New Selective Enrollment High School opening

April 24, 2014 at 2:28 pm 296 comments



What’s that? A new SEHS in Chicago?!

Well, lookee here – some interesting news out of CPS.

Obama Selective Enrollment High school will open the year my son is a freshman.

What do you guys think of this?


A new selective enrollment high school named after President Barack Obama will be built near the former site of the Cabrini-Green public housing complex, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today.

The new high school, near the intersection of Division and Halsted streets, will open in fall 2017 with a freshman class of 300 students, and will add more students in following years, according to a release from the mayor’s office.

The school will ultimately have 1,200 students, the release said.

About 70 percent of the seats will be available to students through the selective enrollment process. The school will establish a neighborhood preference to fill the remaining seats, according to the release.

Entry filed under: High school.

Preview of Whitney Young Documentary Film Shift in Racial Demos at 4 Selective Enrollment High Schools

296 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Logan  |  April 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm


  • 2. Hopeful  |  April 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    That’s fantastic. Will be the next northside!

  • 3. Chicago School GPS  |  April 24, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Wow- this AND air condtioning for all schools as well?

  • 4. 19th ward Mom  |  April 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Love that they are increasing seats at SEHS. But I am scratching my head why it is being placed less than 1 mile from Payton.

    Can the Southwest side of the city (cough, cough 19th ward) get some love.

    Also puzzled by them reserving 30% of the seats for neighborhood students. Isn’t the neighborhood school, Lincoln Park H.S. If so, it doesn’t seem like there is a need for neighborhood seats. They already have a good neighborhood high school option, unlike other neighborhoods on the southside.

    Unless you take the viewpoint that Rahm is pandering to the Gold Coast / Lincoln Park crowd with the reserving of 30% of the seats.

  • 5. Obama SEHS  |  April 24, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I like it!

    BUT… why this continual giving away of seats to the local neighborhood? That part I don’t like. Seems like the neighborhoods getting those seats are all Tier 4. Think Jones where OAE “mistakenly” made 150 offers for 75 CTE (effectively neighborhood seats) this year with at least 112 accepting. That is not cool that they get an edge over the rest of the city and don’t have to sweat it out like the rest of us.

    Plus another SEHS located in a wealthier are of the city? Guess Payton ran out of spots to sell. 🙂

    Politics at play.

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  April 24, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    I was wondering about the neighborhood element there as well – it’s such an odd area, I really have no idea what the demographics are around there any more. I think it’s just become the standard now, to give the neighborhood some of the seats when a fancy new building opens, to avoid the outcry from any given neighborhood about it. I do wonder how it will work – will those kids take the same classes as the SEHS kids? That would be around 90 kids per grade from neighborhood.

    I think the location isn’t too too bad (my northside centric-self talking here) but at least it’s accessible to any kids whocan take the Red Line.

  • 7. 19th ward Mom  |  April 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm


    For a child coming from the very southwest corner of the city (111th & pulaski). It would be 1.5 hours one way on public transportation 😦

    It would nice to get a SEHS south of Roosevelt in a “safe” neighborhood.

  • 8. WorkingMommyof2  |  April 24, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    The neighborhood seats thing is an interesting trend. Since they are doing it at Jones and now Obama, why wouldn’t they expand it to the previously-existing SEHSs?

    To be clear, I’m not saying CPS SHOULD open a percentange of all SEHS seats to neighborhood kids, just that I don’t see why they seem to think it’s a good idea for some SEHS schools but not for others.

  • 9. Hopeful  |  April 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Don’t forget it’s near lphs as well

  • 10. JLM  |  April 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Like the idea of another SEHS, but dislike the idea of a neighborhood set-aside of 30% of seats, especially if this area already feeds into LPHS. So those that can afford to live in Old Town and LP have another neighborhood option, while everyone else can go pound sand?

  • 11. Pritzker Mom  |  April 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    There is a pocket of level two just south of there – Jenner & Manierre are the elementary schools. Given the debacle with closing one of those, this might also be about pandering to that population as well.

    Also, if the population explosion at Lincoln elementary continues, Lincoln Park HS is likely to become overcrowded with non selective enrollment neighborhood kids. They may be planning on relocating the SE portion from there.

  • 12. cpsobsessed  |  April 24, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    a friend I was talking to pointed out that there is an empty CPS building over there, which may be the new site (can’t recall the name now) – so location may have been driven in part by that.

  • 13. Hopeful  |  April 24, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    It’s also very symbolic considering Cabrini once housed predominantly low Income black Americans. It shows how far the black community has come. I think it will make a great addition to our top notch chicago hs’s.

  • 14. 19th ward Mom  |  April 24, 2014 at 3:15 pm


    The old H.S. school over there was called Near North Career academy. It was closed in 2000 and according to the wikipedia page, it was sold to the Housing Authority, 2 years ago, to be built into new housing.

    I also wondered if CPS has bought back this building. It doesn’t seem like there is a lot of space at this park to building another school building.

  • 15. CPS Possessed  |  April 24, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I’m torn about this recent news. On one hand, it’s thrilling to have another selective enrollment H.S. thrown in the mix for those kids who who may have missed an offer by a fraction of a point. More is better, right? However, on the other, it seems to me that it would’ve made a whole lot of sense to open it in Hyde Park, Obama’s “hometown.” I also don’t get why such a large percentage of the spots will be reserved for neighborhood kids when LP H.S. is nearby. If helping out the ‘hood is a part of their mission here, then they should use the funds, resources and national attention the school opening is sure to generate for improving the neighborhood high schools we already have and are floundering. You know, improving higher education for the other 98%.

  • 16. Obama SEHS  |  April 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    #14. Interesting. So instead of putting in affordable housing to help maintain diversity and keep the original promises made when they forced AA out of their homes, they are covering their pr butts by putting in a school named after Obama. Who can argue with that?!!!

    Seems like catering to the wealthier families all around. Taft is bursting at the seams and no annex planned. Yes, got $17M for renovations, but renovations do not equal more space for the bursting population.

    Jenner & Maniere may be neighbor hood schools, but we’ll see how many of those kids get spots versus the less diverse, more affluent LP elementary school.

  • 17. parent  |  April 24, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    When Payton first opened, they reserved a percentage of seats for neighborhood students as well. I wonder if this school will phase out the seats for neighborhood students, or if that is a permanent arrangement.

  • 18. Urban Mommy  |  April 24, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I live in this neighborhood. The immediate neighborhood is Tier 2 and has no good elementary school options — it is zoned either Jenner or Manierre. As for high school, south of Chicago is zoned into Wells High School and north of Chicago is zoned into Lincoln Park.

    My child scored 99% on the gifted test and barely missed the cut off for gifted schools and the highest lottery we received was 30 something at LaSalle. We will be sweating it out on the waitlists this summer. If you live in the immediate area next to this site and you don’t win the lottery, you are out of luck. Most middle class residents here either win the lottery (Skinner North, LaSalle, Newberry, etc…) or go private for elementary school.

    I don’t see the need for a set aside for a SES high school here as much as I do a decent elementary option. The area around Jenner and Manierre are highly gerrymandered (forcing all of the poor and former Cabrini/Marshall Field Homes students into these schools), and among the lowest performing in the city. Thus, despite the fact that it is now a diverse neighborhood racially and income, the school serving it is not diverse and among the lowest scoring in CPS.

    CPS should rezone all of the Near North so that no one school is majority low income, instead of building an annex at Lincoln Park or another SES here.

  • 19. LP  |  April 24, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    interesting… especially the location – almost across the street from the current British School building, a few blocks down from the Apple Store. The immediate neighborhood is rapidly gentrifying but pockets of the old Cabrini hood remain.

    Yes this location is in LPHS’s attendance zone but it is the source of the much discussed “gen pop” LP kids. LPHS draws not just from Lincoln but also from Manierre and Jenner with their infamous elementary school gang war.

    For all the discussion of Two Chicagos this is a neighborhood where the extremes overlap. LPHS’s attendance zone has 5 lot mansions a few blocks from section 8 housing. Very curious to see how they draw Obama’s attendance boundaries.

  • 20. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 24, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Urban Mommy is right. The area around Skinner N. is tier 2, and just to the southeast, tier 1. Tier 4 ends N of North Ave. The site is at the outer-boundary for LPHS, but Wells — a school in very poor straits — has a boundary very close to the site. So some part of that would be any proximity area.

    At the press conf., Emanuel said that there are 2.400 students each year who are qualified to attend SEHS but are turned away. Anyone know anything about that number? (Never mind that with 1200 seats with 30% reserved for neighborhood there would be only 210 available 9th grade SEHS seats. So, less than 10% dent in the 2.400 number cited.

  • 21. cpsobsessed  |  April 24, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    “2,400 students each year who are qualified to attend SEHS but are turned away.” No idea where that number is coming from. What does “qualified” mean? Something like 16,000 kids apply (and to apply, I think that means you are qualified by CPS standards, right?)

  • 22. RL Julia  |  April 24, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    I think there is of an outcry for another SEHS on the northside – yet too far north and the school will be majority white/Asian (like NCP) which isn’t good politics. More centrally located schools can be accessed (in theory) by the whole city.
    I think this will be death to the neighborhood high schools who will continue to lose their higher scoring/more academically minded students leaving the neighborhood schools with harder to serve populations (and level or reduced funding with which to serve them). As far as the neighborhood component goes? That’s just to sweeten the pot for the community residents who have to put up with the construction.

  • 23. Urban Mommy  |  April 24, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    So do peopole think this is a move to redraw LPHS boundaries to exclude Jenner and Manierre populations, thereby strengthing LPHS and ensuring space for all of the Lincoln Elementary kids which are increasing, or a move to give more SES spots to families in LPHS attendance area who aren’t so happy with LPHS outside of the IB program. Alternatively, do you think they will move LPHS IB program here?

  • 24. mojomax  |  April 24, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Another sehs is welcome but the location is not. As much as I’d like to see a quality sehs (not the IB farce in MPHS) in the 19th Ward…is the NTA building at Cermak and State still mostly empty? Seems it’s a ready-made spot for easing the dearth of sehs options on the south side. It also wouldn’t require nearly as much funding or time to get it up and running. Whether Obama High be a worthwhile school remains to be seen no matter where it’s located.

  • 25. Hopeful  |  April 24, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    It looks like Obama hs will take neighborhood kids. Does that mean lphs will stop taking neighborhood kids?

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  April 24, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    @27 UrbanMommy: I don’t think CPS is that strategic, frankly. I doubt LPHS boundaries will be re-drawn (look at the stink from talk about re-drawing Lincoln.) With only 90 fixed seats, this new school won’t acting like a regular neighborhood school. There’ll still be a lottery from a fairly wide area so I don’t know that it could affect other neighborhood boundaries that much.

  • 27. skeleton  |  April 24, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    From HuffPost:

    President Barack Obama will have a new selective enrollment Chicago public high school named after him, his former chief of staff and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Thursday afternoon.

    Barack Obama College Preparatory High School, Emanuel says, will be built on the city’s Near North Side using $60 million in tax-increment financing funds, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman and Lauren Fitzpatrick reported. The school will open in the fall of 2017 with a freshman class of 300 students and will ultimately serve 1,200 students, the mayor said.

    The school will be located behind Skinner North Classical School on Chicago Park District property and will help meet what CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett described as a high demand for more of the highly competitive selective enrollment schools in the district, according to WBEZ. The district currently has just 10 citywide and many students who qualify for admission are turned away.

    “We must seize every opportunity to ensure our students receive a world-class, 21st century education and that they are able to take advantage of the academic opportunities they have earned,” Emanuel said in a statement. “Year after year, too many of our students who have put in years of hard work are turned away because as a city we haven’t had the capacity to meet their capability and this important investment will help us fix that.”

    A number of schools nationwide are already named after Obama, but this would mark the first in the president’s home state of Illinois.

    The announcement comes one day after the Chicago Board of Education’s Wednesday vote that three CPS elementary schools will be turned around — having all of their teachers and staff fired and replaced — and turned over to the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a private operator, despite the protests of parents, teachers and staff, DNAinfo reported. The schools are Gresham, McNair and Dvorak.

    Last year, CPS shut down 50 elementary schools in the largest single wave of public school closures in U.S. history and has been criticized since then for approving both the opening of more charter schools and expansions to other existing schools.

  • 28. kleem  |  April 24, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    One of the reasons for the location is that this is being with TIF money so there are limited lots where it can be built. Of course, they could use a school that’s been closed, but they couldn’t use TIF money for that. Not saying I agree with the location, but it does seem like finances are part of the reason it’s going where it is.

  • 29. Momof5  |  April 24, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    As a north side parent (not the school – the area), I am familiar with the demand for more SEH Schools around here. However, I must admit the south side needs to have more options for their kids as well. My kids attend Lane and have friends who live near Midway and others who live in Englewood. These kids have commutes that would try my patience beyond measure. Factor in the time of day they travel (after sports games or before early morning practices) and I have to think those neighborhoods’ children need to be better served.

  • 30. JLM  |  April 24, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    @26 CPSObsessed – agree that CPS isn’t that strategic, but they certainly are that political!

    Also, TIF funds are probably the reason while there will be 30% of seats set aside for neighborhood. The Skinner West building was built for the Classical program using TIF funds and the neighborhood sued for a neighborhood component.

  • 31. Chicago School GPS  |  April 24, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    The proposed location is one mile from Payton. Even less depending on how you walk.

  • 32. AnotherLocalVoice  |  April 24, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    As a Lincoln parent whose kids will likely attend LPHS, I think this is very odd and I’d be frustrated were I living elsewhere. I think this particular area has a ridiculous GLUT of SE/magnet options for both elementary and high school. Franklin, LaSalle, Newberry, Skinner North, Payton, LPHS IB. Enough. I also think it could actually HURT LPHS as a lot of the now DH or IB kids may opt to go there instead. I don’t see it as being a good thing for LPHS and I think they should spread the love. That area is gentrifying so quickly that it does not seem fair to have yet another SE school on the north side … especially one named after a true southsider. I’d be offended if I were a southsider.

  • 33. Chicago School GPS  |  April 24, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    There’s a rumor that another is being proposed near Hubbard, at 63rd and Pulaski. Folks nearby are hearing the mayor wants to take Hubbard’s football/soccer/track field and turn it into an elementary charter and that a selective enrollment will share the building.

  • 34. @32  |  April 24, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Totally agree. As a South Sider, it is offensive. Hyde Park/Kenwood should really be offended.

  • 35. LP  |  April 24, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    The supposed lack of south side SEHSs is simply inaccurate.

    King and South Shore are unable to fill their existing tier seats. The seats are there, the demand is not.

    @Momof5 “attend Lane … live in Englewood. These kids have commutes that would try my patience beyond measure… I have to think those neighborhoods’ children need to be better served.”

    Englewood has an SEHS: Lindblom. Great building, awesome principal. That englewood residents choose to commute to Lane simply reiterates where the demand is.

    Outrage? For meeting demand? Oh please.

  • 36. pantherettie  |  April 24, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    I don’t understand the placement of this new SEHS at all. I get why they wouldn’t place it in Hyde Park or Bronzville ( King, Kenwood and South Shore are here) but why not something on the southwestern side of the city? Brooks is so far south that many kids can’t get there easily. But another school in the near north area. What’s going on here?

  • 37. pantherettie  |  April 24, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    @LP are there a lot of kids from Englewood attending Lane? Does this indicate a demand for more SEHs on the northside?

  • 38. Whatever  |  April 24, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    My teir 4 child scored just short of the sehs cutoff. She worked her ass off and couldn’t get into the school she wanted. Maybe this move by Emmanuel will lower the cutoff said bit. The current points currently requires by teir 4 is outrageous. This will be a slight relief but still more seats are needed. This is a fair location since it’s a location that is accessible to all.

  • 39. HS Mom  |  April 24, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    This is great news and I agree with the location.

    19th ward mom and others – Where exactly would you put a brand new SEHS on the south side that would become a first choice option for SS kids over Payton, WY and Jones and parochial? There are 4 SE schools on the SS that are already not considered as desirable as these schools – one in Hyde Park and one in the South Shore. Although it can be a longer haul from the SS, seems like most people find it workable considering the distances people travel now for an opportunity like this. It will be near both the brown and red lines in an area that is popular to a wide range of families and have the potential to become more successful.

    @21 CPSO – I think by qualified they mean scoring 650 or above. There are not enough seats currently to supply the demand that seems to grow as these schools become and stay top rated.

    As far as the neib. preference is concerned, there is a wide demographic range around the area. This could be a good thing. I know that the Jones program was a requirement in getting the TIF funding. Probably the same here. There are score requirements, it is not open admission. 30% does sound high however.

  • 40. notcool  |  April 24, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    I think it is wrong. Why don’t they have selective enrollment programs in each neighborhood high school? Something like Bell and Coonley, but at the high school level. Why does a new high school have to be built? Adding 300 seats is not going to solve anything. It will make 300 more kids and their parents happy, but what about the thousands of other kids who qualify and are looking for a more challenging high school experience? This is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

  • 41. 19th ward mom  |  April 24, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    The problem with the SEHS on the southside are they are all in unsafe neighborhoods. I will not take the risk that my child will be the next innocent victim of gun violence going to and from school.

    Brooks is a straight bus ride from us but they would have to travel through Roseland. Not happening. Lindblom is the same situation, it is in the middle of a no mans land. We own a rental building within a .5 mile of that school, and I could spend hours listing how often we have to call the police ( tenants car windows shot out, all cooper plumbing stolen from the basement in the middle of day with tenants upstairs, constant calls to get the local gangbangers to stop hanging on the front porch of the property).

    South shore another drive by haven. Again personal experience with actually living in this area before we left a few years ago.

    The King is not that bad of an area, but logistically it is too complex of a commute. Plus it seems to be a SEHS in name only. Scores are not reflective.

    Instead coming from the 19th ward, most kids going north catch the Metra. Which is very safe and filled with mostly work commuters from the area. They get off downtown and then grab the train lines to their respective SEHS. Long commutes but safe commutes.

    Now where would my ideal SEHS in the 19th ward be? Morgan Park High school. Move the neighborhood portion to Julian or Fenger. Probably 90% of the kids there are non-neighborhood. Keep the AC, and selective IB, and start up a SEHS program.

    Next choice is their plenty of land at Chicago Ag for another school building along 115th side or Pulaski.

    Outside of that I would take any safe southside neighborhood with safe options for commuting. Sad that this is what you factor in living in the city nowadays. South Loop, Midway area, Gresham area west of Kedzie, Bridgeport, are other areas that came to mind.

    Otherwise north we go. Or pay for private catholic high school which we are well represented in the 19th ward.

  • 42. VincentJ  |  April 24, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Lets face it, parents like “new schools buildings” (Plainfield’s, (IL) population pretty much exploded for that reason only). Parents will fight to get their kids in and I think this will open up some seats at other SEHS’s.

    However, I’m shocked that it’s 2 feet away from Payton. What the hell? If they wanted to show a rising form the ashes story they’re selling with Cabrini, they could have build on the old Robert Taylor homes on State, right next to IIT and Comisky with easy green line/red line stops and expressway access.

  • 43. HS Mom  |  April 24, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    “The King is not that bad of an area, but logistically it is too complex of a commute. Plus it seems to be a SEHS in name only. Scores are not reflective.”

    So how do your other locations differ from Hyde Park and how would you draw a desirable mix of diversity to these locations? Why would Morgan Park become a better school if you moved 10% of the current population to Julian/Fenger and made that portion selective?

    I think your ideas have merit but what I’m trying to understand is if you’re looking to create another WY, Jones, Payton, NS, Lane the central Chicago area holds the most promise. Why dress up a neighborhood school or build a new school in a neighborhood pocket. All this has already been tried on both the North and South sides.

  • 44. HS Mom  |  April 24, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    “they could have build on the old Robert Taylor homes on State, right next to IIT and Comisky with easy green line/red line stops and expressway access.”

    Because it’s too risky of an investment….central area is a known winner.

  • 45. 19th ward mom  |  April 24, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    That is a good location too. Even better than my MPHS, since it could draw from a large range of areas. The metra train from the 19th ward, also stops at 35th street. I don’t think you could find a better range of transportation options outside of downtown.

  • 46. @HS Mom  |  April 24, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    HS Mom, The near south near IIT and Comiskey is more centrally located than the proposed sight. As VincentJ and others pointed out, there is great public transport and the area is safe and easy to get to from all over the city. A Bronzeville or Bridgeport location would be a great option to those living on the far South Side, and much less of a commute than traveling to the former Cabrini area.
    Your idea of a “central” area is a bit skewed.

  • 47. 19th ward mom  |  April 24, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    You misunderstood my 90% portion or maybe I didn’t explain clear enough. 90% of the kids in the neighborhood portion of MPHS are non-neighborhood kids. Maybe 90% is a little high, but it is something way up there. So those 90% will also go to Julian or Fenger. Eliminating 100% of the neighborhood seats.

    I think though you discount VincentJ ‘s location too quickly. That is a very economically and racially diverse corner of the southside. You can easily draw from Bridgeport, Chinatown, south loop, brozenville, McKinley park, lower Pilsen area, and all points south/north along the red/green line.

    35th street & state is nothing like what it used to be. It even has a Starbucks. LOL. I would personally consider it a safe area.

  • 48. 19th ward mom  |  April 24, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    @47 Sorry, don’t mean to dominate the conservation but I forgot to answer your question why King, which is next to Hyde Park hasn’t been successful in diversifying.

    Hyde Park is too small of a pocket to add diversity to King. Plus it already has a somewhat successful neighborhood h.s. and the Lab school. After that it is surrounded on all sides outside of kenwood/hyde park by unsafe areas with no safe transportation options. I hate to bring up Haydia, but that situation was just another tragic situation that cast that neighborhood in a negative light.

    So who is going to travel to that school now from other areas of the city? Cue the crickets. Oh I forgot to throw in the turmoil with the principal the last few years.

    I think King could be a great option for those in the immediate area under a great principal. I think it has been a ship adrift without a good captain for too long though, hence my calling it a SEHS in name only.

  • 49. centrally located? Huh?  |  April 24, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    I live in Bridgeport and we walk to the Starbucks at 35th and State, take the red line and metra from 35th street, ride our bikes through the IIT area to the lake. There’s no doubt it’s safe and a very racially diverse part of the SS (as 19th ward mom pointed out).
    The problem is, there are North Siders who consider anything on the South Side dangerous. I’ve read plenty of comments on other threads saying as much. Not saying that’s you HSmom but really, there are North Siders that think they are in some “safety zone” and never trave tol and know nothing about the SS.

  • 50. pantherettie  |  April 24, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    @19th Ward Mom – do you have high school or AC age kids? Do you mind sharing where he/she goes to school?

    Also, it’s interesting to hear your description of 35th and state as a safe neighborhood. I actually agree that it is Definately changing but there are still some significantly “sketchy” parts around there. I agree though, it would make better sense as a location than the near north side.

  • 51. Dad  |  April 25, 2014 at 12:05 am

    @30 – if TIF funds require the neighborhood to get 30% of the spots, why didn’t they do that with the Payton expansion? For some reason Jones and Obama now have neighborhood enrollment, but not Payton, and all three are from TIF money. Is there some legal difference between a new building (Jones and Obama) and an expansion (Payton)?

    @40 – they’re adding 1200 spots, not 300. 300 will be the inaugural freshman class, then when they become sophomores you get 300 more freshman, etc., until all four classes are filled with 1200 kids, much like Skinner North and Coonley RGC are marching towards 8th grade.

  • 52. 19th ward mom  |  April 25, 2014 at 12:06 am

    I have a 7th grader ( so in the midst of 7th grade hell year with a twist of MAP added on to it) plus a kindergarten student.
    As far as I know I am the only crazy parent that drives my children to our cps magnet school, about 11 miles away from the 19th ward. So I prefer not reveal our school name, so I don’t have to worry how our principal discretion application ( if it comes to that) being judged against my running my mouth on this blog. 🙂

    Back story was that when we lived in south shore, the neighborhood school was not an option so we were very lucky to get a lottery slot in our very competitive magnet school. When we moved to the 19th ward, the oldest was very attached to the magnet school and though we knew we had a good school within walking distance, we decided to stick with the magnet school. The youngest was then determined to follow in her siblings footsteps in also going to the magnet. So I am in for the long haul.

    Between state and the Dan Ryan, on 35th street it is very safe. Now go east of state street, then it slides to a bit more on the hairy side but not by much. You have DelaSalle holding one corner and the police headquarters on other. East of there, the area is still a bit in transition. But I wouldn’t fear drive-bys in that area as compared to say Englewood or Roseland. They might lose some property going too Far East on 35th, but you will not lose your life. Same concerns you would have around the proposed location of Obama High.

  • 53. pantherettie  |  April 25, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Thanks for the response 19th Ward Mom. I understand the importance of privacy 🙂 I get what you’re saying about the area around 35th and State. I respectfully disagree about the areas around Lindblom and Brooks and the risks of random violence. I’m absolutely not saying that West Englewood or Roseland are safe or vibrant communities – they simply are not – but I think that it’s important to realize and note that the students who attend these schools are not walking with targets on their back or ducking bullets as they go to school. I say that because each of these schools are like mini fortresses in their respective communities. The one thing that I think is a significant issue for many kids and parents who attend schools is the feelings of hyper vigilance and lack of freedom for students, especially when they are at an age (especially 10th, 11th, 12th grade) when being able to drive to school alone or walk down to a local Starbucks to hang out means a lot. That’s simply not happening in W. Englewood and Roseland for most kids who attend the SEHS. I would however guess, unless there was total gentrification around the 35th and State area, there would be many, many parents who would have significant safety concerns about that area as well. I guess the new Obama high location will avoid this fear for some parents. I don’t think that it’s fair or meets the geographic needs of the city residents.

  • 54. HS Mom  |  April 25, 2014 at 6:51 am

    “The problem is, there are North Siders who consider anything on the South Side dangerous. I’ve read plenty of comments on other threads saying as much. Not saying that’s you HSmom but really, there are North Siders that think they are in some “safety zone” and never trave tol and know nothing about the SS.”

    You are right on both counts, not me but many others. We would go to LIndblom or Westinghouse but got into schools that we ranked higher.

    If you want another Payton, a school that attracts kids from top private schools as well as kids from all over the city especially the SS you need to be in that area. No matter that it’s right next to Payton. It will be an automatic hit and a plus for the city of Chicago. A school on south State closer to King may or may not come around like Jones did. I Iike the location personally although if location were the only factor we would choose something downtown.

  • 55. LynnJ  |  April 25, 2014 at 7:07 am


  • 56. FirstGradeBound  |  April 25, 2014 at 7:34 am

    @54: Sadly, I agree with this. We live in the South Loop and a number of our northside friends STILL can’t understand why we chose such a crime laden area. SMH. So, while the area surrounding IIT is safe, I doubt many northsiders would view it as a desirable option. (That’s partially why NTA has been slow to flourish, beautiful building and all, and it’s 10 blocks north of there.)

    I think the real question is why build another SEHS, instead of improve upon the existing neighborhood schools… including on the elementary level. There needs to be a change of attitude and this begins with political perspectives, like it or not.

  • 57. HSObsessed  |  April 25, 2014 at 8:45 am

    This is a surprising geographic location for a new SEHS, given its proximity to Payton. I agree that when you look at a map of where the 10 existing SEHS are, the far SW side could use some love. Maybe it’s coming soon. The neighborhood set aside is very, very surprising, but I’m sure that was a request of Ald Burnett, who is great about delivering these things to his constituents, like he did for the Quest charter school that opened right there a few years ago.

    I don’t think it will affect LPHS that much. LPHS enrolls about 550 freshmen per year, and last I heard, about 1/3 were from within neighborhood boundaries. (Feeder schools are Jenner, Manierre, Lincoln, Mayer, Alcott, Agassiz, Prescott, part of Ogden). Any open spots are given to outside applicants; so, LPHS is far, far away from being at the point of being “overcrowded” with neighborhood kids.

    However, the specific site is great in terms of accessibility by public transportation and safety from crime. It will be easily reached by kids on the Division and Halsted buses, and via the Red Line at North/Clybourn.

    Also this specific area is developing rapidly but in huge, huge need of an overall vision to make sure it becomes a vibrant part of the city, and not even more of a clusterF than it already is. There’s the new Target on Division, all the retail and office space booming on Halsted and to the west on the river, three schools already there (British, Skinner, Quest). An enormous suburban-style shopping mall is being built right there, where the New City Y used to be, to include a Dick’s Sporting Goods and multiplex theater. Goose Island across the riveris getting a ginormous digital manufacturing hub. All these things mean it could be a fantastic area, but not if they keep encouraging everyone to drive to work on Goose Island, drive their kids to school at Skinner, drive to go to the movies, etc. It needs to become less suburban and more urban. (Ranting here on my other favorite topic of urban planning.)

  • 58. @49  |  April 25, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Unfortunately, I believe that what has been said about Northsiders traveling to SS for a SEHS option is mostly true. Many people on the NS are unfamiliar with the neighborhoods on the SS so may be uncomfortable sending their kids that way. Also, having Lane on the NS (which takes 1000 in each class…making entrance slightly easier than WY, NS, Payton etc..PLUS the fact that it’s appeal to NS students/parents has dramatically increased in the past few years) would make it difficult to draw NSiders to the SS for high school. Already, I’ve heard many NS parents when considering WY say “Why travel all the way to WY (2 trains and approx. 60 min. total travel time from NS neighborhoods around North Center, Lincoln Square, Andersonville etc…) when Lane is right here?

  • 59. SutherlandParent  |  April 25, 2014 at 9:30 am

    @58, my snarky thought right now is, “who cares if Northsiders won’t travel to the SS for a SEHS option? We have plenty of kids on the SS looking for a SEHS option, thankyouverymuch! 🙂

    Yes, we have several options on the SS already, as some have pointed out. But beyond the questions of neighborhood safety for the current SS SEHS, public transportation really is a huge issue. I’ve lived on the NS, I live on the SS now, and the differences are glaring and appalling. Just as one example, the Red Line terminates at 95th Street on the SS, while the city border ends at 138th Street. But on the NS, it goes all the way to the suburbs. As my kids would say, “Really?”

    I’ve said before, transportation-wise, Jones is closer to us than Brooks. If Brooks was actually easy to get to, more SS parents might consider it an option.

    I think the IIT location makes a lot of sense–and if SS kids could at least get to the Red Line at 95th Street, makes an excellent option. Of course, there’s a Perspectives charter high school there now, which we may consider when the time comes for SutherlandStudents to attend high school. I have no problem sending my kids to that neighborhood.

  • 60. SelectivePrep  |  April 25, 2014 at 9:42 am

    More SE seats are sorely needed. But eliminate “neighborhood preference” that provides an unfair advantage to a certain set of kids over all others.

  • 61. CPS Possessed  |  April 25, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Ironic that Obama believes in health care benefits for all, yet his name will be used for a school that limits enrollment to the city’s top students.

  • 62. SN Parent  |  April 25, 2014 at 10:06 am

    I think the location and neighborhood element are odd at best, but as a parent of a Skinner North student, I am immediately worried about the specific location. The new school will essentially replace all the Stanton Park green space. It will be literally on top of Skinner North. The only thing separating the schools will be the Skinner North playground. Are there other city high schools that are that close to elementary schools?

    Also, traffic and parking in that neighborhood are already a nightmare, which this and the proposed CHA projects will only expound. Skinner North is a great school. We love it, but the city seems intent on driving families away.

  • 63. Insulting!!!  |  April 25, 2014 at 10:16 am

    The whole darn thing is insulting. The kids in that community already have neighborhood spots at Lincoln Park High School. Open land is available just south of 35th street, in the vicinity of the police station, red line, green line and Metra! Or, how about closing down DuSable and repurposing it as was done to Westinghouse? Not far from red/green, 2 bus lines and lake shore drive.

  • 64. 19th ward Mom  |  April 25, 2014 at 10:20 am

    “these schools are like mini fortresses in their respective communities. The one thing that I think is a significant issue for many kids and parents who attend schools is the feelings of hyper vigilance and lack of freedom for students, especially when they are at an age (especially 10th, 11th, 12th grade) when being able to drive to school alone or walk down to a local Starbucks to hang out means a lot.”

    But see that is the point for me, I don’t want to send my kids to a school that has to be a mini fortress, I want them to have freedom and to be able to get back and forth by themselves. To be able to have open lunch and go to the local Starbucks on their own.
    After 8 years of driving my kids back and forth across the city, I want them to have more independence, a little street smarts, and for me to stop being their chauffeur. In 4 years they are going to be on their own at college, they need to start learning these skills.

    And this is said from a prospective of actually trying to look at those schools as an option. We attended Lindblom’s open house last year, I event went to South Shore to check out the new building and to see what it was like, my kid attended a summer program at Brooks. So I am not just a Northsider turning up my nose without stepping foot in the building.

  • 65. @sutherland  |  April 25, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Regarding my comments on traveling to SS…I was in no way suggesting that individuals on the NS are more in need than those living South of another SEHS option. Rather, it seemed to be suggested on this site that the SS SEHS have not been able to pull people from all over the city in the same way that WY, WP, Jones, NS & Lane have done…which is what has led to their success.

    Thus, not sure if the location at 35th would be able to accomplish this or not BUT isn’t that the point? Parents & students on the SS would like to see a “desired” SEHS closer to their home? I totally get that…but in order for it to work…parents of top scoring students need to want to send their kids to that ‘new’ school over the current list of most ‘desired’ SEHSs. As someone on the NS, I would be thrilled if a new school on the SS could accomplish this as it would free up more spots closer to home. For me…a shorter commute is a big factor when selecting schools. I don’t see enough difference between the above listed SEHSs to justify traveling farther to attend another SEHS (even if it was the new “top” SEHS).

  • 66. HSObsessed  |  April 25, 2014 at 10:56 am

    @62 – Yes, Salazar elementary is directly across Wells Street from Payton, for one thing.

  • 67. Pantherettie  |  April 25, 2014 at 11:00 am

    @64 19th Ward Mom – I totally get your point. The one drawback about sending my dd to Lindblom is that I do worry that when she goes off to college she will have been in a “bubble” when it comes to independently getting around and managing freedom in that way. My only hope is that her summer activities will help in these areas. BTW I absolutely did not believe that you were turning up your nose at SS schools – your posts appear to be really thoughtful and informed about the city and the schools south of Roosevelt Road 🙂

  • 68. SutherlandParent  |  April 25, 2014 at 11:20 am

    @Sutherland, honestly, I haven’t looked up the statistics, but do Payton, NSCP and Lane really pull from all over the city? My sense is that more NS and WS families attend those schools because, well, they are more convenient for those families. And I think there’s an argument to be made that Jones and Whitney Young have become so sought-after, particularly for SS families, because they are relatively centrally located and near public transportation.

    So I think location does matter, instead of a build-it-and-they-will-come mentality–and 35th Street and the Ryan is an excellent location for multiple El, train and driving options.

    Of course, while fun, all the speculating on location, safety, neighborhoods, etc. is irrelevant. Obama College Prep is going where it is because that’s where the TIF funds are. My cynical perspective is that Rahm saw this as the “cheapest,” fastest way to pander to both Obama and affluent parents whose children don’t quite make the cut otherwise (and I say this as a Tier 4 parent whose kid didn’t test in to Whitney Young AC…). The idea of whether it’s the most strategic, highest-value use of CPS resources or TIF funds is probably not even worth the time we’ve already spent discussing it here, sadly.

  • 69. OTdad  |  April 25, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    @12. cpsobsessed:
    “a friend I was talking to pointed out that there is an empty CPS building over there, which may be the new site (can’t recall the name now) – so location may have been driven in part by that.”

    There seem two other schools beside Skinner North within a block distance. One is the old Ogden building on Clybourn, which is now a charter school of some sort. Another one on Larrabee, which is some kind of Career Academy, for the police? Because when I drove by there everyday, I saw lots of policemen, looking like trainees there.

    The location (Holsted & Division) seems directly next to Target, almost cross the street from Skinner North. It’s an big patch of empty land now, which means they are building a new school.

  • 70. @sutherland  |  April 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Agree that Jones & WY (and Payton to some extent as it is not that far North from Jones) are currently the best locations out of the SEHSs I mentioned in terms of being able to pull students from all areas of the city. If “the powers that be” could figure out that perfect location for SS families that would be ideal. It would benefit everyone as I mentioned earlier as it would also free up some spots on the NS.

    As I already have 1 in HS & the other quickly approaching…I don’t really have any ‘skin’ in the game as the new SEHS will open too late to benefit my children…but the announcement did catch my eye. Is there anything that can be done to increase the attractiveness of the current SS SEHS’s to parents & students? I’ve heard nothing but generally positive comments on this blog about Lindblom…is the neighborhood surrounding it that prohibitive to be attractive to SS families?

  • 71. OTdad  |  April 25, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    oops, just read the article: “Located just north of Skinner North Classical School, near the former Cabrini-Green public housing complex”.

    Looks like the old Ogden building may be a part of the new high school.

  • 72. parent  |  April 25, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    This story on CBS shows the exact location of the school (the park behind Skinner North) and includes an artist’s rendering of the school:

  • 73. SutherlandParent  |  April 25, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    @70Sutherland, like Brooks, Lindblom is supposed to be great and I’ve heard wonderful things about the principal. I’m sure it’s a convenient location for some people on the SS, but it’s really inconvenient for a lot of others.

    The only public transportation I know of to Lindblom, like Brooks, is by CTA bus–no trains, no El within blocks and blocks. And Lindblom is at 6130 S Wolcott Ave, which is West Englewood. So yeah, I have some concerns about sending a 14 year old via multiple buses there, since driving both ways is not an option. For us, on the other hand, Jones is a 27-minute Metra ride, with a two-block walk on either end.

    I have the same feeling about Obama CP as you about our mythical IIT location–hopefully, it will draw off more North Side competition from Jones and WY 🙂

  • 74. OTdad  |  April 25, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    @72. parent:
    Thanks for the link. Wow! That’s directly on top of Skinner North. I’m wondering if CPS take any input from Skinner North parents. The old Ogden building which is farther north seem a more reasonable location.

  • 75. Counterpoint for discussion  |  April 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Poor location choice. The school should take over the location of a closed south side grammer school (near Barrack’s house.)
    Payton is too close to the site selection. Rahm, just change the location to the south side and you’ll be all good.

  • 76. @sutherland  |  April 25, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Got it! Unbelievable that it was placed in a location only served by buses.

    I do believe you will get your wish when the new Obama SEHS is up & running…I’ve got 1 at Jones but this location is even closer and before I realized it wouldn’t work for my rising 8th grader I was thinking that this new location (travel wise) was ideal and definitely would have put my child’s hat the ring for a spot:)

  • 77. Tier2Mom  |  April 25, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    I suspect they will put the CTA stop back on Division. This way this location will be served by the redline near Apple Store and a stop on brown/purple at Division. There used to be a stop there many years ago.

  • 78. averagemom  |  April 25, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    The brown line stop at Sedgewick is not far from the school, about as close as the brown line stop at Chicago is to Payton, high school students should be able to walk it.
    I think the old near north career academy was given to CHA a few months ago, and some CHA land was given to CPS near Jones so they could have a field. Seems like a waste to be taking down one school to build one a block away, but I’ve heard there’d be a lot of asbestos cleanup at the old near north school.

  • 79. klm  |  April 25, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    As for location, I know people have mentioned this, but it’s true that this location REALLY IS central, relatively speaking. The El’s close by, bus routes tend to have a “all roads to lead to Rome/Downtown” route from anywhere in the city. Downtown’s close by, hence the relative centrality.

    If kids live in Rogers Park, Jeffferson Park, South Shore, Morgan Park…..yes, it’s a schlepp. People from these places already know that they have a commute to get to a more central (i.e., Downtown) location. However these areas all have decent transportation options for getting to the news OHS.. The same is not true for people from disparate neighborhoods getting to, say, Rogers Park, or Chatham.

    Also, ….HELLO … the TIF money! Without it, there’s be no OHS! It’s the not-too-long-ago-blighted Cabrini Green connection that’s responsible for conditions that lead to its TIF money source creation. Do people want a HS where the former Robert Taylor Homes exist? It’d be a “No way in Hell are my going to school THERE”! problem (like aready exists at certain SEHSs). As it is, I already know plenty of middle-class black families (a friend from Chatham has a daughter at Lane) that precluded certain Southside SEHSs for their kids because of public safety concerns (which are real, not exagerated). Crime really does ruin things.

    As for how things will work out with local kids (30% of enrollment), there will have to be remedial classes for the kids that go the Manierre and Jenner (at LPHS that’s where most kids from Manierre end up [sad but true] –the middle/upper-middle class from schools like Lincoln do IB or HH, or they don’t go to LPHS, since the rest of the school is effectively more or less a no-way-in-hell option for middle-class+ people). The local kids that went to Lincoln, St. Clement, etc., will likely be able to take classes with the SE kids in many/most casses. It’ll be like LPHS and Evanston Twp. HS –the remedial classes: virtually 100% black and the Honors/AP-type classes will be mostly white and Asian. It’ll be an all too common scenario, but an especially sad situation given that it’s a school named in honor of the highest model of black American achievement.

  • 80. notcool  |  April 25, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I realize that ultimately it will be 1200 students total for the entire school; however, it will only be an additional 300 seats per grade. A mere drop in the bucket. This is not a real solution. It is political desperation.

    “I think the real question is why build another SEHS, instead of improve upon the existing neighborhood schools… including on the elementary level. There needs to be a change of attitude and this begins with political perspectives, like it or not.”
    Yes! Exactly!

    “Ironic that Obama believes in health care benefits for all, yet his name will be used for a school that limits enrollment to the city’s top students.”
    So true, so sad.

    “Of course, while fun, all the speculating on location, safety, neighborhoods, etc. is irrelevant. Obama College Prep is going where it is because that’s where the TIF funds are. My cynical perspective is that Rahm saw this as the “cheapest,” fastest way to pander to both Obama and affluent parents whose children don’t quite make the cut otherwise (and I say this as a Tier 4 parent whose kid didn’t test in to Whitney Young AC…). The idea of whether it’s the most strategic, highest-value use of CPS resources or TIF funds is probably not even worth the time we’ve already spent discussing it here, sadly.”
    Truer words were never spoken.

    Listen, I have children who have graduated from SEHSs and children in RGCs. I know they served/are serving my children well; however, kids should NOT have to compete to get a good education. Kids should be able to attend their neighborhood school, a place they can safely walk to or is a *short* bus ride away, and know they are getting the same education that kids who attend SESs receive. Focus on the schools that are already there. I know this is a moot point. The mayor doesn’t care about anyone else’s opinion, but his own.

  • 81. Wonderful News!  |  April 25, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    To all you diluted negative nellies who have nothing positive to say about this news…how depressing to wade through your depressive negative murk.
    This is fantastic news. Its progress. Its moving forward and improving. Its honoring a brilliant President with a modern, new building in his name, as he deserves. This mayor has been making improvements to schools all over the city. It can’t all be done at once, but improvements are happening. I am glad I voted for Rahm! I am so happy! This is wonderful news!

  • 82. klm  |  April 25, 2014 at 4:42 pm



    Sometimes people need to look at far things have come: a CPS HS that middle class people are excited/debating over for their own kids.

    In Carini Green.

    Named in honor of a BLACK president (from Chicago, no less).

    Who’d have even imagined such a scenario 40, 30 or even 20 years ago?

    Things are by no means perfect in Chicago with public schools, blighted pockets, economic disparities, ……but there are at least SOME things (e.g., better public schools in many cases, revitalized neighborhoos….) jthat are keeping and even attracting people that could easily move to Naperville, Northbrook or Wilmette. Who’d have imagined that in the 1970s or 80s –it would have seemed like science fiction.

    God knows there’s still much to do, some parts of the city are a war zone, etc., but let’s recognize that this is a positive thing, not automaticcally whine about it when it doesn’t seem like EVERYBODY will benefit (a la the traditional “but, where’s MINE?” Chicago way) for individuals that don’t live close by, etc.

    Sometimes things really are getting better, so hurray!

  • 83. Marketing Mom  |  April 25, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    I support the addition of a new SEHS…we could use 10 more. Lincoln park isn’t the only neighborhood where if the kid doesn’t get into selective enrollment they have no other ideal options. How about Belmont Cragin, Jeff or Portage Park or Dunning? Rahm is clearly doing this for votes.

  • 84. LynnJ  |  April 25, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    @ Hopeful “it shows how far the black community has come”. Explain that please.

  • 85. LynnJ  |  April 25, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    @ 19th Ward I live in Bronzeville and don’t deem it safe!

  • 86. HS Mom  |  April 25, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    @KLM “As for how things will work out with local kids (30% of enrollment), there will have to be remedial classes for the kids that go the Manierre and Jenner (at LPHS that’s where most kids from Manierre end up [sad but true]”

    According to the write up, it’s a 30% “preference” meaning highest scoring neighborhood kids within a certain boundry.

  • 87. HS Mom  |  April 25, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    @81 – great comment. Wow! The negativity around here. As poster LP remarked, CPS is finally meeting the demand.

  • 88. local  |  April 25, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    from District 299 blog:

    Rodestvan said 6 hours, 19 minutes ago

    First off I want to give some credit to Ray Salazar for his public comments regarding the location of the new selective high school. Second, while the capital costs for the project including equipping the new Obama High will be covered by the TIF, the ongoing operational costs will not. CPS is a school district in deep fiscal distress that can’t afford yet another selective high school that will without question be composed of at least 30% students who would have otherwise attended private or parochial high schools. Students who would have cost CPS nothing now will cost CPS thousands each.

    Unfortunately, our supposed fiscally responsible Mayor who makes not very veiled comments about Mayor Daley’s pet projects that the City could not afford seems to be on the very same path as the next election grows ever closer. My hopes are dashed in Mayor Emanuel, but then I didn’t have much hope to begin with.

    Lastly I want to recognize that 27th Ward Ald. Walter Burnett probably did fight for a neighborhood component to the new school, but the truth is there are very few poorer minority students left in the area near the corner of North Halsted- and West Division streets. I would suggest that the 30% admission component for this school will create a real estate boom for condos within the boundary lines of the new school which I have no doubt will be one of the very best in our state.

    Since I have some money available for investment I think I will buy one of these condos tomorrow and advertise it for rent as being in the Obama H.S. intake area once the school is completed in 2017. Looks like a good deal to me. But somehow I bet I am not the only one with that brilliant investment idea.

    Rod Estvan

  • 89. local  |  April 25, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Could the next SEHS go in at 35th & State-ish? In the wake of the demolished Robert Taylor Homes, blocks and blocks of new condos are creeping south from that intersection. Kids gotta go to school. It’d be a flip of what Estvan just said above about development. 😉

  • 90. local  |  April 25, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Forgive my ignorance, but this: “Something like 16,000 kids apply…” – is that the number of SEHS seat-bids each year? Or, does it mean 16,000 student-applicants who are bidding for multiple seats in the SEHS system?

  • 91. local  |  April 25, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Oh, I just remembered. Don’t all the SEHSs have a major sped program of some sort: Deaf, TBI, Autism, etc.? I wonder if OCP will have one?!

  • 92. local  |  April 25, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    “Walking to Starbucks” from SEHS?! Check out a map of Chicago with Starbucks locations. There are, what?, a handful south of Roosevelt? Compare north of Roosevelt. Tale of two cities, even for high school kids.

  • 93. suburb parent  |  April 25, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    CPS honestly has so many wonderful options for talented students. It makes me wonder why I ever moved to the suburbs. This new school will definitely add to that.

  • 94. Searching  |  April 26, 2014 at 12:07 am

    This is off topic and I know this is a blog abou CPS, but I’m wondering if anyone knows where I can find rankings of private elementary and high schools including independent and parochial. There’s tons of information on public schools but I haven’t been able to find anything on private schools.

  • 95. klm  |  April 26, 2014 at 8:19 am


    I hope that’s what’s going to happen (the way the “neighborhood’ zoned kids get an automatic 50 pt. boost at LPIB).

    However, I can also see a scenario where “community leaders” demand some sort of differentiated admissions, since the number of kids from the immediate area (Jenner and Manierre) around the school will be too small (or non-existent given the abysmal ISATs at those schools) and “unrepresentative.” . Some people will start complaining about the demographics, the lack of egality compared to the city’s demographics, especially for a HS dedicated to a high-achieving black man, how can kids from Manierre compete with rich white kids from Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast, etc. (as has happened with SEHSs –remember the whole NSCP NCLB quasi-fiasco several years back?). When there’s been CPS meetings re: SE admissions (I’ve attended 1 or 2) this is the kind of rhetoric that comes out from people that are upset about the demographics at a school like NSCP –hence the % of kids admitted by tier went up (many people want it tp be 100% rather than 70% now or 50% as it was originally designed).

    There will be an expose in ‘The Reader’ or some other publications about how sad it is that CPS created a bastion of academic excellence with a new, expensive building, etc., but how sad that hardly any of the local low-income kids are even allowed to attend, etc. –it’ll be presented as representative of how Chicago cares about keeping rich white people happy, but ignoring poor minority residents. There will be meetings about how to overcome the “shocking” (but entirely predictable, given the acievement gap) lack of representation by low-income minority neighborhood kids (in the space of the former Cabrini Green projects, no less) that aren’t rich and/or white.

    I hope I’m wrong and that if not enough Jenner and Manierre kids qualify that somebody will try to get them better prepared to compete, but that’s often not how things work out. If enough pressure is made, there will be some sort of differentiated admissions for kids from low-scoring schools with high-poverty demographics, apart from tiers.

  • 96. HS Mom  |  April 26, 2014 at 9:05 am

    KLM – I think you’re wrong about that (and I hope I’m not wrong). Same thing went down at Jones, in order to get TIF money they had to save seats for the neighborhood. That doesn’t mean they will lower their quality and offer remedial classes at a selective enrollment school. The boundaries are established, probably based upon the ward and minimum score required. If those seats are not filled with minimum score candidates they can go outside the neighborhood. Remember too that the Old Town area is home to some very influential and politically involved African American families.

  • 97. Neighborhood %  |  April 26, 2014 at 9:08 am

    There is a 20% “neighborhood” component at Jones which has not affected the quality of the school so not sure why this would be much different. I use the term “neighborhood” but at least in the case of Jones the area is quite large…way beyond the immediate area. I believe there were over 4000 applicants for 75 spots this past year & the SEHS admission score for the lowest accepted “neighborhood” applicant was around 850.

  • 98. Just Curious  |  April 26, 2014 at 9:16 am

    KLM — Will you be part of the Obama College Prep admission area? I remember you’re within the boundaries for Lincoln…

  • 99. lucky  |  April 26, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Reading this thread reminds me of how lucky we are. My kid goes to Disney II. It is less than a mile from my house. The high school is closer. Lil lucky missed gifted (142, tier 4) but we won proximity lottery. I was comparing test scores from d2 and they compare favorably with the very best suburban schools.

    Rahm for all his faults is not dumb. The parents of the kind of kids that go to sehs are the type of person the city needs to keep. They buy stuff and pay more in taxes than they take in services. They are the kind of person that volunteers more and are willing to support an educational foundation for their school to take the burden off the city to pay for enrichment activities at school. They don’t get what they want they move to Deerfield. So they get what they want, which is sehs. And they will not send their kid to the south side, unless they test into Ignatius.

  • 100. Neighborhood %  |  April 26, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Jones “neighborhood” boundaries:

  • 101. HS Mom  |  April 26, 2014 at 9:31 am

    @97 its less than that 300 students out of 1700 about 18%…pretty close actually.

    OK so the skeptic in me comes out. Political play in the area….odd how some tracts still remain tier 1 and 2 even after Cabrini Green is gone. Also the tier 3 Lincoln park blip they tried to put through last year. 30% is very high, but a good play for the development and current families who can’t get in to Payton. I’m sure this has nothing to do with sending kids from Jenner/Manierre to selective enrollment schools. On the plus side, this could be very good for the kids from MF housing who do get into LaSalle and Franklin.

  • 102. klm  |  April 26, 2014 at 9:34 am


    How is the “neighborhood” aspect at Jones? Is there a “minimum” score that even the ‘neighborhood lottery’ kids need to meet? If not, then there will be a “take em’ as you get em'” issue. If a kid is 3 or 4+ years behind everybody else (given the ISAT scores at Manierre and Jenner, that’s how far behind the average kid from those schools will be in 9th grade at a CPS SEHS), then he/she will need/require a differentiated curriculum per current law (which is, of course, only right –every child needs/requires an ‘appropriate’ level of instruction to succeed). If there are enough kids like that, there will be classes that are effectively remedial in nature.

    I know this is a K-8 example, but now that Skinner West has a “neighborhood” population and isn’t exclusively SE/Classical any longer, the non-Classical kids don’t have any ‘minimum’ score, right?

    How will it be different for OHS? Will the “neighborhood” kids just just be competing among themselves? Will there be tiers in the “neighborhood” admissions process, etc.?

    Does anybody know how all that’s done with Jones? Do all neighborhood kids go into a achivement-blind admissions lottery or is there an achivement-based aspect for even the “neighborhood admits”?

    I can envison an politically “equitable” process where every neighborhood CPS elementary in the OHS Neighborhood Enrollement Zone will have a “minimum” number of spaces at OHS. Given that not a single kid at either Manierre or Jenner scores “exceeds” in any subject in any grade on the ISAT, that scenario would effectively mean remedial classes.

  • 103. klm  |  April 26, 2014 at 9:39 am


    Thanks for the link. It answers much of what I was wondering, without me taking 30 seconds to Google (oops) an answer.

  • 104. HS Mom  |  April 26, 2014 at 9:40 am

    KLM – not sure what the cut off score is this year but the minimum last year was 575 out of 600 (grades plus ISAT). Last year they took some kids from out of the neighborhood. Don’t think that was the case this year.

    The CTE (neighborhood) program is the same as the selective school…all honors level classes. CTE students must take one law or engineering class every year which is also honors level.

  • 105. klm  |  April 26, 2014 at 10:22 am


    Thanks so much.


    I agree with you. I know it oftem seems like, for some people, “How can Rahm be so worried about what people with money want or need, when so many kids in Chicago are living in dire circumstances –how screwed up are his priorities? Some Chicago kids live in a war zone and he wants to coddle the children of middle and upper-middle class families that don’t even need help, kids in Lincoln Park already have it so good, why are we spending money on a school annex when some kids the ‘hood can’t even walk to school without getting shot (!) …..etc.” Just read the ‘Chicago Reader’ for examples of this kind of editorial thinking.

    However, this ignores what anybody looking at the history of American cities since the 1940s knows: if the middle-class’s concerns (public safety and education) are ignored, the whole city will go to Hell in a handbasket and its poor residents will be even worse off. Crime can and will destroy a neighborhood and even entire cities. The lack of decent public schools is just as important to familes that can and will easily move to suburbs with good public schools.

    The middle-class (by that I mean everybody from shift manager at McDonals to Head of Surgery at Whatever Hospital) is the backbone of any major city and its concerns should be just as important as anybody’s. They are not “petty” or less deserving than those of people with more dire life circumstances.

    Growing up in Detroit, I recall the almost glib response of its government officials when middle-class people were worried about crime and schools in the 1970s —they were practically labeled as spoiled whiners who should realize that the inner-city areas need more time and concern, given the historical and systemic problems people in these areas are dealing with –how can you be so insensitive? , etc. It was almost like : “People that really care about this city will stay and it you don’t like the way we’re doing things, then you don’t understand and if you move to the suburbs, good riddance to insesitive, ignorant people like you that don’t care about poor people…”

    How did that turn out?

  • 106. west rogers park mom  |  April 26, 2014 at 10:33 am

    I also agree that the 35th and State area would be a great place for a SEHS. My kid goes to ChiArts (just a few blocks east) and the location has been surprisingly convenient. Kids from all over the City can get their via public transportation, it is very accessible to downtown, the immediate area is already developed, and for those that demand Starbucks there is already a Starbucks on the corner.

    While exciting, I don’t know if I would send my kid to a new high school during its inaugural year, especially if it is just a Freshman class. I think that would limit extracurricular activities, course selection etc.

  • 107. klm  |  April 26, 2014 at 11:00 am


    I’m not sure, but I sure hope so. I guess that’s why I’m kinda’ fixated with the “neighborhood preference” aspect –thinking about the near future.

  • 108. North Center Mom  |  April 26, 2014 at 11:12 am

    @94 Searching, you may want to look at The Independent Schools Association of the Central States. A private school that joins ISACS must meet certain standards to maintain accreditation. It does not maintain rankings, but it is a good place to start looking for a private school.

  • 109. junior  |  April 26, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I love it. We now see emergence of a new NIMBY dynamic — i.e., this project sucks because it’s “not in my backyard”.

  • 110. Tier2Mom  |  April 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    To make this neighborhood succeed, there has to be a neighborhood component to the Obama HS and better options than Jenner and Manierre. We are a market rate, middle class family living in the former Cabrini neighborhood — exactly who Rahm and Burnett needs to attract to this area to sustain its growth and the viability of mixed income housing. We have lived here 8 years, long before most of the development. We were in early on in the mixed income experiment. However, we are thinking of moving primarily because of the lack of school options. We did not win a slot at any magnet — LaSalle, Newberry, Franklin, etc.. — all of the ones that we supposedly receive a proximity preference. My child tested exactly 99.0 percent on the gifted test for K but did not get in, first round anyway. We are waiting on second and third rounds this summer. My child can stay where he is at for kindergarten (private) but we won’t send him to Jenner (he’s already doing more than most first graders there) and we can’t afford three in private K-12.

    Its sad to have lived here for 8 years, to have stuck it out through the real estate recession, lived through some of the neighborhood gang issues, and to now see light at the end of the tunnel with CHA finally starting to finish the plan for transformation but to have no schooling option. Burnett and Rahm know that there needs to be some incentive for middle class people to move here. The type of person/family who will try mixed income housing, do not want to send their kids to private school. I like my current private, but its too expensive long-term and it does not provide the racial and economic diversity that I’d like my 3 kids to experience.

    Even if we get into a gifted program this summer, it will likely be far outside the neighborhood. Why participate in the mixed housing experiment, if it just means driving your kids to other neighborhoods all the time? It’s not really creating a diverse community, with authentic interactions, which is the goal of a mixed income community.

    As for those of you who think this will benefit children of LP primarily, your right and wrong. Yes, its closer and another option for LP parents, but its also needed for the poor and middle class kids in the immediate area and to keep the mixed income experiment on track. You really can’t have a successful mixed income area without good schools otherwise the low income kids are not interacting with middle class kids who have college, not joining a gang, as their focus. The next thing the Mayor needs to do is to start changing the boundaries for all of the surrounding schools — Ogden (getting too crowded and too big a zone), Manierre, Jenner, LP etc… — to get rid of the gerrymandering and to integrate the schools by SES. Without this, there is still no viable middle class option for K-8…all the neighborhood would become is a magnet for rentals for high school parents seeking to take advantage of the neighborhood preference. If you have good K-12, then the neighborhood will attract people legitimately want to make this area their home.

    Those of you who opine about how kids from Jenner and Manierre are ever going to make it at Obama…I don’t know. Your right that their current school is no preparing them. But, there is also a growing middle class contingency here who send their kids to private catholic or won the lottery (several in my mixed income building go to LaSalle I, LaSalle II, Newberry and Franklin). Those kids will be prepared for an SES and they have earned the increased change to attend. Their parents took on risk by moving to this neighborhood…having their home value (probably their largest investment) tied to the mixed income experiment, which is exactly that…an experiment. They pay the same taxes as families in LP, but get no schools, and deal with crime, gangs, and the ongoing delays in neighborhood construction. There is very little of a walkable neighborhood for families (unless Target is your destination) so, if those families get a leg up, then they have earned it.

  • 111. Tier2Mom  |  April 26, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Also, for what its worth…I think the next SES high school should be somewhere on the south side, like the Gap, another neighborhood with vacant land and the goal of mixed income redevelopment.

  • 112. Friends of Amundsen  |  April 26, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Letter to Mayor Emmanel and CPS CEO, Barbara Byrd-Bennett

    The following is the content of an open letter that Friends of Amundsen has sent to Mayor Emmanuel and CPS CEO, Barbara Byrd-Bennett regarding CPS’s current resource allocations to the Chicago Public High Schools.

    Last year, Amundsen High School, a neighborhood high school in Lincoln Square that has rapidly improved its academic and community relation successes, lost nearly $1 million dollars in their annual budget and the loss this year will be similar. In fact, neighborhood high school budgets across Chicago were cut by 14% in 2013 (Catalyst Chicago, 2013).
    Why is CPS choosing not to invest in our neighborhood high schools – but build yet another selective enrollment high school on the North Side? All children in CPS should have the opportunity to attend a well-resourced, enriched neighborhood high school. Providing disproportionate resources to the top five percent is a disservice to the future opportunities of Chicago students and the community as a whole. When we look at the trajectory of what will happen in the next two to 10 years with the current Chicago elementary school population (both public and private) there will not be enough selective enrollment spots for the top five percent of students. We need to start thinking about the student population as a whole and through a holistic lens.
    To continue to put disproportionate resources into selective enrollment also perpetuates a stressful entry into high school both for parents and children. Many community members are struggling with the decision to commit to their local current neighborhood high school as the programs continue to be cut by CPS central office – even as many of these schools, like Amundsen, show strong academic progress and stronger community ties.
    Without investment into our local high schools, Chicago’s population will continue to decline. To have a truly enriched K-to-12 experience, thriving neighborhood elementary schools should feed into a thriving neighborhood high school. This brings neighborhoods together, creates community and – therefore – a greater Chicago.
    You cannot keep strangling neighborhood high schools. All it will do is send families to the suburbs or beyond. It is a ridiculously vicious and unfair cycle that has repercussions beyond declining enrollment. If six of the city’s high schools can routinely dominate Illinois’ top 10 (U.S. News & World Report, 2014), then we can start providing greater support to the rest of CPS’s high schools so that Chicago can dominate the top 50.

  • 113. FirstGradeBound  |  April 26, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    The “N” word (neighborhood, as in school) has a negative connotation among most Chicago parents and decision-makers. This. Has. To. Stop.

  • 114. Letter is missing the real point  |  April 26, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Fix the pensionns and there will be plenty of money to invest in everything!

  • 115. Letter is missing the real point  |  April 26, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    All schools lost dollars last year? SEHS and neighborhood schools.

    How is there a disproportionate investment in SEHS? Adding up the dollars pumped into neighborhood schools does not support this claim.

    TIF was used, so how could it have been used otherwise? It is not like the dollars were taken from neighborhood schools. Admundsen has fantatic grounds and a huge school. What is their point?

  • 116. Lsquared  |  April 26, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    It’s not a great location for a High School. There is no room for sports fields, ect. The traffic will become more gridlocked. Whomever CPS has as their planners should be fired. Salazar is across the street from WP. WY is down the street from SW. This school would be on top of SN. Just south of Division between Chicago ave lies plenty of open space that seems currently unused. How can park district land be used for new schools? We don’t have one decent HS that I know of in Logan Square. Couldn’t there have been some community input as it will be dedicated to a community organizer? This is why we need an elected board because whomever is running the “shows” has no concept of reality.

  • 117. pantherettie  |  April 26, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Fantastic open letter from Amudsen. Well done!

  • 118. JLM  |  April 26, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    @88 – I’m disturbed at Rod Estvan’s comment regarding providing a public option for kids that otherwise would have attended private and therefore cost CPS nothing. We’re a public school family, and certainly hope to remain one when our kids hit high school. I hate the idea of intentionally steering families that can afford private away from public school.

  • 119. West Logan Square Dad  |  April 26, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    @116….Coming to logan square in fall of 2014 “Marine Math & Science Academy 7th-12th(Selective Enrollment School)??? That is what the community was told by 26th ward alderman roberto maldonaldo & mayor emmanuel

  • 120. cpsobsessed  |  April 26, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Keeping this in the same post, since part of the SEHS conversation relates to “why don’t they make the neighborhood high schools better”. News from DNA

    By Serena Dai on April 26, 2014 2:24pm


    LAKEVIEW — Lake View High School’s principal, who’s been a divisive figure among some of the staff, announced Friday that she would be leaving the position “to provide support to all of our area high schools,” according to a letter to the community.

    Lilith Werner’s last day as principal was Friday. Assistant principals Michael Cox and Rhonda Varney will continue at the school, as well as STEM coordinator Jennifer Sutton.

    “Thank you for three exciting years as your Principal,” the letter from Werner said. “We have seen great changes at Lake View and I am happy I will be able to continue supporting Lake View’s STEM, Arts, and Humanities program.”

    Werner has been unpopular among some members of the staff, who took to sending anonymous letters to reporters, local officials and school council members this year — alleging that she instilled a culture of paranoia and intimidation at the school.

    Council members and administration never officially acted due to the anonymity of the letters. Several also said they had not personally seen proof of alleged problems, while some staff members said the letter writers were a small group of “toxic” people.

    But internal tensions came to light last month after Werner asked the council to redo a staff survey rating her performance after several of the evaluation forms went missing. Some staffers suspected that teachers were trying to game the system by swiping surveys.

    Despite the tensions, Werner’s departure before the end of the school year came as a surprise to some. As late as last Tuesday, Werner was discussing action plans and goals for the next year with teachers, according to one staff member.

    Emails and calls to the school council’s chair and CPS were not immediately returned.

    The school council, which is responsible for hiring a new principal, will be holding its next meeting on Wednesday, April 30 at 6 p.m. in the school’s social room, 4015 N. Ashland Ave.

    “It has been my great honor working with you and for all our students,” Werner’s letter said.

  • 121. local  |  April 26, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    “Couldn’t there have been some community input as it will be dedicated to a community organizer?” Yea, you’d think, right. In recent news:

  • 122. local  |  April 26, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    To quote: “Multivariate analysis indicates that economic e
    lites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or
    no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic Elite Domination and for theories of Biased
    Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism. “

  • 123. local  |  April 26, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    @118. JLM | April 26, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Estvan’s looking at the CPS holistically, not individually.

  • 124. parent  |  April 26, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    @klm, The neighborhood kids at Payton were uncermoniously phased out in 3 years. We will see how long they last at Obama High.

  • 125. reenie  |  April 26, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Mary Mitchell, who has been a Rahm supporter in the past, is not too happy about the location. Gotta say I agree with this. Altgeld Gardens–where Obama used to organize– and Roseland are completely off the radar:

    “Frankly, if the mayor had to build a new selective-enrollment school and give it Obama’s name, it would have made more sense to build it in an area of the South Side where Obama was involved in community organizing.”

  • 126. in the know  |  April 26, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    a friend of a friend of a friend told me her south side alderman hinted, well, spilled the beans, yesterday that the Southside is getting the Obama Library (secret done deal) AND a new Whitney Young 2 (with a nod to Michelle Obama) in the same location… The news would be announced very soon…

  • 127. klm  |  April 26, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    I don’t get the Amundsen letter, either. I understand that they feel that it’s wrong to build a new SEHS when money’s so tight, but the money won’t be coming from CPS (at least not until operations kick in). They’d have a point if CPS was using money from its general fund or operations to build OHS, but it’s not.

    The biggest point here is that it’s TIF money. Yes, I gwet that TIF won’t pay for EVERYTHING (operations, long-term employee benefits, etc), but it’ll pay for the construction costs, which is a lot.

    If people want Amundsen to be a school that’s academically attractive and a viable option for all kinds of people, it needs to improve its test scores. Frankly, that’s the only thing that will change many peoples’ minds

    Yes, more money’s always nice, but lots of places spend less money per student than CPS (e.g., Naperville) but still have schools that make residents happy and attract newcomers.


    Oh no. I hope that’s not what’in the cards for OHS.


    I agree with you. We’re talking investing in public education here, not a boondogle project to create business and paychecks for friends, those with connections and the “right” people.

    I understand that CPS has been fiscally mismanaged over the years, the nightmare fiscal problems, etc. However, this is an investment that will pay off several fold in terms of the revenue payments made by people staying in Chicago instead of moving to Northbrook, the broadening appeal of the neighborhood (again more revenue from higher property values), positive vibes for the city, good for perceptions about CPS, and so on.

    Also, where’s this idea that people will just have no issue paying for private schools? Rod Estevan is mistaken if he thinks those people who have kids that would be going to “private or parochial” wouldn’t just as often or MORE often move out of the city rayher than send their kids to OHS.

    The fact is, not everybody cares to pay $15-35k/year for HS, even when they theoretically can afford it. Also, what about people that don’t want their kids going to Parker or Latin (assuming they’d even get in). Plus, lot’s of people aren’t Catholic or even religious (some are Jewish, but can’t bring themselves to send their kids to Catholic school –I know several of those), etc..

    Just on my block two families moved to the suburbs in the past year, since their older kids were getting close to HS and they didn’t want to go private (and I’m kinda’ 100% sure that they could afford it since their homes sold for real money), deal with SE admissions, etc –that’s what they told me. If their kids could go to OHS maybe they’d have stayed, but who knows?

  • 128. @klm  |  April 26, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    @klm. Are we only to care about people on the Near North Side moving out to the burbs? There are plenty of middle class families on the South/Southwest side choosing to leave the city due to the lack of HS options. The point of the Amundsen letter is very clear to me. All we keep hearing is the TIF is paying for it. Who cares? The yearly operational costs of running a new SEHS could be put to better use all over the city’s high schools. Or, those operational costs could support a SEHS in a safe neighborhood on the Near South Side. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, there are safe middle class neighborhoods on the South Side.

  • 129. klm  |  April 27, 2014 at 7:10 am


    I understand your point. I’m not suggesting for a moment that the concerns of families elsewhere are in any way less important. I was trying to say that if Chicago’s finally going to turn the corner and be a place where people with options stay and raise a family, instead of moving to the suburbs for schools at some point, then OHS was a move in the right direction.

    I still say that having OHS at Cabrini Green is more apropriate for logistics reasons than anywhere else, like Bronzeville or Roseland (as Mary Mitchell suggested). Kids from all over the city will be able to get there more easily than at other locations.

    I know lots of family and friends (middle-class black people) from the Southside that got tired of dealing with the public schools and scrambling to find/pay for a decent parochial, private, SE, magnet, etc., so they just up and left for Oak Park, Frankfort,Flossmoor or wherever. The school situation is a big deal –it’s often a deal-breaker for middle-class people eveywhere in the city. They can use OHS for another option before finally leavng.

    Also, as much as I know that crime is not the war zone variety everywhere on the Southside, it really is an issue. The biggest reason I’ve known people to move from Chatham, Pill Hill, etc., is the way concerns aboout public safety have impacted their quality of life. Even from some of our Southside booster friends and relatives, when we’re leaving their homes after a kid’s birthday party or backyard lunch and we mention that we’re going to stop at a nearby playground, we’ll get concerned reminders of which parks are safe and which are not and total reprimands in some cases (“Oh no, don’t go there, it’s not a good idea to go there, either…”). If even these people have concerns, how is it wrong for other people to worry about the neighborhood where their kids wil be going to school? What if my kids want to go to a park with their friends after school?

    My family is on the Southside fairly often –visiting friends,family, eating out at one of our favorite restaurants (which is in Chatham). I’m not oblivious as to the concerns of people there (which are basically ones about public safety and schools). However, I can discuss in more detail about where I live, because, well, that’s where I live.

  • 130. pantherettie  |  April 27, 2014 at 8:34 am

    @129 – your post is really reasonable and thoughtful. I suspect that many north side parents and families feel the same way. I think the problem of the location of this school is one of basic fairness though. Not being from Chicago, I learned many years ago that this city of neighborhoods has “pockets” of safety and “pockets” of trouble that can be from one block to the next. By discounting most, if not all, of the neighborhoods south of Roosevelt road, the mayor and the powers that be at CPS ignored that fact. The southside is not just one large area without any possible safe and accessible SEHS school locations.I just can’t believe that their is no TIF eligible land that is available south of the city. It just doesn’t seem fair to place another SEHS approximately 1 mile away from another SEHS when there is not one on the southwest side of the city. The message that I got from this announcement was that there would be a new high school on the northside so that there would be more seats for tier 4 kids who didn’t get into their first choice of school on the north side. When the mayor is talking about 2,400 eligible kids who didn’t get a seat is he really only speaking about the tier 4 kid who made 878 and didn’t get into NSCP, WP, Lane or WY or does that also include the tier 2 kid on the south west side of the city that made a 769 but can’t go to a SEHS because there is not reasonable way (aka less than a 2 hour bus ride) to get to school? This is not just a question of safety it’s also a question about the quality of life kids have when they need to wake up at 5:30 a.m. and get home after 6:00 p.m., it also means limited access to afterschool or before school activities for them due to the distance. It also means that families who have kids at these schools (possibly others) struggle to be part of the school community. I’m glad that there are people standing up and saying that this is not fair to families and kids who live on the south and southwest sides of the city.

  • 131. Maureen Kelleher  |  April 27, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Indeed there are south side neighborhoods with TIF funds. TIF funds were used to built the new Back of the Yards HS, though they didn’t pay for the entire construction cost. Rahm is setting the TIF bar higher than Daley did:

  • 132. School location?  |  April 27, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Many on this site seem to suggest that the location of any new SEHS should be on the SS. Yet, the SS already has 4 SEHS (Brooks, South Shore, King & Lindblom) that apparently are not attractive to middle class families living South of Roosevelt. Why would a 5th location be any different?

    Current central locations: WY, Jones, Westinghouse (only SEHS centrally located that hasn’t seemed to thrive yet) & Payton

    North locations: Northside, Lane

    Here is a link to SEHS map:;609678;609751;609720;610391;609749;609680;610547;609693;609755

  • 133. OTdad  |  April 27, 2014 at 9:24 am

    ” There are plenty of middle class families on the South/Southwest side choosing to leave the city due to the lack of HS options. The point of the Amundsen letter is very clear to me.”

    The Amundsen letter is basically a complaint, not a solution. Instead of investing in neighborhood high schools, CPS should get rid of the neighborhood model with high schools altogether, make every high school selective enrollment, ensuring all kids who want to learn have a seat in decent high schools, with decent classmates.

    People are fleeing to the burbs mainly because they don’t want their kids end up in a school with so many students that don’t want to be there, little to do with school resources. If we can achieve separation by selective enrollment, the problem is solved.

  • 134. klm  |  April 27, 2014 at 9:27 am


    Well, here’s the deal with CPS SEHSs: the Southside has:

    1. Brooks
    2. Lindbloom
    3, South Shore International
    4. King

    The Northside has:

    1. Payton
    2. Lane
    3. NSCP

    Jones’s address if 700 SOUTH State.
    WY is at 211 SOUTH Laflin.

    Technically, in the south-of-Madison sense, Jones and WY ARE on the Southside. No, not the FAR Southside (in the same way Payton’s not on the FAR Northside, either).

    If the Northside already had more SEHSs, and the Southside fewer, I’d be more sympathetic to that point of view, but tha’s not the case.

    It’s also a fact that the Southside’s CPS student population is shrinking, while on the Northside it’s increasing –30, 40, 50 years ago it was thw opposite and CPS was clsing schools in the Northside or turning them into maget schools (LaSalle, Hawthorne,…) since there weren’t enough local area kids to fill them. Things change.

    Oh yeah, there’s also Westinghouse which is in Lawndale –hardly a bastion of middle-class non-minority people that are demanding a New Trier education from CPS for their coddled children.

  • 135. accessible to all??  |  April 27, 2014 at 9:30 am

    @128, Your assertion that the former Cabrini location is accessible to all is wrong. Unless, you consider at least two hours by 3 different buses a safe and reasonable commute for a high school student. Go on CTA trip advisor and map some of these routes, lets say from Mt. Greenwood on the SW side. 97 minutes and 3 buses, not taking into account weather conditions such as the ones we had this winter.
    I suggest you and others that believe this is a logistically great location (Rahm included) try this commute for a week, or better yet have your 14 year old do it, and see how long it lasts. Coming from Bridgeport (a safe neighborhood on the SS), this is approximately an hour commute during rush hour. I guess it an option for our neighborhood (although not an ideal commute), but any further south and west of here, I don’t think so.

    I agree there are safety concerns for all in many areas of the SS, as well as all over the city, but there are neighborhoods on the near SS that are much more accessible to all and safe. How about putting an SEHS one mile from Jones? At least those on the far SS/SW side stand a chance of getting there in about an hour. As 130 states “The message that I got from this announcement was that there would be a new high school on the northside so that there would be more seats for tier 4 kids who didn’t get into their first choice of school on the north side.” Very well said.

    I too have a Tier 4 address and it’s on the near South Side.

  • 136. pantherettie  |  April 27, 2014 at 9:31 am

    @132 – Let’s be clear about what we’re talking about here. When you’re saying that south side SEHS are not attractive to middle class families do you mean white middle class families? I say that because, there are many middle class families (primarily AA and Hispanic) that send their kids to the schools you listed. If you’re saying that white middle class families will not send their kids to SEHS on the south side, I totally agree with you. If you’re saying that AA and Hispanic families, middle class or otherwise, wouldn’t send their kid to a SEHS on the south side I would strongly disagree – because *we* are already doing it. It’s just not clear from this site just how many folks do because many of the voices here are from the north side.

  • 137. @ OT dad  |  April 27, 2014 at 9:45 am

    OTdad, what do you suggest CPS does with the students that academically can’t compete in a SEHS, yet are decent students that want to “compete”, (at a chance of college and a decent job that is). Better yet, what does CPS do with the kids that can’t compete in a SEHS and aren’t decent students?

  • 138. pantherettie  |  April 27, 2014 at 9:47 am

    @134 KLM – Since we’re talking numbers, can you look at number of seats vs number of schools when you consider parity between placement of SEHS on the south side vs. the north side of the city. I’m not sure, but I don’t think that there is a school equivalent in size to Lane Tech on the south side. Also, why the dig at Westinghouse and Lawndale communities? I’ve never been to the school so I can’t say anything about it personally, but yesterday I met some great parents and great kids at a robotics competition from the school who are from the community who do care about their kids. It’s not cool to make generalizations like that about entire communities.

  • 139. School location?  |  April 27, 2014 at 9:50 am

    @136 pantherettie.
    I have no idea what color the individuals are that don’t ‘seem’ to consider Brooks, King, Lindblom & SS viable options. All I do know is that many people on this site (including those whom have made it clear that they live South of Roosevelt) seem to prefer WY, Jones, Payton etc… OVER the SEHSs already located on the SS.

    Thus, if funds are going to be spent to build a new SEHS it would make sense to place it in a location where it is “more likely than not” to be successful.

    @135 Is the Metra and el train ‘inaccessible’ from your location on the SS?

  • 140. klm  |  April 27, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Also, if OHS (800 N) will beconsidered “Northside,” then WY (700 S) should be considered “Southside.”


    (Just to let you know, there are 2 ‘klm’s responding on this thread) the thing is, if somebody lives on the FAR NW side, FAR SW side, or FAR wherever neighborhood, then yes, things are FAR for OHS. For those people even “Downtown” is far. However, if it were located in Edison Park or Oriole Park or the far Southside, then even fewer kids would have realistic access. From a lositics point of view, I still believe that this is a (relatively speaking) “central” location, given the proximity of the brown and red line, bus routes, etc.

    Chicago’s a big city area-wise, so there are always some neighborhoods that will feel outta’ the loop, but I can’t see how Bronzeville, Roseland or whatever neighborhood people have discussed could ever be considered more “central” than the corner of Chicago and Halstead for a city-wide enrollment school.

    Relative to other locations people have discussed, the Cabrini Green local is genuinely “central.’ No, not “perfectly accessible” from every corner of the city, but “accessible” in a way that a location on the city’s extremities would definitely not be.

    The city was build on a grid w/ State/Madison a “ground zero.” It still is roughly the center where commercial activity meet, etc., so the public transportation system is set up accordingly.

  • 141. klm  |  April 27, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I should have said Jones (700 S) should be considered “Southside.”

  • 142. klm  |  April 27, 2014 at 10:26 am


    The Westinghouse comment was not a dig, I was simply pointing out that it’s in a neighborhood that’s not the kind some people are criticising Rahm about when deciding where to build a new CPS school.

    Also, I’m not ripping a neighborhood apart when I point out something that’s factual true: there’s a crime problem in Lawndale and there aren’t many upper-middle class families living there –in what way am I wrong? How’s that a “dig”?

  • 143. School location?  |  April 27, 2014 at 10:28 am

    @138 Since you bring up Lane, I would like to note that not too long ago…Lane was considered a ‘last resort’ for many middle class+ parents on the NS but that is NOT the case anymore.

    Parents got involved, large groups of students from nearby elementary schools began to attend Lane (Bell Elementary…long considered a strong neighborhood/RGC center for those unfamiliar with NS elementary schools… is probably now one of the largest feeders into Lane) an energetic principal was hired & Lane is now an attractive option for students on the NS.

    And yes, because of its relative size (which translates into slightly easier score requirements then Payton, NS, Jones, WY) it has the ability to serve many Tier 4 students scoring slightly below 875 PLUS attract top scoring students (perfect 900) on the NS…thus, I question whether many NS parents would choose to commit their child to a long commute to a new SEHS located on the SS rather than attend Lane. In fact, I hear this exact sentiment over & over again even when discussing the commute to WY v. Lane. This same scenario is also playing out at the AC level & it is reflected in the yearly jump in the score needed to attend Lane AC.

    Perhaps this same replica could be repeated at one of the current SEHS already located on the SS…

  • 144. Calling a Spade  |  April 27, 2014 at 10:52 am

    There are a lot of biases alive and kicking on this thread. Let’s face it — IF there was a new SEHS planned in or near YOUR ‘hood (wherever that might be), you’d be very much in favor of it.

    KLM is the perfect example of this. She started out her argument in favor of Obama College Prep as a great opportunity for the low income Jenner and Manniere students (#79) and upon realizing it could benefit her kids living within the attendance area, her argument switched to limiting more affluent families from moving to the suburbs (#107). She was equally verbal about the newly proposed Lincoln annex because it’s good for her.

    It just goes to show you most of us are guilty of liking something when we’re potentially on the receiving end.

  • 145. pantherettie  |  April 27, 2014 at 11:11 am

    @142 – Your comment was this, “Oh yeah, there’s also Westinghouse which is in Lawndale –hardly a bastion of middle-class non-minority people that are demanding a New Trier education from CPS for their coddled children.”

    That was a comment about the parents who live in the community not wanting a high quality education for their kids. That didn’t say anything about crime in the community. If you want to say that there are some parents in Lawndale who don’t care about their kids’ education – sure thing. If you want to say that there is a crime problem in Lawndale – absolutely. But don’t make – and then later justify – a blanket comment about how parents in a particular community feel about school choice. I worked with families in the Lawndale community for many years and while many were not “middle class” they had a strong desire for their kids to be successful and to attend fantastic schools. Westinghouse SEHS is a new school in the community, just like Disney II is a new school in the community and neither has had an opportunity to grow into what they will become. So let’s maybe wait a bit before saying that people in Lawndale “aren’t demanding a New Trier education from CPS for their coddled children”.

    I’m not saying that you shouldn’t share your opinions, I’m just saying it’s not cool to make blanket statements about communities.

  • 146. HS Mom  |  April 27, 2014 at 11:26 am

    @136 – ” If you’re saying that AA and Hispanic families, middle class or otherwise, wouldn’t send their kid to a SEHS on the south side I would strongly disagree – because *we* are already doing it”

    I totally agree with this statement and your argument. The major point missing here is that the SEHS stats show that the scores needed to get into these schools are around 650 down to 600 even someone posting on this site with a score in the upper 500’s. From this I get that the needs of the southside are being served, other than a group (and I could point out in posts on this very thread) who insist that these schools are not viable options because A. they are located in a bad neighborhood or B you have to pass through a bad neighborhood to get to it. When you complain about how northsiders view the southside, listen to the way you talk about your schools.

    It seems to me (and I might be wrong about this) that there is a preference to attend schools located further north that are more diverse. I know at my old elem school located near south EVERYONE ranked Payton as #1. Before the flood of people come on and say how Whitney Young is/was your first choice….Think about that too – as someone just pointed out OHS is very close to WY.

    So, if more options in a safer neighborhood that attracts top performing students from private/public schools from all over the city is not something that the southside wants then I would suggest taking another look at the numbers. This school is simply filling a need. Tier 4 students from any location that need more than 800 points to get into any of the schools that are in the near south and north.

  • 147. HS Mom  |  April 27, 2014 at 11:38 am

    “However, if it were located in Edison Park or Oriole Park or the far Southside, then even fewer kids would have realistic access.”

    Good point. Also want to point out again that there is the issue of suburban kids getting into SEHS and this could fuel that problem.

  • 148. klm  |  April 27, 2014 at 11:46 am


    Do you honest-to-God think think that when I heard about OHS I didn’t immediately think: “Cool! Another possible option for my kids.”

    Having grown up poor in an urban environment (projects and all…) I do have a special interest in similar kids (like the ones at Jenner and Manierre), the related achievement gap and what it all means in terms of public education, etc. (it does not for a moment mean my opinions have more validity than another person’s, just that it’s an area that I’m interested in thinking and talking about because of some familiartity and concerns). I’m not even sure we live south enough to be considered “neighborhood preference,” for OHS, so I’m not holding my breath. I was just as excited before I knew there was going to be (apparently b/c of the TIF funding a la Jones, Skinner West, etc., it’s some kind of ‘neighborhood’ connection to neighborhood-specific funds) a “neighborhood preference” and to be honest, because we live so far north, I’ve assumed from the beginning that we’re “too far.”

    If OHS were being build in the South Loop, I’d still be as excited. If it were being built on 130th or in Edison Park near Touhy, maybe not so much, that’s true –those really would be the opposite of “centrally” located.

    Frankly, I think this is good news for everybody in Chicago: Another great public school available for everybody that qualifies –what’s wrong with that? Yes, we need to keep working on non-SE schools, but meanwhile there’s another great possible options in terms of public education for a city that needs more of them.

    The same with the Lincoln Annex. It’s a great neighborhood public school (doesn’t Chicago want those?) that’s getting a much needed improvement to its physical structure, which was by any objective observer clearly inadequate. Even if I didn’t have a kid at Lincoln, I’d have been in favor, just like I’m happy about the improvements at Sauganash, Edgebrook, Coonley……etc Those are schools in the city where I live and I’m happy that they’re improving to educate kids properly. These are investments in public education, not a waste of public money for somebody’s pet project(s).

    I’m 100% against wasting money, but also know that certain public expenditures really are worth it in terms of the benfits to the city. I believe the annex at Lincoln (and the dozens of other CPS schools) and the new OHS are also 100% the “right” kind of public infrastructure investment –we’re talking education here not more green space or urban development to create more restaurants for rich people.

  • 149. HS Mom  |  April 27, 2014 at 11:48 am

    @144 “Let’s face it — IF there was a new SEHS planned in or near YOUR ‘hood (wherever that might be), you’d be very much in favor of it.”

    Nope, not in my hood, not even close. This is a huge benefit for the whole city of Chicago. Stop kidding yourself.

  • 150. pantherettie  |  April 27, 2014 at 11:58 am

    @143 – I think that you’re absolutely correct about how a school (and the perception of a school) can change with a dynamic principal and dedicated parents. Lane is a fantastic example of that. I think that you’re also correct in that south side SEHS would strongly benefit from elementary schools that act as “feeders”.

  • 151. School location?  |  April 27, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    @150 pantherettie

    So which of the current SS SEHSs is most viable for a turnaround similar to what was experienced at Lane? Just curious as I am not as familiar with the SS schools or neighborhoods…

  • 152. OTdad  |  April 27, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    “what do you suggest CPS does with the students that academically can’t compete in a SEHS, yet are decent students that want to “compete”, (at a chance of college and a decent job that is). Better yet, what does CPS do with the kids that can’t compete in a SEHS and aren’t decent students?

    Less than 1 in 10 CPS high school students are considered college ready. Pouring money into poor performing neighborhood high schools is basically waste of money, because large percentage of the students are simply not college material. I would make college prep high schools all selective enrollment, enough seats for 30-40% of the student body. For the rest, we defocus academics, and teach the students law, life skills, leaning more towards vocational education.

    “No child left behind” makes sense at elementary school level. When it’s high school, we should realize that not everybody has a future academically.

  • 153. pantherettie  |  April 27, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    @151 – I’d hate to use the word “turnaround” because it implies that the SS SEHS are failing. They simply are not. For example, Lindblom was ranked 14th in the state (above New Trier), has 4 Gates scholars this year and 9 Posse(sp?) scholars. Really good things are happening at Brooks as well. King had challenges with their principal over the past year but has had some other issues that, from the outside looking in, seem that could be addresses with new leadership.

    I’m a Lindblom parent so I’m absolutely biased, but I think that the school that could really benefit from a more constructive “feeder” school relationship would be King. There are a couple of strong schools in various south side communities that would consider the Bronzville location of the school. The issue is that many kids from Ray, Murray, Beasley, Harte ect. end up going to Kenwood’s AC and staying for high school or leaving to attend WY and now Jones. The transportation to King is not super easy but is not fantastically long from various south communities. That portion of Bronzeville is as safe, in my opinion, as any other working class neighborhood on the south side. If elementary schools would consider King as a destination high school and the schools and parents in the communities thought it was – maybe their could be a Lane style resurgence for the school.

  • 154. HS Mom  |  April 27, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    @153 – Good point. I think the Lane resurgence was initially driven by scores until it got to the point where ranking went up and scores are just a given. The entire surrounding area becoming tier 4 drove high scoring northsiders to Lane. The inability of SS kids to get into the top 4 schools has even brought southsiders to Lane. I don’t see any feeder schools for Lane – although many like to boast about the SE schools their kids get into in general.

    How would you get high scoring kids to choose King over Jones/WY/Payton and even Lindblom?

  • 155. The Mom (@rkoloms)  |  April 27, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Is this what was to be Whitney Young 2? It’s disappointing that the south side isn’t getting this school, just more charters.

  • 156. School location?  |  April 27, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    @153 & 154

    I agree that the ‘perception’ change at Lane was initially fueled, in part or perhaps primarily, by the inability of NS students to get into the other 4 SEHSs. However, it now stands on its own merits IMO.

    If the inability of NS students to achieve the high entry score necessary to attend NS, WY, Payton or Jones helped Lane flourish…to your point regarding the low entry scores at some of the SS SEHSs…that same dynamic is not part of the mix for SS students. Thus, it’s hard to see how a 5th SEHS on SS would be different.

    @pantherettie…even though I know little about the SS SEHSs…I do have a favorable impression of Lindblom. I’ve seen great posts by the principal on this site & had the opportunity to meet some of the nicest kids/families from Lindblom AC this Fall when working the open house at Jones. You are right in being reluctant to use the word ‘turnaround’ maybe ‘perception’ would be better.

  • 157. klm  |  April 27, 2014 at 1:50 pm


    Now wait a minute. I should have been more clear, but I was directing my comments along the lines of countering the criticisms that many people have of Rahm (and CPS and Daley before him) re: CPS spending, openings, closings, etc. which goes something like “All he (they) care about is keeping rich white people happy.” This seems crude, but it’s more or less what I’ve heard/seen to the word at meetings I’ve attended and online screeds and articles that I’ve read. Even Mary Mitchell was a little too harsh, I think. Obama’s EVERYBODY’s President, not the the President of Southside Black Families that are irked about the CPS school closures (That were underenrolled because so many black families on the Southside and Westside are leaving the cities due to crime and bad public schools in the first place –when white families did it in the 50s-70s it was called ‘white flight.’ Some now call it ‘black flight’).

    My point was that when Westinghouse was creatred, its location suggests that there was no intentional purpose creating a new school to “keep rich white people happy.”

    I’d never in a million years suggest that poor people care less than anybody else about education. Heck, I grew up poor. I know that’s not true. However, it’s also true that Lawndale’s got some problems that do not make it a mecca for wealthy urbanites.

    I have personally some issues with charter schools and the idea of vouchers, but I’ve always untimately been in favor when it comes to poor families, because I feel that they should be able to have options other than failure-factories, like the rest of American society. In that vain, I’m thrilled and genuinely happy that schools like Westinghouse exist. If anywhere needs a quality SEHS, it’s a place like Lawndale.

    As I said, I’m all for the creation of schools that will provide a quality education for all of Chicago’s kids. Yes, when one’s being proposed near where I live, it’s especially exciting (why would it not be?), but it doesn’t mean that I don’t care about anybody else’s education or kids or think that people with less money care less about education that I do.

  • 158. Searching  |  April 27, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    @108 North Center Mom
    Thank you. I’ll check that website.

  • 159. King College Prep Mom  |  April 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I have a son who is a freshman at KCP! The previous principal left in October & yes she created some leadership issues within the school. We had an interim principal who was the AP for Kenwood who is now the contract principal! He has already improved parental involvement & has a very strong and clear vision for the school. My son & I have been very happy with the school. Is it perfect? No. Does there need to be some improvements–yes (like I would suspect at all schools).

    The work at King is VERY rigorous! My straight A student now has a mix of B’s & C’s and sometimes gets D’s. They are NOT “dumbing down” the work at all. I thought his good magnet prepared him for HS but sadly his grammar did not. Given their lower entry scores King has to deal with some of their students having deficits in some areas. They do an excellent job! If you have ever looked at their Explore scores King has the highest growth! That’s not to dismiss the elite 4 as this blog calls them but when schools have all top scorers it is very hard to move high performers higher.

    We have Posse winners, I believe one Gates Winner & did you know King had 8 students accepted to UofI-Chapaign for Engineering (each majoring in a different area of engineering). We had some of our drama students win some big accolade & have the top band in the country. If any of you had ever gone to one of the open houses then you could see the beautiful art work that our students create! Our arts program is very strong!

    I have left LSC meetings at around 8:15 pm and there is no one hanging around the school. I don’t park in the school parking lot, I park on the street and I am not fearful when I walk to my car. We have a very nice courtyard and when its hot outside the students sit out there and nothing has ever happened to any of them. I do not allow my son to take public transportation and it would not have mattered what school he attended, i am just over protective, however there are many students who take public transportation to King & they make it to school unharmed EVERY day. Another thing that I can’t stress enough is that Hydiya was not killed near the school. She was murdered in a park about a mile away near her home in HYDE PARK not Bronzeville where King is located.

    I do not understand actually why white parents from Hyde Park area don’t send their children to King. I do see one woman who proudly drops both her white sons off at the school everyday. I do also see three Asian females who travel together on public transportation. We also have a few latino students as well. Even though King isn’t very diverse, it could be more diverse if parents of other races would select the school. Parents who live downtown could also easily access King. Metra stpos at 47th & Lake Park then the bus on 47th St. transports the students to Drexel and a few blocks walk north VIOLA you have arrived at King.

    Finally, in defense of Lindblom–I have many friends whose children attend.Lindblom, which has this elaborate shuttle system that transports students from all over the city to the front door of the school. The AC students are able to use the shuttle system or the school buses.Brooks has worked with CTA to have a bus stop actually pick up the students inside the gates of the school.

    Finally to end my rant the US World & News Report awarded Brooks a Gold Medal. Lindblom & King were awarded silver medals. I think no matter what their ranking was there is no way to tell what actually goes on in the building because everything can’t be determined about a school from stats alone. Incidentally, last year Brooks was raked where Lindblom is now and vice versa for Lindblom last year–so not sure what happened there. King didn’t get higher or lower stayed the same. South Shore was not ranked because they don’t have test data & incidentally they will this year but it won’t be just from their SE population. Now sure what happened with Westinghouse but it may have something to do with the number of AP courses offered, taken & passed.

    Sorry for the long post…:)

  • 160. School location?  |  April 27, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    @King College Prep Mom

    Thanks for your informative post! Would love to hear from other SS SEHS parents about their experiences…perhaps it will encourage some people to take a second look at what the SS SEHSs have to offer.

  • 161. Dd  |  April 27, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    So, do I understand it correctly that they are taking the only public park in the neighborhood, bulldozing it over, and building a school that will serve mostly out of area kids? While there is plenty of vacant CHA-owned land all around it? Makes no sense to me.

  • 162. pantherettie  |  April 27, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    @158 – Fantastic Post – thanks so much for sharing another view of a south side SEHS. I would make only one correction. This year Lindblom was given a gold ranking in the U.S. News and World Report listing of the best high schools. Last year they were silver. (I’ve always said that I’m a proud Lindblom Parent 🙂

  • 163. North Center Mom  |  April 27, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    This is a public school blog (thank you, cpsobsessed!). But if you are interested in the larger urban planning, design and public policy issues at play at the former Cabrini-Green site, here is a website for you.

  • 164. Sorry pantheretti  |  April 27, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    I was typing so fast & it was such a long post! Yes, last lindblom recieved silver & yes this year they got a gold medal. I was trying to illustrate that schools could increase & decrease drastically from year to year & it doesn’t make them a lesser school. Brooks dropped but there are still great things going on at the school! My youngest will be starting Kenwoods AC next school year! Another great silver medal school! I just hit the convenience jackpot! I pass kenwood everyday on my way to King then go to my job in the south loop! I’m happy both my sons are in good, safe schools with short commutes.

  • 165. karet  |  April 27, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Earlier, you wrote: “The middle-class (by that I mean everybody from shift manager at McDonals to Head of Surgery at Whatever Hospital) is the backbone of any major city and its concerns should be just as important as anybody’s.”

    I hate to break it to you, but you, your LP neighbors, and the ‘Head of Surgery and Whatever Hospital’ are not part of the middle class. This is not to say that wealthy Chicagoans are not important to the mayor and the city as a whole. They invest in businesses, spend extravagant sums on goods and services, and give enormous political contributions. The concern is that the new high school will have a disproportionate number of students from this tiny segment of the population — a population that already has many good choices for HS (Lincoln Park HS, private, or even New Trier). Chicago’s firefighters, teachers and other city workers do not have these options. If the middle class of the city is not served by the high school, it will fail to address a very real and urgent educational need. That would be a tragedy, in my opinion. (I’ve always wondered how the 1% rationalizes the fact that they hold 40% of the nation’s wealth. Now I know! They think of themselves as “middle class”!)

    I remain cautiously optimistic about the new school. More options are obviously a good thing. I’m excited that Obama’s name will be part if it, and look forward to seeing the role he plays in Chicago in the future. It remains to be seen how they will handle the increased traffic — morning drop off at SN is already a nightmare. If they widen Scott St. and put in some stoplights, that might help — but unless they helicopter the students in, it’s probably going to be a mess.

  • 166. HS Mom  |  April 27, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    “I hate to break it to you, but you, your LP neighbors, and the ‘Head of Surgery and Whatever Hospital’ are not part of the middle class….I’ve always wondered how the 1% rationalizes the fact that they hold 40% of the nation’s wealth. Now I know! They think of themselves as “middle class”!”

    karet – tier 4 is hardly chock full of heads of surgery and 1%er’s.

    “We also found that 84% of Tier 3 and Tier 4 school age children are lower middle class (e.g., with a median household income of less than $75,000).While policy makers assume that upper Tier students are wealthy, these income levels are hardly enough for most Tier 3 and 4 residents to view private school as a realistic alternative should they have academically talented children that do not secure a spot at a Selective Enrollment school.”

    I don’t think you need to be concerned about 1%ers grabbing up those selective enrollment seats.

  • 167. local  |  April 27, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    How about if OHS serves only Tier 1 student, in the spirit of his organizing days and the Cabrini Green site? Just a thought.

  • 168. C'mon Now  |  April 27, 2014 at 7:16 pm


    Great idea. Segregation is a wonderful way to show how far Chicago has come during Obama’s presidency.

  • 169. karet  |  April 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    @166, I didn’t say all tier 4 households were wealthy. I live in a middle-class tier 4 neighborhood, Jefferson Park. Lincoln Park is an entirely different socio-economic class.

  • 170. HS Mom  |  April 27, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    This school is located in Old Town, mixed income area, not all Lincoln Parkers are “wealthy with head of surgery type incomes”, the 1% will still attend private schools and a selective enrollment school services the entire city and various tiers and so what if the head of surgery wants to send his/her kid to OHS – good for them.

  • 171. karet  |  April 27, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    HS Mom, I’m not actually concerned that OHS will be filled with 1%ers. I was responding to klm’s irritation with Rod Estvan. She says it’s good to motivate LP/OT families to stay in the city and attend public school because otherwise many of them move to Wilmette (even if they could afford private schools in Chicago). She then defined the middle class as including heads of surgery, implicitly suggesting that these LP/OT folks who flee to the North Shore are “middle class.” They are not. That is all.

  • 172. HS Mom  |  April 27, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    I see what you are saying. My issue is that after stating “I hate to break it to you, but you, your LP neighbors, and the ‘Head of Surgery and Whatever Hospital’ are not part of the middle class” you go on to say “If the middle class of the city is not served by the high school, it will fail to address a very real and urgent educational need. That would be a tragedy, in my opinion.” As if to imply that the school is a great idea as long as rich Lincoln Park people aren’t included because they have other options, LPHS, private and the suburbs. So I guess my comment is more about the overall tone and implications.

    I’m not a fan of excluding anyone, rich or poor. Unfortunately, our school structure has evolved into many feeling excluded primarily due to the SEHS system. I don’t think there are easy answers, I also don’t think we should deride any efforts to improve the system, which OHS is clearly an improvement. No critique at all about South Shore SE because everyone recognizes the need for more SEHS space yet everyone is all over the OHS decision.

  • 173. karet  |  April 27, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    I agree — everyone should have equal access.

  • 174. 19th ward mom  |  April 28, 2014 at 6:32 am

    Speaking of equal access, the Sun-times posted this article this AM regarding the rapidly changing demographics at some of the top SEHS. what is even more interesting is at the bottom of this article, they seemed to have obtained a breakdown of the scores for every single applicant to SEHS (grades, 7th grade test, SEHS score) plus the schools that particular student applied and if they were selected going back to 2008. Wow, I have never seen this level of data released before. There is no personal data such as elementary school, race, name, etc but as said above everything else. Someone is going to have a field day dissecting this.

  • 175. HSObsessed  |  April 28, 2014 at 8:20 am

    @174 – Interest article! The reporter got some pretty important basics wrong, though. The admissions are still 30% rank and 70% by tier, though, last I heard. There are actually 6 criteria, not 5, used to determine tier (how well performing the local CPS elementary is the 6th). Also, the last few paragraphs about kids who were rejected or admitted are wrong and self-contradictory. I think he meant to write that freshman were admitted with a range of certain scores, while at the same time Tier 4 kids with X high scores were rejected.

    He provides detail about how Tier 4 tracts include a big range of income levels, and median HHI is the only thing that people ever seem to focus on, so I’m wondering why they don’t just divide the tiers by that one factor alone. I can’t imagine that there would be a public outcry: “How can you not factor in the level of home ownership when creating these tiers?!?!”

  • 176. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 28, 2014 at 8:28 am

    175. HSObsessed | April 28, 2014 at 8:20 am

    There seemed to be a lot of errors in the report. The author has 95th & Halsted as a Tier 4, but it’s a Tier 3 and I believe it just became a Tier 3 this year (Tier 2 formally). There are some other mistakes as well.

  • 177. pantherparent  |  April 28, 2014 at 8:51 am

    I put the Obama College Prep announcement in the “no good deed goes unpunished” category. For years, contributors here have been asking for more SEHS seats and the use of TIF money for public education. So the Mayor gives them both with OCP and guess what? Let’s complain about location. Or where the money could have been better used.

    Regardless of motivation, CPS just announced 300 more SEHS seats in a decent location for north side families.

    This is a good thing.

  • 178. HSObsessed  |  April 28, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Re: the site of the new Obama HS: It’s not in Lincoln Park, but in the not-clearly-named area sometimes called Near North, Cabrini, Goose Island, SoNo. There are still a number of subsidized housing complexes nearby. I can think of at least three, and there are likely more than that. So, if they draw the neighborhood boundary a certain way, kids from those areas could get the benefit of attending Obama HS.

    It will be interesting to see how socioeconomically diverse a pool Obama attracts the first couple years. If I learned anything during the high school application process, it’s that kids are very influenced by what they hear from older kids or their older siblings about the culture of a school. Attending a new high school with only 300 kids to start, no traditions or sports in place, etc., no test scores that “prove” it’s a good school (for the parents, of course), might take a few years to come in to its own.

  • 179. klm  |  April 28, 2014 at 9:02 am


    The Fullerton/Clark is also Tier 4, not Tier 3. I double and triple checked all 4 corner sections.

  • 180. klm  |  April 28, 2014 at 9:41 am


    I was using the broadest term for middle-class that I can think of. The opposite of that would be people living in poverty and people who have enough wealth to not work or worry much about the economy (recession-proof people).

    I’m not sure why you think everybody in Lincoln Park and Old Town is mega wealthy. Who do you think are living in all the small rental apartments. boxy condos and public housing along Larabee and the big public housing complex at Orchard/North? It’s not partners at Skappen Arps and cardiovascular surgeons at Northwestern Memorial, believe me. My neighbors include lots of “regular” folks. Yes, maybe they have to pay more and get less living space for their dollar, but it sure doesn’t mean that people that cram their families into too-small condos and 2/3 bedroom 1-bath basic rental apartments without parking are living off of big family trust incomes. People that want to send their kids to Lincoln and that are teachers and fire fighters can rent apartments, which is what many of the families I know at Lincoln with parents who are city employees, teachers, nurses, firefighters, etc., actually do.

    It happens, believe me (unless all my kids’ friends with parents like that are secretly millionaires too cheap the spend money on anything but a small rental or are teaching in CPS for fun, instead of having lunch at RL and shopping with their friends from Junior League all day).

    Do you really think the Pritzkers and other genuinely wealthy people living in mega mansions are sending their kids to CPS?

    Sorry if you have a chip on your shoulder about a relatively expensive real estate neighborhood, but most people in Lincoln Park and Old Town that send their kids to CPS call themselves “middle class” –they have mortages/rent, they’re trying to save for college, worry about saving enough for retirement —just like everybody else who is “middle class.”

    That’s certainly the case for my family and most families I know at Lincoln are not spending summers in Harbor Springs or weekends at their pied a terres in Manhattan and in Aspen.

    Also, you need to remind all the kids at Manierre that they’re rich, since they all live in Old Town (I’m pretty sure that they may not know this). I have a feeling that people in the “projects” there have some sort of misconception that they’re actually not rich, somehow. since they live in Old Town.

    Finally, shouldn’t we want to have public school that are good enough for even the upper-middle class professional types that CAN move to wherever instead of staying and using CPS? Since when are public schools supposed to be for only “average” income and poor folks? Isn’t it good for kids to be sitting in class next to kids who happen to have a parent that’s a surgeon, as well as with kids who have a parent that’s a shift manager at McDonald’s?

  • 181. fat2fitmomma  |  April 28, 2014 at 10:01 am

    The author didn’t say directly at the corner of the intersections mentioned but instead said homes near.

  • 182. HSObsessed  |  April 28, 2014 at 10:21 am

    @179 – The tract NW of Fullerton/Clark is currently Tier 3. I believe it’s considered Tier 3 because there are SIX factors that go into determining socioeconomic status, not just one, and that tract has low levels of homeownership, high level of single-parent families, and high levels of non-native English speakers. I believe that’s likely due to the very large apartment building at the corner, which, like you describe, has a number of people who rent a very small apartment in order to live in the Lincoln enrollment boundary.

  • 183. 19th ward Mom  |  April 28, 2014 at 10:55 am

    As one of the parents that has complained about the new Obama H.S., I wanted to address the comments that have been made that we are not “grateful” for this new school.

    I just have mixed emotions. I am a CPS grad, and in the late 80’s went to a wonderfully diverse neighborhood high school in a great area on the Southside. This school rocked and we had soo many great opportunities there.

    It had a High Honors program and we had kids that went to West Point, University of Chicago, Harvard, etc. One classmate went on to own a stock brokerage (and he was from a poor family), and the rest of us (while not millionaires) are doing well. What happened to schools like this and why are now all fighting over limited seats at SEHS. sigh! But I don’t think it is an issue that CPS caused by limiting funding, but more a symptom of the flight of the middle class from a lot of areas (not all) on the southside.

    So now those parents who want something other than worrying about their kid’s safety as they go to/from school, and being challenged at that school (i.e current level of most neighborhood southside schools), are left to fight over the limited seats at SEHS and put up with long bus/train rides.

    So it is great that they are opening more seats but I feel like the idea of a diverse school on the southside in a safe neighborhood, is an achievable goal that is not being addressed.

    We don’t need the northside kids to cross over to the southside to achieve that diversity. We have diversity on the southside! But southside parents are not going to send their kids to just anywhere on the “southside”. I has to be safe and accessible for all (and there are areas on the southside that meet that criteria).

    So come on Mayor and open that TIF pocketbook and make another announcement for an additional SEHS school that meets that goal!

  • 184. klm  |  April 28, 2014 at 11:02 am


    You’re right. My bad.

    That’s silly. There was a new house in that “Tier 3” section on (the Lincoln enrollment boundary side of) Arlington that I looked at one Sunday several years ago (an ‘Open House’ –not to buy [as if] but gawk at curiously). I’m not sure what the selling price was, but the asking price was $4.6 million. The people living there now are not even Tier 4, but Tier 3 –go figure.

    So, for example, a Bosnian refugee family with 2 kids living in a basement rental in Rogers Park (I know the family –the mom cleans houses) are Tier 4?

    That’s kinda’ crazy. For everybody that’s annoyed by the tiers (for no other reason if that they so often are inaccurate of the actual socio-economic status of the student that’s being targeted and that is ‘accepted’ or ‘rejected’ based on a seemingly false CPS lawyers-contrived socio-economic label, not their actual achievement). here’s a prime example.

    Also, everybody know the new luxury rental apts. near the big Whole Foods south of North? I know a family that moved in there in the fall so that their 7th grade kid will be Tier 2, instead of Tier 4. Well, at least they are actually “living” there (or at least they’re paying rent from what they tell me).

    Anybody in a Tier 1 or 2 want to swap houses with me in a few years?

  • 185. HSObsessed  |  April 28, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I just looked at the map and remembered there are FOUR subsidized housing complexes within half a mile of the planned Obama site. That, combined with the good transportation routes nearby (especially the red line stop and North, Division and Halsted buses), the availability of open land, and — most of all — the TIF money that is funding it, makes this a natural site. It is a little awkward that it’s so close to Payton, though.

    Someone above mentioned that there will be an announcement soon for a brand new Whitney Young II SEHS somewhere on the southside. Using an existing brand name like WY is a great idea, if that’s true, and seems to have worked well for Disney and LaSalle.

  • 186. Chris  |  April 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    “for no other reason if that they so often are inaccurate of the actual socio-economic status of the student that’s being targeted and that is ‘accepted’ or ‘rejected’ based on a seemingly false CPS lawyers-contrived socio-economic label, not their actual achievement”

    First, it’s *never* been about the kids’ “actual achievement”. Unless one considers “being born to [parents of a certain heritage]” an ‘achievement’. The Tiers replaced a simple race and sex based preference system, and only because of court rulings (not directly affecting CPS, but CPS wanted to avoid a lawsuit).

    Second, so you’d prefer that we document the individual kids (does CPS get access to NSA data to confirm the info on the forms), and then rank them, and then assign tiers, and then give preferences to the kids who are *actually* the children of HS dropout, poor, single parents who don’t speak English? Fine, but you have to figure out how that all gets documented, so there isn’t endless complaining about the lying on the applications, and it can’t cost an extra dollar.

    Third, I don’t think anyone has ever actually said the Tier system was a *good* system, just that it is (1) ‘legal’, (2) simple to calculate, and (3) reasonably understandable (without being so transparent as to admit to argument of subtleties)–in other words, it’s a decent bureaucratic tool. But, given the reporting that the % of white kids at selective enrollment schools has been *increasing*, I suspect we are heading toward a meaningful (if not necessarily huge) tweak in the system, anyway.

    Anyway, there is no way to design a selection system that doesn’t disadvantage *someone* and lead to complaints (both valid and silly). No. Way.

  • 187. karet  |  April 28, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    @HS Mom, One more thing. You are right about my tone. Here is the context. Over on the SEES thread, I suggested that Northwestern’s CTD classes were expensive. klm replied: “Yes, CTD costs money, but what summer camp-type experience doesn’t? We spend more money on tennis camp, art camp. cooking camp, ….etc., than CTD.”
    So … her comments here about the “middle class” struck a nerve, I guess.

    @klm, Of course it’s true that not all of the families who live in LP or OT are wealthy. Lincoln Elementary is 13% low income. I am aware that it is not 0%. But to act as if Lincoln Park is a middle class neighborhood is crazy. Do you know what the low income percentage is at my neighborhood school is? 78%. But we both live in middle class neighborhoods, right? And of course, we’re both tier 4!

    When I talk about the top 1%, I am not talking about the “mega rich” as you assume. Do you know what the (minimum) adjusted gross income for the top 1% was in 2011? $390,000. Do you know what the median salary for a chief of surgery is? $411,000. If you are part of the 1%, you’re not middle class. Isn’t that obvious? And yet, I have no doubt that these surgeons must plan and save for their kids to go to college. The term “middle class” is meaningless if you include everyone who is above the poverty line, yet does not have an unlimited trust fund.

    Here’s a little excerpt from an article about the real estate market in LP (from 2013):
    Lincoln Park consistently has more sales of single family detached home sales exceeding $1,000,000 than any surrounding Chicago neighborhood by a wide margin. At the peak of the market in 2007, there were 150 sales of detached homes exceeding $1,000,000 and the average sales price was $1,899,507 according to multiple listing data analyzed from MRED (Midwest Real Estate Data). … With 87 sales of million dollar homes to date, Lincoln Park is on track to tie the previous record of 150 homes sales in 2007 exceeding $1,000,000.

  • 188. Urban Mommy  |  April 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Keret—When I talk about the top 1%, I am not talking about the “mega rich” as you assume. Do you know what the (minimum) adjusted gross income for the top 1% was in 2011? $390,000. Do you know what the median salary for a chief of surgery is? $411,000. If you are part of the 1%, you’re not middle class.

    First, your initial post confused income and wealth. Being in the top 1% income is not the same as the top 1% wealth. I know people who make 45K a year but have a 100 million dollar inherentance/family trust — that is 1% wealth. My husband is a surgeon (though not a chief) and makes top 1% in income, but has 500K in debt (so he has no positve wealth yet) and virtually no retirement savings because he made so little money in residency. In fact, when we had kids while he was in residency and our income was 60K and legitimately lived in tier 2 for many years. There is a possibility that a surgeon can be not in the 1% for the early child rearing years of life. Moreover, many primary care doctors make less than 120K, have huge student loans (200k), and have not put any money away for retirement. Thus their large salaries actually get eaten away by taxes, school loans, and make up contributions to retirement plans. So, doctors can be very middle class. And, after Obamacare fully takes hold, are likely to make even less.

  • 189. klm  |  April 28, 2014 at 1:34 pm


    I guess I just don’t get your issues with people in Chicago that have more money than you feel OK about. Should they not want good public school for their kids, too.

    Would you rather things go back to the way things were in the 60s- 80s when most people like that got the heck out of Chicago as soon as the first kid was born or never lived here in the first place?

    Sorry if you don’t like my definitons of people that don’t have the wealth and conncections buy their kids way into Lab or Latin, but that’s the reality for most people that live in the 60614 zip code.

    If people that you discuss just up and left for the North Shore, Hinsdale, Naperville, Oak Park or wherever, would that make you less upset, because at least then they wouldn’t be there to create so much “inequality” in the city where you live and there wouldn’t be people making you upset with their comments about their desire for good public school options in their neighborhood?

    Do people in LP have less of a right to want a good public education for their kids because some people think that, overall, they’re too “well off?”

    I’d bet good money that there’s much less inequality in places like Flint, Gary and Detroit, than in Chicago (or NYC, Atlanta, LA, Dallas, ….) but that doesn’t mean that these places are better off for it. I’m sure that there aren’t many middle and upper-middle class families salivating over new public SEHSs in Detroit, so in that way, at least Detroit’s “better” than Chicago in the sense that it’s more “equal.”

    But who wants to live there? Not me.

  • 190. LP Mom  |  April 28, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Just curious….what do you think the boundaries for the “neighborhood” component of the new Obama High School will be. We are zoned for LPHS (Elementary is Prescott). Think we will qualify as neighborhood?

  • 191. karet  |  April 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    @188, You’re right, I did confuse the two. IMO, being in the top 1% of wealth OR income disqualifies you from being part of the middle class. I understand that you disagree. I’ve heard that argument from other doctors before.

    @189, I’m not upset. I don’t mind that some people have very high incomes. As I said before, they are good for the city. It bothers me that some people do not recognize that they have a privileged position, though, and go so far as to pretend that they don’t. It’s the masquerade that’s offensive. Let me put it another way. I would never refer to myself or my family as “middle class.” We aren’t. It has a real meaning, which is not “I couldn’t buy my way into Latin.”

  • 192. klm  |  April 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm


    I’m still waiting for that check in the mail that comes to everybody who lives in Lincoln Park. Maybe some people are getting one for living in a ‘privileged” neighborhood, but my family hasn’t received ours yet.

  • 193. postcard  |  April 28, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    I lived in Walter Burnett’s ward for 9 years. I attended dozens of his neighborhood meetings. He is the Alderman for the Obama High location. He grew up in Cabrini Green. (his bio,

    He is a warrior for low income families. Like him or not (I really liked) he has major clout. They are just forming the Obama High admission details for the neighborhood, but my suspicion is that “neighborhood component” has a caveat that means former Cabrini Green kids still in the neighborhood (and there are many). The families of cabrini green were allowed to buy high end condos for subsidized prices of a 1/3 the price all around Old Town.

    He has a very open, friendly office staff – at least when I lived in his ward) feel free to call and ask him for more details! …and let us know 🙂

  • 194. karet  |  April 28, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    @192, And ….. I officially give up! I apologize for the distraction, everyone. Carry on!

  • 195. @194  |  April 28, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Wise decision. It’s hard to argue with somebody who aligns herself with nearly every race and class. From what I gather, KLM grew up poor and white (I think) and is now above middle class and raising black offspring (again, I think). She is “every woman.”

  • 196. Chris  |  April 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Wealth and Income are *radically* different things. The following is from the pre-crash survey, but gives an idea:

    “for net worth, the 1 percent threshold for net worth in the Fed data was nearly $8.4 million, or 69 times the median household’s net holdings of $121,000.”

    Even if you say that the threshold has been halved (no real support for that), that’s still over $4m, and still over 50 times median ‘wealth’–where 50 times median annual income is well over $2,000,000–and I think we can all agree that someone with $2,000,000 annual (repeatable) income is in no reasonable way ‘middle class’.

    Yes, the 1% wealth thresholds are much lower for younger folks (for 40-somethings, the top 1% is ~$1.5m), while the 1% income thresholds are not, and those younger people are more likely to be parents of school aged kids, and so more relevant for this particular discussion. And the wealth numbers are not as current, and based on smaller samples, so given to somewhat less accuracy.

    One other note–I’m not sure whether or not the Fed survey includes equity in primary residence and tax-deferred retirement assets (and if so, how counted; ie, do they deduct tax) in the net worth calculation–both are frequently excluded by wealth managers and other folks who count that stuff.

  • 197. Chris  |  April 28, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    “what do you think the boundaries for the “neighborhood” component of the new Obama High School will be. We are zoned for LPHS (Elementary is Prescott). Think we will qualify as neighborhood?”

    Prescott attendance area? I say you have a better chance of being in the ‘neighborhood’ for Jones, than for Obama. If the ‘neighborhood’ goes north of Willow, I would be *very* surprised. If it goes north of Armitage, I’d be *shocked*.

    I suspect that the east line will be Sedgwick/Orleans, it will go south to Chicago, to pick up the Rowhomes, and the west line will be Halsted/the River, with the north line North or Willow. No inside info at all, just speculation.

  • 198. YB  |  April 28, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    The plot thickens. Interesting indeed @193.
    Alderman Burnett is a former gang member and drug dealer of cabrini green who found god as a politician. He use to rule that land back in the day and has a lot to say about what happened to Cabrini Green. No doubt neighborhood admission is just for former residents.

  • 199. postcard  |  April 28, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    yes, he did jail time. He is a warrior for good now.

    So, its a slow monday, and I was bored…I called his office only to get voicemail. Will keep trying. No one in the city will know better then he about the neighborhood component…

  • 200. klm  |  April 28, 2014 at 3:29 pm


    OK, I went off the deep end. Sorry (I’ve just let go a cage of white doves).


    Your predictions seem right. As I mentioned before, there will almost certainly be some attempt to get the kids in the ares that you mention (which means Jenner and Manierre). OHS (or should I call it ‘OCP’?) is being largely build from TIF funds related to the recent blight of Cabrini Green, after all.

    It’ll be interesting to see how it all works out. Per the tone of the ‘Sun
    Times’ article and the quotes in it, there’ll be social engineering one way or another for the neighborhood component, apart from the usual Tiers, etc, for the SE part of the school..


  • 201. HSObsessed  |  April 28, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Oh, I’m in for making predictions about the boundaries. I agree with Chris @197 that it will certainly include all four of the Section 8 housing within half a mile of the site. Beyond that, hard to say. The Jones preference boundary goes out 2 miles on two sides, 1 mile to the north. I think it would be awkward to make the northern edge of the Obama preference anything less than Armitage, which is .75 miles north. The western edge will be the river, I predict. Southern edge most likely Chicago Ave. Eastern edge is tough: Could be Sedgwick like Chris said, or pushed out to Wells, LaSalle or Clark.

    Whatever the boundaries, it will create a pocket of real estate in which the residing kids will have guaranteed spots at LPHS (and yes, people are already moving into the boundaries for this purpose), pretty much guaranteed spots at Alcott HS if they want them (although I haven’t heard of anyone taking this offer), and preference at Obama HS.

  • 202. JG  |  April 28, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    How about putting the money into existing neighborhood schools?

    Great, there’s another SEHS, it’s probably needed, but not before we take action on neighborhood high schools.

  • 203. Peter  |  April 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    JG, what action needs to be taken on neighborhood schools? i don’t think there is much CPS can do. Look at the elementaries that turned around, mostly grassroots locals.

  • 204. klm  |  April 28, 2014 at 4:39 pm


    TIF money has to stay where in its zone. That money can’t go to CPS to give to neighborhood schools –it would be against the rule, I’m thinking an illegal use of TIF funds.


    I agree, it’s not all about money. If it were, then we’d have discovered to magic spell to elimate low-achievement in the inner-city and the nation-wide achievement gap.

  • 205. Chris  |  April 28, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    ” The Jones preference boundary goes out 2 miles on two sides, 1 mile to the north. I think it would be awkward to make the northern edge of the Obama preference anything less than Armitage, which is .75 miles north.”

    Have to compare the encompassed populations, and what the existing/alternate attendance area HS is. For almost all of the Jones preference area, the a-a HS is Dunbar, Crane, Juarez or Wells. There is no good reason (apart from naked political favoritism) to extend the OPC preference area further into the a-a of the best a-a HS in the city. It makes *more* sense to extend it further south or west to carve a greater area out of Wells.

  • 206. southie  |  April 28, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Is it the schools that have failed the students, or the students that have failed the schools. Blame schools? Blame students?

  • 207. HS Mom  |  April 28, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    KLM – appreciate your insights and thanks for the college advice!

    My prediction on neighborhood is that it will be score based just like the new SEHS coming on line – Jones and South Shore. I don’t think they will risk lowering the ratings. Although powerful and a friend of common man, Burnett will also want to take care of the influential AA community that resides in the neighborhood.

    So, why the 30% and why doesn’t Payton have to take on a neighborhood program for their addition? Maybe gives them space for set asides for some neighborhood kids along with those that test in. Jesse White, who still has a residence in the area, still has a group of kids that he works with.

  • 208. klm  |  April 29, 2014 at 7:06 am


    From what I understand, Payton originally had a neighborhood component. From an above comment, it was discontinued a few years later.

  • 209. YB  |  April 29, 2014 at 7:42 am

    Even in 2000 there were people criticizing Payton being built. How do those folks feel today? Wrong side of history, anyone?

    Here is an article from the Tribune in 2000. It doesn’t sound like there was ever a neighborhood component, every student had to have a standardized score above 90th.
    Chico Says New School Is Diverse
    Elitism Feared At Payton Prep
    July 26, 2000

  • 210. YB  |  April 29, 2014 at 8:03 am

    From: July 26, 2000

    Chico Says New School Is Diverse
    Elitism Feared At Payton Prep

    |By Ray Quintanilla, Tribune Education Writer.

    The new Walter Payton College Prepatory High School was able to attract enough minority students to blunt criticism that the $35 million school would eventually become nothing more than Chicago’s “Gold Coast High School,” public schools officials said Tuesday.

    “A good group of students was selected and we feel good about the demographic mix,” said school board president Gery Chico, conducting the first public tour of the North Side school, which is expected to be ready when schools officially open Aug. 22.

    “In fact, about 79 of the students came right from the Cabrini-Green neighborhood,” Chico said. “We feel good about our success.”

    The 381-member freshman class will be 29 percent white, 33 percent African-American, 31 percent Hispanic and 7 percent Asian-American. Officials culled the class from more than 2,000 applications, more than the school had anticipated.

    The school’s critics have said in recent years that a new high school on the Gold Coast wasn’t needed and that those dollars should have been spent modernizing neighborhood schools populated by underprivileged students.

    The Payton school, in the 1000 block of North Wells Street, joins Northside College Preparatory Academy, which opened last fall in the 5500 block of North Kedzie Avenue, as among the two most expensive high schools ever built in Illinois. Payton Prep is the second public high school built in Chicago in the last 20 years.

    Schools chief Paul Vallas said Payton Prep’s success in attracting minority children can be traced to special academic programs his office placed in the area’s neighborhood schools three years ago. The programs were designed to provide more intensive learning in math, science and reading.

    “Those efforts paid off,” Vallas said. Based upon the look of this year’s freshman class, predictions that the school would serve only upscale residents of the Gold Cost were wrong, he added.

    Payton will be the only such high school in Chicago that is focused on math, science and world languages, officials said. The 162,000-square-foot facility will house an outdoor observation deck, a conservatory, a planetarium and a weather station.

    Its enrollment is expected to increase over the next four years to about 800 students.

    Still, Northside Prep and Payton have a similar mission: stemming the tide of high-achieving students who leave the public schools each year for more challenging parochial or private high schools.

    About 77 percent of Payton’s freshman class originated from Chicago’s public schools, while 23 were from private schools. School officials said Payton’s incoming freshmen had standardized test scores in the 90th percentile, enough to rank many of them as “gifted.”

    Chico also used the Payton tour to update the board’s actions at five high schools identified as needing “intervention,” the harshest step the public schools have taken in five years to fix failing schools.

    Chico said he will recommend to the full Board of Education on Wednesday that Bowen, DuSable, South Shore, Collins and Orr each receive the harsh sanction for “not living up to the job.”

    “At some of these schools, there was money just sitting around that could have been used for academic programs,” Chico said. “These are dollars that could have been used for textbooks or a special program for reading.”

    Juarez High School was removed from the intervention list because transforming the school into a Community Academy–which brings magnet-style courses–might be all that’s needed to bolster academics there, Chico said.

    DuSable High, which has among the city’s lowest reading scores, had $643,000 available that went unused, Chico said. Those dollars could have been spent on reading materials, tutoring or for a new reading program, Chico said.

    “There’s no excuse for money like that to just be sitting around,” he added.

    At another school, the reading materials were 30 years old, said Jo Ann Roberts, who will direct the school system’s intervention efforts. Intervention gives administrators the power to fire unproductive teachers and principals.

    In all, about 600 staff members will be evaluated over the next school year with decisions on terminations to be made April 15.

    Roberts said assessment teams are already in the schools to evaluate curriculum and teachers.

  • 211. LP  |  April 29, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Obama Prep neighborhood component will be close proximity and lottery. Wow, There will effectively be two schools under one roof similar to LPHS.

    As a result it should be safe to expect the scores to be nowhere near Payton or Northside.

  • 212. Gratitude  |  April 29, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week. If you have a special teacher that you would like to nominate him/her for the Chicago Teacher Award, please see the link below. The deadline is tomorrow, April 30, 2014.

  • 213. parent  |  April 29, 2014 at 10:28 am

    There was a neighborhood component at Payton. A close friend of mine taught there at the time and was upset about the lack of support for these students. Any Payton or ex-Payton teachers on this blog? I’m sure they can say more about it.

  • 214. parent  |  April 29, 2014 at 10:38 am

    This articles explains that:
    After the first year, a new administration at Payton stopped accepting students from the neighborhood who did not meet the selective-enrollment requirements, according to Burnett.

  • 215. Diversity?  |  April 29, 2014 at 11:18 am

    @211 LP

    I disagree with the proposition that Obama SEHS will need to have 2 programs similar to LP. By definition, it is SEHS. Thus, the students seeking admission are looking for a rigorous academic environment. If in fact there is a disparity in where the neighborhood kids are at academically (this remains to be seen) it is up to those students to rise to the level of academic achievement of the students admitted under the standard CPS policy for SEHSs, not the other way around. Otherwise, what is the point?

    In addition, due to its relatively small size, it will not have the classroom space or teachers necessary to be operating as 2 different programs…it will be no different than the (sometimes) disparity between the high Tier 4 scorers & the lower end of Tier 1 admitted students at some of the current SEHSs. And yes, speaking as the parent of a student who has witnessed firsthand the problems (primarily for the teacher) of teaching an English class where the majority of the class is capable/ready for advanced composition essays/analysis of literature works & some of the students in the class still don’t know what a “verb is” it can be challenging for everyone.

  • 216. Angie  |  April 29, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    From the article posted in #214, it does not look like there will be any minimum score requirements for the neighborhood portion of this school. What happens if the neighborhood attendance area includes both Jenner and Manierre kids (and with Burnett in charge, it just might)? CPS did not consolidate these elementary schools for the fear of gang fights, so how is this going to work at the high school level?

  • 217. Chris  |  April 29, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    “What happens if the neighborhood attendance area includes both Jenner and Manierre kids (and with Burnett in charge, it just might)?”

    I don’t know how you have a school in that location, that has a proximity-based preference, and NOT have it include both Jenner and Manierre kids. Seems impossible.

  • 218. AnotherMom  |  April 29, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Yes, if the boundaries just encompass the areas feeding to Jenner and Manierre then the students will likely not be prepared for a rigorous program and will perform at a level well below the SES program — creating a de facto separate school within a school. If the neighborhood zone is broader (including some parts of River North and Old Town or LP) and has some minimum requirement (but less than SES) then it may be a strong high school. A concern is that part of this neighborhood is zoned LPHS and some of the kids in this area who attend private school or magnets (LaSalle, Newberry, Franklin) or are top of the class at Jenner/Manierre are ready for LPHS. If they are zoned out of LPHS and into this new program and it has no minimum standards then their educational opportunity may actually lessened, and not improved.

  • 219. Jo  |  April 29, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    I am looking at Jenner & Manierre on CPS school finder. Both schools are Level 3 on probation for 6+ years.
    2013 ISAT was no higher than 30% at either.

  • 220. LP  |  April 29, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Jenner and Manierre are 2 of the worst schools in the city. Those are the close proximity students that apparently the neighborhood component of BOCP will serve.

    The options are:
    1) offer a remedial track
    2) offer a single track that accommodates the remedial students to the detriment of the advanced students – resulting in advanced students leaving or not applying
    3) offer a standard SEHS curriculum that would end up failing the remedial students

    Not many of the parents here could handle the Payton curriculum, expecting 90 students a year to emerge from Manierre and Jenner ready for SEHS is silly. Labeling a school SEHS does not magically make all it’s students ready for college level courses starting sophomore year.

    They’ll offer a second program, they have too.

  • 221. LP  |  April 29, 2014 at 3:14 pm


    “If the neighborhood zone is broader (including some parts of River North and Old Town or LP.”

    Burnett’s comments are pretty clear that in his view Rahm traded him the new BO as consolation for expanding WP’s exclusive ways. If that is true then extending the boundary out of his ward into LP would seem unlikely.

    “If they are zoned out of LPHS…”

    The neighborhood component would basically be a lottery magnet program, which shouldn’t have an effect on neighborhood school boundaries. Although I would imagine many LPHS families would love to see Manierre zoned out. The Sedville crew includes some serious gangbangers every year.

  • 222. pantherparent  |  April 29, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Agree with @220 Combining neighborhood and SEHS together is doomed to failure. It will have to have two tracks.

    The lowest score at Payton needed to gain admittance this year was 838. That equates to straight A’s, 89th percentile on the ISATs for reading and math and 89th percentile on the high school entrance exam.

    How many students at Jenner and Manierre have that? That won’t be able to keep up. They’ll be lost on day 1.

  • 223. Diversity?  |  April 29, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    @220 & 222…I will concede the point that if the 90 neighborhood kids consist “only” of students coming from Jenner & Manierre that there would need to be 2 separate tracks. Hopefully, the boundaries will be drawn in such a way that this isn’t the case. The ‘neighborhood’ students should also be held to some sort of ‘academic qualification process’. Perhaps they could rank them based on grades & SEHS test and extend offers to the top 90.

  • 224. pantherettie  |  April 29, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    I really, really hope that all of the people that have been saying that they were supportive of the location of OCP welcome *all* the neighborhood kids who will be eligible to attend the school. Even if that includes kids from low performing schools and they bring with them the social and academic challenges of coming from challenging elementary school settings.

  • 225. pantherparent  |  April 29, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    @224 I like the location but I’m not for any SEHS taking kids from the neighborhood. Whether Northside, Jones or Prez Prep. That’s not what they are designed for.

    Actually surprised/disappointed that Rahm felt the need to go this way. I assume the master plan is to pull a Payton and phase it out over time.

  • 226. Diversity?  |  April 29, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    And yet another article covering demographics/new SEHS:

  • 227. Angie  |  April 29, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    @224. pantherettie: “I really, really hope that all of the people that have been saying that they were supportive of the location of OCP welcome *all* the neighborhood kids who will be eligible to attend the school.”

    We are talking about this, but on the high school level, where kids are old enough to own guns:

  • 228. local  |  April 29, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    I’m very confused. Wouldn’t a neighborhood preference be extended only to nabe students who met the SEHS admissions criteria? Wouldn’t OCP ensure they did not accept students who could not perform at the SEHS level?

  • 229. HS Mom  |  April 30, 2014 at 8:24 am

    @224 – having a freshman during the year the NCLB 25 per school was instituted, my feeling is that this would be a max number of unqualified students to accommodate in a SEHS environment. With a mixed class, the academic environment was stretched to it’s max. That was with a $10,000 per pupil bonus. We all know that the program quietly continues but without those additional funds and not to the extent of 25 kids. Additionally, qualifying students for these seats now need to test in and have some education base to work off of.

    I agree with the options LP offers in #220. With a straight lottery system, the pool of neighborhood kids is unknown and will be unknown every year. With 90 available seats per class that’s a lot of unknown. Plus, how could parents trust that the program will remain in place, go away or change? That would pretty much kill it as an option for me (if I were applying again) and maybe other people feel this way too.

    Because of this, I don’t believe this school will compete (at least initially) with Payton or the others (including Lane or Lindblom) unless there is a very defined program in place that people can trust. So good news for the middle class. This may truly be an option for kids that miss cut-off scores at SEHS.

    @228 – yes, it is confusing. I would think so too. It will be really disappointing if they create a new SE high school yet sacrifice the quality to offer some bling to neighborhood investors.

  • 230. Lincoln Park  |  April 30, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Karet must be happy. Won’t have to worry about your kid sitting next to a child of the head of surgery of whatever hospital.

  • 231. reenie  |  April 30, 2014 at 9:13 am

    kim, if you want to swap for my tier 2 house you are welcome to come on down. bring your bulletproof vest. police choppers were over our house yesterday after four people got shot at 52nd and Winchester. having some small advantage in CPS admissions (which, as it turned out, did nothing for us this year) does not offset bullets flying.

  • 232. PatientCPSMom  |  April 30, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Posters commenting on this board about the neighborhood component for this High School please note there are many many children in this area. Some kids go to Jenner, some go to Manierre, and many kids do not attend either of these schools but go to other CPS schools, other private schools, and other religious schools. Please understand when making generalizations about the student population in my area you feed into a narrative that produces non productive and less positive conversations about educational opportunities for all children. Our community values every child and we work as neighbors through the Near North Unity Program to ensure all people in the area have access to the best services and programs. We strive to make our developing community inclusive and connected not exclusive and removed.

  • 233. HS Mom  |  April 30, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    @232- yes, that’s the point. How will the neighborhood component be orchestrated to meet variable needs and provide SE education?

    From the article above:

    “This isn’t two separate schools with two separate entrances where selective kids go one place and the neighborhood kids go another place,” Harte said. “That’s not the intent here, and we need to work through what the curriculum and what that’s going to look like.”

    So, “boundary around the school” and curriculum all remains to be seen. Not the traditional selective enrollment school, that’s all.

    but this comment

    “Burnett said he expected the school to help boost investment in the neighborhood from developers as the city seeks to revitalizes the former low-income housing site”

    pretty much says it all. Let’s call it a selective enrollment school with guaranteed access for the Old Town development immediate area and voila a hot new neighborhood school for the immediate area. I think it’s ingenious.

    But don’t make an announcement getting everyone hyped to the point of planning the Bronzeville alternate when it will effectively be a community (not even neighborhood) school with a (albeit majority) citywide test in component.

  • 234. Even One More CPS Mom  |  April 30, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    @232 PatientCPSMom – Well said!

  • 235. karet  |  April 30, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    @230, Wait! I’m confused! I thought we learned from klm this week that heads of surgery ARE middle class. Right?

  • 236. mom_of_3  |  May 1, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    I have a 5th grader this year, so I guess he will be ready for HS right by the time they open this new school. Not sure if being in the first graduating class is such a good idea, but it is probably better than nothing.

  • 237. HK  |  May 1, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    @236 mom_of_3

    I worked in the admin office at Payton from 2003-2005.
    I was there for the first graduating class, and those kids were brilliant. From Alumni info, I know that 10 years later, almost all I knew are successful in their chosen careers. If Obama High gets an extraordinary Principal like Payton had from the start (Ms. Gail Ward) there is no reason why it couldn’t be phenomenal right out of the gate.

  • 238. Family Friend  |  May 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Re: safe neighborhood – When my daughter started at Payton in 2001, I joked that the Gold Coast was out the front door and Cabrini Green was out the back. We talked to her about sticking with a group and trusting her instincts, but it didn’t keep us from wanting the education we trusted Payton would give her.

    I agree that the area around IIT would be a terrific location for a SEHS.My protege was just accepted to an enrichment program there and we have spent a lot of time attending info sessions and interviews, and making sure she knows all the possible ways to get there by CTA. I don’t have any qualms about her being in the neighborhood. I tell her the same thing I told my daughter 13 years ago, and will continue to reinforce it.

    So how can we start a movement to get a SEHS in Bronzeville?

  • 239. Maureen Kelleher  |  May 1, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Hurray Family Friend–right there with you that the area around IIT is ripe for an SEHS. And hey, there’s even a Starbucks at 35th right by the Green Line station. It would be interesting to know if there’s a TIF in the area and how much money it has. It would also be interesting if IIT would partner (and push it).

  • 240. Chris  |  May 1, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    “It would be interesting to know if there’s a TIF in the [IIT/Bronzeville] area”

    There is:

    Looks like ~$9m net assets, and ~$2.3m/year in income.

    There’s another TIF (35th/State) just to the west, too. Smaller and has less $$.

    Really, the location pick for OCP is about a spot where there are TIF dollars and some available land. Wouldn’t surprise me if the neighborhood component is about attempting to leverage into some CHA dirt–as much as it may make sense to, the City can’t just appropriate the ex-Cabrini, CHA owned dirt for other purposes. They’d have to at least trade equally valuable land. That’s why the White Way sign building got torn down–Target bought it to swap to CHA for the dirt where the Division store got built. And a similar problem would exist around 35th or 47th and State–the land is either private or CHA, rather than City or CPS.

  • 241. Diversity?  |  May 1, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    @238 There already IS a SEHS in Bronzeville…King College Prep.

  • 242. @239  |  May 1, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Maureen — As a South Loop resident, I’d be totally on board with vetting the proposal of a SEHS near IIT. I’m sure plenty of my neighbors with young children would be interested as well. Let’s start a committee and see if we get anywhere!

  • 243. Anonmom  |  May 1, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Wonder if they’ll change the formula:

  • 244. Chris  |  May 1, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    From 243’s link:

    Pat Dowell: “If you come out of one of these selective enrollment schools — especially top-tier ones — you’re pretty much guaranteed a seat at a good college anywhere in this country. We need to make sure our children, African-American children, have access to that pipeline.”

    Um, “pretty much guaranteed”?? I guess that could be true, depending on what one means by “a good college anywhere in this country”–if it means a 4-year school of some sort somewhere will grant admission–*IF* you apply to all of the schools everywhere. It’s perfectly possible for a kid to do poorly enough at *any* school that admission to a “good college” is not the appropriate outcome, and not necessarily likely to happen.

    If she thinks that #300 out of a class of 300 at Payton is basically automatically getting admitted to a “good college” (as in somehow ranked as “good” in a excellent, good, fair, poor sort of scale) just bc of making it thru Payton, I wonder about her connection to reality.

  • 245. Family Friend  |  May 1, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    I have some information about the admission of neighborhood students to Payton in Payton’s first year. I don’t know why it came about, but I do know there was no neighborhood component in my daughter’s class, in the second year. Contrary to what Ald. Burnett stated in the linked article, there was no change in administration at Payton — Gail Ward was the Principal for at least the first five years.

    There was, however, a change in CPS leadership about that time, when Paul Vallas left and Arne Duncan took over. I would not blame Duncan, however, but circumstances. I know Payton’s administration was frustrated by the difficulty of working the Cabrini-Green students into the rigorous college prep curriculum. Remember, Jenner and Manierre are, and were, two of the worst elementary schools in the city.

    I will state again that I regularly tutor high school students who graduated from CPS elementary schools who cannot find the subject and verb in a sentence. We are trying right now at Amandla Charter School, where I am on the board, to blend students who have been with us for four years and are performing an average of 2.5 years above grade level, with students who don’t come to us until high school, usually at least three or four years behind. We have separate, very intensive, back-to-basics classes for the kids who are not on track. We have only been doing this for one year; I’ll let you know how it works out.

    Many of the neighborhood students at Payton did not have enough credits after their junior year to become seniors, and they became part of my daughter’s class. I don’t know what percentage of those students eventually graduated from Payton. I think the administration of Obama College Prep will have a big job.

  • 246. reenie  |  May 1, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Diversity, if King’s new principal is willing to run a shuttle directly to the school from the 47th Green Line station, that would improve its ability to draw students from the South Loop, for example. There was a lot of discussion about safety in the immediate area of the school, but that’s not the problem. I’ve been over there (we visited friends who live right behind King a few weeks ago) and the immediate neighborhood is totally fine. Wish I could afford one of those houses!

    What would make me feel less comfortable as a parent sending my child off to school is the area between the 47th Green line and King, which would presumably be a major route for kids coming from downtown. The 35th St station by IIT feels much more inviting to me than the 47th.

  • 247. marketing genius  |  May 1, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    The King principal and other King boosters might also want to consider forming a relationship with NTA, pronto. If King kids came and tutored or led activities at NTA, they would be great ambassadors and raise awareness of the school among the influx of new parents excited about the RGC.

  • 248. Diversity?  |  May 1, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    @246 & 247 I think you both have great ideas and they are worth pursuing.

    A shuttle is definitely cheaper than building/staffing a new SEHS…the ambassador idea is also good. Very often that can change an individuals ‘incorrect’ perception about a school & the students that attend it. It worked on me. I didn’t necessarily have a negative impression of Lindblom. Rather, I didn’t really know much about it…however, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, after working the Open House this Fall at Jones, I had the pleasure of meeting some of the nicest students/families from Lindblom AC & now that is what comes to mind anytime someone mentions that school. I’m telling you…those students I met from Lindblom were so impressive/polite/engaging that it still brings a smile to my facing just thinking about them.

  • 249. reenie  |  May 1, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Chris, the site for Obama high school is smack in the middle of Stanton Park–park district, not CHA land. CHA had eyes on it, too , and announced plans related to it back in February. Apparently that didn’t stop Rahm:

    The left hand and the right hand don’t appear to have been well-coordinated at all. Classic Chicago.

  • 250. anonymouse teacher  |  May 1, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    @246, I’m guessing the principal at King would love to do that, but where would the $$$ come from?

  • 251. reenie  |  May 1, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    I dunno, 250–wherever Lindblom got their $$$ to run shuttles? Is there a Friends of King? Just saying that if Lindblom can do it (and I gather they are running shuttles from multiple rail lines) why can’t King find the cash to run one?

  • 252. @246 247 & 248  |  May 1, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Ok all of you are geniuses! Those are great ideas!!! I will speak with the principal of King as soon as I can! I think but don’t quote me that parents may have to pay a fee for the shuttle but I am not sure! I need pantheretti to weigh in! she would know! Thanks!

  • 253. Pantherttie help!!!!  |  May 1, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    How are the shuttles at Lindblom paid for? Does the school pay for it or are the parents billed or both? Thanks!

  • 254. Diversity?  |  May 1, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Regarding paying for King Prep shuttle: perhaps the expense could be allocated under the ‘Safe Passage’ program that was recently implemented with the school closings..

  • 255. HS Mom  |  May 1, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Why don’t they just dedicate some CTA buses to the route for HS only. Kids take public transportation anyway. Didn’t someone say this is done at Brooks?

  • 256. pantherettie  |  May 1, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    I hate to say this but I don’t know about the funding for the Lindblom shuttles. My daughter is in 7th grade and so she rides a regular school bus
    ( like many kinds who attend SEES) instead of the shuttle from a local elementry school. I *think* that kids pay a small price,like maybe $5 per week. The pick up locations are at major metra and/or bus lines and take the students directly to the school. I’ll double check with a friend with a high schooler about the cost and see what I can learn about the funding source. I’ll report back what I learn.

  • 257. @ 255  |  May 2, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Brooks has a CTA bus stop inside the gates of the school but not a dedicated bus just for brooks students.

  • 258. Chris  |  May 2, 2014 at 11:55 am

    “the site for Obama high school is smack in the middle of Stanton Park–park district, not CHA land.”

    I didn’t realize that construction had already started. I’m suggeting that the initial location could be a ploy.

    “The left hand and the right hand don’t appear to have been well-coordinated at all. Classic Chicago.”

    If CPS and CHA look like they are *both* puppets of the Mayor’s office on doing a land swap in Cabrini, there will be Federal Court intervention. They have to at least pretend to not be coordinating (kinda like PACs and candidates).

  • 259. MamaBlue  |  May 2, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    First, I have to weigh in on the use of the Near North building on Larabee. It is still owned by CPS but is being used by the CPD for in service training of police officers for various things such as terrorism response etc. So that option is out for use as a school site.

    I will keep my opinions to myself regarding the mayor and the other politicians involved because I don’t have anything nice to say!

    As far as the location of this new school, I’m a bit divided. I think there is a need for more selective enrollment schools. No matter where any new schools are built, some people will feel slighted. Unless they build a new school north, south AND central, people will just not be satisfied. That being said, I don’t know that I agree 100% with the location of this new one. That area is so congested already. It’s only going to get worse with the new shopping/movie complex they are building. I’m all for growth, but the commute will be a nightmare. I don’t know if I like the idea of a high school being right next to an elementary school either. That’s probably just the over protective mom in me, but I just feel it could cause issues. I hope it doesn’t.

    There was an earlier post by “notcool” that I agree with. In a perfect world, each neighborhood elementary and high school would have a gifted program. There would still be a need for the current SE schools, but it would take the pressure off of everyone trying to get their kids into one. They could still get an accelerated learning experience, but at the neighborhood school so there was no struggle with commute, sibling placement etc. Plus there are many kids who score really high on the SE tests, but don’t get in because there aren’t enough seats, or they live in a tier that is very competitive. Those kids are left struggling to stay challenged in school, when they clearly need something a bit more accelerated. But again, in a perfect world……

  • 260. Chicago School GPS  |  May 2, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Just an FYI: NWEA MAP Test for Non-CPS Students
    Registration form now available!
    All students who are applying to grades 5-9 for Selective Enrollment Elementary and High Schools and other schools with academic requirements (i.e., CTE Selective Academies, IB High Schools, Magnet High Schools, and Military Academies) for the 2015-2016 school year will need to take the Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA MAP).
    For students who do not currently attend a Chicago Public School, the NWEA MAP will be offered free of charge in September and October at multiple locations around the city. Click the link below for a copy of the registration form for the test. PLEASE FILL OUT THE FORM IN INK.
    The registration form can be submitted between May 1 and May 30, 2014, to the CPS Office of Access and Enrollment. (The form must be postmarked no later than May 30th.) After your form is received and processed, your child will be scheduled for testing and you will be notified of their test date and location.
    Non-CPS students who plan to apply to grades 5-9 for Selective Enrollment Elementary or High Schools, CTE Selective Academies, IB High Schools, Magnet High Schools, or Military Academies for the 2015-2016 school year will take the NWEA MAP between September 6 and October 11, 2014. Students will complete the separate reading and math portions of the test over two Saturdays. In addition, alternate testing dates will be added for students who cannot test on Saturdays due to religious reasons.

  • 261. Chris  |  May 2, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Mamablue: “Unless they build a new school north, south AND central, people will just not be satisfied.”

    Why the hate for the Westside mama? Westside represent!!

    [a tiny joke to prove your point]

  • 262. MamaBlue  |  May 2, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Well played @Chris, well played. 🙂

  • 263. newbie  |  May 4, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    some comic relief–
    at last evenings White House Correspondent’s Dinner, President Obama mentions how extremely humbled he is that Mayor Emanuel is naming a High School in Chicago after him, and how Rick Perry is doing the same in Texas…

    (starts at minute 14:50)

  • 264. @263  |  May 4, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Seriously funny!
    Thank you.

  • 265. HK  |  May 5, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    @ 263. newbie | May 4, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Do you think Obama approved the High School [location] or was it all a surprise present from Rahm?

  • 266. momof3fish  |  May 22, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Did anyone see that commercial about the selective enrollment process on WGN?

  • 267. Data Cruncher  |  May 22, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    My son will be in CPS this fall (pre-K), so I took some time investigating the system’s capacity from the perspective of a parent envisioning his getting into a good SEHS and then a decent college. Long-term wishes, aren’t they?

    For the whole district, the number of students taking ISAT in 2012 was about 201.5 thousand in mathematics and reading, and about 83.5 K in science. Reading and math were tested in grades 3-8 and 11, while science was for grades 4, 7, and 11. The quantitative difference between the two sets of test-takers should be very close to the total number of CPS students in grades 3, 5, 6, and 8. In other words, suppose these four grades had roughly equal numbers of students, then each one’s population was (201.5 K – 83.5 K) / 4, which is 29.5 K.

    Next, we’ll look at the percentage of students considered as having exceeded standards in test scores, i.e. those who had a reasonable prospect of getting into one of several coveted selective enrollment schools (to be specified below). I looked up the district-wide ratios of “exceeds standards” in 7th grade reading, math, and science as well as 8th grade reading and math. The average of the five ratios is 16.26%, or roughly 4,800 students out of 29,500. Which is to say, in 2012 or 2013, the number of 8th grade CPS students academically prepared to enter competitive SEHSs was about five thousand.

    Then, how many could a small number of SEHSs take in? I include here the four usually coveted schools, PNYJ, as well as Lane Tech and Lincoln Park. Of course, Lane is not entirely at the competitive level of PNYJ, and Lincoln Park’s neighborhood component dilutes the attractiveness of its IB program. Therefore, I consider these two as partially desired shools and use their student population in a weighted way, counting the numbers at 50% and 30% of their actual totals. The other SEHSs simply are not in the same league as these six, either academically inferior or racial/ethnically non-inclusive (perhaps not intentional but nonetheless inhibiting a broad interest in them). A rough number reached after these considerations is that the competitive SEHSs offer about 1,500 weighted seats each year.

    My conclusion so far is that, for academically prepared CPS students, the chance of getting into a competitive SEHS is less than 1/3. Add the private/Catholic/non-Chicago applicants in, the chance is likely lower than one fourth.

  • 268. Data Cruncher  |  May 22, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    It can be derived from the above calculation that, in evaluating elementary schools’ academic quality, it is not enough to just compare their test scores. Even the top category, “exceeds standards”, is still too encompassing for the purpose of differentiation. A more rigorous criterion is perhaps needed, such as the number of graduates getting into competitive SEHSs. But this is hard to do for 6-year schools like Decatur, McDade, and Poe.

  • 269. IBobsessed  |  May 22, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    ” Of course, Lane is not entirely at the competitive level of PNYJ, and Lincoln Park’s neighborhood component dilutes the attractiveness of its IB program. ”

    I’m sorry, but this is not obvious at all, and therefore,does not merit introduction by “Of course”.

  • 270. Data Cruncher  |  May 22, 2014 at 1:59 pm


    Thanks a lot for pointing out the impressionistic nature of that statement, though I believe with data it can be proved Lane and LP are lower in average admission scores than the other four. Of course, I am more than willing to see numbers that disprove this impression.

  • 271. Chris  |  May 22, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    “I’m sorry, but this is not obvious at all”

    Of course, those kids with 900s on the entrance rubric who go to Lane (and the other non-acceptable SEHSs) are obviously delusional.

    The math is off, too, as PaNJY have 1289 admits for this fall, not counting the WYAC admits (who *certainly* count in that exceeds number) and half of Lane (again, not counting the AC kids) is 637, so it’s over 1900 seats, without counting LPIB and w/o the IB kids and *with* crediting the (spurious) half-off for Lane, and *with* crediting the (spurious) exclusion of all kids going to Brooks, King, Lindblom, South Shore and Westinghouse. Seems much more likely that there are something like 3,000 ‘good’ seats (considering quality of school as well as proximity to home) before reducing that by about 1/3 for the private school and suburban kids, leaving about 2,000 ‘good’ seats for 4,800 potentially qualified 8th graders.

  • 272. Chris  |  May 22, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    “Lane and LP are lower in average admission scores than the other four”

    There’s an inherent benefit to going to a school with a higher median admissions score?

    Does your list of “decent colleges” run more than 10 long?

  • 273. IBobsessed  |  May 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    ” Lincoln Park’s neighborhood component dilutes the attractiveness of its IB program”- This statement cannot be proven nor disproven by “numbers”.

    Many of us beyond the pre-K years have come to see that the best schools for your child cannot be determined solely by average admission scores or ‘exceeds standards’ ie. by numbers. Attaching value only to numbers makes things so much easier and black and white, but the best schools for your child is a much messier and more complicated issue than can be captured by a metric.

    Will your pre-schooler have a talent for drama or excel in writing? Guess what? 2 of the 3 metrics used for SEHSs admissions do not even take those into consideration. Your preschooler may be a good test taker and high achiever in math, but not in reading, and want to play a sport at a level below the most competitive HS level. In that case Lane would be a very good fit due to its academic programs and activities.

  • 274. Data Cruncher  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    “Does your list of “decent colleges” run more than 10 long?”

    My list is probably three or four times longer.

  • 275. Data Cruncher  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:18 pm


    “PaNJY have 1289 admits for this fall”

    Thanks for offering that information. It seems my estimate of “good seats” as originally defined should be raised to about 2,000 or a couple hundred more. As a result, the chance for getting one is likely around 1/3 among academically prepared CPS 8th graders.

  • 276. HSObsessed  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    It’s funny how maligned the LP neighborhood program remains in spite of the huge demographic and academic changes that have taken place over the last 5 years or so. At this point, my best guesstimate is that there are maybe 30 to 50 out of 550 freshmen each year from neighborhood schools who had no other options for high school and “had” to go to LP. All other 120 to 150 or so neighborhood enrollees are smart kids who had opportunities to go to many other public and private high schools — yes, including Lane, Jones and Payton that I personally know of — but who chose LP for various reasons, both the IB Diploma program and the double honors program. (And of course, all the 400ish of out-of-neighborhood freshmen all have solid-to-stellar academic records to get accepted into either the HH or IB programs.)

  • 277. 2nd grade parent  |  May 22, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Is it valid to think that all *ISAT “exceed” scores* are PNJY-bound?

    I don’t believe that HS principals believe that the *ISAT* gives an accurate measurement and have to re-set expectations when the PSAE rolls around. So maybe the top 16% is too big a subset of students to get offers to such seats (whichever ones are defined as ‘good’).

    this scenario plays out in the SEES/RGC competition…. many 99%-ers…. not all get seats.

  • 278. Data Cruncher  |  May 22, 2014 at 4:14 pm


    “Exceeds” in the old ISAT or whatever equivalents now (if any) is probably the minimum that parents frequenting this site expect from their children. It’s also possible that only those who got “exceeds” had reasonable chances at one of the coveted SEHS seats. As I argued earlier, this category is indeed too broad, i.e. a low threshold to pass, for identifying among good students the really good ones. But I am not aware better quantitative criteria for the purpose here.

  • 279. pantherettie  |  May 22, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Data Cruncher – am I reading your initial post correctly that you only consider seats available in your calculations to be those available at WY, Jones, NS and Payton? Are you indicating that the only ‘coveted’ seats are those available at the above schools? Just curious if I read that correctly.

  • 280. Lincoln Park  |  May 22, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    “At this point, my best guesstimate is that there are maybe 30 to 50 out of 550 freshmen each year from neighborhood schools”

    And will those freshmen now be going to Obama? Could be another big change in store for LP

  • 281. HS Mom  |  May 23, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Do “coveted” seats include extra seats at Payton due to expansion? What do you think about Obama? Too early to tell? Technically a “selective” school. Where do magnets fit on the scale?

    I think defining “good” or “partially desirable” (as stated above) based upon pure selective vs. neighborhood component vs. all neighborhood etc does the system injustice and helps to feed a frenzied mentality.

    School choice is very dynamic these days selective schools have neighborhood programs and neighborhood schools have selective components. With thinking like this it’s no wonder we have even the teachers suggesting that selective schools are for winners and losers can’t make it in.

    I fully understand that some people will have a very high threshold with few schools on their radar. That is a lot of pressure. It’s not possible to calculate where you’re going to be or what you’ll want years down the road. Plenty of people choose private, fine arts schools or IB over SE schools. IMO, while the number crunching theory has merit, it’s lacking the broader spectrum of desirable school choice and should be taken with a grain of salt.

    The assumption that (only?) a good selective school leads to a “decent” college is incorrect on many levels and again will vary depending upon your definition of “decent”.

  • 282. Flustered at 19  |  May 23, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Location for the SS SEHS? How about the property at 118th and Bell that CPS just sold to the park district, courtesy of the alderman to keep it open for the local parish’s fall soccer league. This would be the ideal location for Beverly Hills High School.

  • 283. Chris  |  May 23, 2014 at 11:22 am

    “My list [of decent college] is probably [30 to 40] long[].”

    With a perhaps 40 long list of decent colleges, it’s weird to discount Lane and LPIB. If only PaNJY are acceptable for HS, I can’t imagine how college #39 is ok for college.

  • 284. Levski  |  May 24, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Beaubien RGC 1st graders parents for 2014-2015 – we are starting a Facebook group for incoming families. If you would like to network, get to know each other, please join us!

  • 285. HSObsessed  |  May 27, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Looks like the neighborhood boundary is not set but will definitely include the TIF zone, which is North/Wells/Chicago/Halsted. The 30% set aside for kids from the boundary will still need to test in, but only compete with others from within the boundary.

  • 287. Chris  |  May 30, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    @286–from the article:

    “within about a mile-and-half of four elite public high schools”

    Even using straight line distance, you’ve got Payton, Lincoln Park, and Wells as the regular CPS, and Noble Street and Rauner as charters.

    Is ST really arguing that Noble Street and Rauner are “elite” public HS? I think that we can discount Wells as “elite”, even if it may perhaps (or may not…) be remarkably better than just a few years ago.

  • 288. pantherparent  |  May 30, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    I find it amusing that the mayor chastises the Cubs owner for announcing changes to Wrigley Field before the plan is even approved, then he does the exact same thing with Prez Prep.

    But like any good dictator, he has someone else take the blame.

  • 289. home renovation princeton nj  |  June 13, 2014 at 1:44 pm

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  • 290. cps watching  |  September 18, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Update on Obama High School

    Chicago has dropped plans to name an already controversial new high school after President Barack Obama.
    The Chicago Board of Education decided that the proposed selective-enrollment institution would not be called Barack Obama College Preparatory High School as planned due to a district policy against naming public schools after a living person, according to the New York Daily News.

  • 291. HL  |  September 19, 2014 at 7:39 am

    @290 cps watching

    Rahm is a joke!! How do you announce naming a school after Obama before check to see if it is legal?!?! Oh please Chicago vote him out!

  • 292. cps watching  |  September 19, 2014 at 11:46 am

    With the cancellation of Obama High next to Skinner, any one guess where the “No Name” High School may go??

  • 293. Where is New Elite HS?  |  May 7, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Alderman wonders where is new $60M elite high school?

    Posted: 05/04/2015, 01:01pm | BY FRAN SPIELMAN AND LAUREN FITZPATRICK

    More than a year ago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel unveiled plans to use $60 million in tax increment financing money to build Chicago’s 11th selective enrollment high school on the Near North Side named after President Barack Obama.

    Emanuel subsequently dropped the Obama name saying he“made a mistake” in his “rush to honor” his former boss. Black elected officials had taken offense, citing the president’s roots on the South Side.

    Now, the local alderman is wondering whether the showcase North Side high school, whatever it ends up being called, will ever be built.

    Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) expressed his fears four days after CPS notified the Chicago Teachers Union it would not exercise its option to extend the teachers contract for another year because it does not have the $105 million needed to fund the 3 percent pay raise.

    CPS is facing a $1.1 billion shortfall and a $9.5 billion pension crisis.

    “We have TIF money for the capital stuff [to build the school], but TIF money can’t be used to run it and staff it,” said Burnett, who helped the mayor get re-elected.

    Burnett said he still favors a vacant riverfront parcel at Division and Halsted as the site for the school of 1,200 after the original plan to build it in Stanton Park ran into a buzz-saw of community opposition.

    But he can’t seem to get the Emanuel-chaired Public Building Commission to agree to hold a hearing to get the required community approval.

    And that’s making him antsy.

    “If we don’t hurry up and get it done, you won’t see that thing happening until three years from now or four years from now. Then, we’ll be getting ready to do a re-map again,” he said.

    Since the April 7 runoff, Emanuel has had more important concerns, not the least of which is solving the combined $30 billion pension crisis at the city and public schools.

    There’s also the $20.5 million contracting scandal that pushed schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to take a paid leave of absence and may force the mayor to search for a permanent replacement — his fourth CEO in four years.

    Building Commission spokeswoman Molly Sullivan had no immediate comment, nor could she explain why no concrete progress has been made.

    Last Friday, CPS proposed a bare-bones, $160 million capital budget — the smallest in 20 years — that makes no mention of the marquee school. CPS spokesman Bill McCaffery said that’s because capital money to build it was set aside last year.

    The showcase school, with space for 1,200 high-achieving students, 30 percent of them from the surrounding community, is central to Emanuel’s plan to give parents more high-quality options to prevent families from fleeing to the suburbs when their children approach high school age.

    This year alone, applications for coveted spots in Chicago’s 10 selective-enrollment high schools rose by 8 percent. That left 16,440 students vying for 3,200 seats.

  • 294. Hancock  |  May 7, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    I thought they scrapped the idea and instead will be phasing out the neighborhood students year by year at Hancock??? Hancock has its first SE class of freshman starting in the 2015-2016 year??? At least that was my understanding.

  • 295. Chicago School GPS  |  June 9, 2015 at 9:27 am

    Here we go again with the proposed new SEHS:
    “The commission is set to consider the four sites to get the OK to move forward with the project in July.

    Site selection, land acquisition and planning are expected to take as long as one year and four months, and construction of the school is expected to take two years, Haymaker said.

    The city initially planned on opening the school in the fall of 2017.

    The selective enrollment school, which is going to be funded with Tax Increment Financing dollars, would serve 1,200 students, with 30 percent of those seats reserved for students from the neighborhood.

    What that neighborhood’s boundaries are will be determined by CPS once the site is chosen, Haymaker said.”

  • 296. mom2  |  June 9, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Why not use the TIF money set for building this school in a different way to achieve the same thing? Use the money to start up selective programs in all the neighborhood high schools near these locations instead. Then you have selective, cool, challenging programs for all those kids and you improve the neighborhood schools at the same time.

What do you think?

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