Neighborhood / Magnet High School Information

February 26, 2015 at 10:26 am 195 comments


As requested, please use this thread to ask questions, share, and learn about some of the non-SEHS offerings in the city.

Parents with kids at a neighborhood high school, please share your thoughts to help get the word out.

I’ll copy the comments from the other high school thread over here as soon as I have a chance.

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

High School Acceptances 2015 PreSchool Applications open March 2015

195 Comments Add your own

  • 1. SER  |  February 26, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Thought it would be a good idea to begin with information regarding a new initiative just launched regarding a K-12 system. Alderman Pawar, Alderman O’Connor and Alderman Tunney have joined forces to support Amundsen and Lakeview.

  • 2. mom2  |  February 26, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Love that they are doing this. Someone told me they are working to make it so both Amundsen and Lake View would be considered neighborhood schools for people in either area/neighborhood. Then people can pick the school they want based on the programs and specialties offered at each school and they can pool resources and funding and other efforts. Is that true? I think that makes tons of sense.

  • 3. mom2  |  February 26, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Also this one about Don Geci, LVHS Senior, Celebrating his Acceptance in Astrophysics at Princeton:

  • 4. genxatmidlife  |  February 26, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Yesterday I sent an email to my husband to forward to a colleague that gives an overview of the SE high school application process and acceptance rates. When I was finished and reread it, I thought, “No wonder people outside of the city have a hard time believing this.”

    How nice it would be if SEs were “nice-to-haves” vs. “must-haves”! On that note, Amundsen is having an event next Wednesday, March 4, at Borelli’s Pizza (corner of Lawrence and Hamilton). They are calling it a “Decompression Session.” I’m sure more details are on the Friends of Amundsen Facebook page.

  • 5. Northsider  |  February 26, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Just received this in an email from lakeview hs

    30 Lake View High School Students Headed to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    LVHS Principal Celebrates Students for Choosing his Alma Mater
    Like many high schools this time of year, the hallways at LVHS are full of students “Repping,” — that is, representing their university choices through their sweatshirts, water bottles, and other college-bound gear.

    “Repping is cool,” says Atil M, one of 30 LVHS seniors who will soon make U of I at Urbana-Champaign his home, majoring in Industrial Engineering. “I like repping.”

    Seeing U of I so well-represented at LVHS (even before the second round of acceptance letters has arrived) has special meaning to principal Scott Grens, a proud U of I alum. “Our students head off to a lot of different colleges after graduation, and I’m really excited for these thirty students. I know firsthand what they’re about to experience academically. I’m proud of them.”

    Many of the LVHS grads will major in STEM fields, joining a program that boasts recent graduates such as Martin Eberhard (Tesla co-Founder), Max Levchin (PayPal founder), Steve Cand Jawed Karim (YouTube founders), as well as other notables.

    Jadid H, who will study Civil Engineering, says that U of I’s top-five ranking in the field made it a clear choice. “I like the concept of applying mathematics and sciences, so that’s one reason I’ve chosen engineering.” Jadid also notes with a smile that U of I is “Far enough away from Chicago that you can get away, but close enough that I can drop off my laundry on weekends.”

    Estelle F says that an LVHS teacher was a strong influence in her choice to major in Biology. “My interest started because of my Biology teacher, Ms. Marcus. After I did well in that subject, I chose to extend my studies to AP Chemistry as well.”

    Influences in college choice at LVHS come from family members, too. “My sister-in-law went there, and says it’s a great program, “ comments Maria A. “She also told me that U of I is a well-rounded school across departments.”

    Kevin B, who is planning to study Architecture, was swayed by his sister, a U of I student. She sold him on the ‘wide open’ spaces on campus, which provide a soothing counterpoint to life in Chicago, according to Kevin.

    When asked about dealing with the new demands of a heavier workload and greater freedom, students were confident. “I’m in AP classes, and sports and clubs at LVHS, and that has taught me to manage my life,” says Kevin. “I’m taking a lot of AP classes, and they can be self-guided…without independent learning, I wouldn’t have gotten where I want to go.”

    Gustavo B, who will study Biology before entering a Med program, embraces the independence facing him. “I’m good at being independent, but now I’ll finally be able to observe the decisions I make on my own. All these years of high school and working on my studies will now pay off.”

    Atil sums up what he’ll carry forward from LVHS this way: “Between the experiences of AP, sports, afterschool clubs, and everything else at Lake View, we may find that as we change as people, and our interests change, we’re more open with our resources and opportunities because of our high school experience.”

  • 6. North Side Parent  |  February 26, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    In summary, the changes being made at North side high schools are very real and happening right now. Backward looking data on graduation rates and test scores are not at all indicative of the quality of the education your child can receive, particularly if they engage in the advanced curricula available. Top quartile ACT average scores already approach the Lane Tech average (~23 vs 25). A major accomplishment considering SEHS students are self-selected based on standardized testing aptitude.

    Senn Principal, Susan Lofton, hired 2010:

    Amundsen Principal, Anna Pavichevich, hired 2012:

    New Lake View Principal, Scott Grens:

    Alderman Pawar (newly elected 2011, recently re-elected w/ 83% of the vote): “Calls landslide win a mandate for k-12”:

  • 7. mom2  |  February 26, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Cool news on Lake View seniors, Northsider. Thanks for sharing. Think about that – these kids started at Lake View 4 years ago (before a lot of the revived focus, improvements, etc.) If they were already successful like this, imagine how great it will be when next year’s freshmen are seniors.

  • 8. Karen Kouf  |  February 26, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you for starting this thread. I have been a huge proponent of Lake View (and dissenter of selective enrollment) for years. The new principal, Scott Grens, and his team are amazing. There are families and the Lake View Partners group that are really committed to making the school a first choice, not a back-up plan.

    At 1200 students, the school is a perfect size for many kids with more of a personalized approach to learning. I am an 8th grade parent that has just watch so many kids NOT get a SE school with their friends, the effect is devastating. We should not have to apologize for any child getting a B or C, they all deserve a great education despite what our flawed system says.

    Hats off to Amundsen and Lake View, I hope that parents and students give them a fair chance to show what they have to offer. It has to start with community support.

  • 9. Lake View Resident  |  February 26, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    @mom2 – That is a very good point about Lake View High School.

  • 10. mom2  |  February 26, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    @7 Karen Kouf – Is your 8th grader going to Lake View next year? Did he/she try for anything else or were you all just thrilled with the neighborhood school and decided not to have the stress? Do you know a lot of 8th graders from the neighborhood planning to attend next year? I hope so!!!

  • 11. North Side Parent  |  February 26, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    In summary, the changes being made at North side high schools are very real and happening right now. Backward looking data on graduation rates and test scores are not at all indicative of the quality of the education your child can receive, particularly if they engage in the advanced curricula available.

    Top quartile ACT average scores already approach the Lane Tech average (~22-23 vs 25). A major accomplishment considering SEHS students are self-selected based on standardized testing aptitude. And this is BEFORE the new wave of change.

    There are thousands of suburban schools where in order to get into a good college you are EXPECTED to be in the top quartile of your graduating class. Schools like SEHS and some very wealthy suburban schools that are elite top to bottom are the EXCEPTION to the rule.

    Relatively new leadership is terrific and changing the game:

    Senn Principal, Susan Lofton, hired 2010
    Amundsen Principal, Anna Pavichevich, hired 2012
    Lake View Principal, Scott Grens, hired 2014

    So this story is well known to those who are paying attention (though we welcome more anecdotes from parents, and help spreading the word further).

    I’d love to here more from parents at any neighborhood schools that aren’t LPHS/Taft/Senn/LVHS/Amundsen, if you’re out there.

    Please help us broaden our horizons!

  • 12. Exploring Amundsen IB  |  February 26, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    I am taking a serious look at Amundsen IB because not only will it be close, but I am getting a sense that the education could be more personal – – which is always a plus for any child. Viking parents, is this a fair assessment?

  • 13. mom2  |  February 26, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Northside parent, you said, “So this story is well known to those who are paying attention (though we welcome more anecdotes from parents, and help spreading the word further).” There are tons of parents on that believe they are paying great attention and are “in the know” and only think that their child will thrive and be safe at Northside, Payton, Jones, Whitney Young or Lane (maybe LPIB). I’m hoping they will come over to this section to see that this is no longer true. Not by a long shot.

  • 14. edgewatermom  |  February 26, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks so much for starting this thread! I know that principals & teachers from some of these schools follow this blog. Maybe they will reach out to current students & parents and ask them to post about their experience.

    The idea that the only acceptable CPS options for high school are the SEHS is similar to thinking that the Ivies are the ONLY options for college. It is just not true!

  • 15. edgewatermom  |  February 26, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Forgot to “follow” when I posted the previous comment!

  • 16. Von-mom  |  February 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    My daughter is a freshman at Von Steuben high school (a sciences magnet school) – she is in the Scholars program. It’s really been a great experience, even better than I expected. It’s a great school and the Scholars program has been really good for her because it is a smaller group and much more is expected of those students.

    The school and teachers have been really helpful lately with applications to competitive summer programs – something that wasn’t even on my radar. So they keep the parents informed of the things your high schooler should be doing now to get into and do well at a top college.

    For those who are looking for numbers, I just checked and the average ACT is 26 for the Von Steuben Scholars program. The school as a whole is 20.

    There is an open house next week on March 3rd for 8th graders who got an acceptance letter to Von Scholars! My daughter and I are both planning to help out.

  • 17. mom2  |  February 26, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Thank you, Von-mom! So happy to hear about these other options. Keep ’em coming.

  • 18. Karen Kouf  |  February 26, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    @ mom2 – My son is currently at Bell and was accepted to Lincoln Park Double Honors, accepted at Lindblom SEHS, and Von Stueben Magnet Science. He was 5 points off at Lane. Year end grades were great, MAP scores awesome, but he didn’t do well on the SEHS entrance exam (if you call scores of 82 – 97% bad).

    I WANTED him to go to LVHS for all of the reasons stated here even before the letters went out. In the end, he will have to decide. We have also accepted at LP but I don’t believe it’s a better fit for him.

    The playground chatter still is tough for kids that choose a neighborhood school. Somehow that makes them not smart enough. I think the administration at feeder schools are working hard to overcome this.

    I believe in the next few years, all of this will be over given the progress in the north neighborhood schools. Kids that want to go to SEHS will be able to do so but kids that prefer another choice, won’t be considered failures.

    The other reason I love LVHS is STEM, extra-curricular and new pool (new running track in the plan), STEM, and partnership with Microsoft.

  • 19. mom2  |  February 26, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Thank you, Karen Kouf, for your honesty. I just feel like saying “ugh” because so many kids are battling that same “playground chatter” and if that stopped, so many more kids would decide that being close to home and going to school with friends that live nearby would be fantastic. It worked on the elementary school level because the kids were too small to talk about this. I have no idea how to stop it. My kid hears the same things at school (from kids and from teachers when they say things about getting into “good” schools.)

    One thing that makes sense to me is to have a selective program at Lake View that people can say “I got into blah blah blah.” That’s how it works with double honors at LP and Honors at Von and IB at Amundsen. You get those people to come first and the school scores go up and then the other neighborhood kids won’t feel weird saying they are going to Lake View (just like it sounds fine to say you are going to Von or LP right now).

  • 20. mom2  |  February 26, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Also I didn’t know LVHS had a new pool. We went to the open house and they wouldn’t show us the pool so I figured it was old and they were embarrassed to show it.

  • 21. Chris  |  February 26, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    mom2: “There are tons of parents on that believe they are paying great attention and are “in the know” and only think that their child will thrive and be safe at Northside, Payton, Jones, Whitney Young or Lane (maybe LPIB).”

    There are tons who think that Lane isn’t really acceptable and didn’t believe that Jones was acceptable until the new building. Comes up all the time.

  • 22. edgewatermom  |  February 26, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    @18 Mom2 We are battling the same “playground chatter” at our school and it starts with the teachers. We have been having conversations with the teachers and trying to put a stop to this. Honestly, I think that it really starts with the parents and the teachers and then becomes entrenched with the kids.

    The good news is that as parents we can be a part of the change and help put a stop to this. This blog is a huge step in the right direction!

  • 23. Vikingmom  |  February 26, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks CPO for starting this thread!
    @11 you ask if the Amundsen experience is personal — I can tell you that my daughter’s experience has been so, but I cannot say that it would be any different elsewhere. However, one thing that I like is my daughter has the same homeroom teacher each year (they keep the same group of students w/same teacher–this is in IB, not sure if this is also school-wide). This teacher — who is hands-down phenomenal — was also one of her class teachers and a coach for one of her sporting programs. So I feel that is definitely a personal aspect, and this instructor is a great advocate for the students.
    So great to hear about LV and Von as well!

  • 24. FOA  |  February 26, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    I am the president of Friends of Amundsen and given the subject/spirit of this string, I thought it made sense to include some information regarding Amundsen High School. We have a new brochure which serves as a great overview for those that are less familiar with our neighborhood high school. Please click on the link below:

    In addition, please feel free to join our FOA Facebook page and newsletter for future information and updates.

    Thank you

  • 25. CPSAppalled  |  February 26, 2015 at 5:55 pm


  • 26. Anna Pavichevich - Amundsen HS Principal  |  February 26, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    @ 1-25 🙂 This is an amazing thread.

    Having just gotten home from a long day at work, I am thrilled to see that neighborhood schools with great academic programs are the topic of discussion among caring and devoted parents. For now, I am still working and have a few deadlines to meet, but I promise to be back tomorrow.

    If you have specific questions about Amundsen HS (or about anything, for that matter), I am at your disposal. You can post here or write to me at

    I think that having a targeted discussion that meets your specific needs and answers questions most pertinent to all of you will be more fruitful than my guesses at what you might want to know and learn about our school.

    As the parent of a student who spent 12 years in SEHS schools (and as someone who also happens to have worked in CPS HSs since 1996), I have a pretty broad perspective of the benefits of a variety of types of HS offerings on the Northside of Chicago. You can address your questions to me in my capacity as a parent, teacher, administrator, or life-long Chicago resident. 🙂

  • 27. Arnold Davis  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:32 am

    I am on the Local School Council at Lake View High School. Prior to that I spent three years at the chair of the Nettelhorst Local School Council. Lake View has a very strong administration, a wonderful teaching staff and is pulling in ever more community support. As mentioned above, we have 30 students headed to the University of Illinois and another one going to Princeton in the fall.

    You can learn more details about Lake View High School in our “at-a-glance” document here:

    I am so proud to be a part of Lake View High School and what we are accomplishing.

    I have also watched the progress at Amundsen and echo the positive comments above about the school.

  • 28. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:50 am

    I went to the Lake View High School meet-&-greet tonight. Place was standing room only. Lots of families from Burley, Bell, and Blaine (and some Coonley, Nettelhorst, Hamilton I spotted.)

    The principal had someone from each of several departments give a quick elevator pitch about the school/dept which was very energizing. The STEM information was very compelling to me (and something school related I could see my son being excited about.) The arts offerings sounded really good (entry level band for freshmen) chorus, fine art, photography.

    For kids into sports it offers the chance to play on a team because of the school size and different sports offered.

    AP classes are available and can expand to meet the needs of the student body.

    It could really be a good, well-rounded high school experience with AP classes in the topics where your kid can work ahead.

    I skipped some of the more academic tables as it was the end of the day and I was too weary to come up with any good questions about math, etc.

    It’s really exciting to see all this. I see a tipping point coming soon. Logistically, you’ve got these families from schools that had their “tipping point” a few years before other neighborhoods did. So it makes sense that they’re ready to rally and join forces for high school, knowing it worked well at the elem level.

  • 29. pantherparent  |  February 27, 2015 at 9:13 am

    This thread would be incomplete without some praise for Taft High School and the amazing work that Principal Mark Grishaber and his staff have been doing.

    On the job less than a year, the changes are apparent and it’s only the beginning. What used to look like a prison has been transformed by a multi-million dollar renovation. The dress code was dropped. IB offerings have increased.

    Principal G is focused on keeping the Academic Centers kids at Taft. He’s tired of being a feeder school for SEHS. They are instituting curriculum to entice those 8th grade graduates to stay on their academic track especially IB. And to stay at Taft.

    He is also concentrating on the sports program. Sports is a huge factor in leading some neighborhood kids (and parents) to choose St. Pats or Notre Dame over Taft and he knows this. The football coach was replaced. And just announced was a $50,000 renovation to the weight room and basketball floor.

    Taft’s biggest problem is over crowding. Over the years, the boundaries were increased to draw more students. But now, with the school becoming popular due to the changes (and to economic reasons) they need to be retracted. We’ll see what happens.

  • 30. North Side Parent  |  February 27, 2015 at 9:44 am

    @ pantherparent: Do you think it’s realistic that the boundaries will be redrawn? When were they last changed and what area was added? There were many who said Lincoln Elementary should be redrawn due to overcrowding, but that was pretty much torpedoed by parents who didn’t want to miss out on an in demand school. They just built an expansion instead. When South Loop elementary took off in popularity as a neighborhood school, they had to push out their RGC to make room (instead now at nearby National Teachers Academy).

  • 31. pantherparent  |  February 27, 2015 at 10:34 am

    That’s a great question and, frankly, one I don’t have an answer to.

    I did hear Principal Grishaber say that one option presented by CPS was to eliminate the academic center thus freeing up more space for the high school. He rejected that idea immediately. And rightfully so I think. But this put the school at loggerheads with CPS.

    I did find this article which lays out attendance issues through the years at Taft, but only says that the LSC is studying it with two obvious options, either build an addition or reduce the attendance areas.

  • 32. North Side Parent  |  February 27, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Comparing Taft to the adjacent schools, redistricting is going to be a challenge:

    School / Avg ACT / Grad Rate / College Enrollment:

    Taft – 18.8 / 78% / 64%
    Mather – 17.0 / 67% / 61%
    Roosevelt – 15.6 / 59% / 43%
    Schurz – 15.4 / 70% / 49%
    Steinmetz – 16.2 / 62% / 48%

    I think Mather would be the only plausible replacement option for families to swap out of, and I have no idea whether or not they have the space.

    That would logically/geographically imply moving Sauganash kids, which is arguably the #1 Taft feeder elementary (only one to score a school-wide 99 on the 2014 NWEA MAP), but definitively one of the top six (Edgebrook/Wildwood/Oriole Park/Ebinger/Norwood Park are the other elite MAP scorers in Taft, all 95%+).

    You’d have to generate some Mather buzz to even do that, add an IB or AC program. It does have a demographic advantage (when it comes to test scores) compared to the other options (non-Taft), being 48% White/Asian (the Chinatown elem scores would shock you, relative to their low income %).

    But that might not be enough to reduce overcrowding anyway.

    Obviously you want to keep the Taft AC, but otherwise you’re probably stuck overcrowded or fundraising for expansion.

  • 33. North Side Parent  |  February 27, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Yes Palmer and Smyser elementaries logically/geographically fit better in Roosevelt and Schurz as well, but I just don’t think you can pull the switcheroo like that on those families that live there.

  • 34. momofmany  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    1/2 of Smyser does not feed into Taft already. Smyser is my neighborhood school and our neighborhood high school is Schurz. Irving Park Rd. is the boundary for Taft vs. Schurz.

  • 35. pantherparent  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    One thing the article mentioned is 80% of the students at Taft are within the attendance boundaries. Even I can figure out that means 20% are from outside. I’m assuming many of those are carryovers from the days when they were looking to fill the place but they should be graduating soon. Maybe that will free up space.

    And I don’t know if that 20% outside includes AC kids who do come from far and wide. I realize you can’t kick out the 20% currently there but maybe enforcing the boundaries will help in the future.

  • 36. Esmom  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    It really does seem like LVHS is on the cusp but as others have said the playground chatter is really brutal. I was just doing a sweep of my son’s Instagram (he’s in 8th grade and was at one of the favorite north side elementary schools for five years and another CPS school for two years before that for preschool) and I came across a post where a bunch his old friends were comparing which high schools they got into. LV was being used as an insult, as in “Dude, have fun LV, since it’s the only place that will take you” etc etc.

    Another kid who mentioned he was going to Taft also took a verbal beating. So rude and dismaying. I can’t imagine how the kids who didn’t get into the SEHSs (or Loyola or St Ignatius, which were the two private school names that came up repeatedly) must feel when their peers are taking pleasure in humiliating them.

  • 37. mom2  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    That’s why I keep saying that LVHS needs a selective program. Then someone can say “I got into LVHS’s XXX program” and then eventually, I could have gone many places but I want to go to LVHS or I decided to go there because of their great XXX program. But it really needs to start with an “I got into…” That’s why it doesn’t sound so bad when someone says I’m going to LPHS. Even if they don’t say double honors or the performing arts, many people assume it.

  • 38. genxatmidlife  |  February 27, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    @37, mom2 — While I agree that this is a good place to start for shifting perceptions of LVHS, it would be ideal to shift the concept from “I got into” to “I chose” in general. Such as “I chose to go to my neighborhood school.”

    One of the great advantages of a strong neighborhood school system is taking the pressure element out of the transition to high school. In this country, it is very rare be have to be accepted into high school. Our suburban friends don’t have to contend with that. Their kids go to the “local” school. (Granted, there are probably programs within that require acceptance, but that’s far less pressure than what we’re dealing with around here.) It’d be great to take “acceptance” out of the equation.

    But I don’t think we’re there yet. Acceptance-based programs are the attraction and do offer reassurance to parents looking for a school for their high achieving kids who didn’t get into a SEHS. Unless you can pull an entire school’s ACT scores up significantly and in a short time, it’s the best option.

    Another place to start, in reference to @36 and others who have posted about playground chatter is to change our own language about these schools. I’ll admit that I have been guilty of it. We live near Amundsen, and when my kids were little and played in the play lot there, they’d ask if that was their high school, and I said, “Yes, but you aren’t going there.”

    Now I think about that and realize how short-sighted it was to have that attitude. Regardless of whether my kids end up there or not, it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep an open mind about neighborhood schools.

  • 39. curious  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    How large is the Senn fine arts program? How many students in each discipline and in each year? And is there a score requirement for this kind of program?

  • 40. Esmom  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    @38 I like the idea of changing the language. Just this summer on vacation in NYC I noticed a little campaign slogan in Queens — “Queens by choice,” the message being that people chose to move to Queens vs being forced there by economic circumstances or whatever other reason. I thought it was interesting.

    However, when it comes to CPS high schools, I think there’s still quite a ways to go. Of the 10 or so families we’re still in close contact with from our old school, each of their kids applied to various programs such as those at LPHS and Senn and Von and said they’d consider LV…but only as a backup to their first choice, a SEHS.

  • 41. North Side Parent  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    RE: Playground chatter

    I like the IB / school-within-a-school concept, but I would point out we’re not being any less judgmental toward the non-IB student body. We’re just trying to create more desks on the “winning” side of the fence for our kids.

    As a former middle/high school boy, I would submit to you that a large part of the peer group will always find some way to be ridiculously nasty to each other. The “anti-Semitic” bullying debacle at Ogden comes to mind. I recommend you go play one of the first person shooters (Halo, Call of Duty, whatever the new ones are) on X-Box Live for a while and just listen to strangers talk to each other. You will be appalled. It’s scum of the earth type of stuff.

    I think its a teachable moment more than anything, to talk about how adults that succeed in life generally don’t treat other people that way. Part of growing up/maturing is learning about being respectful and decent.

  • 42. David Stachowiak - Senn Arts Director  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Senn Arts contains four disciplines which are Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts. The program opened four years ago with Theatre and Visual Arts, Music was added three years ago, and Dance two years ago. Senn Arts is comprised of one section of 28 students per discipline at each grade level which totals 112 and we will expand towards a capacity of 448 given this calculation. As interest in our program increases, there is certainly a possibility of adding sections at each grade level.
    For admission criteria and score requirements, please review our admissions page at
    Thanks for your inquiry,
    David Stachowiak
    Senn Arts Director

  • 43. Esmom  |  February 27, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    @41, I have been shocked to find out just how mean eighth grade boys can be. Somehow my older son managed to avoid the nastiness my younger one is in the midst of.

    I wondered if the girls are being nicer about the SEHS thing, I couldn’t find any evidence either way on Instagram, lol.

    In any case, my son’s best friend from preschool got into WY. His mom said she doesn’t think they’d feel happier if they won the lottery. But she’s advised her son to keep a lid on the news unless asked because she knows lots of kids in his class don’t have as many “good” options.

  • 44. pantherparent  |  February 27, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    @38 The problem with “I chose…” is that people won’t necessarily believe it. Kids have used that line as a cover-up for years saying they could have gone to (Lane, Northside, Whitney) but chose to attend the local school or Catholic school instead when you know the real reason is they didn’t make the cut.

    Short of posting their letter with the score on facebook to prove they had the numbers, it will be looked upon skeptically.

  • 45. xCPS9  |  February 27, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    44 My child chose private because of the 7th grade CPS nonsense. Never looked back…There are lots of Chicago kids out there who are NOT interested in CPS for any reason.

  • 46. genxatmidlife  |  February 27, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    @44 I agree that’s the situation now, I just hope that we can transition from that eventually.

  • 47. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  February 27, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    “Do you think it’s realistic that the boundaries will be redrawn?”

    CPS only alters boundaries when all other options have been exhausted — unless schools are being closed. Even if boundaries are changed, the current enrollees are usually grandfathered until they graduate.

    “There were many who said Lincoln Elementary should be redrawn due to overcrowding, but that was pretty much torpedoed by parents who didn’t want to miss out on an in demand school.”

    The Lincoln issue was about how new housing in the former Children’s Memorial Hospital site would increase over-crowding at LE substantially. The 2nd best solution — have the students south of Armitage go to LaSalle Language Academy, which was the closest school, by de-magnetizing LaSalle — was strongly opposed by LaSalle parents and its alderman as well as south-of-Armitage Lincoln parents. The best solution — have an LE middle school as part of the CMH development — was too expensive.

  • 48. North Side Parent  |  February 27, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    The Story of Noble Street Charter:

    In ’99 two CPS teachers opened a charter school, Noble Street Charter in Noble Square.

    By 2006, they had convinced Bruce Rauner and Penny Pritzker to donate to open two more campuses. They did this by getting better ACT scores, better graduation rates, and better college enrollment than existing neighborhood high schools. Noble has continued its rapid growth. This year there are 16 campuses, serving 3,700k high school freshmen, predominately on the South and West sides. This is roughly half of all the charter high school students and 12% of all of CPS high school freshmen. They recently launched their first middle school.

    Why the growth? Results. Noble’s average ACT score is 3 points above the citywide average and better than any neighborhood schools at 20.5, including Lakeview, Amundsen, Senn and Taft. This is despite a student population that is 98% minority and 89% low-income.

    But they are not without controversy. Naturally the Teachers’ Union HATES Noble, given that they are expanding and taking away Union jobs. There have been criticisms of the approach including: uniforms, strict discipline (including monetary fines), and a longer school day and year. Critics say these schools are not accomplishing anything different than the neighborhood elementary magnet schools that perform great with union teachers despite no “selective enrollment” process. Also this expansion has exacerbated “underutilization” that caused 50 neighborhood schools to close in 2013. Personally I understand some of these criticisms, while others just sound like bias (especially the ones claiming this is some profit scheme).

    My view is that parents and kids vote with their feet. Noble had 8,700 applications for its 3,700 spots last year, meeting 42% of demand. They hope to open 4 more campuses in the next 5 years. To put it all in context, Noble today has roughly the same amount of seats to offer as ALL (not just PJNY+Lane) the SEHS combined, which had 16,000 SEHS applications for 3,600 seats, a 23% acceptance rate.

    I’d love to hear from anyone out there who has experience with Noble, positive or negative, I’m legitimately VERY curious. While perhaps not the right fit for everyone, I think it deserves more attention in the high school conversation on this blog.

  • 49. Scott Grens  |  February 27, 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Hi Everyone,

    As the proud principal of Lake View High School (LVHS), I want to use this outlet to thank our community for their indelible support of our school over the past ten months. From collaboration with our staff and students, to events such as our hugely successful “Showcase,” it brings me great pride to share all the amazing happenings of Chicago’s Premier Neighborhood High School with the community members of Chicago.

    With past administrative experience serving the community in a Selective Enrollment High School, I chose to pursue this principal position at LVHS because of my firsthand knowledge of the amazing academics, sports, activities, and spirit at the school. I’m thankful that what is being said about LVHS on the outside is finally catching up to reality.

    I personally invite CPSobsessed readers to visit LVHS; experience the school spirit; speak with the college-going seniors; explore an AP or Dual Credit classroom; and, get to know a faculty member (many of whom have made LVHS their HOME for over a decade). If you’re interested in learning more about our school, such as Admissions, Summer Camps, or Student Shadowing opportunities, please visit our website at Your choice is Lake View High School. Go Wildcats! – Scott Grens

  • 50. Chris  |  February 27, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    “I’d love to hear from anyone out there who has experience with Noble, positive or negative”

    I know someone with a kid at one of them. The counselors do not ‘allow’ (ie, will not complete recommendations for) all kids to apply to whatever colleges they want to–they apparently have designated slots for the kids they think have the best chances of getting into School X. Apparently it’s that blunt–not ‘based on our experience, you’d be wasting your time’, but ‘we think Sally has a better chance of getting in, so we won’t let you apply’.

    Other than that, second hand reporting is pretty positive.

  • 51. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Regarding the lv “playground/instagram chatter” I truly feel based on what I saw at the LV event last night that this could change based on the high number of feeder school families there.

    Community perceptions can change really quickly as was witnessed with nettelhorst. One year nobody would look at the place, a couple years later I watched a mom make a fool of herself begging for a spot on a group tour.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 52. Beth  |  February 27, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    As someone who works with grad students in STEM who can’t find jobs, I don’t know why science and math are featured as enrichment. And music and art, too? All kids need all subjects. With the possibility of a job at City Colleges, I looked into SES. When I realized that my son’s score of 90% meant No Dice, we decided to stay in the suburbs. Nationally, IB has proven to be a strong curriculum so the mayor is smart to move in this direction, but the devastation that people have mentioned is a really bad unintended consequence of these awesome SES schools. Needs to be rectified as quickly as possible.

  • 53. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Regarding the desire for “selectivity”, I wonder if lvhs could offer an “AP track” or something where a kid needs a certain score to get in and commits to a certain number of AP courses a year (do they have those for freshmen?)
    They seem to have plenty of AP classes in place already.

    Then it would be like “I got into the lv AP program” (which would just be a couple higher level courses in areas of interest. Sounds ideal to me.).

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 54. IBObsessed  |  February 27, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    Shiny, new, attracts, as well as selectivity. The neighborhood HSs need capital improvements. Look at how sought after Jones has become.

    If CPS stops opening unneeded charter schools, maybe there would be funds for the already existing HSs.

  • 55. Noble  |  February 27, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    50. Chris | February 27, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    “I’d love to hear from anyone out there who has experience with Noble, positive or negative”
    I know someone with a kid at one of them. The counselors do not ‘allow’ (ie, will not complete recommendations for) all kids to apply to whatever colleges they want to–they apparently have designated slots for the kids they think have the best chances of getting into School X. Apparently it’s that blunt–not ‘based on our experience, you’d be wasting your time’, but ‘we think Sally has a better chance of getting in, so we won’t let you apply’.

    Yes, my niece had this same experience at a Noble charter, Class of 2014. Very strange. First they pushed the kids to apply to upwards of 18 schools (my niece was a go-getter and finished before her peers and then they wanted her to keep going – that was a NO). For my niece, they introduced her to an out of state private school and praised it greatly and this greatly influenced my niece since she respected the counselor making the recommendation and the counselor had experience working with the college. My niece decided to apply to that school on the strong recommendations of her counselor. Her counselor encouraged her to do so and sold its merits to her parents as well. Then when she was accepted, they flat out told her not to go and also called her Mom and told her not to let her go to the school which had at this point become her dream school. They exerted extreme pressure on both student and parent over several weeks NOT to go to the school. They kept telling them it was too expensive (much older siblings attended much more expensive schools and succeeded). This was not guidance – it was bullying. She decided to attend and is doing well but could still use guidance, but alas gets none.

    Now she sees Noble counselors visiting Noble grads at her out of state school but they don’t visit her. They provide support to these grads but not to her. Another student from her class is also attending the same university and ditto for that student.

    For the life of me, I can’t fathom why they would do this to a student. A top student who was hand selected for the free college tour trip and was selected for a prime free summer college experience.

    The only think I can think is that each Noble school wants to steer their kids to a few select schools to make it easier for them to track and mentor their students so they can flaunt their metrics for marketing purposes. But even then, it is crazy. Why can’t the Noble counselor from the other Noble school mentor and help her on campus? Is it competition? They aren’t willing to help other Noble students out? Plus they are willing to steer kids away from schools?

    Just left a bad impression.

  • 56. realchicagomama  |  February 27, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Does anyone have any comments about Taft’s graduation rates as profiled in the recent Catalyst article – Tinkering with the High School Graduation Rate. I’d link it, but my comment will be in moderation queue.

    Changes at Taft were also the subject of Ira Glass’s first reporting, in 1993-1995, on the radio show that became This American Life.

    I don’t mean to “pick on” Taft specifically, but I think it’s important in these conversations to be realistic or fair about the challenges in these schools and the outcomes they produce. That said, I would much rather send my children to Taft, for which I am out-of-boundary, than to Schurz, for which I am in-boundary.

  • 57. realchicagomama  |  February 27, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    @cpso – there is the AP Capstone program that sounds like what you are talking about. Unfortunately, I think the only CPS school offering it for this year is Lane Tech. Disney II will offer it next year (15-16):

  • 58. SouthSideIrish4  |  February 28, 2015 at 12:32 am

    56. realchicagomama | February 27, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Yes, I read the article: I also want to say that I would definitely put my child at Taft since Mr. G has taken over as principal. This school will thrive with his leadership and soon many families will ‘choose’ Taft.

    57. realchicagomama | February 27, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Also, next year WY will offer this program and Disney2~I haven’t heard of any other schools, but I’m sure there are. Students take start AP Capstone in 10th or 11th grade with AP Seminar, followed up with AP Research the next year and if they have 4 other AP classes (scoring at least a 3), they will received the AP Cornerstone Diploma. A student would almost have to start taking an AP freshman year and if not by sophomore year. It’s a lot for some kids. I’m not a fan of AP classes freshman or sophomore year. But I do like the AP classes bc I think they start to realize what is expected for university.

  • 59. SouthSideIrish4  |  February 28, 2015 at 12:40 am

    I don’t know how far Chicago Ag is from most of you but please check out their website and school. It is a wonderful magnet school. It’s truly a hidden gem in the 19th Ward.

  • 60. Sarah  |  February 28, 2015 at 8:31 am

    @59 Thanks of the south side post on the Ag school. Anyone have any experience with MPHS, now that it is going wall to wall IB? We are years away from HS, but am hopefully that our neighborhood school could become an option. It’s partnership with St. Xavier also sounds interesting. Please share if you have any experience with MPHS.

  • 61. hopeful in ravenswood  |  February 28, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I recently visited Amundsen. Based on my own experience and in my own words, I would describe what is happening over at Amundsen as almost a “re-start”. The new (since the 2013-2014 school year) administration (along with community leaders/parents) is working hard to help Amundsen be a great neighborhood school. The focus appears to be currently: a safe learning culture (discipline problems seem to be a thing of the past), school spirit/pride, a massive facility renovation over the summer, new technology, growing the music program, strengthening the academic rigor, increasing the extracurricular options and building an overall sense of community. I am very optimistic that the people of the Amundsen community will be successful.

  • 62. @57  |  February 28, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    There will be 10 new schools that will have the capstone program starting 2015 – Northside and Jones among them don’t know who else. Possibly Hancock?

  • 63. SouthSideIrish4  |  February 28, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    60. Sarah | February 28, 2015 at 8:31 am

    MPHS is my neighborhood school. I don’t know that much about it but because it’s recent start of the wall to wall IB program, I think there will be more interest. If your children are young and you want them to attend MP, I suggest you go to their LSC meetings and get involved. Ask friends with you kids who may want their children to attend to go to the LSC meetings as well. The new principal is open to helping MP being a neighborhood school the community needs. MP needs a fair amount of kids from the neighborhood to commit to it their freshman year and then after the initial wave of kids~I believe the community would be to open to it. Only problem ~parents don’t want their kids to be the first.

  • 64. AVID  |  March 1, 2015 at 12:08 am

    Can someone explain AVID?

  • 65. Tours  |  March 1, 2015 at 12:31 am

    64. AVID | March 1, 2015 at 12:08 am

    Type in Taft Avid Chicago in your browser and you will find details including a brochure. Not including link here due to delays in the web link.

    It is basically a program that caters to the middle and not the very top students. Its goal is to give the students a college prep curriculum where they might otherwise not have the opportunity. End goal is for more students to be prepared for college and to actually go.

    Taft has an Avid program. On my tour I got the impression that IB was for those that were perceived to already be ready to handle a college prep curriculum while Avid was for those who needed extra supports to be successful in a college prep curriculum.

    If an IB Diploma track student did not do well, I was told they could switch to Avid if they lived in the attendance boundaries.

  • 66. Senn Bulldog  |  March 1, 2015 at 2:43 pm

    Senn Meet and Mingle: Want to know more about Senn’s IB program?

    Join Principal Susan Lofton and Senn teachers in an informal setting to learn in more about Senn’s highly successful IB program, as well as find out about Senn Arts’ new IB options. Alderman Harry Osterman will be on hand to share in the conversation.

    In response to comments here and in talking with the community, we are offering a meet and mingle for parents of prospective Senn students and all community members. Deciding upon a school is a significant decision and having the opportunity to talk directly with the principal and teachers is a great way to learn about Senn’s vision and to ask questions. Senn offers unique supports and services surrounding instruction that have helped our students be successful.

    Senn Meet and Mingle Details:
    Date: Thursday, March 5th
    Time: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    Where: Uncommon Grounds at 1401 W. Devon (Devon and Glenwood)
    Notes: This is an adult event. Also, the restaurant is offering a 10% discount for those who decide to have dinner afterwards.

    5:30 – 6:00 p.m. Mingling
    6:00 – 6:30 p.m. Principal and teachers share the specifics of Senn IB and the Senn Arts options
    6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Small group conversations and more mingling

    Enjoy a sociable moment, enjoy a beverage, and have great conversations. We hope to see you there.

  • 67. Eric Gonchar  |  March 2, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Eric Gonchar

    Neighborhood / Magnet High School Information | CPS Obsessed

  • 68. mom2  |  March 2, 2015 at 10:45 am

    @cpsobsessed – thank you for your posts 51 and 53. Thrilled to hear about the interest and your opinion that the playground chatter may end about LVHS. That’s wonderful. I still think an “I got into…” would push that chatter away even faster. Any simple selective thing.

    Thank you Principal Grens and Arnold Davis for your positive comments about LVHS. If there are any current parents or parents of incoming freshmen (current 8th graders), I’d love to hear from you about why you selected LVHS. Keep em coming!

  • 69. At any cost  |  March 2, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    @48 “Why the growth? Results. Noble’s average ACT score is 3 points above the citywide average and better than any neighborhood schools…”

    Why the results? Noble kicks students out at a phenomenally higher rate than these other schools. If you’re not poised to help their average ACT, they kick you out and send you to a neighborhood school whose mission is to serve students, not data sheets. Noble kicks out 2% – 5% of their students compared with only .005% of public schools in the city and even 0.6% of charters in general. That means Noble expels up to 8x the number of students of a typical charter and 1,000x that of a typical CPS school.

    Some may find this acceptable. I do not. Especially since schools like Noble are allowed to expand and replace public schools on our tax dollars. I certainly would not support an organization like that by giving them my child.

  • 70. Angie  |  March 2, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    @69. At any cost: “Some may find this acceptable. I do not. Especially since schools like Noble are allowed to expand and replace public schools on our tax dollars.”

    So don’t apply to charter school. Better yet, forget the selective enrollment and send your child to a Level 3 failure factory where these expelled kids go to chill and socialize instead of learning, and then you can be proud of the fact that he/she is taught by the well-compensated CTU teachers.

    It makes perfect sense for Noble to remove the students who are disruptive to the process, because by the time they reach high school, they should know better. Charter schools are for students who want to learn, but don’t have the scores for selective enrollment, or the money to move to LPHS attendance area. Who are you to deny them the right to get an education?

  • 71. Chris  |  March 2, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    @69: [expulsion rate of “only .005%” in regular CPS.]

    That is over 100x less than the rate of referral for expulsion AND over 100x less than the rate of in-school arrests (0.613% and 0.527%, respectively, in the 13-14 SY), so either you shifted the decimal, or it’s virtually impossible to get kicked out of CPS.

    Yes, 4x-10x an expulsion rate is well worth examining more closely, but it’s a far cry from a 1,000x rate.

  • 72. Interesing  |  March 2, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    The point is, a neighborhood can’t simply kick a kid out if they are not achieving to the desired level of the school. If a student in the Noble Charter is under performing, according to their standards, then they are sent packing. That’s not to say that the student is only in school to chill or socialize. It means that they are not performing as high as some of the other students. And the point of education is to close that gap, help them achieve a love for learning, and teach them along the way. It is not to say, “You did not get a 23 on your ACT, so you don’t fit in to our profile. Therefore, you must leave.” There is a better approach to that student then to just kick them out. This also holds true for the kid attending the Noble Charter who can’t even get a 17 on their ACT. Aren’t they entitled to that same right to an education?

  • 73. pantherettie  |  March 2, 2015 at 1:56 pm


  • 74. Be cautious  |  March 2, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    For those of you who are singing the praises of Mr. Grishaber….
    Yes, he is a good principal. Yes, he came from WY, which made him a desirable candidate when they were hiring. However, I am cautioning you to be leery of someone who is able to talk a good game. From the teachers inside the building, there is discussion about how attendance has been altered with to give the appearance of decreasing tardies and cuts. There is discussion amongst the teachers about discipline reports not being filed in Impact the way they are supposed to be so that it looks like they are not struggling with behaviors in the classrooms and hallways. There have been instances of students threatening teachers and those students suffer no consequences. He has encouraged teachers to allow students dictate how some things run in the building. And while student-led democracies are not always a bad thing, they need to be monitored very closely. Mr Grishaber is on a slippery slope of students taking over that building. I have heard students tell teachers and parents that they run the school, cause Grishaber will not punish them for anything. Now I know this is a stretch, but we have all read Lord of the Flies and know what can happen in a society ruled by children! (said somewhat tongue in cheek) For those parents who live within Taft’s boundaries and plan on sending your children there, all I am saying is to please pay attention to what he is saying and what the students are saying and what is actually happening at that building.

  • 75. Angie  |  March 2, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    @72. Interesing : “The point is, a neighborhood can’t simply kick a kid out if they are not achieving to the desired level of the school. If a student in the Noble Charter is under performing, according to their standards, then they are sent packing.”

    The article posted in #69 talks about expelling students specifically for disciplinary issues. Where do you get the idea that charters also remove the students with lower scores? Please link to the source.

  • 76. Testing Questions  |  March 2, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    We are a non-cps family, but would like to consider cps for high school. The non-cps 7th graders were supposed to take the PARK test sometime in May (although no date has ever been revealed). Will they now be taking the PARCC in May? And how do we find out when and where the test will be administered? I would be grateful for any information or insight. Thanks

  • 77. Testing Questions  |  March 2, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Correction: They were supposed to take the MAP test.

  • 78. SouthSideIrish4  |  March 2, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    75. Angie | March 2, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    May be she was thinking of UrbanPrep and how they counsel out

  • 79. waiting mom  |  March 2, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    @74 I have recently heard the same with a freshman friend of my daughters. Both used to be in the AC there and mine went on to SEHS. Having a conversation overmy younger girl waiting for AC results and possibly going there, she expressed that she was happy w/ the fact that she actually sees the principal and he makes it a point to know each name or tries to, but she wishes the students wouldn’t get away w/ everything. They are controlling much of how the school is changing, some good and more bad, in her eyes.

  • 80. Angie  |  March 2, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    @78. SouthSideIrish4: So, these kids “failed a few classes” at Urban Prep, and it turned out that the alternative, opened by private for-profit operator, school was a better fit. Good for them.

    Meanwhile, other kids who are willing to work hard, will be graduating from Urban Prep. Also good for them.

    So what is the problem, again?

  • 81. Sosidemom5  |  March 2, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Morgan Park High School has also recently started a partnership with St. Xavier University, giving students the opportunity to earn college credits while still enrolled in high school. This, in addition to the wall to wall IB program, is a great asset to the community.

  • 82. SouthSideIrish4  |  March 2, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    80. Angie | March 2, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    My problem is that a sophomore who would not have graduated with his class was told he should leave…bc that would have wounded their 100% grad rate (which is so below 100%). A neighborhood school could not have done that, but a charter could with no transparency, few know about it.

  • 83. SouthSideIrish4  |  March 2, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    81. Sosidemom5 | March 2, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    It’s a true win-win for the community! I hope more ppl will utilize the school from our community~it could really be another gem like Chicago Ag.

  • 84. Do the math  |  March 2, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    “You did not get a 23 on your ACT, so you don’t fit in to our profile. Therefore, you must leave.”

    You didn’t say which Noble school. Taking a peek at one of their top performers, Muchin, I see a 21.3 Avg ACT. According to your accusation we should expect to see a majority of the school kicked out at the end of their junior year. I don’t think so.

    So they have an academic model that does not jive with your vision for your child. I concur with the obvious stated above which is “don’t send your kid there”. I for one am happy for all the kids who may not otherwise have access to a quality educational setting make a go of it.

  • 85. pantherettie  |  March 3, 2015 at 6:58 am

    Maybe the biggest issue is that some charters have different sets of rules and standards regarding how students are admitted and retained than neighborhood schools, yet they are frequently compared to them using the same standard. I know that this is a post about neighborhood schools, but I will say that there are SEHS that encourage kids to look at attending other schools when they are not meeting “typical” student standards of the school. It’s just done quietly and the parent(s) and student(s) may not make a big fuss about it for various reasons. For the record, I agree with the idea that some schools are not the right fit for some kids and that there should be objective and transparent measures for making these decisions. I’m also saying that this is not just a charter school phenomenon.

    I’m curious if people will post information about Kenwood as a strong neighborhood school. Many of my daughter’s friends from elementary school attended the AC and plan to stay for high school. The partnership with U of C makes it a destination school for many south side families as well.

  • 86. Cps mom  |  March 3, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    76: “You may have heard that yesterday, CPS announced that they will in fact administer the PARCC test this year (during the next few weeks) at all CPS schools. This is a sudden announcement — originally, they were planning on only trying the PARCC test on a trial run at 10% of the CPS schools.

    As of now, this PARCC announcement does not affect the selective enrollment high school process. The CPS Office of Access and Enrollment ( has said that they will not be considering this year’s 7th grade PARCC scores for selective enrollment admissions.

    We will continue to monitor CPS, Chicago testing, and the selective enrollment process. We, of course, will make any adjustments necessary to best prepare your 7th and 8th graders for Chicago’s various high school entrance exams.

    As of now, we are proceeding with the plan to prepare both CPS and non-CPS students for the spring NWEA MAP test. Until it is announced otherwise, this is the test that will factor into the selective enrollment admissions process, and so this is what we are preparing 7th graders to take. ”


  • 87. Kenwood  |  March 3, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    @#85 Pantherette
    A close friend of mine had her freshman at Urban Prep Bronzeville and she chose to take him out and move him in Jan/Feb. The administration was terrible. She had several incidents that were ridiculous and decided to move him to her neighborhood school, Kenwood. She went the application route and UP falsified information so he was “denied”. UP wanted to keep him. The assumption is that he had the grades. Anyway, once she realized she could, she just walked into Kenwood and registered him. If I understand correctly, they couldn’t deny him because he didn’t get expelled from UP. They are SO much happier at Kenwood and she only wishes she’d started him there from the get go. It’s a great school!

  • 88. Testing Questions  |  March 4, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks for the information Cps mom!

  • 89. Chicago School GPS  |  March 5, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Lake View HS is our 2015 host school for our annual Hidden Gems High School Fair and we are excited to help them showcase their school. Mark your calendar for 9/27/15!

  • 90. Ami  |  March 5, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Just want to say Senn Arts has been a great experience for my son. He is a junior in the theater program, and was the second Senn Arts class of incoming freshman, so there from almost the beginning. He was accepted to Lane, Lincoln Park HH, Lincoln Park Drama & Von Steuben Scholars. I’ll admit I had some trepidation when he chose Senn, but three years in, I’m glad he did. My son not only receives IB level honors academics, but also two periods of theater/acting every day. Senn partners with some of the best theaters in town – actually, let’s face it, I mean in the country! – Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Goodman, American Theater Company, etc. I have worked professionally in the arts/media for over 20 years and can tell you what he and the Senn Arts theater students not only learn in class (Joel Ewing, the Theater Teacher is amazing) but also in the community rivals many college freshman-level theater courses. I know parents who are now clamoring to get their kids into Senn Arts (and Senn IB) when just a few years ago they wrote off Senn and wouldn’t even consider the option of this neighborhood school. I know because I am one of those parents. If your child is interested in the arts, you should definitely consider Senn Arts.

  • 91. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    @Ami: Great, feedback, thank you! And another good plug for people to trust their gut with going with a new program. The admin and teachers come across really well there so I can see why it appealed to you.
    Can I ask what type of “experience” your son had when he applied? (Although I gather it is much tougher to get in now.)
    Also, thank you to parents like you who “took the chance” with a school, which paves the way for other families to follow, confidently.

  • 92. Chris  |  March 5, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    “As of now, this PARCC announcement does not affect the selective enrollment high school process”

    This is bc the results aren’t normed yet, right? I can’t find anything that indicates that they will be normed–seems the scores are 5-point ‘performance levels’–and provide a usable-under-current-rubric score for OAE purposes.

    While I like the *concept* behind common core, what I have seen so far about the implemented pedagogy behind Common Core (ie, the homework and in-school work I see) makes me wince, at best. That said, I don’t much care either way about 2 ‘lost’ days–we’ve had two lost *weeks* this year because of asinine school closures.

  • 93. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    Some info I just found online:

    Peak CPS enrollment (year 2002) was 438,000 (at that time 8,000 were in charters). So that was 429,000 kids in CPS schools.

    Today we have ~ 400,000 kids in CPS overall. We have lost 38,000 since the peak. There are now 61,000 in charters (!) or 15% of kids. That leaves 339,000 kids in CPS schools (down 90,000 since 2002.)

    Two comments:
    That seems like a reasonable amount of kids in charters, but I think we can stop with 15% now.

    Losing 90,000 kids and closing 50 schools doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. That is 1,800 kids per school (yet the schools that closed tended to have only a few hundred kids max.)

    WBEZ article as source:

  • 94. Chris  |  March 5, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    “Losing 90,000 kids and closing 50 schools doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. ”

    To be fair, there were a number of other schools closed between 2002 and the closing of the 50.

    Part of the reason for closing so many was that there was *also* a 5 year moratorium on closings. So, they “had to” go big, as is was going to be the last until 2018. Not having the threat of closure hanging over the heads of everyone, every year, is somewhat positive.

  • 95. Amundsen and Lake View  |  March 5, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    We are really torn between Amundsen and Lake View – – both each have a lot to offer. Can anyone offer any personal experience regarding these schools?

  • 96. edgewatermom  |  March 6, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Does anybody have the link to the brochure about Amundsen? I think that it was put together by the Friends of Amundsen (or maybe by the school directly). I can’t seem to find it on their web page.

  • 97. Chris  |  March 6, 2015 at 9:45 am

    “Does anybody have the link to the brochure about Amundsen?”

    See #24, upthread

  • 98. cpsobsessed  |  March 6, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I wasn’t able to me the amundsen meet and greet the other night. If anyone has an update, can they post about it?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 99. Vikingmom  |  March 6, 2015 at 11:38 am

    @98 I was there — it was a fairly informal event, designed (I think) more for conversations between Amundsen teachers and staff and interested parents of current grammar/middle school kids. One of Amundsen’s APs spoke (the principal had a death in the family so was unable to attend) and gave stats illustrating the upward trend over the past several years. Alderman Pawar also spoke and one thing he said really stood out — he acknowledged that SEHS are very highly ranked. But he said that those who do not get a coveted spot and then move to the suburbs are not getting (depending on where one moves) the SEHS equivalent education/experience. That Niles North and Maine South (I think those were the examples) are not the same as Payton or NSCP. So why not stay in the city and attend your neighborhood HS which could very well be the HS experience equivalent of those suburban schools?
    Overall I thought there were plenty of Amundsen staff and teachers available to talk to prospective parents and hopefully answer many questions. I got the chance to speak with some of my daughter’s teachers and other staff I did not know. I also spoke with a few parents and was (hopefully) encouraging and not an incredible bore by illustrating that my junior daughter is in the IB program, gets good grades (As and Bs all throughout HS), plays sports, has a nice group of friends, and is not up until midnight doing homework. It was refreshing to see so many people really considering a school that probably none would have just 4 or so years ago.
    @95 I hope that helps too. Our experience has been very positive. Teachers always willing to help when/where needed. Expanded sports programs include something for everyone, even kids who are not competitive/super athletic but want to do something for fun. The music/band program is also very highly regarded (don’t really know much more about it as my daughter is not involved). Great neighborhood location, love that Winnemac Park is right there.

  • 100. Kenwood  |  March 6, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    My son attends Kenwood’s AC and he & I bothe love it! He announced back in October that he was staying for HS, but I was still going to have him sit down and take the SE exam. Just last week, he told me NOW he doesn’t want to even take the exam! I am more than happy to get off the SE bandwagon!

    Kenwood is the south side equivalent to Lincoln Park HS! They offer a bio-med & pre-engineering program, have 5 languages, all the honors class anyone could ever want and 18 AP classes in every subject area. The 7/8th graders are affectionately callled “Preppies” and Preppies are offered the chance during Junior & senior year to take college courses at a city college (located downtown–the name escapes me) or with a certain GPA (I think a 3.2) at U of C—free of charge! They spend half the day at Kenwood and the other in college! That was a big plus for me, given that some AP classes don’t transfer with kids to college even if they score a 3 on the exam.

    Acdemically, it is strong and rigourous BUT I still feel like the students can have a life. I don’t care much for the new science teacher, I guess she is still learning! Kenwood will be adding the Canter building, which was a middle school that was closed last year due to low utilizarion. It is right next door to Kenwood. Kenwood is a bit overcrowded so the extra space will be good for the school. They will be moving the AC students and the bio-med & pre-engineering classes to the Canter building. The AC students will have their HS electives in the main school building but their core classes will be held in the Canter building. The Canter building is getting a full rehab, so I see that as a plus as well eventhough my son wants all of his classes held in the main building.

    Socially, my son has adjusted well and made a lot of friends! Even the HS students interact with him! There is an “element” at the school, but I think it’s great for him to be exposed now while he’s still talking with me (not like my older sophmore son who attends King and doesn’t like to talk to me much any more). He and I talk through things and I can still explain right from wrong and the consequences of being with the wrong crowd.

    Kenwood retains 75-85% of their AC students, has a neighborhood enrollment area and also has a magnet program that has certain stipulations as far as 7th grade grades and percentile requirements. Dr. Jones, our dynamic principal has raised the requirements for entry to the magnet program. The building is beautiful and the students are orderly. Kenwood previously led in the amount of scholarship money received by any CPS school, but I think Jones has come in first either last year or the past two years with Kenwood being in second place. Given that it isn’t an SE school, I think that’s great! The average ACT is 19 and that is awesome! The AC is more integrated than the HS, but the HS still has many students of other ethnicties.

    Starting sophmore year, the students with a certain GPA (I believe 3.0 or you can have only one C) are allowed to go off campus for lunch! What agreat motivator!! Hyde Park is generally safe and have gobs of restaurants to choose from. The students do not wear uniforms. Another plus for my son!

    Overall, I am very pleased with the education my son is recieving at Kenwood! I highly recommend the school! No school is perfect, but I think Kenwood comes close. Sometimes, I have to drag my son out of the school! He NEVER wants to leave. Kenwood has every club you could imagine, ochestra/band, every sport and a great arts program (music & drama). It’s large size is definetly a plus! We have about 1700 students!

    Check out our Happy video (which was directed by a senior who started in the AC)!

  • 101. Ogden IB Parent  |  March 9, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Rauner Prep makes it ridiculously hard to transfer out. They treat the kids like inmates. A friend of mine felt so intimidated that she opted to keep her child there. It was not in the best interest of her child but she did not want to go through the BS to get her out.

  • 102. AW  |  March 9, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    #95 – Best thing you can do if you are trying to decide between Amundsen and Lake View is to arrange a tour for yourself DURING the school day. Both principals have an open door policy but you should call ahead. It’s great if you child can shadow but a lot of their opinion might hinge on if they were fortunate enough to be partnered with the right kid. You will be looking for/at different things than your child. If you are on Facebook, check out the Friends of Amundsen page. Good luck!

  • 103. edgewatermom  |  March 9, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I attended the Senn Meet & Mingle last week and was very impressed. In addition to Principal Lofton, there were several teachers from each department and they all spoke very passionately about their programs at Senn. It was also great to hear that the “Explore to ACT” numbers are very good – especially for the IB program. I spoke with several parents of current students and they all had very positive things to say about Senn.

    Several prospective parents mentioned that THEY were sold on Senn, but were having trouble convincing their 7th or 8th grader.

  • 104. cpsobsessed  |  March 9, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    @edgewater – interesting about the parents being sold but not the kids. I suppose kids are super influenced by the buzz about the SEHS (I am doing my best to temper that input.)

    I had the same feedback for the amundsen IB team and told them they’d sold me but that I needed to find a way to excite a future 14 year old. There’s gotta be a better way to sell the IB concept to kids. It sounds (conceptually) like a more engaging way to learn.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 105. mom2  |  March 9, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Agree. They must find a way to make Senn, Amundsen and Lake View “cool” and “impressive” or we are going to have a lot of trouble making this change happen. I’m totally on board but how do you stop the “playground chatter” people were talking about before?

  • 106. edgewatermom  |  March 9, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    @105 I have come to believe that a lot of the playground chatter actually starts with teachers and parents. Teachers at my school often dangle the carrot of SEHS as a way to motivate students – and make those who choose a neighborhood school feel like it is 2nd best.

    I am doing my best to educate teachers and parents on all of the high school options. I think that this blog and things like the “hidden gems” fair really help. 10 years ago it may have been true that SEHS were the only decent high school option in CPS but it is not the case now. (I don’t know if it really was true 10 years ago, but I know that the perception is entrenched). I think that we will have to turn it around with the adults first and then the kids. I am just not sure exactly how to do that!

    One thing that I wish that CPS would do is to publisher better info about the programs within neighborhood schools. They should publish the IB diploma rates for every IB program, the EXPLORE to ACT scores for each school and each program (such as STEM, Fine Arts, IB) within a school I think that parents are understandably nervous when they see a fairly low average ACT score for a school. They need better information in order to make their decisions. If CPS really wants to promote neighborhood schools, they will make this information readily available.

  • 107. Leaning towards Amundsen IB  |  March 9, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    I think elementary schools use their “success rate” of how many kids got into a SEHS as a gauge for the success of their school. Parents don’t really seek out IB numbers, but parents always ask about the number of kids that got offers to NS, Payton, Jones, Lane, etc.

  • 108. Chris  |  March 9, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    “There’s gotta be a better way to sell the IB concept to kids.”

    First, someone needs to muzzle the parents (several here, over the years) who talk about the hours of homework every night. How do you convince a 14-yo that *choosing* the (perceived) more homework path is the right thing? That really has been *my* takeaway about IB programs in CPS.

  • 109. xan  |  March 9, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    IB program is being added to more high school recently but even at Lincoln website states…”This school is pursuing authorization as an IB World School.” Don’t know what this means. Sounds like its not an authorized IB program yet.

    If it is authorized IB, kind of wondering what the IB diploma success rate is at Lincoln since IB students need to pass the test to get the diploma at the end.

  • 110. LPMom  |  March 9, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Lincoln’s diploma program (11-12th grade) has been approved for years. Lincoln added the middle years program for grade 10-11 last year, and are pursuing authorization for that. The MYP is not a gifted program, every student at Lincoln Park HS in 9th and 10th grade is in IB MYP. It doesn’t mean everyone goes to the diploma program, still only 100 or so kids are admitted to that program.
    I don’t know what the success rate for the DP program is. It would depend a lot on how they calculate it – out of kids starting in 9th grade in pre diploma, or percent of those who were still in the program and actually took the tests in 12th grade and passed.

  • 111. Susan A. Lofton, Senn Principal  |  March 9, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Senn’s IB program has been authorized for years. Our diploma earned rate is in the 70% range, which is right there with Lincoln Park. Senn is the only authorized wall to wall IB school with the middle years program for 9th and 10th grade. And let me just say, IB has a strict criteria. Not every school makes it the first round. We did. The other wall to wall IB are in the process, and I wish them the best. It is grueling. For what it’s worth.

    Meanwhile, parents–talk to your elementary school counselors and teachers about all options, and let them know that they need to get the bigger picture. When children feel that they are less than others if they don’t get a selective letter, well, that’s just wrong. And if you, as a parent, feel the neighborhood school is a good fit, you are the best judge. Somebody who will no longer be working with your child after 8th grade should not be the one who influences your child’s decision. I would suggest starting the conversation with the 5th and 6th grade teachers. By 7th grade, time is up. Let your child’s principal, counselor, and teachers know you want all options considered. You should have that voice.

    I am becoming seriously concerned about what I am hearing from parents re: the messaging to your children. SEHS or nothing. You have great kids with lots of potential. They deserve to feel good about themselves. I know that the principals from Lake View, Amundsen, and Sullivan are providing real options to families. I know first hand that great kids do great things in neighborhood schools. Just speaking for Senn, we have the only CPS badminton team, we took first place for junior varsity chess, we just won a slew of medals at Science Olympiad, and we have 5 kids competing at city finals for a national theatre competition. And, that was only the news from last week.

    Parents–take control of this. Your child’s well being is at stake.

  • 112. Susan A. Lofton, Senn Principal  |  March 9, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    And by the way –thank you to the teachers, counselors, and principals who have worked hard to host high school fairs, get kids to shadow days, and work with the application process. Big thanks to CPS O for creating this conversation and to Hidden Gems for getting the word out.

  • 113. Chicago School GPS  |  March 9, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    A huge thanks to Principal Lofton for serving as such an inspiration and driving force for changing perceptions. We launched the Hidden Gems High School Fair almost 4 years ago to let folks know there are many more than a handful of great high schools in Chicago, and as an inaugural Hidden Gems school (during the CPS strike, no less!), you and Senn have been on the forefront and we are always pleased to spread the word.

  • 114. edgewatermom  |  March 10, 2015 at 7:56 am

    @111 I agree with Principal Lofton. Parents need to be a big part of the change and we need to work with the elementary schools. We all talk about how crazy the system is and that we want to viable options for high school in the neighborhoods. The options are there – now we need to start sending our kids to the neighborhood schools.

    The first step is to change the message that kids hear in elementary school. We need to talk to elementary teachers and principals and change the dialog with other parents. The next time somebody talks about how crazy the process is for high school, mention some of the local options that you have heard about here. Just as the Ivies are NOT the only option for a good college education, SEHS are NOT the only option for a good public high school education in Chicago.

  • 115. HSObsessed  |  March 10, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Re: changing the playground buzz: I remember when my kid was in 7th grade at Lincoln elementary, I attended a high school information session. There were reps from many different high schools, including SEHS, who all got up to give their spiel on what their school offered. When the LPHS representative was introduced and said she was from our neighborhood high school, she got the loudest round of applause, which I thought was really great. Of course there are some parents who still have that “SEHS or private” mindset, but there are plenty who understand the benefit of kids going to a local school with a variety of academic levels available for students, and who choose their neighborhood high school, like my daughter did, as well as 50 of her classmates.

  • 116. Vikingmom2  |  March 10, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Morning All, I finally had a chance to check in on this blog and I love seeing the neighborhood thread! I’ve posted a few times over the past few months about my son’s freshman experience in the Amundsen IB program. It’s been a really great overall experience, and we’re so happy he chose Amundsen. These neighborhood programs really are hidden gems – the teachers and administration care A LOT and the students get the individualized experience you usually only find in private schools. Thinking about the positives of CPS vs. the burbs, I’ve found that the diversity at the schools creates a very open environment – the kids are already coming from an array of backgrounds, they’re all very different and accepting of their differences. My son lives a typical middle class lifestyle you’d usually find in the burbs, but living and going to school in the city, he’s exposed to a more global way of thinking. The direction our society is moving, that global perspective in academics (IB) and social situations is invaluable.

    If anyone has any questions about Amundsen, I’ll try to check in from time to time. Good luck with your decisions!!

  • 117. xan  |  March 10, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    LPMom and Principal Lofton,

    Thank you very much for the info. Really impressed with the success rate of the students in the program.

    Just to clarify. Since Senn is only wall to wall IB, is Senn an IB world school? If not, why not? Thank you again.

  • 118. Susan A. Lofton, Senn Principal  |  March 10, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Senn is an IB World School and has been authorized since 1999. We went wall to wall in 2012 in order to expand the IB Middle Years Programme framework.

    At Senn, it is important that every student be in a program they value, and that we don’t create a have/have nots situation. That’s why we have been able to grow students across all programs. Students here are serious about learning, regardless of program, so the school as a whole has moved forward, rather than one section.

    So, to sum: We maintain the selective IB Diploma Prep program as one strand. This program is the same IB as at LPHS.

    We also have the magnet honors Senn Arts (theatre, dance, visual arts, and music) program.

    Lastly, for the neighborhood students who do not avail themselves of IB diploma or Senn Arts, we have digital journalism and environmental studies IB certificate strand programs. Loyola partners with us on the environmental and digital journalism strands, so there’s lots of early college experience.

  • 119. xan  |  March 10, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Principal Lofton, I can sense the pride and passion you have about Senn. Great to see another successful neighborhood program in good hands. Thank you again.

  • 120. mom2  |  March 10, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    How many parents here have had their kids come home saying that teacher x or teacher y told us we better study hard for this test so we can get into a good high school? Along with the SEHS or nothing parents (who most likely either want to brag to their friends or they still think that these are the only safe high schools in the city), this language at school has to stop!

    In fact, is there any place someone can get safety information about various schools? I know I’ve heard many parents say they are concerned about a particular neighborhood school because they “heard” there were gangs or gang recruitment or more than the usual number of fights or pregnant students, etc.

  • 121. cpsobsessed  |  March 10, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    I’ve never heard of a teacher mentioning SEHS (at least my son has never reported this nor have I heard it at school.). I got the sense teachers are reluctant to feed into that because it pressures themselves (via parents) about grades.

    Its the kids who have been the ones talking it up with massively broad storkes. Maybe I should start a kid version of cpso so kids can be informed. (Haha.)

    Kids get so hung up on “what’s the best school” with no real reason for believing it other than what kids say.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 122. edgewatermom  |  March 10, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    @121 I am glad to hear that it is not happening at your school. It definitely is at ours. It has annoyed me for the past few years but this year we started addressing the issue with teachers. After several email and phone exchanges with one teacher, she agreed to actually visit our local high school and see what it is like today. I really hope that she follows up on it, but if nothing else, we have called her attention to it – and the principal as well.

  • 123. Insight on IB  |  March 10, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Yes, kids do talk. My child was speaking to a friend about the Amundsen IB program and the friend freaked out and said that school is filled with gangs. Sigh…

  • 124. genxatmidlife  |  March 10, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    @122 You are onto something here. Maybe the middle and upper grade teachers should be invited to tour the schools, if they aren’t already. Looking at them as another audience to target would be a good move for these schools.

  • 125. NSmom  |  March 11, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    @ genxatmidlife – I agree! Not only would it be beneficial for elementary teachers to experience high schools before recommending…but it would improve the communication between E and HS’s in general.

    @ all – What has anyone heard about Alcott College Prep HS by Hamlin park? It’s not far from LVHS and I know it isn’t selective enrollment. Very small. What’s the deal there? I know someone with a daughter going there and she loves it. But would like more info…I see the allure and drawbacks to a small school – but they are so new I don’t know much.

  • 126. mom2  |  March 11, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    @NSmom – I know a couple of kids that went to Alcott. They said it was fine for academics but they were disappointed in the extracurricular options since the school was/is so small. One parent said their next child will opt for their neighborhood school because it had so many more things to offer outside of class – music, sports, clubs, etc.

  • 127. Amundsen is my neighborhood school  |  March 11, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    I saw this article today and thought of this discussion.

  • 128. AW  |  March 18, 2015 at 10:44 am

    The success of the IB program at Amundsen High School is no longer a secret — of all of the students who received invitations to join the Amundsen IB program this year, 75% more of them accepted than last year. Wow!

  • 129. AW  |  March 18, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    To clarify that last post:
    The number of students who have accepted spots in next fall’s Amundsen High School freshman IB class is up 75% over last year. At the same time, Amundsen substantially increased its cut-off scores, and the school is anticipating the most competitive and academically prepared class ever. This news reflects Amundsen’s growing reputation as a school of choice among high-performing students and represents an astounding increase in interest in our neighborhood high school. Amundsen High School is most definitely a school on the rise!

  • 130. mom2  |  March 19, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    AW that is wonderful news! Does anyone know if there was similar improvement at Lake View or do they need a selective program to make that happen? I’d love to hear the great news there, too.

  • 131. Senn supporter  |  March 21, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Check out this award winning performance by a Senn theatre student in the August Wilson Monologue Competition. Having won the City of Chicago, she will now represent on the Broadway stage for the overall title…. Just Wow! Break a Leg Lawren !

    Also, a shout out to DNA Info for covering such stories….. hmmmm… CPS needs to use its PR/Communication dept more effectively to tout such accomplishments AND the Trib & Sun are lame for not covering such stories.

  • 132. cpsobsessed  |  March 21, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Thanks for posting! I saw that this week as well.
    I hate to say it, but I’m hoping this program stays under the radar because I’d really like my son to pursue it in 2 years.
    I’ve seen how programs in cps can become super competitive in just a few short years.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 133. Mom of 1  |  March 23, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Good Morning…from being accepted no where originally, and now having three options. LVHS, LPDH, and LPIB.

    My son really wants to attend LVHS. He connected well on his shadow day, loved it! Loved the size, the classes, and the baseball coach.

    Now with the acceptances at LP, we are torn in which is the better fit for him. LP does offer shadow days so they say. And at LVHS he would be in honors and eventually AP classes. Do we send him to LP, because it is LP? I feel that Lakeview is the fit, but I want to ensure it’s the right choice…ugh.

    Just looking for some additional feedback, opinions etc. We are comfortable with the fit at LVHS, and just wants make the right choice for him.

  • 134. mom2  |  March 23, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Does he have any friends that will be attending, too? Sometimes that is the thing that will put you over the edge. One friend. However, if your son wants to attend LVHS and he connected well and loved it, why wouldn’t you select it? It sounds perfect. So happy for you both!

  • 135. mom2  |  March 23, 2015 at 9:34 am

    I really think LVHS is that hidden gem people are always talking about. I hear it from others that have attended or visited. I think their theme or whatever you call it is “home.” A perfect fit for so many people, comfortable but challenging, the right size to not get lost but with enough options for AP classes, sports, clubs. Caring teachers and staff. Great neighborhood. Sounds good to me.

  • 136. mom2  |  March 23, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Senn supporter, I so agree about DNA info. Love their coverage of CPS school successes!

  • 137. Mom of 1  |  March 23, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Yes, he has a few kids from 8th grade attending.
    I think it is a great fit, but I want to make sure I am not slighting him by not sending him to LP. I know he is responsible for his own educational destiny both successes and failures and it will be what he makes of it. It is difficult and I just want to make sure the tools I am providing him with are the right ones….it does seem like LV is a comfort zone, small and the staff is so attentive.

  • 138. AW  |  March 23, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I think you will find that the staff at both LV and Amundsen these days are going the extra mile (or two) to help kids feel like they are in the right place and they have the resources they need to really succeed!

  • 139. 60659mom  |  March 23, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    What are the high school recommendations for a family that lives in Northpark near Peterson and Kimball both public? We will go through the selective enrollment process in a few years but want to start planning for neighborhood and private as well.

  • 140. Vikingmom  |  March 23, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    @Mom of 1—you mentioned that both you and your son feel LVHS is a great fit—so why not send him to a place where you both feel he will be successful and have a good experience? I don’t think you would be slighting him in the least by not sending him to LP (although to be sure you may want to send him to an LP shadow day if they have them). As a parent of a junior at Amundsen, I did feel I had to field a few slightly askance looks back when she was a freshmen and people asked where she attended. Forgive me and I may be way off base here but maybe you might feel that a bit too — I mean WE ALL here know how great and on the up and up these neighborhood HS are 🙂 (Amundsen, LV, Senn to name ones that are most talked about) but saying your child goes to LV instead of LP might give you a more questioning look depending on how informed the inquirer is. You’ll quickly find that doesn’t matter and it also gives you the opportunity to trumpet the school too!
    As an aside my 7th grade son — who is not a straight A student so not a candidate for SEHS, and I am frankly grateful not to go through that process again — mentioned to me the other night that he and three of his friends, who collectively go to two different magnet schools, plan to apply to the Amundsen IB program, anticipating that they’ll go together to HS. I don’t know if any of the other kids plan to apply to SEHS, but I thought it was great to hear of kids making Amundsen their choice — clearly over any playground chatter!

  • 141. mom2  |  March 23, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    60659mom – I think that your choice would be Von Steuben which has always been known as a great school. Is that correct? They even have a special honors program for kids outside of the neighborhood.

  • 142. mom2  |  March 23, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Vikingmom – so happy to hear about your son and his friends. You see? If everyone here would just do that with their local high schools, we would no longer have this horrible 7th grade year and/or all that ridiculous playground chatter. And friends could just plan to go to high school together instead of worrying about if they will be separated by the big bad SEHS process.

  • 143. Robin in WRP  |  March 23, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    That’s so sad about Mather. When I was a student there, it was the #2 high school, after Lane (which had only recently begun accepting girls).

    Yes, I’m probably the oldest one here…

  • 144. Robin in WRP  |  March 23, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Mom of 1 – Frankly, I would leave the decision up to your son. His high school success is completely dependent on his actions, and choosing where to go is a great first step.

  • 145. mom2  |  March 24, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Mom of 1 – You said, “Good Morning…from being accepted no where originally, and now having three options. LVHS, LPDH, and LPIB.”

    Can you explain how you first had no offers and then had offers later? Curious especially about LPDH and LPIB. Did they first say no and then say yes? So happy to hear your wonderful opinion and experience at Lake View!

  • 146. Mom of 1  |  March 24, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Yes, both first said no. I followed up with admissions for LPDH and he was accepted this week. I receieved a random about two weeks ago from LPIB and just heard yesterday morning he was accepted. Perhaps they had a lot of kids say no?
    Yes, I think we may be heading to Lakeview!

  • 147. mom2  |  March 24, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Mom of 1 – Thank you so much for your prompt reply! Very excited for you, your son and everyone. Things are really looking bright!

  • 148. HSObsessed  |  March 27, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Reviving this thread to share about the LP double honors program: Kids can now sign up for single-subject IB classes in their junior and senior years, along with AP classes (which were available all along). My non-academically focused kid is actually excited about the choices she has in terms of both AP and IB, which is thrilling for me to see, as the last time she showed any interest in school was fifth grade, LOL. This is all part of the wall-to-wall IB idea that’s been rolling out for two years or so. It will be interesting to see if she actually gets placed in the classes she chooses (depends on demand) and then the content of the courses.

    Mom of 1 – if you’re still reading this thread, I think you nailed it on the head with this: “I know he is responsible for his own educational destiny both successes and failures and it will be what he makes of it.” This is very true. If he wants to go to LVHS, let him go! And post next year to report how it’s going.

  • 149. Mom of 1  |  March 27, 2015 at 1:24 pm


    So after discussions to the point of eye rolling. He will be going to LVHS. I think it will be a great fit, and he loved his shadow day. He will be taking honors classes and active within the HS community and I think this will help his experience.

    And @148—thank you, I will post after he starts. It is funny but I cannot blame the school itself he does not perform well academically, in our house accountability and ownership are really common words. Do not mean to preach at all! 🙂

  • 150. HSObsessed  |  March 27, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    @149 – I agree with the accountability and ownership thing. Good luck to your son and I’m sure he’ll love it. Go, neighborhood high schools!

  • 151. mom2  |  April 1, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Mom of 1 – So excited. Are you guys in the Lake View neighborhood? If so, the short commute is something a lot of people don’t consider and it really makes a difference in quality of life. Let us know how things go for your son next year. Congratulations!

  • 152. Gobe  |  April 2, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Article in DNAinfo about an LVHS student science fair project that lead to a trip to the White House. Inspiring stuff.

  • 153. mom2  |  April 2, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    @152 Gobe – Thanks so much for the great link about Lake View!

  • 154. HSObsessed  |  April 2, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    @152 – Wow, the student in that article isn’t even taking a science class this year (her primary interest is political science), but she entered the science fair anyway (!), built an artificial pancreas (!!), won awards, and was invited to the White House. That young lady definitely has a bright future. Very impressive.

  • 155. HSObsessed  |  April 2, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    — and as a mom of a teenager, I’ll add that she was dressed very nicely for her visit to the White House, and was probably not wearing flip flops. 🙂

  • 156. HSObsessed  |  April 13, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    More great news for Lake View and Amundsen high schools and their feeder elementaries. Through the help of the three aldermen Pawar, O’Connor and Tunney, they have a new partnership with a U. of Chicago think tank to roll out a “6 to 16” program that helps kids go from 6th grade through 16th (last year of college). Very exciting that da Mayor seems to be directly involved. Not sure if all of you got the e-mail from “Rahm” right after he won the election, but the very first thing that he (or his people at least) listed on issues he wants to improve is the neighborhood high schools. First thing listed. I was pretty impressed, as this indeed should be a priority, all over the city.

  • 157. mom2  |  April 14, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Wonderful news about Lake View and Amundsen and Rahm. Yes!

  • 158. HSObsessed  |  April 21, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    The Washington Post came out with its Most Challenging High Schools list and neighborhood high school Lincoln Park HS is ranked #5 in Illinois. The criteria emphasizes high levels of low-income students and high percentages of students who take and pass at least one college-level (AP or IB) class. Other CPS schools were Payton at #2, Young #6, Jones #7 and Lane Tech #11.

  • 159. HSObsessed  |  April 30, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Sorry, the link I posted @158 was last year’s rankings. The brand new ones just came out this week, and Lincoln Park HS has moved up to #3 in Illinois, largely due to its increase in kids taking and passing AP and IB classes. Other CPS schools in the top 15 are Young, Lindblom, Lane and Jones.

  • 160. HSObsessed  |  May 12, 2015 at 10:42 am

    A Lake View High School course on Holocaust history and genocide was unfortunately cut from the curriculum for the coming year, but this Lake View HS teacher’s knowledge and dedication seems very impressive.

  • 161. HSObsessed  |  May 15, 2015 at 8:44 am

    PSA that CPS has posted its list of high schools that still have openings for fall 2015, and they include the IB programs at Ogden HS and Senn.

  • 162. neighborhoodmom  |  May 15, 2015 at 8:54 am

    The Curious City broadcast focused on when were CPS schools ever good? And they concluded that they are good now and focused on the great things happening at Senn. Worth a listen.

  • 163. HSObsessed  |  May 20, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    Noble Academy – Muchin is currently located in the Loop, on State Street. They’re applying to move to the old Lycée Francais at Irving Park Road and Lake Shore Drive. Alderman Pawar and the principals of Lake View and Senn are opposing it on the grounds that it would take away students that they are trying to attract.

    Although the article focuses only on the opposition in place at the proposed site, I’m wondering what the current students/parents at Muchin think. That Noble site is one of the most diverse and high-achieving Noble HS, and I think part of it is due to its central location and easy access to public transit for kids all over the city. It’s a heck of a lot harder to get from the south and west sides to east Lake View.

  • 164. mom2  |  May 21, 2015 at 9:11 am

    I’d like to know what those current parents/kids think, too. I would certainly prefer they stay where they are and keep the money and focus on the great progress Lake View, Senn and Amundsen are making and all the great kids they are attracting. Seems totally backwards to add a charter school there. However, if the trend continues where these schools are getting so popular, CPS could use that building for an East Campus of one of these neighborhood schools or a Freshman building like they have at LPHS or something similar.

  • 165. 19th ward mom  |  May 21, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Muchin is not moving from downtown Chicago. That is the permanent location for that campus.

    Noble Academy which was started 2 years ago, is the school that is looking to relocate to Lakeview. The students that attend Noble Academy have always known that the downtown location was temporary. I believe there is only about 200 students currently attending this campus. It is based on the Harkness method taught at Phillips Exeter academy.

    When we looked at the school, it seemed like they had a great partnership with Phillips Exeter and it was an opportunity to get that style of learning without the extreme high cost of the real academy.
    They did tell us and everyone us that was looking at Noble Academy that the downtown location was NOT the permanent campus and they were hoping to move by the start of the 2015 school year.

    I have no opinion if this is the right permanent location for this school. But I definitely think it is an underrated hidden gem of a high school option right now.

  • 166. HSObsessed  |  May 21, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    @166 – Thanks for that correction and additional information. I didn’t know there was more than one Noble HS at that location.

  • 167. 19th ward mom  |  May 21, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    They are actually in two different high-rise buildings, right next to each other on State street.

    The Muchin space is just amazing, you enter the lobby of a typical Chicago office building and ride up the elevator and when the doors open, it is just like you stepped into a “typical” high school. Including having interior stairs to go between floors. From within their floors, you wouldn’t know it was housed in a high-rise building.

    The Noble Academy space (I didn’t see get the full tour) but from what I saw, it looked like “borrowed” office space. Nothing like the Muchin floors. They are totally bidding their time until they move into the permanent space.

  • 168. Irving Park Mom  |  June 1, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    For those of you that may either live close to Schurz or within the neighborhood boundary, there is a meeting on Wednesday night that you may be interested in attending:

    Friends of Schurz Kick-off Meeting Set for Wednesday

  • 169. HSObsessed  |  June 12, 2015 at 8:26 am

    So the Noble Academy will not move after all to the old Lycee building, but instead will co-house for one year with Quest in the Division/Clybourn area. It’s not ideal for kids to have to move to three different locations in the course of three years. Hopefully the Noble school can find a permanent home soon that is better located for kids being drawn from citywide. The Clybourn/Division area is very car-oriented and will only become more so when the enormous suburban-style shopping mall/movie complex/bowling alley that used to be the YMCA opens in October. This is the same area that Burnett still plans to put a new selective enrollment high school in, though, with talk now centering on the parcel at the corner of Division and Halsted.

  • 171. HSObsessed  |  July 2, 2015 at 8:04 am

    A look back on the Taft HS principal Grishaber’s first year there. Seems like the school is going to continue doing well.

  • 172. Todd Pytel  |  July 20, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Senn’s LSC published the following letter to the community this afternoon – I am posting it here at their request…

    Dear Senn community,

    On July 17, Susan Lofton was removed from her position as Principal of Senn High School. CPS has appointed Mr. Carter Carey as the acting administrator for Senn. Mr. Carey has been a long time member of the Senn community, first as a teacher then an administrator. He has the strong support of the Local School Council and the faculty during this time. CPS is currently searching for an interim principal who will fit the needs of our remarkable school.

    We Bulldogs can use this as an opportunity to celebrate and build upon many of the improvements made over the past five years. It is critical to note that the entire Senn community, including a very talented faculty, valuable community partners, our close university partner, Loyola University Chicago, dedicated parents and our Friends of Senn group, collectively contributed to the revitalization of Senn High School, and remains committed to continued progress.

    Senn is poised to make the next upward turn toward its future as a model neighborhood high school in Chicago. As our IB and Magnet Arts, as well as our community programs, continue to improve, Senn will remain a place that teachers, parents, community, and most importantly, students, will be proud to claim as their own.

    The Senn Local School Council

    The above letter will surely prompt many more questions than it answers, but this is the most complete statement we can make at this time. We value the support for Senn – and for neighborhood schools in general – that we’ve seen from so many people here. We look forward to continuing our progress in the upcoming school year.

    Todd Pytel
    Mathematics Department Chair
    Senn High School

  • 173. neighborhood parent  |  July 20, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    Todd, thanks for posting…. really? wow! Praying for the
    Senn community.

  • 176. mom2  |  July 21, 2015 at 10:08 am

    I’m conflicted. If what they say about her is true (that she lowered test scores of special ed students so they wouldn’t qualify for the performing arts programs), that is horrible. If anything, special ed kids tend to do better in the arts and she should have wanted the best performers (and doesn’t the school get more money if they have more special ed students?). However, I’ve also heard such great things about how she was able to get rid of gang bangers and students that didn’t want to learn. Now, how did she do that? The same way as with special ed kids? So confused.

  • 177. HSObsessed  |  July 21, 2015 at 10:39 am

    I’m very sad to read the news of this investigation and suspension because it cannot be disputed how much Senn has changed and grown under Lofton’s leadership.

  • 178. mom2  |  August 12, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Well, knock me down with a feather! THIS was unexpected Good News for Amundsen High School students came from the Mayor’s Office last Friday.
    “Hi Principal Pavichevich and Chief Salemi – I am writing to inform you that Amundsen has been selected to participate in Mayor Emanuel’s new STEM Expansion Program!! Your school has been selected to partner with The James Dyson Foundation to develop and expand STEM at your school. Mayor Emanuel will announce this exciting new Program on Tuesday, August 11th.”
    At yesterday’s announcement, the Mayor, himself, told me, “When I looked at the list, I said, let’s give this one to Amundsen!” This and the TIF $ for major school-wide renovations – our school is receiving so many new opportunities and resources. There is nothing stopping us from becoming THE school of choice in our community!”

    Posted this video of STEM at Lake View recently –

    Go Amundsen and Lake View. So excited.

  • 179. mom2  |  October 15, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Not sure people saw this, so I’m sharing nice info on Lake View:

  • 180. genxatmidlife  |  October 15, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    It’s high school tour season. Question about Lakeview and other neighborhood schools. Is there any reason for someone outside the neighborhood to put them on the radar, aside from selective programs like IB?

  • 181. neighborhoodmom  |  October 15, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    On the same note, wondering if Senn is having an open house? I don’t see them listed on the calendar.

  • 182. edgewatermom  |  October 15, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Senn is having a prospective parents night on Oct 27 and they have shadow days for 8th graders – not sure about the open house. There may be more info at

  • 183. Todd Pytel  |  October 15, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    @181 – I don’t know if we’re planning an official “Open House” this year, but I’ll point David Gregg (our admissions director) to your post and I’m sure he’ll have more information. I definitely recommend the Prospective Parents Night and especially the Shadow Days for your student – a day in the building following an actual student through their classes often has more of an impact on prospective students than formal, organized presentations do. We also invite parents to arrange a time to visit the school with their student and sit in on classes – you can contact Mr. Gregg at if you’re interested.

    Todd Pytel
    Mathematics Department Chair
    Senn High School

  • 184. David Gregg  |  October 16, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Thank you Todd. Senn’s Prospective Parents’ Night is the equivalent of our Open House (though we do ask families to register at Our shadow/tour days will take place throughout the fall and more dates will be added in the winter/spring.

    Additionally, we will have an Open House/Orientation in early March for those who have been accepted to our selective programs.

    As Todd said, anyone may contact me with questions.

    David Gregg
    Senn Admissions Director & IB MYP Coordinator

  • 185. HSObsessed  |  April 14, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Generation All has released a comprehensive report discussing the state of Chicago’s neighborhood high schools. The basic theme is that Chicago’s shift to a “choice” system of selective enrollment and charter schools has left neighborhood high schools behind, and this needs to be fixed. The report that is linked at the end of the Sun Times article is well worth a read to anyone who agrees that the over-focus on selective enrollment schools is detrimental to our communities, and there’s a different way. It includes a nice sidebar that details Alderman Pawar’s leadership and community work to raise the profiles of Amundsen and Lake View.

  • 186. HSObsessed  |  April 14, 2016 at 9:00 am

    I feel like I haven’t done enough to promote Lincoln Park HS as a very good choice for high school, so I’m doing that with my list below. I may re-post this on other threads to make sure others who may be interested see it. I write this from the perspective of a parent of a kid who had several other options for high school, chose LPHS, is completely happy, and never looked back. (Note that this list applies to kids enrolled in any of the many programs at LPHS, not only the IB Diploma program.)

    Why is Lincoln Park High School a great option for a high school in Chicago?

    Classes offered at a variety of levels of academic challenge in every core subject

    Interdisciplinary teaching methods and philosophy of the International Baccalaureate program used for all students in all grades (LPHS is one of the “wall-to-wall IB” high schools, so teachers have undergone special training)

    Students who are admitted into the double honors/AP program take honors classes in their freshman and sophomore years, and then have the freedom to select individual IB and AP courses junior and senior year based on their interests or strengths

    20+ AP subject courses available, and encouragement of all students to enroll in them

    Very strong music (chorus, orchestra, band), theater and arts programs

    Complete offerings of sports, clubs, activities and events like football games, homecoming dance, prom

    Good leadership from principal, who has led the school for several years, lives in the district, and sends his own elementary school children to CPS schools

    ACT and PSAE scores very solid (22.7 schoolwide ACT average, covering the entire spectrum of academic abilities within the school)

    78% of graduates enroll in college

    Student population of 2,200 that is diverse in all respects: racial/cultural, geographic, socioeconomic, academic level

    About 35% of students enroll from within the school’s boundaries, 65% from outside the boundaries (accepted after applying for admission)

    No tier system in place for citywide admissions (highest qualified students receive offers, regardless)

    Located in a lively and safe neighborhood, near the intersection of Armitage and Halsted

    Convenient, safe access via walking, biking, bus and L train (brown or purple line L stop five-minute walk away)

    Beautiful, park-like campus, with pedestrian mall, and bordering Oz Park

    Separate freshman building allows for a transition from elementary to high school environment

    And what will your kid NOT get at LPHS?

    Flashy, impressive presentation during the open house events for potential applicants

    Sparkling new building, classrooms, or sports facilities – they are beautiful and historic, but not dazzling

    Highly personalized, nurturing attention – it’s a big, busy school

    Sheltered environment that keeps your kid away from problems that crop up in a large, diverse high school – but hey, you live in a city and not in Rolling Meadows

  • 187. cpsobsessed  |  April 14, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Does anyone know what time Lake View HS starts? I see different start times online (OAE) and in the OAE guide.

  • 188. mom2  |  April 14, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Their web site bell schedule says 8:00/8:15

  • 189. cpsobsessed  |  April 14, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Ok, that’s different than the 2 other listings I’ve seen! I imagine the school site is correct though. Boo, I thought I’d finally found a 9am start school.

  • 190. Albany Parker  |  April 14, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Disney II starts at 9am if you’re looking for a later starting school!

  • 191. mom2  |  April 14, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    @190, is that new? I thought their web site hand book said 8:10? Maybe things changed this year so some web sites might be wrong?

  • 192. cpsobsessed  |  April 14, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks @190. I didn’t realize where the school was located. That’s actually more convenient than I thought! I’ll put it on the list for next year.

  • 193. Albany Parker  |  April 14, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    @191 and 192 – I believe Disney II used to begin earlier – like maybe 8:30 or 8:45 – but they share a building with Marshall Middle School; Marshall used to have the entire building years back and now has about 50 students. Part of the 9:00 start is to stagger start/end times with Marshall Middle (they start at 8:00), part is to work with Disney II’s Pre-K through 6th campus on Kedvale (starting at 8:30 – lots of families have kids at both campuses) and part because of the recent teenagers-need-more-sleep research. Waking Grumpy Teen at 8am instead of 6:45am has been life-changing for us this year. 🙂

  • 194. CPSAppalled  |  May 6, 2016 at 7:43 am

    Help! Just got an (email) offer last night for child for Disney II for 7th grade next year. Can anyone tell me more about special education at Disney II? My child has an IEP, is bright, but needs lots of support. Are parents at Disney II high school satisfied with services or do they need to fight/advocate for everything? We were on the waitlist and I tried to get a tour when the waitlist numbers came out, but to no avail. Apparently I was supposed to predict in the fall that my child would have a low waitlist number, when every year thus far our waitlist number has been in the high hundreds….

    Have to decide by Monday. Please share the good, the bad, and the ugly. Thanks!

  • 195. Albany Parker  |  May 6, 2016 at 9:47 am

    CPSAppalled – I have a kid in 8th at Disney II that sounds similar to yours; feel free to email me at sencha28 at yahoo dot com if you’d like to chat.

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