High School Letter Post 2014

February 20, 2014 at 8:18 pm 1,293 comments


3 years away and counting…. for my son.  Man, it goes fast!

High school letters will be mailed out on Friday, February 21.  Students will have until March 7th to choose their 1 school.

Cutoff scores will be posted next week (week of 2/24.)
Here are OAE’s FAQs on the letters with info on the process and Principal Discretion.


For now, those of you with 8th graders can start the final countdown to knowing WHERE your child will be attending high school.  What a big fork in the road, leaving most of their elementary classmates and heading to bigger buildings in new locations.  Sniff, sniff, I get a little teary-eyed thinking about it.

On a bright note, it’s a chance to branch out, meet new kids from all across the city and exert some independence, breaking free from schools where they are still housed with Kindergarteners.

I hear the private school letters have gone out already.  Any news on those?

Good luck to everyone.  May your wide net casted pay off now.

Entry filed under: High school.

Elementary School Tours – Privilege, Courtesy, or Right? CPS PreK Application Time 2014 (for school year 2014/15)

1,293 Comments Add your own

  • 1. 60660  |  February 20, 2014 at 8:27 pm


  • 2. 2017mom  |  February 20, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    I remember the stress of this whole process last year and anxiously checking the mail for that coveted large envelope. Good luck to everyone going through this and just know this too shall pass and believe it or not but most kids end up perfectly fine and loving where they end up even if it’s not their first choice.

  • 3. Renee  |  February 20, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    ChiArts letters went out yesterday and many students were called with a follow-up email sent by 6pm yesterday

  • 4. Questioner  |  February 20, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    I looked on CPS’ website at the scoring rubric for IB, but did not understand it too well. I guess the important thing to note is that just because we went to the mandatory info session, my kid is not automatically getting into LPIB.

  • 5. cpsdad  |  February 20, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    @4- I attended the LPIB info session with my son. The letter of invitation clearly stated that he was accepted to LPIB. They seemed to reiterate that fact during the presentations. I assume this is the case for every student who was invited.

  • 6. Taft IB  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    5. cpsdad – No, many more people attend info session than can possibly be admitted. For example, Taft IB had 1,700 people apply who met requirements and who could attend the meeting. They will likely accept anywhere from 150-350 – they didn’t share number yet. LP IB had several sessions with hundreds of kids attending each, so not everyone will be accepted. This process is ridiculously time consuming. Had to attend LP IB’s 3 hour meeting without knowing if you would be accpted. Add in 3 hour travel time and parking expenses on a snowy day plus having to buy dinner to make it on time after work – very demanding application process.

    Good luck!

  • 7. pantherettie  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Went through this last year for AC. Best wishes to everyone waiting for letters.

  • 8. WY dad  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Good luck everyone… we went thru this 2 years ago. Be sure to look the letters over carefully and make sure the points add up correctly as you know them. CPSOAE had made an error with the point calculation with ours which our student noticed right away. Luckily OAE recognized the error quickly and corrected it. Made us an offer to WY vs Lane on the spot.

  • 9. cpsdad  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    @6 Thanks for the info. If I was making the choice for my son, I would probably pick LPIB. I thought the teachers were passionate and enthusiastic and the curriculum is awesome. My kid is still wary of the workload. The cpsoae website says there is cutoff score info., but I could not find it!

  • 10. Lpib cutoff  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    The cutoff for lpib is 840 points.

  • 11. Lpib cutoff  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:37 pm


    Ramones fan?

  • 12. Taft IB  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    10. I believe 840 was the cutoff last year. I doubt the 2014 cutoff scores for LP IB scores are out yet. They mentioned the 840 at the LP IB meeting as being last year’s cutoff score as well.

  • 13. Lpib cutoff  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    I don’t think ib cutoff changes. My daughter scored 815 and was unable to apply. If it changes, that wouldn’t be the case.

  • 14. Taft IB  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    That is different. There is a cutoff for who can APPLY that is determined like in September 2013and then after people actually apply, they select top total scores with kids from attendance area getting 50 extra points.

  • 15. cpsdad  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Can I assume if his score is higher than 840, he would be admitted to LPIB? I suppose I could just wait until early next week, but I would take great comfort in knowing we can lean on LPIB. Gonna be a loooong weekend in any case!

  • 16. cpsdad  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    I doubt the Rock n Roll High School from the Ramones movie was selective enrollment.

  • 17. Lpib cutoff  |  February 20, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    @taft ib

    Based on what you said, is it safe to assume the cutoff could only go up 😦

  • 18. Lpib cutoff  |  February 20, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    @cosdad. Rock n roll high school is probably equivalent to a lot of neighborhood high schools, full of drugs. Lol

  • 19. cpsobsessed  |  February 20, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Linc linc linc linc lincoln park high school…


    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 20. Lpib cutoff  |  February 20, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    @cpsobsessed. Ahhh I get it now 🙂

  • 21. Taft IB  |  February 20, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    I don’t know if scores will go up or down from last year. That question was asked at the lp ib session and the coordinator said it was unknown. So no guarantees unless you are a neighborhood kid with perfect points plus an Xtra 50 on top of that. 🙂

  • 22. Lpib cutoff  |  February 20, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    All I can say is that the next week will either be wonderful or terrible. My daughter applied to double honors and will probably be accepted. She can transfer to ib her junior year. Taft ib was also a possibility. I really didn’t like the ib session. I wasn’t expecting the ib director to be soo negative. All all of u won’t get accepted, and if you do, chances are you’ll quit the program (i jyst felt alot of negativity). Idk if it was Just my daughters session, but I was kinda dissappointed. We’re really hoping for our selective enrollment choice though.

  • 23. Taft IB  |  February 20, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Lp ib has their act totally together and just did a fab job presenting. However the number if students still standing in lp ib is very, very low. Question was asked abou I numbers at our session and were reluctantly answered. See hs post for detailed write up. Taft ib wasn’t negative in ours but Aldo wasn’t forthcoming with their numbers which I don’t appreciate. Coordinator has never been a good speaker; does fairly bad job in selling program but I know one kid in it that is happy and graduating this year. Makes you wonder why these schools don’t attend their competitors sessions to help them improve their own pitch.

  • 24. Chicago School GPS  |  February 21, 2014 at 12:02 am

    This whole process is definitely nerve-wrecking but it’s true that even if the school your child had his/her heart set on at the start of this process isn’t the one they got in to, they do tend to all settle in well to their eventual school, within a very quick period of time. Believe it or not, the high schools are improving and there are more choices coming along each year. Disney II has come up very quickly and is modeled like a non-test based SEHS without the point total stress (but it is a lottery).

    Good luck to all and if anyone is wondering “What’s Next? Decisions After Notifications: Public & Private High School Edition”, then please join us on March 4 @ 7PM at Alcott College Prep.

    Geared to 8th Grade Parents (and anyone interested) who want to learn:
    How to choose the best fit if we received multiple school offers
    What do we do now if we received no offers
    Understanding the criteria for Principal’s Discretion @ SEHS and is it worth pursuing?
    How do I prepare for success in high school?
    What are my public & private school options if I missed the deadlines?

  • 25. Lpib cutoff  |  February 21, 2014 at 12:44 am

    @taft ib. I was surprised at how low the required points is to apply to taft ib (625) considering demand. Curious if u know What the cutoff was year?

  • 26. Lpib cutoff  |  February 21, 2014 at 12:46 am

    Oops. Sry. I’m bad with my phone. Do u know what last years cut off was for taft?

  • 27. maman  |  February 21, 2014 at 1:13 am

    Subscribing. Eager to find out what happens with everyone.

  • 28. CPSMom  |  February 21, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Good luck everyone. I am monitoring this website to get a sense for next year as I have a seventh grader. For the family with the ChiArts acceptance, are you planning to attend, and why or why not? Thanks — We are considering ChiArts for our 7th grader next year (for instrumental).

  • 29. CPS Appalled  |  February 21, 2014 at 9:01 am

    subscribing, please

  • 30. RL Julia  |  February 21, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Best of luck to everyone waiting for a letter and remember to try and stay positive and calm.

  • 31. Anxious Mom of Twins  |  February 21, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Are the letters being sent out only for selective enrollment or are they for magnet schools as well?

  • 32. cpsobsessed  |  February 21, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Magnets and IBs too.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 33. Curious  |  February 21, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Why do folks consider Taft IB and LPIB but not one of the IB schools that would clearly be more geographically convenient like Amundsen or Senn? (I suppose THS and LPHS would be the two closest IB schools if you lived due south of Taft and due west of LP, but otherwise?) Senn is known to have a great IB, as far as I’ve heard at least as good as Taft’s. I’ve heard worse lately about LP climate than that of Senn. Also read lots on this blog from happy Amundsen IB parents.

    Just curious. What is it that folks know to avoid these schools in between?

  • 34. cpsobsessed  |  February 21, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Btw, I had my first high-school application nightmare last night.
    I had missed some information meeting at one of the schools. Sigh.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 35. Stressed  |  February 21, 2014 at 10:30 am

    LP is preferred by most because its a gold medal school with a top ranking statewide and nationally. Taft is in a good neighborhood. Can’t speak for senn or amendsen other than they are far from me.

  • 36. Taft IB  |  February 21, 2014 at 10:31 am

    33. Curious – Senn commute is not great for many. I spoke with Senn coordinator when the IB program first started and he is awesome and full of energy – just a great recruiter and spokesperson for the school. Made us want to apply to Senn. But in speaking with him about why to pick Senn over Taft, he himself brought up commute (at least from our location). IB is IB and I don’t think there is much difference between Taft and Senn (other than Taft is much more established and has ACT scores). Senn is tempting just due to the positive energy coming out of that school. Taft IB Coordinator, not so much. Having said that, have heard good things about the Taft IB Coordinator from people actually in the program/at school. However, she is just not the right person to be doing recrutiing/information sessions; lacks the personality and turns people off in a big way. Plus our school Principal shared that she/Taft refused to come to our school to do a presentation to our students last year. Said kids could just come to the Open House. Like 0 interest in building interest in the program in the community. That just turns people off.

    We didn’t apply to Senn because of the commute; applied to Taft and LP IB. Very easy commute to both school from NW side.

    Amundsen – didn’t apply because no need to. Our child will get into Taft and LP IB with her points, so no need to add a 3rd IB program to the mix which is less convenient for us. I have heard from people who live within blocks of the school that they didn’t want to apply due to perception of gangs.They ended up applying after taking the time to learn more, but safety is their concern and they live like a couple of blocks away. I’ve heard good things about Amundsen IB – just didn’t need to add another school to the IB list.

  • 37. neighborhoodmom  |  February 21, 2014 at 10:46 am

    I’ve been following this blog since last fall and have received some very useful information – thanks! so happy the process is almost over. My daughter was never able to test into a gifted or classical program and has attended a neighborhood program with over 40 kids in the classroom : ( — so I have been very anxious about her chances of getting into a good highschool (as our neighborhood high school is not an option). The IB programs she has applied to are LPIB and Ogden IB — I can’t find much on Odgen – as far as comments and data — does anyone have any opinions on this program?

  • 38. cpsobsessed  |  February 21, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Senn and Amundsen are both well located for me and will be in the consideration set (assuming my kid seems able to handle IB work.). Senn has put on repeatedly impressive IB tours and I’ve heard this from a range of parents. Combined with the arts program and emphasis on keeping out-of-neighborhood kids who cause trouble out of the school I think it is a real option for some families right now.

    I think Amundsen needs to step up the sales job a bit on IB. I know it shouldn’t come down to marketing skills, but in absence of high test scores, that’s what it’s going to take to sell parents on a school.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 39. Run, Karen, Run? | District 299: The Inside Scoop on CPS  |  February 21, 2014 at 11:05 am

    […] High School Letter Post 2014 CPS Obsessed: High school letters will be mailed out on Friday, February 21.  Students will have until March 7th to choose their 1 school.  Cutoff scores will be posted next week (week of 2/24.) Here are OAE’s FAQs on the letters with info on the process and Principal Discretion. I hear the private school letters have gone out already.  Any news on those? [[33 comments] […]

  • 40. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 21, 2014 at 11:13 am

    I spoke with an acquaintance whose daughter matriculated at LPIB for the 2012-2013 school year. She had a disastrous year, and they pulled her out and enrolled her in the UofC Lab school for her sophomore year.

    His advice: if your child is unwilling to work at least 4 hours per night after school, he/she will not have a good IB experience.

    The LPIB has been high on our list of schools, along with the usual suspects, and I was leaning toward it over even NCP or WP, but speaking with him as caused me to reevaluate.

    That said, it speaks to how LPIB’s reputation for rigor is well-earned.

  • 41. mom  |  February 21, 2014 at 11:31 am

    @40 Both my children were accepted at LPIB. With my son, I realized that he would soon transfer to the honors program and if he was going to do that, he might as well go to Lane and play sports–actually Lane turned out to be an incredible school. My daughter might have done well in LPIB–but she chose Jones.

  • 42. Taft IB  |  February 21, 2014 at 11:36 am

    From HS post on LP IB: ..odds are against most students still being in programme Senior year (10% of those who started Freshman year and of those 83% get the IB Diploma and the rest get IB certificate in individual subjects). At least with LP IB, if you live outside of the neighborhood you can switch to one of their other programs. At Taft IB, if you leave the program and are not from the neighborhood, you have to leave. You are not allowed to stay. Period.

    I think that is likely another consideration why LP IB is preferred by most – in the very likely option that your child does not make it thru the IB program, there are great alternative programs for your child to step back into, even if you are not from the neighborhood. This is something that needs to be considered.

    Don’t know what the fall back option is for Amundsen.

    Again, most kids will not make it thru the IB program. Data shows this if you ask school. So need to evaluate the school and other options within the school before making a decision on which IB offer to accept (if you have an option).

  • 43. Taft IB  |  February 21, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Is it true that you can only accept one offer for H.S.? Or can you accept an IB offer and hope for a SEHS offer on 2nd round?

    How does the offer / acceptance work for H.S. this year?

  • 44. RL Julia  |  February 21, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    The past few years, there really hasn’t been an SEHS second round. I wouldn’t necessarily count on it. More likely to get a second round offer from an IB.

  • 45. Hyde Park Mom  |  February 21, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    yes, the catholic school letters were mailed on 2/14. Several kids from our school were accepted at Ignatius and my daughter was accepted in the Honors Program at De La Salle (her first choice Catholic school). Latin will not mail until 3/12. Several kids have also had call backs at ChiArts our friend received her acceptance by email on 2/18. Wolcott acceptances were received two weeks ago for a friend w/a child with dyslexia

  • 46. west rogers park mom  |  February 21, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I went through this last year and didn’t get the SEHS letter for a week. OAE eventually emailed it to us but by then my kid had already received IB, arts programs, and LPDH acceptances and had made up her decision so it didn’t really matter.

    She ended up at ChiArts and is having a great experience. I know there was a lot of back and forth about the school on this board about it last year and would be happy to answer any questions anyone may have. There was a lot of talk about the academics being substandard but we don’t necessarily find that to be the case.

    Good luck all !

  • 47. HSObsessed  |  February 21, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    I think it’s worth repeating the statistics on the LPIB program: Out of 100 kids who start in the “diploma program” freshman year (and that’s in quotes because the actual IB classes don’t start until junior year, so it consists only of the freshmen and sophomore “IB kids” are simply taking their core science/math/English classes together), by senior year, 90 of them are asked to leave the program or voluntarily say they don’t wish to take the courses required to continue in the program. Of the 10 kids who take the full “IB courseload” senior year and attempt to get IB certificates in all the required classes, 8 of them succeed, and I think that 80% is the “success rate” that is often touted. As I understand it, there is a steady dropout rate from IB each year starting after freshman year, of kids who then simply join the LPHS “double honors” classes for their math/science/English classes (all other classes are a mix of all kids anyway, like PE, art, music, etc). My freshman child is in the double honors program and the courses seem pretty rigorous to me. She hasn’t gotten the straight A’s that she used to get in K-8 without even trying, and part of that is that it’s hard to get used to high school for a 14-year-old kid, with all the distractions of new friends, longer school day, etc. She’ll be taking a mix of AP and IB classes starting in junior year (because of the Wall-To-Wall IB that’s being rolled out) that will be manageable, given her interests and abilities. So I guess what I’m saying to parents of 7th graders and younger: if you want a good solid, diverse school in a safe neighborhood with good teachers and leadership, tons of sports and activities, and the ability to tailor your kid’s academics, don’t rule out applying directly to the LPHS double-honors/wall-to-wall-IB program. All the benefits, none of the pressure!

  • 48. Stressed  |  February 21, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Have acceptance letters been mailed yet?

  • 49. HSObsessed  |  February 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Re: acceptance rates: Keep in mind that even though there are “only” 350 spots in a program and 1,700 apply (like Taft IB @6), that doesn’t mean that only 1 out of 5 applicants is offered a spot. If last year 50% of the kids accepted Taft’s offer for IB, Taft might send out about 700 offer letters to start, and then draw from a waitlist to fill in any empty spots after all of the offers are accepted or rejected. I would love to see data on each school’s acceptance rates (of kids accepting the school’s offers).

  • 50. Hyde Park Mom  |  February 21, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    @neighborhood mom – We attended the info session at Ogden and we were not impressed by the students or the staff. The colleges that the seniors were receiving scholarships and acceptances from were not competitive. The avg ACT score they shared was an 18 which is lower than the national and state averages. The limited sports and size of the school made this school a no for our family. I only know one family attending the school they have a freshman and they are unhappy but did not really elaborate on why

  • 51. Admissions  |  February 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    CPSO – Will you (please) be calling CPS OAE today to confirm that the letters will/ did go out before 5:00 p.m. today? This would save a lot of angst if the mail didn’t get out before 5:00 today. Usually if a mail is sent before last pick-up, letter shows up next day within Chicago.So could have letters as early as tomorrow (which would be great).

    This would be very much appreciated! 🙂

  • 52. Stressed  |  February 21, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    @admissions. Are u saying we should call so oae sends out the letters before 5?

  • 53. cpsobsessed  |  February 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    OAE told me they are confirming that the letters will go out by end of day today.


    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 54. Counterpoint for discussion  |  February 21, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Chill out folks. The letters will be delivered by the middle of next week even if the letters are mailed after 5:00pm. Patience is a virtue. Please do not badger the OAE, as they have a lot of work to do and do not need 100+ people calling about the letters. It just adds to workplace stress for Rahms peeps.

  • 55. vikingmom  |  February 21, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    @38 as a parent of an IB sophomore at Amundsen I totally agree with you. We had attended an orientation run by the previous IB coordinator the summer before my daughter began; it was extremely impressive. I only know one of the current IB coordinators who simply doesn’t have the personality to enthuse a crowd. He is probably very good with the administrative tasks but the school could do a better job of getting the word out. What sold me on the program and school was the presentation by the current incoming seniors. What an amazing group of kids, in every way! Last year 13 students were awarded the IB diploma.
    @36 It’s a shame there is still a perception about gangs at Amundsen; my daughter has never had any problems. Hopefully that will diminish in time. The neighborhood is quite safe and she takes the bus home after school every day.
    @42 Right now the Amundsen IB kids who either drop out or are asked to leave the program continue at the school, either AP or “regulars.” I do, however, get the impression that the principal wants to concentrate on the neighborhood enrollment, which, depending on how high the numbers get, may lead to the same situation as Taft has now (you drop out of IB and you are gone from the school). But I know that Taft is quite overcrowded and Amundsen is not yet at that point.

  • 56. IBobsessed  |  February 21, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    @47 I sure would like to hear from LPHS IB diploma parents or students regarding their experience and WHY they think there is such a high drop out rate. I tend to infer that this does not reflect well on the program, despite it’s rep for rigor etc… Why should that many bright, hardworking kids choose not to continue or be counseled out? Doesn’t a program with good teachers bring hardworking students along?

  • 57. HSObsessed  |  February 21, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    @56 – I would like to know as well. I would think many kids decide it’s not worth the effort to put themselves through some of those really demanding components of the program, like the huge research/writing project, unless it’s for personal satisfaction. You don’t find out whether you passed the IB tests and earned the IB diploma until well after senior year of high school is over, so the diploma is not a factor when applying to colleges.

  • 58. mom  |  February 21, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Good luck to all of you. Sometimes mailing at 5 means they get delivered to the CPS mailroom at 5 and sit there all weekend. In any event, last year when my last child went through this process, the mail was not delivered until 10 p.m. on Saturday night???!!!! The kids were frantically texting each other and it was pretty brutal.

  • 59. Stressed  |  February 21, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    What would be nice is if we could log into the website to see the results. Also, accept offers online would be nice as well.

  • 60. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 21, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    One of my concerns with the IB program is in the curriculum. IB’s goal of an extensive, rigorous educational experience means that some valuable types of coursework are not part of the curriculum.

    So, for example, computer programming is not included in favor of a language or some other class.

    I personally would rather my child learn programming or engineering constructs over a foreign language.

  • 61. Taft IB  |  February 21, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Re mail at 10 at night. I know you are not exaggerating. I have seen mail carriers out at like 10:30 p.m. This winter. Very strange! Must be budget cuts.

    Thanks for putting timing in perspective. I’ll tell myself not to expect letters until Monday.

  • 62. LP mom  |  February 21, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Can anyone provide information on the ability to shadow at the Selective Enrollment High Schools and IB High Schools after you have been accepted (thinking positive, here)? Is there a general CPS policy/procedure about this, or is it administered school-by-school? Thanks in advance for any info.

  • 63. mom  |  February 21, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I loved the IB program but it requires the mindset and motivation of a scholar. It is not utilitarian. I recall that some parents were shocked and upset that it seemed so low tech. My orientation is that learning to think and reason does not depend on technology and can be done with a good teacher and a chalkboard.

    The students that I know that made it through the program ended up with some pretty terrible grades but were pushed and motivated to get through it. Ms. Tookey took a personal interest in each child.

    The program is extremely difficult but I’m sure it’s a better college education than most high priced colleges.

  • 64. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 21, 2014 at 3:09 pm


    The grades part is a concern. After all, high school is just the middle-game for most of our children.

  • 65. mom  |  February 21, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    @64 Ironically, the “superstar” of the LPIB class that we shadowed, as I recall, was an extremely modest young woman who was headed to an innovative school in Alaska that did not grade and allowed her to pursue her (obscure) passion. The only reason that we knew she was such an acheiver was because each of the teachers spoke of her and could not contain their admiration. She was in it for the pursuit of knowledge–pretty rare these days.

  • 66. RL Julia  |  February 21, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Shadowing is done on a school by school basis – and maybe happens after acceptance has been made – but I could be wrong on that item….

  • 67. cpsobsessed  |  February 21, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    I was thinking about the number of kids who drop out of LPIB – would make more sense to select students by interview to assess their level of committment (as much as can be assessed at age 14) rather than just scores. There are probably other kids around the city who would stick it out but didn’t get the uber high scores for entry.
    But as we know, interviewing has been eliminated.

    I have to imagine that the allure of having a social life must be a factor when the IB kids see others in the school who are doing less school and having fun on weekends – moreso than at the SEHS where everyone has the same level of rigor (this is pure speculation.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 68. Disney Magnet parent  |  February 21, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    The cut score to be able to apply to Senn’s IB program is 610, but the number of applicants has gone up sharply in recent years. They used to accept most of the IB applicants, but last year they had 1700 applicants for about 100-150 spots. No idea what cut scores worked for 2013 admission, or whether my kid’s scores (with the 50-point bonus for living in the attendance area) will be high enough for admission.

    Am hoping for a Von Steuben Scholars Program acceptance to go along with the Chicago Waldorf School acceptance he got a week ago. Not so keen on LPHS’s more cutthroat level of rigor, personally. And Von’s engineering curriculum is a great option to have, but most schools don’t offer it.

  • 69. IBobsessed  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    I wonder if the intent at LPHS IB is to force out anyone they are not sure will earn the diploma. That way they keep their very high diploma stats.

    At the LPHS IB open house, several students swore up and down that you can indeed have a social life and participate in activities. (??????)

  • 70. Admissions  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    LP IB is rigorous, but not a cutthroat environment from what I observed. Looked more collaborative and not competitive with each other. I’d be surprised if anyone felt it was cutthroat.

  • 71. Hyde Park Mom  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    @69 – at the Ogden IB info session a parent asked if any of the seniors that were in the diploma program participated in sports/activities and the student that raised her hand replied “no, I tried and I had to quit the activity” and this was at Ogden not LP.

    I know three kids that left LP all together after IB burn out one pursued an American school in another country, one transferred mid-year as a junior to Latin and the other was home schooled

  • 72. mom  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    @69 I don’t think so because I’ve known several kids who really struggled and had D’s and F’s in their least favorite areas and they were not counseled out. I think it is self select or if a student is just really failing across the board.
    @67 up until last year, there were interviews for LPIB. My son, who is very smart but does not have a strong work ethic, did very well during the interview, and it was very long. I was very impressed. I do not think he would have managed the program so I have no regrets.

    I am feeling a bit of twinge of regret about my other child though.

  • 73. Admissions  |  February 21, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Homework Load – University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research provided Taft IB with data on “Average Time spent per week Studying for All Classes”. Broke it down among 4 different types of schools. Not on-line so will just share numbers here.

    For IB
    18% of weeks students spent an AVG of 3< per week studying
    27% of weeks …spent 3-5 hours per week studying
    27% of weeks …spent 5-9 hours per week studying
    28% of weeks …spent 10+ hours per week studying

    For SEHS
    22% of weeks spent 3< per week studying
    32% spent 3-5 hours per week
    25% spent 5-9 hours per week
    21% spent 10+ hours per week

    For Adv AP
    25% of weeks spent 3< per week studying
    32% spent 3-5 hours per week
    28% spent 5-9 hours per week
    15% spent 10+ hours per week

    For Regular
    40% of weeks spent 3< per week studying
    36% spent 3-5 hours per week
    17% spent 6-9 hours per week
    7% spent 10+ hours per week

    It was a graph where Y label was labeled Percent of Total Frequency and X label included 4 labels for different types of programs.

  • 74. Stressed  |  February 21, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Has it been confirmed yet if the acceptance letters were sent out?

  • 75. Admissions  |  February 21, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    74. See cpso post #53. So that could mean letters will get to us anytime between Saturday and Wednesday based on posts above based on last year.

    So no need to stress – too early and will ruin your family’s weekend!

  • 76. Chicago School GPS  |  February 21, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    When I spoke to someone at CPSOAE at 3PM, I was told it was all on schedule but I definitely caution folks to not expect it on Saturday because mail delivery is notoriously uneven from neighborhood to neighborhood.

    Last year there was even speculation on blue and black return address logos and that was proven to be inconsistent, so the best advice is to not over think it at this point.

    I was also told more cuts are being made to CPSOAE so their already small staff of 13 will get even smaller with upcoming budget cuts and I am constantly amazed at what they manage to do with so few people.

  • 77. cpsdad  |  February 21, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    I remember receiving our letter on Monday. Good news then. Hoping for the best next week.

  • 78. Gobemouche  |  February 21, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    46- west Rogers park mom- I would love to hear more about your family’s experience at ChiArts. How do you feel about the programs academics – do you think your child is being well prepared for college? What is the schedule like in terms of actual hours? For example, do kids stay late everyday if they are in a production, etc? How do you feel about the coming location versus the Malcom X building? I have to say that this last issue is what is making me second guess the school. Please excuse my typos, etc. typing on my phone…

  • 79. TwoInAndDone  |  February 21, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    We went through this two years ago. We got our letter on Saturday and a letter from the SEHS my daughter was accepted to at the same time (Took the suspense out of it. It was her second choice, but our 1st!).

    This time since our younger daughter had good points going in, and we did early testing. It was worth it, we expect/know they will be attending the same school. If you have good points going in next year, take the early testing option.

    Good Luck and tell your children an acceptance at ANY of the the top public high schools is a great accomplishment (Second choice worked out for us).

    For those who don’t get in, don’t give up, there are other good HS options (you may have pay for some of them) and you will still find the right college.

  • 80. Questioner  |  February 21, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I read that the University of Chicago charter school, grades 6-12, is accepting applications until 2/24 at 5:00 pm. In case anyone needs another option.

  • 81. Kgodinez32  |  February 21, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    I’m so excited! But I’m also afraid of the heartbreak for my daughter and step son. My daughter scored 839 and my step son scored 868 and we are in Tier 1. We applied to pretty much EVERY school out there. From Selective Enrollment we are only considering Northside, Whitney and Jones. We also applied for the Jones CTE program and we live in the boundaries for that program. We did LPIB/Double Honors Program and TaftIB, Von Stueben Scholars, St. Ignatius as well as Latin School of Chicago. We got the letter from St. Ignatius last Saturday my daughter was turned down. My daughter is also considering boarding school so we applied for Lake Forest Academy, Phillips Exeter, and Wayland Academy. My daughter was awarded the Daniel Murphy Scholarship and she is a Chicago High Jump student. She worked so hard to get into a top school!!!! High Jump is additional school to prepare them for all High School tests, she made a commitment to it since 6th grade. She gave up all her summers and went to school and during the school year she gives up sleeping in on Saturdays to go to school from 8 am to 3 pm!

    GOOD LUCK to ALL students and parents out there!!!

  • 82. OutsideLookingIn  |  February 21, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    @73 – thanks for sharing that info. I’m really surprised about how few hours these students spend on homework per week. I would expect 10 hours a week would be the bare minimum for any type of rigorous high school.

  • 83. HS Mom  |  February 21, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    @59 – that’s how many of the colleges are doing it now. They give you a date and time to log into your assigned account and get the results. The old fashioned waiting for the letter in the mail no longer exists.

  • 84. Kgodinez32  |  February 21, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    @80 Thank you so much for that info I just put my daughter on the waiting list for UIC College Prep! That is the top Noble Charter school!

  • 85. HS Mom  |  February 21, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    @73 is studying time the same as homework time?

  • 86. Admissions  |  February 21, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Unfortunately, I don’t know. I tried finding the full study on-line but didn’t see it. I snapped a picture of the slide at the Taft IB Presentation.

  • 87. cpsobsessed  |  February 21, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    It seems low to me too, so I’d imagine based on what we hear can add a few hours, but the comparison across school types is probably generally the same (which has more, which has less.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 88. Counterpoint for discussion  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:47 am

    To 81: I’m sorry for the disappointment of not being accepted into St. Ignatius. I looked up High Jump, their mission statement of ” We provide academic enrichment, counseling and support to students of diverse backgrounds, with the goals of sending our participants to superior college preparatory schools, ensuring their success while they are there, and enhancing their ability to gain admission to highly regarded four-year colleges and universities” is quite eye opening. A little too much hand holding for me. Too much help in that it doesn’t level the playing field, it actually discriminates in favor of that child. Congratulations, your children will do well at Whitney.

  • 89. CT  |  February 22, 2014 at 8:33 am

    900. Payton. Tier 4.

    Took test early so no need to wait for mailman.

    Best of luck to all!

  • 90. pantherettie  |  February 22, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Counterpoint – that’s just remarkable that you consider a program to help kids prepare for high school enterance as “hand holding”. What about Kaplan course ( starting at $1,500 per session) or summer school courses at Lab that are over $1,000 for a 4 week session? When families don’t have those options I guess kids just need to get by on their own with nothing but their underfunded, neighborhood school to give them the same educational preparation and opportunities. Really

  • 91. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2014 at 9:08 am

    FYI – updates today from OAE:

    February 22, 2014 Greetings!High School Notification and Acceptance Period Begins!

    Watch for High School Notification Letters in the Mail! Notification letters for the high schools whose application process is managed by the Office of Access and Enrollment (OAE) were mailed on February 21st. These programs are:  CTE-College and Career Academies, International Baccalaureate, Magnet, Military, and Selective Enrollment High Schools.   Parents who do not receive a letter by February 28th should contact the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060 or oae@cps.edu.

    Accept High School Offers by the Deadline! • To accept an offer from an IB High School, Magnet High School, or Military Academy, students must (1) complete a Confirmation Form and submit itto the high school by 3 p.m. on March 7th and (2) give a copy of their acceptance letter to their current school counselor. • To accept an offer from a CTE-College and Career Academy or a Selective Enrollment High School, students must (1) complete a Confirmation Form and submit it to the Office of Access and Enrollment by 5 p.m. on March 7th and (2) give a copy of their acceptance letter to their current school counselor. If your  child receives multiple offers and you need additional information to help you decide which offer to accept, go to http://www.cps.edu (click ‘Schools’) to see the performance, programs, and other features of schools to compare them and choose the one that best will fit your child.

    Wait Lists – Magnet High Schools and Programs Students who are not selected for a seat through the computerized lottery are assigned a seat on a waitlist, based on their category (e.g., sibling; proximity, if applicable; Tiers 1-4). After the available spaces are filled through the computerized lottery, waitlist numbers are randomly assigned, beginning with number 1, to the remaining students in each category. Principals fill remaining seats based on the category in which the seat is located, beginning with number 1. If you accept an offer and your child later receives an offer from a school where he/she was waitlisted, your child can accept the second offer and decline the first. Should you choose to accept a later offer, you will be responsible for notifying the first school of your child’s change in status.

    Principal Discretion (Selective Enrollment High Schools)   The Principal Discretion process allows Selective Enrollment High School principals to fill a designated number of seats, outside of the regular selection process, and in strict compliance with established guidelines, based on information provided through application packets submitted by students.  Principal Discretion applications will be accepted from March 3rd through March 14th. Guidelines and instructions will be available on the Office of Access and Enrollment website, http://www.cpsoae.org, under NEWS, starting February 22nd.

    Explore Additional High School Options Information regarding school options can be found at http://www.cpsoae.org under the ‘Options’ tab.  This information is updated periodically, as new options become available. In addition, the Office of Access and Enrollment offers a second-round application process in the spring for magnet schools and programs, IB schools, and other non-Selective Enrollment programs that still have seats available. Contact the Office of Access and Enrollment at (773) 553-2060 or oae@cps.edu in April for details.

    Selective Enrollment Elementary School  (SEES) Testing–Through End of February All eligible SEES applicants have been scheduled for testing and letters have been mailed. Parents who have not received a letter should contact the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060.  
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 92. pantherparent  |  February 22, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Best of luck, everyone. I’ve been through this twice and have spent too many hours looking out the window for the mailman.

    One word of caution. Some parents attempt to lessen the blow of non-acceptance by saying, “That’s okay. Johnny, we’ll get in through Principal Discretion,” but that just sets Johnny up for double disappointment. You’re not getting in that way.

    I’m not saying don’t try it, but understand the reality of it. The odds are just as long as regular admittance. And even longer if you don’t have a story to tell as to why you are special and deserve to get in.

    But I echo what many here say. No matter what high school your child gets in, it will work. Every school has good kids with some hard working teachers. Sometimes they may be harder to find, but they’re there.

  • 93. Kgodinez32  |  February 22, 2014 at 9:54 am

    To 90, Thank you so VERY much! Very well stated!
    To 88, I would like to address your idea of the program being “hand held”. My daughter from thousands of applications was chosen to be in the program, only 100 students are accepted a year! She had to have outstanding grades, outstanding ISAT scores from 5th grade and recommendations from her school principle. She was called for a Interview that was held at Latin School of Chicago and so were hundreds of others. Her interview was 1 hour long and I had to interview as well for 1 hour with the program directors. We got the acceptance package and we both cried because we were both so happy! This program helped my daughter so much by teaching her higher level education than her own grade level and SHE STILL managed to pull A’s and B’s let alone her CPS school grades that were B’s turned to all A’s, her writing skills are phenomenal thanks to this program. Her CPS school teachers began to email the huge change they noticed and said she was now in the top of her classmates! She EARNED all of this, NOTHING is hand held!! She gets grades each year with high jump and students who hit C’s and D’s are dismissed from the program! She will be GRADUATING from this program, this summer. I’m not coming off in a harsh manner but sometimes you have to educate others to HELP them understand before knocking them! St. Ignatius was a blow to us but we have high hopes for SEHS, at least Jones with her score. Did I mention she gave up her summers willingly?! Wakes up early Saturday while other kids sleep in and rest?? I have a determined child and she has a mother who cares enough to keep her in the right path! Thank you for your congratulations it is much appreciated!

  • 94. Kgodinez32  |  February 22, 2014 at 10:01 am

    @92 In my daughters school last year a boy who was turned down to his 1st choice, Northside College Prep, he applied for Principal’s Discretion and he got in! He was accepted into Whitney but his heart was with Northside, he had hope, he tried and he got in! Chances are small, but those chances mean the world to those who get in by Principal’s Discretion.

  • 95. scaredstudent!  |  February 22, 2014 at 10:18 am

    I have a question for anyone who got into Payton or Whitney Young last year or are the parents– do they mail your acceptance letter along with a letter directly from the school? I remember my sister getting her letter and she also got one from Jones, but before you even open your letter, you already know what school you’re going to, right? Because you get a letter from that school?

  • 96. Bundled up  |  February 22, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Wow Kgodinez32. You can be so proud of your daughter. She really has her priorities in order. It was against the odds that she would accepted into the program in the first place and then sticking with it week after week was even a greater challenge. I hope our kids end up at the same school because her work ethic is something my kid could use more of. And I imagine you deserve some kudos yourself. Good luck! I hope the mail brings good news.

  • 97. SEHSApplicant  |  February 22, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Has anybody received their letter yet?

  • 98. SEHSApplicant  |  February 22, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Or will the letters arrive on Monday?

  • 99. Questioner  |  February 22, 2014 at 11:00 am

    No mail yet.

  • 100. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Depending on your indiv mail service *some* people may get a letter today. Monday is probably more likely.

    I do believe that in the past some students got a letter from the school before the CPS letter arrived.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 101. Kgodinez32  |  February 22, 2014 at 11:09 am

    @96 Thank you so much, trust me it’s not easy at all! She’s a teenage girl so we have a lot of our not so good mother daughter moments. She will be grateful when she is older and won’t see it right now. I never had a parent who cared enough for me! I wasn’t about to repeat history, us parents have to make a change with these kids now!! I feel really strong about that! I have 2 boys right now, a 4 year old and a 2 1/2 yr old and I will do the same for them! What schools did you apply for?

  • 102. SEHSApplicant  |  February 22, 2014 at 11:10 am

    @100 – So you’re saying that most, if not all of the accepted students received a letter from the school BEFORE the actual CPS letter arrived?

  • 103. anotherchicagoparent  |  February 22, 2014 at 11:15 am

    @95 The letters from the schools are supposed to arrive a few days after the acceptance letters from downtown.

    So for the homework times listed above if your kid is in a SEHS taking AP classes you should add SEHS homework time and AP homework time up and might come somewhat close?:P
    If I remember that report correctly that was for juniors and seniors just a word of caution here,along with those times these kids are now preparing for the ACT, writing essays, filling out applications etc for college acceptances and scholarships after school.

  • 104. Counterpoint for discussion  |  February 22, 2014 at 11:31 am

    To: 90. pantherettie…Yes, I believe that the Kaplan or summer school at the Lab is also hand holding. I am consistent. I don’t care for the use of those tactics by that social/economic class as well.

    To: 93. Kgodinez32..A lot of outstanding kids do the same. The problem is….. “Her CPS school teachers began to email the huge change they noticed and said she was now in the top of her classmates!” That’s the whole point. Drag any above average kid to extra classes on Saturday and geek them up by saying that they are “special”……the result is a strong likelihood of increased results.

    The whole point is some parents have to work 3 jobs to pay for extra enrichment for their children, and because other children fit the right stereotypical mold they are handed a program for practically nothing. It’s the racial/social balancing that is the rub. Just look of High Jump’s website and you’ll see my point.

  • 105. mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Well, both my kids had had hand holding. They both did test prep preparation and both got into every high school to which they applied. Money well spent.

  • 106. crosswordfiend  |  February 22, 2014 at 11:55 am

    When it comes to poor kids, or kids from families where nobody has gone to college, I am wildly in favor of “hand-holding” programs. The legacy of discrimination is holding those children back, and all the programs to is help get them up to a level playing field. If those kids end up getting spots in competitive schools that would otherwise have gone to a more affluent kid with more advantages in life, GOOD. The kid with more advantages in life will have plenty of other options and will end up doing just fine. Going to Northside and an Ivy League school is not anyone’s birthright, for Pete’s sake.

  • 107. Sue K.  |  February 22, 2014 at 11:59 am

    @95 Last year my child’s letter from the school to which she was accepted and the scores from CPS OAE came on the same day, and that was Monday.

  • 108. HS Mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    @104 Counterpoint – this thread is for high school news. This is supposed to be about celebration and brainstorming alternatives if need be. Positive feedback required. No need to pick apart any one program or programs in general here. Save your political statements for discussion of policy.

    Kgodinez32 – Your daughter sounds like she is on the right track. Her experience with High Jump will certainly help keep her on track. Also, a significant achievement to put on her college applications. Kids will be kids and they all know everything there is to know by 18 anyway LOL. Best of luck to you, looking forward to hearing more about where she ends up.

  • 109. Stressed  |  February 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Thank you hs mom.

  • 110. Stressed  |  February 22, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Glad this morning seems to be flying by :). Mail comes between 12 and 2. We have a substitute mail person so will probably get the letters next week. Looking forward to hearing from others that get it today.

  • 111. Kgodinez32  |  February 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    @crosswordfiend, I wrote a long response to those absurd negative comments that include bashing the less fortunate, BUT I deleted and realized THIS is not the place to go there and feel the same this is about High School News as HS Mom mentioned. I’m glad I did!! I love everything you said, as that is exactly how I feel!! These schools are no ones birthright, you work HARD and the Over Achievers are given those seats!
    @HS Mom thank you so much for your words!

  • 112. Lincoln Square mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    CPS notification letters have arrived in the Lincoln Square neighborhood.

  • 113. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    The parent with the 900 early score wanting payton, would you mind sharing where your child has gone to elementary? Even just cps neighborhood, SEES, or private?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 114. Counterpoint for discussion  |  February 22, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    To:108 HS Mom
    The thread of comments started off with 81 writing about “how special” the child was. The comment about boarding school and Lake Forest went over the top. To write “don’t get political” is exactly what’s wrong. It’s obvious that the child does not really have the skills to excel against high caliber students as evidenced by the St. Ignatius letter. I know 4 eight graders that are on the wait list of St. Ignatius that have money, solid families, religious, and smart. So the proof to me if the “special programs” are recognizing excellence is if the child was admitted into a “St. Ignatius” caliber school.

  • 115. Plz no politics  |  February 22, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Wth, tired of the politics.

  • 116. Admissions  |  February 22, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    112. Lincoln Square Mom – any news you can share? Scores with tier?

    Thanks for letting us know!

  • 117. cant wait til this is over  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Advice needed:
    When the letter comes, do I open it first, or do I let the boy do it?
    What do you think is the best practice?

  • 118. HS Mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    There is no way that a mom rightfully bragging about her kid should warrant such a personal attack. There are many parents, including myself, talking about their kids accomplishments. As the parent points out, I will not even bother feeding the troll and getting into a discussion here.

  • 119. Psmom  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Got letter – Tier 4 first choice lane 873.

  • 120. another mom waiting  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    @117 cant wait til this is over . Definitely let him open it. (It’s his life.) But we can be there at the same time 🙂

  • 121. HS Mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    @117 – let your child do it, if possible! They’ve earned it.

  • 122. cpsdad  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    @117- you will most likely get two letters. one from cps and one from the high school. if you get a big envelope from payton,jones,whitney, it means you are in that school. open the cps letter to confirm this fact. save the big one for your kid. if you only get one small letter, it might mean bad news. in that case I would open it myself.

  • 123. HS Mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    @122 – the school letter can come before, at the same time or after because their mailing date is different. Please don’t panic if you only receive a letter.

  • 124. cant wait til this is over  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    @122. Thanks for advice. Makes sense. I am worried about results so I wasn’t sure how to handle it. Do the big letters come for Lane too? all the selective enrollment schools?

  • 125. cant wait til this is over  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    @124. Thank you. I would have 🙂

  • 126. Questioner  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    My kid gave me the go-ahead to open the letter and text the results, mail hasn’t come yet though.

  • 127. cpsdad  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    to be more specific: the letter from the school was legal size but was thicker. it included an info sheet and a few forms. please don’t jump out the window if you only get a letter from the cps. good and bad letters from them are only SINGLE PAGE. if you see a letter from a school, you are in that school.

  • 128. cpsdad  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    soory, not legal but letter size!

  • 129. Momof3  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Wtg psmom! 873 is really high for lane. Your daughter will probably get accepted into alpha program 🙂

  • 130. Kgodinez32  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Congrats to letters of acceptance!!! Way to go students and moms!!! I think me and my daughter are going to roll around for that letter once it comes on who is opening it!! lol I heard a few of my daughters friends got their letters from Belmont Craign area!! One was accepted into Lane! My mail man never comes early always LATE! Ugh the despair!!!

  • 131. Lisa  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Tier 4 895 my son got into Jones! Payton was 1st choice but didn’t make the cut. Will be curious to see their cut off score.

  • 132. cpsdad  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    tier 4 886 jones! go eagles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! p.s.-wait listed for jones cte, out of boundary

  • 133. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    @42 Taft IB: “most kids will not make it thru the IB program.”

    Are you saying this is true at all the CPS selective admission IB HS programs — that is, at each such school, a majority of the IB-tracked students drop out of the IB program, or is this only true for a few, like LP or Taft.

    LP is know to be a wringer because it intends the students to take the IB Diploma exams, which are more like serious college level exams — no multiple choice nonsense. This is the May 2006 maths exam: https://www.ibo.org/diploma/curriculum/examples/samplepapers/documents/gp5_mathssl2.pdf

    I didn’t learn matrix algebra until graduate school.

  • 134. Jones  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    @131 & 132 Go Eagles is right!!! My child is a freshman at Jones & absolutely loves it…congrats!

  • 135. nan  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Northside letter in regular envelope with two pages inside. So don’t panic if you don’t get some large thick envelope.

  • 136. unnerved  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    132: Holy Cow! Are you saying that 895 tier 4 is a no-go for Payton? Oh my. That is not good for us.

  • 137. Momof3  |  February 22, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I was comparing cut offs of the few already mentioned here to last years and already over 9 pts higher :(. Not good for us.

  • 138. klm  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    @Counterpoint for discussion

    I get the point that you’re trying to make: “regular” people struggle to get by, but since they’re technically not “poor” or somehow “disadvantaged” they don’t get all the free, extra stuff, etc., which seems unfair on some level.

    However, you’re way off in the direction you seem to be going. All these kinds of organisations (Quest Bride, LEDA, …many others) are designed to give low-income and working-class kids the knowledge they need to apply to selective HSs, colleges, be proactive in researching educational opportunities, become familiar with different achievement tests and help prepare for them, etc.

    I think you seem to think these are limited to under-represented minorities kids, but that’s not true. All the programs I’m aware of (including High Jump) are about socio-economics, not race or ethnicity. White and Asian kids can (and do) participate if they’re from low-income households.

    My (black, Ivy-grad) spouse volunteers for a similar organisation for promising low-income students that tries to get them applying to and getting into selective colleges. Yes, a large number are black and brown (beacuase a large % of low-income people are) but also there are manywhite ones that have familes that arrived as penniless refugees from Bosnia or from families that came from the Ukraine when the kids was 12, with parents unable to speak English, so the family’s low-income, live in a traler park on the wrong side of the tracks in Peoria, etc. One year, one of the participants was a white boy from Deerfield that went to Deerfield HS –his family (single mom rasing 3 kids without much money) was low-income, so he was able to participate –I think he ended up at an Ivy.

    If there’s a kid from a family where a parent’s working 3 jobs to get by, as you suggested, if the family’s low-income (even if they’re white and live in Lincoln Park –and if somebody’s working 3 jobs, I’ll assume the family is struggling), there’s almost certainly a similar program for that kids, maybe even High Jump.

    Go to LEDA’s website, for example. It’s goal is to get more qualified, low-income kids into selective, prestige colleges. Lots of the kids are white.

    Now, many of these (privately funded) programs are designed for/geared towards kids from the most challenging backgrounds, from socially isolated neighborhoods where there’s not as much knowledge about these things, etc., so lots/most (or all, in some cases) of the recruiting takes place in schools/neighborhoods where lots of these kids live, rather than Lincoln Elementary or Edgebrook –no big surprise there. Organisations that are designed to benefit low-income kids tend to work and recruit mostly in low-income communities (where the target demographic is most likely to live), which only seems natural, to me.


    Good for you for being such a good parent, raising a kid that works hard, is so interested in achieving, and getting involved with an organisation like High Jump!. Hard work and perseverance are the key to success and your kid obviously has these –you’re lucky and should be rightfully proud.

  • 139. Momof3  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    I hope I’m wrong.. Last years max for lane was 853 and someone here got in with 873. Yikes

  • 140. Taft IB  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    133. I can only speak for LP IB and Taft IB since I have been to their info. sessions.

    Since IB curriculum is universal, I would be surprised if it is much different at the other CPS IB H.S. Programs. There is a chance that the other schools could grade easier (no data on that, just providing possibilities), but in the end, IB students take assessments that are done by outsiders. Essay graded by a college professor and other assessments were mentioned at the IB sessions. The whole point of the IB program is that it is rigorous and recognized universally for its rigor. I doubt the IB organization would allow the rigor to differ to an unacceptable level (would pull IB recognition). So although I don’t know the numbers at the other CPS IB schools, I can’t imagine the % differ too much. My guess would be that 75-95% of the students would be out of the program by Senior year. Again, just a guess.

    Main takeaway – ask what the percentages are. And ask what are the back-ups if your child does not remain in the program and are out of the neighborhood. LP has outstanding back up options. Don’t know about Amundsen or other schools other than Taft.

    For Taft, stakes are high – must leave the school if opt out of the IB program and you are not from the neighborhood.

  • 141. SEHSApplicant  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Tier 4 876 Lane Tech acceptance, not first choice, cutoff scores shot up

  • 142. mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    139. Momof3 | February 22, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    I hope I’m wrong.. Last years max for lane was 853 and someone here got in with 873. Yikes

    it was first choice. my lane student had a 890 and it was his first choice. Lane is a great school.

  • 143. ProudAunt  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    my niece got her letter. 897, got her 1st choice, Payton. don’t know tier? but they live near Fullerton and Kimball, i think the area is called Hermosa.

  • 144. SEHSApplicant  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    @142- Does the alpha application come with your acceptance letter?

  • 145. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Got into our top high school by rank (would have qualified for any of the SEHS), went to a neighborhood, tier 4 school. Also accepted at top Catholic High School and we are considering our options~I want the SEHS and my husband is insisting on Catholic.

    I opened the CPS letter, but will let my child open the letter that comes from the actual school.

    Good luck to EVERYONE.

  • 146. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:21 pm


  • 147. anotherchicagoparent  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Lane Tech does send a letter also, can’t remember if it took a little longer than the others.Lane Tech’s letter will also state if your child got into the honors program.Anyone accepted into the honors program will than be invited to apply to the Alpha program.
    I agree with the others please let your child open the letters themselves they did earn it.Going through the college acceptances this year and to see the joy on my teen’s face when he opens them especially the old school acceptance packages has been priceless and he deserved these moments.

  • 148. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    @Yay, great news SoxSide! Nice to have choices!

  • 149. Joanne  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    “Last years max for lane was 853 and someone here got in with 873. Yikes”

    That 853 max was for Tier 4. The ranking max at Lane last year was 900. But no one knows yet if that got in because of ranking or tier. Not until Monday when CPS releases cutoff matrix.

  • 150. SEHSApplicant  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    @146- Where are you getting your info? The minimum for Jones for about 865, and Whitney was 876. And those are for tier 4. I also know someone who had 895 tier 4 didn’t get into Payton, first choice.

  • 151. Taft IB  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    143. ProudAunt – to look up your niece’s tier, enter her address on the website below and then please let us know Tier if you can. Hermosa area could be Tier 1, 2, or 3. Thanks for sharing!


  • 152. Joanne  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    “The minimum for Jones for about 865, and Whitney was 876. And those are for tier 4.”

    Yep, Jones was 867 last year and Whitney 876 (Tier 4 min)

  • 153. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    @150: Let me double check. I always get mixed up by double school years.

    Would last year’s scores be 2012-2013? Actually I’m thinking the would have been called 2013-2014. Checking it now. I was looking at 2012/2013 so maybe I am off by a year!

  • 154. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    @140 Thank you. As I recall from that latest CCSR study, outside of LPHS, most student in CPS HS IB programs in 11th grade do not receive an IB diploma. The diploma rate is only 20%; again, this excludes LP.

    The report on homework is here: http://ccsr.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/publications/Making%20Hard%20Work%20Pay%20Off.pdf

    It was issued in April 2009.

  • 155. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Blergh, those were the previous year. I am deleting that post I made. Can’t find last year’s cutoffs. Every year I say I’m going to save the document and then I don’t.

  • 156. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    2013/14 Cut off scores http://www.cpsoae.org/Selective%20Enrollment%20Cutoff%20Scores%202013-2014.pdf

  • 157. Joanne  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    “Can’t find last year’s cutoffs. ”

    Click to access Selective%20Enrollment%20Cutoff%20Scores%202013-2014.pdf

  • 158. SEHSApplicant  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Last year’s cutoffs were removed from OAE website. They were there last week.

  • 159. Joanne  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I need to learn to type faster.

  • 160. SEHSApplicant  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    My bad, I couldn’t find them.

  • 161. ProudAunt  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    @151 i checked the Tier. My niece got her 1st choice!!!
    897 Tier 1 Payton
    took the exam on the last day, prepared for test at her school, Blaine.

  • 162. kristi  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    @141 – Did you list Jones above Lane? Just curious where the cut off might be

  • 163. Joanne  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    “My niece got her 1st choice!!!
    897 Tier 1 Payton”

    Good for your niece! Last year, 897 was the highest Tier 1 score at that only happened at one school (Northside).

  • 164. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    So looks like last year for Tier 4 an 876 would have gotten you into Young (that was the min score), Jones, or Lane (plus several others that have had lower cutoffs.) So did you child apply to Jones and/or Young? If so, the Young cutoff is up by at least 1 point and the Jones cutoff by 9 points.
    Annnndddd…. of course we’ll just know all this on Monday.

  • 165. SEHSApplicant  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    @ 162 Yes i did list Jones higher.

  • 166. SEHSApplicant  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I did apply to Young, Jones, and Northside as well

  • 167. SEHSApplicant  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Something tells me that the minimums are about 880 for Jones and Young.

  • 168. Joanne  |  February 22, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    “@ 162 Yes i did list Jones higher.”

    Wow, if 876 Tier 4 didn’t get in Jones this year, that means last year’s max (877) is the same or lower than this year’s minimum.

  • 169. Taft IB  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    154. Christopher Ball. So the diploma rate of 20% is different. For example, after 90% of the LP IB students have been counseled out or opt out by Senior year (so only 10% of original Freshman class remain), 83% of the remaining students get the IB Diploma. Perhaps LP IB counsels out students more aggressively to get the 83% rate?

    I would like to know, for each IB Diploma program, what is the retention rate within the program? From those who entered Freshman year, who is still standing Senior year? Additional data on % getting diploma is a a plus.

    I think this is a valid question as more resources are being dedicated to building / expanding IB Diploma programs (in addition to the W2W programs). Is this a valid use of resources for little return except for a small number of students?

    I have not been pleased with the lack of clear data on this issue. The IB coordinators bristle when asked for this data or sweep the question away. I think this is critical data to share with families upfront.

  • 170. Counterpoint for discussion  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    To 138 … Per your statement …..All the programs I’m aware of (including High Jump) are about socio-economics, not race or ethnicity.

    That’s the whole reason why CPS invented the Tier system. In order work around the race preference lawsuit that CPS lost, a team of statisticians worked out with a probability of 97% confidence that a Tier system based on the 5 current inputs will result in substantially similar effects as just picking a set percentage of lower performing minority children.

    That’s the whole rub. The current system stinks of racial politics and most programs that assist struggling youth cater to the minority vote. That’s what America needs to abolish.

    Solution: One test with no other inputs for admission. Only then will attendance at a specific school (ie:SEHS) really mean that the student was cream of the crop throughout Chicago. For now it just means that they might live in a lower Tier if scoring below an 890 combined.

  • 171. Taft IB  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    163. Joanne – That is incorrect. There were Tier 1 kids who scored a perfect 900 last year (I know 2 at Northside). You just don’t see that reflected in the cutoff scores since they were reflected within rank, not tier data.

  • 172. ex LPIB  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    we pulled our child out of IB and out of LP freshman year, not only the program was “just too much homework” , the school itself was not conducive of a healthy adolescent experience, there was drugs and alcohol presence in the IB classrooms. Also even when our child was told (during the open house) that kids who graduate with the IB would end up at the best colleges, that statement wasn’t accurate, as a freshman at LPIB he would later find out that kids were being accepted to their 1st or 2nd college choices.
    he was inundated with homework and not good teaching.
    please! if you have other choices, do not send your child to LP and if you do, there is no need for IB, only 20% finish IB and the stress is not worth it.

  • 173. ex LPIB  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    i heard the 20% completion IB rate was mentioned at this year’s open house

  • 174. Joanne  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    “Joanne – That is incorrect. There were Tier 1 kids who scored a perfect 900 last year (I know 2 at Northside). You just don’t see that reflected in the cutoff scores since they were reflected within rank, not tier data.”

    Good point Taft IB. But don’t tell the niece.

  • 175. LadyD  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    My nephew got into Whitney. He’s in tier 4 with a score of 889. His 1st choice was Payton.

  • 176. cant wait til this is over  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    JONES! 885, Tier 4. So surprised because he really thought he flubbed the enrollment test, but he didn’t!!

  • 177. relieved  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Northside. 896. Tier 4. What a relief.

  • 178. Mommio  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Tier 4, 900, Payton!!

  • 179. happyparent  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Payton. 898. Tier 4. First choice.

  • 180. crosswordfiend  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    @Counterpoint for discussion:

    You disregard the fact that standardized tests produce biased results. There is material on the tests that is culturally biased, always has been. A kid who has been deprived of exposure to that stuff but is brilliant and hard-working should not have fewer opportunities because a standardized test is the be-all-and-end-all. Would you expect your child to do well on tests if he or she attended a poorly supported school in, say, Englewood? Or would you expect their scores to drop as a result of the grade school they’ve been stuck with?

  • 181. Gobe  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Looks like the point calculation tool has been removed from the OAE site as well.

  • 182. TwoInAndDone  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    To those that received letters. Did you get a letter from the SEHS too? We did two years ago when we got the OAE and a letter from WY with their letterhead on the envelope.

    Still waiting for letter with confirmation of early testing (891, Tier 3 just dropped from 4).

  • 184. Gobe  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    *Last Year’s* Cutoff scores:

    Jones – rank: min/877 max/900 …. tier 4: min/867 max/877

    Lane – rank: min/853 max/900 ….. tier 4: min/831 max/853

    Northside – rank: min/898 max/900 … tier 4: min/891 max/897

    Payton – rank: min/898 max/900 … tier 4: min/892 max/898

    Whitney – rank: min/887 max/900 … tier 4: min/876 max/886

    ***again, these are LAST YEAR’s cutoffs, just for the sake of comparison

  • 185. annefaye  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Son got into WY tier 3-879, first choice, which we will accept. Also got offer LP IB; wait listed Jones pre-law and pre-engr.

  • 186. Gobe  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Looks like tier4denial and I posted at the same time. Thanks for posting the full doc.

  • 187. las  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    **Let’s not comment on other people directly, if you don’t mind.*** Many thanks.

  • 188. cpsdad  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Two years ago I recall both a letter from cps and the sehs arriving on the same day(Monday). Today we received cps letters and a letter from lpib only. I assume a letter will come from the sehs this Monday.

  • 189. Kgodinez32  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    PROUDEST MOTHER EVER!!! Northside ACCEPTED my daughter, Lincoln Park double honors and IB ACCEPTED my daughter, Taft IB ACCEPTED her, Von Stueben Scholars Accepted her!!!! Take THAT Counterpoint for discussion!!!!!!!

  • 190. Still Have Heart Set on Jones  |  February 22, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Murray Language Academy Tier 2 Composite 802
    1.Jones – Not Accepted
    2. Young – Not Accepted
    3. Lane – Accepted
    It came in Black CPS Logo letter size envelope.
    My DD tanked on the Entrance Exam Due to severe anxiety and change in medication.
    2 A’s & 2 B’s
    99% Math 97% Reading
    Entrance Exam 258
    Congratulations all! Best of luck that your students will find their very best fit this fall. We are definitely applying for Principle Discretion at Jones because we believe that Jones is my daughter’s very best fit,

  • 191. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 22, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    189. Kgodinez32 | February 22, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    YOU should be proud!! I’m so happy for her and you! Best of luck to your daughter!!

  • 192. HS Mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    @189 – Good job Mom….you absolutely did something right!

  • 193. annefaye  |  February 22, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    to 182. we got 4 pieces of mail today. 3 from OAE and 1 from LP; as follows: 1 oae letter that showed we are waitlisted Jones pre-engr and pre-law; 1 oae letter showed Offer to LP IB; 1 oae letter showed offer to WY; 1 LP IB congrats letter. I’m sure the WY congrats letter will come next week. I know this is detailed but having read this site for years and having gone through this with my elder son, anxious parents need details.

  • 195. Yuri  |  February 22, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    “Kgodinez32 | February 22, 2014 at 3:55 pm
    YOU should be proud!! I’m so happy for her and you! Best of luck to your daughter!!”

    I guess you dont realize that kgod is trolling.

  • 196. Gobe  |  February 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Thank you, Tier4denial. I wonder why they removed the calculation tool now. I would think people would want to use it to double check their scores on the letter if needed. Weird.

  • 197. crosswordfiend  |  February 22, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Congrats to Kgodinez32 and her go-getter daughter! My son’s 5th grade teacher at Disney Magnet was a Daniel Murphy Scholar–she went to Francis Parker for high school and then a small private liberal arts college in New York, followed by grad school at Roosevelt so she could become a teacher and help other CPS kids succeed. She’s a phenomenal teacher, the best I’ve seen at Disney (and they have a ton of great teachers there). Murphy Scholars rock!

  • 198. 2cutthroat  |  February 22, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Tier 4 score of 893 into Jones! Now to decide loyola academy or jones?!?!?

  • 199. champaigntaste  |  February 22, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    877 tier 4 – Lane Yes! but Jones no.

  • 200. Tier4denial  |  February 22, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    You are welcome Gobe. My guess is they are prepping site for this year’s stuff or want it keep us all in the dark when parent’s start wanting to re validate points 😉

  • 201. readerperson  |  February 22, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    898. Tier 4. JONES!!

    Woo hoo!! Has a friend, same tier with 885 who also got into Jones.

  • 202. readerperson  |  February 22, 2014 at 4:36 pm


  • 203. tier4gasp!  |  February 22, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    @199 – Lane offering new program this year – AP Capstone (equivalent of IB certificate). One of only 100 schools that can say the same. And, their honors/STEMS students can compete with the best of them any day!

    Separately, the scores I am seeing here are frightening – really, and 895 out of tier 4 will not get you a seat at Payton????!

  • 204. Crazy Mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Ok it’s official I am crazy! I can’t wait until next month for the SEES letters! I am hoping to get my son in an AC. We have a substitute mail person and have been getting mail between 5-6pm! Today she delivered the mail about 30 minutes ago. I told her what was going on today & she said ooohhhh that’s what all of these letters are from CPS. She gave me her cell number to remind her on the 21st to deliver the mail to our block first on the 22nd! I live on the south side though so that won’t help most of you guys! LOL! 🙂

  • 205. Crazy Mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I meant to deliver our mail first!

  • 206. Yahoo!  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Tier 4, Jones 1st choice, 885. SEES Gifted elementary. Found out got 300/300 points on SEHS. Alleluia!

  • 207. tk  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    Tier 4, 882, offer for Lane, 1st choice
    wait listed for Jones Pre-engineering (out of boundaries)

  • 208. cpsdad  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    I finally read through our acceptance letter from cps. It said we should expect an information packet from the school in the next few days. Therefore you should only expect a smallish letter from cps!

  • 209. South side mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Sorry to interrupt, but does anyone know when elementary letters come out?

  • 210. Marshall  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    While our son did well and got into jones from tier 4, I have to say this level of competition is just back breaking. I cannot imagine this is good for our kids. So many hard working, deserving kids are excluded. It seems either they need many, many more selective enrollment schools or none, with our local neighborhood high schools set up like new trier with different tracks … This whole thing is just horrible…

  • 211. @209 from crazy mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Mailed on march 21st so depending on your mail service should have letter on the 22nd! That’s why I got my mail mans cell number! Lol! 🙂

  • 212. Tier4denial  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    – No letter yet for SEHS with point totals.

    – Received a letter saying he was on waitlist for Jones Pre-Eng/Law
    (out of boundary).

    – Acceptance letter from LPIB. Score for that was 868
    (out of boundary).

    – Acceptance letter from Brother Rice (private school).

    Wow – scores look to be way up this year for Jones. Looks like we might not make it in from the look of things.

  • 213. LPmom  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Tier 4, 892–Did not get into Payton, which was first choice; did get into Whitney (second choice) and Lincoln Park IB. She has a big decision to make…

  • 214. maman  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    @210 Marshall

    I couldn’t agree more. While I am truly happy for all of the kids who are able to get into the schools they want, I am so sad for the many, many kids who do not. It’s not fair. If the neighborhood schools were better, this wouldn’t be happening.

  • 215. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    I heard from a private school parent that jones was the desired school among her child’s set of classmates (may be partially location).

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 216. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    @215: Aside from geography, could the brand spankin’ new building be a big part of Jones’ renewed allure? I know that it’ll be at the top of our list when the time comes . . . although I must say that these posts make me absolutely dread the whole process.

  • 217. Haley Biggins  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Hi does anyone know when the Jones CTE letters are mailed? A little anxious to know!!! 🙂

  • 218. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Oh yes, the allure of the new building for jones was mentioned by the parent, yes! Remember these are 8th graders, many probably coming from “vintage” elem buildings.
    I haven’t seen the jones building but westinghose is realllly nice too.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 219. LTACer  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I also believe not only the address is attractive for Jones, but so is the bright shiny new architecture.

  • 220. tier4gasp!  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    @214 maman
    It is indeed heart-wrenching to think that those kids just shy of achieving ‘perfection’ did not win bids to their first choice schools and are sitting somehow thinking they did something wrong or are lesser as a direct result. It is also equally heart-wrenching to think that those kids that may not have been ‘perfect’, but did work hard throughout the entire process and scored at their maximum capacities did not receive a bid anywhere. With 14,000+ applicants vying for one of 3,000+ coveted spots, the odds are stacked against the student from the onset; in fact, the process is oftentimes equated to gaining admission into an Ivy League college. This process needs to undergo serious reform. The city needs more selective enrollment high schools, period.

  • 221. TwoInAndDone  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Confirmed Tier 3 891 early testing, Young.

    Am I reading the comments above right that Tier 4 (Was us last year) you need above an 882? Wow, two out of the past three years that would Rank into Jones. Seeing the Payton scores are going up too, these scores may be higher than 2012-2013 when Tier 4 needed 896 to get into Payton. Ouch!

  • 222. Tim  |  February 22, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    894, Tier 4. Didn’t get Payton (1st choice), but did get WY (2nd choice). Happy it’s over…

  • 223. QLat  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    “The city needs more selective enrollment high schools, period.”

    The city needs school tuition vouchers. Parents pick the schools to send their kids Good schools/teachers grow. Poor schools/teachers/CTU are gone. It’s not rocket science.

  • 224. HS Mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Regarding Jones: Since we are leaving, obviously the building was not the factor. It was our first choice due to curriculum, teachers and location. After 4 years, happy to say we have not been disappointed.

    Congratulations to everyone. There are so many awesome programs now – I’m sure we would have been happy with a number of schools.

  • 225. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    @169 Indeed, the wall-to-wall IB push is not grounded in serious research. I know that CCSR found that only a little over 60% of the 9th graders who entered the IB track were still in the track at 11th grade. I don’t know about the final completion. (Again, that excludes LP which seems to have more severe attrition.) The CCSR study did find that regardless of whether the students received the IB diploma, those who completed the IB program were more likely to go to college and more likely to persist for 2 years college (the cohort had not made it to graduation) than students who were not in IB or who dropped out of the program. Also, CCSR found that there was strong solidarity among the relatively small number of IB students at each school. This mutual support helped them get through it, and they missed this support at college. With w2w, that group cohesion will be gone.

  • 226. tier4gasp!  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I agree with the voucher system. Parents should have control over their children’s education, and, over time (a long time I can only imagine), it would weed out the under-performing schools. But, near-term, the process is a mess and need to be corrected.

  • 227. HS Mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    “It is indeed heart-wrenching to think that those kids just shy of achieving ‘perfection’ did not win bids to their first choice schools and are sitting somehow thinking they did something wrong or are lesser as a direct result.”

    Why is so much value put on the “first choice”. I can understand a moment of disappointment but we are so fortunate to have the variety of choice that we have. This is something that the suburbs and other cities do not have. No matter how many schools we have, there will always be people not getting into their first choice.

  • 228. Admissions  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Can you do Principal Discretion process for more than 1 school?

  • 229. LSmom  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    @209, SEES/elementary magnet letters go out on March 21.

  • 230. Chicago School GPS  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    @228- Principal’s Discretion can only be done for one school and that school had to have been on your application already (preferably 1st choice). The detailed requirements are online already, and applications open on March 3. http://www.cpsoae.org/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=301320&id=0

  • 231. HS Mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Christopher Ball – my understanding of IB is that the diploma, while a major accomplishment in itself, is not necessarily the end game. The route for most students would be to take IB classes, like AP classes, as a way to enrich their HS education and to gain favor in college admissions. SEHS do not offer IB classes and thus the difference in programming. If I were looking at schools, I would probably want to know more about IB class offerings that would be available to my child and what a well rounded schedule would be that is both manageable and advantageous at graduation.

    Is this the correct line of thought?

    Having to leave the school would be a major hurdle. I thought the WTW schools were supposed to offer IB at various levels….why would a kid need to leave if they did not pursue the IB track? That needs to change, not the IB programs themselves.

  • 232. Nervous No More  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    898; Tier 4, WY (1st choice to be with older sib), no test prep, home schooled. So glad this is all over. Last year this experience was a total nightmare with oldest. Breaking out the champagne-good luck to all.

  • 233. tier4gasp!  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    “Why is so much value put on the “first choice”. I can understand a moment of disappointment but we are so fortunate to have the variety of choice that we have. This is something that the suburbs and other cities do not have. No matter how many schools we have, there will always be people not getting into their first choice.”

    I agree with your statement that too much value should not be placed on the “first choice.” A little disappointment from time-to-time helps build character, after-all! However, with 14,000+ applicants vying for one of 3,000+ coveted spots, the odds are stacked against the student from the onset. Many students not only did not get their first spot, but did not get any spot. My daughter was one of the lucky ones, she did get her first choice, but several of her friends did not receive bids. And although I agree that the city offers an excellent variety, it jus does not offer enough of a variety (i.e. the other 11,000+ students that do not make it into a career/military academies, IB programs, or similar). I hate to press the issue, I just feel that every child deserves an equal opportunity at success.

  • 234. LP  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    “The city needs more selective enrollment high schools, period.”

    Every year around now this shout goes out
    … but it’s simply wrong.

    We already have SEHS’s that can not fill their seats with qualifying students.

    We already have LP, a top performing neighborhood school that has a magnet component with a low admissions hurdle.

    We already have Lane, a northside selective that you can get into with a B.

    What you probably mean is that we need more Paytons, but that’s silly as well. Its like saying we need more Harvards. There will always be a top school with ridiculous admissions requirements, but once people get past the brand name they realize there are lots of other good options.

  • 235. Admissions  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    So what is the lowest Tier 4 score for WY and Jones so far?

  • 236. Haley Biggins  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    my daughter got 883 and got into wy and we live in tier 4 sooooo

  • 237. Peter  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    900 points, Northside. Now he has to decide if it is worth leaving Lane Tech. I hope he decides to stay, Lane is such a great school.

  • 238. Admissions  |  February 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Does the offer letter tell you if you got into the SEHS based on rank or Tier? Or is it just an offer letter and it doesn’t tell you which bucket you fell under?

  • 239. HS Mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    @233 – I hear you. The 14000/3000 always sounds daunting but LR is correct…there are not enough qualified applicants to fill the SE schools we now have. Don’t forget, the 14000 are also looking at private, IB, charter, magnet, arts programs…..many good schools open to both general admissions and qualified candidates. It’s the whole wide net thing. If your scores are not up there, yes SE may not be in the cards but there is A LOT of other stuff so…can’t say that I agree with kids not having “equal opportunity at success”.

  • 240. tier4gasp!  |  February 22, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    @234 LP
    Is this really true?! I would never have imagined.
    “We already have SEHS’s that can not fill their seats with qualifying students.”

  • 241. Cpsnewmom  |  February 22, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Just received our notification letter! Got accepted into Northside College Prep which was our first choice.

  • 242. HS Mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    tier4 – if you look at last year cut-offs, there are schools admitting students at or around 650, the minimum requirement for SE admission. Some schools also had multiple rounds indicating that they likely took students below that score.

  • 243. Kayla  |  February 22, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    I just got my letters today. I got into westinghouse, prosser, steinmetz, and lincoln park double honors. Im happy, but im still going to do the principle descretion for Jones. Good luck everyone! 🙂

  • 244. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  February 22, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    @220, posters @210 and @214 were calling for better neighborhood schools, which Chicago sorely needs. SEHS were created as a substitute for improving neighborhood schools systematically, and that policy is insufficient.

    There is plenty of space in the SEHS; there is not, however, space for everyone who wants to attend. And certainly not space for everyone to attend the exact school that they wish to attend. We could double SEHS seats and there would still be complaints.

    The process is a wringer for young kids, no doubt. Having to maintain As and score at the high 90s percentiles is stressful. But you are entering your child into a stressful environment at these schools because, at least in principle, everyone is seeking academic excellence. The drop-out rate from the LP IB Diploma program alone tells you that some kids who qualify to enter should not have in fact have been accepted.

  • 245. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 22, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    243. Kayla | February 22, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Good luck Kayla~you’ll do well no matter which school you choose!

  • 246. Momof3  |  February 22, 2014 at 8:00 pm


    It’s not so easy to get into schools like lane. My daughter scored 825 tier 4 and didn’t get in. There IS a need for more selective enrollment schools. They need to be on the north side where people feel its safer to go.

  • 247. Momof3  |  February 22, 2014 at 8:11 pm


    Wtg! You might end up going to school with my daughter. She got accepted to lphs double honors, steinmetz ib and taft ib.

  • 248. DivaMom  |  February 22, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    My son was not on the selective track, based on 7th grade final grades, yet he did well on the ISAT. His first choice was Von, which he is super-waitlisted for at #816 (tier 4)! We did throw our hat into the ring for selective enrollment (you’d be crazy not to at least try!), but, unfortunately no acceptance there. He did make IB acceptance at Amundsen and Senn. We live in the Mather neighborhood attendance region. Somewhat bummed out but we are hopeful that he will be motivated to perform no matter where he lands. I’ve always maintained that it is the student that determines success and not necessarily the school –spoken as a CPS alum (attended Key, Disney, and Mather schools and is a college grad).

  • 249. Taft IB  |  February 22, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    244. Christopher Ball – I think you are making a huge leap. There are many factors that go into kids leaving the IB program.

    Are you saying that there needs to be another component to IB Admissions or that the points required are not high enough?

    I think many leave because although they can stay in even with Cs, Cs are not going to cut it when applying to highly selective colleges. I wonder if parents also counsel their own kids out when they see the grades. Something tells me that the IB grading is tougher than SEHS. Since have to meet universal standards, would make sense (versus individual teacher standards).

  • 250. Sheri  |  February 22, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    My daughter scored 879 tier 4 . Accepted into Young (2nd choice) not Jones her 1st choice ? Very Confused on that? Also accepted into Lincoln IB & double honors , and wait-list for CTE pre-law Jones. She has a decision to make.

  • 251. Pantherettie  |  February 22, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    @246 Why is the assumption that schools on the north side are safer? Is there evidence that kids who attend (or attended) SEHS on the south side, west side or downtown have been the victims of crimes inside or outside of the schools? Are there issues of bullying, illicit and prescription drug use among the students and/or other crimes that are higher in SEHS that are not on the northside? If so, please share.

  • 252. Momof3  |  February 22, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Parts of Chicagos south side are the worst in the country. Even if the sehs is located in a safer south side neighborhood, I would never let my daughter travel through all the bad neighborhoods. She is not street savvy either. I think this is the issue why sehs s on the south side aren’t full. That’s why a lot of ss kids come to the north side. If the ss neighborhood was safe to get to, alot of north side kids would go.

  • 253. crosswordfiend  |  February 22, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    My son got into LP Double Honors, Von Steuben Scholars, Senn IB, and Westinghouse (which we hadn’t even gone to an open house for, basically a backup; good test scores but B’s in 7th grade core classes knocked Lane out of contention). The first three plus Chicago Waldorf School were our top 4 choices … and while it’s great to be accepted to all, it’s hard to make a choice when there are more than two options! (Decision paralysis, man.)

  • 254. pantherettie  |  February 22, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    @252 – The “north side” SEHS are WP, NSCP and Lane. WY is on the near west side and Jones is in the Loop. What are the percentages of students at WP, NSCP and Lane that are from the south side? My opinion is that people (like you) who make the assumption SEHS on the southside are inherently unsafe are the reason that their kids don’t travel the these schools. There are great SEHS schools outside of the northside of the city and I’m super glad that people who prevent their kids from traveling outside of the northside bubble (full of only safe neighborhoods) keep our class sizes small, resources well funded and college recruiters coming to offeri full-ride scholarships to fantastic students. There are not any new SEHS coming to the northside any time soon, but I’m sure that the money will keep coming to our newer ones in the Loop and on the south sides.

  • 255. ssmomof3  |  February 22, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    895- tier 4 Daughter was accepted to Young. She currently attends Lindblom. She is considering accepting but she really likes Lindblom’s block scheduling and is frightened at the prospect of having to see every teacher every day now that she is not used to it.

  • 256. MarketingMom  |  February 22, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Congratulations to all as you begin receiving your letters. This is a stressful process for students and parents. My heart goes out to those heart-broken students who do not receive any acceptances and have to go to school and face their letter-waiving classmates next week. There should really be extra counselors on hand to help these students. Parents: please remind your child that although they may be thrilled to have their first and second choices to have some compassion. If the tables were turned you would want the same.

  • 257. Momof3  |  February 22, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    There needs to be great schools everywhere in Chicago open to everyone. I’m not sure why resources are spent on sehs’s in the loop when there are budget problems. The rent has to be outrageous.

  • 258. LPIB teacher  |  February 22, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    I am an LPIB teacher, and the idea that we have a 90% IB “drop-out” rate is inaccurate. This year’s senior IB class is just under 90 students. I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but when this year’s seniors were freshmen, there were around 120 kids. We do have a huge freshmen IB class this year — with about 250 kids in the program — but this has not been the norm. Our numbers are usually around 120 to begin and around 90 to graduate.

  • 259. Chicago Mama  |  February 22, 2014 at 9:38 pm


  • 260. Momof3  |  February 22, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Does anyone know tier 4 kids that scored around 830 or close and were accepted to Lane tech?

  • 261. LynnJ  |  February 22, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    @Kgodinez32 your daughter worked hard. Big congrats!

  • 262. Admissions  |  February 22, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    250. Sheri – Thanks for sharing. Wow! Looks like Jones has a higher Tier 4 Cutoff score than WY this year. You mentioned your child ranked Jones #1 and scored 879 and received offer at WY #2 choice (Tier 4). So far I have seen that the lowest Tier 4 score for Jones is 885. So cutoff off for Tier 4 Jones is between 879 and 885.

    Last year’s Cutoff Scores for 2013-14 Freshman

    Jones – rank: min/877 max/900 …. tier 4: min/867 max/877

    Whitney – rank: min/887 max/900 … tier 4: min/876 max/886

    I know one of the national rankings showed Jones as #3 above Whitney, so perhaps that contributed to this year’s higher scores? Plus new building, new sports complex being built, Principal, culture? Plus location is so central and ideal with the Harold Washington library down the street.

    Great to hear Jones scores going up even though they increased their Freshman class size significantly with new building.

  • 263. LF  |  February 22, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Tier 4- 898/900 got into Northside , Lincoln Park IB and LP double honors . Also accepted at St. Ignatius ….I Hope everyone else gets good news too!

  • 264. Questioner  |  February 22, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    3 of 4 letters received today:
    (From OAE) Acceptance to Lincoln Park IB.
    (From LPIB) Welcome letter.
    (From OAE) Waitlisted for Jones pre-engineering

    No selective enrollment letter yet. Ugh!

  • 265. LF  |  February 22, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Oh , I should have added that 898 went to a cps options program. He did test prep and his mother ( me) made sure he turned in all if his homework in 7th grade. That was the hardest part of all of it! Good luck everybody!

  • 266. Sheri  |  February 22, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    In response to the mom who daughter currently attends Lindbloom & is unsure about changing schools cause of the schedule issue. It can be difficult once your child is use to block schedule. My older daughter attends Lane in their Alpha program with no block schedule & it is stressful especially cause she has an 2 hour commute .

  • 267. mom  |  February 22, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    I am curious about Northside’s cut scores. Not hearing much about them and wondering what Tier 4 scores got into Northside?

  • 268. Sadmom  |  February 22, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Trier 4. 892 got into whitney. Northside was first choice. Child cried for 3 hours and started preparing her principal discretion packet.

  • 269. Curious  |  February 22, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Does anyone know what principals look for in principal discretion? My daughter runs cross country and track (one of the best runners at her school), cheers for the middle school, level 6 gymnast, volunteers at the local library, Vice President of the student council, she gets straight As. Does she have a chance/ is it worth writing the letter?

  • 270. Kgodinez32  |  February 23, 2014 at 12:06 am

    @Curious it never hurts to try! I say do it, a boy at my daughters school last year got turned down to Northside and got accepted by Principals Discretion and I can honestly say he didn’t do half of that but he was the President of Student council had amazing grades and ISAT scores, he was not an athlete at all but he had an amazing life story!

  • 271. Curious  |  February 23, 2014 at 12:29 am

    @Kgodinez32 that’s awesome for the boy. She really wanted northside bc of the cross country program. Do you know what the boy wrote about? And I can’t say her family situation is the best, she lives in a single parent household and her father has extreme problems. She had a 98% and 99% on reading and math isat. She also took the explore exam and got a 24/25 (it’s usually given to freshman). I don’t want to make her prepare all the materials if she has no chance. Id hate for her to get another disappointing letter.

  • 272. Kgodinez32  |  February 23, 2014 at 12:41 am

    @Curious in the end it’s up to you, but if you don’t try then you will always think about what if you did! The boy had a disadvantaged family as well, his parents didn’t even live here and he came here for a better education and was successful. The situation she is in sounds like she has been through a lot and YET still managed to be an over achiever. I think she will need a letter of recommendation and if you can get it from her cross country and track coach saying that she would be a great asset to the school academic wise and athletic wise, she has a possible chance!

  • 273. Curious  |  February 23, 2014 at 1:00 am

    @kgodinez32 thank you for your advice. I will have her start preparing her letter. Hoping for the best of luck. There will definitely be some great competiton for those 12 or 13 seats.

  • 274. reg  |  February 23, 2014 at 5:16 am

    The reason why we don’t have more good schools are because of the high number of low income single parents in Chicago. Also, they may be dropouts themselves and can’t teach their kids much at home as the school work gets more complex especially CC. This is a serious problem. Politics won’t never say this either.

  • 275. WRP Mom  |  February 23, 2014 at 8:48 am

    237 Peter, my daughter is in the LTAC program with your son. She also got a 900 but she has decided not to leave Lane. Some of her reasons.. Concerns about having to repeat some classes taken at Lane, particularly in math and science. (This is what we were told at Northside’s open house.) Also, Northside uses a different math program called IMP and my daughter would prefer the traditional math program offered at Lane.

    Plus, Lane offers so much: more AP classes than any other school in the city, the Alpha program, and the new AP Capstone Diploma program (which she is really excited about). She also likes the large school environment (she came from a very small elementary school).

    Good luck with your son’s decision!

  • 276. Sue K.  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Off topic…@232 Nervous No More: would you mind PM-ing me at kusjunk@sbcglobal.net? I would like to ask you a question, if you have time to answer, re: HS.

  • 277. advice  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:19 am

    In terms of seeking Principal Discretion, I would strongly encourage your child to tell a complete story. By that, they should write about what he or she has done in the past few years and most importantly, what can they bring to the new school. The latter part is critical. What can they bring to the table? I know that we are talking about young people, but it helps principals separate out students who can contribute to the school and those who just write about what they did in the past and what circumstances that have shaped them. Link past accomplishments/challenges to future goals. I think that’s the winning recipe. Best of luck.

  • 278. Bundled up  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:21 am

    I am curious about the factors that made a school your “first choice.” I saw very little hard data that made a school stand out one way or the other. For instance, I heard several different answers as to who had the “best science” program or who produced the best writers. A lot of the criteria seemed subjective or very narrow. It seems to me that academically the programs were very close, or if they are not, it’s hard to work through the true differences. I know there are many factors but if you had to pick the one factor that placed a school at the top, what would it be?

    1. Perceived school rank/prestige
    2. Curriculum/courses offered/specific program/schedule
    3. School culture/”just felt right”
    4. A teacher or coach
    5. An extracurricular / sports/ club
    6. Location/ commute
    7. Sibling/ friend
    8. Best school you thought your student could get into based on scores and grades
    9. Process of elimination -something about the other schools you didn’t like
    10. Student/parent can’t really articulate why they liked a school the best, they just did

  • 279. cubswin  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:45 am

    “i heard the 20% completion IB rate was mentioned at this year’s open house”

    Think of completing the diplomat program as getting fours and fives on on six to eight AP courses. Many students benefit from AP classes without reaching the highest level of possible performance.

    That said, it will need to be proven over time that IB truly does benefit lower performing students. I’m unclear what “wall to wall IB” means, especially at schools performing well below national averages. IB doesn’t directly address the school culture issues that are foundational to improving academics.

  • 280. cubswin  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:50 am

    “I heard several different answers as to who had the “best science” program or who produced the best writers.”

    No one knows who has the best science or writing programs. People express feelings based on very limited comparative knowledge.

  • 281. Jones  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:59 am

    @278 among SEHSs…#6 location/commute was probably biggest factor in effectively ruling out several schools. Based on our location, that left NS, Payton, Lane & Jones as options.

  • 282. Wondering Parent  |  February 23, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I have twin daughters that were both accepted into Lincoln Park’s performing arts program (one for vocal and the other for orchestra). One daughter was also accepted in to LP’s double honors and Taft IB. Does anyone have any experience with LP’s arts program? If my daughter accepts the orchestra offer will she be able to still take the double honors classes? We live in Taft’s district so LP is a bit of a commute, but nothing that I think would be too unbearable. I’m just wondering if anyone has any insight into the program that they could share?

  • 283. Bundled up  |  February 23, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Cubswin, that’s my point. So if there was very little hard data, what made a school stand out? I have to say for us it was school culture, it felt right, and process of elimination.

  • 284. Momof3  |  February 23, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Well this year looked to be a fierce application season, unless oae played with numbers and lowered ranked seats. If this is the case, I’m done with Chicago. Will be interesting to see the cut offs.

  • 285. westrogersparkmom  |  February 23, 2014 at 10:29 am

    @gobemouche- sorry its been a few days since I’ve looked at this post (obviously I don’t have an 8th grader). Feel free to email me about chiarts at westrogersparkmom@gmail.com. I’d be happy to answer questions from anyone else as well.


    My kid was accepted into LPHH and both vocal and drama performing arts programs last year. Its my understanding that the voice program is basically your elective every year (with at least a year of music theory on top of that). If she had accepted she would have been able to do both HH and performing arts with no problem.

    Taft, however, has a nice performing arts program as well. I’m not sure about orchestra but when my kid was at the AC she had great experiences with the choir and the drama program. Since Taft is in your attendance area you can always transfer back but not with Lincoln Park. For what its worth the Freshman I know at LP love it for the most part.

    Good luck to everyone with multiple options. For us, that was the hardest part last year. Beforehand things were basically out of your hands. My kid still talks about Lane, and I still think about Senn Arts from time to time (especially when we drive by Senn at 7:00 in the morning on the way to school) but overall we are happy with our decision.

  • 286. Snagbrab  |  February 23, 2014 at 10:31 am

    You can’t accept an offer and drop out. You CAN decline all your offers in the first round and hope for good news in the second round but if you don’t get any letters after you decline all your options your child is screwed.

  • 287. Momof3  |  February 23, 2014 at 10:33 am

    @ wondering parent- FYI. I heard it was pretty hard getting into fine arts lp program this year. My daughter applied for drama and didn’t even get an audition. I did call admissions and was told the applicant pool this year was extremely “talented” (many performed in plays, commercials, even acting experience). There were 600 applicants for the drama portion and only 60 auditions. I know u said she got in thru orchestra, but with these type of applicants, she should be proud to get in.

  • 288. 3847458  |  February 23, 2014 at 10:51 am

    I got my letter yesterday afternoon! Jones, Schurz IB, and Taft IB are my choices!! We’re still doing principles discretion for Payton though. Good luck!!!

  • 289. Nervous No More  |  February 23, 2014 at 11:20 am

    @268. Same exact thing happened to us year. Good luck with PD but I can say in all honesty the WY is the best thing that could have happened to my child. LOVES WY-all Honors all As and having FUN!

  • 290. Sheri  |  February 23, 2014 at 11:21 am

    I would say 6 and 3 location and school culture /just felt right. We live on the South Side of Chicago & commute can be a hassle . I have an older daughter who commute now to Lane in the Alpha program & we see travel beinging an issue for her study time. Therefore, this time around I didn’t want to make the same mistake. However, Lane is the best! But commute is a big factor. This daughter daughter picked Jones but received Young & Lincoln Park IB .

  • 291. LTAC Freshie  |  February 23, 2014 at 11:23 am

    @237 I was in the original class of LTAC, and last year I also got a 900 on the test and was accepted into Northside. After a lot of internal debate, I decided to stay at Lane, and I haven’t regretted it. There are so many opportunities here, and having the LTAC community is (at least for my class) a great support. I’m now taking classes that include AP Human Geography, H Spanish III, H American Literature and the elective-Creative Writing-that I was really hoping to take. This is also my second year involved in Lane Tech’s drama program- I’ve done four shows. I don’t know if I would have those opportunities at Northside. I have a Freshman friend there who wanted to take Spanish and got put in Japanese, where she’s miserable. Lane is so diverse and so moldable, I don’t see any reason for your child to transfer.

  • 292. 9th grade parent  |  February 23, 2014 at 11:25 am

    A friend of a friend’s kid is an honor roll student but a terrible test-taker. Needless to say, she received no SEHS offers. They are behind the 8 ball, moved to chicago two years ago and were very uneducated in this process, and now the girl has nothing. Are there any decent schools out there that accept applications this late?

  • 293. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 23, 2014 at 11:39 am

    282. Wondering Parent | February 23, 2014 at 10:07 am

    While commute is a factor, we decided to list WY as #1 bc the Math Team and Chess Team won state~two things my child is interested in participating in during the HS years. *I think Chess just won nationals* and their math program is so strong. Also, I wanted my child to have traditional math and not IMP math.

  • 294. Parent  |  February 23, 2014 at 11:46 am

    @268 and @289 – same situation here. My son did not get to Northside, 391 for Tier 4. Accepted at WY, his second choice. I will be interested to see the cut off score when they are published.

    @289 – how is the commute to WY? We are on the North side. Just wondering about your experience.

  • 295. Momof3  |  February 23, 2014 at 11:59 am


    They can ask their local hs’s ib director for permission to enter the program (if there are spots remaining). Shultz , steinmetz, and Clemente are likely to make accretions.
    There are also charter schools. A few have already made selections however u can get on the waiting list and see what happens. North town is pretty good. Also check out oae website for other charters. Do it now, a couple stop accepting apps on the 28th. Also try Chicago academy on Austin ave.

  • 296. Chicago School GPS  |  February 23, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    @292- mid-May is when CPS releases the End of Year Citywide Options list of schools still accepting applications. There tends to be more schools on that list from the west and south sides, but in year’s past, good options like Senn, Amundsen or Alcott have been on the list. This year the buzz has increased for each so it’s unclear whether they will have space, but you can certainly contact them.

    Private schools such as Lycée Francais, British School, Waldorf and Beacon Academy have rolling admissions.

    Some parochial schools like St. Ben’s may have space, and while the buzz on Gordon Tech has increased, previous years they have had some room after their application deadlines passed.

    Charter schools can sometimes add you to their wait lists.

  • 297. Momof3  |  February 23, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Sry my phone changes my words. Gl. I know what your going thru. My daughter has a friend that gets all b’s and a c. She can’t get in anywhere. She also didn’t qualify for I b probably because her test scores weren’t high enough. I told them the same thing. I don’t think private is an option either. Their testing is over and letters sent out already.

  • 298. parent  |  February 23, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    There are probably some catholic schools that still have openings.

  • 299. CPS Appalled  |  February 23, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    We got our letter last night, in Albany Park. Tier 3, score 892; got first choice of Jones. We are incredibly proud of our child–she is downplaying the hard work over the last two years that got her to this point. Wish I could have known this outcome two years ago and avoided massive stress….

  • 300. pantherparent  |  February 23, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    @278 For many parents, rank/prestige is a huge factor. I’ve heard the “Northisde or nothing” quote from a copule of parents in the past and that’s crazy.

    Every SEHS is good and it’s the fit that matters. Many kids who score 900 choose Lane number one because it just feels right to them. They couldn’t care less about rankings. And I applaud them and their families for that.

    And commute is something that should not be overlooked. With extra-curriculars and sports sometimes ending at 7 or 8 at night, how is Sally getting home? Not to mention the early moring start.

    My kids attend Northside beacuse we live near there. Farther south and it would have been Payton. If we were in the Loop area, it would be Whitney or Jones. (I only leave Lane out not because it isn’t great, but because both my kids felt it was not right for them.)

  • 301. vikingmom  |  February 23, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Congrats to all who got into SEHS! You should all be rightfully proud. And for those who did not get in anywhere, I know EXACTLY how you and your child feel. My daughter tried principal’s discretion too and did not get in. I think that was even worse than the original denial. But it turned out just fine for her, she is thriving in the IB program, her writing and research skills are amazing, and she is playing the sports she likes.
    It is, however, really hard for the kids to go back to school tomorrow with no offer and face those that did. My daughter’s elementary school principal was especially insensitive to this. Hang in there…

  • 302. Mommio  |  February 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Can anyone talk about the commute for their child to Payton from Beverly?

  • 303. A.F.  |  February 23, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    For those who have been talking about Amundsen, did you know that they rank third in IB results in the city (behind LPHS and Prosser)? Maybe their IB administrator doesn’t do the razzle-dazzle very well, but obviously he’s doing something else right. If your kid can’t handle the IB curriculum, they can still stay at the school in another program. And btw, their safety numbers are actually terrific.

  • 304. AlmostDone!  |  February 23, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I am not a fan of the early test results–actually I don’t know how true results can be calculated, unless you include the entire testing population before scoring the SEHS exam. Something is wrong there.

    Having said that, I wish they would make the SEHS examination much harder. I don’t think it provides much granularity. Way too many 300s–they should be nearly impossible. That way you can identify the super bright and have curricula that targets their needs, above and beyond that of the normal bright.

  • 305. Geo  |  February 23, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    “Way too many 300s”

    How many 300s were there?

  • 306. JMom  |  February 23, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Tier 4 880 Jones was first choice and didn’t get in. Accepted to Lane.

  • 307. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 23, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    302. Mommio | February 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    There are many kids from Beverly commuting to Payton. It seem like a relatively easy commute. They can jump on the Red Line or 22 Bus.

  • 308. cps parent  |  February 23, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    306. JMom | February 23, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    “Tier 4 880 Jones was first choice and didn’t get in. Accepted to Lane.”

    I have one at Lane and one at Jones. We like Lane more..

  • 309. readerperson  |  February 23, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Congrats on Payton, first and foremost!

    My daughter and I looked into Payton earlier, but decided it wasn’t really a good fit for her, but while doing so (we live in beverly) we looked up the commute.
    First, you’d have to take the metra, get off, walk a few blocks, hop on the el/a bus. After, walk a bit and you are there.
    Overall, the commute’s about an hour.

    Congrats again and hope this helped!

  • 310. Mommio  |  February 23, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    309. readerperson and 307. SoxSideIrish4 Thanks. I can see what he needs to do, what I am wondering is once their kids start this commute do they complain. It was the school he had his sights on from 6th grade. I think Jones would have been easier but since he has to do it I let him lead. We take the metra and cta down town often but it will be different. Any parent that can ask their child how they do it? He will walk no matter what route, wondering which one is the best. I guess something he will have to get figured out….Thanks

  • 311. Ruby  |  February 23, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    I havent gotten my letter, yet I am very anxious. I chose WY as my first choice. I know someone who got 833 and was accepted into Northside! I was shocked at this , I. couldn’t belive it. Now I am certain therr is some sneaky business occurring in the selective process…..

  • 312. Cee  |  February 23, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    “I know someone who got 833 and was accepted into Northside”

    That is possible depending on their Tier. Last year for Northside the Tier 1 minimum was 782 and Tier 2 was 837. So if the person you know lives in Tier 1 or 2 then 833 is within the possible range.

  • 313. AlmostDone!  |  February 23, 2014 at 2:56 pm


    Consider: in 2012, NCP and WP combined had 112 incoming frosh with perfect 900 scores. On top of that they had many kids with 300 SEHS exam scores, but lower ISATs.

    Dumbed down as they’ve been, even recent SAT tests still grant a perfect score to only 1 in 3300 students.

    Compare that to the SEHS exam. Assuming that 15,000 students took the SEHS exams this year, with a granularity similar to the SAT, we would expect to see only 5 students with perfect test scores.

    Instead, in my son’s circle of about 10 kids with whom he is friendly, there are 7 300s, including him. And no one is lower that a 295.

    These kids have widely disparate abilities, but you wouldn’t know it from the SEHS exam results.

  • 314. SEHSApplicant  |  February 23, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Does anybody know anything about Lane’s ALPHA program?

  • 315. cps parent  |  February 23, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    After my son was invited to join, we asked the admission person about it. She asked: “do you like science fair?” He answered “no.” “Don’t take it.”

    We knew several students who took it, hated it, and it ruined their GPA’s. If you love science fair, do it.

  • 316. SEHSApplicant  |  February 23, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    @315 Is it an accelerated program?

  • 317. Cee  |  February 23, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    “Compare that to the SEHS exam. Assuming that 15,000 students took the SEHS exams this year, with a granularity similar to the SAT, we would expect to see only 5 students with perfect test scores.”

    I believe that is not correct. For the SEHS scoring a 300 does not mean every question was answered correctly (i.e. “perfect”). It means the test taker was in the 99th percentile. If you are assuming that 15,000 kids took the SEHS exam then there should be approximately 150 kids scoring a 300. It may vary some from the 150 depending on the test is normed, but it will be around 150

    Even if they made the test harder and only 5 kids received a “perfect” score it is not going to change to any significance to who gets in. If there are 5,000 spots (for example) then the top 5,000 kids are going to get it. Whether 5 or 500 score a 300 won’t change that (sure some kids may shift in and out around the 5000 rank mark).

  • 318. freespeechmama  |  February 23, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Ok, we got our letter on Saturday. Son is Tier 4, total score of 900, accepted to Lane (his first choice). Also wait-listed for Jones CTE (letter didn’t say what number on wait-list!). I’m curious if anyone else chose Lane for their first choice? (His brother attends Northside) While my son does NOT have an IEP or 504, he does have several medical dx that affect his school performance. I’m very interested in comments from parents who have kids at the school, whether or not they have an IEP or 504. I’m kind of nervous about the school not having a block schedule, for example (output is an issue for son). Of course, I’m relieved he got accepted because our neighborhood high school is the pits. Best of luck to all your kids!

  • 319. Questioner  |  February 23, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Does anyone know anything about the Jones CTE wait list? For example, what month will there start to be movement off the wait list?

  • 320. anotherchicagoparent  |  February 23, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    @314 Really great for those that love science and doing science fair. I heard that science is even part of your child’s math classes in Alpha and as a junior and senior they must do the AP Capstone Seminar and research.I do not believe they do the small cohort groups anymore.Only thing that tempted us was the fact that students could take AP environmental science sophomore year.Classes are not waited more than non Alpha honors class so doesn’t seem to be more accelerated than honors.

    We chose not to do it last year as too much focus on Science fair and my teen will still be able to take 1 AP class next year as a sophomore.If your kid loves science could be a good think for them.

  • 321. SEHSApplicant  |  February 23, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    @319 Movement is starting now as people will start to decline, but you don’t know if you’re high or low on the wait list, like me, so you could get an offer soon or a couple weeks from now.

  • 322. Jones  |  February 23, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    319. Questioner

    Principal shared that about 9k applied to Jones as their first choice SEHS plus 4k applied to the Jones CTE Program this year (versus only 1k applying last year to CTE; I think the 9K for SEHS is consistent with previous year; final numbers not in, but this is what the numbers they have been provided thus far). Will enroll 350 Freshman thru SE and 75 via CTE program; net total goal number for enrollment is 425.

    Principal shared with me that he thought it was likely all or close to all 75 CTE seats would go to community this year. Again 4,000 applied for the 75 CTE seats for the 2014-15 school year.

  • 323. cpsdad  |  February 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    @319-I have a kid at jones and I have no idea. Last year was the first year for cte atJjones and I believe they accepted 50 neighborhood kids and 25 out of boundary. There were 1000 applications last year. I believe the principal told the school council there were 4000 applications this year. I haven’t heard of any one who has been accepted as of yet. Everyone seems to be on the waitlist.

  • 324. Momof5  |  February 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    @278: So many parents think, “Northside or Payton or nothing.” I find it sad. I find it especially irritating that those parents insist on putting other schools down on their child’s application, get offered a spot there, and then turn it down. In essence they have taken a spot from a child who perhaps would have loved to go there.

    Full disclosure: I have 3 kids at Lane. My oldest’s first choice had been Payton but was offered and accepted a spot at Lane. It has been the greatest thing that ever happened to him and to our family. The curriculum is challenging but manageable. The opportunities for extra-curriculars are amazing. The diversity was just what the doctor ordered. And for those who are scared off by the size of the school, it is such a plus because every child finds their place. My next two kids saw how happy my oldest was and never looked back.

    My oldest is now a senior and has been accepted to two great universities but we are still waiting to hear from other schools. I can say with complete confidence that the schools he applied to are the kind that “Northside or Payton or nothing” parents would love to have their children consider.

    If your child receives a spot at any SEHS, congratulations. They have a wonderful opportunity ahead of them. Make the most of it. Be gracious. Don’t gloat. Be mindful of those around you who did not get the news they wished to hear.

    If your child doesn’t get a spot, take a deep breath. It is not the end of the world. It is heartbreaking, yes, but you are not alone. Try Principal’s Discretion. It worked for one of my kids. If that doesn’t work, please know that it will be fine.

    Sorry for the long post.

  • 325. SEHSApplicant  |  February 23, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    @324 Thank you for the reassurance on how good Lane is.

  • 326. Admissions  |  February 23, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Does anyone know which public or private high schools typically offer summer school for students who want to get a credit or two out of their way over the summer? I recall taking summer classes at a Catholic H.S. when I was in H.S. Is there a list or do I need to call each school? If you know any at all that offer it (I know there would be a fee), please let me know. If you know what fees to expect, please share as well.

  • 327. Momof5  |  February 23, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    @325, you’re welcome! It’s not just good, it’s a great place. But no school is perfect. As with all things, what you put in to it is what you’ll get out of it. If your child wants to do well, they will. If they want to coast, I guarantee they will fall through the cracks — but that is the truth about any school anywhere.

    Congratulations and good luck to your child!

  • 328. Admissions  |  February 23, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    308. cps parent – Thanks for sharing. Congrats on Lane!

    So it now appears cutoff off for Tier 4 Jones is between 880 and 885.

    Any other Tier 4 acceptances to Jones that are 880 – 884?

    Wow! What a difference a year makes. Looks like WY now has dropped to #3 in terms of required scores for Tier 4. And last year’s Tier 4 scores would not even be within the range for this year’s Tier 4 scores for Jones. Wonder what the rank score was to get into Jones.

    Last year’s Cutoff Scores for 2013-14 Freshman

    Jones – rank: min/877 max/900 …. tier 4: min/867 max/877
    Whitney – rank: min/887 max/900 … tier 4: min/876 max/886

  • 329. lane  |  February 23, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    @318 my kid has mild adhd and had a 504 plan at Lane. It was fairly worthless. Most of the teachers did not follow it. The case manager is terrific though. We loved Lane but this was a drawback. I don’t think WYHS or NSCP would have been better on this issue but Jones probably would have. On the other hand, he would have hated Jones.

  • 330. Jones  |  February 23, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    278. Bundled up – For us, main factors were #3 Culture / Fit and #6 Location (but not commute).Could have gotten accepted into any of the SEHS. Jones was 1st Choice. Jones is far from us – higher ranked Northside closer as well as larger / have everything Lane. We really took the tours as well as the HS Fairs seriously and delved into what should be the biggest factor in our decision. Applied to Jones, Northside, WY, Lane, Payton, and Westinghouse and would have accepted an offer from any of the above. They are different (with varying commuting challenges), but all offer a great education. Some have more prestige than others but we consciously made a decision not to factor that in. Why try to marry someone everyone else wants to marry? Marry school right for you. It was hard to resist the temptation of ranking Northside / Payton first, cause who doesn’t want the oohs and ahhs that come from those schools? But that lasts a minute and child has to be at school for 4 years, so fit and location did it for us. Jones culture is just very different, open, diverse plus location downtown is awesome (from our perspective; access to library, colleges, Millennium Park, etc. when not in school). None of schools were perfect, but this school was the best fit.

  • 331. Tier4denied  |  February 23, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Congratulations to all who received offers. Any thoughts on Disney 2 Magnet high School? I know it’s new just wondering what anyone has heard about the school after it’s first year.

  • 332. Kgodinez32  |  February 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    @311 Ruby nothing sneaky about it at all! If you research well and seen cutoff scores from the previous year you would have known that there are even lower scores that were accepted to Northside College Prep, the lowest was 782 in tier 1! Hope you get a acceptance letter to WY!

    Kudos to ALL parents out there for pushing their kids to get straight A’s in 7th grade and high 90s in all ISAT sections….that was a huge factor to many who got in!!!

  • 333. Questioner  |  February 23, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    About Jones CTE: will there be 75 students for pre-law and 75 for pre-engineering? Or a total of 75? Thanks.

  • 334. Jones  |  February 23, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    333. Questioner – Total of 75 CTE period (pre-law and pre-engineering combined)

  • 335. cpsdad  |  February 23, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    @333-75 total.

  • 336. Lane Alpha parent  |  February 23, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    My daughter graduated from the Alpha program at Lane three years ago. At that time the kids were asked to sign an agreement acknowledging that they would participate in the science fair. Their English, math, and science classes were all given in a way to help them prepare for the science fair. Most moved on to the city science fair, and usually a few would make it to the state science fair. It was definitely a positive experience, but she got burnt out, or frankly, just bored with it, by her senior year. Unless something has changed, children who make it to the city science fair earn a $500 scholarship for college.

  • 337. JMom  |  February 23, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    “Admissions on February 23, 2014 at 3:50 pm
    308. cps parent – Thanks for sharing. Congrats on Lane!

    So it now appears cutoff off for Tier 4 Jones is between 880 and 885.

    Any other Tier 4 acceptances to Jones that are 880 – 884?”

    I know of individuals that scored 882 in Tier 4 that also did not get into Jones. So looks like Jones acceptance cutoff is somewhere between 883-885.

  • 338. Jenn  |  February 23, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Jones tier 4 890

  • 339. Nancy  |  February 23, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Does anyone have any information about Von Steuben’s Scholars program? My Son was accepted into the program and I wanted to know how rigorous it is. Thanks!

  • 340. NWEAscores?  |  February 23, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Any parents out there whose children received perfect scores on their SEHS, how did their Winter 2014 NWEA/MAP scores correlate? That is, what was their percentile score?

  • 341. Choices  |  February 23, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    What are the academic benefits of taft ib vs. lphs park double honors and vise versa?

  • 342. Testing  |  February 23, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    340. NWEA – looks like we only did testing in October and June in the 2012-13 school year

  • 343. Taft IB  |  February 23, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    341. Choices – If you don’t live in the neighborhood, you have to leave Taft if you opt out of the program. You are not allowed to stay. With LP IB you can transfer to one of their other programs.

  • 344. NWEAscores?  |  February 23, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    @testing 340
    NWEA Test also rostered for winter 2013-2014 term and scores returned to parents first week of February.

  • 345. BR  |  February 23, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    @342. How did the last MAP taken compare to SEHS score?

  • 346. NWEAscores?  |  February 23, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Any parents out there whose children received perfect scores on their SEHS, how did their Winter 2014 NWEA/MAP scores correlate? That is, what was their percentile score?

    My daughter

    ISAT’s: 95 Reading/99 Math/98 Science
    NWEA Winter 2013-2014: 94 Math/94 Reading; Science General SP10 96; Science Process and Concepts SP10 99
    SEHS: 99 Vocabulary/95 Reading and then 78 Language and 86 Math

    The Language and Math SEHS seem like outlier scores to me. She has always been a straight-A student and has consistently tested in the mid-high 90th percentile on all standardized tests. She also left the SEHS feeling extremely confident stating, “it really wasn’t all that difficult.”

    So, thus my question. I have been curious about this ever since.

  • 347. Sheri  |  February 23, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Parents of kids that attend Whitney Young can I please hear some feed back on the school, school atmosphere, academics, teachers & bonus computer classes ( my child is interested) ? Thank you thank you

  • 348. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  February 23, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    @249 Taft IB: If you have a very high attrition rate, it is clear that some students admitted under the belief that they could do the work in fact could not do the work, at least not at acceptable levels of stress. Colleges and med schools try to avoid getting such students (but they have more $ to spend doing this than CPS would). In any event, the teacher reports that the actual attrition rate is 25% of the entering class at LP, lower than the other IB schools in the CCSR study.

    231. HS Mom: I think it really depends on what you think a good measure of the program is and what you want the program for. It certainly is better to take a harder course than an easier course, but if students are either not taking the diploma exams because they feel it is too hard or failing the diploma exams at a high rate when they do take it, then I think is an index of how well the students learned the material. The North American pass rate is around 70%. Globally it is 80%, so most students are expected to be able to pass the exams.

    @317. Cee: I agree with your broader point, but we have no reason to expect that 150 students in Chicago would be in the 99th percentile because the demographics of Chicago differ from the national norm. We might have 300 students in the 99th percentile or only 50. The Chicago testing population might skew leftward or rightward in the national distribution.

  • 349. Cee  |  February 23, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    “but we have no reason to expect that 150 students in Chicago would be in the 99th percentile because the demographics of Chicago differ from the national norm.”

    Yes, that is why i said ” It may vary some from the 150 depending on the test normed”

    We also know that at least 112 received a 300 last year since there were 112 perfect 900s. So 150 is a reasonable estimate.

    But thamks for the input, professor. 😉

  • 350. ws  |  February 23, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I would put my kid in a private school any day over any chicago public school operated by Rahm Emanuel.

  • 351. NWEAscores?  |  February 23, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Any parents out there whose children received perfect scores on their SEHS, how did their Winter 2014 NWEA/MAP scores correlate? That is, what was their percentile score?
    My daughter
    ISAT’s: 95 Reading/99 Math/98 Science
    NWEA Winter 2013-2014: 94 Math/94 Reading; Science General SP10 96; Science Process and Concepts SP10 99
    SEHS: 99 Vocabulary/95 Reading and then 78 Language and 86 Math
    The Language and Math SEHS seem like outlier scores to me. She has always been a straight-A student and has consistently tested in the mid-high 90th percentile on all standardized tests. She also left the SEHS feeling extremely confident stating, “it really wasn’t all that difficult.”
    So, thus my question. I have been curious about this ever since

  • 352. BobDel  |  February 23, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    “in a private school any day over any chicago public school operated by Rahm Emanuel.”

    Yes, because the schools were stellar before Rahm got here. But you do have a point about the private school route as an option, I believe there was an old article/study about close to 40% of Chicago public school teachers sending their own kids the private route? You should probably be more concerned about the CTU than Rahm


  • 353. mom  |  February 23, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Both my kids got 99% on the SE tests three years apart. I’m pretty sure their Terra Nova and ISAT 7th grade scores were not 99% composite–although it may have been for Reading. I don’t think you can read too much into the scores. It was a means to an end.

  • 354. Bronzeville Mom Tier 4 Mom  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    My daughter took the test early and scored high enough to choose any school. She chose Whitney Young over Payton. After reading all of the snotty comments on this site, I know she made the right choice. I am happy that my child at a school where she will meet all types of nice students who don’t have snotty entitled parents.

    Most of the comments on this site seem to think that Northside and Payton are the holy grails of high schools. For those of you who see fit to put down and talk about other schools as if they are inferior, I’m glad that my children won’t encounter your children.

    For those of you who are complaining about the system being unfair because your child didn’t get into their first choice, maybe your children are not as smart as you think they are.

  • 355. Platinumville Mom  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    What got Bronzeville Mom all riled up? Sounds like someone may be having doubts about the school chosen, I did enjoy her ending putting a dig in at people’s kids. And she thinks others are snotty. LOL.

  • 356. Tracy  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    @347 Sheri I have a sophomore at Whitney Young and an incoming freshmen. My daughter loves, loves, loves WY. I believe it is the only SEHS that treats the students like responsible young adults by letting them go off campus for lunch as freshmen. The teachers are great and approachable. My daughter has had great success getting help from her teachers if she didn’t understand something that was taught in class. They offer at least 3 computer science courses. She has made some great friends. Her birthday party looked like the United Nations because her friends are black, white, Asian, Hispanic, middle eastern, you name it! No one has ever complained about visiting our home in Bronzeville.

  • 357. Bronzeville Mom Tier 4  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    @355 I am definitely not having second thoughts about my daughter’s choice. I find that snotty people raise their kids to be snotty. There are numerous WY grads on my block including my daughter’s former babysitter who spoke highly of WY, graduated from Duke and is currently doing her medical residency.

  • 358. advice  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Bronzeville Mom: Whoa! Take it easy. I definitely do not find any condescending talk about any particular school.

  • 359. mom  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    WYHS is an awesome school, and like Lane, is able to offer a full array of sports, extracurriculars and courses that the smaller schools cannot.

  • 360. Sheri  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Thank you so much Tracy for the wonderful feedback . That is just what I was hoping to hear, helpful teachers, diversity & computer classes to say the least of my concerns. I am glad your children love it ! I can feel confident now! Thank You!

  • 361. pantherettie  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    I agree with Bronzville Mom’s assertion that there is condescending talk about schools. It’s particularly frustrating to hear comments about schools that are not on the northside as being “lesser”. It’s one thing to say you’re proud of your kid and glad that they are attending the SEHS of their choice (even if it’s a 2nd or 3rd choice), but for some parents it’s not just enough to be proud, but it’s necessary to make it clear how much better your kids school is than “other” schools. There were 14000 applicants for SEHS seats and if your kid gets a place at one of them, maybe that should just be enough.

  • 362. Feel-  |  February 23, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    We have eight years till we have to deal with heartache, but since our family is just a few blocks away, I too was wondering if anyone had anything to say about Disney ii high. Any current Disney ii family’s planning on continuing at high school?

  • 363. another mom waiting  |  February 23, 2014 at 10:09 pm


    My daughter scored in the 98th and 95th percentiles for NWEA, and got a perfect score on the test.
    She came out of the test saying it was really, really easy and finished it in half the time alotted. Based on your child’s scores, I don’t think they really correlate.

  • 364. another mom waiting  |  February 23, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    @NWEAscores? (cont.) Just because they scored so much higher in everything else than in those two areas of the test.

  • 365. 2cutthroat  |  February 23, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    @361….Amen!!! We need “like” buttons,

  • 366. Testing  |  February 23, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Could someone explain the SEHS entrance exam score to me? From posts above, it looks like there are 4 sections, is that right? So then are the points based on the average of the 4 sections?

  • 367. Next year.  |  February 23, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    We are a year out from this process and I can honestly say as a tier 4 family I will just be happy for my child to get in anywhere.

  • 368. realchicagomama  |  February 23, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    If you read it on the Interwebs, it must be true right? Did you realize that the article you posted was written by the founders of Schoolnet, a for-profit EdTech company with ties to Deb Quazzo and GSV Capital?

  • 369. Etown  |  February 23, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    7th grade isat: math 89 Reading 93
    sehs: math 97 reading 98
    winter map: math 98 reading 99
    reading includes avg of language reading etc
    some general test prep using review books.
    wish map was used last yr instead of isat. didnt get top pick. We will probably go catholic next year.

  • 370. Nervous No More  |  February 24, 2014 at 6:10 am

    @347 I must echo the comments of @356 about WY. My freshman daughter loves the school and her sister will be joining her next year. The work is challenging without being onerous. She has friends from differing backgrounds, enjoys many clubs and activities while maintaining all As. The area surrounding the school is nice with a police training academy and fire station nearby. I highly recommend WY.

  • 371. confused parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 7:27 am

    So confused and only have a week to decide…Taft Ib, Taft Avid, Disney Magnet or Ressurrection. Any feedback would be appreciated. Maybe move to the suburbs lol

  • 372. pantherparent  |  February 24, 2014 at 8:37 am

    I’ve been posting here for a while and have never really seen much bashing of Whitney Young. It’s almost always grouped in with Payton, Northside and Jones in discussions. So much so that one poster uses PaNJY as an acronym for all four. It’s a great school.

    If anything Lane takes a brusing here because their admittance scores are always lower than the others. But that’s because they take 1,000 kids not 250.

  • 373. Anonymous1  |  February 24, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Can any Payton parents comment on their child’s experience there? –just curious. Thanks.

  • 374. realchicagomama  |  February 24, 2014 at 8:44 am

    I can put you in touch with some d2 parents. I am one, but my oldest kid is only in 5th grade so my experience with the high school is limited to talking to teachers and principal reports to LSC. You can contact me offline

  • 375. Northside  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:30 am

    My daughter got 900 and we live in tier 2 got accepted her first choice northside. ., and Von Stuben , ib Taft , ib Lincoln park,curie,Lincoln park double honors I’m do proud of my daughter

  • 376. Taft IB  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:30 am

    371. Confused Parent. If you decide to go with Taft, go with Taft IB. Taft IB students get priority over Avid and other students in selecting AP and other classes, so why not take advantage of it? Sounds like you live in the attendance boundary for Taft, so if you later opt out of IB, can switch to Avid. I don’t think you would lose anything by doing so, but ask further about this.

    Can’t advise on Disney II, but I’d look at the facilities since you have options. Principal seemed great. I know nothing of the facilities – is it a high school building feel or an elementary school feel? Do they offer the classes that will help ensure your child is prepared for college. Taking more of a risk since lack ACT scores, but all new schools start with a risk.

    Resurrection – liked it when we visited it. If you have that kind of money to pay for tuition without it hurting plans for college or retirement, consider it if you are also Catholic. Otherwise, consider saving the dollars for college/retirement. Looked like a good school, but don’t know much other than what neighbors share.

  • 377. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Any child can get a top notch education at any of the SEHS and the various IB programs.

    There will be children from NCP and WP who do very badly; there will be children from *school considered below standard* who attend Harvard.

    This is just the first step towards a fulfilling life, and I doubt very much (to put it mildly) that there is any correlation attributable to attending WP over WY, for example, as increasing the odds of that life.

    My son can essentially audit Stanford, Harvard, Chicago classes online for free. Education has changed, and I guarantee that was good as some of these high schools are, they don’t compare to what you can learn online.

    It doesn’t matter where you attend high school, you can get a great education if you are driven.

  • 378. CPS Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:36 am

    373. Anonymous1 Eight years at Payton with two kids and it was an excellent experience for both. A warm and friendly environment for both students and parents. I think the only students who don’t do well are those who don’t help themselves by seeking out tutoring, mentoring, peer support, etc. which is all built in for the taking.

  • 379. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:44 am

    And as an aside, if the endgame is to get into an elite university, then the best high schools provide a low ceiling/high floor on those chances, whereas some of the lesser IB programs, for example, probably provide a higher ceiling and lower floor in terms of chances at getting into a great university.

    If you do fantastic at *any normal inner-city high school* with high college boards, you will have a better chance at attending Harvard than a good student at Payton.

    Or move to Alaska for the last 2 years of high school.

  • 380. CPS Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:49 am

    377. JustAnotherConcernedParent My kid is at an Ivy, first year, and I can guarantee you that 99% of high school students cannot remotely do well in most of his classes.

    A great high school environment with the benefit of real, in-the-flesh teachers, and a supportive peer group is fundamental for what can be achieved in college.

  • 381. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:54 am

    I disagree, from my personal experience. It helps, but is certainly not necessary. Parents are much more important (and I would submit the best of home-schooling as evidence).

  • 382. CPS Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:58 am

    379. JustAnotherConcernedParent Your assertion is patently untrue. I’m not aware of any students who were at non-selective CPS programs or schools last year who are now at HPYM, etc. It simply doesn’t happen with any frequency. How do I know? The pool of kids who get into these schools from Chicago is tiny (a few dozen) and most of the kids know or know of each other.

  • 383. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:00 am

    And I’m not sure what you are disputing. Are you saying it’s easier for a very bright student to get into Harvard from Payton versus a no-name school in Arkansas? I submit, given equivalent SATs and GPAs, that the student from the no-name school in Arkansas has a much better chance of getting an acceptance to Harvard than a kid from Payton who may be one of the 30 best kids in his class at Payton.

  • 384. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:09 am

    @379, I think you are addressing a strawman. I explicitely stated in the post you referenced “lesser IB programs”, not non-selective CPS programs.

    But even so, you’re mistaking the school with the student. My point is consistent: a great student at a normal high school has a better chance of gaining acceptance into an elite university than his peer at Payton, who may be one of 30 or 40 or even 50 similarly achieving students in his class at Payton.

  • 385. Hydepark Mom  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Anyone have any information on how the Jones CTE waitlist works? My daughter know’s 10 of her friends that were also put on that list and many posts here, that were also on the list. Does it rank by scores?

    Anyone have any thoughts on Lincoln Park Double Honors? We are in a Magnet right down the street so we are already familiar with the commute, Plus, we will still have kids at the Magnet School.

    Also, We got into King and the school is close to us in Hyde Park. If we decline we could then get an offer from LANE. We choose a realitstic school in close proximity. We could not do the commute to Lane. Can we accept King and still stay on the waitlist for Jones CTE or does the acceptance take us off that list?

  • 386. Chris  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:46 am

    CB: “we have no reason to expect that 150 students in Chicago would be in the 99th percentile because the demographics of Chicago differ from the national norm. We might have 300 students in the 99th percentile or only 50. The Chicago testing population might skew leftward or rightward in the national distribution.”

    You’re forgetting/eliding that the 8th grade test pool is already skewed right. *IF* the CPS test pool were actually a perfectly-matched normal distribution, we’d see something over 300 99th%-ile scores, as there are 30,000+ 8th-grade aged kids in Chicago.

    150 is *not* a good estimate; something between 250 and 350 is a good estimate.

  • 387. CPS Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:55 am

    384. JustAnotherConcernedParent You are assuming that a school like Yale has quotas for high schools or that they looks at performance relative to the students in-school peer group which I know to be incorrect. Payton will in some years send 5-7 kids to Yale sometimes none. East coast prep schools like Exeter and Choate will regularly admit a dozen kids to a single Ivy. Your commonly held assertion that a great student has better odds getting into the top colleges from a “normal” high school is false.

  • 388. hydeparkparent  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:57 am

    We live in Hyde Park and my son got accepted to Lane. I am concerned about the commute. Anyone else out there doing that commute. He also got into LPIB and Double Honors and the vocal program so that is our other choice – better option geographically but I don’t want to dismiss Lane just because of the commute. Thanks!

  • 389. Luv2europe  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:58 am

    371 Resurrection

  • 390. mom2  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Getting into one of the top SEHS in Chicago has advantages and disadvantages as far as college is concerned. Advantages – bragging rights for the kid and parents, “safer” school, better chance of being friends with other college bound kids, more AP options… Disadvantages – your kid is one of many very bright kids and has less chance of standing out in comparison, more stress in terms of workload and competition, and one thing I find very important – the classes are skewed to be more rigorous/harder and therefore it is much less likely you will end up with a 4.0 unweighted GPA. That is huge. For many colleges, they look at your GPA and would be more impressed with a 4.0 than a 3.5. Outside of Chicago or maybe Illinois universities, the fact that you went to a selective school only counts if you get past the looking at the numbers portion of the college application. You can get a 30-36 on your ACT going to non-sehs or sehs. Not every school “carefully reviews” your application no matter what they may say on their web site.

  • 391. SEES Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:14 am

    @387: Do you think that schools such as Yale place some value on diversity of background including e.g. excelling in a less privileged high school environment or coming from an obscure state? If so, then coming from such a school or background could provide an advantage, all else equal (if it were somehow possible to measure that).

    I don’t think schools such as Yale have hard quotas for individual high schools, though I also think it is hard to say that they don’t look at performance relative to other applicants from the same or similar high schools at all, unless you are sitting in on the reading sessions and have visibility into the hearts and minds of the readers.

  • 392. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:14 am


    We’ll politely disagree. I’ll simply add this: I attended a small rural high school. No AP classes. I, and my two sisters, were accepted to the very elite of the elite universities. In my older sister’s class, another student was also accepted to Princeton among others, and in my younger sister’s class, another student was accepted into Harvard, among others.

    I was accepted to all my choices, and I guess you could say Chicago was my safety school.

    We were all + 1400 SATs.

    I would venture to say that if I had attended Payton, I would not have stood out from say 50 other students.

    I think we can safely say that mathematically, regardless of the absence of quotas, Harvard will not accept 50 students from Payton. I think given that, that the logical deduction is clear.

    One more: one of my college friends is an Assistant Dean of Admissions and they assuredly look to diversify, and while they certainly look to the elite high schools, they will also be much more inclined to offer admission to say, an excellent student at a performing arts high school, or a rural high school in Arkansas than to say the 7th student they would be taking from Payton (provided the above students have similar GPAs and college boards).

  • 393. Sheri  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Lane wasn’t my choice for my daughter but she absolutely loved it & had to go there for there for their Alpha program & all their clubs . We live next to Midway airport & her commute is about 1hour 45 mints. In the morning I take her to the orange line ( otherwise she would have to take a bus to the station) & there is a train that is an express orange line that turns into a brown line . Then, Bus ride that I hear is always overcrowded so they may wait for 3 buses (they can walk but it’s a hike.) My daughter is now a junior and loves her school so much for the Alpha program & the diversity . To be honest,I can tell she’s not fond of the commute but she does not complain, I DO! I do feel it hurts their study time & can cause an issue on what they can join in sports. As a concerned parent you must think it all out.

  • 394. Chris  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:18 am

    “why resources are spent on sehs’s in the loop when there are budget problems. The rent has to be outrageous.”

    Why do you think that CPS rents their school buildings?

  • 395. Momof5  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:22 am

    @Hydeparkmom, may I ask how is it that you can decline an offer from King and then get an offer from Lane? As far as I know, there hasn’t been a second round in years. Just want to clarify so I can give other parents accurate information.

    Congratulations on having wonderful options for you child.

  • 396. SEES Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:22 am

    “the very elite of the elite universities”

    Is that a school like Yale or a school not like Yale?

  • 397. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Routinely Top 5. And no matter where it falls in some ranking, I consider MIT the best university in the world.

  • 398. SEES Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:30 am

    “Routinely Top 5. And no matter where it falls in some ranking, I consider MIT the best university in the world.”

    Did anyone else think the answer was going to be a different (though nearby) school?

  • 399. Hydepark Mom  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:32 am

    @395. This is why I never post. We had a high enough score for Lane just did not rank it high. Excuse me for being wrong on the second round picks. School is way to Far for us on the southside. It seems like all this blog complains about other peoples mistakes and never really gives the good insight. I had asked some good questions and all you really cared about was the commenting about Lane.

  • 400. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I apologize if I have ruffled some feathers. I think my overarching point is that it really doesn’t matter which of these good high schools your child attends, as long as they are happy and simultaneously dedicated students.

    It really is the student, not the school, that determines future happiness and success in a broad sense.

    The best school in Chicago is the one that fits your child the best.

  • 401. Chris  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:42 am

    ” East coast prep schools like Exeter and Choate will regularly admit a dozen kids to a single Ivy. Your commonly held assertion that a great student has better odds getting into the top colleges from a “normal” high school is false.”

    True enough for Exeter (and Andover–18 at Harvard and 15 at Yale from the class of ’13!!), but not really true for Choate–over the recent 5 years, the high aggregate of matriculants at an Ivy was 40 (8/yr avg) at Yale, and an avg of 37 each year for all 8 ivies, out of classes of ~220. Not likely a dozen got in to a single ivy, and certainly not ‘regularly’.

    As to the latter, it depends how one defines ‘great student’, and ‘odds’. If we’ve just straight up comparing academic + extra-curricular resumes, a ‘normal’ school kid could well get in to HYP with a resume that would get denied coming from a Andover/Exeter kid. So, it really depends on definitions and perspective.

  • 402. Momof5  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:43 am

    @HydeparkMom, please accept my apologies. I didn’t mean to offend or point out any mistake. I have friends going through the process and if there was a second round I would have had to reach out to them and tell them as I had told them it was no longer a possibility. I am very sorry I wasn’t clear why I was asking. Please continue to comment as this forum is the best way to keep other parents aware of the process.

  • 403. SEES Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:51 am

    “I apologize if I have ruffled some feathers.”

    Not mine. I was just giving you a (very) slightly hard time. MIT grads can talk up their school all they want, as far as I’m concerned.

    “True enough for Exeter (and Andover–18 at Harvard and 15 at Yale from the class of ’13!!), but not really true for Choate”

    Exeter and Andover go together. Choate doesn’t go with them. Maybe with Hotchkiss or something.

  • 404. Chris  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Hydepark Mom:

    You posted something that someone here was going to ask about–bc there are a lot of people who come here and don’t know how the (hypothetical) 2d round works. Seemed to me that the question was phrased quite politely, and was as reasonable as the questions you asked. No need to be snippy in your correction.

    As to your questions, it *appears* that the CTE admissions are descrete, so you could accept King or LP and stay on the waitlist, but it isn’t a straight up score-ranked list–they retain the preference group and attendance area list separately. You’ll want to confirm that with OAE/Jones.

  • 405. junior  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:59 am

    @400 JustAnotherConcernedParent

    You are spot on. Please continue. Some feathers could use a little ruffling.

  • 406. Chris  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:59 am

    “Did anyone else think the answer was going to be a different (though nearby) school?”

    My experience is that the Cambridge College Crimson folks aren’t that circumspect.

  • 407. CPS Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    401. Chris I stand corrected on Choate – you are right. two of my kid’s seven suite-mates are respectively from Andover and Exeter. Both were full scholarship kids from inner city, low income situations. Complete life changer for them. Both have very education focused parents. 45% of Yalies still come from private high schools although the number is dropping albeit slowly.

  • 408. Chris  |  February 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    “45% of Yalies still come from private high schools”

    I think that if you count the overseas students as ‘private’, it’s even a bit higher than that.

  • 409. Disney Magnet parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    If you want your kid to be the valedictorian, the odds are a lot better at a neighborhood school than at a SEHS. When most of the kids accepted by a school have been straight-A students who test well, what makes you think your kid is somehow going to emerge triumphant over all of those kids?

    Colleges like to brag about the percentage of students who were valedictorians or in the top 5-10% of their high school class. A brilliant kid who gets great grades at Payton is going to be competing against a hundred other brilliant kids for those top spots in the class. A smart, hard-working kid’s odds of having a lower class rank is way higher at Payton and Northside.

  • 410. northside mom  |  February 24, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Are any parents willing to share their experiences with Selective Prep. I’m especially wondering about the 7th grade standardized test prep. How much of a percentage gain do you feel can be attributed to the test? Is this prep only helpful for someone who wants to nudge their score a couple of percentage points or is there potential for a larger gain?

  • 411. SEES Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    “I think that if you count the overseas students as ‘private’, it’s even a bit higher than that.”

    Not possible that a third of intl hs students might have come from public schools?

  • 412. SEES Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    “two of my kid’s seven suite-mates are respectively from Andover and Exeter. Both were full scholarship kids from inner city, low income situations. Complete life changer for them. Both have very education focused parents.”

    Question is how they would have done at a different HS. If they had gone to whichever state it was from which Yale failed to find a student for class of ’17 would have been a lock.

  • 413. Admissions  |  February 24, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    410. northside mom – I’d recommend Selective Prep for 7th grade test prep. It may not greatly increase the points, but I think it does reduce the probability for reduction in points. Timing is great – prepare every week and then take test. Child can just walk in and it is not a big deal – have built up ability to sit for test and just work the problems. So more to avoid a one off / unexpected decrease (that you can’t afford to happen).

  • 414. Jill  |  February 24, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    @393 Sheri
    My daughter got into Lane and we also live my Midway. Would you be willing to answer some questions? If so please email jillodazion@sbcglobal.net.

  • 415. Jones - Harlem Ave Blue Line  |  February 24, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    cpso – says my comment is awaiting moderation

  • 416. HSObsessed  |  February 24, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Just read through a ton of the comments. Congrats on all the acceptances! I wanted to say that last year, at least, my daughter got letters from Jones CTE and Steuben Scholars programs that seemed to be complete rejection letters, without even a mention of a waitlist for them (although she was put on a wait list for von Steuben’s regular program), but then in the three weeks after that, we got phone calls with offers for both. Not sure if that will be different this year, and it sounds like there were many more applicants for Jones CTE this year.

    @278 Bundled Up — Which factors seemed to be most important in choosing a school: For my kid, it was school culture/just felt right; curriculum/specific program offered; friends already there and also planning to attend there; location/ease of commute.

    @283 Wondering Parent – Yes, a kid can be in double honors at LPHS and in one of the arts programs. My daughter is in drama and double honors there. The arts program is basically one extra class daily on top of their other classes. It is do-able, but makes for a long day, especially if your child also opts into the research class.

  • 417. Chris  |  February 24, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    “Not possible that a third of intl hs students might have come from public schools?”

    Sure, possible. Likely, even. Especially the Canadians. But, for purposes of thinking about the relative chances of CPS kid getting in, they are effectively ‘private’ schools.

  • 418. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    It’s amazing how quickly the conversation switched to the likelihood of getting into an Ivy. Can’t these folks rejoice in their acceptance letters or figure out their best H.S. options before skipping ahead to four years from now?? It’s not like the VAST majority will go Ivy anyway . . . SEHS, private or wherever.

  • 419. Counterpoint for discussion  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    So it appears that the work around is to live in a tier 1, get into Whitney for Freshman/Sophomore year and then transfer into an inner city poorly performing school for junior year. During that junior year get a mysterious illness (anxiety) that causes you to just take the tests and not attend classes with the bangers so as not to be negatively affected. Apply in first half of senior year to an IVY League and then transfer as a homeless youth to New Trier for the second semester of Senior Year.

    You see, the system is broken. Everything needs to be about one test for admission into the next level of schooling.

    Please feel free to dissect, but I think I got it:)

  • 420. OutsideLookingIn  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    @418 – agreed!!!

  • 421. cpsobsessed  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    @counterpoint: most importantly, write a blog about the experience that gets turned into a book or graphic novel with a cult following. That helps you stand out as unique to the colleges 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 422. Jones  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    New cut-off scores are up on OAE website…

  • 423. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    A trap I often find myself falling into is projecting my goals onto my son. Like most parents, I want him to be happy. This is my greatest goal for him, to live a happy life. At the same time, I have equated financial success with happiness to a certain extent, which for him may be completely an independent factor, not a correlated one.

    But as a result of my biases, over the years, I’ve influenced him in ways that I now wish I hadn’t. I’ve been stressing over the past year that he doesn’t have to get into this university or that in order to feel good about himself.

    It may appear that my attempt to adjust his goals is a result of some deficiency in him, and that’s not the case. He’s phenomenally gifted, and he will get into the high school of his choice.

    But he’s 13, and a walking contradiction. He loves drawing and painting. He is decidedly average at both. He hates writing; he’s a wonderful writer. He’s extremely gifted at math (he got this from me); he doesn’t love it or hate it.

    I don’t know when or how all these things will coalesce as he approaches adulthood, but I really, really hope he ends up doing the thing he loves (and that the thing he loves is something at which he is terrific).

    I do have my fingers crossed that he’ll find out he loves higher level math. 🙂

  • 424. OutsideLookingIn  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    @cpso – thanks for giving away my strategy. Plan B is to win an Academy Award before the age of 12.

  • 425. pantherparent  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    @390 You left out a couple of key components to college admission. Yes a student’s unweighted GPA may be lower at a SEHS but his weighted will get a significant lift.

    And even more importantly, what classes he took are looked at. So five or six AP classes and advanced-level math makes an impression.

    And don’t kid yourself. Admissions offices across the country know Payton, Northside, Young, etc. and will take a look at the application.

  • 426. SEES Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    “Sure, possible. Likely, even. Especially the Canadians. But, for purposes of thinking about the relative chances of CPS kid getting in, they are effectively ‘private’ schools.”

    The stat was given in the context of discussion about relative likelihood of getting into a school like Yale from SEHS versus other CPS HS versus HS in podunk state versus ultra-snooty East Coast HS. To the extent the percent from private versus public stat is informative, wouldn’t you actually want to restrict it to students from US HS?

  • 427. JS  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    “New cut-off scores are up on OAE website…”

    Looks like scores are up across most schools. Payton and Northside both up a few points. Payton a point or so more but it looks like Northside is showing 20 more students than last year and Payton only 9 more. Plus Northside’s class is about 20% higher so you’d expect lower scores. But both are about the same. Jones is up about 15 points in rank and tier 4. Young is flat, but now you need higher scores to get in Jones than Young this year (rank & Tier 4).

  • 428. Kayem  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    “But, for purposes of thinking about the relative chances of CPS kid getting in, they are effectively ‘private’ schools.”

    Plus if a kid is an underrepresented minority, that is a hook that will help in getting admitted that can offset lower test scores and grades. Just as being a top athlete or musician can help with admission.

  • 429. Chris  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    “what classes he took are looked at. So five or six AP classes and advanced-level math makes an impression.”

    Makes more of an impression when those 5-6 AP classes are all of the AP classes offered by the school, rather than half, and grades from ‘normal’ schools get weighted, too, even if the school doesn’t do it–some schools [eg, NT] have multiple weightings, that most colleges will recalculate.

  • 430. Wondering Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    @416 – Thanks for the information. What is the research class you spoke of? I really think LP is a great opportunity for my daughters. They will have an hour commute and are also athletic and interested in trying out for some teams. I am just worried about if there will be enough time in the day?

  • 431. SLParent  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    @428 don’t forget that one of the biggest advantages for the private colleges that are being discussed here is to be the child of a legacy (or better yet two legacies).

  • 432. pantherparent  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    @429 Understood. And this issue is something we talked about as parents. When it comes to college admission, is it better to be one of the smartest kids at the neighborhood high school, or an “average” kid at a SEHS. Rather than try to outsmart the system, we supported the decision of our sons to go SEHS.

    And judging by these scores, an average kid there is pretty damn smart.

  • 433. psmom  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Interesting that Lane offered an additional 175 slots this year. There were 31 more seats for each tier and 52 for rank.

  • 434. Chicago School GPS  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    SEHS cutoff scores: http://cpsoae.org/SEHS%20Cutoff%20Scores%202014-2015.pdf

  • 435. Chicago School GPS  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    IB cutoff scores: http://cpsoae.org/IB%20Cutoff%20Scores%202014-2015.pdf

  • 436. Chris  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    “To the extent the percent from private versus public stat is informative, wouldn’t you actually want to restrict it to students from US HS?”

    Only if you consider the freshman class to have 1200 seats instead of 1350. Then, sure.

  • 437. CPS Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    423. JustAnotherConcernedParent Very nice reflection. My youngest kid is similar. Loves painting, great at math, hates writing but is good at it. Payton was a great fit – excellent art department, a super math department and math team both of which excel at instilling camaraderie and cooperative learning and a love for the material, great writing teachers who mentored my kid.

  • 438. SEES Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    “Only if you consider the freshman class to have 1200 seats instead of 1350.”

    In terms of spots that a US HS student is likely to get, that’s probably a reasonable first approximation. You would ideally like to narrow further, and control for student quality, but no reason you would want to include international HS students in any of this.

  • 439. mom  |  February 24, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Parents, where will your kids get the best education??? Also, don’t forget, high school is more than academics. I can’t beleive we are not discussing how hard it is to get into Yale . . .

  • 440. Chicago School GPS  |  February 24, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Interesting to note that the freshman class sizes for most SEHS increased by at least 5 (South Shore) to 175 (Lane) more students. Just Lindblom dropped by 50 students. Average was around 20 more students this year.
    Brooks: 327 to 335
    Jones: 370 to 390
    King: 433 to 491
    Lane: 1100 to 1275
    Lindblom: 350 to 300
    Northside: 260 to 280
    Payton: 221 to 230
    South Shore: 165 to 170
    Westinghouse: 520 to 600
    Young: 360 to 389

    Payton, with a class size of 230, had the highest rank minimum of 898 and Tier 4 min of 896.

  • 441. mom  |  February 24, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Re selective prep. My son took the 8th grade prep class and thought the math teacher was better than any math teacher he’d ever had. He scored in the 99%. My daughter took the 7th grade prep and the 8th grade prep. She scored in the 99% on the SE test–I can’t remember who she did on the ISAT. Did it boost their scores? I have no idea but it sure didn’t hurt and I would do it again if I had a third.

  • 442. OutsideLookingIn  |  February 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Class seats increased and the minimum scores increased…really competitive year. 876 was enough to get kid into Young and Jones last year. This year, 876 not enough for either school.

  • 443. hydeparkparent  |  February 24, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    We are considering Lane Tech for next year and we live in Hyde Park. I am wondering if there are any parents out there considering the same and might know of any car pooling options or have any interest in starting one.

  • 444. Northside mom  |  February 24, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    My daughter scored 870 we live in tier 2 and she made it to Northside college prep she’s absolutely happy and can’t wait to meet new friends . I am so proud of her she study really hard for this opportunity to go to one of the top 10 highest selectiveenrollments high school in Chicago

  • 445. Patricia  |  February 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I would guess the increase in seats is due to the per pupil funding. I know some schools overshot their estimate last year (probably by accident or not being familiar enough with attrition, etc.) and CPS gave them a “pass” last year since it was a transition to per pupil funding. They are probably overshooting to ensure they are not short students/dollars.

  • 446. James  |  February 24, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    One quick observation on the cut-off scores. As expected, Payton and Northside are in a statistical tie for Rank and Tiers 2, 3, and 4 minimum scores. But Tier 1 is a different story, with Northside’s Tier 1 minimum (804) and mean (~838) notably below Payton’s Tier 1 minimum (838) and mean (~871). So why don’t the highest scoring Tier 1 kids want to go to Northside? I suppose it’s driven primarily by location, but I don’t recall seeing that before, at least to this extent.

    And please note that I am in no way disparaging any other school or schools, nor am I being snooty or elitist or whatever else people who discuss those two schools get called around here lately. I just think it’s interesting that the two highest ranked SEHSs (at least as measured by entering class scores) seem to diverge when it comes to Tier 1 kids.

  • 447. BR  |  February 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    @445. That would be my guess too. I know Lane didn’t have the # of kids in the end for the 2013/14 school year as planned. Will be interesting to see how many kids all the ACs let in for this coming year too. I suspect those #’s to be increased. I don’t get CPS not doing a second round at least of offers to all programs where applications are accepted.

  • 448. mom2  |  February 24, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Jones and Young have higher Tier 1 minimums than Northside, too. I would almost guarantee it has to do with location and transportation possibilities, etc.

  • 449. Patricia  |  February 24, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    @448 Agree. Location, location, location. Heck, it would be a horrible commute for my kid and I live in Lakeview.

  • 450. Hoping for round 2  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Any chance for second round selections for lane? If so, is there a chance of selecting someone 11 points short of the cutoff?
    Seems like a lot didn’t get first choice? A lot of principal discretion applications? Maybe a third round?

  • 451. Looking at colleges  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I am not sure why Lane’s numbers are up this year, but next year’s graduating class (current juniors) is huge – 1200 students. My son’s sophomore class at Lane is only about 850 because they took way too many students the year before.

    Also, a great book about college admissions is called “The Gatekeepers” which was written by a former admissions representative at Wesleyan College (a very elite Liberal Arts College in Connecticut). There are so many factors involved in who they admit.

    Also here is a link to a Tribune article from about a year ago talking about how few admissions there are from Illinois compared to other states http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-12-04/news/ct-met-ivy-league-illinois-20121204_1_illinois-students-ivy-league-high-schools.

  • 452. pantherparent  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    With $5,000 per student, adding 15 kids just put $75,000 in the coffers and you don’t have to hirer an extra teacher.

    At this time last year, the selectives were scheduled to be exempted from per-pupil funding so they kept enrollments steady. When that didn’t happen, the funding hits were greater than expected. And they couldn’t just go out and add students. So this year they upped the number based on finances.

  • 453. Momof5  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    @433, the number of seats offered at Lane has varied significantly for the last 4 years. This year’s senior class had initially 1200 seats offered but I think (someone please correct me if I am off) approx. 1100 seats filled. That was the first year the tier system was used and there was a significant public backlash to it. Because of that. more students were offered a spot/admitted in to the current junior class. That, along with the creation of LTAC, caused the physical number of spots available to the current sophomore to go down by 200. If you look on that year’s cutoff score data you will see the minimum tier 4 score shot up 68 points. Last year was more of the usual size class.

    I guess my point is that Lane’s class size is always fluctuating. It is something to consider for those who will be going through the process when the current sophomore class graduates? Is the school moderating their class size now in order to adjust for the fewer than average seats that will be made available upon their graduation?

  • 454. James  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    @ 448 and 449 —

    I agree that it’s probably primarily about location, but it is quite a bit more dramatic this year. Last year, the difference in mean Tier 1 scores between Payton and Northside was 8. This year, it is 33, more than four times as high. It at least raises the question of whether something else may be going on — such as Northside gaining a reputation as less friendly or supportive of Tier 1 kids and families than Payton, WY, or Jones. Again, I don’t know, but the numbers this year may at least suggest that there may be more than just location influencing the choices of Tier 1 families to go elsewhere.

  • 455. Payton  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    ” A brilliant kid who gets great grades at Payton is going to be competing against a hundred other brilliant kids for those top spots in the class. A smart, hard-working kid’s odds of having a lower class rank is way higher at Payton and Northside.”

    So much misinformation.

    To start with Payton doesnt record or report class rank, I dont think Northside does either.

    The urban myth that it is somehow easier to get into the Ivies from podunk high school has been refuted by both admissions officers and statistics for years.

    Exhibit A: in Payton’s current senior class (less than 200 students) 11 acceptances to Yale, 7 to Harvard, 64 to the Ivies. Adding in the ivy-peers, MIT Stanford Chicago, it was over 100.

    The very top high schools send the most students to the very top colleges. This shouldnt be surprising.

  • 456. Momof5  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    @450, To the best of my knowledge, the second round thing hasn’t happened in years. I would encourage you to try PD but would only do so at the school your child ranked first. So many people apply for those spots. It’s not impossible (one of my kids got in that way), but it is difficult.
    Hoping for the best for you and your child.

  • 457. Hoping for round 2  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Interesting how taft ib’s cutoff for an offer went to 800.

  • 458. SEES Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    “The urban myth that it is somehow easier to get into the Ivies from podunk high school has been refuted by both admissions officers and statistics for years.”

    Thinking that the “Exhibit A” types of statistics is a refutation is a profound misunderstanding.

  • 459. west rogers park mom  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Taft AC kids automatically receive an offer as long as they apply- – – maybe this is why the cut off score rose so much. I do know that the Freshman IB class is the largest ever this year. . . which makes me nervous for my 5th grader in a few years.

    Speaking of IB programs I wonder if the number of applications declined this year due to the early testing option. Are these statistics available?

  • 460. HSObsessed  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    @430 Wondering – Research is a class that teaches them to undertake a longer-term research project, split among two subjects, one a science topic of their choosing and one a history topic. So, it’s getting more skills/experience in researching and presenting a topic. So between the research class, fine arts/drama, health, foreign language and all the “usual” subjects, she is in school from 7:45 am until 3:55 pm.

    Generally about the cut off scores, I found it interesting to note that King and South Shore apparently set a minimum score for admission from any tier of 650 points, and then didn’t get enough qualified applicants from Tier 1 and Tier 4, so they admitted more from Tiers 2 and 3 instead. I didn’t know they were allowed to do that — is that new, or did I miss it in prior years?

  • 461. Momof5  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    At the risk of being misunderstood yet again on this thread, can we please stop discussing admission to the Ivies? Although quite prestigious, I don’t believe anyone thinks it is a guarantee for a happy and productive life. Yes, the opportunity for an amazing education lies within those walls, but it also lies within other colleges and universities and it mostly lies within the student themselves.

  • 462. CPS Appalled  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    RE: Selective Prep–I had my child take the 7th grade ISAT prep class, as we were coming from a private school with very different kinds of testing. We had no idea what to expect with the ISAT. I think the class helped my child, although she was extremely reluctant to go every weekend. After receiving her (very high) ISAT results in August, she said “I think the test prep class really helped”, but I still don’t know. I do know that it gave her a lot of confidence, which she needed as an iffy test-taker. If your child is confident in his/her abilities when it comes to test taking, it might not be as necessary.

  • 463. James  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    @ 455 (Payton) —

    I generally agree with your point, but where are you getting those statistics for this year’s Payton seniors? Decisions aren’t even released for the regular decision cycle for another month. Yet you’re saying there have already been 64 acceptances to the Ivies? Really? Given that, at least as of this point in the admissions cycle, a kid could only have applied to single Ivy, that seems hard, if not impossible, to believe. I doubt 64 seniors even applied early decision or SCEA to the Ivies. After all, this year’s class is only about 180 kids. I’m pretty sure that a third of them have not already been admitted to Ivy League schools.

  • 464. Jessiej  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    James I’m pretty sure the difference in tier 1 cutoff scores is because of location. It would be too difficult for many tier 1 kids on the west/south sides to get there. I know of at least 10 very bright tier 1 kids who wanted to rank Northside as their 1st choice but parents wouldn’t let them because of the commute.
    I find so many of your comments to be EXTREMELY transparent.

  • 465. pantherparent  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    @454 James I think you might be overanalyzing this. I just looked at the tier map and you know how many Tier 1 students live north of Belmont? Zero.

    Of PaNYJ, if I’m a Tier 1 parent, Northside is 4th, simply on location. Not to mention Lane sitting there with 1,300 seats on Addison.

  • 466. James  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    @ 461 (Momof5) —

    Why would you think that anyone who happens to discuss admissions to the Ivy League believes that “it is a guarantee for a happy and productive life?” It’s just a convenient and rough benchmark for how well a high school prepares kids for the college admissions game. Believe me, I know a lot of miserable people who went to an Ivy League school.

  • 467. Jones - Harlem Ave Blue Line  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Anyone going to Jones who will be taking the Blue Line from Harlem Ave stop on the North side? Or Blue Line at some point? Would love to connect at chancla14@ameritech.net. My daughter will be attending as a Freshman. Hoping to form some travel buddies for commute (safety in numbers) and/or perhaps some carpools for late night events where we as parents might prefer to pick them up. Please email me at chancla14 at ameritech dot net.

    Maybe we can meet up at next weeks Jones Welcome for Incoming Freshman and Parents (looks like it will be March 3 &4 from the Friends of Jones page).

  • 468. James  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    @ 465 (pantherparent) —

    Good point. I didn’t realize that there are no Tier 1 students north of Belmont. That’s surprising, but does probably explain the difference.

  • 469. OutAtSeaPS  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Parents who have used Selective Prep, tutoring, or other means of helping your child prepare, which do you think is the most helpful? I’d certainly be curious to know who or what type of preparation was most beneficial in this process and it seems there are so many options.

  • 470. LadyD  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    My daughter took the 7th grade Selective prep course and got in to Taft Academic center. I think it helped her focus on the test. I also enrolled her for the HS course. Sometimes all it takes is that 1 point so I think it’s worth it.

  • 471. LP  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    @450 “I would guess the increase in seats is due to the per pupil funding.”

    I think its being conservative on yield projections – not an increase in seats. The number OAE reports is admitted, not seats. But yes, driven by per pupil funding – you really dont want to be under your projections with this formula.

    @460 650 is the minimum score set by CPS/OAE for SEHS eligibility. King & Southshore have been unable to fill their seats in certain tiers for several years. Which is why claims that we need more SEHS’s are unfounded.

  • 472. Prep  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    470. OutAtSeaPS – We used Selective Prep plus 1:1 tutoring for Math for the SEHS exam. Child scored 300.

    Child hated Selective Prep. Hated it so much that gave very little effort to the class/homework. Recommend having them take it with a friend(s) if possible.

    Also used testprepchicago.com for their Testing Palooza – Take practice test one Saturday before actual exam. Then review results. They had a couple of good tips that they stressed for Language Arts that my child reported being on the exam. Child was happy to have gotten those tips. Didn’t want to do this either, but I didn’t want to take any chances. It helped really focus child.

    Got into 1st choice school.

    Depends on what your child needs. I slept better knowing we did all we could do. Didn’t want regrets.

  • 473. Parent1056  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Selective prep is great for vocabulary. The math is absolutely useless. Language is okay. The reading in selective prep is 50 times harder than the sehs exam, my child scored 50% on her reading quizzes, got a 99% on reading on sehs, they prepare you with most of the vocabulary words.

  • 474. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm


    I’m sorry, I do not believe your numbers in the least. Over the last 6 or 7 years, NCP has consistently sent the most students to the Ivies, Chicago, MIT and Stanford of any of the SEHS. 20 to 25 students each year attend those universities after graduating from NCP.

    Last year, NCP sent 22 students. They led the city in that department.

    You are now claiming that WP exceeded their average by 4x?

    I say, show me the proof.

  • 475. Interested parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Does anyone know if walter payton or northside accept any transfers for the class of 2017. Child is currently a freshman. Moving into the city and was interested to see if it was even realistic. I know jones and wy accept transfers.

  • 476. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    NCP does not. I’m not sure about WP.

  • 477. CPS Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    463. James – Agreed James, those numbers cannot be true for this year and are too high for last year. Last year’s acceptances to Yale was 6 with 5 attending I believe. I believe this year it’s one or two early decision and one “likely” letter for regular decision so far.

  • 478. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    I would suggest buying a Catholic High School examination practice book.

    If your child does well on those tests, he/she will find the SEHS to be quite simple.

  • 479. Top1  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    “Exhibit A: in Payton’s current senior class (less than 200 students) 11 acceptances to Yale, 7 to Harvard, 64 to the Ivies. Adding in the ivy-peers, MIT Stanford Chicago, it was over 100.”

    Just so people are clear even of that 100 number is correct, it is acceptances not matriculated. So its not like 100 out of 200 are going to top 20 schools. Its provably 30-35 of the brightest applying to multiple schools and getting multiple acceptances.

    And for having the top kids in chicago that number is not that good. Those kids could have gotten accepted no matter what the high school. Highest test takers in, highest test takers out. In fact thw probably are in a lower percentile than when they got in to high school.

    Most ivy leagues get students from top east coast boarding and day private schools. Total chicago kids are a drop in the bucket.

    However, the wall street journal did a ranking a few years ago of high schools who sent most kids as a percent of school size to ivy league type schools and only two illinois schools made the list….Illinois Math and Science Academy and Northside College Prep.

  • 480. cpscraziness  |  February 24, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    we live 2.3 miles from Northside. it would take the brown and then the bus for my child to commute from lincoln square, northside was not even on our radar, location was one reason but many others … academics is important but kids need a well balance life not just academics … i also cannot believe parents are discussing college on this blog, yikes!!!!

  • 481. cpscraziness  |  February 24, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    my niece got into Payton, all A’s, 297 on acceptance exam and 95% on math and reading on ISAT, coming from west side and tier 1, had no intentions of going to northside, listed as last option, coming from Blaine school. also did the test prep for SE test.

  • 482. Momof5  |  February 24, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    (Sorry, on my phone now and cannot see what number to reference)
    I did not mean to imply that admission to an Ivy guarantees anything. My point was to highlight just that — no guarantees. I understand that number of students admitted to the Ivies is a way to compare but is that truly the best way to judge a high school?
    The Ivies aren’t for everyone. I would venture to say that there are some amazingly intelligent, high performing kids who would not even consider applying to those schools because they just aren’t interested in attending there. Does that make their high school a lesser school? I would think not but perhaps I’m naive.
    Along the same lines, we have friends whose child went to WP and didn’t get in to Ivy League schools but was accepted to fabulous schools and felt like a failure. It made me really sad to see the child not see the forest through the trees. All ended up well as they are thriving and happy.
    I guess I feel this discussion should be on a separate thread.

  • 483. cpscraziness  |  February 24, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    some kids read this blog, can we please stop talking about college acceptance!!!! kids have enough stress and anxiety about SE why add more unnecessary stress. please.

  • 484. James  |  February 24, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    @ 479 (Top1) —

    Yes and no. For the full admissions cycle, it is true that a kid can get multiple acceptances from different Ivy schools. But at this point in the admissions cycle, that isn’t true. The Ivies are all either Early Decision or Single Choice Early Action. In both cases, a kid could have only applied to, and heard back from, a single Ivy League school since you can only do ED or SCEA at one and only one school. Therefore, the claim that there have already been 64 acceptances at the Ivies means that there have been 64 different kids accepted at the Ivies — and that’s just not correct. (Admittedly, it could be muddled a little bit if a kid did SCEA and then recently got a “likely letter” from another Ivy as part of regular decision, but that just can’t be many, if any, kids.)

    In a month, when the regular decisions come out, kids who only applied regular decision at the Ivies or who applied to one SCEA Ivy and then did others in regular decision could be receiving multiple Ivy acceptances. But, at this point, a kid can only have a single Ivy League acceptance letter in hand.

  • 485. Chris  |  February 24, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    “it is somehow easier to get into the Ivies from podunk high school has been refuted by … statistics for years.

    Exhibit A: in Payton’s current senior class (less than 200 students) 11 acceptances to Yale, 7 to Harvard, 64 to the Ivies. Adding in the ivy-peers, MIT Stanford Chicago, it was over 100.”

    Your exhibit A says *nothing* about the relative ease of getting an admissions offer to any of those colleges from Payton v. West Podunk HS.

    As to what the admissions folks say, *of course* their statements are that they apply the same standards to every applicant (it would be *shocking* if they said they didn’t), but that ‘standard’ *may* (or may not!) be easier to achieve at West Podunk than it is at Payton. Those same admissions officers would say that legacy kids are held to the same standard, too, so I don’t know why we lend their (obvious) statements much weight.

    Note: the same can be said about the (ongoing) discussion about SEES v ‘hood v Private making it easier or harder to get into SEHS–yes, higher %ages of SEES and Private kids get into SEHS, but is that because it is “easier” to get in coming from SEES/Private? Clearly, college admissions involves more factors, but that just makes it *easier* to hold everyone to “the same standard” while still having different standards for Andover kids v Payton kids v West Podunk kids.

  • 486. James  |  February 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    For the record, and I am happy to stop typing the words “Ivy League” afterwards, I certainly don’t think Ivies are the be-all-and-end-all in colleges. Far, far from it. My point was simply that because they are so difficult to get into and draw their students from across the nation, they represent a convenient and rough indicator of how well a high school prepares its kids for the college admissions game. (NOTE: I didn’t say how good the high school is or how happy its students are. Sadly, students can be well-prepared for the college admissions game, but be utterly miserable.)

    So if we’re going to look at that rough indicator, we should at least be accurate when referencing it. And the poster who purported to know about Ivy acceptances for this year’s graduating class at Payton was not — he was way wrong, in fact. I was just questioning and correcting, and didn’t mean to say or imply that I think an Ivy League education is the ultimate college education — or, in the case of some Ivies, even worth the $60,000 a year they charge.

    And now back to high schools…

  • 487. Momof5  |  February 24, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    @cpscraziness, “some kids read this blog, can we please stop talking about college acceptance!!!! kids have enough stress and anxiety about SE why add more unnecessary stress. please.”

    I completely agree.

  • 488. mom2  |  February 24, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Getting into the school of your choice is a great feeling but if you are a great kid that pays attention in class and does the work assigned and goes to tutoring when you are struggling, you really can be a success at many other schools. Don’t feel defeated by this process.

    Is a kid that gets into a top SEHS more likely to get into a top college? Yes. Why? Not because this one SEHS is so great at preparing them for top colleges. Not at all. The reason? Because the kid is great at taking tests and doing homework and writing papers. That’s why the kid got into that SEHS to start with. It isn’t the school. It really isn’t.

    I’m not saying those schools aren’t great places to be (and I still feel they may be safer), but stop making it sound like school X will do anything more wonderful than school Y to help a kid get into a top college.

  • 489. LPmom  |  February 24, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Ditto earlier comments in confidence. Impossible to know (since you can only take these tests once) whether Selective Prep helped, but it did give my daughter a book to practice from and a number of timed practice tests to gauge which areas she neede to work on. (She took intensive review course for the SE exam.)

  • 490. C  |  February 24, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    I have a junior at Lane Tech. It was not her first choice but so happy it turned out that way! My freshman ranked LT as his first choice based on his sibling’s experience. I think he likes it even more than she does! They both went to a wonderful private grade school where we still have another in the pipeline. Hopefully he will get accepted to LT for HS when the time comes. Another plus besides the wonderful academics is the proximity to our home. I cannot tell you how convenient it is for a family on the move constantly with sports, activities etc. It takes the parents out the loop when it comes to arranging rides etc. and reduces the worry associated with commuting. I underestimated this when my kids were in middle school and now realize how very important this in from a time management standpoint and their own independence.

  • 491. Payton  |  February 24, 2014 at 4:51 pm


    “where are you getting those statistics for this year’s Payton seniors?”

    School rumor mill, which is usually pretty accurate. We’ll see where they finally come out, they are usually noted around open house time. As I understand it the Yale number is similar to last year when 11 admits led to 5 matriculates.

    “I doubt 64 seniors even applied early decision or SCEA to the Ivies.”

    Its interesting that you doubt that. As you are surely aware it is dramatically easier to get in via EA/ED. Why wouldnt every highly motivated student send in an Ivy EA? Even if they dream of Stanford? And if you dream of Yale then you damn well better apply ED. Students are given one shot at a higher admissions chance – it would be foolish for them not to use it.

    @Chris You’re funny to read, reminds me of the one-handed economist joke. Anyway..

    “Those same admissions officers would say that legacy kids are held to the same standard, too”

    You are completely incorrect here. They readily acknowledge that legacies get a special flag, as do under represented minorities. What they do point out, continuously since they are always asked it, is that there is not even a mechanism to compare students against their own classmates. If anything they readily admit that there are schools that they know well and admit a lot of students from.

    Anyone who cares about this topic can read any one of a dozen books written by former admissions officers. Nothing I’ve written here is disputed.

    PS Ivy Ivy Ivy

  • 492. Anonymous1  |  February 24, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    #378/CPSParent. Thank you for Payton insight. How was homework load? Thanks.

  • 493. pantherparent  |  February 24, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    I guess it’s just the society we live in now. Before kids take one class in high school they are forced to think about college. What classes do I take? What clubs do I join? What looks good on my college app?

    It’s not unlike the Super Bowl winning coach who invariably faces the question “Can you repeat as champs?” within 10 minutes of winning.

    Let’s give everyone a chance to savor the accomplishment.

  • 494. Chris  |  February 24, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    “Nothing I’ve written here is disputed.”

    Yes, it is *absolutely* undisputed that your “Exhibit A” provides no useful information about comparative ‘ease’ of admission from Payton v West Podunk.

  • 495. Payton  |  February 24, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    To be fair Chris I was discussing Podunk High, West Podunk High is another story altogether.

  • 496. junior  |  February 24, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    @486 James

    “My point was simply that because they are so difficult to get into and draw their students from across the nation, they represent a convenient and rough indicator of how well a high school prepares its kids for the college admissions game.”

    Convenient, yes, and a lot rougher than you think. I don’t see how your (unsourced) stats represent back up any point you’re trying to make. We’re talking about a scenario representing an *individual* child choosing between a Payton-like school versus perhaps a non-selective school — and how that choice affects their chances of admission at an elite college.

    A stat I think would tell *so* much more is, e.g., how many great elementary students wind up getting some B’s and C’s at the selective schools because they have a hard time handling the rigor? That would say so much more about how their elite college aspirations could be blown by choosing a SEHS.

  • 497. crosswordfiend  |  February 24, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    One great thing about college admissions is that there are options at all levels. While the SEHS system on the North Side feels like applying to Yale and Harvard, the vast majority of colleges are not Ivy League schools. You’ve got liberal arts colleges, state universities, private universities, religiously affiliated schools, specialized schools for engineering and whatnot, commuter colleges, and community colleges all around the country offering a range of educational opportunities. Some schools accept a Harvard percentage of applicants like 5-10%, some accept 20%, some take 40%, some take most, some take all.

    Plus, a kid who doesn’t get into Harvard but is highly qualified may well get a generous merit scholarship to attend a less famous school.

  • 498. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  February 24, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    @455 Payton is correct, at least as far as elite school admission standards. For example, Harvard groups applicants geographically to create admission sub-committees with roughly equal numbers of students. Many other schools follow the same practice. They are well aware that Payton and other elite public schools have a high number of excellent students. A Harvard admission dean explains it here: http://thechoice.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/10/harvarddean-part1/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

    Because of the similar size of geographic groupings, a senior in a small rural town in Wyoming would be competing with a roughly equal number of students as a student from Chicago.

    In any event, most of the students applying are academically qualified — it’s other features that they look for. I remember a Harvard admission officer saying in 1990 that 95% of applicants were academically qualified. Another once said that they could fill the entire class and then drop all those people and go on to assemble a new class that is equally good.

    One choice bit on the 2nd page:

    We have found that the best predictors at Harvard are Advanced Placement tests and International Baccalaureate Exams, closely followed by the College Board subject tests. High school grades are next in predictive power, followed by the SAT and ACT. The writing tests of the SAT and ACT have predictive power similar to the subject tests.

  • 499. CPS Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    492. Anonymous1 Regarding homework load. I had two kids with different strengths. In math both were “A” students but one had to do all the homework and spent a lot of time on it. I would say one to 1 1/2 hours per night if due the next day. The other kid never did any homework in math except for a bit of review for tests. Same was true for Physics. For all math classes and some science classes homework is optional and never graded. Math kid was a good but slow writer and would procrastinate endlessly, the other kid could whip out papers at sprint speed.

    Overall the homework was very manageable. The all block schedule also helps if kids use time wisely. Homework only piles up if procrastination/bad planning is in play.

  • 500. James  |  February 24, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    @ 496 (junior) —

    “I don’t see how your (unsourced) stats represent back up any point you’re trying to make.”

    Stats? What stats? I cited no stats at all. I was questioning numbers cited by another poster about Ivy League acceptances at Payton for this year. As it turns out, that poster now admits that the numbers he was flinging around come from the “school rumor mill” and nothing else. And, as I and others showed, they cannot be correct.

    Anywho, my point (to the extent I had one other than correcting mistaken claims) was that IF we were going to use Ivy admissions stats as one indicator in how well a high school prepares kids for college admissions, THEN we should at least use accurate numbers. Believe it not, I stand by that point.

  • 501. LindblomPrincipal  |  February 24, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    To 440 Chicago School GPS: Yes, we have such a large 8th grade Academic Center class (Many more accepted two years ago than we expected) that we reduced the overall ninth grade offers this year.

    Hope to see some some of you CPSObsessed types this Saturday (if your child received an acceptance letter)!

    Go, (Lindblom) Eagles!

  • 502. cpsobsessed  |  February 24, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    I’m going to move the detailed college comments to a separate thread tonight.

    So we can keep this focused on SEHS for easier reading.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 503. LadyD  |  February 24, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Thank you

  • 504. Logan Square Parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    @478..I know alot of students that had the Catholic Elementary Education and opted for the SEHS Entrance Exam and scored badly on the test and didnt get accepted. But during the same time period they all took the Catholic Entrance Exam and passed it with flying colors. Go Figure!!!

  • 505. HS Mom  |  February 24, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    @280 – I think curriculum can be compared between schools and is an important component in a) variety and number of different courses offered and b) level of classes that are offered at the school. Some schools offer all honors, different math programs, language classes vary, specialty classes like engineering, law or business. A class like writing will be taught differently in IB vs others.

    @278 – to add to your list, block scheduling may be important in ranking schools.

  • 506. junior  |  February 24, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    @500 James

    Sorry, James — I meant to refer to the same numbers you were referring to. We are in agreement.

  • 507. North Center Mom  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    @467 Harlem Blue Line
    Jones generally has Freshmen Connection in the summer. I say generally because it is funded by Friends of Jones contributions and nothing has been announced yet. If they are able to hold it, I highly recommend it. Last summer it was held every morning for 2 weeks. It’s a great way for your child to gain confidence with their new commute, meet new classmates and teachers, and become familiar with the building and neighborhood. It made all the difference for my son to know a few friendly faces when school started in the fall.

  • 508. Food for thought  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    If you are a tier 4 family from the north side and your child gets one b, scores 93% for both reading and math in 7th grade and 91% on the sehs exam you are effectively shut out of all selective enrollment high schools in the area, including lane.

  • 509. Parentofastudent  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Any one have any principal discretion stories? Like what gets kids in?

  • 510. pantherparent  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    @508 And I think that’s fair. What you’ve described is a good student not a great student. And surely not a gifted student.

  • 511. cpsobsessed  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    I agree about that not being a particularly selective level student. Statistically a lot of tier 4 students are doing better than that which is why that won’t get you a seat at a nearby school.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 512. Hoping for round 2  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    @food for thought- My daughters test scores were identical to what you described and 1 b as well and she just missed cutoff for lane. She worked hard and it’s very disappointing.

  • 513. Food for thought  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    @510 and @511 So where is this good student supposed to go? And why are they good but not great yet a lower tier student is great?

    Let’s remember that not all schools just hand out As.

    Is the term gifted used for any of these schools?

    @512, I am sure your daughter is great! Good luck to her.

  • 514. Parentofastudent  |  February 24, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Any principal discretion stories? What do the principals look for in the student?

  • 515. HS Mom  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    @460 – HSO – The minimum for any SE seat is 650 – this has been true since 2011. I believe 2010 was 600 with Northside and Lindblom setting their own cut-offs. People objected and the 650 for everyone was set. I imagine that a school can draw from all tiers to meet a deficit in the minimum. Since 2nd round scores are not posted (for those schools that have one), I would also guess that they may take lower scores to fill seats with the new per pupil funding.

  • 516. Curious parent  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Any truth to a rumor I heard that Lane was changing to block scheduling? I know WP, NCP and I think Jones have block scheduling – what about the other “top” schools? does anyone know if this will soon be the norm? Do you think we will see all the schools make the change?

  • 517. realchicagomama  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Why not go to her neighborhood high school? Or try for a spot at a magnet, where the entry point is lower (and universally applied within the tier system)?

  • 518. IBobsessed  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    @510 the fact that you feel confident reaching such sweeping conclusions about this student, based solely upon standardized test results and 1 grade of ‘B’ in a single year shows how successful the quantification of educational assessment has become. Standardized tests do a poor job of measuring initiative, imagination, creativity, critical thinking, divergent thinking, curiosity, judgment, ability to see nuance, systems thinking, ethical reflection………What they do measure are specific isolated skills and content knowledge.

  • 519. HS Mom  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    @516 – Yes, Jones is block. Also Lindblom and Brooks.

  • 520. Chicago School GPS  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    @514- Principal’s Discretion is a highly regulated process that has strict guidelines for both the applicant and principals to follow. Basically, a student must state that they are applying due to:
    1) Unique skills or abilities;
    2) Activities demonstrating social responsibility;
    3) Extenuating circumstances; and/or
    4) Demonstrated ability to overcome hardship.
    Supporting evidence must be submitted, along with recommendations. The application comes out on 3/3/14 and the packet itself is due on 3/14/14.
    I will talk in more detail at the “What’s Next? Decisions After Notifications” seminar on 3/4/14 at Alcott College Prep if you can make it. http://www.chischoolgps.com/CSG_HS_What_s_Next_.html

  • 521. mom  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Make sure your child does not get a B in 7th grade. This is all nonsense but it is the game you have to play.

  • 522. mom  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Lane is too big for block scheduling.

  • 523. Questioner  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Selective enrollment letter arrived today. Tier 4, 883, offered a seat at Young. Not offered Jones (which we ranked before Young). Lost a tie-breaker. Yikes.

  • 524. BR  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    How does being a large school prevent Lane from going to block scheduling?

  • 525. Questioner  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Has anyone accepted to Young received a welcome letter/packet yet?

  • 526. Gobemouche  |  February 24, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    Lets keep in mind that just a couple of years ago, that so called “good but not great” student would have gotten into Lane by RANK. Based on the info given, that student’s total score was 833. In the 2011-12 school year, the minimum for tier 4 at Lane was just 782. And, since the minimum for all SEHS is 650, I don’t think its right to start inferring this child is somehow subpar.

    What would be more interesting would be to discuss how much things have changed in such a short amount of time, what the real options are, and where this is all headed (900 or nothing at all for all north side SEHSs?).

    But lets not act like that parent is crazy for being upset or whatever. Let them vent, it won’t hurt anybody.

    Remember the people first, the numbers second.

    On the other hand,if your kid didn’t get in, lets also not start insinuating that everybody else was “handed” their As. This whole thing is awful to watch, but lets not pull each other down.

    So, for the ‘B’ student, I think there are still good options. Did he/she apply to Taft or Senn or Von Stuebuen or any other options? What is the neighborhood school?

  • 527. pantherettie  |  February 25, 2014 at 12:00 am

    “Curious” your comment about block scheduling at “top” schools is exactly what is the problem that was described earlier in this thread about attitudes about some folks needing to make “elite” SEHS even more “elite” why not just ask the question which SEHS have block scheduling? Get your answer and then determine if its the right fit for your child or maybe obsess about if block schedules are more likely to get your kid into Harvard, Yale or Brown – but only if they are from a tier 4 household and “deserve” to be there due to his/her extrodinarily high ISAT scores, straight A’s from k-12th grade ( at a SEES school or Edgebrook) and either a 35 or 36 on the ACT.

  • 528. mom  |  February 25, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Block scheduling is very complex to schedule –it would be virtually impossible at Lane with all of its programs. I would have hated block scheduling–90 minute math class–ugh.

  • 529. mom  |  February 25, 2014 at 12:17 am

    @527 I think you’ve summed it up. This is getting absurd.

  • 530. LPMom  |  February 25, 2014 at 12:25 am

    525–no, not yet– wonder where they are. Called this morning to set up shadowing, and they were quite confused about it.

  • 531. cpsobsessed  |  February 25, 2014 at 7:33 am

    Very good point gobemouche. I certainly don’t mean to make any child feel like they’re less than anyone else – I apologize for doing so if it came across that way. Unfortunatel with SEHS and now even IB it all comes down to the grades/scores and nothing else.

    I will point out though that a few years ago, lane was not on the acceptable list for many families (again, not to disparage lane.). Thus the same family with the same kid may not have cared about the ability to get into lane, just as many families overlook the fact that their child could get into several non-northside SEHS.

    I guess what I’m saying is that saying “a kid like that could have gotten into lane a few years back” may not have mattered at the time.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 532. cpsobsessed  |  February 25, 2014 at 8:10 am

    To add one more point, I think the more one knows about the process (aka “obsesses”) the few surprises there are at the outcome. A non-obsesser could easily think that a child with 3 A’s and scores in the 90’s should get entry to a local selective school. It sounds impressive and any parent would love a child who performs at that level and shows diligence.

    Having been following this process for years and following the cutoff scores, my current frame of mind is that my son will likely be in that range — so I consider him borderline for lane in my mind. I suspect it’ll come down to some luck and his mood the day of the test/s which can be what makes or breaks it. Mentally, I don’t consider him a shoe-in for north side SEHS.

    And I think this is where we come back to wanting good neighborhood options because having rigorous classes in a non-SEHS setting would probably be ideal.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 533. HS Mom  |  February 25, 2014 at 8:31 am

    @526 – Gobe, thanks and I agree. I’m not suggesting that kids are “handed” their grades but grade inflation is a very real issue when it comes to the SE process. This is not only where things are headed but is here. The reason kids could rank into Lane is because many kids had B’s prior to the new push for all A’s.

  • 534. CPSMom  |  February 25, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Regarding comments on block scheduling, both students and teachers like block scheduling. The teachers like it because more can be accomplished during the class period. The students like it because frequently they are able to complete some homework during the class period and only have homework due for certain classes on any given day.

  • 535. Nervous No More  |  February 25, 2014 at 8:49 am

    @525-Have not received Young packet yet. If memory serves-and honestly sometimes it doesn’t anymore–last year I remember getting confirmation letter from WY first and the package followed the next week. This year, confirmation came from CPS first with nothing from Young.

  • 536. pantherettie  |  February 25, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I would add that there are some strong SEHS schools that are not on the northside where a student with the grades and scores you describe can gain entry. I agree with an earlier comment that SEHS are not officially and explicitly described as schools for “gifted” students ( as ACs and RGCs) . However the cutoff scores for NSCP and Payton indicate that a child really must be gifted in order to attend. Maybe it would be better for CPS to be transparent about that and call these the “RGC High schools” and the rest SEHS. It would mean that the admissions would need to be fair, transparent and consistent AND they would need to be located on north and south side communities.

  • 537. Food for thought  |  February 25, 2014 at 8:54 am

    @532. Even if you knew the process a child with those scores would have gotten in just last year. The way the scores continue to rise is concerning. While it is true that those scores could get in to a south side sehs the commute time to south side schools is a hindrance. Particularly if your child wants to participate in extracurricular activities.

    I think this experiment being conducted by cps is going to produce some fascinating research papers. Almost wish I was in graduate school to undertake one.

  • 538. cpsobsessed  |  February 25, 2014 at 8:56 am

    @food for thought, what experiment is that?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 539. Jones  |  February 25, 2014 at 9:35 am

    I don’t think that parents necessarily ‘overlook’ southside SEHSs. It’s the commute. Many students & parents do not want to spend 1-1 1/2 hours commuting each way to school. It not only cuts into study time it also limits what, if any, extracurriculars they can participate in. That doesn’t benefit the school or the student.

  • 540. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 25, 2014 at 9:39 am

    I think the rising scores this year can be attributed to the fact that there is no possible way to assign a percentile score accurately when the entire population has not taken the test, as happened with the early testing.

    And, I know I’m shouting into the wind, but I think they need to make the SEHS exams much more difficult. The feedback from my son and his friends, strictly anecdotal of course, is that the test was extremely easy.

    Why so easy? I’m postulating here, but my guess is that an easy test favors certain connected families.

  • 541. Food for thought  |  February 25, 2014 at 10:00 am

    Perhaps experiment is the wrong word.

    On the other hand. . . .”An experiment is an orderly procedure carried out with the goal of verifying, refuting, or establishing the validity of a hypothesis.”

    CPS has a hypothesis for the tier system and are currently implementing an orderly procedure to verify or refute it. Hopefully they are looking at the findings, both those that were desired as well as any possible unintended side effects.

  • 542. pantherettie  |  February 25, 2014 at 10:00 am

    @539 I agree with you regarding the commute. As a Hyde Parker, there is absolutely no way that I would encourage my child to even apply to NSCP, WP or Lane. The commute is absolutely too long for a healthy school/life balance. We did the AC route so the options for us were Kenwood and Lindblom. If we were doing the whole SEHS application process (and we may next year) the choices will be Jones, Lindblom and *maybe* WY if my kid indicates that she is interested in giving up an extracurricular activity as a result of the commute. Of those schools, the best fit (which will probably be her current AC) will be the one that fits her academic interests and social needs – not the one with the highest entrance scores or “status”.

    That said, there are 3 SEHS on the north side of the city – Lane, WP, NSCP, 4 on the south side – King, Lindblom, Brooks and South Shore and 3 “in between” – WY, Jones and Westinghouse. I just think that this type of geographic spread indicates that there are options for kids who live on the north side if parents and students are willing to give them a try.

  • 543. hydeparkparent  |  February 25, 2014 at 10:13 am

    So good to hear different opinions on the commute issue. I too am in Hyde Park and my son got an offer from Lane and I want to consider it. My question for you is why do you think that limits the extracurricular activity? My son is interested in performing arts so if he is rehearsing at Lane after school he could just take public transport home after that, right? I realize that cuts into homework time, no doubt, but it could still be manageable. I am also hoping to find other people in the area who might be interested in ride sharing/car pooling..

  • 544. A  |  February 25, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Does anyone know whether the admissions letters for Academic Centers (admission for 7th grade) have been sent, and if not, when we can expect them? My 8th grader got his acceptance letter for WY (Tier 3, 879). Meanwhile my 6th grader, who is applying to the academic center at WY, was not particularly anxious about the process — until her older brother got his letter. Now she is watching the mail.

  • 545. pantherettie  |  February 25, 2014 at 10:42 am

    @543 – for our family the commute would be too long to Lane for the following reasons:
    1. My child has been part of an extracurricular activity located in the community that really is time intensive. A 1 or 1.5 hour commute would prevent her from participating in it. It’s really important to her school/life balance to have an activity she loves.

    2. A 1 or 1.5 hour commute would make it really hard for her to participate in afterschool activities at the school while she was dependent upon public transportation. There’s a big difference between getting on the bus or train at 3:15 vs. 5:00, especially when it gets dark between 4:30 and 5 pm during the heart of winter. Attending a closer school has allowed her to participate in after school activities that she would not have if she had an hour or more commute.

    3. We just don’t want her to have a 12 hour day at 14 years old when she has the rest of her life to have to do that AND there are excellent options closer to our home.

    4. No matter how great people are, you can’t count on ride sharing/car pooling primarily.

    JMHO. What are your reasons for considering the commute? Maybe we’ve been looking at things in a more narrow way than others have?

  • 546. OutsideLookingIn  |  February 25, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Comments implying that achieving 900 points is such a walk in the park (schools handing out A’s, tests are too easy) are really obnoxious. So earning 900 points isn’t really a notable achievement? And someone who scored in the 90’s is pronounced a “good, not great student”? That’s unbelievable.

    It is highly competitive to get into SEHS, and not every bright, hardworking kid can get a seat. That’s reality. But why parents feel the need to spit on other kids’ remarkable achievements is beyond me.

    Perhaps 8th grade kids who find the SEHS test “extremely easy” don’t belong in SEHS at all. They belong in college.

  • 547. A  |  February 25, 2014 at 10:45 am

    About the commute issue, there are several posts here from Hyde Park parents (I am one). Does anyone know whether Hyde Parkers with kids who attend WY have considered a carpool? The time factor for travel is the one signiicant concern I have. My kids don’t do extracurriculars every day, but over the course of a week, they are committed to about ten hours of performing arts activities which I would not want them to have to give up.

  • 548. pantherparent  |  February 25, 2014 at 10:47 am

    @518 And batting average and runs created don’t tell the whole picture of a baseball player either but it’s pretty good and it’s easily measured. I feel better running admittance with this current system than an “expert” assessing my child and determining if he is more curious or more imaginative than the other and using those subjective results as factors for admittance.

    @527 Since block scheduling is used at Northside and Payton, and they have great results, it’s natural that people would look to see if that is a contributing factor to their sucess and look to copy it.

    I didn’t see the comment as elitist but just wondering if other schools might want to adopt it. That’s how education is. If it worked there, let’s try it here. However, I don’t believe putting block scheduling at a neighborhhod high school will magically make it better.

    That said, my kids go to NSCP and they love block scheduling to the point where when they have the occasional 8 period day they feel like they get nothing done.

  • 549. LP  |  February 25, 2014 at 10:48 am

    @540 “they need to make the SEHS exams much more difficult.”

    What you are arguing for doesnt make sense. SEHS reports a percentile based score, ~1% of the kids get 300s.

    If you look at the raw score you may see that there is a wide range of scores that fall within the top 1%. Making the test harder would just increase the score range that receives a 300. Make it too hard and it rewards lucky guessing.

  • 550. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 25, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I’m not an educator, but if I were, I’d be much more excited teaching a kid who was a 3.75 GPA who got a 300 on an extremely hard exam over a kid with a 4.0 who got a 270 on the same test.


    When you see students with 90 ISATs getting 300s, to me it says the SEHS exam needs to be made more difficult.

    Granularity is good, not bad.

  • 551. NWEAscores?  |  February 25, 2014 at 11:08 am


    Click to access 14-15+Selective+Enrollment+Scores.pdf

  • 552. NWEAscores?  |  February 25, 2014 at 11:11 am


    According to Matthew Greenberg, partner of educational services firm SelectivePrep, “The demand for high quality public high schools in Chicago continues to grow, pushing up the scores needed to secure a seat in a competitive Selective High School Enrollment School. As a result, academically talented Tier 3 and Tier 4 students – Chicago’s middle class — find that their options are limited. Continuing to squeeze more and more students into existing schools is not a workable way to meet this demand.”

  • 553. Chicago School GPS  |  February 25, 2014 at 11:12 am

    @544- AC letters are part of the SEES process and therefore mailed on 3/21/14.

    Regarding other SEHS, Westinghouse is a great hidden gem with an outstanding facility and great programs (they have a CTC “college to career” track for Health Science, Business, Oracle & Broadcasting/Media Technology) that are open to both their SEHS and CTC students. Their extensive partnership with Northwestern School of Medicine makes possible the Health Sciences Academy which is incredible for kids interested in the field of medicine.

    I also like Lindblom because of the fabulous leadership there and the “outside the box” thinking they bring. Wonderful, nurturing environment.

  • 554. LP  |  February 25, 2014 at 11:21 am

    regarding rising scores

    Part of what we are seeing is the result of national and generational trends. Young families with kids are returning to the top cities. This puts increased pressure on the schools but also leads to school improvement.

    But another factor is herd mentality, particularly among Tier 4 families.

    10 years ago in our own little Tier 4 bubble the commentary was that CPS had some good elementary schools but high school had to be either private or suburbs. Now these same families are scrambling for PNJY.

    Jones in particular is a great success story. 4 years ago it was a lot easier to get into but it wasnt considered an option by many with a narrow view. As CPSO points out Lane has had a similar rebound for the much discussed “students with a B”.

    My point is that if your kid didnt make the cut for the currently trendy schools I would encourage you to expand your sights. By all accounts Brooks is fantastic. The principal at Lindblom (who posts here) is a rock star, yes the school is in Englewood but 10 years ago Payton was described as being next to Cabrini Green. Get out of the bubble and the choices expand dramatically.

  • 555. pantherettie  |  February 25, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Very well said 553 and 554. I especially like the idea that you encourage parents and kids to think about schools that are “outside of the bubble”.

  • 556. IBobsessed  |  February 25, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    @548 ” feel better running admittance with this current system than an “expert” assessing my child and determining if he is more curious or more imaginative than the other …”

    I was not suggesting that some expert should test your child’s imagination for HS admissions. The point was that you feel amazingly confident in concluding that a child is not a great student or a gifted student based upon extremely limited information-1 set of test scores in the low 90s and a B grade. The point was that this child could have extraordinary creativity, initiative, systems thinking, critical thinking, judgment, writing ability, non mathematical problem solving ability that cannot be captured by a multiple choice, standardized test. These are not quantifiable. And yes, it is EASY to use quantifiable data. Easy doesn’t =giving a complete picture of a student’s potential. I’m just cautioning against parents uncritically accepting the criteria the CPS bureaucracy sets for HS admissions as true and complete pictures of what kind of student a child is.

  • 557. mom2  |  February 25, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Take every student, teacher, administrator and the building itself from Lindbloom or Brooks and move the whole school downtown or north and most parents I know would send their kids there in a heart beat. Location is a huge factor – travel time and safety.

  • 558. Food for thought  |  February 25, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    I would consider schools such as lindblom and brooks but they are not geographically convenient being between 15 and 20 miles away. That just seems a bit too much to put on a 14yo with regard to getting to school on a daily basis. I would still like my kids to have a balanced life and not have their commute be their extracurricular activity.

  • 559. CPS Parent  |  February 25, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    For many years I helped with the Payton open house tours when Cabrini Green was just around the corner. I spoke to probably hundreds of visiting parents over the years. It was interesting that the African American parents from the South side were much more concerned about safety than the North-siders were. For them, Payton was in a bad neighborhood.

  • 560. Momof5  |  February 25, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    @LP: “10 years ago in our own little Tier 4 bubble the commentary was that CPS had some good elementary schools but high school had to be either private or suburbs. Now these same families are scrambling for PNJY.”

    This is our experience as well. We had always wished for a public high school experience for our kids and people in our tier 4 catholic elementary school community looked at us like we were nuts when my son decided to go to Lane. One woman when asked where her child would be going and prior to her knowing where my son had chosen to attend stated, “well, she got into Lane but who would ever send their child there? Not us. Have you seen the kids that go there?” I kid you not. Complete with pearl clutching and everything. When she eventually asked about my son, I proudly answered, “Lane,” and relished at the look on her face and the speed with which she left the conversation. I swear there were smoke and skid marks.

    We have never regretted our decision to send our kids there. It’s a great school and some other families from our kids’ elementary have chosen Lane for their children. I do feel that for the most part, people only focus on what they consider the “top 4” and tend to look
    down on the other SEHS. One mom said to me “we need to do something to get more of our elementary school families to consider Lane.” My answer was I’m not doing a thing. I am thankful for the lack of airs this school has. I am thankful for the exposure my children have to so many other kids from so many backgrounds. I am thankful my kids can play HS sports, do theater, etc. If people cannot see the value of that, what else can be done? Having my children graduate with honors and continuing on to a great college or university may be the proof some need to see, but again, what makes one college or university better than another? Ultimately it is where your child will learn, grow and excel.

  • 561. Momof5  |  February 25, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    And now I’m completely ashamed I didn’t proofread my last post. Please forgive the grammatical errors. Ugh.

  • 562. Chris  |  February 25, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    ” Location is a huge factor – travel time ”

    It’s the inverse of why (relatively) fewer T1 kids preference Northside.

    With where we live, Brooks isn’t even a possible consideration, Lindblom would be 90+ minutes each way via transit (and driving not plausible), etc. Westinghouse would be plausible (and basically the same as WY), but that’s the extent of commuting distance I’d be comfortable with (and are in locations that would make dropping off *or* picking up possible at least sometimes).

    “and safety.”

    *perception* of safety. bc even if it were provable (I know it’s not) that the kids were 100% safe to/from and at School X, the perception that Englewood or Garfield Park or whatever is not safe would limit those willing to try.

  • 563. mom2  |  February 25, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    @560 momof5 – totally agree about Lane. @562 Chris – agree!

  • 564. Chris  |  February 25, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    “When you see students with 90 ISATs getting 300s, to me it says the SEHS exam needs to be made more difficult.”

    That doesn’t follow–as Christopher Ball points out all the time, on a well-designed test, 90 and 99 are both within the same expected range of ‘true’ ability. So, make the 8th-grade test harder, and you’d still get kids with 90s in 7th grade getting 99s, and vice versa.

    Now, if there were 1,000 kids getting “99s” on the 8th grade test, then it would be demonstrably too easy. But that’s not the case.

  • 565. Chris  |  February 25, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    “totally agree about Lane.”

    There is a high likelihood that, when the time comes, Lane will rank first in our house *simply because it’s close*. The advantage of a sub-15 minute travel time is hard to overstate, especially for non-early-risers.

  • 566. 19th ward Mom  |  February 25, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I am curious about the higher scores that were needed to get into almost all the schools this year. The change that CPS announced where they would only take the 1st test score for Private School students for 7th grade achievement. Did it effect the current 8th graders this year or was this announcement for next year’s class (i.e. the current 7th graders).

  • 567. Anonymous1  |  February 25, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    499 CPS Parent

    Many thanks – your comments were very helpful and reassuring! (Sending a kid their way this fall.)

  • 568. Mom  |  February 25, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I think some of these posts show a certain kind of attitude that perhaps one should be careful with — (1) the notion that the kid with one B and mid-90s tests is a “good, not great” student and “maybe not qualified for true gifted”; and (2) the notion that NSCP and Payton are where the “really smart, gifted” kids go. (I’m not actually quoting, just summarizing.) These notions may be true when we are exclusively talking about Tier 4 students. But as has been demonstrated upthread, there are Tier 1 kids getting into NSCP with 839s (the same or worse profile) as the kid who is being disparaged as unqualified due to one B, etc. This is not to say anything about who *should* get in over whom. Just pointing out the inconsistency in disparaging one kid as “less-than” the other. Ideally, there would be great options for both of those kids.

  • 569. mom2  |  February 25, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Also, don’t forget that there are plenty of perfect 900 scoring kids that chose Jones, Young and Lane as their first choice. Not everyone thinks that NSCP and Payton are the best.

  • 570. pantherparent  |  February 25, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    I wrote the “good, not great” post and perhaps was too glib. But even if I had said, “great, not outstanding” the point is the same. You have to draw a line somewhere. These are Selective Enrollment High Schools. Not everyone gets to go.

    If you assume that 50% of rank seats go to Tier 4 kids (and I think that’s a conservative estimate) that’s 384 slots at PaNYJ and Lane. Couple that with the 448 seats for Tier 4 and it’s 832 seats.

    Is that a fair number? I’m not sure. How many Tier 4 8th graders are there? And before knowing that, what % should go to SEHS? 2%? 3? 10?

  • 571. Looking at colleges  |  February 25, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    I have been reading these posts and I think that disparaging students who do not have the “points” to get into SEHS is unfair and arrogant. One thing, not everyone is playing on a level playing field, I have known kids in my childrens’ elementary schools that were very intelligent, but had to come home from school and watch their younger siblings, while their immigrant parents worked one or two jobs – are these children not intelligent, not gifted or not blessed with parents who smooth the way for them and pay for “Selective Prep” so they can get perfect scores.

    I have one child at Northside and one at Lane and I can tell you, they are very different schools and there are many reasons that people would choose Lane over Northside – one of many being lots of what I would call traditional school spirit – pep rallies, football games, etc. Another thing is, although, I love Northside and my son is very happy to be there, don’t fool yourself into thinking everyone there (including tier 4 students) is motivated and working toward an ivy league education. There are plenty of students (just like everywhere else) that do drugs and don’t do assignments.

    To those people that don’t think you can get a good education elsewhere, I know people who have done very well in Von Scholars, Senn’s IB is good, Lakeview is good. The truth is, there are good programs everywhere. Last year, my son who goes to Northside stood on the bus corner with a boy who was a senior at Mather and they discussed AP classes and other things. I may be happy with where my son goes to school, but I was happier with him when he said to me that he did not understand why everyone thinks Mather is so bad when this boy was clearly a very good student.

  • 572. Chris  |  February 25, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    “How many Tier 4 8th graders are there?”

    It’s *supposed to* be 25% of the total 8th graders. Using 20th day stats, there are 28,177 8th graders in CPS this year. There are about 6,000 8th graders at all Archdiocese schools (not all Chicagoans), which is probably (trading the non-Chicago catholics for the Chicago non-catholics) reasonably close to the non-CPS 8th graders–so, about 34,000, and about 8,500 per Tier. So, about 10%.

    BUT: I think you underestimate the portion of rank seats going to T4. Look at the stats from last year here: https://cpsobsessed.com/2013/06/03/tier-admissions-for-sehs-20134-school-year/

  • 573. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  February 25, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    FYI, school will start after Labor Day (2 Sep. start) and finish 16 June; board will vote to approve tomorrow. Spring break is 1st week of April.

  • 574. pantherettie  |  February 25, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    @559 – Exactly true. @557 – Mom of 2 -For many south side, non-native Chicago families, the north side of the city has the perception of being an unsafe place for our children for a variety of reasons. I think that what is challenging for me to hear is the idea that there is a need for more SEHS on the north side of the city so that a particular demographic would have more “choice” when there are choices available through out the city. You have to choose what’s best for your family.

  • 575. mom2  |  February 25, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    @573 – ugh. Could they just stick with the same calendar for a few years please? Having the same calendar as the suburbs will never work if they only try it for one year before giving up. There are tons of summer job advantages for kids to get out of school early in June that CPS keeps taking away from kids by changing back to the old fashioned schedule. I know some of you wealthier folks like the vacation at the end of August, but the rest of us struggle for child care after all the camps close and everyone else is back at school.

  • 576. cpscraziness  |  February 25, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    @575 – the struggles! i have a kid in CPS and another in the burbs (because of SE nightmare) this year they both have different spring breaks. 😦

  • 577. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  February 25, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    @571: Just wait until next month when the conversation shifts to SEES admissions and how the 4- and 5-year-olds who didn’t get offers are ruined for life. The whole selective enrollment process, as you already know, can be stress inducing and heart wrenching.

  • 578. Sue K.  |  February 25, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    @560: Agreed! I like your take.

  • 579. LP  |  February 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    “I have been reading these posts and I think that disparaging students who do not have the “points” to get into SEHS is unfair and arrogant.”

    I havent seen a single post disparaging students, the closest was the mom who is glad her kids dont have to be around the snooty kids at the top schools. Other than that did I miss something?

    Obviously this is a sensitive time for parents but every post should not require a disclaimer at the bottom stating that all students are precious and scores/schools/grades dont tell the whole story.

  • 580. Momof5  |  February 25, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    @571 Looking at colleges: “I have been reading these posts and I think that disparaging students who do not have the “points” to get into SEHS is unfair and arrogant. One thing, not everyone is playing on a level playing field, I have known kids in my childrens’ elementary schools that were very intelligent, but had to come home from school and watch their younger siblings, while their immigrant parents worked one or two jobs – are these children not intelligent, not gifted or not blessed with parents who smooth the way for them and pay for “Selective Prep” so they can get perfect scores.”

    I completely agree. Add to that the fact that the difference between getting into one school or another is sometimes as small as getting one or 2 questions wrong on the admissions exam. That wouldn’t make one student significantly more intelligent than another. I understand there needs to be a cutoff score but we must remember these are children and the perception of their potential should not be constrained to the results of the SEHS selection process.

  • 581. Patricia  |  February 25, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    “totally agree about Lane.”

    Let me start with a disclaimer 😉 I think ALL the SEHS are a good option and MANY IB and neighborhood HS are as well. No bashing of any good choices from me and I recongnize that it is different for every child. That said, I have an AC kid at Lane and it is fabulous! I would be fine if my kid stayed through HS and in fact may prefer it. Only other school we would consider is Payton, simply because of location and logistics. Seeing how close Lane is for our family and the great neighborhood with surrounding area where a kid can gain independence is a big factor for me as a parent. Lane has all but 2 of the AP classes possible, sports, over 200 clubs and traditional grounds/building that is great. It feels like a “normal” HS to me. (And I am sure many other HS are great, not bashing others, just giving my perspective on Lane.)

    Also, Lane has the diversity that I seek as a parent. Diversity is one reason why I am raising my kids in the city. Great mix of nice kids from all backgrounds, religions and socio-economic situations. Of course there are good and bad influences everywhere, but have not encoutered them yet with my kid. I am sure it will come along, but an important life lesson is how to keep yourself on the right path, even when there may be others choosing a different path. Go Lane!

  • 582. freespeechmama  |  February 25, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Son #1 is at Northside (Tier 4, 900), and son #2 will enter Lane (Tier 4, 900) this year. We love Northside, but it wouldn’t be as good a fit for son #2 for several reasons. And although we live on the far NW side, the public transportation commute to NSCP is 90 minutes (!), while the bus commute to Lane appears to be only 60 minutes. I feel that commute time is an important factor to consider, as others have mentioned. What I really want: high school start times of 9am or later!

  • 583. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 25, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Glad the calendar will be back to going back to after Labor Day…I know many kids who missed due to vacas and also will be missing coming up on March 3rd due to Pulaski Day no longer a holiday just like they took off for presidents’ day. The calendar can’t please everyone…but CPS just didn’t have the numbers for a pre Labor Day school starting date.

    Also, agreeing w/Patricia~all of the SEHS are good options!

  • 584. Another mommy  |  February 25, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Oh my gosh!…just reading the threads here. My oldest is only in 4th grade and we are thinking about high school already. I have a good friend who teaches at Walter Payton and she said she WOULD NOT send her kid there. She said the kids are stressed out and constantly sending out emails to her at 1am asking about assignments. Don’t get me wrong, schools like Payton and Northside are just beyond anyone’s expectations in regard to a first rate education here in Chicago. On the flip side, I DO know a lot of kids end up leaving those schools because of the academic pressure it puts on those kids. If your kid LOVES to learn (not just smart) they will enjoy the academic rigor. I do hear sophomore year is the sink or swim year at these schools. I guess my point is these schools are not the end all be all. My family and I are dedicated Chicagoians and will not sell our house to move out to the surburbs. You might as well just rip my soul out of me.

    I personally came from a CPS high school here in Chicago (one of the better ones). I turned out just fine. I am a cancer research scientist at a major pharmaceutical company here in IL. I wouldn’t change my experience for anything in the world and I want my kids to experience that, too. Of course, if my kids wanted to attend a school like Northside or Payton I would support their decision. My dream schools for my kids are 1) Whitney Young 2) Lane Tech 3) Lincoln Park I.B. or 4) Jones College Prep. Of course, this could change seeing I am 3 yrs away from this milestone moment. Just wanted to share my thoughts. Some of you need to seriously RELAX. Geesh.

  • 585. CPS Parent  |  February 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    584. Another mommy, the drop out rate at Payton is about 0%.

  • 586. pantherparent  |  February 25, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    I’ve said it before but I think it bears repeating. Go to any SEHS and ask the kids what the best high school in the city is and they’ll say theirs is. And that’s how it should be.

    @582 freespeechmama I could live in McHenry and get to Northside in less than 90 minutes. Are you sure your child isn’t stopping at EPI for a drink on the way home?

  • 587. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 25, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Not sure but I heard the attrition rate (not drop out rate) at all the SEHS is abt 10%.

  • 588. IBobsessed  |  February 25, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    @587 …which prompts me to post a question I’ve had for a long time. What does anyone know about transfers into SEHSs after 9th grade? How do you apply?

  • 589. catloverandhsparent  |  February 25, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    how many kids apply for principal discretion? who gets chosen?

  • 590. Sheri  |  February 25, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Can anyone answer if Whitney has block scheduling? Also how is their homework load?

  • 591. Tier4denial  |  February 25, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Son received an 861 – Tier 4.

    Did not get into Jones, Whitney or Payton.
    Wait list for Jones Eng/Law CTE program
    Did get into Lincoln Park IB.

    After ALOT of deliberation, we chose to send him to Brother Rice (private school) vs LPIB. In a nutshell, getting out of school @4PM and having a 1.5 hr (minimum) commute each way would affect how much time he would have to do the IB course work and be able to play travel hockey. Were if not for these 2 factors, we definitely would have sent him to LPIB.

    We were really impressed with the curricula and administration there.

    Thanks for all of the insights on this blog. See you all in 2 years when its my 2nd son’s turn to go through this whole ordeal.

  • 592. Kelly  |  February 25, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    #585 CPS parent, my apologies. I should have been more clear. Northside is where “some” kids are leaving. I heard this firsthand from a parent. Her kid is a senior there now.

  • 593. Kelly  |  February 25, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    #585 CPS parent, my apologies. I should have been more clear. Northside is where “some” kids are leaving. I heard this firsthand from a parent. Her kid is a senior there now, so we’re talking a few years ago. Not sure if this trend is continuing there.

  • 594. jones  |  February 25, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Friends of Jones

    4 hours ago.

    Congratulations to the Jones College Prep class of 2018! A couple fun facts about the incoming group:

    > 11,950 students put down Jones as a choice in the selective enrollment process, up from about 9,000 last year and only about 3,000 six years ago.

    > CTE applications increased from 1,000 last year to over 4,000 this year.

    > Over 75% of the students offered seats at Jones listed us as their first choice; five years ago, this figure was in the 40% range.

    > Cut-off scores have increased dramatically over the past several years and now exceed those of Whitney Young, ranking Jones #3 in CPS in terms of qualifying scores:

    Tier 1 805
    Tier 2 825
    Tier 3 857
    Tier 4 883

    Like · · Share.

    19 people like this..

    Barbara Bell Hartnack With a wonderful new school – no wonder. Lucky kids who get in!

    26 minutes ago · Like

    Write a comment…

  • 595. Counterpoint for discussion  |  February 25, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    To 592:
    Why are “some kids” leaving? I know the few that left, and I’ld love to know what you think the reasons were. The reasons “some” left include 1.parents moved for work 2. Student couldn’t manage workload because of disciple (or lack there of) 3. personal crisis (health).

    All valid reasons that are not scandalous or have anything to do with the quality of the school.

  • 596. annoyed parent  |  February 25, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    To whoever said that “Payton and NS should be ‘Gifted SEHS'”..
    Not to knock on either one (Both great schools)
    Neither of these are light years better than Jones, WY, Lane, or any of the other SEHS. It all depends on the fit. Their scores are higher because they are both smaller schools, in addition to being on the North Side, where the tier 4 population is far larger than the south side, making a larger pool of students applying for these two schools (also Lane-but Lane is huge, so the scores are lower).
    As a person who lives on the far south side, we narrowed it down to Jones, WY, and WP. Although King, Lindbloom, and Brooks are closer, these were the easiest to get to via train. While touring these three schools, my daughter didn’t really like the feel of Payton, so it got kicked out of the running quickly. We chose Jones. She scored very high and could have gone to Payton. What I’m saying is, although Payton and NS are great schools, they are not on a pedestal above everyone else and I wish that this assumption would stop being made.

    Again, these schools are both amazing, and my daughter has many friends who loved Payton, and one who loved NS, so we can see why they are so popular. I did not mean to offend anyone, apologies if I did. Congrats to all!

  • 597. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 25, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    590. Sheri | February 25, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    WY is not block scheduling. It wouldn’t work with all the extra curriculars WY offers. It’s an excellent school and is the State Champs in debate, math & chess. The math program is the best there is in any school.

  • 598. pantherparent  |  February 25, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    To those who feel their school has been much-maligned here, in the last couple of days I’ve read Northside is elitist, snotty, unwelcoming to Tier 1 kids, filled with kids on drugs, hard to get to and now has lots of drop outs.

    I guess it goes with the territory.

  • 599. tk  |  February 25, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    I know there has been some discussion here about Lane’s Alpha-STEM program, but I would love more info (work load, pressure, etc.). My son received his packet from Lane today and it also included a letter “extending an opportunity to join the Alpha STEM with AP Capstone Diploma program”. We weren’t expecting this as we thought you were invited to apply and there would be another wait to hear. This is the program my son has been focused on for this whole process… we’ve read all we can and researched, but the one thing we haven’t been able to do is find someone to speak with who has direct experience with the program. He decided years ago that he wants to be an electrical engineer, so this is right up his alley… but is it a recipe for burnout or an opportunity to be completely immersed in a subject he loves?

  • 600. CPS Parent  |  February 25, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    588. IBobsessed There is no transfer process at Payton. Sometimes an overseas exchange student (mainly from China) may attend for a year or so.

  • 601. LaneMom of 2  |  February 25, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    599….We have some experience with Lane’s Alpha-STEM program. My oldest son is now a junior and still in the program. AP Capstone Diploma is not an option for him, but is part of the program for current sophomores and younger. My youngest is an 8th grader in LTAC and will be a freshman next year. He still did not decide if he wants to be in Alpha/AP Capstone. The Science fair is a part of their Math/English/Science classes, and although it was a lot of work freshman year it was only incremental work sophomore year as they keep the same topic. I am not sure if workload is really much more than regular honors classes, but if the child does not like science fair and the research it involves, they will not like Alpha. Junior year my son did not participate in science fair. It was voluntary. Instead, he participated in Alpha clubs and mentored younger alpha students.

    The program is evolving, so I am not aware of what changes will take place next year in addition to AP Capstone being required. However, my son decided to stay in the program as he believes the best math and science teachers at Lane are Alpha and/or AP teachers.

    In addition, I remember there were many “drop outs” out of Alpha after freshman year, so if your son does not like it, he can switch from Alpha to just regular honors classes after freshman year.

    We love Lane. My 8th grader did not apply anywhere else for high school as he already has a spot at Lane. There are so many choices at Lane.

  • 602. southie  |  February 25, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    I just wish people from the northside would just stop saying that there “are good programs everywhere.” Just not true.

  • 603. tk  |  February 25, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    @601 LaneMom of 2

    Thanks for the information! It helps a lot. We’ll have to talk about science fair. He’s only done one and that was in elementary. His middle school didn’t have them, but had lots of other projects which he enjoyed.

  • 604. merelyastudent  |  February 25, 2014 at 8:10 pm


    Current Lane student here. I was in the fall play this past year, and just letting you know… practices were every day until 6. Tech week, until 7. I have about a 45 minute commute, and I rarely got to bed before midnight because of homework, etc. Us drama kids don’t know the meaning of sleep, haha. That being said, the drama program is AMAZING and if your kid can handle the stress, go for it.

    The Alpha program is super math-science heavy, and they require you to do science fair for at least 2 years. If you don’t like science fair, don’t do it. It will be hell. As for being harder than honors, I’m not entirely sure. I’ve heard some of the Alpha teachers are pretty demanding, but you’re not going to avoid those kind of teachers by avoiding Alpha. If your kid really is into all that STEM stuff, then they’ll probably be happy doing this. Don’t do it because it’s an exclusive/prestigious program.

    AP Capstone is a new program starting next year which entails you taking AP Research and AP Seminar as well as 4 other AP credits. You will get a second diploma upon completion and is similar to an IB diploma, except this way, you have a lot more freedom in your choices of classes, since Lane offers all AP classes offered by the College Board. Another bonus (at least for me): taking the research and seminar classes will replace your gym requirements junior and senior year.

  • 605. @554  |  February 25, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    I completely agree with you! My son attends King! I’m not sure why parents in Hyde Park easily dismiss the school. The work is extremely rigorous! It is a very safe neighborhood despite what others think. I am pleased with school! Although my little genius needs to apply himself more 😦

  • 606. HS Mom  |  February 25, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    @550 “I’m not an educator, but if I were, I’d be much more excited teaching a kid who was a 3.75 GPA who got a 300 on an extremely hard exam over a kid with a 4.0 who got a 270 on the same test.”

    Well thank God you’re not an educator!

  • 607. HS Mom  |  February 25, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    @602 – it’s not people from the northside saying that, it’s people in Hyde Park. Someone likes southside schools!

  • 608. anonymouse teacher  |  February 25, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Any chance on a new thread regarding the lame duck ISAT? Saucedo Scholastic Academy is refusing outright to administer the test, with something like 300 families opting out and the teaching staff unanimously stating they will not cooperate and give it. I wonder how many more schools will refuse in the next week. Other schools have written up “vote of no confidence” statements in conjunction with their LSC’s.

  • 609. CPS Parent  |  February 25, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    @608 – Oy vey, here we go again….

  • 610. Testing  |  February 25, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    CPSO @532 – That’s another interesting angle to discuss. To what degree are all parents aware that straight As are not optional at this point for tier 3/4. Obviously, this board discussion includes a set of parents who are clearly “obsessed” and well aware of what needs to be done. But, as another poster pointed out, to the outside observer all As, one B, and scores in the 90s would seem ideal. If you’re not out there obsessing, you might not realize how tight the competition really is.

    So here’s a question for you all: did/does your elementary school counsel 7th graders about the expectations? Do the teachers and admin tell kids and parents that straight As are basically a requirement at this point? What responsibility (if any) do the schools have in guiding 7th graders through this process?

    My child’s school has individual meetings with each kid the summer before 7th grade starts. They go over the numbers and the stats. (They also talk about puberty issues as it relates to hygiene, it’s kind of funny but necessary – time to use deodorant, kids!) They even have them sign a form stating that they’ve been counseled. Does this happen at all CPS schools?

  • 611. pantherettie  |  February 25, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    @607 Actually it’s not about just about liking south side schools, it’s about (for me) saying positive things about schools that many families don’t know much about. I happen to believe that there are strong SEHS options on the south side of the city and I’m interested in responding to comments that explicitly or implicitly indicate that some how SEHS that are on the south side are not as desirable. I’m glad that there are other parents who are doing the same thing.

  • 612. pantherparent  |  February 25, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    @610 Great points. Unfortunately, the amount of misinformation out there, even at the schools, is amazing. I’ve heard counselors give wrong information and when I go to correct them, they tell me I’m wrong. I’ve had two kids through the process. I even know how they break ties if two kids have the same score. And I’m wrong?

    I know one kid this year was told he’ll get a yes or no from every school he puts in his top 6 then he can decide which to accept. I think that’s how it was done about 10 years ago.

    I know another who was told by the school counselor to not even bother to apply to SEHS. He won’t get in. Thank god he didn’t listen. He’s now a junior at Lane.

  • 613. ws  |  February 25, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    You people are nuts. SMH

  • 614. Kelly  |  February 25, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    #595, The impression I got was that the kids that left Northside were not ready for that kind of academic rigor. When I see her again (she is a parent at my kids school that still has younger ones), I will certainly ask her.

  • 615. southie  |  February 25, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Maybe Hyde Park is honorary northside. 😉 The Chicago maps do tend to cut off south of Hyde Park.

  • 616. Momof5  |  February 25, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    @610 Testing and @612 Pantherparent:

    My kids’ elementary school is a catholic school and at the beginning of 7th grade they have a general meeting as to what the process entails when applying to all types of high school. Even having that, misinformation runs rampant – not necessarily from the school administration but also from other parents. At the beginning of 8th grade you can schedule a counseling meeting specifically designed to recommend what schools may be in your range. It’s helpful but it’s been my observation that parents don’t listen. They want what they want in spite of what their child’s current point total is (meaning taking into account 7th grade grades and standardized test scores).

    I do agree that schools should counsel students as to what is realistic but Pantherparent, I agree with you that no one should be discouraging. If you qualify to take the SEHS exam and are willing to attend a school you put on your application, you should go for it.

    And at the risk of feeding the trolls…

    @613, we’re not all nuts. We are parents driven to the brink to try to get our kids the best education available and suited for them. It’s unfortunate that you perceive us as nuts but we’re doing what we can to stay informed and hopefully help each other out. I am very grateful to cpsobsessed and all it’s commenters.

  • 617. Chicago School GPS  |  February 25, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    I am a strong believer in families looking beyond the “top buzz” schools because there really are strong, diverse options for every type of student in Chicago. I think families should start dipping their toes into the process by looking at schools starting in 6th grade. We started our Hidden Gems High School Fair two years ago to help families realize the public and private options that abound beyond the handful they heard of.

    Our 2014 Hidden Gems HS Fair is set for Sept. 28 at St. Benedict’s Preparatory High School, with an aim to introduce 6th-8th grade families to a variety of high schools to consider. Keeping an open mind and widening one’s net really will help make the process more sane.

  • 618. Counselors  |  February 25, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Yeesh. Some of these schools stress out the kids – kids who are already stressed out by their stressed out parents! Plus counselor also gives misinformation. Counselors really need to get trained. They don’t know the process. Teachers put pressure on kids unnecessarily.

    For kids who don’t come from families where parents are not aware of options, really important to share information. For others – you know who you / we are – school would just further stress the kids to emphasize grades – they have parents already telling them that!

  • 619. Whit  |  February 26, 2014 at 12:12 am

    Will you share your knowledge of how a tie is broken?

  • 620. P. Joseph Powers, Ph.D., Principal  |  February 26, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Congratulations to all the great kids accepted to Jones College Prep! We hope you will join us for one of our “Freshman Welcome” programs on March 4 or March 5, 6:30 pm, in the Robin Bennett Theater at JCP, 700 South State Street. The school will be open for our new Class of 2018 students and their parents starting around 5:30 pm, so feel free to come in and look around prior to our program. We are very excited to welcome our new Jones Eagles, the mighty Class of 2018! See you then.

    Dr. Joe Powers
    Jones College Prep

  • 621. SE parent  |  February 26, 2014 at 8:36 am

    to 579 – “I havent seen a single post disparaging students, the closest was the mom who is glad her kids dont have to be around the snooty kids at the top schools. Other than that did I miss something?”

    I’m going to say what others here are thinking. There is a post further up about a child who sobbed for 3 hours because she did not get first choice Northside and got into Whitney Young. I truly feel for her and all the others who are disappointed in this process, but am also thinking that many find this a bit of a slap in the face and an insult for the following reasons.

    A – there are many whose first choice is WY, over all the others
    B – tons of people do not get their first choice and need to change gears to a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or no SE choice. They would be ecstatic about a WY offer.

    I realize we are talking about reactions here and this is a true reaction but couldn’t it have been couched with “it’s hard for us but we’ll make the best of it” or “I’m sure things will change once she gets over the initial shock” – not that she silently trudged off to apply for PD. The writer makes WY sound like a prison sentence when it’;s the best most exciting thing happening for others.

    I believe this is why a mom thought that some kids are “snooty”. I can certainly understand her belief.

  • 622. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  February 26, 2014 at 9:24 am

    @621: While I can understand your frustration with that comment, your response is a little insensitive of what this (and many) 14-year-old just experienced, perhaps for her first time on a large scale — rejection. Sure, she got into a great SEHS, but it wasn’t her first choice and, therefore, the results struck her to her core. I don’t have a teenage daughter; however, I remember being one and there’s a good chance that my initial reaction would’ve been similar . . . especially if many of her closest friends got into Northside. It’s an emotional time in these kids’ lives. (I find the separation from friends to be the most jarring part of Chicago’s school system, both public and private.)

    Last year, a friend of a friend’s daughter who attended an expensive private elementary similarly didn’t get her first choice of Payton and through a personal relationship her parents have with WY’s principal, she received an offer there that she ultimately rejected because she had her heart set on Payton and returned to her private school. Shortsighted? Yes, I think so. For this particular family, though, WY wasn’t “good enough.”

    To each their own.

  • 623. Jones2  |  February 26, 2014 at 9:47 am

    @621 I would just like to add that…yes, it can be very disappointing for high achieving children to not get there 1st choice. They feel as if they somehow failed. I saw this first hand last year when my child lost out on his first choice due on a tiebreaker.

    However, I think it is important for parents to help their child put this in perspective. As most parents know…many children didn’t get ANY offers to attend a SEHS (which the child will quickly learn when they return to school the Monday after the letter go out.)

    I immediately let my child know how happy I was about his acceptance to X school and focused on the positives. I did not even let him entertain the idea of ‘ Principal’s discretion’. IMO that should be reserved for students that did not get in anywhere or whom had extreme extenuating circumstances…which he did not…just one day where he did not perform to perfection on a test.

    FYI: my child NOW couldn’t imagine going to school anywhere else but where he attends. We often joke that losing out on the tiebreaker was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

  • 624. pantherparent  |  February 26, 2014 at 9:56 am

    @619 This came from Karen Burroughs Hannsberry at CPS two years ago I believe:

    “As you might imagine, when testing so many students, we have numerous students who achieve the same number of total points. To differentiate between these students, tiebreakers are used that include the core percentile on the entrance exam, and the individual sections of the entrance exam (e.g., reading comprehension, vocabulary, etc.). This allows us to rank the students with identical total points from top to bottom.”

    I responded by asking her for a more detailed explanation, and she got back to me with:

    “The order of the tiebreaker is the following:
    Core total
    Reading comprehension
    Language arts
    Date of birth”

    My note: Before people freak out over Date of Birth as a tiebreaker, she mentioned its never been used. And I don’t remember if it’s older or younger wins. It’s on some thread here from my original post but don’t have time to look. And as said, its never been used.

  • 625. cpsobsessed  |  February 26, 2014 at 9:57 am

    @panterparent, thanks for finding the tiebreaker list!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 626. Sheri  |  February 26, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Same here my older daughter currently a Junior cried her eyes out for not obtaining her 1st choice, WY was where her heart was set on. She wanted to attend that school since the 4th grade. It’s a huge loss to these high achieving children. 3 years later at Lane Tech she wouldn’t settle for no other school! Her home is at Lane! It’s an immediate reaction, this weekend, went through the same thing again with my younger daughter , but I know everything will be fine! These kids are amazing at where ever they go! They work hard & have expectation but us, as parents help them through & explain everything will fine.

  • 627. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 26, 2014 at 10:05 am

    My son got accepted into his top choice for the SEHS, and to LPIB. I hope he makes his decision based on factors other than prestige.

    I am surprised so many parents opt to go the private route in elementary, but the public route for high schools.

    My thinking was exactly the opposite. If he didn’t get into one of his top 4 choices, we were going to go private for high school.

    I think the CPS has outstanding elementary schools, and it’s at the high school level where things break down.

  • 628. LSmom  |  February 26, 2014 at 10:09 am

    For the last tiebreaker, I think older wins. It’s so arbitrary, glad they’ve never had to use it.

  • 629. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  February 26, 2014 at 10:14 am

    @627: Totally agree about public vs. private. We’re much more open to shelling out $$$ for four years at a private H.S. than nine years at a private elementary. You almost never hear about this happening, though.

  • 630. Mother  |  February 26, 2014 at 10:30 am

    @623 I could not agree more with your comments.

  • 631. CPSMomof2  |  February 26, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Can anyone confirm whether or not Whitney Young will have a shadow day, either before or after the March 7th deadline to tell CPS which school your child selects? I love Whitney Young (we have a Junior there who also attended academic center) but I’m very frustrated that I cannot find anyone at the school who can tell me about shadow days. The admissions person was out of school at a conference this week but no one else who was at school knew anything. The front office staff tried – they called about 5 other staff to try and find out for me. My 8th grader is excited to be offered a spot at Whitney Young but is deciding whether or not to stay at his current school where he is for academic center. But a shadow day would really help him make the best decision for himself.

  • 632. Momof5  |  February 26, 2014 at 10:46 am

    @627, I can only speak for our family but the reason we chose to send our children to a private elementary school was to reinforce their religious formation and to ensure they were going to a good school. Our public neighborhood schools at the time of my oldest beginning the process were not acceptable. There have been significant changes in the last few years so families coming to the area now have much better options.

    Also, we were a little bit aware of the entrance process for Catholic high schools and knew if that was the way they wanted to continue their education, they would benefit from having gone to Catholic elementary.

    It would be interesting to see a breakdown in the numbers of those admitted to SEHS with regards to what kind of elementary school they attended (public, AC, parochial, RGC, etc.)

  • 633. IBobsessed  |  February 26, 2014 at 10:52 am

    “I did not even let him entertain the idea of ‘ Principal’s discretion’. IMO that should be reserved for students that did not get in anywhere or whom had extreme extenuating circumstances…which he did not…

    Kudos for standing on principle and teaching your child what character is!

  • 634. Chris  |  February 26, 2014 at 10:57 am

    “For the last tiebreaker, I think older wins.”

    That only makes sense in the bizarro world of CPS. Doesn’t mean you’re wrong, but it’s nonstandard and counter intuitive.

  • 635. RL Julia  |  February 26, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Given how difficult it is to get into SEHS’s, we were very careful to discuss with my son how he could have a first choice but all the choices were awesome and that he would be fine and probably love (and hate) whatever school he went to. He was lucky enough to get his first choice but was also ultimately able to recognize that he would be happy wherever he landed. Rejection is always hard but it is a necessary part of growing up.

    As for kids leaving the SEHS’s – I have heard of a few kids from Northside, Payton and Taft who have transferred to other schools (mostly Jones, CHIarts and Lane). There aren’t many and there seems to be a long list of reasons per kid as to why the school isn’t working out for them -rather than just one. As a parent with a kid at Northside, I can only say that while it is a great school, it is not for everyone – you have to be able to handle the block scheduling and that makes the homework load different than at Whitney or Lane. If you are kid who really enjoys learning to an almost obsessive level, you’ll probably love Northside just fine. My son loves the place and it’s intensity (it’s also relatively small). My daughter would hate it.

  • 636. LSmom  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Here’s the quote, from a 2012 cpsobsessed thread (it stuck with me, because one of my kids has a late summer birthday):

    “Regarding the date of birth, an older student would be ranked above a younger student. Please note, however, that the tiebreaking procedures related to subject areas are sufficient to create a ranked list of students that have the same score; the date of birth tiebreaker has not yet been needed.”

  • 637. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:05 am


    Thank you for your reply and insight. I can certainly understand wanting to have a religious foundation as part of the educational process. I had not considered that aspect.

  • 638. vikingmom  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I am just echoing comments about students being happiest where they end up. My daughter was so very heartbroken over being denied a Lane acceptance but nearly two years later, at Amundsen IB, she has more than once said she wouldn’t trade her current experience for anything.
    And just a word about “snooty” students at the top schools. My daughter attends a regional volleyball league and many of her teammates attend SEHS, including NSCP and WY (as well as St. Ignatius and Von Steuben). These girls are all excellent teammates; no one looks down on anyone else because of perceived inferiority on particular schools. They can all commiserate on classes, tests, teachers, etc. Parents tend to be the ones who can get more hung up on rank.

  • 639. Chris  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:10 am

    “Here’s the quote, from a 2012 cpsobsessed thread (it stuck with me, because one of my kids has a late summer birthday)”

    Like I said, didn’t doubt that you were right, but it *still* doesn’t make sense.

  • 640. St Ben's high?  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Wondering why St. Ben’s isn’t mentioned much on here? Thoughts on academics and general atmosphere there?

  • 641. And Alcott high?  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Also Alcott High? Thoughts?

  • 642. LPmom  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:23 am

    We set up a shadow day at WY, but it was a struggle–they really didn’t seem to have considered scheduling them, were not aware that next week is ISATs, etc. LPIB was just the opposite–organized around making it simple to arrange a shadow day for admitted 8th graders and their parents. That said, Ms. Bottari is back in at WY today, and was very warm and welcoming, and set us up with a wonderful student guide.

  • 643. vikingmom2  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:23 am

    @638, Thanks for the notes about Amundsen. We finally made our choice for Amundsen IB over a few other good choices, magnets and private. In addition to the IB program, it’s a great commute and has many sports programs. My son is very happy with his choice!

  • 644. Angela O'Brien  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:30 am

    @640 “Wondering why St. Ben’s isn’t mentioned much on here? Thoughts on academics and general atmosphere there?”

    I suspect because this is blog about CPS schools, not private.

  • 645. anonymous  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:31 am

    This is the tie-breaker info posted on the OAE website. Perhaps they still use the birthdate but it is not currently listed.

    Selective Enrollment High Schools

    As one might imagine, when testing so many students, numerous applicants achieve the same number of total points. To differentiate between these students, tiebreakers are used that include the core percentile on the admissions exam, and the individual sections of the entrance exam (e.g., reading comprehension, vocabulary, etc.). This allows us to rank the students with identical total points from top to bottom.

    The order of the tiebreaker is the following:

    Core total


    Reading comprehension


    Language arts

  • 646. James  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:31 am

    @ 598 (pantherparent) —

    “To those who feel their school has been much-maligned here, in the last couple of days I’ve read Northside is elitist, snotty, unwelcoming to Tier 1 kids, filled with kids on drugs, hard to get to and now has lots of drop outs.”

    Now that was funny! And don’t forget this late-breaker: it’s not on the pedestal it thinks it is. Geez, why in the world would ANYONE let their kid go there? 🙂

  • 647. STEMmom  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:34 am

    @cpsobsessed: Heard you on WBEZ, yesterday afternoon! Good info!

  • 648. St Ben's high?  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Angela OBrien actually lots of catholic and private schools are mentioned frequently. St Ben’s isn’t one them and I’m asking for opinions on the school.

  • 649. Chris  |  February 26, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    “Geez, why in the world would ANYONE let their kid go there?”

    Not to mention that almost no one gets in (as hard as Harvard!), so why would anyone focus on it? Especially since it apparently isn’t very good.

  • 650. Chicago School GPS  |  February 26, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    @641- Alcott College Prep is definitely coming into its own, and with amazing vision from their new leadership (Grace Moody is their Assistant Principal in charge of HS and came from Jones where she helped shepherd that to where it’s at now), it is a school to consider for anyone looking for a smaller school environment where everyone knows one another. If you want to learn more as well as next steps in this process, come on out on March 4. I encourage 7th grade parents as well as 8th grade ones because the more you know the earlier, the better.

    @640- Mark your calendar for Sept. 28, when our next Hidden Gems HS Fair will be hosted by St. Ben’s. Admin and student ambassadors can give you a great picture of the school, and you can learn about/talk with many public and private schools that folks should at least consider since every child is different. There is a school for all types of learners!

    My familiar refrain is “It’s not the school that makes the child, it’s what your child does at the school that is important”.

  • 651. St Ben's high?  |  February 26, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Thank you Chicago School GPS!

  • 652. vikingmom  |  February 26, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    @Vikingmom2 Welcome!! You son will have some great experiences. The IB kids tend to form close bonds with their classmates and the sports programs are very accessible even to freshmen. Glad to have you on board!

  • 653. Mom  |  February 26, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Regarding the question why choose private for elementary over public, and then go public for high school (instead of the other way around): Assuming money is not the driving issue (for many it is), choosing private for elementary makes sense if you subscribe to the philosophy that elementary is where your child will build their relationship with schooling in general and the foundations they need to succeed in higher learning beyond elementary. Private elementaries often have smaller class sizes (greater ability to ensure no child falls through the cracks); different approaches to learning than just one-size-fits-all; more exposure to other subjects beyond math, science, reading; less need to struggle with the school to get what your individual child needs, etc., etc. Obviously not every private school is better than every public school on all of these fronts, but it comes down to what the options for your particular child are and what environment will be the best match. If your local public option has huge class sizes, hyper-focus on testing, and lack of well-rounded curriculum (lacking one or more of subject such as language, arts, music, technology, etc.), private is probably a better option for those who subscribe to this philosophy. Then, once the foundation is laid, the theory goes that your child can succeed in any high school environment, public or private.

  • 654. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    632. Momof5 | February 26, 2014 at 10:46 am

    My child is a tier 4 neighborhood school student, tested into the top Catholic school w/top 4% in nation and top 1% in school. After much deliberation, we’ve decided to send our child to our first choice SEHS, WY. WY and Payton were the only schools other than Catholic we wanted due to their strong math program.

  • 655. IBobsessed  |  February 26, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    @653 agree. And you escape the testing culture craziness. I’m afraid the test centered mentality in CPS tends to instill in kids that the reason to learn something is because it will raise their standardized test score.

  • 656. southie  |  February 26, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Chicago School GPS: You keep saying that, but I’m not seeing your events being staged in Roseland, for example, where parents and children might be obsessed about education too.

  • 657. pantherparent  |  February 26, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Although my kids don’t go there, can I give a shout-out to Dr. Joe Powers at Jones? I know he has posted here before and I’m assuming he takes some of what we say to heart.

    He’s done a great job at his school. I’ve toured it twice and each time noticed the enthusiasm of the students is palpable. Their success is no accident. Great work, Joe.

  • 658. Chicago School GPS  |  February 26, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    I agree that families all over want the best schools for their kids and while I am more familiar with northside schools, I am visiting more southside schools as well because each time I do, I like what I see and try to let families know to keep an open mind and push aside preconceptions.

  • 659. Momof5  |  February 26, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    @SoxSideIrish4: Congratulations to your child! WY is a fantastic school!

    I’m a little confused why you directed your statement to me. I was answering JustAnotherConcernedParent’s question.

  • 660. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  February 26, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    @655: Are you also referring to a parochial education? Because there’s a significant difference in tuition between most parochial schools and privates in this city. I oftentimes wish that we practiced Catholicism or any branch of Christianity because of the great school choices. But we don’t, so our options are limited to CPS or $25K/child for a private school. This is why we’ve decided to make the best of our kids’ public school educations during the elementary years and, if necessary, transfer them to private for high school. That’s a cost savings of approximately $470,000!!!!!

  • 661. well THAT was hell  |  February 26, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    At 654: From what I have seen and heard for the past 3 or 4 years. If you want to compare math programs, I have heard over and over again that Lincoln Park IB has THE BEST Math Program. (Although I believe they are all good, and all students will benefit from any of these math programs)

  • 662. reenie  |  February 26, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Regarding south side SEHS and commutes: I live in the real south side (not Hyde Park) and know plenty of teens who are commuting 2-4 hours round trip daily to north side schools, both SEHS and charter, via public transit. Their parents cannot drive them. If you ride the buses on the south side of the city between 3 and 6 p.m. you will see hundreds of southbound teenagers every day. For example, I know a girl who rode the bus 90 minutes each way from our neighborhood to Lane for four solid years and went on to IU or Purdue (I forget which). I don’t know what school extracurriculars she participated in, if any–she was the oldest in a big family and was active at church. By the way, I hear Lindblom runs bus shuttle service from selected Orange Line stops in case any north side families are considering…

  • 663. Luv2europe  |  February 26, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    660 You don’t have to be catholic to attend catholic schools. I went to those schools in the 70’s and there were non catholic students in grammar school and high school. Does Not make a difference. You might have to attend school mass around holy days, but you don’t have to participate (communion, etc.) My child went from CPS grammar school to catholic high school for many reasons. I did not want to play CPS bingo with his education. I was not willing to play the strike game, the no lab equipment game nor the no textbooks game. Sometimes you get what you pay for.

  • 664. Hawkparent  |  February 26, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    What percentage of kids get accepted through principal discretion?

  • 665. North Center Mom  |  February 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    653 At the time my oldest was ready for kindergarten, our neighborhood elementary school, Waters, was testing in the 25% meets or exceeds range. We tried for the CPS magnet lottery, classical, and gifted kindergarten. I laugh out loud now when I think about testing for gifted kindergarten. Out of all of that, there was one offer, for South Loop gifted. The commute with a baby in the back seat was too much to consider. We opted for a closer private school. It turned out to be a great fit. Around that same time there was a study out that said that small class size had the greatest affect on students in grades K-3. It had a big impact on our decision. On this blog, I read a lot about how large class sizes have become in CPS, especially in the more popular schools. One of many positives was borne out in 8th grade, when he got into Jones on rank. So, it may seem the opposite of what you would do; but we live in Chicago, so we step through the looking glass every day.

    660 If you think the only non-public choices in Chicago are between parochial and $25K tuition privates, then either you haven’t done your homework or you have a narrow view of what is a good private elementary school.

  • 666. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  February 26, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    @663: We’re Jewish, so there’s no way any kind of parochial school would work for our family. It’s just not an option, religious or non-religious. There are several good Jewish day schools in Chicago, only their tuition is comparable to other privates. We’re not looking to leave CPS anytime soon; our experience thus far has been surprisingly positive.

  • 667. mom2  |  February 26, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Are there any “good” private high schools that aren’t either religious or over $25K per year? In fact, are there any – even not good.

  • 668. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 26, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    661. well THAT was hell | February 26, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Well it’s possible that LPIB has the same math program as WY and WP. WY is the only CPS school is 4A that has won the State Title. And no not all schools have a good math programs: Jones and NSP use IMP…that is why we would never consider those schools.

  • 669. Lalah  |  February 26, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    @668 There is no data to support your claim that Northside and Jones do not have good math programs. Looking at their %pass/exceed on the state tests and ACT scores, I think their math programs are just fine.

  • 670. Hoping for round 2  |  February 26, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    @reenie. Never thought about checking shuttle bus services. If I would have known that before the application process, it could have altered my decision. Never saw info like that on oae website either.

  • 671. P. Joseph Powers, Ph.D., Principal  |  February 26, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    The Integrated Math Program (IMP) has been very successful at Jones. Since its inception six years ago, the math subscore of the ACT has gone up almost three points to 26.2. The Class of 2014 scored 98.5% meets or exceeds state standards on the PSAE.It is a great program with great teachers!

    Dr. Joe Powers
    Jones College Prep

  • 672. Jones2  |  February 26, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    @668 I don’t think there is necessarily a link between the type of math program taught at WY (a traditional math program) and their state championship win…don’t most schools use a traditional math program (i.e. all the teams they beat). More likely it is the math team coach, perhaps the math teachers in general, and the particular students involved.

  • 673. BuenaParkMom  |  February 26, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Lycée Français is around $15K and now accepts English-speaking students for high school into their IB program. It’s probably not on most people’s radar because previously you had to be fluent in French to go there as they used to only offer the French Bac (which is basically the IB but in French). However, it sounds like it might be more rigorous than CPS IB. Every student there is required to do the full diploma program so you have to do all the subject areas, there isn’t any opting out and just doing the certificate. On the plus side, your child may not be college level fluent with high school entry into their IB program, but they’ll come out conversationally and functionally fluent in French. Also on the plus side, they would be attending a school where they rarely have anyone not pass the diploma.

  • 674. A  |  February 26, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    @664: about how many kids are admitted by principals. I think that principals are allowed to admit up to 5%. If you go to the OAE main website and look at the “news” section on that main page, there is an info packet on Principal Discretion that you can download and it says in there — it is a really big and elaborate document that is clearly designed to try to head off claims that people within the system pulled strings to get a kid a place.

  • 675. mom2  |  February 26, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Thank you for the info on Lycee Francais. Any other privates (not religious) and under 25K? Just curious as SEHS are getting harder and harder and I’m feeling sad that people are still ignoring neighborhood high schools such as Lakeview (our school).

    By the way, for those of you that didn’t get into your SEHS, don’t rule out Lakeview. I’ve talked to parents of kids that came from some of the best elementary schools in CPS and ended up at Lakeview and they are very happy there, love the teachers and counselors, considered the most “gifted” of all kids there, loving that feeling of being special and colleges are more than interested in them because they are at the top of their class. Worth considering…

  • 676. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 26, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    671. P. Joseph Powers, Ph.D., Principal | February 26, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    It’s almost impossible for kids to do imp math and then get to ap calc bc without supplementing. I know several kids who attend Jones~they love it, but they know that the math program is lacking.

  • 677. RL Julia  |  February 26, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I have two kids who are relatively good at math and an engineer husband. I can say this – kid #1 at Northside doing IMP – really likes it (although he doesn’t particularly care about math) -finds it engaging and relevant and that his teachers have been excellent. My husband feels that he is learning what he needs to know mathematically speaking.

    Kid #2 at Whitney Young doing the traditional math program. Has also had good teachers but the struggle has been that their very traditional approach is boring and alienating to kid #2 who is perfectly capable of math (perhaps even more capable than kid #1, in fact) but who is checking out because of the way it is taught. Most specifically, the class is consistently taught to the upper 10% of the class and taught in a competitive way. To excel at math at WY, you basically have to be the kind of kid who was probably going to excel at math anyway -or at least are a kid who is energized by a challenge or who likes being competitive -however neither of those characteristics have much to do with one mathematical abilities.

    It has been painful to see a perfectly capable kid disengage from learning math and really start to dislike it. Since Kid #2 is a girl, and given the lack of girls in STEM careers (like engineering) this has been really frustrating for my husband. We didn’t expect either kid to necessarily go into STEM fields but at this point I’d have to say it would be a more likely choice for Kid #1 – who at least sort of sees it’s relevance.

  • 678. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 26, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    677. RL Julia | February 26, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    My child loves the math program at WY and will be going into engineering.

    Cant your WY child transfer to NSP?

  • 679. SEES Parent  |  February 26, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    “I don’t think there is necessarily a link between the type of math program taught at WY (a traditional math program) and their state championship win…don’t most schools use a traditional math program (i.e. all the teams they beat). More likely it is the math team coach, perhaps the math teachers in general, and the particular students involved.”

    If you’re the kind of kid who will do well at math team, the type of math program in class is probably not going to affect how well you do on math team. I’d also agree, without knowing anything about the particulars at WY or Payton, that consistent success over time is a function more of the coaches/program (and I would say secondarily the students), more than the teaching method in class. Though I could see the types of teachers who are likely to geek out over math team not wanting to teach certain approaches. I’m endlessly bewildered by the math “vocabulary” lessons my kid brings home.

  • 680. OutsideLookingIn  |  February 26, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Private high schools, non-religious, under $25k:
    Lycee – $16k
    Waldorf – $18k
    Beacon Academy – $19k (new Montessori high school in Evanston)

  • 681. STEMmom  |  February 26, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Can anyone give me their thoughts on whether it would be worth it for my 5th grader to do the NWEA-MAP prep through Selective Prep in anticipation of AC applications in 6th grade? He has consistently scored well on NWEA (98% Math 96% Reading) and has very strong ISAT scores (that we know won’t count). We will likely do the Selective Prep for the AC Admissions test, since he is obviously less familiar with that test.

    He is very interested in the STEM curriculum and it would be great if he could get in to the AC program at Lane. Also, I noticed that we are now in Tier 4 (were in Tier 3 when CPS started the Tier system.

  • 682. Wondering  |  February 26, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    The enrollment deadline for SEHS is March 7. When is the enrollment deadline for SEES if those letters are mailed March 21?

  • 683. CPS Parent  |  February 26, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    679. SEES Parent The success of the math teams is highly dependent on the quality and enthusiasm of the teachers who are the coaches (and who bring that enthusiasm into all their math classes). They can be found at Payton and WY and those teachers collaborate with each other. Since the teams are club activities only $300 per semester is allocated by CPS to the math clubs. The teachers involved spend countless hours of their own time coaching (and mentoring) as well as attending year-round tournaments. I know from experience that, at least at Payton, the best math teachers for all students are also the ones involved with math team.

  • 684. James  |  February 26, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    @ 677 (RL Julia) —

    “[T]he class is consistently taught to the upper 10% of the class and taught in a competitive way. To excel at math at WY, you basically have to be the kind of kid who was probably going to excel at math anyway -or at least are a kid who is energized by a challenge or who likes being competitive -however neither of those characteristics have much to do with one mathematical abilities.”

    What you said here about WY is EXACTLY the way I feel about it at Payton. The math classes almost feel as if they have been designed around and for the top kids who really, really like math, not the kids who are smart (or they wouldn’t be at Payton), but who aren’t all that into math. As a result, they lose interest and drop to the AB level from the BC level or don’t even bother with the BC level. I’ve seen it with both my kids and have talked with other Payton parents about it. This was exacerbated with the recent change that makes homework entirely voluntary and gives kids no stand-alone credit for doing it. As it was explained to me, the change was made in part so that the top kids wouldn’t be burdened with doing homework in areas they already fully understood. The effect, however, is that the rest of the class doesn’t get any credit for working through and figuring the concepts out at home. Those kids still have to do the homework to figure it out fully so they can be successful on tests and quizzes, but now the work they do at home isn’t reflected in their grade. Very unfortunate, and frankly a little demoralizing for such kids.

    So if you are considering Payton, be aware that many families feel that if your kid is really into math, the Payton math program is a great experience for them. If they aren’t so much into math, though, that part of their Payton experience will be a bit of a grind.

  • 685. LynnJ  |  February 26, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    How would anyone know a kid is Tier 1 or otherwise! Kids are not wearing any indentifier about their tier at school. Absurd!

  • 686. SEES Parent  |  February 26, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    “The math classes almost feel as if they have been designed around and for the top kids who really, really like math, not the kids who are smart (or they wouldn’t be at Payton), but who aren’t all that into math”

    Why not just split them in honors (or whatever you want to call it) versus not?

  • 687. HS Mom  |  February 26, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Thank you Dr. Powers! Great to hear from you. And thanks to RLJulia – agree completely about the IMP program being stimulating for critical thinkers.

  • 688. Snooty?  |  February 26, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    SSI “And no not all schools have a good math programs: Jones and NSP use IMP…that is why we would never consider those schools.”

    Glad your kid got into Whitney Young and you have your choice of any school. Now can you try to not slam other schools in your wake?

    SE Parent, I agree and I think the victorious need to be mindful of others that choose a school for their own reasons or where the math program is the least of their concerns right now.

  • 689. reenie  |  February 26, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    to 670-hoping for round 2: if Lindblom is still possible and of interest I would check with the school about transportation while doing principal’s discretion. I’ll add that I have a friend whose son is in the AC there from Keller and found the transition a bit tough–the culture is “rougher” his mom said. I would read that as fewer middle-class kids; not surprising.

  • 690. CubSideItalian1  |  February 26, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    @678. SoxSideIrish4 “My child loves the math program at WY…”

    Well that explains your bitterness…kid couldn’t get into Northside.

  • 691. ProudWestSideTeacher  |  February 26, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Yay!! Two of my students got into Lane Tech!! Proud of them!!

  • 692. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 26, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    688. Snooty? | February 26, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    I apologize I came across like that~that wasn’t my intent.

  • 693. Tim  |  February 26, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    688 @,

    Wow. Someone describes real and meaningful differences among schools and their math programs and is slammed for it? You know what? Some of us want and appreciate it when knowledgeable parents talk about which math programs are good and which are not. If you happen not to care, don’t read here.

    And how could an adult describe students who managed to navigate this system and got into a SEHS as “victorious?” This isn’t a war. We all — or most of us anyway — want every student to get into the best high school for him or her. Given this complex system, some will initially be more satisfied than others with where they end up. But saying some are “victorious” and some are, what, vanquished? Good grief.

    Sorry it didn’t work out for you or your kid. (My kid didn’t get his first choice either, by the way.) But please don’t take your frustration out on parents here who are only trying to provide useful and helpful information to others.


  • 694. pantherparent  |  February 26, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    @668 SoxSideIrish4 Guess I need to add “Northside is bad at math” to the litany of woes. But then I looked up the ACT math numbers. At “good” math schools Whitney and Payton, the scores are 27.7 and 27.5 respectively. At “bad” math school, Northside, it’s 29.6.

    So Northside and Joe Powers for IMP math. SoxSideIrish4 against. Hmmmmm.

  • 695. Disney Magnet parent  |  February 26, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    My son was accepted to Chicago Waldorf School, which is actually running about $21,000 for next year. Super-small (81 students in the whole high school at present!) but will prepare kids well for college and a good life. Lots of interesting experiences, like a two-week service learning trip each year, ample opportunities for foreign exchange, lots of studio art classes, a block schedule, reliance on reading primary sources for a lot of classes. Also, it’s so small that pretty much any kid who wants to be on a sports team can participate, I imagine.

    Lycée Français will be moving to a brand-new building in another year or two, over where Ravenswood Hospital used to be. I’m sure it will be a great facility.

    Down side of private schools: Not only are they expensive, but they often lean on parents for fund-raising.

    About 70% of the kids at Disney Magnet School are from low-income families, with many commuting all the way from the South and Southwest Sides. Lots of acceptances to SEHS schools and to the selective programs at non-SEHS schools among my son’s schoolmates! It’s a shame so few CPS students are able to attend grade schools that function well and get good results–Disney has terrific test scores despite the high percentage of low-income kids and the fact that admission is by lottery, not by testing. (Send your kindergartners!)

  • 696. HS Mom  |  February 26, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    “Someone describes real and meaningful differences among schools and their math programs and is slammed for it?”

    Think I missed those “real and meaningful” differences when outsiders describe the program as “lacking” without having personal experience. Having only the experience of IMP and experiencing success with it, I’m sure my opinion is biased in one direction too. That’s why I found comment 677 very interesting with kids in both programs. I agree with 688 to the point. Why should we all have to be on the defense here….yes, various schools have all different kinds of things going on.

    AND thank-you SSI for your tone of compassion in 692.

    Now, lets get back to talking about how horrible northside prep is and how no one wants to go there anymore….LOL

  • 697. freespeechmama  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    @610 Sounds like you’re talking about ERGC, where my eldest went. I appreciated that the school tells it like it is when it comes to SEHS (and personal hygiene). 🙂

  • 698. freespeechmama  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    @586 Well, I sure hope my eldest isn’t stopping for drinks on the way home from school! Seriously though, we live in Dunning and his options for getting to school are either to take two buses, or two buses and the blue line. It’s just not an easy commute to NSCP from where we live. But it’s a great school, as you know… 🙂

  • 699. IBobsessed  |  February 26, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Am I the only humanities focused, liberal arts type parent on here? 🙂
    Can we have some comments now about fantastic(or not) lit, psych, history, performing arts experiences at the HSs? It is good to get comments about the differing strengths/approaches at the various HSs. Usually this blog is hyper focused on admissions and not much discussion or inside info about curriculum and culture differences at the schools. That kind of info is really helpful for figuring out what is the best fit for your kid.

  • 700. realchicagomama  |  February 27, 2014 at 12:12 am

    That might be interesting! I think that would make a good topic – perhaps suggest to cpsobsessed?

    But it’s a perfect segue to what I came here to report: there is a D2 magnet HS info meeting for prospective parents next Thursday evening at the Lawndale campus. You can read more about it on the D2 website.

  • 701. OutsideLookingIn  |  February 27, 2014 at 12:35 am

    @699 IBObsessed – I was just wondering the same thing. What schools excite kids who are English Lit/Creative Writing/Theater obsessed?

  • 702. WRP Mom  |  February 27, 2014 at 7:15 am

    @699, 701- My daughter is that type (loves history, all things language arts and theater) and the school which excites her is Lane. She is presently in the Academic Center there and will be staying for high school. When people think of Lane, they usually think of the STEM program (Alpha) or sports, but it’s so much more. They have a wonderful arts program, and many, many choices of electives.

  • 703. pantherettie  |  February 27, 2014 at 7:22 am

    @Reenie – regarding Lindblom’s climate being “rougher” possibly due to “fewer middle class kids”. I could not disagree with your comment more. My child is a 7th grade AC student at the school and attended our very strong, solidly middle class m elementary school in Hyde Park from k-6th grade. Lindblom was her first choice. She also does an extracurricular with kids who go to schools like FXW, St. Ignatious, Lab and Ancona ( with a couple of Lane, Kenwood AC, WY and WP thrown in). She’s spends her summers at day and sleep away camps run by the JCC and last year she did Summer Lab’s day camp. She feels as comfortable with the kids at Lindblom as she has kids anywhere else. Lots of the kids at Lindblom have *very* similar social and economic experience as my daughter. When I drop my child off at school, it’s really clear to me that my mid-market car is the cheapest in the drop off line (just like it was at Summer Lab,lol). That’s not to say that there aren’t kids and families that are really economically struggling at the school – as there are at *every SEHS*, but the school is not “rough”. My feeling is that it has been somewhat of “secret/special” school for many, many, African American, middle class families for years. The school is filled with dedicated parents and very bright kids. I think that it makes sense to visit and learn about the school before you judgements about it. Speak to Principal Mather, reach out to parents, go to the school and then decide if PD is something to pursue.

  • 704. Snooty?  |  February 27, 2014 at 7:25 am

    Tim – a parent can discuss their experience with/understanding of a program in a detailed positive way without disparaging other schools. That was not the case here and the only thing one could glean from these posts was the gossip element which is not real and meaningful in my opinion. Did I say that we did not get our first choice? No. It’s not relevant to the discussion.

    SSI – your apology belongs to the principal of Jones who did offer some real and meaningful information, not me.

  • 705. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 27, 2014 at 8:23 am

    703. pantherettie | February 27, 2014 at 7:22 am

    Sounds like your child is getting a great education in and out of school!

  • 706. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  February 27, 2014 at 8:59 am


    …the rest of the class doesn’t get any credit for working through and figuring the concepts out at home. Those kids still have to do the homework to figure it out fully so they can be successful on tests and quizzes, but now the work they do at home isn’t reflected in their grade. Very unfortunate, and frankly a little demoralizing for such kids.

    You just made a great argument for Montessori education (and one supported by experimental research): when an activity is supported by rewards (grades for homework) it displaces intrinsic motivation (learning more about math); when the reward is removed, people don’t want to do the activity anymore, hence the demoralization.

    They do get credit for homework — doing well on tests and quizzes. Some of these schools are supposed to be college prep schools. While some college maths and sciences courses will have weekly problem-sets, no credit for homework is the norm at college, at least at the selective schools that many of these children will be applying for.

  • 707. pantherparent  |  February 27, 2014 at 9:07 am

    @698 freespeechmama I see your point. Those are a couple of healthy bus rides. Throw in some bad weather and the always interesting CTA and you’re looking at 90 minutes. Well at least he has time to do homework.

    It raises a good point for parents beginning the process. It doesn’t hurt to take a couple of public transportation field trips over the summer to the prospective schools. And do it during rush hour for the true picture. Not that it will change your rankings but it’s a factor as you’ve seen by the posts here.

    The hardest part will be getting little Sally up at 6 am in the summer for a dry run to a school she might not go to.

  • 708. Lane  |  February 27, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Lane has really good History and English programs if you take honors and AP. The long time APUSH teacher retired a few years ago and I think teaches at St. Bens. He was amazing if a bit scary. You have to shop around a little bit for the teachers but Lane has a full assortment of AP classes. I think the whole time we’ve been there, we only had one-two problematic teachers although there was a crazy gym teacher. Because of its size, it can offer a lot of programs that the smaller schools cannot.

  • 709. Once Upon a Time LTAC Mom  |  February 27, 2014 at 9:37 am

    @699, 701 I second WRP’s comments. My daughter is a freshman (former LTACer). Lane Tech does 3 plays a year–a classic (Shakespeare every 3rd year), a musical and a play fest of student-written, student-directed work. There are 3 levels of Drama Class as well as 2 levels of Creative Writing. The theatre kids are really supportive of each other and, as an actor myself, I appreciate the level of autonomy (and support!) they are given by the faculty in finding their own voice and making choices in their work. The Creative Writing I teacher is a rockstar! My daughter has had some amazing history and English teachers. Her H Spanish I teacher so inspired her that she plans to go onto AP Spanish Lit after taking AP Spanish next year. The hardest part has been choosing Science courses which, at the AP level, are double periods. The opportunities in languages, arts and humanities are so numerous (and exciting) that she doesn’t want to give that extra period up (and to that end, she find myself taking mostly Honors science courses).

  • 710. Disney Magnet parent  |  February 27, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Instead of testing out the commutes this weekend (when it’s cold out and rush hour traffic isn’t there), I used Google Maps Transit (http://www.google.com/intl/en/landing/transit/#mdy) to calculate a weekday morning commuting time at the appropriate departure time to see how long my son’s commute would be for each school he’s considering. I was glad to find out that Von Steuben is only 5-10 minutes further for us than Lincoln Park and Senn IB. Von also has a later start time (8:30 vs. 7:45 and 8:00 for the other two), so he could leave home a lot later and get more sleep.

    Given the widespread sleep deprivation among teenagers, and given their significant sleep needs during a period of physical growth, school start time is actually an important factor.

  • 711. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Oh, yah just sold me on von steuben with the later start time!

    I really like the idea of making a place on the blog to hold all the HS feedback. Let me figure out how/where best to do that this weekend and I’ll start it up.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 712. IBobsessed  |  February 27, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Can someone explain how OAE arrives at the percentile given for the SEHS exam? It is a COMBINED math/reading percentile. How is that figured? I have not seen a standardized test report that gives a combined percentile rank. The 7th grade standardized test points are given separately for the separate math percentile and reading percentile.

  • 713. Still Bundled Up  |  February 27, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Awhile back I asked posters if they would be willing to identify the factors they took into account when choosing a “first pick.” I am still very curious, especially now that I know some students who are absolutely crushed by not getting into their first pick. They can’t seem to really articlulate what is was about their first choice, just that it was the “best.” Honestly, I kind of expect 13 and 14 years olds to have strong preferences without being able to articulate why, but I hope their parents can guide them. Also, I think for parents who still have to go through this process, it can really help to get more objective facts.

    When it came to ranking schools, we felt there was very little objective difference academically between the SEHS. Commute was a big factor but so was process of elimination. The various schools had reputations and where our child ended up seemed like the best fit. I know that’s not objective so it also gives me pause when I want to discuss “best” schools.

    I think its worth while doing a gut check at this point. Why did you choose the school you chose as a first choice?

  • 714. 43Chicago  |  February 27, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Can you give any insight into what principals look for during the Principal Discretion process? For kids who do not accept their spot by the March 7 deadline, are their spots put into PD or are they then used in second round? We are using PD to try to get into Jones, a very long shot but worth a try. Thank you in advance for your help.

  • 715. jackie  |  February 27, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Can anyone give me some insight about the LP IB v. Taft IB? Has anyone on here know of someone whose child got into a SEHS through principal’s discretion?

  • 716. 43chicago  |  February 27, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Hi Jackie, LPIB has other programs in the school your child can take if they don’t want to take all IB or if (as has been written earlier in these posts) your child isn’t successful in the IB program and they are asked to take individual IB classes, not full IB. They would then take DH classes while they can earn individual IB certificates which is different than earning an IB diploma. It seems to me while many kids may start off 100% IB most do not graduate with full IB.
    Taft does not offer any other programs other than IB so if they don’t like the program/aren’t successful, they have to leave the school.

  • 717. RL Julia  |  February 27, 2014 at 11:48 am

    @678 -there is more than one way to skin a cat. I don’t think that IMP math guarantees that you couldn’t become an engineer – the same way that WY’s math program is going to insure that you become an engineer. I was just sharing the experience that my family has had with two school’s math programs. What I am saying is hardly the gospel truth -it is just my experience. WY is a great school and has been great for kid #2. NCP (which kid #2 couldn’t get into anyway and which doesn’t take transfers) would be a terrible choice for her for a number of reasons.

    @713 – went to the open houses and then let the kids pick. Personally, I disagreed with both their choices but that’s what they wanted and I’ve already been to high school. In the end they did know what they were doing and both schools have been great fits for them and both kids love the schools they are going to.

  • 718. EagleMom  |  February 27, 2014 at 11:48 am

    @Reenie – regarding Lindblom’s climate being “rougher” possibly due to “fewer middle class kids”. Every child that gets into a SEHS is smart no matter the income level or neighborhood they reside. No one could tell a person’s income class no more than they can see the Tier they fall into. Lindblom isn’t as diverse as we would like, perhaps because of the long commute for some. Class may mean more about manners than income.

    Regarding the shuttle at Lindblom, the shuttle service stops at the red and green lines as well. Also, there is a stop on 55th and Lake Park.

    The block schedule is structured nicely and I think is good prep for college. The workload is very rigorous, but my daughter has learned time management and planning around her other activities.

  • 719. IBobsessed  |  February 27, 2014 at 11:59 am

    43Chicago What does this mean, “they are asked to take individual IB classes, not full IB.”? Some students are counseled out of the diploma track at LP?

  • 720. SLParent  |  February 27, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    RL Julia – what about NCP would have made it a terrible choice for your daughter? An earlier poster also said their child “would have hated Jones”. We’ve been to the Open Houses and spoken with students at many of the SEHS’s but still have difficulty discerning how the cultures at the schools are different. Would appreciate any opinions on what is unique about each school environment.

  • 721. 43chicago  |  February 27, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    @IBobsessed: I read in earlier postings on this blog that some students are asked to exit the IB program in their junior year. They can still earn individual IB certificates in specific subject but not the full IB diploma. I also read the IB diploma is awarded after college applications so timing may be an issue. We are touring IB on Monday and I will ask more then.

  • 722. Parent  |  February 27, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    @720 You seriously could not “feel” differences in school environments when you toured the schools?

  • 723. pantherparent  |  February 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    @713 We didn’t choose the school, our kids did. Sure we gave guidance and asked questions but the choice was theirs. My wife even made one of those plusses/minuses charts with # 2 son.

    At the risk of blowing all my Northside cred, I’m willing to concede that academically the Big 5 are all pretty equal. (Sorry southsiders, no disrespect intended but we live north) So it comes down to fit. The kids just know it when they feel it.

    Each school has a different vibe. Go to an open house and you’ll see what’s important to that school. Whitney Young had the basketball team doing dunks and the band playing. Northside will talk about academics. Lane is just a force of nature when you walk in. Jones is the up and comer with tons of we-try-harder attitude. Payton is a great mix of kids and a great blend of academics and athletics.

    Don’t overanalyze. The kids will know. Which is why some are crushed when choice # 1 doesn’t happen. That one felt right and now it’s gone. But as you see here, choice # 2 works out just fine.

  • 724. Disney Magnet parent  |  February 27, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    I know a college freshman who received his IB diploma in December or January. I have no idea when the IB Diploma tests are given or when the results are known but I would guess the tests don’t happen until well into 12th grade–so I’m thinking that colleges like to see a kid who does well in IB classes but cannot base admission decisions on whether a student earns the Diploma.

  • 725. CPS Appalled  |  February 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    My daughter had several specific factors she considered when looking at schools. One was the overall “intellectual commitment” of the students, although she would have phrased it more like those who “take school seriously”. Another big one was academic pressure put on students (by teachers, parents and other students), hence why she wouldn’t put Northside first (even though she had the scores to get in) and refused to visit Payton. The idea of block scheduling was the most attractive aspect for her. She is a well-rounded kid who wants a theatre program and an interesting English curriculum, while also a strong science program. And a lack of emphasis on sports was a huge plus. Whitney Young’s overemphasis on sports teams at the open house was a huge turn off for our family. The story of Northside choosing a climbing wall over a football field when the school was built almost swayed her, but Jones won out for first place in her heart.

  • 726. far northsider  |  February 27, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    @713 – When my daughter went through the SEHS/IB application process several years ago we let her decide the order of the SEHS ranking on the application. Like pantherparent @723, I also felt after touring all of the north side and downtown schools that they were all similar enough academically; the ranking decision came down to location plus other academic or extracurricular offerings only available at certain schools (for her, music ensembles and language instruction).

    She ultimately listed Northside first due to its small(ish) size, its proximity to our house (a short bus ride/walk – for us, WY, Jones and Payton would all be lengthy commutes) and the right combination of music and language opportunities, and she received and accepted an offer there. I know she would have been happy at any of the schools she listed on the application; we were careful during the tours/application process to emphasize the many opportunities we saw at each of the schools that aligned with her interests.

    She also received an offer to LPIB, which I was more excited about than she was. I think one of the problems LPIB has in marketing itself is that LPHS has a school tour in the fall but gives almost no information about the curriculum/specifics of their IB program itself until the mandatory information meeting in the winter, by which time many kids (my daughter and most of her friends) already had their hearts set on the SE schools.

  • 727. jackie  |  February 27, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    @43chicago. thank you for your insight. We live in the Taft area. My daughter did not make it to #1 choice SEHS. She was crushed. We are going to try principal’s discretion. But my dilemma is what IB program do I send her to. She can stay at Taft is she doesn’t like the program. We have to pick a seat at either school by March 7.

  • 728. Prairie Mom  |  February 27, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Food for thought as to the IMP vs Regular math debate: My dd, a Senior at NSCP, has been accepted into 3 good engineering programs so far, waiting to hear regular decision on a couple more. So, yes, an IMP kid can get into engineering. When she applied for high school, she also got into LPIB and I felt at the time that the math program there was probably superior to all the other schools, but she ended up choosing NSCP. I do understand why kids for whom math is easy and their “thing” want the regular math offered at Payton or Young, with no need to slam IMP as far as kids not being able to pursue STEM with it. However, in all honesty, there is a debate to be had about IMP vs regular math and folks should be aware that the various SEHS’ have real differences pertaining to math and science. (Both Jones and NSCP have Physics first, as well.) Just something else to consider when ranking schools, depending on the interests of your child.

  • 729. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  February 27, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Our main criterion in ranking the schools came down to the size of the entering class. We feel smaller is better.

    Once exception to this is the LPHS IB program, which we consider to be a “school within a school”, and as such has an effective smaller entering class.

  • 730. Momof5  |  February 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    @713: I will fully admit I pushed the idea of Payton on my son as I thought it would have been the best fit for him. When he was offered a spot at Lane, he was crushed and I take full responsibility for his emotional reaction. I had pushed it on him. All of my peers said it was the best and I bought it. (Please note: I am not saying it’s not the best and I’m not saying it is. I am simply relaying our story,) I thought he would then choose to go to the Catholic high school where he had been accepted but he was adamant about going to Lane.

    Two days into his freshman year he said, “I can’t believe this week is almost over. I love Lane! My biology teacher…” and he continued singing his teacher’s praises. To get a 13 year old boy to discuss how much he likes school is not common to me.

    His two brothers now attend Lane as well. Each of them refused to consider any other school. For the record, son #2 was not offered a spot and got in through PD. Son #3 could have gone anywhere he wanted and what he wanted was Lane.

    The reason why I’m telling our story again (I’m sure some people here are sick of reading it again) is to acknowledge that as parents, we sometimes look to the brand as opposed to the fit – sort of like buying jeans. Sure I may want to fit into Lucky’s but maybe NotYourDaughter’s Jeans are a better fit for me. lol And maybe once I try them on I’l realize it was just what I should have.

    Sorry for the long post.

  • 731. jackie  |  February 27, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    @momof5 thank you for your post. Was son #2 close to the cut-off score for the PD? I’m just curious how they pick for that.

  • 732. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    @Momof5 – thanks, that is a great post. Having a 10yo, it’s hard for me to envision him having the self-awareness in 3 years to choose which high school is the best fit, so it’s very heartening to hear that your son had that awareness, and importantly, was right about it. Love your story, thanks so much for sharing!

    Thanks to everyone for sharing their insights about the different schools. To be honest, I have no idea what all this math stuff means at this point.

  • 733. RL Julia  |  February 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    @720 – Take this with a grain of salt, I am certainly not speaking for all kids nor am I making any grand generalizations about what NCP is or isn’t. I think (and I believe my daughter would concur) that she would not enjoy NCP as much as she currently enjoys WY because of the following:
    1. The thing she loves about school the most is dance and NCP doesn’t have a dance program. Whitney’s dance program rocks.
    2. NCP is pretty small and as a result doesn’t offer as many choices for different classes. She is not a kid who is going to want to take AP Calculus (or to be honest, I suspect AP anything if she doesn’t think she has to). Since Northside is smaller, they sometimes don’t have the breadth of class offerings available (specific example – check out their science department). My daughter also loves fashion – NCP doesn’t offer this either. Last year she took a fashion and design class.
    4. NCP is not as diverse as Whitney. This is important to her.
    5. The block scheduling would probably not play to her strengths or interests. While the block schedule is really great for some things (like science labs) it is less great for other things (like learning a new language).
    6. Whitney is an older school with a lot of established traditions. I think she enjoys being a part of these things.

    On the other hand, my son love, love, loves going to NCP. The block scheduling plays to his tendency to develop deep interests in subjects, he could care less about dance or fashion (and unfortunately to a certain extent science). He loves the smaller size of the school and the fact that everyone is pretty nice and accepting to everyone else and sort of knows each other (this is not to imply that WY is especially clique-y – as much as it is just a bigger school). He loves that he could be a jock at NCP and that most his classmates in gym seen to be just as un-athletically inclined/talented as he is. He loves the colloquium days. Basically this was a great choice for him.

    We have found both schools to be different but amazing places. Both schools have things we love and things we love less – and both schools have great teachers and less great teachers. I would hedge a bet that this is in all schools. Hope this helps.

  • 734. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 27, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    730. Momof5 | February 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks for your insight and post. Glad your kids are loving Lane!

  • 735. LP  |  February 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    @jackie – regarding PD

    I obviously don’t know your situation but in general parents should be careful with PD, especially with kids that were already emotional about not getting in. The odds of getting one of the max 5% PD seats is worse than the 95% regular score seats. I know several families from my child’s school where the kid was crushed, the parents said “don’t worry, we’ll try PD” only to all be turned down a second time. The stress these poor 7th and 8th graders have to go through once is bad enough, the second time can be worse.

    The few kids I know that did get in had something truly exceptional. State or national recognition in sports or music, extreme hardship, or something unusual that really stood out (global chess ranking, published in established poetry journal, etc.)

  • 736. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    I assume minecraft skills probably don’t help towards PD, eh?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 737. SLParent  |  February 27, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    @733 – thank you for sharing the experiences of your children. It sounds like they both made wise choices. You raise some important issues for consideration in the school selection process that others on this post have not yet discussed, and that will be helpful for our family’s decision making.

    @722 – I seriously could not “feel” significant differences in the SEHS’s or I would not have asked the question. IMO, the Open House format of herding thousands of people through a building is not an ideal environment for divining the nuances of any school (and who has time to wait in a long line to speak to one of the teachers, because you are rushing to get to the next Open House). So instead of relying on my obviously flawed sixth sense, I am appreciative of those on this blog that are contributing their valuable and meaningful thoughts on the schools’ differences.

  • 738. Anonymous  |  February 27, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    @737. I must have the same flawed skills. Went to 3 open houses this year (oldest currently in 7th) and had trouble telling the differences.

    Not sure my child will really have the luxury of choice but appreciate all of the insight others are giving.

  • 739. Pd  |  February 27, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    What do they mean by documented public assistance?

  • 740. Pd  |  February 27, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    For principal discretion? Like what would qualify under that?

  • 741. Bundled up  |  February 27, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Can someone walk me through the different approaches to math that have been discussed here? I think I know but have a feeling there is more to it than I am aware.

    Also, I have heard about the school in Little Village that is refusing ISATs and now I hear some schools on the Northside are letting their 8th graders know they can opt out of ISATs and there will be no consequences. Is it true there will be no consequences to opting out of ISATs in 8th grade?

  • 742. BR  |  February 27, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    I think if the parent of the PD applicant contributes posts to CPSO, you can put that down as “public assistance” 😉

  • 743. Momof5  |  February 27, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    @731 Jackie: He had missed the cutoff for by 2 points. I think it must have helped that he had a brother going there already and that Lane was his #1 choice. His essay was excellent. I proofread, edited, picked it apart a ton because I knew how important that part of it was. I spoke to the admissions director and she said she personally read every single essay.

    I know trying PD is a long shot, especially at smaller schools where 5% of the class is around 10 kids, but at Lane that number jumps up to about 50 kids. I cannot stress enough though that if you didn’t put a school as your first choice, it’s going to be tough to compete against kids that did.

    @739 Pd: I think they are referring to Government assistance programs like WIC, SNAP, etc.

  • 744. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Siblings seems to get a PD edge at some schools it seems like.
    (I assume the child has to be impressive as well, but given that they probably have a lot of impressive kids going for it, that might be a subconsious tiebreaker at times.)

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 745. Momof5  |  February 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    @732 cpso, I don’t know if 13 year olds really do know what’s best for them or not with regards to selecting a high school, but what I have learned is that if we present multiple options to them in a positive manner, it is easier to get them (and us) in a positive perspective with regards to their outcome. Would my oldest have been just as happy at WP? Who can say? But what I do know is he is happy and thriving at Lane and so are his brothers. Wouldn’t trade any of the experience for anything.

  • 746. @741  |  February 27, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    There is a consequence under NCLB federal guidelines if less than 95% of CPS 3rd-8th grade students don’t take the ISAT. CPS will lose some federal funding as a sanction for not having the 95%! CPS is broke & I would hate to see us lose funding with this per pupil budgeting wreaking havoc on school budgets. I planned to opt my 6th grader out of the ISAT until I learned this caveat!

  • 747. CPS Parent  |  February 27, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    I know math seems to get a disproportionate amount of attention but here is another aspect to keep in mind. For kids who are truly interested in math and this goes beyond being “good at it” Payton offers the two year (usually Jr. & Sr. yr.) KAM cycle which is listed in the curriculum pdf at the school website. Despite the name mentioned there, kids know it actually stands for Kick A$$ Math. This course is unique to Payton and is offered instead of Multivariable Calculus. It is an opportunity for kids to actually do college level, proof based, math which is very unusual at the high school level. Many math talented kids find calculus (including multivariable), AP stats etc. easy but boring. KAM is the class that really gets them going.

  • 748. Second Round  |  February 27, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Someone above asked about 2nd rounds for the HS. I don’t believe there will be a 2nd round just like last year. If I remember correctly all of the schools padded there acceptances because they know some students will decline offers because they chose other options (if they had them) like private, catholic, IB, magnet or charter! An article in DNA Info Chicago stated that for SE seats CPS had 16,826 applicants for 3,200 seats but made offers to 4,580 students. Some schools over offer more seats than others based on the school’s past experience with the percentage of students declining the seats and use a guesstimate to determine how many seats to over offer!

  • 749. HS Mom  |  February 27, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    @713 – I don’t think that the process of elimination (ruling out schools you can’t get into) is important now with 6 options. We had 4, a big mistake was to use 2 choices on NSP and WP only to find that you got nothing due picking the top schools only. I would assume that anyone using less than the 6 slots has a back-up plan.

    We did eliminate schools that were too far to travel to. From there we were interested in the curriculum (school offers only honors classes, has classes that student is interested in, good variety etc). The school would need to offer student services for academic assistance with teachers who are reasonably available. The overall feel and impression left by the teachers, students and the admin was important. I’m listing in order. Our school did not have a block schedule at the time but that would be a plus. It is not a deal breaker but a reason to choose one over the other. Having had the block schedule has made school life so much better.

  • 750. elaine  |  February 27, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Is Jones Tier 4 cut-off score 883 for SEHS or CET? Or both?

  • 751. HS Mom  |  February 27, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    @706 CB – “While some college maths and sciences courses will have weekly problem-sets, no credit for homework is the norm at college, at least at the selective schools that many of these children will be applying for.”

    Yet the homework policy will vary from school to school and class to class. It’s one thing to be “college prep”, becoming college ready, and another to be treated like a college student in grading and procedure. For one, the environments and schedules are different. I have noticed the shift from freshman to senior year with homework becoming less significant in grading while tests become a greater component. I think that’s good preparation. I don’t necessarily agree with tossing them into the deep end and eliminating the homework as a responsibility for grade.

    Same with middle school grades. The push to get them “high school ready” starts in 6th grade sometimes. Some of these things like taking Cornell notes and triple double advanced level classes can certainly wait until 8th grade when kids are more mature and excited about it. I think way too many kids at the end of elementary and high school are stressed into acting beyond their years with mixed results.

  • 752. Stressed By CPS  |  February 27, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    If kids that were accepted into LP double honors but decide to go to a SEHS or other program, will they do a “second round” to fill those seats? Or is it another one of those over extending of offers that will be just fine if half those kids don’t accept that spot?

  • 753. IBobsessed  |  February 28, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Re-posting this in hopes of getting some replies. Does anyone understand how the total score on the SEHS exam is calculated? Looking at my kid’s past standardized test reports, the ‘core total’ score seems crazy, definitely not a simple averaging of the math and reading scores. Or anyone here willing to anonymously post their kids math, reading and total scores? It might be helpful in seeing a pattern for how the total score is figured.

  • 754. anonymouse teacher  |  February 28, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Actually, the push to get them “college ready” is already happening in Prek and K. I can’t tell you how much we talk about it and how many developmentally wrong things I personally have had to do in this regard.

  • 755. HS Mom  |  February 28, 2014 at 8:37 am

    @741 I can describe IMP math, as I know it. It’s based upon being given a situation or real life problem and intuitively coming to an answer. I guess you can call it an involved word problem. It involves thinking through a situation and getting a good grasp of the concepts. I’m not sure if this is part of IMP, but the way Jones teaches math is through a combination of these types of critical thinking problems along with traditional lists of practice problems for homework. The student is tested on their understanding of the concepts requiring problem solving and graphing and they will be given material that they have not yet studied to see if they can apply the concept to something else. The homework is part of the grade (less so in senior year). The teacher will check to see that it’s done and an effort made for 100% in homework.

    A good question for prospective parents to ask is what % of students entering at the 9th grade level take 4 or more years of math. They have this information and I believe at Jones it is around 95%. I think it’s important for a school to offer strong math options for students who are not on the math track. Four years of honors level math without all the extra advanced options looks good to colleges. Three years, can’t wait to drop it, not so good.

    Jones does have physics first. They feel it is the basis for all the other sciences. The good thing about that is that a student looking to pursue science will be able to take AP physics later since it is different and an extension of the first year physics.

  • 756. BR  |  February 28, 2014 at 8:40 am

    @753, this might help you regarding those 300 points for the standardized test portion.

    Click to access Scoring%20Rubric%20–%20Selective%20Enrollment%20HS.pdf

  • 757. IBobsessed  |  February 28, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Thanks BR, but I’m asking something different. How is the percentile% arrived at based upon BOTH math and reading performance on the test? You see a single percentile, bu a student almost always achieves at in different percentile for math and for reading. So how do they arrive at that single percentile from 2 scores? This is a question which is relevant to all standardized tests, not just the SEHS exam. For example, I am looking at a report now that shows 99%tile in reading, 68th percentile in math. The core total national percentile is shown as 95%tile. How was this figured?

  • 758. HS Mom  |  February 28, 2014 at 8:57 am

    To add….My son is the same as RLJulia above at northside and SE schools are full of them. Bright kids that can handle and excel at what is being offered. It is a matter of approach and their own discovery in generating enthusiasm and thus success. That part is different for everyone. My own student did not fully blossom until late in HS junior year. In this respect, it does take real self evaluation to pick the school they will be most successful in.

  • 759. IBobsessed  |  February 28, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Just discovered the formula for figuring the core total percentile rank for IOWAs is Vocabulary score + Language score +Math score/3=raw score which then is given a national percentile. What is the formula for the SEHS exam? Knowing that would be helpful in predicting what percentile an student is likely to get, based upon past performance on tests.
    Calling OAE.

  • 760. BR  |  February 28, 2014 at 9:17 am

    IBobsessed, I get what you’re asking now. I totally agree. Wonder which math program they use to figure those core totals?

  • 761. Looking at colleges  |  February 28, 2014 at 9:31 am

    My son is at Northside and the IMP math is really only for IMP 1, 2 and 3, which equate to Algebra, Geometry, and Trig. My son started in “2”, which is Geometry. Now that he is a junior, in pre-calc, he no longer has IMP. Students coming from Lane and Whitney’s Academic Centers most likely would start in “3”, therefore only have IMP for one year. I should add that he is a “math kid” and thought IMP was fine.

  • 762. HS Mom  |  February 28, 2014 at 9:49 am

    @761 – good point. Again, looking at ACT scores taking IMP, he’s a top 1% er so the college options are wide open.

  • 763. MB  |  February 28, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Does anyone have feedback on Lincoln Park AP/Double Honors versus Von Steuben Scholars? My daughter is trying to decide between the two. She is leaning towards Von Steuben but she likes Lincoln Park as well. Also considering Senn IB.

  • 764. Jones2  |  February 28, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Re: IMP math…The biggest difference I’ve noticed (having a liberal arts focused child v. math & science) is that I no longer hear “why do I need to learn this…I’m never going to use it anyway.” IMP seems to have taught him the WHY math is relevant.

    Obviously, this may be an unimportant factor for a child that is already math focused…but it has been a positive development for my child.

  • 765. Chris  |  February 28, 2014 at 10:53 am

    EagleMom: “No one could tell a person’s income class no more than they can see the Tier they fall into.”

    As is much discussed here, you can’t tell what Tier someone lives in by looking at them–there are rich families in T1 and poor families in T4.

    That said, if the kids these days can’t figure out most people’s income class by looking at and small-talking with them, then kids these days have gotten pretty dumb. They’ll be wrong some times, and most of them might not care at all, but they generally know.

  • 766. LP  |  February 28, 2014 at 10:57 am

    “I know trying PD is a long shot, especially at smaller schools where 5% of the class is around 10 kids, but at Lane that number jumps up to about 50 kids.”

    Good point. Lane has a significantly lower admissions hurdle across the board. I was referring to PNJY, the original poster may not have been. Apologies.

  • 767. klm  |  February 28, 2014 at 11:17 am


    It’s interesting what you have to say, in terms of getting kids “on track” (at least accoding to to current push-reading-math-scirence-earlier and earlier methods) so early.

    While I think it’s a good idea to get kids exposed to basic concepts that will relate later on to reading, math-related problem solving, etc., the push for such an early age is often counter-productive. Some kids may struggle in K, either b/c they are not ready for early reading or b/c they are not old enough to sit still, do homework, etc. –not because they’re really lacking cognitively, or have a genuine learning/behavior issue, but because they’re not there yet, developmentally –which is also normal and used to be OK (but not anymore).

    Accordingly, some kids “struggle” in K because K is now what 1st grade uded to be. So, they become discouraged and the viscious cycle starts: I’m not good at school, so I don’t like it, so why try, etc. Some parent feel like their kid needs SPED when they are in fact “normal” (albeit at the ‘older’ end of the trajectory).

    Now, obviously, early diagnosis and intervention is the optimal course for the kids that genuinely need it. However, some parents feel like their (July and August birthday) kids are almost in need of special intervention if they’re not reading fluently by their 6th birthday and feel like they did something wrong.

    The normal range for reading fluency to really happen (suddenly a lightbulb goes off and it just happens, from what all I’ve read and heard) is pretty wide: 4-7. Kids (and their parents) that are on the older end of the normal range can made to feel as though they’re not strong academically, when in fact their kid is totally normal and often will catch up with and surpass “early” readers by 3rd grade –it happens all the time). My older kids are all good readers, but one was reading chapter books at the beginning of first grade and one couldn’t put two letters together at the same age. Now that they’re older, they’re both scoring about equally as high on achievement tests.

    Many of the foreign parents that I’ve known at my kids’ schools all say the same thing: what’s up with the early push for reading fluency, homework in K, etc. –and these people are coming from places where the education is considered “good”: China, Singapore, Germany,France, …..

    In Finland, the model country many of us love, in terms of an example to emulate, most kids don’t start school full-time until they’re 7, the age when reading’s really pushed is 7 (not 5), kids don’t get any homework until they’re much older (learning takes place in school), and even then it’s not much. Oh, yeah, and they kids in Finland watch lots of TV, spend lots of time playing on computers (maybe the long, dark winters are partly to explain) and don’t get much early instruction in literacy, numeracy, etc. They wait until kids are “ready” for reading, instead of pushing it in preschool, like we tend to do here.

    You can keep poring water into Dixie cup, but once it’s full, the water just won’t get inside.

    In the same way, I feel bad for some kids that aren’t where they can/will be later on, in 7th grade. Some kids aren’t really engaged in education until they’re in high school, or maybe even college. However, their performace in 7th grade has such a huge impact on their life’s trajectory, their self-esteem related to what they can do later in life, etc.

    My niece struggled with reading (504s and IEPs), didn’t like school, felt stupid and unable to really succeed, etc. until HS, when she discovered that she had a natural aptitude for and love of science. She’s now in pharmacy school (and not just any ‘ol pharmacy school, but one that’s considered Top Ten and really hard to get into). School for her didn’t “click” until 9th or 10th grade. However, if she were in CPS, she’d have been rejected from ever SEHS, I’m sure. If she were shunted into a “lousy” school because of an ability to get into a “good” one, who knows where she’d be: maybe a little too dispirited to really aim high.

    I feel bad for all the kids that feel “stupid” or “incapable” because they didn’t get into a SEHS or other CPS HS program for “good” students. I just hope that they don’t feel too inadequate to discover their potential, but I can see that happening.

    8th grade/middle-school is such a difficult time in one’s life –full of doubts, fears, vulberabilites, etc. It’s hard to so kids pigeon-holed according to which HS they get into. Rejection can really sting and never really goes away at this age.

  • 768. IBobsessed  |  February 28, 2014 at 11:32 am

    KLM and teacher-The developmentally inappropriate stuff being pushed in the primary grades is why some opt for parochial and private. Most still emphasize a play based, social/emotional approach in K. There is no push to get kids reading in K. They are read to, act out stories, tell stories, draw what they heard, are encouraged to follow their natural curiosity….. I was tuition poor for years, but my kid now loves reading and learning. Not saying she wouldn’t if we’d gone with CPS, but I pulled her from an RGC because I was so disturbed at what I was seeing.

  • 769. Disney Magnet parent  |  February 28, 2014 at 11:48 am

    @763, MB: Those are the same programs we’re debating! We are leaning towards Von. (Von will be sending an email inviting us to a meet-and-greet next Wednesday at 4:30.) Here are my thoughts on the three (but I don’t know anyone whose kids are already there!):

    Pluses for Von: Everyone is above average, since the science magnet students need to be at stanine 5+ for math, reading, and science. My son likes science best, so this seems like a good place for him. I like the fact that they have an engineering curriculum, and I like that the school *doesn’t* have arts-by-audition students. I suspect it is much harder to join the band or get cast in plays at LP and Senn, where there are so many music and drama kids. (I really liked the band director at the open house, but the choir director was so scattered.) Von also has an 88% graduation rate, vs. ~82% at LP and 54% at Senn. They offer Chinese as well as French and Spanish. The Scholars program sounds like a supportive environment for students. The Scholars kid who led our tour group at the open house said the cafeteria food is really good.

    Pluses for LP/Double Honors: Uh … really rigorous? Lots of involvement in science fairs and history fairs? (Man, I am tired of science fair projects! Just me?) They offer German, which the other schools don’t. Beautiful campus. I like that there’s a separate freshman building. It’s a bigger school so there are more sports and clubs available (but also more competition to make a team).

    Pluses for Senn IB: IB has its own advantages. I know a kid who plans to go to college in his home country in Europe, and an IB education will work well for him. The school is super-diverse, perhaps the single most diverse and international school in the city.

    Minuses for Von: Well, it’s my top choice so I don’t have much here. There’s no marching band because there’s no football team. Not the prettiest school.

    Minuses for LP: Not wild about the dropout rate. For a “top” school, you’d like to see it higher than it is. Not sure what leads to that statistic at LP.

    Minuses for Senn: Maybe half the kids are IB/Arts and half are neighborhood, and the average results are still pretty low although the numbers are improving. 50% go to college … so possibly hardly any of the neighborhood students make it to college? The school should be doing better. Low average ACT score of 17.3. School culture still rougher than at the other schools. A friend’s friend teaches there and has had to deal with disruptive and disrespectful kids, though at least there aren’t as many fights as there used to be.

  • 770. reenie  |  February 28, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    To 703 pantherette Thanks for your comments about Lindblom! I’m really glad to hear it is working out for your child. Frankly, your positive take it on it is what I was expecting to hear from my friends with a son there and I was really sad to hear otherwise–that their son is not as happy there (so far at least) as your daughter. I have a soon-to-be kindergartner and I’m already thinking Lindblom is high on our list of potential high schools way down the road. I guess I wonder if the experience could be different by gender–maybe harder on a white, science nerd kind of boy. (But aren’t the teen years rough almost everywhere for that profile?) It would be great to hear more Lindblom parents weigh in–my impressions are all second-hand.

  • 771. Disney Magnet parent  |  February 28, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    For those of you who are looking at the IB program (Taft, Senn, Amundsen, Lincoln Park, etc.), here are some thoughts on IB, from a non-Chicago kid I know who received his IB diploma in January:

    In general, by the time I applied for college, it was implied that by taking all-IB courses and having the designation as an “anticipated diploma candidate”, I’d earn the diploma. (To be honest, after that, colleges don’t really care whether or not you get the diploma; that’s just a matter of whether you want to place out of certain courses.) I will say this: not sure if IB really is the “fast lane” to a college acceptance, and it’s definitely a lot harder than any AP curriculum…but I know I really benefitted from IB because it has a huge emphasis on analysis and critical thinking, which REALLY has paid off in college (written assignments and whatnot).

    In other words, I do highly recommend IB over any AP program, but more in the sense that it’s excellent college prep, rather than being established as an “elite” in the college application process, because I’m not entirely sure that’s true.

  • 772. reenie  |  February 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    And thanks Eagle Mom for your perspective on Lindblom and your comments about the shuttle service. I absolutely agree and recognize that every kid in an SEHS is smart and that there are plenty of smart kids coming from neighborhoods with bad reputations (believe me, I live in one of those neighborhoods and I know young people here who have gone to Northwestern, U of C, Yale, etc.). But every SEHS does have differences in school climate and culture and I appreciate hearing more perspective on Lindblom’s than from just one family I happen to know.

  • 773. Anonymous  |  February 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    @767 klm

    Thanks so much for posting.

  • 774. MB  |  February 28, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    @769. Disney Magnet parent – Thanks for the response! We missed the Von Steuben open house because that school wasn’t even on my radar until my daughter’s teacher mentioned it. We ended up going to Von Steuben’s winter music concert just to get a feel for the school. I would really really hope to get an email for a meet-and-greet before next Friday – are they sending those out to every one who got accepted into the Scholars?

  • 775. Disney Magnet parent  |  February 28, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    @774 MB: Not sure how quickly they will get the emails out, but I’ve put 4:30 Wednesday on my calendar! Really liked the school at the open house, and want my husband to go next Wednesday so he can see the school himself.

    I had called to ask Von’s admissions person, Pablo Lopez, if the Scholars program looks at 8th grade ISATs or not (considering opting out). They don’t need the 8th grade ISATs for anything, but I think they do look at the EXPLORE tests coming this spring.

  • 776. MB  |  February 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    @769. Disney Magnet parent – I also found some research from the UChicago Consortium on Chicago School Research that shows that Von Steuben student do perform better on the ACT and in terms of attending selective colleges. (This is for 2005-2006 graduates so could have changed somewhat since then.)

    Von Steuben Scholars: ACT = 24.7 and 59% attend very selective or selective 4-year colleges

    Senn IB: ACT = 23.0 and 56% attend very selective or selective

    Lincoln Park AP/Double Honors: ACT = 22.0 and 43% attend very selective or selective

    Based on that, Senn IB is even better than Lincoln Park AP/HH! (Of course, there are other qualitative things to consider, but assuming all other things equal.)

    The link to this data is in Appendix D of this document: http://ccsr.uchicago.edu/publications/high-school-future-making-hard-work-pay

  • 777. LindblomPrincipal  |  February 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    For those of you with questions about Lindblom, I would encourage you to come visit, if possible, on a school day when classes are in session!

    In addition to the open house this Saturday at 10:00 am for accepted students, (Dr. Powers put in a plug; I have to follow his lead!) we have days when we invite those invited students and parents to do that during-school visit. If you are just thinking about Lindblom down the road, I would encourage you to join in one of those tours. We visit classrooms, have to talk to students of your choosing, learn about programs, and get a feel for the place.

    As the principal (and a Lindblom parent), I can tell you that I believe you will be pleased.

    Just email Isaias Herrera (iherrera2@cps.edu) to set up that visit.

    Swoop! Swoop!

  • 778. Susan Lofton, Principal-Senn High School  |  February 28, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    As a principal, I have to say this is a great place to share and get real decision-making information. That being said, I do want to clarify some misconceptions. True enough that Senn’s posted graduation rate is low. That metric is based on students who entered the school prior to the administrative and curricular change in Fall 2010. That number also reflects a time in which approximately 60% of students in the school were not true neighborhood students and did not enter Senn through selective enrollment. That’s another story for another day. However, in response to this odd situation we set a firm policy whereby moving forward, students had to live in the attendance area or go through the selective process. Students who previously had come into the school through other means didn’t always care for the new academic focus. The posted graduation metric reflects a period of change 4 years ago, not the current reality. It does take time for the graduation metric to catch up to the current climate. You will see a markedly different metric soon.

    As of 2014, Senn overall is approximately 36% IB selective/fine arts magnet enrollment with the remainder now coming from the actual Edgewater/ Andersonville community.

    But here is a big tell: In Grades 9/10, 47% of the population is in selective/magnet enrollment, with the remaining 53% from the community. A large portion of the 47% selective enrollment comes from the immediate attendance area and exemplifies the support that Edgewater/Andersonville has given Senn. These are students that had the scores to go to other IB or selective schools but chose to come here. That is the trajectory we are on.

    The ACT scores reflect a diverse population, including English Learners. Students take a Grade 9 EPAS test (Explore) that leads up to the Grade 11 ACT. Again, a more telling metric emerges when you look at Grade 9 start scores and see how much gain students make up to and beyond the ACT.

    By way of example, last year’s Senn IB diploma juniors entered with an average math score of 15 on the Explore. They averaged a 22 in math on the ACT. When compared to highly selective schools, a 22 by itself may not look impressive, but when compared to growth from Explore to ACT, Senn students made more gain (7 points in this instance). We really are about creating intellectual excitement and self-investment in our students. The accelerated academic growth evidences this, with the ACT being one measure. This year, Senn raised its cut scores as a result of the significant increase in applications. Students will be coming in with higher Explore scores, but we expect to continue the above average academic growth based on the quality of curriculum and instructional staff. In short, good students become better, and great students become even greater. It’s all about individual student growth.

    In an earlier posting here or in a related thread, someone expressed concern about the lack of a tech class for IB. All Senn IB prep students take a tech course in the 10th grade. It helps anchor and support the personal project activities. Magnet fine arts students take a multimedia class to prepare a digital portfolio. The remaining neighborhood strands, IB Environmental Studies or Digital Journalism, also heavily embed technology as part of the curriculum. It’s important that students engage in authentic application.

    I am curious about the friend of a friend who teaches at Senn–current teacher or recent former teacher? We work hard to ensure very high performing teachers are with our students, which means faculty change occurs. The best means of knowing what a school is like is to visit during the school day. We offer tours of Senn regularly. Parents typically comment on how safe and orderly it is and how engaged students are in the classroom. It is worth taking the time to see for yourself, and we love showing people around.

    Every student deserves to be in a safe learning environment that supports them as an individual. Each selective, magnet, and IB school offers wonderful opportunities. Many neighborhood schools are making great strides and will invest in your child. I hope all of you find the right fit for your child.

    Best wishes,
    Susan A. Lofton
    Senn High School

  • 779. mom2  |  February 28, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Susan Lofton, Thank you so much for coming here and telling us about Senn. It sounds great. Please continue on your path of offering neighborhood access and only selective access to others. We are in the Lakeview HS district and I have high hopes for that school to do something similar. Senn sounds like a great option for people. Keep up the good work!

  • 780. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  February 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I’m loving all of the posts from local H.S. principals. What a great way to demonstrate their commitment to the communities they serve. Very impressive.

  • 781. klm  |  February 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm


    I’m not sure I’d agree with your assessement. Now, like you said, there are all kinds of factors to consider, not just test scores. I’m sure Senn’s IB program is good, etc., but….

    I recall seeing/reading that the average ACT for LPIB is 27-point-something. Considering the relative difficulty of getting admitted, that seems about right.

    Also, (per the latest ‘Trib’ online info) the average meets/exceeds score for PSAE by subject (Reading/Math/Science) for 2012 are : LPHS-54.6/17.8, 61.3/18.2, 50.1/12.7 Senn- 33/2.8, 32.1/1.4, 18.1/2.3 Von Steuben- 50.8/5.1, 56.8/2.3, 39.5/4.5

    Average ACT per school: LPHS -22.4, Senn-16.4, Von Steuben-20.6

    Per IIRC.com % “Ready for College Coursework”: LPHS-65%, Senn-14%, Von Steuben-52%

    I think people should feel happy with the school that’s the “right” one for their individual kid, feels best, etc., but if we’re judging by test scores alone, my money’s on LPHS and its IB program.

    I’m not saying one’s “better” than the other, it’s just that from online test data, at least, I can’t see how Senn’s IB is “better.”

    Then again, the more I look into the HS data, the more I hear from people, etc., the more I realize that as long as a high school provides opportunities for good, college-prep learning, the end result is what an individual wants to make of it, not dependent on the relative “presige” (based on difficulty of admission) of the school itself.

    Without going into detail, I’ve been able to observe some classes at a few CPS HSs over the last several months. These were schools that, frankly, are what many of us would consider no-way-in-hell schools, per ave. test scores, reputation, etc. I was expectuing something like the Hollywood version of inner-city schools in movies, like the opening scenes of chaos from “You Can Lean on Me.” To my almost complete amazement, what I saw were schools that were clean, felt safe, fairly inviting and seemed to be well run. There were some great teachers and real learning going on. I’m kinda’ ashamed of my preconceptuions, to be honest. It made me rethink a lot about the biases I have against certian schools based strictly on their test scores, their relative difficulty in terms of getting admitted, etc. Accordingly, I believe that Senn’s IB program really could be “better” for some people, but probably not based expressly on test scores.

  • 782. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  February 28, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    @746 There is no link between AYP status and the amount of federal funding a district or school receives. If someone, even CPS staff, tell you that, ask them for the citation from the US Code, the CFR, or US Ed. guidances or policy statements. They won’t be able to provide it, because there is none. If anything, more $ goes to schools for tutoring and transport due to AYP.

    If there was such a link, the effects would already have been felt. CPS as as district has not made AYP since 2004 at the least. Last year, only 64 CPS schools made AYP. This year even fewer will because the schools must have 100% meets/exceeds in all categories.

    @741 CPS has switched all district stakes from testing to the NWEA MAP. They don’t use the ISAT anymore (this year’s 8th graders to SE were the last to have their 7th grade ISATs used). They can’t use the ISAT because it no longer has a national percentile measure embedded.

  • 783. Counterpoint for discussion  |  February 28, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    To 780:
    I’m loving all of the posts from local H.S. principals. What a great way to demonstrate their commitment to the communities they serve. Very impressive.
    Actually, I’m concerned that they are pandering to a blog thread rather than in the school naming every kid in the school by first name, and asking each teacher what additional help is needed.

    The persons described are part of the Democratic machine, and as such, the utmost concern is imaging/branding.

  • 784. HSObsessed  |  February 28, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I also want to say it’s great that principals are posting information about their high schools. I also always love to hear about them entrusting their own kids’ education to the school that they lead, as Mr. Mather apparently does. During a LPHS information session, Principal Boraz there mentioned that he’s looking forward to his own daughter attending LPHS in a few years, and although I already saw lots of merit to the school, that really added to the overall positive feeling I had. Many public figures in civic leadership positions choose to send their kids to private schools (not naming any names here, LOL), and although I support their decision to do that, when others decide instead to “walk the walk” so to speak, it just says something, IMHO.

    @763 MB – My kid is in LPHS AP/Double Honors right now. She got offers from four schools and chose the AP/HH program based on many factors, including ability to tailor her workload (i.e. enroll in challenging classes in the areas she’s interested in, not as hard level of classes for those she’s not), the theater program, the foreign language she wished to study was offered there, ease of commute, good things she’d heard about the school from other kids, and more. She’s very happy there, with lots of new friends, and very busy social life. She has a long eight-hour school day with 7 academic classes plus PE and lunch. The homework load is fine. She’s in all double honors classes except math, and the coursework seems rigorous enough to me. I was very impressed with all her teachers when I met with them at parent-teacher conferences. If you have any specific questions, let me know. Good luck in your kid’s decision!

  • 785. MB  |  February 28, 2014 at 3:15 pm


    In regards to my post at 776, I was speaking about Lincoln Park’s AP/Double Honors program only not their IB program. Their IB program is obviously very good! But I my daughter did not get into their IB program, only their AP/HH so I was comparing the three options that she had.

    So in that case, the kids in the 2005-2006 Senn IB graduating class performed better than the kids in the Lincoln Park AP/HH graduating class.

    Also, the link I posted at the UChicago Consortium on Chicago School Research also makes a note of putting Lincoln Park’s IB in a separate category.

  • 786. MB  |  February 28, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    @784. HSObsessed – Thank you for the feedback on LP AP/HH! We did really like all of the teachers we met at Lincoln Park – it seems like a great school and it sounds like the AP/HH program is the right amount of rigor for my daughter.

    I think commute is going to end up being a big deciding factor for us. For the other two schools she is considering, we would be able to move to those neighborhoods and live close by. Lincoln Park will always be a commute for her because I don’t think we could ever afford to live in that area.

  • 787. MB  |  February 28, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    I can also echo Principal Susan Lofton’s comments in that Senn seemed very safe and orderly when my daughter and I went for a shadow day so I would definitely tell parents of kids still in middle school to consider it. David Gregg, the IB coordinator, does a great job. We sat in on a Theory of Knowledge class (an IB class) and the kids were indeed very engaged in the discussion.

  • 788. HSObsessed  |  February 28, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    @786 – Yes, do not underestimate the commuting factor. If all other factors are equal, go with the shorter commute. LPHS is very accessible by public transit, though, with the Brown Line, #8 Halsted, and #73 Armitage bus all within a few blocks.

    Also, sorry if I’m repeating myself, but CPS is changing so fast that data from 2005 -2006 is next to useless. New programs, changes in administration or area population or city demographics lead to huge changes in the school. The funny thing is that many families are reluctant to enroll their kids in a school until there’s “proof” in the form of test scores, but those only show up as a lag effect years later. The level of academic achievement of the kids applying to the LPHS AP/HH program has gone up so much from year to year that one of the administrators there told me that last year they turned applicants down to the AP/HH program that they would have admitted to the LPHS IB program a few years prior. Let that sink in for a moment. (And sorry to freak out the parents reading this who have kids who are even younger! Don’t worry, notwithstanding that tidbit, there WILL be room for your kid in a great program somewhere. I’m standing by my prediction made years ago that Lakeview, Senn and Amundsen will be the next go-to neighborhood high schools.)

  • 789. Disney Magnet parent  |  February 28, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Another factor for Senn IB: Senn’s IB program has historically accepted students whose incoming grades and test scores are too low to be admitted to the most selective SEHS schools and the Lincoln Park IB program (IB cutoff scores: 630 Senn, 840 LP). Many of the LP IB and SEHS kids are going to succeed no matter where they go. Senn’s IB program takes bright kids who aren’t necessarily academic superstars, and elevates them to that level. This makes Senn IB an incredibly appealing choice for many families. They polish the diamonds rather than asking that the diamonds be polished before they reach the school.

    I expect to see Senn IB’s cutoff scores climbing each year as Principal Lofton’s leadership continues to take the school onward and upward. I’m curious to know if they had more applications this year than last year (last year, I think they had about 1700 apps, several times higher than what they had maybe 4-5 years ago).

  • 790. IBobsessed  |  February 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    KLM The mentality of your comments @781do little to stop what you deplore in your earlier post:

    ” I feel bad for all the kids that feel “stupid” or “incapable” because they didn’t get into a SEHS or other CPS HS program for “good” students. I just hope that they don’t feel too inadequate to discover their potential, but I can see that happening.”

    Your implications about Senn are clear, ‘ok for some but wellll….l, not like LPHS’. We know Senn is not LPHS. Why continually make comments that no one should forget that neighborhood HSs are viewed as marginal by many middle class parents. A good way to keep them at the margins.

    And you use data which includes the nonselective programs to characterize the entire school, while the data for the ‘good’ one /others consists of all selective programs.

  • 791. OutsideLookingIn  |  February 28, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Fantastic to hear from the HS principals at Senn, Lindblom and Jones! Appreciate these folks weighing in to clear up misconceptions and share information. Thanks!

  • 792. klm  |  February 28, 2014 at 4:46 pm



    If you saw my whole comment, I wasn’t disparaging any school, just pointing out some objective, most-current-available facts. I thought it relevant, given that I was responding to somebody that was also using test scores to make a point.

    Also, it does give lots of parents pause when the % of kids that are exceeding standards or are deemed “college-ready” is way low –why wouldn’t it? What’s wrong with using objective facts that we find online?

    Isn’t this thread about SEHS admissions, which is based 2/3 on test scores? Yes, I’m talking test scores to compare schools. Lots of people do (I’d bet good money that the majority of people on this site do). So what? That’s how many of us are able to glean from a huge list of schools which ones seem like the kind where lots of actual learning is going on.

  • 793. Susan  |  February 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Does any one have any information about principal discretion from previous years?

  • 794. pantherparent  |  February 28, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    @783 Counterpoint I’m all for you playing devil’s advocate but try to keep it on the rails a little bit. You’ve already marginalized yourself and posts like that undercut all credibility.

    Yeah, why would a principal want to read opinions of parents who know as much about CPS as anyone and care more than the next person. Don’t they know they should be out canvassing for votes to keep the gravy train rolling?

  • 795. MB  |  February 28, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    @788. HSObsessed – I think you make a good point about how quickly the data on the schools can change. My daughter is considering three schools and we can’t “feel” one as the best choice so I looked to the numbers to try to tease out differences between the programs, but the differences are not huge so the lag effect becomes more of a factor. Can’t put too much weight in the numbers. I think ultimately her three choices are all pretty good and whichever she decides on will work.

    I’m surprised I don’t hear parents saying that their son/daughter is choosing a certain school based on where his/her friends are going. My daughter was new to CPS this year so she doesn’t have close friends that she is very concerned about, but I would think most 13 years do?

  • 796. notcomplaining  |  February 28, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    @788. My son was extremely excited to get his first pick (Jones), but I think was a little shell shocked and shaky when he realized his good friends were going somewhere else. He is excited, but I think a littel nervous about it, even a little melancholoy.

  • 797. cpsobsessed  |  February 28, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    @notcomplaining – where are the other friends going? I know this blog draws people who have high scoring kids, but I’m curious where the (many many) kids who didn’t get and SEHS spot are attending.

    What are people hearing from classmates/friends?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 798. notcomplaining  |  February 28, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    @797 Actually 4 of his 6 “good” friends got into Northside, 1 is going to LP and one to ChiArts. He’ll be fine, they’ll all make new friends. As exciting as this new phase of their life is, it’s kinda scary leaving the old one, which has become quite comfortable.

  • 799. kim  |  February 28, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    @noncomplaining – I hear you, it’s a scary place when they have to leave their classmates — my daughter is leaving a small group of 30 that she’s had for 10 years! I’ve found that talking to neighbors is a great thing, we’ve found a soon to be new friend that is going to Jones as well that we are setting up travel schedules with already, as they will be taking the blue line together to school. Look into your community, you’ll find others in the same situation and all looking for the same things for their child. If you live in Bucktown let me know!

  • 800. @782  |  February 28, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Several articles that I have read about opting out of the ISAT say we will lose federal funding albeit the statement is from CPS:


    So, I’m not sure what to think…

  • 801. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 28, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    My child’s friends are split between WP, WY & Jones for SEHS, some will attend Chicago Ag, ChiArts and the rest will go to different Catholic Schools. Our neighborhood is known for kids going to all different HS, so it’s ‘normal’ not to be going into HS w/friends. I don’t think my child is scared, just excited.

  • 802. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 28, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    747. CPS Parent | February 27, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    I’ve heard abt KAM at WP. Can students take that concurrently w/Precalc? How many kids will be able to take Honors Advanced Math & Research afterward, since KAM is a prerequisite? Then students can take AP Calc BC w/Honors Advanced Math (seem like IB math path). However if KAM is taken senior year, then those kids miss out on Honors Advanced Math. I’m really not very well versed in KAM, but know that the former math director implemented it. I just wonder why KAM is a prereq for Honors Advanced Math.

  • 803. @782  |  February 28, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Ok here is the letter from ISBE to CPS re: loss od federal $$

    Click to access CPS_ISAT_Letter.pdf

  • 804. local  |  February 28, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    The alternative to CPS: privates. Anyone get into Lab, Parker or Latin? http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/latin-uofc-lab-francis-parker-schools-diversity/Content?oid=12600289

  • 805. Disney Magnet parent  |  February 28, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Nice feature of Disney Magnet—it’s so huge that many competitive high school programs will have a batch of Disney kids next year. Maybe 5-10 for Northside, 5-10 for Payton, 10-15 for Lane, 5-10 for Von Steuben Scholars, 3-5 for Lincoln Park DH, etc. Granted, kids may make more lifelong friends in high school, but it’s nice to start out with a handful of familiar faces in a CPS high school.

  • 806. local  |  February 28, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    801. SoxSideIrish4 | February 28, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    🙂 The neighborhood students are known for NOT going to MPHS. Do you think W2W IB will change that? How many years?

  • 807. anonymouse teacher  |  February 28, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    @800, even scarier is that CPS directed principals to place tests in front of all students and read directions to them, even the ones whose parents PUT IT IN WRITING that they don’t want their child to take the test. This is an obvious scare tactic to children, even if at the last minute they remove those kids to another “opt out” room. So, the message is, parents, it doesn’t matter what you want. You don’t want your child to have sex ed in school? Too bad. You don’t want your child to go on a field trip? Oh well.

  • 808. What  |  March 1, 2014 at 12:45 am

    800 & 803 – I don’t really have an opinion on the whole opt out thing, but I noticed that letter says schools/districts can be penalized for not administering the test. There’s nothing that says money will be lost if parents opt their kids out.

  • 809. Counterpoint for discussion  |  March 1, 2014 at 1:35 am

    To 794:
    I see you get it. Good job. Just because I’m on the margin doesn’t mean I’m not presenting valid observations. I’m too familiar with the corrupt Democratic political system in Chicago to not be cynical.

    Remember, the principal’s represent the Democratic party. The same way that Huberman represented the Democratic party. Huberman now works for a firm that has ties to advancing charter schools.

  • 810. Hoo Lee  |  March 1, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Maybe CTU teachers are afraid their kids scores may reflect poorly on their education skills? It appears that if t eachers dont like the testing required by their employer they are free to look for employment elsewhere. Maybe open their own school and show everyone how to do it right?

    Excerpt from tribune article:

    “The Chicago Board of Education will discipline any employee who encourages a student not to take the (Illinois Standards Achievement Test) or who advocates against the ISAT on work time for insubordination and for any disruption of the educational process,” the letter reads.”


  • 811. CPS Parent  |  March 1, 2014 at 8:43 am

    802. SoxSideIrish4 Honors Advanced Math & Research Is a new initiative that is part of the overall effort to push above the normal advanced classes for all subjects somewhat similar to IMSA’s research curriculum. KAM can be taken concurrently with Pre Calc but most students don’t since taking two math classes early on makes it hard to fit in all the requirements for graduation. Some students do take KAM in their sophomore year and Honors Advanced Math & Research gives them an opportunity to essentially continue with a third year of KAM. Normally the only option left for those kids is AP Stats which is not a very challenging or satisfying class.

  • 812. Ruby  |  March 1, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Hello, everybody. Recently I got accepted to WY. Im very excited and plan on attending this fall. Yesterday I mailed both of the letter accepting the offers; the one for WY and the one for OOAE. I remember completely filling out the one for OOAE, but I think with all the excitement I may have not completely filled out the one for WY. I say this because I dont remember having my parent sign it. I remember filling out everything else though. I know it was pretty dumb of me to not double check, but it would mean a lot to me if someone who also received a WY acceptance letter told me what we needed to fill out. That way I could remember if I did it or not. I dont even remember if we even had to have a parent signature, but if I could get some help, it would be greatly appreciated.

  • 813. HS Mom  |  March 1, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Ruby – why don’t you e-mail the school to confirm that they received your acceptance? That way they can just let you know if something is missing and you will have correspondence in writing. Your request would be completely valid since the whole issue of sending such an important document by mail is rather unsettling itself. Either way, don’t worry, they can’t rescind your offer for missing information…..it happens all the time.

  • 814. Parent  |  March 1, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Ruby @812 – my son also got WY acceptance letter. The one form school doesn’t have to be signed by your parent. It only needs parent’s name, phone#, email address and name of your grammar school. So you should be good:)

  • 815. SEHSApplicant  |  March 1, 2014 at 11:30 am

    I received a letter of acceptance to Lane. Yesterday, while at school, the teacher was saying that she asked our school counselor if there have been students that have had their seat to a SE school rescinded due to a drop in grades. The counselor said it has happened in the past. Can anybody clarify if this is just a tactic to make sure the kids don’t stop doing their work or is it true? Another teacher said it happened to one of her son’s friends, during the first week of school. Thanks.

  • 816. ChiParentNow  |  March 1, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    857: Tier 1: Payton. Yippee!!!! 🙂

  • 817. CPS Appalled  |  March 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    My child is in the AC at Taft, so a lot of her friends are continuing on at Taft’s IB program. Most of them live on the far NW side, so geographically it makes sense. For kids who live near O’Hare, it would be a really long bus ride to a SEHS, or several buses and a train or two. A few kids who are really into performing arts are deciding between Lincoln Park HH/perf. arts and Senn IB. My child was also new to CPS two years ago, and basing her HS decision on where friends were going made no sense for her. It is about the best fit for an individual child, not a group.

  • 818. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 1, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    811. CPS Parent | March 1, 2014 at 8:43 am

    At WY, the prereq for Honors Advanced Math & Research is Pre Calc~after precalc you can take AP Calc BC & H Advanced Math together. I had heard having those classes together in HS is like the IB math program~It extends the math sequence beyond calculus and prepares students for the rigors of math- and science-intensive college courses. And w/the longer day, it allows for it.

  • 819. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    806. local | February 28, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    There is a large push for this MPHS to be taken back by the n’hood. However, it’s hard to be the first family to put your child there. I do think W2W IB is a great idea for MPHS but I don’t know how long it would take to do this.There would have to be a huge push from the feeder schools to have families at one time commit to sending their kids there so families would feel comfortable. It will happen, just don’t know when.

  • 820. Kgodinez32  |  March 1, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    @816 ChiParentNow….congrats!!!! What a blessing!!!

  • 821. Kgodinez32  |  March 1, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Any NCP moms or students out there to share their experience from the transition of cps grammar to this top school? Was there some struggles? Overwhelming? Homework overload? Is there any academic support if this happens?

  • 822. Sad 8th Grader  |  March 1, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I live in teir 4 and I had an 896 (so I made the cutoff score) but still did not get in to Payton which was my first choice. I don’t understand why. This is truly devastating considering Payton was the only high school I wanted to go to. Definitely applying for principal discretion. 😦

  • 823. hell experiencing polar vortex  |  March 1, 2014 at 2:33 pm


    “And w/the longer day, it allows for it.” Coming from you? Amazing

  • 824. OutsideLookingIn  |  March 1, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    I wonder how many kids find themselves on the unfortunate side of a tie-breaker. And if these kids apply for principal discretion, do they always get in? Haven’t heard anything about this. Anyone know?

    @822 – good luck with principal’s discretion. But if it doesn’t happen, I hope you can find happiness at another school.

  • 825. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 1, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    823. hell experiencing polar vortex | March 1, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    hahah! That was me being a little snarky. The person I wrote that to, I believe, was in favor of the longest day ever.

  • 826. MB  |  March 1, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    @ Disney Magnet parent

    Just got the email from Von Steuben about the open house for kids admitted into the Scholars program! So glad they are doing this before we make the final decision! My daughter needs a chance to meet teachers and students since we missed the open house in the fall.

  • 827. mom  |  March 1, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    @815 no worries. both my kids got plenty of C’s in 8th grade since 7th grade only mattered.

  • 828. Von  |  March 1, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Just got the email from Von Steuben as well. My child was originally rejected but then got a letter yesterday stating she was rejected in error, so offered a spot. Apparently somehow OAE did not get the recommendation and essay scores in time, so she was rejected. I thought that was strange but didn’t argue since she accepted another offer on Monday. It was our top back-up in the wide net we cast. Here is the email I received today about the school. It includes some great information I hadn’t picked up on my visit/research.

    Congratulations! Of the nearly 6000 applications Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center received this year, X was one of the 340 accepted to the Scholars Program. As parents of high-achieving children who relish intellectual challenges and who had a variety of selective high schools to choose from, we would like to share with you our own reasons for choosing Von Scholars and what our experience at the school has been so far.

    Did you know that Scholars students take their first AP course freshman year and that they have opportunities to study abroad? Did you know that besides our top-notch math and science courses, Von boasts an award-winning music program? Did you know that Von offers Chinese courses, an engineering curriculum, and a renowned student-run poetry magazine? Did you know that our dedicated teachers help create a small, family-like community, offering challenging curriculum, personal guidance, and assistance with summer program applications and scholarships, among other things? Our Scholars go on to some of the best universities including Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, Dartmouth, University of Chicago, Harvard, UW Madison, Howard, Georgetown, and more.

    Child got her first choice SEHS, but Von was definitely our 2nd choice outside SEHS.

  • 829. hopeful  |  March 1, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    @Sad 8th grader
    Good luck with principal discretion. I’m doing it too but not for payton, but I’m not sure what to include.

  • 830. cpsobsessed  |  March 1, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    @von – thanks for taking the time to share that!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 831. help  |  March 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    what time does the oae open on Monday?

  • 832. Still Bundled Up  |  March 1, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Re boycotting the ISAT: This threat about losing funds seems awfully vague. 95% strikes me as very very high. I wonder if CPS has ever reached that number. Have we qualified for the money in the past? Are there other factors that will keep us from getting the funds even if 95% take the test?

    I am skeptical about “losing funds” but am willing to be convinced if someone can tell us 1) what percentage of students have taken the ISAT in the last five years; 2) exactly what state and federal laws require 95% compliance; 3) if 95% of the students take the ISAT do we automatically get the money or is it just one of many factors; and 4) how much money is at stake and what bucket does it go to?

  • 833. Danaidh  |  March 1, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    In his letter to BBB, the state superintendent writes: “At the local level, the ISATs can help parents and educators at districts and schools assess how well their students are meeting benchmarks set under the new Illinois Learning Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics, benchmarks that should be guiding classroom lessons across the state this year.”

    This is patently untrue.

    Illinois adopted the Common Core State Standards in ELA and mathematics (and calls them the Illinois Learning Standards). But the ISAT was not designed to assess CCSS. That’s why new assessments are coming next year.

    It looks to me like Chris Koch is a big fat liar.

  • 834. anonymouse teacher  |  March 1, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    #833, as well, no one in the city should be using Illinois standards at all anymore. Why did he even bother talking about those old standards? My school hasn’t been using them for at least 3 years and we are not an early adopter school.

  • 835. Ruby  |  March 1, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    @813-Thanks for the help! Ill be calling on Monday just to make sure all the letters were received.
    @814- omg thank you! I was so worried I had forgotten something. This was just what I needed. Now my mind will be at ease, at least until I call on Monday to see if they have received the letter. Also, congrats to your son! Hope I meet him, although I probably wont know if he is your son or not. LOL. Anyways,best regards!

  • 836. NCP Parent  |  March 2, 2014 at 8:31 am

    @Kgodinez32 As a parent of an NCP frosh, I worried about this to as my child never had to work very hard up to this point. The work load is greater but manageable as long as keep up with it. At least for my kid, the adage of not being challenged up to now has been true.

    Daily beaming about how much they love the school including staying after voluntarily to hang out and study with friends (beginning the first week!) has been the norm.

    I’ve read a lot in this thread about pressure and an unwelcoming student body in this thread. From our perspective this hasn’t been the case. Given the diversity of my son’s new NCP friends (and evidenced by the four corners of Chicago I have traversed picking up and dropping off) I haven’t seen any of the Tier-ist stratification described here.

    Finally, I’ve shared some of the perceptions of NCP noted here with my kid and we had a good chuckle. As always your mileage may vary, but I can’t stress enough what a positive experience the first semester+ at NCP has been.

  • 837. MustangMom  |  March 2, 2014 at 9:33 am

    As a know-it-all Mustang mom (wink, wink) I’m proud to boast a NS graduate, current student, and incoming student. The administration is caring and responsive and isn’t afraid to lead. Most of the teachers give a damn. And the vast majority of kids are working their butts off and actually enjoying their classmates and experiences. It’s not perfect. But as a parent I wasn’t looking for perfect. My kids bitch a lot (they’re teenagers) but wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. If I had to guess, you are going to find this exact same recipe at Lindbloom, Jones, Senn, Payton … etc. Good luck.

  • 838. LP  |  March 2, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Regarding Payton and your 896.

    For tier 4 896 is the minimum score that anyone was accepted with, but it’s not the cut off score. Everyone 897 and higher got in, no one 895 or lower got in, but at 896 only some got in. At 896 they break the kids up by sehs admissions test core points then by raw points on math. Practically how that works out is that within 896 if you didn’t receive a 300 on admissions test it’s unlikely you’ll make it.

    If it’s any consolation you scored higher than the average kid who will be attending payton next year, your parents just live in the wrong neighborhood. The tier system can be pretty unfair when are you are on the receiving end of it.

  • 839. ISAT  |  March 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Here is the excerpt from the letter that says districts or schools can lose funding:
    “Districts and schools are required to administer the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) under both federal and state law and any district or school that does not comply with those legal
    requirements faces possible local and state disciplinary action and runs the risk of reduced state and federal funds.”

    Someone wanted to know which law & it is the NCLB law. If you look at your schools isbe report card you will see that there is a category that asks for the percentage of students at each school that took the ISAT. I wonder if the funds they talk about sanctioning are the Title 1 funds, which the vast majority of CPS schools get because of poverty, which is determined by the percentage of students that receive free/reduced lunch.

    It was hard to find but using the IIRC site through ISBE (not the new state report card) is shows the percentage of students tested in the district by race & other categories & it shows that CPS tested 95% or more in all categories for 2013. You can go back through the years and see if it has always been that way:


    Some schools get more poverty funds than others & some schools don’t get them at all. It implies in the ISBE letter that perhaps the state won’t give the funds to the particular schools that don’t reach the 95%. The letter in particular warns Saucedo that they must give the ISAT or risk losing funds. Given that 96.5% of their students receive free/reduced lunch, if they don’t receive their Title 1 funds then it could be a tremendous financial burden to the school leading to significant cuts in their budget for the next school year. I get what the teachers are saying and applaud them for standing up to excessive testing but I would hate to see them disciplined, possibly lose their certifications which effectively will cause them to lose their jobs on top of the schools losing a large amount of their funding.

  • 840. Paula  |  March 2, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Since there’s been a lot of discussion about traditional math vs IMP on this forum, I thought I’d share this link for those interested in learning more:

    Further, the February 2014 issue of Gifted Quarterly has an in-depth article about problem-based math curriculum for high achieving high school students.

  • 841. Paula  |  March 2, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    msg. 840. Sorry, I forgot to post as my usual, Mom2boys. 🙂

  • 842. realchicagomama  |  March 2, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    I opted out of the ISAT this year and what I see is lacking in this discussion of losing is funds is the fact that it’s not a fact at all. CPS is using the threat of “MAY lose funding” because they cannot say that schools where parents opt out will lose money.

  • 843. @840  |  March 2, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    That is not CPS saying that…did you read the letter at the link some entries above…the state (ISBE) is saying to CPS they will withhold the funds not CPS…given that the state is cash strapped they may see this as a way to save money. I pray for all of the schools that opt out if their threshold goes below 95% that this is an idle threat. Maybe they will use the overall district average which hopefully won’t be below 95% for the few it seems that are opting out. I do hope if the state does impose these sanctions it will be on the individual schools and not the schools who actually cooperated.

  • 844. Pd  |  March 2, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Does anyone know about how many people apply for principal discretion at northside or at payton? Is like 200 or 2000?

  • 845. Chicago School GPS  |  March 2, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    @844- Believe it or not, I’ve heard it’s closer to 500-800 applying for the 12-15 slots typically available. Not great odds, but they do award them!

    If anyone wants to hear more about the PD process, including tips for the essay and recommendations, join us Tuesday at Alcott College Prep @ 7PM.

  • 846. anonymouse teacher  |  March 2, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    @843, Federal officials are not backing up ISBE’s claim of loss of funding. There was a recent WBEZ thing on it. My guess is Illinois understands if they make a big deal of this, it will become an even bigger deal, uniting and mobilizing school districts across the state as it did in NY when the state tried to take action against protesters. I doubt there’ll be any loss of funds or any loss of certification.

  • 847. thecrazyparetn  |  March 2, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    are people dropping off principal discretion applications tomorrow?

  • 848. Pd  |  March 2, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    @Chicago School GPS, and anyone else can students contact principals or interview with them for principal discretion?

  • 849. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 2, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    @800 @802 @832 @839: Federal funding is not linked to AYP. WBEZ called US Ed. to ask about it:

    [The Koch-Chico letter] said schools could lose funding—or even have their accreditation reviewed—if low percentages of students tested.

    That claim wasn’t backed up by federal education officials, who said schools wouldn’t “necessarily” lose funding. Depending on a school’s performance in prior years, schools could be forced to target some of their Title I funding to tutoring, the officials said.

    The fact that ISBE and CPS fail to cite the provision in the US Code, in Code of Federal Regulations, or a US Ed. “non-regulatory guidance” is telling, because they cannot.

    I would disagree a bit with the assertion that the ISAT this year is not asking Common Core-based questions. It is true that the ISAT format, mostly multiple-choice remains the same, and that the PARCC will only have some m.c. question and many more, new kind of items: students will have to re-order items, type in equations and numbers, and do more “constructed response” questions, based on some of the sample items that have been released. But ISBE has re-written all of the scored questions on the ISAT for the Common Core. Or so we are told.

    This creates a new problem, however. Comparing the old ISAT with the 2014 ISAT is no longer possible without equating or linking them (the terms are used differently by different statisticians). The best way to do it, given the content differences, is to give a large sample of the students both tests. Last years 3rd grade ISAT and this year’s 3rd grade ISAT, for example, to the same set of 3rd graders. But that would be 12-16 hours of testing in a short period. Test fatigue would set in. Or you could assemble a representative sample of students and randomly assigning one group the old test and one group the new test and comparing the results. ISBE has not done this. It is expensive to do properly and the ILGA has not allocated funds for it.

    There are other, cheaper means but they produce less accurate results or results that can only be used in a valid and reliable way to make general comparisons. For example, you could make valid and reliable inferences about how Illinois students did statewide between 2013 and 2014 but not make such inferences about individual student performance or school-level performance. If I told you that there was a 50% chance that your child’s scaled score rose 30 to 50 points, what would that mean to you? “Huh?” would be an appropriate answer. Flip a coin, heads your child did well, tails he didn’t.

    Politicians want accountability, but they want it on the cheap, and on the cheap means inaccurate. This is why I opted my kid out — I have no need for results that I know will be flawed.

  • 850. Chicago School GPS  |  March 2, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    @848- students cannot contact principals directly. The guidelines for PD are strict and explicit. http://www.cpsoae.org/Principal_Discretion_Handbook_–_2014-2015_Sans_Application.pdf

  • 851. pantherettie  |  March 3, 2014 at 7:05 am

    @Reenie- I’m glad to give an alternate view about a Lindblom experience. In general I bet my daughter ( an AA science nerdy girl) has a lot in common with your friend’s son. In fact, probably more in common than many of the kids that she went to elementary school with but I think the challenge in 7th grade for many kids is figuring out the whole social aspect of school. I think that my daughter is still really figuring it out. She likes the school and feels that it’s definately where she wants to go to school, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t the standard, “I’m not sure where I fit in” at times. I suspect that one of the biggest challenges is being significantly younger (physically and developmentally) than the high schoolers. I think that Lindblom does a really great job of separating the AC students from high schoolers but many, many kids have older siblings, cousins, friends in the high school that really help them get that “one foot in the social door” that really means a lot and is very helpful to many kids. That said, I think that the teachers and the administrators really care about the school’s social environment and encourage kids to be thoughtful about live and cyber behaviors. Last week there was a special assembly for AC kids focusing on the stress they feel about grades AND a candid discussion about the personal effects of cyber and personal bullying. What I liked the most about it was that it had the requisite “adult expert” speaking for a bit, but it had a panel of high schoolers sharing their experiences as well. That really made an impact. So the school’s firm, “zero tolerance” to bullying was backed up with some compassion that appeals to Tweens and younger teens.

    I know that this post is written from the perspective of an AC parent, but I have to say that one of the things that I would consider when choosing a school would be a close consideration of how the school viewed and supported their youngest students. If those kids struggle socially and academically and AC parents say that there is minimal support, I don’t think there would be much difference for 9th grade students. Also, I believe that schools with AC’s retain most of their students. This means that the 9th grade culture is somewhat “set” already. I think that it’s important to prepare 9th graders entering places like Lindblom, Lane, WY and Taft that it can be somewhat challenging joining a group of kids that already comfortable with the school and may already had some of the teachers. It’s Definately not the sole reason to choose one school vs.the other but I think that it makes a difference to some smart but somewhat socially awkward/socially shy kids that attend SEHS.

  • 852. pantherparent  |  March 3, 2014 at 8:53 am

    @844 Pd The number of kids that applied for principal discretion at Northside last year was approximately 150. This number came directly from Principal Rodgers at an LSC meeting.

    He mentioned that’s a fairly typical number and that almost every application is great.

  • […] High School Letter Post 2014 CPS Obsessed: Cutoff scores will be posted next week (week of 2/24.) Here are OAE’s FAQs on the letters with info on the process and Principal Discretion. [500 comments!] […]

  • 854. Still Bundled Up  |  March 3, 2014 at 11:00 am

    @ 839 Thanks for the info! I knew it had to be out there but could not find it. Do you know if opt-out kids count towards the percentage? It seems to me if there is a mechanism for allowing parents to opt their kids out, it’s unlikely they would be counted against the perecentage, if only because that’s kind of beyond the control of the school.

  • 855. @854  |  March 3, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Yes the opt out kids count against CPS as a district and that is the reason I hope if they are going to hold back funds they only do that to schools who fall below the 95% threshold & not sanction us as a district.

  • 856. MustangMom  |  March 3, 2014 at 11:30 am

    PantherParent: Your information is 100 percent solid. If your child is interested in applying for Principal Discretion to Northside, DO IT. Do not be intimidated by inaccurate information from sources on this site who should know better (shame on you Chicago School GPS). Remember to have your child to tell a complete story about what they can bring to Northside, and not just what NS can give to them. And I speak only about Northside because that is the only school I am familiar with.

  • 857. Chicago School GPS  |  March 3, 2014 at 11:48 am

    @856 & 852- My apologies regarding the super high number of PD applicants I passed along. While I have heard the 800 number in the past, it was most likely for Lane and it was not necessarily from last year. Your numbers are from the source and are much appreciated. Thanks for clarifying!

    The PD application is now attached to the handbook: http://www.cpsoae.org/Principal%20Discretion%20Handbook%20–%202014-2015_With%20Application.pdf

  • 858. HS Mom  |  March 3, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Does Lane get that many? 800 sounds closer to a total figure. Jones gets around 200 (at least in the past)

  • 859. Chicago Mama  |  March 3, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    That is an asinine position to take. No school in the district has made AYP in years. And in 5 years, no one is going to care that some IL schools made AYP and most didn’t. Do you also believe that state and the district should sanction schools whose students make poor academic progress?

    According to WBEZ: “[Byrd-Bennett’s] claim wasn’t backed up by federal education officials, who said it would be unlikely for schools to “lose” funding. Depending on a school’s performance in prior years, schools could be forced to target some of their Title I funding to tutoring, the officials said.”

  • 860. concerned parent  |  March 3, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    @859 I’ve been reading your posts. Are you a teacher?

  • 861. realchicagomama  |  March 3, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    @860: No, I am not a teacher. But thank you for the compliment. 🙂

  • 862. concerned parent  |  March 3, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    No compliment intended.

  • 863. Anonymous  |  March 3, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Do principals read the principal discretion letters in order? Is it better to submit the letter early or does it not make a difference?

  • 864. Chicago School GPS  |  March 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    @858- I asked OAE and they said that for last year’s PD process, schools received between 14 applications (minimum) to 614 applications (maximum). I suspect Lane is on the high end of that spread, and perhaps Young as well. From previous posts, it appears Northside got 150 and Jones around 200 last year. The slots available are approximately 5% of the freshman class so the odds vary across schools.

  • 865. Still bundled up  |  March 3, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    @855. Thanks again re info on opting out and funding. Can you give me a cite for the rule that students who opt out are counted against the prrcentage? It would really help me to make up my mind if I could look at the actual rule.

  • 866. @Chicago Momma  |  March 3, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    The above poster showed us from the WBEZ article that the sanction isn’t true. I was going by the ISBE letter & I am glad the reporter dug deeper & called the feds. You are wrong about NONE of the schools in CPS making AYP. I know some did…I can’t name them all but WY, NSCP, Jones & Payton I know for sure did in both areas for HS. Grammar schools were Poe, Decatur, lenart & Keller. I am sure I am missing some schools. There are some schools that missed it in one area and not both but I can’t list them all. When I say areas I mean reading & math, which includes percentage tested and hitting all sub categories. You need to take a chill pill & stop being so hostile. We are all trying to learn and get information…

  • 867. realchicagomama  |  March 3, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    You are right; I misspoke. Some elementary schools (you know, the ones with students who take the ISAT and which will allegedly be penalized funding-wise for parents who opt out of the test) do and have made AYP. I do, however, maintain my position that no one will care in 5 years which schools made AYP. And I do believe, like Christopher Ball, that the ISAT is a flawed measure of student progress or student learning.

    I fail to see what is “so hostile” about questioning another poster’s position and information (possibly misinformation) about funding, but there is that analogy about opinions floating around….

  • 868. anonymouse teacher  |  March 3, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    This testing year, 2014, 100% of all students in all subgroups must be meeting standards to make AYP. It is largely expected that the few remaining schools that are making AYP will fail. The only ones who can possibly make AYP are those with sped populations so small that they cannot be counted in the subgroup count.(if a subgroup has below a certain number of kids, they don’t count it because it becomes to easy to identify by name which kids are failing then) If you miss it in one teeny tiny category, the whole school misses it. That was the entire purpose behind NCLB. Schools can no longer hide their low scoring student populations underneath the larger, higher achieving population. This year, if 1% isn’t meeting standards? No AYP. Its a valuable measure, if taken within context and within other measures, but alone, its ridiculous.

  • 869. Still Bundled Up  |  March 3, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    I think a lot of frustration surrounding the ISAT issue comes from not being able to look at the controlling statutes and see what they say. I think most of us would be able to make the call if we could just see what the rules actually say. It’s not like I’m lazy. I am looking. I actually wrote regulations for my first job out of law school and that’s why I skepical that the group (school, district) will be punished for a lawful opt-out by individuals. Especially when the group has no control over the individual. That’s contrary to the way regulations usually work. Opt-outs are usually allowed because of certain criteria are met, and when they are it’s considered valid and the group is not penalized.

    I just wish that someone would provide a cite that shows what funds we are talking about and under what criteria the funds are awarded.

  • 870. Anonymous  |  March 3, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    How many people apply to walter payton through principal discretion, how many for northside?

  • 871. Amy  |  March 3, 2014 at 10:06 pm


  • 872. @869  |  March 3, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Apparently from the WBEZ article we are talking about title 1 funds that will not be reduced but schools may be forced to use more of that funding on tutoring. The NCLB law sunsets at the end of this school year & no word from the feds if it will be reauthorized.

    @Chicago momma I don’t fully agree with NCLB. There are good & bad parts about the law. yes, I agree with you that I believe that no schools will meet AYP this year especially the elementary schools because the test WILL be harder with an even harder hit on math! But hey I am an optimist maybe some school in CPS will prove us wrong.

    The tone of your post is a little over top as I stated before when we are all trying to figure out what’s best. I have read several articles today & most reporters are saying CPS’ title 1 funds can be reduced even though the WBEZ reporter is saying that’s not true. Actually the only article saying it isn’t true is the WBEZ article…

  • 873. Angie  |  March 3, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Interesting that Saucedo should be the school opting out of testing. Look at its demographics: Hispanic 97.1%, Low Income 96.5%, Limited English 38.3%.

    I bet that most of the parents didn’t even understand the papers they were signing, and were talked into it by children who are always happy to get out of testing.

  • 874. Carolina  |  March 3, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Assume much angie? Hispanic parents care as MUCH as non Hispanics. We don’t let our kids trick us no more than other parents. Most non English speaker know to ask the school to translate. Rude and ignorant statement!!

  • 875. Bundled up  |  March 3, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Wow Angie. Just wow.

  • 876. Angie  |  March 3, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    @874. Carolina: I’m just wondering why most of the noise and protests about testing was made by the middle class north side parents, Wendy Katten’s group, etc., yet this particular school was the only one that actually managed to get so many parents to opt out.

  • 877. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 4, 2014 at 12:06 am

    854. Still Bundled Up

    If a student refuses the test — which is essentially what opting out has come to mean in CPS because ISBE says there’s no such thing as opting out but their general counsel, who I met with this afternoon, said no one forces a child to take a test — the test administrator should enter a code “15” – student refuses test. Those students are scored as participating according to a Nov. 2013 ISBE guidance that I was given. I’m happy to forward it to you. Email me off-line at ball.chr
    but add @gmail.com to it.

    @ 872
    The general counsel also conceded that ISBE had no examples of any school, district, or state being punished because children opted out. In NY, thousands of parents have opted out. In PA, parents can actually review the state test before it is given and if they have a religious objection, they can opt their children out. In WI, under state code, the parents of 4th and 8th grade children can opt them out for whatever reason and the provision has been used more to opt out children in other grades. She conceded that in effect the concern over losing federal funding in the Chico/Koch letter is an existential one: it is conceivable that US Ed. would try to cut funds for a state that opts its children out, but there is no statutory or regulatory provision for it and it has never happened. So, saying IL could lose federal funds if students opt out is like saying God could strike all the opting out children with lightening tomorrow. Conceivably possible, but very, very, very unlikely to happen. I’d be more worried about a planet-killer asteroid colliding with Earth.

    For the record, 64 CPS schools made AYP last year. So if not making AYP cut your funding, it already would have happened. But it didn’t. CPS posts these stats: http://schoolreports.cps.edu/cpsedu/schooldata/historicalayp.xlsx

    On the bright side, the general counsel discussed working with us (More than a Score) on opt out legislation.

    But ISBE’s more pressing concern is how they are going to cut $1 billion from the state education budget when they believe they need $1 billion more. So get on the horn to your state rep. and state sen. and tell them to restore $ to state educ. budgets. The fact that ISBE has to double its assessment budget for next year’s PARCC exam doesn’t help matters.

  • 878. marcot  |  March 4, 2014 at 6:42 am

    If your kid is not as smart as you think he or she is then you should skip the test. It is better to skip the test and let people think your kid is slow than to take it and remove all doubt.

  • 879. ElleJo  |  March 4, 2014 at 6:50 am

    I previously called my state rep and said to close the funding gap they need to reduce the overly generous state pensions and benefits and also implement a 10% wage cut across the board. The taxpayers have seen a 67% increase in state taxes and double digit property tax increases. Its time for state workers to pay their fair share. They are free to take their “skills” elsewhere if they think they are underpaid. Its for the children.

  • 880. junior  |  March 4, 2014 at 11:32 am

    From Catalyst comments — PURE, MTAS now against testing for selective enrollment schools. Wow!


    Judy wrote 13 hours 42 min ago
    opting out selective enrollment tests

    Will parents/teachers now opting out of ISAT testing also opt out of having their children tested for acceptance into selective enrollment high schools? Why not get behind the elimination of test-based access to these schools, too?


    Julie Woestehoff wrote 1 sec ago
    We agree- all high-stakes testing must be stopped
    Judy, please join More Than a Score as we challenge all high-stakes testing in Chicago. The CPS selective enrollment process is cruel, unnecessary, and educationally unsound.

  • 881. Former teacher/ current cps mom  |  March 4, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    @876: There are many northside schools with high opt out percentages. Mine included. Do you have information to the contrary?

  • 882. Patricia  |  March 4, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    @881 Can you share the percentage information you have? I am not sure what you mean by “high”. I do not see how you get there from the data that has been loosely quoted in the press.

    About 1000 parents total at 74 schools (these are the last numbers I recall from the articles). Less about 375 for Saucedo as quoted in the press. Less several hundred from Drummond? So that is about 400 parents left from 72 remaining schools. About 5 or 6 parents per school maybe. I can see that being the case. At some schools it may be 1 parent and others maybe 20. Some parents may have multiple children in a school, etc.

    Overall CPS has 405,000 students and about 1000 opting out. That is .002 percent. Even if the number was much higher (which I doubt), it is hardly a dent. Sure there are parents who may have chosen to opt out if they knew, but to counter that, there are plenty of parents who know about opting out and have chosen to take the test.

    As I have said before, it is an individual parent’s choice and I respect whatever an individual parent chooses. I just do not see the back of the envelope numbers adding up to much, but they are getting a lot of press coverage.

    @ Junior. No shortage of “crazy train” pushes out there.

  • 883. Questioner  |  March 4, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    @880 I wonder what they mean by educationally unsound?

  • 884. Chris  |  March 4, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    “Overall CPS has 405,000 students and about 1000 opting out. That is .002 percent.”

    Patricia: it’s .25% or a .0025 fraction.


    Please to explain what the “high stakes” are to ISATs (outside 7th grade) for the *kids*. The only time that there are actual “high stakes” for the kids are for S-E admissions, right? So, doesn’t that mean that ‘high stakes’ must have two meanings? Whose stakes are high when the test results *don’t* implicate S-E admissions?

  • 885. Chris  |  March 4, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    “@880 I wonder what they mean by educationally unsound?”

    Prob the same thing that it mostly does–that it encourages ‘teaching to the test’.

  • 886. realchicagomama  |  March 4, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    In theory, although I think the practice is not likely, the district can hold back any child who doesn’t meet/exceed standards in 3rd-7th grade (8th? Not sure if 8th graders take it). That may be the high stakes for the students.

  • 887. Patricia  |  March 4, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    @ Chris. Duhhh, my bad, yes 1/4 of one percent 😉 Still a very small percentage. Thanks for the correction.

    Thought provoking question on the meaning of “high stakes”. I think for district wide testing overall like the ISAT or future PARCC, “high stakes” does have different meanings.

    For students in the pivitol grades it is important for promotion or admission, thus deemed “high stakes”.

    For teachers it is “high stakes” every year because it is part of their evaluation and can influence parent/principal perceptions on their quality of teaching.

    For principals, it is “high stakes” because it reflects on their performance, is a part of their evaluation and on parent perception on “how good” the school is relative to other alternatives.

    For CPS/BOE execs, it is “high stakes” because it magnifies the gains or problems of the district which in turn raises the pressure to “fix things quickly somehow”……which leads to many knee jerk reactions and programs.

    For the state, ISAT was/is “high stakes” when it’s used to influence funding and compare Illinois to Indiana, etc. Thus, on of the reasons why the ISAT was dummied down year after year.

    In some ways, depending on how you look at it, testing is “high stakes” for a lot of adults and only “high stakes” for students in key years. Hmmm………….Never thought of it that way.

  • 888. Chris  |  March 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    “In theory, although I think the practice is not likely, the district can hold back any child who doesn’t meet/exceed standards in 3rd-7th grade”

    It’s 3d, 6th, 8th, no? And it’s getting above *24th* percentile + passing grades, OR above *10th* percentile + Cs in reading and math to avoid summer school.

    See: http://www.cps.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/PromotionPolicy/PromotionPolicyGuide_English.pdf

    So, yeah, there are some stakes–but an F in reading or math has the same effect, and no one is calling it “high stakes grading”.

  • 889. Patricia  |  March 4, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    @ Chris


    “high stakes grading”

  • 890. Chris  |  March 4, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    “In some ways, depending on how you look at it, testing is “high stakes” for a lot of adults and only “high stakes” for students in key years.”

    This is my problem with the phrase. At least when it’s tied to ‘the good of the kids.”

    And, yes, I do understand that much of the point is the perversion of incentives and the thus attendant ‘teaching to the test’, which *is* about the kids. But the centrality of that gets dropped often, and the ‘public’ doesn’t grok the shorthand, from what I see.

    And I do believe that, even if the test were *perfectly* designed (impossible, natch) to test real ‘education’ (in quotes to clarify that that means whatever *you* think should be the content and outcome of school, rather than a plain english meaning), rather than test prep, that there would still be a loud contingent of “we can’t have high stakes testing”.

  • 891. Patricia  |  March 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    @ Chris. ” This is my problem with the phrase. At least when it’s tied to ‘the good of the kids.” ”


  • 892. pantherparent  |  March 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    This whole issue seems like much ado about nothing. Go to school, sharpen up the # 2 pencils, and take a test. I’ve read that this test takes away from valuable teaching time. Okay, make the school year a day longer next year. Boom! You have your 8 hours back. Will that end this protest? No.

    So what is the “real” reason for parents and teachers opting out? I must be missing something.

  • 893. mom2  |  March 4, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    @892 – In many schools, the ISATs are more than just 2 hours per day and you are done in less than a week. There is test prep so they do well on the ISATs (which can be up to a week) and most schools don’t have much in terms of regular classroom education/work during the days that they test. They let the kids relax, eat a snack, read or things like that after they are done that day. So you are talking about 1-2 weeks that are lost when they take ISATs. Then add the other tests to really check for progress and SE admissions and promotion to the next grade level, etc. and you are really cutting into time that could be spent doing a lab or some other creative activity where they might really remember what they learn and see the connection to real life, etc.

  • 894. realchicagomama  |  March 4, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    This. It’s not that the ISATs are arduous or especially time-consuming. They are the proverbial straw, and this year’s results aren’t particularly useful for teachers, students, schools or the District.

    In addition to the ISATs, my elementary-aged children will take or have taken: NWEA math and literacy (x2-3) and STEP (x4). Some of these assessments provide real data to the teachers (or so they’ve indicated to me) that helps them to improve their instructional practice, so I don’t mind these assessments. However, some of these assessments, like this year’s ISATs, are really just a hoop-jumping exercise. And the latter is where I have a problem.

  • 895. Chris  |  March 4, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    “Then add the other tests … [for] … SE admissions and promotion to the next grade level”

    The only in-school test that has served either of these purposes for the past several years *has* been the ISAT. So, that portion was not a valid criticism prior to this year.

    I get that the ISAT is basically a waste of time this year, but it has ZERO to do with ‘high stakes’ and everything to do with zero stakes.

  • 896. IBobsessed  |  March 4, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    ISATS are ‘high stakes’ because they count for AYP for schools. They are high stakes for teachers when their performance evaluations are based upon them, which CPS has attempted to do.

  • 897. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 4, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    So, yeah, there are some stakes–but an F in reading or math has the same effect, and no one is calling it “high stakes grading”.

    Grading is high-stakes but the grade is not based only on what a student does for only 6 hours in early March or 4 hours in May. It’s based on 178-days of schooling and, depending on the grade-level and school, hundreds of hours of homework.

    Take a closer look at that promotion policy: a student who has As but either does not take the MAP or scores at or below the 10th percentile goes to summer school, automatically, which is against the recommendations of the multi-organization Joint Committee on Testing Practices:

    Avoid using a single test score as the sole determinant of decisions about test takers. Interpret test scores in conjunction with other information about individuals.

    CPS, since the mid-1990s, has used single test scores to determine promotion and graduation. There is no opportunity to re-take the test, against Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, 13.6:

    “Students who must demonstrate mastery of certain skills or knowledge before being promoted or granted a diploma should have a reasonable number of opportunities to succeed on equivalent forms of the test or be provided with construct-equivalent testing alternatives of equal difficulty to demonstrate the skills or knowledge.”

    CPS has consistently violated these standards.

    Never mind its violation of the standards that the test should be used for the purpose for which it was designed. Neither the ISAT nor the MAP were designed as promotion gateway tests.

    Also, why the 10th percentile (or the 24th under the old ISAT)? I’ve asked and no one can tell me why those percentile ranks are used.

  • 898. CPS Parent  |  March 4, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    896. IBobsessed As far as I know teacher performance reviews are based on the NWEA MAP (not then whole review I think it’s 25% of the total review score). I don’t think the ISAT was ever used for that purpose

  • 899. parent  |  March 4, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    The ONLY good math teacher my family has had over the past four years (including private grammar school and selective enrollment high schools) was a public school teacher in our local public school. Guess what? her math ISAT scores were all meets and mainly exceeds and this was a very diverse non-test in school. She sure scared everyone–including parents–but everyone learned math.

  • 900. mom2  |  March 4, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    895 Chris – yes, I know ISAT was used to determine SE and promotion before this year. I was saying that it makes no sense to have the kids take it this year when it isn’t even being used for that anymore.

  • 901. parent  |  March 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    oops I meant over the past 12 years.

  • 902. Chris  |  March 4, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    “ISATS are ‘high stakes’ because they count for AYP for schools. They are high stakes for teachers when their performance evaluations are based upon them, which CPS has attempted to do.”

    Right. NOTHING about the stakes for the kids. NOTHING.

  • 903. IBobsessed  |  March 4, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    You think those 2 factors don’t have an impact on the kids?

  • 904. Chris  |  March 4, 2014 at 5:24 pm


    I get your position, and don’t disagree with it (obv., don’t agree 100% either).

    But *very* little of the non-CB-associated “High Stakes” bleating utilizes a kid-centered approach to pointing out the problem (beyond the stipulated issue about incentives to ‘teach to the test’). AND, you go way, way beyond that complaint.

  • 905. LP  |  March 4, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    “please join More Than a Score as we challenge all high-stakes testing in Chicago.”

    These “parent groups” that claim to speak for parents, are able to get meetings with CPS and ISBE, but really only represent a small noisy fraction of parents are concerning.

  • 906. LPmom  |  March 4, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Thanks, pantherpqrent, for the first rational comment here since the whole ISAT tempest-in-a-teapot blew. No measurement system is perfect, or without attendant costs. If there is a battle worth fighting here, I am not feelin’ it.

  • 907. Chris  |  March 4, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    “You think those 2 factors don’t have an impact on the kids?”

    *Everything* has an effect on the kids. The “high stakes” objection is not *mostly* about the kids.

  • 908. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 4, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    No one was going to recommend to parents that they opt their children out of a test that had high stakes for the child like the ISAT did prior to this year and the NWEA MAP now has for students in grades 3 going to 4, 6 going 7, and 8 going to 9 for promotion and for 5th and 7th for SE admissions. So only 2nd and 4th graders face low stakes on the NWEA MAP. To the degree that some schools are basing differentiation primarily on the MAP, then it has high-stakes for all students taking it at those schools.

    Suggesting that your child risk not being promoted, be denied access to more advanced within-school programs, or (if it really matters to you) not be eligible for SE schools is a fight that only those with good exit options — private schooling — or deep pockets for attorneys’ fees are going to take.

    The sad fact is that CPS doesn’t pay attention until one takes some action, often a costly action, beyond writing to the board.

  • 909. anonymouse teacher  |  March 4, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    I personally am not against students in grades 6 and up taking one major high stakes test per year. (as in either PARCC or NWEA or ISAT or whatever, not more than one) I’m on the fence about grades 3-5. But as an early childhood educator and mother, I am completely against any child in grade 2 and below (but NEVER in preK) taking any high stakes test for any reason, ever. I am fine with diagnostic and formative assessments, administered in a sensitive and student friendly manner given on a limited basis in grades K-5. I need to administer some tests to my kindergarten students in order to inform my instruction. All testing is not bad.
    Still its awfully difficult to study early childhood education and psychology and support the amount and kinds of testing we give in K-2 in the US right now. And as I’ve just learned, there is a ton more coming down the pipes. This opt out movement has just begun.

  • 910. anonymouse teacher  |  March 4, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    I meant, in PreK, never any tests, period.

  • 911. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 4, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Re the broader child-center aspect of testing, it is not simply “teaching to the test” but the test directing de facto curriculum. That has fundamentally shaped how our children are taught and what they are taught. Some of us, including me, became more involved in “More than a Score” as we saw our children expressing increased dissatisfaction with school because they said they were bored and regarded homework, starting in the 2nd grade, as stupid and not worth much attention — and they were completing it correctly. It was essentially test-prep books: questions like those that would appear on the test. Despite getting good grades and high test scores, the students did not feel challenged. Unfortunately, the curriculum at SE schools I visited and reviewed were no more challenging and in some cases less. In discussion with teachers and principles and at LSC meetings, it became clear that what was taught and how it was taught was being driven by the need to improve movement in ISAT categories. The incentives to focus on the “bubble kids” — those just below the “meets” and the “exceeds” cut-scores — were obvious. Anything else didn’t count as far as CPS was concerned. Remember, CPS and the state does not report scores; they report the % of students in the various categories. Even the new heralded ISAT “growth measure” just measures movement between those categories, not median or mean score increases.

    My child’s education has been largely shaped by what is needed to make the ISAT scores look great. Focus on children is at the margin.

    Things are worse in many other schools, often those performing poorly on the tests — not surprising if it is a low-income student population. There the ISAT was and is an obsession. When the Decatur principle told me that Decatur was not a test prep school, I asked her what she meant. She said Decatur did not have anything like ISAT Fridays. I didn’t understand what she meant; at some lower performing schools, she explained, Fridays were devoted to test prep for the ISAT. Many schools have rallies before the ISAT to encourage the schools to do well. Students in K-2 are asked to write cards of support to students taking the ISAT. Just imagine the anxiety this creates in these children. This is why we have stories each year of students vomiting, passing out, or sobbing in the test room. And this is just the ISAT.

    The computer-adaptive MAP and the computer-based PARCC create problems of their own. One thing we want clarified from CPS is how computer crashes will be handled for students in the spring MAP. So far, the practice has been that if a computer crash or server disconnect interrupts the test and the proctors cannot re-establish a connection to the student’s test-in-progress, the student most start over. Imagine taking a booklet and bubble-sheet test, and halfway through, the booklet and bubble-sheet are yanked away and then you are given new ones to start over. Would you consider that a fair test?

    The testing has pushed down to kindergarten. You can read Claire Wapole’s account of proctoring the NWEA MPG for kindergartners as a volunteer: http://ilraiseyourhand.org/content/testing-testing

    So it does affect the children.

  • 912. Chris  |  March 4, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    CB: “So it does affect the children.”

    That’s stipulated, CB.

    BUT the people who trumpet the “high stakes” phrasing have a different focus than you do. AND they’d continue to protest if the test (impossibly and counter-reality) were perfect pedagogically, and the only way to ‘tech to it’ were to teach a perfect curriculum, and it took 45 minute of one day.

    Mouse: “I personally am not against students in grades 6 and up taking one major high stakes test per year.”

    What would the “stakes” be for the students? What stakes are ok?

  • 913. pantherparent  |  March 4, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    If the test measures something that is needed to be educated, then why not “teach to the test”? If you should know how to multiply fractions in 5th grade, and the test measures that ability, then teaching to the test benefits that child.

    Now maybe this isn’t the holistic approach that some favor, but it’s an approach that makes sense. If each year the number of students who can meet or exceed the standards set to read, write and do math, isn’t that better for everyone?

  • 914. Patricia  |  March 4, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    @ pantherparent
    You are right that a if students know how to do relevant things measured on the test, that is a good thing. The problem has become that in many schools (if not most), that is where the teaching begins and ends.

    The curriculum’s have become the ISAT prep book instead of the test just validating a part of what students have been taught if a full curriculum was in place. Then when schools did not perform well, the test was “dummied down” to falsely prop up the “meets” number. Illinois was competing with Indiana and other states for NCLB dollars and the vicious cycle was repeated year after year.

    So……………over time, the test has gotten easier and since schools are teaching to the test, the curriculum has become paper thin.

    I kind of crack up with the phrasing that “common core is raising the bar”. That is true relative to where expectations are today. In reality, common core is just putting the bar back to where it was before it was lowered over the past decade or so.

    I completely agree that there are things students need to be taught and we need objective measurements to ensure they are learning.

  • 915. parent124  |  March 4, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    has anyone submitted principal discretion applications yet?

  • 916. Patricia  |  March 4, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    Looks like Chicago got a “B”………………….I guess no chance to get into a SEHS 😉

    From the Trib article
    “Chicago’s financial standing took a hit Tuesday when a major bond rating agency once again downgraded the city’s credit worthiness because of a huge government worker pension shortfall and the overall amount of money it owes.

    Moody’s Investor Service rated the city’s upcoming $388 million bond issuance at Baa1, down from A3, a level set last year after an unusual triple downgrade.”

    Full article

  • 917. cpsobsessed  |  March 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    @A-mouse, those are good points about lack of action taken based on the tests.

    I chose for my son to take the ISATs and I wish I could get the details results of what he missed (as in the specific questions) so I can help him catch up where he’s lacking. I know this won’t be done at the cps level.

    I assume the goal is that teachers are to somehow find a way to make these kids who are behind catch up by using test scores as the supreme motivator, rather than focusing on how teachers can find the means within the system to get them there.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 918. IBobsessed  |  March 4, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    That’s the thing with ISATs, the results were not known until summer, did not show exactly where the student was weak, and were not known by their new teacher in the next grade. So how do they help students improve academically? Think about it.They don’t. The reports are too general, and no one knows what questions were on the test and which were answered incorrectly. PARCC wil be the same way. The standardized test results are mostly to get big data on schools and districts.

  • 919. HS Mom  |  March 4, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    @915 – In the situation where students are behind, could teaching with tests be a way to boost understanding? Maybe the curriculum is thin because they need to think through problems as opposed to sit through lessons that are over their head. Just a thought – I’m sure there are benefits either way and the trick is to find the happy medium between testing, test prep and teaching.

    Panther parent – I’m with you, why all the fuss over a test that will soon disappear. Nothing wrong with just taking it. From the sound of it, Mom2, doesn’t look like teachers are spending a lot of prep time on this…good!

  • 920. junior  |  March 5, 2014 at 12:22 am

    @911 CB

    Hmmm? A test that provides an additional reference point is adding risk that a student gets differentiated incorrectly? I’d say more information is trends to better results, not worse — and my personal experience confirms that. When I was a kid I had a teacher who swore to me that my prior year test scores were a fluke and that my current year scores would drop from the previous year’s. Obviously she knew her students better than any test could measure, right? You know the ending here. Two years later, I was in an accelerated program — one she never would have placed me in based on her own evaluations. I suspect normal human factors came to play in forming her opinions, including ethnic/socioeconomic prejudice.

    The test is the one objective reference point across classrooms, across schools, even across the country. Insufficient as these tests may be to assess a robust curriculum, they do serve an important purpose.

    I’m with Chris on this issue. You can’t talk about high-stakes test without talking about high-stakes grades, high-stakes teacher-designed assessments, high-stakes teacher idiosyncrasies/biases/favoritism, and a multitude of other high-stakes ways teachers make subjective judgments of students.

  • 921. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 5, 2014 at 12:32 am

    As Patricia says @914 “teach to the test” is shorthand for “teach only what is to be tested on the state or district assessments.” The high-stakes opposition writ large is that once you place stakes exclusively on the test, you create perverse incentives. Why have any arts — visual, fine or music — if they are not on the test? Why have history, civics or the like if they are not on the test? Why focus on science during years where science isn’t tested? You don’t. Those subjects get eliminated or marginalized. Even within the tested domains of knowledge on those sub-domains that are tested are worth teaching. If poetry isn’t on the 3rd grade exam, then why teach poetry? The incentive for the state, for the district, for the school, for the principal, for the teacher is drill, drill, drill within the tested sub-domains even if the students get the material.

  • 922. junior  |  March 5, 2014 at 12:45 am

    @911 CB

    Agree completely. That is why you should never “place stakes exclusively on the test,” as you say. Align the incentives with the desired result.

    But let’s not pretend that taking away one flawed evaluation system somehow leaves us with other, non-flawed systems. As others have pointed, the other systems of grading, assessment, and teacher judgments have their own flaws.

    I’ve always said that teacher evaluation should be multivariate, and the same holds for students.

    There will be teachers who grade a student low and the child tests high — and vice versa. In both cases, we are better off for having different systems of measurement that allow us to see more of the child.

  • 923. HS Mom  |  March 5, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Junior – thank you – Yes!

  • 924. P. Joseph Powers, Ph.D.  |  March 5, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Many thanks to all the great kids and parents who attended the Jones College Prep “Freshman Welcome” last night. Our second program will be this evening for those who did not attend on Tuesday. We are very excited to welcome the biggest and best ever JCP freshman class. Go Class of 2018!

    Dr. Joe Powers
    Jones College Prep

  • 925. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 5, 2014 at 10:38 am

    As others have pointed, the other systems of grading, assessment, and teacher judgments have their own flaws.

    Quite true. And we have no problem with CPS saying “That’s weird, students at school or classroom X have a large distribution of A’s compared to other classrooms in the school or to similar schools, but the annual standardized test scores for that room/school is much lower than at schools with similar grade distributions. Let’s take a look at what’s going on there.” And vice versa , where grade distribution much lower than what occurs at schools with similar annual standardized scores. We have no problem with standardized scores being used as a signal to look more closely at what happens at schools. But when it becomes not just a signal, but the automatic determining factor, which has been in CPS for some time, there are numerous perverse incentives, never mind the inherent unreasonableness of the practice. If a child with As scores in the 5th percentile, or a child with Ds scores in the 90th percentile, I would hope someone at the school, network, or HQ would say “That is really strange. Let’s see what’s going on here.” What appalls me is that now the former event triggers automatic summer school and the latter is ignored.

    There is little money or effort devoted to understanding why some children are not meeting standards. Averaging results hides the distribution of performance within rooms, grades, schools, and the district. Students are not randomly assigned to schools or to classes, so we would not expect student performance to be similar across schools. There is all sorts of what statisticians call “bias” (without any of the pejorative connotations that term has colloquially) at play. But the reported results and more importantly the use of those results takes none of that into account, creating even more perverse incentives.

  • 926. H  |  March 5, 2014 at 10:53 am

    “If a child with As scores in the 5th percentile, or a child with Ds scores in the 90th percentile”

    I wonder if that ever happens.

  • 927. Patricia  |  March 5, 2014 at 10:58 am

    @ Junior. Agree. Your posts are always so rational. Thanks.

    @ Christopher Ball. I agree with a lot of what you say—not all. Yes, the perverse incentives is a clear sign of government implementation gone wild. I do believe implementation of common core will boost up school curriculums without dictating how. This is an opportunity for good educators to get back to teaching and challenging the students appropriately. Is it safe to assume that you are fully in support of common core? Are you anti PARCC too? Are you anti MAPS?

    What I do not get is how getting rid of all testing is going to do any good for the student. Sure, it takes pressure off of teachers and principals and CPS and BOE, but will do little to help students. If you get rid of all testing as your more than a score, (put up a shingle and claim you represent parents group), is advocating, you will REALLY get perverse incentives. You really are such a smart person, I just wish you would see the other side of the coin that you tend to ignore.

  • 928. junior  |  March 5, 2014 at 11:02 am

    “What appalls me is that now the former event triggers automatic summer school and the latter is ignored.”

    Ignored by whom? I would hope both cases trigger some scrutiny from a teacher or parent. At minimum, testing gives parents an alternative tool to evaluate and advocate for their child’s education. Without the test, I guarantee you BOTH cases are ignored.

    “If a child with As scores in the 5th percentile…,”

    This has always been more of the case than the reverse example. And without the test accountability, those cases demonstrated the perverse incentives that left kids illiterate going into high school. Instead of trying to help tackle educating the tough cases, teachers could simply pass them on to the next grade, saying “Johnny’s doing just fine… he got a B in my class!” Meanwhile, Johnny can’t read.

    So, that case is far more deleterious. Perverse incentives are not the monopoly of poorly constructed testing regimes.

  • 929. junior  |  March 5, 2014 at 11:12 am

    “If a child with As scores in the 5th percentile…,”

    .. and the problem with testing now is that the NCLB was built around this example and not the situations of average or above-average schools.

    Bad cases make bad law.

  • 930. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  March 5, 2014 at 11:35 am

    “Without the test, I guarantee you BOTH cases are ignored.”

    Excellent point. Testing is another way to add granularity to the assessment of student achievement. As in most things, the more information, the better.

  • 931. realchicagomama  |  March 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Not sure about the former, but quite certain the latter happens.

  • 932. Cliff  |  March 5, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    I agree with almost everything CBall posts, but here I think he’s being misleading:

    “If a child with As scores in the 5th percentile, or a child with Ds scores in the 90th percentile, I would hope someone at the school, network, or HQ would say “That is really strange. Let’s see what’s going on here.” What appalls me is that now the former event triggers automatic summer school and the latter is ignored”

    Yes, a student who never scores above the 5th percentile over the course of the year gets assigned to summer school automatically, regardless of final grade, BUT SO DOES A STUDENT WITH 99th PERCENTILE SCORES AND AN F (which would generally correspond to 5th percentile performance, as opposed to the D used in Chris’ example). And a student with 10th-23rd percentile scores ISN’T assigned to summer school IF they have grades of C or better.

    It’s not fair to say that only test scores are being used as “automatic determining factor.” Rather, grades AND scores are being used in a sort of sliding scale with absolute minimums for both scores (10th percentile) and grades (D) to avoid summer school.

  • 933. parent101  |  March 5, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    any news on principal discretion?

  • 934. Questioning Parent  |  March 5, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    I have heard that Taft has a new principal…. anyone have any insight?

  • 935. HS Mom  |  March 5, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    @934 – Is it Ms Rownd from Jones? If so…..expect good things to happen, she’s great with the kids but firm disciplinarian. Came to Jones from Northside and is a wealth of knowledge, hard worker and advocate for her kids.

  • 936. Chicago School GPS  |  March 5, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    For those students still wondering if there are other high school options out there for them, CPS is hosting an event for 8th graders.

    To help students and parents access resources, learn of program options, and discuss high school admissions processes in one place, CPS will hold a High School Fair on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd., Chicago, IL from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.
    This will be open exclusively to eighth-graders and will feature high schools that currently have available seats for the 2014-2015 School Year. These schools will provide eighth-graders who have not yet chosen a high school for next year (2014-2015) with information about their programs and application processes. Some high schools may even be accepting admission applications on site. Besides school specific information, the event will include a Student Assistance Center, where families can receive general guidance from K-12 school counselors and Central Office personnel and explore the services available to diverse learners, EL students, etc. Contact cpsoae@cps.edu for more info.

  • 937. Educational Endeavors  |  March 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    We are hearing from multiple independent schools who’ve met with Kathryn Ellis that CPS will require all independent (non-CPS) 7th graders to take the MAP this year in as part of the selective enrollment admissions process. The official announcement by CPS will be made in approximately 7-10 days.

    Furthermore, testing for CPS and non-CPS students is planned to take place within the same general time frame. Non-CPS students will sign up to test on Saturdays throughout May at TBD CPS schools. They will take both the reading and math subtests, but will be required to take the subtests on DIFFERENT days, resulting in two Saturday test days for these students.

    Registration regarding testing should be available on the cpsoae website in a week.

    Please check out our website, educationalendeavors.org for more test and test prep information. We will be adding a NWEA MAP class to our schedule at the Menomonee Club in the coming days in order to best meet the needs of our students. Please feel free to contact us for more information.

  • 938. Wondering  |  March 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Does anyone know the policy for Freshman or Sophomore transfers at Payton? Also, if a freshman was interested in testing into another SEHS; would students automatically receive a letter from CPS letting them know what they qualify to apply?

  • 939. Same as above  |  March 6, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Does anyone know anything about payton transfers? Or northside transfers? I’m from the suburbs and moving into the city so if anyone can offer any insight it would be greatly appreciated

  • 940. RL Julia  |  March 6, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    I don’t think that Payton accepts transfers – at least for Freshman who wish to transfer to another school for their Sophomore year. I don’t know about Sophomores trying to transfer in as Juniors. I would tend to doubt it but I really don’t know. Northside doesn’t accept transfers either. Jones and Lane do -not sure about the others.

    Freshman do not automatically receive a letter from CPS letting them know if they qualify to apply. I think that it is assumed that most freshman have chosen a school for all four years of high school.

  • 941. same as above  |  March 6, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    @940 what about transfers from out of Chicago, we live in the suburbs and are moving to Chicago. she is currently a freshman (Class of 2017).

  • 942. Jones  |  March 6, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    938. Wondering

    It seems unlikely that Jones will accept sophomore transfers for the 2015-16 school year, but anything is possible. They accepted 500 freshmen for 425 slots (originally 350 SE and 75 CTE seats planned) and have been getting lots of “Yes” answers to their offers. So they will likely be over their seats. They plan to hire 11-13 new teachers, partly as a result.

    I wonder if the other SEHS did the same thing this year? With per pupil funding, more schools probably less willing to take a risk on declines.

    Also, Jones cutoff score moved up 15 points for Tier 4 to 883. I imagine it would have moved up even higher if they hadn’t decided to extend 17% more offers than planned seats! Wow!!!

    School has the space to handle larger than expected Freshman class since underutilized with next years’ junior and senior classes. New building so still plenty of room.

    Good luck! Maybe call the school principal(s) to inquire.

  • 943. Chicago School GPS  |  March 6, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    @942- Jones’ transfer application for 2014-2015 is up on their website. It does not indicate how many (if any) seats are available, but they have an application posted. http://www.jonescollegeprep.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=123382&type=d&pREC_ID=244291

    Westinghouse also has theirs posted, and Lane will do so in April.

  • 944. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 6, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    @ 926. H: So would I. Information about grades-test score correlations in elementary school is sparse in general, and official info. on non-intuitive patterns is almost non-existent. But the policy is not “investigate, then decided on summer school” but “go straight to summer school.”

    @ 927. Patricia: “What I do not get is how getting rid of all testing is going to do any good for the student.”

    Neither I nor More than a Score is suggesting that we get rid of all standardized testing. That position is absurd. There are numerous legitimate uses for standardized tests of various kinds. We do oppose mass standardized achievement testing in K-2 because the forms of the tests are misaligned with children’s abilities at those ages (not being able to read really cramps what a test can do, and even oral instructions can be confusing to young children without clarification).

    Many test questions are not objective. In reading tests especially, the “best” answer rule means that test-takers must select the answer by matching the subjective opinion of the item-writer as to what is “best.” Even in math sections, poorly written questions may create a situation in which two answers could be correct. Because most of these tests are secure — no one gets to review them after they are used because questions will be re-used — it is hard to hold test-makers accountable. But some sample questions have these problems, and in some cases, a person violates test security to expose egregious errors, like the “Pineapple Story”.

    @ 932. Cliff : An “F” does force summer school regardless of test scores, but it is a problem if a 99th percentile student gets automatically sent to summer school for a single F in math or reading. But below the 11th percentile on a test or the absence of a test score means automatic summer school, regardless of grades. .

    More importantly, poor grades are apparent during the year. Parents can review their child’s work and meet with the teacher if they believe the grading is unfair. The test comes in late spring, now based on two days work. Reviewing the test with the teacher or testing officials is prohibited.

    Re Common Core State Standards : For the most part, I’m fine with them. I think statistics in the upper-grade math standards are not sequenced well. And I share the concerns that early childhood educators, like NAEYC, have about whether the standards are developmentally appropriate in K-2.

    I am bothered by how politicians, education officials, and education companies invoke the standards, in many cases ignoring qualifications in the standards themselves (e.g., the order in which standards are listed within a grade is not a recommendation for how those standards should be taught). The standards are not a curriculum, and so statements, like one that CBOE Board member Andrea Zopp made about how the CCSS will ensure that the way algebra 1 is taught at one school will be the same as another, are wrong. As I like to put it, “the core is the floor,” not the ceiling, so excluding content not in the CCSS is wrong-headed. And the CCSS don’t specify pedagogy — how you teach the curriculum.

    What is bothersome is how many CCSS proponents believe that by raising standards, on average, educational outcomes will miraculously improve. Students at a socio-economic disadvantage, as OECD put it, are more likely to have lower educational outcomes in the US than in other OECD countries. Other factors are at play as well, not just economic inequality. But I’ve yet to read a coherent explanation of how more rigorous standards will produce better student achievement.

  • 945. Curious  |  March 6, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Anyone attend the Disney 2 Magnet High School info session tonight? Would love to hear thoughts?

  • 946. Patricia  |  March 6, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    @Christopher Ball
    ” But I’ve yet to read a coherent explanation of how more rigorous standards will produce better student achievement.”

    Don’t underestimate the kids Christopher. They rise to the occasion.

    Did you read the CPSO book club book? The Smartest Kids in the World, gives interesting insight into rigor and rigor despite poverty. Certainly not rigor alone, but it is a key piece of the mix.

    BTW, CPSO any thought of book club gathering?

  • 947. CPSMom  |  March 6, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Potential Change in CPS Testing Policy
    We have heard that CPS will require every 7th grade private school student wishing to apply to a public high school in 8th grade to take the NWEA/MAP test in May on two Saturdays.

    We are confident that all students at independent private schools will be required to take the MAP test. However, we are trying to clarify whether Catholic school students will also be required to take the MAP test.

    How might this work? Anyone who wants (e.g., needs) to take the MAP test will have to register to do so on a yet to be released form that will be made available on the Office of Access and Enrollment website. Then you would be required to bring your child to a testing site on two different Saturdays (one for Reading and one for Math) in May.

    We still do not yet know whether or not Catholic school students will be required to take the MAP test. This information may not be made officially available for another week. Nevertheless, we wanted to communicate what we have heard given the time frame and impact of this change. As we get clarification, we will provide you with an update.

    If your child is required to take the MAP test, we also want you to know that the content covered in our program that you child just completed includes content that will also be on the MAP test – so it is not wasted effort. However, the MAP test, since it is Common Core compliant will include tougher math. In addition, since there would be a gap between the end of your child’s preparation and when he/she takes this newly required test – a refresher would be a good idea.

    If it is confirmed that the MAP test will be a requirement for the Catholic school population, we will offer your child an intensive and extensive Workshop to review additional, advanced math content and also to make sure that his/her review is fresh. This workshop will be provided by us free of charge.

    We will continue to make every effort to ensure that you are well informed regarding any changes to CPS’ testing policy – and that your child is well prepared.

  • 948. CPSMom  |  March 6, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    This was received tonight to any student in the selective prep programs.

  • 949. local  |  March 6, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Why would folks with teen/s move into the city from the suburbs? Just wondering.

  • 950. Patricia  |  March 6, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Thanks for the info. Aren’t Catholic schools private? Why would they be any different? I thought the directive was that ALL students take the SAME MAPS test. Am I missing something?

  • 951. Chicago School GPS  |  March 6, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    CPS is indeed reducing acceptable tests down to just one, the latest NWEA MAP test. They should be making the official announcement within a day or so, is what I understand.

    All CPS students are automatically given this test (two sections- math & reading) over a month’s time starting April 28. All non-CPS students will need to register to test at select CPS facilities during the same test window, over two Saturdays.

  • 952. same as above  |  March 6, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    @local, we are moving into the city because my 8th grader tested into a selective enrollment high school so we need to transfer the freshman and our local high school does not have very many opportunities. she has a 29 act as a freshman so we are looking for better opportunities for both of our daughters.

  • 953. same as above  |  March 6, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    and for everyone that complains about cps, if you live in the suburbs and you have a bright child, there are very few options, no academic centers/ no magnet schools, few enrichment programs, very few clubs in our local middle school. I am extremely excited to move back to the city because it will give my kids a chance. We moved out into the northwest suburbs in order to go to a better school, turns out there are no options.

  • 954. Patricia  |  March 6, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    @same as above

    Welcome home 🙂

  • 955. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 6, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    @946 Re the “Smartest Kids” book, the rigor is surely part of it, but Massachusetts could have been one of the systems that was studied in that book. Three US states – CT, MA, FL – were sampled in the 2012 PISA as if they were a country.

    On math, MA’s mean score (514) was well below Korea (554), but only slightly below Finland (519) and Poland (518). The US was 481 and FL was 467.

    On reading, MA’s mean score 527, ranked it just below Korea (536) and above Finland (524), Poland (518) the US (498) and FL (492).

    So if the state of MA is treated as a country it does very well v. the US and FL.

  • 956. Momof3  |  March 6, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    @935 That’s good to hear about the new principal at Taft.

  • 957. LP IB  |  March 7, 2014 at 12:42 am

    LP IB – Tonight a friend attended the meeting for those accepted to LP IB. A parent asked what percent of Freshman are still in the programme Senior year; the Coordinator stated that only 10% of Freshmen are still in the LP IB programme Senior year. Same as noted in previous post.

    LP is a great school – can at least switch to Double Honors later if opt / counseled out.

    Wish the IB schools would be more forthcoming with the information. Again, resources, PR, etc.

  • 958. LPIB teacher  |  March 7, 2014 at 12:53 am

    957: Re: LPIB attrition rate.
    It seems like there is some confusion about that statistic. We have just under 90 IB Seniors this year. If we take the 10% stat, then this would mean that 4 years ago the freshman IB number was 900. This is not true & not even possible given the size of the school & number of staff. Our attrition rate is around 10%.

  • 959. LatreJ  |  March 7, 2014 at 7:10 am

    “Three US states – CT, MA, FL – were sampled in the 2012 PISA as if they were a country. ”

    Absolutely worthless comparisons at the country (or state) level. You need to break it down by race and public vs private educated. Why do people post junk stats? Maybe there is a big public education problem in the US.

  • 960. Patricia  |  March 7, 2014 at 8:17 am

    @Christopher Ball
    Ok, you list some states that scored well. Does that mean there is no problem with education in the US? Isn’t common core modeled after Massachusetts? Hmmmm, if all states adopted it, one piece of the pie is in place. If you talk about one piece in isolation, you can pull stats and complain all day about how it won’t work.

  • 961. IBobsessed  |  March 7, 2014 at 10:49 am

    @952 Some of us think your daughter should not have been permitted to test for SE until you actually lived here. Sorry, but the CPS SEHSs do not exist to provide academic enrichment to any/every child in the state. They are not state magnet schools. Lobby your school district to provide opportunities for academic advanced students.

    This should be the next SEHS admission irregularity addressed by CPS.

  • 962. junior  |  March 7, 2014 at 10:54 am

    @959 LatreJ

    “Why do people post junk stats?”

    Because 62.4% of CPSO readers find them convincing.

  • 963. real  |  March 7, 2014 at 10:54 am

    What about IMSA? That is an option for any motivated, actually gifted student in the state of Illinois, no?

  • 964. IBobsessed  |  March 7, 2014 at 10:58 am

    @958 Are 90 IB Seniors still on the diploma track? Do many now consider themselves Certificate IB students? Could that explain the difference in the 2 different attrition %s publicized? The radically different picture painted by the different figures, coming from staff at the same school, is concerning.

  • 965. local  |  March 7, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Didn’t Bruce Rauner move his kid from the burbs to a pied-à-terre in the city and go with Payton’s Principal Discretion, or whatever it’s called? Worked for that family. As long as the student/family is a resident on the first day of CPS school, it seems legal.

  • 966. CPS Parent  |  March 7, 2014 at 11:28 am

    963. real – Very much so, but there are two issues to contend with – IMSA starts at grade 10 so what to do for ninth grade if your kid doesn’t qualify to skip ahead a year and enter IMSA early. It’s a mandatory boarding school and therefore your kid leaves home sooner than you or they want to. It is also not really a suitable option if your child is not super interested in math and science.

  • 967. IBobsessed  |  March 7, 2014 at 11:48 am

    @965 You’ve confused the issue of what should be regarding eligibility for SEHS acceptance with what ‘is’.

  • 968. nise  |  March 7, 2014 at 11:49 am

    King high school Tier 1 score 586 second choice

    Kelly IB Program
    Chicago high school for Agricultural Sciences Magnet

    Applied to high schools that were within realistic traveling distance.

    Accepting Chicago AG because older brother goes there already.

  • 969. LPIB teacher  |  March 7, 2014 at 11:57 am

    @964: Yes, all 90 of those seniors are full-diploma students who will sit for all of their IB exams in May. Most of them end up getting the full IB diploma.

    With the wall-to-wall expansion, in future years, we will have some students working towards certificates in different subjects; however, we will continue to have an IB-DP, in which I expect we will continue to have high numbers of our students who remain in the program and word towards and earn the full diploma.

  • 970. OutsideLookingIn  |  March 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Isn’t it harder for kids applying from the suburbs to get into SEHS because they can only get in by rank? As long as the kid lives in the city while attending SEHS, I don’t see why it would matter where the kid lived during 8th grade. And i doubt that tons of kids from the burbs are heading to SEHS in Chicago. But when fighting over crumbs, it is easy to get territorial.

  • 971. Peter  |  March 7, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Son decided to stay at Lane, so one more spot will be available at Northside. Good luck to Principal Discretion applicants!

  • 972. IBobsessed  |  March 7, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    It matters because Chicago HSs exist to provide education to residents of Chicago. When a suburban resident applies and is admitted to an SEHS, then this purpose is not served. The SEHS has functioned as a state wide ‘magnet school’. First commit to being a Chicago resident by living here, then get the rights/privileges of residency. Do we issue Chicago resident parking stickers to suburbanites who ‘might’ want to live here? Do you get to vote for alderman when you don’t live in a ward?
    It happens more often than you think. Isn’t NSCP the top rated HS in IL? That kind of cache is hard for the status conscious to pass up.

    Suburban districts will not be forced to deal with the issue of differentiation for their students if Chicago, if their residents can apply to CPS.

  • 973. Mama of 2  |  March 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    @963/966 – I’m an IMSA grad, with kids in CPS now. If your child is not ready to leave, don’t send them to IMSA. Those kids rarely do well, and end up back at home. I imagine that is even worse in Chicago given the nonsense we are forced to go through. If the parents aren’t ready, but the kid is, that is a totally different story… And as far as an interest in math and science, yes it helps, but if the *ability* is there, they will still succeed. The humanities programs at IMSA are excellent, and many grads end up very successful in non-STEM majors. I have high school friends who are English professors, film directors, attorneys, librarians, principals, musicians, early childhood teachers…. Increased STEM literacy outside of traditional STEM fields helps move the world forward (just as a strong base in the humanities for those in STEM is a great thing too…) My 2 cents….

  • 974. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 7, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    971. Peter | March 7, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Fantastic! Lane is great school! Hope your son has four more enjoyable acadmic years there.

  • 975. OutsideLookingIn  |  March 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Weren’t SEHS/SEES created to deter Chicago families from fleeing to the suburbs? Funny that it has worked so well that suburban families are now apparently fleeing to the city for the great public education. Is Winnetka experiencing brain drain? Will New Trier become the next failure factory?

  • 976. Ogden 6-12th grade?  |  March 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Is anyone considering Ogden International High School? We applied to Ogden 6th grade. Does the High School component look promising?

  • 977. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    @ 959. LatreJ: The major justification for the Common Core Standards, by governors, state, school officials, the US Dept. of Ed., and most businesses is based on these “junk stats” — they compare the mean US score on the PISA to that of other countries and say the US is behind, so we need to raise standards.

    @960 My point is that there is wide variation within the US. The Common Core is not based on MA standards. For a time, some educators argued that MA standards were superior to the CCSS, but MA wanted Race to the Top funds. MA is now backing off on implementing the new CCSS tests.

  • 978. Chicago dad  |  March 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    971 Peter

    Pretty proud of my son (900 points!).

    He is also in 8th grade at Lane AC. He has great courses and teachers. He’s also made a lot of good friends. We love the down-to-earth quality of the parents and staff. A good high school should be fun as well as challenging.

    It was a tough choice, but for the reasons above we just turned down Payton. So there’s one more spot at Payton, too.

  • 979. JustAnotherConcernedParent  |  March 7, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    That’s the great thing about Lane and WY. If my son had done elementary at either one, I’m sure he would have stayed through high school.

    We’re going Payton, but we strongly considered LPHS IB. Heard horror stories about the amount of work involved there, which tipped the balance somewhat.

  • 980. mom2boys  |  March 7, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Son (900 points) will enter Lane in the Fall. Based on some recent posts from AC families that will remain at Lane, I thought I’d pose a question relating to the 9th-grade freshman social experience. But first, I’ll say how encouraged I am to know that other kids made Lane their #1 Choice! Anyway, our son is introverted, and making friends doesn’t come so naturally to him. Kids typically enter high school and everyone is in the same boat- everything is shiny new and freshman are looking to make new friends. It occurs to me that things could be slightly different at a HS with an Academic Center. I’m wondering if the social experience is any different for new-to-the-school freshman where there is an existing AC, meaning some portion of the freshman class has well established relationships.

    I don’t know the size of Lane’s current 8th grade Academic Center class, so I haven’t a clue on the percentage of LTAC students that will make up the freshman class. If the number of LTAC students is comparatively small, the impact could be insignificant. I don’t remember if this is the first graduating class coming out of LTAC.

    Thoughts? And I’d love to hear from parents re their student’s freshman experience at Lane, particularly the shy ones.

    Just being an anxious mama….. 🙂

  • 981. HSObsessed  |  March 7, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    @980 – As of four years ago, about 110 of WY AC kids went on to 9th grade there, so that would be about 20% of the freshman class of 500ish. Not sure what the size of LTAC is and how many will go on, but even if it’s 100 kids, that’s still 10% or less of the freshman LT class, so I don’t think it’s much of an issue. Sure, some kids will know each other already, but that doesn’t mean they’re good friends. I think everyone is looking to make new friends by the time they hit high school.

  • 982. abc  |  March 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    @IBobsessed under cps policy outside students are allowed to test, they just have to qualify under rank and then move into the city. I’m not sure why you have a problem with that. No crime done.

  • 983. IBobsessed  |  March 7, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    It is very obvious they ARE allowed to test. That is not the issue. SHOULD they be, is the issue. Is it good policy, beneficial, effective for those CPS is supposed to serve? See the difference?

  • 984. abc  |  March 7, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    CPS doesn’t think so. It is not rare. A handful of children tested from my area this year and in previous years. These kids have to be the top scores to be admitted. It is beneficial to cps as the parents move in and buy/rent a home. these students are also some of the smartest in those schools and bring up the test scores.

  • 985. LP  |  March 7, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Spots don’t “open up” at Payton/Northside if you decide to stay at Lane or wherever. There hadn’t been a second round at either school in years.

    @IBObsessed – you’re on the lunatic fringe on this issue. Its not a loophole. If kids from the suburbs can get in on rank and bring their family back to the city then the city is happy to have them.

  • 986. Abc  |  March 7, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you @LP

  • 987. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 7, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    I’m confused: you can be admitted to a city SE school even if you do not reside in the city? I get taking the test part, but how can you claim a seat if you are not a resident? What if you accept but you never move to the city? The spot opens after school begins?

  • 988. IBobsessed  |  March 7, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Fortunately, the number of people on a blog who disagree with a position is not what defines the “lunatic fringe”, I have pointed out that SEHSs were started to provide advanced college prep education for Chicago residents, not to attract state wide students who will “bring up the test scores.” As I said upthread,the latter would be a state magnet school, which SEHSs are not. Since demand among Chicago residents for these spots is greater than the supply, it makes little sense to open the application process to those who are not residents. We have plenty of top scorers here, no need to get a supply from the suburbs. Would the BOE agree that attracting suburbanites to the city is a purpose of SEHSs ? Don’t think so. Not seeing why presenting these considerations is lunacy.

  • 989. IBobsessed  |  March 7, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    C Ball, yes you can apply, be offered and claim an SEHS seat without being a Chicago resident. Proof of Chicago residency is presumably required by the time school begins. It would be interesting to hear when exactly this proof is demanded by the SEHSs. In order to accept the offer at my child’s elementary CPS magnet school, I had 5 days from the offer to register her with proof of address or we would have lost the spot. When, if ever, do SEHSs ask for proof?

  • 990. Patricia  |  March 7, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    “….these students are also some of the smartest in those schools and bring up the test scores.”

    There are plenty of students at a Payton or Northside that got perfect scores, (also at Lane, WY, Jones) so I do not think the few that may test in from the burbs does anything to “raise the scores”. Yes, they get in on rank so have high scores, but it sounds a bit arrogant to say that the few suburban kids can skew anything. There are already plenty of smart kids from the city in those schools who do not need anyone to “bring up the scores.” Unless the majority of kids getting in on rank are from the suburbs. Is that what you meant? I haven’t heard most high scoring kids come from the burbs. Congrats to your child on getting in.

  • 991. Peter  |  March 7, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    I think the impact will be insignificant. There are 116 8th graders at LTAC and some of them are going to different schools for high school, so the percentage is small.
    This is the second year of LTAC 8th graders.

  • 992. ChicagoParent  |  March 7, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    I would imagine families relocating from suburbs or relocating families from other states should be allowed to apply at Chicago PUBLIC Schools.

    Proof of residency:
    Proof of current address includes, but is not limited to, any two of the following
    a. Current utility bills;
    b. Illinois driver’s license or State of Illinois identification card;
    c. Deed;
    d. Employer identification card;
    e. MediPlan/Medicaid Card;
    f. Voter registration card;
    g. Court documents;
    h. Illinois Department of Public Aid card;
    i. Stamped United States Post Office change of address form;
    j. Illinois state aid check/social security check; and
    k. Other identification card issued by a federal or state agency or foreign
    government consulate, such as a Matricula Consular

  • 993. Parent  |  March 7, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    I’m sure they have to prove residency before the beginning of the school year.

  • 994. Abc  |  March 7, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    No arrogance intended, I apologize. My point was that many of these students do extremely well. I believe it is a mix of students, most are probably chicago students. I don’t understand the anger though as to why some parents don’t want a few students to move in from the suburbs. I’m pretty sure the kids in Chicago don’t care if they get a classmate from the suburbs; it’s the parents who are angry.

  • 995. Patricia  |  March 7, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Got it. Agree that the classmates would not care. In general, a really nice kids in these schools. Congrats again and good luck getting your other child in somewhere SEHS or one of the good neighborhood HS options.

  • 996. mom2boys  |  March 7, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    @981 & 991 Thanks for your replies!

    Are there any Lane parents here who could comment on their child’s freshman experience?

  • 997. Agree with IBObsessed  |  March 7, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    I hadn’t thought about it much before, but I agree with IBObsessed. I’ve always understood that one of the goals of creating SEES and SEHS was to keep Chicago families from fleeing to the suburbs. If you reserve space for qualified suburban children (and no one disputes whether they are qualified), that necessarily means fewer Chicago families having SEES and SEHS as an option.

    I don’t see the benefit to the city or CPS. I would guess that many of the suburban admits to SEHS do not actually bring their families to the city. Many probably end up buying/renting a small apartment in the city for the city address like Rauner. (I’d bet that the poster who asked about transfers is at least considering whether to leave their older child in the suburbs and rent a small place in the city for their younger child.)

    I have to question why it is good for Chicago to trade existing Chicago residents (who flee to the suburbs when they don’t get in) to attract suburban residents, many of whom probably just rent a small apartment for the address anyway. Why is that a good trade for Chicago?

    No anger about the current policy. . . just in thinking about it, I’m not seeing the good reason for it.

  • 998. anonymouse teacher  |  March 7, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    People likely are not renting a studio apartment to have an address. They use the address of a relative or a friend. Its not hard to do.

  • 999. Concerned  |  March 7, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    @998 Is it legal to rent an apartment and let a high schooler live alone? Like age (14-17). I would be scared to let my teen live alone.

  • 1000. OutsideLookingIn  |  March 7, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    @IBObsessed – how long *should* a student have lived in Chicago before they are allowed to begin classes at SEHS? One year? Two years? Thirteen years? Obviously SEHS is not a statewide magnet. If it were, you could live in Evanston and attend Northside. Are hundreds of “outsiders” from Joliet, Springfield, Stickney, etc. snatching away Northside and Payton seats from native Chicagoans each year? Don’t think so. But hey, if anyone in a swanky lakefront mansion on the Northshore wants to home swap with me for four years so their kid can attend SEHS, mi apartment es su apartment!

  • 1001. yorkielover  |  March 7, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    so is anyone doing principal discretion this year?

  • 1002. WRP Mom  |  March 7, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    996. I’m also an 8th grade LTAC parent. My guess is there will probably be about 100 kids staying at Lane for high school, so about 10% of the freshman class. It will be insignificant. Except for lunch & PE, they aren’t going to have classes in common. I really don’t think having former AC kids there has much of an impact at all on the present freshman class.

  • 1003. CPS schools should be for Chicago kids.  |  March 7, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    I have a problem with people testing in from the suburbs. I believe they actually should NOT be able to test in before they move. If they are truly moving into the city through no fault of their own, they can move first. If they’re so desperate to go to a top CPS SE school, they can move to Chicago in 7th grade.

    If they’re too late for the deadline, they can go to the neighborhood school like everyone else. After all, MOST of CPS kids will be doing that. We likely will. We’re in Tier 4 and don’t have a genius. Nor do we care to push our children to do nothing but test prep.

    I moved from one suburb to another mid high school. I could not attend the new school until we moved. So our parents actually rented an apartment for one month so we could start school in August. That’s just what you do.

    We have so little options in the city and giving away even one seat (especially to someone like Rauner’s child who has an incredible option in New Trier) is unacceptable to me. Period.

  • 1004. What  |  March 7, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Yeah, IBobsessed is not the “lunatic fringe.” Lots of people disagree with the policy of letting kids apply who don’t already live in the city.

    Also, disagreeing with someone is not a reason to start throwing out words like lunatic. Discuss the pros and cons, but don’t be a bully. Kids read this blog, too.

  • 1005. HSObsessed  |  March 7, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    I’m on the fence about the issue of non-Chicagoans applying to SEHS. However, I recall Dr. Powers at the Jones open house in fall 2012 announcing/reminding families there who were from outside the city that if their kid were accepted, they’d have to move in and prove their residency by some date, like I want to say it was July 1 or something. He even specifically said they often had a number of families who did that and mentioned that Indiana was one place they had families (or maybe a family) move from so their kid could attend Jones. He didn’t say specific numbers, but I got the feeling it wasn’t just 2 or 3 kids a year. Given that at the time, I think the freshman class was expected to be 225, I remember wondering what percentage of seats were going to kids who didn’t live in the city.

  • 1006. highschool  |  March 7, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    these kids are really smart. they deserve a chance

  • 1007. LP IB  |  March 7, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Does anyone know why OAE extended the deadline for accepting a SE H.S. offer to next week? Did it apply to all H.S. decisions like IB, CTE, Von Steuben, etc.?

  • 1008. IBobsessed  |  March 8, 2014 at 12:09 am

    You cannot get a seat at a neighborhood HS unless you CURRENTLY live in Chicago, at the time of application. Why should SEHSs be any different? If you walk into Senn from Indiana and say I’m planning to move here and want to register my child, you’d be told “Wonderful! Come back when you have a signed Chicago lease or closing docs on a property, and we’ll take care of it.”

    I don’t know any parents ANGRY about this, just those who think it is an unfair, wasteful policy. Certainly wouldn’t be angry at the kids. However, it is pretty off-putting when their parents say that Chicago HSs will be improved by the presence of their suburban kids and we should be grateful to get them.

  • 1009. junior  |  March 8, 2014 at 12:40 am

    Thanks, Highschool, but we have a pretty good supply of those smart, deserving kids in the city already. Chicago taxpayers pay to establish and maintain these schools. On top of that, we pay not only Chicago teacher pensions but also a share of suburban and downstate teacher pensions. We don’t benefit from temporary transplants who sweep in and skim the city’s best resources (if they even actually live in the city).

  • 1010. Once Upon a Time LTAC Mom  |  March 8, 2014 at 1:17 am

    @ 980. Wouldn’t worry about the LTAC kids. Because they have some high school credits already, most of them are taking sophmore level classes. (This year’s freshmen were the inaugural LTAC class; the only class my DD has with non-LTAC freshmen is gym). The former LTAC kids are pretty open anyway–on their own initiative, my DD’s class started a Facebook page for the incoming freshman as a way to welcome them, get to know them, answer questions, etc.

    Best advice for your son is to join something–anything! Many of my DD’s friends she made while rehearsing school plays. One of her elementary school friends, who is incoming freshman this year, made friends running cross county. (She also made friends while doing a school play and was embraced by my DD’s friends.) There are so many opportunities, there is bound to be an afterschool activity, club, sport your son will be interested in. It’s the easiest way, I think, to make friends–bonding over a common interest and the kids are pretty accepting.

  • 1011. Once Upon a Time LTAC Mom  |  March 8, 2014 at 1:26 am

    Oh–and Congratulations, Mom2Boys, on your son’s acceptance to Lane! 🙂

  • 1012. WRP Mom  |  March 8, 2014 at 7:11 am

    There is a Facebook page again this year called Lane Tech class of 2018 and all incoming freshman are welcome to join. My LTAC 8th grader has been on it and is happy to answer any questions etc.

  • 1013. MustangMom  |  March 8, 2014 at 8:56 am

    I remember meeting a mom very briefly at some event last year (vague, I apologize) and she was bragging to me that she lived in the suburbs and her junior son was using her husband’s downtown business address to attend NS. They had no intention to move to the city. There just has to be a way to prove residency for students who have not attended a grammar school in the city and then accept a SE seat. I suspect the numbers are actually very small but the result stings when seats are lost to kids who don’t live in the city.

  • 1014. MustangMom  |  March 8, 2014 at 9:02 am

    meant to say the boy is a current freshman, not junior.

  • 1015. resident  |  March 8, 2014 at 10:21 am

    If you’re opposed to non-Chicago residents “taking up seats” how do you feel about non- US residents in those same seats? There’s quite a few of them.

  • 1016. anonymouse teacher  |  March 8, 2014 at 10:30 am

    @999, no, I’m sure it is not legal and no one, including me is suggesting that. But I hear a lot about people saying, “oh you can just lease a cheap apartment for the address”. By this, they mean, rent out a studio for $500 a month and let it sit empty but use the address as proof of residency, as $500 a month is cheaper than private school. No one is saying you let a child live in that apartment alone.
    My point is that most folks use a friend’s address or a relative’s address–they do not rent a cheap apartment because most people don’t have even $500 a month to spend. Its easy to use a friend or relative’s address. I have a student at my school whose neighborhood school is unsafe. They are, I am convinced, using grandma’s address. They put a few items in their names, like the electric bill and their car insurance bill, and voila, they can attend our school all the while still living in their old neighborhood with their family.

  • 1017. cpsobsessed  |  March 8, 2014 at 10:34 am

    But the non-residents are currently chicago residents, correct? They pay taxes here (I’m assuming someone in the family is employed.). That seems fine to me.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 1018. LP  |  March 8, 2014 at 10:39 am

    SEHS’s were indeed created to defend Chicago’s tax base. PNJY have been so successful that they are attracting strong families back . Not just defending but stengthening the base, this is fantastic, the mayors office is thrilled. It’s a key to a great city.

    We moved to LP 10 years ago so our kids could attend Lincoln Elementary. Some nutters last year suggested limiting the attendance of new families. It is selfish and short sided to not embrace kids and families who move to attend your school.

    Kids from the suburbs have no tier, they have to get in on rank. Before they attend they have to move. The policy was created for a reason, it’s good for the city, just maybe not your kid.

  • 1019. anonymouse teacher  |  March 8, 2014 at 11:22 am

    1017, Yes, the student has parents who are residents of Chicago, but neither parent resides in our attendance boundary. They are using grandma’s address. It is against CPS policy to do this. The student can only attend their own neighborhood school. Personally I don’t care since the child is not a behavior issue. I’ve got bigger things to worry about. But its comparable to someone using grandma’s address to attend Burley when they are actually living in Courtenay’s attendance area.

  • 1020. anonymouse teacher  |  March 8, 2014 at 11:24 am

    @1017, oh, duh, I see you were responding to the undocumented persons post, not mine. Never mind! 🙂

  • 1021. CPS Mom  |  March 8, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Just catching up on reading here.

    Re: suburban families/students taking SEHS spots but not living in Chicago. I haven’t seen mentioned that suburban school districts have policies limiting enrollment to students only from families living within their attendance boundaries. Why should CPS be any different? As an example, here is the list of requirements for New Trier: http://www.newtrier.k12.il.us/page.aspx?id=6166. Much more strict than CPS…CPS’s general rules seem easier to circumvent and have no teeth.

    Also, to the Lane incoming freshman mom: The student body at Lane is fantastic. Your child will make plenty of friends, be challenged in classes, and find his/her way through the halls just fine — have no worries! Lane does a lot to acclimate the incoming freshmen before the school year starts; your child will make friends early, just by going through all that “stuff.”

  • 1022. OutsideLookingIn  |  March 8, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Does New Trier allow students to attend if they weren’t residing in the attendence boundaries during the students’ 8th grade year? Yes. People move into that area the summer before freshman year so their kid can go to very well-funded New Trier. Meanwhile, their new neighbors in Wilmette have been paying massive amounts of property taxes for years to fund the school, and now here comes a family who skates into the community at the 11th hour to rent a place so they can attend New Trier. Just another perspective.

  • 1023. IBobsessed  |  March 8, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Ah, so LP you DO view SEHSs as state wide magnets. Good to have that out in the open.

    There appears to be a misconception that those of us who want to limit applications to CPS school to Chicago residents also want to prevent/deter families from moving to the city or limit where their kids can attend school once they are here. This is not stated, implied, nor is it a valid inference from the position, so not sure why you are equating it with LPers who wanted limit new residents from attending the neighborhood school, unless you have misunderstood our position; It is that a current Chicago resident has the privilege of applying for /accepting a seat at any CPS school. If it is after the SE application process when you begin residence, then there will be no SE seat for you to accept, since they were filled before you lived here. Try next year. There is your neighborhood HS and Charters with openings. And SEHSs should fill empy seats after 9th grade so there can be transfers. The elementary SEs are diligent about making calls to fill every empty seat, no reason the SEHSs shouldn’t, too.

  • 1024. junior  |  March 8, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    @1018 LP
    “It’s good for the city”

    I’d have to disagree. If a person is moving (or faking a move) just for the sake of having a kid attend a good high school, then they are simply resource skimming and they will be gone as soon as the kid goes to college. In the meantime, they have displaced a city resident from the school, who could very well move out of the city for other opportunities. If the applicant is committed to the city and not just the school, then let them move to the city before they can apply.

  • 1025. amazed  |  March 8, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    So, suburbanite US citizens, legally testing into CPS (sans tier benefit), moving to Chicago, and paying taxes: this is bad.

    Illegal aliens, violating immigration laws, commiting identity theft, drawing illegal benefits (& benefitting from tier system): this is just as fine as could be.

    Liberalism is a psychosis.

  • 1026. Curious  |  March 8, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Is there a list of how many people accepted offers for each selective school this year?

  • 1027. IBobsessed  |  March 8, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    @1025 Outside Looking that must be you.

    No one has said identity theft by illegal aliens is good, and that has nothing to do with anything discussed here. You keep criticizing outlandish claims that no has made, so you can slip in your ‘liberalism sucks’ mantra.

  • 1028. parentof3  |  March 8, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    @Curious I wonder the same thing. Does anyone know how many people accepted spots/ which schools could have a second round?

    and some people are getting accusatory like @IBobsessed

  • 1029. OutsideLookingIn  |  March 8, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    @1027 – Trust me, I am not the “amazed” poster at all. Thank you for my first belly laugh of the day though! If I ever uttered the 1025 post in full, my friends and family would escort me straight to the hospital for a brain scan. I’m a big-time liberal.

  • 1030. mom2boys  |  March 8, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    @1002/1012, 1010/1011, 1013, 1021: Many thanks for your advice & info. I hope to persuade ds to join track or a club early on in order to meet friends and acclimate.

    Wow, I’m so impressed by the kindness of the LTAC class that created the website for incoming freshman, and by the generosity of kids that are volunteering their time to answer newcomer’s questions! Lane seems like a wonderful school, populated by friendly students! I am very encouraged- thank you!

  • 1031. mom2boys  |  March 8, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Our ds was at a testing center to do standardized reading/math assessment so he might qualify to participate in the SE HS process (we’re homeschooling residents/homeowners in Chicago). While there, I met two moms from the suburbs who had brought their sons for testing. One lived in Lake Zurich and one in Libertyville. The Libertyville resident’s husband had a business in Chicago, and I definately got the impression they were planning to use the business address for residency requirements. Don’t know about the Lake Zurich family. Guess I have mixed feelings about the current SE HS process.

  • 1032. amazed  |  March 8, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    I am amazed by people who live in a “sanctuary” city and then complain about people who actually follow the letter of the law.

    There are far, far, far more illegal aliens taking spots in SEHSs than the few suburbanites who move to the city when their kids get in.

  • 1033. amazed2  |  March 8, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    IBO I’m amazed that you don’t know who amazed is.

  • 1034. IBobsessed  |  March 8, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    @1033 Clearly, I’ve become addled by posting too much. I conflated monikers.

  • 1035. CPS Parent  |  March 9, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Moving in order to have your kids attend a better school is as American as apple pie me thinks – both ways, city to suburb and vice versa is fine.

    Moving is costly though and the poorer you are the less likely you can do that for a myriad of financial and social reasons. This is why I believe there should not be any CPS schools with attendance boundaries. Some cities such as San Francisco have a boundary-less public school system. It is not a perfect system but it’s better than what we have. I do think that when charter schools become about 70% of Chicago schools, the remaining “neighborhood” schools will become boundary free.

  • 1036. anonymouse teacher  |  March 9, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    @1035, I’d like to learn more about how SF schools work. I only know it is terribly hard to secure a spot in a “good” school. I know Minneapolis has a system where the city is divided into 3 sections and you can apply to attend anywhere within your “section” or test into their gifted programs.
    I can imagine that a boundary free system will be much like the current one. It would benefit some people and hurt others. It’d be interesting, though, to watch typically high performing neighborhood schools that have been historically high income, have to take in low performing student populations. I wonder how long families who can afford to move would stay in a school that can no longer keep those students out.

  • 1037. Tim  |  March 9, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    People are conflating two different issues here. One involves suburban families moving into the city so their kid, who tested into an SEHS via rank, can attend the SEHS school. The other involves families committing fraud by not actually moving into the city after their kid gets in, but instead using a relative’s city address or a city business address. The latter is plainly wrong and illegal — and anyone who knows of it happening should immediately report it to CPS and/or the media. But the former is perfectly fine. These schools were set up to retain and attract middle class families to the city. If a family’s kid gets in by rank and they then move to the city, what is the beef?

    As for the fraudulent move to the city, my own view is that it just doesn’t happen very often, certainly not in material numbers. Vague feelings about someone’s perceived intent or third-hand reports of it happening somewhere or an evidence-free conclusion that “it happens all the time” are proof of nothing. Carol Marin or WBEZ or the Sun Times would love to expose something like this happening, so if you actually know of a case, report to CPS and the media. But if you don’t, I’d ask that you stop vaguely claiming it happens all the time or that you know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody at some unknown school who is doing it. And stop smearing families who legitimately move into the city after their kid is accepted (again, via rank) to an SEHS and thereby strengthen the tax base of our city. Fraud is fraud, but moving back to the city isn’t just not fraud — it’s a good thing.

  • 1038. IBobsessed  |  March 9, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    There are reasons to oppose non residents testing/being offered spots at SEHS that are separate from the additional concern about fraud, whether they may be conflated by some or not. Your ‘what’s the beef’ point might work if there were an ample supply of SEHS seats in the city and ample college prep alternatives. The mayor acknowledged the HS problem when he announced the wall to wall IBs as a solution to KEEPING the middle class in the city.. And this is not 1980, the middle to upper class is here already. Getting a few suburban families here is a short sighted plan for increasing the tax base. Providing a college prep/advanced curriculum to the many, many Chicago students who need it and who can then become property owners and taxpayers is best in the long term. Yes, of course, suburban families are welcome, but giving them SEHSs spots before they even live here perpetuates the lack of options for everyone. If they had to enroll in the neighborhood HS if moving here after the app. deadline, that would be more college bound kids going to neighborhood HSs. Isn’t that a good thing. And what about those charters that CPS says are so wonderful. Why isn’t CPS steering suburban families to them?

    If the tax base is the main concern, it is much better urban planning to focus on the many already here who need SE spots, than the short term gain of attracting a few suburbanites.

    Debating if it is good policy to allow nonresidents to accept spots, and expressing concern about fraud is not “smearing” suburban families who move here. I can’t find the post that says all suburban families whose kid tests in are doing fraud, where is it?

  • 1039. local  |  March 9, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    It is about scarcity, isn’t it?

  • 1040. local  |  March 9, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    @ 1035. CPS Parent | March 9, 2014 at 9:49 am

    SF is pretty compact. Easy enough to get from one end to the other to commute to HS. Chicago, not so much.

  • 1041. West Loop Resident  |  March 10, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Quick question – does WY offer neighborhood spots? Have you heard if they are planning on doing so?

  • 1042. junior  |  March 10, 2014 at 9:33 am

    @1035 CPSParent
    “both ways, city to suburb and vice versa is fine.”

    Can you point me to a suburb with a selective enrollment program that would allow Chicago residents to apply for admission while still living in Chicago?

  • 1043. IBobsessed  |  March 10, 2014 at 9:47 am

    @1041, WY does not offer neighborhood spots. Have never heard anything about them even considering it.

  • 1044. west rogers park mom  |  March 10, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Re: Residency during application process

    I have been reading these posts with interest and am generally of the opinion that as long as you move by the July 1st date it was fine for out of City applicants to apply. After all, those children are at a disadvantage anyway because they are only eligible for rank spots.

    My sister lives in Florida and her daughter was just accepted to a high performing magnet school. Out of curiosity I took a look at the school’s website and not only do you have to reside within the attendance area when you apply, but you are also prohibited from using a third party (ie Sylvan) to take the required standardized tests, private and home school children have higher minimum requirements, and there is an application fee.

    Granted the demographics of her community is drastically different, and I would hope there are some fee waivers available, but can you imagine the uproar if Chicago began instituting application fees?

  • 1045. IBobsessed  |  March 10, 2014 at 11:32 am

    How much $ does broke CPS spend testing nonresident SE hopefuls? It seem reasonable to expect nonChicago residents, and certainly non IL residents, to pay an application fee.

  • 1046. Luv2europe  |  March 10, 2014 at 11:39 am

    1044 – Ok so far no application fees, but depending where you live in the city you certainly pay more for park district camps, classes etc. Apparently those who can pay need to pick up part of the tab for those who can’t / won’t. How fair is that?

  • 1047. Chris  |  March 10, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    “It is very obvious they ARE allowed to test. That is not the issue. SHOULD they be, is the issue. Is it good policy, beneficial, effective for those CPS is supposed to serve? See the difference?”

    Obviously, there’s some willful blindness going on. They don’t care about the difference–whatever is best for them.

  • 1048. Chris  |  March 10, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    “[suburban] children are at a disadvantage anyway because they are only eligible for rank spots”

    Um, and they have an advantage by not having attended CPS neighborhood elementaries.

    And suburbanites are ‘disadvantaged’ at affecting public policy by not getting to vote for an alderman and the mayor.

    Let’s not get carried away with the ‘disadvantages’ visited upon non-residents in applying to CPS.

  • 1049. HSObsessed  |  March 10, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    So we don’t know if that’s really even occurring, but I can’t imagine some kid who lives in the suburbs attending a SEHS and then having to lie for four years about it. That’s not just in terms of using a parents’ work address as a residential address, but not ever having other kids over to their house in the afternoons or weekends, or during summer, etc. What kind of social life would he/she lead? But I’m actually skeptical that this is occurring. I do believe there are a certain number who move into the city after being admitted.

  • 1050. Help!  |  March 10, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Principal discretion anyone? Like what are the chances of getting in? What kind of students do they look for?

  • 1051. CPS Appalled  |  March 10, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Actually, I do know of one child who lives in a suburb with one parent full-time, but uses the non-custodial parent’s city address to qualify for a SE school. Unethical, sure. But am I going to be the one to report this family, and ruin my child’s school relationships? I can’t imagine why someone would want to commute that far for a CPS school when the suburban district is very good, but clearly there is a draw for some suburbanites.

  • 1052. Chris  |  March 10, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    ” I can’t imagine why someone would want to commute that far for a CPS school when the suburban district is very good”

    You can ask Bruce Rauner. It’s not like the whole family uprooted so one (of 6–tho some were out of the house by then) of the kids could go to Payton.

  • 1053. CPS schools should be for Chicago kids.  |  March 10, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    1048. Thank you. What disadvantage? They don’t even live here. Again, let anyone who actually moves here in time to take the test … take the test. If they miss the test, let them come help make our neighborhood high schools stronger if they want to be in the city so badly.

    Parents who have had to deal with CPS for years should not have spots taken away by suburbanites. I don’t even think private school kids should have the same access as public school kids. But that’s opening up a whole other can of worms. I’ll take private school kids before suburban kids. At least they live in the city, even if they haven’t put in the blood, sweat, and tears to make CPS stronger.

  • 1054. Lying  |  March 10, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Yes people lie and it really is not a secret among the kids and sometimes not a secret among the parents either. It may not be totally out in the open, but we know who lied about address. As a student in a sehs, a friend commuted from oak park.

    No one wants to tell – done deal plus usually friends with the person. Most realize trauma of being asked to leave but of course there is the trauma of students who didn’t get the spot in the first place. Plus what is the trusted reporting mechanism? Until there is such a mechanism and it is outlined fully when u apply, people won’t step up to report.

    Sadly, people feel entitled to whatever they can get away with, so this practise of lying about address has no end in sight.

  • 1055. Wow  |  March 10, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Some people here are just mad bc their kid didn’t get a spot at a sehs. If your kid can’t get in by tier then maybe sehs are not the best option for you. If a kid is smart enough to test in, then they should be able to go there as long as they actually move to the city.

  • 1056. Chicago local  |  March 10, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    My public elementary school is rated highly. There are a handful of Chicago kids that don’t belong to the attendance boundary but they attend anyways. I’m sure my school isn’t the only one. Many schools probably have the same thing going on.

  • 1057. LPmom  |  March 10, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    On lying to get into a CPS school: My daughter is currently an 8th grader at one of the most sought-after K-8 magnet schools. Ever since kindergarten, we have known of a handful of kids living in the suburbs and using a work or relative’s address. I don’t know of anyone being outed (or found out by CPS administrators). I can only imagine the incidence of this is higher at the SEHS level where the stakes are higher.

  • 1058. Cps schools for cps kids  |  March 10, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    @cps schools should be for cps kids

    I completely agree with you. I think cps should go as far as giving cps kids extra selective enrollment points just like ib neighborhood schools do for their kids. Cps is striving for diversity receptive of chicago population. If suburban kids are allowed to apply, I don’t see an accurate reflection of chicago demographics.

  • 1059. Chicago local  |  March 10, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Are you implying that suburban kids aren’t diverse?

  • 1060. HS Mom  |  March 11, 2014 at 5:53 am

    @1058 – Interesting point. So not only do we have the Chicago population divided into tier 1-4 but we also have a “rank” population (if they are not using a Chicago address to test). I wonder what the true tier 4 population is in SE schools.

    HSO – what @1054 says is true. For some, coming from the suburbs is a shorter commute than those living in the city. I just found out about another kid, ready to graduate, that comes from the burbs but has a “second” home in Chicago that they rent out.

  • 1061. pantherettie  |  March 11, 2014 at 6:35 am

    I think that CPS should allow anyone to apply to SEHS but there should be an admission fee for those living outside of the district. If they are accepted, I believe that they should be required to prove their eligibility status when they accept the spot at the school, not by the time school starts. If eligibility can’t be established at the time of acceptance, the student loses the seat – immediately. As a disincentive for SEHS to avoid this problem by “ignoring” the issue, I think that for every acceptance that was rejected due to intelligibility, they should be required to accept a kid through a lottery of neighborhood boundary kids, who were not accepted initially. I know that there are no “neighborhood boundaries” for SEHS, but it makes sense to establish some to insure that you help the school be available to Neighborhood kids. To me to it’s a joke to discuss any of the northside schools (NS, WY, Lane and even Jones) as racially representative of CPS when students of color make up over 85% of the district’s population but represent far less than that all of those schools. But then again maybe this isn’t a discussion about having the schools actually be available for all kids, it’s just about the deserving “tier 4” kids who were robbed of their seat by either undeserving tier 1 kids or a suburban ones…..

  • 1062. HS Mom  |  March 11, 2014 at 7:12 am

    @1061 – don’t you think that a suburban applicant using a Chicago address to test (work, second home, rental, relative) would just as likely be using an address in tier 1-3? This isn’t just about tier 4. I’d also like to point out that the “neighborhood” around the schools you mention are very much tier 4.

    It’s been discussed and supported that the majority of rank seats at certain schools go to tier 4. So when we say that between tier and rank tier 4 has roughly 40% of seats, I ask is it really 40%. I think its a legitimate question.

  • 1063. Jones2  |  March 11, 2014 at 9:06 am

    @1061 re: demographics…I would assert that parents/students factor in commute time to schools which affects demographics. Actual demographics of Jones, WY, Lindblom, Westinghouse.

    Jones. WY. Lindblom Westinghouse

    White. 31. 30. 1.7. 2
    Black. 23. 24. 70. 64
    Hisp. 32. 23. 26. 28
    Asian. 10 17. 1. 4
    Multi. 4. 4. 1. 1

  • 1064. CPS Parent  |  March 11, 2014 at 9:10 am

    1060. HS Mom – I believe for PaNJ Most of the entry-by -rank kids are Tier 4. and most have perfect scores.

  • 1065. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 11, 2014 at 10:46 am

    1063. Jones2 | March 11, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Those are the demographics from last year~I think they will change (esp in Jones since it has added seats) this year.

  • 1066. Jones2  |  March 11, 2014 at 11:56 am

    @1065 yes, the numbers are the most recent available. My point was in response to prior poster that diversity imbalance is not confined to NS schools.

  • 1067. Maureen  |  March 11, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    !056 if a CPS neighborhood school has extra space principals are allowed to take in children from outside the attendance boundary. How schools determine whether extra space is available seems very foggy to me (and I would guess depends on how badly the principal wants to draw in kids from outside the neighborhood).

  • 1068. pantherettie  |  March 11, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    @1062 I do believe that there are several families that apply and accept SEHS who don’t have a Chicago address but say that they plan to get one. For example, there are several comments upthread (and in response to other CPSO posts) indicating that people, “plan to move in the summer” or “will move after we know if we’re accepted”. I know that at Jones’ freshman orientation last year a parent specifically asked when they had to show their proof of residency. The administration’s response was that it was not required until registration in the summer.

    That said, I truly believe that some actually intend to move into the city. Others, have absolutely no intention of moving and will not come up with a fake address. They plan to wing it and hope for the best. My thinking (and I would love to be wrong about this) is that SEHS are not hunting for kids who don’t live in the city to kick out of their schools. If there is some blatant issue that either comes to the school’s attention in a manner that can’t be ignored OR if there is a big media issue they will address it, if not, it’s ignored. It matters to folks who want a seat for their child but why would that be the focus of a school that has so many other things on their agenda. Have you been around WY recently, are you sure that the residential neighborhoods around the school would be “tier 4”. Do you realize that the neighborhood cachment area for Jones goes as far south as Chinatown (Cermack and 22nd) are those all tier 4 neighborhoods?

    @1063 Regarding diversity. See CPS reports that 42% of all students are AA, 44% are Hispanic, 9% Caucasian, 3% Asian. Chicago’s SEHS do no reflect the population of district. I know that most of this board will say that this is an unimportant fact, because everyone should get in based on merit, but I’m wondering why the best resourced high schools in the city don’t reflect the population of the students that attended their schools from K-8th grade?

  • 1069. junior  |  March 11, 2014 at 1:04 pm


    These schools were never intended to be representative. They were intended to be diverse (as well as selective).

    But if you’re going to make an argument for representation, then why not use the population of the CIty instead of the population of CPS. Or should it be the population of the state, or the country? Of course, determining representation by race would now be unconstitutional, so I guess the question is moot.

  • 1070. SEHS Funding  |  March 11, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    @1068 described SEHS as “best-resourced”. Can anyone speak to whether the SEHS get more funding from CPS than other CPS high schools?

  • 1071. NCP Parent  |  March 11, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    @1070 All High Schools are funded at the same $/student level. Outside of that, I have to believe the SEHS raise a lot more money outside of CPS funding than your average neighborhood school.

  • 1072. pantherettie  |  March 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    @1069 Junior, you’re right – affirmative action has been determined to unconstitutional so no, I’m not arguing that SEHS admission should be based upon race. I’m not even saying that race should be considered in the admission standards for the school. I’m just pointing out the fact that African American and Hispanic children make up 85% of the CPS student population. What’s the harm in bringing some reality to the discussion that some people posting on this blog seem to forget that when they talk about a “diverse” school, they are really saying that they want a school to contain more white children.

    I think that it’s important to use the CPS population because I believe that these students should be the pipeline for SEHS. Why do you suggest that the entire city population be used instead?

  • 1073. junior  |  March 11, 2014 at 4:34 pm


    I’m just pointing out the absurdity of trying to make it representative of anything, right? Hispanic is not a race, so we’re trying to balance racial groups and ethnic groups? Does that mean we need to make sure the Chinese, the Irish, the Jews, the Iranians, Chechyns, etc. are proportionally represented too?

    I believe the impetus to switch to socioeconomic measures of diversity is well founded. SE measures actually measure more directly who is advantaged/disadvantaged in society. Now, whether the current system — which does not measure SE directly but instead relies on census tract as a proxy — is actually working to create SE diversity is a whole other question. I suspect it is not that effective.

    Has anyone done a comparison of free/reduced lunch rates at SEHS pre and post tier system?

  • 1074. anon  |  March 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    “Now, whether the current system — which does not measure SE directly but instead relies on census tract as a proxy — is actually working to create SE diversity is a whole other question. I suspect it is not that effective.”

    I agree with this. In my child’s SEES class, which was selected under the tier system, I’m not sure there’s any family with income under $75K. With one family, I don’t know what kind of jobs the parents have. And with one other family, they own a small business and for all I know they could be struggling or doing really well. For everyone else, it’s pretty easy to say they’re above $75K. Also, except for one case, all are two parent families.

  • 1075. junior  |  March 11, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    @1074 anon

    It’s hard to make those kinds of judgments. But it would be interesting to know how many families making over $75K actually live in Tier 1. I suspect some, but not too many. Regardless, the current system is going to tend to skim the highest SE families from within each tier.

  • 1076. anon  |  March 11, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    For most of the families, they are comfortably over $100K. Agree that the top SE families would get skimmed, especially from tier 1 or 2. I went to look the numbers up and was surprised at the aggregate statistics on the tiers. They don’t differ as much as I would have expected.


  • 1077. @1070  |  March 11, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Yes, selective enrollments & magnets get extra funding. Not sure if I am using the right term but its called “options money.” I have been on several LSCs both SE & magnets and they get extra funds, It’s not a lot but it may cover let’s say the art teacher’s salary, etc.

  • 1078. junior  |  March 11, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    @1076 anon

    That is fascinating. Almost unbelievable. How can it be that the median family income difference between Tier 1 and Tier 4 is only $5,300? Wow.

    And look at the “Speak language other than English” category. That percentage goes up with Tier. I thought that factor was supposed to be indicative of immigrant families and therefore more people in that category pushed a population into a lower tier.

    Adults without a high school degree:
    –Tier 1: 21%
    –Tier 4: 19%

    Wow. It makes me distrust these numbers somewhat. If you just eyeball these neighborhoods, there are glaring/striking differences. How do you explain these numbers?

  • 1079. junior  |  March 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm


    According to the data you cite, there is a higher percentage of people with bachelor’s degrees (or higher) living in Tier 2 than Tier 4. How does that happen?

  • 1080. anon  |  March 11, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    “Wow. It makes me distrust these numbers somewhat. If you just eyeball these neighborhoods, there are glaring/striking differences. How do you explain these numbers?”

    Yeah, those numbers seem completely wrong. If we believe the numbers on the link below, then the unweighted average of the reported median incomes in each tract would be $31K, $40K, $61K, and $112K going from tier 1 to 4.

    Click to access Summary%20Census%20Tract%20FY13%20for%20FY15%20Enrollment.pdf

  • 1081. anon  |  March 11, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    And the other measures, going from tier 1 to 4 across the row. Again, straight (unweighted) averages of the tracts within a tier.

    educ attainment score: 42% 48% 56% 69%
    single parent household: 69% 60% 42% 20%
    owner occupied homes: 28% 39% 48% 56%
    non-english language: 36% 34% 37% 27%
    isat attend area schools: 41% 47% 54% 71%

  • 1082. junior  |  March 11, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    That seems more descriptive of reality. Thanks. That other site was eff-ed up.

  • 1083. HS Mom  |  March 11, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    @1068 – Jones does have a neighborhood program, along with Westinghouse and South Shore. If you check out the boundary map for Jones you’ll see that it includes downtown, southloop and Chinatown…..all tier 4. I don’t know the demographic of this component but I suspect that offering neighborhood spots at the northside schools cited will not benefit all tiers equally.

    Thanks CPS Parent – I’m sure you’re right but I’m also guessing that it would be difficult to determine the number of students admitted from the suburbs after enrollment. I mean are we talking 10 or 100 and shouldn’t their be more (any?) safeguards in place to prevent abuse either way. It’s a slippery slope once you admit kids from out of the area.

  • 1084. CPS Parent  |  March 12, 2014 at 7:52 am

    1083. HS Mom – A couple more thoughts. Anymouse had mentioned that there are a few “out of area” kids in her class but they were not the problem kids. I would posit that parents or guardians who finagle in-city attendance boundaries are more likely to value education and instill that in their kids. I often hear that parents are “using” a grandparents’ address – in sectors of the AA community guardianship is much more fluid and parental responsibility is much more diffuse. This is why, at least in our school, “parent/guardian” is always used in school communication.

    Out-of-city residents attending CPS schools is a different matter. Their property tax dollars (as homeowners or renters) don’t follow their kids to the city and that makes it fundamentally unfair. However If they move to the city by the start of school I don’t see a problem – legally or ethically.

  • 1085. Patricia  |  March 12, 2014 at 9:33 am

    I believe with the per pupil funding, the “extra” money from the past goes away. There used to be an extra position or money for the magnet designation, but I believe that goes away now.

  • 1086. junior  |  March 12, 2014 at 10:25 am

    I don’t think the question was ever one of legality or ethics. I think it’s a question of what’s the best public policy position for the citizens of Chicago.

    Most suburbs represent the epitome of limiting access to public resources to their own residents. (Arguably that is the primary reason for the existence of suburbs). Why should Chicago not do the same?

  • 1087. CPS Parent  |  March 12, 2014 at 10:44 am

    1086. junior I think it’s best public policy for the citizens of Chicago to set the threshold for moving into the city from the suburbs as low as possible. People who are willing to uproot themselves in order to obtain a good education for their kids will probably be a valuable addition to the school and broader community.

  • 1088. junior  |  March 12, 2014 at 11:18 am


    That’s a reasonable perspective, but a few counterpoints have been raised: (1) if someone is only moving for the selective high school, then how committed are they to staying long term (vs. just “skimming” resources and moving out); (2) significant concerns over address fraud and how to prevent it (one easy way is simply to disallow these applications); and (3) displacement of current residents from the system (which may ultimately lead to current residents moving out of the city, defeating the whole purpose).

  • 1089. Agree with IBObsessed  |  March 12, 2014 at 11:52 am

    @1087 – CPS Parent. You can’t just consider the positive of the policy (encouraging good suburban residents to move to chicago) without also considering the negative (encouraging good city residents to move out of Chicago).

    Let’s assume no fraud and suburban families who are truly committed to moving and investing in Chicago. If you support the current policy, you are necessarily making a value judgement that higher scoring suburban residents willing to uproot themselves to obtain a good education are BETTER for the school and broader community (and city and tax base) than the slightly lower scoring city residents that would have gotten a seat if we did not allow seats to be reserved for non residents. I just don’t see that as best public policy.

    Someone earlier said it is all about how limited it is. . . and I agree. If reserving seats for suburban residents did not necessarily displace existing city residents, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

  • 1090. parent  |  March 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Some families may move to the suburbs after their kid is admitted to SEHS. Let’s say their first kid gets in to PaNJY, attends for 2 years, but then their younger kid doesn’t get in — they move to Oak Park so kid #2 can go to HS there, but kids #1 finishes in Chicago.

  • 1091. OutsideLookingIn  |  March 12, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Unless there is a Tier 5 (suburban applicants only) designation, I don’t see how any seats at SEHS are “reserved” for kids applying to SEHS from the suburbs.

  • 1092. CB  |  March 12, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Has anyone who accepted an offer to Lincoln Park received any sort of information regarding what the next steps are? I mailed in my daughters acceptance letter at the beginning of last week. I have since called twice to confirm that it was received (I’m paranoid that the mail monster ate it and my daughter will not be enrolled at LP next year) but was sent to a voicemail to the admissions office both times. I left messages but have yet to receive a response. I just would like to know what the next steps are as far as looking ahead. When do they schedule their classes? Is there some sort of summer transition program for incoming freshman? If anyone with any information could help I would really appreciate it!

  • 1093. IBobsessed  |  March 12, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    @1091 Seats are ‘reserved’ for suburban residents in the sense that they are given seats at SEHSs before they are residents, with the assumption that they will become residents. In that sense their seats are ‘reserved’ or saved for them. I think this is what @1089 is getting at.

  • 1094. IBobsessed  |  March 12, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    According to these stats, Chicago is losing families, gaining young professionals (who will also leave when they start having kids)

  • 1096. Agree with IBObsessed  |  March 12, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    @1091 – Because a suburban resident is not entitled to attend SEHS. To offer them admission before they become city residents is reserving a seat for them.

  • 1097. It happens  |  March 12, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Regarding suburban students in SEHS – it absolutely happens. I know of one family, very well off, that rents an apartment in the city but does not live there – they live in their enormous home in a good suburban school district. The child’s friends know but they don’t talk openly about it – my kid said it’s not the friend’s fault that the parents are jerks. I feel the same. Would love to “out” the parents but I couldn’t do that to the child. I know of another that uses the grandmother’s address but doesn’t live there.

  • 1098. Cps alum  |  March 12, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    @1097- the parents should be outed half way through senior year and the parents should be forced to pay the back tuition plus a fine.

  • 1099. LP IB  |  March 12, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    CB – we didn’t accept lp ib offer but there is summer school that freshman are highly encouraged to attend. This was discussed at the open house prior to acceptance. Reviewed in the math section of the tour. Cost is at student expense – not covered. It lasts 5 weeks and is focused on math. Today was the final deadline- extended from the original deadline of last Friday. You should be fine. As backup just email Ms. Tookey at metookey@cps.edu. I am sure you will receive instructions. Probably trying to wait until all acceptances are counted.

  • 1100. reenie  |  March 13, 2014 at 12:03 am

    1072 pantherette I’m late to the party but wanted to chime in and agree with you that there’s an equity problem when a school system as a whole has a population that looks very different from the population of its highest-achieving high schools. If a district can’t educate large numbers of its K-8 children to a level that makes them competitive with high school applicants from private schools, that’s a problem. And if people want to say the roots of this are in social inequity and family dysfunction schools can’t fix, I say then bring more than just the school system to bear in solving the problems. But don’t tell me it’s not a problem, especially when the young people who will be supporting our generation in its old age are increasingly the same people now getting the short end of the education stick.

  • 1101. realchicagomama  |  March 13, 2014 at 12:04 am

    I kind of agree with this. A suburban kid in theory shouldn’t be “punished” for his or her parents’ unethical actions, but in going along with it, isn’t the student then condoning the action? Isn’t anyone who doesn’t blow the whistle also condoning it?

    I remember reading somewhere that one suburban district will sue non-residents for back tuition and fees. I thought it was District 67, Lake Forest, but now cannot find the specific reference, although the language is pretty clear about the ways you need to prove residency to attend LF schools: http://www.lakeforestschools.org/data/files/gallery/D67_BOE_File_Gallery/Section7.pdf

  • 1102. HS Mom  |  March 13, 2014 at 7:08 am

    @1054 “No one wants to tell – done deal plus usually friends with the person. …Until there is such a mechanism and it is outlined fully when u apply, people won’t step up to report.”

    @1098, 1101 – Yes, theoretically that would be one course of action that most people are really unwilling to do to other people especially after they have been going to the school all along. This action will also not result in another local kid gaining a spot. The time to establish the rules along with reinforcement is up front. For many these rules are vague (“I own a home/apartment/business owner in Chicago and pay my taxes so I’m entitled”) and there is no fear of enforcement.

  • 1103. HS Mom  |  March 13, 2014 at 7:47 am

    @1101- “Isn’t anyone who doesn’t blow the whistle also condoning it?”

    No. This should not be on the parents/students to be “vigilantes”. This brings another set of problems.

  • 1105. Angie  |  March 13, 2014 at 9:23 am

    ISBE has got to be kidding. I don’t care what race they are, but if these “teachers” cannot pass the basic reading and math test after 5 tries, they don’t belong in the classroom. Period.


    To boost teacher diversity, state scraps limits on basic skills test-taking

    ” In January 2010, the state set a five-attempt limit on the number of times teacher candidates could take each of the four portions of the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP). But many candidates– especially black and Latino students – found it challenging to pass all of the exam’s components in five tries or less, especially after the state adopted higher cut-off scores in September 2010.

    Test result data from the fourth quarter of 2013, for example, showed that only 18 percent of blacks and 23 percent of Latinos passed the math portion of the test, compared to 40 percent of whites. Meanwhile, only 26 percent of blacks and 34 percent of Latinos met the reading comprehension requirements, compared to 52 percent of whites.

    Overall, less than a third of all test-takers – and less than 18 percent of black and Latinos — passed all four sections of the test last year, according to state records.”

  • 1106. OTdad  |  March 13, 2014 at 11:34 am

    “diversity”, good.
    Lowering standards in the name of “diversity” is not. It’s racism.

    “only 26 percent of blacks and 34 percent of Latinos met the reading comprehension requirements, compared to 52 percent of whites.”

    That’s pathetic. Before we talk about improving education, we need to make sure all teachers can actually read first.

  • 1107. junior  |  March 13, 2014 at 2:10 pm


    That’s a shame. Where will most of these minority teachers end up teaching? Probably “giving back” to their own communities. How do we expect to bring up minority students if we saddle them with poor-performing teachers?

    Average ACT score of CPS teachers a few years ago was just shy of 20. That means there probably are plenty well below that mark. How can we prepare kids for college when the teachers themselves cannot even get admitted to a decent college?

    Where was CTU on this?

  • 1108. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    @1106, 1107: It seems that basic reading skills problems are not limited to the test-takers.

    ISBE is not lowering standards — the standards were raised in 2010.

    These are tests for students in education programs; they must pass before they can begin student teaching.

    The pass rates are for those who had to take the exams. Students with high enough SAT or ACT scores were exempt from the exams. So the test pool is made up of those with low scores to start with.

    These test used to required before one could enter an education program.

    This is not a test for teachers with education degrees but for students trying to get such degrees.

    They still must pass the test; they just have more trials to do so.

  • 1109. junior  |  March 13, 2014 at 2:56 pm


    Aw, CB, was that really called for?

    Your point is moot. Regardless of when the test is required, it still serves as a bar to keep weaker candidates out of teaching. If diversity is an issue, then launch a campaign to get more qualified minority candidates into the teaching profession. This move just demeans the teaching profession and perpetuates the stereotypes that minority professionals face regarding lowered standards.

    How many teachers at your school required five tries to pass this exam?

    And the ACT score I referred to is that of all CPS teachers, not of those taking this test, so it is not affected by exempting higher scorers from this exam.

  • 1110. cpsmommy  |  March 13, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Let’s try not to generalize. I am a CPS teacher and never took the ACT, only the SAT. I am sure I am not the only one. By the way, I graduated with honors from a midwestern university on par with Northwestern and U of C. Am published in the field that I teach, and then earned two masters, one from U of C. Stop bashing teachers with your ridiculous analysis.

  • 1111. junior  |  March 13, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Yes, let’s not reference any objective measures of the profession. Obviously, anecdotes are the best evidence. Keep the stories coming so we can avoid all those ridiculous numbers. Let’s not try to improve teaching, because it’s already as good as it gets. To say otherwise is just teacher bashing.

  • 1112. cpsmommy  |  March 13, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Name one other profession where the individuals are evaluated/assessed in a general way (or in a specific way for that matter) on their performance on college entrance exams? There is a reason we don’t talk about doctors and their MCAT scores, lawyers and their LSAT scores, and financiers and their GMAT scores. It is because it is just plain stupid to judge the performance of an individual in a field based on their performance on these exams.

    And please, it is so insulting for you to refer to me and my credentials as a “story.” I worked tirelessly to attain my credentials and work tirelessly now. As a teacher, I make 25% of what I did in the private sector. I made the change willingly and was motivated by a desire to help children. In the last three years, I have seen and personally felt more venom against my profession than I have at any other job…and I had worked 18 years in the private sector before becoming a teacher. It is no longer worth it for me. There is going to be a lot of attrition at CPS this summer.

  • 1113. Jennine Israel  |  March 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    @1092. My son will be attending LP and received his letter to register for classes on Tuesday, 3/11.

  • 1114. Thank you  |  March 13, 2014 at 7:33 pm


    Thank you, cpsmommy. There are many, many CPS parents who appreciate teachers like you who I believe are the majority of teachers out there.

  • 1115. cpsobsessed  |  March 13, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    That is a good point about other professions and test scores (meaning lack of anyone caring.)

    I’ve probably told this story before but a lady I worked with who had a son in med school told me this joke:

    What do you call the person who graduates last in their class at medical school?

    Answer: doctor

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 1117. anonymouse teacher  |  March 13, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    So, I might be in the minority here and this will likely be the first and last time I agree with Angie about anything, but here goes. That basic skills test is not hard. I took it 20 years ago before they made it more difficult. I distinctly remember thinking as I left “god, any 5th grader could pass this test”. My younger colleagues tell me it is now the equivalent of 8th grade or 1st year high school level skills. It is not the MCAT, the LSAT nor anything of that nature. Its called basic skills for a reason–think punctuation, spelling, basic math, grammar. We aren’t talking about calculus or a graduate level thesis paper. I think one attempt is plenty and no one should get 5 tries. There is so much talk about how many minorities can’t pass the exam. My personal opinion is too damn bad. At some point you have to put up or shut up.

    So yeah, I’m horrified by the “5 attempts rule” even if it is before admission to a candidacy program. And part of me wishes it was much harder to become a teacher. I wish the GPA minimum and ACT minimum was much higher to gain admission into teacher ed programs. Perhaps then parents wouldn’t whine so incredibly much. Its tiresome. It would be worth it for that reason alone.

  • 1118. Chris  |  March 14, 2014 at 10:22 am

    ” I graduated with honors from a midwestern university on par with Northwestern and U of C”

    Ok, so Wash U. If you’re narrowing it down to one possibility anyway, why not just say?

    Do you really feel that criticisms of ‘bad teachers’ are directed at you? Were you a lawyer, would lawyer jokes and the general low opinion of lawyers affect you, too, to the point of leaving the profession?

    Also, “Name one other profession where the individuals are evaluated/assessed in a general way … on their performance on college entrance exams?”

    Finance and consulting. Fields were it is far more difficult to get the job if you went to NIU than UofC. Law–where kids in the bottom quarter at Harvard have a better chance of getting a high-paying job than the 89th% from Depaul.

    Anyway given that there are waiver scores to avoid the TAP (22 ACT/1030 SAT–pretty so-so thresholds, imo), it’s akin to any other licensure exam being allowed to opt out based on an ACT/SAT score–which would then make the HS exams scores relevant for that profession, too.

  • 1119. Patricia  |  March 14, 2014 at 10:30 am

    @ Angie and anonymouse. Never thought I would see the day of agreement 🙂 I am jumping on your bandwagon.

    1) The teaching profession needs to be elevated and attract the best and smartest candidates. It needs to be a profession of honor and respected by all. I certainly feel this way about the fantastic teachers my children have had. I would think that the good teachers would be pissed that their profession is being dilluted.

    2) cpsmommy, you are obviously highly qualified and dedicated. Yeah! All should be highly qualified like you. What Junior was saying is not teacher bashing. It by no means slammed your credentials personally. I would think you would want the best coming into your profession. How do we improve education if we can’t have a conversation?

    3) MCAT, LSAT, GMAT. I have not heard that they lower their standards for any particular group. It is what it is and you have to get a certain score to be considered for the specific school. Now the particular school may have other affirmitive action type programs, but the score is the score is the score and it is considered accordingly.

    4) Lastly, I have to say when I read the lowering of the bar, I thought, well the US is never going to treat teachers like they do in Finland. You can’t have the highest regarded profession, as in Finland, when you keep lowering the bar for entry to that esteemed profession.

  • 1120. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 14, 2014 at 11:56 am

    1119. Patricia | March 14, 2014 at 10:30 am

    “@ Angie and anonymouse. Never thought I would see the day of agreement 🙂 I am jumping on your bandwagon. ”

    OH CRAP, count me in!! 🙂

  • 1121. Patricia  |  March 14, 2014 at 11:58 am

    SSI4 LOL! Love it! 🙂

  • 1122. junior  |  March 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    For those interested in the data, the discussion section is interesting:

    “Leveling Up: Narrowing the Teacher Academic Capital Gap in Illinois”:

    Click to access IERC2008-1.pdf

    How do we increase the number of great teachers? Can we provide incentives/bonuses for students who are at the top of their class to enter the teaching profession? How do we attract better teachers to disadvantaged communities? Differentiated pay, anyone?

  • 1123. junior  |  March 14, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Wow, strange bedfellows, but glad we have a forum where we can all occasionally find agreement.

    Just wanted to point out that the assumption behind this discussion is that teachers matter a lot. If they didn’t matter, then the question of teacher quality would be irrelevant.

    We do have a chicken and egg problem. The teaching profession has been demeaned and disrespected. It makes it harder to attract top talent to the profession if it is not seen as respected work. On the other hand, if the profession does not set high standards and attract top candidates, then it is hard to make the profession respected.

  • 1124. Tim  |  March 14, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    “‘I graduated with honors from a midwestern university on par with Northwestern and U of C,
    Ok, so Wash U. If you’re narrowing it down to one possibility anyway, why not just say?”

    Or Notre Dame. Or Michigan. Or Carleton. Or…

  • 1125. LP IB  |  March 14, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Tim – Please go on with your list of schools on par with Northwestern and U of Chicago! Not applying yet, but would love to see the list!

  • 1126. Chris  |  March 14, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    “Or Notre Dame. Or Michigan. Or Carleton. Or…”

    When did Carleton become a university?

    Frankly, with UofC a consistently ‘top 10’ ranked school, there is not *any* ‘midwestern university’ ‘on par’ with it.

  • 1127. Chris  |  March 14, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    “list of schools on par with Northwestern and U of Chicago”

    Define ‘on par’.

    For certain values, the list–even limited to the midwest–is very long; for other values, the list is exceptionally short.

  • 1128. NewPerspective  |  March 14, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Teacher quality is extremely important but when I think about where I am sending my child to school, just as important is the culture of the school. The degree of dedication to the process of learning and the frequency and severity of behavior problems are right up there. People don’t want to talk about the type of students that a school receives as being important to teacher success. I would posit that successful teachers in schools with motivated families and students would not be successful in a setting where they had to struggle with many of the ills that present in many neighborhoods schools (If success is measured by test scores). In any profession, you have some who are superior, excellent, average, and below average. I don’t think there are more bad teachers than there are bad professionals in any other professions. There will never be a time when every teacher is superior or even excellent. I think the average teachers need to be supported and the below average teachers need to be able to be dismissed. I think it’s the Chicago Teachers Union that causes teachers to be looked upon as inferior because they fight for and advocate for policies that retain unsatisfactory teachers. I would like to see the Teachers Union take a more reasonable stance on some of these issues.

  • 1129. Chris  |  March 14, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    ” I would posit that successful teachers in schools with motivated families and students would not be successful in a setting where they had to struggle with many of the ills that present in many neighborhoods schools (If success is measured by test scores).”

    If measured solely by having a high aggregate test score, no, but if measured by growth, it might show those teachers off as *better* than they were perceived at the ‘good’ school, where they are charged mostly with not letting kids fall off track.

    ” I think it’s the Chicago Teachers Union that causes teachers to be looked upon as inferior because they fight for and advocate for policies that retain unsatisfactory teachers.”

    I think that CTU does less of that than perception would imply–more than they probably should, but less than perception. Still, CTU could do a better job on the PR side of things–while acknowledging that that is not their actual purpose, and that that would be potentially expensive.

  • 1130. CPS Parent  |  March 14, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    My own experience (as a parent) is that it’s fairly easy to remove a legitimately “unsatisfactory” tenured teacher from a school as long as the principal follows the protocol and puts in the work as defined per the CTU CPS cba.

  • 1131. CPS mom of grade-schoolers  |  March 14, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Testing matters as a way to gauge people in our society, especially in a large city where we don’t know people personally or by reputation. I’m a doctor who was being interviewed today for a possible position, and they specifically asked me if I passed all of my qualifying exams (USMLE parts 1 and 2 as well as my written and oral board exams) on the first try, and also if I passed in the minimum number of years allotted. If I hadn’t, I expect they would have questioned why (did I take a year off to care for ailing family, or to travel? . . . ).

    Having said that, I don’t expect my child’s third grade teacher to test at the level of a PhD in all subjects, but I expect that she/he should test well in a broad range of academic knowledge so she/he could teach all the subjects required. Also she/he should perform well in a test of compassion, child psychology (how to communicate to an 8 yr old, how to break up an argument, how to help two children collaborate on a project), educational theory & practice etc. I think those latter are difficult to determine.

    It takes the right combination of knowledge, skills, motivation and heart to make teaching work well (and that’s a lot to ask – I know that I don’t have those characteristics). If we see that when those are lacking, there is a consequence, and when those are all present, there is a reward (usually financial &/or respect by the community) I think our college & university teacher candidates will pay attention. But it’s difficult to measure. We all know when our child benefits from someone who has it all, and when our child hurts from someone who is missing a key part of it but has continued to be a part of the educational system.

  • 1132. The process is finally almost over  |  March 14, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Principals discretion period is over. My child applied to Lane. I wonder how many applications the principal gets? Also, we’re kids in general unhappy this year they didn’t get their first choice? Just exhausted and glad the process is over. Sadly, if child doesn’t get in, we will probably leave the city. We were really hoping for her to attend a technical school with lots of computer and stem curriculum. It doesn’t appear chicago has much of that unless your child is the top 5 percent.

  • 1133. cpsobsessed  |  March 14, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Did you investigate lake view at all? Not sure where STEM stands there…
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 1134. prek curious  |  March 14, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    @1132. Steinmetz has a new computer / gaming curriculum. Might be worth a look.

  • 1135. Kayla  |  March 15, 2014 at 4:46 am

    I turned in my PD application Tuesday. I applied to Jones, and I’m hoping for the best. It was pretty easy to complete, and I have a lot of confidence this time around. The only thing that scares me is that this is the final chance I have. After this, its just left up to transferring. I wish everyone the best of luck! 🙂

  • 1136. Disney Magnet parent  |  March 15, 2014 at 9:17 am

    @1132: Yes, Lake View has a STEM program with a Microsoft partnership and the opportunity for early college credits. Non-neighborhood admission is by random lottery; my son got accepted that way.

    And Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center is a science magnet high school (needed stanine 5 or above in math, science, and reading ISATs to get into the lottery) with a competitive Scholars program (lots of AP and honors classes, supportive environment). Von also has a four-course engineering curriculum, and one of the art classes available is an engineering-friendly drafting class. If your daughter was close to the cutoff for Lane, she would have had an excellent shot at admission to the Scholars program (avg ACT 26). Grateful to our school’s counselor for tipping me off to Von—that’s where my son will be going.

    Lincoln Park’s Double Honors would also have been a good choice for your daughter. There’s a freshman honors class in research methods, and LP sends a lot of students to the city science fair.

  • 1137. local  |  March 15, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Couldn’t Teach for America candidates just become teachers? How does that work. If they’re coming from the Ivies and ilk, they test well and perform well academically. Isn’t that the premise of TFA?

  • 1138. Marketing Mom  |  March 15, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Stienmetz!?? You must be kidding? Everyone on the northwest side knows That is not a good option for students. Can anyone tell me what decent high school exists west of Kedzie besides Taft?

  • 1139. Disney Magnet parent  |  March 15, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    @1138: Von Steuben *is* west of Kedzie. 5000 N block of Kimball.

    @1137: Teach for America kids may be smart, but what they don’t have is teaching experience.

  • 1140. realchicagomama  |  March 15, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Two decent options west of Kedzie are Von Steuben and Disney II. However, I think that we are perpetuating a problematic, tiered, and flawed system by continuing to have the group mindset that schools that admit by some kind of application process are the only ones worth attending.

    There are good teachers and good students at Schurz, Roosevelt, and yes, even Steinmetz.

  • 1141. HSObsessed  |  March 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Cute video featuring students and staff at Amundsen HS dancing to “Happy”. I think it was made by the Amundsen Film Club.

  • 1142. Questioner  |  March 16, 2014 at 7:55 am

    When will the results of principal’s discretion be mailed?

  • 1143. Chicago School GPS  |  March 16, 2014 at 9:06 am

    According to the PD packet, the letters will be mailed April 28.

    Click to access Principal%20Discretion%20Handbook%20–%202014-2015_With%20Application.pdf

    Principals review the packets until 4/10, then submit their picks to a panel which reviews the lists and convenes on 4/24.

  • 1144. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 16, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    The teacher degree candidates still have to pass the basic skills test or be exempted from it by high enough ACT/SAT scores before they can get their teaching degree. The standards have not been changed.

    ISBE is facing a problem of very low numbers of minority candidates taking the exam: only 21% of the TAP-takers are African-American or Hispanic, base on the last annual data. That is less than 2,000, statewide. http://www.isbe.net/licensure/pdf/tap/2013/tap-annual120831-130901.pdf

    You don’t “elevate” the profession by requiring a basic skills test; do they require one for lawyers,doctors, etc.? No. The TAP is not a licensure exam. There is a separate set of licensing exams. The TAP is a state-imposed, pre-degree exam. Part of the problem is that some education schools are taking under-qualified applicants; they shouldn’t do so, but many university administrators are happy to part people from their money.

  • 1145. HS Mom  |  March 16, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    @1144 in order to get into a good law or med school you have to be a high achieving student and the requirements for entry into pre-professional programs are much higher. The additional schooling alone required for a doctor or lawyer is a prequalifer, not likely to be taken on by lower performing students. I’m pretty confident that when my doctor displays his diploma on the wall he/she was an above average student at a good school.

    If a student is interested in pursuing education and feels that they can teach others, why shouldn’t we pre-screen them for the basics. Don’t we do this all the time when kids take placement tests at both the high school and college level?

    Regarding the need for qualified minority teachers – Is it better to lower the bar to pair needed teachers that can better serve the social/emotional needs of students or create better incentives to bring more qualified minority (or other) teachers to our most troubled schools? That is a question for discussion not an assertion.

  • 1146. cpsobsessed  |  March 16, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    @1145 HS Mom, valid point about higher scores for professional programs.

    i assume the reason it can’t apply to teachers is supply/demand. Society needs a lot more teachers and the pay is low. We can probably screen out maybe 10% of the current teacher pool max (or whatever the number of unemployed-looking-for-work teachers is.) I imagine this represent the “overage” in the teacher supply pool. If we screen out more than that, there’ll be a teacher shortage since the pay doesn’t appear to draw enough high scoring candidates.

    I think to your point, better incentives is the way to go. But given current budgets… probably not going to happen any time soon, sadly.

  • 1147. HS Mom  |  March 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    CPSO – so to your point – right, shortage of good teachers due to pay. So our budget does not allow paying all teachers the same regardless of performance unless we keep lowering the teacher bar. Especially qualified minority teachers who are in high demand in other fields as well.

  • 1148. CPS Parent  |  March 16, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Just to make sure everyone knows – most teacher unions insist on the same pay scale for all teachers K through 12. A physics teacher makes the same as a kindergarten teacher. This is the model for CPS teachers as well and is one of the reasons well qualified high school STEM teachers are a very difficult hire in the city. keep in mind that the work load of a K teacher is much less than a high school teacher. Consider little and easy, or no homework to grade versus grading multiple page essays for 120 students.

  • 1149. anonymouse teacher  |  March 16, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    1148, on what basis do you state your premise that the work load of a Kindergarten teacher is much less than a high school teacher? I am curious what research you are basing that on?
    I teach kindergarten and I’d be happy to educate you on the difficulty of my work if you are not closed minded about it.

  • 1150. anonymouse teacher  |  March 16, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    And 1148, outside of Chicago, there are different districts for K-8 and 9-12. High schools typically have their own district and do not bargain collaboratively with the elementary districts. I’m surprised you were uninformed about this. So, no, “most” unions do not insist on the same scale for K-12, because most unions represent either K-8 or 9-12, not both.

    I don’t know if your 1148 post was intended to be obnoxious, but it came across that way. Follow me around for a week and see if you could keep up, let alone stay awake from the sheer exhaustion of what I do. Not saying grading a hundred plus essays isn’t extremely taxing, because it is. But try getting 30 five year olds to not only do what you say, but also learn to read at a high level by years end, write stories, and deeply understand math is a massive undertaking. Again, would love to see the research you’ve studied that indicates K is easier than high school teaching. I know we primary teachers make it look easy, but that’s a testament to our skill level, not the difficulty or ease of the work.

  • 1151. CPS Parent  |  March 16, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    In order to avoid internal strife, the CTU chooses to have an equal pay scale for all teachers. That is understandable, but it is not for the benefit of the students. The reason STEM teachers are not required to live in the city is that it is the only thing CPS can offer in order to attract STEM teachers. Obviously, a pay incentive is what’s really needed.

  • 1152. cpsobsessed  |  March 16, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    When those elem and HS unions negotiate separately, is there a difference in pay? I assume there must be some reason they separate themselves?

    But I’m curious if the pay is different outside a district like cps where they all get paid the same.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 1153. anonymouse teacher  |  March 16, 2014 at 8:12 pm


    Actually, in Illinois, there are two approved shortage areas. Bilingual and sped. STEM is not one of them. What documentation are you basing your supposition that STEM teachers are hard to hire and retain?

  • 1154. anonymouse teacher  |  March 16, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    @1152, yes, there is often nearly a 10K difference in pay, with high school teachers making more. (at least this was the case when I taught in a suburb) One reason is they often have a longer school day. As well, historically, more men have always taught at the high school level and men have typically made more than women. My spouse, a high school teacher, believes it is because high school teachers are required to major in the subject area they are teaching in.
    (He, however, does not feel he works harder than I do. He’d rather slit his wrists than switch places with me for a day!)

  • 1155. realchicagomama  |  March 16, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    @1152 – the unions are likely set up as k-8 and 9-12 because the districts themselves are set up as k-8 and 9-12. IL has set up its school districts that way, with few districts set up as k-12 (or unit) districts, as Chicago is. Lake Forest elementary school district is 67, but high school is district 115.

  • 1156. Angie  |  March 17, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Found this list of exemptions that cites a source:

    Areas Assessed as Special Needs

    Special Education Teachers
    Mathematics Teachers
    Science Teachers
    Guidance Counselors
    School Nurses
    Reading Teachers
    Bilingual Teachers
    Physical Education Teachers
    School Psychologists
    Speech Pathologists
    Sign Language Interpreters
    Occupational & Physical Therapists
    Health Service Nurses
    World Language (Exclusively: Chinese, Arabic, Russian, Latin, Farsi)

  • 1157. CPS Parent  |  March 17, 2014 at 7:46 am

    1153. anonymouse teacher

    “What documentation are you basing your supposition that STEM teachers are hard to hire and retain?”

    The fact that STEM teachers are exempt from the residency requirement.

  • 1158. NewPerspective  |  March 17, 2014 at 9:37 am

    @1129 Chris
    If measured solely by having a high aggregate test score, no, but if measured by growth, it might show those teachers off as *better* than they were perceived at the ‘good’ school, where they are charged mostly with not letting kids fall off track.
    School ratings and public opinion about teachers are based on test scores, therefore those teachers should be judged on the same standard. Your implication is that teachers in underperforming schools wouldn’t register growth not measured by test scores and are not as good just because they are there, similar to Junior’s implication that because teachers choose to teach in underperforming schools they are bad teachers hiding under the guise of “giving back to the community.” How will you measure growth for these teachers that you think may be shown off as “better?” The same measure may show the teachers already teaching in the schools as “better” than people think. Teacher’s accustomed to a school culture where parents are involved and students want to learn and where students’ problems and behavior are not as severe, will have great difficulty with schools in urban populations where they are charged with much more than teaching. Also, I don’t want to take anything from teachers in suburban or suburban like schools. I think they have to do much more than keep kids on track. They have to actually teach because I’m sure all those parents aren’t homeschooling their kids and I’m sure some of them will rise to the occasion.

    It takes the right combination of knowledge, skills, motivation and heart to make teaching work well (and that’s a lot to ask – I know that I don’t have those characteristics).

  • 1159. laura  |  March 17, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Interesting that for Illinois, there are only 2 shortage areas, but for Chicago there might be many. I think that says something about Chicago itself and the working conditions in CPS, not the pay. If suburbs were having the same trouble finding teachers, ISBE would list it, not just some facebook or CPS link.
    I hope that teachers who are working in CPS under a residency waiver are aware that when the waiver expires it won’t necessarily be renewed. Better to look hard for a suburban position and purchase a home where your job is more secure and teaching conditions are easier.

  • 1160. junior  |  March 17, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    @1158 NewScreenName

    You really should try to represent other people viewpoints more accurately if you expect to be taken seriously and elicit meaningful responses.

  • 1161. Chicago parent  |  March 17, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Did anyone apply to northside through principal discretion? Or anyone confident in the pd process and willing to share what their child wrote about/ activities

  • 1162. Chris  |  March 17, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    1160 Junior:

    I had to read almost the whole 2d sentence before it registered.

  • 1163. HS Mom  |  March 17, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    “Better to look hard for a suburban position and purchase a home where your job is more secure and teaching conditions are easier”

    And where exactly would that be? I’m sure plenty of existing or soon to be teachers would want to know. Maybe out of state?. As far as shortages go, the better Universities are certainly encouraging teaching majors for an expected 7% increase in jobs


    I’m guessing those USC kids will do OK on that test.

  • 1164. Chicago School GPS  |  March 17, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    8th graders still looking for HS options- consider Senn HS:
    Students may now also apply to Senn’s advanced programs in Digital Journalism or Global Environmental Studies. Both programs include an IB curriculum. The application lists admissions requirements for these programs and can be downloaded from the link. This application is to be sent directly to Senn High School by March 28, 2014.

  • 1165. local  |  March 17, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Has the time come for a STEM & CPS thread?

  • 1166. cpsobsessed  |  March 17, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Good idea – we need a topic to pass the time until elem letter come out next week.
    I don’t know what to say about it though ! Except “cps and stem – what up with that?”

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 1167. local  |  March 17, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    “…As well, historically, more men have always taught at the high school level and men have typically made more than women…”

    Thank you. I marvel at how infrequently the factor of “teaching as women’s work” (at certain levels and with certain exceptions) is mentioned the the whole this nation’s “teacher quality” debate.

  • 1168. local  |  March 17, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    “cps and stem – what up with that?”

    Sounds good to me!

  • 1169. NewPerspective  |  March 17, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    It takes the right combination of knowledge, skills, motivation and heart to make teaching work well (and that’s a lot to ask – I know that I don’t have those characteristics).

    I completely agree.

    @1160 junior
    LOL!! You’re funny!

  • 1170. CPS Parent  |  March 18, 2014 at 7:32 am

    New topic? Zero to 8th grade schools like this new contract school in Baltimore. This type of school is common in low income neighborhoods in the country I came from.


  • 1171. cpsobsessed  |  March 18, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Sorry, I’ve been swamped at work so haven’t posted anything new.
    Elem letter thread coming later this week. I’ll see what I can post in the meantime for the sake of discussion…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 1172. parent101  |  March 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    are any selective enrollment high schools having second rounds?

  • 1173. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 18, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    @ 1145 HS Mom: My position in 1144 is that education schools need to start raising entrance requirements. But let’s also be clear — there are many law schools and some medical schools that do not require stellar academic performance. Harvard does have a graduate school of education, and it is hard to get in. I imagine, though, that we would find that the concentration of low TAP performance comes from students who are education BAs rather than MAs.

    The BA only feed into education as a profession is a problem because the most such ed-school programs focus on content-related pedagogy rather than the subject’s content. Put differently, an ed school professor who teaches the pedagogy of mathematics is not focusing on teaching the students the mathematics, but the pedagogy. But BA students help pay the bills at many colleges of education, so reform is tough, despite many respected ed school deans calling for it.

  • 1174. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 18, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    @1148 Merit pay in teaching is very hard to do. Most colleges don’t even try to measure it in any systematic way (those student course evaluations get filed away, and at best the summaries are read by a promotion committee, which only cares that they are not uniformly god-awful or uniformly fantastic). Hell, merit pay in business is very hard to do. In the financial world — where we have well-developed metrics, the surveys done by head-hunters report that at best 40% and usually only 30% of an individual’s performance bonus is based on the individual’s performance; instead, a division’s performance in the market, the division’s business performance (e.g.,new clients, fees), and the business performance of the company overall determine the majority of the performance bonus.

    Most companies in fact do keep salaries and promotions relatively level across ranks. People at rank x get salary z, and on promotion, often based on tenure at the firm, they get rank y and salary z+1. There’s certainly more variation than in a unionized salary scale, but not a dramatic amount. What the union scales prevent is “salary compression” — when inflationary or competitive pressures cause starting salaries to rise at a faster rate than promotion-based salaries do, so that salaries of a new hire and someone with 5-10 years experience and a higher rank begin to converge.

    School districts, and certainly schools, want to tie their hands in terms of pay variation, because otherwise schools would have to out-bid each other for talented teachers or districts would have to outbid one another. Teachers would benefit in terms of higher pay, but it is not clear that students would reap these benefits if hiring a great teacher in math meant you could only afford a mediocre one in English. If you flush more money into the system in support of the merit pay, you can overcome some of this but….

    More money might not help Calculating merit is difficult. How do we control for student effort? If a teacher has some students showing little attainment and some students showing high achievement, how do we explain that variation? How will we assess the merit pay for subjects that lack standardized tests — this is the rub in the current PERA system — why should the art teacher be judged by what the English teacher, the math teacher, and the overall school did in English and math? Even timing of tests can produce bizarre outcomes. In one study, the FL merit-pay rules were used based on data from an MA school district that had tried different testing-window schemes. Switching between fall-to-spring testing v. spring-to-spring testing meant that 25% of teachers who would have received a bonus under one interval, not getting one under the other; and 25% who did not receive a bonus under one window, receiving one under the other. That’s considerable variation in “merit” based on what is clearly not a merit-based change.

  • 1175. @1172  |  March 18, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    There aren’t any second rounds for HS. They over offer seats based on past percentage of students who decline seats so there doesn’t have to be a second round.

  • 1176. reenie  |  March 18, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    @1138 marketing mom, it might be time to buck conventional wisdom that Steinmetz is no place to go. High school reputations often lag a few years behind reality. There’s a new principal at Steinmetz, and this report from the Consortium on Chicago School Research indicates the school has made huge strides even before his arrival in helping freshmen stay on track, and some progress drawing kids with higher entering Explore scores. Take a look:

  • 1177. HS Mom  |  March 19, 2014 at 6:55 am

    CB “My position in 1144 is that education schools need to start raising entrance requirements. But let’s also be clear — there are many la