Figuring out the High School thing

October 21, 2012 at 9:21 pm 667 comments

Lake View HS 1957

Senn HS 1957

So as some of the north side High Schools (maybe other sides too… if so, please fill me in) are being considered by more Tier3-4 parents (Amundsen, Senn, Lake View) I’m finding parents with youngish kids wondering how to chart these waters.

I have sort of come to grips with the fact that if my son goes to a neighborhood high school he will likely be in school alongside some undesirable kids – namely gang members.  I think most other high school ills tend to be universal across suburbs and cities and small towns.  Drugs, sex, the usual.  And I think many of us feel prepared to help our kids deal with that stuff.  So I’m thinking I’d put “gang kids” on that same list.  As long as I can feel the school is safe and he isn’t likely to be shived or shot then I will probably be okay.

These schools have fairly impressive (though a bit dingy) facilities.  Most were build around the turn of the century, I’m guessing?  I would SO love to be able to see some of these schools when they were new.  They’re such impressive structures.   Having owned a giant house that was build in the 20’s, I can only imagine the cost of upkeeping these buildings.  But like my house was, you get a sense of “they don’t build ’em like they used to.”  They seem so solid and majestic

The schools all have an impressive amount of activities.  I know Lake View has several languages kids can take.  Amundsen has an awesome band and band leader.  All the clubs galore.  WAY more than I expected of neighborhood schools, given their reputation.

So for me, the final frontier is academics.  How do we determine whether our kids can truly get a good education in these schools?  The new principal at Amundsen is forthcoming about their data — they get kids coming in with lowish scores and they are making strides in raising these scores.  But it’s hard to take kids who may not have great reading and math skills and turn them out in 4 years with ACT scores of 25.    I sense the teachers at Amundsen and Lake View (the 2 I’ve visited, and obviously we know how Todd is at Senn) are certainly capable of teaching/engaging/challenging students.

But how can we as parents assess whether a high school can make our kids truly “college-ready” as they say.  Capable of holding their own against the New Trier kids.  Well, at least the New Trier kids who go to state schools.

Can we trust the schools to make it happen? Do we need to push them?  Do we need to request something (more AP classes?  something else?)

I’m hoping that as high schools gets closer in 4 years it’ll be more obvious, but I think parents realized that it could take a few years to convince parents that the neighborhood schools are viable options.  I think the IB programs are going to be an easy sell, as is the Senn Arts program (or any other selective program – God knows we parents eat that stuff up.)  But if my dream of having my son walk to high school is to come true, I think I’m going to need some kind of academic reassurance.  I just don’t know what that is yet.

Any thoughts?

(Photo credit: )

Entry filed under: High school. Tags: , , , .

Well, I’ll be damned…. JCB is out, BBB is in NYTimes Article: For Asians, School Tests Are Vital Steppingstones

667 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Christa  |  October 21, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Can someone explain to me exactly how the Tiers work. For instance, I am in Admundsen district. I am a Tier 4, but our income is no where near what they say is the median income for my address. In fact, its about 40,000 $ less.

  • 2. Edgewater Member  |  October 21, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Senn has been advertising its centenniel. The school was built in 1913 and is in amazing shape. Staggering view on the Glenwood side. The school improved during Lofton’s first year according to all types of data. They made really huge gains on ACT last year, even though the MYP IB kids hadn’t entered the testing yet. They will be part of the group testing this year, and then next year will be the arts kids, so it can only get better. I saw Todd’s post on the open house Nov. 17th. I saw on Ruth’s list their debate team is brand new and already won 1st place in the early competitions. This school is feeling more and more like a winner to me.

  • 3. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    MPHS academic center (7 & 8th gr) is at 100% of ISAT but those kids leave for HS. This HS is just waay underperforming and no neighborhood kids go there, it’s mostly kids from out of boundaries to fill the seats. IF MPHS was wall2wall IB program, I believe neighborhood kids would go there~as that is a program that we want and would be advantageous. It has the IB program now, but unless it becomes wall2wall IB, my son will be going to St. Ingnatius. Most ppl around here send their kids to CPS elementary and Catholic HS. We just can’t have our kids in harm’s way and MPHS is dangerous w/gangs.

  • 4. Family Friend  |  October 21, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    When you’re looking at high schools, you have to ask direct questions about college readiness and follow up until you get useful answers. If your child is testing at a high level, you need to ask “how many of your students get ACT scores in the high 20s? in the 30s?” and “Where do your top students go to college? How many?” And ask about college persistence. “Do you follow your students through college to see whether and when they graduate?”

    I kept pressing everyone about individual attention. My young friend is blazingly bright, but she has been in the country less than three years. Her spoken English is impressive, but when she writes she has trouble with grammar and syntax — she writes in English the way it would look if we had the same rules as French. And until the end of sixth grade her education was in a third world country. So I am sure I made a nuisance of myself making sure that her placement tests would not become her destiny. But I got the answers I needed.

  • […] Figuring out the High School thing cpsobsessed: I have sort of come to grips with the fact that if my son goes to a neighborhood high school he will likely be in school alongside some undesirable kids – namely gang members.  I think most other high school ills tend to be universal across suburbs and cities and small towns.  Drugs, sex, the usual.  And I think many of us feel prepared to help our kids deal with that stuff.  So I’m thinking I’d put “gang kids” on that same list.  As long as I can feel the school is safe and he isn’t likely to be shived or shot then I will probably be okay. […]

  • 6. HS Mom  |  October 22, 2012 at 8:54 am

    CPSO – The gang issue can be about much more than staying out of harms way. Kids can be very open to the culture around them when they start HS. Even though they may not have the same classes as kids that are connected with gangs they will be socializing and striking up friendships with kids throughout the school. The best laid plans can be jeopardized if your kid feels that they no longer want to keep up with or take challenging classes and that school work is no longer a priority. I think that one thing to seriously consider is your childs personality. Are they easily influenced, looking for affirmation from their peers or are they driven to succeed able to stay on target regardless of what goes on around them. This is a tough question because many times you really don’t know until they get there.

    I wonder how HS parents keep their kids on target. I would be interested in knowing.

    Just to put some of you at rest (or not) there is plenty of pot in high school – all of them – but I (nor people I know at other CPS schools) have not heard about the harder drugs like they have in some suburbs.

  • 7. MCAEK  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:07 am

    I work closely with a couple of people involved in the Senn partnership with Loyola and I am excited by what they tell me is happening there. The university education advisers are truly top-notch and they are excited by the teachers with whom they are partnering. I think the school could become an attractive option fairly quickly, especially if more middle class parents and students are willing to give it a shot. At first I was a bit worried that IB might roll out like AP has — offered at a lot of schools, but not truly up to “IB” quality. With Loyola helping with the IB transition at the school, I think they will work to ensure high IB standards. (Not trying to sell Loyola here, just impressed with the quality of a few of their professors.)

  • 8. marcsims  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Most Chicago Public Schools and Charter Schools in the African American community are up against a culture where education is not a top priority. The average African American parent feels it is the responsibility of their children and the public schools to make sure their children do well in school.

    Do you agree or disagree?

    Marc Sims 773-608-9651


  • 9. Esmom  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:16 am

    “Well, at least the New Trier kids who go to state schools.”

    Ooh, ouch. Do you mean that it’s asking too much for kids who go to a neighborhood CPS high school to get into an elite school? Or were you poking fun at North Shore income levels?

    As for dingy facilities, I don’t think that should be a major consideration. I take my son to a top suburban high school for music lessons and it looks pretty rough when you scrutinize the details of the building, especially when you’re in an empty hallway. But then when the kids come buzzing out of the classrooms, the place lights up with their energy. It’s the people inside, not the building itself, that make a school, imo.

  • 10. klm  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:22 am

    @4 Family Friend

    I think you have the right ideas about questions to ask. If a seemingly under-performing HS has a solid core of students that are doing well and admitted to good colleges (with the ACT scores to prove it, not through pandering to admissions officers at the ‘Office of Multicultural Affairs’), then one can probably feel OK. Then again, if one’s kids is a “follower” instead of an independent sort, the social norms of any given school need to be examined very closely. My advice: Go to a school at the end of the day. Are the kids leaving the school the sort of people that would frighten you if you were walking alone? How about language? …and so on. These will be your kid’s peers, so think about it. Sometimes it’s much easier to “go along to get along” then go against and become a target.

    The problem that I have found in the past is that public HSs with large numbers of would-be 1st generation college students frequently do a really bad job of getting kids to apply to colleges that students may not of heard of, but may change lives in a very positive way. Everybody’s heard of Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, etc., but in working-class circles many people don’t know about Kenyon, Bates, Occidental, Reed, Carleton, Colgate……etc (schools with large endowments and lots of financial aid). I worked in college admissions for a while (first at a flagship state u., then at a wonderful private college). Parents in places like the North Shore, Bloomfield Hills/Birmingham, MI , Mountainbrook, AL and Palo Alto, (i.e., upper-middle-class people) know about these places and send their kids to these types of highly-regarded, but not universally recognized schools in droves. But most blue-collar types have never heard of them and HSs populated by them almost always (there were only a few exceptions) in my experience seem to guide kids to the same kinds of colleges: lower-tier state schools, commuter schools, community colleges, etc. (i.e., schools with lots of other blue-collar kids and high drop-out rates). I’ve showed up recruiting at schools where I know there would be qualified kids, but the so-called guidance counselors seemed to care less. One even told me that “our kids wouldn’t feel comfortable at a school like yours.” True story. Nothing like keeping kids down to make them “comfortable” at colleges only with lots of people just like themselves, I guess. Aren’t educators and counselors supposed to enlighten and inspire kids to move up and out, consider colleges that can really change one’s environment and direction in life in a positive way, etc.?

    Accordingly, any parent may have to really advocate for their kids and not count on the school for broadening horizons, inspiring a love of learning, starting a complete college search, etc. In many ways, this “expectations” issue is the most important one for me. If kids are discouraged from going to Oberlin in favor of the closest public college for cultural identity and financial reasons, then a school is not doing it’s job and parents need to step up.


  • 11. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:34 am

    How do we determine whether our kids can truly get a good education in these schools?

    When it comes to private schools, the usual test is: what percentage of your students were admitted to highly selective colleges? You can’t do that here, so the only valid way is to attend a sampling of classes held there. I would do an English and a mathematics class. Ask for the list of books the students will read in English. Is it similar to what you read at that age? Sit in on a geometry or a calculus class. Can the teacher explain a proof, or better, guide students through a proof? In foreign language classes, are the students speaking semi-fluently in the language in the 4th year class?

    There is “college ready” from the CPS point of view, and “college ready” from the college faculty’s point of view. The latter is far more important to your child’s future success than the former. No college professor cares what a student’s ACT score was.

    I wouldn’t worry about AP classes unless the school can cap the enrollment in the classes at 20. When I took AP classes in 1986-1987 we had less than 10 students in the classes, and you were admitted at the teacher’s discretion. I’ve heard of AP classes with 28 plus students in them at many schools in Chicago and elsewhere. That is not practical. What matters is the AP exam, not the course itself. You can take an AP exam without taking an AP course.

    @1 CPS explains the tier system here:

    If you are living in a wealthy neighborhood, but are not wealthy yourself, you’re screwed. The median income is the income of the household in the middle of the range of incomes.

  • 12. cpsobsessed  |  October 22, 2012 at 10:18 am

    @Esmom: regarding the New Trier comment, I guess my thinking was that Chicago kids who are enrolling in the neighborhood high schools (I’m thinking of kid like my son who so far don’t show a lot of interest in kicking ass at school) are likely not going to be headed for the Ivy Leagues. I suspect those kids will be attending the SEHSs or other test-in programs or privates. So for “regular” kids who might be attending, say Indiana University where I went (with a ton of New Trier kids who were really smart and great students but perhaps didn’t make the Ivy Leagues) will our CPS kids be able to keep up with them in college? Does that make sense? Kind of going for an apples-to-apples comparison. And can our SEHS students compete with the top New Trier students?

    “Well, at least the New Trier kids who go to state schools.”

    Ooh, ouch. Do you mean that it’s asking too much for kids who go to a neighborhood CPS high school to get into an elite school? Or were you poking fun at North Shore income levels?

  • 13. cpsobsessed  |  October 22, 2012 at 10:21 am

    @1 – regarding tiers: CPS would argue that even if you’re income isn’t high, your child benefits from living in a safe, stable neighborhood, surrounded by families who value education. Which is better than having the same income and living in a crummy, stressful neighborhood where your classmates are getting shot. But yes, it does feel unfair when I look at some of the Tier 4 neighborhood compositions.

  • 14. klm  |  October 22, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I hope people do not misunderstand my above comments. There are wonderful, affordable state school that foster the kind of learning that any parent wants for their kids. I’m not a college snob. In my working career some the smartest, most talented and impressive people went to Podunk No-Name College, while some people that went to “name” schools were not models of success. It’s just that I believe kids should have all kinds of options in life and need adults that give them all the information possible in order avail themselves of them. Kids also need adults that will encourage them to look at new possibilities and places, then encourage them to “go for it,” This what’s lacking at some HSs.

  • 15. Lilith Werner, PhD  |  October 22, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I am pleased to report that Lake View High School had the 3rd highest gains in CPS on the PSAE, and was number 1 in the North/Northwest Network for highest gains made on the PSAE. We went up almost two points on our composite score on the ACT as well. Our Explore and Plan data is also trending very well on the upside. Our attendance rate went up. As all of you on this blog are aware, the overwhelming majority of the school does not live within the district boundaries set for LVHS. We have an amazing staff that is willing to do whatever it takes for all students to succeed.

    Our STEM program has three pathways: IT, the Visual/Performing Arts, and the Humanities. All freshmen take the Honors Exploring Computational Thinking and they are thrilled with it. Over the course of the next year, we are going to have capital improvements of three computer labs and three science labs where collaborative space is included for students to work on project-based lessons.

    All neighborhood students are automatically accepted (but we require an application so we can know which pathway your child would like). We now require minimums of stanines 7 on the 7th grade ISAT in order to be considered for acceptance if you live outside of the district.

    In addition to our future Early College program where eligible students will earn FREE dual DePaul credit for classes taken at LVHS, we also increased our number of AP classes to 19.

    Due to our innovative pedagogy and systems we have put in place with staff and students, Microsoft named us one of only 8 U.S. schools as their Most Innovative Pathfinder Schools–a total of 99 were selected worldwide.

    I am biased, but LVHS is the place to be!!!

    Lilith Werner, PhD
    Lake View High School

  • 16. Mather?  |  October 22, 2012 at 10:59 am

    What’s the good word on Mather?

  • 17. Esmom  |  October 22, 2012 at 11:16 am

    @CPSO, Yes, you are making sense. Although it strikes me as extremely sad that we can’t make an apples to apples comparison and that it’s unrealistic for a neighborhood high school kid to shoot for acceptance into the best colleges, if he or she would so choose. That recent Reader article mentioned how the girl from Hirsch really wanted to go to Northwestern but she wasn’t accepted. Which was not a surprise considering she only got a 19 on her ACT. (While the New Trier girl did get in and had and ACT of 32!).

    Your comment reminded me of an old neighbor, who was a prof at Northwestern. He told me about how the kids that come to Northwestern from CPS are woefully underprepared, so much more so than their counterparts from other cities, like NYC. He was part of a faculty task force of sorts formed to address the problem. I’m curious if now, 5 or so years later, they have made progress.

    By the way I’m not a college snob, either. I attended a state school (go Illini!) and was perfectly fine with my sons potentially doing the same. My outlook changed a bit, however, when my husband lost his job last year. He found a new job fairly quickly, and I am convinced it was his degree from Northwestern that bumped him to the top of the pile of the many candidates he was up against for numerous positions.

  • 18. CPS Parent  |  October 22, 2012 at 11:21 am

    12. cpsobsessed Regarding whether CPS students from the SEHS’s can compete New Trier’s best? One thing to keep in mind is that there is a very wide range of ability levels within the SEHS options and then there is a very wide range of ability within each school.
    Kids only need a 30-36 on the ACT but close to a 5.0 GPA (out of the 0 – 5 scale CPS uses) to get into the Ivies (yes, I know, there will be a few exceptions). To get close to a 5.0 GPA kids need pretty much all Honors or AP classes. At the very top CPS SEHS’s there will be a half dozen or so students each year with those stats.

  • 19. Esmom  |  October 22, 2012 at 11:24 am

    @11, interesting little article about AP classes/tests. I personally don’t agree with much of what the author says — and my own experience with AP classes was very beneficial to me in college. I also think the AP stuff is here to stay, for better or for worse, since they are such an important component of the high school rankings we parents love to obsess over.

  • 20. RL Julia  |  October 22, 2012 at 11:30 am

    From what I can tell, I’d imagine that the SEHS’s actually can out compete New Trier – if for no other reason that everyone tests into them – and perhaps also because they are from an urban school system

  • 21. HS Mom  |  October 22, 2012 at 11:37 am

    @19 and 11 – IMO the benefit of the AP experience is the class. Getting even a high pass on the AP test does not assure college credit at some schools. The experience of taking an intense fast paced class and getting a decent grade, to me, holds the value. It also helps the GPA because it’s weighted. We have no expectations of saving money by earning early college credit but expect a greater educational experience.

  • 22. Esmom  |  October 22, 2012 at 11:39 am

    “We have no expectations of saving money by earning early college credit but expect a greater educational experience.”

    Yes, exactly.

  • 23. AW  |  October 22, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I have one child who just graduated from an SE, another who is currently at a different SE and I am on the Board of Friends of Amundsen. I think that gives me a pretty broad perspective on some of the issues raised here, and I’d like to be helpful.
    -As far as school safety, look at the data, don’t go by your “gut”. If you stood outside of most SE high schools, I dare say you would find many of the upperclassmen boys in their hoodies and large groups to feel pretty intimidating, especially if the last time you hung out with kids that age was during your own teen years. (And btw, Amundsen’s safety data is really good!)
    -As for how are they truly going to get a good education, I think it really comes down mostly to the teachers your child has and how good of a job they can do at engaging the class, much like grade school. Even the slacker students step up for really great teaching. Magical teachers don’t just happen (ok, maybe some do), but support, additional training and feedback from the administration is what takes them to the next level. (Note: Amundsen’s new principal hired a full-time instructional coach plus an awesome with top instructional credentials to grow their already good teachers to the next level — expect to see a lot of growth there.)
    -And with reference to the colleges these kids are going to, you won’t believe how much of the college application process comes down to the parents, even at the SEs. If the parents have little familiarity with all of it, the kids have to rely upon the school’s resources which are always very minimal. My bright, very organized high school senior needed serious help to polish multiple essays, stay on top of numerous deadlines, request letters of reference and transcripts, complete complicated financial aid forms, research scholarship opportunities and still carry a full load of classes. Its easy to guess why students with fewer resources just gravitate toward the easiest routes — simple state school apps with rolling deadlines or community colleges — unless they have adults who can really help out. Many kids at neighborhood high schools would probably go to better high schools if volunteers could help them navigate the difficult proces.

  • 24. Mayfair Dad  |  October 22, 2012 at 11:47 am

    @ 1 Christa; the Tier you reside in is based on socioeconomic indicators that apply to your census tract, not you personally. There is a very thorough explanation of this on the CPS website. It sounds like you may be a less affluent family in a more affluent (Tier 4) neighborhood, which is unfortunate for you. The system is not household specific and therefore — hmmm, what is the polite word? – screws you. Makes you wonder why you moved to a nice safe neighborhood in the first place. Good luck (I mean that part sincerely, not snarkily).

  • 25. AW  |  October 22, 2012 at 11:49 am

    “awesome assistant principal” that is.

  • 26. klm  |  October 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm


    A Tier 4 fellow-parent at on of my kids’ RGC came up with an idea for the year in which kids apply to SEHSs: House Swap. According to her, she’s swap houses with a Tier 1 family for a year, so her daughter can get into a “good” SEHS (as we all know, it’s easier for a Tier 1 kids to get into Northside than a Tier 4 kids to get into Lane [which until recently was the ‘safety school’ of last resort]). Of course, she’s joking (I think), but it does get one thinking about renting and moving for the minimal period, etc., in order to save tens of thousands of dollars ($100k+ in some cases) in private school tuition or the ordeal of moving to the suburbs. Legal maybe, but ethical? Somebody needs to write into and ask ‘The Ethicist’ at NYT about this one.

  • 27. Mather?  |  October 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    @26 – people do that, yes.

    Legal, yes. Ethical, ha!

  • 28. HS Mom  |  October 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Why would it be unethical to base your housing local upon school options?

  • 29. SutherlandParent  |  October 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    @3 SSI4, and the principal situation at MPHS is incredibly discouraging. It’s been, what, 18 months they’ve been searching for a permanent principal? The school doesn’t seem to be a priority with anyone on the BoE. Any word on what the area wall-to-wall IB high school on the Southwest side will be?

    I’m sure you were writing for effect, but not everyone in the 19th Ward goes to Catholic high school, of course. (Some of us aren’t even Catholic :)) I know a lot of kids who went to neighborhood elementary schools here who are now at the Ag School, thanks to the expanded boundaries for neighborhood students. I think the plan is to turn that into the default “neighborhood” high school.

    I’ve also talked to some parents who are looking into paying tuition at nearby suburban public high schools–the rumor is that it’s still much cheaper than tuition at Catholic or private schools.

  • 30. RL Julia  |  October 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    klm – and what does the Tier 1 household get out of this arrangement?

    AW – good points all! I’ve been around the end of the school day and Whitney and Northside (as well as Wells and Schurz). All the kids look scruffy to me – and I even know some of them!

  • 31. SutherlandParent  |  October 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    To partly answer my own question about wall-to-wall IB schools:

    October 18, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — Five schools will host new International Baccalaureate (IB) Programmes in Chicago’s school district starting in Fall 2013.

    The education programs will be started at Bronzeville, Farragut, Kennedy, Schurz, and Juarez High Schools, according to CPS…

    …According to CPS, five of the ten new programs will be “wall-to-wall IB schools” to be located at Senn High School in Edgewater, Back of the Yards High School, Roberto Clemente Community Academy in Humboldt Park, Hyde Park Career Academy in Woodlawn, and another high school that has not been announced yet.

  • 32. cpsmama  |  October 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    @18- as the parent of 1 SEHS grad and a current SEHS student, I will say that there are WAY more than half a dozen or so students with stats of 30-36 ACT and close to 5.0 GPAs. NSCP (which only offers honors & AP courses) probably has 50-100 kids with those stats, if not more. And the other SEHS have a good number as well. There are multiple CPS students from SEHS who get into each of the Ivies and other highly selective schools every year.

  • 33. a cps mom  |  October 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    STAY AWAY FROM SENN. I don’t want you people mucking it up and ruining it for us neighborhood people. Keep it under the radar ’cause my kid still has a few years before HS and I don’t want it turned into another LP or something. It’s a beautiful place and it’s getting better each year and we want to keep it for OUR kids, not your kids who don’t make it into NSCP or Jones or Whitney or Payton. Stay away!

  • 34. Esmom  |  October 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    @34, I assume you’re joking. If not then this is more evidence of how bonkers parents are going over high school in Chicago.

  • 35. Mayfair Dad  |  October 22, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    SE High School parents; what have you heard about the prevalence of Ritalin, Adderall and other ADHD medications misused to enhance academic performance? I have read that 1/3 of all Ivy League college students are prescribed ADHD medications off-label as study aids, with parents’ consent. Is this happening here?

  • 36. klm  |  October 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm


    The Tier 1 family gets to live in a really nice, expensive home in a nice, low-crime neighborhood, close to parks, the lake, etc.

  • 37. cpsobsessed  |  October 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Lake View High School
    Open House for Incoming Freshmen
    Date: 11/6/2012
    Time: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
    Location: Enter through Door 10 (under the canopy behind the school)

    Boo, I have a haircut that night. Thanks for the update Dr. Werner. Very exciting stuff in the works!

  • 38. cpsobsessed  |  October 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I truly don’t see Tier 4 families moving to a Tier 1 neighborhood. Renting for an address, maybe. Moving to? Hard for me to believe. (Although I know someone who has said she’s going to move to Tier 2 during the application grade so one never knows.) It is a hassle I certainly would not go through.

  • 39. IBobsessed  |  October 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm


    At our Tier 4 home, they’d get a rental with shared laundry facilities, and the occasional stabbing/shooting/iphone strong arm around the corner, but we are only a few blocks from the beach!!!

    Just sayin’. I know this point has been beat to death on here in the past.

  • 40. RL Julia  |  October 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Especially since last year they re-tiered halfway through the application process!
    Mayfair Dad – I haven’t heard of anything concerning Adderal etc.. but I have read about these things. I sort of think of it as being more of a suburban phenomenon but maybe I am just a newby, travelling in the wrong circles….

  • 41. Paul  |  October 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I’d like to read an article in the Tribune or Sun Times that follows families who move in order to be in a lower tier and give their child an advantage in the application process.

  • 42. HS Mom  |  October 22, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    With the housing collapse and the increased number of renters in Chicago I don’t think it would be difficult at all to adjust an apartment search accordingly. Maybe the interview should include talking to these apartment search companies. Of course we also have many more under and unemployed individuals than we had when the tier system was first implemented. I don’t think the tiers necessarily represent the nice neat bundles of socioeconomic and racial diversity that was intended.

    @35 MFD interesting inquiry. I have heard that kids are sharing their meds. Not sure how widespread that is.

    I was surprised to read this:

    “Often you hear that if stimulants like Ritalin, Vyvanse, or Adderall help people stay calm, that means that they must have ADHD. This isn’t true. These drugs will help anyone focus and pay attention. Giving stimulants to a kid with ADHD is more like giving a child with a learning disability more time on a test — and advantage that might help anybody, but helps that child more — than fixing his brain.”

    Sounds like there is both a student and professional acceptance of meds as performance enhancers. The article goes on to ask is it really worth the drug risk for the extra boost to a teen that really doesn’t need it. I guess the pressure at the top schools is driving that answer to be yes. Certainly would make me think twice about a school with so much riding on the exams. But then again, I guess it’s better (or the same?) as the stuff that was out when we were in school. Maybe this way is actually safer.

  • 43. Esmom  |  October 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    “These drugs will help anyone focus and pay attention.”

    I don’t buy this at all. I know of many parents of kids with special needs, looking for the right meds to try to alleviate their many symptoms, from anxiety to ADHD. Adverse reactions, or no reaction/improvement at all, are common. Trial and error is the norm, and can be exhausting and discouraging. These are not magic pills!

  • 44. klm  |  October 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    @everybody RE: Tiers, etc.

    It would be funny to see an advertisement for a rental like: “Tier 1 –perfect address for those with kids applying to CPS SE School!”, the way that advertisements for rentals and for-sale signs will say “Blaine School District” or “Lincoln School District!”


    I feel your anguish.

  • 45. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    #31~The Ag school was just able to get 50% seats for area kids. Thats good but it’s not a neighborhood school and never will be bc 50% are from all over the city~it’s only one of seven schools like it in the country.

    I don’t really know many ppl whose kids don’t go on to Catholic HS if they don’t get into SEHS. It’s my feeling that while most are using CPS as elementary if their kids don’t get into SEHS, they go Catholic. I know my son will go 2 St. Ignatius and most of his friends are going to Rita or Carmel.

    We are still in the running to be the final w2w IB School at MPHS. I would love (and many others as well) if this happened. I love the IB program. It would have 2 tracks ensuring it would be a real neighborhood school

  • 46. OutsideLookingIn  |  October 22, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Ok, based on what I’ve read so far, the to-do list for SEHS high school applications is:
    Step 1 – move to Tier 1 neighborhood
    Step 2 – obtain Adderall prescription

    If this list doesn’t scream “Let’s work harder to improve our neighborhood high schools!” I don’t know what does.

  • 47. AW  |  October 22, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Umm, yeah, both my SE kids knew of a number of kids abusing Adderall, etc., even “sharing” it with others. Not widespread, but not unusual. And to the best of my knowledge neither of them have tried it and both kept up with their class loads just fine.

    With all the tier insanity and SE rule changing, the smartest thing to do is get involved with your local high school, especially if your child still has a couple of years to go before high school. If it’s halfway decent and someone else has already started a Friends of, why not jump in and help make sure it’s a good option for your child if the craziness of the SEs doesn’t work out for your family? It will improve your property values, you will sleep so much better and maybe you’ll make the city a better place for a bunch of other kids in the mean time.

  • 48. southie  |  October 22, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    How might this occur at Morgan Park HS?

  • 49. cpsobsessed  |  October 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    What do you guys think about lake view’s shift to only taking kids in stanine 7 and up out of neighborhood? That seems like kind of putting a stake in the ground, but I haven’t seen any comments on it…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 50. HS Mom  |  October 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    @43 – yeah, I agree. That’s why I was surprised to hear that kids who don’t need it would be better focused. You’re right – how could that make sense?

  • 51. North Center Mom  |  October 22, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    For years, I have heard about all of the crime and danger at Lincoln Park High School (especially last year with the assault in a stairwell). But in our efforts to cast a wide net because of the growing competitiveness at the SEHSs, North Center Son and I went to the open house at LPHS yesterday. While there, we heard from impressive administrators and staff, met bright engaged students, and their involved parents. The choices available in their magnet programs are attractive and they have a nice, mid-size enrollment which allows them to have many clubs, but not too big for the child to get lost in the system. Their student body has well-balanced racial diversity comparable to Whitney Young.

    LPHS parents and students, what am I missing? What is the downside? How real are the dangers?

  • 52. Michelle Klein  |  October 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Do realize that selective enrollment high schools also have gang members attending them? When I attended Lane Tech the gang members kept the gang stuff off school grounds, but the McDonald’s right across the street was not neutral. My husband attended Whitney young, he says that there was a general truce but that the gangs fostered racial tensions. Gang violence etc are much lower in the selective enrollment schools but you need to understand that the gangs are everywhere, not just in neighborhood schools:My niece and nephew saw them in the suburban schools, I have told you about in selective enrollment, and I have a friend with children in a charter school and they too have experienced gangs.

  • 53. HSObsessed  |  October 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    @49 – I think Lake View’s only accepting a higher level applicants is a smart move. That alone will communicate that they really want kids who already show some potential, and in doing that, attract higher qualified candidates. Any one who is remotely interested in LVHS and the new Early College STEM program there should go to the LVHS website, which has been updated since I last saw it many months ago, and looks great. Under Academics, there is a page on STEM, from which you can see the Implementation Handbook, which contains tons of information, including bios of the teachers. It’s all very impressive, and I continue to foresee great things for LVHS.

  • 54. HSObsessed  |  October 22, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    @51, I’m the parent of an 8th grader who most likely will be attending LPHS by choice. I’ve spoken to former Lincoln Elementary parents who have or have had kids at LPHS, and they say it’s a great school because there are many academic levels that can be tailored to each kid’s needs, plenty of sports, clubs, social activities, etc. It’s an overall “normal” high school experience. I think the safety factor became a non-issue about 5-8 years ago.

  • 55. MPHS MOM  |  October 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    SoxSideIrish4—“Most ppl around here send their kids to CPS elementary and Catholic HS. We just can’t have our kids in harm’s way and MPHS is dangerous w/gangs.”

    This is a misconception. MPHS is not dangerous with gangs. Where are you getting these “facts” from? Unfortunately this is a huge misconception painted by people who do not send their kids here and has never stepped inside. Sure we have police cars sitting outside at entry and dismissal, But FYI- so does St. Rita and St. Ignatius. I really wish people would move beyond gossip and actually investigate for themselves. Just as I would never paint Ignatius as having a weed problem even though more than a handful of kids were “asked to leave” two years ago because of off campus pot parties. Parents—- investigate, visit, and then make up your own mind.

  • 56. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    #55~MPHS MOM~Believe me, I’ve investigated MPHS and have been there for things. I would love for that to be a neighborhood school but you know that no one sends their kids there and they have a major gang problem. That is NOT a viable option as a HS at this point. Almost all the seats our from out of boundaries and I know a teacher there who would never send their kids there. It has a chance to be viable as w2w IB. This is not something I’ve made up or distorted. I’ve been at that school. I know someone who had to leave the academic program because of all the fights and gangs.

  • 57. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    But, I do agree w/you #55~MPHS MOM~ parents should investigage, visit and make up own mind~I DID!

  • 58. MPHS MOM  |  October 22, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    I SEND both my kids there!!

  • 59. MPHS MOM  |  October 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    And for every “no one send there kids there” there are many more stories of how the school really is. As a parent I can say yes the school is not perfect and many parents are working at improving it. But we don’t need parents outside of the school demonizing the school that is improving every year. That’s my point. Are there kids in the gang, of course. Gangs are everywhere, but the way outsiders paint most cps schools that are “undesirable” to them is in many times a contrast to the way the school is. As for a kid/or kids leaving because of “all the fights” show me the data on this? Did a kid you know get bullied? Maybe so. But bullies are at NSCP and Whitney Young, etc as well…

    This is not the day to day reality of MPHS. Are there fights? Yes, but there are fights in most high schools. My point is MPHS is a a work in progress. Is it perfect? No, but we are getting there and the mentality and misconception that this is a horrible HS is plain wrong.

  • 60. anonymouse teacher  |  October 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    I hear a lot of people talking about St. Ignatius as if they could just send their kids there, no problem. Am I mistaken, or isn’t St. I just as difficult, if not more so, to gain admittance to than NSCP? It was my understanding that St. I is actually a high school of incredible quality, far exceeding any other Catholic HS, and most public HS’s in the state. Am I wrong? I thought you had to have scores similar to what is required for NSCP or Payton to get in.

  • 61. cpsobsessed  |  October 22, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I think we went through this last year, but what’s the tuition at St Ig’s?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 62. cpsobsessed  |  October 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    @MPHS mom: for me the key question is how you feel about the academics?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 63. OutsideLookingIn  |  October 22, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    @60 anonymouse – you are correct about St. Iggy. It is very difficult to get into that school.

  • 64. OutsideLookingIn  |  October 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    @61 – tuition is around $14k at St Iggy.

  • 65. cpsmama  |  October 22, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    @35 Yep- Adderal sharing is quite prevalent in SEHS. Its actually becoming common for parents to take their SEHS kids to certain docs to get prescriptions for them. Its also quite common in college for focus to pull, all-nighters etc.

    @52 I seriously doubt that there are many gang members at SEHS these days.

    @61-Ignatius tuition is $14,300 plus lots of extra fees & fundraising committment

  • 66. MPHS MOM  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Morgan Park ACT 17.8- Graduates enrolled in college 78.5%- not exactly gangland territory that it is made out to be.

    Taft ACT 18.2- Graduates enrolled in college 62.2%

    Lake View ACT 17.8 Grads in college 62.8%

    Roosevelt ACT 15.6

    Amundsen ACT 16.7 Grads in college 49.1%

    Senn ACT 16.3 Grads in college 54.4%

    Kennedy ACT 16.4 Grads in college 52%

    Mather ACT 16.2

    Neighborhood HS and ACT averages-interesting data-

    In comparison, MPHS isn’t doing that bad when you compare it to ordinary neighboorhood high schools. as I said, it is an “image” issue more than anything else. Can you guess the percent of AA youth at Morgan Park and compare it to Roosevelt, Taft, and Lake View, Senn?

    ALL of the HS need improvement and involved parents, none of them are where they should be but the MPHS stigma is pretty deep embedded in people’s minds and when you compare non selective schools, it is right there with most. And of course you have your Lincoln Park, etc. And, FYI Lincoln Park has the same scorecard performance as MPHS.

    I don’t get it. Someone explain???

  • 67. MPHS MOM  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    cpsobsessed- I hope my above data in terms of ACT scores and grads in college answer your question. We MPHS parents are generally as passionate about our school and academics as others. If Lake View, Senn, and Amundsen can be seen as a viable option, why not MPHS?

  • 68. frank  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    MPHS MOM- talk about data speaking. I think morgan park has an “image” problem and some parent feel uncomfortable with the young people coming in and out of the school house doors. Unfortunately loud rowdy goofy kids on the south side are viewed not the same as loud rowdy goofy kids on the north side. A sad but true reality. Data be damned.

  • 69. SutherlandParent  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    @45 SSI4, I understand it’s easy to get the impression most kids from this neighborhood go SEHS or Catholic. But here’s the breakdown of where our 8th graders said they were going to high school last spring, and there is a big range of schools, including MPHS:

    Alan B. Shepherd-1
    Amos Alonzo Stagg–1
    Brother Rice–5
    Chicago High School for the Agricultural Sciences-24
    Chicago High School for the Performing Arts–2
    IIT Math and Science-1
    Jones College Prep–1
    Morgan Park Academy-1
    Morgan Park HS–6
    Morgan Park HS IB program–1
    Mother McAuley–10
    Mount Carmel–3
    Queen of Peace–1
    St. Rita–2
    Southwest Christian-1
    UIC Prep-1
    Urban Prep-1
    Whitney Young-4
    Out of state–1

  • 70. skinnermom  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Yea Mount Greenwood parents are not sending their little darlings to morgan park high school regardless of the data/reality.

  • 71. cpsobsessed  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Well I don’t think any of these neighborhood high schools are more than just getting on the radar of parents. I think all of them need some marketing/information-sharing/reassurance/etc. It was much lower risk for early elementary when you could just feel assured that you could teach your kids to add, subtract, and do simple reading at home…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 72. skinnermom  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I get your point cpso, but what I think I hear MPHS Mom saying is that when MPHS is mentioned it is not given the same look/consideration as an option as the Senn, lake View, Amu. etc. I wonder why as well.

  • 73. Anna Pavichevich  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Dear CPS Obsessed,

    Thank you so much for starting this important dialogue. I welcome your understanding and appreciation of the need for transparency at the high school level. At Amundsen, we know the brutal facts of our data and are working to change them with aggressive goals and an unwavering commitment to improving the core (heart) of instruction. Our teachers are ready to examine, on a daily basis, how they teach, what they teach, and whether or not students are learning. Raising rigor and expectations are the surest ways to achieving our goals. During the short time this new administration has been in place, much attention has been focused on the changes in culture and climate. While this is gratifying and meaningful to students and their families, rest assured, we know that our biggest challenges lie before us in raising student achievement results for ALL students.

    Aside from my “principal rhetoric,” it is important to know that my only child is a product of CPS schools. While he was in high school, I had the same fears articulated in your blog. I hear your worries and reservations and understand them. To that end, I am not going to stop working until Amundsen High School earns your full confidence as a safe environment that provides a rigorous instructional curriculum and prepares your children for whatever future they desire!

    Anna Pavichevich, Principal
    Amundsen High School

    “Our Community, Our School, Our Future”

  • 74. cpsobsessed  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    @skinnermom: any lack of mention on my part about MPHS is total lack of knowledge. I don’t know where it is nor anything about the neighborhood so I have no negative impressions, but nor have I heard anything about “momentum” building the way I’ve heard rumblings about the 3 northside schools (admittedly biased by my location.). That’s why I need people to keep sharing…

    You guys know I’m a data person and the numbers do look better for MPHS than some others. Maybe these are some studious gang members?? 🙂

    With all these schools, just as it was with the elementaries that “turned around,” a lot of it is marketing in terms of acceptability. I just think parents will need the academic reassurance to seal the deal when it comes to high school.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 75. SutherlandParent  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    @74 CPSO, having moved into the neighborhood in the last 10 years, my impression is that MPHS has done a terrible (ie, non-existent) job of marketing to the feeder schools, unfortunately. They seem to be best known for their sports, although I know they have some great programs. The school was overcrowded for a long time, and I think CPS has only recently invested some serious money in its upkeep–it’s also one of those grand old buildings that is nearly 100 years old.

    And MPHS has had a horrible time with a principal search for going on two years. Every candidate they have tried to hire, the BoE has nixed for lack of proper credentials. It’s really hard to get momentum when that happens.

    But, that’s just what I’ve heard. I’d love to hear what MPHS MOM thinks!

  • 76. MPHS MOM  |  October 22, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    @75- We have worked hard at trying to dis spell the negative image, that frankly came more from outsiders than actual parents, teachers, and students. Yes, we have had a fight for a principal on our hands but I think this says more toward how involved parents and our school community is invested in our school. We don’t want anyone shoving a principal down our throats. So yes, we are at an impasse. Has academic slipped? In my opinion no. We have many NBCT teachers, teachers with MA and PhDs, and a very committed group of parents. Most, if not all the negative press unfortunately comes from outsiders like southside irish who continue the misconception that this school is some gangland or prison holding ground. This is frankly not true. Data shows. As cpso joked (unless our kids are part time gangbangers between their sports practice, completing homework, and sending off college applications??) The reality is that we have a decent school that we are working hard to continue to improve.

    As far as image goes, unfortunately about half of our feeder schools don’t want to send their kids to a HS that is mostly AA. It is a fact and when we do High school fairs in elementary schools these feeder schools don’t even bother to invite us-and we are the feeder HS??? Go figure….. It is a sad reality. I guess the elementary schools know the reality of where their parents will send their students.

  • 77. SutherlandParent  |  October 22, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Thanks, @76! Good for MPHS LSC and parents for not backing down on the principal search–I’ve heard other administrators say they think the BoE is just trying to install their own hand-picked people into schools. For those of us on the outside, though, the lack of a permanent principal is a little worrisome, and grows more worrisome as time goes on.

    We haven’t actually gotten to the high school fair age, but it amazes me that MPHS isn’t even invited! I wonder, though, if 7th grade is even too late to try to introduce parents to MPHS as an option.

    I know the IB program at MPHS has a terrific reputation, and I was very impressed when I met the former principal. I just don’t know much else about the school besides that. And the sports of course–pride of the Public League 🙂

  • 78. MPHS MOM  |  October 22, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    US NEWS Ranking of Illinois High Schools
    44: Glenbard South
    45: Waubonsie Valley
    46: *Morgan Park CPS—
    47: Naperville Central

    As I stated earlier, we (parents at MPHS) know the reality of our HS. We know the strengths and weaknesses (need to work on those ACT scores). We wish others knew and would give it a chance. I hate that our kids get a bad/unfounded rap.

  • 79. Todd Pytel  |  October 22, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    @MPHS Mom – Good on you all for keeping up the fight for a principal the parents and community support. Trust your instincts and don’t give up.

  • 80. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  October 22, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    IMO the benefit of the AP experience is the class.
    Yes, I agree. But at high numbers, a HS teacher with other teaching loads cannot teach it as a college professor would. It’s too much work. We had seven kids in my AP English class in 1986-87; that’s not going to happen in CPS. In NJ, I was blessed with excellent English teachers in sophomore and junior year so that AP English was capstone experience. (To be fair, I don’t think it would be like that now back in NJ).

    Getting even a high pass on the AP test does not assure college credit at some schools.
    Usually, you clear mandatory composition courses, which are usually not well taught, by getting a 4 or 5 in AP English.

  • 81. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 23, 2012 at 12:59 am

    #60~Anonymous teacher~yes, you have to get the scores to get into St. Ignatius. The people I know either wanted their kids to go to Ignatius or they didn’t get into WY (bc of tier 4), but they scored well enough, so they went to Ignatius.

    CPSO~St. Ignatius is roughly $14,000 a year but the reality is higher w/incidentals.

    MPHS MOM~Please note, I’m not trying to be rude~just stating my opinion and the opinion of a teacher that teaches there. My son’s friend tried to get into WY and couldn’t so he’s at the Lab school~so not all kids to Catholic. I understand, but I don’t know any that went MPHS and I’ve been in this area for 17yrs and no one~not 1 ~ have I ever encountered has sent their kids to MPHS. I have gone there and checked it out. Parents have been told it is still in the running for w2w IB. I”ve stated b4, If it were w2w IB and a true neighborhood school, many parents (and from the catholic elementary as well) would rethink it and it would be a viable institution. For the record, I’ve also checked out some other CPS schools on the northside. (where my friends would be sending their kids, but won’t) Since they weren’t w2w IB, I just couldn’t send my kids there either. But ever1 has to do what they deem is best for their family.

    I will say that IB and academic center at MPHS has a wonderful reputation. However, I know a teacher who has said ackies leave for HS. I’m not giving MPHS a bad rap~it’s done that on its own.

  • 82. HS Mom  |  October 23, 2012 at 8:59 am

    @10 KLM – thank you for your post, those are great colleges to check out. Sorry to fret about college here, but this is the end game and a good reason to look closely at and chose the high school that will hopefully bring out the best in your kid. There seems to be many great options.

  • 83. Mather?  |  October 23, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Ya’ll are scaring me about Mather.My kids are heading there soon. Do you nkow of resource to give me information? I thank you.

  • 84. Taft IB Mom  |  October 23, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Taft, the high school with the highest ACT of the neighborhood high schools listed in #66 also has the second highest ACT among IB students (second only to Lincoln Park) is having their Open House on November 9th from 12:30 to 2:30pm.

    The truest testament of how good a school is doing is how many teachers at that school entrust their own children to go there – as teachers know how “safe” and “good” a school actually is and would not put their children into harm’s way or give them a sub-par education when education is typically an educator’s priority. I would ask that question when I visit high schools. At Taft, there are a large number of teachers who send their own children to Taft and the number is growing annually as, the school has improved dramatically in just the eight years we have been parents there! Our new principal’s son even went to Taft – it is refreshing to have an administrator that was once a Taft parent and can really relate.

    There are still some lingering negative opinions about Taft based upon mostly OLD data that is still repeated in some circles – which is unfortunate for those who are eager to believe those types of stories without actually taking a good hard look.

    At this point we are not that concerned about negative impressions as the good word about Taft is becoming the primary message and we are overcrowded with our own neighborhood children. It was VERY difficult to get into our Academic Center and IB Programme last year even, for students that live in our community.

    If you are in the Taft Community or live outside our boundaries and have a child with VERY High Credentials please come and visit us during our Open House on November 9th from 12:30 to 2:30 pm. Tours of the building and grounds will be offered and teachers, coaches, club sponsors and administrators will be on hand to answer questions and tell you about Taft including the following programs:

    – International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
    – 7th & 8th Grade Academic Center
    – Naval Junior ROTC Academy
    – Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)
    – Advanced Computer Studies
    – Environmental And Spatial Technology (EAST)
    – Theater Arts
    – Graphic Design

    If you do not live in the Taft Community and your student is not a high achiever it would be not the best use of your time to come to the Open House as it will probably be even harder to get into our Selective Enrollment programs this year than last year and, due to our over enrollment there is no way to get into the “Regular” programs if you do not live in the neighborhood.

    You can find a link for the Taft Open House flier here:

    Click to access Taft%20Open%20House%20Flyer%202012.pdf

  • 85. anotherchicagoparent  |  October 23, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Mayfair Dad your adderall question. My SE teen also knows teens who have used adderall during tests and in school.My teen gave me an “OMG you didn’t know this ” moment, when I asked at the beginning of the year. I am sure it’s not just the SE schools where this is at either. And I don’t think mmany parents know as teens are getting it from other teens.It unfortunately is the society they are growing up in.

  • 86. Family Friend  |  October 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Looking toward college: I think it’s never too early to start looking at colleges. I take my young friends on admissions office tours of local colleges and universities, so they can think about whether they like a small or large school, city, suburban, or college town, leafy campus or city campus, etc., and, in their case, so they can begin to imagine themselves at college. For parents, I suggest subscribing to the U.S. News online college rankings (which was about $30/year last time I looked. Understand that ranking isn’t everything, and study the statistics that go into the score. For example, the size of the endowment vs. the size of the student body. A school with a large endowment is able to offer bigger grants to more students, especially if the student is someone they want. Think about schools just out of the top ranks that are trying to attract higher-scoring students with big grants. Follow the links to the school’s website. You really start to get a feel. Another source of ideas is the Princeton Review web site. They are known for ranking schools on off-the-wall measures (dorms like palaces, biggest party school, most liberal/conservative) but the site also has a school search function. Plug in your best guess of your student’s academic performance and what he/she likes, and it will generate a list of suggestions, including reach, target and safety schools. It also has an “if you like this, you might like this” function.

    Remember that getting into a top school is like the lottery. The majority of applicants have the credentials to be accepted, but there are more applicants than spots. Once the admissions committee throws out the unqualified and admits the legacies, the remaining spots are given to applicants who will yield the mix of students the University believes will best contributes to the overall education of all its students. That’s why diversity helps. Not only racial and ethnic diversity, but geographic diversity, skills diversity, religious diversity. That’s also why the essay is important. A well-written essay, from a technical viewpoint, is the minimum standard. What colleges are looking for, in the essay and in the recommendations, is students who will bring something important to the school. It’s pretty hard for a white middle-class student from Chicago to stand out, especially if he/she wants to go to Notre Dame.

    Other admissions considerations: look at schools with high rankings that admit more than the expected percentage of applicants. This gives your child a better chance of getting into a high-performing school. For example, Bryn Mawr College, one of the top liberal arts colleges (originally one of the “Seven Sisters,”
    when the Ivies were all male, has fewer applicants because it’s a women’s school. Girls who can stand not having boys in their classes (plenty of other colleges nearby have men) can get a great education. And it’s one of the schools with a large endowment, too! Barnard is another former “Sister,” part of and across the street from Columbia University. Students can take classes at Columbia. Pitzer, one of the Claremont Colleges (which include Pomona and Harvey Mudd, among others), also is a women’s school. Students at any of the Claremont Colleges can take classes at all of them. I didn’t look into similar options for boys because both of my children (and both of my young friends) are girls.

    Be careful about schools where your student may have a lower chance of being admitted than you would expect. The University of California has some absolutely spectacular schools, but state law limits the percentage of out of state students each school can take. So your student may be able to get into Stanford, but not Berkeley.

    Other financial considerations: In addition to schools who want to increase the academic profile of their students generally (and these include big schools like GW and Boston University as well as small schools like Kalamazoo and Beloit — all of these are in the “second 50” in the top tier of national rankings), there are colleges within universities who want to do the same. My second daughter, who was and is committed to a management career in the hospitality industry, went to a top university that was trying to raise the academic profile of its school of hospitality administration. She was awarded a much bigger grant than her older sister, who had better test scores. It’s hard to figure out where these little niche opportunities are, but worth looking for them.

    Finally, to the extent you rely on U.S. News, look at a school’s score, not just its ranking. To be nationally ranked, a large school needs to have doctoral programs. Regional rankings include big schools that might offer only masters degrees, but score high. I don’t know what elevates a liberal arts college to the national rankings, but I do know that the top ranked regional schools often have higher scores than some nationally ranked schools.

  • 87. local  |  October 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Pink elephant in the MPHS room:

    Racial diversity. Almost zilch at MPHS.
    When the school is under 25 percent white, white students will not attend. Ask them why (not me).

  • 88. klm  |  October 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm


    My spouse is African-American (I’m not). We have lots of black extended family and friends that are middle-class, live in Chatham, Pill Hill, Hyde Park, etc. Since we’re in the city and mostly all have kids, we talk about schools and education at social gatherings (what group of middle-class, in-city Chicago parents don’t?) . A lot. Some (the lucky few) have kids at Lab, some at CPS, some at parochial schools. These are open-minded people that are looking for good educational options wherever they may come, not “Jack and Jill” anti-ghetto snobs.

    However, even among these A-A middle-class types, there exists no desire whatsoever to enroll their kids at MPHS. from what I can tell from express conversation. A direct quote, from an African-American friend whose daughter now goes to a CPS SE HS, while discussing urban education options, “…but what chance does at kid at a place like Morgan Park have, ….” In the Southside, it’s still considered a lots-of-girls-having-babies ghetto high school by education-minded, my-kids-are-going-to-a-good-college-not-Chicago-State-or-Malcolm X parents. Right or wrong, that’s the perception. Also, recall the TV-news-worthy violent mini-riot at the MPHS/Simeon football game a few weeks ago? This can’t help things.

    Some issues are as much socioeconomic as racial. Maybe more so. Recall how many white families started looking at once-vitually-all-black Jones after it became “good”, stats-wise. If MPHS has the same future trajectory (and I hope it does), all kinds of people will begin to consider it an option.

    If there really is good news about MPHS, the school needs to get some better PR in order to change current perceptions.

  • 89. SutherlandParent  |  October 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    @86, some great advice, Family Friend. I’d just add that it’s great to do your homework, but you never know until you visit a campus. I had a school that was perfect on paper and I was sure that was the one. But when I visited, it just didn’t feel like the right fit. And I visited one of those one school that wasn’t that high on my list (one of the schools you mentioned by name, actually) and fell in love. And fortuantely the financial aid ended up being better at the school I loved, anyway!

    @87, I agree racial diversity is a consideration. MPHS MOM brought it up earlier in the thread, and we’ve discussed it in previous posts.

  • 90. anonymous  |  October 23, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    # 10– klm

    I am one of those parents who doesn’t know about good, lesser-known colleges with aid for students. I am petrified about burdening my kids with college debt.

    “Kenyon, Bates, Occidental, Reed, Carleton, Colgate……etc (schools with large endowments and lots of financial aid).”

    DD is a nice girl, a junior at an s.e., and still thinking about a major.

    Do you have a longer list than these 6? What do you think of Georgetown, American U. and Northeastern?

    (Hope you don’t mind sharing, but while I’ve been reading this blog dd has grown up!)

  • 91. SutherlandParent  |  October 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    @90, just jumping in with some thoughts on Northeastern–I didn’t go there, but I went to school in Boston. Northeastern is really known for its co-op program, where students get tons of hands on experience, both undergrad and grad. Over the last few years, the school has put a lot of time and work into becoming less of a commuter school and developing more of a cohesive campus. Like a lot of big schools, some of their programs are better than others.

    Not your story-book, strolling-across-the-leafy-campus feel necessarily, but it could be a great fit for the right students. And Boston is a great place to go to college, for anyone looking for an urban setting.

  • 92. anonymous  |  October 23, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks 91. thanks for the info on the co-op program.

  • 93. MPHS MOM  |  October 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    @ Kim
    “However, even among these A-A middle-class types, there exists no desire whatsoever to enroll their kids at MPHS. from what I can tell from express conversation. A direct quote, from an African-American friend whose daughter now goes to a CPS SE HS, while discussing urban education options, “…but what chance does at kid at a place like Morgan Park have, ….” In the Southside, it’s still considered a lots-of-girls-having-babies ghetto high school by education-minded, my-kids-are-going-to-a-good-college-not-Chicago-State-or-Malcolm X parents”

    But that is the point. Where is this coming from? Nothing supports this assertion. I don’t care if it’s white, black, or purple people making this statement. Nothing in CPS data on incident reports support the claim that morgan park is this ghetto/drug/gang ridden place. Sounds like a bunch of stick up their you know what…following the gossip. I like to deal in facts.

  • 94. frank  |  October 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    @ KIM—” from an African-American friend whose daughter now goes to a CPS SE HS, while discussing urban education options, “…but what chance does at kid at a place like Morgan Park have, ….” In the Southside, it’s still considered a lots-of-girls-having-babies ghetto high school by education-minded, my-kids-are-going-to-a-good-college-not-Chicago-State-or-Malcolm X parents. Right or wrong, that’s the perception”-

    ——Right or wrong- let me answer–So Wrong. There are lots of perceptions about lower income schools that are flat wrong and in my humble opinion plain IGNORANT. Are you kidding me? “Ghetto high school with girls having babies”! FYI girls all over Chicago and Illinois have babies unfortunately before they are ready. How would you propose MPHS combat this ignorant perception? Print up signs that say they are not a “ghetto” high school? Or announce the percent of girls not having babies each year. Geesh……. “My black friends and family….. Ignorance is sad-black or white.

  • 95. SutherlandParent  |  October 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    @92, I just checked the Northeastern website, and the co-op program is technically called “experiential learning.” More than 90% of undergrads participate in it. If your DD is interested in liberal arts or not sure of her major, I’d definitely suggest she do a lot of research, talk to alums and guidance counselors, etc., to make sure she’d get what she’s looking for at Northeastern. I know Northeastern grads who loved the school, but it’s not the right fit for everyone (not that any school is, of course).

  • 96. skinnermom  |  October 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    “Also, recall the TV-news-worthy violent mini-riot at the MPHS/Simeon football game a few weeks ago?”

    Really?? How many fights are at pee-wee soccer/ice hockey/football games? Are we now labeling these events undesirable? The brawl/riot you mentioned ended with two arrests.

  • 97. local  |  October 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Sixth grade. If your kid is already in 6th grade or beyond, you should be seriously studying the whole college admissions thing. (Or not. Your choice!) Hyper-competition for top schools nowadays. However, there are tons of great colleges that don’t fall into the “top 25” list. So, no need to get hung up on the name recognition, as others have said.

  • 98. local  |  October 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Jones SE was once majority black? I didn’t know that. Jones Commercial might have been. It seems that Jones is now the most diverse SE HS in town now. Some Jones students and applicants have told me that’s a major draw.

  • 99. local  |  October 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    FWIW: The cop at a Beverly ele school would not send his children to MPHS.

  • 100. skinnermom  |  October 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    My cop husband (11th district) and I would send our kids to MPHS. Coming from skinner we have high expectations. It is not our top choice (of course it is WYHS- 2 blocks away), but is on our list.

  • 101. OutsideLookingIn  |  October 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    New stats to add into the cps database:
    % of teen girls enrolled who are pregnant
    % of students who are active gang members
    % of students whose parents are willing to overlook the above as long as their child is neither shot nor stabbed in their honors classes

  • 102. cpsobsessed  |  October 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    @outside: also need a breakout of gang affiliation.
    I think the trouble occurs when they get mixed up.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 103. Paul  |  October 23, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    I wish we had more stats on parent involvement, and I wish we could break out test scores for elementary schools based on

    – attendance,
    – parents who pick up report card,
    – parents who attend parent/teacher conferences, and
    – completed homework.

    If parents are in part to blame for a failing elementary school, I think it would be nice to have some statistics to back that up. For example, it would be interesting to be able to say. XYZ school is considered a failing school because its meets/exceeds is only 45%. However, for students who attend school 95% of the time, whose parents pick up their report card and attend parent/teacher conferences, and completed their homework 95% of the time, their meets/exceeds score is X (presumably higher). The problem with the school is that the parents don’t get their kids to school on time, don’t attend conferences, and don’t make sure the homework is complete.

    It would be differentiating the test scores based on parent behavior.

    I think these factors could be taken into account when evaluating teachers based on their students’ test scores. It would help gauge what level of support the student is getting at home.

    And, it seems as equally valid as breaking out test scores by race, gender, and income.

  • 104. Paul  |  October 23, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    I have no idea what my post has to do with figuring out high schools. I think the “new stats for CPS” post triggered it.

  • 105. parent  |  October 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    My niece is now a junior at Amundsen. She is in the Baccalauret (sp?) She has mountains of homework, she studies so hard, it is painful to listen to her parents talk about it. She has very little free time between homework and her community service for school.
    She took her ACT recently and got a score of 21. She is very disappointed in herself.
    I just wish we had a normal High School we could send our kids that didnt put so much pressure on them.

    I just viewed the movie Race to Nowhere today at my daughter’s school and needless to say it was an eye opener. I think parents should see this movie before they go into maze of CPS HIgh Schools and really look at the right fit for your child.

  • 106. OutsideLookingIn  |  October 23, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    @102 cpso – good point. I hope my child joins the Mathlete gang.

    @86 Family Friend – very interesting points about college selection strategy. I have my kid’s school selected already!

  • 107. HS Mom  |  October 23, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    @105 parent – if your niece is a junior and taking the ACT now, she is taking it early and will presumably score lower. She is doing well and can take the test in again December and April for the best score. She has absolutely no reason to be disappointed. Tell her to keep up all her good hard work.

    @86 Family Friend – thanks for more advice. I went on line to US news and probably would not have subscribed, but did. I see what you mean, lots of good info. Thank you!

  • 108. HSObsessed  |  October 23, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    @103 Paul, I think we can look at charter schools for those stats. Most charter schools REQUIRE parent involvement, starting from attending an information session, applying, responding to the offer, signing the parent contract in which they pledge to make sure their child does homework, they pledge to read to their child, to be available to talk by phone or in person if the teacher wants to talk about their child’s progress, etc. etc. Charter schools only attract and allow parents who are willing and able to do all this. So, I think that’s all well and good, but honestly, I would expect that the charter’s test scores would be much higher (than the neighborhood schools that the kids would otherwise go to) than they are after all the effort. I know this is bringing up an entirely different topic, but since this thread has been good and hijacked already, I thought I’d pile on. 🙂

  • 109. anonymouse teacher  |  October 23, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    @105, I understand your niece’s disappointment, but a 21 ACT is average. I realize this board is skewed and most posters believe that anything less than a 30 is unacceptable, but reality is, 21 is average. A hard working kid can go to a state school or a community college with that score. And guess what? They won’t leave with a debt equal to a house payment for the next 20 years because they were foolish enough to believe the nonsense that one must go to a brand name school.

  • 110. Tiffany  |  October 23, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    SoxSide Irish
    Outside Looking In
    KIM—–And anyone else commenting on this topic.

    As a teen mother who graduated from Lincoln Park HS. I am a bit miffed that some are posting as if we(pregnant girls) will somehow contaminate your precious daughters by going to school with us. Are you kidding, this is not 1950. That is just mean spirited. Girls and BOYS make mistakes. It is how you bounce back that counts. Just because someone else’s kid made a mistake it is small minded and does not say much for the choices your child will make if you believe that we will some how rub off on them. You can’t shelter them from everything. Also, I am offended that teenage pregnancy is mentioned in the same post as gang membership. Are you freaking kidding me? Having a baby at 16 was not the best choice, but it in no way makes me a “ghetto girl” Kim. And it in no way causes me to bring down my high school- as implied.

    DePaul University Grad June 2012
    DePaul Law School Grad- (anticipated-2015)
    Baby started kindergarten this fall- the love of my life.

  • 111. Tiffany  |  October 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    I do realize that morgan park high school was mentioned when the topic turned to pregnant ghetto girls. But in my opinion pregnant is pregnant regardless of the school. And, whether I went to morgan park, Lincoln Park, or Young, being pregnant should not be included as if this sullies the school.

  • 112. Mary  |  October 24, 2012 at 7:36 am

    For those who like lots of information, Lakeview has published a very detailed information booklet about its program – go to the EC STEM page under Academics at

  • 113. klm  |  October 24, 2012 at 9:30 am

    @93 and @94

    Don’t hate the messenger. I’m just saying what I’ve heard from parents of the Southside. OK, maybe they are wrong. As I said, maybe MPHS needs to market itself differently. I was trying to make the point that any aversions (right or wrong, as I said before) people had about sending their kids to MPHS were not strictly racial.


    I didn’t mean to start a cultural war. But, yes, it is the fear of any middle-class parent that his/her daughter will have a baby in HS. How is this even an issue up for debate?

    The fact is, kids will sometimes/often adopt the social norms of their peers. If fellow students and maybe even a girlfriend or 2 are having a baby, then it seems like less of a big deal, when the reality is that it IS a big deal, as everybody familiar with the complexities and requirements of succeeding in today’s economy knows full well. Also, it’s hard to imagine being as good a parent when I was 16 as I am now. I started the parent thing way into my 30s and it was overwhelming and hard (even when I was married with a wonderful partner and emotionally mature financially secure). Accordingly, a HS with many girls having babies rightfully frightens the bejesus out of me and many of my friends and family.

    Have a baby in high school and there’s no going away to the college of your choice. There’s no dorm life, sorority life, Semester Abroad, living in San Francisco for a while one figures out what one wants to do, running away to Hawaii and waiting tables for a year or two, etc. One can’t just up and move to another state for a job or better opportunities. ONCE ONE HAS A BABY ALL THAT’S OVER. And there’s no meeting all the cool, wonderful people on the way (potential life-long friends, mates and spouses). These kinds of experiences are what shape people and make life fulfilling and fully lived in order to become fully mature and accustomed to the rigors of eventual career and family paths to success without lots of regret or too much hardship. Every mature, educated, middle-class person knows this all too well. Ask any successful, fulfilled professional how different his/her life would be if they had a baby at 16, although sadly the burden virtually always fall on the girl . Also, if having a baby in HS is no big deal, why aren’t many/any girls at high-performing schools like New Trier or Northside having them? Maybe they’re on to something.

    I won’t go over the well-published facts related to the negative socioeconomic implications. One just has to do a little Googling.

    I grew up in housing projects and trailer parks. It’s not like I haven’t seen girls 13-17 (there was even a girl around where we lived that had a baby when she was 12!!!!) having babies and didn’t observe how difficult it is for the girls and their babies, believe me. I’ve seen it all. For some reason, among all the successful women that I’ve known in my life (a female orthopaedic surgeon –my current next door neighbor, pharmacists, lawyers galore, executives, college-educated nurses, etc.) none were mothers in HS. Plenty of my relatives and people I knew growing up were and virtually always things didn’t turn out well for them or their offspring.

    So, throw stones and hate me, but it really is a life-altering thing that completely limits one’s life options (and sadly this effects the child, too) to have a baby in HS. Sorry if you don’t want somebody saying so, but it is.

    That’s why any HS where it’s not unusual for a female student to have a baby is kryptonite to many parents.

    Also, I’m delighted that you are doing great things with your life and that your child will benefit from your good parenting and educational role-modeling, but life doesn’t usually work out that way for girls that be come mothers while in HS, in my experience. Best of luck to you.

  • 114. cubswin  |  October 24, 2012 at 9:48 am

    By scores, MPHS is one of the better performing attendance area CPS high schools. I’m not sure there’s a point in comparing it to Jones, a SE school in the loop.
    Entering Freshmen at Jones are already have a higher test scores than juniors taking the ACT at MPHS. But the three year growth at MPHS looks good compared to other CPS schools with similar scoring freshmen.

  • 115. SutherlandParent  |  October 24, 2012 at 11:34 am

    @klm, I appreciate your honesty–people asked about the perceptions of MPHS and you answered. Race, teen pregnancy and socioeconomic status are hard, hard issues to discuss. I have to say, I’m a little bemused by people who don’t live in the MPHS boundaries who would gladly send their kids there. It’s a great neighborhood to raise a family, if anyone is looking to move. But I know MPHS has kicked out students who live out of the attendance area 🙂

    And maybe it’s because my kids are not at the looking-at-high-school ages quite yet, but I’ve never seen MPHS make any effort to market itself to at our school. On the other hand, we’ve already gotten all kinds of emails and mailings (open houses, free events, etc.) from some of the Catholic schools, and we aren’t Catholic.

  • 116. Bookworm  |  October 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    The idea of schools needing to market is ridiculous. Good schools do their work right. They take care of every kind of student. Part of the problem in Chicago is the way middle and upper middle class families expect the schools to cater to a need to be courted. Good schools are not always the popular choices parents want from year to year and the most sought after school is not always the best fit for your child.

    How many families on this board have found themselves sold on a school thinking it will be the best place for their kid based on a school’s marketing or word of mouth only to change schools soon after if at all possible?

  • 117. Esmom  |  October 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    @116, I think I agree with you in theory but the reality is more complex than whether a school is right for your child or not. For example, I toured several suburban high schools when I started to freak about about CPS high schools. The school that probably needed to “court” me the least, New Trier, seemed to court me the most.

    In the end, it probably didn’t matter to them if we chose their school (we didn’t), but I walked away very impressed with the experience and I’m sure they were aware that I would share that positive experience.

    I’d also argue that so many of the CPS elementary schools that have turned around so dramatically in the past decade have marketed themselves heavily…Nettlehorst is the first one that comes to mind.

  • 118. klm  |  October 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm


    Sorry I didn’t get back with you sooner. OK, all this is just my opinion, but here it goes…

    You are right about the whole debt issue. Some schools (like American or Northeastern that you mentioned) were once pretty easy to get into, but the admission stats now are crazy. What used to be “safety” schools now frequently deny more than admit, have high median SATs, etc. Accordingly, sometimes it seems like there’s a frenzy for admission and people are so excited when they get the big envelope that they really don’t think things through 100% in terms if costs, debt, etc. Some schools may be popular, but are they really “better” than the University of Illinois with its in-state tuition? Maybe, but more often than not, in my opinion.

    Is your daughter really set on going to school in DC or Boston? Back when I was in college admissions (admittedly a while back), Georgetown’s great and people love it there, but admissions is really tough, although I know financial-aid wise it may be more generous. American used to be the school that kids went to if they didn’t get into Georgetown, so it kinda’ had a chip on its shoulder about it. Northeastern has made HUGE leaps in terms of reputation, moving from being a second-rate commuter school to being more of a national school in a couple of decades, but since it’s really trying to be more “national”, it might be willing to give more financial aid to a girl from Chicago. One thing I will tell you about going to school in Boston (and the Northeast, in general) though is that it is the kind of place where people judge you (more than in the Midwest where valedictorians don’t sneer at state schools like Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan) by where you went or are currently going to school –there’s always an assumption that if you’re not at Harvard or MIT, or at least Tufts or Wellesley, then you’re not as clever or as well educated among some people, so maybe there’s more “attitude” about college snobbery, “rankism”, etc., that I know ends of turning people off who are not used to it..

    I say, “always apply and see what happens.” For the record, all things being equal, it’s cool to leave the state or region where you grow up it that’s what you really want to do..

    One source that I have always loved (and so do lots of college admissions and high school counselors) are two books written by Loren Pope, the former education at editor at NYT and a real authority on these things.

    One is called, “Colleges that Change Lives –40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College”. He says, these colleges, “do as much as, and perhaps even more than, any-brand-name school to fully educate students and to give them rich full lives.” He examines all 40 school (the latest edition was from 2006) and points out the reasons why he thinks they are so great. His examination of higher education really gets one thinking about things and even if one doesn’t apply to any of these schools, it at least is very helpful to opening one’s eyes to what’s out there and what one really may want in a school. Those 40 Colleges That Change Lives even have their own website, now.

    The other book by Pope is “Looking Beyond The Ivy League –Finding the College That’s Right For You”. He says, “The phrase ‘Ivy League education’ is an oxymoron when compared to the benefiction to mind and soul the colleges in this book bestow. Not only are they better, but they want you, and you will love them for making a new and better you. Your satisfaction will be life long.” Again, even if one doesn’t apply to any of the colleges he talks about, at least it’s a great starting point of what one might look for.

    Going back to finances. It’s kinda’ sad, but it’s kinda’ true that the colleges that are the most difficult to get into usually offer the most financial aid (because they have the largest endowments). Most “name” schools make “need blind” admissions decisions (or so they claim) and have the goal of having graduates with little or no debt.

    One college may not be as well know, but that I’ve heard nothing but great things from people that went there or that have kids that went or are going, etc., is Reed College in Portland, OR. It’s a cool school with a wonderful reputation for academics and a happy, fulfilled students body in a cool city that people generally love living in. The last I heard, it’s admissions is “need-blind”, but I’m not sure now. However, as with all great schools, it’s become really popular and is more difficult to get into now than a decade or two ago.

    Good luck in your daughter’s college search. I’m sure that you’ll find the right school.

  • 119. RL Julia  |  October 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    I can only echo klm’s comment about New England school snobbery. State schools out there aren’t considered to be the same caliber (as private schools) as they are in the Midwest and there’s definitely this sort of subtle pecking order. As a kid from Connecticut going to the University of Wisconsin, the standard response I got from people back home was ….oh….. Where else did you apply? On the other hand -it also depends on the circles one travels in. There are plenty of people in New England who weren’t born with silver spoons in their mouths, and lots of decent small private schools where being from Chicago would be considered to be pretty glamorous. The 40 colleges’ book is a great place to start finding them.

  • 120. frank  |  October 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    @ Kim- Where is your data that MPHS girls are having all these babies? I guess i am confused. I tend not to listen to elitist gossip that has little foundation in facts. If you show me facts then as an intelligent person I will listen. But, saying MPHS kids are having these babies is no more factual than me claiming that W. Payton has the highest percent of girls having abortions (just as foul and baseless).

  • 121. local  |  October 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    FWIW: Anecdotally, a grad from CICS-Longwood charter HS told me most her fellow female grads got pregnant in senior year or shortly thereafter.

  • 122. frank  |  October 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Kim —

    “Also, if having a baby in HS is no big deal, why aren’t many/any girls at high-performing schools like New Trier or Northside having them? Maybe they’re on to something.”

    —-I don’t think the young lady said that having a baby was “no big deal.” I believe that she stated that having a baby does in no way make a girl “ghetto” or bring down an entire school. No one would argue that a baby at 16 is peachy cream, no I would not brand any girl or boy as ghetto for this kind of mistake. Calling a school ghetto has both cultural, racial, and economic implications, as an educated person you should know this- it doesn’t matter if you are “repeating what you heard”- does not make it right or factual. ESPECIALLY when you talk about a mostly all AA school. This term is rarely used when describing a non-AA school that struggles. And based on the data provided by morgan park mom, it seems that morgan park is not as low performing as assumed. I understand perception and parent talk, but to spread the “talk” when there is little factual evidence seems uninformed and the spreader of the info becomes little more than a parrot.

  • 123. mindy  |  October 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    Another job for central office–Head of High School Marketing. Got to love CPS parents. I guess being from Ohio this is all very strange. Poor morgan park high School is not getting the same look as other lower performing schools due to ( race, economics, location, whatever) and the school is at fault for (not marketing it??)rather than the parents. I guess that is the culture nowadays. We need to stroke and caress parents’ egos, or whatever. How a school looks and appears mean more than what is happening inside the school doors? Really parents. LOL- it all seems very odd to me.

  • 124. dawn  |  October 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    @123-you must be very new here. I would agree, impression matters a lot it seems to parents. There is a great 90, 90, 90 school in CPS- 90% low income, 90% percent minority, and 90% meeting or exceeding state standards. How many parents even know about this gem? How many parents would be interested in sending their children there? The school also only has 300 some kids so there is plenty of space…..Education in chicago is becoming less about education and a lot about…….who knows-bragging that your kids attend Payton, Suder, Disney or where ever, and not necessarily the best educational environment.

    My two cents

  • 125. frank  |  October 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Where is this school Dawn?

  • 126. cps alum  |  October 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    @KLM–“Also, if having a baby in HS is no big deal, why aren’t many/any girls at high-performing schools like New Trier or Northside having them? Maybe they’re on to something”

    Girls from New Trier and Northside do get pregnant… and they often keep the babies too. This happens at high-performing schools more often than you might think.

  • 127. cpsobsessed  |  October 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I don’t think the point is that having a baby is the end of the world. Yes, it happens everywhere. And I’m fine with my kid being exposed to that. What I don’t want is him going to high school in a place where having a baby/babies is considered as regular a life choice as is going to college — ie at Orr High School where my mom substituded and it was viewed as a common occurance and the school has an onsite daycare center.
    Similarly, I don’t want him going to Latin or Parker where going to Switzerland for Spring break is the norm.
    Each of those schools are too skewed towards one end of the curve for my preference.
    Frankly, this is what worries me about the high drop-out rate at the neighborhood high schools. I don’t want him surrounded by kids who think that’s a widespread acceptable life choice.
    I’d like to keep up the delusion that people *have* to stay in high school.

  • 128. Esmom  |  October 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    “How a school looks and appears mean more than what is happening inside the school doors?”

    Sad to say but that’s been my experience. However, if it looks good enough to get enough parents interested in it, then eventually what does happen inside does get noticed and very likely improved. As with many things in life, appearances do seem to matter.

  • 129. HS Mom  |  October 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    @126 – The reality for SE schools is that it’s virtually impossible to miss school for all the required doctors appointments, illness, complications, the actual birth and all that is involved and be able to make it through the program. There are no “leave of absences”, no ability to take time off and come back to the program. This is why you don’t see pregnant teens in SE schools, they usually leave. If this also serves as an incentive – all the better.

    @123 Mindy – absolutely right – no marketing necessary if you are happy with the way things are. If your school has a story and some success or has struggled but made gains you might want that to be known.

  • 130. OutsideLookingIn  |  October 24, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    @118 – great tip on the “40 colleges” book. I checked out the website and had only heard of half the schools. Looking forward to learning about the ones I don’t know. Best one on the list, IMHO, has to be Reed. The kids I knew at Reed were highly creative, independent-minded and intellectual. Extremely bright kids.

    I’ll pipe in to agree with both Klm and RL Julia on the New England attitude in some circles. Lots of these folks look down on ANY Midwestern university. I attended a New England boarding school and I remember one girl crying because the best school that accepted her was Northwestern. “You fly over the Midwest, you’re not supposed to go to college there!”. Not everyone was this shallow, but…

    Getting back to the high school topic, while side-stepping pregnant teen talk, are kids allowed to shadow a day or a class at CPS high schools? Are parents allowed to do this? I’m guessing no, but I think this is one of the best ways to learn which school is the right fit. Test scores and parent gossip about a school’s reputation are interesting, but dropping into a class gives you a much richer slice of information about the students, teachers, etc.

  • 131. cpsobsessed  |  October 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    I would also say that a school with enrollment of 300 might need some marketing help to stay open – whether that is working to get familes to the school or for CPS to keep it open.
    I also wonder what CPS can look at that’s working there? I know JCB mentioned a particular school a few times, maybe this was it, but I can’t recall the name.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 132. klm  |  October 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm


    Again, I’m just saying what I’ve heard from other people. Right or wrong. There was discussion about what people have been thinking or saying about MPHS, so I shared what I heard. There seemed to be a suggestion that the reason that MPHS was mostly black was largely because of white people being prejudiced and I wanted to point out’s not always only melanin-phobic white people that are not rushing to enroll their kids at the school. I shared what I myself have heard. What was told to me was nor something you like. Sorry. I get it. What do you want me to do –lie and say I never heard these things from middle-class African-Americans living on the Southside?

    I read and hear things all the time about schools that I believe are overblown or seems plain wrong. All these comments here are from the point of view of parents sharing thoughts and stories, first or second-hand. These are anecdotes, not scientific facts published in a peer-reviewed academic journal. Sorry.

  • 133. James  |  October 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    A few observations on this interesting topic — especially interesting to me since I just went through it twice over the last few years.

    First, as some have noted, the top CPS SE HSs graduate a lot of kids that have sky-high academic records (meaning, close to 5.0 GPAs and ACT scores between 32 and 36) and they compete very successfully with top students from the suburbs. It is many more than a handful of such kids — and it includes dozens and dozens of kids from Payton and Northside alone. Payton and Northside only offer Honors and AP classes, and high achieving students at WY, Jones, and Lane can easily go four years taking only such classes. The colleges that students from the SE HSs, particularly from Northside and Payton, are admitted to is truly impressive, and that list compares favorably to, or even exceeds, such a list from even the most highly regarded suburban schools. Although the wisdom of having such schools may be debatable and although their effect on the neighborhood HSs may be problematic, what isn’t debatable is that they provide an incredible learning environment for students fortunate enough to be admitted.

    Second, I have heard some anecdotal reports of kids taking “performance enhancing” drugs in the SE HSs, but I don’t think it is a widespread phenomenon. Sadly, but probably predictably, this problem seems to be most prevalent at Northside, followed by Payton and Jones. I still think this is more of a suburban phenomenon, but it certainly exists at these schools.

    Third, what isn’t at these schools is gangs. I asked my kids about this a few weeks ago (and they know kids at all the SE HSs), and they laughed in my face. And I’ve certainly not seen, or heard of, any evidence of it myself. Gangs may, unfortunately, be a presence in the lives of a few kids who attend these schools because of where they live, but the actual gang presence in the schools themselves is either non-existent or so under-the-radar as to be irrelevant. And I know from personal experience that that is not the case in even the best up-and-coming neighborhood HSs.

    Fourth, there is a disturbing trend in these SE HSs of kids getting personal (and VERY expensive) test-prep tutors. My oldest child knows more than a few kids who have one-on-one tutors starting in 10th grade for the mostly irrelevant PSAT! And this continues and increases as kids move to 11th and 12th grade and start taking the ACT and SAT. And it’s here that the socio-economic divide really begins to rear its ugly head. I wouldn’t be surprised if 90% or more of Tier 3 and 4 kids have test-prep tutors. And I have to wonder if that holds true for the Tier 1 and 2 kids, who are very smart kids, but whose families may simply not have resources available to hire tutors. It’s not right, and the schools really should try to do something about it.

    Finally, St. Ignatius is a great school. But it is easier to get into than the top SE HSs — Northside, Payton, WY, and Jones. Over the past three years, I know at least four kids who did not get into one of those four schools, but who did get into SICP. As I said, it is a great school, provides tremendous academic, athletic, and social opportunities to its students, and sends its graduates to great colleges. But getting in is not on par with the top SE HSs, at least for Tier 3 and 4 families. Of course, it’s $14,000+ per year — so there’s that.

  • 134. RL Julia  |  October 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    CPSO – Since most high schools being considered here are being considered for their “school within a school” type programs, the chances are that your son really won’t know lots of kids who are dropping out etc… I went to such a high school and despite a drop out rate of about 50% over the four years and one in seven girls being moms, I didn’t really know tons of those types of kids – or if I did, I didn’t know that they were parents. It’s hard but as has been said before you almost want to drill down to the statistics of the individual program that you are interested in.

  • 135. cpsobsessed  |  October 24, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Yeah, that makes sense RLJulia. It’s just when I see him on the floor wimpering during homework at night and his general “eh” attitude about “doing his best” that is think NEIGHBORHOOD PROGRAM.


    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 136. LSMom  |  October 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Is the 90/90/90 school Chopin? Although that’s actually around 97 percent low-income and 95 percent minority, and around 90 percent meets/exceeds. I’m putting it on my list, but I’d prefer a school with more economic and racial diversity.

  • 137. RL Julia  |  October 24, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Given what I’ve seen in terms of the workload at the SEHS’s you’d have to be truly brilliant or committed to being at the bottom of the class academically to be able to handle the time commitment I’d imagine gang membership requires. It’s basically the same as the teen pregnancy SEHS argument. On the other hand, maybe if you took the “performance enhancing” drugs you could manage it…. If you are really looking for (lots of) drugs in high school though, I think you need togo out to the suburbs where the kids are richer across the boards. From what I can tell, the predominant drug/alcohol user at teh SEHS’s are the tier 3 adn 4 kids who are best able to afford it.

  • 138. Beth  |  October 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    It’s been a long time since I posted here–I have an SEHS jr who went to a neighborhood, high poverty school—(perfect score so tiers played no role)

    “adoption of social norms”—you know your kid and you know how much s/he will be swayed by peer pressure and/or his/her desire to belong to whatever is perceived as the popular crowd. This is the same everywhere. Whether its sex, or drugs, or gangs. A city HS teacher friend recently interviewed for a job at Stevenson and part of the interview was asking what his experience was working with kids with drug issues. Oak Park has a heroin problem. At my kids SE the kids smoking pot and showing up to dances after drinking are white kids from the northside. I’m not particularly worried about pot or heroin or pregnancy cause I know my kid. Like I said—you know your kid.

    AP classes—you take them if they’re offered to demonstrate your desire to participate in the most academically rigorous classes available. If they’re offered and you don’t take them, you can’t compete for the most selective schools. If they’re not offered, the fact that you didn’t take them isn’t held against you. Most select colleges will not accept them as credits. I taught college comp for ten years—my kid’s current AP lang class is in no way comparable.

    There are lots of good colleges. US World and News Reports, while not inaccurate, should also not be considered the bible. One of the data points is how many applications a school gets, and in light of that, schools have put lots of money into marketing to raise their ranking (Hello Washington University—not that it’s not a great school, but–Oh and hello Claremont-McKenna–fudged its reported SAT scores). You can go to a small east coast college, but if you plan on working in Chicago, and no one has heard of the school you went to, it’s not worth the money. Same with a lot of the more selective private universities—you’re gonna pay a lot of money (because they aren’t need-blind) for an education that is no better than the one you can get at public university. At the end of the day, NYU and BU are no better than U of I or Wisconsin.

  • 139. SutherlandParent  |  October 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    @139 HS MOM: “absolutely right – no marketing necessary if you are happy with the way things are.” I’ve been thinking about this, and I had the same thought. Maybe MPHS is happy with the way things are–they certainly struggle with overcrowding, so it could be that they aren’t looking for more students from the neighborhood.

    And I get that it’s easy to snark at middle class and upper-middle class parents, since we do have the choice of where to send our kids. And we’re the ones who expect our kids to go to college. I see an average ACT score of 17.8 at MPHS, and I gotta say, I’m underwhelmed. Of the schools that we have received some sort of outreach/communications/marketing materials from, the Morgan Park Academy average ACT score is 26 and Mother McAuley is 23.

    FWIW, I don’t think the situation at MPHS is any different than most other fairly high performing (by CPS standards) neighborhood high school. I think we’re the ones so far willing to engage in a dialogue about our thoughts/hopes/concerns 🙂

  • 140. HS Mom  |  October 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    James – ugggh on the tutors thing. How do they find the time on top of the course load? I have jumped through all the hoops, will take a test prep class but can’t go there. Fortunately, as KLM and F.Friend have pointed out, is this really necessary? Aren’t there enough great colleges out there? Is this about the same people obsessing over Northside now needing to obsess over the Ivy’s?

    Really – how much more propping and pushing can a kid take. No wonder they’re hitting the Adderall.

  • 141. James  |  October 24, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    @ Beth #138 —

    “At the end of the day, NYU and BU are no better than U of I or Wisconsin.”

    Very well put!

  • 142. James  |  October 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    @ HS Mom #140 —

    I completely agree. It’s crazy that 10th graders are worried that they haven’t gone on enough college visits or haven’t yet secured their test-prep tutor. In 10th grade! Absolute insanity — but for many, many kids in these schools, it’s true.

  • 143. SutherlandParent  |  October 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    @141 James: Beth #138 –

    “At the end of the day, NYU and BU are no better than U of I or Wisconsin.”

    Very well put!

    Academically, maybe. But Champaign isn’t New York, and Madison isn’t Boston 🙂 If the experience is important, along with academics, it’s something to consider. (But then, I’ve lived in New York and Boston and had some excellent adventures in both places, so I may be biased…)

  • 144. SutherlandParent  |  October 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    And to clarify my earlier post, I’m not suggesting at all that an urban setting is better. Every school has its own culture, and culture is something to consider, along with many other aspects.

  • 145. Family Friend  |  October 24, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    A word about college costs: This is the other side of the task of finding the “right” college. Your kids need to understand that if the right school is not affordable, it’s not the right school. I made both of mine apply to a “financial safety school,” in their case, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (of which I am a proud graduate). Daughter #1 would not even visit. Daughter #2 drove down with a friend and spent the night in the dorm before taking the campus tour. She was absolutely amazed at how beautiful the campus was! I think they expected dirt roads and cow barns.

    Neither girl ended up at U of I because they both got enough money from their chosen private schools to make the cost comparable. Daughter #2 started college in 2005, so my information may not be completely up to date, but I think the basic framework is the same. Here’s how it worked for us:

    Almost everyone knows about the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is a form that everyone will have to use, unless you are prepared to write a check for college costs.You put in your financial information and the Department of Education kicks back — almost immediately — an “expected family contribution.” It doesn’t matter which college your student is applying to; the EFC is the same. So if your EFC is $10,000 and Johnny wants to go to a college that costs $32,000 (that includes tuition, fees, and housing/meal plan), then there is $22,000 of “need.” Whether and how a college meets that need depends on how much money the college has and, to a lesser degree, how much it wants your kid. Offering loans is one way schools meet need.

    There are different types of financial aid: scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study. Most students use a combination of them to pay for the difference between the cost and what their parents pay.

    In addition to FAFSA, some private schools (mostly the more selective schools) use the College Scholarship Services (CSS) Profile, a more detailed, harder to fill out, form. If you apply to a school that requires the Profile, you will not get any financial aid or loans unless you fill it out. Good news: if you do the Profile first, when you get to the end it will ask you if you want to use the Profile information to populate the FAFSA. Do it; it will save you a lot of trouble.

    Most people find that the Profile raises their EFC over what the FAFSA suggests. For an unknown reason our family was an exception — we were actually expected to pay less at the pricey private colleges than we were at those that required only the FAFSA. The reason the Profile is important is that some schools that require it (unfortunately not all) promise to meet a family’s need. You will not be asked to pay more than your EFC; and most of the aid offered will be in the form of a grant. When our girls were in school, each received a small work-study grant (they have to apply for these jobs once they are on campus — the “best” jobs are ones where you can study while you work) and annual loans in the maximum amount the federal government will loan at the lowest rate. For daughter #1, who graduated from college in 2006, the total in loans over four years was just over $14,000 — a completely manageable amount. For daughter #2, inflation raised it to a total of $18,000, also manageable. The cost of #1’s senior year was about $43,000; #2’s was $53,000. We gave till it hurt — when you first see your EFC you will think you can’t possibly manage it, but people find a way — but the schools, through the donations of their graduates and supporters, gave even more. If you have more than one child in college at the same time, the schools will split the EFC — if they think you can pay $20,000 and you have two college students, each school will take $10,000 and offer financial aid for the rest.

    Note that many highly selective schools offer no scholarships. Everyone who attends is highly qualified, so everyone “deserves” a scholarship. All financial aid is based on need. Others offer guaranteed minimum grants to top students, if they keep their grades up — these are quite substantial. Spend a lot of time with the financial aid pages of the websites of schools your child is applying to. If your child gets an outside scholarship, the school sometimes will deduct all or part of it from the financial aid package. Know the rules before your kid goes through the pain of another application, another essay, for a $500 scholarship. For some schools, it will depend on the type of scholarship.

    There is an incredible amount of information on the College Board website,, including an EFC calculator. Plug in your information to see what you can expect.

    Remember that 10% of non-retirement savings in your name is included in each year’s EFC, but 25% of the student’s savings is included. So it’s better to have college savings in your name.

    Financial aid offers from schools without a big endowment — unless they especially want your kid — can be all or mostly loans. This is where people get into loan trouble. it’s ironic that the “name brand” schools are the least likely to be funded that way, at least for undergraduate school — professional schools are a completely different matter.

    Many schools now have a “net price calculator,” also available on the College Board site, that will tell you what you can expect to pay at that school. I don’t know how well it works.

    At first, it took me two weekends to complete the Profile and FAFSA. It was worse than an income tax return (and you will need your return to do complete the forms). By year 7 (our two overlapped for one year) it took less than an hour — so take heart; it does get easier.

    I re-read this before posting and it seems very scattered. Remember that there are a lot of resources on the web; use them to fill in the blanks I have left. The moral of the story is to work, work, work at this.

  • 146. Family Friend  |  October 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    A big thing I forgot on college costs: Not every private college using the Profile calculates your EFC the same way. Daughter #1 was offered financial aid at five private colleges. Our EFC ranged from $17,000 to $33,000. (The lowest was Bryn Mawr; the highest was Boston College.) Having been forewarned that financial aid was sometimes negotiable, we got Georgetown down from $30,000 to $24,000. (They matched Barnard but not Bryn Mawr.)

  • 147. Family Friend  |  October 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    P.S. Two schools would not negotiate.

  • 148. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    #133~James~WY just graduated the most perfect scores (36) on ACT test than any other school. WY has reg classes, honors & AP. My son will be a jr next yr and all classes will be AP. WY Math Team Earned Highest Score in League History in First City Meet. Last yr WY Math Team won Math City Championship for the 3rd yr in a row. Final Score: Whitney Young – 248, Northside – 186, Payton – 178. On their way this year to a 4 peat. WY kids get into the universities of their choice.

    FWIW~Academic kids (start out in honors only) and stay on that track~I don’t know abt the rest of the school. I do know all the kids in this area that started as freshmen last yr all started w/honors and are in honors as sophomores as well w/some AP classes.

    And you’re right its much easier to get into Ignatius than WY. My son’s friends who didn’t get into WY went to Lab or Ignatius.

    Just my 2pennies!

  • 149. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    #146~Family Friend~I think the net calculator is wonderful. Although, I’m always amazed that the schools net that I’m suppose to pay range in vastly different amounts. We are visiting colleges over Easter Break and Summer Break. It appears that the school we are going to are not negotiating schools either.Although they are private w/large endowments ~I’m hoping my son will get some academic scholarships.

  • 150. Bookworm  |  October 24, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    @139 etc. on marketing. I think that gentrifying is not the same as improving per se. Nettlehorst improved by first shutting off the busing that kept the school open long enough for the ” improvers” to have an open school to change. Nettlehorst’s marketing success may say more about the marketing skills of the neighborhood than anything else. We all know wealthier kids equal better test scores which tell us essentially nothing when a certain number of kids in any school are above the poverty line.. Good marketing does not equal good teaching.

    Closing poorer kids out of a school ins’t improving it- it’s gentrifying.
    I would say as a parent in CPS ignore the marketing and lists and articles and look carefully for yourself to see if a school really meets your needs and your kid’s needs. Schools have distinct cultures and looking carefully at what any place really offers is far better than applying to the top schools in Chicago magazine’s or any other publication’s round up. Being at a school because you bought the schtick and didn’t really pay attention isn’t going to help your child in the long run if they really don’t fit in the first place.

    ps. I think in New England they think it’s tacky to name drop your kid’s potential colleges too.

  • 151. SutherlandParent  |  October 24, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    @150 Bookworm, I think I get what you’re saying–I guess I just don’t see parents being swayed by marketing to the degree that you do. Good marketing doesn’t equal good teaching, but neither does a lack of marketing. Automatically choosing the neighborhood school doesn’t guarantee a good fit, any more than signing up for the trendy or expensive school does. In an environment like Chicago, with a multitude of educational options, schools that want to be welcoming to incoming students will not be terribly successful if they do nothing to invite people in.

    And “marketing” is probably not the right term, anyway. When it comes to high schools in CPS, I’m not thinking about slick YouTube videos and glossy brochures. I’m thinking of publicizing events, actively reaching out into the community and encouraging people to come into the school and develop a connection.

  • 152. Respondtoklm  |  October 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Klm–I am African-American and a member of Jack and Jill and I am not an anti-ghetto snob. How does name calling further the debate and sharing that goes on in good faith on this blog? Your name calling and your unsupported comments about MPHS–to quote your remarks @88, “This can’t help things.”

  • 153. katy  |  October 24, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    @151- okay didn’t MPHS Mom state that many neighborhood elementary schools did not bother to invite morgan park to their HS Fairs? So it isn’t as if morgan is skipping opportunities to attend these events. They are not being included. Think about it, when was the last time Skinner, Disney, etc. invited MPHS to their HS Fair, the same way they invite Payton, Young, Jones, etc? The problem does not seem to rest on morgan park, it seems as if cps elementary schools are treating them differently. Maybe this is because the schools “know their parents”. I don’t know.

    Also, did anyone other than cpso ask about the 90/90/90 school? Seems telling. I would think that especially on this blog parents would be all over a school doing so great. Yet, silence. I wonder why.

  • 154. frank  |  October 24, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    90/90/90—I would venture the opinion that two of those 90% are a red flag to many parents. Can you guess which two?

  • 155. cpsobsessed  |  October 24, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    I didn’t actually ask about it — it seemed implied that the poster didn’t want to name it (or they would have.). But I’m on right now and uh….holy *#$@…Chopin is mind boggling. I need a case study on that place.

    65percent of 8th grades are exceeding standards. 95percent for the school meet/exceed. 55percent of the school exceeding.
    Attendance 97percent.

    269 students.
    79 percent Hispanic.
    Take THAT UNO!

    Oddly it says that only 11percent are ELL.

    It’s in the Ukranian Village – hipster central.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 156. frank  |  October 24, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Thank you bookworm—–gentrification (pushing the poor kids) out is not the solution. I remember once when Mayer wasn’t so prized of a school. Now since the clientele has changed everyone is beating down the door to get in. Look at the Lincoln situation…..demanding a 30 million dollar school when both Alcott and Manierre is .8 of a mile and 1.2 miles away with a combined 500 empty seats. But oh no….our kids can’t go there (maybe Alcott but not Manierre)….It makes more sense to keep current Lincoln PK-5, and make Manierre or Alcott 6-8 grades. They are (1 mile apart) roughly the same distance that the new school would be.

  • 157. frank  |  October 24, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    cpso- I think the poster was making a point that most would not care once 90% low income was mentioned. Sort of proved the point. Given the history of the parents on this blog (they -ME included jump at the latest wonderful new school or hidden gem. SO the million dollar question is why not this time?

    Actually LSMom asked also I believe.

  • 158. cpsobsessed  |  October 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    I would contend that a little marketing goes a long way. Parents went to nettlehorst, waters, coonley, pierce, etc when those schools were all low income. But someone needs to make the case for it. For better or worse, that’s the way it works…

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  • 159. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    #155~CPSO~I believe the school that is 90/90/90 is Frazier International Magnet School. That is the only one I can think of.

  • 160. sue  |  October 24, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Frazier IB Magnet—what the??? 97% meets/exceeds in math!! They are on my list (I don’t care if my DD is the only little blond kid in the school). —-Joking, but seriously have to plan a visit.

    Better than Disney scores!

  • 161. frank  |  October 24, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    You made me laugh sue. Maybe my little red headed boy will join yours seeing as how Fraizer is kicking Disney’s butt.

  • 162. SutherlandParent  |  October 24, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    @153, as I responded to MPHS MOM, by the time many kids in this neighborhood are in 7th grade, they have a good idea of where they are already interested in applying to high school. So it’s a bit late at that point to start. I think it’s a terrible thing that MPHS isn’t invited. But my school doesn’t even host a high school fair, so it’s kind of a moot point. Even if MPHS is invited to all the high school fairs, they still wouldn’t reach Sutherland kids if that’s the only outreach they do.

    The point of CPSO starting this thread was to discuss how more Tier 3/Tier 4 parents are considering some neighborhood high schools, and the concerns that might raise. I believe the concerns some parents have around MPHS are not unique to us but could also apply to north side high schools as well. Anyone from Senn or considering Senn? Lake View? Amundsen? Anyone, anyone? 🙂

  • 163. cpsobsessed  |  October 24, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Frazier – also very low student population. Maybe that helps? I really would love to find out what’s going on there – hopefully CPS is on the case.

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  • 164. cpsobsessed  |  October 24, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    @Sutherland – I think that’s a great point. All the neighborhood high schools are awaiting that tipping point where parents (tier 3-4) will just say “yes.”. I’d say that 1-2 years ago, all had similar raps as MPHS. Neighborhood HS was just a big NO. Mind are opening as the next step.

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  • 165. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Oh CPSO (#163) ~you’ve realized one of their best features for having a gr8 school~small classes.

  • 166. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 24, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    And I dare to say that yes CPS know is fully aware of how Frazier gets the scores they do, but don’t look for CPS to replicate it at anytime.

  • 167. cpsobsessed  |  October 24, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    What?? Why???

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  • 168. frank  |  October 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    @ 166–The same way DIsney and Drummond gets theirs.

  • 169. local  |  October 24, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Huh? How? What’s the secret sauce?!

  • 170. local  |  October 24, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    MPHS used to be 50/50 black/white (mid 1970s?). Once it got to about 70/30, it seemed the tipping point was reached and the school quickly moved to almost 100% black in the HS. Then the school enrolled many out-of-neighborhood students (some who were displaced from their neighborhood HS closing), from what I heard. At this point, even the white sped students go to Catholic and private schools rather than MPHS, and some just go straight for their GED as their “last resort.” I’m wondering if there are any white students from the MPHS area who would be willing to be an extreme minority there. I’m sure it could be a great school for that student. Fall 2013 could be a good time to enroll.

  • 171. Christine Whitley  |  October 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Frazie Magnetr: 98% Black/98% low income/93% met or exceeded state standards.

    Let’s take a look at class size, shall we?
    K – 21
    2nd – 18
    5th – 24
    8th – 21

  • 172. frank  |  October 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    ” even the white sped students go to Catholic and private schools rather than MPHS, and some just go straight for their GED as their “last resort.”


  • 173. local  |  October 24, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Yes, sad on many levels.

  • 175. James  |  October 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Soxsideirish4 #148 —

    What an oddly defensive reaction. Did I say something bad about WY? It’s a super school – and I guess its math team is pretty good too. That’s great. Real glad you and your child are happy there.

    By the way, there isn’t any chance whatsoever that your child will have all AP classes next year. No high school anywhere allows a kid to take 8 AP classes in a single year. Generally, two or three is considered standard for advanced kids, four is a pretty tough, but doable, load for a few kids, and maybe five can be approved for the most ambitious kids. But every class an AP? No chance.

  • 176. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 24, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    #175~James~you are right you cant take 8 AP classes but I ‘think’ you can take 5. Although my son has decided to take 4 AP and 1 honors class instead of the AP Language and hold off until senior yr. Actually James, I think 3 AP classes are ALOT especially when you play sports. He needs a break…he needs more time just to be a kid.

    I never had that kind of determination (or smarts) in me. If I had to get up at 6am to be to school at 8am and take a train downtown, I would have dropped out. He’s much more focused than I ever was and is looking into getting into a good college…hopefully one where we don’t have to incur a large sum of loans.

  • 177. cpsobsessed  |  October 24, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Interesting about the difference of opinion on Lincoln.
    There will never be an education topic that people agree on, I swear.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 178. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  October 25, 2012 at 9:09 am

    @ 171 Where did you get those class sizes for Frazier? The CPS ISAT file and 20th day membership for AY2012 shows

    Gr. #20th day #tested (ISAT reading)
    K 20 –
    1 26 –
    2 26 –
    3 24 23
    4 25 24
    5 26 25
    6 26 25
    7 22 22
    8 25 25

    These sizes are still lower than at most CPS schools, but only K and 7th grade are at or near 20 students.

  • 179. klm  |  October 25, 2012 at 9:17 am


    I didn’t mean to offend. I was just trying to express the idea that the people who told me these things were not narrow-minded people against the idea of their kids going to school with low-income kids. In the spirit that some people like to imagine that upper-middle class people (black, white, Latino, Asian or whatever) fear low-income people in their kids’ schools, I was trying to point out that this was not the case. Jack and Jill means upper-middle class black people in the minds of most people (although I bet most people have never heard of it), right or wrong.

    My spouse was in Jack and Jill. I know it’s not about snobbery, but it is an organisation created by and for mainly upper-middle class people (nothing wrong with that –same with the Junior League, DAR, etc), hence the connotations. People say things like “Gold Coast snob”, “Lake Forest snob” etc., as casual, good-humored banter in most cases. Yes, I’ve heard the phrase ‘Junior League snob’ (though the Junior Leaguers I’ve know were not). It’s the upper-middle class protect-my-kids-from-bad-elements casual connotation I was trying to put forth, not denigrating an organisation. Sorry. It was not my intention to offend anybody.

    Also, I learned the phrase “Jack and Jill snob”, from my spouse and my spouse’s siblings. They were frequently teasing one another by saying things like, “God, you’re such a Jack and Jill snob!”

  • 180. *Comment Deleted*  |  October 25, 2012 at 9:26 am


  • 181. James  |  October 25, 2012 at 9:36 am

    @ SoxSideIrish4 #176 —

    I agree. Three APs is quite a workload, and it definitely demonstrates sufficient rigor and seriousness about academics to colleges, especially if 4s and 5s are achieved on the year-end test. I guess four AP classes is doable if your kid is a genius or doesn’t want to do anything besides study. But I think that the latter option is a crazy view of what high school should be. These kids need to play sports, be active in a club, have other activities outside of school, and find time to just relax.

  • 182. SutherlandParent  |  October 25, 2012 at 9:39 am

    @180–that was totally unnecessary and not appropriate for this blog.

  • 183. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  October 25, 2012 at 9:45 am

    A few things to keep in mind.

    1) When the PARCC tests role out in 2015(?), scores compared to the ISAT are going to change since the CCSS standards will be applied

    2) CPS only reports meets/exceeds percentages. They are not reporting the median scores and the corresponding percentile. It is possible that in many cases, a school has higher median scores than one that that has higher meets/exceeds percentages. This data should also be provided for the subcategories (% exceeds, % only meets, % not-meets) by grade. And the range of scores by grade would be useful. A parent would presumably prefer a school that clusters around the medians rather than one that has a broad range.

    3) The degree to which the school teaches to the test is not known. Few schools claim that they teach to the test, but this does not mean that they don’t do so in other ways. For example, the three Montessori schools do not in their classrooms, but homework in the form of Spectrum workbooks primarily trains students to respond to ISAT questions. And these books are awful — questions are badly worded and some of the answers are incoherent.

    4) What you really want to know is what goes on in the classroom daily. If students take math or spelling tests in the class (we don’t do this at Montessori programs), you should ask for a sample. What are few nights homework like? If they can’t give you that material, walk away. For the most part, school tours are not very helpful in this aspect. I find it easier to get a handle on English instruction because a list of the novels, plays, stories, and poems that children will read is easier for me to relate to than what I did in 6th grade math class (all I remember is calculating the volume of cuboid shapes, and learning that cubes maximize volume while minimizing surface area).

    5) Attend an LSC, a Friends of…, PTO meeting. You can learn a lot about the nature of the school from one of those, and you can meet parents and talk more with them than you would during or after a school tour.

  • 184. cpsmama  |  October 25, 2012 at 9:55 am

    @James & SSI4- I know of several students at WY who’ve taken 5 APs at once- most were former AC students. It is doable if you aren’t doing (m)any other activities and you balance the APS (some are known to be easier than others- at WY, anyway)

    I believe students at NS (& maybe WP & Jones) can take up to 6 APs per year. Insane if you ask me. And totally unnecessary.

  • 185. local  |  October 25, 2012 at 9:56 am

    For white folks who might want some background on Jack and Jill and one stripe of black middle class experience, etc.:

  • 186. OutsideLookingIn  |  October 25, 2012 at 10:05 am

    @SSI4 #176 – a sincere kudos to you and your son. Very nice to hear about a bright, hardworking kid whose parents ensure he doesn’t burn himself out in his teens. Balance is healthy.

  • 187. Peirce parent  |  October 25, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Re: marketing…. I think the word should be “communication”.

    My experience has led me to believe that if there isn’t a flow of information about the offerings, quality, experiences at a certain (neighborhood) school then the silence (or lack of communication) tends to invite negative thoughts/assumptions about the school. (BTW, I think this applies to the larger CPS system as well. CPS offerings/programs/policies are assumed “broken/negative” until proven otherwise.)
    The communication vacuum invites the creation of “urban myths and legends” which in turn tend to inform of the reputation of a school, its teachers, students, etc. The urban myths are often based on an actual event or constituent disgruntlement (read: parents)…. but over time take on a life of their own.

    Here’s an actual example : I have two neighbors that often relay incorrect and dated info about our school – one says that there are gang members in attendance. Yes, about 15 years ago, I understand, there were families with gang affiliations that sent their children to school.
    In another example, a different neighbor tells folks that the school requires Spanish language skills because when his children were young the Kinder classes *were* (in the early ’80’s) bilingual /Spanish/English.
    I’m actually reticent to post these stories as that is part of my urban myth theory… the repetition of stories tends to make them real & current.

    And yes, instructional practice does indeed make a difference (and should the ultimate determinant as to a schools reputation)…. but folks don’t typically dig to find those stories out…. for example:
    One neighborhood school (90% free/reduced) nearby sent 8 kids to NSCP last year & its chess team beat a well-known Classical school in the city Chess Championship.
    Another school at the northern reaches of our city (90+% free/reduced) has an aquaponics program. THey raise fish at school! These stories aren’t *marketing* it’s just finding a way to communicate the good things too.

  • 188. RL Julia  |  October 25, 2012 at 10:39 am

    @183- if you want to see the ISATS parsed every which way, look at the individual school’s report card. Everything is broken out in detail in those reports (Google: ISBE School Report Card and click on the first result) – the ISAT breakout starts around page 9.

  • 189. RL Julia  |  October 25, 2012 at 10:46 am

    @ 187- Peirce Parent. Thank you. This is why it is so important to visit schools. The question needs to be not so much – how is the school educating all it’s children as much as how will this school educate my student – and that question cannot be well answered by looking at demographics and test scores – the same way looking at your child as a demographic or test score doesn’t tell the whole story about them. This is particularly relevant in the earlier grades.

  • 190. Family Friend  |  October 25, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Frazier is a contract school – operates outside normal CPS constraints. Frazier actually advertises itself, in certain contexts, as a charter school.

  • 191. CPS TBPK momma  |  October 25, 2012 at 11:09 am

    There are two Frazier schools that are located in the same building–one is a magnet school, and one is a contract school. The school that is being discussed here is Frazier Magnet–not the contract school.

  • 192. IBobsessed  |  October 25, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Peirce Parent

    Do you know any students or parents of in the upper grades of the IB program at Peirce? Are you willing to discuss it on or offlist? Looking to perhaps transfer in my 7th grader next year.

  • 193. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 25, 2012 at 11:32 am

    #186~OutsideLookingin~Thank you. I really appreciate your kind words.

  • 194. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  October 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    @188 That gives good breakdowns of percentages by ethnicity, sex, and free-lunch status, across the grades. And distinguishes academic warnings from not meets. But again, it does not give the actual scores, just percentages in the categories.

    The median and range of the scores is important but not released.
    A school with 20% in performance level 2 (not meeting) that have median scores close to the meets cut-point would better than one with 25% but closer to performance level 1 (warning) cut point.

  • 195. mom2  |  October 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I am personally thrilled with the progress at Lakeview High School, love the new principal and programs and hope the upward trend continues until my child is ready for high school. Keep up the great work!

  • 196. RL Julia  |  October 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    @194 – can you just look at your own kid’s ISAT score printout thingy and just extrapolate?

  • 197. mom2  |  October 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Family Friend – thank you so much for your post about colleges and financial aid, etc. No matter how much research I try to do online, I think I’ve learned more from you and hope you and others will continue to share knowledge and experiences with this. I have a junior and am totally freaked out about paying for college and picking a school that will help in having a successful future.

  • 198. Esmom  |  October 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Marketing vs. communication…Two sides of the same coin. Especially in this day and age when we have more channels to do it than ever before. Like this blog 🙂

  • 199. klm  |  October 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    @Everybody RE: gangs, kids having kids in HS, drugs, etc.

    I think we all know sex and drugs are everywhere’s there’s a teen population. It was that way when I was a teen and it’ll be that way when my grand kids are in HS. It’s totally creepy to think of kids doing these things, (especially our own —ewwwww!), but if we all look back at our own HS experiences, a little common sense and context is in order. I knew lots of kids that were casual drug users in HS, but ended up doing well in life. I never did drugs (I didn’t have the money even if I wanted to), but for some reason some of the smartest, high-GPA kids I knew at my excellent Catholic HS (one went to Yale) weren’t really into drinking, but occasionally did drugs, even cocaine. Of course, as a parent and middle-age adult, something like that would upset me to no end if I knew it were happening at my kid’s HS. But at the time… was just a fact of life.

    That said, I think so much depends on where one grows up. If one grew up in Winnetka,went to New Trier, etc., yes bad stuff happened. Some kids really screwed up and had to go do the worst, almost unmentionable thing for a kid from the North Shore……go to community college. (Noooooh!!!!)

    However, the general direction of peoples’ lives that went to NT and made wrong decisions usually didn’t include getting shot, dealing on street corners, prison, parole, open pimping and whoring. becoming a teen mother as a means to get one’s own place in the projects or crappy Section 8 housing (and living the rest of your on food stamps and a chronic hand-to-mouth existence). Some of us lived in places like that, so we may be a little too paranoid and gun-shy. I know and admit freely that I am, sometimes. Making the wrong decisions in more challenging socioeconomic places means almost never being able to change directions.

    So, am I a little too preoccupied with teenage parenthood and anti-social behavior happening around my kids? Yes. My spouse sometimes jokes (but is half-serious) that my “PTSD” from my childhood affects my outlook on these things.

    As for the gang issue, well people have simply got to realize how much many of the neighborhoods in Chicago have changed (OK, “gentrified” if one wants to use that word). Sometimes perception lags behind reality because the change happened so recently. Even Lincoln Park used to be Latin King gang territory up until the late 1970s. Armitage was genuinely dangerous. I knew people that grew up in Lincoln Park that were never allowed to go west of Halstead, so dangerous it was. Yes, Lane Tech used to have gangs, more anti-social behavior, etc., but that all went out with the 90s.

    As an anecdotal story, some people may recall the concern many parents from Edison RGC had when it was forced to move from its stand-alone site to a building to be shared with a middle school(!). In Albany Park (!!). A neighborhood with a history of gangs (!!!). There are metal detectors at the entrance (!!!! –gimme a valium, please!). Well, any Edison Parent will tell you it has not been an issue in any way. The kids from the middle school are lovely. The security is great and the environment is totally peaceful and feels nothing but safe and orderly. The building is newer, super clean and ,if anything, a real improvement. .

    People need to worry about actual, “current” gang violence and anti-social behavior (or rather the lack thereof) at their kids’ schools, not about something they were told by somebody who’s friend went to school there 20 years ago. Things change. Sometimes even for the better.

    Sex and drugs and all that stuff that scares us parents are a fact of life for teens –just as they were in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s..
    It’s how we prepare our own kids to handle these things that’s most important.

  • 200. local  |  October 25, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    This make me kind of worried:

    (from District 299 blog)

    “Rodestvan said 4 hours, 27 minutes ago

    “In addition to the Substance report the Tribune also reported on CPS delaying a vote on the amended budget. See,0,2808863.story

    Let me add this, I thought the comments made by Board member Henry S. Bienen at the meeting in relation to a power point presentation made by Tim Cawley were correct and pointed to the significant fiscal decline of CPS. These comments were not reported on, nor were comments made by Board member Penny Pritzker which basically supported those of Bienen.

    CPS is entering what I would characterize as a deteriorating downward spiral. It is now rolling debt without having any reserve fund. As someone who was once a risk manager I can tell you this behavior sends out warning signs to lenders. Aside from the pending increased pension payments CPS will have to make, CPS also faces some uncertainty in relation to state funding due to the overall fiscal crisis in Illinois and if sequestration takes place federal funding.

    Up to now there has not been an honest discussion at CPS relating to a solution. In particular over how much is anything school closures would save CPS. Each particular school closure may have to be looked at seperately to determine whether or not it might save money. The of closures are dependent on the situation of the receiving school, not only in terms of avaiable space, but also in terms of whether or not additional teachers would have to be hired to absorb the students.

    Then you have the complexity of the closed building, if you mothball it that costs money, if you tear it down that also costs money, if you turn it over to a charter and the facilities payments made by the charter are not equal to the plant operations costs that also costs money. CPS has to pick its poison. All of this needs to be publicly discussed and understood. There is no public understanding of these issues and CPS has not attempted to inform communities of these complex issues.

    Rod Estvan”
    (this was posted at District 299 blog)

  • 201. HSObsessed  |  October 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Re: what Christopher @183 was saying – I agree you need to look beyond the Meets or Exceeds category. The school could be at 100% Meets or Exceeds, with every child only just meeting standards. This isn’t bad (although some say the ISAT standards are pretty low, so meeting them is not a huge achievement), it’s just better IMHO to have a range of abilities in the school, with at least a good chunk of kids at the Exceeds standard, to raise the bar for everyone in the classroom, including the teacher and peer students.

  • 202. HSObsessed  |  October 25, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    I want to give a shout out to the CPS OAE people for this year’s high school guide (it’s a PDF under the School Profiles link below). For the first time EVER, it includes charter high schools. In prior years, they were not included, which doesn’t make sense from a “customer’s” viewpoint, who just wants to know about all the pubic high school options out there. In addition, every single piece of data on the one-page summary for each high school is REALLY useful, from the full name of the school, nickname, neighborhood, street coordinates, size of the population, average ACT score, average graduation rate, college enrollment rate, list of foreign languages offered, sports offered, number of AP classes, programs available and application method. The only suggestion I would have is that you (I know you OAE people are reading this!) shouldn’t use both “Mandarin” and “Chinese” as descriptors for that language, as it may be confusing to people who don’t know that Mandarin Chinese is the only dialect CPS is teaching. Very minor detail.

  • 203. Family Friend  |  October 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Mom2 — Try not to freak out about college. If you put in the effort, you can find something that will be good for your kid and will prepare him/her for a happy and satisfying life. Try not to let either one of you go into excessive debt. Be careful about assuming there is only one definition of success. I think that’s a prime risk of pushing for the name brand schools. That, and bragging rights for parents. I know several people who went to small, unknown, no-name schools who are millionaires many times over. And I have a friend who went to the Lab School from pre-K through 12, Harvard undergraduate, and Harvard Law, and turned her back on the nasty, pressured life of Big Law to do work that pays much less but gives her great satisfaction. Most of your child’s future success, on whatever terms, will depend on what happens before college, not which college she attends. My first daughter attended Georgetown. When we went to the parent orientation session as we dropped her off, the speaker told us that some people assume that once you start at a school like Georgetown, it’s like stepping on an escalator — you will be lifted, effortlessly, to the top. He cautioned that it’s not like that — each student, especially beginning with college, is responsible for his or her own life. And parents have to step back and let them handle it.

    My Georgetown grad is not lighting up the corporate world, but she is happy and productive. After graduation, she spent three years in the Peace Corps, then went to grad school, borrowed too much money, and finally (big sigh of relief), just landed a job as a school counselor. Did it help to have Georgetown on her resume? Maybe. But her work experience, in Africa and while she was getting her masters, probably mattered more. She is doing what she wants to do, and can probably pay for it (again, big sigh).

    When we say, “I don’t care what my kids do, I just want them to be happy,” we need to mean it. College may help them earn a living, but it won’t make them happy. That is ultimately in their hands.

  • 204. alcott mom again  |  October 25, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Will Alcott High School will improve very much very fast? Yes? No? Why is it so bad right now with so many children needing high schools?

  • 205. Bookworm  |  October 25, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    I don’t think marketing is the other side of the coin on communication. Explaining to a neighbor at the playground that your kid doesn’t need to speak spanish in the current Pierce kindergarden isn’t marketing. It’s information.

    I think that the pressure to market in CPS degrades the quality of information that parents take in and use when looking at schools. Using a chart to narrow down your school choices will only get you so far. High Schools area good case in point especially right now. Most of us are so pressured to make the transition be it
    at 6th, 7th or at 9th grade to the high school or pre-high school option that any kernel of real information is very useful.

    I am totally leery of CPS’s marketing strategies in terms of growing new high schools through “marketing”. They are as aware as anyone that parents are basically lemmings looking to jump into whatever they are convinced is the best new place. I don’t want to grow a new high school for CPS. I already grew an elementary school now filling with parents that have no idea why they are there in the first place half of the time now that it is tolerable for hyper upwardly mobile families.

    Really successful schools don’t need to market themselves. My kid’s school never marketed itself at all. The teachers are mostly the same as before it just got balanced economically and parents with enough time to support the change showed up for six years to help. That said the sought after pressure has begun to destroy that balance. Many new parents are more interested in simply writing a check. Schools don’t improve on check writers. They need active hands- on involvement to change culture.

    I am not paying attention to any CPS marketing schemes while looking at high schools. We’re looking thoughtfully with my kid at what will meet our needs both in terms of where we want to go from high school and what will work for them to be really ready- not at the new whatsit program CPS is using to hype up a school like Lakeview or etc.

    In the short run neighborhood high schools in Chicago will not be able to improve on the neighborhood students alone. Nettlehorst actively sought out of neighborhood families for the pay pre-school for years until they could survive on the local families.

    Neighborhood high schools seeking to quickly improve will need to draw a critical mass of competitive students from outside of the boundary where ever it is for five or six years before shutting those same builder class families out later. Each improving high school in the next four to six years will be competing for those students and active hands on- not check writing and dropping off families- at the outset.
    The high schools that will succeed will have developed a deep culture to grow– you can market till the cows come home but that doesn’t create depth or true change. Families that respond to marketing are shoppers- they don’t tough out the growing years which is what it will take to make better schools anywhere in Chicago. Parents from Se schools by and large have not had to make these kinds of changes happen in their schools. It will be interesting to see what they can make of the long term work of creating good high schools outside of the se system.

  • 206. Many more years...  |  October 25, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Families that respond to marketing are shoppers- they don’t tough out the growing years which is what it will take to make better schools anywhere in Chicago. Parents from Se schools by and large have not had to make these kinds of changes happen in their schools. It will be interesting to see what they can make of the long term work of creating good high schools outside of the se system.

    Wow!- “Like”

  • 207. cpsobsessed  |  October 26, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Why would it be up to SE parents? I think most elementary SE parents are sort of assuming there is a SEHS in their child’s future. I see more neighborhood parents starting to circle around the neighborhood high schools as the Tier writing on the walls becomes clear. And many of these parents HAVE worked hard on building neighborhood programs. I think the challenge is that many are now burnt out from it….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 208. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 26, 2012 at 7:29 am

    #207~CPSO~I think SE parents will be involved if they want a good neighborhood school. Just bc your kids go to SEES, doesn’t guarantee them a seat in a SEHS and if you don’t have the means for a good private or Catholic school, SE parents will be the ones to get involved and make it happen. I know many kids who went to SEES but didn’t get into SEHS~not enough slots. I’ve been lucky as we have a high performing neighborhood elementary school, but it’s usually the same ppl who work hard for their school to keep it that way. As you know, it’s really a family affair for kids in SEES and those parents who worked hard at that school may work hard at a neighborhood high school to get it to where their child could attend. That process starts long b4 they are entertaining high school thoughts. In my circle, parents just send their kids to Catholic schools when their kids don’t get into SEHS (and I’m referring to kids who are also coming from SEES). I think (and I could be wrong) the City parents who can’t afford private/Catholic HS will move if their child doesn’t get into an SEHS or have a high performing neighborhood high school as a safety net.

  • 209. Esmom  |  October 26, 2012 at 7:50 am

    “The high schools that will succeed will have developed a deep culture to grow– you can market till the cows come home but that doesn’t create depth or true change.”

    I agree that this is true. I personally have not bought into most of the marketing hype myself. My point was that that is what marketing is all about — so much hype with often little depth. I do this for a living so believe me I am familiar with the emptiness of many claims for every product or service you can think of.

    But in the case of CPS, often times the depth does follow — for example, the heavily marketed TBPK program that we “took a chance on” (not because of the marketing but because we stumbled across it through a friend who had once been a teacher at the school)10 years ago had 7 kids in the class the first year. We loved the tiny class size and the dedication and passion of the teachers.

    Now this program has numerous classes and waiting lists. And the school has become a neighborhood gem after being dismissed as unworthy for neighborhood families. And rightly so.

  • 210. HSObsessed  |  October 26, 2012 at 8:25 am

    @204 re: Alcott HS — I’d love to know the story of how Alcott HS came about; somehow I missed that history even though I’ve been interested in CPS for about 10 years and live in the area. But in any case, I have to agree Alcott HS is off to a rough start. From the beginning I thought it was odd to set up a high school with 90 kids in each class, 360 in the school. That just seems way small for a high school. The school building is out in public transit no-man’s land, hard to attract kids citywide. I don’t think they’ve done a great job communicating/marketing to the public to attract a high level of candidate, and their test scores reflect it. Alcott 8th graders who live within the (tiny) Alcott attendance boundaries have LPHS as their neighborhood HS. LPHS is closer in proximity, has way more selection in classes, activities, etc. Just some thoughts I’ve had, as I’ve wondered the same thing.

  • 211. cpsobsessed  |  October 26, 2012 at 8:31 am

    I think the goal of marketing is a school is to get parents to take a look who wouldn’t have done so before. Nobody’s trying to fleece anyone and I don’t think schools are using marketing to trick anyone. But school administrators are notoriously bad marketers. As they should be. They focus on their job and it often doesn’t occur to them to tout what they’re doing well. When I went the lake view open house last year I was blown away by the languages and other offerings. Amundsen has a great band program. Things like that help parents feel better about the schools. But someone needs to get the word out.
    The marketing also comes into play in getting families to take a chance on these schools – letting parents know about safety, etc. You might call it “information” but I think it’s also “marketing.”. But not in a bad way. Families need to be sold on these schools a little to take the leap.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 212. HS Mom  |  October 26, 2012 at 9:02 am

    @211 – CPSO, I completely agree with you. If parents have all these fears, apprehensions, misinterpretations (real or not) the realities need to be made known about the good things and great opportunities going on. Word of mouth does not do it justice. Parents are not “lemmings” and many families will have multiple options and sincerely look for best fit.

    BTW – our school welcomes any and all “check writing” parents 🙂

  • 213. Mayfair Dad  |  October 26, 2012 at 9:31 am

    @ 200. Rod Estvan is one of the smartest guys out there re: CPS. This is a succinct – and accurate – overview of the situation. Which is why further privitization of public schools (more charters) is inevitable.

  • 214. cpsobsessed  |  October 26, 2012 at 9:46 am

    @MFD – I agree. Rod E has a way of succinctly getting to the heart of the matter.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 215. RL Julia  |  October 26, 2012 at 10:34 am

    #210 – I don’t know the whole story on Alcott and I am only going on piecemeal stuff but this is what I’ve pieced together over the years – largely based on the Audubon High School proposal which was heavily inspired by the Alcott model.

    Sometime in 2007, Alcott approached CPS with the idea of creating a K-12 program – rolling their current elementary school program through grade 12 (Odgen was another such school). I would suspect that some of the impetus to do this had to do with the increased difficulty of getting into SEHS’s and the lack of small school options for Alcott students – and parents clamoring for this. The problem is parents are a fickle group. I imagine that they all want to have Alcott as an option for their kids – but as a back-up – not necessarily as a first choice – this ultimately puts Alcott at a bit of a disadvantage because it cannot know how many spaces it has available until late into the application process – and also, to be perfectly honest, the kids who stay at Alcott may be as a group, not the strongest students to begin with (although I am sure there are some exceptions). While Ogden went with an IB model which because of the IB standards can promote itself as a program held to a standard higher than CPS, Alcott’s academic program is much less well defined. Another problem Alcott might have encountered was finding adequate space for the school – it is currently located in Roscoe Village – far away from the Alcott elementary school itself (ironic since Audubon was looking for space in Roscoe Village for their proposed high school and was having a hard time finding something in the neighborhood.
    In looking at Alcott’s school report card, it looked decent enough. In what way is the school struggling – and does any one know whatever happened to Audubon’s high school proposal? Was it ever realized?

  • 216. CPS Parent  |  October 26, 2012 at 10:47 am

    I’m a big Rod E fan as well but a few things to keep in mind. Rod isn’t in the hot seat having to make the hard decisions. Money has to come from somewhere and that reserve wasn’t doing anyone any good except for, theoretically, keeping future CPS backed bonds at a lower interest rate. CPS has a predictable income stream and could probably tap into City reserves if needed. Not having that money available also cranks up the pressure on the State and the Feds to provide support.

    Regarding school consolidations – where the money is really saved is in the elimination of non-teaching staff salaries which Rod doesn’t mention. Probably a half to one million dollars per school per year – principal, AP(s), custodian(s), engineer(s), security, My assumption is that a reduction in teachers will not be the result and I believe the new CTU CPS CBA specifies that teachers move with students in the case of consolidations.

  • 217. Bookworm  |  October 26, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I refer to Se parents much because that is part of the origin of this site and many parents are se and magnet parents. No one turns down a check. but in the early years of turning a school it takes families with plenty of time to.. go on the new field trips, give teachers the time they need to do the essential work that grows change, staff the better science or history fair wit excellent judges, recruit the energy from outside the community with new skills to give to a richly mixed economic school community that may lack parent artists or scientists, write grants and get them done etc. Checks alone don’t get this work done. Parents and teachers together do. If you are improving a school you can’t just focus on your own student- you must create a richer environment around every kid by making the whole place better or your student suffers in the less academic environment.
    Also no parent in Chicago can bank on their child se or no having a perfect test day each time which is basically what it takes to get into schools based on exam rubrics for acceptance when our competitive students basically have the same gpas. Your se kid is competing with my a plus average kid on a level playing field. My kid earned his A’s just as legitimately as yours.
    Nor are the kids at se schools the only students prepared and able to be accepted. A much much larger pool of supported students has entered CPS in the last eight years and these students are not clustered in the Se schools alone at all. Nor are they any less prepared to hit their marks on a difficult test.
    Someone is going to have to build better high schools and it isn’t done by good faculty and admin alone as any truly improved school will gladly tell you. Or you can go to a charter…..

  • 218. CSF Parents  |  October 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Everybody! We have a new survey over at Please check it out.

    You mentioned safety as a concern in your post…we actually have a question about that on our survey. It’s something many parents are concerned about.

    Wish we knew the answer to your question…but our thought is that parents need to start speaking up as a whole group — all of us together. Our surveys are a start.

  • 219. Esmom  |  October 26, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    @215. The last I heard about Audubon, maybe a year or even two years ago, was that they were going to rent space from Gordon Tech for the H.S. and Gordon Tech reneged. And then somehow the whole project got put on the back burner.

    Now I think it’s safe to say that the project is dead considering the major players from Audubon that were behind the proposal are no longer even there anymore.

  • 220. Peter  |  October 26, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Esmom, where are those Audubon players?

  • 221. Esmom  |  October 26, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    @220, Principal John Price was promoted to some “regional” position within CPS and the child whose parent who was helping fund it no longer attends.

  • 222. Esmom  |  October 26, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I meant to attach this link. The article is now about two years old. A look at the comments shows that the community seemed to be a bit divided over it:

  • 223. HSObsessed  |  October 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    @215 RL Julia, I agree with your further thoughts. I’m basing my opinion on Alcott’s 2012 9th grade Explore score of 14.5. The citywide average is 14.8 and to give some comparison numbers for non-SE schools, Ogden 9th graders posted 15.0, Taft 15.5, Noble UIC 15.7, Lake View 15.9, Chi Arts 16.5, The SEHS all have 17.1 or higher (not surprising, given their test-in selection process v. Alcott’s neighborhood + lottery only admission). Explore test scores aren’t everything, and it’s especially hard with smaller numbers of test takers, I do recognize.

  • 224. cpsobsessed  |  October 26, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    I knew someone who was involved in the Alcott plan and my recollection was it was as RLJulia describes – the high school panic early on, idea to start an Alcott high school, but CPS at the time said that unless the HS is located right on the school grounds (or maybe right next door) you can’t make it an exclusive feeder high school. I think that was the hassle with Audubon as well. So for Alcott, to get approval for it, they had to add on this neighborhood and lottery component. Which I think they all thought was fine — but then you end up with who you end up with, which is part neighborhood with some lottery element which probably helps the scores. And as RLJ suggested, anyone who still got into an SE school to good private probably grabbed that opportunity. And the Alcott HS “backup” that parents wanted to have now wasn’t just and Alcott Elementary school continuation — it was a totally different ballgame. When I tried to follow up a couple years ago about why the school seemed to be (score-wise) sort of floundering I couldn’t get a real answer. It seemed like maybe the core group of parents (who spent a LOT of time on this project, I mean they really fought long and hard for it) seemed to have walked away from it. Maybe some stayed involved. Most likely their kids are now at other schools and the HS is on its own with a new set of parents. I realized that is part of the hard part about high schools – parents turn over a lot faster than in the elementaries.

  • 225. cpsobsessed  |  October 26, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    I still haven’t commented on the stanine requirement for Lake View high school. I think that is huge. I’m actually surprised that CPS approved it, as it could very much be a game changer. That is at the level of the Von Steuben scholars program, so the school could function as a sort of “one step below SE” like Von S does.

  • 226. HS Mom  |  October 26, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    @225 CPSO I think its a great idea. It will be interesting to see if they can pull it off. It’s an incentive to out of area kids giving them a greater chance and reward if they show commitment and a desire to participate in the special programs. In addition, upper tier neighborhood families will see it as a plus. I hope they do create the demand and upgrade their programs. Out of area kids should have requirements in order to attend. I don’t know how many out of area applicants they are getting but my guess would be more than there are seats. If so, it would be logical to take kids in terms of qualifications.

  • 227. HSObsessed  |  October 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    FYI I just posted my summary of the Jones College Prep open house even today on the CPSO Forums, if any of you are interested.

  • 228. local  |  October 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Jones openhouse comment: “Principal Powers mentioned briefly that 75 spots would be available for ‘kids that live close by’ through a pre-law or pre-engineering track, and said that more information would be available on their website in mid-November…”

  • 229. local  |  October 27, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Just interesting – a play-by-play of the BOE meeting (from substance, of course):

  • 230. TeachingintheChi  |  October 28, 2012 at 7:07 am

    The principal at Jones – be wary. I have been in places where I heard him speak very negatively about his staff and complain incessantly about his teachers. I remember thinking that I would never want to be in that environment as a teacher. I am distrustful of someone who doesn’t support his faculty.

  • 231. Jones Parent  |  October 28, 2012 at 8:17 am

    @230 your claims are completely unfounded, untrue and completely off-base. The teachers at Jones are phenomenal. They put in 200% for the kids. Part of that devotion stems from their relationship with the principal and the school as a community. The students, parents, teachers and staff have the highest regard for Doctor Powers.

    Jones recently implemented a block schedule because the teachers overwhelming agreed that this would be the best utilization of the new schedule and a better way to implement the rigorous program. Jones has a superb teaching staff that works hand in hand with the principal leading the school in scholarly excellence.

    Any teacher, student/family or administrator at Jones would tell you that they are truly fortunate to be part of the incredibly positive things happening at Jones under Dr. Powers leadership. The challenging programming, the teachers willing (wanting!) to go the distance, the camaraderie that the students have, the access to great colleges, the fun stuff (sports, clubs, parties) and an overall sense of belonging and having a home. That is the reason that is the reason that everyone wants to go to Jones.

  • 232. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  October 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    @231 The assertions in @230 are about statements that the principal allegedly made about his staff and the poster’s dismay at those statements. TeachingintheChi makes no claims about what conditions are like at Jones or the views of students, parents or teachers about the principal. It was the principal’s expressions that are at issue.

  • 233. another CPS mom  |  October 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Does anyone know which (any?) of the SE HS’s have at least 50 percent Black faculty (not including staff)? I can’t find the information on this.

  • 234. teachers complaining about principals  |  October 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    “I heard him speak very negatively about his staff and complain incessantly about his teachers”

    Not likely. gossip.

    Negative comments and personal attacks on specific principals at Lane, Prosser, and other schools that go on here are not contributing to the discussions. I don’t think you would like to see teachers publicly complained about by name without any way to substantiate that claim. Complaining about people by name is not what this site is about. I’m sure I speak for others as well when I say that I find it offensive.

  • 235. local  |  October 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Ah, so now I see how it works…
    (from about the recent Reader story)

    Readers story leaves out context of Hirsch High School… CPS and mayor sabotage Hirsch

    David R. Stone – October 20, 2012

    Last week, the Reader ran one of its longest stories ever comparing the fate of two students, one from Chicago’s Hirsch High School and another from the north shore. The story, which has a great deal of drama, is plausible. But it leaves out most of the context that has created the Hirsch High School Chicago as it exists today.

    As a former teacher at Hirsch Metro H.S., I know that neighborhood public schools can provide a way out of poverty for some students like Jasmeen, but we don’t have enough resources to help everyone. The Chicago Board of Education amplifies the city’s racial and economic disparities by taking resources away from schools such as Hirsch.

    The Reader article correctly reports that at Hirsch, enrollment has withered recently; at the beginning of the year there were only 390 students but doesn’t tell why.

    One reason is that the mayor’s hand-picked Board of Education kills successful programs that encourage students to attend neighborhood schools. At Hirsch, a Radio/TV program was eliminated, and the Board removed state-of-the-art broadcast equipment. The school’s TV studio was turned into an ordinary classroom, where I taught print journalism to Jasmeen and other students. When students asked where all the TV cameras, mixing boards, etc. had gone, I joked that the school was so broke we needed to sell the stuff on E-Bay. Sadly, the students believed me, because the school really was broke. Unlike New Trier, we didn’t have money for new textbooks, and my journalism texts were nearly 10 years old.

    About a year later, Westinghouse High School (which used to be a high enrollment school with many great vocational programs, open to everyone in its West Side neighborhood) was re-opened as a selective enrollment high school in a brand new building, with a state-of-the-art TV studio.

    In Hirsch’s South Side neighborhood, similar shifting of resources led to the creation of charter schools such as Urban Prep and Gary Comer high schools. Their relentless recruiting at the neighborhood elementary schools led to Hirsch’s declining enrollment, as we got fewer entering freshmen.

    Highly motivated students like Jasmeen can succeed anywhere, but others are kicked out or encouraged to drop out of the charter schools. When they come to Hirsch a year or two later, missing credits from the classes they failed, we don’t have enough resources to get them all back on track.

    And our current mayor’s answer is to open more charter schools and shut down neighborhood schools.


  • 236. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 28, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    #231~Jones Parent~I’ve heard several parents complain abt the principal at Jones and how he is NOT going to bat for his kids…just doing what Rahm says. Also, why would Jones who are sending 100% of their kids to college (a major accomplishment) not be able to have seminars, have 60 minute classes, 10 minutes passing periods (that’s 30 minutes to make up the half hour for LONGER day)?

  • 237. RL Julia  |  October 29, 2012 at 10:37 am

    @236 – What exactly is your question about the block scheduling?

  • 238. local  |  October 29, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Groan. Did not mean to copy the entire Reader story in that post. Please excuse.

  • 239. Mather?  |  October 29, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    SoxSideIrish4 —- how can I get as connected as you to find out everything about every school? Let me know as I’d like to be as informed as you. Thank you.

  • 240. parent3  |  October 29, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Very disappointed in the Jones open house. We went three years ago with my other kid and he could not wait to get out of there. My other one (and I) felt the same way on Saturday at this year”s open house. Now, WYHS sure knows how to conduct an open house!

  • 241. HSObsessed  |  October 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    @240 – We went to Jones this past weekend but didn’t go to the WY open house. How was it different, may I ask?

  • 242. cpsobsessed  |  October 29, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Last year hear about parents really loving jones after the open house. What was the key difference? Also, what do 8th graders look for in a school. It’s so hard for me to imagine, having a 9yo right now that he’d ever know what he likes in a school (other than 2 recesses and a good lunch room.).

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 243. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 29, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    #240~Parent3~I’m interested in why you were disappointed w/Jones Open House and #241~IBObsessed~were you pleased w/it?

    #242~CPSO~I think kids know right away if they want to be a part of a school~if it feels right for them and they ‘fit’. I think even at age 9 most kids know~with the science lab, the way a principal, teacher/students present themselves at the open house, a lot of things contribute to the feel of the school and if a child feels ‘at home’ there.

  • 244. mom  |  October 29, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    My son had the same reaction to Jones when we went a few years ago. He liked Joyce Kenner but did not think WYHS was a good fit–he just knew right away but could not really articulate it. To my surprise, he also liked NSCP. He ended up at Lane, which felt “just right” and has been very happy. We prioritized Lane first, which was good because his final score would have gotten into NSCP (much to my surprise). I do think that it is important to pay attention to your gut.

  • 245. parent3  |  October 29, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I really wanted my child to like Jones because on paper, it fits so much of our needs–including accessibility. Second time around, I learned to get to these late so you don’t have to stand in line. At Jones, they were already ripping down signs and were extremely bossy about where we could go and what doors, direction etc to take. The student who gave the presentation was great but it was just not very well organized and I did not get the sense that the students had a clear direction of what their role was–they were standing around talking to themselves . . . We got to WYHS late as well but were very welcomed and the presentation–if really over the top–was very well organized and the tour guides were energetic and nobody was ripping down signs because it was time to go. I got the impression that they would have stayed all night to answer questions about the school.

  • 246. parent  |  October 29, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Happen to notice that the Jones open house went from 11 to 4 and Young started at 2? I know for a fact that the kids work their butts off on these things and the teachers come in on their own time. I’d be a little burnt out by the end of the day too.
    Loved Jones. My daughter liked it better than Northside. We got to see everything and the people were so nice. Had a great conversation with the math teacher who explained their philosophy and emphasis on critical thinking. The teachers seemed laid back yet serious (if that makes any sense). I could see a real positive classroom experience here. The block schedule is an important feature to us. I’m sure my daughter will rank it tops. Talking to the teachers was the main event since a tour of the building would be meaningless. Very excited to hear about the future plans The choir was singing in the hallway, it was great,

    We did not go to Whitney.

  • 247. HSObsessed  |  October 30, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Thanks for the follow up info, parent3. @SouthSideIrish4, it was only my/our second HS open house, so I don’t have a ton to compare, but at Jones the kids seemed bright and eager to help answer questions. They were wearing their Jones shirts, selling muffins and candy for fundraising. One girl told me about how she wants to study accounting in college and loved her experience at Jones. The 20-minute intro session had nice talks with useful information by the principal, freshman counselor, and a senior at Jones, who was incredibly poised for being 17 or 18. Then the facilities looked great, just what an urban high school should be, in a good way. Little things like the cool view from the science lab window right up State Street to Trump Tower were kind of fun. @CPSO as to what 8th graders “look for” — beats me. I think just a vibe as to whether they would fit in or not, whether it’s an overall happy environment. The kids with me were not grilling current Jones students about the breadth and depth of academic offerings.

  • 248. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 30, 2012 at 7:59 am

    #247~HSObsessed~yes that’s what I would expect of Jones’ Open House. They have some top notch kids and academic offerings. I know several kids going there and they are getting a gr8 education. While I’m upset as are the parents of the kids I know that they did not get the seminars the other schools have (and should have), the lost 30 minutes in passing, I think Jones provides a gr8 education.

  • 249. Jones Parent  |  October 30, 2012 at 8:30 am

    @248 – Lost 30 minutes? Petty judgements by a parent who does not have a child that attends the school. How could this possibly upset you?
    Passing under old schedule 32 minutes, under new 30 minutes. Most valued to Jones families: full 7 class schedule allowing quality time with teachers.
    Please, stop speaking for Jones parents. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • 250. JenFG  |  October 30, 2012 at 8:33 am

    #246. WYAC had its open house from 10-noon on the same date. I suspect that most of the students/staff volunteered at both the AC and HS open houses, so it must have been a long day there, too.

  • 251. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 30, 2012 at 8:36 am

    #249~Jones Parent~yes, I do know what I’m talking abt. Jones does NOT have seminars that all SEHS have~they have 60 minute periods and not ONE of my friends who are parents there are happy w/that and have complained. They are most unhappy w/10 minute passing between classes (extra 30 minutes) but they kids need the 10 minutes bc of sitting for 60. Jones has added time not subtracted from passing.

  • 252. another CPS mem  |  October 30, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Jones Parent: What do the Jones parents & students think about the coming neighborhood program?

  • 253. Jones Parent  |  October 30, 2012 at 9:13 am

    @251 – You are absolutely wrong. Anyone with questions on the schedule and offerings at Jones, please check out the website.

    @252 – The new program sounds really good – pre law or pre engineering. It is still selective, kids will need to qualify, and my understanding is that the boundaries will be pretty wide. Sounds like they are trying to create opportunities for high scoring kids that miss cut-offs. Should be a good addition to Jones.

  • 254. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 30, 2012 at 10:47 am

    #253~Jones Parent~I am right. Here’s Jones’ schedule w/10 minute passing in between periods.
    I know ppl who have been at meetings for this and are upset w/the principal who did not get the seminars instead added 5 more minutes during passing, making it 10 minutes between classes~a waste of time to most, but really needed after being in class for 60 minutes.

    Check out the principal ~who he is and where he came from!

  • 255. James  |  October 30, 2012 at 11:03 am

    @ Jones Parent —

    Instead of just sniping at SoxSideIrish4, could you explain why Jones went to the block schedule and added significant between-periods passing time, but did not attempt to get the seminars that Payton and Northside have? There may well be good reasons for that, and I, for one, am curious about the thinking. I know that the kids at Payton love their seminar days and I also know a couple Jones families who wished that Jones had adopted them when they switched to block scheduling. So, if you know, why didn’t Jones try to get seminars and what does Jones see as the benefit of its non-seminar block schedule?


  • 256. Jones Parent  |  October 30, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Yes, thank you James!

    I don’t want to bore others with the nuances of the schedule. As you can see, the classes are an hour and 45 minutes long with a 10 minute pass period for a total of 30 minutes passing. The fifth day of the week, if there is one, is a regular day with all classes and 5 minute passing. It works well for us, homework is more manageable and they seem to be getting much more done during the day.

    Juniors and seniors have a 1 semester class called “College Knowledge”. This is their opportunity for enrichment and to work on preparing for college in a dedicated class. I’m not sure how that compares to the seminars at Northside or Payton, but a valuable class.

  • 257. Jones Parent  |  October 30, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    @255 -oh… the thinking – probably that expanding and optimizing class time would be most beneficial to students. We have an excellent staff of teachers. Happy to have greater access to staff!

  • 258. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 30, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    #257~Jones Parent~Jones does have excellent teacher. But it’s lacking in the seminars that the principal didn’t care to get but parents and students wanted. What they have now is a study hall that is laughable for a gr8 school. I don’t know 1 parent that wanted their kids in class for 60 minutes w/10 minute passing.

    The question that James asked was ‘why didn’t Jones try to get seminars’? For that we would have to talk to the principal. I won’t write on this again. Most ppl who go to Jones know the truth. They’ve been at the meetings. The principal will not go to bat for the students.

  • 259. HS Mom  |  October 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Don’t bother explaining it to her. It’s a no win situation.

  • 260. GetAGrip6  |  October 30, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    so entertaining to read all the complaining….because SEHS (free! yeah i get that u pay taxes) isn’t enough?

  • 261. Mather?  |  October 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    @260, I know, you’d think it was just dumb luck so many of us got great educations without our parents obsessing online about things like time between changing classes.

  • 262. Gunnery Sgt. hartman  |  October 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    So, why does lake View high take so many students from out of district right now? To keep it open?

    It’s good to see they’re becoming more selective about the kids from outside the district.

  • 263. cpsobsessed  |  October 30, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Lake View and (I believe) Amunsen take out of neighborhood kids whose families feel that those schools are a better (maybe safer?) option than their own neighborhood high schools. I was told or read (can’t recall which) that they come from maybe 1 school away, not nec across the whole city or anything.

    I do wish that the schools would be stricter about removing kids who have discipline issues and are outside the neighborhood. Maybe they are – I have no idea.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 264. Sunny  |  October 30, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    WY did an awesome job at their Opeh House. Extremely organized, Official start time was at 2, but they started at 1:00. Had presentations in gym and theatre. We got there early and walked right in and waited a few minutes for them to start. ‘WY had a very impressive OH all around. Jones, not so much. We got there at 1:00 – couldn’t get there earlier. Knew it would be bad wait, but underestimated – would have taken about 2 hours to get in and we had to wait outside in the freezing wind. Ended up leaving ’cause it didn’t look like it would be much of a tour with the lines. Going to Jones is basically like going to school in an office building from what I saw. New buidling still doesn’t take up a city block, so may have built up, but not that great.. I did not like the fstudents trying to sell us stuff – offering hot chocolate would have been nice, but selling stuff felt abusive – though in a different environment I wouldn’t have minded (not freezing). Students were great. Worry that they only get 1 hour of homework whereas Westinghouse, Northside, and WY students all said they get 3 hours of homework a night. My child has been getting 3 hours of homework for years in elementary. What’s up with Jones?

  • 265. cpsobsessed  |  October 30, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    I recall a parents last year saying that Jones had more of a vibe of a liberal arts college than the others. Maybe they’re more about the students being well-rounded rather than doing 3 hours of homework a night? I know that’s the norm now (so people tell me) but I don’t question the school that has 1 hour of homework a night for what they’re doing wrong. It sounds sane to me….
    3 hours after a 7 (is HS 7?) hour day?? I don’t see the appeal. When I put in that much time at work it starts to feel oppressive.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 266. HS Mom  |  October 31, 2012 at 8:35 am

    @260, 261 – yeah that was entertaining. James, still would like to know why you think there is excessive passing, unless you took SSI to be correct and did not look at the schedule she posted.

    1 hour of homework at Jones – news to me. Don’t you think that this time will vary greatly depending upon the kid and classes that they take? Do you think that the 93% of kids that participate in A/P can get their homework done in one hour. These kids must be geniuses!

    Yep, that new building doesn’t even take up a whole city block. Amazing.

  • 267. anon  |  October 31, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Well, if Jones has a study hall that might explain it. My son had extraordinary amounts of homework for the first two years at Lane. Now he is a junior and does not seem to spend a whole lot of time on homework–maybe he has figured it out by now.

  • 268. HS Mom  |  October 31, 2012 at 9:52 am

    @267 – good point. Jones does not have a study hall. I definitely see a pattern of efficiency in homework as time goes on (thank God!) . I think it comes down to if you ask a kid how long it takes to do homework they are going to tell you about the night that it takes 1 hour as opposed to working weekends and staying up all night to do a 20 page paper. Looking at it that way there are 1 hour nights and there are 6 hour nights, not sure that I would know how to answer the homework question myself.

    I’m guessing that at any of the Selective Enrollment schools and the IB/Stem programs you need to figure on spending your evenings (and weekends) doing homework.

  • 269. CPS Parent  |  October 31, 2012 at 10:55 am

    265. cpsobsessed, 268. HS Mom, at Payton there is no such thing as a standard homework night.

    Almost all assignments are posted well in advance so only procrastinators do “all nighters”.

    Math homework in all math classes is completely optional and never graded. Kids do what they have to do to get/keep the grades they want to achieve. Some spend a lot of time to get a decent grade some spend almost no time at all to get A’s. In my son’s AP Physics class it was the same thing – homework was strictly on your own to learn the material and never graded. In addition for this class, tests and quizzes could be taken over repeatedly (different test/quizz each time) until the student achieved the grade they were happy with. In many ways the approach is like college – it’s the student’s decision to achieve at the level they aspire to and to do the work (at home or whenever) to get there.

  • 270. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 31, 2012 at 11:05 am

    #269~CPS Parent~that’s interesting that Payton’s math hw is optional. I had never heard that b4.

  • 271. RL Julia  |  October 31, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    I think that the idea is that there is on average three hours of homework a night – and of course it depends on what classes you are taking and what teachers are teaching those classes. The general, everyday workload at Northside is pretty reasonable but the projects/papers or longer term assignments are what increase that average amount – and some of those are quite daunting. Also for Freshman (at least mine), there is a learning curve as you adjust to the school’s expectations – there are penalties in many/most of my son’s classes this year for late work, work that is not formatted to the teacher’s specifications, work that is not concurrently e-mailed to the teacher in time etc… I have been impressed at the teacher’s willingness to stick to their gun on this stuff. They are not pushovers or easily charmed/swayed which is just as well since I assume there are plenty of students like my son who have been able to compensate for their lack in ability/interest in actually following the directions by either being smarter or better mannered than most of the class and hence sliding by.

  • 272. HS Mom  |  October 31, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Thanks CPS parent and RLJ – those are great explanations of the homework. Yes – It depends on the kid and it depends on what it takes for that kid to be successful. Very difficult to quantify homework in terms of hours/night. Of course we have to deal with the procrastination issues 🙂 I have not heard of anyone concerned about “not enough” homework at any SE school or IB program.

  • 273. katherine  |  October 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I currently have an eighth grader at a high performing neighborhood elementary school. Most graduates get offers from SEHs, but a fair portion do not. Although I’m heartened by the change in attitudes on this blog towards non-SEH’s. I’m still appalled at the way kids talk about it. At my child’s school there is A LOT of talking and bragging about scores amongst 7th and 8th graders and which high schools people are going to (or hope to go to) and how any non-SE high school is “ghetto.” It’s positively shameful how insensitive the kids are to each other. My daughter is an excellent student, but poor test taker, and has little likelihood of getting into one of these schools (including Lane, which only 2-3 years ago was not considered good enough for some parents on this blog.) She has been in tears on several occasions over the last 2 years because of the enormous amount of pressure this process provokes. She’s never been personally insulted; it’s simply the atmosphere she’s had to live in for the past two years. The only thing that can account for this behavior by students is that there are parents out there who are fostering these attitudes at home. I don’t know that this is happening everywhere, and I know there are a lot of decent kids/parents out there. However, I think it bears mentioning that parents need to remind themselves NOT to transfer their own anxieties onto their children such that they take it out on their peers in this way. We all know how flawed and anxiety producing this process is.

  • 274. stopInsanity2  |  October 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    273 send her to private school already.

  • 275. RL Julia  |  October 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I heard of one school where all the ISAT scores (without names) were written on the blackboard so the whole class could see what the scores were (and where they fell in terms of achievement). I was appalled. I can’t think of a better way to NOT teach compassion, to encourage negative competition and to make the lower scoring kids feel awful about themselves.

  • 276. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    #273~Katherine~I hope your child gets into the school where she is most comfortable or that you have a good neighborhood HS. It’s so competitive.

    #275~RL Julia~that’s so cruel.

  • 277. It'sNotCollege  |  October 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    275 In my CPS neighborhood grammar school the principal would visit the 7th graders at the beginning of the school year to tell them they had to have A’s on EVERYTHING…and PERFECT ISAT scores. Because if they DIDN’T, they wouldn’t go to the hs they wanted to attend, they would go to the one THEY HAD TO ATTEND! She should have given them a lecture on the TIER system instead.

  • 278. cpsobsessed  |  October 31, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    @it’snotcollege – I might argue that’s better than my neighborhood school which several years back made no mention of high school at all – that options were available, that 7th grade grades matter, that I might be worth testing for a better high school than the neighborhood one. Things have changed a bit since then but that was part of my initial impressions of cps as not setting the bar too high in certain schools (now I’d probably say it was the admin (and as a result, teachers) not setting a high bar for students.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 279. mom2  |  October 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    274 – Katherine may not be able to afford private school.

    I think what she says is very true in a lot of places. I also think it could be pretty easy to change that attitude and the end results if we (as parents) really wanted to. Just start talking about how great they heard things are going at neighborhood high school X. Everywhere you go and with everyone, mention you heard that neighborhood high school X changed their rules for admission and now they have really good students with parents that care, little to no gang activity and tons of honors and AP classes, etc. Mention that you are seriously thinking of sending you child there.

    If neighborhood school X starts getting calls from parents interested in knowing more about the changes, that will get those schools/principals on the band wagon to make sure all those changes really do happen and continue moving forward. Once those parents all talk together, they may plan to send their kids there as a group. It really does work that way. I desperately want that to happen for all of us! (I, too, have a child that doesn’t test well and cannot afford private. We are all for going to Lakeview HS but would love it if other parents like those on this board would send their kids there, too.)

  • 280. James  |  October 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Thank you, Jones Parent, for the explanation. I just thought it was interesting that Jones opted for a block schedule, which is pretty demanding and has nearly college-length classes, but did not also opt for the seminar day, which, at least from my perspective, allows the kids in that environment a safety valve every couple of weeks when seminar day rolls around. I have no knowledge of the principal situation at Jones, so I won’t comment on the theories as to why there aren’t seminars there.

    And HS Mom @266, I don’t think I said that the passing times at Jones were “excessive.” I admit that I accepted the representation that they were increased when Jones made the switch to block scheduling. That’s what I was talking about. I know that Payton, which has block scheduling and is about the same size as Jones, generally has shorter passing periods. So I was just wondering.

    On the amount of homework discussion, I can say that, at Payton, it varies tremendously. Some days there is a lot and some days it is very little. The block schedule helps (you only have half your classes each day, so you have at least two days to do homework), as does the seminar day.

    Finally, as for the math homework rule at Payton, it isn’t so much that math homework is optional; it’s that it doesn’t count toward your grade. So not doing your math homework doesn’t penalize you and doing all of it accurately doesn’t help you. What Payton has adopted is a math homework quiz policy, where the kids are frequently tested on the subject of the previous class’s homework. So that provides the incentive to do the homework, even though it doesn’t count toward the grade. The problem is that these math homework quizzes then become high stakes affairs since, if you just didn’t get the concept and you struggled with the homework, you’re screwed on the quiz, which does affect your grade. Many kids (and parents, me included) don’t like the policy and wish they’d revert to giving kids credit for doing homework and knocking them a few points if they don’t. So far, Payton isn’t listening.

  • 281. Lilith Werner, PhD  |  October 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    I invite all interested parents and students to Lake View High School’s Open House next Tuesday, November 6, 2012 from 6 to 7:30. See you there!

    Lilith Werner, PhD
    Lake View High School

  • 282. Family Friend  |  October 31, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    When my daughter was at Payton I complained about credit for homework — she got more points for doing it than for getting it right! On the plus side, she is a terrible test-taker, and her homework points always pulled up her grades.

    Seminars at Payton — maybe things have changed, but I thought Payton’s seminars were a little lightweight. No real issues with the program — they had extra time to cover the academic material on non-seminar days — but I wouldn’t hold the lack of seminars against Jones. I was happy with my daughter’s opportunity to learn swing dancing (she took it three times). It’s one of the ways she remains active as an adult. She moved to a new city, joined a swing dance class, and made friends. So it’s a very useful social skill. I can’t remember any of her other seminars. They weren’t essential to her education. I had the impression seminars were meatier at Northside.

  • 283. SE Teacher  |  October 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Our math dept. counts homework as less of the overall percentage as the students move from year to year. By the time they are juniors, most students are doing the homework, making correction and asking questions without the “how many points is this worth ?” idea hanging over the class. I think that this is good preparation for college classes where students do not get credit in math classes for homework.

    It bothers me that we have to give them credit for studying/working at home. To me, homework is practice.

  • 284. CPS Parent  |  October 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    282. Family Friend – the math homework policy was changed two years ago. Kids now really have to know their stuff for math tests and quizzes since that is what grades are solely based on. To balance the loss of easy homework grades the grading scale has been lowered. An “A” now starts at 85%.

    Seminars at Payton have always tended towards more “fun”, not stressful subjects to deliberately balance the academic rigor. Cake decorating used to be offered as I recall. There are meatier options though – for instance my son has done computer programming (C and Mathematica) and is currently doing something related to ethics and contemporary society.

  • 285. HS Mom  |  October 31, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    James – thanks for your thoughtful response. The block schedule was proposed to the teachers who voted it in, went through many permutations due to changes in CPS requirements and was painstakingly rolled out to the students for it’s debut. As others have mentioned, we find it advantageous. Using the example of math, instead of homework every day it’s typically 3 days a week without skipping a beat. Classes are more involved. The length allows the teacher to review the homework, give a quiz after discussing the material and maybe even a short lesson in one period instead of waiting until the next day.

    As far as these seminars go, not really sure what they are about but my guess is that they cost the school money which would be the likely reason they are not at Jones. We do not have the fundraising $ that Northside or Payton have. Along those lines, I doubt that many families at Jones have private test tutors. This is a more important area that Friends of Jones will step in and support.

    Jones parent (who, gee, happens to be a parent at Jones) gives an accurate and supportive description of the high regard that Jones families have for their principal.

    @283 – Yes! – this seems to be the case with homework and quiz re-takes.

  • 286. west rogers park mom  |  November 1, 2012 at 3:53 pm


    Katherine- Well written and I wholeheartedly agree. My child sounds similar to yours. She has even used the term ‘ghetto’ for non SEHS schools. She has also been in tears several times this year already and is very resistent when I take her to non SEHS open houses. We will be at 2 of them on Saturday; Von Steuben, and CICS Northtown.

  • 287. AW  |  November 1, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Be sure to get the Amundsen High School 8th Grade Open House on your schedule — Wednesday, November 14, 5:30-7:30pm. There’s a lot really starting to happen there — an amazing new principal, nice IB program, very good teachers, rising school spirit and a big uptick in community interest. The school is located near Foster & Damen with a big parking lot on Damen. If you’re on Facebook, you may also want to check out the Friends of Amundsen page for a ton of photos & other info.

  • 288. southie  |  November 2, 2012 at 10:10 am

    South Side High School Fair, November 10

    Visit the Jones College Prep table and speak with representatives of many other high schools at the South Side High School Fair, Saturday, November 10, 9:00 AM – 3:00 P:M, at The Apostolic Church of God, 6320 South Dorchester Avenue.

  • 289. ChiSchoolGPS  |  November 2, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I firmly believe the more you know about the process, the better your chances will be for success, so come learn more this Monday, 11/5 at 7-9PM at our High School info session focusing on Public & Private HS Admissions, with an emphasis on “What’s on the Test?” for the various parochial, independent and CPS Selective Enrollment schools, geared toward parents of middle schoolers (5th-8th grade).

    We will also answer your questions on all the various high school applications as well as CPS Academic Centers. A representative from Alcott High School will be on hand to let you know about the exciting new “reboot” that Alcott is making with regard to its HS program.

  • 290. local  |  November 2, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Just a great story re school closings. FYI.

  • 291. southie  |  November 2, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    More about that HS fair:

    South Side Collaborative High School Fair

    The South Side High School Network is part of Chicago Public School’s (CPS) Department of Family and Community Engagement (FACE). They will be hosting their inaugural South Side Collaborative High School Fair to provide 7th and 8th grade students and their parents with information about the different high schools in the South Side High School Network. Schools in attendance will be:

    Selective Enrollment: Jones College Prep, King College Prep, and South Shore International College Prep
    Magnet: Kenwood Academy
    International Baccalaureate: South Shore International College Prep, Hyde Park, and Bronzeville
    Military: Chicago Military Academy
    Careers to Education (CTE): South Shore International College Prep, Simeon, CVCA, and Dunbar
    Neighborhood: Bowen, Hirsch, and Phillips
    Charter: Noble Street (Comer), University of Chicago (Woodlawn), and Young Women’s Leadership Academy
    Small: Daniel Hale Williams Prep School of Medicine

    For more information about each type of school, please click on their types above (Selective Enrollment, Neighborhood, etc.). For more information about this event and to register, please visit http://www.southsidehsnetwork,org.

    Where: Apostolic Faith Church (6320 S. Dorchester)
    When: November 10, 2012, 9am to 3pm

  • 292. Sunny  |  November 3, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Anyone have data or experience as a parent of a child in Taft’s IB Program? I’ve heard lots of rumours that it is a soul crushing program that results in only 1/4 of those entering actually staying thru to the 4th year/IB completion. Very rigid and lots of homework. I plan on going to the Open House, but would like to hear about homework load, value of the program for a bright kid who is used to 3 hours of homework now, but can’t stand busy work. Thanks for your feedback.

  • 293. Sunny  |  November 3, 2012 at 12:05 am

    Also, how can double honors at LPHS be “less” than the IB programme at LPHS? The LPHS rep at a recent fair seemed to scoff at their own Double Honors programme compared to their IB program. Is IB at all IB schools really college level? I can’t imagine that it really is. Even at WY, the AP teacher said now that class size is 33 in AP classes, it really is not college level anymore since the same writing assignments can not be assigned due to the volume. Mentioned the classes use to be half that and with that class size, could raise the level.

  • 294. CPS Parent  |  November 3, 2012 at 8:58 am

    293. Sunny One thing to remember is the both IB and AP classes are assessed by the respective organizations tests. Both tests are considered “college” level so by tdefault the classes are colege level. The quality of what goes on in the classroom will vary by school and by teacher. If the teacher is unwilling to put in the time which she knows is needed to prepare students for the test then there is a problem.

    From what I know by which students end up in LPHS Double Honors vs. IB I would agree that the IB cohort is a significantly stronger set of students. IB at LPHS looses about a third of its students by year two I think and most drop down to Double Honors. Gettting in to IB at LPHS is not that hard but they keep their IB Diploma pass rate high by dropping lots of kids down to Double Honors.

  • 295. cpsobsessed  |  November 3, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I think I recall that at amundsen’s IB program maybe 40 percent of kids move out of it around junior year so it sounds like all the schools lose students. I know that the data shows that even if you don’t finish (?) and don’t pass the test, it’s beneficial for college prep. It just makes me question the program’s appropriateness for many kids (my kid, for sure) and how they”ll work if for the wall to wall programs.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 296. Sped Mom  |  November 3, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Chicago School GPS: Here’s an idea for you. Why not arrange to join that South Side Collaborative High School Fair listed above? I’m sure southsiders would be interested in the info you’ve gathered.

    Where: Apostolic Faith Church (6320 S. Dorchester)
    When: November 10, 2012, 9am to 3pm

    “The South Side High School Network is part of Chicago Public School’s (CPS) Department of Family and Community Engagement (FACE). They will be hosting their inaugural South Side Collaborative High School Fair to provide 7th and 8th grade students and their parents with information about the different high schools in the South Side High School Network.”

  • 297. Sped Mom  |  November 3, 2012 at 10:41 am

    BTW, I see a typo in the URL above regarding the HS fair. The correct URL is

  • 298. IB obsessed  |  November 3, 2012 at 11:50 am

    LPHS has always viewed and marketed their IB program as exclusive, for “gifted students”. Interesting how they keep their pass rate so high, but it seems inconsistent with the spirit/intent of IB, which is to expose as many students as possible to a globally focused, critical/ independent thought centered, writing strong HS experience. IB was never intended to be a curriculum exclusive to gifted overachievers. This is why I find Senn HSs wall to wall IB promising. It will have an ‘honors’ IB, but every student gets the IB experience.

  • 299. HS Mom  |  November 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    @298 IB obsessed, I find your comment very interesting. Obviously, getting the IB diploma is an accomplishment, but we found it very difficult to determine in 8th grade the likelihood of succeeding at this. This then leads to the quandary, do I go for IB with the possibility of transferring out or go for one of the SE programs? Looking at colleges, I do see that they value IB classes without the diploma similar to AP.

  • 300. IB obsessed  |  November 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    @298, Did you realize that the test/pass results for the IB diploma are not even received until well after college acceptances are received? The exams are taken in May of senior year and then are sent to be graded somewhere in the world, not necessarily the US. Therefore colleges do not even know if the seniors they are considering will get the diploma. It is the work in the IB program and grades they are considering. They know that any student even modestly successful in an IB program will be able to write a decent college level research paper. They have written many, many papers already.

  • 301. Sunny  |  November 4, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Wow. So at a minimum IB drop rate by 2nd year seems to range from 33% to 40% (and I’ve heard Taft drop rate is higher). In practise, I would surmise that switching to double honors after IB would feel like a failure – how could it not to the student? Senn does seem to have a more humane IB programme – probably because it is wall to wall. If find it generally difficult to get a hold of this data, so thanks for sharing.

  • 302. Sunny  |  November 4, 2012 at 12:38 am

    Von Steuben – I’ve heard someone turned down Northside for Von Steuben’s Honors Program to give them a better edge to get into college (don’t know if there were other reasons). Our tour guide said she turned down WY and Lane for Von Steuben because Lane was too big and WY too far (don’t even know if it is possible to get 2 offers, but ..). I was surprised and wondered if this i really the case. Coordinator shared data that ACT is 26.3 for Honors Program (3rd place in city per their numbers). It is hard to believe given their facilities (though in good shape – originally building was a grade school), lack of many clubs compared to SEs, and lack of programs overall. They just hired a Coordinator who has been brought in to change thing up. This year they admitted 150 students for the first time versus like 60-80 in previous years. VP said they really are not limiting the number who can get in – just making sure they all meet the requirements. Any thoughts on passing up a top SE for Von Steuben? Or any feedback if you have first hand knowledge of the school?

  • 303. yep99  |  November 4, 2012 at 8:29 am

    just to be clear many students pass the IB program, but the % who actually get the IB diploma (not the hs diploma) is very small.

  • 304. cps alum  |  November 4, 2012 at 10:09 am

    @302-Von was originally built as a junior high, not a grade school. I wonder what you mean about the facilities? What do you think is lacking?

  • 305. Another parent  |  November 4, 2012 at 10:21 am

    #301 – I have a child in the IB program at LP. It is a lot of work but it is manageable as long as there is no procrastination and there are no other outside activities. He has considered moving to HH, not because IB is too hard, but rather, it is too time consuming. He wants to have time to do sports as well as his school work. I have nothing but good things to say about IB – it has made him a much stronger and confident student. If he decides to move to HH, neither one of us (nor, from what I can tell, his fellow students) would see it as a failure. He has already learned so much about himself and how to manage his time that it will only serve him well in the future.

  • 306. parent  |  November 4, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    @302 – it is completely possible for a junior or senior to have gotten multiple SE offers. The current junior class was the last group to have multiple rounds at most schools including Whitney and Lane.

    What is it that you are looking for?

  • 307. CPS Parent  |  November 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    295. cpsobsessed Regarding the new wall-to-wall programs – my understanding is that these schools will feature the new vocational IB tracks.

    “By the end of sophomore year, students in the IB schools will have to declare whether they plan to go for the IB Diploma or a new credential, an “International Baccalaureate Career-related Certificate.”



  • 308. Sunny  |  November 4, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    #306 – I am looking to understand why anyone would reject an SE for Von Steuben. They are obvioulsy getting results – 26.3 ACT for Scholars Program, but the tour didn’t really go into how they get their results or what draws people there. They don’t have many clubs at all, their pool is tiny, their outside space – I didn’t see much outside -didn’t look like a big area. They also don’t seem to have the partnershps with university’s that other SEs have. The few teachers we saw seemed very good. But all that didn’t seem to add up to rejecting a top SE opportunity. Basically trying to understand what am I am missing, what don’t I see that supposedly others see that would lead them to reject a top SE and go to Von? I’ve just started going to tours – we have until 2014, but are doing the tours now to cut down on the stress next year (I hope).

  • 309. Sunny  |  November 4, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    #305 – Thanks for your perspective. It really helps. The point about not having time for anything else if in IB is a good one. I will do a tour or two of IBs, but based on what I’ve learned so far, I think IBs will be a last resort. My kid will likely go for a doctorate based on career interests, so I just can’t see not doing anything else in these teenage years which are for exploring interests (and having some fun, being with family, etc.). Glad leaving the IB programme is not considered a failure by students.

  • 310. cps alum  |  November 5, 2012 at 1:08 am

    @Sunny–People base their decisions on many factors, and going to the “top” school isn’t necessarily the most important thing when there is a great alternative closer to home. I had high school friends turn down MIT, Northwestern and Stanford to go to U of I. Cost and distance do matter.

    I went to Von in the 90’s before the current SE system even existed. The Scholars program at Von didn’t exist. We just had regulars, honors, and a few AP classes. The only score based schools that existed at the time were Lane, WY, and Lincoln Park IB, and Morgan Park. I turned down Lane and WY to go to Von for the same reasons as your tour guide. If I were going to high school now, I would probably go to Northside over Von (why not since they are only 1/2 mile apart); otherwise I’d probably still choose Von over the other SE schools including Jones, Payton, and Lane. It really comes down to the commute over prestige. I live on the far Northwest side, and only Northside is a reasonable distance away. I wouldn’t want to spend around 3 hours a day going to and from school when a great alternative is 30 minutes away.

  • 311. cpsobsessed  |  November 5, 2012 at 9:30 am

    @sunny, in regards to how the SE high schools get their results, keep in mind that they’re taking the top scoring kids in the city. In all likelihood, these kids will come out of high school as the top scoring kids in the city.
    I’m sure they’re doing great things and I know the expectations are very high as well, but the student population is a big part of the success.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 312. HS Mom  |  November 5, 2012 at 9:59 am

    sunny & CPSO – Von Scholars also takes the highest scoring.

    We toured back when the open house was on a Friday of a school holiday, so no lines or crowds. We were given a school wide tour in small groups by a teacher. I still remember his name – Mr. Duda. He was great, animated, upbeat. Our family felt very positive about the experience. The scholars program sounded quite rigorous, like any SE or IB program. The building is older, like many schools, but all around good feel. Their music department was notable for it’s marching band. I know of 2 families that chose Von because they did not get into Northside. Kids are doing great and love it. It was a tough choice for us because we really did like the school but went with something that we felt was the “best fit” for us. As you mentioned, consider your own goals and feelings about any program that you get accepted to. It’s really difficult to go wrong with all the challenging programs now available.

    It’s really not about finding fault with the pool, the size of the building, what one teacher or student says – it’s about the program itself, the best guess of “feel” and fit of the overall school, whether the schools meets particular requirements (sports, music, art) and the hope that your child can reach their true potential there.

    Good luck!

  • 313. RL Julia  |  November 5, 2012 at 10:13 am

    I think that there are a number of reasons why a young person might chose Von over a SE – as mentioned – geography but also because of the size – Von Steuben is a 1,600 students – to Lane’s 4,000. Like it or not, Northside, Payton and the rest of the SEHS (but I believe especially Northside and Payton) admit a very particular kind of student who is intelligent in a very specific way (basically the way the entrance exam and ISATs measure smarts) and who is willing to compete (at least to get into the school). I think kids are attracted to Von Steuben because they see it as a place where different kinds of intelligence are appreciated and fostered. The most powerful word I have heard used to describe Von was egalitarian. It sounds like a great school.

  • 314. local  |  November 5, 2012 at 11:57 am

    When Common Core standards-based testing arrives in Illinois, will we see fewer students who max out their standardized test scores?

    Scores Drop on Ky.’s Common Core-Aligned Tests
    By Andrew Ujifusa

    Results from new state tests in Kentucky—the first in the nation explicitly tied to the Common Core State Standards—show that the share of students scoring “proficient” or better in reading and math dropped by roughly a third or more in both elementary and middle school the first year the tests were given.

    Kentucky in 2010 was the first state to adopt the common core in English/language arts and mathematics, and the assessment results released last week for the 2011-12 school year are being closely watched by school officials and policymakers nationwide for what they may reveal about how the common standards may affect student achievement in coming years. So far, 46 states have adopted the English/language arts common standards; 45 states have done so in math.

    Two federally funded consortia are working on assessments based on the common standards, and those tests are not slated to be fully ready for schools until 2014-15. But Kentucky’s tests are generally understood to be linked… [rest open to subscribers of Ed Week]

  • 315. Sunny  |  November 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    All – thank you for the valuable input. We are ranking the schools as we go on tours and this input is very helpul. Based on what I have learned, we will definitely keep Von our list to consider!

  • 316. cpsobsessed  |  November 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Please come back and share your thoughts afterwards!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 317. cpsobsessed  |  November 7, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    Did anyone who attended the lake view hs open house have input? I heard it had a very big turnout.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 318. cpsobsessed  |  November 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Um, have I killed the conversation? 🙂

  • 319. Lilith Werner, PhD  |  November 9, 2012 at 8:54 am

    At LVHS, we had over 300 interested parents and students! We also had many turn in applications. We were all very excited about Tuesday night!

    Lilith Werner, PhD

  • 320. AW  |  November 9, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Just a friendly reminder: the Amundsen High School Open House for prospective students will be held on Wednesday, Nov 14, 5:30-7:30. Both the neighborhood program and the IB curriculum will be featured at this event. Teachers, students and administrators will be available as well as representatives from numerous sports teams, the terrific band program and many other extra-curriculars.
    Hope to see you there!

  • 321. local  |  November 9, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Join us at the New Schools EXPO 6.0 and learn about some of Chicago’s great public school options, including charter schools!

    Saturday, December 8, 2012
    9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Soldier Field (Indoors)
    1410 South Museum Campus Drive
    United Club Level One
    Click here for a map

    At the EXPO, you can

    Learn about great school options, including charter schools – click here to view of list of participating schools!
    Meet school leaders
    Complete enrollment forms on site
    Don’t miss any deadlines
    Try out the latest educational tech tools for home and the classroom at techNOW, our new interactive exhibit

    Make sure to bring
    If you plan to apply to schools directly on-site at the EXPO, you are strongly encouraged to bring photo copies of the following identification items with you:

    Parent/Guardian license or ID card (not valid for proof of residency)
    Parent/Guardian proof of Chicago residency (i.e. utility, mortgage, medical card, bank statement, check card, voter registration card. No rental leases or cell phone bills accepted)

    Many participating schools require this information when applying to prove that you and your child reside in Chicago. Without these items you may not be able to fully complete an application at the event.

  • 322. mom2  |  November 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    319 Dr. Werner – that is wonderful news about Lakeview HIgh School! Were many/most of the parents/students that attended the open house from the neighborhood? I would so love to have a school within the neighborhood that all the kids attend. That aspect of suburban life (having your friends nearby for study groups, a quick visit after school or something fun to do on the weekends without a long commute) was something we miss at the SE high schools! It can only happen if most of the kids live near each other.

  • 323. Bookworm  |  November 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Perhaps if you want a suburban high school environment you might want to actually go to the suburbs.
    I think that the neighborhoods in Chicago are fairly segregated and can become very mono cultural. Why not embrace the huge mix of culture in Chicago instead of wishing for a suburban oasis in the city?
    Knowing kids from all over the city is an excellent start to successful living in the world now. Hugely mixed and always changing. Just check out the changing demographics from the election returns.

  • 324. HS Mom  |  November 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Mom2 – You are so right. It would be fantastic for the kids in the neighborhood to actually have a venue to interact in a positive way. Keep the momentum going! We need to consider how progressive Lakeview HS is – programs at various levels along with an excellent mix of diversity. It’s exciting to watch. I’m happy for you and your school.

  • 325. Sunny  |  November 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Taft Tour – Attended the Taft tour on Friday afternoon to learn about the IB and AVID program. If you are out of neighborhood and you get into IB and then later decide it is not right for you, your only option is to join JROTC or leave and go to your neighborhood (or other school). If you are from the neighborhood, you can switch to AVID if you don’t want to continue in IB. Taft sophomores in the pre-IB progarm are counseled on whether they really are prepared to move into the IB program. This year there were 619 seniors (ACT of 18.6) at Taft and 22 (ACT of 25) of them graduated from the IB program in June, so we are talking a really small IB program. IB students were in the top 15 of the class (you would think they would be at the top 4% of the class since they are taking all Honors and AP classes – I didn’t think to ask about that). Per Taft, the CPS SE ACT is 23.0 and Taft IB outperforms that at an ACT of 25 for the 22 students that graduated this past year.

    Taft is hoping to have 120-150 IB students in Fall of 2013’s freshman class. There are 87 currently. Said they have the 2nd largest # of applicants (said didn’t know who had the largest applicants – which is really lame – need people to be forthright with information and let us make informed decisions). Personally, I don’t see them increasing their numbers to 120, given the new IB programs. I wanted to ask how many IB students were non-neighborhood to gauge the risk to their future IB program now that there will be more IB schools for non-neighborhood (and neighborhood) kids to select from. Will the quality go down?

    Differing answers on who is still standing at senior year. One example was this year’s class went from 42 freshman to 26 seniors (not necessarily that got the diploma but that were still in the progarm at senior year). Another number was this year’s juniors started wtih 60 and now have 30 (per student, and 60 reported by a teacher). Basically the answer really differes by class and who you ask. Seriously, gathe metrics and be forthright with them – goes for all programs at all schools!

    The IB teachers teach non-IB classes as well, including the AVID program students. Teachers we met seemed dedicated and definitley get the IB mission, etc. Met a few students as well. One was not a naturally good public speaker, but she delivered, very apparent that she had learned how to apply the skills/lessons she had been taught and rise to the occasion. I think this speaks to the point of IB being open to those who are not perfect academically entering the program but have the drive to work really hard and stretch and grow.

    Note: IB kids do not mix in with the rest of the population other than for a few non-IB classes and of course lunch & clubs.

    AVID is the Honors and AP program for neighborhood kids only. Mix in with non-AVID kids in classes (kids who take an honors or AP class but are not in the program). Expected to take at least 2 AP classes by graduation. For all 4 years, students are required to take an AVID specifice course that meets daily and focuses on organizational skills, speaking, writing, college planning).

    You can draw your own conclusions as to whethere this is the right program for your child. For those not academically perfect in 8th grade, it is good to see programs in the neighborhood that are offering options to help stretch students. However, if your child is already excelling, need to consider whether this is the right fit. At least one of their students went to Northwestern and 100% went to college (but breakdown not given as to where).

    Would have really liked to see more writing samples – the few supplied were not enough for me to get a firm grasp on their writing skills.

  • 326. local  |  November 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    What is the Explore test? Why is it important? What should a student do to prepare for it over this weekend?

  • 327. Anonymous  |  November 10, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    324 –Mom2 is just expressing an opinion. And one I totally share. Remember, the urban experience WAS the suburban experience. Schools were NOT built where they are to have been magnet schools and such. Neighborhoods in Chicago used to be further segregated by ethnic group, too. And it was a wonderful experience. My mom grew up in the city and waxes poetic about her “suburban” urban experience.

    As the parent of a neighborhood elementary school child, hoping to go to our neighborhood high school, there absolutely is something wonderful about the neighborhood school experience. I actually feel those who have to cart their kids around to magnets and SEs are missing out on knowing so so many neighbors by going to the neighborhood school. I have friends in every corner and familiar faces on every block. Call that “suburban” if you want. I call it wonderful.

    And you’ll find that because this is still Chicago, even the wealthiest areas of the city have great diversity in their classrooms. My child’s neighborhood school has greater diversity than the closest magnet! Far greater.

    I join Mom2 in wishing the best for LVHS and hope the neighborhood does embrace it!

  • 328. anonymouse teacher  |  November 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    @326, I am guessing you are being sarcastic, but its hard to read tone online. Explore, like any high stakes test, isn’t something you can prepare for “over the weekend”. Test prep only enhances slightly one’s knowledge, it doesn’t help if the basic achievement level isn’t already there.

  • 329. EdgewaterMom  |  November 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    @325 Sunny Thanks for the detailed info about Taft. I agree with you that ALL schools/programs should publish their data. I know that these metrics are only one part of the evaluation, but they are a pretty big part. I think that any “school within a school” (IB, honors, etc) should publish the Explore and ACT scores of students, as well as the numbers of students who stay in the program and the % that earn an IB diploma or a 4 on AP.

    You can learn quite a bit about a school by going to the open house and speaking with the teachers and principals, but you also need to know how their current students are doing in the program.

  • 330. local  |  November 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    @329 anonymouse teacher

    Hi – My comment was “327,” but if you’re wondering if I was being sarcastic about Explore, I was not.

    I guess what I’m wondering is what KIND of test is Explore? It is testing logic, achievement, does it sanction guessing, etc. What’s the best way to approach this test. What benefit is the test (what are scores used for)? Apparently, it’s being done on Tuesday at our school.

  • 331. local  |  November 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    What are Explore’s high stakes?

  • 332. SE Teacher  |  November 11, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Explore is part of the EPAS series of tests that culminates with the official ACT. Explore gives you a sense of where your student is on the “college readiness” list of skills. Some schools use these scores as a means of placing students into classes. (leveled) As a teacher, I use results to see where my students have gaps.

  • 333. anonymouse teacher  |  November 11, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Click to access EXPL_TestQuestionAnalysisBooklet.pdf

    Explore measures college readiness and is correlated to the predicted ACT score. I believe this is another test that families can opt out of. But, yeah, given that the test is given at your school next week, it is probably too late to do anything about it. I am surprised your school didn’t give you intensive information either last spring or back before the strike.

  • 334. EdgewaterMom  |  November 11, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    When do CPS students first take the EXPLORE test?

  • 335. NoncpsMom  |  November 12, 2012 at 9:56 am

    334 – my son took Explore it in 8th grade CPS and it was the entrance exam at the private hs he attends.

  • 336. local  |  November 12, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    When will the Explore scores be available after this week’s test? Do we have to wait until spring, or will the scores be available soon? What’s an “on-track to be college-ready” score?

    I’ve read that the bottom ACT score for college-readiness is 21. To trigger interest in decent scholarship awards, it’s 30 on the ACT. I’d hope a student could hit at least 28 to be competitive for a wide range of colleges.

    What Explore score/s correlates?

  • 337. SE Teacher  |  November 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    @336…What school is your child taking Explore this week? I didn’t see it on any assessment calendar and it seems like an odd time for assessments right now.

  • 338. anonymouse teacher  |  November 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    @336, you don’t have to have an ACT in the 30’s to get scholarships.
    I graduated debt free back in the 90’s. With an ACT of only 25 and a near perfect GPA, I had a ton of scholarships for both my undergrad and graduate program. I worked full time and went to school full time and chose inexpensive schools. I paid less than 20K (and I’m including books, fees and housing as well as tuition) for all my years of school and graduated debt free. If kids are reasonable about what school they can afford (much like being realistic about what neighborhood one can afford to buy a home in) it is totally possibly to get a lot of scholarships.
    Just like kids need to look beyond the top 5 SEHS for schools, families need to really seriously look at cheaper universities. It is really not smart to rack up thousands of dollars in student loans in an economy where it is highly likely the new graduate will be waiting tables upon school’s end. There are TONS of scholarships out there if you don’t insist on brand name schools.

  • 339. Edgewater Member  |  November 12, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Senn’s open house is this Saturday, November 14. 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. for prospective IB, fine arts, and neighborhood students. Senn is one of the fastest, highest moving for ACT scores. Principal was among 10 high school principals awarded the achievement award from CPS a couple of weeks ago. And the school is within 5% points of becoming a level 1 school. Worth checking out.

  • 340. Edgewater Member  |  November 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Can’t tell dates. They have posted for a community forum on Wednesday, Nov.14 to form Senn Friends. Open house for parents is Saturday, Nov. 17.

  • 341. Lilith Werner, PhD  |  November 12, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    I am proud to announce to the learning community that Lake View High School is the only Level 1 rated neighborhood school acroos the entire city for 2012. This is the first time LVHS has ever received this rating–prior to this we had been rated number 2. We are very proud. Again, these are exciting times at LVHS and your children will receive the very best education, differentiated to your child’s needs.

    Lilith Werner, PhD
    Lake View High School

  • 342. CPS Kinder Mom  |  November 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Yay LVHS! Although we live fairly nearby it is not our neighborhood school but, it is so fantastic to see great things happening there! Fantastic!

  • 343. mom2  |  November 13, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Keep up the great work LVHS! We will sing your praises everywhere we go. Thank you, Dr. Werner.

  • 344. Gunnery Sgt Hartman  |  November 13, 2012 at 11:36 am

    That’s great news, Dr. Werner. is there a link or information on the level one ranking on your website?

  • 345. mom2  |  November 13, 2012 at 11:42 am

    HS Mom and 327 anonymous – thank you. I have children in magnet and SE schools and I do love the fact that they are getting to know people from various communities and cultures. While I like the great city experience of knowing kids from various communities, I hate the social issues that this brings for play dates, study groups, birthday parties, etc. I am finding that despite the nice kids from all over the city in their classes, we tend to make play dates and have other social activities with the few kids that leave near us anyway. Why? Because it takes 5 to 10 minutes to visit with them. It takes 45 minutes or more to visit with the others. With two parents working and little time in the day as it is for homework and grocery shopping on the weekends, driving for an hour each way is just not in the cards very often. If my high-schooler needs to get together for a project or study group, it can add 2 hours to the actual activity just to get everyone together. This is why I so want neighborhood schools, including high school, to improve. (This, and reducing the stress that comes from having to get into a lottery or SE school – which no one likes).

  • 346. tired  |  November 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    @344 School Progress Reports are now available at Here’s the one for LVHS

    Click to access 609719_33_LAKE_VIEW_HS_ENGLISH_609719_Standard.pdf

  • 347. local  |  November 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Yes, the freshmen at our private school did Explore today. Next fall it will be PLAN and then junior year, it will be PSAE/ACT in spring. Apparently the student gets points for guessing on Explore.

  • 348. cpsobsessed  |  November 13, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    That is really great news about LVHS moving to Level 1. Congratulations and thanks for posting, Dr. Werner.

  • 349. cpsobsessed  |  November 13, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I was out of town for 4 days and am back and ready to dive back in. I’ll post the Tier stuff tomorrow. Got some lowdown from OAE today but I left it sitting on my desk at work.

    Was also reminded that it’s less than a month until school applications are due. I think I will try the lottery for a few schools just out of perverse curiosity about the wait list numbers. Still trying to decide if I’ll make my son take the gifted test again for my own knowledge of how he’s testing each year. Having the ISATs (or other standardized tests) makes it seem less vital to have some kind of measure each year.

  • 350. CPS/Northside Parent  |  November 14, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Congratulations LVHS! I do, however, think there is a limit to what those CPS Levels can tell us (how much strict teaching to the test goes on?) It will be interesting to see what, if any, results this STEM project at Lake View produces over time. My heart has been set on IB with it’s proven track record and meaningful curriculum, but if STEM can prove similarly effective, we might consider LVHS as an alternative to LPHS or Senn when the time comes. I am certainly not relying on the CPS data and ill-informed policy makers tell me which school is best for my child. The numbers may give me a place to start looking, but not much more.

  • 351. HSObsessed  |  November 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I am totally rooting for LVHS and congratulate you on your Level 1 status.

    However, I have read into the metrics of the new School Reports and can’t understand how they’re calculated, because other schools with higher ratings in all categories received a lower Level status. For example, Lincoln Park High School got a overall Level 2 rating (lower than Level 1) even though it got a higher rating in all the major categories on the first page of the report except for Healthy Schools Certification (which certification LVHS has but LPHS does not). But in the three other main categories of Student Growth, Student Performance and School Culture, LPHS received Above Average, Above Average and “Organgized” whereas LVHS got Average, Below Average and Partially Organized. So, I just don’t understand how the Level ratings given can be valid, and it makes me very suspicious of the “ratings” given. It’s great that CPS is trying to give us easy to read information, but when you notice inconsistencies like this, it kind of throws a wrench into it.

  • 352. Lilith Werner, PhD  |  November 14, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    The levels are tied to growth and gains made from the previous year, in addition to meeting goals set for you by the system. Achieving Level 1 status means that we made more gains than other high schools across multiple areas (EPAS, ACT, PSAE, attendance rates, incidents of discipline, student perception of safety, dropout rate, college-going rates). LVHS has historically been at a level 2, meaning the same trend line kept going across the chart year after year after year. We are substantially trending upwards. Again, we are the only neighborhood school to have achieved Level 1 status in the entire city, which shows you how much can be achieved in one year.

    The survey results are inconsistent with the growth we saw with student achievement data. In my professional opinion, it had to do with a group of individuals who found administrative change to be extremely difficult and completed the survey with a less than positive attitude. However, the student achievement data, attendance data, college-going rates, etc., reveal the opposite of what the survey demonstrates. Last year had to do with growing pains. This year is about building and strengthening even stronger relationships with the entire learning community.

    Hope this helps.

    Lilith Werner, PhD
    Lake View High School

  • 353. Can we get some honesty?  |  November 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I have seen the Performance Policy that CPS uses and it seems Dr. Werner does not seem to be getting the facts straight. Metrics on this policy DO include EPAS growth and meets/exceeds percentages, ACT scores, and attendance rates (as well as Freshman on-track, AP scores and enrollment, and one-year drop-out). But they DO NOT include discipline, perception of safety and college going rates as does the School Report Card. Her efforts to conflate the two in order to make lower levels on the Report Card seem inaccurate are disingenuous. Look at the PowerPoint from the CPS website. It does an excellent job of explaining the performance policy.

  • 354. cpsobsessed  |  November 14, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Does CPS “assign” the level rating? Or is it a calculated metric / minimum levels must be met on particular criteria?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 355. cps alum  |  November 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Congrats on your level one status Dr. Werner, but the “Partially Organzied” rating in school culture reflects much of the word on the street about teacher morale at your school. I certainly do hope that things have improved this year.

  • 356. Todd Pytel  |  November 14, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    @354 (CPSO) – The level rating is determined by the school’s percentage of total points. A school needs 66% of the points to achieve Level 1 and 44% of the points to make Level 2.

    As others have noted, those points are awarded in a number of categories – mostly test scores of various sorts, but also attendance, freshman on-track rate, and IB/AP enrollment and achievement. Climate surveys and discipline stats are not included in the scored categories. Within the scored categories, points are awarded separately for “absolute” achievement (“Are the metrics good?”) and growth (“Are the metrics improving?”). The exact method by which this is done is a little convoluted and probably not worth picking apart here.

    Overall, I think the system is OK. Not great, and certainly not a perfect picture of a building. In particular, scores will tend to lag behind what’s actually happening in the building by more than a year, for several reasons. But the performance policy is far from the worst scheme I’ve seen CPS dream up.

  • 357. Lilith Werner, PhD  |  November 14, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Number 353, you are indeed correct. My head was thinking slower than my fingers and I had mistakenly lumped the survey of discipline, perception of safety, and college going rates in with the Level 1 rating as seen on the card. Two late nights for a principal and an overwhelming excitement for reaching a Level 1 can sometimes lead to mistakes. Sorry for that.

    Lilith Werner, PhD

  • 358. HSObsessed  |  November 14, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Thanks, Dr. Werner and others. I read the Power Points linked by @353 and it makes more sense now. This Level system is weighted toward schools that are making big improvements on the variables being measured (while giving some credit to having existing high performance). So, these school reports can be very useful for parents looking for schools that are trending in the right direction, which is definitely the case for LVHS and many others.

  • 359. Todd Pytel  |  November 14, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    @358 (HSObsessed) – “This Level system is weighted toward schools that are making big improvements on the variables being measured.”

    I think that oversimplifies things a bit. For high schools, at least, the total points are split 50/50 between achievement and trend. Also, the trend benchmarks are themselves given as absolute changes, not relative ones. Consequently, there are roughly two kinds of schools that can score highly…

    1) Highly selective schools. These schools should get nearly all of the achievement points on the basis of their student population, so they’re starting with 50%. If they can improve even a little bit on a few measures, they’ll hit Level 1. There are no trend points subtracted for losing ground.

    2) Middle and lower-middle tier schools with rapidly “improving” student bodies. These schools can score a ton of trend points by improving on previously poor performance and probably pick up enough achievement points to score well.

    Conversely, the system makes it extremely difficult for other kinds of schools to score well…

    3) Upper middle tier schools with stable student populations. These schools are unlikely to score all of the achievement points without the super-competitive students of the top tier schools. At the same time, they have relatively decent scores already and will likely not see huge improvements that will net them many trend points. This kind of school will probably not go to Level 3, but would struggle to ever hit Level 1.

    4) True neighborhood schools with highly disadvantaged students. These schools will struggle to score any achievement points at all. And without the benefit of special programs bringing in stronger students, even their trend points will be limited. Even with outstanding leadership, such a school could not improve its meets/exceeds number by 5% year after year, for example. This kind of school might hit Level 2 for a while with excellent leadership, but eventually will run out of realistic trend points to make and drop back to Level 3.

    All that being said, I think the Level system is a reasonably accurate measure for parents of “where you want your kid”. I don’t, however, think it’s a very accurate measure of the quality of leadership and staff within a building. A highly selective school can basically tread water and score Level 1 (though I’m not claiming they do). And a really well-run neighborhood school serving a tough population will nearly always be stigmatized with a Level 3.

    Also, I realized when I looked at that PPT that the level cutoffs for elementaries are different than those for high schools. Elementaries need 71% and 50% for Levels 1 and 2, respectively. High schools are 66% and 44%. Never knew that before…

  • 360. cpsobsessed  |  November 14, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    That is a great analysis/perspective, Todd. Thanks for taking the time to write it up. Seems very true about some schools getting “stuck.” I do think it’s great that LVHS made a change without (as far as I can tell yet) changing the population.

    This reminds me a lot of my job, doing copytesting of ads before they air. We don’t like to give a “one-number” score (which would be something like a Level 1/2/3 rating) because it over-simplifies but rather encourage clients to look at all the diagnostics that go into that score. There’s so much that tells the story behind the rating. But ultimately, people like having an easy one-number way to make assessments. It would be too difficult without.

  • 361. cpsobsessed  |  November 14, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Random link, but here’s a Reader article about the triangle of Rahm, JCB, and the head CPS press person that both answers and raises some questions. It’s a pretty quick read.

  • 362. cpsobsessed  |  November 17, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Reminder that the Senn Open House is today 1-4 pm.

  • 363. HSObsessed  |  November 17, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    We went to the Payton open house last weekend and ChiArts today. Trying to decide if it’s worth it to write up summaries to post on the CPS Forums. Who among you will read them if I take the time? Need a little encouragement here.

  • 364. OutsideLookingIn  |  November 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    HSObsessed – I would love to hear your feedback on ChiArts!

  • 365. Sunny  |  November 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I will read them. Please post. Thanks!

  • 366. HSObsessed  |  November 17, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    OK, good enough, will do!

  • 367. HS Mom  |  November 17, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    HS Obsessed – your reports and insights are great. Thanks for all you do!

  • 368. HSObsessed  |  November 17, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    OK, I posted on ChiArts. It’s under High Schools and then Charter High Schools. Bookmark the site!

    @367- thanks!

  • 369. HSObsessed  |  November 17, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    … and the Payton open house summary is also up, under Selective Enrollment High Schools.

  • 370. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 18, 2012 at 5:19 am

    #369~HSObsessed~thanks for the write up on ChiArts~that was very informative.

  • 371. HS Mom  |  November 18, 2012 at 10:10 am

    HSO – Great write ups. I didn’t realize that Payton was so small. After a quick check I see that all but 2 SEH’s are around 1,000 with Brooks being the smallest. Sheesh, it really puts a perspective on this whole process. Your prediction may be spot on but remember that the entrance exam (unlike the ISAT) could be geared upwards more toward the level of the pool. Would they actually develop a test that would more succinctly identify abilities – doubt it.

    Regarding Chi Arts – is the 2.5 years for the new building starting now or with the 2013 class and would they open mid year? In other words, do you know the expected opening date?

  • 372. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 18, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    #371~HS Mom~I heard the opening date is 2015

  • 373. alcott mom again  |  November 18, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    The assistant principal of Alcott was told to leave this week and they tell us its because of a conflict of interest. What is it going on?

  • 374. HSObsessed  |  November 18, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    @371 – correct – they plan to be in their new facility in fall 2015, so current eighth graders would be in the Bronzeville location for two years, and then in the west side location two years.

    Speaking of small SEHS, Reuse Jones has now posted a comment that makes it sound like they’re going to try to expand the neighborhood priority seats from 75 upwards each year, which means fewer spots for kids applying from citywide. I’ll post the link on the CPS Forums under Jones.

  • 375. CPS Parent  |  November 18, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    The articles I’ve seen on this issue seem to agree that the ideal size (from both economic efficiency and didactic efficacy perspectives) is about 700 – 900 kids for K-8 and about the same for high school.

    From my k-12 experience which was private and only 350 students, the 18k per year tuition barely covered the cost of operating the school and it was really too small from a social perspective. My high school experience is SEHS and at 875 seems to be a good size for social diversity and the ability to populate a good range of sports, clubs, etc. while still having a small scale and intimate feeling.

  • 376. OutsideLookingIn  |  November 18, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    HSObsessed – thanks for your write up on ChiArts. Sounds like an amazing place. I can’t get the theme song to Fame out of my head. As for Payton…the calculator technology alone blows me away.

  • 377. Chicago School GPS  |  November 18, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Very exciting! CPSOAE just posted the “neighborhood/CTE” application for Jones, due on Jan 15, 2013.

    Click to access 2013-2014%20Jones%20CTE%20Program.pdf

    You can apply to Pre-Law or Pre-Engineering, and if you live within the neighborhood boundaries for Jones, you get priority, but if they don’t fill their seats with that pool, they will go to “outside neighborhood” applicants. Students must have a minimum of 5 stanines in reading and math 7th grade testing (ISATs or equivalent) and a point system will be used for 7th grade tests and final grades. Cutoff scores will be determined by the school based on spots versus applications received.

    Submit your application on paper (no online option that I’ve seen yet) to CPSOAE, NOT Jones.

    I encourage folks to apply for both the SEHS route as well as the CTE route because once you’re in, you have the opportunity to take courses across the “schools” (so long as you can make the pre-requisites).

  • 378. Chicago School GPS  |  November 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    I tried to post this last weekend but it got stuck in moderation for over a week, so hopefully it posts now:

    The interactive CPS High School Guide is now online!
    It’s useful to search via programs, languages taught, sports teams, etc. The CPS 8th graders will get their hard copies next Monday 11/19, I believe. The hard copy docs can also be found online
    CPS Tiers also changed, but CPSO should probably start a new thread for that because it’s not as small a change as I thought it would be.

  • 379. Sunny  |  November 18, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    373. Alcott Mom again – wow. I heard he was brand new – a fornmer math teacher from Beaubien I think.

  • 380. HSObsessed  |  November 19, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Thanks for posting the link to the new tier levels. I got really excited because our census tract tier went down from 4 to 3, but when I ran it through the scoring rubric, in only means that in order to get an offer to Payton (if cut offs remain as they did last year, which is doubtful), instead of having to score in the 99th percentile on the SE test, she’d only need to score in the 96th percentile. It’s not as much difference as I’d thought.

  • 381. HSObsessed  |  November 19, 2012 at 8:46 am

    However, the difference between Tier 4 and Tier 3 to get into Jones is much bigger. Given my kid’s grades and ISAT scores, she’d need to score in the 92nd percentile on the SE test from Tier 4 to get an offer from Jones, but only in the 85th percentile from Tier 3. (Again, last year’s cut offs, and will very very likely be higher this year.)

  • 383. HS Mom  |  November 19, 2012 at 10:07 am

    HSO and Chgo School – Thanks for that info on Jones. With the new program, citywide seats will go up slightly so no decrease. Looking at the boundaries, they cover a lot of territory – south loop, west loop, downtown/river north, Bronzeville, UIC, parts of Bridgeport and Chinatown – mostly tier 4. Some south loop residents are concerned that they will not get in. I would certainly apply to both programs. This is the first year and you never know how it will play out.

    Kids in Pre-Engineering/Pre-Law will be in the same classes as the selective program (all honors, only) with the exception of taking 1 Engineering/law class per year. Westinghouse has a similar program with Health/broadcasting/Business/technology. I have heard that success of these programs is being looked at as potential for other schools. What do you think? Proximity preference program for Northside?

    Any update on re-using the old Jones building?

    With regard to the new tier map – are we at the point where tiers are completely engineered or is there real data to back up the “socio-economic” differences? This sort of detail used to be fully disclosed up front.

  • 384. Cryin' 96 tiers  |  November 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    HSO. Enjoy your posts here, though wondering why you assume that cut-off scores “very likely” will be higher next year. While that was true across the board (at least up north) from 2011-2012, there were many cut-off scores that went down in those same schools from 2010-2011. I’m assuming it all depends on the nature of how each tier changed in any given year, as well as the year-to-year strength of the application pool. I assume the first of those factors can be found out (though I don’t know how). But if there is some other factor(s) that would point to cut-off scores inevitably rising, I would like to know. Thanks.

  • 385. southie  |  November 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Do SEHS students from different SES classes have each other over to the house (or apartment) much? Do the SES classes mix much as friends in the schools? What’s the experience? A friend asked and I have no idea.

  • 386. cpsobsessed  |  November 19, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    @384 “Cryin’ 96 Tiers” gets the award for Best User Name of the Month.

  • 387. HSObsessed  |  November 19, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    @384 – Thanks for asking why I think the cut offs will go up, because it forced me to look at the numbers closely. I found out that while it’s true that the cut offs for some schools went up sharply for two years in a row for Tier 4 applicants, at other schools they have remained the same for three years. Specifically, the minimum score needed for Tier 4 for Jones went up from 849 to 865 to 875. For Lane Tech, it went up from 751 to 782 to 839. However, for both Whitney Young and Payton, the cut off has remained within one point for three years (at 888/889 for Payton and 879/880 for Young). Also, I looked at the raw numbers of 8th graders this year as opposed to the numbers for the last few years, thinking there’s a surge in 8th graders and therefore applicants, but the numbers actually show this is a smaller class than prior years. So, maybe my prediction will be wrong, at least for the three schools that already attract the highest-scoring applicants (Payton, Young and Northside).

  • 388. HSObsessed  |  November 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    @383 – There’s lots of data and explanations about how the tier system was devised, what it’s based on, etc. The Open City Apps team for the tier system has already updated their site with the newest data, with cool maps and a great chart that shows the breakdown of the six factors used in determining a census tracts’s tier:

  • 389. CPS Parent  |  November 19, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    385. southie I think you are asking if there are friendships across classes (freshmen with sophomores etc.) in SEHS’s. My 8 years of experience is that this happens when kids are involved with extracurriculars – sports, clubs, academic teams – not so much otherwise. Not a big surprise I would think. At our school about two thirds of kids are involved with an extracurricular. This number may have increased this year due to the “longer day” implementation which is primarily focused on non-academic activities.

  • 390. cpsobsessed  |  November 19, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    That’s interesting HSObsessed (about which schools saw the increases in tier 4 cutoffs) and I think what has instilled the sense of panic — the previous “backup” SEHSs suddenly became a lot harder to get into for upper income kids.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 391. HS Mom  |  November 19, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    HSO – thanks for that link. I did follow the presentation but have a tough time understanding how these most recent changes came to be. Not trying to churn up that tier discussion again. Our west of the river Albany Park neighborhood that has no “up and coming” school is now a tier 4. Now, the kids who go to our neighborhood school don’t really stand a chance. I used to think we were in “no mans land”. There are no elementary magnets that qualify for proximity. I don’t even think our community has a name. But now we’re a tier 4, well “la tee da”.

    @385 – regarding social life in SE schools. First year is difficult on the kids because they come from all different schools. On the plus side, there are no established cliques. There are a few group projects that most kids seem to do at the library downtown or by e-mailing info back and forth. They may also meet at the students house most centrally located. Other than participating in or attending sports functions, there are school plays, performances, dances and special events and presentations organized by the school. Kids do occasionally “hang out” at Panera, Starbucks and other nearby eateries after school. A school like Jones, Payton or Whitney has all kinds of downtown possibilities – beach, skate park, shopping, movies and bowling – all great options for kids when it’s nice out and on those dreaded half days and test days. And, yes, I have spent more than a few weekends as chauffeur from the Northside to Beverly or Midway for parties or just to hang out with friends. Many kids also know other kids at SE schools and go to those functions. Rest assured that the school work keeps them busy so not much idle time to contend with.

  • 392. southie  |  November 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Thanks for the feedback about SEHS social life. My buddy was asking more about the relationships between students coming from poor and rich families and cultures. Do friendships divide by socioeconomic class within school and then outside of school? Do the parents mix too? He was talking about how he saw social relationships split that way in colleges. For example, you wouldn’t get a poor kid visiting a rich kid for Thanksgiving. Or, the poor and rich parents wouldn’t hang out together as friends. He was wondering if this is how it is in the SEHS that have a lot of SES diversity (the goal of tiers, I guess).

  • 393. HSObsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 8:39 am

    More about the tier system: Keep in mind that it’s based on six factors, all of them equally weighted. Everyone focuses on the average household income factor, but that counts for 16.6% of the equation, same as the other five factors. Also keep in mind that this is a zero sum game in terms of splitting the city into four tiers, so if one or two census tracts go up from Tier 3 to Tier 4, then two other tracts somewhere else go down from Tier 4 to something lower.

    So in the case of Albany Park, which is gentrifying quickly, if you have an apartment building that goes condo and a Bosnian-speaking, single mother who has a high school degree and is working for moderate wages moves out of her apartment because a college-educated, native-English-speaking couple with a baby has purchased her unit, that’s quadruple points moving the tract to a higher tier (household income, homeownership, native English, and education level). Multiply that by a few hundred, and there goes the neighborhood.

  • 394. cpsobsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 8:53 am

    That’s a great explanation HSO. I should know this, but are the tier distributions based on population of school age kids? Cps kids? Total poulation? (I’ll look it up later…)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 395. 8th grade mom  |  November 20, 2012 at 8:54 am

    @392 – my son is a freshman at an SEHS, and he is definitely socializing with a very diverse group, racially and socioeconomically. I asked him whether other groups of friends were as diverse as his was. He said they were somewhat diverse, but that his group of friends was one of the most diverse. So he made it sound like somewhere in between; not everyone is mixing it up, but if you want to, you certainly can.

    As for parents socializing, well, i can’t speak to that as I don’t see a lot of opportunities for the parents to socialize. But because the kids are coming from all over the city, the kids tend to hang out at school or around the school or downtown. (We live NW side my son’s friends are coming from Beverly, Chinatown, etc.) They aren’t coming over to visit our house, nor is my son going to their’s.
    The only time I’ve spent time with other parents is at my son’s sporting events. The team is pretty diverse so I talked to a lot of different parents there. But we don’t hang out with any parents from the HS regularly, except the few in our neighborhood who we knew prior to the kids going there.

  • 396. AW  |  November 20, 2012 at 9:17 am

    @392 My older two went/go to two different SEHS and mostly hung out with friends after school, close to school & then went home alone. Class projects were sometimes done at other kids’ houses/apts/condos but not a lot. Houses where kids hang out the most seem to be closest to school (preferably but not exclusively with permissive or absent parents!) Very few opportunities to meet your child’s friends’ parents except if you make the effort at extracurriculars but even then it’s hot or miss. My daughter’s circle of friends

  • 397. AW  |  November 20, 2012 at 9:20 am

    (contd) had more socio-economic diversity than racial, but my son’s is pretty racially and economically diverse.

  • 398. HSObsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 9:24 am

    @390 CPSO – I believe they try to make sure that there are equal numbers of school-aged kids in each tier.

    And I realize that my Bosnian mother example actually reflects FIVE changes affecting tier level, because “Single parent families” is also factored in.

  • 399. Cryin' 96 tiers  |  November 20, 2012 at 9:50 am

    @387 HSO – Thanks for your response. This intrigued me – “I looked at the raw numbers of 8th graders this year as opposed to the numbers for the last few years, thinking there’s a surge in 8th graders and therefore applicants, but the numbers actually show this is a smaller class than prior years.” Where are the “raw numbers” (do you have a link somewhere)? As the parent of an 8th grader, I’d be interested in seeing them. I would think the reduced number of applicants would have an effect (if you assume that scores tend to be distributed similarly across the spectrum each year — so smaller pool means fewer scores at all levels, including at the top; no?).

  • 400. HS Mom  |  November 20, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Our experience is similar to 395. My son has visited with friends who live in small bungalows and upscale apartments and houses. He rides the bus to see a friend in Hyde Park. Many of his friends are from his lunch table, a diverse crowd. Some kids do stick with their own group of like culture but there are no boundaries. Most socialization goes on at school which does lend itself to mingling without regard to status. Overall a very good fit and feel. So, in my opinion, the intent of the tier system is translating into reality.

    Parents who volunteer and attend fundraisers will interact and sometimes create friendships. Four years is not really enough time to establish these contacts especially when the kids are commuting and parents are not hanging around for pick up and drop off.

    Seems that everyone has their own family plans for Thanksgiving. I will say that for Halloween a variety of kids gathered right after school to check out any activities. $2 burritos at Chipolte were quite popular for all, multiple schools.

    @393 HSO – that does make sense.

  • 401. HSObsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 10:29 am

    So clearly I don’t feel like working today because I just spent time comparing stats on the newest tier map, and I really believe CPS needs to refine their methodology, because somehow there are areas of the city that are vastly, vastly different that are somehow ending up in the same tier.

    To give the most extreme example I could find, there’s a tract to the southeast of the Fullerton and Halsted intersection in Lincoln Park that is now a Tier 3 tract. There’s also a tract to the northwest of 63rd and Racine in Englewood that is a Tier 3 tract. The comparison for five of the factors for LP/EW are: Median income $204,000/$43,000; Single parent households 17%/37%; non-English speaking 12%/0%; homeownership 50%/54%; Adults who don’t hold a high school diploma 3%/36%, Adults who have a bachelor’s degree or higher 74%/0%. As for the sixth factor, I didn’t look up the Englewood neighborhood’s school’s statistics, but they’re unlikely to be higher than the LP neighborhood’s Lincoln school (which traditionally has posted strong standardized test scores).

    So the Englewood tract has one fifth the median household income, twice as many single-parent families, and no families with parents who graduated college, and yet they’re in the same tier as a part of Lincoln Park. The only factor that I can see that the LP tract is “suffering” relative to the Englewood tract is that there are 12% non-native English speaking households in LP and 0 in Englewood. Also, homeownership in LP is slightly lower at 50%, versus 54% in Englewood.

    I think at least part of the problem is that the tier criteria used assume that non-native English speakers’ kids are always at a disadvantage, and that people only rent housing because they’re too poor to buy something. I’m not sure which factors to remove or add to make it more equitable: Maybe take out the English factorcompletely and weigh the adult education level more heavily? Use average home value or average cost of rent instead of just percentage of homeowners? Overlay crime statistics?

  • 402. HSObsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 10:35 am

    @399 Cryin – There is tons of data to peruse at the link below. You can see ISAT scores and demographics for the city in aggregate or breakdown by schools. For high schools, there’s Explore scores, PSAE, ACT, level of AP enrollment, drop out rate, college enrollment rate. Enjoy obsessing!

  • 403. RL Julia  |  November 20, 2012 at 10:42 am

    @385 – actually the tier 4 cutoff for Payton last year was 896 not 889 – so the score went up – a little. The three year increase would then be 888/889/896. For Northside the spread was 891/895 over the past two years. Generally, I agree that the scores for tier 4 kids will only increase until in effect they price themselves out of the market – Northside and Payton are already sort of that way…. I don’t think that the score increases for tier four reflect especially brilliant classes of kids as much as it represent kids eschewing private/Parochial schools and parents who are willing to pay for test prep. Tier 3 too – but perhaps to a lesser extent.

  • 404. RL Julia  |  November 20, 2012 at 10:44 am

    What I’d love to figure out is the tier breakdowns for the merit enrollments – to see if they are disproportionately tier 4 and 3 kids or not…

  • 405. cpsobsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 10:57 am

    We got the info on tier by merit seats last year (I think) – I think linda lutton from wbez got it. I’ll try to find it. Maybe it was the total kids by tier in each school.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 406. HS Mom  |  November 20, 2012 at 11:25 am

    @401 HSO – yes – that was kind of my point. Do I dare say that there is some element that is political.

  • 407. HSObsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 11:42 am

    @403 – Crap, you’re right about Payton, that the cut off for Tier 4 for 2012-13 was 896. Not sure how I read it to be 888 or 889 — too many charts and columns. Meanwhile, the cut off for Tier 3 last year for Payton was 885, so there was an 11-point difference between the tier cut offs. This still translated to a very small difference in test performance needed for a Tier 4 kid v. a Tier 3 kid, specifically 7 percentiles on one of the ISAT portions or 3 percentiles on the SEHS exam.

  • 408. James  |  November 20, 2012 at 11:50 am

    @401 HSObsessed —

    Have they released the current detailed data for the tiers yet? I know that CPS has released the new tier classifications (unlike last year when they didn’t get around to it untill well after all the applications were in), but I haven’t seen the detailed breakdown on the six factors for each of the 450+ tiers. In the past, that detail was eventually released, but it lagged the announcement of the tier classification by a few weeks. I’m asking because it may be that your comparison of the six factors for the two Tier 3 tracts is based on last year’s detailed data, when that LP tract was classified in Tier 4. I’m not sure it would have changed that much, but perhaps just enough to get that LP classified into Tier 3.

    I do find it astounding, however, that two tracts in the heart of LP/Gold Coast were reclassified to Tier 3 this year. Really makes you wonder.

  • 409. tired  |  November 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    @391 HS Mom Re: Sliver of Albany Park west of Sacremento, east of Kedzie.

    I used to live in that sliver of Albany Park myself. Its tier 4 designation is entirely due to the census tract also including Ravenswood Manor.

    Click to access DC10CT_C17031_003.pdf

  • 410. HSObsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    @406 – I would say it’s not political enough. The Emanuel administration is all about levelling the playing field, and giving every single child in the city of Chicago a fighting chance. I love Rahm’s quote about how this isn’t the “city that works” if it only works for some people and not for others.

    The tier system was adopted a few years ago based on the recommendations of a well-respected education consultant from the east coast, and it may be generally sound, but perhaps needs to be tweaked somewhat to result in more accurate outcomes in Chicago. It’s simply not right that kids from those two examples above are considered to be in the same socioeconomic tier.

    And I’m speaking from someone who lives in one of those newly minted Tier 3 tracts in LP. When I explained the tier system in general terms to my daughter last year (mostly to put on a little pressure about working harder to earn better grades) and she started to head towards a conclusion that it was “unfair” that she had to get better grades and test scores in order to get into certain high schools, I made sure she understood that she is very, very fortunate to have parents who read stacks of library books to her since she was a mere months old, took her to museums until she knew every gallery by heart, could afford to pay for music lessons and theater classes, etc. and that there’s nothing unfair about expecting more from kids who had every advantage given to them their first 13 years of life.

  • 411. HSObsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    @ 408 James – Yes, it’s all udpated on the Open City Apps map. Zoom in and hover over individual tracts.

  • 412. Cryin' 96 tiers  |  November 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    @402 HSO —
    Thanks for the link (lots to get lost in), but I’m not finding where the number of total students for this year’s 8th grade class is smaller than prior years.

    FWIW, a bunch of the target numbers (tier 3 and 4) went down or stayed pretty static between 2010 and 2011, before rocketing up in 2012, so I’m trying to determine (a) if the tier changes just made for those of us with 2013’ers are more like the 2010-to-2011 changes or the 2011-to-2012 changes, and (b) how does the 2013 class compare to the others. Fool’s errands, I’m sure. Thanks.

  • 413. HS Mom  |  November 20, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    @409 – is that census track determined annually? 2010 tier 2, 2011 tier 3 and now tier 4. Ravenswood manor, distinctly north of Montrose is outside of two of the census tiers. Lots of apartments and rentals, yes some gentrification too. The neighborhood school is 81% hispanic which does reflect the neighborhood. It really does not compare to LP/Olde Town north of north ave now designated as tier 3. Just saying…..I still don’t really get it.

  • 414. HS Mom  |  November 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    oh and @410 – I do agree that every single child should have a fighting chance where ever they live and believe that this is the intent with the continual tweak of tiers. That’s also why I believe that their may be more criteria than meets the eye.

    BTW – I still wonder about the tier 1 track south of Division and east of Orleans. Even the area west of Orleans has been well developed with the status of having the most successful real estate boom throughout the housing downturn.

  • 415. James  |  November 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    @411 HSObsessed —

    This is fairly minor, but I’m not sure that the app’s detailed data is as up-to-date as you might think.

    I don’t believe the detailed census tract data supporting the just-released tier classifications has been released by CPS yet. The detailed data that appears on the app when you hover over a tract appears to be raw 2010 census data, not the data that is updated by CPS annually and that is used each year to re-classify the tiers. (Recall that CPS pays an outfit to refresh the census data every year.) In fact, even the app itself lists last year’s detailed data as the most recent such data released by CPS — and that data still shows the Lincoln Park tract you highlighted in Tier 4, not in Tier 3 where it was recently moved. (It’s Tract 712 in the following: So while the app does accurately reflect the current tier classifications for each census tract, it doesn’t appear to give the current detailed breakdown of the six factors for each census tract — I think because that detailed data has not yet been released by CPS. Instead, the app lists the raw unrefreshed 2010 census data.

    Again, this is a fairly minor point, but it is possible that when the updated detail is released, we’ll see that the six factors in that particular Lincoln Park Tier 3 tract are not as jarringly out of line with the Englewood Tier 3 tract to which you compared it. Probably still pretty far out of line, but, if CPS is being fair (!), maybe it will turn out to be not as bad as it appears when just looking at the old 2010 un-updated census data.

  • 416. HS Mom  |  November 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    @412 – not to damper your thoughts on how the scores will go but I don’t think you can compare current scores with 2010. This was the first year of the tier system and there was also grading scale issues. Tiers are different now and a lot of schools have changed their grade scales with more straight A’s. Kids in all tiers getting test prep. I believe that scores will go up for all tiers.

  • 417. RL Julia  |  November 20, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    @412 – I’d imagine what you see in terms of tier 3/4 entrance exam numbers (which is what I think you are talking about but am not 100% sure – sorrry if I have mis-read) is can be explained by changing parent behaviors around test prep and etc… it takes a few years for people to figure out their game plan on how to best position themselves. The first year out everyone is still wrapping their heads around the system itself (this was class of 2013), the next year, they still can’t quite believe it (class of 2014) and then class of 2015 – it’s all like – OMG if my kid HAS TO get into school X they really need a nearly perfect score and how to get there. I think that the scores are not going to budge a ton on Payton and Northside (mostly because they are already impossibly high) and will continue to rise moderately for Whitney and Lane because there are certain number of kids who in prior years would have tried for Payton and Northside but who are now in effect scored out. Jones, because of the new building (and because every 8th grader I know (which for the record is hardly tons) has Jones as their very first choice) is going to be the anomoly. I think scores for Jones are going to completely jump because of the reasons I gave above. Whether or not that means that Jones is going to become another Payton in terms of scores will remain to be seen. People do flock to a new building and Jones does have a great location- but the neighborhood component might temper the overall stated test scores. Who knows…. Those are my predictions.

  • 418. RationalRationing  |  November 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    A spreadsheet showing the values for each of the six factors used to compute the tiers should simply be part of the public record. When I saw those two yellow blobs on the map sitting above North Ave. east of Halsted I spit out my coffee. Maybe they conspired to have their maids declare residency at their homes – that would goose the ESL factor up and the income down.

  • 419. CPS Parent  |  November 20, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    392. southie – I think other parents have described the nature of the students’ socializing fairly well – similar to my kids experience in one of the top three SEH’s.

    As far as parents go in high school the main way to meet other parents is at sporting events and through volunteering. At our school, even though the economic diversity is present in all the ethnic groups (there are wealthy, middle class, poor parents of all colors) there is very little, to minuscule, participation by non-white parents so there is little opportunity for groups to mingle. I have no idea why volunteerism isn’t embraced by the non-white groups.

  • 420. James  |  November 20, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    @418 RationalRationing —

    Such a chart will be released — eventually. And it will interesting to see the numbers for those tracts in Lincln Park that suddenly are Tier 3 and not 4.

    Just don’t count on the information being released anytime soon, if past years are any indication. And, even when released, there is essentially no visibility into the numbers that appear on the spreadsheet. But it does at least give the individual scores on each of the six factors for each tract in the city.

    Here is last year’s:

    Spreadsheets from the previous two years are also available.

  • 421. southie  |  November 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. It sounds very promising, especially with any SES-diverse friendships from school that might extend beyond graduation.

  • 422. RationalRationing  |  November 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    420 – thanks for the spreadsheet – prior year’s would be wonderful if you have them handy enough to link.

    Census tract 712 was not only a 4 last year, it was veeerrry 4 (an adjective that will be soooo Chicago soon enough.)

    Sorting this last spreadsheet, little census tract 712 was ranked the 30th highest 6-factor score among the tracts.

    There are about 800 tracts on that spreadsheet, so 712 would have to drop in rank down below 200 to get to 3.

    So I’m not quite ready to buy the notion that some trendy Logan Square block dislodged its rank

  • 423. IBobsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Um, Hello journalists ??? (There is no point even of asking this of the Tribune) An investigative piece on details of the very interesting LP tracts drop from Tier 4 is just begging to be written.

  • 424. RL Julia  |  November 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    422 – do I smell conspiracy?

  • 425. HS Mom  |  November 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    @420 James, thanks for that – last yr data that made our tract a tier 3 and is now tier 4 – Avg income $47,208, HS or less education 52%, single parent homes 47%, owner occupied 20%, language other than English 70%, school ISAT 83%. Surprised on the ISAT score but everything else tends to jive. I suspect LP now tier 3 would far surpass every category. I’m kind of wondering.

  • 426. HS Mom  |  November 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    anyone else having problems connecting to James link that was there a minute ago?

  • 427. JustanotherCPSparent  |  November 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    426. HS Mom | November 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    anyone else having problems connecting to James link that was there a minute ago?

    Yep. When I clicked the link I got this:

    Page Not Found…
    The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable. Our tech support team has been automatically alerted about this problem.

  • 428. not working family friendly  |  November 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    What exactly r the LP areas that dropped to lower tier #s??

  • 430. HS Mom  |  November 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Well that was interesting…..thanks @429 for the back up info. Wow

  • 431. not working family friendly  |  November 20, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    HSMom do u mean CPS took down the info? WOW is right.

  • 432. HS Mom  |  November 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    @431 I can say that I got my info in 425 from the link in 420 which I had on my screen for a bit. I checked my internet history and got the same error message.

  • 433. RL Julia  |  November 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Maybe they made a mistake and are correcting it.

  • 434. HS Mom  |  November 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Maybe…..correcting last years info?

  • 435. cpsobsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Well that is more than a little weird.

  • 436. not working family friendly  |  November 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    VERY weird!

    Tribune write an article please!!

  • 437. cpsobsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    FGregg, is this current with the new tier info?

    Or can someone whose Tier has changed try it out and let us know?

  • 438. cpsobsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I have updated this post (man, that was 2 years old!) with the info from for finding your tier.

  • 439. fgregg  |  November 20, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    @437 The tiers are the new ones for the 2013 admission cycle. The demographic info is from the 2010 census, and has not been updated. CPS has not yet published the ‘socioeconomic’ factors for this years tiers. We could update the census info, but only CPS can publish the school performance measure.

  • 440. cpsobsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Sorry, so to be clear… will people get their 2013 correct tier from it? (not sure if I should take it down for now or not.)

  • 441. fgregg  |  November 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    @440 yes, they will get their 2013 tier

  • 442. RationalRationing  |  November 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Whoever (frgregg) saves those files in the cloud wins my most-obsessed award…thanks!

    So, just for fun, here’s how poor picked-on census tract 712 has ranked in the last three tallies:

    Yr Rank AvgInc(k)
    2010* 45 $138
    2011 29 $144
    2012 30 $212

    Other factors are pretty consistent:
    single parent households: 12%, 10%, 17%
    % owner occupied: 49%, 48%, 53%
    other-than-english: 11%, 11%, 11%
    educational percentile: 97th,97th,99th

    Maybe…everybody moved to the burbs, but are now renting out their homes to single-parent households?

    * for 2010 admits, the ISAT at attendance area school wasn’t a factor

  • 443. cpsobsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Wow, I’m moving there. Upwardly mobile!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 444. HS Mom  |  November 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    @442 – undoubtedly the latest trend – co-parenting 🙂

  • 445. RationalRationing  |  November 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Well, hold your horses if this is a tier-driven thing!
    Just as I was plucking away on spreadsheets to uncover intrigue, it looks like CPS just published the factors (including the tiers)

    Click to access Summary%20of%20Census%20Tract%20Socioeconomic%20Data%20-%202013-2014.pdf

    and if I read this correctly, our friends in tract 712 are back in tier 4.

    Ditto for 715.

  • 446. cpsobsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Wait, so there’s not a conspiracy theory??!! I was kind of marveling about that for the past 2 hours.

    Does anyone know what the Cumulative numbers represent? Is that like a percentile ranking? These are sort of fascinating.

  • 447. JustanotherCPSparent  |  November 20, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    I just noticed that open city app has a different map for tier changes:

  • 448. RationalRationing  |  November 20, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    The abbreviated tract-to-tier listing appears to have changed now; perhaps Mr. Gregg will confirm since harvested the previous one…

    Conspiracy? …if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids!

  • 449. cpsobsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    This was the Sun Times article.

    So I didn’t get totally scientific because I am printer-impaired. But for Tier 4, I see HH incomes ranging from $59.3K to $252k which is a wide gap. A family of 4 on $59k is probably feeling not-too-affluent compared to the $252k family.

    Clearly the skew towards lower income comes into play. I believe that a household income of $150K+ puts you in the top 5% of American households (where you sit with Bill Gate, Mark Zukerberg, etc.) The people at the low end are a lot better off than many Americans but probably don’t feel rich enough to feel “Top 5%.” Just like $59k households may not feel Tier 4-ish.

    Can the number in the “6 Factor SE score” be used to find the Tier-4-iest Tier in the city?

  • 450. RationalRationing  |  November 20, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Mirror, mirror on the wall…who’s the fourest of them all?

    The highest 6-score by my reckoning is .9187, belonging to census tract 7403. Where is it? Way down south! in a neighborhood called Mt. Greenwood, which I confess never to have heard of.

    median income around 90K, modest educational percentile 85% – what makes them so four-lorne is super high home ownership 92%, a great ISAT in the attendance area school. Highly English speaking 96% and only 5% single parents. Who’da thunk.

    This is assuming these numbers are correctly collected and calculated….

  • 451. cpsobsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    How do you locate where the tract is? so many details!
    Mt. Greenwood is the neighborhood I’d never heard of before who were leading the fight against the longer day for all schools because they felt that they didn’t need additional hours – I assume because the schools perform really well there. I have no familiarity with the neighborhood, but assume it’s a nice little place, given this information.

  • 452. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 20, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Mount Greenwood is next to Beverly~in the 19th ward~a tier 4 ward.

  • 453. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    So per this map Lincoln Park tracts are back in tier 4, is that right~after it was published in Suntimes that 2 tracts went to tract 3?

  • 454. RationalRationing  |  November 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    I stumbled on this this to find neighborhoods from census tracts:

    Click to access ChicagoCommunityAreasMapWithCensusTracts2000-NIPC.pdf

    I wikipedia’d Mt. Greenwood and yep, it’s yer sowt-side Irish neighborhood …

  • 455. HS Mom  |  November 20, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Rational – This is hysterical. Looks like my tract went way up to average income of $62,000 (everything else about the same) so now qualifies as T4. What a hiccup!

  • 456. RationalRationing  |  November 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    455 – congratz on your raise!

    Yep, I truly hope people are auditing this number crunching. I am NOT prone to conspiracy theories, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if somebody was monkeying with the Tier calcs, hoping someone wouldn’t call BS.

  • 457. chicagodad  |  November 20, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    The Tier system has absolutely no transparency and I’m surprised more people aren’t outraged about it. We all just assume that the system was devised by “experts” and we let them do what they want, so they tinker with it as it suits them. Here are some questions parents and journalists should be asking–

    With regard to rank—

    The author of the Tier system originally wanted 50% rank and 50% Tiers. Why did this change first to 40%–60%, and then 30%–70%?

    With regard to the non-income factors—

    Have non-income factors been used elsewhere? If so, was it successful? If not, why are they being used here? How exactly did CPS decide on these factors in the first place? If they really are equally weighted, why? If the weights change, who decides that and why? Shouldn’t income count more than the other factors? Take % or owner occupied homes, for example. Many modest income Tier 4 neighborhoods (i.e., west of Midway Airport, 7000–8000 west on Irving Park, etc) in the bungalow belts have bungalows that sell on average for about $100K. Are these neighborhoods being penalized because they have a high owner occupancy rate? If so, why?

  • 458. HSObsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Ha, well, I missed a lot here! I communicated with the Open City guys, who confirmed what James suspected @415 – that the tiers on the open city map I looked at this morning reflected the tiers assigned by CPS, but the specific data was still old stuff from 2010. (So the specifics I quoted comparing the Lincoln Park tract with the Englewood tract may be different in 2012.)

    However, subsequent to THAT, CPS released the newest specific data, and upgraded the two Tier 3 Lincoln Park tracts I pointed out back to Tier 4, where by any reasonable measure, they should have been in the first place. But why were the tracts in the “wrong” tier in the first place”? How many others tracts citywide remain “wrong”? Or how many others have now been “corrected”? And based on what criteria? This makes it all seem shadier than it should be. I recognize that the tier system is imperfect because value judgments have to be made as to what criteria to include, but once the formula is agreed upon, it should be applied equally.

  • 459. HS Mom  |  November 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    @458 HSO – I totally agree, very concerning. Now that 2 tracts have been corrected, shouldn’t 2 others be lowered?

    I personally think that the numbers should be audited in time for current applications. Isn’t this important enough?

  • 460. RationalRationing  |  November 21, 2012 at 10:27 am

    It appears by my reckoning that only three census tracts had revisions in their tier assignment: the two Lincoln Park tiers 712 and 715 went from 3 to 4; and a tier 2828 (in the Tri-Taylor area) went from 4 to 3.

    Only three revisions! Hmmnh. So not some systemic problem in their calculations (based on this.)

  • 461. RationalRationing  |  November 21, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I should clarify – I mean only three census tracts were “corrected” by the new table published on CPS and the table made available a few days ago. I’m not referring to tier shifts from last year to this year. So with only those three exceptions, the opencity app has it right

  • 462. HS Mom  |  November 21, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I’m wondering, if anyone knows, how the census information is updated year to year when there is no census.

    Rational – thanks for your diligent calculating.

  • 463. RationalRationing  |  November 21, 2012 at 11:01 am

    There’s reference to a (outside) company called PopStats — the company is actually called Synergos. I’m not diligent enough to think about their methodology (although they describe it on their website.) Market research needs to update census info all the time.

  • 464. chicagodad  |  November 21, 2012 at 11:32 am

    462—CPS can use the ISAT neighborhood scores, since they do change every year (although the validity of using this as a factor at all is questionable at best).

    If the other factors are updated annually, these updates are (according to the Sun-Times article) estimated (or “guesstimated”?) by PopStats, division of Synergos Technologies from Austin Texas, a market research company hired by CPS.

    Anyone who has even a basic knowledge of statistics, though, knows that when the population is so small (as it is in each census tract) there are likely to be erroneous conclusions reached.

  • 465. HS Mom  |  November 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Hmmmm. OK, so we make guesstimates on the working class neighborhoods as to their “gentrification”.

    OK – tossing out another one, tracts 808 and 809 combined to make 8383 (according to CPS plan) Tier 1. These areas are now well developed former Cabrini Green now Parkside of Olde Town development. Schools are pretty bad Manierre and Jenner – same schools service tract 803 tier 4 and 804 tier 2 (includes Marshal Fields complex).

    How does that make sense?


  • 466. 8th grade mom  |  November 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    The yearly estimates are pulled from the American Community Survey, run by the Census. The ACS is essentially the old “long form” census, but is now done on an annual sample (rather than once every 10 years as a sample of the census)

  • 467. 2 kids in CPS  |  November 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    I’m curious about the actual raw numbers associated with the tiers. Does anyone know if their are equal numbers of kids in CPS from each tier ? is there any way to find this out ?

  • 468. RationalRationing  |  November 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    467, according to the latest data, the number of school-age children are equal per tier. But this does not mean they are all in CPS (CPS’s official count is 404,151)

    Also, if anyone wanted to refine this, wouldn’t it be the number of 8th graders that should define the tiers for SEHS admittance for a given year?

    1 107917 25%
    2 107932 25%
    3 108105 25%
    4 108504 25%
    Grand Total 432458

  • 469. RL Julia  |  November 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    The (original) idea was that there were equal numbers of kids from each tier – which would explain the wide variance in income in tier four (since there are more poor kids in the city than rich ones). I would assume that CPS used census track information about the number of kids per track – which would actually most likely undercount kids in poorer neighborhoods meaning that there maybe (slightly) MORE kids in tier one and two tracks. Have no idea if they tried to compensate for this.

  • 470. HS Mom  |  November 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    @468 – tiers also affect K-8 admissions at magnets, SEES and A/C’s. This is another reason why they need to be accurate.

  • 471. west rogers park mom  |  November 21, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Tiers are only used for entry level years for magnets, SEES and ACs’

  • 472. harlanwallach  |  November 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    @Rational – thanks. where do these numbers come from ?

  • 473. RationalRationing  |  November 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    @471 – the CPS posted this yesterday, as a PDF;

    up in comment 429, fgregg posted links to the previous three years.

  • 474. HSObsessed  |  November 21, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Totally off topic here, but as I was digging around looking for documents about whether the six tier criteria are equally weighted, I finally came across the document I had been trying to find about the IB programs at the various high schools. When I was at the Lincoln Park HS open house, I thought it was kind of misleading that the materials they handed out only mentioned that an applicant had to be in the 5th stanine of 7th grade ISATs to be considered, when I knew it was MUCH harder to even be called for an interview for the LPHS IB program. So here’s the link to the document explaining the point system for LP, Ogden, Senn, Taft and other IB programs, and for LP IB, a kid from outside the LPHS attendance boundaries has to get all As and score in the 96th percentile or higher on both math and English ISATs in 7th grade, just to be invited for an interview. Within the attendance boundaries, an applicant can get one B but still needs those high ISAT score. Kind of a far cry from the fifth stanine. Taft appears to be next hardest to get into, then Ogden.

  • 475. HSObsessed  |  November 21, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Link here, document is

    Overview of IB High School Selection Process

  • 476. Chicago School GPS  |  November 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    As with all things CPS, the process changes and lo and behold, this year the IB process has changed. No longer are interviews (with or without essays) required for entry to any IB program. Now it is merely a point system scale using your child’s 7th grade final grades, 7th grade ISAT reading & math, and then if you are chosen by the school based on those criteria, you will receive a letter asking your family to attend a mandatory information session, for which you receive points. You also get 50 additional proximity points if you live within a certain distance to the school. It’s all down to points, unfortunately.

  • 477. cpsobsessed  |  November 21, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    So does that mean that the kids with high scores will get letters from all of them, then the offers will continue to trickle down as the higher ranking kids turn schools down?
    I can’t envision how it’ll work withiut having the interview to show interest?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 478. Chicago School GPS  |  November 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    I heard that they make far more offers than they have space for, around 4 or 5 times as many spots they have because over the years, their return on offers was something like one in four or one in five offers accepts. Of course, this does tend to vary per IB program. Here is the link from Lincoln Park’s IB admissions page:

    Each IB school has its own mandatory info session, so if you apply to 3 or 4 and want to be seriously considered for each, you need to attend each one to get that last batch of points. That’s how they determine interest.

  • 479. HS Mom  |  November 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    GPS – interesting. So no more IB test – writing was only a component, it also had math and reading like the HS admission test. Seems like there might be a lot of “perfect” scores for this. I guess with all the new IB programs, they are trying to make it more local and thus the neighborhood bonus.

    @466 – who fills these out?

  • 480. RL Julia  |  November 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    If I understand it correctly -at least with Taft’s IB program – you can only stay at Taft past sophomore year if you intend to continue on to the IB diploma which pretty much means for those students out of Taft’s district, you will be returned to your neighborhood high school unless you demonstrate the ability to complete the IB work. Please correct me if I am wrong in this assumption. p.s. I haven’t heard of any other IB program doing this….

  • 481. JustanotherCPSparent  |  November 21, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Veering away from the tier thing (sorry), can someone explain the admittance criteria for the LPHS double honors program? Their application says:

    “ADMISSION:  Selective based on scores, academic record and attendance. Students must be at the Exceeds Standards Performance Level in Reading and/or Math on 7th grade ISAT or the 80th percentile on other equivalent standardized tests and at least a 2.5 Grade Point Average (no D’s or F’s).  Application deadline is December 14th.”

    But that doesn’t tell me how selection actually happens or what the real numbers are for admittance. Do they use a 600 point system then for grades and ISATs? Do they follow the tier system? I wonder what the “cut off” numbers are.

  • 482. anotherchicagoparent  |  November 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    There was no IB test for this year’s freshman class either.CPS wanted to streamline HS admittance so they took control over the process.I really thought Lincoln Park’s own way was right on target with capturing the bright kids even ones who might have gotten a B in 7th grade..

  • 483. Chicago School GPS  |  November 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Regarding LPHS double honors, the best answer I got from them was that it was indeed a point system as well, with no essay, supplementary material, etc. component, even though the application goes directly to the school instead of downtown. I, too, am disappointed to hear that and from my brief conversation with them, I think it wasn’t exactly LPHS’s preference either. I think this last batch of changes to LPHS being all points based was done in preparation for the rumored Single Application which was postponed to next year. Needless to say, the thresholds will most likely vary for the “levels” of LPHS. In other words, the IB program will have higher point totals for their offers while I think the Double Honors will have lower totals. That being said, the admissions folks did encourage kids to apply to both programs since you can get an offer from each type (IB & Double Honors) but only if you apply to each one. I suspect there will also be a lot of movement this Feb. so besides the top SEHS schools, there is room for hope in other programs as the spring wears on.

  • 484. HS Mom  |  November 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    @482 – I agree but at the same time don’t know how they could continue like that. The head of the dept. did all the interviewing (our appointment was on a Sunday at 3 with someone before and after us. They talked to way more people than were really interested then many that they targeted turned down after accepting offers to go to SE schools. It had to have been really more difficult than it needed to be to get qualified candidates.

  • 485. cpsobsessed  |  November 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Yeah, I think I recall thinking at Senn this past weekend that the interviewing process must have been insanely time consuming. At Senn they said that if you didn’t get in via the central system but wanted a spot to get in touch later on to see about it — so maybe there is leeway after the spots are given out.
    It’s disappointing though that kids can’t use the interview process to overcome grades or tests scores for a program like IB that is really about determination and passion for learning.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 486. anotherchicagoparent  |  November 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    They had been doing it that way for years and it was working well. I remember LP IB was so well organized they always had their acceptance letters ready to go on schedule and had to either wait for CPS to give them the go to mail them because CPS was behind or a couple of times their letters arrived earlier than SE ones did.The IB test was another important factor as it was more advanced than either the SE or the ISAT’s .

  • 487. HSObsessed  |  November 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    CPS needs to have someone go through their website and remove all items that are no longer valid, or at least clearly mark them with dates and under a title “Historic” or “Archive” or something.

    That single application thing will be interesting to watch next year: Sounds like from the questions asked on their survey that they’re trying to decide whether to do it New York-style, where the child has to rank all their choices. whether for SEHS, IB, charters, STEM, etc, and they are matched with only their highest choice that accepts them. That is, similar to the SEHS system as it is now. It used to be that a kid could get multiple offers from numerous SEHS, until it was centralized to the match system they have now.

  • 488. Todd Pytel  |  November 21, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    @485 (CPSO) – The interviews at Senn were indeed incredibly time-consuming. It took about 6 weeks of after-school and weekend time from about 30 faculty to interview 200-300 kids. However, those interviews *did* impact admissions decisions – we scored interviews on a point system and generated final scores for each applicant based on test scores, grades, and the interview. No offers were made until after all the interviews were completed, so there was room for students to make up for lower scores there. Of course, they still needed to score well enough to get an interview callback in the first place.

    I could comment more on past practices, but I’m not the admissions guy and don’t want to propagate obsolete info. If you need current admissions details for Senn, please contact David Gregg at 773-534-2501.

  • 489. chicago taxpayer  |  November 21, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    rational — shouldn’t the tiers have the same number of qualified applicants not just total school age children? Why are non applicants — students with scores too low to qualify to take the test part of the process??

  • 490. cpsobsessed  |  November 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Thanks, Todd.
    For the record, I got to meet Todd at Senn last weekend. I asked where he was twice and both teachers responded “Oh Todd, he’s famous!”. 🙂
    Todd, when you get your book deal, I want a cut.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 491. OutsideLookingIn  |  November 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Prospective students get bonus points for attending an informational meeting at LPIB. Parents at other schools receive Walmart gift cards for picking up their child’s report card. Free Education: what’s in it for me?

  • 492. HSObsessed  |  November 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    The Tribune’s Noreen Ahmed-Ullah has posted a piece today on the changing tiers. To read the full story you need to register with the Trib, but it’s not behind a paywall yet.,0,3980528.story


    Demographic tweaks to a complex enrollment system intended to ensure diversity at Chicago’s best public high schools have created added anxiety for many parents who suddenly face tougher odds of getting their children into the elite schools.

    The changes aren’t as sweeping as last year, but nearly 100 city census tracts, more than 12 percent of the total, moved up in Chicago Public Schools’ four-tier system for ranking tracts based on socioeconomic factors that include median income.

    Twenty-one tracts climbed to the most prosperous tier 4, where students need excellent admissions scores, in some cases nearly perfect, to be accepted into the city’s elite selective enrollment high schools.

    That could directly affect the future for Gabriel and Julia Dominguez, 14-year-old twins who live on a block in the Irving Park neighborhood that CPS shifted into tier 4. Their block was previously in the third tier, and last year, the cutoff scores for Northside College Prep differed between the two tiers by 13 points.

    “I wanted to go to Northside, but now I’ll need a perfect score,” Gabriel said. “I have to study like crazy.”

    Julia was considering Lane Tech High School but knows her scores are now not good enough. She plans to broaden her search to less competitive programs at Lincoln Park and Lake View high schools.

  • 493. west rogers park mom  |  November 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Re: IB Programs

    My daughter shadowed at Senn this morning and had a really good experience. I would be perfectly satisfied if she ended up there. David Gregg spoke to the parents for quite awhile after the shadowers left and was helpful and informative. He was very open about the general population of the school and didn’t back down from questions about gangs and metal detectors.

    The two new nuggets of information I gathered were:

    1) If you get invited to an IB information session and attend you will be admitted to the school. The schools determine their admission cut off before they send out their invitations. For some reason this makes me breathe a sigh of relief; as long as she is invited to AN info session she will have somewhere to go.

    2) Senn at least is reducing their AP class offerings in favor of the IB courses, which they present as classes that involve more higher order thinking than AP courses. When asked if a student could still take an AP test in a given subject we were told that was not going to be an option. We were then told how colleges give credit for IB courses?/ certificates? (not sure what the threshold is) as well, but that the uber-competiive schools will not accept any credits for AP courses. At least 20+ years ago when my husband attended Northwestern he was able to graduate early because of his AP credits. Either times have changed or Northwestern wasn’t one of the top schools he was referencing.

  • 494. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 29, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Most colleges only give credit for 4 and 5 on AP exams~that’s what the colleges I looked into told me.

  • 495. HSObsessed  |  November 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    @493 – thanks for the update. Would you mind copying that into the Senn thread on the CPS Obsessed Forums for people to easily find in the future? Or, I could do it for you. Trying to keep interest going for the forums, which has a lot of potential, but only if we all keep it going!

    I’ve put in an update on the SE Enrollment HS section, about getting a test date we didn’t ask for.

  • 496. HS Mom  |  November 29, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    @495 – As in past years, the application asks for dates that you CANNOT make. Possible that you read it wrong?

    @493 – I would not rely on AP for college credit. Not sure that a school like Northwestern would even accept it at all anymore. They are great classes to take for the learning experience, practice for college level classes and greater grade point value. We’ve talked to some private colleges who aren’t even so concerned about the grade but look at what kind of class load kids take on and if it emphasizes honors, IB or AP.

  • 497. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 29, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    #496~HS Mom~when we met with Northwestern they told us they do take AP/IB college credit.
    Here is the AP classes w/a 4 or 5 they take

  • 498. local  |  November 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Nowadays, colleges want high school students to take the “most challenging” courseload available to them in school (or through enrichment in the community), and that indeed includes honors, IB, and AP. Also, it’s true that many selective colleges are no longer accepting credit for AP scores. IB tests/cert can deliver credits for college. So can CLEP. Check at the colleges the student is targeting.

    Also, students can take SAT subject tests to show mastery to college admissions deciders.

    @ 496. HSObsessed: Could CPSO add a link to the Forum at the top of the blog’s homepage?

  • 499. HSObsessed  |  November 29, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    @496 – No, I definitely noticed that they asked for which dates we did not want. I marked this date, and poof! they then assigned it to us anyway.

    @498 – good idea, hopefully she can. Not sure how much of a PIA it is to do on WordPress.

  • 500. HS Mom  |  November 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    496/497 Thanks for AP info

    499 – Oh, thought you said they asked for dates you can make. Figures. At least they are getting the letters out much earlier than they have in the past.

  • 501. alcott mom again  |  November 30, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Might be some hope for Alcott high school if this new person is okay.

    Dear Alcott Community,

    I am humbled and honored to become a part of the Alcott school community. It is with extreme excitement that I take the assistant principal position. I come to Alcott with 18 years of teaching experience. The experience was attained at two schools, both academically and demographically similar to Alcott: Mt. Juliet Elementary, located in a suburb of Nashville and Oriole Park Elementary, a Chicago Public School. Both of these schools prioritized student achievement and strived for academic excellence, in a rigorous, innovative, and nurturing environment. Having taught all grades 2-8, I hope to take the knowledge I’ve gained throughout those years and apply it as an instructional leader here at Alcott.

    For a majority of my teaching experience, I’ve also been involved in school leadership opportunities. I chaired the School Improvement Committee at my first school, have been a member of the Instructional Leadership Team, Chairperson of the Professional Personnel Leadership Committee, and was elected to two terms on the Local School Council at my second school. As a consulting teacher for Chicago Public Schools, I assist teachers that need guidance on improving instructional practices in their classroom. My favorite leadership roles have been those which involve curriculum development and modification so that it meets the students’ instructional needs.

    Born in Chandigarh, India, my parents decided to move our family to the United States when I was 8 years. I grew up and attended college in Nashville, Tennessee. I have a Bachelors in Applied Science in Aerospace from Middle Tennessee and a Masters in Education from East Tennessee State University. I will have completed my Masters in Educational Leadership by January 2013 from American College of Education, a university that purchased Barat College, which was affiliated with DePaul University. I’m 2 courses short from a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.

    I have known and worked with Mr. Major. Seeing him leave makes this opportunity bittersweet; however, I know that we’ll continue to collaborate together as we both move onto our new roles.
    I have also known and worked with Mr. Estrada for 8 years and have always felt that he leads with integrity. In those years, we have experienced the hard work, diligence, and commitment it entails to move a great school to one of excellence. In that time, we’ve also experienced the reward–student success and growth at all ability levels.

    In the few days I’ve spent at Alcott, I feel I’m surrounded by remarkable students, a hard-working staff, and extremely supportive parents. I’m overjoyed to be here and look forward to working with and getting to know the entire Alcott community.

    Navjeet Allen

  • 502. David Gregg  |  November 30, 2012 at 2:43 pm


    Thank you for the post!

    Just wanted to clarify that Senn will still offer some AP exams – but only in those select AP courses that we keep to supplement the broader menu of IB offerings. Also – you will find that most major universities have comparable recognition for IB work and AP work. Harvard, for instance, offers no credit for either, but ‘advanced standing’ to those who come in with high scores in AP/IB exams. Northwestern does offer credit for scores of 4 and 5 on AP, and scores of 5,6, and 7 on IB exams. The recognition policies vary from one university to the next, but it is generally true that the more selective/elite the university, the more restrictive the recognition of IB and AP. So, IB students are at no significant disadvantage when it comes to university recognition. They are however significantly advantaged in their preparation for the type of writing and thinking that is expected in college.

    Here is a great IB resource to check out the recognition policies of universities throughout the US. (You can also search for non-US universities.)

    David Gregg
    IB Middle Years Programme Coordinator
    Nicholas Senn High School

  • 503. JustanotherCPSparent  |  November 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Alcott mom #501- So any news on what is happening with Mr. Major? Why is he leaving Alcott already and where is he going?

  • 504. anon  |  December 1, 2012 at 1:50 am

    Too bad. Ms. Tookey from LPIB was the highlight of our high school admission process. I really enjoyed the interview and she grilled my son on his behavior checks. He got in but decided Lane was a better fit. Incidentally, I looked at Lane’s honor roll and there are a lot of kids on it who got it through principal discretion and a lot who are not on it who had very high admission scores.

  • 505. RL Julia  |  December 1, 2012 at 9:25 am

    r.e. Lane – sometimes it’s not how you score but what you do once you get there. Perhaps kids with higher scores were under the impression that they were doing Lane a favor by being there (but didn’t get into their first choice school) and didn’t work as hard as the kids who see Lane as a great opportunity. Also – doesn’t Lane have a few different tracks -any idea how that plays into honor roll selections?

  • 506. alcott mom again  |  December 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    #503, Major had to leave because there was a conflict of interest because something of the sort that he is related to a student. But they did not know that before they hired him?

  • 507. anon  |  December 1, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    #505Nope. I don’t think this is a Lane phenomenon. I just think the criteria to get in does not measure work ethic. My kid had an 892 and could have gotten into Payton but Lane was his # 1 choice.He has NEVER been on the honor roll at Lane.

  • 508. David Gregg  |  December 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    @493 and others – I just learned that invitation to and attendance at an IB information session does not necessarily indicate program acceptance. OAE confirmed at a meeting today that IB schools may further raise their cutoff scores after the info sessions. This is counter to what our original understanding was from CPS so I want to spread the word. Apologies for this coming as unwelcomed news for those seeking early assurances.

    David Gregg
    IB MYP Coordinator
    Senn High School

  • 509. west rogers park mom  |  December 5, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Thanks for the clarification Mr. Gregg. That actually makes more since from the school perspective as they can wait and see how many students show up at the information sessions. On the other hand, this means we will be heading to every single information session we are invited to.

  • 510. AnonMom  |  December 7, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Parents Of Teen Strip-Searched At School Sue Assistant Principal, Police

  • 511. ChiSchoolGPS  |  December 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Reminder: today 12/7/12 is the last day to request a PIN for online CPS applications, and next Friday 12/14/12 is the last day to apply to CPS programs for 2013-2014.

    There are many avenues for admission to CPS high schools (4 for Lincoln Park alone!) and it really can be quite confusing. While most schools require an application sent to CPSOAE, there are quite a few that either have supplemental info that needs to be sent directly to them (Von Steuben Scholars) or a few that don’t go through central office at all (Alcott). Some have shadow days (Senn, Rickover) while most do not until after acceptances. Bottom line- apply to several types of programs as you can get multiple offers (an IB, a magnet, SEHS, CTE, etc.) The only one that requires a test for entry is SEHS, and those dates are filling up fast, so your choice of location may not be fulfilled. All applications and supplemental materials (essays, grades, etc) are due by 12/14/12 (except Jones CTE which is due 1/15/13).

    Anyone who needs a “Last Minute Primer” on Public (and Private) HS Applications can join me on 12/9/12 from 3-4:30PM. I’ll have copies of the elusive “CPS HS Guide”, and can walk folks through whatever questions they have. Check out

  • 512. HSObsessed  |  December 8, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    My kid took the SEHS test today! The hardest part was getting in and out of the parking lot, I think: Total chaos. Three parts language arts and one part math. No calculators or anything digital allowed. It’s just the kid, two pencils and a scan tron sheet. I saw a thousand bright and hopeful faces, all vying for too few spots. We’re hoping our face did well and can get an offer to one of her top two SEHS choices but are very, very, very grateful that we are in LPHS district in any case.

  • 513. Chicago School GPS  |  December 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    The SEHS test at Lane was either administered in small groups in classrooms or in a large group in the lunchroom. Mostly those who arrived early (from 7AM to about 7:20) got the small classroom settings, but a few later arrivals also did.

    The test itself is very close in difficulty to the ISAT test: there were 40 questions in 15 minutes on Vocab, 44 questions in 40 minutes in Reading Comp, 56 questions in 40 minutes in Grammar, 40 questions in 40 minutes for Math (all word problems). With settling in and packing up, the kids can be in there for a little over 3 hours to almost 4 hours.

    The parking lot at Lane was definitely a hassle. The kids enter/exit through the south of the building, by the lunchroom, and parents are not allowed beyond the A-L and M-Z lines that form outside. Overall they seemed pretty efficient at Lane (besides parking).

  • 514. cpsobsessed  |  December 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Thanks for the updates HSO and CSGPS – I’ve already warned someone about the parking lot issue. Did someone say that 14,000 kids take the test?! Holy cow.
    I love the description of “the kid, the scantron, and the pencils.” I’m going to start dropping that in when my son wants to use the calculator. 🙂 Would love to see the everyday math kids making their giant multiplication matrices (lattices?) to figure out the answers.

  • 515. JustanotherCPSparent  |  December 9, 2012 at 1:17 am

    I’m curious how ChicagoGPS knows all those specifics on the test! How do you know its like the ISAT in difficulty? How do you know the topics, number of questions, and time? What – is it not a big secret like the elementary gifted test?

  • 516. cpsobsessed  |  December 9, 2012 at 1:58 am

    I’m just speculating, but probably a 14yo who has taken the ISATs 5 times in the past and can report back about the test is more accurate than a 4yo taking a test for the first time?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 517. HSObsessed  |  December 9, 2012 at 9:37 am

    I don’t think the components of the SEHS are a secret. Based on what my kid said, I would agree that the test is similar to the ISAT in level of difficulty, which is to say not that difficult. I’m wondering why they wouldn’t make the SEHS harder in order to drill down to a finer grain, given that the ISAT itself is the determinant of whether a student is allowed to take the SEHS exam.

  • 518. southie  |  December 9, 2012 at 10:38 am

    ChiSchoolGPS: What are the best options for H.S. south of Roosevelt Road?

  • 519. HS Mom  |  December 9, 2012 at 10:43 am

    @517 a lot of kids score at or near perfect so there are a bunch of kids who consider the test like an ISAT in complexity. They have taken the prep courses, studied test books etc for the 2nd time now (1st time was for ISAT’s) so the entrance exam is less intense for this reason. You might be surprised at how many kids lose points in this area. We have read about several kids here going into the final round with 600 points disappointed that they did not make Northside.

    My kid was interviewed directly after the exam and he could vividly remember which math problems he had difficulty with. Wound up being true to score. They ask the right questions – NOT “how was it” but which part did you have problems with and why.

    This is not a gifted test, but, on the other hand IMO may need to ramp up a bit to better differentiate the increasing number of kids at the top. I can only assume this is not done because it would knock other kids out of the block.

    Not trying to be a downer here. It’s a great sign when your child feels that they did well. Looking forward to hearing about your acceptances!

  • 520. JustanotherCPSparent  |  December 9, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Thanks for the info on the HS entrance exam. Now the different scoring rubrics for the Academic Centers v. SEEH make sense to me since the AC exam score is based on points (150 = 300 points) and the HS exam gives a percentile (99%+ = 300 points). So I guess there are really three different tests: the K-3 gifted (no ceiling), the 4-7 AC/international gifted (150 ceiling), and the HS exam (%). Well, 4 tests, including classical. I wonder then, if the classical is also more like the ISAT since the score is a percentile.

  • 521. anonymouse teacher  |  December 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I wonder how many kids get ulcers, need therapy or end up with mental health issues because of the whole selective enrollment thing. Or how many parents do. I would love for someone to do a study on it.

  • 522. JustanotherCPSparent  |  December 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    I’m really worried about the HS exam now, with 3 sections for English/language arts and only one section on math. I also wonder why there is not a section on science. My kid does well in language arts, but it certainly doesn’t compare to his prowess in math/science. His ISAT scores are consistently uneven in reading v math and science.

    Are the prep courses really worth the money? Has anyone’s kid taken them and do you believe it made a real impact?

    I still haven’t figured out where the ‘B’ students go to high school. I know my kid is going to end up with a B in reading, and a low 90s ISAT score in reading (but 99 in math/science). Since we are tier 4, I’m guessing he will be shut out of “the big four” ( and probably Lane based on the way the numbers are trending). Which is fine, but I know IB isn’t the right path for him (too much writing). So where to turn? LP DH? Von Stueben? Lakeview? Can’t think of anything else. For him, in terms of academics, it’s all about the science offerings.

  • 523. HSObsessed  |  December 9, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    @522 We did not do prep courses. A reminder the night before that she needed two #2 pencils and my fixing her breakfast in the morning was the prep. On our way out the door to the exam I ask whether she has her pencils and she confesses she didn’t bother: “Don’t you think they’ll give us pencils?” NOOOOOOO!!! So, not much stress here, but again, this would all be very, very different if our neighborhood HS were crappy, and I completely understand the high anxiety that others feel. We’ll be right there when it comes to college apps, since she’s not guaranteed a spot anywhere. Well, maybe the city colleges, but nothing after that…

    For a kid who likes science, I think the Lakeview STEM program would be a dream come true. Have you looked into it? There’s info on their website.

  • 524. RL Julia  |  December 9, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    If he is all about the science, I would check out Von Steuben (and Lakeview although I don’t know so much about their STEM program). I think that the tier 4 kids shut out of “the big four” consider Lincoln Park, the IB high schools, Lane and Westinghouse SE’s, von Steuben, Lakeview, maybe CICS Northtown and the Noble Street charters or the Chicago Bulls charter….. it depends on where on the north side you live and what your child’s interests and strengths are. If you are south, there is always the Chicago Ag. highs school – Chi Arts or the honors courses at the local high schools. Schurz is starting an IB track next year. I know a few kids at Mather who are pretty happy. I don’t hear about a lot of north side kids heading to the south side SEHS’s because of the distance and the racial make up of those schools but I imagine it happens… or maybe not. Anyone know a kid heading south for school?

  • 525. cpsobsessed  |  December 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    @JustAnother; I think that is the million dollar question for kids like that in tier 4 (and possibly 3 right now.). If you aren’t the IB type, where to go?
    For the north side I’d probably go for nov stueben or lakeview right now. If LVHS really ends up setting a sttanine 7 requirement for kids outside the neighborhood, that could end up creating a school for kids who score well but miss the cutoff for SEHS.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 526. cpsobsessed  |  December 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Cross posted with RLJulia! I didn’t get a chance to talk to the noble st schools at the hair yesterday, but they seem worth a look. Also cics nortown is one I know someone with a child at. Other kid is at peyton.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 527. JustanotherCPSparent  |  December 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I hadn’t thought of CICS. I don’t know why, but charters make me nervous. Maybe because the whole issue causes such division, I haven’t taken the time to really look at them.

    I am very intrigued by the Lakeview STEM program. It seems like the kind of program that would be a good fit for my kid. But…I must admit that I would struggle with my kid being in a new program without much of a track record. So, on that note, HS parents (and teachers) when you visit a school how do you evaluate it? I realize every one has a different idea of what “good” is, but I could still use some tips. What do you think about? Test scores? Number of AP classes? Facilities (ex: science, computer labs, etc)? Safety (how do you know if a school is “safe”)? Etc, etc. I want to evaluate schools in a real way, not just on perceived reputation, but am not sure what the most effective way to do that is.

  • 528. cpsobsessed  |  December 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    @Just – that was the point of my initial blog post here! How do we know if the level of learning/teaching/etc will be adequate based on the current test scores at the neighborhood high schools. Lake view is now level one so appears to be making gains, but will the work truly be at an appropriate level and the challenges available for the taking?
    What if I try to set up an interview with Dr werner? Would you go with me? Or HSO interested? My son is too young for me to know what to ask about high schools at this point.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 529. ChiSchoolGPS  |  December 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    #516 & 517- You hit the nail on the head! Thirteen year olds are pretty forthcoming, and I also wonder why it’s not a harder test.

    #518- Regarding the south of Roosevelt schools, I concur about Chicago Ag & ChiArts. Also Brooks and Lindblom (SEHS) are two of the top scoring southside schools, and King is not too far behind. South Shore is new and therefore is up and coming. As with any high school choice, much depends on the child and his/her interests as well. There are a breadth of special programs at Curie, Goode is a new STEM partnered w/IBM, Instituto Health has partnerships with the healthcare sector, Noble UIC and Perspectives Joslin have strong proponents. Kenwood also has an accelerated magnet program. Meeting kids at last spring’s City Science Fair at MSI opened my eyes to the fact that there are great/smart kids at so many high schools throughout the city. Kids from Air Force Academy to Morgan Park AC students to kids from schools I never even heard of all worked hard and had the projects to show for it. Others more familiar with the southside may have other feedback on the schools of choice as well.

    #522- Test prep value seems to be a very personal/family thing. For some families, it’s peace of mind; for others, it’s just not necessary, especially if your child has scored extremely well on his/her ISATs for several years running. At-home review can suffice or just a good breakfast & pencils, like HSO.

  • 530. JustanotherCPSparent  |  December 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    CPSO – YES! I would meet with you and Dr. Werner in a heart beat! I could do a write up for the forum after, if you would like. My oldest is in 6th this year, so I am not quite against the wire but it sure feels like it already. I guess I want to know what my options are now, rather than later, so I can set my kid’s mind at ease. I really hate that he and his friends are already discussing this stuff and freaking out about it. And I think I’d like to find a school that I can help in the meantime (if they even want that…I don’t know), rather than fighting over too few spots with everyone else. I want out of this rat race already!

  • 531. HSObsessed  |  December 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    @528-530 – Of course I’d be happy to go along. I suggest that we do this in April or May, when nearly a full academic year of STEM will already have been in place and the next application cycle is also complete, so that we can find out about how it’s all shaping up, both rolling out of the new program and the stats on the applicants who have been attracted to the school for next year.

  • 532. SoxSideIrish4  |  December 9, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    #518~Southie~I don’t know if you are considering the Ag school~it’s one of seven in the country but I know 2 families that were able to get into the SEHS of their choice and both families (5 kids total) all go to AG. I think what did it was this yr Alderman O’Shea was able to get that school to be 50% neighborhood ~ so now more neighborhood families are looking at it with fresh eyes!

  • 533. anonymouse teacher  |  December 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    St. Gregory High School in Edgewater is closing this spring. Between that and the end of St. Scholastica, there are now NO Catholic high schools east of 94 between Irving Park road and Wilmette.
    I remember driving by St. Scholastica (a beautiful building and so sad to see UNO take it over) a few years ago everyday about dismissal time. There as the girls would leave school would be all the gang banger neighborhood boys (usually a group of 2-3 dozen young men) waiting for them, flashing gang signs, shouting obscenities and sometimes blocking traffic on Ridge avenue. The PDA and the cat calls made it immensely clear that for all the money parents spent on tuition trying to keep their girls away from those boys, it clearly was not working. I always thought St. S should have been converted to a magnet school for the far north side.
    Does anyone know if Disney II got approval for its proposed high school?

  • 534. cpsobsessed  |  December 9, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I just saw that on the Trib site @AMouse. I pass it all the time as it’s right near my house. I had heard “it isn’t that good” which is puzzling given the need for decent priced private high school options in the city… what made enrollment decline there? It’s right on Ashland so fairly easy to access. Puzzling.

    On another note, the handyman I had over this week lives in Roger’s Park and his daughter takes public transporation to Whitney Young every day that involves 2 buses and a Metra train. Incredible!

  • 535. JustanotherCPSparent  |  December 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    @ anonymouseteacher – Disney II…high school?

  • 536. local  |  December 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    There should be NO perfect score on any of these standardized and admissions tests. Let the top students show how far they can go on a test.

  • 537. JustanotherCPSparent  |  December 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Never mind, found the press release:

    How will Disney II add high school grades? In the same building? Another building? This just seems an odd choice to me.

  • 538. JustanotherCPSparent  |  December 9, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Well, looking at the utilization report, Disney II elementary is “efficient”, which leads me to think they will have to get another building for high school grades. On the one hand, yes we need solid high school options. On the other hand, um, if schools can “request” to add high school grades…then why not others?

  • 539. local  |  December 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    @ 522. anonymouse teacher | December 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    “I wonder how many kids get ulcers, need therapy or end up with mental health issues because of the whole selective enrollment thing. Or how many parents do. I would love for someone to do a study on it.”

    It’s at the college level rather than high school, but The Overachievers addresses this issue.

  • 540. cpsobsessed  |  December 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    I think space is a big issue with adding high school. At least it was with audobon (?) last year. Wonder where disney II will go? So now if you hit the D2 lottery at age 4, you’re set through age 18?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 541. local  |  December 9, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    @ 541. cpsobsessed | December 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    “I think space is a big issue with adding high school. At least it was with audobon (?) last year. Wonder where disney II will go? So now if you hit the D2 lottery at age 4, you’re set through age 18?”

    I do think that is the plan with D2 and other schools attempting this.

  • 542. JustanotherCPSparent  |  December 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Yep, CPSO, my thoughts exactly. My prediction? They will take Marshall Middle, which is close by and deemed “underutilized” by CPS. I wonder if there will be more high school seats than their elementary can fill.

    Hey, why don’t all of of us with kids in decent magnet or selective schools just “request” to add grades 9-12? By golly, with all of these half empty schools around…we can all get our very own high school!

  • 543. cpsobsessed  |  December 9, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    My understanding from the audobon request (and alcott) is that if it’s off the elem ground, the school then needs to take in lottery or neighborhood (I think alcott is both) which then “waters down” the D2 impact…. I guess we’ll see though. Things could be different with rahm/BBB.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 544. HSObsessed  |  December 9, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    I think CPS will get some flak for approving five new charter schools while going through all the rigamarole about closing underutilized non-charter schools.

    Interesting move by Disney 2. The only K-12 CPS schools I can think of right now are Alcott and Ogden. Are there others?

    Also, I’ve been meaning to ask this: Is this the first year that there are 8th graders at Lane Tech Academic Center? How many are there, and are they automatically admitted to Lane for high school, if they choose to stay?

  • 545. HSObsessed  |  December 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    This was posted today on the North Side High School Initiative’s Facebook page. Looks like Alcott is specifically trying to woo kids from Lake View and North Center neighborhood schools, and they’re naming names:

    Would you like a strong public high school option for your 8th grader, as an alternative to the selective enrollment high schools?


    We invite the families of 8th graders at Audubon, Bell, Blaine, Burley, Hawthorne, and Nettelhorst to learn more about Alcott College Prep and meet Alcott’s new leadership. We are excited to share our vision to make Alcott into the high school of choice for north side families. We encourage you to apply before the December 14 deadline and get to know us over the next few months.
    Forum to meet Alcott’s new administration and learn about our plans for Alcott College Prep
    Monday, December 10, 2012
    6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
    Augustus H. Burley Elementary School
    1630 W. Barry Avenue

    We hope you will join us on December 10th. If you are not able to attend the meeting, we plan to hold another forum in early 2013. In the meantime, we encourage your 8th grader to submit the attached application to Alcott College Prep by December 14th.

    Together, we can ensure our children have the strong high school option they deserve!
    Elias Estrada, Principal
    Mr. Estrada was formerly the Principal of Oriole Park Elementary School, ranked #15 in Chicago Magazine’s list of top CPS schools this September, and a recipient of the CPS Principal Achievement Award this year.

    Grace Moody, Assistant Principal
    Ms. Moody was formerly Dean of Students at Jones College Prep, CPS Selective Enrollment School, 2012 Blue Ribbon Award winner from the US Department of Education, named one of “America’s Best High Schools” by U.S. News and World Report for four consecutive years and ranked in the top U.S. 100 high schools in 2012.

    If you have any questions, please contact Assistant Principal Grace Moody at

  • 546. JustanotherCPSparent  |  December 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    At this point, nothing CPS does surprises me. We’re under enrolled! We’re broke! Help us to help you, by closing schools! Oh, and also, we’d like to Open more schools.

    It’s weird, though because there are places that really need more space. The far NW side really is way over crowded. But! I don’t see CPS proposing to open ANY charter schools in, say, Norwood park. Yet, in the neighborhoods where schools are “underutilized”, CPS proposes more schools- charters. When Edgebrook, Oriole Park, and the old Edison/ new Edison Park became over crowded, they got new additions. Not charters. Oh wait. I think I get it. Charters only go in neighborhoods that are underutilized. It all makes sense now. Yep.

    I have tried to be open minded about charters. I have tried to not to see conspiracies. But CPS is making it awfully hard.

  • 547. JustanotherCPSparent  |  December 9, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Did Alcott change their name from “Alcott High School for the Humanities” to “Alcott College Prep?”

    The naming names thing is funny. Thanks, HSObsessed, for the post.

  • 548. WRP Mom  |  December 9, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Yes HSO, this is the 1st class of 8th graders at LTAC. I think there are approximately 120 in the grade and yes, they would be automatically admitted to the high school.

  • 549. anonymouse teacher  |  December 9, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Charters seem to mostly go to areas with the highest student neediness. Most charters are on the south and west side with a few exceptions. I wonder why we aren’t creating more magnets? Magnets typically way out perform neighborhood schools. They do it the same way charters do, by only serving a select population and by creating limited supply to increase demand, thus drawing in even higher achieving kids (those families who go above and beyond to try and find a better option). Magnets are full of hyper-invested families and since invested families=high performance, the magnet model “works”. Why not more magnets instead of more charters? Because charters are cheaper and then the city doesn’t have to serve as many low income kids on the south and west sides. Even though technically charters are a part of CPS, they really are a whole different animal.

  • 550. anonymouse teacher  |  December 9, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    @534, no St. Gregory was not that good. Catholic schools (and every other kind of school that exists) are no different than CPS. A small handful are excellent, some are good, some are decent and some just suck. Private schools are closing due to the economy and I suspect, because why pay tuition when you can get “safe but meh” at a charter for free. I know of 1-2 Catholic high schools in the city I could get excited about, 1-2 other private schools and a few publics. Just cause it is private, doesn’t mean it is good (or bad) and just because it is SEHS or magnet or whatever doesn’t mean it is good (or bad).

  • 551. EdgewaterMom  |  December 9, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    @549 anonymouse teacher This is a REALLY good question. Magnet schools seem to work very well and serve a diverse population. I know very little about the history of magnets in Chicago. When was the last time a new magnet school was created.

    Do magnets costs the city more than neighborhood schools? Are there any magnet schools that are performing poorly (I realize that I can look up the data on this one, but I am lazy at the moment and am wondering if anybody knows of any magnets that do not perform well). Obviously “performs well” is fairly vague, but…

  • 552. anonymouse teacher  |  December 9, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    @534, I have to wonder about why anyone would commute that long to high school when for $50-100 a month more in rent (and that could be saved in CTA costs), a family could move to Evanston and have a guaranteed good high school of similar quality to Lane Tech. I mean, kudos to that child for being committed enough to do it, but quality of life? I hope to god she puts her commute time in her college apps because anyone willing to spend that much time on buses and trains for what probably is a 4 hour a day round trip commute or more should have colleges throwing scholarships at her in her efforts to get a decent education.

  • 553. anonymouse teacher  |  December 9, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Yes, magnets cost more because they get more teaching positions. They also cost the city slightly more because of bussing. And charters end up costing the city 75% of what regular schools do. So my guess is it is a cost saving measure and as well, the city appears to me to be kind of screwing over its poorest communities by offering them charters instead of magnets.

  • 554. HS Mom  |  December 10, 2012 at 10:18 am

    @522 “Are the prep courses really worth the money?”

    IMO test prep courses for HS or college will help your child do a little better if they stay to the course, attend all classes and do the practice work. As suggested above, many kids take the class because they already have high grades/scores but want insurance. Other kids are much more self disciplined and able to study as well, if not better, by using on-line and workbook study aids. If one is looking for “test prep” to remarkably raise scores – not going to happen without tutoring or something more. Any measures, especially those that cost money, need to be weighed by the potential benefit. Is your child close enough to make the investment? Are there other programs that equally serve your needs?

  • 555. RL Julia  |  December 10, 2012 at 11:58 am

    It seems like a lot of elementary schools have their eye on Marshall Middle School for their high school proposal. The last one was Audobon who wanted to promise automatic admission for Audubon students and only a lottery for the kids living in the Marshall catchement area. This did not fly with the community at large. Disney II will no doubt run into the same issue if they aren’t willing to set aside some spaces for the community itself…. As part of the almost underserved NW side (in terms of alternate options), I think there is a huge untapped market for something like a hippy school/high school in the community type model that would be a great alternative for the smart kid who is not interested in the huge amount of structure given at the SEHS’s etc… or for kids who would do better in a smaller environment period.

  • 556. west rogers park mom  |  December 10, 2012 at 11:59 am

    So last night as my 8th grader was putting the finishing touches on her essays for Lakeview and Von Steuben she announces that you can RETAKE the ISAT? ? ? Could this possibly be true? ? And if so, why have I not heard of this sooner. Believe me we would be in a much better spot if we had that option . . .

  • 557. RL Julia  |  December 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    You could have retaken the ISAT earlier this fall but only if you missed it or hadn’t ever taken it – so I guess it really wasn’t retaking it…

  • 558. JustanotherCPSparent  |  December 10, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    RL Julia: I wonder- if Disney II shared the space with Marshall instead, if that would change the requirements. CPS seems to like consolidating two schools into one these days.

    If I am remembering the lay out of Marshall correctly, I can’t see it as a good choice for an elementary since there is no area for recess/playlot.

  • 559. cpsobsessed  |  December 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Kids from private who take other tests can also take the isat (which is rumored to be easier.) Maybe that’s what someone meant?
    I do wonder if you can make a case about flu/hardship if they’d let you retake. I took the SATs twice which I thought was weird.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 560. Mather high school  |  December 10, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Are we in trouble if Mather is the high school that our kids will go to in the next 2 and 3 years?

  • 561. RL Julia  |  December 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    If you missed the test (SAT10 portion) because of illness, you can take it. However, according to the CPS Options handbook for this year:

    Can CPS students re-take the ISAT exam in order to try to get a better score?

    No. The eligibility process uses the ISAT scores from the test administered to the student during the 2010-
    2011 school year.

    Kids from private schools can submit their test data from a list of other acceptable tests – or elect to take the ISAT earlier in the fall.

    r.e. Marshall, I think given the problems at Marshall real or perceived no school would really want to consider co-location as a permanent solution -as it might negatively effect the new school’s enrollment prospects.

    r.e. Mather – not necessarily. Just make sure your kids are placed in the honors track classes. I hear that they are better taught than the regular track classes.

  • 562. far northsider  |  December 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    cpso – I don’t know about SEHS exam retakes but I do know that last minute rescheduling is possible if you have a sick kid and an early enough test date. My daughter came down with strep throat the day before her scheduled test date in mid-January; after a panicky phone call to her school’s counselor we contacted OAE by phone and they were able to change the date and send us a new exam admission letter for the new date.

  • 563. far northsider  |  December 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    … and now I’m rereading your comment and realizing you’re talking about ISAT, not SEHS testing. Sorry about that. At any rate, maybe that info will be helpful to someone out there.

  • 564. anonymous  |  December 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Does anyone know if grades for current Academic Center 8th graders interested in testing into another SEHS are weighted for 7th grade Honors classes. The school has its own grading scale (Honors A=5.0, Honors B=4.0) for calculating GPAs but I couldn’t get a straight answer from OAE as to how those grades are calculated for the SEHS application. Thanks.

  • 565. HSObsessed  |  December 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    @564- I’m pretty sure they are simply recorded as As or Bs on the child’s report card. They don’t use GPAs in the selection process for SEHS, as far as I know.

  • 566. RL Julia  |  December 11, 2012 at 10:13 am

    In my experience, letter grades are used to tabulate the scores and there is no extra weight for an honors class. Academic Centers also tend to use the 100-93 = A scale not the 100-90 scale many/most schools use -which also makes it harder to transfer. On the other hand, I know that at least at Whitney and Lane AC programs are VERY CLEAR that in their minds the academic center is part of a six year program which includes high school and I believe that they make it difficult to achieve the grades necessary to another SEHS. I both don’t blame them and find this practice unnecessarily punative.

  • 567. Mather high school  |  December 11, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Thank you to the Mather information about honors classes. Is there a movement of parents for improvements to the school?

  • 568. anonymous  |  December 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Thank you for your responses. Having a guaranteed 9th grade spot at a SEHS is of course wonderful but I agree that the lack of weighted grades makes the process incredibly punitive to any student looking for options. High school Honors algebra, freshman English, etc. are simply not equivalent to 7th grade math and English.

  • 569. west rogers park mom  |  December 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    I completely agree with RL Julia with the caveat that Taft seems to be more generous with their A’s. They also changed the grading scale to 90 for an A this year. While the administration wants to keep as many kids as possible for their IB and honors program they are also realistic and know that many of their student body goes on to SEHS.

    My kid is in 8th grade at Taft and we began the year thinking there was no way she would stay. But the more we went to open houses and actually looked at the transportation options we realized that it will take an hour on public transportation to Taft, Whitney, Jones, Lincoln Park etc. It’s just a different direction.

    As stressed out as we are right now with this whole high school application process, our anxiety level is lessened with the knowledge that she can stay at Taft if she chooses next year.

  • 570. Sunny  |  December 12, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Has anyone been reading the articles in the Trib regarding College Admissions? There is so much focus on the SEHS but really, those kids are not really getting into the Ivy’s in large numbers. Only Northside had ANY kids from the Class of 2012 from CPS with 9 attending as Freshman this year. Much lower than the top suburban schools that Northside beats out in rankings (top had numbers in the 20s and teens which is still low – which was pointed out as a larger issue for Illinois schools). Plus I’ve also read the performance of SEHS graduates is like a 2.5 gpa in the Freshman year of college. Not impressive. And no, the college freshman gpa did not just apply to the less prestigious SEHS. With the commuting issue, makes me wonder whether the commute is really worth it, especially if a state school or out of state public school is in our future.

  • 571. SoxSideIrish4  |  December 12, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    #570~Off the top of my head WY class of 2012 had 1 go to Harvard, Dartmouth & Cornell. I know that a few went to MIT (i know it’s not ivy). Also, pls know that SEHS kids do get into Ivy league and decline.

  • 572. mom2  |  December 13, 2012 at 10:06 am

    566 and 568 – Are there really many AC students that actually want to leave their current school for a different SE high school? It is my understanding that most of the kids at WY and Lane absolutely love their school and don’t want to change. They are finally comfortable and will be the “big wigs” at their school when the rest of the freshman join them.

  • 573. mom2  |  December 13, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Why so much focus on Ivy League schools? I think there are many SE students that don’t even apply there because they want to be closer to home, or need to be closer due to family and financial issues. Is there really proof that just going to one of those schools guarantees you a better future than places like U of C, Northwestern, Michigan, U of I, etc.?

  • 574. RL Julia  |  December 13, 2012 at 10:36 am

    569 – I agree. Taft seemed to be more reasonable in it’s expectations. I really liked their program. I know some kids who stayed for 9th grade who are really liking the IB track.
    570 – the validictorian from Lane last year went to Harvard but also got into Brown and a number of other top schools. I doubt she was the only one. I’d be curious to see the article that says SEHS kids average a 2.5 GPA – although to be fair – isn’t a 2.5 GPA considered average? So that would mean that some kids are getting straight A’s and some kids are flunking out. Well… that (unfortunately) sounds about right – Bell curve and all….
    572- I don’t think it is so much that the kids at WY or Lane want to leave their schools or are so miserable as much as they are the kind of kids who are very confident and not afraid to compete (or even like it) and would just throw their names into the pool for the sake of it – if it was an option – just so that they could have a choice…
    573 – I agree. I think that distance and money play huge factors in college choice and the fact is that most SEHS kids are still not as financially able to afford/even consider an ivy league school or one half way across the country.

  • 575. cps for dummies  |  December 13, 2012 at 11:06 am

    Ya, probably not worth the commute if you can’t even get into Harvard.

    What’s your strategy?

  • 576. LP Parent  |  December 13, 2012 at 11:41 am

    A student from Westinghouse was accepted to Yale, but decided to go to U of C because he was offered a full ride. All academic.

  • 577. west rogers park mom  |  December 13, 2012 at 11:51 am

    @570 – Unfortunately it all comes down to money. I would guess that those suburban high schools have more parents that can afford IVY league schools. And lets face it- how many of us would not be obsessed to the level we are if we could afford those pricey private options?


  • 578. SoxSideIrish4  |  December 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    #572~Mom2~while most of the kids stay at WY after their ackie years, there were a 2kidslast yr I know who did leave bc NorthSide was so much closer to their home. But almost all stay, even the one who live far and could go closer to another SEHS.

  • 579. HSObsessed  |  December 13, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Um, wow, they announced today that Taft HS and Lincoln Park HS are now going to have wall to wall IB programs???

  • 580. cpsobsessed  |  December 13, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Wow, very interesting. Always full steam ahead with Rahm, eh?

  • 581. Chiming In  |  December 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    @576 – Great story. I forsee good things from Westinghouse. They are definitely moving in the right direction. Unlike King College Prep, unfortunately, whose students staged a sit-in today. I had very high hopes for them.
    @579 – what does it mean for LPHS to have a wall-to-wall IB program. Is there no longer a “Double Honors” program, or performing arts curriculum?

  • 582. North Center Mom  |  December 13, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Every year CPS pulls some change on those applying to high school. And now the other shoe has fallen, Lincoln Park, a fully functioning mix of IB, Double Honors, Performing Arts and neighborhood will become one of Rahm’s wall-to-wall IBs. In the process, one of the only or few independently administrated application processes (which is to say, functional) will fall under the control of the central office. Did my 8th grader just lose one of his best chances of getting into a school that would be a good fit? More bologna from CPS after the applications have been submitted.

    List of people I will not vote for in the future:
    Rahm Emanuel
    Anita Alvarez (unrelated, but I just wanted to politic)

  • 583. HSObsessed  |  December 13, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Yeah, I haven’t fully digested this either. It’s completely news to me, and we’re in the district, I attended the open houses, just talked to the admissions lady earlier this week about the January performing arts auditions! Geez. We were planning on AP/HH only because IB is too intense, not sure we’re interested in being forced into the program. And yes, people, applications are due TOMORROW!!

  • 584. EdgewaterMom  |  December 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Becoming wall to wall IB may not change the admissions process. I know that at Senn, all teachers will eventually be trained in the IB process and IB will influence the entire curriculum, but it does not mean that all students have to test into the IB program – only the small, “honors” IB program. I am sure that somebody from the school can explain it much better than I have done here, but that is the gist of what I understand about the wall to wall program at Senn.

    It will probably take them a few years to fully ramp up the IB program. I know that at Senn, the freshman teachers for this year went through IB training, the sophomore teachers will go through it next year and so on.

  • 585. IBobsessed  |  December 13, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    @582 W to W IB It seems most likely that W to W IB at LP will not change anything at all for you next year. They will surely keep Fine Arts and Double Honors. Wall to Wall IB may simply mean every student can choose to take an IB course or 2 no matter what track/program they are in. Agree with Edgewater Mom.

  • 586. cpsobsessed  |  December 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Based on how it was presented at Senn,it is more a teaching/learning style than a program. It’s more about the student bringing ideas and thinking to the classroom rather than “being taught.” More about free thinking and ideas and… other stuff. More liberal-artsy I think. Aims to facilitate discussion and debate among the students. It certainly sounds appealing, if done right.

    It isn’t at the same level of rigor as the students in the test-in IB program will get. But research has supposedly shown that kids who learn this way in high school succeed better in college. Not that it would have helped me in the giant several hundred person lecture halls at Indiana University. Do they still teach that way? Ugh.

    Anyhow, I think it sounds like it could be a good evolution for the high schools. I just think that Rahm gets an idea in his head or reads a research blurb and suddenly goes whole hog with it. How about seeing how it goes at Senn first?

  • 587. cps for dummies  |  December 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    CPSO – Is it Rahm going whole hog or is it something that the schools want. I was under the impression that several schools wanted wall to wall…..could be wrong on that.

  • 588. SoxSideIrish4  |  December 13, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    I think as soon as Rahm heard abt how the IB program is perceived~he went whole hog. I also believe that the schools that wanted it~wanted it to be test in not 2 tracks, but we will just see how that goes.

  • 589. Sunny  |  December 13, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    If Taft is your neighborhood school, does this mean you can only attend if you get into the IB programme? Where will the neighborhood kids go who don’t meet the requirements? Did this just leave Tier 4 families in the neighborhood school-less? Also, I’ve heard Taft Security and Staff treat non-IB students very poorly/rudely – school is dirty, no TP or soap in the non-IB bathrooms by the end of the day, but treat IB students and AC kids well. Will there be a haves and have nots within the school as school moves to IB based on who is in the small IB Tier? Wonder if the Avid program will continue. And will they get rid of ROTC program?

  • 590. Paul  |  December 13, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    According to the press release, wall-to-wall IB doesn’t affect neighborhood admissions.

  • 591. Danaidh  |  December 14, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Re: 589.Sunny

    Taft–the second largest school in the city with 3,100 students–will remain a neighborhood school. All the high schools on the far northwest side are crowded and cannot possibly absorb three thousand kids.

    No one knows what changes the WtWIB program will bring to the school. Central Office hasn’t thought this out very well, and the Taft principal only found out about it a week ago. (Faculty found out today when the news media reported it.)

    As for the restrooms–the Academic Center kids have their own restrooms (1 boys and 1 girls) because they are *younger* than the high school students. There are no IB-only restrooms in the school.

    Also, I don’t know why security and staff would “treat non-IB students very poorly/rudely.” IB a very small population–less than 7% of the student body–and it’s not like we brand their foreheads with the letters “IB.” Not sure how security and staff would know who is IB and who isn’t.

  • 592. cpsobsessed  |  December 14, 2012 at 12:40 am

    @587: Don’t know if it’s Rahm or the schools, but I know he’s been talking all excitedly about IB stuff for a while now (I saw as if I’ve been a part of the conversations….) The Amundsen principal mentioned it at their open house and I’ve seen him throwing some stat around about the success of IB kids in college. I assume (hopefully) that the schools wanted to do it as well.

  • 593. Questioner  |  December 14, 2012 at 6:23 am

    @591–what is the largest high school in the city?

  • 594. anonymous  |  December 14, 2012 at 9:40 am

    @593 Lane Tech is the largest high school. Population is
    4192 students, according to US News.

  • 595. Edgewater Member  |  December 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    I have been attending the Senn community forums about going IB Wall to Wall and was at the school for their open house and the alderman’s holiday fest yesterday. I can give some detail about how this wall to wall thing works there. You are right @586 that IB is a teaching/learning style. Senn has taken the IB Middle Years Programme framework and expanded it to all classrooms at 9th and 10th grades. The MYP maintains its rigor, but as the principal says it is about the supports the students receive that make it accessible to everyone. She said at the open house that all students, even the high performing IB students need supports beyond the classroom, and that’s where the personalization comes in. Study groups, small group tutoring, enrichment classes after school.The IB selective program at a Wall to Wall school remains intact. It is fully 100% selective and no one gets in without an application. Senn calls the grade 9/10 application strand the IB Diploma Prep track. They got to keep their magnet fine arts program and will be opening the dance strand next fall. That’s an application only program too. But there are two more strands that are for the community only and are called safe seats because they reserved for the Edgewater/Andersonville students. These are the IB Global Environment and the IB Digital Journalism strands. Every student is expected to take at least 1 IB certificate course, more if they can handle it. There’s a personal project involved. These strands are really interesting. I wish I could go back in time to take these classes. There is some choice here.

    I do know that Senn started planning this early year with lots of community involvement. From what I can tell, this really is a way to give a high quality program to every student in the school. Edgewater parents have been wanting a choice beyond the SEHS and it’s is such a relief to my friends with younger children to know that Senn is looking like a good option with guaranteed seats for Edgewater and Andersonville families. The icing on the cake is that Loyola has partnered with Senn. I am impressed at how closely the school and the university are working. Loyola has been at the community meetings and very involved and helping with curriculum. They have a faculty member whose time is 100% dedicated to Senn. Loyola is in the process of becoming an IB training school. Certainly this is a different way of looking at IB. Very different from what LP and Taft have done in the past but sounds like something that will be good for community families. Don’t know if LP or Taft are going to use or adapt the Senn model. If there’s a community meeting for LP or Taft could someone post it?

  • 596. SoxSideIrish4  |  December 15, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    #595~ Edgewater Member~thank you so much for posting abt Senn. Sounds like this will be a gr8 hs for the community!

  • 597. HSObsessed  |  December 17, 2012 at 9:36 am

    @595 – Thank you for the additional info. I believe LPHS is going to offer a similar model. There’s a five-page FAQ posted on the LPHS website about the new IB roll out. Also, there are two community meetings this week; tonight for current LPHS parents and on Wed 12/19 at 6:45 pm for prospective parents/families. I may attend the Wed meeting and will certainly report any findings. There is buzz about community members signing up to speak at the meeting; I’m assuming to speak against the concept? but I’m not sure. I was a little shocked at the news but if the new IB program involves more personalized, supported education, then I’m all for it. I think it will be fantastic for the LPHS population, which was already drawing a great pool of kids citywide, but this will improve it even more. I think there were many parents who decided that if their kid didn’t get into the LPHS IB program, that the “general” program (AP/double honors) there was not good enough, and instead sent the kids to privates, but this will encourage them to enroll at LPHS instead. I’m talking the Tier 4 kids with 3As/1B and all test scores in the low 90s, who can no longer get into any of Payton/Northside/Young/Jones/Lane Tech.

  • 598. OutsideLookingIn  |  December 17, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I’m curious about what the difference will be between the test-in IB at LPHS and the new general admission IB at the school. And i’m wondering why might the new curriculum/instruction for general admission IB be perceived as more desirable than the current double-honors program? Should be some interesting info shared in those meetings…

  • 599. Questioner  |  December 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Does anyone know where to find information on the dance strand starting up at Senn HS?

  • 600. Chicago School GPS  |  December 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Letter from LPHS Principal:

    Dear Lincoln Park High School Families,

    I am proud to announce that Lincoln Park High School has been selected to become a Wall-to-Wall International Baccalaureate (IB) school beginning in September 2013. I am thrilled about this opportunity because it will enhance the educational experience for all of our students.

    The International Baccalaureate Program, founded in 1968, is offered in 143 countries to over one million students. The program emphasizes rigorous academics coupled with the personal, emotional and social skills needed to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing environment. Lincoln Park High School has been offering the IB Diploma Program since 1980 and is one of the most highly regarded schools in the world for this program.

    Until now, about 20% of our students have had access to this world-class opportunity. By offering additional options for participating in IB along with the Diploma Program, we will give all our students a chance to benefit from an IB education regardless of their personal circumstances. The IB mission, philosophy and practices will provide a coherent foundation on which to build all of our programs and unify our school.

    This change will bring new opportunities to Lincoln Park High School while preserving and strengthening our unique and successful features:

    � We will continue to be a neighborhood school, enrolling all interested students from our attendance area and accepting applications for available seats from students elsewhere in the city.
    � The rigorous and competitive IB Diploma Program will remain uncompromised.
    � Our award-winning Visual Arts and Performing Arts programs, including Instrumental Music, Vocal Music and Drama, will remain a centerpiece of the school.
    � We will continue to offer a wide variety of AP courses for those wishing to pursue accelerated coursework leading to college credit.
    � We will continue to place students based on the best fit for their academic needs, with the goal of leveling them up to the most challenging curriculum possible.

    I have no doubt that implementing Wall-to-Wall IB will result in high achievement by all of our students. The expertise and commitment of our talented faculty, the ability and potential of our students, and the support from our community will ensure our success. I look forward to working with all of you to make the most of this wonderful opportunity.

    Please join me for a community meeting for current Lincoln Park Families on Monday, December 17th at 6:45 pm in our auditorium to learn more about Wall-to-Wall IB at Lincoln Park. We will hold our first community meeting for prospective Lincoln Park families on Thursday, December 20th at 6:45pm in our auditorium.

    Please see the attachment for FAQs.


    Michael Boraz, Principal
    Lincoln Park High School, A Wall-to-Wall IB School


    Why is this change being made?
    Lincoln Park High School has been one of the best high schools in Illinois for many years. By becoming a Wall-to-Wall IB school, we will give all our students an opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of their personal circumstances. Recent research by the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) shows that students who participate in the IB curriculum have much better outcomes at college than do non IB students. This research included students from a wide range of academic backgrounds. In other words, the IB curriculum benefited students who did not have high standardized test scores when they started or finished the program.
    Will every student at Lincoln Park High School really be part of the IB program?
    Yes. The Wall-to-Wall IB encompasses several programs. Currently, we only offer the IB Diploma Program (DP). Our range of offerings will be expanded so that all of our students will have access to and benefit from an IB education regardless of their personal circumstances.
    Will this change who can attend Lincoln Park High School?
    No. We will continue to enroll all interested students who reside in our attendance area and accept applications for available seats from students who reside outside of our attendance area.
    Will the LPHS admissions process be any different?
    It will be streamlined. We will continue to hold auditions for the Performing Arts program, but otherwise we will use the standard CPS admissions process. There will not be a separate LPHS application as there is now.
    Does this mean the current IB Diploma Program will be “watered down” to accept everyone?
    No. The rigor and competitiveness of the DP will not be compromised.
    • Wall-to-Wall IB means expanding pathways and flexibility for participation in IB, not a one size fits all approach.
    • Not all students at Lincoln Park will pursue the IB Diploma.
    • Those who apply to Lincoln Park expressly for the DP will still need very strong academic qualifications and a strong desire to pursue the IB Diploma as a member of our 4 year DP cohort. (2 years pre diploma program (PDP), 2 years DP).
    Will we have to give up our music, drama, or other unique offerings?
    No. This opportunity will bring change to Lincoln Park High School, but as a Wall-to-Wall IB school, we will be able to preserve and strengthen our unique and successful features. The IB mission, philosophy, and practices will provide a coherent foundation on which to build all of our programs and unify our school.
    How will the Regular, Honors, and Double Honors programs be affected?
    We will work as a faculty to determine how to design our program to best suit the varying academic needs of our students. The Middle Years Programme (MYP) is flexible enough to provide an appropriate level of challenge to students of all ability levels. Our vision is to provide a challenging and supportive curriculum to all of our students.
    Will Advanced Placement (AP) courses still be offered?
    Yes. We will continue to offer a wide variety of AP courses for those who want to pursue a rigorous and varied curriculum. All of our current IB students and hundreds of our non IB students currently take AP courses.
    What is the difference between the IB program and the standard high school curriculum?
    Here’s what distinctive about IB:
    o Integrated curriculum. Students apply what they learn in one class in other classes. For example, reading “Catcher in the Rye” in a literature class may be the basis for a discussion of psychology in a Social Studies class.
    o Emphasis on inquiry and critical thinking. Students learn to analyze, not just memorize facts.
    o Projects. Students conduct in-depth research into subjects of interest to them and communicate what they’ve learned in a paper or presentation.
    o Objective assessment. Each student’s work is evaluated based on IB standards. In upper grade courses, the students’ work is assessed by IB experts, thus providing adherence to internationally accepted high standards.
    The goal of the IB program is give students of all ability levels the skills they need to thrive in the era of globalization.
    What type of external support will be provided to accomplish this initiative?
    CPS and the IB will provide us with resources to support our expansion:
    • All of our faculty will be trained in the Middle Years Programme (MYP) and those who teach in the DP will receive training in DP.
    • We will be able to hire an additional IB Coordinator
    • We will receive instructional material and upgrades to our Science labs
    What is MYP?
    The IB Middle Years Program (MYP) is designed to prepare all 9th and 10th grade students to access the rigorous IB curriculum in the 11th and 12th grades. There are two pathways in the MYP.
    • For those students who have been admitted to pursue the IB Diploma, MYP will encompass our current pre-IB (PDP) curriculum. This will remain as it is now but with the addition of the personal project, an MYP requirement.
    • For students who are not pursuing the IB Diploma, MYP will offer classes at the honors level, with students grouped according to their strengths by subject. The curriculum and sequence of courses is designed to prepare students for AP and IB courses at the 11th and 12th grade level. All students will complete a personal project. Students excelling in this pathway will have an opportunity to move into the PDP pathway during the 10th grade year.
    In addition to meeting CPS curriculum requirements, the MYP is designed to:
    • Address students’ intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being.
    • Enable students to understand and manage the complexities of our world, and provides them with the skills and attitudes they need in order to take responsible action for the future.
    • Ensure breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding through the study of eight subject areas.
    • Require the study of at least two languages to support students in understanding their own culture and that of others.
    • Provide the opportunity for students to undertake an independent project.
    What happens after the MYP, in 11th and 12th grades?
    For students not pursuing the IB Diploma, new ways to access the IB Program will be offered beginning in the 11th grade. All students will participate in IB Core, in which students select Creativity, Action, Service, (CAS), the Theory of Knowledge Course (TOK), or completing an Extended Essay (EE) as their area of participation in IB. Students will also have the option of pursuing one or several IB Certificates.
    What is IB Core?
    All students will participate in IB Core. IB Core offers students their choice of three ways to fulfill their IB participation requirement: Creativity, Action, Service (CAS); Theory of Knowledge (TOK); or Extended Essay (EE).
    • The Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) requirement takes seriously the importance of life outside the classroom, providing a counterbalance to academic studies.
    o Creativity includes a wide range of arts activities as well as the creativity students demonstrate in designing and implementing service projects.
    o Action can include not only participation in individual and team sports but also taking part in expeditions and in local or international projects.
    o Service encompasses a host of community and social service activities.
    For this option, students must complete a total of 200 hours of CAS during the 11th and 12th grade years.
    • Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is an interdisciplinary course that teaches students ways of knowing in and across subject areas. Students study logic, philosophy, and foundational concepts in Mathematics, Science, the Social Sciences, and the Arts.
    • Extended Essay (EE) is a year-long independent research project that a student will pursue in a core area of particular interest. Students writing an EE will have a faculty advisor throughout the process. The EE culminates in a 12-15 page paper that is assessed according to IB’s international scoring standards. Successful completion of an EE demonstrates the student’s ability to meet an international standard for research writing.
    What is an IB Certificate?
    Students who are not attempting the full IB diploma but would like to take one or several IB courses may do so. Students who pass the IB exam for a course will receive an IB Certificate in that course. This level of achievement means the student is well prepared to pursue college level study in that area. Many colleges around the world also recognize IB Certificates for college credit.
    Are the IB classes offered to students in the IB Diploma program the same as those for students who just want an IB Certificate? If not, what are the differences?
    The DP offers standard level and higher level classes. IB Certificate classes will be offered at both levels as are DP classes. Regardless of level, the same basic material is covered, the same methods and skills are emphasized, and all students take the same certification test. The difference is that in higher level courses additional topics are covered and the pace of classes may vary.
    Standards and tests are the same for all students regardless of ability. A 5 scored by a DP student on a given exam means the same as a 5 scored by a Certificate student.
    Why would a student want to get an IB Certificate?
    An IB Certificate shows that the student is capable of intellectually demanding work. It may help the student gain admission to a better college, and may be awarded college credit.
    What’s the difference between AP and IB Certificate courses?
    IB and AP courses are both academically challenging and use a structured curriculum that concludes with a standardized test. Both are generally looked upon favorably by college admissions committees. The differences are that IB courses are part of an integrated curriculum, tend to be more in-depth, and emphasize critical thinking, while AP courses cover a broader range of content. Some colleges give more credit for IB Certificate courses.
    What will happen to the Special Ed and ESL programs?
    These programs are highly individualized based on the needs of particular students and are intended to help them access their school’s standard curriculum. This will not change.
    Will there be more homework?
    There won’t necessarily be more homework, just different homework. There will be more projects and writing assignments. MYP also includes a second-language requirement – this will mean extra work for some students.
    Will the IB courses be taught by the current LPHS faculty?
    In the past, when CPS has added an IB programme at schools the district has closed all teaching positions and allowed teachers to reapply to IB teaching positions. CPS will be approaching this differently this year with an eye toward substantially minimizing staff disruptions. We are working with CTU in negotiating ways to do that and to ensure smooth transition. We are considering factoring in performance and tenure in determining who will be offered an IB teaching position without having to reapply. More details on how CPS will do that will be forthcoming after we conclude our discussions with the CTU.
    Will the LPHS buildings be upgraded?
    The science labs will be upgraded as part of the IB program. We recognize that the LPHS physical plant is in need of rehabilitation and will continue to press for additional capital investment. The Wall-to-Wall IB designation gives LPHS a higher profile and may help us make our case.

  • 601. Chicago School GPS  |  December 17, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Lincoln Park HS Community Meeting is on Wed, 12/19 @ 6:45PM in the auditorium (I think the previous post had an old date).

  • 602. Chicago School GPS  |  December 17, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Lincoln Park HS Community Meeting is this WEDNESDAY, 12/19 at 6:45PM (previous post had an old date).

  • 603. Chicago School GPS  |  December 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Sorry about the double post- I was on the world’s slowest computer earlier and it didn’t show that the first one went through.

  • 604. Mom  |  December 18, 2012 at 11:41 am


    ROGERS PARK — Several faculty and staff members of Sullivan High School were assaulted last Friday as four fist fights broke out among members of two warring gangs, school officials said.

    Read more:

    I posted this in the wrong section.

  • 605. Todd Pytel  |  December 18, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    @599 (Questioner) – You can find some information on the Dance program at and then choosing Dance from the Senn Arts tab at the top. However, the Dance program is still very much in development, so there’s limited information on the website at the moment. If you have questions that aren’t answered, you can contact David Stachowiak, the Senn Arts Coordinator, at

    Todd Pytel
    Mathematics Department Chair
    Senn High School

  • 606. anonymouse teacher  |  December 20, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    So, the Disney II high school has been approved. I predict Disney II will likely be the most popular elementary school in the entire city now. Partly because it is already a very good school. Partly because once you get in for Kindergarten, you then have a guaranteed safe, good option. It seems like Alcott HS hasn’t succeeded yet as a good option (though may down the road), but Disney II is so strong, I bet they will. Kids in the elementary school there are set. Lucky kiddos.

  • 607. cpsobsessed  |  December 20, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    How do you know about it? Are details posted anywhere?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 608. anonymouse teacher  |  December 20, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    It was posted on the D2 website. Don’t know details other than what they have there.

  • 609. local  |  December 20, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    A look at VonStuben?

  • 610. cpsobsessed  |  December 20, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    From the CPS Press Release:

    Additionally, the Board approved the expansion of grade levels at these schools starting in fall 2013:
    Rickover Naval Academy High School, requesting to add grades seven and eight
    Marine Military Math and Science Academy, requesting to add grades seven and eight
    Disney II Magnet School, requesting to add grades nine through 12

  • 611. local  |  December 20, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Re: D2: “I predict Disney II will likely be the most popular elementary school in the entire city now. Partly because it is already a very good school. Partly because once you get in for Kindergarten, you then have a guaranteed safe, good option.”

    Just like Lab school.

  • 612. cpsobsessed  |  December 20, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Oh wow. That show sounds interesting. In the past 2 weeks I’ve happened to meet 2 adults in their 30’s who both went to Von Steuben.

  • 614. cpsobsessed  |  December 20, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Disney II HS FAQs:

    How will students be chosen for the high school?
    In keeping with Disney II’s current enrollment strategy, enrollment will be based on the district’s magnet school policy that includes sibling enrollment to the extent positions are available, as well as 40 percent of remaining seats from the proximity area and the rest are distributed evenly across four socio-economic tiers and the seats are filled by district-wide applicants via a computerized lottery. Students currently in the elementary school will automatically matriculate into the high school if they choose to do so. Additional details are available at:

    Where will the high school be located? Is Disney II getting a new building?
    At this time, the location of the high school has not been decided. The Disney II proposal requested that the school be located within the proximate area of the existing campus. The school will likely be housed in an existing CPS building. The location will be determined by the CPS Board of Education and is not expected until late spring 2013.

    Does the proposed Disney II expansion relate to CPS school utilization actions?
    No. Any approval to expand Disney II will be made independently from the decision of where the school should be located. Other than requesting proximity to the existing building, the proposal team made no recommendations as to where the school should be housed.

    How will this new school be funded?
    Disney II, including the proposed high school, is a traditional CPS magnet school and will be funded according to the District’s standard budgeting process.

    Will the high school employ unionized teachers?
    Yes. As a CPS district school, Disney II will employ teachers who are members of the Chicago Teacher’s Union.

    How will the high school be managed?
    The elementary and high school levels will be a single unified school and led by a common administrative team.

  • 615. Paul  |  December 20, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Wasn’t Disney II one of the longer school day pioneer schools? I wonder if this is a reward for their participation.

  • 616. cpsobsessed  |  December 20, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    They were one of the first longer day schools. Cps let me talk to the principal once on the phone and she was highly impressive. I think it makes sense from a “marketing” standpoint since the disney name (and now D2 name) have a good reputation. I think the rub is that kids will always leave for the SEHSs so the question is how it’ll fall out in terms of the lottery. I’d imagine they’ll get a lot of applications — but it begs the question of how Alcott didn’t take off reputation-wise as might have been expected.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 618. HSObsessed  |  December 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Re @617 – For those of you who don’t want to read the article, it’s saying that Back of the Yards HS was named as one of the new wall to wall IB programs, but after CPS officials explained that about 1/4 of the students will be in the full IB Honors program and the rest will be in a modified program, the parents are angry. My kid will likely be in the modified program at LPHS if she goes there, and I’m totally fine with that, personally. This sentence from the WBEZ reporter confused me somewhat and I wish she had clarified:

    “Seven nearby elementary schools, including one Catholic school, will feed into this new high school.”

  • 619. averagemom  |  December 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    I don’t understand why they’re switching to the IB middle years program at all. It’s the diploma program in 11th and 12th grade that improves college success. The MYP can be as easy or challenging as they want to make it, it’s just different, not better. Lincoln Park High School is not increasing the number of students in the diploma program, so if you would have been in double honors, you still can’t do the full DP, just some of the courses. The principal also said they’ve found that keeping all the regular track students together hasn’t worked, so they’ll be mixing them in with the honors students and getting rid of the regular track. I don’t know how they plan to do that without slowing everyone down. I wish they’d have told us before it was too late to change our applications.

  • 620. cpsobsessed  |  December 22, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Based on what i’ve learned/heard about the IB Diploma program, there’s no way it would work for a neighborhood school. It’s too rigorous. What happens to the kids who don’t do the several hours of homework required each night? What happens to the kids who can’t/don’t read all the literature required?

    My understanding is that up to half the kids drop out of the IB program after the MYP (freshman/sophomore years.) And then it only becomes more rigorous. Not sure how that would fly.

  • 621. cpsobsessed  |  December 22, 2012 at 9:55 am

    So how are parents going to apply to Disney II for high school for next year? The HS is starting in the Fall, correct?

  • 622. Chicago School GPS  |  December 22, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Disney 2 doesn’t reach 8th grade for 3 more years, I think, but they are short on space now so I anticipate they will move their middle school to this new location and eventually it will grow to HS as the current kids age up.

  • 623. mayfairAM  |  December 22, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I posted this yesterday in the applying post, but meant to post it here: To the ISAT retake question…My son took the ISATS in October when the retaking was happening. He took the Terra Novas at his Catholic school last spring and got above 98 in all categories except reading. I called OAE last spring and they sent me to my local CPS school who set him up with the testing. He scored 99 in math and 95 in reading. Here is the rub…the boy wants to go to Whitney, (where his sister goes) but we are doing due diligence and applying to a mess of the different programs, IB, SEHS, magnets and the Von Stuben Scholars and those applications require a science score…which the shortened version of the “retake” ISATS did not test for….SO we ended up sending in the Terra Novas. Ya think this process is making me a little crazy? Yep, you are not alone….if you are reading this you are probably crazy too:)

  • 624. anonymouse teacher  |  December 22, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    @620, I think the plan is that even though some high schools will be “wall to wall”, most kids who come from the neighborhood will not actually be getting a pure IB program. They will benefit from teachers who use pieces of the approach and classes that lean IB, without really being IB. At least, that has been my understanding. Sort of like (bad analogy here) some preschool teachers use a “Reggio Emilio inspired” approach or a “Montessori inspired” approach.
    I, too, doubt that what is being promised will actually happen the way it is being spun and two that it will make much of a difference. It might at Senn and maybe Taft. Those schools have hope, at least imo, especially Senn. But some of the other schools, I personally view as having such difficult student populations that I don’t think IB in any form at all will do any good. But who knows? I’d like to see some long range data over a 15-20 year period of time. I don’t think CPS is capable of sticking to one approach that long though, but that’s an entirely different problem.

  • 625. Edgewater Member  |  December 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I think it will depend on whether the school already has an established, approved IB. That sets the standard for all planning from Grade 9 up it appears. And it will depend on the school establishing MYP. It is a three year authorization process, but in striving for authorization these schools have to implement the actual MYP and not MYP-like. As long as these schools are going for MYP authorization, the rigor and integrity will be there. Senn is in its final authorization year, and I am told has passed all the early hurdles. I don’t know if Taft has MYP or not. For those schools with difficult student populations, there is going to have to be more on the table than curriculum. It will be interesting to see what can be done, but I am glad CPS is trying to do something beyond turnaround.

  • 626. HSObsessed  |  December 24, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    According to a DNA Info Chicago article, Disney 2 is currently up to sixth grade. They have 50 sixth-graders and will be holding a lottery for an additional 50 kids for seventh-grade spots for next year, so if any of you know anyone looking for a new 7th grade school, act now! The Disney HS will open this coming fall for 250 freshmen, at a yet-to-be determined location. So for the first two years, it seems that it will be a lottery for all 250 freshmen spots. Won’t it be hard to attract that many kids to a completely new, untested, unformed school? Although maybe there will enough NW side 8th graders who get shut out of Northside/von Steuben/Lane Tech and don’t want to go to Schurz, Foreman or Kelvyn Park, who will be glad to take a spot. I can’t even imagine the administrative scrambling that has to be done over the next 8 months selecting and preparing a site, screening and hiring faculty and staff, prepping a curriculum, and admitting the students.

  • 627. Disney II Parent  |  December 24, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I spoke with our principal regarding how will the new high school be ready in time for Fall 2013. She told me it shouldn’t be a problem given Disney II received approval in December, Location was announced in April. The building wasn’t available until July 1st since the current students were still using the facility. Everything was ready by the time school started

    The new high school will also offer a culinary arts certificate as well as technology certificate. I am convinced this high school will be a viable option and will be highly sought after in the years to come much like the selective enrollment high schools

    Our principal was responsible for putting together the opening of Disney II proposal. She also knows the pain parents face with the limited options for high school. She has one child at a selective enrollment high school and another at a private high school.

  • 628. RL Julia  |  December 25, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    I remain skeptical – while I love the idea of another viable high school option – I look at Alcott -and to a lesser degree Ogden -both great elementary schools which have strong but seemingly under subscribed high school programs. The fact remains is that parents are generally conservative bunch when it comes to school choice- especially when high school is concerned and unless Disney II successfully and relentlessly markets itself as a niche option the the neighborhood and beyond – specifically targeting not just Disney II kids (who are going to use the school as a back-up) and kids who are likely SEHS admits – but to the larger pool of not quite high scoring enough, lower income (despite the tier 3 and 4 addresses), tier three and four neighborhood kids (of which there are quite a few).
    I worry when I see that the goal for the new high school is 100% college admissions because what the neighborhood really needs is a high school with high academic expectations (sometime absent at Schurz and Roosevelt), solid college prep coursework and someone who is able to college place first generation college students and/or students shut out of the SEHS’s for whatever the reason. That 100% benchmark indicates to me that the school model is to cream from the SEHS’s (which is not a good start up strategy, IMO) – and shut out the type of student who would most benefit from the school in the first place.

    Also – as a person with a 7th and 9th graders – as tempting as a 12 -year school might be – I can assure you that your children will most likely be ITCHING (at least socially) to get out of their elementary school by middle school. At least mine were….

  • 629. HSObsessed  |  December 25, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    The Disney 2 principal sounds amazing and I’m sure she will give it her all, and I hope the outcome is great, as we certainly need great new options for high schoolers in the city. However, like RLJ, I have to wonder why Alcott and Ogden have not taken off to the degree that was likely expected, and I wonder how D2HS will be different. Although it will indeed likely be viewed as a backup, I don’t think that’s bad, because over time back up schools become “alleluia-I-got-an-offer” schools; take a look at Lane Tech over the course of only about 4-5 years, and I’m sure this will quickly be the case for von Steuben and LPHS (any program) soon as well. I think the D2HS goal of 100% college acceptance is good; the goal of an average 23 ACT score is a little more worrisome to me. Like Michelangelo said, the greatest danger is not that our aim too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.

  • 630. Chicago Mama  |  December 26, 2012 at 3:18 am

    Disney II was undersubscribed in its first year because people didn’t trust an unknown school. Now it’s one of the most popular schools in the city. I’m confident that the rigor at d2 HS will be as strong as it is at the SEHS.

  • 631. HS Mom  |  December 26, 2012 at 10:57 am

    HSO/RLJ – quite possibly the magnet format could differentiate this school from Alcott or Ogden. Von Steuben is also magnet, doing well.

  • 632. cpsobsessed  |  December 26, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I admit to a little skepticism as well because of the Alcott outcome. However the D2 principal had is very motivated to set high standards for the elem school (part of which for her involved the longer day.) So I think it’s exciting/impressive that she’s setting the bar high for the high school (seemingly based on whether she’s getting the top students or not.) I’m eager to see what happens. It’s nice to see such blatant high standards being set in CPS.
    I think part of the outcome will be based on whether families whose kids miss the SE cuttoff will embrace it as a good option. That’s what seems to have been the hurdle so far. It’s been SEHS or nothing so far.

  • 633. SoxSideIrish4  |  December 26, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I’m very skeptical (due to Alcott) but I hope D2HS will be a strong alternative for the kids who don’t get into SEHS.

  • 634. west rogers park mom  |  December 26, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    I understand the skeptics out there but remember Lakeview and Senn seem to have turned around in a very short time – I don’t know why Disney II HS can’t be strong from the start. After all the elem school is thriving, as is Coonley options, which started about the same time.

  • 635. local  |  December 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Sad developments at SE King College Prep? A comment at Dist299blog:

    KCPParent said 1 week ago

    I attended the LSC meeting on 12/19/12 and I left with a very heavy heart. Nothing was resolved, no concerns were addressed and parents left the meeting extremely upset.

    My son is a Junior at KCP and attended this school without any of his friends. He decided to attend the school because of the staff, the past principal and the students that told him he would not regret being a KCP Student. The students were so proud to be a part of KCP.

    We are a Hispanic family and we are very upset that this new principal is putting black against white and white against black. My son deserves an education regardless of race! Regardless of whether its a White/Hispanic/Black/Asian teacher that is teaching my child. If they are educated teachers with degrees why can they not teach my child? Just because the principal and lsc board believes the school is prominently black doesn’t mean we have to have all black teachers and students. Every teacher that my son has had in the past three years has pushed him to do more just because you’re a great student doesn’t mean you can’t achieve more.

    My son stood at every open house to speak to parents and new students about KCP. He encouraged students to attend the school and now he feels that he has failed his peers due to King students and teachers spirits being broken by this principal.

    I’m asking for her to resign and for parents to stand up for your children. Listen to them, stand up with them and fight for what the school was and can be!

    Attend the Town hall meetings, LSC meetings (next LSC mtg 1/9/13 @ 6pm) and get involved. According to the LSC parents aren’t involved enough, our email and contact information is not up to date. So please spread the word, update your information, be involved and aware of what they are not informing us about. I love and adore my son but if things don’t change at King than I have no other choice but to transfer my son out of the school.

    Concerned and disappointed Parent of a Junior KCP Student

  • 636. Chicago School GPS  |  January 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Just a reminder that Jones’ CTE program (Pre-Law or Pre-Engineering, no entrance exam route) application is due Tuesday, 1/15/13 by 5PM to the CPS main office. While they give preference to “boundary overlay” kids, they will fill remaining seats with high scoring citywide kids with no tier component (just 7th grade tests & grades to determine rank).

    CPS is also opening up a magnet medical career HS called Crane Medical Preparatory HS and Back of the Yards’ new school is accepting IB apps for neighborhood kids.

    Check out for info about the above programs.

    Disney II’s HS has no info on location or applications yet, and Intrinsic has been discussed in another thread, but their deadline for 6th, 7th & 9th grades is March 22.

    Charter school applications are due later this month into next month. You need to apply to each school and sometimes info sessions are required.

    CPS IB schools are inviting qualified students & parents to attend their mandatory info sessions this month into next, and notifications will come by Feb. 22.

    SEHS notifications are said to be released starting Feb. 18 but they may push a few days as their testing is extending to 1/26 now.

  • 637. Chicago School GPS  |  January 14, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    To clarify on the CPS IB info sessions, appointment letters for the mandatory info sessions were sent out this past weekend to qualified candidates and in order to be considered for acceptance, students and parents MUST attend an info session for each school they want to be considered for. Rescheduling is possible only under extenuating circumstances. The schools plan to notify families of acceptance or not by Feb. 22.

  • 638. anonymous  |  January 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    When do SEHS acceptance letters go out?

  • 639. anotherchicagoparent  |  January 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    The week of February 18th but since at least 2010 they have been a week to a week and a half later than date given.
    Jones CTE is now Jones CCA (College and Career).Confused yet?
    Gym is now required all four years in High school starting with class of 2016.
    @637 I hope extenuating circumstances covers the flu because I know it is hitting my kids school now.

  • 640. anonymous  |  January 16, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    @639 – Thanks, that’s much earlier than I thought it would be. Do the students ever get their test scores back (or their overall score for SEHS admission)? I have heard in at least one case a current student at a SEHS mention their overall score (out of 900).

  • 641. anotherchicagoparent  |  January 16, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    The overall percentile of the SE test, the individual percentiles of each SE sub test and the students overall score have all been included in the acceptance letters in previous years.

  • 642. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 17, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Last night a 17-year-old was murdered after a huge brawl at a basketball game between Simeon and Morgan Park. This comes about 2 months after a MPHS student was shot and killed. These incidents don’t happen at Marist, Ignatius, Mt. Carmel, or any SEHS, and pretty much solidify MPHS as a non-option for local families.

    As discussed above, turning MPHS into wall-to-wall IB is one of the few ways to get local families into MPHS. Since MPHS can’t even find a way to hire a principal, I doubt this will happen. It’s frustrating that there is only one viable option (Chi Ag) for those of us on the far South Side.

  • 643. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 17, 2013 at 8:50 am

    MPHS is not going wall2wall IB. If you remember there was a stabbing in Sept when these two teams (Simeon & MPHS) played at Gately for their football game. MPHS is NOT a viable option for Beverly kids.

    As for the Ag school~ its one of seven in the country and has a gr8 reputation. O’shea got on board and now that school takes 50% of the 19th ward (I believe that started this year) and the 19th ward are using those seats. I know 2 families who have turned down SEHS for Ag. Several of their kids will be attending U of I. The only complaint I’ve heard is that they don’t have Spanish 3 and 4 and French 3 and 4 so you only get 2 yrs of foreign language.

    As for sports~WY came in 1st for girls basketball and #2 was the Ag. They say it’s a hidden gem and now that our ward is occupying 50% of the seats~more will go there, but it can never be a neighborhood school bc it takes in 50% from around the City.

  • 644. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 17, 2013 at 10:03 am

    @643 Are there any restrictions as to why MPHS cannot go wall-to-wall IB? If it is a space issue, both nearby Fenger and Julian High Schools are seriously under-utilized.

  • 645. OutsideLookingIn  |  January 17, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    With the Ag school, do they determine admissions based on scores? If so, does anyone recall the minimum for last year acceptances? Also, I saw that they require a stanine of 5 in reading, math and science. But is that combined or for each? My kid’s scores are very high in science but very weak in reading. Neighborhood HS is our likely route but I know kid would love the Ag school.

  • 646. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 17, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    #644~SSD-O~the only restriction as to why MP didn’t become w2w IB was that Rahm didn’t pick it. It was up for becoming one of the 5 wall2wall IB. But Rahm decided on doing 6 w2w IB and MPHS was not one of them picked. He has let down our whole community.

    #645~OSLI~While there is no testing for the Ag, the required stanine of 5, I believe is for each of the subjects in reading, math, science (not combine). Def apply to Ag…I hope your child gets in.

  • 647. OutsideLookingIn  |  January 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    SSI – thanks for the info.

  • 648. 33reason9  |  January 17, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    645 i sure hope it is not combined for a total of 5. sheesh

  • 649. Southside Daddi-o  |  January 17, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Here’s some more details about the MPHS student murdered after the Simeon/MPHS game. It’s very sad, as this sounded like a bright kid. I wish we had a safer option for young people in our area.

    “Relatives said Tyrone Lawson was an honor student at Morgan Park and hoped to study engineering in college next year. They remembered him as “high-spirited” and “loved by all,” a popular student with friends on the basketball team.

    Bailey said Lawson loved animals, and took care of snakes, an iguana and turtles over the years. His aunt said he loved animals so much he gave up his bedroom for his 2-year-old dog, Midnight, and slept on a futon in another room.

    VanHughs (his aunt) said she helped raise Lawson while his mother traveled for her job. Family members described the two as having a strong relationship.

    “He was definitely a momma’s boy,” Bailey said. “They were very close and he was her only child.””

  • 650. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    #649~SSDI-O~I believe this was a safer option for him. In the early online editions of the papers, they listed his approximate address (they have since taken that down) I think his neighborhood high school was Fenger.

  • 651. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 17, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    #649~SSDI-O~Tyrone Lawson was an honors student and was going to college next year. I feel so badly for his mother, to lose her only child. He seemed like such a caring person. This is so sad.

  • 652. cpsobsessed  |  January 17, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    omg, just read the story. so so awful. That poor mom. Agh, I just saw SSI said he was an only child. I couldn’t read the rest of the story.

  • 653. Chicago School GPS  |  January 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Lots more freshmen spots this year at Jones! 350 SEHS and 75 non-test CTE spots. Letters go out after Feb. 18.

    From Jones’ Principal, Joseph Powers:

    January 25, 2013
    Dear Prospective Jones Parents and Students,
    The number of students seeking admission to Jones College Prep and other selective enrollment high schools has grown steadily in recent years; the number of seats for incoming freshmen has not kept pace with this growth. Earlier this week it was announced that Jones will expand by merging the present building with the new facility soon to open next door.
    Merging the two facilities will allow Jones to accept 425 new freshmen and expand our enrollment over the next 4 years to approximately 1700 students. Of the 425 seats, 350 will be selective enrollment and 75 will be for our new Pre-Law and Pre-Engineering Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs for students living in the vicinity of the school. The Jones expansion will provide hundreds of well-qualified Chicago students greater opportunity to attend one of the best high schools in the country.
    The current Jones building will become the North Campus, and the new facility the South Campus. Between now and the opening of school next fall, the North Campus will undergo significant renovation, including the repurposing of some instructional spaces to provide additional art, physical education, and media center space. A covered walkway will link the two buildings on the ground floor level. Both buildings will serve students in grades nine through twelve.
    I can assure you that our growth in enrollment will not alter the essential character and mission of Jones College Prep, as stated in our “Ideal Graduate at Graduation” vision statement. Our goal will remain to provide all our students with the best possible education in a safe and caring environment. Our signature “Freshman Connection” and “College Knowledge” programs, as well as our Honors/ Advanced Placement curriculum and rich extra-curricular programs will continue to serve the needs of all Jones students.

    After selective enrollment letters go out in February, we will be holding “Freshman Welcome” meetings during the first week of March so that applicants can learn more about the school prior to the acceptance deadline. Specific dates and times will be included in the invitation letters from Jones.

    If you have selected Jones College Prep, you can be confident that we are committed to our mission to help students develop themselves as leaders through a rigorous college prep program that focuses on educating the whole person.

  • 654. HS Mom  |  January 25, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    @653 – Awesome! Very exciting. Glad to see more SEHS seats.

  • 655. anon  |  February 18, 2013 at 11:54 am

    So, this is the week the SE letters go out. Has anyone called downtown to see when they are actually mailing the letters?

  • 656. Chicago School GPS  |  February 18, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I emailed them and was told the letters will be “sent” by Feb. 22, which means that they may not arrive until this weekend at the earliest. I know they added an additional week of SEHS testing on Jan 26 and there were 2 testing sessions per day at some locations so the numbers of applicants was pretty high.

    There will be a separate notification letter for each centralized program that your child applied to, ie. one for SEHS, one for IB, one for Magnets, one for CTE, etc. The SEHS & Military Academies will indicate zero or one offer, and the IB, CTE & Magnets will indicate zero, one or multiple offers.

    Schools with their own applications (Lake View, Alcott, Lincoln Park Fine Arts & Double Honors- now changed to some form of IB, etc) are supposed to notify this week as well.

    First round CPS acceptances are due by March 12.

    For those interested in learning what to do next, and what’s available should their choices not pan out, as well as Principal’s Discretion for SEHS, we invite you to join us for our “What’s Next? Decisions After Notifications” seminar at Alcott HS on Thursday, 2/28 at 7PM. We will also talk about private and parochial school options and next steps.

  • 657. anon  |  February 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    We applied for the Noble street charter school in the loop–Muchin–and actually got in! Does anyone have any personal knowledge? the academics look rigorous on paper.

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