Random Weekend Post: Suntimes Rankings! Network changes!

November 1, 2013 at 12:33 am 180 comments

For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, here is the SunTimes Top 50 schools listing in the state.


And the top honors go to….

Skinner North Elem (Classical)

Whitney Young Middle School (Selective enrollment academic center)

Walter Payton High School (Selective enrollment) unseating long standing #1 high school, North Side College Prep (which still has higher ACT scores.)

I just read that any differences between these and CPS scores are that these do not include Science (REading and Math only.)

Coonley and Greeley (turns out this is a Greeley in the suburbs)  moved up the list a lot for Elementaries.  Lincoln is the top rated neighborhood school.

Lane Tech AC makes its debut at #5 in the state among middle schools.

Jones is now in the the top 5 of high schools.

Hinsdale looks to have unseated new Trier as #1 non-selective school in the state.

Which goes to show the point made on the blog earlier today:  There are 2 reliable ways to predict good test scores in a school:  1 good test scores of the kids coming in 2 financial situation of the parents.


A couple people sent me and email with the following info about network re-structuring.  I’ve lot track of how this has all changed because it seems to change like every year or so.   From BBB:

Starting immediately, we are restructuring our networks to better align both our academic goals and geographies of existing neighborhoods. This will allow us to better engage our community stakeholders while improving the allocation of Network resources to our schools. To accomplish this, we are moving from the existing structure of 19 separate networks for elementary schools and high schools to a new configuration consisting of 13 networks that encompass Pre-Kindergarten education through Grade 12. Combining elementary and high school networks will allow for a more coherent, continuous delivery of instruction for students starting in Pre-Kindergarten through the 12th grade.

Some school types that require more specialized education supports will operate under their own organizational structure. The Alternative Schools Network, which has been renamed the Department of Option Schools, will report to the Office of Innovation and Incubation. Service Leadership Academies (Military) will be counted in the new Network structure, but will operate as a separate unit within the District. Lastly, AUSL schools will no longer be included under the new Network structure and will instead receive support directly from the Chief Officer of Network Supports.

I am confident that this revised network structure will strengthen our schools, better support school leaders and teachers, and help us reach our vision for every student in every neighborhood to be engaged in a rigorous, well-rounded instructional program to prepare them for success in college, career and life.

Network Leads: (this likely has typos… scribbled it down from a RYH post this weekend that I can’t find now.)

Anna Alvardo – Sauganash, Reed-Dunning, Albany Irving
Craig Beves – RavenswoodRandel Josserand – Austin, Belmont Cragin
John Price – Logan, Lincoln Park
Wanda Washington – Garfield, w Humbodlt, North Lawndale, Humboldt
Elizabeth Kirby – Englewood, Auburn-Gresham
LaTanya McDade – Chatham, South Shore
Karen Saffold – Far South, Far East ?
Herald “Chip” Johson – near North, Near West Loop, Bridgeport, Chinatown
Theresa Plascencia – Pilsen, Little Village
Luis Soria – McKinley Park
Harrison Peters – Bronzeville, Hyde Park, woodlawn
Rhonda Seagert – Beverly, Midway, Chicago Lawn (?) Ashburn



This is a POV from a teacher about whether kids who just don’t do the work should get a 0% or 50% for doing nothing.  It’s insightful about what some teachers are facing in high schools where some kids just don’t do the work.  And also about how decisions like this can affect how a school’s ratings look.   It’s interesting and fairly short.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Book Club – The Smartest kids in the world Vote on the school calendar in this survey (need your kid’s ID#)

180 Comments Add your own

  • 1. JLM  |  November 1, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Just to note that the Greeley that’s in the top 50 ranking is a school in Winnetka, not the CPS Greeley.

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  November 1, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Oops! Thanks for pointing that out! I’ll revise later. Who was this Greeley that has 2 schools names after them?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 3. Elliott Mason  |  November 1, 2013 at 9:50 am


  • 4. Patricia  |  November 1, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Way to go Lane HS jumping from 19th to 11th! I had a feeling that there would be a big jump for Lane and think there is more to come in the next 5 years given the location among other things of course. Also, very nice debut of the Lane AC at 5th.

  • 5. neighborhood parent  |  November 1, 2013 at 10:43 am

    just when we were starting to see some stability with regard to network reporting/expectations….. now there is shuffling.

    our principal has probably had 3 different bosses/reporting structures in the last 5 years… the last couple of years have been the most consistent…. and now another ‘realignment’.
    ugh! thanks for sharing the news.

  • 6. Counterpoint for discussion  |  November 1, 2013 at 10:44 am

    How can the Sun Times justify Northside being unseated as Northside has 1.more students 2. Higher average ACT 3. More students taking and passing AP classes?

    Sounds like the fix was in for Northside (people don’t like that NS was getting most of the positive attention)………Even Lake Forest was angry enough to hire away Northsides Principal.

    Can you say….Lovey please pass the grey poupon after you make sure those city kids no longer have their longtime principal.

  • 7. MagnoliaMom  |  November 1, 2013 at 11:07 am

    What drives me nuts about these rankings is that they’re based on test scores and student ability, and not on anything that distinguishes the school itself. In the city, of course “the best” schools are those that select students by test scores or those that attract students from highly educated and/or engaged families. That doesn’t mean the school, the teachers or the administrators are better; it just means they have top-ranking students who will succeed in any case and are a lot easier to teach than kids who struggle to learn. I would love to see rankings that actually look at the schools, teachers and administrators–and not at the test scores of the students who happen to populate those buildings.

  • 8. SR  |  November 1, 2013 at 11:50 am

    @2 – Horace Greeley actually seems worthy of the honor. From Wikipedia: Horace Greeley (1811-1872) was an American newspaper editor, a founder of the Liberal Republican Party, a reformer, a politician, and an outspoken opponent of slavery. The New York Tribune (which he founded and edited) was the US’ most influential newspaper from the 1840s to the 1870s. Greeley used it to promote the Whig and Republican parties, as well as opposition to slavery and a host of reforms ranging from vegetarianism to socialism. He also crusaded against the corruption of Ulysses S. Grant’s Republican administration.

    CPS’s Greeley is school worth checking out (located near Broadway and Irving Park). It has a gifted program for English language learners who speak Polish, Russian, and Spanish, and a really accessible principal.

  • 9. James  |  November 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    @6 Counterpoint For Discussion —

    The funny things about objective facts is that they are objective facts. For over ten years, the Sun Times has ranked high schools the exact same way: by taking the average score received on the statewide test administered to 11th graders. This year, that average for Payton was slightly higher than it was for Northside. No “fix” was in — just facts. Look it up.

    Man, you Northside parents are a touchy bunch…

  • 10. hatsofftoall  |  November 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I’m a Northside parent and I’m not touchy. I am tremendously proud of Payton and Northside – both. Thank God we have tremendous resources in this city. Our options are getting stronger every year. Kudos to Lane, Jones, Whitney Young, etc.
    Let’s keep in mind they we are all in this together.

  • 11. RatingsCrazy  |  November 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    These ratings just make me laugh.

    There should be totally separate ratings for selective schools as it’s ridiculous to pretend that they’re in the same category as a neighborhood school. I honestly feel they shouldn’t even include them at all. A Classical or SE school in the city should have near 100% on all testing or something’s seriously amiss there. LOL.

    And I agree with MagnoliaMom in that test scores say nothing about the quality of the experience. I saw an article about Oscar Mayer raising chickens. Totally cool! I read about Alcott building an outdoor area including new sports fields. So envious! Gifted programs for English language learners at Greeley? I wish our school had ANY differentiated learning! There are so many other things that make a school great beyond test scores. And this is coming from a mom with a kid at one of the schools at the top of the list.

    Our school has great test scores, but I’d be just as happy sending my kids to another school with amazing experiences. We just happen to go to our neighborhood school.

  • 12. las  |  November 1, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    I’m not a Northside parent and I agree with counterpoint for discussion.
    I thought it was great that Payton was finally #1 but after looking at the data I don’t see how it’s possible. The gap between the ACT scores of Northside and Payton was greater than it probably has ever been and Northside ranks higher on EVERY single metric that could be used in rankings. Sorry to say, but this definitely seems like a fix. Just look at the data, there’s no way Payton should have been number 1.

  • 13. klm  |  November 1, 2013 at 2:31 pm


    I kinda’ agree on some level. All those top few schools are “great.” It’s kinda’ like the U.S. News college rankings –which college is #1 varies from year to year, depending on a variable that’s seemingly not all that important. I mean, is Stanford less good than Yale, or suddenly better than Harvard, then Princeton’s now better than Harvard this year….wait now Caltech’s #1, etc.

    In the same way, is Payton “better” than Northside b/c 1 or 2 kids at Northside screwed up on an achievement test, despite an average higher ACT of (30.1 vs. 28.2 at Payton) for Northside?

    Or can WY’s AC program (#1) really say it’s genuinely really “better” than Edison RGC (#2) for middle-school b/c it’s 28/100th of 1 percent higher for its median?

    That said, test score results and rankings ARE an indication of where kids are, in terms of comparison state-wide to their peers and gives a glimpse as to what level of achievement and rigor is happening in schools.

    Lincoln’s the top non-selective enrollment elementary school (IG doesn’t start until 6th grade) in the whole state of Illinois (its achievement can’t be reduced to some happy luck in terms of geography and demographics). Other CPS schools (not just SE ones, either) do well, too, which is great to see.

    Shout out to Coonley! Look what happens when a neighborhood and parents rally and make a good school happen (yes, with some help from politicians). How many years ago was it that Coonley was a no-way-in-hell school?

  • 14. LP  |  November 1, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    “For over ten years, the Sun Times has ranked high schools the exact same way: by taking the average score received on the statewide test administered to 11th graders.”

    “Just look at the data, there’s no way Payton should have been number 1”

    @northside parent – ask your kid to explain the math 🙂

  • 15. cubswin  |  November 1, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Payton had a big jump in growth to ACT. Probably temporary.
    Why use absolute ACT at all? Here’s ranking of growth to ACT:

    Top 15 CPS high schools by growth (Explore to ACT 2012-2013)

    1) PAYTON HS 7.5
    4) NOBLE ST UIC 6.5
    6) NOBLE ST MUCHIN 6.2
    7) YOUNG HS 6.1
    8) JONES HS 5.8
    8) NOBLE ST NOBLE 5.8
    10) NOBLE ST COMER 5.4
    10) NOBLE ST JOHNSON 5.4
    12) LANE HS 5.3
    12) NOBLE ST GOLDER 5.3
    12) NOBLE ST RAUNER 5.3
    15) CHGO MATH & SCI ACAD HS 5.1


    Individual school data should be verifiable on the schooldata portion of cps.edu.

  • 16. pantherparent  |  November 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Come on, LP. You know we teach IMP math at Northside. There is no way our kids could figure out an average score.

  • 17. SEESandCharterParent  |  November 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    @klm – I’ve heard about the rankings with WYAC over Edison, but haven’t been able to find it online anywhere. Do you have a link?

    Or can WY’s AC program (#1) really say it’s genuinely really “better” than Edison RGC (#2) for middle-school b/c it’s 28/100th of 1 percent higher for its median?

  • 18. LP  |  November 1, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    “despite an average higher ACT of (30.1 vs. 28.2 at Payton) for Northside”

    We should at least use the correct numbers. The ACT composite scores are at http://www.cps.edu/Schools/Find_a_school/Pages/findaschool.aspx

    Northside: 29.4
    Payton: 29.3

    Whitney Young: 27.3
    Jones: 26.3

    Northside still has top ACT scores so your point stands.

    Looking at the other numbers on the CPS link one number that jumps out is Payton’s graduation rank: 91.3%, by far the lowest of the group. Payton has two classes of autistic students, very few of whom graduate with a CPS degree, instead they “transition out” at 21 years old. They also receive a good number of NCLB students that are exempt from testing in – but they arent afraid to send the kids elsewhere if they can’t keep up.

    Looking behind the numbers at the Fab4 the schools are all excellent but are very different, and thats great.

    If I was in high school again my choice would be Jones. Located right in the Loop I believe they are the most creative (saw a concert at Lola where the performer had just graduated from Jones) but still solid across the board. The only one of the 4 where white is not the largest demographic.

    Whitney Young has taken on the flavor of its Principal. Loud, tons of school spirit, strong sports programs. A heavy % of principals discretion slots go to athletes. Largest black demographic %.

    Northside is the most academic, no football team. Largest Asian demographic (27%), smallest black demographic (6%). College comparison would probably be MIT. Least centrally located.

    Payton is the smallest school and probably the most well rounded in that they encourage sports participation but are still heavy on academics; eg they have a football team & cheerleaders but get demolished by Young. Demographics compared to Northside: similar white % but a black % than is 4 times larger than NSCP. Located in the yuppiest neighborhood of the group (Wells St in Old Town) and walking distance to downtown.

  • 19. pantherparent  |  November 1, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    The ACT numbers quoted in the Tribune yesterday (and by @13) are for the 2013 graduates and are indeed 30.1 to 28.2.

    I believe you may have last year’s data in the link.

  • 20. pantherparent  |  November 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    @18 I would add Lane to make it a Fab5. A school with class sizes of 1,100 will never compete on average scores. They would argue, and rightfully so, take their top 225 kids and compare them to Payton and let’s see the numbers then.

  • 21. Falconergrad  |  November 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    @4 what do you mean about the location? It’s always been there, as far as I know. So that hasn’t changed or anything.

  • 22. LP  |  November 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    “I believe you may have last year’s data in the link.” Nope, go to the CPS link, those are the official 2013 composite scores. As CPSO states, Tribune doesnt use composite. Payton kids score much higher on the Science ACT, Tribune stripped that out.

    That growth score list is fascinating, Noble St is very impressive.

    It will be interesting watching the scores go forward, Payton became more selective than Northside a few years ago. Those who believe that scores in = scores out would predict a switch in top ACT soon. We shall see.

    Just take the top 250 at Lane? Well then I would argued that LPIB should be included as well. But they’re different, and you acknowledge that by wanting to look only at a subset. Past the top 4 the schools become significantly less selective.

  • 23. pantherparent  |  November 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    So using that link and looking at PSAE Composite numbers, Northside is at 98.8% and Payton is at 97.3%. Yet somehow Payton came in at #1 in the Sun-Times version of those numbers. Oh right, they strip out science, create a score vs a %, throw in a dash of editor magic and voila, Payton is # 1.

  • 24. cpsobsessed  |  November 1, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    I was able to find the 2012 PSAE for each subject, but it doesn’t seem to be posted yet for 2013. But the assumption is that this is information that will be publicly verifiable sometime soon, so I don’t know if they can squish the numbers. But we will see…

    For 2102 PSAE Average Scores
    Reading 175
    Math 174
    Science 173

    REading 180
    Math 178
    Science 179

    But I see that the SunTimes ranks them by percentile so I need to figure out what that means…

    ALSO, I added the link to the Suntimes rankings in the original post above.

  • 25. cpsobsessed  |  November 1, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Okay, maybe not publicly verifiable. The article says this:

    The rankings include percentiles, reflecting the percentage of Illinois students who scored the same as or worse than the average student at each ranked school.

    I don’t think we have access to percentiles. So black box a bit.

    What would be the motivation for the Sun Time to mess with the numbers though?

  • 26. pantherparent  |  November 1, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Which headline is better? “Payton dethrones 12 time champion!!!” or “Ho Hum. Northside wins — again.”

  • 27. cpsobsessed  |  November 1, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Haha, @PP – true, in our world that is a big headline. Not sure how much the broader chicagoland cares about it.

    But here’s a possible story angle – now we have 2 high schools that suburban parents can say they’d consider acceptable!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 28. RationalRationing  |  November 1, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    To all but a highly fraction of a fraction of a percent of its readers, both headlines are equally irrelevant. Anyway, I think the SunTimes is sticking with the ho-hum story isn’t it?

  • 29. cubswin  |  November 1, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Current freshmen at Payton and Northside have identical test score (21.8). Let the race begin!

    Four of the top five SE high school freshman explore scores are pretty flat. Only Lane is clearly increasing, up to 20 this year.

    As far as south side SE, Lindblom freshman explore is up to 18.5 (from 17.1 six year earlier). I would not have thought they could draw that many good students to Englewood, considering current conditions.

    Average CPS freshman Explore score is 15, up from 14.1 six years ago. According to Catalyst, 2/3 of all freshman do not attend their neighborhood high school.

  • 30. pantherparent  |  November 1, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    I’ll tell you one person that cares–the webmaster at Payton. The school’s start page proudly proclaims “Ranked #1 High School in Illinois”. I need to track down some Northside computer geeks to hack the site and add an asterisk.

  • 31. cubswin  |  November 1, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    @30 – Careful phrasing by Payton makes the statement indisputably true.

  • 32. No Dog in this Fight  |  November 1, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Wow! The pissing contest here is ridiculous. Who cares whether a school is #1 or #2? Is your child getting a good education? Is the commute bearable? Are they challenged? Is their education setting them up well to succeed in college and in life? Are they happy?

    If your child is bright enough to get into Northside, you’re probably intelligent enough to know that whether the Sun Times labels your school #1 or #2 in the state will have absolutely no bearing on your child’s life in the long term. You’re upset purely over bragging rights, which says a lot about you – and none of it positive.

  • 33. pantherparent  |  November 1, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    @32 Sometimes remarks out-of-context as well as sarcasm can be lost here. It’s just some (usually) good natured ribbing between two of the nation’s best schools. Just like arguing who’s better–Jordan or LeBron? It’s fun but ultimately meaningless. (I consider Northside the Jordan in that analogy.)

    I absolutely agree with you @32. My posts have consistenly echoed everything you say. My kids go to Northside but if I lived farther south they’d have most likely gone to Payton. And I’d be “arguing” the other side.

  • 34. las  |  November 1, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Why is there such a discrepancy between the ACT numbers reported on the CPS website and those reported by both the Tribune and Suntimes.
    For instance CPS Has:
    Northside 29.4
    Payton 29.3
    Young 27.3
    Jones 26.3
    Lane 24.8

    And the Tribune and Suntimes have it as:
    Northside 30.1
    Payton 28.2
    Young 27.5
    Jones 25.5
    Lane 24.3

    Quite a difference with some of the schools. And the tribune and Suntimes rankings DO include science because they also give you the score for each section as well as the composite. All sources say the scores are for school year 2012-2013.

  • 35. anonymouse teacher  |  November 1, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    High scores from higher income families (compared to the majority of the nation) . Shocking. Sun-Times needs to report some real news. Its like when I see the kids’ whose parents read to them doing well. So predictable.

  • 36. James  |  November 1, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    @33 pantherparent —

    I don’t know. Your many, many posts knocking Payton and expressly saying the Sun Times falsified the numbers sure didn’t seem like “good natured ribbing.” Sounds to me like you have a tad too much invested in being able to say your kid goes to the “number one” school and are mad, I guess, that you can’t do that this year.

    Come to Payton’s Open House tomorrow. I think you’ll find it’s not so bad a place, and certainly not worth spinning conspiracy theories about. 🙂

  • 37. payton  |  November 1, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    “Wow! The pissing contest here is ridiculous.”

    Not at all, you miss the point.

    It’s like the Harvard Yale rivalry. I (somewhat begrudgingly as a non alum) went with a friend to the joint party that the Harvard and Yale alumni clubs in Chicago have to watch the annual football game, best tshirt of the day said on the back, “Harvard sucks. Princeton doesn’t matter.” Hilarious.

    pantherparent is very funny (if sadly deluded in his/her tin foil hat.)

  • 38. local  |  November 1, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    @ 7. MagnoliaMom | November 1, 2013 at 11:07 am

    “What drives me nuts about these rankings is that they’re based on test scores and student ability, and not on anything that distinguishes the school itself. In the city, of course “the best” schools are those that select students by test scores or those that attract students from highly educated and/or engaged families. That doesn’t mean the school, the teachers or the administrators are better; it just means they have top-ranking students who will succeed in any case and are a lot easier to teach than kids who struggle to learn. I would love to see rankings that actually look at the schools, teachers and administrators–and not at the test scores of the students who happen to populate those buildings.”

    This fascinates me too. I also flip it and consider that perhaps the “bad schools” are not really all about a “bad staff.” Maybe it’s more about the population that selects/winds up in the school? I always wonder why we don’t hear more demands for the actual students of all school to “try harder” to be excellent students.

  • 39. local  |  November 1, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    For fun. There’s HYPMS. What’s the CPS HS equivalent? For fun.

  • 40. las  |  November 1, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    JNPYL Obviously 🙂

  • 41. Iheoma  |  November 1, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    I’m glad CPSO posted about the change in the CPS network structure ( I could really care less about those ratings – some people who use that to judge or boast about a school – whatever). I think that is a HUGE story. CPS continues to have a lack of continuity in leadership staff and it really affects all schools – SEES, Magnet, Neighborhood – when there is no clear sense of who’s at the head. I was starting to think that the current (or at least last week’s) network structure was making sense in some ways. There seemed to be the possibility of more direct accountable leaders willing to be “hands on” when schools needed it. I’m not sure that could even be the case with the numbers they have now. I just don’t get CPS…..

  • 42. Somebody else  |  November 2, 2013 at 12:09 am

    I agree, Ihema. The rankings? Yawn. It’s pretty much always the same. And at the a Elementary level, who cares about the ISAT when this is the last year?

    This is the only article I was able to find on the network shuffle. There’s not much to it, though.


  • 43. Somebody else  |  November 2, 2013 at 12:15 am

    And here’s the CPS press release:


  • 44. Counterpoint for discussion  |  November 2, 2013 at 1:58 am

    To all that backed my position that NSCP should still be #1 Thank-you. This is actually a big issue because it defines truth. If a newspaper creates a narrative that isn’t representative of the underlying facts, we have a big problem. It’s sorta like if the newspaper prints stories about the Affordable Health Care Act, and state that “if you like your doctor you’ll be able to keep your doctor.”

    In the end, it’s social reengineering by Socialist-Democrats. They are anxious about the Awesome Job Northside students attain, unfortunately the racial makeup isn’t their “poster story of inclusion.”

    Signed: Not a Northside parent, but aware of snow jobs.

    Again, great job Northside students.
    Maybe have more academic competitions with St. Ignatius/Loyola Academy/Fenwick and flaunt how you do. If you come out on top toot your horn. It would be huge.

  • 45. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 2, 2013 at 6:05 am

    44. Counterpoint for discussion | November 2, 2013 at 1:58 am

    I posted the graph from the Trib on the ACT scores and how the schools really measure up regarding ACT as opposed to ISBE on the other thread. Talk abt a narrative~Interestingly enough, in the article, the Trib refused to say NCP was #1, just said Payton had the second highest ACT scores in the state:


  • 46. Iheoma  |  November 2, 2013 at 7:39 am

    @ Somebody Else – thanks for the link to Catalyst article. It was really interesting to read the comment section. I’m always curious who keeps there seats in the CPS musical chairs game. I had a good experience with the direct work our network office did with Ray last year. The idea of having a person who worked directly as a liaison between the network (e.g. Board) and families as a Community Engagement Officer actually really, really worked well. The problem was that it was so poorly publicized that I don’t think families knew they existed, let alone how to use them as resources. With this shake-up/change it seems that the stuff that works and benefits education the most is being removed – for both teachers and families. I hope that it’s just temporary. Oh wait, it’s CPS, of course it’s just temporary.

  • 47. cpsobsessed  |  November 2, 2013 at 7:47 am

    @45 Sox: I don’t see much narrative about the schools in that article. The rankings appear to be ISBE and ACT-provided no? (Or determined, at least.) New Trier shows up higher than Hindsdale Central does, and HC was the #1 non-SE school on the Suntimes list.

    I wonder if these same converstations are going on the suburbs about New Trier not being #1 on the Suntimes list (among non-SE.) I suspect more people care about that than the city schools. Also, I wonder if those schools are bugged that a CPS school always gets the “#1” claim when it’s skewed by the testing in requirement. Thanks for posting that. I hadn’t seen it.

  • 48. Chicago School GPS  |  November 2, 2013 at 8:16 am

    The NEW and revamped Illinois School Report Cards from the Illinois State Board of Education just came out: http://www.illinoisreportcard.com

    “ISBE is releasing a new interactive School Report Card on October 31, 2013. The redesigned Report Card more accurately reflects a school’s academic performance, climate, and learning conditions through information that is accessible to parents, educators and policymakers. It now includes information about a school’s extracurricular activities, special programs, advanced coursework, honors and awards.

    By measuring student growth over time instead of only reporting a snapshot-in-time score from an annual standardized test, the latest report card provides a more comprehensive understanding of a school’s progress. The redesigned report card makes information about school performance and improvement more accessible, offering educators, students and their families and local community members the opportunity to improve outcomes.”

  • 49. Mom of 3  |  November 2, 2013 at 8:31 am

    @47….I don’t think people in the burbs are bugged at all. As a mother of two at Hins. Cent., I certainly appreciate the diversity that this excellent school offers. I know parents are just satisfied with the great academics, club offerings, language program and athletics. Worrying about other h.s. is not an issue for me.

  • 50. cpsobsessed  |  November 2, 2013 at 8:49 am

    It’s hard to comment on the network changes. That is so behind the scenes. I’ve seen the network leaders show up when principals are selected and I hear they make school visits maybe once or twice a year? And ride the principals’ butts about test scores.
    What else? Not there is much time when you’re overseeing 40-50 schools.

    I saw a post on FB asking if anyone knew WHO the network heads are.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 51. marcsims  |  November 2, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Completing College

    Crossing the Finish Line: Completing College at America’s Public Universities

  • 52. pantherparent  |  November 2, 2013 at 9:18 am

    @36 James I don’t think I ever knocked Payton as a school, just the methodology of ranking them # 1. And I know I said if we lived closer, my kids would most likely go there. Am I proud of the fact that my kids go to the # 1 public school in the state? Absolutely. Did that have any bearing on where my kids chose to go? Absolutely not.

    I’ve been on the Payton tour twice (with each of the two now at Northside). Other than the lack of parking, iffy neighborhood and panhandlers, it was great.

  • 53. StopTheInsanity  |  November 2, 2013 at 10:18 am

    OMG. People, do you know how ridiculous you sound? Either school is awesome because they ONLY take the best and brightest. Be proud that your child is a great student (or at least tests well) but beyond that, there is nothing. You cannot compare Payton or Northside to the top suburban schools. They are at the top despite having (gasp!) C students. And even those top schools (Hinsdale/New Trier) cannot boast as they are in the wealthiest burbs with the most highly educated parents.

    Oh. And be happy your children go to safe schools where all kids are motivated to learn. Be thankful.

    The suburban parents are happy with their schools because they are strong, vibrant neighborhood schools where friends and neighbors of all intellectual abilities and extracurricular pursuits come together.

    I hope my kids enjoy going to LPHS non-IG because I want them to be with their friends and neighbors … just like the suburban schools. Believe it or not, my child can learn from the C student in math who loves art just as much as he can learn from the IB students who love calculus. I just want the school to be safe and to offer a variety of interesting extracurricular activities to inspire them. My singular concern about LPHS non-selective is the safety issues.

    Oh, and if they don’t get into Harvard or Yale it will be one less excruciatingly arrogant conversation I’ll have to listen to.

    But I guess this is why they call it cpsobsessed.

  • 54. Julia Lk  |  November 2, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Based on the Sun Times methodology, the Sun Times ranking means little. Their “ranking” is based on PSAE which no college cares about (and both schools overall percentile were within 0.06). NS has a higher percent of students exceeding standards across all categories. So Payton had a few high scorers skewing the average, where NS has a greater number exceeding standards.

    Colleges care about ACT, where NS averages a 30.1, which is much higher than WP score of 28.2 (most suburban non-selective public schools score around 27; Northwestern & U of C average ACT for entering students is 33). In nationwide rankings based on ACT, AP and matriculation, NS will continue to rank significantly higher than WP.

    No horse in the game, just bringing forward the facts behind the numbers.

    SunTimes Report Card Lookup:

  • 55. local  |  November 2, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Chill, please.

  • 56. local  |  November 2, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Re: StoptheInsanity.

  • 57. cpsobsessed  |  November 2, 2013 at 10:45 am

    @StopTheInsanity – yes, yes it is why it’s called cpsOBSESSED. So your post is sort of the equivalent to someone who eats meat going and a vegan sight and berating people for obsessing about their interest in being vegan. Which I’m sure happens as well…. And I’ll never understand it.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 58. StopTheInsanity  |  November 2, 2013 at 11:23 am

    #57. Perfect analogy! LOL. Sorry for trying to enter the vegan site! : )

  • 59. HS Mom  |  November 2, 2013 at 11:59 am

    @45 – so is “college ready” supposed to mean proficient in every subject? I don’t think so, weak in math….don’t go into engineering.
    If any of these ranking lists are to provide any insight into the area schools wouldn’t composite scores be the best indicator?

    @54 – the 30.1 that people are talking about…..this is math and reading only? Where are the ACT scores listed by subject? Still no link for the trib list?

  • 60. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 2, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    47. cpsobsessed | November 2, 2013 at 7:47 am

    ha! Parents at New Trier are upset that CPS is always winning out on top schools~one paper has NT at #4 and one at #6. Yes, the parents are upset bc they feel they shouldn’t consider selective schools in comparison to their school. At least that’s what my friends are saying…we are all ‘schoolobsessed’!

  • 61. pantherparent  |  November 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    @59 Right from Northside’s site: English 31; Math 29.3; Reading 30.6; Sci Reasoning 28.8; Composite 30.1

    @60 That’s what cps obsessed pointed out right away. You can’t help but be impressed by school’s like New Trier and Hinsdale. I don’t care how nice the neighborhoods are and what the per capita income is, to score on the ACT like that is pretty amazing.

  • 62. klm  |  November 2, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    OK: To all those who can’t wait to pounce on anybody who talks about scores, rankings, etc.

    Yes, in a perfect world, we’d all not care, since out kids would be guaranteed a good education wherever they end up in CPS.

    However, (and take it from me as somebody who went to some pretty God-awful schools as a kid, so I’m not coming out of nowhere here) anybody that takes even just a small amount of time to research these things knows that the differences between the experience at CPS Public School A and CPS Public School B can be (and too often IS) as different as going to college at Yale vs. the remedial program at Truman College. For real –it can totally make the difference in one’s life direction and if you don’t think so, just move to Englewood (you can get a really big house for a good deal and if you don’t care about ISAT scores, etc., Robeson HS is just fine) and see how that works out for your kids.

    It’s not not just pretentious yuppies coddling their future Goldman Sachs Partners that want the right track for Amherst/Harvard Graduate School of Business/Investment Banking seven-figure bonus, cash-only vintage duplex co-op, etc. Many of us will be thrilled for our kids to become teachers, nurses and pharmacists (I know I would) and go to U of I or Michigan State. HOWEVER where you go to school does set the standard for expectations, peer-approved behavior, etc.

    It totally matters where your kids go to school at some point if you want them to be successful –sorry, but it’s true.

    As “cpsobsessed” suggested, if you don’t like people obsessing about CPS schools, which one their kids attends, ISAT scores, etc. etc., why in the name of God are you here picking on/ridiculing people that are so inclined –on THIS site of all places?

    Make your own site called “CPSindifferent”, “CPSnotobsessed” or “CPS-I’m-better-than-you-beacuse-I’m-more-chill-about-achievement-test-scores-and-rankings” or something. .

    Meanwhile,….well, EXUSE me for caring so much about my kids’ education, where their schools stand in terms of academic achievement, etc..

    Not everybody here is some weird type of Tiger Mother, just mostly people that don’t want their kids to end up in a failure-factory, pregnant at 15, or hanging out with gangbangers (which we see here in Chicago everyday) , etc…. just wanting a good school that will give their kids a decent chance in life.


  • 63. mom  |  November 2, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    The ACT college ready scores are very interesting. I went and looked at my bottom 1/4 of the class kid’s scores and see that everything except math is in the 30’s, which sounds about right. He went into high school with high math scores but did not apply himself. he still scored in the 90th percentile for prealgebra/algebra. Those NSCP scores look very solid–but they were probably solid going in and I bet it is the most homogenous of all schools. Interesting data but I’m not exactly sure what it means, except that NSCP has strong achievers in every subject.

    I had very high verbal SAT scores and not that great math scores. got through a top college without taking a math class. I was able to make it up by taking science classes, which included the history of technology.

  • 64. cpsobsessed  |  November 2, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    The book I’m reading for the book club (it’s really good!) says that math is where the US is really deficient and that we sort of downplay it a lot here in many ways.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 65. mom  |  November 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    @64. It would be really interesting to see where those college readiness score by high school. I suspect that there is a discrepancy between verbal/math scores and NSCP is unusual in the fact that they are proficient in all. At my high school reunion, I asked my former calculus taking classmates who are now lawyers and executives and they said advanced math was worth taking because it opened their experience and helped them think–even though they don’t use it.

  • 66. StopTheInsanity  |  November 2, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    #62. I care about my child’s education more than you’ll ever know.

  • 69. cpsobsessed  |  November 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Those Atlantic articles were both good. As we heard from Senn teacher Todd, that measure of “on track to graduate” seems similar to looking at early HS success and seems like CPS is looking at it (although perhaps up to the indiv school to do something about it?)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 70. HS Mom  |  November 2, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    @61 – so why different from 29.4 on CPS site? Which numbers do these ranking lists use? Does this mean that other schools scores are different from CPS posting?

    Not obsessed with rankings, just trying to understand the information. Why so many different takes on the same information (and then why isn’t the information the same?)

    Just for the record, as per discussion in a past thread, I will officially abstain from adding 2 points to my own “old” ACT ;

  • 71. HS Mom  |  November 2, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    LOL can’t even do the smiley!

  • 72. pantherparent  |  November 2, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    @70 No idea. The Tribune said they used the composite number and that matches the 30.1. Of course if you average the 4 sections it’s 29.9 which is neither number. But something in my memory of the ACT (years ago) tells me that’s not how you get the composite score.

    I missed the add 2 points discussion. I could use those because it looks like my son will beat my old score, but an extra 2 points could make it close.

  • 73. HS Mom  |  November 2, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    thanks! Yes, I believe that by analyzing tenured vs new teacher ACT’s the consensus was that tests from 1980’s or earlier were worth 2 points more 😉

  • 74. JLM  |  November 2, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I am CPS obsessed, but I assume most people on this site are obsessed with their children getting a good education and improving the system as a whole, not obsessed with whether a given school moves from 1 to 2 under one specific ranking system. I don’t see any problem discussing which rankings (Chicago Mag, Sun Times, etc.) are more relevant, or if any of them are.

    But the discussion earlier on in this thread wasn’t really about that – it was incredulousness and anger that one school dropped to #2 on the Sun Times list, and accusing the Sun Times of rigging the results.

    @klm – I agree that that there is a big difference in sending a child to Robeson vs. [insert Northside or Payton here]. I just don’t think there will be a big difference in a child’s life if they go to Northside vs. Payton. Not saying a child/family couldn’t have a preference, just saying that if your child got into Northside when it was ranked #1 by the Sun Times, and now they’re a senior and they’re at #2 Northside, nothing has changed – your chld won’t suddenly be off track to go to a great college b/c ofa newspaper ranking.

  • 75. Falconergrad  |  November 2, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    The network changes press release says it will

    ” ultimately re-direct more dollars back to the classroom.”

    I wonder how much money really will find its way there. Notice no specifics given.

    The cynic in me thinks this is somehow setting the stage for even more charter schools. Especially the part about consolidating from 19 to 13 networks. Redrawing boundaries in Chicago is not typically done without some political basis.

  • 76. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 2, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    64. cpsobsessed | November 2, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    “math is where the US is really deficient and that we sort of downplay it a lot here in many ways” ~I fear that to be very true. My child took an engineering class over the summer at a local university and the teacher practically said the same thing.

    Can’t wait until we start talking abt the book!

  • 77. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 2, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    61. pantherparent | November 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Exactly. I heard a lot of crap when “a CPS school won state for math” ~they couldn’t believe it (and I don’t even remember NT doing that well) but now a cps school having an avg 30.1 ACT score to their 27.5 score~there is no denying there are CPS that offer a great education and one doesn’t have to leave the city for the burbs. However, there is a HUGE tradeoff and that’s the commute time during the high school years.

  • 78. uptown8  |  November 3, 2013 at 8:05 am

    “there is no denying there are CPS that offer a great education and one doesn’t have to leave the city for the burbs”

    Come on, you are comparing a selective city school to a non-selective public school. NS is taking kids in the upper 90’s percentiles and graduating kids in the mid to upper 90’s percentiles. The bright kids at the selective schools do well in spite of CPS, not because of it.

    P.S. Is Payton’s Devine related to ex-mayor Shortshants buddy Dick Devine? If so, interesting. You’ve got the Madigans, the Stroegers, the Mells….what is it with this state?

  • 79. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 3, 2013 at 8:46 am

    78. uptown8 | November 3, 2013 at 8:05 am

    NOT comparing SEHS to NonSEHS, just that there are CPS that offer a great education’. I don’t agree with “The bright kids at the selective schools do well in spite of CPS, not because of it”~my child went to an excellent neighborhood grammar school that prepared my child for SEHS. I’m the first one to come down on CPS, but our neighborhood CPS offers a lot of programs that many other CPS don’t. The kids in our neighborhood are well served by our school.

    Yes, Ted Devine is Dick Devine’s son…how else would he get the job?

  • 80. pantherparent  |  November 3, 2013 at 9:21 am

    I think a more relevant question is not Northside vs Payton (or even Northside vs New Trier), but Northside vs Loyola or Payton vs Ignatius. These are the real decisions that parents face. Is it worth $15,000/year to send Johnny to a private school?

    Does anyone know of a way to make an apples-to-apples comparison on ACADEMICS between public and private? I’m not talking fit or culture or athletics (fyi Loyola over Lane 47-7 yesterday so that answers that) but academically how does one compare?

    I’ve never seen test scores from the privates. My thought has always been they don’t release things like average ACT composite so they can just say they are better versus having to actually prove they are better.

  • 81. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 3, 2013 at 9:36 am

    80. pantherparent | November 3, 2013 at 9:21 am

    For 2012, 311 students tested and St. Ignatius’ ACT score was 27.8. Each catholic school has a report card and upon asking for it, you will be given it.

    Yes, for many ppl, paying $15K to attend a Catholic hs is worth it.

  • 82. pantherparent  |  November 3, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Then you would think an enterprising reporter would call every private school and make a comprenhensive list.

    And don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying that people who pay for private school are wrong to spend the money. So many factors go into the decision, not the least of which is the religious aspect. I’ve just always wondered about the actual numbers.

  • 83. cpsobsessed  |  November 3, 2013 at 10:06 am

    According to the book “smartest kids in the world” (book club selection) private and public schools provide the same outcome when taking socio economics into account.

    However assuming that’s true, it doesn’t account for differences between private schools. One would hope that paying for one of the top privates would yield some benefits. Are there benefits over say New Trier (or now I suppose I must say over Hinsdale Central when I reference the “top school”.). Maybe not.

    But the book also referenced a kid who got into Vassar and felt a little out of his league with the kids from the country’s best private and boarding schools. He was smart and enterprising and quickly caught up though because he had a solid public ed and parents who’d fostered intellectual curiosity.

    So to me, is private “better?” Perhaps if you have the money. But if you don’t have that option I think the SEHSs are beyond fine. Other CPS high schools I’m still figuring out….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 84. pantherparent  |  November 3, 2013 at 10:44 am

    @83 cpso. As usual you make the most sense of anyone here. Looking forward to reading the book. I read the Diane Ravitch book but missed the roundtable as I was out of town. Hopefully can make it this time if for no other reason than to sit next to James.

  • 85. cpsobsessed  |  November 3, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Aw thanks, I’m just spouting off me new book knowledge right now. :). I’ll look at the calendar to get the meeting scheduled. Eager to discuss the book.
    Also I saw the list of network heads so I’ll post that later…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 86. klm  |  November 3, 2013 at 12:07 pm


    I genuinely feel bad. Reading back ,my comments were shrill and kinda’ derisive. Worse, I don’t blame you for thinking I was snarking on you –I swear I wasn’t.

    I totally get that yes, we all want a decent education for our kids and whether Northside or Payton is #1 is kinda’ a non-issue. I did make a point earlier about how seriously taking rankings as The Truth is silly, given that things change so easily, depending on which factors one uses to determine which school is #’s 1-50, etc. (median vs. mean, % that meet standards vs. % that exceed, etc).

    Like some people here, maybe I’m a little TOO into my kids’ schools’ test results. I had such a bad experience with public schools as a kid, and having done some volunteering at a few inner-city schools, I’m more than a little gun-shy (OK, maybe quasi-paranoid) about just sending my kids to just any old school and believing that everything will be just fine (my personal experience has taught me that WHAT school one goes to is eventually probably the biggest factor in future success, so my attitudes reflect this).

    There’s a difference between strong advocacy/genuine concern and paranoia –I’m the first to admit that sometimes I’m on the wrong side when it comes to schools.

    Sometimes on this site, however, there’s the “CPS schools have problems with gangs, a huge achievement gap, kids with parents that don’t care, etc. so who are you to think your kids should be shielded from this at their own CPS school, Mr./Miss Snooty Pants.” attitude which drives me crazy.

    If living in Chicago and sending one’s kid to public school means having to let go of suburban/North Shore-type levels of security and academic learning, then count me out. The facts is, there are many CPS schools that are really safe, gang-free, have high levels of rigor and achievement, so count me in for that. It doesn’t make me uncaring or unrealistic about the realities for so many CPS kids, but why shouldn’t I have high expectations from my kids’ school just like any parent in Glencoe or Hinsdale?

  • 87. HS Mom  |  November 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    @82 Chicago Magazine did exactly that. The last detailed list of information was for 2007 – link below


    A more recent review mostly about elementary schools included the comment that private schools are not required to disclose their information so the schools have stopped offering details. They are also not required to have all their students sit for the ACT and do not necessarily take ISAT’s

  • 88. HS Mom  |  November 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    To add to 87 – my guess is that a list like this made shopping way to easy

  • 89. StopTheInsanity  |  November 3, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    #86. I can be more than equally guilty of coming off as shrill. I’ll accept your apology if you’ll accept mine. : ) Obviously, if we’re crazy enough to be on this site, we’re crazy about our kids’ educations. And that is the true hope for CPS. I, too, taught at an inner-city school, so I hold no delusions that I could handle that environment for my child, despite the amazing kids that were unfortunately facing a very difficult environment.

  • 90. HS Mom  |  November 3, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    @83 CPSO “So to me, is private “better?” Perhaps if you have the money. But if you don’t have that option I think the SEHSs are beyond fine”

    There must be a reason that folks with money choose CPS – in particular selective schools, predominately Northside and Payton. My understanding from someone who went from Parker to Northside was that most of the kids do take the SE test and that many of them do not get in (just like public schools) and they are looking at 4 or 5 schools (just like most people do). Don’t get me wrong, I know what sets private apart from public but I think less of that has to do with academics or getting top tier colleges like it used to be.

  • 91. Private  |  November 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    We faced the public vs private issue recently.

    My child applied to, and was accepted by, what we felt were the top schools in each category: Latin, Ignatius, Payton.

    Cost was not a factor.
    We are not catholic, that was a factor.
    We live in the Gold Coast, walking distance to Payton and Latin, that was a factor.

    We went back and forth but in the end it was a clear decision, one school had a culture of excellence that continues to amaze me. A steady stream of Ivy League recruiters come through the doors. They aim for the Stanford model of student-athletes with every fall sport currently playing in playoffs, regionals, or nationals.

    We ended up at Payton.

    A friend faced the same exact choice, our kids are now classmates.

    For what it’s worth.

  • 92. pantherparent  |  November 3, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    @87 HS Mom Thanks for the link. Sure its 6 years old now, but I think it generally shows those schools deliver. Especially if you make the educated guess that these scores have increased 1 to 2 points since then (in line with increases at Payton and Northside et al).

    @91 Sounds like you and your child made the right decision. Showing once again that the “best” high school differs from student to student.

  • 93. Jacob G  |  November 4, 2013 at 1:21 am

    “We ended up at Payton.”

    It sounds like you are trying to convince yourself. We all have to be at peace with ourselves after the choice is made and say it was best. It’s not easy. You took a risk looking for a bargain, but it has a chance of paying off. Chicago is a well run city and that includes the schools. Now go give that student athlete (in the “Stanford model” tradition) a big hug and tell him or her it was the right choice.

  • 94. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 4, 2013 at 6:26 am

    91. Private | November 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Payton is a great school~however, for their “Stanford model athletes”, one could say the same thing abt Jones since Payton shares many of their teams as ‘Payton-Jones’ team~I know their golf, swimming (bc they don’t have pool) and I think track and a few other sports are kids from both Payton and Jones. Just giving Jones some of the credit as the best golfer on the team was from Jones. And those same “Ivy League recruiters come through the doors” of all the elite 4 SEHS.

  • 95. HS Mom  |  November 4, 2013 at 8:51 am

    @91 thanks for sharing, nicely put.

    @93 I don’t take post 91 as being on the fence in any way. This parent sounds steadfast in the family decision. Payton is not a consolation prize to get a bargain but ranked equally with other excellent private schools with the first point being that money was not an issue.

    @94 Thanks for the acknowledgement. The partnership works well and the Payton/Jones teams are doing great. All should feel free to brag.

  • 96. OutsideLookingIn  |  November 4, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I’m curious about who in the family gets the final say on where kid will go to high school if opinions differ between parent (or parents) and child, assuming that all schools in the mix are ones that are feasible financially amd logistically. For example, hypothetically, what if kid wanted Payton, dad wanted Latin and mom wanted Ignatius?

  • 97. LUV2Europe  |  November 4, 2013 at 10:43 am

    96 In the situation as described in 93 the student gets final say. If they made the choice, chances are good they made the right one for themself. You don’t want the hs student complaining every morning and not wanting to attend the “school you made be pick”.
    For this reason, I let my student shadow around, take the sehs test and ultimately pick a hs. He made a great choice and is doing very well. This worked in my home.

  • 98. Counterpoint for discussion  |  November 4, 2013 at 10:52 am

    The change in rank by the Sun Times is equal to the Sun Times saying that “Car B is Faster than Car A”…. because that is the test result for the 55mph to 75mph acceleration. However, the small print shows that car A is faster 0-60 and has a much higher top end speed. The Sun Times article is a travasty, and it is a direct representation of the corrupt/inept Socialist-Democratic city/county/state/ and now country. The social engineering is in full speed, and the peasants think it’s entertaining to discuss the merits of this type of article.

    God Bless America. Home school with the three R’s.

  • 99. CPS Parent  |  November 4, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Latin and especially Parker have been getting the “B team” kids from our private, K-8, school for the last six years or so. “A team” kids go to Payton and NSCP. NSCP is second only because of the difficult location. Latin admits kids who are very far from close to being accepted at Payton & NSCP. For most of these families tuition is not an issue. Parker admits below Latin’s level.

  • 100. luveurope  |  November 4, 2013 at 11:06 am

    “A” team & “B” team…how awful Can’t stand the labels. Why does everyone want to think their kid is “A” team? How about hard working, motivated and fun and not because my mom made me?

  • 101. CPS Parent  |  November 4, 2013 at 11:50 am

    “A team” and “B team” would be strictly GPA and test scores.

    “…hard working, motivated and fun…” kids are on both “teams” however the unfortunate reality is that these are not the high school admission criteria.

  • 102. Family Friend  |  November 4, 2013 at 11:55 am

    What I look for in a high school:

    – Excellent academics. Test scores are a measure of how high the bar is set and how well the school meets the challenge it sets for itself. Growth is another important measure, especially for students who don’t start out with the scores needed to get into the top selective high schools.

    – Attention to every student. I want to know someone is paying attention to MY student, not just to the standouts. I want someone there to recognize my student’s strengths and weaknesses, and work to help him/her maximize progress in both. I think the most important thing a school can teach is that feeling you get when you work really hard on something you think you can’t do, and nail it. Because that feeling is addictive, and it sets the stage for personal and professional satisfaction, at each person’s individual highest potential.

    – Motivated peer group. We all know how important peers are to teenagers. If the cool kids in school are cutting class and smoking weed — or, in the worst case, selling weed and flashing gang signs — it is going to be harder for my student, who may not have the strength to go against the grain. I want the smart kids to be the social leaders.

    – Tolerance and open-mindedness. Whether I was looking for a school for my own white, middle-class daughters or for the African-American students I now mentor, I wanted the atmosphere to be welcoming, for students of all descriptions – racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, and economic status.. I want the students to be encouraged to explore their own preconceptions and prejudices. In a sense, I want the school to support the values I try to teach at home, not fight them. And, going back to the peer group, I know that the administration alone can’t create that atmosphere. It depends on the other students and their families as well.

    I don’t believe a school’s ranking has much to do with any of this. If your student is capable of achieving a 30 on the ACT, of course you want him/her at a school where the rigor of the academics will make that possible. But maximizing your own student’s potential may require a different strategy. You may have to work harder to identify the schools most likely to do that. And I say schools, because hanging all all your hopes on a single favorite is not usually a reliable strategy. My goal was to get multiple acceptances, then choose the best from those. In today’s atmosphere, you need “safety schools” in high school as well as college.

    In Chicago, it takes more work to get your kid into the best high schools than into the best colleges. I speak from experience. This is unfortunate, but it’s what we live with. Unless you know your kid is a shoo-in at one of the “top 5,” you will have to do the work.

    Thanks to cpsobsessed and everyone else on this site for making that work a little easier.

  • 103. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  November 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Lincoln’s the top non-selective enrollment elementary school (IG doesn’t start until 6th grade)…

    But IG covers 6-8, so it is not purely non-selective.

  • 104. HSObsessed  |  November 4, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    I would echo what @97 about who makes the decision about where the child goes to high school. If you’ve taught them right, by the time they’re 14 years old, the kid knows who they are and what they want, and has the confidence to evaluate situations and make decisions. I took my kid to various open houses, we listened to what they had to say, got a feel for the atmosphere everywhere, we talked about many different factors to consider, she put in her applications, got her offers, and she made the decision herself on where to go. Although her decision wouldn’t be one that others might make, it was the right one for her.

  • 105. HSObsessed  |  November 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    @103 – To be clear, the number of kids admitted to IG in 6th grade v. the number already at Lincoln is pretty small, in the range of 15%. This is not an insignificant percentage, but it’s not like half the kids test in to Lincoln’s middle school, either.

  • 106. MiddleSchoolvsElementary  |  November 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    #103. At what grade does the rankings of the middle school start, though? It would be fair to say Lincoln is the top non-selective elementary school as it is non-selective until 6th. However, I won’t disagree that it might not hold true for middle school.

    Yet, more important, I did notice that several schools were low on the middle school and high on the elementary list or vice versa. I’m curious as to what might cause that discrepancy. Kids leaving for Academic Centers, perhaps? Smart kids finding space in good magnets because other kids left for Academic Centers?

    A curious phenomenon.

  • 107. HS Mom  |  November 4, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    @96 – I have to agree that for us, it came down to the kid having the final say. Of course the choice is from the “pre-approved” family list. In our case, we had a list of 7 or 8 schools, 4 of which were SE. I think most differences arise in ranking the SE schools. My child had a clear favorite, a least favorite and the rest were all great options any one of which we would have been happy with. I begged my teen to apply to Northside. As we all know, it’s futile unless you rank that school #1 and a waste of a slot if you don’t (at the time could only pick 4 schools). Since my kid was intent on another school for very good reasons of his own – there went Northside.

    BTW – want to mention that with 6 SE options, new STEM and IB programs and growth in Charters there are so many really viable HS possibilities that even Mom and Dad would approve of.

  • 108. D Thortan  |  November 4, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    ““A team” kids go to Payton and NSCP.”

    That just means the wallet won out but it is spun as other reasons driving it. Lab School, Latin and Parker all rank above the Chicago publics as far as college matriculation (% to top schools). At certain levels all these kids have very good test scores and it is the ability to have a more well rounded experience that wins out. And teacher quality is critical along with the ability to set lesson plans geared toward the children and not dictated by Central Planning. Classes that are half the size also help. There is more individual attention for the kids who need it.

    It is easier for the Selective schools take the kids with the highest test scores and have them do well on ACTs, even with inconsistent quality teachers. I am more concerned about the 99% of the other kids at these schools. It is much harder to take the “B team” kids, as you describe them, and turn them in to members of the “A+ team” by the end of high school. People expect return on their investment. You get what you pay for.

  • 109. IBobsessed  |  November 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    HS Mom, I thought you no longer have to rank a school #1 on your app. to max your odds of acceptance? Don’t they just start with the schools where you are within the cut off score and see if there is a spot for you by rank or tier?

  • 110. klm  |  November 4, 2013 at 6:08 pm


    The rankings for “elementary” don’t include 6-8 (those are for ‘middle school’), so it’s true from what I can tell (all the schools ranked above it are SE schools).

    You are right that a school mixed w/ a gifted or classical component will easily inflate averages ( a la Bell, Skinner West, etc.).

    Also. I don’t really believe that Lincoln’s objectively “better” than many other great public schools, but it does show that even an over-crowded CPS school w/ a crappy infrastructure can compete and hold its own against schools in the North Shore and Hinsdale. Also, how many low-income, virtually 100% black housing projects are there in Kenilworth or Glencoe? Lincoln has a big one in its attendance zone, which makes its achievement even more fortuitous for all us concerned about achievement gaps, lack of diversity in the best performing schools, etc.

    A sparkling, model building with all the bells and whistles, a 15 to 1 student-teacher ratio and iPads for all is nice, but obviously not necessary (per Lincoln’s example) to be one of the best performing schools in the state.

  • 111. HS Mom  |  November 4, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    IB- you rank them strictly by preference. If the preference is not NS/Payton as #1 there is no way to list another SE school with lower entrance scores and get into NS/P by default…..unless things dramatically change which is not likely. If you truly want NS/P even if it’s a longshot, you have nothing to lose by ranking those schools number one

  • 112. HS Mom  |  November 4, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    oh – BTW speaking of the #1 challenge between NS and Payton. I do know of someone who listed Payton as 1 and got into NS. They turned down NS for private (commute issues) and were kicking themselves for not ranking WY as #2.

  • 113. parent  |  November 4, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    With my son, it was obvious what school was the best fit for him so we were in complete agreement. My daughter’s situation was a bit more complicated and we had some arguments. She did not like the school I thought she should list as first choice because the open house was not great (I agree) and she did not like how the kids looked when she looked through the lunch window. She had loved Joyce Kenner’s Open House . . . In the end, I chose the first choice because I knew in my heart it was a much better fit for her given everything that was going on in her life and the commute time etc. She got into that school and really likes it and says I made the right choice for her.

  • 114. cpsobsessed  |  November 4, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    @D Thortan, not that I necessarily disagree with your points, but isn’t atendance at top schools from latin/parker likely skewed by family income and alumni connections (which I understand is the same as with latin and parker — filled with legacy kids.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 115. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    96. OutsideLookingIn | November 4, 2013 at 10:32 am

    That was a very good question you posed abt “who in the family gets the final say on where kid will go to high school if opinions differ between parent (or parents) and child”?

    I never really thought of that and enjoyed reading what every parent wrote. I hope other parents will post how they handled it.

  • 116. parent  |  November 4, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    To add, both my kids wanted to go to Loyola Academy and got in. It was their first choice., When they got into SE high schools, I told them they could not go to Loyola because the SE schools were tuition free.

  • 117. Even One More CPS Mom  |  November 4, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    @116 That is a valid reason indeed.

  • 118. cpsobsessed  |  November 4, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    FYI, I added the list of Network heads to the original post above. I scribbled them down on some napkins this weekend and shoved them in my purse, so I’m sure I’ve got something wrong as I misinterpret my own abbreviations…

  • 119. OutsideLookingIn  |  November 4, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    @115 – thanks!

  • 120. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 4, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    118. cpsobsessed | November 4, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Thanks! my area is called The Beverly, Midway, Chicago Lawn, Ashburn Planning Zone. I think they are trying to get back to zones (there use to be 6) how it use to be when there were amps.

  • 121. neighborhood parent  |  November 5, 2013 at 11:21 am

    CPSO – thanks for posting the new areas/zones/networks.

  • 122. CPS Parent  |  November 5, 2013 at 11:53 am

    108. D Thortan There are no “B” team (defined by GPA and test scores) kids at Payton and NSCP and those schools don’t have to worry about the “other 99%” as you say. Latin and Parker do but the small classes help with differentiated teaching except for math at Latin where I consistently hear complaints from parents with math oriented kids. I’m pretty sure the number of kids going to HYPM, Chicago, Stanford form Payton, NSCP, WY is significantly higher than from Parker and Latin even when measured as percentage of class size.

  • 123. OutsideLookingIn  |  November 5, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I recall reading a study conducted a few years ago that found that the highest percent of Chicago Public High School kids within a particular school/program who went on to attend the most selective colleges/universities (during the data collection period) came from Lincoln Park’s IB program, not Northside or Payton. No clue whether that same conclusion is true today. The study didn’t cover private schools.

  • 124. las  |  November 5, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    I don’t know. I did see that Northside had it’s matriculation list of last year’s graduating class on it’s website. It was VERY impressive. About 30 students went to Northwestern and U of C alone. And may be about 15 among Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT.
    Whatever they are doing up there they need to keep it up!

  • 125. CPS Parent  |  November 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    123. OutsideLookingIn, Yes, that would definitely have been true about LPIB a few years ago but LPIB is now competing for the same type of pool as Parker and Latin are – with some exceptions – parents (mostly) and kids who really like the IB curriculum over anything else.

    I know that for Yale there are 5 from Payton, 1 from NSCP, 1 or 2 from WY, 1 from Parker, 1 from Latin, 0 from IBLP from last year’s graduating classes.

    Parker and Latin’s high schools are not really entirely selective enrollment since the bulk of their kids continue from elementary school and selection at Kindergarten/First Grade does not ensure any kind of high academic performance by 9th grade. Their high schools are more similar to wealthy suburban schools with the associated pluses and minuses of that kind of cohort.

  • 126. CPSer  |  November 5, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    @118 I think it’s probably Craig Benes (not Beves) for the RavenswoodRandel Josserand – Austin, Belmont Cragin zone. Thanks for posting!

  • 127. momof3boys  |  November 6, 2013 at 8:23 am

    @116 Me too! Although, it will be a tough choice for the 3rd kid. They (LA) really want him (for his sport)!

  • 128. LPE  |  November 6, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    @ D Thortan

    “Lab School, Latin and Parker all rank above the Chicago publics as far as college matriculation (% to top schools).”

    That is not even close to being true.

    I recently attended both the Latin and Payton open houses. Payton provided actual matriculation results in a brochure. Latin lists schools but no numbers, in response to a question from a parent answered, “2 or 3 alum currently at Harvard and Yale.” Parker lists their actual numbers on their web site.

    Class sizes: Payton 200, Latin 120, Parker 80.

    2009 – 2013 Payton / Parker attendance numbers:
    Harvard 7 / 1
    Amherst & Williams 11 / 2
    Northwestern 50 / 5
    U Chicago 25 / 7

    A few years ago Latin listed numbers next to their matriculation results, they no longer do. But as was noted in a previous post its only 30 kids per year that are selectively admitted to their high school, the rest remain from Kindergarten so its not really fair to compare them to a full selective high school.

    Lab on the other hand has exceptional placement results, up there with Payton. Although Lab sends an large number of kids across the street to where their parent teach so that has a big impact.

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  • 130. Counterpoint for discussion  |  November 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm

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  • 131. Mayfair Dad  |  November 11, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    @129: Like “Raise Your Hand” on Facebook. I don’t always agree with their pro-CTU stance but you will be exposed to alot of articles you might not find on your own.

  • 132. cpsobsessed  |  November 11, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    In other random news – from the Lincoln Elem FB pageL
    Today is a great day for Lincoln, for Lincoln Park and Chicago. The Mayor has just announced an addition for Lincoln that will add 19 classrooms, new common areas and more. It will also include a renovation of the existing building to make it ADA compliant. Thank you to all for your efforts in pursuit of this day, and congratulations on achieving this tremendous success for all the neighborhood’s children, now and in the future! GO LINCOLN!

  • 133. cpsobsessed  |  November 11, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    @130, 131, I was just showing my son examples of the weird spam I get that is worded to seem valid but is actually vague enough to not be real – probably what @129 is. No idea what the purpose is, as they rarely include a link of any sort.

  • 134. averagemom  |  November 11, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    their name is a link to their website

  • 135. cpsobsessed  |  November 11, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Oh, you’re right! I never see that on my Blackberry. Yes, it was a fake.

  • 136. Marketing Mom  |  November 12, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    It is nice to see that (non-selective enrollment school) Hawthorne has increased in the Sun Times rankings. Not sure what is happening with Andrew Jackson. They were the #1 non selective enrollment elementary school for many years.

  • 137. HSObsessed  |  November 12, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    @132 – An annex for Lincoln on site is a good solution. Not perfect, but workable. In addition to allowing the school to have back its auditorium, band room, library etc (all being used for classrooms now), and all kids back under one roof (right now some are in a rented spot a few blocks away), it will allow Lincoln to offer full-day kindergarten (they still only have 2.5 hours a day!) as well as pre-Kindergarten programs, starting in Fall 2015.

  • 138. anonymouse teacher  |  November 13, 2013 at 7:44 pm


    When comparing Chicago’s low income students to comparable low income populations in the rest of the state, CPS performs nearly exactly the same.

  • 139. cpsobsessed  |  November 13, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    That article is interesting, A-Mouse. he has some interesting ideas about how to segregate more schools on income and a decent argument for opening more selective schools which helps integrate more kids by using the tier system.

  • 140. Another LP mom  |  November 13, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    @137 — your info is out of date. Lincoln has full day kindergarten this year and use of its auditorium and library because of the rented space at DePaul.

  • 141. HSObsessed  |  November 13, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    @140 – Oh thanks, yes, my kid graduated last year. Didn’t know it was slightly better now.

  • 142. cpsobsessed  |  November 13, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    I think lincoln is losing depaul for next year so that space was going away.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 143. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 14, 2013 at 1:31 am

    142. cpsobsessed | November 13, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    lincoln is losing depaul bc they are getting a 3 story annex.

  • 144. HSObsessed  |  November 14, 2013 at 9:14 am

    The lease with DePaul for additional space was a one-year lease. The new annex won’t be built and ready for use until fall 2015. Therefore, Lincoln still has to come up with some kind of off-site solution for the overcrowding for the 2014-2015 school year. So, there are still issues, but at least there’s now a long-term solution in place. It’s overall great news for the community.

  • 145. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 14, 2013 at 9:49 am

    144. HSObsessed | November 14, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Thanks~didn’t realize it was opening for the 2014-2015 year thought it was next year.

  • 146. JLM  |  November 14, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I had a good laugh when the Reader article suggested that we start up a cross-district program to let poor children attend school in the suburbs and vice versa.

    And the tier system is (almost) a complete crock. My daughter’s SEES is very visibly diverse, and I’m sure it’s slightly more socioeconomically diverse than if the tier system weren’t in place. But at drop-off time, I see many, many high end cars picking children up, and it’s people of all races driving them. I don’t think too many disadvantaged tier 1 kids are getting into these schools – the tier 1/2 kids attending seem to have college-educated parents who just happen to live in a tier 1/2 census tract.

  • 147. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  November 14, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    I’m glad that Lincoln got the annex. They are overcrowded and that was holding up the redevelopment of the former Children’s Hospital space, which was no good for city’s economy. But I’m not pleased about how it happened. CPS issued a capital budget and a 10-year “master plan” that did not include any of the mayor’s recent additions and upgrades. This is piss-poor planning. That Board member Ruiz was at the announcement, backing the plan, when the Board has never publicly discussed the problem at Lincoln or how funds should be allocated for overcrowding. Why can’t money be diverted from gambling revenue to deal with other school with severe overcrowding?

  • 148. C  |  November 20, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I believe the percentage of low income in a SEHS should be a factored into success rates. When you look at the size of the school and the number of low income students at Lane for example, they must be doing something right!

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  • 152. Haley3  |  December 15, 2013 at 8:23 am

    ” Why can’t money be diverted from gambling revenue to deal with other school with severe overcrowding?”

    It’s an expense problem, not a revenue problem. Until the state gets the pension funding fixed it will suck ever penny of revenue to feed that beast for decades to come. The media reports the pension issue is $100 billion problem, when it is actually closer to $300 billion if the state used reasonable assumptions on valuations. You could take all of the gambling revenues, a doubling of property taxes and make that 67% “temporary” increase in state tax rate permanent and you will not have the pension issue solved. The pensions need to be dramatically restructured. If not, as with Detroit, a Federal bankruptcy court will be doing the restructuring….and we are talking pennies on the dollar.

    However, since the good people of Illinois keep electing the clown in Springfield and Chicago, this state will continue it’s downward spiral. Once our children graduate from their SEHS high schools we will be hitting the high road out of Illinois. We can’t afford not to.

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  • 155. HS Mom  |  January 8, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    OK – more data for anyone interested. Illinois state scholars for 2014-2015 (base on ACT scores)


    These are rough calculations feel free to correct or add any of your own

    school / estimated senior class / Illinois scholars / % of population

    Parker / 300 / 34 / 12%
    Ignatius / 350 / 125 / 36%
    Lab / 450 / 82 / 18%
    Northside / 250 / 155 / 62%
    Payton / 200 / 80 / 40%
    Young / 550 / 160 / 29%
    Jones / 200 / 56/ 28%
    Lane / 1000 / 169 / 17%

  • 156. HS Mom  |  January 8, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    I may have Parker and Lab off – looks too low and student population could have included K-8…..anyone have an idea

  • 157. OutsideLookingIn  |  January 9, 2014 at 2:03 am

    @156 HS Mom – I think the number of seniors at Parker is more like 80, and the number of seniors at Lab is around 115.

  • 158. HS Mom  |  January 9, 2014 at 9:50 am



    Parker / 80 / 34 / 43%
    Ignatius / 350 / 125 / 36%
    Lab / 115 / 82 / 71%
    Northside / 250 / 155 / 62%
    Payton / 200 / 80 / 40%
    Young / 550 / 160 / 29%
    Jones / 200 / 56/ 28%
    Lane / 1000 / 169 / 17%

    I think this information is more useful than those rankings based upon average ACT. It shows number of students who scored over 30? (I’m guessing was the cut off) on the state ACT. Also gives you an idea about private school. Couldn’t find Latin, I would assume they did not take the state ACT.

  • 159. LP IB  |  January 9, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Interesting Note from LPHS website.

    Over the past twenty-five years, there have been more National Merit Semi-Finalists from Lincoln Park’s IB Program than from any other school in Chicago, public or private.

    I wonder what the numbers are for other schools?

  • 160. Jones  |  January 9, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Jones has 215 Seniors this year from what heard at the Open House.

  • 161. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 9, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    159. LP IB | January 9, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Wow, that is very interesting abt LPHS. I’d like to find out the number National Merit Semi-Finalists for each school.

  • 162. cpsobsessed  |  January 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    It seems weird they say “in the past 25 years.”. How about the past 5 years when there are more schools in the game?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 163. OutsideLookingIn  |  January 9, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    For Illinois, 2014 semifinalists are here:


  • 164. HS Mom  |  January 9, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    @160 thanks. All the numbers are ballpark – total school population /4. I only actually counted the ISAC names for smaller schools and have a good estimate for the others by counting how many fit in one screen. So Jones 26% – they are all probably plus or minus a couple %’s. There does, however, seem to be a significant difference between Northside and Payton – both excellent schools.

    The ISAC list does provide an idea of how private and suburban schools stack up against CPS. I also found it worthy to note the neighborhood schools that had more than a few top performing students. It would be nice to be able to compare stats for special programs within neighborhood schools. Even LP has IB, DH and arts program so impossible to say how a school within a school compares to selective/suburban/privates.

    @159 – that could be true if they mean that you add up the candidates over 25 years. Jones cut out PSAT due to budget for the past 2 years, although there was an option to pay for the test and come in on a Saturday this year. I’m sure other schools did too.

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