was achieved by decree, not organically achieved through a more enlightened outlook on diversity. Magnet schools were conceived to address inequality in education and the solution was bussing black students from the southside to white magnet schools on the northside. Post-consent decree CPS deemed it necessary to capacity control Caucasian enrollment at the most desirable SE high schools schools on the northside – this didn’t happen the southside, creating a handful of SE high schools with 95%+ black student populations. So now we have a system (affirmative action 2.0) to further capacity control Caucasian enrollment at northside SE high schools using a set of criteria that doesn’t contain the word race yet creates a predominantly white super tier where the barriers to entry are ludicrously unfair.

    Bottom line:

    The system-wide demographics for Chicago Public School System: 91.5% non-white, 86% low-income. Many middle class white families on the southside have arrived at the conclusion that CPS is currently not designed or motivated to address the educational needs of their children. Parents who send their kids to the diversity-engineered schools on the northside are misinformed to look down their noses at the difficult choices southside parents have to make.

  • 25. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    #22~WY was the first magnet hs. I’m not sure about being predominately black~I thought it was always desegregated to balance all races. But as #23 said, it always had the scores. However, Jones did not. That was never considered a good school until a few yrs back. It was just Jones Commercial HS. They bcame more selective w/in 10yrs.

  • 26. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Senn has several things going for it to be attractive to parents. It’s in a safe area, is very accessible by the redline and Clark and Broadway buses. The new principal has made very significant progress toward it being a safe school, as community people who are volunteering at the school have testified. Based on what I’m hearing, I have no significant concerns about safety there. The principal is a very good communicator and marketer of the school while being very forthright about what needs to continue to improve.

  • 27. sandersrockets  |  April 25, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Thank you @24!!

  • 28. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    @27~only have heard good things abt Senn.

    #24 I never felt any1 was looking down their nose ~I live in tier 4 in a wonderful neighborhood. My son goes to WY he could have went ANY SEHS, but we choose WY. My other son, will go to St. Ignatius if he doesn’t get in.

  • 29. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 25, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Sorry, I meant #26, I’ve heard good things abt Senn

  • 30. Mom  |  April 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    @5–If white parents become “more willing” to send their kids to what are now predominantly AA or Latino schools, and as a result the school’s racial balance shifts, then there will be complaints that there aren’t enough spots for AA or Latino. See the fears of David Gregg, mentioned in the article, that minorities and low income kids will get squeezed out if these schools catch on with the middle class.

  • 31. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    #30~as a white family, I would like to see my neighborhood high school be more in line w/the racial make up of our area. Many of the kids at MP don’t live in this area and are only allowed to be here bc no neighborhood kids go to the school

  • 32. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 25, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Although, if my son got into LPHS IB program, he would go there to school.

  • 33. Mom  |  April 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    @31 — I agree ideally a neighborhood school should reflect the neighborhood. But sometimes when the resource is “coveted,” e.g. Northside Prep, that gets cast aside, and handwringing begins if there aren’t enough of certain groups. My point is simply “be careful what you wish for” — to the extent we wish that more white parents send their kids to IB schools, there could be unintended consequences (based on your point of view), as the article implies.

  • 34. Mich  |  April 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    @26 & 28, good to know there’s good discussion about Senn of late. When I lived in that neighborhood (granted, 10 years ago) you didn’t send your child to Senn and I know many people who still are carrying that viewpoint in their mind. I’ll give it another look.

  • 35. HS Mom  |  April 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    This is the one point I disagree with in the article. Everyone wants what’s best for their kids regardless of race. It would be a real disservice to the program to aim it at only one race or group. Creating and establishing demand (or “cache” as I have seen it called) benefits everyone as long as CPS is willing to supply.

  • 36. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    #31 true I know what you are saying, but the southwest side has been ignored for so long.~I do wish that a brand new wall 2 wall IB school was created in my area.

  • 37. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Oh sorry, I meant #33 instead of #31 in the post of #36

  • 38. Esmom  |  April 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    @CPSO, I heard this story this morning and was riveted, thanks for posting. On a side note, you mentioned some time ago that Linda Lutton has a child entering HS next year. Is she sharing what school they decided on? Just curious 🙂

  • 39. RL Julia  |  April 25, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    @35 – What is CPS supplying in this case? As has been examined in other posts on this blog – there is in fact no real shortage of places one could get a decent education if one was motivated to do so. So by that standard, CPS is supplying (am not even going to address the inevitable outcry about “safety” because I am starting to think that it really is closer to “kids who are racially, culturally or economically like my kids”).

    I sometimes think that its not really just about what’s best for the kids – or that what people say is best/acceptable for the kids is based on a very narrow idea -a component of that idea being exclusivity (another would probably be mystery). In my mind, part of what makes one CPS schools perceived as being the best has very little to do with what is actually happening inside these schools educationally and tons more to do with how many kids are NOT admitted. The more kids not admitted – the better the school is perceived to be. I am not saying this to diss the SEHS’s – I really don’t have much of an idea of what does or doesn’t happen inside of them – I am just saying that everyone assumes that these high schools are the end all and be all in large part because of the number of kids/families who have decided to flock to their doors. If next year it was revealed that Northside was full of brilliant test takers who all happened to also be drug dealers, gang bangers and prostitutes would there still be a line around the block of people trying to get in? I think so! And if it was announced that all of the Nobel Prize winners in the known universe had graduated from CPS IB programs – well until they started being exclusive in their applications- people would still look down their noses.

  • 40. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    @34 You would have received an eye roll from me not so long ago if you said “What about Senn for HS?” Now it’s at the top of the list. My kid might be able to squeek into admissions at LPHS IB, but I feel more comfortable with her walking to school in our neighborhood where everything is familiar and we know families on every block between our place and the school. Is it a comfort stretch knowing she might stick out as a blue eyed blond or not be accepted socially? Yes, but that’s just fear of the unknown, and I don’t think that it will be any more stressful than the common social challenges of going to any high school.

  • 41. xCPSmia  |  April 25, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    39 Such a weird rant. I’m speechless.

  • 42. Viv  |  April 25, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    For all of you worried about ACT scores for university admissions, please note:

    Fact: Depaul University has officially begun an “ACT optional” choice for its applicants. Other univeristies have too.

    Fact: the Common Application is the application that many selective and highly selective universities (officially ranked using these terms) use for admission. One of the first questions on the High School Report section (located top right corner) of this app reads:

    “Is this student an IB Diploma Candidate?”

    I work with high school seniors on the college admission process and the university admissions reps from the top universities in the US are seeking out these IB students.

    Among the Curie IB Diploma grads of 2011, 56% attend “highly selective” unversities. They earned over $630,000 of scholarships for something like 28 students.

  • 43. Esmom  |  April 25, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    @39 “In my mind, part of what makes one CPS schools perceived as being the best has very little to do with what is actually happening inside these schools educationally and tons more to do with how many kids are NOT admitted.”

    I know what you mean. I got increasingly uneasy with the fact that it appeared that the reason people started giving some schools a chance was that simply because there were other kids/families that looked like them giving it a chance. It started as a slow trickle into the SEHSs then suddenly it ramped up to where we are today. And it wasn’t as if the schools changed what they were doing, it was simply the fact that they had gotten a stamp of approval of sorts.

  • 44. Mayfair Dad  |  April 25, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    @ 39 RL Julia. I get what you’re saying. But when you have a student body in a typical CPS high school where fewer than 50% graduate, think of the energy the school must expend to keep the disinterested, disruptive and possibly dangerous students in line. The selectivity of SE high schools serves as a filter to limit access to those undesirable students, creating a more motivated student body.

    So now insert an IB program into a typical CPS high school. You are essentially doing the same thing on a micro (classroom) level, where pre-qualified students attend classes with other pre-qualified students. Sounds good until the IB nerds get beat up in the cafeteria.

  • 45. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 25, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    @42 Viv That is extremely valuable info. A question: How do colleges view IB diploma candidates from schools where maybe under 50% actually score high enough on the HL exams and are awarded the diploma? How do colleges even evaluate applicants from IB program since they don’t know at the time of application if they will be awarded the diploma? (IB exams in May of senior year)

  • 46. Christine Whitley  |  April 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Esmom: I think Linda Lutton’s daughter is at Curie.

  • 47. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 25, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    @42 Viv, are you out there? Please. Come back.

  • 48. cpsdisgusted  |  April 25, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    “And has anyone thought of how difficult it will be for your child to stand out from the pack at Northside to college admissions officers?”

    @2, Well, yes, as the parent of a senior graduating from Northside, I can answer this. Northside is full of high achievers but that doesn’t mean they’re all the same. They each have different strengths, interests and goals, and like any applicant, they have to convey that to the admissions officers. In general, they apply to and are accepted by phenomenal colleges and universities because they do stand out. A few days ago my son and I visited the accepted students’ open house at the school he’ll be attending in the fall. It’s a medium-sized very selective private university. We stopped in at the admissions office to meet the person who gave his application the green light, and although she had never met him before, she mentioned numerous details about him and his application, including where he went to school.

    That said, my other child did not get into a SEHS, so we’re looking at our other options. I’m very interested in IB and schools with balanced racial diversity, but not willing to send my child to a school with a high dropout rate or where fights and bullying occur. In the article someone says “that happens anywhere”. Wrong. FIghts and violence basically do not occur at places like Northside.

  • 49. Waiting...  |  April 25, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    @RL Julia – I enjoyed and agree with your “weird” rant.

  • 50. chicagodad  |  April 25, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    One thing to keep in mind about the SE high schools is that they were designed to be extremely challenging schools for the top kids. They are not dropping their standards so the points made previously about a smart, motivated kid being at the top (and doing well) in an average school and my point about finding a school that’s a good fit for your kid need to be remembered. Northside has been mistakenly viewed as a “normal” school that works miracles, and that’s not how it is. They do have great teachers there, but in the words of their first principal, “The kids arrive here smart and we don’t screw them up.” They could have filmed the “Race to Nowhere” movie at N.side and saved the airfare. A 4.0 average there puts you smack in the middle of the bell curve. I know folks whose kids go to N side and the stories I hear about the competition there are ridiculous. I think Rahm should have gone for more than 10 IB’s that are self contained & about the size of Northside. Schools like those can’t do well if they’re so large that kids can be anonymous. Teachers and kids need to know each other.
    All this being said, I’m really glad to hear that there are hidden treasures out there, and I’m not surprised that CPS isn’t telling their stories. They should be. Thanks to Linda Lutton for doing CPS’s job, again!

  • 51. klm  |  April 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    OK, anybody familiar with my past comments will know where I’ll be going here …

    Why is it that when people discuss “standards” (i.e., ave. ACT scores, ISATS, etc.), there’s very nearly always a given assumption that accepting/liking “diversity” means accepting LOWER standards for one’s kids somehow in the name of not being racist.

    It’s insulting to black kids and to white parents in many instances.

    I have black kids, extended black family members on the Southside, etc., but there’s the same concern among black middle-class parents as white ones about the real quality of schools.

    White people don’t want to send their kids to CPS HSs that are 99% black for the same reasons I (parent of black kids) wouldn’t want to —they’re overall crappy schools. Period. That’s the REASON. I know plenty of white people that would be happy to send their kids to a school that’s 99% black if it were a “high achievement” institution. Sadly, there’s no such place in Chicago.

    I hate how certain people will always spin things as “If only more white people would send their kids to X school it would be good,” etc.”

    Guess what? Middle-class black people don’t want to send their kids to those schools, either. And it’s not because they’re racist or classist. They just want what’s best for their kids like the rest of America. Is being black supposed to mean accepting mediocrity for one’s kids? (FULL DISCLOSURE: for those who don’t know I’m a white person married to a black person, but my kids are subsequently black).

    Why is it that just because we live in Chicago, we’re supposed to be happy with a low-scoring HS with an IB option, when people in Glencoe, Northbrook, etc., (BLACK and white) would never accept such a school for their kids, because they know what most every educated middle-class+ person does –a school where only 0-2% of kids are performing where they need to be is not a GOOD option, even if one puts an IB program there.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not how I want things to be and I understand that my mentality is (a huge) part of the problem (schools won’t get better until people like me are willing to send their kids there, etc.).

    However, Hell will freeze over before I’ll send my kids to a school where virtually none of the students are meeting ACT college-readiness standards, when there are public schools like New Trier where MOST kids meet this standard.

    The sun does not rise and set on Chicago. My kids will be going to college and subsequently working/competing with people who went to Glenbrook North, New Trier, Hinsdale Central, Beverly Hills HS, prep schools, the best India and China have to offer, etc. They need to be educated accordingly, not be told (indirectly or directly)) “Wow, you’re really smart for a BLACK person from a ghetto high school!”

  • 52. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 25, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    #44 Mayfair Dad~EXACTLY! The problem is the neighborhood hs near me is dangerous/gangbangers/always problematic. So the kids doing well in AC/IB program transfer out.

    What I love abt WY is that those kids really want to be there to learn not just wasting time until the last bell rings. WY principal plays a huge part and sets the tone for the school. She expects excellence and she gets it. She is a superstar principal.

  • 53. Viv  |  April 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    As you can read in the study published by the Consortium at the University of Chicago, the universities are interested in students who COMPLETE the IB Diploma Programme. The fact that IB students sat in seven inquiry based college courses (writtten to an international standard of rigor) for two years indicates a lot about a student. They are admitted based on their success thus far in the IB Diploma curriculum, not on if they earn the IB Diploma.

    IB grades are based on:

    1. uniform, worldwide assignments, (completed over the two years in each course) which are graded using the same rubrics and standards worldwide

    2. Final exams for each course: at least two and in some courses three essay exams

    The IB Diploma TEACHERS of our high school IB students are also evaluated each year by the IB organization. They are required to first grade the assignments that students must complete, before they are sent off around the world to graded by the examiners from IBO. In doing this, the iB is evaluating if IB teachers are delivering the IB curriculum as required and if they are grading their students according to the IB standard rubric. Schools receive A LOT of data from the IBO about student and teacher progress. That is another reason why universities respect the IB Diploma Program so much.

    Universities have not only seen the success of IB Diploma students on thier own campuses, they know the IB curriculum is the most rigorous offered to American students. This is why they clamor to admit IB Diploma students to their schools.

  • 54. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 25, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    “a school where only 0-2% of kids are performing where they need to be is not a GOOD option, even if one puts an IB program there.”‘

    KLM, it’s hard to come to any well informed conclusion about schools that don’t exist yet (low performingHSs with new IB programs). On the other hand, tell me why I should think my 8-9 stanine kid would not continue to achieve very well, and be well prepared for college, by going to a HS with an already established IB program? Those ACT scores you see are averages, some students obviously score higher. And the ones who are not as well prepared going in need to do catch up, and my kid won’t. I would be very concerned about low ACT scores if it were a typical HS curriculum. IB is not. It can’t be watered down. It is administered and evaluated external to the school and external to CPS.

  • 55. ChiSchoolGPS  |  April 25, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    #51 klm: “I know plenty of white people that would be happy to send their kids to a school that’s 99% black if it were a “high achievement” institution. Sadly, there’s no such place in Chicago.”

    Check out my post #182 on the HS Admissions & PD Part 3 thread regarding a school whose juniors had ACT scores of 28, 29, 30 and they were preparing for college tours with the school counselor and teachers in the next few weeks. The entire tone of the school is of high expectations and filled with kids who, despite all odds, are there because they truly want to learn. I was quite impressed.

  • 56. HS Mom  |  April 25, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    @50 chicagodad – agree with you on selectives and the value of having these IB programs. I think the biggest problem is that in 7th or 8th grade, people really don’t know what the best fit is for their kids. You can work hard and get high scores and go with the highest ranking school that you can get in but you never know till you get there how things will fare. Something people should think about as opposed to average ACT’s.

    IB obsessed – if you have a real handle on your goals now, you are way ahead of the game and your daughter will be better for it.

  • 57. chicagodad  |  April 25, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    @56, I disagree that as parents we don’t know what the best fit is (would be). What we don’t have is enough info about each possible school to know which is right for which kid. That’s why we go to open houses and network to learn about a schools personality. It takes a bit of work to get info to decide with but it absolutely can be done. If we can do it for college, then we can do it for high school. Very similar process.

  • 58. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 25, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    #54~I agree w/you abt IB, but if the school is dangerous, I won’t let my kids go there. Our school is dangerous. I would love to send my kids to the IB prg. I’ve researched it and really like it. In fact my kids school, they are in the IB MId Yrs. A gr8 program.

  • 59. HS Mom  |  April 25, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    57 – OK I see, I don’t think open houses are enough. In my situation, my son has really changed in strengths, weaknesses and desires. Not something I could foresee. It seems that so much of the decision is based upon scores and reputation, it’s hard to get a feel (A) what’s best and (B) what you can get into. Maybe it’s just me.

    Other than that – your reasoning resonates with me.

  • 60. North Center Mom  |  April 25, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    As for the posted article, I am biased against the author after her hit piece on the number of private elem school students in SEHSs published March 9. But after reading the comments thread, I had a thought. I hope the high school my child will attend in a few years does not have only students from our ethnic group or class, because I do, in fact, want them to have peers from all of Chicago’s ethnic groups and classes. But perhaps what we will find is one that will have a certain percentage of private school graduates. That is what would “look like me”: families who lost the magnet elementary school lottery and refused to send their child to their underperforming CPS neighborhood school. After sacrificing for nine years to pay for private education, I do not want my child to attend school with kids who got a substandard education. I want the school to be populated with kids whose parents value education above vacations, the newest electronics, or a working car. Rather than the Selective Enrollment test, they would have to show their library card and show that it is worn out.

  • 61. sen  |  April 25, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    #51 Well said. Look at Chicago neighborhoods. Most are very segregated. The trouble with poor performing schools is POVERTY and a vicious cycle that perpetuates it. Until we deal with those problems, I do not believe we can fix the school problems in these areas.

  • 62. Whit1  |  April 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    @51- There are high achieving predominantly AA highschools. Brooks and Lindblom are a couple. They may not be at the top of the list but kids from these schools do well.

    @24 – I wonder how many of those kids who score nearly perfect scores take the selective prep course. Low income kids usually don’t take this score boosting class. Really, a score of 20 – 50 points or even 100 -200 less than perfect does not render you a dumby. God forbid you get a couple Bs in seventh grade. Certain groups of people seem to lean on the myth that affirmative action keeps them from achieving their desires. Maybe it’s that sense of entitlement that some people feel. The kids that make it into these schools are all deserving. They meet the criteria. They’ve earned their seat. AAs and Latinos are not the only students that live outside of tier 4 and many of the AA and Latino students admitted to these schools are in tier 4.

  • 63. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    @61 Wow we have to solve the poverty problem and eliminate the underclass before we can try to offer a better HS education and more HS options? Do we need world peace also? We all know poverty is at the root of the problem, but Lord, can’t we take some tiny steps here?

  • 64. sen  |  April 25, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    #63 No need to be nasty. I merely meant that the schools must do a better job of realizing that what they are doing will not work without addressing, NOT SOLVING, the poverty issue. There will always be an underclass, but perhaps they do not need to be so under everyone else, if more of an attempt was made to address it when children are young. I would think it would be easier(resource wise) to help a 6 year old, rather than a 16 year old who just shot someone!!

  • 65. SJJ  |  April 26, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I am not sure why people call out white folks for wanting their kids to go to a school where a sizeable population looks like them. I am moving out of the state and spent a good amount of time looking for a school that had enough black kids for my daughter. Here is that breakdown:

    Black, not Hispanic 41%
    White, not Hispanic 39%
    Hispanic 11%
    Asian/Pacific Islander 9%

    Like someone else said, we want our kids to go to schools where the students look like us. It is a harsh reality.

  • 66. SJJ  |  April 26, 2012 at 8:39 am

    I don’t think, before today, I realized how little of the CPS population is white:

    African-American: 41.6%
    Latino: 44.1%
    White: 8.8%
    Asian/Pacific Islander: 3.4%
    Native American: 0.4%

    One thing to think about is maybe the white population can afford private education wheras the majority of others cannot. This is a city, a state, a country where access to education depends on your family’s wealth.

  • 67. cpsobsessed  |  April 26, 2012 at 8:42 am

    @SJJ: yes, it really is mind boggling when you first see those race numbers, isn’t it? Especially given how utterly White some of the north side schools are.
    We are such a geographically segregated city, which makes school integration difficult unless kids travel pretty far across the city.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 68. Mich  |  April 26, 2012 at 9:33 am

    @62 – “Really, a score of 20 – 50 points or even 100 -200 less than perfect does not render you a dumby. God forbid you get a couple Bs in seventh grade.” Well said. If I’d had to go to school based on my 7th grade scores (from a program like WY’s academic center) I’d have ended up at a “bad” neighborhood school too. In our area of the world though all high schools were lottery eligible, no SEHS, every school had different focuses that attracted different kids. My best friend from that jr high chose a school that had Latin as a foreign language option. I wanted to stay close to home so I chose the school that was within 2 miles of my house but was known for more honors courses than the actual neighborhood school. Though kids who went there were just fine as well.

    As for @60 – how are you going to find that high school? I know several kids who went the private route who aren’t learning anything different than what my child is learning in the local public. And in your mind, kids who got an inferior education because they were poor and didn’t get a scholarship are entitled to nothing more than more inferior education? What a great world view. There are inferior private schools as well, how will you weed that out? And you can’t base my reading on my library card – they had to give me a new one because the last one completely separated and couldn’t be put back together!

  • 69. Albany Park Mom  |  April 26, 2012 at 10:01 am

    The more I read here the more I am convinced I’ll want to skip the SEHS process entirely and steer my now kindergartener to IB at a neighborhood high school. I went to a public high school on the east coast with a terrible reputation for academics as well as violence. People fled the city to avoid sending their kids there. My mother’s friends would react with shock when she told them she sent her precious daughers to AHS. However, I was in an honors program with plenty of other kids who competed for grades and for whom college was expected. I left that school with a semester’s worth of AP college credits. Most of my peers went to top colleges both public and private. They are now lawyers, college professors, hedge fund managers, political operatives, musicians, engineers etc; all those things we want for our children.
    I know from personal experience that not only is it possible for a small program within a school to have a competely different culture than the rest of the school, it is practically inevitable.

  • 70. Ummmm  |  April 26, 2012 at 10:11 am

    60 What about a lost library card?

  • 71. klm  |  April 26, 2012 at 10:11 am

    @54 and 55 (and maybe others):

    I did went on the Trib’s ‘School Report Card’ page and with a few clicks came up with some (most recent avail) stats that I want to bring up regarding the % of kids at respective HSs that meet the ACT college-readiness standards on all 4 core subjects (math, reading, science, English). A few examples:

    Hyde Park HS 0.2%, Senn 0.0%, Bogan 0.3%, Amundsen 1.2%

    New Trier 61.8%, Deerfield 57.4%

    Northside 78.8%, Payton 68.3%, Brooks College Prep 13.0%, King College Prep 3.8%

    Average freshman GPA at Illinois public colleges (which is also published) for kids from these schools is also sadly very disparate and equally shocking in many cases. I know some people like to insist test scores aren’t really all that indicative of academic success/ability, but I’m sorry –I just don’t believe that. Is a student from Hyde Park HS with an ACT of 19 really going to have as easy a time at the University of Illinois as a student from Stevenson HS with a 29 ACT, even if they both had a 3.5 HSGPA, especially in a class like Organic Chemistry 101? Sadly, no. And published stats seem to show this pretty convincingly (look for yoursel on the the ‘School report Card’). I used to work in college admissions and we did these kinds of analyses all the time. Guess what? One’s score on the SATs, ACT, etc., really did seem to indicate a lot about one’s ability to handle difficult college-level work (especially in math and science). Is this really so hard to believe? It kinda’ makes sense to me.

    Gee, why would I think twice about sending my kids to schools like Hyde Park or Senn (literally not a single kid meeting these ‘basic’ standards, not going-to-pharmacy-schools ones) when there’s a really great IB option? The stats speak for themselves.

    I’m not “hating”, I’m just being realistic.

    As for schools like King (nearly all-AA SE HS), well, I guess it falls in the “Wow, those kids do well for black kids in CPS!” category for some people. They’re 6% as likely as kids at New Trier and 4% as likely as the kids at Northside to meet the basic ACT college-readiness standards —WOW! That is, if one tends to feel that test scores are not really important and that the achievement gap is all about test-bias, etc., which I definitely do not. Believe me, if King had Northside-like scores half of Lincoln Park and Lakeview would be lining up to send their kids there. Look what happened at Jones: once it became “good” (academics-wise) middle-class people started wanting their kids to go there. It went from being nearly 0% white to white kids being a large group within a decade. Same goes for % of non-low-income kids. The diversity-part is a “plus” for most parents –but only if the school’s a ”good” one.

    I’m not saying these IBs at neighborhood HSs are not good options for some kids that have nothing else. I AM saying that as a parent and a person who has been out in the working world for 20+ years, I know how vitally important education standards are to the culture of learning and future success –sometimes when one take the wrong path there really is no changing direction. I’m simply trying to point out that many of the concerns parents have are genuinely about academic achievement and can’t be reduced to simple conjecture about perceived prejudices about race and class.

  • 72. James  |  April 26, 2012 at 10:39 am

    @ 71 klm —

    I could not agree more. Very well said. It’s easy to say (and, unfortunately, there are those around here who do) that parents who express concerns about safety at neighborhood schools are doing so only as an excuse to cover their latent racism. No, we’re not. It’s a legitimate concern that large schools filled with kids who are in gangs, are into drugs, get into fights, etc., affect the culture and tenor of the whole damn school — and trying to isolate the tiny percentage of that school that is actually interested in learning cannot be done effectively. The tests scores you and the NPR cite bear that out in spades. Thank you for noting them.

  • 73. cpsobsessed  |  April 26, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Mayfair Dad, how is Mayfair Son handling the homework at LP IB?
    I know you expected to be on his case a lot….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 74. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  April 26, 2012 at 10:46 am

    #67 which northside schools are you referring to that are “utterly white”? There are schools that are 90% plus Hipsanic or african american, but I don’t think you’ll find an “utterly white” school. Northside – 38% white; Edgerbook, 68%; Lincoln elementary, 68%, Edison RGC 41%.

    That’s a pretty irresponsible comment, considering that you run this site.

  • 75. cpsobsessed  |  April 26, 2012 at 11:15 am

    @74: in some of the northside schools, I would say that the majority of grades K- say 3 are hugely white.
    No data to support but, that I am remarking more on a “sea of white faces” that I see at these schools.
    In a system of 9% white, you don’t consider 68% to be utterly white? That certainly feels extremely white to me.
    Gentrifying neighborhoods have a lot of white kids in the younger grades. Yes, perhaps not in the older, but those kids tend to be on separate floors, etc.

    To clarify further, I perhaps meant utterly non-black, and I’m guessing the numbers would support that.

  • 76. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 26, 2012 at 11:25 am

    KLM where in the Tribune report card did that data come from? I’ve clicked everywhere and can’t find it. Can you post a link? I’m perplexed because The Illinois College Freshman Success Report (click on the link above the county map on a school page) indicate the following for Senn college Freshman for 2006 to 2008 (before the new principal)

    32% met the benchmark of ACT 18 or higher for English
    12% met 22 or higher for Math

    This is a different aggregation of data than yours (only for kids who went to college, but it still does not seem to be consistent with less than 1% that you found.

  • 77. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 26, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Data above came from http://iirc.niu.edu/PDF/HSCFR/HighSchool/P_20062008_14_141055_L_S_COLL-CSR_SENN_HIGH_SCHOOL.pdf

  • 78. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 26, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Sgt. “Utterly white” is an accurate description of my child’s class at the northside RGC my child used to attend. Not one African American, 1 or 2 Hispanic kids, maybe 3 Asians.

  • 79. Pvt. Mom  |  April 26, 2012 at 11:37 am

    @SJJ – What do you feel is the right balance to make a school an attractive environment for your kids? Would you make an exception for a private school that isn’t as diverse as a public school due to the tuition factor? Thanks. I am just curious. I feel as if private parents often make a difficult trade-off in terms of socioeconomic diversity because the education has to be supported by parent funds.

  • 80. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  April 26, 2012 at 11:52 am

    #78 It’s interesting then that a class of maybe 25 kids with 5 non-white ones is considered “utterly white”.

    #75 In a system where whites are grossly underrepresented, 68% seems like its majority white, but not “utterly”. Kudos for being able to tell which kids aren’t hispanic by sight. Note that there are schools which are 95% plus Hispanic, don’t those count as utterly non-black as well?

  • 81. cpsobsessed  |  April 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Visually speaking, many of these schools look utterly white and that is a **perception**, not a statistic.

  • 82. Mom  |  April 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Don’t forget that many kids come from parents of different races. They many not “look white.” Also, are the northside schools that are “too white” for some out of step with the neighborhoods in which they are located? If not, why is it a problem if they reflect their surrounding neighborhoods?

  • 83. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  April 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Utterly means “completely”, by the way. It’s not a synonym for “overwhelmingly” or “largely”.

  • 84. Mom  |  April 26, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Oops, typo. @82 was meant to say “They may or may not ‘look while.'”

  • 85. Mom  |  April 26, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Boy, I stink at typing — “white.”

  • 86. cpsobsessed  |  April 26, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Ok, OVERWHELMINGLY. When I mean “completely,” I will say “100%” from now on, so there is no confusion. 🙂

    @82: I don’t think it’s a “problem” that the schools reflect their neighborhood. It’s just a fact of the matter, so the geographically segregated city. But I think many of us would aspire to more diverse schools, so it feels “less than ideal” I guess. Which is part of the appeal of magnets or other schools that balance it more. But to use a phrase I hate, about the neighborhood schools, “It is what it is.”

  • 87. Esmom  |  April 26, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    And I’m utterly over this latest tangent. I think most of us know what CPSO meant, no need to browbeat her.

  • 88. Peter  |  April 26, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Dear lord @Gunnery Sgt Hartman.


  • 89. Anon125  |  April 26, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Edison Park, Oriole Park, Stock and Ebinger are over 70% white on the northside.

  • 90. HS Mom  |  April 26, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    @71 found your data


    looks like college readiness in 4 subjects is pretty hard to achieve. Congratulations to Northside for being the only school over 70%. Please note that this data is for 2010 – not sure how long some of these IB programs have been up and running but not likely that they will be a large population of the school as a whole or that they will necessarily have success in all 4 subjects.

    Looking at some predominately white average automatic go to schools in the Suburbs – Carl Sandburg 29.6%, Stagg 21.2%. Lincoln Park with 28 avg ACTs is 22.1%. How did we ever manage to go to a decent college and get advanced degrees without going to the top HS in the state?

  • 91. Albany Park Mom  |  April 26, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    KLM @71 “Look what happened at Jones: once it became “good” (academics-wise) middle-class people started wanting their kids to go there. It went from being nearly 0% white to white kids being a large group within a decade.”

    I’m curious how this happened. Was it the chicken or the egg? Did scores improve first, or were there demographic changes due to increased interest in the SEHS model.

    After all this change is exactly what we’re hoping for in IB and neighborhood schools.

  • 92. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks for that link and for your remarks HS Mom. Those stats were the % of students at the school who met the benchmark in all 4 areas: Reading, Math, Science, and English. Schools cited with 0-1% meeting benchmark above could have had much higher % meeting the college ready ACT benchmark in 1 or more of the 4 subjects. For eg. Senn, had 21% meeting the college ready benchmark in English. ACT college ready benchmarks are 18 English, 21 reading, 22 Math, 24 Science- so not low set rungs, and probably hisher standards than IST meets or exceeds.

    The rung is not set low for ACT college ready benchmarks

  • 93. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 26, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Phone typing difficulties-meant “and are not comparable to ISATS “meets or exceeds”

  • 94. RL Julia  |  April 26, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    @89 – Taft looks pretty white to me.
    @90 – I know!!
    @91 – A friend of mine sent her son to Northside the first year it opened and talks about what a huge risk it was at the time. Everyone pretty much thought she was crazy.

    Gotta wonder how much recession and declining private school enrollments (due to tuition/tuition increases) play into how quickly CPS schools/high school “genetrify (for lack of a better phrase)” into becoming an acceptable if not desirable school choice.

  • 95. Y  |  April 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    @91: Jones has been around for a long time but wasn’t considered one of the premier high schools in the city. It became a SEHS in the late 90s and its desirability has grown over the last decade.

  • 96. K D  |  April 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks to Viv and IB obsessed formerly Gawker for the good information.

    I think the UofC study said that Chicago has a IB Diploma pass rate of about 20% vs. about 60% for the US and 80% for the world.

    Is there any way to find out the IB diploma pass rate by school?

    Forgive me if my stats are off on the pass rates; and, I hope I don’t start a ranking obsession for IB schools.

    Thanks in advance.

  • 97. Angie  |  April 26, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    @96. K D: I don’t know about other cities, but it seems to me that in Chicago, a lot of kids go to IB HS not because they are interested in IB cirruculum specifically, but because they need a decent high school, and it is their plan B after not making it into top SE schools. And when they get in, they don’t necessarily want to put in all the extra work required to get that IB diploma.

  • 98. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  April 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    #88 – I’m actually quite relaxed, thanks.

    #87 – it’s great that you’re over it, but one would think that the person who runs a site like this would be a bit more careful in the choice of their language. I’m still trying to figure out what “visually speaking” means, by the way. Sounds like a lame qualifier to me.

  • 99. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  April 26, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    #94 it’s 53% white, I don’t know what “pretty white” means, but I don’t think it is.

  • 100. Twin  |  April 26, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    @98: why is CPO supposed to “be a bit more careful in the choice of their language” [sic – the pronoun is “she”]? This isn’t an etymology or linguistics blog. Good grief!

  • 101. Twin  |  April 26, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    “her,” not “she”

  • 102. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 26, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Sargent-this is cps obsessed’s personal blog. She has made no obligations to anyone and we are guests here. We try to avoid bickering over trivialities here and keep to data and informed argument.

  • 103. RL Julia  |  April 26, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    In my mind, given that overall CPS is 8% white, 53% would be pretty white. Pretty white is when you walk into a school and think – wow compared to most of the CPS schools I’ve been in, this one sure seems to have a lot more white kids than not. 53% is slightly more than half – which is a lot for Chicago. However, all things being relative, it would not be pretty white if I was in Skokie or Deerfield. However, if I encountered this school in Englewood – I’d probably be tempted to term it as “practically all white”.

  • 104. EdgewaterMom  |  April 26, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    @96 I don’t think that CPS publishes the IB pass rate, but if you were to contact the individual schools you might be able to get the information. I went to an information session about the IB program at Senn and they did give their numbers (I don’t remember the exact number, so I don’t want to quote it). They did stress that a student could do very well (get good grades, test well on ACT, and get into a good college) and miss the IB diploma by a few points.

  • 105. YepNo7  |  April 26, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    104 – exactly correct. Taft IB – a very small percent sit for the diploma exam and an even smaller percent attain it. You have to pass by the exact number set. I know several students, now attending fantastic universities, who missed by 1, 2, 3 points. The parents get all worked up and plead for the diploma, but nope. There is a set pass number and you need to get it. Most colleges are interested in IB students, IB hs grads and the diploma not so much.

  • 106. Peter  |  April 26, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    One would think Gunnery Sgt Hartman, is being difficult.

    Not sure why though.

  • 107. Not2Day  |  April 26, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    106 Why not? Since SEHS choices have been made and the school year is almost over, he adds lively comments to this blog. Thanks Sarg.

  • 108. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 26, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    CPSO~on the southside there are some what I would call ‘very’ white schools compared to 8% total in the city. Sutherland 43/3%; Clissold 31/5%; Mt.Greenwood 77.3% Keller Gifted 37.7%; Cassell 72.2%~those are just the schools near me. But I would classify them as white once you see how little white is in CPS.

  • 109. Former IB teacher  |  April 26, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Hi all: I taught IB English for many years at a Chicago public school. Some students took only a few IB classes, most took full program. THe diploma program is INCREDIBLY rigorous – essentially, students subsisted on few hours of sleep for their four years. I am certain that I could not have handled the workload when I was in high school. But their drive and the tight-knit social community they created kept them going.

    The U of C consortium research about those who complete the diploma program makes perfect sense – those kids are no doubt prepared for college, even those who came from underresourced neighborhoods and elementary schools. But I would also argue that many of the students who didn’t earn the diploma – some of whom just missed it by a point or two – are also well-prepared for college.

    I get e-mails from former students often, and many of them say that college is easy compared to IB – that they have learned to manage their time, that a ten-page paper is not a daunting task, and that they are prepared to make critical analyses of texts.

    We are now thinking seriously about IB programs within neighborhood schools. If the teachers are strong and the administrative support is there, could be great option.

  • 110. Esmom  |  April 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Regarding Jones and how it came to be desirable…my observation has been that as Payton, Northside and WY got harder and harder to get into, for those people who wanted a SEHS, any SEHS, as an option, Jones became a “safety” school. And because of the sheer number of qualified applicants, it became an acceptable choice pretty quickly. Same with Lane.

  • 111. RL Julia  |  April 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    @110 I think you are on to something but its only recent history. Lane and Jones are both old schools with followings of their own. There was a time when Lane was the IT (it, not I.T.) school for the Northside – especially if you lived on the west or north sides and didn’t want to commute or didn’t get in to Whitney. Even before that, it was well regarded as a rigorous technical (all boys) school and it was a real accomplishment for someone to attend school there.

    Jones I believe, used to be the “Commercial” business school and while it might not have been on the radar of white northsiders it was very much respected by African Americans on the south and west sides-where it was noted for having high standards and expectations of its students – provided they were enrolled in a “business” curriculum. I am not sure when it became a SEHS – but I suspect that its strong name recognition as a good high school – even if it switched from a more vocational program to academic one didn’t hurt.

  • 112. mom2  |  April 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    @110 – parents that live on the north/northeast side of the city are now out of safety SEHS’s. Downtown/central and north/northeast are full. The rest of them are too far away from what I can tell. So, it’s time to focus on the neighborhood high schools and make them “the” place to be.

  • 113. SutherlandParent  |  April 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Good points about the “white” schools on the South Side, SSI4–as an RGC, Keller is on the tier system now, interestingly enough.

  • 114. Parent and IB educator  |  April 26, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Thank you 109. The voice of educators (I know this is a little self-congratulatory on my part) is invaluable to this conversation. We work with these students and see the difference IB has made in their lives and into university and beyond. I am fortunate to have the first-hand knowledge of these benefits (touted in the CCSR report and elsewhere) and plan to send my children to my CPS IB High School. (And for those to whom it matters, I am a white, middle-class graduate of a highly selective university – and my IB high school is less than 10% white and over 90% low-income school-wide). Indeed between 5-10% of students in our program have a similar profile, namely they are from families willing to judge a school for what it has to offer rather than on what shows up on the demographic chart. If one wishes to use exaggerated rumors about safety and/or simplistic or reductionist metrics such as ACT scores to measure the quality of a school without a first-hand investigation of what is happening inside the walls and classroom doors, they are certainly free to flee Chicago or pay for private school. To me, that would seem foolish. And if your neighborhood IB high school truly isn’t that desirable, look to the next one – there are fifteen and counting.

    As an aside – if a student enters high school with a high EXPLORE (the standardized test precursor to ACT) they will end up with a high ACT score. The reverse is true. These tests are norm-referenced and little that happens from 9th to 11th grade in any school will significantly change one’s fate in this metric. (Even within our IB Programme, the highest ACT scores come more from our middle class students, but interestingly, class does not correlate quite so well with IB exam scores.) If you want to see high average ACT scores, look for schools with high income student populations. It is widely recognized in educational research that the single best predictor, the most accurate predictor of ACT score, far and above student motivation, quality of school or curriculum, or anything else, is family income. But the real takeaway is that surrounding oneself with better standardized test takers will not improve one’s own score. Neither will surrounding oneself with poorer standardized test-takers diminish one’s score. Just beware that the quality of being a good/poor standardized test taker is different than the quality of being a good/poor student.

  • 115. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    @114 I just exhaled. Your last paragraph expressed what has been my hunch, (see @54 above) but as informed with much less experience and data, and so I was hoping my thinking was not naive.

  • 116. Esmom  |  April 26, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    @111 I grew up in Chicago so I was familiar with Lane’s reputation. My best friend’s sister took a couple buses to get there everyday from our far northwest side neighborhood while the other kids in the family went to nearby Catholic high schools.

    Ironically once I had kids of my own and happened to already live a couple blocks from Lane Tech, I thought we’d never have to move. But once it transformed into a SEHS — especially starting about 3-4 years ago — I saw my neighbors agonizing about their kids getting in (or not) and I realized that our semi-secret “neighborhood” gem was slipping out of reach. Sad.

  • 117. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 26, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    That is sad #116. I remember years and years ago~Lane was the school to go (and every1 talked abt going to Lane) to and looks like it today 2, but as a SEHS.

  • 118. mom2  |  April 26, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    @114 – What you said makes a lot of sense. But one thing to keep in mind is that many parents aren’t looking for a school with high ACT scores because they think if their child is surrounded by high scoring kids, they will score high, too. They are thinking that they want their child to become friends with kids that think education is very important and doing homework and paying attention in class is not optional. They use the ACT scores as one way to hopefully find a school full of kids like that.

  • 119. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 26, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    @118 many parents do look think ACT scores below a certain level will somehow drag down the achievement of their child. Parents need some criteria with which to evaluate schools, and unfortunately, test scores are the easiest, most publicly accessible thing we have, but can give a distorted, superficial picture of a school. One has only to read about AYP scoring of schools to understand this.

  • 120. HS Mom  |  April 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Regarding Jones – It was a 11/12 grade commercial business school with a work/study one of a kind program from the 60’s to the late 80’s. It became a magnet school with lottery admission until 1998 when it became a SEHS. Being a small school, admission was always selective and integrated because of the race based requirements. Attending grade school in the south and west loop some 10 years ago you would hear parents of 8th graders opting for Jones because of the downtown location and ability to take classes at city colleges. Jones was never a “safety” school because class sizes were around 150, many did not get in. I think Lane was considered a slam dunk because of the sheer numbers of kids that they accepted.

    Thank you to the IB teachers who have posted. I am really intrigued by the possibilities of the program and think that it will do wonders to will fill the void between selective and neighborhood education and possibly excel in educational value. I find it mind boggling that families will choose not only based on fit and rigger but also on curriculum and type of education. This is very promising and good news for Chicago families.

  • 121. Esmom  |  April 26, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    @120 Interesting about Jones. Up until a couple years ago the counselor at our CPS elem. school always positioned Jones as a good fallback option. I knew it was small but I thought it was sort of unknown, at least up north. That’s the impression she gave me, anyway, when she’d say things like to try and ease my SEHS anxiety, “Well don’t worry, there’s always Jones.” Amazing how much things have changed!

  • 122. Carlos  |  April 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Yes, academics are important. I think what a lot of parents here don’t get is that academics AND athletics are just as important to many parents/children. Many parents/students OF ALL RACES look to northside Catholic schools (Loyola, Notre Dame, St. Pat’s, Gordon) and southside Catholic schools (Mt. Carmel, Brother Rice, St. Rita, Marist) as obvious options when selecting solid schools for BOTH academics and athletics. Many parents will work 2nd jobs so that their child(ren) can attend one of these schools. These are schools that seem much like suburban public schools in where you can see hundreds of fans at school sporting events. School pride cannot be overlooked.

  • 123. ChiSchoolGPS  |  April 26, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    In the same vein as Jones from a few years back, the new “school to watch” is George Westinghouse College Prep. http://newwestinghouse.org/

    It’s a brand new high school which opened Fall 2009 and is two schools in one: an SEHS and a College & Career Academy. It’s worth putting it on your Open House list this fall. While its demographics and location may deter some folks, others may see a “hidden gem”.

  • 124. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 26, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    #122 WY has a LOT of school pride w/sports and academics. I know several families that are going to Rita, Carmel & Iggy bc their kids who went to parochial elementary schools didn’t get into CPS sehs. While they love their school~for more than 2 handful of families it had nothing to do w/school pride. It was they were tier 4 and their kids didn’t get in so they went the Catholic route.

  • 125. anonymouseteacher  |  April 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Is there truth to the rumor that IB programs have homework loads, in high school, of upwards of 5 hours a night? I keep hearing that and thinking there is no way that could be true. If it is, I can’t understand why anyone would send their child to an IB school. Or maybe a better way to say it would be that for me, over my dead body would I ever find that acceptable. I would love for that rumor to be incorrect.

  • 126. Sosidemom  |  April 26, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Soxsideirish–I hope you are one of the parents who regularly attends LSC meetings at MPHS to let the know of your interest in the IB program and making MPHS an option for ALL residents in the area surrounding it, which is racially diverse. This piece by Linda Lutton does nothing but spread unconfirmed rumors about MPHS. Have you talked to the administration? Looked at these police reports? MPHS has an excellent staff and much better track record than many CPS high schools. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. Go to the meetings, research the new principal candidates, see what the school has to offer, stop believing racist rumors.

  • 127. local  |  April 26, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    IB educators: How would a teen with an above avg IQ, ADHD and both a math and written expression LD do in IB? What would it take? What have you seen?

  • 128. Carlos  |  April 26, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    SoxSideIrish, I’m sure there are many kids at private schools that would’ve liked to get into an SEHS. There are also MANY, MANY kids of all races that don’t even apply to SEHS because of various sports. Yes, WY is solid in academics, basketball, and chess. Have you ever been to a Friday night football game at WY? Compare that to a Friday night football game at St. Rita. Have you ever been to a lacrosse game at Senn? Compare that to a lacrosse game at Loyola. How about a hockey game at Morgan Park? Compare it to Mt. Carmel. Diving? Water polo? Crew? Catholic schools have MANY, MANY options when talking various athletics.

  • 129. ChiSchoolGPS  |  April 26, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    On the other hand, neither Jones nor Northside has ever lost a Homecoming football game…..because they don’t have a football team. And Payton and Whitney Young lack home football fields (several schools use Lane’s stadium). If you’re looking for Friday Night Lights, SEHS won’t quite fit the bill. Conversely, some of their music/orchestra programs are outstanding.

  • 130. ChiSchoolGPS  |  April 26, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    I did want to add that the teams that do play at Lane Tech do not lack in school spirit, however! Being within earshot of the stadium, the roar of the crowds is unmistakable during the fall and spring seasons and pep rallies/games occur almost every day of the week.

  • 131. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 27, 2012 at 1:07 am

    #126~yes, I’ve been there for meetings. Yes, I know the school. No I would NEVER send my child there due to gangs and problems. I think my area should have a brand new wall 2 wall IB school. OUr area has been neglected 4 years and have NOTHING on the southside 4 years. As for Linda Lutton’s article, those aren’t rumors those are facts. I’ve said b4, I don’t know any white, black or latino who would allow their child to go there.

    I haven’t been to football games, but my son has and it’s packed. WY has state champs in Basketball (mens & womens), Chess they are 3rd in state, The debate team defeated perennial debate powerhouse Glenbrook North High School to become the first CPS school to earn a state championship in the Illinois High School Association Debate., Cheerleading team and our Pom Pon team who recently won the City Championship,Whitney Young’s Math Team won the North Suburban Math League Competition on February 29th at Evanston Township High School. Coached by Julienne Au and Matthew Moran, this is the first time in
    history a Chicago Public School won this prestigious title beating out many strong math teams including the team heralding from IMSA (Illinois Math and Science Academy) and I could go on. Right now, they have many, many pep rallies. Our friends wanted their kids to go to WY but didn’t make it so they went Catholic.

  • 132. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 27, 2012 at 7:22 am

    The 2nd paragraph above was for #128

  • 133. Not2Day45  |  April 27, 2012 at 8:21 am

    131 “those aren’t rumors those are facts. I’ve said b4, I don’t know any white, black or latino who would allow their child to go there.” Wow. Exactly who is attending?

  • 134. Mayfair Dad  |  April 27, 2012 at 8:32 am

    @ 125: The rumor is incorrect and I have tried on several occasions to set the record straight. My son attends Lincoln Park High School IB program. At the freshman parent’s orientation, they explain that your child should expect to receive homework in every class on every school night. They also explain that your child should not be spending more than 20 – 30 minutes per class on homework. 2-3 hours of homework per night is typical, but that includes interludes of YouTube video watching and texting friends. This is at the most rigorous IB program in the city. (BTW, expect the same homework load for double honors program)

    Is it alot? My 15 year old son seems to think so. It seems likely Mayfair Son will be returning to Ogden in the fall to complete his high school studies. It takes a very self-disciplined and motivated student to thrive at LPIB. My son is more of a bright slacker type.

    This is no reflection on the fine teachers and administrators I have met at LPIB – which remind me of the intense, quirky professors you would find at a small liberal arts college. Mr. Johnson (biology) rocks.

    The IB methodology works well for the intellectually curious student who needs to be challenged beyond the ridiculously low standards of a typical CPS school. Your student doesn’t need to be “gifted” to succeed but they do need to be motivated.

  • 135. HSObsessed  |  April 27, 2012 at 8:48 am

    I can’t believe I missed this interesting thread! Re: Jones’ progression of whiteness — It has gone from 8% white enrollment in 2000 to 28% white in 2010. During that same period, the average ACT score went from 20 to 25. I agree with those above who say that as a school’s reputation for being “pretty good” grows, it attracts a more diverse and higher-achieving pool of applicants and actual enrollees, and then the cycle continues. Look for the same pattern to happen over the next few years at the spanking-new Westinhouse, which had only 2% white in 2

  • 136. HSObsessed  |  April 27, 2012 at 8:50 am

    … whoops. Westinhouse had only 2% white in 2010.

    Thank you to Linda Lutton for obtaining those IB-only scores! Much needed data. The Senn IB ACT scores are pretty good already. That’s higher than von Steuben’s current average, and vS has been much-better known for a long time.

  • 137. cpsobsessed  |  April 27, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Thanks for the update MFD. Did you decide it wasn’t worth the agony of bugging him another 3 years? Or did it just not seem like a good fit for him to thrive?

    I wonder if anyone would fund a charter for bright slackers? That’d be great for my son.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 138. ChiSchoolGPS  |  April 27, 2012 at 9:08 am

    #137 CPSO: Check out CICS Chicago Quest. Intriguing. http://www.chicagoquest.org/

  • 139. OutsideLookingIn  |  April 27, 2012 at 9:31 am

    #134 – Thanks for the insider’s view on homework at LPHS IB. I recall a previous rumour of 9 hours per night! I’m curious to hear what the nightly homework load is at Ogden. Also, does anyone know what it is at an SEHS like WY? Obviously it varies student to student based on a number of individual factors.

  • 140. cpsobsessed  |  April 27, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I routinely hear 2-3 hours a night at the SE schools. I’ve heard the IB programs vary based on project load and a lot of it might be reading time but 2-3 hours at the IBs is what I’ve been hearing.
    That still sounds like an awful lot to me.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 141. Deciding.....  |  April 27, 2012 at 9:48 am

    @134 (Mayfair Dad) – My child is deciding between IB and HH at LP right now. So, the homework load is similar in both programs? If so, the decision between the two programs is easy for us.

  • 142. SutherlandParent  |  April 27, 2012 at 9:59 am

    #133, unfortunately, I couldn’t find any statistics about how many out-of-district students attend MPHS on the CPS website, although I think that would be very interesting information to have. But like SSI4, I know very few neighborhood families of any background who send their kids there. Whether true or not, MPHS does not have a reputation as a particularly safe school–a neighborhood cop I know refers to it as the school the gangs went to when they got bored at Julian.

  • 143. onemorecpsmom  |  April 27, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Sutherland’s cop, who is black, won’t send his children to MPHS. Neighborhood teachers who are black won’t send their children to MPHS. This is what they’ve shared with us.

  • 144. SutherlandParent  |  April 27, 2012 at 10:14 am

    It’s really frustrating, because many of the feeder elementary schools for MPHS are real neighborhood schools, with a diversity that doesn’t exist in a lot of CPS. I love seeing all the kids walking to school in the morning. We have a community that supports the public schools through 8th grade, but can’t trust our neighborhood high school.

  • 145. Mayfair Dad  |  April 27, 2012 at 10:18 am

    @ 141: Talk to Ms Tookey (IB program administrator) or Ms. Rucker (IB program counselor) about the pros and cons of each program. The IB program feels more like a school-within-a-school; double honors seems more integrated into the entire school. I can’t tell you what’s right for your kid but you should talk to the experts. Ms. Rucker is more accessible and frequently answers her own phone.

  • 146. Mayfair Dad  |  April 27, 2012 at 10:34 am

    @ 137: Mayfair Son never found his footing at LPHS. Most of his core group of friends from Ogden landed at WY or Payton. A few remained at Ogden for high school. After a very tumultuous freshman year, we have decided to recalibrate expectations and start over at Ogden for sophomore year. Sometimes your hopes and dreams for your child do not align with their motivation level. We remain optimistic that this is somewhat typical teenage boy behavior and a phase he will eventually grow out of. The nightly confrontations were ineffective and creating a toxic situation at home, so we are trying a different approach. I wish teenagers came with operating manuals.

  • 147. Not2Day49  |  April 27, 2012 at 10:48 am

    146 is Ogden a neighborhood hs?

  • 148. cpsobsessed  |  April 27, 2012 at 10:55 am

    So there’s gang members in the IB program?? Really, I’m so curious as to who’s going to MP if no locals will send their kid.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 149. LR  |  April 27, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I think 2 hours is about the amount of homework you would get if your kid took honors/AP courses in the burbs. That is about what I got at Glenbrook South in the late 80’s and early 90’s (so long ago!). However, for me, it never worked out steady. I would do about an hour of whatever had to be done for the next day. I would procrastinate on reading novels and doing reports/projects. So, frequently I would have nights where I burned the midnight oil. I imagine many HS kids today are the same with budgeting time. That may be where those 5 hour figures come from.

    I have a question…at SEHS’s, do students automatically take honors/AP courses in every subject? Or do they have a choice? When I was in HS, I had a mixture of honors and regular classes that I selected based on my own interests. I think that is still how it works at the high school I went to. I just wonder if in Chicago it is all honors/AP or none.

  • 150. cpsobsessed  |  April 27, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Thanks MFD. Boy, I see that being our household in 5 years so I’m trying to be realistic. If 3rd grade homework is angst-inducing, I can’t imagine LPIB homework. I can, however, clearly image the attitude and whining quite clearly.

    As you say, there are many paths to success and many types of “success.”. A friend of mine went to Senn in the 80’s, considers himself a former street punk, and now has a very successful off-the-beaten path law practice. Granted, his CPS-bred grammar and spelling are awful, but he’s a total success story.

    Who knows where they’ll end up. (Hopefully not living with us when they’re 35.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 151. cpsobsessed  |  April 27, 2012 at 11:04 am

    LR, that is exactly how I was. I remember having to read like half a boring novel all in one night.
    I can’t imagine how I would have functioned with the Internet……

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 152. HS Mom  |  April 27, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Mayfair Dad – It is typical teenage boy behavior. As a teacher/poster mentioned, there is also the sophomore year slump. So anyone with advice on the “growing out of it” stage, anxious to hear.

    Ogden is IB also. Still think you’re ahead of the game with IB education. Do you think a program like Senn or Amundsen would better benefit a kid who is smart but wants to lay back a bit? I think IB Obsessed is on the right track.

  • 153. HS Mom  |  April 27, 2012 at 11:15 am

    @149 – depends on the SE school. The larger schools – Whitney and Lane – can offer more types of classes and have both regular and honors. Northside, Payton, Jones offer only honors classes right now.

  • 154. James  |  April 27, 2012 at 11:24 am

    @149 & 153 —

    I can speak briefly to Payton. All classes there are either at the Honors or AP level. Once kids reach their Junior and Senior years, they begin to have more electives, and they can choose to take a mixture of Honors classes or AP classes. Sometimes it is the same subject matter, just taught at different pacing and covering slightly different areas — for example, AP Statistics vs Honors Statistics. For other subjects, there is only an Honors or an AP choice — for example, there is only AP Microeconomic and only Honors Creative Writing.

  • 155. ChiSchoolGPS  |  April 27, 2012 at 11:25 am

    @146 MFD- you are doing all the right parenting moves by giving it a shot and recalibrating as it became necessary. Please do let us know the difference next year between Ogden’s IB and LPIB, since you will have a unique perspective.

    @147- My understanding is that Ogden HS is not a typical neighborhood school because it is a wall-to-wall IB, with MYP in 9th & 10th and DP in 11th & 12th. That being said, kids coming from Odgen Elem are automatically accepted (no interview required since they all do MYP IB curriculum), neighborhood kids who didn’t go to Ogden get a 25 point bonus in their scores (out of 900 point scale, of which 300 pts is interview), and out of neighborhood kids apply based on 900 pt scale but no bonus points. Their Instructional coordinator, John Finelli, is a font of information. He told me not all IB schools are the same, as at LPIB, they are on the DP track as 9th graders but Ogden IB they can choose MYP or DP tracks as sophomores which accounts for late bloomers who don’t want the rigors in 9th grade but step up after 10th. Their course offerings for this past year can be found at:

    Click to access OIHS_Course_Catalogue.pdf

    In their first few years, about 30 of 100 Ogden Elem kids went to the HS, but this past year, it went up to about 60 of 100. Each class size will be capped at 150 students per grade, so it will be harder for out of neighborhood students to get in as the reputation grows, I suspect.

  • 156. LR  |  April 27, 2012 at 11:26 am

    @153: Thank you. That will be something we have to watch for in 5-6 years. I imagine if Lakeview and Amundsen turn the corner they will be more like Lane and Whitney and able to offer a wider range of courses.

  • 157. OutsideLookingIn  |  April 27, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I keep reading that LPHS IB is the most rigorous of all the Chicago IB programs. But I thought the IB curriculum was supposed to be uniform across all IB schools. I understand that LPHS’s program is harder to get into, but why would the program there be more challenging academically than at Curie, Senn, etc.?

  • 158. ChiSchoolGPS  |  April 27, 2012 at 11:35 am

    @157- In a nutshell, “experience of teachers, breadth of offerings, depth of courses”. IB teachers must be certified based on specific IB criteria. For example, Ogden’s IB teachers are mostly within 3 years of IB certification, whereas LPIBs have double digit years of familiarity and experience and they also offer a broader, deeper selection of IB courses.

  • 159. Taft IB Mom  |  April 27, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Many good comments about a good article that should have been published before this year’s 8th graders started making their choices.

    Taft’s scores and demographics speak for themselves.

    It is refreshing to see this type of information released by CPS because it backs up what those of us that have been supporting Taft IB have known for years: Taft offers a LOT to those who are willing to work hard and close their ears to the constant stream of misinformation that is mostly based upon ancient history.

    As for parental and fan support for athletics – the Taft side of Lane stadium was PACKED at Homecoming this year!

    It comes down to what makes a good school is similar to what makes a good painting. It is in the eye of the beholder. The aspects that make a school/painting appealing to me are different than what makes a school/painting appealing to you.

    What amazes me and, that all of Chicago needs to get over, is that the handful of Selective Enrollments and Lincoln Park are not the ONLY places that graduate fantastic students. There are many CPS grads from the “GEM” IB programs and neighborhood schools getting into selective colleges and cleaning up in terms of scholarships.

    Stop crying yourself to sleep and setting your kids up to feel sub par for the rest of their lives over a high school selection! REALLY? Realize that as a whole we are fortunate to have many terrific public and private options in Chicago and the Suburbs. If our family chooses one versus the other – it does not make our family better or worse than yours that chose a different option. It does not also mean one family’s kids will end up differently unless YOU decide to let it define you and your family.

    We all need to be more tolerant of everyone’s choices and not try to feel better about ourselves by belittling the choices made by others. Tolerance and not speaking ill about others without “walking a mile in their shoes” is what is needed in Chicago in many aspects ESPECIALLY high school selection.

    If you say that school XWY was not an option for my family in a denigrating way – what is it that you are implying about my family that chose that school? That you are better? That your kids are too good to go to that school?

    The world we live in is getting increasingly smaller. In ten years, when your child is in the real world, being interviewed by a hiring manager from a multi-national company that grew up in Buenos Aires, London or Beijing they will never care where your child went to high school and, probably not have a very high opinion of any American high school regardless of it’s name or reputation here and now in Chicago – lumping all of these options we are fighting about into the same mediocre “bucket”.

    Common Core Standards will hopefully help better align the younger students after CPS figures out how to implement it but, as we are finding out – that is really just IB: World Standards and yes, they are hard to meet but, if your child is “too busy” to meet them now they may behind the rest of the REAL world for the rest of their life.

    Just a thought!

  • 160. RL Julia  |  April 27, 2012 at 11:47 am

    @157 – maybe because it is more established and larger and hence more competitive.

    Mayfair Dad – kudos for seeing the kid you have instead of the kid you wished you had (or the kid you have doing what you know they can do). Its always a struggle!

    It seems antedotally, the hardest high school years seem to be Freshman (making the adjustment) and Sophmore years (where apparently they really lay on the work). By Junior and Senior years kids start thinking about college (eek!) and have satisfied some requirements which leave their schedules a little more flexible.

    Unfortunately, I was just told that generally speaking, colleges expect you to take the highest level of a class offered (or I guess provides a reasonable expectation as to why you aren’t -maybe) which means if you take Honors X when AP X was available it will be questioned or maybe you don’t get as many points for the grade or something…. can anyone illuminate this further? I am still getting over the fact that Taft enrolled my son into high school classes in 8th grade meaning that the classes counted towards high school and would factor into his high school GPA – something that just seems unfair all the way around.

  • 161. RL Julia  |  April 27, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Go Taft IB mom!

  • 162. Mich  |  April 27, 2012 at 11:50 am

    I wonder if some of the homework overload feelings also depend on what school you came out of. If you were the “smart” kid at your local school and you breezed through your homework coming up against the expectations of IB or SEHS could be a rude awakening. I found that to be the case (not CPS but same concept), went to a local elementary then a gifted jr. high and it was a rude awakening. I really did very little in 5th & 6th grade, there was only a little differentiation in teaching so we ended up “helping” peers & younger kids much more than we should have (my mother is still angry) so having to actually work in jr. high because you’re just one of many intelligent kids, many brighter than you, took adjustment.

    Perhaps one of the best things about IB program, especially those NOT wall-to-wall is that it can make the average school a bit more acceptable. If you have parents sending kids who are taking IB Math & Science but not English, they’re still going to expect a decent English curriculum and push for it. That can help bring up the expectations for ALL students to where they should be. My child will not go to an SEHS as she has severe expressive/receptive language delays and could never excel enough in those areas to get in, and certainly not from our Tier 3. Yet she’s great in math, decent in science, so we want something that will engage her in those areas too. Having IB and HH programs in local schools mean parents and kids who expect more from high school than “the place you hang out until you turn 18.”

  • 163. Sun2Day  |  April 27, 2012 at 11:56 am

    160 Unfair how?

  • 164. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 27, 2012 at 11:58 am

    I question of it’s actually the case that LPHS IB program is “more rigorous” or “more challenging academically”. That is an assumption made due to the fact that LPHS is so most selective in its admissions, perhaps? Their website discourages applications from anyone scoring below 95 %tile in both math and reading. Their old website used to say their IB was for “gifted” students. Again, this could be the phenomena discussed earlier here that people ASSUME exclusivity equals better academics.

  • 165. RL Julia  |  April 27, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    @163 – unfair in two ways.
    Penalizes kids who didn’t have the opportunity to take high school classes in 8th grade because their GPA’s will be calculated on fewer credits so they have fewer opportunities to “recover” from a lower grade.

    Penalizes kids who take the high school classes in 8th grade because it effectively starts them in high school in 8th grade – making high school a five year experience.

    I suppose it all evens out in the end, but as a person with a kid who was looking forward to a year where there was no pressure either way to do well etc… he was mightly disappointed to hear that in fact some of his grades would count towards getting him into college.

  • 166. SutherlandParent  |  April 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    #148, I appreciate the point you are trying to make and I really appreciate that you posted the article and are letting us all have this conversation. But there are about 1,400 students at MPHS who AREN’T in the IB program. The demographics of the entire school, including the IB program, are not representative of the community (hardly unique to this neighborhood, of course).

    I agree it would be informative to find out where the kids at MPHS attended elementary school–as they say, the plural of anectdote is not data! Does CPS make that information available?

    And I don’t mean to disparage MPHS. I send my kids to the neighborhood elementary school because I believe in neighborhood schools. I have seen amazing teachers in CPS and wonderfully dedicated parents and students, and I want to feel confident about sending my kids to their neighborhood high school. Strengthening CPS neighborhood high schools is an ongoing concern I’ve seen on this blog and among the members of the community. Unfortunately, I don’t have any good answers about how to do that, so I would love to hear the thoughts and experiences of others.

  • 167. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    RL Julia, what you were told refers to highly selective universities. There also ‘selective’ universities, and then the majority (I’ve seen this figure as high as 75%) that admit nearly everyone who applies.

  • 168. RL Julia  |  April 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    @167. Thanks. That’s a relief.

  • 169. Esmom  |  April 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    @150, “If 3rd grade homework is angst-inducing, I can’t imagine LPIB homework.”

    Take it from me, a lot can still change in the next couple years. My son grew by leaps and bounds between 3rd and 6th grade when it comes to homework. Fifth grade seemed to be the turning point, where he decided to stop fighting it so much and just buckle down with very little complaint. He is now calm and focused about his homework and while he can still get worked up about some things, like big tests, homework is a non-issue most days (and most days he has between one and two hours of it). Three years ago I would have never, ever imagined we’d ever be here!

    @159 “In ten years, when your child is in the real world, being interviewed by a hiring manager from a multi-national company that grew up in Buenos Aires, London or Beijing they will never care where your child went to high school and, probably not have a very high opinion of any American high school regardless of it’s name or reputation here and now in Chicago”

    I hear what you’re saying but in my case it’s never been about which school my kids attend as it is WHAT they are going to learn — i.e. everything they need to be well rounded and well prepared for college and beyond. And unfortunately the perception seems to be that many CPS high schools can’t be trusted to provide that, hence the “crying ourselves to sleep” over the increasing difficulty into getting into the few schools that seem up to par.

  • 170. klm  |  April 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    OK, I know there will always be the same quasi-argument on this site: Somebody points out the (well-founded, published) facts about certain schools in terms of achievement standards (like I did above) and there will always be 2 schools:;

    1) Amen! Thanks for pointing out the obvious! The reason we’re not sending out kids to our local CPS HS is because it really, truly, MEASURABLY sucks –it’s not that we’re prejudiced or snobbish in any way. OH MY GOD! Have you seen the published scores! That’s why people stay poor, I guess –some people actually are HAPPY that their kids are going there, despite that their kid is literally only 1% as like to be prepared for college-level academics. It’s so sad. Anyway, if I were a real snob, I’d live in Hinsdale or Lake Forest –I like Chicago.. We just want what every middle-class American wants for their kids: a good education as a basis for a decent chance in life. I’m not saying my kids have to go to Harvard or Northwestern, I just want them to at least be able to do OK at Illinois State, UIC or (dare to dream) Illinois.

    2) Well, you shouldn’t judge too much on scores, otherwise you’re falling into the trap of “Tiger Mom” hyper-achievement-as-proxy-for- good parenting trap. There are plenty of kids that go to schools like Senn and Hyde Park HSs and do great in life. Lots of kids from Lake Forest and New trier HSs get into drugs and spend their lives living in their parents’ basements. Who’s to say what a “good” HS is? So much depends on your child, etc…… You don’t need to drive a Range Rover to get from Point A to Pint B when a Ford Fiesta will get you there (maybe even faster and without all the self-aggrandizing showiness)–get over your “rankism” obsession.

    Personally, I’ve done low-scoring inner-city public schools (K-8) and I’ve done a high-ACT-average private HS (Catholic, Loyola, Fenwick, St. Ignatius, et al….). I honestly can’t understand how somebody defends a HS where virtually nobody gets even the bottom-level ACT scores that one should expect to do just NORMAL/PASSING/ OK in a regular college (NOT Swarthmore or Princeton, but UIC or Northern Illinois). All I can say is WHATEVER. Do people not read newspapers, magazines, etc., Is the “achievement gap”, the national “crisis in urban public education”, etc., just all part of a plot to undermine good people that are “genuine” and care about their neighborhood HSs? I guess that what some people must think.

    I’ve never understood why living in Chicago should mean expecting less for my kids than people get in Northbrook or Barrington, in terms of quality, decent public education. But yet, that’s what some people here seem to be telling me, in an almost anti-snob snob way.

    Getting 18 on the English part of the ACT or even 24 (as examples of the ACT college-readiness goals that some here think are somehow ‘high-fallutin’) on the science part is NOT some “dare to dream”, only-a-Rhodes-Scholar-does-that, airy-fairly wish of parental vanity –these are just BASIC measures for just regular grades at regular colleges. Sorry, but it’s true. If a HS cannot produce hardly any kids that can do even that, well objectively there REALLY is a problem in terms of academic preparation for college –nobody’s making this up.

  • 171. cpsobsessed  |  April 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    @mich: I’m laughing about how your mom is still mad about something from your middle school education…..
    I wonder if I’ll be the same way about my son’s private preK over-enrollment debacle that I still rant about?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 172. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 27, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    KLM, it seems what you are not hearing is that ACT/test scores are so closely tied to INCOME and parental higher ed. as to be inseperable. You don’t live in poverty, you escaped it. You educated yourself. You are involved in your kids education. Hence… the dire consequences of which you are afraid are not going to befall your kids. I hope I’m not offending you getting personal, but I remember the story of your youth you posted here. Our kids are not facing what you faced. Can consider that maybe what was absolutely necessary for your educational survival (escape! go to the highest scoring school!) is not also so for people in different circumstances?

  • 173. Esmom  |  April 27, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    @170 “There are plenty of kids that go to schools like Senn and Hyde Park HSs and do great in life.” Yes I have heard this sentiment over and over in Chicago myself. In fact I was having a beer with an old friend who is a teacher in the suburbs and I was telling him how scared I was about the high school situation in Chicago. His response was “plenty of kids who go to mediocre high schools do just fine in life.”

    He meant to reassure me about high school in Chicago but in fact he had the opposite effect. I realized that the many kids who had to settle for a “mediocre high school” probably didn’t have any other choice. Whereas we, fortunately, luckily, did. I realized right then and there that we had to get out of Chicago. It was one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever made, leaving the house and neighborhood we loved, the CPS school we worked so hard to support, but for various reasons I am positive it was the best choice for us.

    As for this…”I’ve never understood why living in Chicago should mean expecting less for my kids than people get in Northbrook or Barrington, in terms of quality, decent public education.” I’ve tried to understand that, too. The only answer I can come up with is that somehow people think there’s a trade off that comes with living in the city — that the culture, the diversity, the energy, the whole urban experience — somehow makes up for the shortfalls in the school system. While the suburban people have the schools, but have given up on having those other city things and are somehow living a less full life. I don’t know, that’s just my take on it. As someone stated above, what works for one family/kid may not work for another so who’s to judge what’s right and what’s wrong? And if everyone gave up on the city (like me) then I can’t even imagine where CPS would be. So kudos to those who have the fortitude to stick it out and do what they can to affect change, or at least find a situation that’s going to work for their own kid…and hopefully it will benefit others, too.

  • 174. Viv  |  April 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    There is NO WAY that LPHS IB Diploma students only have 2-3 hours of homework. NO WAY!! Ask any IB teacher/coordinator in the city and they will tell you that 2-3 hours of homework is about right for 9th/10th grade leading up to Diploma Program. Once the Diploma Program starts, the work load is more like 5-6 hours. The kids are required to take SEVEN college classes, people.

    Especially at LPHS and top IB schools—workload for IB students and teachers is crushing. Former IB English teacher @109 confirmed this.

  • 175. HS Mom  |  April 27, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    KLM – no doubt Northside is a superb school, no arguments from anyone there. Can’t even compare it to the neighborhood school or any school for that matter. I suspect that the kid that goes on to a top notch college from a neighborhood school is not a fluke but just the minority (the fewer numbers minority). We all know the reasons why – college bound kids have been siphoned off to other CPS programs and the neighborhood schools have a majority of kids looking at non-college options or just killing time. Changing the dichotomy of the school adding IB or other programs would ideally elevate all the students – at least the ones interested in learning. This all seemed very idealistic to me at one time but I do see a great value in going to the neighborhood school and having the ability to take upper level courses.

    Having gone to a good suburban HS where most kids WANTED to go to the community college, I could see that even though most kids were doing minimum requirement work, it had no impact what so ever on what I was doing. I didn’t have top grades but had high test scores, took harder classes and got into the 3 schools I applied to. It truly is what you make of it and I don’t think that has changed over time.

  • 176. Sosidemom  |  April 27, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    So, if a community is dissatisfied with their neighborhood school, elementary or high school, how can the solution be to abandon it? Who does that benefit? CPS maybe. They can say “clearly, this is a school nobody wants…let’s drop it’s funding, then it will get worse, the we can shut it down and make it a charter or turnaround.”. A community can step up and demand change in their school, but it’s got to be more than a couple of parents, and it’s going to take work. If it could be done at Nettlehorst, it can be done elsewhere including Morgan Park. Right now half of the seats in the school go to non-neighborhood residents. Those seats could go to students from the surrounding areas, including Beverly, Mt. Greenwood, and Morgan Park. The feeder schools in these areas have great reputations. Kids have great scores. Doesn’t it stand to follow that scores and climate at MPHS would change if it were embraced by community? Step up, tell the LSC and principal and central office what you want. A new high school in the area is not going to happen. There’s no money, there’s no space. What should Morgan Park have and how can the neighborhood help make it happen? Get organized!

  • 177. K D  |  April 27, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    @109 & @114 – Can you briefly describe the training you received to become IB educators?

    A couple of other questions:

    Does CPS assign a value of 6.0 to an IB grade of A when calculating GPA?

    I found excerpts from the book “Theory of Knowledge” online at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1107669960/ref=sr_1_1?p=S002&keywords=IB+curriculum&ie=UTF8&qid=1335492730

    Does every English speaking person in the world use that book?

    Finally, I found some sample IB exam questions online:

    and sample essays: http://www.huskieibpo.com/EssaySamples.htm

    This looks like U.S. undergraduate level work. Is that how you see it?

  • 178. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 28, 2012 at 5:18 am

    #176~Rahm said he was going to have 5 new wall 2 wall IB schools~one is def designated for SouthSide~MP has been trying to get tuned around for over 6 years~it’s not going to happen. We need new school that Rahm promised. Nettlehorst is a elementary school, much easier to turn around than a HS. The climate at MP is horrible due to many ppl~the principal just walked out one day and took a job at another school; many thing contribute to why the neighborhood will not embrace MP.

  • 179. cpsobsessed  |  April 28, 2012 at 7:44 am

    So does anyone know – is the IB curriculum standard? Are all the kids given the same homework requirements anywhere in the country?
    We know the homework load is at least as much as an SE school. Can teachers modify that at all?
    I’m not sure how that’ll work in a wall to wall neighborhood school. It’s just not a good fit for every kid.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 180. HS Mom  |  April 28, 2012 at 8:30 am

    @179 CPSO – I assumed the “wall to wall” school would either be an entirely new school (in an existing building?) or that the school would no longer be a neighborhood school and would possibly offer points advantage to neighborhood kids (like Ogden does). Sounds like the Senn “wall to wall” proposal is a hybrid of neighborhood, IB and fine arts programs.

  • 181. cpsobsessed  |  April 28, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Ah, ok. So still pretty selective.
    I still wonder about the ability of each school to tailor the program at all, given how they all have so much homework. It seems odd that a program would be so rigorous that after doing 3plus hours of work a night for several years that many kids still don’t get the diploma. Then again, as americans, it’s probably good to have something that isn’t super easy to attain…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 182. CPS announces ‘coordinated’ opening and closing bells for schools  |  April 28, 2012 at 9:21 am

    No place else to put this: http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/12180773-418/cps-announces-coordinated-opening-and-closing-bells-for-schools.htm

  • 183. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 28, 2012 at 9:32 am

    #181~Rahm said that the IB neighborhood schools will stay intact (may be expanded). He will up 5 new wall 2 wall IB schools. I really doubt that teachers can tailor the prgm how they want. It’s very rigid and the guidelines must be followed so that all students get same education. This is their website. http://www.ibo.org/

  • 184. RLJulia  |  April 28, 2012 at 9:55 am

    170 and 172 – loved the comments. I concur. As a product of both public and private schools as well, I do agree that in general the private school academic education I recieved was a lot more thorough than the one I did at public schools – however, the social education I received in public school was a lot better- if that makes any sense. It was in public school that I really did meet lots of different kinds of people – and learn how not to judge, not to be afraid of people, in short how to get along – how to see people as individual people – not as stereotypes. Given my background, I already pretty much knew how to get along with the kids who attended private schools. Learning this was really, really useful.

    While ideally, a public school system should provide both – it seems they rarely do. Oddly enough CPS isn’t so bad on providing this intersection – at least for some people. Ironic to be posting this on a article that ultimately comes out and says that white people in Chicago are basically unwilling to consider schools where they will be in the discinct minority.

    However, this doesn’t come for free. I have spent the better part of this year seriously envious of my friends in Evanston whose school system provides all sorts of services without being hounded and badgeres and without making their students jump through endless hoops and take multiple tests.

    However, to parrot Sosidemom – a school is only as good as the community it belongs to – and if we in Chicago are really interested in making all schools better, in capitalizing on the things that CPS actually does provide, we better start putting out rather than waiting for someone else to do it first.

  • 186. sosidemom  |  April 28, 2012 at 11:44 am

    The climate is bad at lots of CPS schools right now, as well as schools across the country for a myriad of reasons. Lack of funding, lack of resources, lack of morale. Yes, MP’s principal did walk out to take another position last year. Fortunately, a wonderful AP stepped up to the plate to fill her role and the staff has loved the job she has done. I realize changing a HS is more complicated than changing an elementary school, but I also guarantee that there were a lot of parents in Nettlehorst’s area who said it couldn’t be done. It was done. It needs to be done at MP. Not every family has $200,000 to pay for private high school for several children. This should be a community priority. It should be a CPS priority–but they won’t consider it a priority until we make them.

  • 187. WRP Mom  |  April 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Being a northsider, I’m not very familiar with MP, but it’s description on this thread remind me a LOT of Senn from years ago..gangs, serious safely concerns, lots of out of neighborhood kids causing problems, an IB program that few neighborhood families would take a chance with. Can the things that have improved Senn be implemented at MP? How doable is this?

  • 188. local  |  April 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    “…white people in Chicago are basically unwilling to consider schools where they will be in the discinct [sic] minority.”

    It appears that white folks won’t send their children to schools where they are an “extreme” minority.

  • 189. Former IB teacher  |  April 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Some writers on this site asked for a description of training for IB teachers and flexibility for teachers planning lessons and homework for IB students.

    IBO offers (and charges for) summer, week-long IB training sessions. I have attended several and worked as a trainer for one – bunch of years ago now. I found them to be among the most useful professional training I ever received (again, this is for English literature – can’t speak for other subjects). The training focuses on teaching exercises that emphasize close readings, analyses of authors’ techniques and effects on audience, as well as ways of structuring arguments and thinking about test prompts. As I said earlier, this is a really good example of “teaching to the test” – because the test is all about critical analyses of texts.

    There is a fair amount of structure in the kinds and numbers of texts taught over a year, as well as the kinds of big assignments that students must do and then send out to be externally evaluated. For example, English curriculum demands that students read a combination of 8 novels and/or poetry collections and/or non-fiction texts over a year. For some of these texts, there is a big list of authors or titles from which teachers can choose. For others, teachers are free to choose what they think might work for the kinds of skills and concepts they wish to teach. You can just google “IB English syllabus” and see different teachers’ choices here.

    HOWEVER, there is definitely flexibility – lots of it – in how skills and texts are taught and how much homework is assigned. IB does not tell you how much or what kind of homework to assign – a teacher designs this stuff based on where her students strengths and weaknesses are, and so on. If a class has particularly strong argument skills from day one, they won’t need as much homework practicing argument or as much class time spent setting up ways to structure an argument. I know that the IB teachers at our school worked really hard to assign the most “bang for your buck” kind of work, because they knew the students were working so hard.

    An IB teacher could assign very little work all year if she chose, but that choice would probably be reflected in the final scores on IB tests.

    In addition, remember that someone who is going for the IB diploma has to score well in both literary analysis and physics and calculus and… not an easy task. You might be strong in one area, weaker in others, but have decided to pursue the whole thing because you want to be challenged, because you are ambitious and hopeful about college, or because your family is pushing you (most likely all three).

    Hope this helps.

  • 190. Parent and IB Educator  |  April 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Wrote this and by the time I was done, I saw the response above. If there is repitition, I apologize..

    #177: IB educators in the Diploma Programme (DP) must attend an IB Americas, or IBA-approved, training. There are three categories of training for each subject. Category 1 is the initial introductory training for teachers new to the IB subject. Category 2’s are more in-depth with special emphasis on assessment in the subject. Category 3’s are special topics and can be especially useful. For school authorization by the IB and during the 5-year evaluations by IB, evidence must be provided that new teachers have attended the Cat. 1’s, and experienced teachers have attended Cat 2’s. The IB does regular review and revision of the curriculum in each subject (in 5-7 year cycles) so schools are required to have teachers ‘re-trained’ at Cat. 2’s to keep apprised of those developments. A typical training consists of 17 hours-worth of workshops over two and a half days. Typically, teachers are sent to venues around the country for these workshops – depending on what is offered at different times and in different cities. Increasingly, however, CPS has contracted with IBA to have what are called ‘on-site workshops’ where trainers are brought to Chicago to host a series of trainings without the cost of travel. It definitely saves the district money.
    Logistics aside, I can tell you that the professional development that teachers get in an IB workshop is far superior to the vast majority PD’s that are available anywhere else. Talk to 10 IB teachers and 9 of them are likely to share this sentiment. I don’t even want to get into how they completely dwarf the quality of training offered by CPS ‘curriculum experts’.
    There is also an Online Curriculum Center where teachers can participate in an online community of IB educators in their subject, read about the latest developments, and naturally download the subject guides and other essential materials. Each year, following exams, IB publishes ‘subject reports’ that detail the ups and downs of the prior assessment cycle: what skills students demonstrated well and what specifically needs more work. These are invaluable documents to teachers as we are continually trying to improve our craft and better prepare our students to perform on the assessments.
    Having taught TOK, I can tell you that the Lagemaat text you found on Amazon was a great tool that I used with my students. It is not however a required text, so no, it is not used by every English speaking student. In fact, there is no required text for TOK (or for any of the subjects, for that matter). *This starts to address questions/comments in #179 – #181, & #183* The only requirement is that teachers follow the published Subject Guide for their course, and other IB requirements. For DP, these guides lay out the curriculum, topics to be covered, skills to be taught, and assessments. There are Internal Assessments (oral exams, essays, historical investigations, and the like) that must be judged against the published criteria, the scores of which are moderated by the IB. And there are External Assessments (known as the ‘exams’). These are sent off around the world and graded by trained IB Examiners looking at students’ work from IB schools internationally. A student’s overall subject score is composed of IA and EA scores combined. An IB Diploma will be awarded to students who score highly enough in all subject and fulfill all the other requirements. (It is actually a bit more complex than this, but that’s it in a nutshell).
    So..the destination in any subject should be the same for all IB students, regardless of school, city, or country. BUT teachers are given flexibility to choose how to get students there. Depending on the school or teacher, the amount of homework can and does vary. Also note that the skills a student has entering the program will impact the time they will need to complete assignments.
    If a school is authorized by IB to offer the Diploma Programme – they must offer the full program to some students, but they are free and even encouraged to broaden access by allowing students for whom the full program is not feasible to take one or more IB courses for a certificate in that subject. The same concept applies to the MYP. So a school that goes wall to wall could in fact develop ‘best option’ paths for its students depending on individual needs/abilities. How it all plays out with this expansion remains to be seen. With CPS, there is always reason to be skeptical. But there is also considerable room for hope that thoughtful planning and careful implementation could result in very positive outcomes for our neighborhood schools and students.
    And yes – an A in an IB course is worth 6 points (as with AP)

  • 191. Evelyn  |  April 28, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    I don’t mean to go off topic BUT is anyone else concerned about the number of CPS principals retiring? There are over 100 principals set to go, yet not much is being said (at least not that I am hearing). Thoughts?

  • 192. Evelyn  |  April 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    It seems to me that this may change/ shake up how effective or ineffective these schools become in the next year or two.

  • 193. @191 & 192  |  April 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    I am concerned because there aren’t enough potential candidates on the eligibility list to fill all the vacancies. Sadly, the principal at my children’s school is retiring and I heard the estimate puts the number at 140. There will be a lot of instability in our entire school system. The Chief Ed Officer (Donoso) is resigning and she makes the 4th resignation at central office of key employees. We may be looking at an unfunded longer day and a teacher’s strike. Elementary principal’s don’t have their budgets and it looks like from the story above that the principals don’t get to decide the start/end times for the schools and CPS will TELL them when the start/edn times will be. They are calling this “Chaos on Clark Street” and it sure looks like it!!!

  • 194. Evelyn  |  April 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    @ 193. CPS is in disarray. I heard that the reason why there are so little principals on the list to replace retiring principals is because they don’t want the headache of downtown. I just think 100 principals leaving, not to mention APs who are retiring is crazy! What will happen to the schools?

  • 195. Evelyn  |  April 28, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I didn’t hear that the retiring number is up to 140 plus….WOW

  • 196. HS Mom  |  April 28, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    @189 and 190 thank you for your detailed and thoughtful message. Very positive message for students to hear that IB can be tailored to the school and the individual. Your summary together with your professional insight does makes the program much more understandable and desirable. Looks too like an opportunity in the teaching field.

    191-197 Please stick to topic, IB as a new expansion of CPS programming. No need to grumble here.

  • 197. sandersrockets  |  April 28, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    LOTS of teachers are retiring too. This can all be attributed to Rahm. His hand-picked board are making huge waves. Contract talks are going nowhere. Strike is almost certain. Politics are taking precedence over our children.

  • 198. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    True 199 and nowRahm wants to replace those retiring teachers w/the sham of teachers~Teach 4 America…horribly scary for our kids

  • 199. Evelyn  |  April 28, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    HS MOM, no need to get snippy. It is a valid concern. Sheesh…..

  • 200. Angie  |  April 28, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    @194. Theone: There have been a couple of similar cases in the press recently, and it seems that the way to proceed is to give a child a hidden recording device, so there is a documented evidence of the abuse done by the teacher. Once you have the proof, the authorities will have no choice but to address this matter.

  • 201. anonymouseteacher  |  April 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Post 194 is a direct copy and paste from the 299 website. So annoying. 299 people need to stop doing this as I have seen it done more than once.

  • 202. kikiandkyle  |  April 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    @cpsobsessed I’d suggest you remove the potentially libellous post above – if the poster has actual proof they should be calling the police on this teacher, instead of putting themselves in danger of going to jail themselves.

  • 203. Bookworm  |  April 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    I’d be interested in finding out how many of the IB students graduated in Chicago in the years of the public IB program have opted to attend university in Europe or Canada instead of the states as a high score on the exam an excellent grades are accepted in the EU and Canadian university systems
    . This is the main advantage that we see in our kids attending an IB program.

  • 204. EdgewaterMom  |  April 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    @205 I am not sure if that data is available, but I also don’t know how helpful it would be. I doubt that many CPS students have the resources to attend university in another country, so the data wouldn’t really indicate whether or not your child would be able to get into a university in another country.

    Maybe you could research how many US IB students attend universities in other countries (I am not sure how, but there must be data somewhere). Since the majority of IB programs are in private schools, students at those schools might be more likely to have the ability to go to school abroad.

  • 205. Former IB teacher  |  April 28, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    #205 – interesting. I’m certain that almost no Chicago students have headed to overseas universities with their IB diplomas – definitely none from my high school in the last 10 years. The program is highly regarded here is as well.

  • 206. K D  |  April 29, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Thanks to the IB educators for their responses. I’m really excited about IB. I like how it gives us a realistic standard. People on this site focus on rankings in Illinois,but Illinois ranks low in public education. It has the lowest IB Diploma pass rate in the U.S (39%) vs. a worldwide pass rate of about 80%.

    I don’t think of the IB Diploma as a way to study overseas. Anyone with resources can do that. Its the reality check that I find most useful.

    The IB reminds me of the “bac” in France. I know of middle class kids there who take a year off after high school to study for the “bac.” That delays university study, but they get into better universities after that. Many people criticize the practice.

    Does anyone know if kids in the U.S. do that? I.e, use a “leap year” or delay graduation to get the IB Diploma?

  • 207. @HS Mom  |  April 29, 2012 at 12:12 am

    Wow you are rude! People come on this blog to share things about CPS! Sometimes, on CPSO site there is no where to put other concerns so people hi-jack the thread that is most hot! It isn’t grumbling it is sharing concern with other parents and making sure that you others learn things about CPS that are new-breaking developments!

  • 208. kikiandkyle  |  April 29, 2012 at 12:45 am

    @206 KD almost all French kids take the bac in high school, it’s the equivalent of a high school diploma. Those who retake it a year later do so because they didn’t do well enough the first time around. Gap years however are more common in Europe in general, and usually not for the purpose of retaking exams.

  • 209. K D  |  April 29, 2012 at 1:00 am

    @209 kikiandkyle

    Thank you. I get the impression that French kids are deliberately taking the bac later with private schools/tutors to get higher marks (tres bien au lieu de assez).

    How would you compare the bac to the IB Diploma? I still want to know if U.S. students are taking extra time to get the IB Diploma?

  • 210. Parent & IB Educator  |  April 29, 2012 at 6:43 am

    I recall one student who took his IB Diploma to an overseas university, though it was his country of origin. There may have been a few others, but certainly not many. The point about available resources is most relevant here. Not sure, but reaonably confident LPHS has had a larger number of students do this, given the demographic they serve.

  • 211. Edgewater Member  |  April 29, 2012 at 9:53 am

    To 187. The Senn Principal has stated she has a blueprint that involves early interventions and a lot of academic activities after school. I heard she started the blueprint at another school and had results there as well. Seems like it is replicable and a plan to be shared.

  • 212. klm  |  April 29, 2012 at 10:39 am


    In France, 97-98% of kids take the ‘bac’ to get into a regular university.
    However, a small amount (already academic ‘superstars’) will take some extra time to prepare for the hyper-competetive entrance to the “Grande Ecoles”, which are the Harvard/Stanford/MIT-type “prestige” schools that virtually guarantee (by government design) an entree into the highest echelons of French society and a great job for life (can you imagine THAT pressure?).

    When I lived in France, the only people that were still preparing after lycee for “le bac” were people that didn’t pass the 1st, 2nd, 3rd…….time.

  • 213. K D  |  April 29, 2012 at 11:18 am

    @210 Thanks to IB Educator.

    It might be a good use of parents resources to invest in getting the IB Diploma. I recently learned that Morgan Park IB and Academic Center graduates are thriving at the most selective colleges. They have a good education and good survival skills. I am thankful that we have IB educators in Chicago fighting this fight.

    Outside of Illinois, some influential people consider an Illinois education equivalent to a Mississippi education (no offense intended). The introduction of Common Core standards and assessments may confirm that soon. Michigan had a 93% IB pass rate vs. Illinois with 39%. .

    I find the IB framework difficult to understand, but I recognize that Illinois is a “failed state” when it comes to education, so we need a standard that covers more than just the Illinois population. No matter how low our Illinois scores are, too many people here would rather focus on race, tiers, income, etc rather than fixing the substantial deficiencies in all of our city, suburban and rural schools.

    Recently, we’ve seen control of the CPS standards move from Chicago to Springfield. Now, its moving to DC with PARCC/Dept of Ed. Could it move to Geneva with IB?

    We probably will go to a global standard, so I appreciate how the Chicago IB pioneers help the rest of us on CPSO.

  • 214. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    #213 Most academic center students at MP leave after 8th grade. I only know one person who stayed at the school and did not do IB. Would you be able to get statistics of ones that have stayed on. MP has been in a turmoil for a certain number of years and their IB prgr has shown it. Would you be able to get the numbers of IB who went on to selective colleges and many transferred out.

  • 215. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    #213~’Outside of Illinois, some influential people consider an Illinois education equivalent to a Mississippi education (no offense intended)’.~No offense taken. Even ppl in IL know that w/Common Core our scores will go only lower. It’s embarrassing. But what do you expect when Rahm is privatizing everything education he can?

  • 216. EdgewaterMom  |  April 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    @213 According to the data in the article above, there were 268 IB students at Morgan Park in the 2011 – 2012 school year. I assume that is the total number in the program, but at least some of them must be juniors otherwise they would not have an average ACT score (which is 22).

    I wonder if it is possible to find out how many IB students are in each grade.

  • 217. klm  |  April 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm


    Anybody familiar with public education in Michigan (my home state) will let you know that it has all the problems of disparate outcomes (maybe even more –Detroit Public Schools, anyone? Talk about a disaster.). The HS I would have attended (not even in Detroit, but one of its many Gary-like suburbs) if nor for Catholic HS has an average ACT of 13.5.

    In Michigan, the kids that take the IB exam are generally academically accelerated, “honors” kids in middle/upper-middle class suburbs like Bloomfield Hills or Okemos. In Chicago, we have kids that start out 9th grade 2-4 years behind suburban kids academically that enroll in the IB program at CPS neighborhoods schools, per the above stats and discussion. Hence, the disparate outcome. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice that these CPS kids have this opportunity, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that they’re not able to ‘leap-frog’ in achievement –things rarely ever work that way).

    I know I will always sound like a broken record for saying this, but it’s the glaring achievement gap between poor inner-city/middle-class suburban and black and latino/white and asian kids that exist everywhere in the United States, not only Illinois’s that are the root of these kinds of sad statistics.

    If only a small % of the top 5% of kids academically in Illinois took the IB exam (as is generally the case in Michigan) then the pass rate here would be way high, too.

  • 218. David  |  April 29, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    The Curie IB Diploma pass rate last year was 64 percent, second to LPHS.

  • 219. CPS Dad to be  |  April 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Speaking of achievement gaps and disparities here’s a brief article on bridging things.


    Its interesting that law enforcement is pushing significantly for early education and not parents or CPS/BOE. NCLB would do well to provide significant funding for this since it itself is a long term program. While we would have to wait a while for results, elementary school would certainly get better and that would in turn feed into better high schools.

    Its sad that funding was cut so significantly to preschool programs that have huge long term benefits. But much of politics and public policy recently is usually not about long term planning. If there is anything more that I support than the IB program investments and initiatives that have been announced lately it is preschool and high enrichment for lower income or disadvantaged preschool kids .

    The IB programs should make many high schools better and and good choices for many parents and kids who want to learn and succeed but the sad part is that the actual gains in numbers and percentages will still be small as compared to all students in CPS. If we want to see significant changes we need to invest in building better foundations of students from the start.

    The turnaround of Nettelhorst and many other schools is not all due to program changes — a lot of it is due to the changing demographic of students (and parents) attending the school. That demographic cannot change for every school in CPS but the academic and cognitive level of the actual neighborhood students entering the school can change (even if the change is small, it is still a very good thing). Having students who are actually at cognitive kindergarten or 1st grade levels entering a school and who are into learning will make teachers jobs easier in many ways and will pave the road for later grades.

    I’m not saying that this will solve all our problems (poverty, abuse, violence, absentee parents, etc will still cause significant issues) but I do firmly believe that it will make significant positive changes to the education issues we face today. It should be something that is not cut in funding and should receive more funding. Otherwise we wind up paying more later and usually in many indirect ways (poor elementary and HS choices, forced to go private/catholic, crime, gangs, higher taxes, more poverty and public welfare support, incarceration).

  • 220. Bookworm  |  April 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    A “bac” is the international “bac” alaureate – ie the ib. It’s the standard and same thing. University is far less expensive abroad and far fewer people go on to university as the other kinds of post secondary education are job tracked professional business and trade schools. Good and bad for different reasons and European social democratic university education is structured differently from here. The universities including law and medical schools are nationalized and not private.

    The scandal in France is that the Grand Ecoles are also state funded totally and not private despite how difficult it is to get in. Oxford, Cambridge and St. Andrews are the same. Fees are tacked on to the bursary base fee for matriculation but students especially in Nordic countries are subsidized without student loans. The student protests in Europe are about losing this support.

    Access to higher education for a poorer student (minus getting home to the states) is much higher as it is far less expensive even with the fees at an Eu university.

    The bar is just much higher. Having had both ivy and top eu educations in our family, we would choose a top tier EU undergrad education for our kids given the chance. Most eu universities do not consider an American undergrad degree equal to a finished EU undergrad program.

  • 221. Bookworm  |  April 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    oops sorry- the bac is not the exact same exam but the ib exam scores are recognized by Eu governments and universities and over the last five years they have recognized the ib as equivalent to the national exams given by each nation, nation by nation. Always before attending an eu university one has to pass the language exam.
    Ib is different from a levels but is recognized by the british and Commonweatlh system as highly competitive with the levels exam system as it is considered almost more rigorous

  • 222. K D  |  April 29, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    When looking at achievement disparities, I suggest you also look at variation within groups. Look for success and support it. Why are some schools with the same demographics doing so much better than others? Its not helpful to say that there will always be gaps.

    @213 SoxSideIrish4 – Thanks for the support. I want to to get the permission of the MP person to release some of the stats. Our conversation was interrupted and I don’t have the complete story. It sounds like there is a positive recent trend.

    @219 Thanks for the Curie IBD pass rate. What is the rate for LPHS? Let us know the absolute number of students that passed and what they went on to do, if you can.

    @218 I hope your prediction is correct about the Illinois pass rate going as high as Michigan’s.

  • 223. David  |  April 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    LPHS Diploma pass rate was 69 or 70 percent.

  • 224. K D  |  April 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Thanks. Does anyone know about the IB Certificate? IBCC?

  • 225. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Students who go complete the IB program receive the certificate. These are either IB students who opt out of doing the senior year IB exams or students who do the exams,but do not score high enough to be awarded the diploma.

  • 226. klm  |  April 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    @220 Bookworm

    It’s funny. I’d almost say the opposite of what you had to say, at least in terms of “standards” of higher education. I lived in France for a while –even went to a French univeristy after high school (thank-you Rotary Club!!!) for a year (many/most European universities [especially the most prestigious ones]understand how American high schools work and will look at SATs, ACT scores, APs, etc, understanding that we don’t have a big, single “admissions test” like they do, but understanding that overall Americans are world-class students just as often as French, Italian, German kids… The IB was created for the children of diplomats not regular Americans, even the smartest ones that go to the best schools.

    One can look up/Google “admissions for Americans for Oxford/Cambridge/St. Andrews, ….”. They’re pretty explicit about the kinds of SATs they expect, number of high AP scores, etc., for American applicants. Those on this site that think test scores are quasi-meaningless will not have much luck in other areas of the world (where they seem to have made the connection between achievement tests and actual, measurable achievement –crazy are they!).

    While the “Grandes Ecoles” (which enroll a relatively, tiny few) are genuinely world class, much of the French “higher education” is kinda’ mired in bureaucratic mediocrity that’s more reflective of a Western European “it’s free, so who cares if it takes 2,3,4…times to pass this requisite class –let’s hang out at the cafe and complain about the world since there’s no real pressure to pass” attitude. The overwhelming experience I have from attending a French university was how EASY it was –nobody studies too hard, because they knew they’d just take again any class they didn’t pass. From what I know about some other countries (Spain, Italy..) it’s the same there, too.– the crumbling buildings, huge classes and indifferent-never-talk-to-students-I-can’t-be-fired-so-who-cares professors (notice any similarities to some public k12 bureaucratic/union contract American public schools?) were none too impressive, believe me (and people in France know this,too). The public American university I attended seemed like the world’s best university, in comparison (and in fact, it was a world-class institution).

    In any objective rankings of the worlds best universities, American ones do very, very well.

  • 227. kikiandkyle  |  April 30, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    The latter part of this thread is making me appreciate our decision to retain EU citizenship for our kids! I attended business school in The Netherlands as an overseas student about 10 years ago and it was just a couple of hundred euros per semester to take a bachelors in international business (you could even study in English).

  • 228. K D  |  April 30, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    @227 Thanks for your perspective.

    I’m still learning about the IBD. I compared it to US high school diplomas, not the ACT or SAT. I hope its better than the ACT. I took the ACT several times until I got a perfect score. I was no smarter than when I took it the first time. I was just better at taking the ACT.

    I studied in the UK and my memory of the single “high stakes” exam is a bad one (and I didn’t feel the pressure that the UK citizens felt).

    It still appears that an IB Diploma holder will be an impressive well rounded person. That person seems more impressive than a person who gets a few high AP scores or A-levels. However, its all in my imagination right now.

    In Chicago, we need a good objective standard since each state has its own standards. In the Chicago suburbs, we have grade inflation and excellent repeat test takers.

    Therefore, I hope the IB program succeeds here.

  • 229. Angie  |  April 30, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    @227. kikiandkyle: “I attended business school in The Netherlands as an overseas student about 10 years ago and it was just a couple of hundred euros per semester to take a bachelors in international business (you could even study in English).”

    What about the living expenses? How much money would a student need monthly for room and board?

  • 230. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 30, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    klm, I appreciate your presence on this blog, I really do. You are someone I’d like to talk to over a chai latte. BUT, your characterization of those of us who are beginning to feel enthusiastic about the neighborhood HS IBs as also viewing test scores as “quasi-meaningless” is a caricature, as is your depiction of these HSs as “ok, if you don’t have anywhere else to go”. Regarding, the kind of teaching that results from an obsession with MEASURABLE (your emphasis) results, check out http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/04/23/how-testing-is-hurting-teaching/?ref=education Your world class education must have taught you that statistics must be put in context, and are but one way of knowing.

    Tell me why, as a single parent, who does not own a home in order that my child could attend a private school, I should not view my neighborhood HS with an IB program as a promising option? Articulate Ivy League educated teachers who choose to be there, and not just waiting for the pension.. A curriculum that is centered on critical thinking, not just the ‘right’ answer for the AP exam. A global orientation, and fellow students who have some 1st hand nonUS experience. A tight knit cohort of peers who want to be there and are catching the experience that learning is powerful. Yes, if I wanted a “sure thing” in terms of ACT scores we’d move to New Trier district. My goal is not Harvard. It’s a liberal arts education that produces a life long learner and a happy child. You can go to Champaign and never get the seeds of that.

  • 231. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 30, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    p.s. I had a freak out when my child was in a high test scoring RGC and it was all about the “right answer with no discussion of different perspectives (no I’m not talking about math)”, and the kids were cheating to get it, and the teacher didn’t know my child’s name. I imagined the intellectual formation of my child in this environment, and yanked her. (Not saying all RGC experiences are like this). So please, it’s not that those of us who consider more than test scores are “airy fairy” about the education of our children.

  • 232. klm  |  April 30, 2012 at 7:57 pm


    Everything you have to say to me is something that I genuinely like reading –I’d love to have chai sometime, too!

    I guess where I’m coming from is a genuine concern about how America is becoming 2 nations as per any chatteratti discussion over the last few years: one that is wealthy, educated, well-connected to the means of modern success (the ‘right’ feeder schools, etc.) and another one that is struggling, not on the right path for economic success, (because there are so many obstacles in its way — mediocre/failing schools, under/unemployment, lack of expectations, etc.).

    My genuine concern is and always has been for “regular” kids from “regular” families. My complaint is that there seems to be too often (in my opinion) an acceptance of lower expectations or standards from our working-class and lower-income kids (especially in Chicago) that borders on indifference. I’m always pointing out stats because it’s genuinely upsetting to me that so many kids don’t have the same academic skills as upper-middle class kids in coddled suburbs. I’m not “trashing” for some inner contempt for urban public education, but because I’m genuinely upset that so many of the kids in this city (and country) that need access to the “upward mobility” success through story are denied this.

    I feel like saying, “Come on, people! We should expect and DEMAND for from and for our kids!”.

    When I make comparisons to suburban schools, it’s not to trash CPS, but because I’m upset that CPS kids are so far behind!

    I will never trash any effort to help our more vulnerable kids to learn more (which is what the neighborhood IB does, in many cases), but the problem I have is when “success” is measured at so much a lower standard for kids in Chicago than elsewhere.

    I guess I hate the “double standard” that sometimes comes from well-meaning, but ultimately (in my opinion) wrong people in terms of expectations and desires for out lower-income and minority kids. As Geoffrey Canada said about the Harlem Children Zone (I’m paraphrasing), “it’s not just about the black/white achievement gap, but the Harlem/Scarsdale achievement gap.” I guess maybe in Chicago, we’d say the Lawndale/Winnetka gap or something along those lines.

    Just because somebody isn’t white or asian and/or is from a lower-income family why is it OK to look at test scores and achievement in a way than exuses lack of achievement?

    My issue isn’t that some schools aren’t quite up to New Trier standards, but that they are shockingly, sadly light years away from New Trier standards –what hope are we giving these kids for a better future when things are so stacked against them? I’m pointing out statistics because I’m kinda’ pi**ed off that things are so lop-sided against kids in the inner-city and public education is not derving these kids well, to say the least. To say, “Wow, 18 or 19 on the ACT is really good for somebody like YOU is beyond insulting to these kids, it’s genuinely harmful (I won’t go off the deep end and use the “R word”, but having such low expectations foe inner-city kids vis-a-vis their suburban kids is tragic, not ‘compassionate’).

    I guess you get my drift.

  • 233. klm  |  April 30, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    BTW, I know my rants are virtual “typo” explosions (I graduated from college, I swear). My lazy explanation is that I’m almost always juggling a baby (or 2) while typing.

  • 234. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  April 30, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I’m typing these on the fly while fixing dinner or commuting on my phone or at work taking a break from writing a report that has properly place quotes and no missing words unlike my posts here…………

  • 235. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    @232 KLM~completely agree (typos and all!)!

  • 236. RL Julia  |  May 1, 2012 at 9:37 am

    @231 – its nice to know someone else freaks out too. I guess what I worry about is both what klm and formerly Gawker are touched upon – there’s the acheivement gap problem. The downside of Lawndale has been pretty well articulated- but I am also disturbed by the “any means necessary” attititude I have encountered in the brief exposure I have had to Winnetka (not real Winnetka, or real Lawndale, but you get my drift). By this I mean, the relentless competition in regards to academic achievement – that has nothing to do with knowing anything or liking learning as much as it has to do with jumping through the learning hoops. While some of my concerns are probably overwrought and can be explained away by middle school behavior I do worry about the culture of rudeness, the embracing of the cookie cutter answer (not the thought process behind it), the blind eye towards cheating etc… I am not truly convinced that any school is really teaching kids critical thinking skills (as evidenced by the lack of anyone seemingly being interested in teaching kids how to write). Unfortunately (or maybe not) I hear these complaints from across the board from parents I know regardless of what school their children are at.

  • 237. HS Mom  |  May 1, 2012 at 10:43 am

    @236 – those are valid concerns. One of the problems is when the school does start teaching “critical thinking” the critics (mainly parents) become concerned with what that will do to the scores. We have a wonderful writing teacher that would probably fit right in with IB. Secretly flipped when my son said that Lit class was going fantastically BECAUSE they were doing poetry. First time I ever heard that. Totally substantiates your thoughts/visions 231/232. Good question and good answer by KLM.

    I hate the achievement gap. Where IB becomes a choice of programming, style and a fit for the right kid it is also clearly a road to heightened education that many low income kids will depend on to better their lives and possibilities of doing even somewhat better. I don’t see any reason that the 2 can’t coexist and even boost the outcomes for disadvantaged kids. I guess, KLM, that your argument (I should say thought) is that the “more vulnerable” kid in the neighborhood program could take down the chances/opportunities of the higher achieving fully supported kid. I don’t necessarily agree but also do not think the higher achieving kid gains increased advantage because they are at the top of a lower performing group. Goes back to it is whatever you make of it as long as they don’t get lost on the way to the end goal.

    First round is on me!

  • 238. RL Julia  |  May 1, 2012 at 11:17 am

    There is a perception that there is no margin for error – especially during the middle school years – that I think is counter-intuitive to the developmental process a middle school aged kid is entering into – when they are most impulsive, just developing the ability to think abstractly – and driven to test and develop these skills (its like when they learned to walk all over again) and the overwhelming message is not think great thoughts, test your ideas and we’ll pick you up when it doesn’t work out but don’t make one single mistake, don’t color outside the lines because your future academic life depends upon it.

  • 239. 4th/8th grade cps mom  |  May 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I am a relative newcomer to this blog but have greatly enjoyed reading other’s experiences with CPS/HS, etc. I have a daughter in 8th grade and a son in 4th both at CPS. My daughter applied to SEHS but with a point total of 807 and Tier 4 (and our neighborhood hardly qualifies as comparable to Lincoln Park or Lakeview but that is another argument…) did not get into anything. Lane was her number one choice so we did the principal discretion route and again she was declined–and I know she was not the only well deserving kid, with lots of accomplishments and extra curricular activities. She was appropriately devastated. It was a brutal process and these kids take it very personally. Long story short I called the principal at her current school to hash out the situation. Yes, I know we should have applied to more than SEHS (also did a charter – wait list, and a Catholic school – accepted into honors program) and I blame only myself. At any rate after the principal made an introductory call I set up an appointment to meet with the principal of Amundsen.
    I was greatly impressed when I called Amundsen and a person answered, rather than voicemail. Even more impressed when the principal called me back the same morning! He was extremely nice and put me at ease. We set up a time to meet at 8am a few days off.
    I arrived a bit early and waited in the office. The office staff were also quite helpful which—and anyone who has had experience in dealing with CPS staff might agree–can be rare. From where I sat I could observe the students entering the school. They all went through a metal detector, bag and ID check. Everyone was very orderly. I met the principal and we talked. He was very open to accepting my daughter, even though we live outside the boundaries, and outlined the steps we would need to take. (Our neighborhood school is Schurz. Even my daughter’s teachers said it wouldn’t be a good fit. And full disclosure: we are white and as someone who grew up in the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago, I know what it is like to be virtually the only white kid in the class. Very isolating.) He explained that students now would be accepted in general and then IB decisions made over the summer. I took a brief tour of the school. There are capital improvements going on – new floors are being installed. The grounds are beautiful. Extensive computer labs are lacking, but I got the feeling that everyone here is positive about the school, believing that good things happen and can happen. I did not see any problems with students while I was there (admittedly only about 45 minutes).
    I like that the IB program is, from what I have researched so far, a well-rounded one, but also one that pushes the students to excel. This school, from what I could tell, has good things happening and lots of promise. I believe in first impressions and it was a good one.
    Finally, how interesting that EVERY CPS staffer I have talked to says that the SEHS selection system is really broken. And yet it is still used….
    Sorry for the lengthy post!

  • 240. Former IB teacher  |  May 1, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    @239: Love to hear more about your experiences with Amundsen – and anyone else’s – as you proceed.

  • 241. cpsobsessed  |  May 1, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Thanks for the Amundsen feedback. All the interactions I’ve had there have also been very encouraging (met with both AP’s, a couple LSC meetings.) Admittedly, I have never been there when the kids are there.

    I can see the IB program taking off very quickly among more kids who just missed out on an SE school. The IB kids are fairly set off from the others so it could be an easy decision to pursue it. I did meet 2 kids (same family) and they confirmed the rigor of the homework.

    I think the neighborhood program is still the unknown there. I want to learn more about it, for sure.

  • 242. HS Mom  |  May 1, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    @239 – good move on the rebound mom. I would do exactly the same. I hope this works out for your daughter and she becomes the inspiration for others who feel that they lost out. Great details. I’m sure many others in your shoes. Certainly does not sound much different than many other schools selective or otherwise. I hope that you and others do have a chance to post an insiders view.

  • 243. SoxSideIrish4  |  May 2, 2012 at 6:58 am

    #239~Our elem school has the IB Mid Yr Pg that feeds into IB HS. I have no real dealing w/our IB HS, but from everything I’ve researched I really like the IB program. I hope this works out for your daughter. I think this could be a real alternative to SEHS. I hope they put an IB wall 2 wall near me for my son to attend.

  • 244. RL Julia  |  May 2, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Thanks for the Amundsen update – just out of curiousity – you mentioned that your neighborhood high school was Schurz. Did you check it out as well? If so, please share your experience!

  • 245. IB obsessed formerly Gawker  |  May 2, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Maybe in the years to come there will be more than a few who just skip the SEHS application madness and head straight to neighborhood IB. But oh, the peer pressure (parental and kid) to try for “top” HSs…….

  • 246. kikiandkyle  |  May 2, 2012 at 9:06 am

    @229 – Angie – the cost of living as a student in The Netherlands is very low. Student housing in particular is very cheap (think less than 500 euros), as is public transportation. You also have a very central base from which to explore the rest of Europe fairly cheaply. I wouldn’t hesitate to send my kids there to study if they wanted to go.

  • 247. cpsobsessed  |  May 2, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I really really want to strive to be one of those people who feel comfortable skipping the process.
    Of course it depends how my son is in 5 years.
    The stories I’ve read about the disappointment the kids feel has been very moving. It’s dysfunctional for kids that age.

    As I think about it more, the whole process would be less traumatic if kids got their scores before they applied instead of finding out school offer AND SE test at the same time.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 248. Joel  |  May 2, 2012 at 9:30 am

    @229-Angie, I’m studying law at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands in the fall. Tuition for foreign nationals is Euro 9500. In order to get your visa, you must be able to prove Euro 19, 950 for support. Housing is Euro 450 for a private studio in an International Housing unit. Another interesting thing to note is that most programs do an automatic masters for one year immediately following; almost nobody graduates with just a bachelor.
    There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages of doing a full degree program abroad vs. study-abroad for a semester.

  • 249. CPS Parent  |  May 2, 2012 at 9:39 am

    My experience with two kids who ended up at SE high schools is that elementary school grades and standardized testing correlate fairly well with the SE scores needed to get in. By 5th – 6th grade you will know what you kid’s chances are for NS versus Whitney versus Lane etc. and you help adjust your child’s expectations accordingly.

  • 250. cpsobsessed  |  May 2, 2012 at 9:45 am

    @cps parent – you make a good point. Obviously familes know 2/3 of the 900 points going in. One would think you can estimate the SE test pretty well for most kids.

    I guess the pain point are kids who have always scored say 97 percent and up and they’re borderline for the “top” schools. And the kids who are in the low 90’s range who may be borderline for say, Lane.

    Most others you can probably make a good guess whether they’ll get in a SE schools or not. (Noting of course that a tier 4 child could get in a SE high school with the min 650 points if they were open to all the schools.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 251. RL Julia  |  May 2, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Hindsight being 20/20 I should have campaigned my son more about NOT drinking the SEHS Kool-Aid. However, I didn’t really think about it much and BAM about ten minutes after arriving at Taft AC he was making plans to go elsewhere for high school. I don’t know what the answer is to this one- but I can tell you that it is really hard to unprogram a middle schooler when all his friends and peers are saying something else.

    The disappointment kids feel is keen and the pecking order of schools seems dauntingly strict. I’ve had 5th graders in my car dissing Von Steuben.

    Hence, I am now probably the most conflicted parent in the history of SEHS admissions.

  • 252. North Center Mom  |  May 2, 2012 at 11:42 am

    @249 But what kind of mental cushion do you allow yourself? I don’t have the number, but didn’t the tier 4 min. cutoff for Lane go up a lot in just one year? Unless your child is at 598 at the end of 7th grade, I don’t know what kind of security you can claim. There are just no guarantees.

  • 253. Weary  |  May 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    @252 – You make an excellent point. Lane’s cutoff score for tier 4 was almost 60 points higher this year. I know many kids who thought Lane was a shoo-in and ended up extremely disappointed. Seriously, no kid (or parent) should go through this.

  • 254. justanotherchicagoparent  |  May 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I think this year a lot of people were blindsided more than in the past. Tier systems changed at the last minute. Lane accepted far fewer students this year, which I think was part of the reason the Lane Tech cutoff for tier four jumped 44 points.Then they took away the LP IB program as a cushion, by changing their admittance policy to only the highest achievers who were near perfect.The first two effects were not felt until after acceptance letters were mailed for some.So glad I did not have to go through this process this year.The only thing consistent about CPS is the inconsistency.Another tidbit is Lane tech added 46 % percent more seats this year to their Academic Center.So even at that grade nothing is consistent.

  • 255. HS Mom  |  May 2, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    @254 – not the first year. What about 2 years ago when all those people with connections thought they were getting in only to have a complete overhaul of the system after applications were accepted. We won’t even discuss tier changes last year and this year.

    @249 – I’m sure this varies greatly depending on the child. Conversely, I don’t think it’s a valid assumption that a kid getting B’s in 5th and 6th grade would not get into SE. Looks like a lot of people with perfect 600’s going into the exam would never have thought their child would not get into Northside or Payton.

    It seems to me that having the wide net for most people needs to include a neighborhood special program. I’m surprised at the number of people that don’t even look into the schools that they apply too. If people actually checked them out, they might be pleasantly surprised with something they would otherwise dismiss.

  • 256. sjj  |  May 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    @79. Pvt. Mom – Yes, you are correct. When we were looking at private schools, we didn’t much care about the diversity as much. I think you kind of have to put that away when you are talking Parker or Latin or Chicago. Once we moved to the next tier it became more important. When we decided that there was no reason not to go to South Loop, it was important that it be diverse.

  • 257. Angie  |  May 3, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    @246. kikiandkyle and 248. Joel: Thank you for the Netherlands information. The prices are very reasonable, so it’s definitely something to keep in mind when it’s time for kids to choose college.

  • 258. Pvt. Mom  |  May 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    @256sjj. Thanks for graciously answering my question. I can see your point although those are the most endowed institutions in Chicago and thus have the most capacity to attract and support a highly socioeconomically diverse student body. Ideally, one would expect them to exceed their “second tier” peers in both education and socioeconomic diversity.

  • 259. 4th/8th grade cps mom  |  May 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    @240, 241, 242, 243, thanks for your comments. I am gathering my daughter’s info that is needed (past ISATS, report cards etc) and will bring them to Amundsen next week. I was encouraged to bring them in person or fax them. I look forward to taking another peek at the school when I drop them off. Again, my first impression was positive — hope that continues!
    @Rl Julia — I did not personally check out Schurz and I hate to be the person to close a door before it is opened (because I always tell people with CPS inquiries “keep an open mind”) but I do feel that that school is not right for us. The only specialized programs there are in finance and a few vocational areas. This is great but outside of my daughter’s interest (science and math). And again, the lack of diversity is an issue for us. You are also so right about pecking order. My daughter feels keenly inadequate at not getting into Lane or Northside (like her friends) and at this point does not even know that I am looking into Amundsen. I have heard the same comments from kids about Von Steuben, an excellent program. But if history serves me right, once the kids actually are attending the high school, and have a better perspective, this changes.

  • 260. Family Friend  |  May 6, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I have always considered Lincoln Park IB to be one of the most selective programs in the city and the ACT scores published in Linda Lutton’s article bear that out. Lincoln Park IB scores are better than all of the SE high schools except Northside. I can’t understand why anyone would see it as a fallback.

    From the perspective of someone who has been through the college admissions program with two kids, I know it’s all about maximizing choice. Although you may have a favorite, you don’t pick your school until after the admissions letters are in, and you need an application strategy that will result in as many choices as possible.

    Working with a family friend, an 8th grader who spoke only French two years ago, I followed such a strategy. Private school was not an option because of family finances. She didn’t make it into the SE high schools, but she was accepted at Senn IB, Ogden IB, Rickover, and several Noble Street Schools. I considered the process a success. Any of these schools will set high expectations and give her individual attention. I have visited all of them, and I believe she would be safe no matter which one she chose.

    After a careful and thoughtful process (she’s an amazing kid) she chose Ogden IB even though it will involve a long commute. She is absolutely committed to attaining the IB Diploma and I think Ogden IB will give her a good shot at it.

    I am in complete sympathy with the parent who said it’s not where you go to school, it’s what you learn, or words to that effect. A top school is not a guarantee of a top salary, and a top salary is not a guarantee of a happy life. But if you love learning, you’ll have a better shot at both.

  • 261. James  |  May 7, 2012 at 10:31 am

    @260 —

    Just a quick correction to this statement: “[T]he ACT scores published in Linda Lutton’s article bear that out. Lincoln Park IB scores are better than all of the SE high schools except Northside.”

    Payton’s average is 28.3, higher than the LP IB score cited in the story.


  • 262. Wondering  |  May 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    @James – I think you may be missing the point.

  • 263. James  |  May 7, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    @262 —

    Most certainly not mising the point. Simply correcting a factual error. Think of it as a public service announcment.

  • 264. OOOP's there it goes again  |  May 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    @263 “Most certainly not mising the point”

    Just a quick correction to this statement – missing is spelled with 2 s’s

  • 265. Family Friend  |  May 7, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    James — it’s odd. I got my Payton score (27.0) from the data page on the CPS website. Wonder what accounts for the difference between that and what the Trib reported. I tried to see if maybe 28.3 is the score not counting ELL students (it’s reported both ways) but the CPS page is down, as it is all too often! Still, Lincoln Park IB is very, very good and should not be a consolation prize for students who don’t get into Northside, Payton, Young, or Jones!

  • 266. James  |  May 8, 2012 at 9:44 am

    @265 — I couldn’t agree more. And I don’t know what accounts for the difference. Perhaps different years.

    @264 — Wow. Petty and small.

  • 267. Taft IB Mom  |  May 8, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I believe the differences in the scores listed are due to the fact that in the WBEZ article the scores reported for non-selective enrollment schools were ONLY for the IB students at each school and the scores on the CPS website are for ALL students at the school. The point of pulling these scores out (which CPS rarely releases at the cohort level) is I believe to help parents make an apples to apples comparison.

    If you are researching top tier cohorts for your child and an opportunity to achieve top tier results – there are IB programs (for example Lincoln Park and TAFT) where the students score higher on the ACT than some of the selective enrollment schools for example Lane. But, this type of information is clouded over when the scores are only reported at the school level because the neighborhood schools also have students that do not test as well as those at the selective enrollment schools (by default in many cases).

    Another factor that just using the ACT as a criterion for comparing schools overlooks is the number of AP classes that a student will take during their high school career. In the IB program a student will take many IB/AP level classes – Guaranteed! In a selective enrollment school like Lane, taking AP classes is not a given. Then when you apply to college and your school offers X number of AP classes and you did not take any – you do not have as strong of an application as a student with the same ACT score coming from an IB program that took a lot of IB/AP Courses.

    If the end result of going to a good high school is having a good high school experience and then going to a City College is acceptable – then being the person with the lowest score getting into a selective enrollment high school is fine. The City Colleges are fine and there are students that choose the City Colleges for many reasons (including financial) from the selective enrollment high schools EVERY year! Please read that again and ask about that fact when you go on your school visits. There are MANY students that graduate from selective enrollment high schools that go on to selective colleges which they are more than willing to talk to you about – there are also MANY students from selective enrollment high schools that also go on to junior colleges – something they don’t talk about as much and really surprised us when we were looking at schools.

    Another thing no one talks about is that the neighborhood IB programs graduate MANY students that go to selective colleges as well – with few students going to city colleges – all of which typically are for financial reasons – not because they have no other choice. How does this happen? Typically because of this IB/AP course advantage that they have over their peers at selective enrollment schools (in terms of getting the same ACT score). I am talking about IB programs that have students that score as well as the students in the selective enrollment schools – especially Lincoln Park and Taft.

    If your child is in elementary school now and you will going through the process soon please take that into consideration. Determine what your child’s goals are long term and talk in terms of those instead of a high school admission being your end result. Where you go to high schools is an important stepping stone but, where ever they spend those four years, it’s only what they make of it that counts on the road to their ultimate future destination as an adult.

  • 268. RL Julia  |  May 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Taft IB Mom – thank you. I too hear of many, many SEHS kids burning out and not making it to college at all from the SEHS’s – nevermind going to a City College or junior college. There are no gurantees in life.

  • 269. HS Mom  |  May 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    @265 – This is just a guess but maybe posted CPS scores are based on initial data. Initial scores do go up for all schools after re-takes.

  • 270. Family Friend  |  May 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    @269 — Ah! I have saved the preliminary scores on my desktop and could not access the finals because of CPS’ website problem. The data page is one of the most erratic on the site, and I have heard rumors they think they are sharing too much and plan to take it down. We’ll see what happens in a couple of months when this year’s scores are out.

  • 271. ChiSchoolGPS  |  May 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    CPS’s Office of Access and Enrollment opened up their “End-of-Year Citywide Applications” period today. This is a new application you must submit if you are interested in the schools listed on the links. Schools like Morgan Park, Ogden and Steinmetz have IB openings, and Senn has Fine Arts openings (need to have minimum test scores or audition, etc.)

    This is from their website: http://cpsoae.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=88178&type=d&pREC_ID=356107&hideMenu=1
    Still seeking an elementary or high school for the 2012-2013 school year? Please review the information below for options still available!

    1. End-of-Year Citywide Options Program
    The End-of-Year Citywide Options Program offers a second-round application process for elementary and high school magnet schools, magnet programs, and open enrollment schools in the Options for Knowledge program still have seats available for September 2012.

    The application can be accessed via the link below. Also available are school data sheets that provide information on each participating school, including special programs and extracurricular activities.

    High School Application

    Click to access Application%20–%20End-of-Year%20Citywide%20Options%20–%20High%20School%202012.pdf

    School Data: High Schools

    Click to access School%20Data%20-%20End-of-Year%202012%20–%20High%20Schools.pdf

    There is no limit to the number of schools to which you can apply. However, we ask that you only apply to schools where you would be genuinely interested in enrolling your child if he/she is selected. APPLICATIONS MUST BE RECEIVED NO LATER THAN MAY 25, 2012, at 5 PM.

  • 272. 4th/8thgrade cps mom  |  May 23, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Amundsen update (for anyone who is interested):
    My daughter attended the High School Investigation Day at Amundsen yesterday (kind of like a shadow day). She only found out about it by happenstance on Monday and I quickly called and emailed the staff at A in charge. I couldn’t believe it when I got a reply email probably less than 3 minutes later. Really, I can’t overstate how refreshing it is to call or email a school and get a reply almost immediately. At any rate I accompanied her there on the bus (so as to show her how she will get there; luckily it’s just one bus ride) and walked her to the school. She was nervous; I told her to keep an open mind. She was glad to see some of her classmates there who greeted her with “____, YOU’RE going to Amundsen??” I say this just because these kids are so programmed to what is a “good” school and what isn’t. Hence one kid in her class who got into Northside and continues to lord it over others. But I digress….
    Anyway, she enjoyed herself yesterday. She got to visit some classrooms and other facilities, meet teachers and other students and hear what they have to say. I asked her if she saw any problems — she mentioned a couple making out in the hallway but they quickly were broken up. Well, that certainly happens in any high school I imagine!
    She is looking forward to trying out for some of the sports teams. She is excited about the IB program. As she said earlier, after her great disappointment at not getting into SEHS,she’d rather be at a school where she can be one of the smartest kids in her class. I think this is a good choice for her, and a good school.

  • 273. cpsobsessed  |  May 23, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I think I saw that same makeout couple. 🙂
    Keep us posted!

    Also, there will be a principal candidate forum on june 5th at 6pm in the school auditorium.
    These next 4 years can be critical for those of us with elem kids – feel free to attend, anyone interested in neighborhood high school options.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 274. HS Mom  |  May 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    @272 – Wow, what an update. Sounds inspiring.

    Better that they were kissing instead of fighting 🙂
    and yes – this is normal HS

  • 275. Lasalle II parent  |  May 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    My niece is in the IB program at Amundsen. She says it is very hard and long hours of homework. She is a hard worker and burns the candle but she is doing well, likes her group of friends and enjoyed being on the soccer team and band.
    She did mention that the non IB kids are a bunch of clowns and attendance was shoddy in the regular program.

  • 276. cpsobsessed  |  May 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I think the neighborhood program is gonna be the tough one to crack and we need to put some heads together to figure it out.
    Interestingly, many kids are coming in by bus from neighborhoods with WORSE schools, so they are making some kind of effort to get there.
    The IB coordinator talked about 5 hours of homework some nights. That’s probably not gonna be a good fit for my son (and if he studies that much, I want him going to harvard so he can support me in my old age.)
    I think the IB program is an easy sell. Gotta figure out neighborhood in 5 years…..

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 277. Senn partnership with Loyola U IB obsessed  |  May 24, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces Strategic Partnership Between
    Senn High School and Loyola University Chicago
    May 23, 2012
    Dear Neighbor,

    This morning, I joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Principal Susan Lofton, Father Garanzini, and many of my colleagues for an exciting announcement. Mayor Emanuel has announced a new strategic partnership between Senn High School and Loyola University Chicago. This strategic partnership will take effect fall 2012 and will strengthen Senn’s academic offerings while building on its existing leadership and assets by providing academic support, teacher training, and improved educational opportunities for students.

    Under the guidance of President Father Garanzini, Loyola University Chicago’s School of Education will collaborate on Senn’s academic programs including an expanded wall-to-wall IB program, the first in the City, which will provide a robust academic curriculum throughout the school. Over the past two years, Senn High School has seen major improvements under the leadership of Principal Susan Lofton. Test scores – including ACT – have improved; the newly instated Fine Arts program has been extremely successful with the students taking 34 medals at this year’s All City Visual Arts Competition; and the IB has continued to garner more student participation and success, growing from 110 applicants in 2007 to 1,732 in 2012. The expanded IB program will complement Senn’s existing programs and will be beneficial to all students throughout our community.

    I have been a strong partner and advocate of Senn High School for many years. As your state representative for 11 years, I helped secure state funds for a new science lab, computer lab, and security cameras. I strongly believe this strategic partnership is a turning point for our community’s goal in making Senn High School a first-choice neighborhood school.

    There has recently been a great deal of enthusiasm and support from community members in making Senn a excellent learning institution for our community’s youth. If you are interested in partnering with Senn and building on this exciting momentum at Senn High School, please contact the 48th Ward Education Liaison Karen Dreyfuss at Karen@… or 773-784-5277.

    To reach out to the 48th Ward office with questions or comments, please call 773-784-5277 or email Harry@….


    Harry Osterman
    Alderman, 48th Ward

    P.S/ According to Principal Lofton, AVID and Fine Arts Magnet wi8ll continue to be available at Senn

  • 278. another cps mom  |  May 24, 2012 at 10:39 am

    What a hot mess. Morgan Park still can’t seem to find a principal:

  • 279. IB obsessed  |  May 24, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    Link to the mayor announcing the Loyola -Senn Partnership


    Included, but not picked up by the media, was announcement of a partnership of DePaul with the Lakeview STEM program. Lakeview students will be able to take DePaul college courses FREE.

  • 280. local  |  June 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm


    “Wanted: Non-Traditional Students for AP Classes”
    By Ray Salazar, June 3, 2012 at 9:43 pm

  • 281. ChiSchoolGPS  |  June 14, 2012 at 11:51 am

    I just found out about this, but for those interested, come tonight to:
    Community Forum – Senn’s Wall to Wall IB Program
    6/14/2012, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
    Location: Senn Hall, Senn High School

    Community Meeting: Senn’s Wall to Wall IB Program
    On Thursday, June 14th at 6:30pm at Senn High School, Susan Lofton, Senn High School’s principal, will talk with the community about the plans for the expansion of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Senn and answer any questions people have. The blueprint for the expansion and a FAQ sheet will be available.


  • 282. cps alum  |  June 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    An interesting segment on the IB programs in CPS


  • 283. SA mom (formerly 4th/8th grade cpsmom)  |  June 19, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Another Amundsen IB update. My daughter and I went to the IB orientation a few weeks ago. It was a 2 hour program. There were maybe around 50-60 kids altogether, most with their parents. We first listened to presentations by the IB coordinators and current students, watched a video on the program, and then broke into smaller groups and went to three different classrooms for teacher presentations.
    Kudos to the coordinator who started off by acknowledging that this school and program were probably not the first choice for many kids present, but that they would indeed see that this is an excellent and challenging curriculum. I was hugely impressed by the teacher presentations as well, all very different. They all had great enthusiasm for teaching and their subjects. But by far hats were off to the group of about 10 incoming seniors who were there. They were an amazing group of polished, poised, smart, well-spoken kids. No SEHS student would have outshone them. I cannot overstate how impressive they were. They had great things to say — manage your time and don’t leave assignments for the last minute was a recurring theme. They talked about supporting each other when things got tough. Some of them also played sports and were involved in other activities too.
    Although it was acknowledged that with the new principal things are a bit confused as to when schedules and such would be sent out (plus the possibility of a strike) we still left with a very good feeling.
    @282 — that was a great segment — impressed with the girl who was accepted to Brown University!

  • 284. LSMom  |  June 21, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Have folks seen this? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joe-moreno/roberto-clemente-ib-program_b_1612931.html

    It’s hard to imagine how that will work but it would be great if Clemente became an option.

  • 285. HS Mom  |  June 21, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    @283 Great story, very happy for you. Sounds promising for your daughter. I guess that’s what it’s all about. Good to know about options to SE, sounds like Amundsen will be a player.

  • 286. anonymouse teacher  |  June 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Re: Clemente. I would like to hear more about how IB programs meet the needs of kids entering HS with a 3rd/4th grade reading and math level.(if that) Are there any IB HS teachers who can speak to that? Wasn’t there a Senn IB teacher who was posting here for a while?

  • 287. EdgewaterMom  |  June 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    @286 I am not an IB teacher or expert, but I did attend the last IB meeting at Senn. They explained that the MYP (which is for grades 6 – 10) is not meant to be selective and is intended for all students. They will basically be applying the IB “philosophy” to all classes and I believe students will also participate in a longer project at the en d of sophomore year. Students who do very well in the MYP will be selected to go on to the diploma program or to complete individual IB certificates.

    I am not sure how they will be applying this at Clemente though. Teachers at Senn are being trained for the IB program and they have a gradual implementation schedule. Freshman entering in 2013 will be a part of the IB MYP program (and all freshman teachers will be trained by that point), and then the following year, sophomore teachers will be trained and so on. Senn seems to have really thought the process through very carefully and is working closely with Loyola and IB Americas to implement their program. They have also successfully run the small “honors” IB program for 10 years (and will continue to have the honors component). I really do not see how Clemente is going to immediately turn their current school into a wall to wall IB school. I have a feeling that the alderman may be jumping the gun a bit with this announcement.

  • 288. CPS Teacher  |  June 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    I cannot see how they will create an IB program at Clemente without compromising the integrity of the program itself.

  • 289. EdgewaterMom  |  June 21, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I am fairly sure that they cannot start an IB program for next year at any school that does not currently have an IB program. There are many requirements that they have to meet and I am almost certain that it takes several years to get through the process.

  • 290. EdgewaterMom  |  June 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Also, it is interesting that the alderman said that CPS will announce the wall to wall program at Clemente on Thursday (today), but, as far as I know, they have not announced anything. It is also strange that he would try to preempt the news conference with his own article on the Huffington Post.

  • 291. EdgewaterMom  |  June 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Woops, I guess I was wrong about the announcement from the mayor. I see a link on Facebook to the announcement, but it was a live stream and is not available now. Does anybody know what the mayor said?

  • 292. EdgewaterMom  |  June 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    I was finally able to bring up the video (http://www.livestream.com/chicagomayorsoffice/video?clipId=pla_2c5ecc99-43ea-4cdc-8447-f5d6e84640ff&utm_source=lslibrary&utm_medium=ui-thumb). They will begin the wall to wall program with the freshman entering in the fall of 2013, so they will probably be in the process of preparing all of the teachers during the course of the next year.

  • 293. IB obsessed  |  June 21, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    @286&287 It’s my understanding that not all 2013 Freshman entering Senn will be part of the MYP (middle years program). That is what I heard at the last IB community forum. The MYP courses are for those who explicitly apply to, are interviewed, and accepted into the full IB certificate or diploma program (what you are calling the ‘honors’ IB. Beginning in 2013, even those course taken by those Freshman who have not applied for the full IB program (such as the AVID and Fine Arts Magnet students) will be revamped to include key elements of the IB philosophy, such as the global focus, writing, and rubrics to encourage critical thinking. Non IB teachers will receive training from IB Americas to do this. These hallmarks of IB have been shown to spark engagement in learning by those not previously ‘into’ school . @286, students who are not reading at grade level will be targeted for tutoring, and will not be thrown into the IB courses culminating in the IB exams. The book, “Supertest: How the International Baccalaureate Can Strengthen Our Schools”, by Jay Matthews describes how IB start ups have happened in the past at underperforming schools. (Disclaimer: I’m certainly no expert, but have been doing alot of research and reading on IB, per my moniker) IB teachers, wanna chime in?

  • 294. EdgewaterMom  |  June 21, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    IB Obsessed You are correct and thank you for clarifying! They will still have the Avid and Fine Arts programs and those programs will now include elements of the IB program, even though they may not offer the full IB curriculum.

  • 295. Frank Thompson  |  June 21, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Sigh… This wall to wall IB program is going to fail because CPS does not legitimize an IB program, it is the IB organization that legitimizes the program. And while The IBO may take te money CPS sends it for the first few years, web they see how CPS bastardizes the program, has only a minority of kids in the school score above a 4 on the exams and for all intents and purposes creates these schools as nothing more than a PR stunt, IB will pull out. Hopefully they don’t pull out of schools with an IB program that actually works as a repercussion.

  • 296. IB obsessed  |  June 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Frank, do you know of any actual example of IB Americas “pulling IB” from a school? Furthermore, a ‘4 out of the 7 possible points’ is considered acceptable/ satisfactory. If a student makes a ‘4’ on all 6 diploma exams, they have the minimum 24 points needed for the diploma. http://www.ibo.org/diploma/assessment/results/. Even if students do not make diploma, they can get certificate, both highly respected by universities. Just going through the IB program is attractive to them. Have you looked at the recent U. of C research study a link to which was posted here? Is the IB initiative really not worth even trying because the majority of student won’t make 6s or 7s on the exams? Shall we not take a hopeful attitude and/ or support any initiatives at the neighborhood HSs because its more fun to be jaded and bitch about CPS ineptitude? IB expansion has a hope of NOT being an utter failure because, as you point out, CPS does not control IB.

  • 297. justanotherCPSparent  |  June 22, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Am I understanding this correctly…Clemente will be an IB school but have open enrollment/neighborhood boundaries? How is that possible?

  • 298. RL Julia  |  June 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    What I think is happening here is that CPS is using IB programs to market community schools as having places for all students – including high achieving ones. I think this wall to wall stuff is basically just saying – everyone gets exposed to the IB curriculum for the first two years of high school and then those students who “fit” and are able to complete the more difficult IB dimploma work will be tracked their junior and senior years in order to complete the work. IB aligns pretty well with the common core and is more holistic in its outlook than just the random AP class here or there (which many community high schools already offer) and (perhaps more importantly) it offer parents of potential students both cache and an assurance that students capable of doing advanced level work are actually being provided an opportunity to do so – all in a neighborhood high school setting. The IB credentialling is crucial as it gives parents a third partyverification of the educaitonal value of the program -plus some sort of assurance that if you are in an IB program you will be “safe” from whatever else might being be going on.
    Personally, I think its a great idea.

  • 299. NewIdea  |  June 22, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    298 yep, this is to pacify the (parents) students who won’t get into SEHS, and the numers grow each year. Good luck with all this.

  • 300. Senn IB Coordinator  |  July 4, 2012 at 10:07 am

    In response to requests above to hear from a Senn teacher…
    We have posted the story of Senn going ‘wall to wall IB’ on our website and have an ‘FAQ’ sheet attached:

    We have been given the opportunity to design the wall to wall model at Senn in a manner that fits the school and the community. This is good news. With thoughtful planning and competent faculty to execute implementation, there is reason to be confident about the changes to come.

    *It should be noted here, as it is on the FAQ document, that the existing model of inviting a cohort of high-performing incoming freshmen to participate in the IB Programme at a full honors/advanced level remains in tact. The quality of curriculum and instruction that reaches all other students at Senn is what will change.

  • 301. anonymouse teacher  |  July 4, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Thanks 300. That makes sense to me. The kids who might be able to do the work of a true IB program will be in it and the kids who cannot, will still benefit from some peripheral classes taught in an IB “inspired” kind of way. I know the Senn principal has done a lot to remove the worst behavior issues from the school. Maybe down the line in a few years, Senn will have a similar reputation as LPIB? That would be wonderful for the families who live in the area.

  • 302. cpsobsessed  |  July 4, 2012 at 10:45 am

    How has the principal removed the worst behaviored kids? That seems to be a big issue for parents that it seems like other schools could learn from.

    And thanks very much for the update!!!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 303. anonymouse teacher  |  July 4, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Lofton did four things.
    1) she got rid of the achievement academy part of the high school–this is for 7th and 8th graders who cannot pass, but are too old for elementary school–and these kids have major issues, often behavioral
    2) she follows the CPS discipline code. You break the rules, you pay the consequence. No nonsense.
    3) she stands at the red line each morning with staff members, to serve as a positive presence, ensuring the gang members who hang out there do not prevent kids from getting to school if they want to go
    4) she has involved the community. Usually, it is a community that initiates this. From what I have seen, it is the other way around. Lofton has reached out to them and they have responded.

    I am not sure what Lofton did was a recipe for what other schools should or can do, though. What works for one place may not work for another. There are bad schools and then there are BAAAAAD schools, understand?

  • 304. Edgewater Member  |  July 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    In each of the community forums and in small group conversations, Lofton has said that when she came in she set forth clear expecations about behavior and academics. She pulled in the high profile, most often in trouble students and told them they could embrace the vision or the school would work with the families to find a setting in which the student could find success. Something like Truman maybe. I know she closely followed the CPS code.

    The achievement academy didn’t seem to have many neighborhood students in it. When it closed, these students went back to their home schools. She said they were from all parts of the city. Home schools included Phillips, Taft, and Lincoln Park. There was an exhorbitant price tag on running that academy that was getting zero gain for students. The community never wanted it.

    She seems to work well with the alderman, and he strongly supports Senn. I think the more important point is that Senn has actively sought to develop programs that the neighborhood needs and supports. The fine arts academy is a good example. The partnership with Loyola is another.

    Lofton has stressed that finding the right options for students is critical. Senn has opened multiple programs over the past couple of years. Pretty much quoting here about “Each student belongs to a valued program and each student feels they are valued in the program.” This is an instance where vision and common sense are getting real results.

  • 305. RL Julia  |  July 5, 2012 at 10:58 am

    So if you kid is achievement academy material – what exactly are your options?

  • 306. Chicago School GPS  |  July 5, 2012 at 11:13 am

    For middle school parents looking for options beyond the CPS Selective Enrollment High Schools, check out the link and info below. This event is being put together specifically to help parents find high school options (public & private), of which there are more than one thinks!

    “Hidden Gems” Chicago High School Fair presented by Chicago School GPS

    Sunday, September 16, 2012 @ 2-5 p.m.
    Holy Trinity High School, 1443 W. Division St., Chicago
    RSVP online for half price admission and a chance to win raffle prizes

    Join Chicago School GPS at our High School Forum & Fair where we will introduce you to “hidden gem” public and private Chicago high school options. This event is geared to middle school parents and students. In addition to hearing from “hidden gem” high schools in a forum setting, parents can attend seminars on the high school application process, private school scholarships, and entrance test strategies, while middle schoolers can attend info sessions to hear from peers currently at these hidden gem schools. There will also be a “mini boot camp” session for middle schoolers on tackling high school entrance and interview essays. Come learn how to “widen your net” and find a Chicago high school to meet your family’s needs!

  • 307. JustanotherCPSparent  |  July 15, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Anybody else notice this:

    “Emanuel promises new IB schools will get kids to college, but many could end up on vocational track
    City and school officials have been mum on plans to offer a vocational track at Chicago’s new IB schools.”


  • 308. Edgewater Member  |  July 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Saw it. It is a new thing in Chicago. Clemente, Prosser, and BOTY will have the career track. Prosser has an IB already, but the other two are starting from scratch. Senn did not go for the voc track but will focus on expanding their IB diploma and magnet fine arts programs instead.

  • 309. Bengal Parent  |  July 31, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Bogan High School is going Wall to Wall IB beginning with the 2013 school year.

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