Fall 2015 Selective Enrollment High School Open House Schedule

September 9, 2015 at 10:21 pm 601 comments

Look at those cars!

Look at those cars!

The open house schedule is posted.  I have them grouped by weekend.  I know these schools get long lines of applicants.  Is there any policy about bringing 7th graders?  I’d like my kid to get a sense of what this is all about (possibly as study motivation.)   It’s hard to get a kid excited about a conceptual school, ya know?

The official CPS link to it is here, if you want a nice printable version.


Selective Enrollment High School Open Houses

Open House Events for 2016-2017 School Year


Jones College Prep High School
606 S. State St.
Saturday, October 17, 2015 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Young Magnet High School
211 S. Laflin St.
Sunday, October 18, 2015 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Hancock College Prep High School
4034 W. 56th St.
Saturday, October 24, 2015 9 a.m. to 12 noon


King College Prep High School
4445 S. Drexel Blvd.
Saturday, October 31, 2015 9 a.m. to 12 noon

Lane Tech High School
2501 W. Addison St.
Sunday, November 1, 2015 12 noon to 3 p.m.


South Shore International High School
1955 E. 75th St.
Saturday, November 7, 2015 10 a.m. to 12 noon

Westinghouse High School
3223 W. Franklin Blvd.
Saturday, November 7, 2015 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Lindblom Math & Science Academy
6130 S. Wolcott St.
Sunday, November 8, 2015 10 a.m. to 12 noon

Northside College Prep High School
5501 N. Kedzie Ave.
Sunday, November 8, 2015 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Brooks College Prep High School
250 E. 111th St.
Saturday, November 14, 2015 12-3pm

Payton College Prep High School
1034 N. Wells Ave.
Saturday, November 14, 2015 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

SEHS Test dates

The Selective Enrollment High Schools admissions exam will be offered on the following dates for the 2016-2017 school year:

November 14, 2015* Early scores before app deadline
November 21, 2015* Early scores before app deadline
December 12, 2015
January 23, 2016
January 30, 2016
*Students who take the test in November 2015 will receive their test results and final point scores prior to the December 11th application deadline. (CPSO note: this allows your child greater understanding of their scoring “position” before they rank their schools and can help set expectations earlier in the process.)
The test will be offered at four sites:  King College Preparatory High School, Lane Tech High School, Lindblom Math and Science Academy, and Young Magnet High School

MAP Test dates for non-CPS Students:

CPS will continue to use the Northwestern Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA MAP) as the uniform assessment for all students applying to CPS programs with academic requirements for the 2016-2017 school year.  (To receive updates about the application process for the 2017-2018 school year, click here.)

For students who do not currently attend a CPS school but intend to apply to grades 5-9 for CPS schools/programs with academic requirements, the NWEA MAP will be offered free of charge. The NWEA MAP is used by CPS to determine eligibility for selective enrollment elementary and high schools and other high schools with academic requirements, including college and career selective academies, International Baccalaureate high schools, magnet high schools and military academies.

For non-CPS students who registered for the test by September 11th, the test will be administered on Oct. 17, 18, 24, and 25, 2015.  There will be one additional test date in January 2016 for students who register for the NWEA exam, or you registered after September 11, 2015. Click here to download and print the paper registration form and FAQs regarding the process. For more information, click here.

IMPORTANT!  In addition to submitting the NWEA registration form, students who test in January MUST submit paper applications before the Dec. 11, 2015, deadline for the schools of their choice. Paper applications can be accessed here, beginning October 1, 2015, at 9 a.m.

After your child takes the second NWEA exam, the Office of Access and Enrollment will contact you on January 22, 2016, via email and robocall, to inform you whether or not your child is eligible to apply to the programs with admissions requirements. (Your child’s NWEA scores will be mailed to you in February 2016.)

CPS High School Guidebook:


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

CPS Bussing. C’mon get happy. Hidden Gems High School Fair Sunday Sept 27 at Lake View High School 1-4pm

601 Comments Add your own

  • 1. rlincolnharris  |  September 9, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    CPSobsessed- My seventh grader will be attending 2-3 of them. It will give her a bit of incentive to keep the grades up this year. Plus, it will make the 8th grade fall a little less crazy.

  • 2. Suzanne  |  September 9, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    CPSO, definitely bring your 7th grader. They don’t card – “Are you in 8th grade? No? Then get out!” – and it gives you the chance to do some this year and some next year. 🙂 (I have an 8th grader this year, and a freshman.) A friend of ours brought her youngest son along when his older sibling was looking at SEHS. He got a very definite feel for what schools interested him and what schools did not.

  • 3. Dave  |  September 10, 2015 at 5:45 am


    I believe Jones’ Open House is Saturday October 17th. It’s the date listed on their website.

  • 4. Debby Fries  |  September 10, 2015 at 6:45 am

    do you know if the whitney open house also covers the Academic Center? thx. for your help. I have a daughter going into 7th grade next year.


  • 5. 8th grade mom  |  September 10, 2015 at 7:54 am

    We attended several open houses in 7th grade last year. I definitely recommend this, and wish we had attended more last year. Some of the non-SE open houses (i.e. Lincoln Park, Von) sometimes are on the same day, which makes scheduling tricky. Plus each school only has one open house which means if you miss it you’re out of luck.

  • 6. edgewatermom  |  September 10, 2015 at 7:56 am

    I think that it is a great idea for 7th graders to go to a few open houses. It gives them a chance to get a feel for a few schools (and hopefully some motivation) and means that you don’t have to cram in so many the next year).

  • 7. cpsobsessed  |  September 10, 2015 at 8:12 am

    @Dave, thanks – the site DOES say Jones is the 17th, so perhaps that was changed when they realized there was overlap

  • 8. pantherparent  |  September 10, 2015 at 8:37 am

    A word of advice from someone who has done this with two kids (and is going with a third this fall): Later is better. We’ve had good luck arriving for the last hour versus the first, especially at Jones and Lane.

    The one drawback is you may miss the last dog-and-pony show presentation and have to move right to a tour. But I’ve found the presentations to be very similar anyway. “We’re great. The students are great. The faculty is great. Everyone is great.”

    On the plus side, you may actually get to speak to the principal or assistant principal as their day is winding down and they are hanging around the auditorium,

  • 9. Kate  |  September 10, 2015 at 8:52 am

    My son is at Jones and I work the open house parents bring all their kids bringing a sixth or seventh grader is very acceptable

  • 10. mom2  |  September 10, 2015 at 9:23 am

    If anyone hears of open house dates for other schools like LP, Von, Lakeview, Amundsen, will you please let us know? Don’t limit yourselves to the SEHS. You’d be surprised at how good some of these other schools are now.

  • 11. Vikingmom  |  September 10, 2015 at 10:00 am

    @10 Amundsen’s Open House will be Saturday, November 7. The time, I believe, is 10am-1pm.

  • 12. JenFG  |  September 10, 2015 at 10:06 am

    @4: WY’s AC has its Open House earlier the same day–10-12.

  • 13. 60660  |  September 10, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Thanks JenFG. I found this page from last year for LTAC so presumably they will have an open house this year as well

  • 14. 8th grade mom  |  September 10, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Any insight on early vs. later testing date for SE? I understand the benefit of knowing your score before ranking your schools, but I’m curious for any insight as to whether the student is likely to be more prepared for the test later in the year?

  • 15. mom2  |  September 10, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Thank you, Vikingmom!

  • 16. Kelly  |  September 10, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    SEHS test dates are also out…http://www.cpsoae.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=72696&type=d&termREC_ID=&pREC_ID=478444

  • 17. Mom123  |  September 10, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Parents with seventh graders should definitely bring them to open houses. We didn’t and it was hectic!

  • 18. HSObsessed  |  September 11, 2015 at 8:59 am

    The Lincoln Park HS open house is Sunday, October 18, from 2:00 until 5:00. Students can apply to three different programs: IB Diploma, Double Honors (double honors classes freshman and sophomore year, then AP and IB classes junior and senior year), and Performing Arts.


  • 19. mom2  |  September 11, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Thank you HSObsessed

  • 20. Vikingmom  |  September 11, 2015 at 11:09 am

    @15 hope to see you there! 🙂

  • 21. mom2  |  September 11, 2015 at 11:27 am

    @20 – hoping to attend. I’ve heard great things!

  • 22. Chicago School GPS  |  September 11, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Open Houses for all sorts of public and private schools from preschool to high school can be found here (toggle only the calendars you want to see): http://www.chischoolgps.com/Calendar.php

    We try to post those that we know of, and many are overlapping with other schools. Hence, we recommend you space out your visits from sixth grade to eighth grade.
    Sixth grade- see those that have AC programs and at least get into the building for the AC tour because it gives you a feel for the HS, too.
    Seventh grade- see those that your student thinks are on the top of their list in order to motivate them to do well in 7th
    Eighth grade- see some “safety” schools or ones where you probably have a better chance of getting in

    Many schools surprisingly have “shadow days”. Not the most well known SEHS schools, but Lake View, Alcott, Senn, Amundsen, etc have shadow days to help your student REALLY get a sense of the school. CPS students have excused absences to attend CPS shadow days, but not private school shadow days.

  • 23. Chicago School GPS  |  September 11, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Also try to attend the 4th annual Hidden Gems High School Fair because there are not only schools to see but workshops for parents and middle schoolers to attend.

    Hidden Gems High School Fair
    Lake View High School, 4015 N. Ashland
    Sunday, Sept. 27 from 1-4pm
    RSVP http://www.chischoolgps.com/CSG_HS_Fair.html

    Over 30 schools and a handful of tutoring and parent resources will be there and it’s a fabulous way to kick start your high school search. It’s targeted for 6th-8th grade families so bring them along!

  • 24. Hektor R  |  September 12, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Now I know why Obama, Rahm and Arne have no desire to send their own kids to CPS/SEHS schools. Yikes, I had no idea…


  • 25. WesLooMom  |  September 12, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    @24, what a depressing article

  • 26. feeder schools  |  September 12, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    This is why a national curriculum standard like Common Core is needed to raise many low-performing schools’ abysmal academic expectations, tame grade inflations, or at the least, give their students (and parents) a sense of reality. Until then, many high school graduates still have to personally experience the shocking-to-them rigor of tertiary education. On the other hand, some high-performance high schools, such as Lab, are already operating above Common Core’s intellectual demands and see no benefit in enforcing a lower standard.

  • 27. Jen K  |  September 13, 2015 at 7:32 am

    That article is from 2011?

  • 28. mom2  |  September 14, 2015 at 10:05 am

    @23 – I can’t find Lake View on your list of open houses. Any idea about that?

  • 29. Chris  |  September 14, 2015 at 10:40 am

    “Yikes, I had no idea…”

    …that kids on average get lower GPAs in college than in HS? half a point lower seems the typical amount in the article, and that isn’t too surprising, to me.

  • 30. CLB  |  September 14, 2015 at 11:48 am

    @24-26 I would expect that HS students find college coursework to be harder than their HS coursework, and so they have lower GPAs in the 1st year of college than in HS. Many college courses have only two graded assignments: a midterm and a final. That’s far different from how most HS courses work.

  • 31. The Gardener  |  September 14, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Here we GOOO!!!! Gotta love this time of the year(The Bears & SEHS Open House’s/Application Process!!! Good luck to everyone!!!

  • 32. vb  |  September 15, 2015 at 11:26 am

    @24-26 The article is the same as my experience. There are wildly different grading standards among high schools. It’s nearly criminal to how some CPS high schools give out A’s to students who would be C students elsewhere. These students graduate with a grossly incorrect assessment of their college readiness. Their first semester of college is a decimation. I think that AP courses help because those test scores give a fair assessment.

  • 33. CPS Disaster  |  September 16, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Oh my gosh, these new test scores are horrible. Thank you Teachers Unions!!! Overpaid poor performers. Feel sorry for the kids (look at those high school math scores).

    Chicago Tribune:

    “Most Illinois students fall short on new PARCC tests

    Between 26 and 36 percent of third-through-eighth-grade students “met expectations” or “exceeded expectations” on the PARCC math exams. In English language arts/literacy, the figure was 33 to 38 percent for third-through-eighth-graders.

    In high schools the picture was even more dismal, with 17 percent of students meeting or exceeding expectations in math while 31 percent did so in English language arts/literacy.

    The scores on the new exams are lower than any statewide test results since 2001, data shows, when the state launched the Prairie State Achievement Examination for high school juniors. ”


  • 34. edgewatermom  |  September 16, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Or maybe the test themselves are a disaster. Scores are down all over – not just CPS. I have seen samples of some ridiculous test questions and many educators think that the tests are not well designed.

  • 35. worried mama  |  September 17, 2015 at 9:12 am

    What do folks here know about the Von Steuben Scholars Program and the Lane Tech Alpha Stem program? My son has the scores to get into Payton or Northside, but the Science programs there don’t seem as strong. Looking at the curriculum of Lane and Von Steuben, they seem to be very strong in science.

  • 36. otdad  |  September 17, 2015 at 10:01 am

    @33. CPS Disaster:
    That’s hardly a shock. It’s long known that less than 10% of CPS high school students are college ready.

    The following approximate figures may help us to understand the results:
    ~85% of CPS students are ‘economically disadvantaged’;
    ~40% black, ~45% Hispanic, ~10% white, ~4% Asian;

    CTU may be a part of the problem, but it’s not exactly fair to blame everything on them. IMHO, the root cause is not the schools, rather it’s the anti-intellectual culture among some of the groups, not much CPS can do.

  • 37. west rogers park mom  |  September 17, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Worried mama- Go to the open houses and see what you think. I don’t think Von Scholars is as competitive as the others. Basically everyone who qualifies and submits an application gets in. I’ve even heard stories of children admitted who didn’t write the essay. I’m not saying its not a great program. Its just that admission into the program isn’t competitive as the rest.

    It is my understanding that Lane Alpha is an excellent program. Basically you can’t go wrong with any of the schools you mentioned. When you make your preferences take into account things like commute, extra-curriculars your son may be interested in etc.

    Good luck.

  • 38. Helen  |  September 17, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    @35 worried mama…would echo what was said above & add that I’ve known several students in the Lane alpha program, some like it more than others & I’ve known several that have dropped out of the program after freshman/sophomore year – NOT because the program is bad but because of the workload. Make sure your child REALLY, REALLY LOVES SCIENCE before placing them in program.

  • 39. Alicia  |  September 17, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Agree w Edgewater mom about badly designed tests. I know someone who was hired as a temp to write questions for standardized tests. He did not have the background to do this and was not given much guidance on how to write the questions. Gives me no faith in the quality of these tests.

  • 40. PARCC is big money.  |  September 17, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    @33 Some critical thinking please. PARCC people predicted that the pass/cut rate would be low and voila! they are low. Hmmmmm could that be built into the test?

  • 41. CLB  |  September 17, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    @33 If we take these results seriously — a very dubious proposition — then Northside, Payton, New Trier, IMSA, and other HS fail to educate students sufficiently to exceed math standards. And charters fail too, most of which are not unionized.

  • 42. EWR  |  September 17, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Amundsen Open House – Sat Nov 7th 10:00am – 1:00PM

    Check out these recent developments:
    + Amundsen is one of seven CPS high schools (and one of only three non-selective enrollment schools) hand-picked to participate in a new STEM program. Amundsen’s participation is funded by the James Dyson Foundation, the cutting-edge English vacuum cleaner designer.
    + A multi-million dollar TIF-funded facilities upgrade took place inside the building over the summer, with work set to wrap up later this fall. Stay tuned for details of a grand opening celebration later this fall.
    + The Amundsen fitness center is soon to be home to all new fitness equipment, thanks to gifts from the Chicago Cubs and long-time Amundsen supporters Dan and Patricia Jorndt.
    + More neighbors are looking local for educational excellence: the size of this year’s freshman class increased by 25% over last year, and 55% of them are enrolled in Amundsen’s IB program. Freshman enrollment in the IB program at Amundsen has tripled in just three years.
    + 1 in 3 Amundsen students are student-athletes, playing at least one sport. The Vikings field teams in 25 varsity sports and 13 JV sports. Vikings teams have won 11 conference and regional championships since 2013, and 13 CPS City championships. Amundsen was named CPS Sportsmanship School of the Year in 2014.
    + Amundsen High School is an anchor in the GROWCommunity initiative, which represents an unprecedented collaboration between elected officials, parent and community volunteers, the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute (UEI) and educators to build a high quality, seamless neighborhood public education system in our communities. The UEI partnership kicked off over the summer when Amundsen administrators and teachers met with UEI staff to dive into school data and build a plan for sustained school improvement.

  • 43. jen  |  September 17, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    @41, I am so curious about the breakdown of scores at individual districts and schools. When the very highest scoring schools in the nation have large percentages of failing students, how will that be received?

  • 44. Sarah  |  September 17, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    When is CPS releasing individual schools’ MAP/PARCC scores? Have they already? I can’t seem to find them.

  • 45. CC  |  September 17, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    @42 Thank you.

  • 46. cpsobsessed  |  September 18, 2015 at 8:24 am

    @43 Jen, can you clarify what you mean (about large % of failing kids and about “how will that be received?”)

  • 47. otdad  |  September 18, 2015 at 9:14 am

    @43 jen:
    CPS has 112,000 high school students. Payton (~900), Northside(~1000), Jones (~1700), Young (~2100). That’s only 5%. I won’t be surprised that those schools are doing just fine. PARCC is just a test, no matter how it was designed, as long as the students learned what should be learned, they should at least pass. I looked at the PARCC sample tests, the question all seem proper:

    The test was the reason for low performance?

  • 48. @47 otdad  |  September 18, 2015 at 9:20 am

    The PARCC was only given to 9th grade high school students. No 9th grader in Illinois exceeded in math. I think it’s unfair of you to presume that 9th graders in those particular schools were the only students who did well.

  • 49. cpsobsessed  |  September 18, 2015 at 10:30 am

    One thing to keep in mind about testing as benchmarks is that just because the bar has been raised on these tests, doesn’t mean the schools have had time to adjust their curriculum, energy, and efforts to teach the material to meet the standards.

    The new benchmarks is really amping up the level at which our kids know some of the basics concepts. I did a PARCC sample test. The test design is horrible. But if my kid could know all the concepts PARCC aspires to, fantastic. I just don’t see the level of rigor in the schools right now (and he’s in a well regarded options program with great teachers.) It takes a shift in resources (sorely lacking in CPS), material, and just the way we do things in U.S. schools to get us to a point to reach the high benchmarks. Giving a new test alone doesn’t get us there.

    ::steps off soap box::

  • 50. 60660  |  September 18, 2015 at 11:07 am

    If the population who sat HS math are 9th graders taking algebra 1 then you already have excluded any kids who are “exceeding expectations” from the tested population?
    Most students encounter algebra in middle school so does this mean the only kids who sat the HS parcc math were kids who had already failed 8th grade algebra?

  • 51. CLB  |  September 18, 2015 at 11:41 am

    @48 @50: It was not just for 9th graders. The tested grades in HS varied from district to district based on what the district chose to use. CPS used ELA 1 and ‪Algerbra I, so mostly 9th grades in Chicago.

    Some students take Algebra I in 7th or 8th grade, but most take it in 9th in CPS.

  • 52. 60660  |  September 18, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Right but how many kids at schools like WYMHS are taking Algebra 1 in 9th Grade? Who sat the test?
    I’m annoyed that PARCC wasted (at least) 9 half days for my 4th grader, results don’t arrive for 6 months and are of dubious validity and apparently useless.
    He also took NAEP and Map in 4th grade. PARCC is one assessment too many. And of course the $$$ wasted.

  • 53. Jen K  |  September 18, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    I also keep thinking about the number of students that opted out in CPS, and others that didn’t take it seriously. Kids at our school were well aware of the controversy (via parents and media) and if they thought, going in, that the test was a joke, they might not have answered questions to the best of their ability.

  • 54. CLB  |  September 18, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    @52 NAEP is a good assessment. Its multi-matrix sampling allows for better info w/out high-stakes at the school level.

  • 55. @CLB  |  September 18, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Good Point! I forgot that the PARCC for HS was based on students who were taking Algebra 1 and English 1. Yes, mostly 9th graders and the 7/8th who take English 1–I guess the Academic Center students but now I have a question…did the 7th & 8th graders who took the PARCC take the PARCC for the elementary school students or the test for the HS students. Just trying to figure it all out because my 8th grader has Algebra 1 & English 1 so which test is he going to take??? I presumed they gave the AC students the elementary test. What about the elementary school students who take Algebra I but have 8th grade reading??? Did they get the HS Algebra test & the grammar school reading test?

  • 56. jen  |  September 18, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    @46, What I mean is, when PARCC scores come out, even the Edisons and the LaSalles and the Northside College Preps of the world will see large percentages of their students NOT meeting standards. Those students, who typically are viewed as high achieving will now be labeled “failing”. I am curious about how that message is going to be received, how parents and communities will take it.
    Will they view the tests as bad, the teachers as bad, the kids as bad? And then what about when some schools don’t have ANY kids who pass the PARCC? I highly anticipate we will see quite a few schools across Illinois where not one student passes.

  • 57. jen  |  September 18, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    @47, I wouldn’t count on it.

  • 58. Chicago School GPS  |  September 18, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Lane Tech Principal is finally appointed: the assistant principal Kathryn Anderson now has the top spot.

  • 59. HS_newbie  |  September 19, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Does anybody know when eligibility letters are supposed to arrive? Registration for the testing starts in 10 days, it would be nice to have all the codes before that time…

  • 60. edgewatermom  |  September 19, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Ours letter came home from school last week.

  • 61. HS_newbie  |  September 19, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    @60 – the letter came home from school or was mailed to your home directly by CPS?

  • 62. edgewatermom  |  September 19, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    Came home with my child from school.

  • 63. HS_newbie  |  September 19, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Thank you. Will ask at our school.

  • 64. Smithtee  |  September 19, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    My 8th grader’s eligibility letter arrived via CPS mail last week.

  • 65. Jamarta  |  September 20, 2015 at 4:55 am

    For the kids entering SEHS as freshman in 2015, it was the first year both the public and private school took the same entrance exams (SEHS exam and MAP – privates did not take MAP before). It was supposed to “level the playing field”. In the past CPS would release the percent of students admitted from public vs private by SEHS school (e.g. private school kids around 12% of applicants and 20%+ of the acceptances).

    It seems like, at least for the top SEHS schools (Payton, NS), the private % may have gone up. I have not seen those stats (public vs private SEHS application/acceptance rates) published for the 2015 entry class. Has anyone seen that info? Is CPS purposely holding it back?


  • 66. WRP Mom  |  September 20, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    CPSO, the picture on your post is labeled as Lane Tech, but that is definitely not Lane. There is no clock tower and the streets are close to the building. I wonder which school is actually pictured.

  • 67. karet  |  September 20, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    @66, This is a picture of the first Lane Tech campus at Division and Sedgwick. The new campus was built in the 1930s.


  • 68. JAG  |  September 21, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Does anyone know if Catholic High Schools/Charter schools,
    accept the credits that the Academic Center kids have earned?

  • 69. Sad Mom  |  September 21, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Based on the responses in this thread, the reasons for the horrible PARCC scores (e.g. 0% high school students ‘exceeding’ in math):

    ” maybe the test themselves are a disaster”

    ” badly designed tests”

    “doesn’t mean the schools have had time to adjust their curriculum”

    and everyone’s favorite -> “they might not have answered questions to the best of their ability”

    Well, based on those insights, the kids should be getting smarter in no time. However, one key reason was left out: ‘the sun was in their eyes’.

    The good news is, as in the past, the state will just move the goalposts for ‘meet expectations’ and the results will magically improve. The federal government’s central planning department of education will come to the rescue. One size fits all! Looking forward to the detailed test results breakdown by school and demographic.

  • 70. CPSer  |  September 21, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    @69. I certainly hope your post is sarcastic. The test cut scores were designed for failure. Remember Arne Duncan’s comment about suburban moms?

    As a math teacher, I have seen some incredibly bright students. My students have gone on to MIT, Brown, U of I, Michigan, Cornell, Wesleyen, Boston and IIT. They are engineers, doctors, lawyers, plumbers, mothers and teachers. They EXCELLED at freshman Algebra. They were college ready. These tests are designed for profit making corporations which do not care a rat’s ass about how your child is performing.

    As a parent, I don’t care what this test is providing for me. I need to know how my child is doing based on teacher conversation, assessment and classroom performance. Furthermore, I opted my own younger child out of testing last year and he was still assessed by his teachers and placed at the correct reading/math levels in school. No 9 hour test needed there.

  • 71. HS_newbie  |  September 21, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    @69 Read the whole sentence: “The percentage of high-schoolers in Algebra I or Integrated Math I who exceeded standards was zero; 17 percent met them.”

    The only students taking Algebra I in HS, are those that failed math in middle school. So is it such a big surprise that they are still still failing in HS? Most kids start 9th grade with Geometry, some with Algebra II, but I don’t see any statistics about them.

  • 72. @Highschool newbie  |  September 21, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Ummm…just because you start Algebra 1 freshman year doesn’t mean you failed it. Some elementary schools DON’T offer algebra in 8th grade! Also, for those who DO take it in 8th grade the child may pass the class but not pass the Algebra Exit exam, so that’s why they repeat it Freshman year. Not all schools have a great Algebra Exit exam pass rate, as well.

  • 73. HS_newbie  |  September 21, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Just because you count only the kids that start Algebra I freshman year, you cut out of the statistics all the smart kids from good schools that start above that level. I had to re-read this sentence few times before I could figure out how it could possibly happen that kids in select enrollment and suburban schools did not exceed standards. Easily – they did not take that test at all!

  • 74. @HS Newbie  |  September 21, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Just because a kid wasn’t offered algebra in elementary school doesn’t mean they are not smart in algebra! I know many extremely intelligent kids whose elementary schools didn’t offer Algebra who aced Algebra in HS and some kids I know who took algebra freshman year at all of the SE schools that parents hold in high esteem are some of those kids!

  • 75. HS_newbie  |  September 22, 2015 at 12:26 am

    Take all the freshman in the state, no matter what math class they are in. Give them the same math test. Who do you think will get better results? Kids in Algebra I? In Geometry? In Algebra II? Those very few that start HS with pre-calc? Those almost nonexistent kids that take AP calc the first year in HS? Now look at the results of the kids ONLY in Algebra I – how do think these results will compare to the results of all the 9th graders? Do you think they will be better or worth?

  • 76. vb  |  September 22, 2015 at 9:34 am

    @70 I had to Google the Arne Duncan comment. For everyone who doesn’t get the reference….

    Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke about the growing opposition to Common Core… “It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary,” Duncan said. “You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on, ‘My child’s going to be prepared.’ That can be a punch in the gut.”

    Duncan was observing that the higher standards that states have adopted to better prepare their students for college and careers are revealing that some “good” schools aren’t as strong as parents in those areas have long assumed.

  • 77. CLB  |  September 22, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    @76 When you have to translate what the US ED secretary meant to say, it’s time for a new secretary.

    I especially like the segue from “white suburban mom” to “punch in the gut” — not so good with the words putting together sense to make.

  • 78. Natasha P  |  September 23, 2015 at 6:05 am


  • 79. HS_newbie  |  September 23, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Are CPS results out? Statewide PARCC results sort of released, but I could not find anything for CPS. Or you just projecting the same statement about high-schoolers in Algebra I? Then CPSer might never see these kids at all – those that get to AP level don’t take Algebra I in HS.

  • 80. CPSer  |  September 23, 2015 at 11:10 am

    @78…Sad comment. I stay in this system because of my students. I am fortunate enough to get to choose whether or not I want to have a job. I actually enjoy my job and know that I am providing my students with great instruction. I feel sorry for people with your vision. Take a moment this semester to meet your child’s teachers. You might be surprised.

  • 81. Helen  |  September 23, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    @80 Thank you for teaching our kids!

  • 82. cpsobsessed  |  September 23, 2015 at 3:13 pm


  • 83. New kinder mom  |  September 24, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    So I’m looking for a way to prep my child for her first map test. The school does zero prep and I am concerned that she will not be accessed properly because she doesn’t understand how to test. I have had her practicing using a mouse on abc mouse, but how can I help her to test better. I feel like she never made it to some skills she knew on the sees test and would like to help her show what she can do. Any advise?

  • 84. jen  |  September 24, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    @83, Don’t worry, your child has 12 years of test prep ahead of her. She’ll get plenty.

  • 85. Chris  |  September 24, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    83: “Any advise?”

    Don’t worry about her test scores in K (or 1 or 2, and probably not in 3 or 4, either; first one that counts for anything important is 5), especially the fall scores (which aren’t even the important ones in 5).

  • 86. CarolA  |  September 24, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    @83 As others mention…don’t worry about test prep for the MPG test for kindergarten or any other level. It just lets us know where children are academically right now so we can go from there. It’s fairly accurate, but not written in stone. Occasionally a test result won’t match what we are seeing in the classroom, but not often. I just got back my results for my first graders and there weren’t any surprises. What the test results showed is pretty much what I’ve already been seeing in the classroom.

  • 87. HS_newbie  |  September 24, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    @83 What do you need these results for? Are you going to use them anywhere? Probably not. So don’t worry about at them! Good thing about MAP is that there really is no test prep needed – the test results correlate very well with what child knows, not what he was prepped t do on a specific test.

    The only thing I would do is to explain what an adaptive test is. Little kids sometimes get very upset if they can’t solve something, but on this test your daughter is guaranteed to get to the math problems she will have no idea even how to start and on reading part to the words that she will no know. So she needs to understand, that it OK. It is even better then OK – if she gets to the problems where she has no idea what some symbols mean (say multiplication or division), it means that things that she does know she did really well.

    Another thing, also important for any test taking, but not so obvious to a kindergartner – don’t rush! There is no time limit, so take your time and check your work. Do you addition using fingers, pictures or anything else and CHECK before hitting enter. Because test is adaptive, there is no going back to check for errors, what you enter is you final answer, so treat it as such. On paper we usually teach kids to do the whole test then go to the beginning and check the whole test. Here it will not work.

  • 88. Betrand Francis Sciner  |  September 24, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Several peer-reviewed studies have found that kids who play on-line games like Minecraft and Roblox for more than 2 hours a day score much higher on on-line tests like MAP than students who used ABCMouse or Kahn Academy. Also, their rate of self-harm is much lower.

  • 89. Chicago School GPS  |  September 25, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    Anybody care to read between the lines on this one?

    Dear CPS Families,
    As the parent of a CPS student, we want you to have accurate information so you can make the right choices about where to enroll your child. Our priority is to provide you with a fair assessment of CPS schools, along with your child’s progress so that together we can continue to build on our academic gains.
    In order to ensure you have accurate information, Chicago Public Schools is proposing minor adjustments to the School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) – the system that establishes performance ratings for our schools.
    This change, which will affect only District high schools, is the result of an error by ACT Inc., the testing company that produced the EXPLORE and PLAN tests for our 9th and 10th-grade students last school year. In violation of our agreement, the company failed to provide CPS with new exams for the 2014-2015 School Year. Rather, they distributed tests that had been previously administered in other school districts and were posted online.
    Because these exams were available on the Internet, some of our students may have used them to practice, which calls into question the validity of our test results. Data from these assessments is part of the formula used to determine school ratings, so we must now make adjustments to this year’s SQRP. No students or staff have been accused of wrongdoing, and we are withholding payment from the company as a result of this error.
    This testing mistake affected the District’s 9th and 10th-graders, so we will not use their data for the SQRP process. We will continue to use the scores achieved by our 11th-grade students, as their exam (the ACT test) was not compromised.
    Please know that the integrity of our school ratings system is a top priority. This change will help ensure that the ratings established by SQRP reflect the true performance of our schools, giving you clear, reliable information on how CPS is meeting the needs of your children.
    We appreciate your understanding, and thank you for playing an active role in your child’s education.
    Forrest Claypool
    Chief Executive Officer
    Chicago Public Schools

  • 90. HS_newbie  |  September 25, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Were District results for PLAN and EXPLORE much better last year?

  • 91. otdad  |  September 25, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    @88. Betrand Francis Sciner:
    “Several peer-reviewed studies have found that kids who play on-line games like Minecraft and Roblox for more than 2 hours a day score much higher on on-line tests like MAP than students who used ABCMouse or Kahn Academy. Also, their rate of self-harm is much lower.”
    There could be more than one explanation.
    1 possible explanation: Those who were allowed to play online games by their parents are the ones who are doing well academically in school, while those who used ABCMouse or Kahn Academy are the ones who needed extra practice.

  • 92. edgewatermom  |  September 26, 2015 at 10:55 am

    I have a few questions about the “Progress Reports” found at http://www.cps.edu/Schools/Find_a_school/Pages/findaschool.aspx. In the section that measures student growth, how are they measuring this for 9th graders? Is it compared to some test that they take in the 8th grade.

    When do they update these numbers? And does anybody know what they are going to do this year because of the “compromised results” that CPS emailed us about.

    The biggest question is why in the world will they not break this down for the specialized programs?! I would love to be able to compare the IB programs across the city, or the Von Steuben Scholars to Lincoln Park honors etc. CPS makes it really difficult to be able to compare programs.

    I realize that schools (and students!) are so much more than their test scores, but obviously scores do matter, especially when it comes to getting into college.

  • 93. @edgewatermom  |  September 26, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    I know when my son was in 8th grade he took the Explore test and he took it again in 9th grade (he’s a junior now). I guess that is how they compare the 9th grade growth. In the past the website would have been updated in the summer, but I think the delay is caused by the “compromised results.” I still feel like CPS could have at least updated the elementary school data and note the HS data will be delayed. Here is a link to an article in Catalyst that explains how CPS plans to handle the HS data due to the compromised results:


  • 94. @edgewatermom  |  September 26, 2015 at 2:30 pm


    @Edgewater mom here is the press release that has more details

  • 95. CLB  |  September 26, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    The biggest question is why in the world will they not break this down for the specialized programs?! I would love to be able to compare the IB programs across the city, or the Von Steuben Scholars to Lincoln Park honors etc. CPS makes it really difficult to be able to compare programs.

    One, it’s more work to do the breakdown. Two, the data is provided to sustain the illusion of accountability, not actually help you compare programs. If CPS reported data like you suggest, then they would have to justify all sorts of decisions. You can’t fool all the people all of the time, but you can fool enough of them enough of the time to run an urban school system w/out much interference from the public.

    Haven’t you ever wondered why CPS never reports on how well the current SE admission components correlate with 9th or 12th-grade scores or class grades? Because if they didn’t or did so only weakly, the entire process would be delegitimized.

  • 96. CLB  |  September 26, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    @92 @ 93 The “student growth percentile” is a statistic that CPS made up. ACT does not provide it for Explore. CPS used the 8th grade Explore results compared with end of 9th grade ones. ACT does report 8th-9th grade norms at the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles. But CPS is actually just comparing aggregated school scores to other CPS schools, not to any national set because none exists. As for the 9-12th grade composite, I have no idea what it means. We have never been able to reproduce it from available data using the procedures that CPS has provided. Neither ACT nor NWEA compiles such a statistic; NWEA says it would be nonsensical to do so.

    This year they will use 8th grade MAP via some unknown equating process.

  • 97. cpsobsessed  |  September 26, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    My understanding was that CPS doesn’t like reporting on small cohorts of students (privacy, wide variability, ?). So I actually haven’t wondered about it. I just continue to wish they would. The IB programs have quite a bit of inflow and outflow so those would be difficult to report accurately. I (and others) have certainly been interested in Options program housed within neighborhood schools. But as well all know, input correlates highly with output. Edison tends to have test scores in the 99%+ (meet/exceed.) Is that because the school is so awesome? And/or because they are able to take the kids with the highest scores on the north side?

    How would the “entire process be delegitimized”?

  • 98. a parent  |  September 26, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Do any kids really test prep for the Explore? The test is just a practice for ACT. It’s not used for admissions. Don’t think I could ever get my kids to do practice problems for Explore just to make their school rank better. I don’t understand how their can be “compromised score” issue.

  • 99. Selective Enrollment CPS  |  September 26, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Text the word “Selective” to 33444 for a FREE High School Options Checklist for Selective Enrollment, IB, Magnet, etc. A sheet also is included for suburban families moving to the city.

  • 100. CLB  |  September 26, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    @97 If it turned out that the scores used for SEHS admission had only minor bearing on students performance in SEHS, then the admissions method is really arbitrary. If students with an 880 do no better than students with a 780, why not just use a lottery or change the admissions system? Predictive validity is the key feature you want from an entrance exam or admissions method if your aim is to accept the top students.

    The same issue arises in the NYC selective admissions HS debate: does the entrance exam predict performance for those admitted? NYC DOE admitted that they never did a study on the test’s predictive validity.

  • 101. lk  |  September 26, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    88. It’s called Active Learning vs Passive learning (watching tv). Mastering the level’s of the games takes skill. My Junior NSCP son plays online with his friends for like hours it seems. When we went to some colleges the engineering depts and schools in general actually like kids that play in groups to problem solve. I read an article that said, if your kid is a good student, don’t banish the game playing. Ask them what level they are at? Do you know how much active brain activity it takes to get to level 43?

  • 102. otdad  |  September 26, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    @100. CLB:
    Why the need for predictive validity? It’s about fighting for a spot. Winners in, losers out. We just don’t know the result of next round, but I think it’s rather fair.

  • 103. cpsobsessed  |  September 26, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    I’d love to obsess about predictive validity. But if found an entrance test that perfectly correlated to outcome (final test scores?) doesn’t that imply that the school had no impact? How would one assess how “good” the school is? And… there I go obsessing about predictive validity.

  • 104. HS_newbie  |  September 26, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    If there is an entrance test that correlates with the outcome, I am still sure it will correlate with the school choice as well. If you have big enough sample of the kids with the same entrance test results qualifying them for SEHS, but some do go there and some go to their neighborhood HSs, I don’t think their outcomes will be the same. It is one thing to be the best in every class and it is completely different story if you have full classroom of kids of your level around you.

  • 105. Renaldo  |  September 27, 2015 at 4:27 am

    “Haven’t you ever wondered why CPS never reports on how well the current SE admission components correlate with 9th or 12th-grade scores or class grades? Because if they didn’t or did so only weakly, the entire process would be delegitimized”

    In the SEHS schools, there is a high correlation between SEHS scores in 8th grade and ACT scores in 12th grade. The information by school is published by CPS.

    Grades are a little tougher to analyze because of inconsistencies among schools and grade inflation.

    I’m guessing your kid scored poorly on the exam? There are still other decent schools out there.

  • 106. CLB  |  September 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    @102 If all you want is as sorting mechanism, then why not use # of push-ups one can do? Or who can solve a complex algebra problem in the shortest time? Or accuracy at reciting the “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” Why not use just grade, or just the MAP percentiles, or just the entrance exam? Presumably, the grades/pctl/test score matrix identifies who is most qualified to enter the school. If it does, we should see those who have 900s do better than those with 850s over their time there. There will be a few outliers, but the scoring matrix should be able to predict performance if the matrix is any good at picking the best students.

    @105 Thanks for playing, but CPS does not release student-level data — anonymized or otherwise — of what a student who was admitted to a school scored for his or her admission and what the student scored on his or her ACT. It doesn’t matter that average entrance scores correlate with average ACT scores for a school; that doesn’t tell us whether students with low admission scores also scored low on the ACT or whether they scored higher on the ACT. You need student-level data to answer that question.

    @103 For school effects we would need to compare changes by initial similar-scoring students across schools. The predictive validity could be measured within the schools.

  • 107. klm  |  September 27, 2015 at 2:29 pm


    I just found this article from 1988. I know it’s not entirely related, but I just wanted to add some context. For all those people that insist that average scores/achievement/competitiveness for HS and college admission really aren’t that different than “when I was in HS,” think again.

    Average ACT scores are so much higher, even at “high achieving” suburban public HS’s, like Deerfield and private city ones like Lab, SICP, Benet Academy (private, suburbs –I think it’s gone up to 28 from 23-something)), etc. I recall talking to a New Trier alum and she was saying how they used to feel smug that their HS had an average ACT of 25 (the first suburban HS to do this), but now literally dozens of other suburban HSs do this (including all 3 in Naperville, for example).

    I don’t think kids are necessarily so much “smarter” now, but somehow things have become so much more competitive. I wonder if instruction is better or is there more panic-driven drive among students to get into a “good” college, get on the right path for professional/financial stability (never mind ‘pinnacle’ success tracks).

    I recall that at my very good Catholic HS, it was a big deal to get a 30 on the ACT over 30 years ago. One of my friends (not a URM and not in the top 5%)) got 28 and was able to get into Northwestern. Now? My alma mater (like the schools in the above article) has increased its average ACT by 4 points (from 23-point-something to 27-point-something) and the flagship state university (U of Michigan) now has a median ACT of 30, which is also much higher than when I was in HS. When I was in HS, a non-URM state resident with a 3.3+ GPA (granted there is more ‘grade inflation’ now, what with differentiated assessments, etc.) and ACT in the mid 20’s (as in 24) could get into Michigan, almost sure thing. Not any more –in-state kids with ACTs in the 30s and good grades sometimes get turned away, now.

    Thing is, the education that I received at my HS was really excellent –I don’t believe that it was likely 20%/4-points-on-the-ACT-lower-worse than the one kids get at the same school, now.

    I guess the point I’m trying to make is this: Definitely look at test scores when considering schools for your kids, but keep them in context. Was Lab, for example, really a “worse” place to go to HS in 1988, when its average ACT was 25-point-something, rather than 30, now? I can’t imagine –it’s been considered on of the best private schools in the country for generations, now.

    Yet sometimes we as parents will look at a HS with a 30 ave. ACT and will automatically think it’s “better” than the one with a 25 ACT. I know I’m guilty of this. In my defense, the “test score rankism” mentality isn’t unrelated to simply wanted the “best” for my kids, though. If a school’s doing well at getting kids to learn, score well, etc., it is kinda’ attractive to me, as a parents that wants to give my kids the “best education possible.” Why lie?

    Thing is, the “best education” for kid A is not the same for Kid B. Some kids thrive at New Trier and take advantage of its world-class academic offerings, make cool friends, etc., and some kids at the same school can’t stand the competition, vastness, perceived smugness, affluenza-related issues, etc. Some kids will go to Amundsen and get sucked into the getting-high-before-school losers that are going nowhere in life, while some kids will thrive in its IB program like nowhere else, since its the “perfect” fit for them on every level.

    I mean, do people that graduated from Deerfield in 1988 really believe that the education that they received then was somehow 15-20% “worse” that what kids are receiving now? If one’s going by test scores, it’s true, but it doesn’t make sense because even then it was considered on of the best high schools in the country, never mind Illinois.

    I know that average scores at some HSs seem so low, but if one’s kid is in the IB program at, say, Senn, they’re not doing academic work at the level for Senn’s “average.”

    Know your kid and shape them in a direction that is best for him/her when looking at Hss.

  • 108. jen  |  September 27, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Am I remembering correctly or not? I thought I’d understood that a 28 20 years ago is equivalent to a 30 today on the ACT due to the way the test is calculated. That wouldn’t explain the giant score increases, but it would explain part of it. Either way, I really like what you had to say, because I think its mostly true, 107.

    But, I’d steer away from indicating the “getting high before class with losers” is a phenomenon that happens at Amundsen. This is something in, quite literally, every single high school and college (and some middle schools) across the U.S. Where there is money, there are drugs. I have friends teaching in some of the best high schools in the state and the stories they tell about their honors kids and AP kids using are really telling.

  • 109. New kinder mom  |  September 27, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Thank you HS_newbie, that is exactly what I needed to know.

  • 110. Marci  |  September 28, 2015 at 8:56 am

    “It doesn’t matter that average entrance scores correlate with average ACT scores for a school; ”

    Yes, statistically, it does matter. If the average between the two tests is up, down or the same with the same population of kids (i.e. those at a single school) that is a very strong indicator of individual performance. Your “thinking” implies the averages may be the same but the low scorers on the entrance exam turned into high scores on ACT while at the same time the high scores on entrance were transformed into low scorers at the same time at the same school. That is ridiculous If a school had a 70% SEHS average and a 85% ACT average (or visa versa) that is good indicator of a strong (or weak, if down) educational program. No offense, but my guess is you were a low scorer both on the way in and on the way out. Thanks for playing! 🙂

  • 111. D Nevaro  |  September 28, 2015 at 9:11 am

    The problem with the ACT is it is easy to significantly improve scores with test prep. It is an achievement test, not an aptitude test. The ACT tests what skills a child has already learned. That is easy to improve through test prep. An aptitude exam will test more general reasoning abilities and application of skills learned (i.e. critical thinking). The old SAT test was more of an aptitude test (I am not sure about the new SAT exam).

    If a high school’s average ACT scores increase dramatically over a short period of time, it is most likely due to increased test prep and not due to any changes in curriculum. It would be great if there was one exam that tested both achievement and aptitude with sub-section scores (as opposed to having everyone take both tests – which many kids do who are applying to the top colleges)

  • 112. Vikingmom  |  September 28, 2015 at 11:33 am

    @111 “The problem with the ACT is it is easy to significantly improve scores with test prep.”
    So very true. This is just one anecdote but my sister’s child (suburban Chicago school) improved their score after spending a lot of money (more than my sister would have liked). He got a 35. Whoa, great, you say! But here is a list of schools he did not get into: Michigan, USC, Northwestern, Notre Dame (and my dad graduated from ND, but admittedly not a large donor).
    At the end of the day he is extremely happy attending his college of choice, which did give him a large monetary award based on this score.
    Just trying to add to the conversation—and trying myself to understand the myriad of complexities as we personally go through the college application process, ACT scores being one.
    @108 Thanks for this:
    “But, I’d steer away from indicating the “getting high before class with losers” is a phenomenon that happens at Amundsen.”
    I think most of us with high school kids know that there is a segment of students at every school, including New Trier and SEHS, getting high, now and 30 some years ago when I was a student.

  • 113. edgewatermom  |  September 28, 2015 at 11:42 am

    @107 KLM

    Know your kid and shape them in a direction that is best for him/her when looking at Hss.

    I think that this is really important advice. SEHS are not necessarily the best choice for every student, even if they do get accepted. It is important to factor the workload and the commute into your decision. For my kid, having to stay up until midnight every night to do homework and then get up before 6 am to get to school on time would not be a good fit. She would not deal well with that level of stress.

    I am really impressed with several of the SEHS and they offer so many amazing opportunities, but at a price. As tempting as they may be, they are not right for my kid. (The decision is up to her, but we are on the same page on this aspect.)

  • 114. HS_newbie  |  September 28, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    @klm (107)
    I am not sure I understand your logic. Why do you want to compare today’s scores to 1988?

    In 1988 the school with average ACT 25 was better then the school with the average ACT of 19.

    Today test prep in some form or another is very wide spread, so overall scores are higher, but still a school with avg ACT 29 is better then a school with 23. Unless something very good or very bad happened to the neighborhood, I think most likely if you compare the same two schools in 1988 and in 2015 you will get more or less the same difference in their ACT scores.

    Something like this:
    School A: 1988 – ACT 19, 2015 ACT – 23
    School B: 1988 – ACT 23, 2015 ACT – 29
    School B was better in 1988 and is still better in 2015.

  • 115. stories to tell  |  September 28, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    lane tech updated time for open house is 9 am to 11 am, nov 1

  • 116. stories to tell  |  September 28, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    any chiarts parents? what has your kid’s experience been?

  • 117. 60660  |  September 28, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Lane Tech HS open house is 12 – 3pm on November 1st
    Lane Tech Academic Center open house is 9am – 11am


  • 118. Northwestsidemom  |  September 28, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Anyone know much about Disney II High School? I know the elementary school is good…but this one is new…just wondering if anyone has experience or thoughts.

  • 119. Patricia  |  September 28, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    I just want to add a frame of reference for the SEHS cut off scores. Many parents correlate the highest cut off score as being the “best” school. IMO, all the SEHS offer an outstanding opportunity for students as do IB and more and more neighborhood HS. In HS it really is up to the student to take hold of their future and make the most of their high school experience. A student can succeed or fail at any school.

    Also to note, schools with Academic Centers (Lane, Whittney, Taft, Kenwood, etc.) can skew the cut off scores. Getting into an AC and essentially starting high school in 7th grade provides the schools with a highly accomplished set of students that, from what I can tell, can rock the high school entrance exam without any test prep. Since it is an achievement test and AC kids have taken high school level classes already, they tend to do very well on the test with little effort. These AC kids are either (1) not counted in the school cut off score because they already have a HS spot since 7th grade and are not even testing—-but if they did, they probably would have scored very high or (2) took the test and decided to stay at their AC for HS and their test score is counted in a school they are not attending, or (3) they actually do leave the AC for a different school.

    The point is that schools like Whittney and Lane, for example, have cut off scores that do not accurately reflect the actual freshman class. For example, I know of 8 students from Lane that got into Northside and decided to stay at Lane. Several turned down Payton, etc. Many I know that did not test, but certainly would have gotten in anywhere. Their 886-900 scores are not counted in Lane, they are counted in Northside, Payotn or other cutoff scores. Lane showed no one with a 900 last year…….but I know there are a bunch of 900’s in the freshman class at Lane. I am just pointing this out because there is such a unnecessary stigma that is associated with cut off scores and honestly, it is splitting hairs. All the SEHS are wonderful opportunities. The IB are wonderful opportunities. Many neighborhood HS are wonderful opportunities.

  • 120. west rogers park mom  |  September 28, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    My daughter is a junior at ChiArts and loves it but it is not for everyone. You have to really love your conservatory (which she does). You have to accept the fact that there are really no electives in your curriculum. You have to be willing to go to school for nine hours a day, every day.

    The students come from varying backgrounds. Some are from academic centers; some from privates; some from neighborhood schools. Some of her friends turned down SEHS to go to ChiArts. ChiArts has an excellent ‘back-stage pass’ program as opposed to a traditional open house. I would attend one of those and see what you think.

    If you are interested in the arts also take a look at Senn Arts and LP fine arts.

  • 121. stories to tell  |  September 28, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    thank you! I’m thinking commuting time to further away schools would add up to a nine hour day as well, would love for him to spend time every day doing what he loves 😉

  • 122. HS_newbie  |  September 28, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Yes, commuting time does add up :((
    This is why we are not even considering Northside – it will be more than an hour each way for us.

  • 123. HS Mom  |  September 28, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    @111 – “The problem with the ACT is it is easy to significantly improve scores with test prep.”

    This statement suggests that you can buy an ACT score. There are widely different stories that would suggest otherwise. After spending thousands, some go up some stay the same and some go down. Kids have walked in cold and gotten scores in the 30’s. Let’s face it, a kid who scores a 35 must have some smarts. I agree, this is a test that needs to be studied for, I think it helps….but give the kid some credit. The thing about the ACT is that you can take it multiple times. Many kids start early. You have a decent score under your belt, takes the pressure off and there is always another shot….and if you buckle down and study there’s a chance at bringing up a score.The HS ACT score is not necessarily the students highest score so it’s not a cherry picked number.

    It would seem to me that entrance test, explore and ACT tests are all good indicators of where the school programming has taken the student. Like the ACT, entrance exams are just something that needs to be studied for. The significance of “test prep” is way over rated….there are many ways to study.

  • 124. lk  |  September 28, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    HI ,

    Many things to respond to but getting late.

    If you have a chance check out Chicago Academy of the Arts. Yes, it is a private school but they do have good scholarships based on need and talent. My daughter just graduated from there. They are very known at the best Art/ performances schools in the US. It is not a joke and the colleges want these kids. They are very hard workers …..and talking about travel several kids came from Indiana and Wisconsin daily. 60% of the school come from the western suburbs so your talking 1.5-2.5 hours each way daily! It is worth it. I could not have been more pleased with the academics either. They work these kids hard both professionally and academically.

    As far as traveling to Northside, I have my junior there now. I would travel further for a chance to go to this school. They treat it like a college and kids are motivated and very ready for college. We went to Northwestern for a high school day to see the college and they teach with a very similar style. All the colleges know about NSCP and I am taking out of state also. They have so many opportunities for the kids. All the kids seem very nice. For both schools kids do study or read on the train if it is a long ride. My son gets most of his homework done at school since the periods are 100 minutes. Trust me, he is on his ps4 for a couple of hours each day. I think it is what you make of it. The lunch periods are very long so he eats quick like most 16 year olds and then does homework so he can have his nights free. Once in awhile he is up late, just like any other school. The teachers are some of the most intelligent people I have met including my professors in medical school. If you have a chance to have your kids go there, it will be worth it in the end.

    Grades in college and the drop off from high school grades:

    This is normal and good colleges expect it so don’t read into these psedofacts. Illinois Wesleyan just told us parents that your 3.7 kid will be more like a 3.1 at the end of the year so don’t freak out. University of California-Berkley, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Northwestern, Georgia Tech etc etc all told us that if your kid gets a “b” with some “c’s” , the first year that this is normal. They are challenging your kids. It is not about the grades in college but what the kids learn. How they shape your kids minds. The “A” students are getting back their first drafts of papers with a “C” on them. This is normal. They need to get these kids up to their college standards, not their high school standards.

  • 125. lk  |  September 28, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    One more thing…..prepping for Sat or ACT.

    Yes, there are online sites, tests, books in the library for free. Kinda silly not to. Would you honestly take a major test in high school without studying, like a final?????

    Some of the best kids grade wise prep. Sometimes it is just to relax them for the test and to learn “tricks” about taking the tests.

    We have our kids prep their weakness and take the test on their strengths if there is time or just for a short period of time for a review.

  • 126. HS_newbie  |  September 28, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    I know that Northside is a good school, nobody saying that it is not. The question with commuting time is weather or not it is so much better than WY, which is a 15 min drive from us, or Jones, which is literally across the street. Plus I have another kid at WY academic center, so I can’t drive them to different schools, the oldest will have to use public transportation.

  • 127. cpsobsessed  |  September 29, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Re ChiArts, I noticed they have a limit of 10 unexcused absences in 7th grade. I tend to be lax about writing notes for absences since they don’t really matter, so for this year I need to be diligent about that.

    Does anyone know of other schools that have any kind of attendance requirement?

  • 128. 60660  |  September 29, 2015 at 7:32 am

    the 10 unexcused absences is CPS wide policy?
    you will get calls and letters asking for explanations if you get to 10 at any cps school. (found this out when my youngest was in prek 3).

  • 129. stories to tell  |  September 29, 2015 at 9:33 am

    regarding test prep, if there’s a way to do it, then go for it, as an adult I took CLEP tests to earn a college semester’s worth of math and science, it helped immensely to review broad and shallow information with a couple of Princeton Review books, also it helped me feel calmer having a practice session beforehand, don’t know if there is something similar in book form for the 7th graders/highschoolers, We couldn’t find anything for the NWEA-MAP test our son took in 7th grade, so we paid for lessons with a test prep company, he felt it helped since some of the material was not covered in school, another 7th grader in another school had a substitute for most of the year and did not learn the math on the MAP test

  • 130. lk  |  September 29, 2015 at 9:52 am

    126 etc.

    They are all good schools. I love Dr Powers and think he is great. I live in Lakeview (think roscoe/southport area) and it seems to be the it school.

    My kids take the “el” to a bus and go to school on days I am not driving them. It takes like 35/40 minutes. It also makes them so much more responsible and confident. There are also social reasons for them to take them also.

    Acacemic centers are a whole another ball game. Both Lane and Whitney are outstanding.

    I think if you take the top 20% from any of these schools, you will find that they are all about the same.

    It is also the “fit” of the child to the school.

    Both with my daughter and son, once they walked into and saw the perspective schools they knew right away. My son was the only one from his school and gave up playing football to go to NS.

    They both made great choices with our help, of course.

  • 131. HS_newbie  |  September 29, 2015 at 10:06 am

    @129 – MAP and test-prep.
    This test is used in Chicago for couple years now, so spring of 7th grade should not be the first time any child is taking it.
    It looks like your kid was in the first wave, so you had no point of reference for him. For kids that are in 2-6th grade now it is not so – they took this test before, they know what to expect, their parents know were they stand and weather they need prep or not.

    We did not do any prep, but that was because I already KNEW that my kids hit 99% every time they took the test. The all important 5th grade (for AC) and 7th (for SEHS) spring testing was not the first time around for them.

  • 132. Northwestsidemom  |  September 29, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I posted this earlier….Anyone know much about Disney II High School? I know the elementary school is good…but this one is new…just wondering if anyone has experience or thoughts

  • 133. cpsobsessed  |  September 29, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I have never heard from anyone with kids at Disney II HS. I am a big fan of the principal, but it’s inconveniently located from my home. However I DO see 9am-4am times, which I like!
    It is a Level 1 school but not enough data to report scores yet.

  • 134. Newcomer  |  September 29, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    Predictive validity is an interesting topic! I would be interested to know if there is any correlation between entrance test scores and ultimate satisfaction with the student’s SEHS experience. Do the kids with the highest scores feel satisfied with the school because presumably they got their first choice and the subjects and extracurriculars and vibe dovetailed with their aspirations? Or less satisfied because it is too easy for them, being at the proverbial top of the heap? Do the kids with lowest scores feel satisfied or stressed out from challenging work? Do the kids with the midrange scores feel the happiest? That would be an interesting study.

  • 135. CLB  |  September 29, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    @127 128 Actually, you’ll get a nasty boilerplate letter once your child has 5 unexcused absences. But under standing CPS policy:

    Students may not be removed from enrollment solely because of excessive unexcused absences, i.e., truancy, (for example, 20 consecutive unexcused absences).

    See http://policy.cps.edu/download.aspx?ID=251

  • 136. Chicago School GPS  |  September 30, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    CPSOAE release their 2016-2016 High School Guide. Only available in electronic form this year due to budget cuts.


  • 137. Chicago School GPS  |  September 30, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    Sorry, typed too fast: “released their 2016-2017 High School Guide”. The online application portal will open at 9am on 10/1/15. http://www.apply.cps.edu

  • 138. Chicago School GPS  |  September 30, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    Thanks to the other thread, we know that the revised 2016-2017 Tier map has been released. http://www.cpsoae.org/Tier%20Map_2016-2017.pdf

  • 139. HS_newbie  |  September 30, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Does anybody have a link to the last year tier map?

  • 140. HS_newbie  |  September 30, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    never mind, found it:


  • 141. Chicago School GPS  |  October 1, 2015 at 9:24 am

    CPS Families who have their PIN can schedule testing & apply now! https://apply.cps.edu/
    Non-CPS Families will need to wait until they either receive their PIN (for October MAP testers) or they can only do paper applications.
    Deadline is Dec. 11 so for those applying online, schedule your tests/info sessions, etc and ALSO remember to apply by then. Good luck!

    STEP 1
    Apply Online

    For first-time access to the online application site, you will need a Personal Identification Number (PIN), which is used in place of your signature.

    Non-CPS students applying to grades 5-8, click here for instructions.

    PreK-8th grade applicants:

    If you are applying for a student entering grades PreK through eight in the 2016-2017 school year, your first step is to submit a request for a PIN by clicking “Apply Online” above. (The PIN request deadline is November 30, 2015.) The PIN will be mailed to your home, and you will use it to access the application site and submit your applications. (Non-CPS students applying to Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools for grades 5-8, please click the link for “Non-CPS students” above.)

    9th grade applicants:

    If you are applying for a student entering the 9th grade in the 2016-2017 school year, your child’s PIN is contained in his/her Eligibility/PIN Letter. Eligibility/PIN Letters were distributed to CPS, charter, and contract school students in September; if your child did not receive this letter, contact his/her school. (Non-CPS students applying to Selective Enrollment High Schools for grade 9, please click the link for “Non-CPS students” above.) To enter your PIN, click “Apply Online.”

  • 142. 60660  |  October 1, 2015 at 9:48 am

    I think the process is the same for everyone? I had to go through step 1 and apply for the PIN even though we are currently at CPS

  • 143. HS_newbie  |  October 1, 2015 at 9:51 am

    I just registered a CPS student for November 14 Entrance Exam. The only PIN needed was the one that was in the paper Eligibility Letter from CPS, that was a paper letter received through the current school couple weeks ago.

  • 144. 60660  |  October 1, 2015 at 10:03 am

    ah I see my reading skills have failed me again. good thing it’s not me who is taking all these tests

  • 145. cpsobsessed  |  October 2, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    I just happened upon this guide to private high schools from last year, FYI.


  • 146. K  |  October 4, 2015 at 8:48 am

    My child is in 5th grade. Should I attend the academic center open house this year or next year?

  • 147. cpsobsessed  |  October 5, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Von Steuben Tour: Sat 11/7
    Scholars 8am
    Magnet program 10am and 11am
    5039 N Kimball
    (note, school has 7:30am start time. ouch)


  • 148. cpsobsessed  |  October 5, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Senn prospective parent night (open to neighborhood, others must register)


    Senn tour/shadow days


  • 149. cpsobsessed  |  October 5, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Amundsen Open House / IB program information:
    Sat Nov 7 10am – 1pm
    IB program info 10am – 11am


  • 150. cpsobsessed  |  October 5, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Lake View High School Open House

    9:00 AM until 12:00 PM

    Saturday, October 24, 2015

    Lake View High School 4015 N. Ashland Ave.


  • 151. cpsobsessed  |  October 5, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Taft Open House:
    Sat Nov 7 10am – 2pm
    (Can’t find any other details about it on their web site yet)


  • 152. the gardener  |  October 5, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    @cpsobesssed…Do you think its better for a student to test for SEHS early(November) vs. later (December/January)? What would the pro’s and cons be?

  • 153. HS_newbie  |  October 5, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    @Gardener –

    November – you know the results before you apply. Which means that you can have a pretty good idea about your chances at different schools and list them accordingly.

    January – if the child is studying for the test, will probably be a bit higher with more prep.

  • 154. edgewatermom  |  October 5, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    I think that taking it in November and knowing your results may lessen the anxiety at the end of February (unless you are close to a cut-off score), but I don’t think that knowing the score would really change the order that you rank the schools. If Northside is your top choice, you can still put it 1st even if you know that your score is unlikely to get you in. If you really want Lane, you should put it 1st no matter what your score is.

  • 155. lk  |  October 5, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Take most test’s according to what your child needs. YOU know them best with the help of their teachers. My son is in high school now so don’t know the dates but if they are prepping then the extra time, might help them. We did prep with about 5 sessions and they used something like the Catholic high school entrance exam. A “very” large book for like $5.00 on Amazon. Extremely hard exams but focus on your child’s weakness. It is an older book and several for like $1.00. He only did some pages out of this very large book. We just tore out a sample of certain sections. There might be another book that is more consistent to the current exam. But this book was so hard by the time he took the exam, he found it easy.

    I reviewed some old emails and we had him prep(basically review some things and work on his weakness’s) for an hour a week. Trust me, that is all he did. The only advantage with the tutor was that they pointed out very basic things that he really did not know about certain grammar rules. Any high school kid or college kid would love to be paid something to help your kids.

    We are now getting ready for psat’s so it never ends.

  • 156. lk  |  October 5, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Open Houses:

    So been through this twice.

    DO NOT let the child guide, influence your decision on the school you are visiting. Trust me, this will sound rude and I apologize in advance.

    If you get the perky, cute, smart kid…you will tend to like that school.

    If you get the dull, not excited, barely can speak kid….you will tend to not like that school.

    We visited some schools twice in 3 years (two different kids) and I will tell you the same schools did tend to feel different. One year school “X” felt great and the next year the same school felt less enchanting. The difference you ask???? The kid taking us around.

    Also don’t let the chaos get you down. Bring plenty of snacks for your kids and yourself. Someone said to visit later in the day, I kinda liked to get there earlier and see all the kids inline( your kids might know more people this way). Also the teachers seem fresher but be warned…….3,000 of your closest friends gets daunting.

    What I liked about the madness, was some schools besides the craziness in the hallway’s (be patient) were very organized in the room sessions. Some were not…..Some teachers had a burning passion to teach…..some did not……

    We also pulled some kids out of their comfort zone (not the kids leading you around) and asked questions. I think these kids gave us the most honest answers but of course they are there for a reason.

    I know this will sound strange but some schools just feel right. This will MOST likely not be the school your kid wants to go to. All his friends want to go to school “X” but your gut (and your kids) tells you apply to school “Z”.

    Try to talk to the principal. It is very hard since it is crazy but you will be surprised that parents don’t do this. The principals just stand there. Trust me, do it!! Just ask about their approach to learning and how they are handling the CPS shortage. You might be surprised on what you learn.

    Talk to your kids counselors and or learning specialist/teachers prior to going to get a feel where they belong.

    Trust your kids opinion, if they actually have one.

    Good Luck.

  • 157. HS_newbie  |  October 6, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Credit for HS courses taken during MS.

    Does anybody have any experience with getting credit for math classes taken before HS? I am talking specifically about credit, not just placement.

  • 158. WRP Mom  |  October 6, 2015 at 6:13 am

    @157, my understanding is HS credit for middle school grades is only given when the class is taught by HS teachers, as is the case in Academic Centers such as Whitney Young, Lane, etc.

  • 159. HS_newbie  |  October 6, 2015 at 7:24 am

    @158 In our case these classes are taught by HS teachers, but not at an AC.

  • 160. Math credit  |  October 6, 2015 at 7:26 am

    If algebra is taken at an elementary school or at the academic centers the teacher must be endorsed and the child must also pass the algebra exit exam. This is a big exam given at the end of the school year. My understanding is the child may pass the class but if they don’t pass the algebra exit exam then the child won’t receive credit!

  • 161. 60660  |  October 6, 2015 at 7:40 am

    I think the expectation & what’s typical is that kids will continue to take math every year so a kid who takes 8th grade geometry is set up to take 2 years of AP math (a couple of years of college credit) before they leave HS

  • 162. HS_newbie  |  October 6, 2015 at 8:27 am

    @160, 161 –
    If Algebra I is taken in the 8th grade it does not really matter if the student gets the credit or just the placement – Geometry, Alg. II, Pre-cacl, and Calc are enough to get 4 math credits.

    In our case pre-calc is taken in 8th grade. I don’t think any of the schools have three math classes after AP Calc. All of them have AP statistics, plus some have one more class of advanced math, but that is not enough to graduate.

  • 163. @162  |  October 6, 2015 at 9:05 am

    My child is in an AC taking algebra 1 in 8th grade. If he doesn’t pass the algebra exit exam at the end of 8th grade then he will repeat algebra 1 as a freshman. If he doesn’t earn a C or better on both semester grades then he can’t even sit for the algebra exit exam. I don’t understand what you mean by placement??? Elementary school students either in a traditional grammar school or AC will not get credit or placement out of algebra until either they pass the algebra exit exam. If they end up taking it again freshman year then as long as they pass the class D or better they get credit with no need for an algebra exit exam. I am not sure I understand your placement vs credit comment.

  • 164. HS_newbie  |  October 6, 2015 at 9:50 am

    By “placement” I mean satisfying prerequisite requirements. Say, in order to take pre-calc one usually needs to take Algebra II first and get a grade of C or better on it. There is no standard “Algebra II exit exam”, so most of SEHSs will give incoming freshman who claim to know the material a placement test that might place them out of Algebra II and into pre-calc. This helps not to repeat the material, but does not give any HS credit.

    At Whitney Young AC this works like this – everybody take math placement test in April of their 6th grade. Based on the results some kids are placed in the pre-algebra class and some in HS Algebra I. Some of those that were placed in Algebra I ask to take another placement test. If they pass it, they are placed in Geometry for their 7th grade. It is probably possible to test out of Geometry as well, but I don’t think anybody did it this year. All of this is done for placement purposes only, no HS credit is given. But no HS credit is needed either, because if one starts from Geometry he will get his 4 credits no matter what.

    What I am asking is weather or not there are schools that will let to transfer credit for Algebra II and pre-calc from 7th and 8th grade if they were taken not at an AC, but still were taught by HS teachers. If there are any parents of current HSers, they might know kids that started 9th grade with AP calc. I would guess that these kids did get credit for prior classes, otherwise I don’t see how they are going to graduate.

  • 165. mom2  |  October 6, 2015 at 9:57 am

    @156 – re tour guides, I totally agree with you. We had the exact same situation. One year we had a great tour guide that was getting great grades, loved school, loved learning, involved in all sorts of clubs and sports. Second year, same school, we had a guide that said they didn’t really need to do their homework and said school was “okay.”

    In fact, we also had this situation when we toured elementary schools and I learned at that time not to let that one kid affect your decision. During that tour, the child that gave the tours didn’t even use proper grammar and I decided the school must be horrible.

    One child doesn’t make up an entire school or school experience. I agree.

    I would highly recommend to the various schools to pick your student guides more carefully, however. If they had just paid a little more attention to their tour guide selections, they wouldn’t have let a few of our past guides do tours. Not all parents or kids are open minded.

  • 166. 60660  |  October 6, 2015 at 10:02 am

    they could take AP Calculus (& some kids take ab one year and bc the next) mv calculus, AP stats, AP Computer science and have 4 years of HS credit. And then there’s independent study. The kids won’t somehow run out of math to do.

  • 167. HS_newbie  |  October 6, 2015 at 10:19 am

    @60660 AP Computer science counts as a math class?

    >And then there’s independent study.
    Is it available at any school? I checked websites and WY does have it, Payton and Jones don’t. Or at least I don’t see them listed. It would be the easiest way to go – just sign up for an online class and take during an independent study period, but I am not sure that any school will allow this.

  • 168. 60660  |  October 6, 2015 at 10:56 am

    maybe just move to Evanston

  • 169. 60660  |  October 6, 2015 at 11:12 am

    I’m curious where your student is that she got to trig by 8th grade? Also a student only needs 6 semesters of Math to graduate HS. Assuming your student’s teachers have HS endorsement that’s already taken care of with Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 and trig?
    If you are at a private school that might be harder to document?
    You are going to have to start calling schools to get answers to these questions

  • 170. HS_newbie  |  October 6, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Yes! This is what I am talking about. But would really prefer this to happen in the city – parents are not ready to give up the chance to walk to work :))

    Kids are at the Chicago Virtual Charter School. It is a form of homeschooling, but technically it is a public (charter) school and teachers do have credentials to teach HS. Kids do all the work at home, but for HS classes semester finals are taken at school.

  • 171. HSObsessed  |  October 6, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    For the Lincoln Park HS double honors program (which is honors classes freshman and sophomore year and then AP and IB classes junior and senior year) as well as the fine arts programs, you have submit an application directly to the school. Those applications for the coming year are now posted on the school’s website. For double honors, the student has to have an 80th percentile or above on 7th grade NWEAs, and a 3.0 GPA.


  • 172. HSObsessed  |  October 6, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Just want to put in a little PSA for the LPHS double honors program.

    Through this program, juniors and seniors have the choice of taking 23 different AP courses, which is the third-largest number of AP courses in CPS (after Young and Lane). (For comparison purposes: Von Steuben offered 18 AP courses last year, Jones 17, Taft 15, Senn 3, Ogden HS 0).

    Furthermore, something that is not available at any of the selective enrollment high schools is that at LPHS, juniors and seniors can choose from individual IB courses in various and interesting subjects such as Business & Management, Philosophy, and more. These are internationally-focused courses that culminate in an end-of-the-year test that can be used to apply for college credit. Currently there are about 6 or 7 individual IB courses open (I think I’m remembering that right from spring enrollment period) and I believe there are plans to expand.

  • 173. west rogers park mom  |  October 6, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Just another though on LP. If your kid doesn’t test well and are artsy have them audition for the drama or music programs. They are great programs that offer a class or classes in the the discipline every year and you are in the school with the ability to take the same classes as HH kids.

  • 174. WRP Mom  |  October 6, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    HS_Newbie, Have you checked out Lane Tech? They offer courses called NetMath 1, 2 and 3, which appear to be online courses where college credit is earned from UiUC.I have no personal experience with these classes, (my kid is not very mathy) I just saw them in the course catalog..

  • 175. cpsobsessed  |  October 7, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Thanks @HSObsessed for the info about Lincoln Park. I totally spaced on that option, but the criteria sounds perfect for my kid. Is it walkable from the Brown Line?

    I never knew where it was until I just googled it. Funny how before we had kids we probably passed these schools all the time and never noticed they existed.

  • 176. stories to tell  |  October 7, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    would someone explain the advantage of taking SE test in November, getting score, & ranking schools, what does “ranking schools” mean and how does that help, sorry if dumb question

  • 177. Newcomer  |  October 7, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    When you apply in December, you rank the schools according to your child’s preference. If he takes the test in Nov, he will know his scores before ranking.

  • 178. HS_newbie  |  October 7, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    There are 11 SEHSs and only 6 spaces on the application. If you know test results and there is no way that this score will get the kid into Northside it will make sense not to put it on the application at all and put something else instead.
    “Ranking” refers to the order in which you put the schools on the application – first choice, second choice, etc. The catch is that you get only ONE offer and it is going to be for the school that was the top choice for you out ones that you can get into.

  • 179. 19th ward mom  |  October 7, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    @176 stories to tell

    So here is my experience.

    Once daughter #1, got her score in early Dec. and we knew based on her total score that she would absolutely get into her 1st choice SEHS HS. We didn’t waste time on any other applications (private, catholic, magnet, charter, etc.). On other school’s shadow days, etc. On taking the Catholic School exam or private school exam. Also had auditions for art’s schools that we cancelled. After a year and a half of stress, it was nice to finally take our feet off the gas peddle and just be able to enjoy the rest of her 8th grade year.

    For daughter #2, even with getting an early test score, we still wouldn’t know if she would get into the schools of our choice for SEHS, we continued exploring all options until we got the final letter from CPS in late Feb.

    In regards to ranking, the order that you rank schools should be the order of your/child’s preference for those schools. Once upon a time, ranking mattered in regards to the fact that even if you had enough points for school #2 on your list, they would bypass you because you didn’t rank them as #1. That is no longer the case.

    So regardless of having the score, or not. Rank the schools in your/child’s preferred order.

    The only situation where doing it that way will not work, is if by chance you don’t have enough points for the schools you rank in order 1 – 6 (i believe 6 is the max number you can rank). And you would actually want to attend school #7 in your ranking, and would have enough points to do so. Then if you knew in advance that you didn’t have enough points for 1 – 6, and you would want to be considered for #7.

    Example of this would be is that you rank in this order: Payton, Jones, WY, Lane, Northside, and Lindblom. But you actually had enough points for Brooks but since you didn’t rank it, you will not be selected. So in this case, being more realistic with your choices based on having the total test scores, makes sense versus just going with your preferred schools.

    Also, it has been said that if you plan on applying for Principal’s Discretion for a school. That they like seeing that you ranked their school as your first choice.

  • 180. lk  |  October 7, 2015 at 4:49 pm


    Great it was not just us feeling that way. We are actually going through the exact same thing looking at colleges now. This is just good training ground I guess. When I tell my patients in the suburbs what “our” kids go through, they just think we are all crazy….):

    Some people were asking about entry math etc. Look at what the schools offers if this is a big concern for your kids. Be careful what you wish for though. Some of the kids that go to the Lane/Whitney 7/8 grade programs are taking classes with upperclassmen especially in Math. I know some kids that liked it in their freshman year but really want to be with their peers in their sophomore years.

    Also at least at NS if you come in at Geometry (math is very verbal and written not straight math, but so many advantages when you do ACT and SAT and college), you will end with multivarible Calc. /Stats. You also have a chance to take pre-calc in a 5 week summer course or online. My son found the 5 week Pre-calc very slow paced. If you come in at Trig, you have to take it as a full year course, from what I am understanding.

  • 181. lk  |  October 7, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    About AP, IB ,ACT,SAT etc being talked about here:

    I will try to make this quick since Cubs game in a few hours…(Go Cubs).

    Just went to college talks from Tufts(great online stuff that applies to any school), Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Berkley, U of I, Princeton, Dartmouth etc etc. My daughter looked at very different schools and basically all the same in what they wanted.

    ACT and GRADES are not all they use. Some colleges do not even give credit for AP and IB classes. All scores and grades are relative to your schools “profile” that can be found online or school can give it to you.

    In the burbs it seems every kid is in an AP class since birth and some schools don’t have many AP classes. This is why the local representatives from the colleges have to use the school’s profile to compare you to your peers, not other schools per se.

    Every school we have been to or seen their talk etc STRESS, being active in something, volunteering, taking the most challenging classes for you, being more well rounded. BEING INTERESTING!!

    So they all gave examples of kids getting into Tufts with a 3.5 grade point and like 28 ACT and the 4.0/35 ACT kids not getting in. We know of one such child.

    Colleges that take AP classes are also limiting what they will take.

    Some schools are “honor” level schools, whatever that really means and some aren’t but have higher level of kids getting into somewhat better colleges.

    Let the high school experience be challenging but fun and rewarding.

  • 182. cpsobsessed  |  October 7, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    @19th ward mom – thanks for explaining all that – very helpful!

  • 183. Newcomer  |  October 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    I definitely recommend taking the early test. We knew our child’s score but got our official acceptance letter VERY late (weird confluence of postal workers taking sick leave.) The only way we knew he got his first choice was by watching this blog until the cutoff scores were revealed. Had we NOT known his score, we would have been going nuts. Correct about principal’s discretion- nobody really knows for sure whether they factor in the ranking, but there is enough evidence that they might, so put your first choice first if your scores are too low but you think you have a shot at PD.

  • 184. Erica  |  October 7, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    Ranking generally is not considered in Principal Discretion decisions. Also, understanding the cutoff scores is key for understanding how to rank your schools strategically. Check out my blog selectiveenrollmentcps.com/blog for more information.

  • 185. Patricia  |  October 8, 2015 at 9:07 am

    @184 My understanding is that ranking does matter in principal discretion. This is from several APs who sifted through PD applications at three different schools that are highly sought after by posters on this blog. In addition, being very close to the cut off score is good too.

  • 186. HSObsessed  |  October 8, 2015 at 9:20 am

    @175 cpso – Yes, LPHS is less than 10 minutes’ walk from the Armitage brown line stop, and tons of kids get to school via that line, as well as the buses on Halsted and Armitage (as well as plenty who walk and bike directly). Very safe neighborhood day and night, and the school is on a park-like campus, with a separate freshman building that helps kids transition into the high school experience. Definitely check it out.

  • 187. @HSObsessed  |  October 8, 2015 at 9:50 am

    This is the first that I’ve heard that a student could take an individual IB course. And then even apply that for college credit. I thought that IB was only a whole program. How does an IB course compare to an AP course?

  • 188. lk  |  October 8, 2015 at 10:04 am


    It is if the college recognizes the IB itself. Some colleges just look at it as a different learning approach and to some colleges this does not mean someone will get in easier to it. The idea is that IB is more rigorous. Some IB programs just plainly are not.


    Some colleges recognize the IB exam and if passed I guess can give credits for some classes.

    These are usually spelled out on the college website. IE: Some college might recognize taking IB Math at a certain level and some might not. Same with AP classes.

    I hope this is more clear and thanks since I did not mean to be confusing.

  • 189. HS_newbie  |  October 8, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Question about Lincoln Park double honors program.

    The school’s website says that they have their own applications and entrance exams, they are not part of the general CPS SEHS process. Applications are due December 11, i.e. the same time as SEHSs, but when do they have their exams? And how does one sign up for it?

    I guess this is one of the reasons to take SEHS exam early – there is a chance that LP entrance exam will not be needed after that 🙂

  • 190. HSObsessed  |  October 8, 2015 at 10:26 am

    @187 – Yes, under the new wall-to-wall IB program, students in the double honors/AP program can take individual IB courses. As to the difference, the link provided @188 seems to spell it out: AP and IB courses are similar in that they’re both college-level and overseen by a national/international organization, and they culminate in an exam. The student can then ask a college to give them credit for that course, and a college may or may not give credit — same as they may or may not take credits from community college courses, summer courses taken by high schoolers at universities, etc. The IB classes’ contents are globally-focused.

    @188 – To me, the primary benefits of a student taking AP or IB classes are: 1/ expose student to college-level work, 2/ send a signal to colleges that the student is willing to take on challenging classes and, if the students gets a good grade, 3/ sends a signal that the student can do well in college courses. If the college gives credit for the course, that’s fine, but really just icing on the cake. It isn’t the goal, IMHO.

  • 191. HSObsessed  |  October 8, 2015 at 10:35 am

    @189 – Best news ever: No entrance exam for LPHS. Second best news: No tier system in place. Top applicants are accepted. Even better: Nice diversity of race/socioeconomics/geographics is achieved anyway.

    Here’s something to think about: there are actually very, very few spots available to a student applying to SEHS, even the bigger ones, due to the tier system, and especially when combined with other programs at the high schools. For example, Jones has 450 freshman spots, but once you take into account the CTE program and tier system, a given applicant is only looking at around 175 open spots. Similar with Whitney Young and its AC. At LPHS, there are about 375 open spots for kids from out of boundary.

  • 192. 19th ward mom  |  October 8, 2015 at 10:35 am

    @176 stories to tell

    Also just thought about the fact that if you are new to the process, you might not have all the information on what the “score” is and how the rankings come into play.

    Based on grades, Map score, and Selective Enrollment score. You get yours kid’s total score based on this rubric.


    Based on that score, kids are ranked in order from top score (900) to bottom scores . They then fill the seats in the schools starting with the top kid and their school rankings, until all seats at all of the SEHS schools are filled.

    Previous years, the cut-off scores have been as followed. Making special note that last year was the first year they used MAP as opposed to NWEA (which resulted in a big drop in the needed scores across a lot of schools, but not all). But if you look at historical scores, you tend to get idea of how much scores change from year to year.

    This year, I would expect Payton’s cut-off scores to drop but not by a lot. This will be the first year, they are admitting a larger freshman class with the completion of the addition.

    The larger class at Payton, might result in a slight drop as well at Jones, Young, Lane, and Northside. If I was betting, I would say that they remain the same as last year. That the normal increase in scores from year to year, is countered by the additional seats at Payton. But last year, MAP was new, and not all were prepared for this shift, now schools/parents/students have had time to push for higher scores on the MAP.

    2015-2016 cut-off scores (1st year of MAP):


    2014-2015 (pay attention only to the cut-off score titled, “2014 Selections -Minimum Score” which was ISAT based, the other scores was CPS’ projection of what the scores would have been under MAP)


    2014-2013 (ISAT based)


    Feel free to ask any questions. The crowd here is very knowledgeable and taught me tons including a heads up that MAP was going to be the test that mattered last year way before even most schools knew. After getting through this process last year, I am still “obsessed”. though my youngest, has a few years before we are up to bat again.

  • 193. HSObsessed  |  October 8, 2015 at 10:39 am

    @189 – I re-read the application to see why you thought there was an entrance exam. Maybe it’s because of the reference to placement exams? That’s just a test they give to incoming freshmen to place them in the correct math class.

  • 194. HS_newbie  |  October 8, 2015 at 10:51 am

    @ HSObsessed
    Great! Thank you! I guess I am reading too much staff at the same time and got confused.

    Now no matter what happens with SEHS entrance exams my kid is guaranteed place in at least one good HS :)) With 99%/99% and all “A”s she does not have to worry. Good!

    Jones is across the street from us, but I don’t like the school too much. Looked at their available math classes and was not impressed at all.

  • 195. mom2  |  October 8, 2015 at 10:59 am

    HSObsessed – LPHS sounds good but I’m wondering about something I heard. I heard they are so focused on their IB kids, that the double honors and fine arts kids are sort of left on their own and the neighborhood kids have even less attention. I know the IB program is a well run machine, but I haven’t heard great things about the rest of the school in terms of organization. Is that true or just a rumor?

  • 196. CPSer  |  October 8, 2015 at 11:03 am

    @159 – Math Credit
    I am curious about the student who is taking AP Calc as a freshman. I haven’t seen this recently. Is he at a CPS? As a math teacher, I wonder what the school plans for the last three years. Independent study is great, but how do you know the caliber of instruction? And would you mind sharing the school he is attending?

  • 197. HS_newbie  |  October 8, 2015 at 11:26 am

    It is a “she”, not a “he”. I know, math = boys, but not always :))

    Chicago Virtual Charter School, which is technically a CPS school.
    They don’t have to plan anything for HS because as long as she stays there they will give her credit for HS level classes she already took. So within the school she will be starting HS with 3 math credits – Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calc. Transferring these credits to a different school, that’s another story.

    I wouldn’t worry about level of independent study classes – few online places have some advanced math that will fit well as long as school allows to use them in place of the school math.
    I don’t have it on hand right now, but somewhere there was a very reasonable “Discrete math” class, probably on coursera, Also, there is “Group theory” at the Art of Problem Solving. Another good topic is graphs. Linear Algebra and Diff. Equations are available almost everywhere where advanced math is taught, but I am not sure she really needs to get into these before college.
    I am a math major with advanced degree, I can help my daughter with any math she can possibly encounter while at school, so I don’t worry much about schools’ level of instruction in this subject :))

  • 198. MarketingMom  |  October 8, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    It is barely October and we are already mentally exhausted with all of the test prep, open houses, applications and pressure. Why does this process have to be so stressful?

  • 199. cpsobsessed  |  October 8, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Lincoln Park High School Open House:



    Simultaneous presentations on the 3 Magnet Programs at 2:45, 3:30, 4:15
    Questions about application and admission may be directed to
    Phyllis Wright in the LPHS Recruitment and Admissions Office at 773-534-8085

  • 200. HSObsessed  |  October 9, 2015 at 7:38 am

    @194 – First I’ll say it’s important to understand that there are no silos of students at LPHS. There are a few ways to “get in” to LPHS: live within the boundaries; apply for one of the fine arts programs; apply to the double honors/AP/wall-to-wall IB program; apply to the IB Diploma program.

    However, students can and do fall into or apply to more than one program, and anyway, once they are “in”, there’s no huge walls separating the kids, and they don’t have to wear sweatshirts that state which programs they’re in, LOL. Actually, that’s the beauty: the programs are overlapping and fluid to an extent. For example, an in-boundary student might take double honors/AP classes and also be in one of the fine arts programs. Students can enroll in classes at the level that suits them: Maybe an honors class in English but regular-level in math, if that’s not their strength.

    The only program that is somewhat rigid is the IB Diploma track, which has stringent rules on which classes must be taken every year, along with the need to take mysterious courses like Theory of Knowledge and an extensive individual research project.

    News flash: The vast majority of students who begin the LPHS IB Diploma program do not achieve the IB diploma, and are not on track to do so by senior year. Starting sophomore year and each year after that, the pool of Diploma IB students shrinks as fewer kids choose to sign up for all the required IB classes. But they stay at LPHS and just take double honors, individual IB and AP courses, just like all the double honors students. If anyone goes to the LP open house this year and pushes the presenters for updated numbers (they’re always very reluctant to share them), feel free to post them here, but the last I heard, only 10% of those who begin in the IB Diploma program are still on track by end of senior year. This is not to say that the IB program at LPHS isn’t “good”; kids just decide for a multitude of reasons not to continue. Conversely, freshmen who would like to, can apply to join the IB Diploma track starting sophomore year (I don’t think many apply, however).

    As to whether all the focus at LPHS is on “the IB students”, my kid is not in the IB Diploma program, so I’m blissfully unaware what kind of attention is lavished on them, LOL. However, given that there are only 450 IB Diploma students in the entire school of 2,200, I don’t feel that the other 80% of the school’s students are getting the short shrift. I’m not sure what the rumor was saying specifically about students being “left on their own”: Choice of classes? Quality of teachers? Academic help? College counseling? I haven’t noticed a lack in these areas. Again, related to the above, by the time senior year rolls around, there are only about 20 kids fully participating in the IB Diploma program, and 500+ seniors who are not in IB Diploma. I can’t imagine that those 20 kids get all the “attention” and the other 96% of seniors are ignored. Hope that helps.

  • 201. mom2  |  October 9, 2015 at 9:13 am

    @199 – yes that helps. Thanks so much.
    Quite a while ago, my oldest was accepted into the IB program but went elsewhere. However, while we were deciding, I tried calling the main number for LPHS to ask some questions and the phone either rang and rang or I left messages and no one called me back. I then got the number for the IB program specifically and someone answered right away, got me information, called back within 30 minutes. So, that is the only personal experience I have with a difference.

  • 202. NWG  |  October 10, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Math at Chicago Virtual Charter School is a joke. The title of a class and what is actually taught are two very different things.

    Proficient in Mathematics 27%

    That is on par with the overall CPS average. LOL!

  • 203. Dr JB  |  October 10, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    @199 “First I’ll say it’s important to understand that there are no silos of students at LPHS…”


    IB means no more to colleges than AP or Honors. In many cases, even less.

  • 204. HS_newbie  |  October 10, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    CVCS is a form of homeschooling, so every student has very different experience there. My kids never really studied math there, we used completely different curriculum, at CVCS they took only unit tests and finals.

    As for the proficiency levels… Again, what is the point to look at the school results if every student has his own teachers, namely his parents? The child in question got 290 on her NWEA MAP math test. From what I can tell, it is 99% for 11th grade, not just for 7th. I don’t think this is too bad of a result. Another one of my kids just started at WYAC, took their placement tests, was placed in Geometry for his 7th grade and is doing just fine. So I am pretty much sure that when I say my child knows material of this or that math class, he really does know it.

    The question was what CPS school allows kids to move at their own speed. This school does allow it. Will it work for everybody? Probably not. But it does not mean that it can’t be done.

  • 205. cpsobsessed  |  October 15, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Is anyone taking 7th graders to Young or Jones open house this weekend? I can’t decide if it’s worth the time commitment, especially since they are likely long shots.

  • 206. mom2  |  October 15, 2015 at 11:12 am

    It is a long day and you do get their hopes up if they love one place. I know Young does a great sales job on the kids. I was thinking it would be better to wait until you know the 7th grade grades and MAP scores. Then you could go in 8th grade if they don’t seem as long a shot as you are thinking now.

  • 207. west rogers park mom  |  October 15, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Does anyone know the format of the Jones open house? I was planning on taking my kid but we won’t be able get there until 1:00 pm or so.

    @cpsobsessed- I’m planning to take my 7th grader to a few this year and a few or none next year (depending on how the final numbers play out).

  • 208. Chicago School GPS  |  October 15, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    @207- Jones’ tour is one where they have rolling presentations so if you come later, you may have shorter lines but should still be seeing the same presentation and then the student led tours afterward.

    @CPSO- I recommend to everyone that they break up their tours over a few years, because trying to see a slew of schools in 8th grade is going to be too overwhelming for kid and parent alike. In 7th, have him see schools that maybe he is on the “bubble” for but if he does really like, it may be the fuel to help with self-motivation in the all important 7th grade year. I know it’s easier said than done, but if it can spark some inner push to buckle down, all the better. If not, then try to see a few magnet or non-test based schools in 7th as well.

  • 209. Northwestsidemom  |  October 15, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    I took my son to all the schools he was interested in in 7th Grade – it really motivated him and solidified his goals.

    He LOVED Payton, Liked Northside and, the biggest surprise of all – decided he did not think Whitney was a good fit for him. He thought Lane was way to big for him, even though I loved the Science elective choices.

    I have to say, though, it was a lot of work and very time consuming. I think waiting until 8th grade makes it really stressful and somewhat confusing for the kids, since each tour may be slightly different.

    This year, for 8th, we’ll go to Payton again. We went late last year, and even though we got the presentation and a tour, we were the last group and things were winding down.

    I suggested to him that he might give Whitney another shot as well – since I think his bad impression came from an overzealous teacher! Dr. Kenner’s presentation is “wowing”, but not all kids like the “we’re a school of champions” thing. I agree with posters here on the blog, that your tour is really dependent on the kids giving it. You can get a dud, and the school doesn’t look so great!

    The good thing is that we don’t feel like we have to go see every school this year. We’re just going to dig in at a few to give him that final bit of motivation to make it through to the test.

    Good luck everyone! We live in a crazy city!

  • 210. Shamrocks  |  October 15, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Open House tonight – St. Patrick High School 6 – 8 pm, 5900 W. Belmont Ave. If you live in the city, do your son a favor and take him there. They have many donors and give great scholarship money. Don’t need to be catholic. You get what you see…they don’t rely on CPS nonsense.

  • 211. 8th Grade mom  |  October 16, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    WY and LP open houses overlap Sunday. If anyone has any ideas on how to time visits to get the most information on each school – please share! Thanks!

  • 212. Newcomer  |  October 16, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Perhaps it would be helpful to get a sense of what makes each SEHS unique, rather than just navigating the very crowded Open House events. I will start: Northside College Prep has a celebrated Latin department and an award-winning orchestral program. All of the arts, from music to visual to drama, are highly developed at NCP. (I am a professional musician so I notice things like that). They have a sought-after computing department. They, like Jones, use Integrated Math, which my son LOVES, but is not everyone’s cup of tea. They have a swimming pool, but no football team. My son reports that “everyone is really nice, the students, professors, and the staff.” It doesn’t seem as cutthroat as people might imagine. They do block schedule, which works really for my son, but, again, some students might prefer more consistency. (ie classes every day vs twice a week). I don’t know if this is at all unique, but they have tons of college visits starting the first week of school, and kids and parents can talk to each rep. Anyone else want to give a sketch of their school???

  • 213. HS_newbie  |  October 16, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    RE: WY vs LP open house.
    When you fill in application for LP IB program, you have to register for a mandatory information session. We signed up for December 2, so don’t have to do two open houses in one day.

  • 214. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 17, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    203. Dr JB | October 10, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    If a student walks out of high school with an IB program diploma~it means A LOT to colleges. They look at it vastly different than just kids who took some ap/dual or ib classes. If they have that diploma that’s a BIG deal.

  • 215. Marketing Mom  |  October 17, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Today was the open house at Jones from 10-3. We arrived after 11 and there were literally hundreds of people in line before us and still coming. They were only taking a certain amount into the auditorium for the presentation. The line was out the door and onto the sidewalk. Needless to say, we did not get a chance to go in the auditorium. My son was very disappointed. This being the first SEHS open house, it was a huge lesson for us to come to the others much earlier than the times indicated and expect to wait in long lines.

  • 216. Erica Bauer  |  October 17, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    This is a helpful tip that all parents should know when going to open houses: ask real questions. Do simply say, “Tell me about the school.” Ask questions like how does the school help prepare for students for the read world? If my child is struggling, does the school know and help? What is the safety level here? How are disciplinary actions handled at this school? These are the questions that really need to be asked because it will make the staff really think.

  • 217. Tracey  |  October 18, 2015 at 9:11 am

    “If a student walks out of high school with an IB program diploma~it means A LOT to colleges.”

    False. It carries no more weight than AP or Honors. And any of those can carry less weight than a “regular” class at a higher performing school. In general, GPA is important but the school must be considered, the quality of the competition for the other kids plus SAT I, SAT II and ACT scores. So many grades are inflated now that colleges now prioritize standardized scores and definitely ignore the so called “weighted” GPAs.

    AP, IB, Honors are basically a self selecting group chosen by kids with higher performance to begin with. So of course they will have better high school GPAs than the general population. It’s not like those courses are turning low performing kids into high performing. And AP kids perform the same (or slightly better than IB).

    From CPE:
    “In its review of AP and IB, the National Research Council (2002) found no “systematic studies” that would allow conclusions on how IB students perform in upper-level college courses. One descriptive study that separated IB students from those on an AP track (defined as taking at least six honors courses and two AP courses) found that Chicago public high school graduates of both programs had higher GPAs, ACT scores and qualifications for admission to selective colleges and universities (Roderick, Nagaoka, Coca, and Moeller, 2009). Graduates of IB programs had an average GPA of 2.9 and typically scored a 21.8 on the ACT, compared with a 2.4 GPA and 17.6 ACT score for the system overall (AP students had a 3.0 GPA and 21.8 ACT score).”

  • 218. HS_newbie  |  October 18, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    @Tracey – an “IB student” and a “student with IB diploma” are not the same. In strong IB programs about quarter of kids that start as IB students finish with a full IB diploma, in less strong percentage is even smaller.

    Plus I can’t imagine a student that did complete a full IB diploma with ACT 21.8, it should be at least in the lower 30s. Looks like this average was calculated for all students that ever took at least one IB class, not for those that finished the program.

  • 219. cpsobsessed  |  October 18, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    @215 Marketing Mom: Thanks for the info. That is certainly disappointing. What were you able to see at the school aside from the auditorium presentation?

  • 220. karet  |  October 18, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    @218, the study cited specifically says that the ACT scores were for “Graduates of IB Programs” not students who had taken one class.

    There was a discussion about a WBEZ story on IB programs on this site a few years ago. As you can see, the ACT scores of different CPS schools are listed. The highest average ACT scores for IB students was at Lincoln Park, at 27.6. The next highest was Taft, at 24.


  • 221. CPSer  |  October 18, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I don’t remember seeing anything asking about IB on college apps. Are there IB programs in suburban schools?

  • 222. edgewatermom  |  October 18, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    @220 I really wish that we could get that breakdown on the IB schools every year. (I know that I probably sound like a broken record on this topic.)

    There is one more statistic that would be very interesting – the number of students who are still in the IB diploma track Senior year. Lincoln Park has a very impressive ACT score for it’s IB program, but I have also heard that a very small percentage of the kids are still in the program senior year. If they are only taking the ACT score of the few kids who stay in the program, that might explain why their scores are so much higher.

    Does anybody know how we could get this information from CPS? I really don’t understand why it is so difficult to get – especially if they want to promote the IB programs and have parents consider them as a viable option rather than feeling like it is SEHS or nothing.

  • 223. edgewatermom  |  October 18, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    @221 I don’t know about suburban Chicago schools, but there are definitely IB programs outside of Chicago. You can read more about the program at http://www.ibo.org/

  • 224. edgewatermom  |  October 18, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    @221 I found the page that lets you search for IB schools by region. There are 33 in IL that offer the Diploma program http://www.ibo.org/programmes/find-an-ib-school/?SearchFields.Region=&SearchFields.Country=US&SearchFields.State=IL&SearchFields.Keywords=&SearchFields.Language=&SearchFields.BoardingFacilities=&SearchFields.SchoolGender=&SearchFields.ProgrammeDP=true

  • 225. feeder schools  |  October 18, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    The most valuable part of the IB diploma is the experience gained through doing (supervised) independent research that results in a thesis. Such projects are usually in the broader social science fields – like what diplomats do – and not necessarily proof that a student can fare well in math and natural science subjects. ACT scores reflect more than reading and social studies.

  • 226. Marketing Mom  |  October 18, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    We took an unguided tour of the building and spoke to teachers and students along the way. We tried to make the most of it. We had a much better experience today at WY. We got there an hour before closing and walked right into the auditorium for the presentation by Dr. Kenner. We also had a student-led guided tour that went well past closing.

  • 227. HSObsessed  |  October 18, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    @222 — As I said @200, the last I heard, 10% of kids who begin the IB Diploma program at LPHS are still taking all the courses and completing the requirements to gain the diploma by end of senior year.

    As for what was said @214 about colleges thinking highly of an IB Diploma but not anything else, I highly doubt that, given that a kid doesn’t fulfill all the requirement and take all the subject exams until the end of senior year of high school. I guess if a kid wants to take a year off after high school to apply to colleges, then he/she can really talk up the actual diploma in an application, but most kids have finished that process by winter/spring of senior year.

  • 228. vb  |  October 19, 2015 at 10:24 am

    @220 The WBEZ says it’s the “ACT scores for current seniors seeking an IB Diploma. ” . Meaning everyone enrolled in the IB program.

    Remember that the ACT test is taken in 11th grade. The IB graduation tests are given at the end of 12th grade. These are not the statistics on the ACT scores of the students who earned an IB diploma.

    Given the rigor of the IB program, I would agree that common sense dictates that the likely ACT score for a student who earns the actual IB diploma would be in the 30’s.

  • 229. mom2  |  October 19, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Did anyone go to the LP open house? This is the second time I’ve gone and I’m always disappointed. I know the school is very good, but the open house is so disorganized. No detailed maps, no tours, most rooms locked and dark, etc.

  • 230. 8th Grade mom  |  October 19, 2015 at 11:17 am

    The LP open house was ridiculously disappointing. The performing arts department had a video presentation that most of the room could not see. My student asked to leave midway through the presentation.

  • 231. 60660  |  October 19, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Edgewatermom – the figure I have heard from Senn is that ~30 students graduate each year with the IB diploma out of a class about 300.
    Kids who don’t go all the way to completing the diploma can still earn college credit for IB courses completed or certificates earned.
    You could reach out to the IB coordinators at Senn for more info.

    Kids applying for colleges don’t have all their AP results either. The idea they would need to wait a year for a school to admit them based on IB scores is bizarre?

  • 232. HS_newbie  |  October 19, 2015 at 11:53 am

    No, kids that are working on IB diploma don’t have to wait a year to apply – when they apply in the fall of their senior year the fact that they are still diploma candidates is enough, as most kids drop out by that time.

  • 233. edgewatermom  |  October 19, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    @231 60660 300 is the total number of students in the senior class at Senn, right? Are you saying that 30 kids actually get their IB diploma? That seems pretty high, because it is very difficult to obtain. Or are you saying that 30 end up in the IB diploma track senior year? How many started in freshman year?

    We will be going to the info session this weekend and the parents night next week, so I will try to get more info and report back.

  • 234. karet  |  October 19, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    @228, On the contrary, I don’t think that “common sense dictates” that schools like Senn and Amundsen, who reported
    ACT scores around 20 for “current SENIORS seeking an IB Diploma” (not juniors, according to the article) are suddenly going to see a leap in ACT scores to the lower 30s. I would say that’s virtually impossible. We would need more data about the numbers of students who actually graduate with the diploma though.

    The ACT averages at Northside and Payton are right at 30. I doubt there is any program in the city with higher scores than that.

  • 235. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 19, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    234. karet | October 19, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    I think if you look at groups of students who test higher than 30 on Act. WY ackies test higher than 30, but results are averaged in withi the rest of the class for ACT scores. LPSH IB program tests much higher than the rest of their class on the ACT. I believe Currie HS does as well.

  • 236. HS_newbie  |  October 19, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    National numbers from 2011 data, see p. 30 :


    IB diploma candidate avg ACT is 29.
    National avg ACT is 21.
    Note that this is for diploma candidates, not for diploma holders. For actual diploma holders one would expect results to be a bit higher, so my estimate of lower 30s was right on.

  • 237. lk  |  October 19, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    To all the parents going to open houses. Kiss your kids and hug them and tell them you love them and do the same when the letter of acceptance comes also. Where ever your kids get into they did a great job and will need to be supported!

    Just went to another college talk yesterday, since this is all where it is ending up anyway. It was Washington University in St. Louis. My son and I (junior NS) have been to many. Have been to actual colleges and went through this with my daughter across the US with many large and small public and private schools……..

    All the IB/AP talk……..sorry….it really doesn’t matter in the long run(:….Yes you heard that right. I also know many kids that went to the IB LP school, many in the burbs etc etc. Some said they were not prepared for University of Illinois like engineering due to weak science and math programs and some were well prepared.

    IB also tend to give alot more homework.(this is coming from actually kids that went to LPIB)

    It “all” comes down to your kid not the school. IB is just a way of teaching.

    The colleges want kids that are challenging themselves at what ever level they can and taking the most challenging classes that “they” can “WITH” succeeding. If you are taking IB/AP classes and not success in them then it will be apparent to the colleges you are over extending yourself. But if you are getting all “A’s” without any AP’s etc then you are not challenging yourself either. But if you are getting like a 3.5 but you are working and doing other things and are interesting, you will look much better then someone that just has good grades. You also don’t need to be on 30 different clubs/teams etc. You just need to be interested in something or passionate about something that you can talk about and actually care about. Do something consistent all 4 years. Being inconsistent and joining and dropping clubs and activities is not what the colleges are looking for.

    The honor’s program at Lincoln Park is not the same as the Honors at Northside. The colleges look only at your school environment. So the kids from Lincoln Park IB will be compared to the kids in the IB program not the double honors or another school.

    All colleges have local reps that know each school. They can’t compare Northside to a school that is ranked 250th in the state…that would make no sense.

    So, an example that Tuft’s gave out a few weeks ago…..

    Who has a better chance of getting in:

    The kid that has a 3.8, ACT 30, does several after school things that are interesting like volunteering, working and interest in painting or

    The kid that has a 3.4, ACT of 26 and the same other stuff?

    Well, actually both can get in. What you don’t know is the second example school profile grade point avg is 3.1 and the avg school ACT is 20. So the second candidate is actually doing better then the norm for the school and scored 6 points higher then the school avg ACT.

    You are compared in the context of your school environment for the most part. They also want kids that are interesting and passionate about something.

    Don’t have your kids go somewhere that they won’t be successful in. Forget about the prestige of going to X school or what your friends will think. I know almost no one from my kids middle school or my daughters that did not end up where they were suppose to and all seem happy.

  • 238. edgewatermom  |  October 19, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Another thing that is really important to consider is if the stress of a very rigorous program + a long commute is a good fit for your child. For us, quality of life is a major consideration.

    We have several friends who started at SEHS this year and their kids are all enjoying them, but some leave the house by 6:30 and are not home until after 5 and are then up until midnight doing homework most nights. For my kid, that schedule would be too stressful and it would not be a good fit.

    We also had an interesting discussion yesterday comparing commutes. We live around the corner from Senn, so it would be a 5 minute commute, versus about an hour commute door to door for many other SEHS. With 2 hours of commuting round-trip, that is about 360 hours of commuting per year (versus about 3 hours for Senn).

  • 239. mom2  |  October 19, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    @237 and @238 – I totally agree with both of you! We found the same thing to be true once we started looking at colleges and comparing with friends from around the various CPS schools. They really do look to see who is the “superstar” at their school and who is well rounded and committed.
    I wish more parents would take the time to really think about what you are both saying. It would do two things. First of all it would help their kids have a better quality of life and maybe less stress. Second, it could help improve the schools closer to where people live because they wouldn’t feel they have to commute just to go to the school with the higher ACT average.

  • 240. Helen  |  October 19, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    @237 lk

    You are absolutely correct (at least at more selective colleges) each applicant pool from the same high school is often put in their own bell curve.

  • 241. karet  |  October 19, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    @236, I am not talking about national averages. We are talking about CPS. All of the data suggests that the ACT averages for students at IB programs *at CPS* is not that high. The obvious reason is that highest test takers tend to go to SEHS. IB tends to be a second choice.
    Good luck finding some actual data that shows that CPS students who earn the IB diploma have an ACT average that is higher than 30. If you do, PLEASE share it. Otherwise there is no point in speculating any more.

  • 242. HS_newbie  |  October 19, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    I will ask at the LP IB info session in early December, but I don’t think they will answer this question.

  • 243. vb  |  October 21, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    @238. Those kids who “leave the house by 6:30 and are not home until after 5 and are then up until midnight doing homework most nights” are called committed. They are looked up favorably by college admission administrators. Probably more favorably than a kid with a 5 minute commute who enjoys a better quality of life.

    I think that many colleges look for ambition. That quality of life sacrifice is one indication.

  • 244. 8th Grade mom  |  October 21, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    It really comes down to the right fit for your student, as well as your family. We are walking distance to NSCP, but my daughter likes the environment at WY better. My husband grew up walking distance to Lane, and had no interest in attending, also opting for WY. I think homework comes down to about 2 hours a night for most kids, if they can stay focused ; more with AP classes.

  • 245. mom2  |  October 21, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    I’m not sure colleges really care about how long a commute you have. I suppose you could put that in your essay. Our experience is that they care about your GPA, how you compare to others in your school, your ACT/SAT scores and some (but only some) care about how well rounded you are and leadership experience – clubs, sports, community service/involvement, commitment to those things. I’d say if you can have a more time in your life to do these other things, and you can still have a great education closer to home, why go far away.

  • 246. lk  |  October 21, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    mom2…totally agree. Been there and done that. Working on number 2. I would not waste time on a college essay to bring up commute. Any major city kids are taking trains,buses etc to get to school. What makes our kids any different from the thousands of kids already doing it? IF, you get an interview, it could come up in casual conversation. At my daughters school kids commuted up to 2 hours each way taking Metra from the burbs to the city. One kid lived on the border of Wisconsin. For them it was well worth the trouble and coming to school on Saturday’s also. Kids will do homework on the train etc if they have to etc.

    My son at NSCP says they don’t give out as much homework as other schools, per him. He also does most of his homework at school, at lunch or in class so he can have most of his nights free. He does very little homework at home. Each kid learns differently.

  • 247. edgewatermom  |  October 21, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    @243 vb

    Those kids who “leave the house by 6:30 and are not home until after 5 and are then up until midnight doing homework most nights” are called committed. They are looked up favorably by college admission administrators. Probably more favorably than a kid with a 5 minute commute who enjoys a better quality of life.
    I think that many colleges look for ambition. That quality of life sacrifice is one indication.

    Obviously those kids are ambitious and the school is probably a great fit for them. I was just pointing out that this schedule would not be a good fit for MY kid, for many reasons. For our family, quality of life is not something we are willing to sacrifice for college admission. Then again, we are not hoping for Harvard – just a good school that offers the subjects that she wants to study where she can learn and thrive. This is also very similar to our criteria for a good high school.

  • 248. Becky T  |  October 21, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    “..not home until after 5 and are then up until midnight doing homework most nights” are called committed.”

    If a kid is taking 7 hours to do homework most nights, that is not someone who is committed, that is someone who is not that bright. They probably should get tutoring. They will never make it in college where the level of work and workload is 10x the high school level.

  • 249. edgewatermom  |  October 21, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    @248 I did not say that they were doing 7 hours of homework. But thanks for the suggestion of tutoring – I will be sure to pass on your helpful suggestion.

  • 250. Mommie_23  |  October 22, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    I know there was a big drop from 2014-15 cuttoff scores to 2015-16…should we expect another drop or increase? Just trying to see if it is even worth trying for Jones

  • 251. Newcomer  |  October 22, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    The drop was due to changing from ISAT to the lesser-known NWEA MAP. My guess is that scores will stay the same or go slightly higher. Unless they add a significant amount of seats.

  • 252. Mommie_23  |  October 22, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Well probably slightly higher since NWEA was more known to be used for highschool last year? Jones principal did say at open house that they are accepting 425 freshman seats is that larger than usually?

    Also any feedback from Whitney Young’s open house? Didn’t get a chance to go because of Lincoln Parks….very disappointed, very boring, seem extremely unorganized with touring situations!

  • 253. 8th Grade mom  |  October 23, 2015 at 8:53 am

    @250 The drop was due to the shift to the MAP. There’s no way to know if the scores will shift – they might, as
    students/parents/teachers took the MAP more seriously. Payton is taking more students (70) due to expansion, so I say rank your choices based on what you think is best for your student, manage expectations, and hope for the best.

  • 254. cpsobsessed  |  October 23, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Does anyone know how kids typically score on the SEHS admission test relative to other standardized testing? If I’m trying to estimate my son’s score based on his most recent map scores (using the SEHS rubric) – should I use a general average of his level of testing in the recent past? (For instance say he typically scores in the range of 80-88%, I might ballpark 84% on the SE admission test.

    Or is there any reason to think it would be notably higher or lower?

  • 255. HS_newbie  |  October 23, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Depends on what standardized testing you are using. MAP does not have any time limits, but entrance exam does.

    Another thing – entrance exam is not normed. When you are talking about 80-88%, do you mean % of correct answers on a particular test or national percentile for that test? There is a big difference between these two.

  • 256. 8th Grade mom  |  October 23, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    I heard from a SEHS administrator and others that, typically, they’d expect a students’ entrance exam points to at least match their MAP points. Hoping that holds true for us this year….

  • 257. Newcomer  |  October 23, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    Highly anecdotal, but, most kids I know scored higher on the SE test than the NWEA MAP. Of course that means nothing. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get the actual statistic? 🙂

  • 258. HS_newbie  |  October 23, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    I have personal experience only with the AC entrance exam so far, but on that test both of my kids scored much lower than on NWEA MAP

  • 259. Patricia  |  October 23, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    FYI–AC and HS entrance exams are different types of tests. The AC entrance exam is more of an IQ test and the HS entrance exam is an achievement test.

  • 260. mom2  |  October 26, 2015 at 9:52 am

    FYI, we attended the Lake View Open House this year. It was really great. Well organized, impressive activities in several classrooms (make a brain in AP Psychology, activity in the art room in the photography dark room, etc.), a very bright school, funding from the Cubs to remodel all sorts of things, huge and beautiful college and career center, students and parent and community representatives all over the school, wall of fame with photos of tons of 4.0+ students, super friendly teachers, jazz band playing, cheerleaders performing, throw a basket and get a water bottle, free t-shirts for visiting sessions and filling out a survey. All around, we were very impressed. I think their school motto is HOME. It felt like that. Thank you, Lake View. If you are a parent of a 7th grader or under, I recommend checking it out next year.

  • 261. Vikingmom  |  October 26, 2015 at 10:41 am

    @ 260 mom2, wow, that sounds like a great event! Thanks for posting. Along similar lines please check out the Friends of Amundsen website for more details on two upcoming events: a Prospective Parents mixer Thursday, 10/29, 7-9pm, and the Amundsen Open House (info on this can also be found on the school’s website) Saturday, Nov. 7, from 10am-1pm. Amundsen has undergone major renovations over the summer and into early fall. I hope some parents will consider these as the very worthy options that they are—institutions where their child will get an excellent education and have a well-rounded experience—with a much less stressful admission process.

  • 262. 8th Grade mom  |  October 26, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    Interesting tidbit re MAP scores. I received my student’s spring 2015 7th grade MAP scores last week at school, and noticed that the math percentile was a couple points higher than the percentile on our letter from CPS re application eligibility. I inquired and was told that the HS process is based on what was available earlier this year, which is 2011 norms. 2015 norms are now available, and reflected in the current MAP report. All applicants, including those who will be tested in the coming months, will be assigned their HS admission points based on the 2011 norms.


  • 263. cpsobsessed  |  October 27, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Thanks, that is good to know about the norms! Even a couple percentage points can make a big difference.

  • 264. cpsobsessed  |  October 27, 2015 at 11:39 am

    FYI, I will be at a Senn Prospective family meeting tonight and the Amundsen Parents meeting on Thursday so I’ll report back.

    Also, FYI, for those who have a 7th or 8th grader, you can likely imagine that kids that age do no like to be written about online in a publicly identifying way. So from here on out, if I get into specifics about my kid/family I will likely post anonymously. So if someone sounds a lot like me…..well…. you’ll know why. 🙂

  • 265. edgewatermom  |  October 27, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    My husband and daughter shadowed at Senn today and both came home so excited about Senn. We have been really happy with all of the changes at Senn over the past few years and were always glad to have it as a safe “backup” school. After attending the info session on Saturday and shadowing today, Senn has moved up to being my daughter’s first choice.

    We all love the whole philosophy of the IB program and the fact that it focuses on well-rounded students and encourages critical thinking and lifelong learning. They both loved the teaching style that they saw today – the students were all very engaged in discussion rather than lecturing from the teacher.

    I highly recommend doing a shadow day if you have the opportunity.

  • 266. 8th Grade mom  |  October 27, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Did anyone go to the Jones open house? We missed it and would love any feedback.

  • 267. HSObsessed  |  October 28, 2015 at 8:38 am

    Fascinating story on WBEZ about how a huge number of Chicago high schools have tiny enrollments, including a dozen high schools that have 50 or fewer students in the freshman class. These are all charters and contract schools. I’ve personally never been a fan of small high schools. Sure, the kids might get more personal attention, but there usually aren’t many or any of all the “other” options available that make high school high school, both in the academic and social sense. And of course, there’s the little thing about how financially irresponsible it is to be paying for THREE full time principals in a single building to oversee three “separate” high schools that have a combined total of 57 freshmen?!


  • 268. mom2  |  October 28, 2015 at 9:32 am

    @265 – Great news about Senn! Between Lake View, Amundsen and Senn, looks like some parents are finally realizing the advantages of being close to home, supporting and going to their neighborhood high schools. That’s all it takes. Thanks for sharing!

  • 269. stories to tell  |  October 28, 2015 at 9:43 am

    cps obsessed, didn’t see a Thursday parent meeting for Admundsen on their website, just Haunted House, open house on 7th

  • 270. cpsobsessed  |  October 28, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Here is the Amundsen info from the flyer I got:

    Two opportunities to check out
    Amundsen High School * 5110 N. Damen Ave. * Chicago, Illinois 60625 * http://www.amundsenhs.org

    Prospective Parent Mixer
    Thursday, October 29, 2015
    7 pm – 9 pm
    Dolce Casa * 4947 N. Damen Ave.
    Meet current Amundsen parents, ask questions
    and learn more about all Amundsen has to offer
    right here in our neighborhood
    Sponsored by Friends of Amundsen

    Amundsen Open House
    Saturday, November 7, 2015
    10 am – 1 pm
    Amundsen High School * 5110 N. Damen Ave.
    Middle schoolers and their families are invited
    to visit classrooms, meet teachers
    and experience the Viking Way first-hand

  • 271. stories to tell  |  October 28, 2015 at 9:56 am

    ahh, thank you

  • 272. cpsobsessed  |  October 28, 2015 at 9:59 am

    I attended the Senn prospective families event last night. good turnout despite the rain.

    Unfortunately the new principal was sick and I wasn’t able to meet her. David Gregg (who posts here occasionally) lead the session. They had performances from the different groups of performing arts programs (choral, dance, band, orchestra, and drama.) After that they did a Q&A with students and teachers.

    Most of the questions were related to the performing arts program, so that seemed to be a big draw for families.

    I find these schools have a challenge in explaining what the IB teaching concept is to visiting families. I have yet to find a way to explain it to my son (in a way that sounds compelling.) I think that’s an open house opportunity across the board.

    Overall, I really like the vibe at Senn. They are continuing in the path that the previous principal (who I highly admired except for her alleged test score rigging thing, ya know…). The new principal sounds to be bringing some new ideas as well.

    The school seems focused on achievement but has a nice laid back vibe. The teachers seem to be highly vested in the kids’ success and willing to do what’s needed to help them achieve that.

    So far I know of 2 kids personally who are attending who are having a good experience there.

    I also really like the shadow day they allow. That is a great bonus for helping a kid pick a school.

    If your child has an interest in IB or the arts, I’d recommend checking it out. Both programs sound good (as does the neighborhood program which has its own special focuses.)

  • 273. David Gregg  |  October 28, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Thank you to the families (including CPSO) who were able to make it out to our Prospective Parent’s event in the rain last night.

    We were happy to show off our wonderful students, discuss our programs and vision, and answer your questions.

    (By the way, to check out future performances, etc., follow ‘Senn Arts’ on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.)

    We were also glad to be able to boast about being awarded a Level 1 rating again by CPS – and we congratulate our friends at Amundsen HS for doing the same! Go neighborhood schools!

    One of the positive outcomes of last night that I can report: my shameless plugging of our tour/shadow days (and perhaps that of @edgewatermom above) seems to have worked. The dates are filling up quickly.

    We now have only two fall dates remaining: December 8 and December 15. The others have filled to capacity. So, if you’re considering Senn and your child is in 7th or 8th grade, please visit our website sennhs.org and sign up today.

    Note that the tour/shadow days will resume again in February; dates will be announced near the end of the calendar year.

    We will also host an ‘Open House’ on Saturday, March 5 – after offer letter go out – to all 8th graders accepted to Senn for 2016-17.

    As always, I am happy to address individual questions: 773-534-2501, dgregg@cps.edu.

    Happy Halloween all!

    David Gregg
    Admissions Director
    IB MYP Coordinator
    Senn High School

  • 274. HS_newbie  |  October 28, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Hello Mr. Gregg,

    Could you please provide some statistics about Senn IB program? It would be really helpful for parents that are choosing between IB and AP programs.

    For the last graduated class:
    – number of kids that started in the IB program 5 years ago
    – how many of them were still working towards IB diploma in their senior year?
    – how many of them received an IB diploma?

    Thank you very much!
    You input is appreciated a lot.

  • 275. cpsobsessed  |  October 28, 2015 at 11:08 am

    I did downplay the IB stuff from my Senn visit last night. The stats are very impressive and Senn has been a leader in IB within CPS. Definitely worth pursuing (again once I can define what IB means vs say AP courses at other schools.)

    IB definitely worth a look as well. Of course the usual homework question was asked… student participant said it’s all about not procrastinating and is manageable. IB kids are in extra curriculars, etc so they do have time for other things.

  • 276. David Gregg  |  October 28, 2015 at 11:53 am

    @CPSO – Thanks for the feedback. The pedagogical approach in the IB is premised on teachers developing inquiry-based, concept-driven, and contextually grounded lessons within a broad and balanced curriculum. There is a focus on students’ approaches to learning, on interdisciplinarity, and, of course, on international mindedness. You are correct: it is not always easy to explain – especially to a 13 year-old. Teachers learning how to implement the IB have to go through professional development that is akin to graduate coursework; for many, it is re-learning how to teach. It is certainly more complex than teaching AP (in which I am also trained). Here’s a quick analogy: a typical AP curriculum is 2D: content x skills. IB Curriculum is 3D: concepts x skills x context. Trying to unpack the model to families while explaining the benefits to students, is the exact function of the mandatory IB Information Sessions that 8th graders applying to any IB school must attend. We chose not to dig in too deep last night so we could wrap at a reasonable time.
    However, I love talking about/explaining IB. I’ve been trained and serve as a volunteer school consultant and workshop leader for IB Americas. So if anyone wants to learn more, you know how to reach me.

    @HS_newbie – here is some of what you’re looking for, much of which we shared last night:
    Our 9th grade Diploma Prep cohorts have ranged from 90-100 students over the past several years. When I started at Senn in 2004 and dating to about 4 years ago, our DP senior cohort sizes ranged from 16-22. Over the past few years, the senior cohort has ranged from 23-28. THIS year happens to be a breakout year for us in terms of the DP cohort: 42 seniors; 57 juniors in full DP. Traditionally, about 90% who start as juniors finish the program as seniors. As for the number who earn the diploma, aka ‘Diploma pass rate’, it is not the best metric to measure the success of a program. Earning the Diploma requires individual students to meet several challenging requirements, including scoring highly enough on ALL subjects – where most students have strengths in some and weaknesses in others. The experience of completing the program as a candidate proves to have incredibly positive post-secondary outcomes for students, regardless of whether they actually earn the IB Diploma. That is born out both in research as well as in our local experience. Having said that, over the past 2 years, 2 out of 3 of Senn’s DP candidates earned the diploma, and we expect to improve on that. But here’s a better measure: Over the past 4 years, 100% of our DP cohort earned a passing (college-credit bearing) score in one or more of their IB subjects; most get it in multiple subjects. Also important to note: last year was the first time large numbers (over 70) of non-DP seniors at Senn completed IB subjects as ‘course candidates’ (versus full ‘Diploma Candidates’). These included mostly neighborhood students and Senn Arts students. Of those, 85% earned a passing score in one or more of their IB subjects. Senn is not the most competitive to get in, but by most accounts, our programme, even post-expansion, far outperforms expectations. This speaks to the quality of teaching and learning in our classrooms, a measure far more important than students’ incoming scores.

  • 277. cpsobsessed  |  October 28, 2015 at 11:59 am

    @Thanks so much, David. I was going to ask last night but I knew it was getting late. I’ll look into the IB intro session. My goal is to help devise a 3-4 sentence elevator pitch about IB that appeals to 13year olds. 🙂

    My other question is about the drama program. The girls last night were fantastic. Truly truly impressive and talented. The ties with the community theater was also impressive and I love that kids take field trips to local theater.

    Is the drama dept focused on more serious productions/material typically? Or is there also opportunity for comedy, improv, more light-hearted performance?

  • 278. HS_newbie  |  October 28, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you!

  • 279. cpsobsessed  |  October 28, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    FYI: here is the list of IB information sessions:


  • 280. Chicago School GPS  |  October 28, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Thanks for posting the IB Info sessions, CPSO! Just a reminder to folks that they need only attend one IB info session at any school to satisfy the requirement of attending a session. Currently Lincoln Park IB sessions are all full, but you can attend one at Senn or Amundsen even if you only intend to apply at Lincoln Park. The IB sessions are general enough to cover what to expect at any IB school.

    Don’t forget to APPLY to your desired schools before the 12/11/15 deadline as well! It’s two steps: SCHEDULING and APPLYING.

  • 281. High Schools  |  October 28, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    @267 – “These are all charters and contract schools.”

    Yes, this is an interesting article. My take on it, however, is that while “some” charter schools have this issue of being too small and unable to serve students, this is said to be a problem of regular neighborhood schools.

    Some excerpts from the article

    “This isn’t a specialty school, or a school for expelled students, or an alternative school. It’s a regular Chicago public high school. Just 13 freshmen signed up this year to attend Austin Business and Entrepreneurship Academy High School on the city’s predominantly black West Side…
    The city’s withering high schools include institutions that have educated generations of Chicagoans and have been seen as community pillars: Bowen, Collins, Corliss, Fenger, Harper, Hirsch, Manley, Richards, Robeson, Tilden–all are teetering….
    Cunningham says that without Chicago’s plethora of high school options, there might be better enrollment in the neighborhood high schools, but “it’s also possible that we would have lost a whole lot of families who would have chosen private schools or moved out of the city.” Still, he admits, “We can’t afford to have more schools than we have students.””

    And yes, it pains me that Rahm has decided not to be the a$$hole any longer and has stepped back from doing anything about it, especially given today’s budget approval.

  • 282. HS_newbie  |  October 28, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    “These are all charters and contract schools.”

    At least one of the schools should not be on this list at all – it is a K-12 school with a charter for 600 students, so it is not too surprising that they have about 170 kids at the HS level. That particular HS would function exactly the same way even if it had only one enrolled student – it is a virtual school with most of the HS teachers located out of state.

    I wonder how many other schools are in a similar situation. In any brick-and-mortar 600 student K-12 school you still will not expect to have 400 HS students. If there is the same number of kids in each grade they will have a little under 200 high-schoolers.

  • 283. High Schools  |  October 29, 2015 at 7:07 am

    282 – what school are you talking about? These are all high schools

  • 284. HS_newbie  |  October 29, 2015 at 8:40 am

    283 – Number 6 on the list is Chicago Virtual Charter School with 171 enrolled students. It is NOT a high school, it is a K-12 school that blends elementary and HS together with a charter for 600 student enrollment.

    Here are numbers from US News website:
    Total Enrollment 594
    9th Grade 64 Students
    10th Grade 39 Students
    11th Grade 31 Students
    12th Grade 26 Students

    Few years back it managed to get on the list of the TOP 15 HSs in Chicago:

  • 285. HSObsessed  |  October 29, 2015 at 8:53 am

    @281 – I agree that they didn’t make a good distinction between schools that are under-enrolled vs. those that are designed to be small. The list at the end contains all high schools with enrollments of 400 or less, and some of them I believe were planned to be that small. DeVry, for example, is only for 11th and 12th graders, and has about 100 students per grade, which is what they’ve always had. There are other schools on the list only somewhat underenrolled. Alcott HS for example, was planned to have 90 kids per grade and currently enrolls 300 students instead of the planned 360, so it’s 20% underenrolled. While not ideal, that’s nothing compared to some schools that have a fraction of the students that they used to have, or that the building in them could hold.

  • 286. 3rd and last kid through this crazy process  |  October 29, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Have other non-CPS students received their MAP scores from the test dates on October 17-18? I have been checking the online portal and nothing shows up there. I want my student to take the entrance exam in November, but cannot schedule it until the scores arrive. Are the November entrance exam dates filling up? Thanks!

  • 287. cpsobsessed  |  October 29, 2015 at 9:51 am

    This is in regards to whether IB helps at all with getting into college (mentioned on either this post or the other HS post, can’t recall which.)
    This rigorous study looked at the IB programs in Chicago, which was groundbreaking in their effort to include lower income kids. It DOES look promising. Admissions offices may not look for IB kids, but perhaps the IB kids come across better in the essays and interviews?


    What they found is striking: the CPS students who completed all four years of the IB program were 40% more likely to attend a four-year college, 50% more likely to attend a selective four-year college, and significantly more likely to persist in college than their matched peers outside the program.[6] The program influenced not only their academic success but also their self-regard and confidence; in-depth interviews showed a strong academic orientation and high sense of self-efficacy.[7] There were no negative results for the students involved, even for those who began the program in 9th grade but did not complete the program.

  • 288. 8th Grade mom  |  October 29, 2015 at 10:10 am

    @287 Re the elevator pitch – the most appealing aspect of the IB program to my 13yo is the International element. My child is a conscientious student, but not looking for extra homework – so the IB pitches we’ve heard have not appealed to her at all. What she is looking for is the opportunity to travel – so the idea of an education that is respected worldwide has appeal.

  • 289. LUV2Europe  |  October 29, 2015 at 10:21 am

    288. Tell your daughter this about IB — City kid friend graduated from a CPS IB grammar school, attended Taft IB – graduated (no diploma hardly anyone gets one) and went off to university (mostly tuition free) in Switzerland (Franklin Univ.). Graduated univ did lots of international travel/seminars as student. Now lives/works in Paris. Dream big and go to class!

  • 290. 8th Grade mom  |  October 29, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Thanks LUV2Europe!

  • 291. HS_newbie  |  October 29, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Did you check what this Franklin University is? It is a very overpriced liberal arts school with world rating of 11860. Yes, that is eleven thousand + :)) To put things in perspective, University of Illinois at Chicago has world rank of 141, at Urbana Champaign is 26. And your friend would be an in-state student at both of these, so total cost will be probably be less than what is left at Franklin after the scholarships.

    I am not saying that IB does not have any value, I am just saying that this might not be the best example to show that it has.

    >no diploma, hardly anyone gets one
    Is this coming from the same friend?
    There is a comment a bit above yours from David Gregg,
    Admissions Director and IB Coordinator at Senn.
    His breakdown is:
    – admitted into IB program: 90-100
    – still on track for the diploma this year: 42 seniors
    – 2 out of 3 candidates will earn diploma.
    That’s not “hardly anyone”, that’s about 30%

  • 292. HS_newbie  |  October 29, 2015 at 11:10 am

    oops, sorry, that was @289, not 288 :((

  • 293. 8th Grade mom  |  October 29, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    @292 Different Franklin University. The one you are referencing, I believe, is in Columbus OH, not Switzerland.

  • 294. cpsobsessed  |  October 29, 2015 at 1:18 pm


    Interesting map that shows which Tiers changed this year (from the guys who build this app)

  • 295. HS_newbie  |  October 29, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Are there two different Franklin Univ. in Switzerland? I was looking at this one:
    The one in OH is actually a bit better.

  • 296. luveurope  |  October 29, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    291 Thanks for the fact checking.

    It is no secret that IB high school programs are rigorous. Most CPS IB students end up with a hs diploma BUT very few actually get the IB diploma.

    Some students thrive in international environments so why don’t we just end it with that?

  • 297. pantherparent  |  October 29, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    @ 294 cpso. Keep that link handy this spring for the annual tier complaints that accompany admission denials to SEHS. Whether for them or against them, at least it’s a clear and concise explanation of how tiers are established.

  • 298. mom2  |  October 30, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Not sure if anyone else posted this, but someone just shared it with me. Pretty cool. From Tom Tunney: “We need our families to stay in the city and we need our neighborhood high school to be the crown jewel of our community. This budget includes a multi-million dollar investment for Lake View High School to increase the academic rigor of the school, inclusive of an honors program, and stronger connections to area elementary schools. The investments provided in the 2016 budget will make Lake View HS the quality neighborhood option which our residents demand. This will further build on the efforts of the current leadership of Lake View High School.” And from Alderman Pawar, “A new honors program and multimillion dollar investment coming to Lake View High School.” I read feedback from some parents that said the only thing holding them back from Lakeview was the lack of a real honors program. Now there’s nothing stopping them!

  • 299. HS_newbie  |  October 30, 2015 at 10:27 am

    @297 – there is nothing concise about tiers :))
    Look at 437 W Division – it is tier 2.
    It is a condo building, 2bdr/2bth are selling there for 350-400K
    I could understand why it might be labeled wrong in 2008, at that time parts of Cabrini-Green were still standing, but the last building in the projects was demolished in 2010 or 2011.

    I am sure there are many more examples like this around the city.

  • 300. pantherparent  |  October 30, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    @299 You can’t look at one building to determine the entire tier. You’ll be able to find houses in each and every tract that don’t fit the tier designation. Right or wrong, the tract is taken as a whole.

    You can drill down with 7 years of tract data in the footnotes to see any changes.

  • 301. cpsobsessed  |  November 1, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Was anyone at the Lane open house today? I’ll post about it later but was curious to hear feedback.

  • 302. Marketing Mom  |  November 1, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    We just returned from the open house and we were very impressed. We arrived at Noon and the line to get into the auditorium stretched down Addison to nearly McDonalds. They had a good system in place so that while you were waiting for the massive auditorium to fill you could watch some of the students perform and watch a video overview of the school. During the tour, we were impressed with the aquaphonics lab, sound engineering studio, robotics and advance computer science offerings. We came away feeling that our son would be well-rounded by going to Lane and they have so many options. This just became our top choice over WY.

  • 303. cpsobsessed  |  November 2, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Yes, Lane does very well at impressing with all the cool spaces they have. Music, computers, theater, 3D printing, art. They’ve remodeled some of the old auto work spaces (from when the school was more a tech vocational school) and turned them into artsy looking work spaces. The rest of the school looks very standard (not quite as nice vintagey as I was anticipating.) Amundsen is much brighter overall inside.

    Much of the emphasis was on special activities and clubs and all that you can get involved with. The principal talked about the AP program (apparently the largest in the world and offers every AP class that exists, all 34 of them.) I feel like a young kid would be very focused on the fun stuff and I’d like to get a better sense of what the academics are like. My understanding is that if a school offers a lot of AP courses, colleges want you to take them. Is it okay if a kid takes one a semester? Does that look adequate? Are they WAYYY harder than a non-AP class? How oppressive does the study load get there (versus say Amundsen or Senn IB or the new lake view honors program?)

    I do have to say, it’s a little depressing to see the resources here which can certainly sway a kid away from a neighborhood school and make them feel like they’re getting “second best” in terms of facilities.

    My other question is whether the size makes it too impersonal? They stressed the importance of joining clubs to meet like-minded people. Is there socialization beyond the clubs? Like do kids just meet other freshmen in class (I assume so, but it may be harder with 1000 kids in a class.)

    I feel I’m overthinking this (obsessing, even) 🙂
    But I guess my concerns is a kid getting lost in the mix of that big school if they don’t get focused on one special sport/activity/club.

    Also, what could the Duct Tape club be? Crafts?

  • 304. Patricia  |  November 2, 2015 at 10:43 am

    CPSO, Lane certainly is big, but with 2 kids there, we find the size a non issue and actually IMO, it allows a kid to “find their peeps” or even change things up with little judgement from peers. When there are fewer clubs, sports and options to get involved, kids may tend to think they should be doing certain things or acting a certain way. It also makes it much harder to switch things up if they want to. At Lane, you can be whatever you want to be. Of course, this can happen in any size school, but I have found that Lane has a culture of letting a student be who they want to be with little peer judgement. It feels like a very normal well rounded HS experience so far. I am a little bias because I went to a huge HS with about 4000 kids and it was a non issue.

    Also, with HS, it is up to a kid to “own it”, IMO. Very different than elementary environment where parents have more of a close feel for all things academic, social, etc. Lane literally, has everything to offer, but to a certain extent, it is up to the kid to take advantage of all the opportunities. This applies at any HS really. Time for parents to land that helicopter and transfer ownership to the kid—-easier said than done of course 😉

    Academically, you ask really key questions. There certainly is extreme rigor if that is what you kid wants. They can also take a more standard path. Some kids are shooting for as much of a 5.0+ while others are more on 4.0 path. One thing that I find very compelling with Lane is that it was one of the first 5 schools worldwide to offer the new AP Capstone option that mimics the benefits of IB. It is still new as the first kids are completing the program, but if you look at the AP site, the schools accepting it are an impressive list.

    Socially, they meet kids in class, clubs, sports, hanging out at one of the many teen friendly business nearby. Last week I was a “fly on the wall” at Meatheads, as I was there with my youngest one still in elementary. About 20 kids came in for an after school snack/gathering. I knew many of the kids. It was a mix of girls and boys, a few kids order a large fry, everyone joins in and they laugh and socialize, and then about 20 minutes later disbanded to go home or practice or clubs, etc. Lane feels like a timeless HS experience.

    Too funny there is a duct tape club. Kids can follow a process to get a club approved if they do not find what they are looking for. I assume it is part of the duct tape craft craze (kind of like the rainbow loom).

    I’ll say again………..there are many great HS options. Any of the SEHS and neighborhood HS including Lincoln Park, Amundsen, Lakeview, Senn, Kenwood, Chicago Ag, etc, are fantastic opportunities for students. Regardless of the school, it is up to the kid to own it and take advantage of all that is offered.

  • 305. mom2  |  November 2, 2015 at 11:38 am

    I agree with Patricia about our experience at Lane. Those plus items are real. It truly felt like a suburban high school experience and most of the kids were really nice, good kids. The AP offerings were off the chart although some of the popular courses were hard to get until your senior year if you didn’t act quick.

    On the negative side, if you have a kid that might need hand-holding, we didn’t get much help from Lane counselors or staff. My kid was fine doing things independently, but I do know some kids that struggled because there was so much going on and no one seemed to have their back without the kid seeking out help on their own – and the lines to visit the counselors were constant and long.

    We had both great and pretty horrible teachers, but that would be the same anywhere.

    We did find that because there were so many really great students, even though Lane got rid of the ranking system, colleges were well aware where your child stood in comparison with other kids from Lane that also applied. So, there is no getting around the competition for looking great in the eyes of some schools will be there. That is another reason why we are excited about some of the new neighborhood options. It gives your kid more of a chance to shine and they may be better able to help a kid that needs a bit more hand-holding since they are smaller.

  • 306. Arthur  |  November 3, 2015 at 9:28 am

    Typical Chicago public school classroom?

  • 307. mom2  |  November 3, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I don’t know where you found this but I have to tell you that this video – real or not – is exactly the fears that so many parents have about certain schools and why they are so desperate to have their kids go to schools with other college bound children that care about education and want to learn and do their homework and respect their teachers. For a long time, the only place to mostly guarantee this atmosphere in CPS were SEHS and Lincoln Park’s IB program. I think there are a few more now with double honors, and other selective programs and a few neighborhood schools that have turned this corner – Senn, Amundsen and Lake View, but otherwise, the fear is still there. Is this real? Where was this taken? When?

  • 308. CPS Parent  |  November 3, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Arthur – a shameful post – the video and your comment. We can discuss the discipline issues that exist in some CPS schools without exploiting the misery of a teacher being bullied by very misguided teens. Especially with names and faces included. This is truly a shameful post! I’d ask CPSO to have it removed.

  • 311. 8th Grade mom  |  November 3, 2015 at 11:30 am

    @308 agreed. These are children, and posting their mistakes is reprehensible.

  • 312. HS_newbie  |  November 3, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    @308, 311
    What children are you talking about? It was shot in Chicago Vocational Career Academy in 2011. Since then all of them either graduated or dropped out, but either way they are over 18 by now.

  • 313. mom2  |  November 3, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Wow, I’ve never seen it before. Curious what you think that teacher should have done instead of just taking it. Call security? Call the principal? Call the police? Kick them out of class? Walk out? How often do you think this really happens in a CPS classroom – even for just a few minutes in the middle of what should be teaching/learning? Why do those “children” think their behavior is acceptable?

  • 314. CPSer  |  November 3, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    A few things most people don’t realize:
    1. This still goes on.
    2. Many intercom systems do not work in older schools. This is due to maintenance issues or students breaking them.
    3. Security doesn’t always respond. Sadly, I have worked with “security” related to students causing horrible disruptions. Those guards removed the kids for a minute or two and sent them right back in. Behavior interrupted, not changed.
    4. I have reported similar issues to be be told, BY ADMINISTRATION, that I needed to work on MY classroom management skills. The principal said these things happen and I would need to figure out ways to control my students. She told me to bring snacks and candy. (sighhhh)

    The disparities between schools in CPS is alarming.

  • 315. Village Idiot  |  November 3, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    This is the worst recruitment ad for “Teach for America” ever.

  • 316. ChiiMomm  |  November 3, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    ” These are children, and posting their mistakes is reprehensible.”

    I agree. Let’s keep hiding these type of things and pretend they don’t happen at most CPS schools. It’s not the junior thugs fault, it’s the camera’s fault for recording it. And also, let’s set policy to demand less disciplinary action. The side benefit is less reporting, even if things are as bad or worse, at least makes it look like situation is getting better. And who cares about kids in class that may actually want to learn? We need to make sure the trouble makers don’t feel bad.

    I agree. Let’s keep our heads buried in the sand! Things seem better already!

  • 317. cpsobsessed  |  November 3, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    I’ll leave it up a little longer. Seeing the full video actually put it in context more so than the 5 second blurb I saw on the news that looked much more hostile than these kids acting like bullies.

    FYI, my mom substitute taught around that time in the “worst” (most known for being dangerous) CPS high schools. She never had anything remotely close to this happened. She seemed to have the ability to treat the kids with respect and never had a problem. She typically showed up with candy and would have games and trivia contests to keep the kids engaged (the teacher rarely leaves a lesson plan… just says to let the kids read for the day.) There was always security close by if needed (not sure she ever needed it.)

    So it’s certainly not like this went on all the time. Although who knows, in the time, many kids could have left for charters leaving the most ill-behaved kids in the neighborhood schools. Is this a neighborhood school?

  • 318. cpsobsessed  |  November 3, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    @Patricia and Mom2 – thank you so much for the input on Lane Tech. That is very helpful! Laughing about “landing the helicopter” hahaha. So true.
    I just want to make sure a kid isn’t swayed by the nice spaces and then gets stuck in place where it’s big and impersonal. On the other hand, having a wide range of kids is a good thing.

    Well, like the election, I have another whole year to mull this over…

  • 319. cpsobsessed  |  November 3, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Also, I went to the Amundsen prospective parents meeting last week. Very nice crowd including Coonley, Bell, and Ravenswood parents, plus a goodly sized group from the nearby Catholic schools where the neighbors would like to keep their kids nearby and together for high school.

    The principal spoke – as usual very enthusiastic and encouraging. We heard from a couple parents who’s kids attend the school now. One was a Waters parent. Very good feedback there.

    They are having an IB information session this Saturday morning. Still couldn’t get an “elevator pitch” speech about how to explain an IB program to kid and suggested they have the students write something up about it. So hoping I’ll learn more about IB this weekend.

  • 320. Northwestsidemom  |  November 4, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    The Disney II Lawndale Campus is hosting an open house for prospective students this Sunday, November 8th from 1:00-4:00 PM. This is an opportunity for interested students and families to tour the building, learn about our programs and extracurricular opportunities and experience first hand demonstrations and instruction from Disney II teachers. Students interested in applying to Disney II will also have the opportunity to meet current students and ask any questions about their high school experience.

    The first set of rotating tours will begin at 1:00 pm and the second set of rotating tours will begin at 2:15 pm. Question and Answer sessions will be in the main auditorium at 2:15 and 3:45 pm. Disney II students will also be showcasing our fine arts programs and families can enjoy performances by the choir and guitar colloquium as well as a pop-up art gallery.

    For questions or more information, please contact Debra Koran, school counselor, at dmkoran@cps.edu.

  • 321. Chicago School GPS  |  November 4, 2015 at 10:21 pm

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  • 322. lk  |  November 5, 2015 at 8:34 am

    so this was sent out last week about the teacher situation from NS. Please contact below, call or write. Northside is saying that 12 teachers could be let go and AP courses that are not required for graduation. Larger class sizes etc, and it could start with the next semester. Calling their offices is usually more effective then the standard template letter.

    Dear Northside Parents,

    As many of you know, the CPS budget passed in August relies on receiving an additional $480 million from the state. So far, those funds have not arrived. In the meantime, CPS leadership has been clear that if there is no action from the Governor and General Assembly by November, there will be additional cuts at the school level by the start of second semester.

    There is no doubt that large mid-year cuts would do serious harm to Northside College Prep, resulting in additional cuts to staff and teachers, larger class sizes, and a reduction in course offerings.

    And to be clear, this is more than a Northside problem and more than the current CPS budget crisis. There is an immense problem with the way in which our state funds education:

    •Illinois ranks 48 out of the 50 states in the share it contributes to education funding.

    •Each year, CPS receives $31 per student for teacher pensions. Every other district in the state receives $2,266 per student for teacher pensions. This massive funding inequity must be made up by CPS at the expense of funding that should be allocated directly to schools.

    Northside and all CPS students have the right to and deserve a high quality, stably funded public education.

    Today, the state is still without a budget and there seems to be little to no indication that our elected officials are moving forward. As a community, it is imperative that we use our voices to push state legislators to take action.

    This morning, I met with student leaders who have formulated plans to mobilize our student body through social media, letters, and more. Parents, please contact our elected officials and demand that they take immediate action to fund our schools equitably:

    Bruce Rauner, Governor 217-782-0244

    Mike Madigan, Speaker of the House 217-782-5350 mmadigan@housedem.state.il.us

    John Cullerton, Senate President 217-782-2728

    Your State Senator and Representative

    Thank you for all that you do to support our students, the work that we do, and our community.


    Kelly Mest

  • 323. lk  |  November 5, 2015 at 8:39 am

    On a lighter note. This was in the Tribune over the weekend and was a much talked about topic here, ACT scores in the city/state.

    NS and Payton with .2 away from each other with Jones in like 5th. You can look up any school with this:


  • 324. High Schools  |  November 5, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Here’s what a Tribune Commentator has to say about it. I think it underscores how people feel about funding issues.


    “Dabrowski said in his study, “The current narrative is that historically CPS didn’t have enough money to fund both teacher pensions and the classroom — that it had no choice but to shortchange pensions.”Not true, he said. His study, “CPS Pensions: From Retirement Security to Political Slush Fund,” argues that revenues never were the problem. “Illinois and Chicago taxpayers contributed more than enough money to pay for both, had the funds just been properly managed.”…

    In reality, when it came to what the CTU most wanted in its 2012 strike, it chose pay increases over fixing the pension underfunding, which then stood at $8 billion. Higher salaries, in turn, increased pension obligations. As a result, Chicago teachers’ lifetime earnings are among the highest for the nation’s largest U.S. school systems, according to a 2014 analysis by the National Council on Teacher Quality….

    Even the whiff of that idea has the Chicago Teachers Union talking strike, as if they were facing destitution. Everyone else — from Chicago property taxpayers to state and federal taxpayers — is paying a reasonable and responsible share. It’s time for Chicago teachers to do their part”

  • 325. Tax and Waste  |  November 5, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    ” Please contact below, call or write. Northside is saying that 12 teachers could be let go ”

    Oh well, tough. The state and city are broke. If Mest and the CTU is so concerned why don’t they all take a small pay cut to cover those 12 teachers? Or should Rahm just raise taxes $1 billion each year to cover the overpaid, underworked “teachers”. We are already one of the highest taxed states with one of the worst school systems in the US.

    Why not fund raise from the student’s families and past students to cover the Gap? If Mest can’t do her job and find efficiencies or reductions, she should step aside and let someone else take over. It appears she is in way over her head.

    And congrats to Mest for a lower Northside ACT score average vs prior year! That deserves a bonus!!!!

  • 326. lk  |  November 6, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Tax and Waste,

    why don’t you use your dislike for Ms Mest and call the numbers that I posted and talk to your reps. Called Rauner’s office and Madigan’s and whomever is your local State Rep. Calling does matter and takes less then 5 minutes.

    As far as ACT at Northside, so it went from like 30.2 to 29.6. Well, Payton and others dropped also. I guess we should fire all the principal’s!

    NS in the last 3 years went from like 55 in the United States to number 3/10/12, depending on what article/polls you read. Look at the top schools. One school in the top 5 had an ACT avg of 36. These are small schools with low poverty rates. Basically private schools.

    Thomas Jefferson, the number one school like many in the top ten are STEM based school with selective enrollment BUT THEY kick out any kids that have a 3.0 or less during their 4 years there.::
    ” Effective July 31, 2007, a cumulative, unweighted GPA of at least 3.0 is required for students to remain enrolled at the school. If this GPA is not maintained, the students will be transferred to their original high school at the end of the school year”.

    Kinda inflates your numbers):

    Also Ms Mest is teaching English classes this year so they didn’t have to hire someone. How many principals are also teaching classes?

  • 327. mom2  |  November 6, 2015 at 11:41 am

    On another topic about open houses – just got this email about Lake View High School’s survey they did at the end of their open house. They had a lot of people fill it out because you received a t-shirt if you did Great results considering a lot of people just went there to check it out and hadn’t really considered it as a real option:
    How likely are you to consider sending your child to LVHS?
    – Very likely: 76.7%
    – Somewhat likely: 19.8%
    – Somewhat unlikely: 3.4%
    – Not likely: 0%
    – Other: 0%
    What was your overall impression of LVHS?
    Very positive: 87.1%
    Somewhat positive: 12.9%
    Somewhat negative: 0%
    Very negative: 0%

  • 328. feeder schools  |  November 6, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Also, Chicago doesn’t have enough Asians to help produce very high ACT averages. Thomas Jefferson reportedly has them at 70%.

  • 329. lk  |  November 6, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    feeder schools

    Yikes…did you really say that?

  • 330. lk  |  November 6, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    324 High Schools:

    This was the conversation I had with Michael Madigan’s person who head the education department. He told me a big issue is not having the funds to pay the teachers that already retired. They need to pass a new law to redo the current pension plan.

    I really don’t know but I give my employee’s a pension plan and had to put a freeze on it for a couple years due to economics. No one quit and we still gave hourly wage increases. They were glad and thankful to have a job that paid well.

    I am sure there are plenty of graduate students at Northwestern etc that would love to grab the money and teach now. It would be great for them to pay off their student loans. I totally support good teachers but no one stops to think how this all affects the students. It’s all about me.

  • 331. HS_newbie  |  November 6, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Thomas Jefferson has Asians at 54%. But it also has “students Eligible for Free or Reduced Price Lunch 2.2%” How many any public school in Chicago has? Not sure which matters more :))

    And by the way, all I can find is that their acg ACT was 31and it was taken by about 1/3 of all students, since it is East Coast and they don’t really need ACT.

  • 332. Vicki  |  November 6, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    #331…Teaching is not a profession where we should just “grab” someone to take the job. Sadly, many parents do not appreciate teachers with experience. I worked with a first year teacher, Northwestern grad, who actually quit about 5 weeks in. Couldn’t hack it. You clearly do not support good teaching.

  • 333. HS_newbie  |  November 6, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Vicki, I did not say anything about teachers, so your comment was probably aimed at somebody else.

    As for your point… I would take a young enthusiastic teacher any time over a tired experienced one. If graduate students are good enough for TA positions in all large state universities why aren’t they good enough to teach in HS? Only because unions say so? They would be much cheaper for the schools as well – no pension contributions, no medical insurance, no paid leave either.
    This does not mean that all grad. students will HAVE to teach, but if they had this option it might help a lot.

  • 334. 60660  |  November 6, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    By failing to fund pensions as promised the city has effectively been borrowing from the teachers pension fund for decades.
    Unfortunate mistakes like the pension pickup do need to be reversed but it’s unrealistic to expect teachers to take a 7% pay cut or to carry the whole burden of repaying the $$$ the city has borrowed which is Rahm’s current position.

    Meanwhile there are 100s of millions of dollars sitting in TIF funds the mayor could be using to begin closing the budget gap. By putting a property tax raise ahead of looking for savings the mayor is ensuring the growth of TIF funds will accelerate while he continues to cut and privatize essential services.

  • 335. 60660  |  November 6, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Newbie if that’s the experience you are looking for you can send your kids to Rauner College Prep or one of the other charters where recent grads with 5 weeks of TFA training attempt to teach 5 preps.
    On the other hand the experience Gov Rauner chose for his kid was Walter Payton, when the teachers have training, experience, benefits, paid vacations and all the other things people in civilized countries take for granted. Sure It’s hard to test into a school like Payton but maybe you can clout your kid in too?

  • 336. HS_newbie  |  November 6, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I already have one kid at WY and another one will take the test next week, so thank you, we are fine :))

    I used to be a TA all through grad school, this 20 hr per week job covered tuition and living expenses in full. We had about a week of training, but that was enough – all of us knew the material well, had detailed plans of what needs to be covered in class, what H/W assignments to give and what to test on quizzes. This system works in Universities for at least the last 30 years, it was not invented yesterday. What is so different about HS that you are sure it will not work there?

  • 337. Vicki  |  November 6, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Newbie, very sad. As a parent of three children, I want the best trained and capable teachers. I don’t find the cheapest mechanic, mechanics, doctors, nor do I buy crap food. I refuse to expose what is most valuable in my life to fly by night educators. I think it’s bizarre that many would not blink an eye for the “cheapest” way possible to educate their children, but would never consider other low-cost, low-quality things.

  • 338. 60660  |  November 6, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    because teaching a class of middle school kids of varying backgrounds and abilities is nothing at all like teaching undergrads a lab at university level? you do have a point – if all kids arrived at school as motivated and well prepared as the kids at a school like Edison 75% of what teachers actually do would not be required.

    obviously there are a lot of university admins who think like newbie given the rate they are replacing professors with adjuncts, probably they are even cheaper than TAs

  • 339. lk  |  November 6, 2015 at 4:33 pm


    Sorry if I offended you. Your comment was aimed at me. No I LOVE good teachers. My kid goes to NSCP.

    They are the most intelligent, thought provoking teachers that I have met including Med School. They actually care deeply about their students. You could say that for just about any school that parents/students are happy with.

    I am just sorta sick of all the fighting that could of been resolved in the summer. To scare the kids, who have to get ready for ACT’s etc is just disturbing. Chicago is like the laughing stock. I work in the Western Suburbs and they just don’t get it. In medicine(I know you won’t feel sorry for me), we are taking drastic pay cuts yearly(medicare and regular insurance payments) and why you will see major limitations of where you can go for care in the next few years. I have been to union meetings since I used to be a delegate, so I have seen things from all angles. At 4:00pm or so Northside(and I assume other cps schools) will be downtown protesting about all of this.

    My comments were mostly tongue in cheek…should of used a ):.

    I did ask the reps if they would write my son a letter of recommendation to colleges to explain why his AP etc classes were taken from him midyear. They sounded stunned when I asked this. I really don’t think the politicians understand the affects this can have on our children. Just got off the phone with John Culterton’s person for Education and he didn’t even have a grip of the issues. Not much better then Rauners’s Illinois State University Graduate.

    Ann Williams is having a Meeting on legislation of supporting an Elected School Board for for Wed Nov. 11th from 6:30-8:00pm at AthenaeumTheater at 2936 North Southport.

  • 340. mom2  |  November 6, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Didn’t we just go through this not too many years ago. Ugh. As stated in the threads the last time the CTU was threatening a strike, their leadership wouldn’t be doing its job if they offered a compromise but that’s what they need to do if they really care about “the kids” – which they don’t. While the rest of the country in the private sector was going through massive layoffs, pay freezes, healthcare costs going up (long before “Obamacare”) and struggling just to make ends meet without saving anything for retirement, the teachers were getting pay raises, pensions that allow them to retire and be set for life and good healthcare. I’m not saying that teachers shouldn’t get that – everyone should (and I do love some of the teachers we have had/have in CPS) – but we as a city couldn’t afford what was promised. It was a very bad promise to make. And every time we delay making a change to this promise for each future teacher and future day, it makes it that much worse.
    Correct me if I’m wrong because I’m just a mom, but taking money from the TIF funds isn’t the answer. That is supposed to be set aside for improvements to certain areas of neighborhoods, isn’t it? It isn’t supposed to be used for individual people. It is for everyone in the city.
    All I ever hear is, “well we were promised this and the courts have said you have to give this to us.” Well, I’m pretty broke and many people I know are broke, too. So…there is no money tree.

  • 341. Vicki  |  November 6, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    lk, Yes, my comment was aimed at you. I live in the western suburbs and teach in the city. I work incredibly hard to provide my children with the best education possible. BOTH my own children and my students. I raise money to buy my students the same types of technology and supplies my children have at their suburban high school. I spend endless hours developing curriculum to get my students up to and beyond their grade levels. I have had the unfortunate experience of working with brand new teachers who didn’t understand that teaching isn’t only spewing information at kids and were doing their time before getting to the “good” schools. I have also worked with TFA who couldn’t wait to get out of the classroom and get into administration, where “the money is.” I met a TFA teacher at a Princeton University event where I was told his 4 years at Princeton were easier than one week at a 2nd grade classroom on the west side of Chicago. He was heading to law school. And, truth be told, I have also worked with some horrible veteran teachers.

    NSCP is not representative of the schools of the Chicago Public School System.

    One thing you may not see as you work in Western Suburbs, most people are not complaining about paying high taxes to subsidize a strong school system. When my sons’ school was negotiating a contract a few years ago, the parents came out in full force to support the teachers. Parents and teachers need to combine forces to provide for children.

    I am angry that there are people who can so easily dismiss the teaching profession; even if doing so “tongue in cheek.”

  • 342. Vikingmom  |  November 6, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Reminder that Amundsen’s Open House is tomorrow from 10am-1pm. Come see new renovations, hear about the various academic programs (including IB), talk to students and parents about their experiences.
    There is an IB info session from 10-11am. Note that this is one of the mandatory sessions CPS requires for anyone applying to the IB program, so will be a bit more general in nature. Also, there are a number of sessions offered at different schools so if you miss this one you can find another (check cps website for further details).
    Go Vikings!!

  • 343. One and Done  |  November 6, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    “We had about a week of training, but that was enough – all of us knew the material well, had detailed plans of what needs to be covered in class, what H/W assignments to give and what to test on quizzes.”

    HS Newbie, I sincerely hope you were joking with this comment. In case you weren’t, I have to ask – who provided the detailed plans, the homework plans, and the information about what to test? I’m guessing the more highly trained professor, who was being appropriately compensated with a salary, health insurance, and pension.

    I cannot imagine why anyone would think it is outrageous for teachers be given a decent salary and pension. These are the people who teach our children. Teachers don’t get Social Security and they don’t get matching funds for their 403 b. The only retirement plan they get is the pension.

  • 344. HS_newbie  |  November 6, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    >I have to ask – who provided the detailed plans, the homework
    >plans, and the information about what to test? I’m guessing the
    >more highly trained professor, who was being appropriately
    >compensated with a salary, health insurance, and pension.
    Yes. So? I am not saying that new grads need to start from scratch. For all of the AP classes this information is available online for free. Somebody already paid these teachers to write up very detailed course plans, now just go and use them. For many HS classes this staff is also available online. If not, you need ONE teacher per class per CITY to write it up during one school year. That’s it. Then just use xerox until the next education reform and change in the curriculum.

  • 345. HS_newbie  |  November 7, 2015 at 1:07 am

    PS: I don’t think it is outrageous for SOME teachers to be given a decent salary and pension. But I do think it is ridicules to pay current salaries to ALL the teachers. One head teacher per department? Two? That should be enough to provide continuity in the subjects and to make decisions of switching textbooks or making any other changes. But the rest is a typical TA’s job. At least at the 7-12 grades level.

    NSP is at the risk of closing few AP classes because they are short on funding. Well, I would think that these classes already have study plans and everything else. Call it “clubs”, hire non-union instructors to run them and it just might be possible to give these kids a chance to sit for the test come May.

  • 346. CPSer  |  November 7, 2015 at 7:29 am

    If the information is so ready available, why can’t a kid just work her way through it to prepare for the exam? Why even hire a “club” director.

  • 347. HS_newbie  |  November 7, 2015 at 8:50 am

    That was an answer to your question about who wrote plans for college TA’s. Plan is not everything, somebody needs to follow it, to explain the material, to run the labs, to grade h/w and leave reasonable comments to it, so that kids can learn from their mistakes.

    I am not talking about putting an English major in charge of a chemistry AP class. But if you have a chemistry graduate student, that means that before that he was a chemistry major with reasonable grades, otherwise he wouldn’t get into grad school. Which means that he knows the AP material really well plus a lot on top of that.

  • 348. High Schools  |  November 7, 2015 at 11:10 am

    341 – “One thing you may not see as you work in Western Suburbs, most people are not complaining about paying high taxes to subsidize a strong school system.”

    From the article in 324

    “CPS already gets proportionately more state aid than other schools. According to the conservative Illinois Policy Institute, Chicago benefits from the way the state calculates how much financial aid it gives to CPS. Those technical and confusing formulas take into account such factors as poverty rate, attendance, special education and property tax levels.”

    I wonder if those people in the Western Suburbs would object to funding CPS as we demand more from the state.

    Plenty of people complaining in the north shore about the perks associated with teachers “announcing” their retirement.


  • 349. cpsobsessed  |  November 7, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    @341 Vicki: What is the pension set-up like for Western suburban teachers? Is it the same as CPS (and if so, does the town budget have enough to cover it?)

    I don’t think it’s the salaries that are the main objection in the city, but the pension burden so I wonder how the smaller towns deal with this.

  • 350. cpsobsessed  |  November 7, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Was at the Amundsen open house today. Full house for the IB info session. I do think I finally have a sense of what the IB program is. And now I can’t explain it myself. I’ll check my notes later, but I do like the idea of moving beyond the lecture format and each class standing alone in terms of learning/grades. It reminds me in some ways of the Montessori method for older kids. But it does seem to require a student who wants to be highly engaged in the learning process both in and outside of school.

    The staff and students were all very friendly and the renovations look great. It’s a beautiful building – wonderful elements of vintage stuff plus bright and sunny. The science and chem labs looked great.

    I didn’t make it to the Amundsen IB specific session today. Will do that next time.

    I also heard positive feedback from 2 people about the Von Steuben open house this morning.

  • 351. 60660  |  November 7, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Every IL PS teacher outside of Chicago is enrolled in the IL TRS.
    IL TRS has $46 billion in assets but is only about 40% funded.

    Part of the discrepancy that needs to be addressed is IL TRS is funded from state revenues (the state income tax) which Chicago taxpayers contribute to but the Chicago Pension fund is funded solely by the city. This is the basis of Rahms claim for $200 million from the state.

    Both pension systems are in deficit because for years the state and city relied on unrealistic projections and didn’t pay into them, so the funds missing are not just the lost revenue but the compounded returns on that revenue.

    Meanwhile hedgies like Rauner are looking at those vast pots of pension cash and figuring how to get a piece of it – and who needs teachers anyway when you can sit kids down in front of screens and show them Khan academy videos until they graduate, because that’s a model that works right?

  • 352. Chicago Foodie  |  November 7, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Those of you who are coming to the Northside Open House tomorrow, arrive hungry! There will be food, good food. Breakfast AND lunch options!

  • 353. lk  |  November 7, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    I read there will be 5 food trucks…Yum.

    If anyone has questions about Northside, I have a junior son there.

    All I can say is that it is worth the drive, bus, train etc to go to school there. The kids are from all back-rounds and cultures. One could not be nicer then the other. My son does not feel like it is competitive. Yes, this is an academic school and the kids want to be there.

    One parent told me when my son was a freshman, that the kids “think” differently there or are wired differently. I don’t know how to explain that but I agree. They seem to be able to go “deeper” but it seems that they are taught that also.

    Math: Yes, it is a lot of writing in Algebra/Geometry. This totally almost was the reason for my son NOT to go there. Some math kids tend not to be great at explaining the reasons in sentence form. The kids learn their unique way of doing math and excel. It prepares them for college and they go “deeper” in their explanation of it. He is so glad that he was able to take Geometry (which he had in 8th grade but said this was totally different, like he never took Geometry prior).

    He was the only kid from his junior high to go there and this seems like the trend there. Kids that take the road less traveled type of thing. He made friends quickly and this was a concern of ours. Again, the kids/families could not be nicer and very involved.

    Sports/Arts: Very strong Art/music/theater/dance scene. We were very surprised. Sports seem competitive and they have some very good teams. Check the website out.

    Teachers are excellent. When you go to the class sessions, I hope you get the sense that they are very passionate about teaching your kids. There are multiple ways for your kids to get help. They tend to email back quickly. Some are Google teacher certified. Their presentations are very interesting and keeps your attention.

    One thing that really impressed me was when he was a Freshman it was like each teacher emailed him to answer multiple questions to find out what type of learner he was. They wanted to know where his learning difficulties were, weakness/strengths etc. It was pretty detailed and maybe that is one way they were building his learning profile.

    Learning Services is very good there and extremely willing to help with whatever learning issues or support your child needs. Not necessarily what a form says(504/IEP). Tell them how they can help and they most likely will do whatever they can.

    I can go on about clubs etc but these were area’s of concern’s of ours and the most frequently asked questions over the years to me.

    One of the best descriptions when we where looking for high schools about Northside was from a student that posted something like this online…….. It said……

    “Yes, we have cheerleaders and they are even cute. They just might be in your AP Calculus class” ):

    Go early to beat the long lines….

  • 354. HS_newbie  |  November 7, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Did your son take Geometry for the second time because he had to or because he chose to? How does the placement process works?

  • 355. Chicago Foodie  |  November 8, 2015 at 12:26 am

    Yes, food trucks from the city’s best purveyors! Our freshman is also very happy at Northside. He also says everyone is SO nice and he doesn’t feel it’s competitive. I’ll be working at the Open House tomorrow. I hope everyone enjoys it!

  • 356. lk  |  November 8, 2015 at 9:23 am

    354 Hs_Newbie:

    He attempted to place out of Geometry by a test given by Northside and did not pass. He look defeated when he came out. First time not excelling on something related to math(:.

    This also, according to him, was one of the best things that happened to him. He has always been in the top 99% of any math related national/local test. 99% on selective enrollment tests etc. Always in advanced math. Part of Math honor society now, etc etc.

    He felt it was actually their Geometry final and said he only knew like 3/13 problems since he was not taught the other problems/principals. They were mostly Trigonometry problems and or strongly mixed. Over the course of the year he really got to know Geometry extremely well and was not the depth of what he was taught in 8th grade. Many kids we know make the decision to start at Geometry even if they CAN bypass it. If it becomes an easy “A” then great but most of whom we know are challenged by it. You can always talk to the math teachers today or better yet get their emails since it might be hectic to have a meaningful conversation today.

    There are kids entering 9th grade from Algebra-Calculus. He took Trig as a sophomore, Pre-calculus this past summer (5 weeks and he said way to slow at 5 hours a day) and now has AP Calculus BC as a Junior and as a senior will take Multi-variable calculus and Statistics. Every college we spoke to says this is plenty as many kids don’t come in with Calculus.

    Also be careful what you wish for….if you come in at Trig, I “think” you have to take the full year of precalculus not the online or summer class. Like my son, many find this very slow in just the 5 week class……

    I don’t know what they do with the kids that need more then multi-variable calc.

    Good Luck.

  • 357. lk  |  November 8, 2015 at 9:34 am

    We have been to multiple colleges and met with Math Department heads besides looking at engineering. They all said similar things to us. Yes, you might of had Calculus in High school but NOT the way we teach it here at (insert name of highly selective college here…….).

    One other quick note about Northside was the way they group kids in certain classes into smaller sectors. So you can have multiple 4-6 groups of kids discussing topics amoungst themselves. This has proven highly productive and meaningful. Gets them to talk and become independent thinkers and share idea’s. For kids that don’t open up in the larger class, they seem to do it with their peers.

  • 358. Marketing Mom  |  November 8, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    We just left NSCP and I was very surprised to see that the lines were not very long. I was mot very impressed with the principals presentation, but the choir they had sing was nice, but irrelevant as to why you child should consider this school.maybe I am having a hard time getting past the lack of diversity here. One of the top schools in the city, if not the state, and the lowest percentage of minorities continues to decrease. Not very welcoming!

  • 359. @Marketing Mom  |  November 8, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Dear Marketing Mom,
    If beautiful singing expertly conducted is “irrelevant” to you, then you probably shouldn’t send your child to Northside.

  • 360. North Center Mom  |  November 8, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    @358 Marketing Mom. I believe you are wrong about diversity. According to cps.edu, Northside is 31% white. You may be confusing NS with Payton, which is 44% white.

  • 361. @ north center mom  |  November 8, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    I believe marketing mom may be talking about African American diversity. It’s only 8.6%. This may have more to do with location & the fact Chicago is so segregated.

  • 362. lk  |  November 8, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    Marketing Mom

    Over 3,000 people visited today. Maybe they were just efficient? Also it depends on the time of day you went. From our experience you will not see the same amount of people go to NS open house or Payton’s due to the scores you need to get in.

    I respect your opinion. This is why you go to open house’s. But from my earlier posts, since we have gone to some back to back years with different kids, you can get a different feel year to year. At Jones one year it felt great and the next year for us not so much. Jones to me is such a great school and extremely diverse in just about every way. Dr Powers (Principal) has done a fantastic job at converting that school in just like 6 years. He actually took NS math program and worked it into Jones, I wish he would run CPS):

    When we went to NS 3 years ago the hallways were a bit chaotic but once you got to the classroom that is where we saw the difference for our child. It just felt right to us. Talking to teachers and the principal just made sense to us compared to other schools.

    We actually were surprised when Payton didn’t feel right for us since we knew many families there. (We know families at just about all the SE schools).

    As far as diversity goes, it depends what you are looking for I guess? It seems that kids really don’t see race as much as my age group does. They seem to just see kids. NS has more Asian/Hispanic vs African American/hispanic at Payton. When kids come over or when my child interacts with friends at school they are all races/creeds/color. I would think this is a good thing?

    You can actually look up all of this online to get facts instead of speculating.

    http://www.newsweek.com/high-schools/americas-top-high-schools-2015 Look at number 12 (we moved down two spots on this rating(:)



    This might not be 100% factual but white enrollment makes up only 42% if you look at the link above.

    This is the Illinois report card: http://illinoisreportcard.com/School.aspx?source=Profile&Schoolid=150162990250794

    If readiness for college/dropout rate/ graduation rates/freshman on track matter to you. Also 42% low income students.

    I think it is pretty remarkable that this school consistently performs at such a high level if you really look at all the numbers…..but that’s just me..):

  • 363. 8th Grade mom  |  November 9, 2015 at 9:12 am

    NS did a good job of moving large numbers of people. They had two lines with presentations in two locations to keep things moving, and that worked well. I think for an independent, intellectual student NS has a lot to offer.

  • 364. first time HS application  |  November 10, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    @150 — thank you for your summary. Very helpful, as is this blog so many thanks all around. I was wondering if anyone else was surprised with their NWEA MAP scores? My 8th grader scored 10 percentage points below that of her average standardized test scores in math, but was consistent with reading. Does not set her up well for NS or Payton. Tier 4 applicant.
    @250 wondering the same thing — will the cut off scores change much from 2015/16?

  • 365. cpsobsessed  |  November 10, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    @364: can I ask what grade your child is in? And you’re saying the score was 10 points lower than what she typically gets on standardized tests?

  • 366. 8th Grade mom  |  November 10, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    Last year the cutoff scores for all the SEHS declined, when they moved to MAP vs. ISAT. We had a similar experience – reading was consistent, but math was a little lower than typical. I think it’s hard to know how the scores will fall this year. Students are more familiar with MAP now, but there is also a small increase in the number of SE seats.

  • 367. cpsobsessed  |  November 10, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Oops, I see you say you have an 8th grader. I believe the entire district didn’t advance much in Math. I need to check that. But my son’s class and even his school (high scoring school) seemed to have some issues in Math scoring. I could go on a slight rant about math in CPS, but I will do that in an anonymous post. 🙂
    I guess the hope is that other students dropped as well so she’d still have a chance for the top schools. I’ll look at data when I get a chance.

  • 368. stories to tell  |  November 10, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Our 6th & 7th grade math scores definitely lower on MAP compared to previous ISAT scores, many areas were not covered in school. Also as student answers more questions correctly, test changes to more difficult questions.

  • 369. cpsobsessed  |  November 10, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Agh, you guys… I always forget how depressing it can be looking at CPS attainment data. there are schools in our system with attainment in the 1,2,3% level nationally. I remember when I first got into all this why I thought the idea of Charters was okay. I understand now that it’s terribly inefficient and disruptive for our district. But man, looking at those scores you can’t help but think there’s got to be a better way to educate some of these kids.

  • 370. cpsobsessed  |  November 10, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    The disctrict as a whole appears to be improving in Math.
    Attainment %
    2013 45%
    2014 48%
    2015 52%

    For 7th graders:
    2013 45%
    2014 50%
    2015 54%

    So I guess if a kid dropped, that is going against norm. I thought I’d seen numbers that showed some weakness in math for the district and my son’s school, but the data the Test Score posted makes it look like math is okay.

  • 371. Chicago School GPS  |  November 10, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    CPSOAE put up their Point Calculation Tool (it was gone for a few years). Current 8th graders can put in their MAP scores & grades and choose their Tier to see what they need to score on their SEHS exam in order to get into their school of choice.

    Remember: cutoff scores will change as they do each year. Payton is also adding 100 additional freshman seats this Fall 2016. They should have a class size of about 320, Northside about 290, Jones about 350 for SEHS and 38/37 for their Pre-Law/Pre-Engineering CTE programs.

  • 372. first time HS application  |  November 10, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Thanks again cpsobsessed. Yes, she scored 10 points below what she has scored in her past in math, but was consistent in reading. It is what it is, and thankfully she will still have many options. I agree how depressing it is to take in all data across the district. There must be a better way.

  • 373. HS_newbie  |  November 10, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Does anybody know how the Entrance Test is graded? The maximum is 300 points, but I hope there are not 300 questions on the test. So is it two points per question? Three? Are all the questions have the same weight?

  • 374. Northside Parent  |  November 10, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    It’s by percentile only. I don’t think you will even see the raw score. Oh how the Americans love comparisons!

  • 375. HS_newbie  |  November 10, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Oh, I see. So to get 300 points one does not necessarily needs to get all the questions right. Good to know :))

  • 376. HS_newbie  |  November 10, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    By the way, for the AC entrance exam CPS does put the actual exam score in the letter. For my son it was 145, I think 150 is the max, but from what I know this is an already normed score, because it is adjusted for child’s age.

  • 377. JenFG  |  November 11, 2015 at 9:46 am

    I had dealt with 7th-grade ISATs for oldest child. But now for my middle child, I’m unclear on which NWEA test is used for SEHS applications. Is it still taken in 7th grade or is it 8th grade? Fall, winter, spring? (This is for a CPS student.) Thanks!

  • 378. Chicago School GPS  |  November 11, 2015 at 9:54 am

    CPS students are unchanged: it’s the standardized testing from the spring of their 7th grade year that is used.

    Private school kids were pushed to fall of their 8th grade year due to timing/space issues of getting them tested by CPS. Ideally all kids would take the standardized test (NWEA MAP for now) in the spring of their 7th grade year, but these last two years for private school kids hasn’t been the case.

  • 379. HS_newbie  |  November 11, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    @377 – for CPS kids it is the 7th grade spring NWEA MAP results.

    Private school kids do take the test in the Fall of their 8th grade, but then it is normed for 8th graders, so it is not like you comparing results between two groups of children where one is 6 months older.

  • 380. Selectivenrollment_newbie  |  November 11, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Can someone go a little more in depth on the percentile scores? You don’t need to get all the questions right to get a 300…how so?

    And does anyone know if students are allowed scratch paper on the test? I know for academic center they could not write in the booklet or anything

  • 381. Northside Parent  |  November 11, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    It’s based on percentile. So if everyone in chicago answers only half the questions correctly, and your kid answers 51% correctly, he will get a 300 out of 300.

  • 382. HS_newbie  |  November 11, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    “Percentile grading” means that when the test was first introduced it was given to few thousand 8th graders all over the country. Then authors of the test looked at the results and put together a table.

    Let’s say there are 100 questions on the test, each one is 1 point, 10,000 students took it for norming purposes.
    100 points – 10 students
    99 points – 12 students
    98 points – 25 students
    97 points – 53 students
    96 points – 103 students
    1% of 10,000 is 100, so for the top 100 results we can say that 99% of all students did worth than these 100. 10 + 12 + 25 + 53 is 100, so everybody with the result at 97 points or above will be 99th percentile. Then do the same for the next 100 students. Since there are 100 at 96 points, for 98th percentile there will be no range, just one number – if someone got 96 points he will be at 98th percentile. Etc.
    After these percentiles are set, they can be used to grade new students taking the test – the idea is that the initial group was big enough to be a good representation, so everybody else is compared to that initial group.

  • 383. Northside Parent  |  November 11, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Thanks, your explanation was far better than mine. 🙂 That also explains how the early testers can see their scores even though everyone hasn’t taken the test yet.

  • 384. HS_newbie  |  November 11, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    I don’t think so. At least for the AC test CPS uses a nationally normed test, OLSAT. Same thing with NWEA MAP – there are tables available online where you can find your child raw score and see what the corresponding percentile is. These tables are updated from time to time, but definitely not every year.

  • 385. tess  |  November 14, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    I attended Walter Payton College Prep’s open house today, principal’s presentation and those of 3 very poised, confident students, male singing group (SOS) did lovely number. Wish my 7th grader who loves Glee came along. Heard parent talk to another waiting in line, WP doesn’t have pool for swim and water polo team, but shares that of Jones. Principal said new/west building opening Feb 2016 will have 14 new classrooms, gym, work out room, 2 special ed rooms, art room, and some other things I can’t think of now. Definitely seemed like a high pressured environment, imagine that a low key individual would not find themselves here. One student talked about his grades taking a nosedive during first semester, until he asked for help/tutoring. Very strong chemical/benzine-like/headache-inducing smell in the building, lots of visible fumes outside owing to the construction.

  • 386. 8th Grade mom  |  November 14, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    I did not attend WP this year but last year in the presentation, and discussions, it was stressed that they encourage all kids to work at a level that challenges them to the point where they need tutoring;
    and tutoring/help is part of the culture of the school.

  • 387. michele  |  November 15, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    I am writing to you today to ask you if you have a chance to lend voice of reasonableness for our students in Distract 299 you take an opportunity to make sure everyone at the table who is discussing Chicago schools and future funding stays focused on the interests of the students.

    Below is information about an upcoming Rally where CPS Parents and Children can make sure their voices are heard. This rally is not Political it is Personal – as Parents of CPS students we want to make sure the educational interests of our children are formally recognized as the first priority in any District 299 funding discussions by the Governor, the Legislature, and the Mayor. Parents demand no less for their children!

    Parents For Equitable Education Funding (PEEF)
    To Gather on November 18

    WHAT: Parents, Local School Council members, Student Councils from CPS and many not-for profit parent groups are holding a rally and march in the Loop on November 18th at the CPS Board Office and the State of Illinois Building. We are demanding two things:

    1. Immediate release of funds from our City, CPS and Springfield so as not disrupt this school year.
    2. Our state and local elected officials work together for equitable funding for all Illinois students, including the 400,000 public school students in Chicago.

    WHY: Unless the $480 million CPS budgetary shortfall isn’t resolved, CPS has proposed draconian cuts which will be devastating to our children’s education. Schools will lose up to 20% of teachers, resulting in split grade classrooms, bloating of class size up to 45 students, and loss of programs – all mid-year. As parents we cannot accept this devastation to our children’s educational environment.


    Wednesday November 18 –

    · 9:30 a.m.: gather 1 S. Dearborn Plaza 9:45 step off to 42 W. Madison location of CPS Board of Education meeting

    · Step off at 10:30a.m.: march North on Clark, West on Randolph, proceed to Thompson Center.

    · Comments at the Thompson Center/State of Illinois Building at 11 a.m. (expected location of Rauner, Madigan and Cullerton meeting)

    WHO: We request everyone concerned about public education to attend and help spread the word. Bring signs. Bring your children! Let them learn how to have a voice in their own future!


    Hope to see many of you and your students out this Wednesday!! Our kids don’t get a second chance to be in the grade they’re in this year. Let’s do everything we can as Parents to make sure our kid’s schools maintain funding streams to ensure quality educational services and keep their doors open.

    Thank you for your advocacy and for reading this lengthy post.

  • 388. NWS parent  |  November 15, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Our visit to WP yesterday marked the end of our open house tour schedule and I have to say our 8th grader isn’t any closer to making a decision. All the SEHS’ we visited were impressive, and frankly the quality of the main academic programs were surprisingly similar. All that being said, we loved the seminar and enrichment programs at WP. They seem to offer a variety and flexibility to explore things most of the other schools don’t. NSCP has something similar, but the enrichment starting during the actual school day encourages participation in sports and clubs in a way that makes me feel like our child could participate without getting as overwhelmed. I guess we’ll see in the next few weeks as the deadline approaches.

  • 389. Selectiveenrollement_newbie  |  November 15, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Has anyone scheduled shadow days or went to them? I want to for my daughter but not sure if it really benefits

  • 390. Rosanne  |  November 15, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    “I am writing to you today to ask you if you have a chance to lend voice of reasonableness for our students”

    CTU teachers are overpaid and can’t teach. Their pay and benefits should be reduced accordingly. The school admiinstration is bloated. Test scores are dropping. The city and state are broke. We are one of the top total taxed cities and states in the nation. Things will only getting worse. There is no reason to reward bad behavior, It only encourages more failure.

    However, school parents are free to donate money to their schools if they are truly concerned about under funding. Or are you only concerned when you can spend other people’s money?

  • 391. Mommie_23  |  November 15, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Does anyone know if you get just one school you are accepted into or multiple?

  • 392. HS_newbie  |  November 15, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Depends on where you apply. A child can be offered seat only at one SEHS seat. It will be the top school from the list on the application that this child has enough points for.
    For IB schools there will be a separate letter. Again, the top one from the list.
    For neighborhood schools another one.
    Some schools have their own entrance process for their honors program, so that will be another letter.

  • 393. HS_newbie  |  November 15, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    ouch, I need an “edit” button :((

  • 394. tess  |  November 15, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    389. I think shadow days are good for prospective students, perhaps clearer picture/more in depth than salesmanship at open house?
    391. For SE, you put your favorite school on top, No. 2, etc, (up to 6) student gets one top pick that his/her score allows. Or none, if score is lower than cut off score for last pick.
    For IB, you can apply for up to 6 also, and may get invited to up to 6.
    Also need to attend IB info session. Check with OAE office to make sure attendance was counted.

  • 395. stories to tell  |  November 16, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    youtube how to apply video

  • 396. lk  |  November 16, 2015 at 5:36 pm


    Do the shadow day…..it can change your opinion of the school compared to the hectic open house day.

    We went to NS on the Wed Colloquium day(3 years ago). This really changed our minds. Instead of our vision of nerdy kids with calculators and pens sticking out of their shirt pockets (talk about stereotyping….): Immediately we saw dancers in different groups, artists, sport kids running around. There were groups of kids just lying by their lockers helping each other out with some homework…..It was such a laid back- cool feel. We weaseled our way to talk to one of the Math teachers and VP of the school and that was it. Again as I posted prior, it is very hard to fake passion for teaching……..

    check out the websites and the student newspapers of the schools also….I think you gain some information that you might not get anywhere else.

  • 397. HS_newbie  |  November 16, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    How does one find out about shadow days? I would love to do it at Payton, as we did not make it to the open house, but I don’t see any information about it.
    Also, LP, especially IB program.

  • 398. stories to tell  |  November 16, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    397. Take a look at individual school websites, don’t know if any of the SE schools offer, maybe because they don’t have to beat the bushes for more applicants(?) but others do: Amundsen, Lakeview, Alcott has parent tours every Tuesday with reservation…

  • 399. stories to tell  |  November 16, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    When I was at the WP open house, someone said students who were accepted will be invited to take a closer look before they commit.

  • 400. Mommie_23  |  November 16, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    To ask for a shadow day should we contact the principal or one of the assistant principals?

  • 401. HS_newbie  |  November 17, 2015 at 12:12 am

    Another question about WP – do they allow kids to take more than one science class at a time? If so, starting from what grade? Is it possible to get to more than one AP science class? At other schools one can usually select second science as an elective, but at WP they don’t really do electives because of the seminars (same as clubs?) day, right? If one wants to do AP in physics and chemistry, it is already 5 years worth of curriculum, plus the mandatory biology is at least one more year. How does it work?

  • 402. stories to tell  |  November 17, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    400. Check each school’s website/admission info. Each may have a contact name to write or call to register for a particular day.

  • 403. mollie  |  November 17, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Family Friend here, back to ask for help: My protege’s younger brother is ready for HS and I am looking for a totally different type of placement. He has an IEP and struggles with reading and writing. He has made amazing improvement since he was first diagnosed, and is in the 70th percentile in regular math class with no assistance other than a quiet place to take his tests. But he will need reading support wherever he goes. He’s sweet, hardworking, and understands his strengths and weaknesses.He likes math, computers, and playing games. We have applied to the Wolcott School, which would be absolutely perfect, but he needs to both be admitted and receive a scholarship, so we are working to identify other good options. My daughter is a grade school counselor and recommended Wells, We visited and really liked it, but it’s far from his home in Rogers Park. They have a computer game program, which will teach him programming, and a renowned special ed program. It’s a possibility. We are also looking at Rickover, which is geographically attractive and really pays attention to individuals. His teacher is going to talk to the special ed staff there to see if it would be right for him. My daughter suggested we look at some of the other CTE programs and even IB. I can look up the success of IB programs but I can’t find out how well the schools handle students with IEPs. As to CTE, I can see which schools have IT programs (e.g., Amundsen) but I can’t tell whether they are any good or whether the schools have good special ed programs,

    Anyone have experience with this, or advice? Thanks.

    By the way, his sister, now a senior, is a Posse finalist, waiting to hear next month whether she will have Posse scholarship.

  • 404. mom2  |  November 17, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    mollie – I’m pretty sure that Amundsen’s principal has a background as a special ed teacher. You should certainly reach out to her!

  • 405. tess  |  November 17, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    403/mollie-Amundsen is having shadow day tomorrow, maybe still possible to register?

  • 406. jen  |  November 17, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    @mollie, aka Family Friend. I was thinking of you when I heard Amandla is being closed. That is the school you were really involved with, no? Your passion and commitment to kids is laudable and I’m sorry (even though I don’t support charters) to hear the place where you’ve poured out your heart will close. The children you work with are lucky to have you.

  • 407. Helen  |  November 17, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    I also recommend that you take a look at Amundsen. Good things are happening there & they seem to have embraced a hands on/Montessori like teaching style. It may be a great fit for the child you describe.

  • 408. cpsobsessed  |  November 18, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    I hate asking these questions because I know they are asked every year and I *should* remember, but….

    Does anyone know if it’s worth signing up a 7th grader to take the Options test as practice for the SE admissions test next year? My understanding is that they are both the type of test to measure ‘giftedness’ (meaning logic, etc rather than aptitude.)

  • 409. HS_newbie  |  November 18, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    HS admission test is a straight forward achievement test – math, reading, grammar, vocab. Think ISAT or ACT style, Algebra I is included, Geometry is not (as in Geometry class, not the bits and pieces that are covered in the elementary math classes)

    On the other hand, AC admission test is a completely different story, but if your kid is already in the 7th grade it is too late for that.

  • 410. HS_newbie  |  November 18, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Just talked to OAE – test results for early testing dates (Nov. 14 and Nov. 21) will be mailed on December 7.
    Good luck for getting them by December 11 application deadline :((

  • 411. @HS Newbie  |  November 18, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    You can take the AC test in 7th grade to enter an AC for 8th grade. Many of the ACs have a small number of openings in 8th grade. Since, it’s not an entry year the high scorers get the limited amount of seats.

  • 412. HS_newbie  |  November 18, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    One can take the AC test in 7th grade, but it can’t be used as a practice for the HS SE admissions test next year, because these two tests are very different.

    As for starting AC in the 8th grade… Don’t know about all of them, but WY will not take new kids even if somebody leaves after 7th grade because of the way the program is structured. For example, they take English I, which is a HS honors class, and split it into two years, so by the end of 8th grade kids have one full HS English credit. All AC kids take Honors Biology in the 8th grade, but this is possible because they have very strong science class in the 7th grade as well.

  • 413. westrogersparkmom  |  November 18, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Wow- they are not giving much time are they? Mailing on the 7th with applications due on the 11th isn’t much of a window.

    I agree with the others about the AC v. high school test but if anyone is reading this with a younger kid I do highly recommend having your kid take the Options test in 5th grade(for IG and Options) to get an idea of how they will do the following year while applying to AC’s. It can give you an idea if your kid could improve with test prep.

  • 414. Patricia  |  November 18, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    @ 412
    At Lane AC, I have not heard them letting kids in 8th recently, but I may be wrong. I am not sure how it would work because in Lane AC, 7th graders take High School honors Biology and in 8th grade take High School honors Chemistry. (then can take AP Physics Freshman year.) So someone entering 8th grade would be in all classes with 7th graders. Lane doesn’t split English and instead has 8th graders take Honors English 1. I have been told Lane has the AC kids have the option to take more HS classes than Whitney. 10 – 11 credits accumulate over AC years.

  • 415. Been There  |  November 18, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    @413 But the gifted/options for 5th grade test and the AC test are not the same kind of test, I’m told. Although the Options/gifted tests supposedly attempt to test aptitude, they are a mix of aptitude/already acquired knowledge tests. AC test is more like a true IQ test. (focuses on nonverbal ability though.) So results might not correlate. In other words, the AC test is not just a 6th grade level Options test.

  • 416. westrogersparkmom  |  November 18, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    @I don’t think so. I think they convert over to the same test format after 4th or 5th grade entry. (at least for Options- Classical is a separate test which my kid didn’t take). My daughter took the test in 5th for 6th grade entry and in 6th for 7th grade entry and they were the same type of test with the same type of questions. Maybe someone can clarify with OAE.

  • 417. Chris  |  November 18, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    @415: “AC test is more like a true IQ test. (focuses on nonverbal ability though.)”

    My impression as well, about “more like an IQ test”.

    BUT, with kid in test prep for it now, I think I disagree about “focuses on nonverbal”, unless you mean something different from how I read that–I take nonverbal (in the context of a written-only exam) to mean not ‘language’ based.

  • 418. Been There  |  November 19, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    @417 Based on the admittedly not rock solid source, my kid, who took the AC test 3 years ago, the AC test questions are majority “what come next in this series of images, numbers” type questions. That is testing nonverbal ability.

    Good luck on getting a straight answer from OAE…they prefer no one know, for obvious reasons. And some of those you get on the phone don’t really know themselves.

  • 419. Chris  |  November 20, 2015 at 5:13 pm


    Yeah, the ‘prepped’ AC test is three sections:

    1. “Figural” reasoning (shapes, both as sequences and relationships, and hole punches in folded paper).
    2. “Quantitative” reasoning (next in a sequence of numbers, which answer goes with these numbers if you put in functions, etc).
    3. “Verbal” reasoning (Sentence Completion, Analogies, picking a word that follows the pattern of the example).

    They have said that in the recent past, Section 2 has been skipped, but that there is no way to predict whether or not it will be this (or any other) time, as there has not been any explanation given.

  • 420. Mommie_23  |  November 20, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    I have a book I am selling for the AC prep I got from selective prep for my child 2years ago, but the test is the same obviously. There is no math because something is wrong with that section but if anyone wants to take up the offer email me: gwenytheasterling58@gmail.com

  • 421. NewToChicago  |  November 24, 2015 at 12:05 am

    Could anyone with experience both at Payton and Northside compare and contrast the two schools? I know they are both great options and rank very similar on test scores, but I am sure there are differences on what “type of child” each is best suited for. My son is math and science inclined, loves computer programming and doesn’t care about sports much. He has a good chance of getting admitted to both, so we need to set our preferences. Our commute time to both schools would be about the same. Thanks for any insight!

  • 422. lk  |  November 24, 2015 at 8:18 am


    was in the same place 3 years ago. To us and my son the “feel” of the school was different. We all felt Northside is more laid back then Payton. We also know families at both schools currently. I think making friends was easier when not knowing many people at Northside. At Payton, alot of these kids come together in groups from private schools etc. My son was the only one from his school to go to NS.

    Math is different at NS especially do to IMP style. I will say that kids don’t like it the first semester then get it and usually like it afterwards. It’s alot of writting but for a deeper understanding of math. Math has like 6-8 National certified teachers.

    Science is Physics first, Chem, then biology. Can take Ap Physics and Chem and some other one also.

    NS has a 4 year computer science track. First year is like Java programming, then CPU building, Data-basing etc

    As I stated before, kids are just nice at NS….

    Teachers really care and will go that extra step. Multiple chances for kids to meet with peers or teachers weekly when needed. Teachers are very quick to respond if need.

    Just look at both websites and both newspapers. I know my son Mandarin class has 36 kids going to China for spring break and there are multiple opportunities given to NS . Every school comes here to recruit.

    Only crime I have seen or heard about is when Chicago PD (tv show) just shot an episode there and we watched it on TV….):

    If you need something more specific let me know.

  • 423. NewToChicago  |  November 24, 2015 at 8:29 am

    Thank you. Both NS and WP have an impressive list of colleges kids go to afterwards. Harvard, MIT, Stanford – all big names are there. What is not clear though is what percentage of kids goes to top vs average colleges. Is there any information on that?

  • 424. 8th Grade mom  |  November 24, 2015 at 9:02 am

    @423. Interesting question. I think it would also be interesting to see where students were accepted vs. matriculated. I have heard through the grapevine that the top colleges for NS are UofI/Urbana-Champaign and UofI/Chicago. I think that is largely a matter of cost, or wanting to stay in the region.Parents I know from New Trier and other affluent communities are usually hoping for UofI/Urbana rather than out of state or private. I personally know students that have been accepted to “elite” private colleges and opted for UofI.

    Also, in a diverse community like Chicago – some cultures/families do not want their students to go away for college. So percentages of attendance at elite schools would be different than in an area where 4-year residential is the norm.

    On a related note, I have heard that students are competing against their fellow students at the same school for spots at the elite universities. An admissions officer from a charter school claimed he always gets his top students into top schools,with scholarships. These student might be in the middle at a highly SE school. I’ve decided for my family that down the road we might apply to an Ivy or two, but admissions are so rare it’s not worth worrying about. I’ve known top students, leaders, etc. that wanted and did not get into elites (even with parent legacy!)

  • 425. lk  |  November 24, 2015 at 9:06 am

    I think on NS website there is a matriculation list. Very few go Ivy in reality at both schools. More from the Suburbs it seems like but we are visiting schools with my NS Junior and every school from University of Illinois, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Berkley, U of Chicago and we are seeing Wash U on Monday…..they have all told us that NS kids specifically do great at these schools in general. They all know NS specially also….many have roommates or are in class together and all say they are well prepared. Some of this coming from Admission counselors. There is always a smile on their face when we mention NS……really.

    Remember that lots of NS kids get into Northwestern but go somewhere else. Seems like 80% get into U of I but 40% go somewhere else.

    The college that is average for you might be the best Liberal Arts college for someone else. Plus smaller private schools give a lot more money. This becomes a deciding factor for a lot of families. Even though I think NS had like 25 kids go to Northwestern and like 20 going to U of Chicago and Michigan….lots of kids can’t. So the numbers you see at a lot of these schools are not 100%. It’s great if you get into school X but if you can’t afford to go there for various reasons……

    I would look at the percentage of kids that go to college first, then the type of colleges second. Some kids go to Illinois Wesleyan University or Knox College. Both local, great scholarship money, great in business, math and science with grads going to like Princeton for research Grad school. Both strong research schools. Both small schools. But who’s to say that these are any less then the ones mentioned above. (btw- both with high grade points and ACT scores). Or look at a school like McCallister in Minnesota…..again a great school with high marks to get in……….

    Hope this helps, gotta go to work….

  • 426. Patricia  |  November 24, 2015 at 10:54 am

    As an FYI–if your child is really into computers, there is no better program in the state (and most of the country) than Lane. The computer offerings are more than many colleges even and college credit can be earned in some of the classes. It seems you are set on NS or Payton, which is fine. Just be aware that the cut off’s do not tell the whole story as the AC kids at Lane or Whittney scores are counted either in other schools (because they tested and decided to stay at their AC school) or they did not test—but if the AC kids did test, they would no doubt test very high since HS test is an achievement test and these AC kids already completed HS classes. Many kids turn down NS, Payton, Jones, etc., yet their scores are counted in those schools cut-off.

    I’m not trying to sell one school over another, just highlighting the common misconceptions parents have by thinking cut-off scores equals quality. ANY of the SEHS,, IB and many of the neighborhood schools are fantastic opportunities (both on the Northside and Southside and in between). I am a big fan of minimizing commute.

  • 427. Newcomer  |  November 24, 2015 at 11:44 am

    I have posted above about this but here goes: NS has a really nice, cool environment. Students and teachers are NICE. My son loves IMP because it is not drudgery, he actually enjoys doing the homework because he gets to think creatively. If you son wants a more traditional math curriculum, he might find that at Payton. NS has a fabulous music department, and computing is very high-rated. The only problem is finding enough time in the schedule for all the electives my son wants to take. I wouldn’t worry about college acceptance. There are SO many different programs. Kids need to learn how to turn of the ambient noise and choose the one that resonates with them. Good luck!

  • 428. NewToChicago  |  November 24, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Thanks everyone for the thoughtful comments! Any Payton parents out there? Would love your perspective too!

  • 429. cpsobsessed  |  November 24, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    @426 Patricia – thanks for the info on Lane’s computer program. I didn’t feel like they played that up much during the tour (of course it’s hard to play up everything) but I’ll try to dig into it a little more.

  • 430. Patricia  |  November 24, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    CPSO, interesting, Lane should play up the computer program, but agree there is so much offered at Lane it is hard to play it all up during the tour. The makers lab is incredible with the latest technology, software, loft, 6-8 3d printers, etc. The faculty is amazing with former Motorola engineers, Kellogg MBA’s, etc. Also the fact that Lane has the size and resources to offer so many tech classes is nice.

  • 431. North Center Mom  |  November 24, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    This article is a real gut-check on what we are doing with our kids.
    In Chicago, the pressure starts in 7th grade, which is even worse. But I take some comfort in the fact that CPS SEHS’s use tier admission, which makes the environment within the schools more “normal”.

  • 432. pantherparent  |  November 25, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Jeff Solin heads up the Innovation Lab at Lane and by all accounts has done a great job. He was a beloved Computer Science teacher at Northside who left a couple of years ago for this opportunity.

    Lane definitely has more resources (aka more money) to put into their CS department than Northside.

  • 433. NWside Mom of 2  |  November 25, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    I am a parent of a junior at Northside with an 8th grader who may rank Lane over Northside- still deciding. Wanted to echo a few comments above. We have had a wonderful experience at Northside – our son is not an organized/ traditional student (has a 504) and we have found Northside a supportive environment with some fantastic teachers and really nice kids. He is a math/ science kid and has actually be most inspired by many of his English and history teachers there. I do want to note- if you have a child who may not be a straight A student in HS (where they have to function more independently) it can feel a little strange there. I went to the parent panel on the college process and there was a vibe of Ivies or bust. One piece of advice was “start a box to store all of your child’s awards so that you can effectively list them all in college applications”. I don’t think they imagined a world where your child didn’t need a box to keep track of their awards.

    I also know of many families recently with kids who could have gone to NS/Payton but are choosing Lane (and the AC kids are all kids who could have chosen NS/Payton). They are choosing it for the amazing class choices and the more traditional HS experience. I do think that the Lane CS program is probably stronger than NS, and that many math oriented kids prefer traditional math to the NS IMP program.

    Overall- as crazy as it is- I feel lucky to have these great choices!

  • 434. Newcomer  |  November 25, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Hi. Not all Northsiders are getting straight A’s, though, since only about 1/3 of the school just made A Honor Roll. As for the college meeting, how many parents were there? Could be that the mostly the very “Aim high” parents showed up because they are super focused on the hunt, other laid- back parents might have stayed home.

  • 435. lk  |  November 26, 2015 at 1:19 am

    433….you just described my junior at NS….and 434.

    I was at the meeting also. I think some on the panel were a little overboard on some area’s but they clearly stressed that NS and other Chicago SE kids don’t go to the Ivies. They stated don’t get your hopes up on this. I didn’t get the box for awards thing but there were actually alot of very good points. We just went through this with my daughter(not a SE school) and their larger picture of the process was very good. As far as the Aim high parents…..this is a process and look at any high school plan for college. You really have to be organized and sorta determined to go through the up’s and downs with your child. The kids aim high. I told my son expect more rejections then acceptances. If you apply to 10 schools and get into one….that’s where you are going…):

    Remember that this is a true college prep high school in every way. They are not just saying they are a college prep school. Yes, they talk about planning for college like day one. This is the ultimate goal for most of the kids. I think 99% or higher of the NS kids go to college. The best colleges are recruiting the kids. Any college wants Northside kids because they know they are successful at the college level due to the preparation that is done at the high school level. We have been to 7 Universities visiting and going to Washington University in St. Louis on Monday. EVERY school we visited from the admission counselor down to the kids taking us on tour, stated that NS kids excel at college, many find it easier then high school. EVERY college said they wanted more NS kids. They also said the NS kids are very nice and mature. See the theme here…..Trust me your immature ,crazy acting Freshman becomes a mature, thoughtful,caring, well educated young adult. Yes, it sounds crazy but it’s true.

    As far as the getting all “A’s”………of course not. The classes here are very challenging. I know there is this illusion of this but colleges don’t really want this either. They want kids to be challenged at any level and doing extra curricular and yes, sports of some type. If you do a sport in Soph year of some type you can get out of gym class in your Junior/Senior year……anybody think why????? NS is very good at following the college trends. Plus it’s good for the kids in many ways.

    My child could of been on the National Honor Society but really didn’t want to do the meetings and car washes etc. Not his thing plus it’s a great thing but colleges see that on alot of applications so it sorta minus itself out. It can’t hurt but might not help sorta thing.

    I know I will be debated on this point but yes some colleges do rate NS kids in the admission process differently. A “B” is not necessarily a “B” in their eyes. They know the curriculum is challenging. This is coming from current and ex college admission people that I know.

    The whole Ivy thing at most high schools is most likely driven by the parents and some kids. My son’s friends at NS don’t talk about Ivy’s etc but some of the kids do. The parents that went to Ivy’s……

    We know a kid that has straight A’s, was on a known academic team, but got declined from the Ivy’s but got into Northwestern, Michigan, and U of Chicago…..not really bad choices…….

    There are tons of kids that go to “regular” colleges also whatever that means.

    No question that the SE process really prepares you and your child for the college process. I think I read a few years back that getting your kid into some of the SE high schools around the US is harder then getting into the Ivy’s……

    There is a great article that I posted a while ago. It is called something like “Your kid is not getting into Harvard”. It is all about the reality of our kids chances of getting into Harvard, Princeton, Stanford etc. It basically says with all the thousands of kids trying to land so few freshman seats, what makes your kid so special?……seems like Selective Enrollment on Steroids……):

  • 436. cpsteachermom  |  November 27, 2015 at 10:19 am

    The substitute teacher in the video was in an impossible situation. I have been there myself. At one crazy school, there was nowhere to lock up my purse, the 6th graders tried all day to crawl on the floor to get it out of a desk drawer, and the principal advised me that there was no good place to put my lunch because it would likely be stolen out of the fridge. In certain schools and classrooms, a sub can resort to the “bag of tricks” such as high-interest work or activities brought by the sub herself to the classroom, game incentives, free time once work is completed, you name it, and it will not work. A positive, friendly, firm, and professional manner will not always work. Good classroom management skills (lacking in the video) will not always work. The culture of the class/school is toxic. Teachers, principals, and schools have not set up parameters or expectations. I have a good friend who’s a teacher at a tough neighborhood high school, and when she leaves work for the sub, it is with the stipulation that all work will be worth twice the grade it normally would, and any misbehavior will be rewarded with an “F” and the students dealt with as their behavior deserves upon her return. That works. No one can succeed in a chaotic situation– no one. My sub experiences were interesting and varied, as I have subbed all over the city, from the very best, most high-achieving elementary schools to some of the very worst. Many stories to tell. I am not a sub any more, but it was a valuable and eye-opening experience.

  • 437. Raphael  |  November 28, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    As long as Northside supports IMP math, the number of kids that are contenders at the Ivies, or more importantly, at the top tech engineering colleges (e.g. MIT, Cal Tech, Stanford) will be very small. These are the colleges that are surpassing the Ivies on graduating leaders for the next generation.

  • 438. HS_newbie  |  November 28, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    @437 that is the main reason we are not even considering Jones, even though it would be an ideal school for my kids location-wise.

  • 439. lk  |  November 28, 2015 at 10:59 pm


    I am trying to follow your logic. Yes, I am Rah, Rah for NS, but I am not sure how factual your statement is. I don’t think colleges of Engineering (going to see another school tomorrow), really care what type of math you take. As long as you can do the math. A very large portion of NS kids go and get into Engineering programs at some of the best Universities in the United States.


    There are more then three excellent schools on this list. Our own University of Illinois is one of the best in the country. These lists change yearly and schools flip flop. I don’t think any Chicago or Illinois school is sending like 20 kids to Standford etc. I could be wrong. But I do know last year about 20 kids went to Northwestern, 25 went to University of Chicago and like 16 went to University of Michigan. A very large amount went to University of Illinois. I think it would make like half the Senior class with just with these 4 schools.

    As far as engineering facts coming from a University of Chicago lab high school college counselor. The big ten is outpacing just about everyone in placing Engineering kids at higher paying jobs after college. This is what we were told by someone that is her job and just visited the schools you mentioned and like 6 others in the top of the list.

    My son is doing an after school program for Engineering and they told me that there is just not enough talent to hire. They need more talent since a lot of the kids either don’t make it through engineering or find out that this is really not their passion. He said in reality it doesn’t make a difference of where they are coming from as long as they are talented and can be taught. These are pretty large firms .

  • 441. HS_newbie  |  November 28, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    The problem is not just getting into an engineering program, but also succeeding there. IMP math was never designed for kids that like math, for kids that can really do math, for kids that have the ability to excel at math. If somebody manages to make it despite IMP – good for them, but if I have a chance to give my kids better tools I prefer to do so.

  • 442. 8th Grade mom  |  November 29, 2015 at 12:16 am

    Curious about the math conversation. Is IMP the “trend” with more schools moving in that direction? Or is it moving in the other direction?

  • 443. HS_newbie  |  November 29, 2015 at 12:16 am

    Just a quick note about math:
    Go to the AMC website and look at the AMC10/AMC12 results – these are the main American math competitions. If you filter by state you will see school names for the Honor Roll, i.e. the top 2.5%. You see a lot of Whitney Young students, quite a few from the Lab School, couple kids from Payton. That’s it. No NS there.

    (look under Statistics and Awards)
    If anybody is wondering why NORTH CENTRAL COLLEGE/DEPT OF MATH is there even though nobody ever heard of it being a HS, I know the answer – it a college that provides space for anybody who wants to take this test. Usually they are either homeschoolers, or kids from small schools that do not administer the test.

  • 444. HS_newbie  |  November 29, 2015 at 12:38 am

    @441 – there is nothing wrong with the IDEA of integrating math topics – the rest of the world was always doing it and it can work really well. The main problem is with implementation. When you have smart kids that take above grade math in middle school (does not matter weather they do it at their schools, at home, online or any other way) they are usually done with Geometry and many of them are done with Algebra II by the end of 8th grade. When they come to a strong school with standard American curriculum they take placement test and based on the results they are placed into appropriate class – Algebra II or Pre-calc. Yes, they will be in a classroom with older kids, but this is rarely a problem. And depending on how many of them are at a particular school, there might even be a separate section for them. When they come to a school with integrated math curriculum, they can’t really test into anything, because of the way the program is structured – all the topics from Geometry, Algebra II and Pre-calc are mixed together and spread over the 3-year period. Can one start from year 2 or 3 of it? Probably yes, but most likely he will have to repeat a lot of topics and he will miss some topics as well. Is it possible to reconcile the programs? May be, but why bother? These kids usually have a choice which school to go to, so they just chose not to deal with IM. And since level of instruction can be only as high as the level of the students in the class, you have what you have.

  • 445. lk  |  November 29, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Hs neebie… I did post links with statics of our kids getting into the ivy’s as a state. Numbers are very low. I think U of C lab school had the most kids going to the ivy. Most other schools were like less then 2% with Big Ten leading the way. Maybe it will show up later.

    As far as IMP. I son was a traditional math student and like IMP now. It is really only prevalent in Allegra and Geometry. He stated at geometry so did really get it so much. Trig was trig/ precalc was that and Calc bc is Calbc……I would advise getting ahold of someones homework so you can really see what is going on in stead of guessing.

    As far as math teams go. How much time do they put into it? I lot of the chess kids should be on the math teams but decide not to. They take chess as as fun thing and do not practice like
    Whitney Young does lilke 4 times a week. NS practices like once a week but still has similar talent. NS kids tend to take a more laid back approach to competition. It is more fun. There are also great other teams in the state and congratulations to them.


  • 447. Helen  |  November 29, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Regarding IMP….2 kids, one math oriented, one not…both enjoyed IMP math. I concur with @lk that it most prevalent in Algebra & Geometry and NOT used starting with pre-calc. However, if you want to avoid IMP math altogether…just don’t select NS or Jones for HS.

  • 448. Northlander  |  November 29, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    My boy loves the math program at Jones, Having said that; he loves everything about his HS experience…like my wife and I did.

    How much math do we really need? That oughta stoke a few fires…


  • 449. lk  |  November 29, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Northlander…interesting article…..question is how much science, English etc do we really need also ? I really wish programs were more specialized for the child and not just “you have to take three years of …..”….Having another kid with a Math LD there are many different ways to teach math for specific daily needs and industry besides just saying you need to take this or that class.

    For the integrated math dislike-rs, My kid was that kid also(high end math kid) and he almost made the mistake and not go to Northside. Then we got some homework and semester end project that these kids do. Once he saw what it was all about he didn’t think it was all that bad. It is like science reports/research. This has inspired him to take a year long class in writing research. We were “really’ worried about the amount of writing for IMP. Looking back on it, it has really prepared him for science classes and outside things that he is doing. it also prepares them to “talk” math and go deeper.

    HS-Newbie -As far as placement into whatever level at NS. Kids come in at every level in Freshman year including Calculus. Don’t speculate, email a math teacher or head of the department.

    Here is St. Louis and going to the Hill for dessert and then Washington University in the Morning for Engineering and talking to Math department….hope it’s ok with Raphael…..):…people tell me it’s a pretty good school…

  • 450. Northlander  |  November 29, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    My kid finished his “AP” chemistry homework in 20 minutes before heading out to practice tonight. “Dad; sometimes I do the work and sometimes my friends do…we work together”. I’m content with his grades and teacher comments.

    Sophomore year and he has the system figured out…

  • 451. 8th Grade mom  |  November 29, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    @Northlander – nice! That’s what I’m hoping for – knowing where and when to turn for help, and staying focused to get homework done relatively quickly.

  • 452. Northlander  |  November 29, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    449…we all hope our kids play nice in the sandbox, don’t we? Is it better to be smart or skilled?

    Lab’s closed tomorrow…constituents want answers.

  • 453. HS Mom  |  November 30, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Northlander – great article.

    From the article

    “The math that people really need is neither theorem-based nor computational, but an everyday number sense shared by: street traders worldwide (legal and illegal), real-estate negotiators, successful poker players, many with little formal math education. The math and science training that really stays with people and is most useful, now that computation is almost a free good, is seat-of-the-pants, back-of-the-envelope thinking. The physicists I have known are consistently good at this kind of guesstimation in everyday life, and there’s now at least one book about it.”

    To add to the conversation

    My son attended Jones with 3 years IMP and the 4th with AP statistics (a far more common route than some of those discussed here). He has a natural talent for math, sense of numbers and does everything in his head. He did an amazing job on the ACT. He loves his liberal arts program in college and is far more interested in pursuing international, political and creative venues that you don’t necessarily find under the Math umbrella.

    It’s my opinion that motivated students will find their way, hopefully to and through college, to the place that suites their talent AND interest. Sometimes that place is not the one that parents “design” in high school. The options now are truly individual and very exciting. I find myself wishing I was in school now.

    Bottom line – IMP or traditional Math – not a reason for me to chose one school over the other. Just one aspect of many. A kid with extreme giftedness or one that is bent on a particular path has different considerations. Acknowledged. This too could change.

  • 454. cpsobsessed  |  November 30, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    @431 North Center Mom: I read (most of) that Atlantic article on the Silicon Valley HS suicides this weekend. Very eye opening. It really did make me re-think how much pressure to put on my kid and I had a conversation today with his dad about how we position up the SEHS (not at the necessarily optimal choice, but that he’ll be better off if he HAS some choices when the time comes.)

    It’s a tough line to walk. 12yo boys seem to need a kick in the pants to motivate, but it’s hard to know when I’m motivating and when I’m fostering stress.

  • 455. cpsobsessed  |  November 30, 2015 at 5:27 pm


    That’s a fairly general statement, no?

    “These are the colleges that are surpassing the Ivies on graduating leaders for the next generation.”

    How does one measure # of “graduating leaders for the next generation?”

  • 456. Northlander  |  December 1, 2015 at 8:59 pm



  • 457. stories to tell  |  December 3, 2015 at 10:43 am

    hi, does anyone have insight into the cte program at jones? I looked at the website & info seemed a bit sketchy, thanks

  • 458. Marketing Mom  |  December 3, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Has anyone received their scores from taking the Selective Enrollment exam yet? My son took the exam on 11/14 and we have not received the scores back yet. The application deadline is a week from tomorrow and I don’t want to wait until the last minute to apply.

  • 459. HS_newbie  |  December 3, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    I called OAE few weeks ago, they said the results will be mailed on Monday, December 7.

  • 460. Chicago School GPS  |  December 3, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    The November SEHS exam results should be mailed by Dec. 7, or maybe even posted to your child’s http://www.apply.cps.edu account on that date. Doesn’t leave much time for deliberating but there is the online SEHS point calculator tool and last year’s cutoff scores that can serve as a jumping point for discussion with your child this weekend.

    We have a “Last Minute Application Primer” this Sunday 12/6/15 at 3-4:30pm at Greenfields Academy (3232 N. Elston) to go over last minute CPS & private school application questions & processes for both Elementary and High School applications. We focus a lot of our seminar on maximizing your chances for a range of school acceptances. If interested, RSVP at

  • 461. Chicago School GPS  |  December 3, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    The November SEHS exam results should be mailed by Dec. 7, or maybe even posted to your child’s online application account on that date. Doesn’t leave much time for deliberating but there is the online SEHS point calculator tool and last year’s cutoff scores that can serve as a jumping point for discussion with your child this weekend.

    We have a “Last Minute Application Primer” this Sunday 12/6/15 at 3-4:30pm at Greenfields Academy (3232 N. Elston) to go over last minute CPS & private school application questions & processes for both Elementary and High School applications. We focus a lot of our seminar on maximizing your chances for a range of school acceptances. If interested, RSVP at

  • 462. HS_newbie  |  December 3, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Where is you information about posting results online coming from? Do you know anything about it or this is just a wishful thinking? I asked different people at OAE couple times and they always said that results will not be available online.

    It would be really great if they did (and later on posted acceptance letters as well), but this looks more like the right way, not the CPS way.

  • 463. lk  |  December 3, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    453 HsMom….extremely well said. Agree with every point.

    Remember that this can be a more stressful time for your kids.

    Whatever happens, they did great. As I stated prior, give them a hug and kiss. This is out of their hands now.

    Keep in mind that asking your friends kids/parents, what happened or posting on social media the results might not be the best advice. We told our kids (their junior high stressed this), that you should sorta wait for the kids to tell you. Also respect the wishes of the child. If they don’t want to share their information that is OK. Sometimes they are waiting to hear from non CPS schools to make their announcement per se.

    It is also disheartening if your so joyful and someone you know, things didn’t work out for them as they expected.

    But be assured, your kids will go to high school and their futures are all bright. I am not trying to lecture anyone but been, there done that):

    Good luck to everyone!

  • 464. Chicago School GPS  |  December 3, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    The non-CPS MAP score results were posted to the online application so the wishful thinking is that they may possibly post the SEHS exam results as well….every year is something different so you never know. We can only hope.

  • 465. eager to hear  |  December 3, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Our daughter also tested in November on the 21st. I have called OAE twice now (in part to ensure consistent communication) and was told both times that we would receive our letter by December 7. I was also told by the staff person I spoke to that they no longer post the scores on-line due to budget cuts.

  • 466. cpsobsessed  |  December 4, 2015 at 11:18 am

    So I guess I’m now finally realizing that the only benefit of the early testing is input for ranking your choices. Well AND a better sense of what will happen in the spring and whether you should cast an even wider net. Which I guess is worth something.

    For those who had their kids test early, are you glad you did it? (I guess that will be more clear after the scores mail out in the next few days.)

  • 467. NewToChicago  |  December 4, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Question about the IB applications… Unlike the Selective Enrollment process, when you apply to IB programs, you select up to six schools, but there is no ordering. Does this mean that if my kid has a high enough score, he can be accepted to all six IB schools he applies to?

  • 468. Parent  |  December 4, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Scores are now out. Just received mail.

  • 469. HS_newbie  |  December 4, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Did test early, don’t have results yet, but definitely glad we did it this way. My DD has a guaranteed spot at any IB school since she has maximum score on MAP and all “A”s, but if her test results are high enough to guarantee 1st or 2nd choice of SEHS, I will not have to spent the next three months reading about Lincoln Park IB program and figuring out weather this is something that she needs.

    We went to IB info session there two days ago and now I have even more questions about it than I had before. I know who I need to talk to at the school, but hopefully will not need to find the answers at all :))

    As for the order of ranking schools on the application… I heard rumours that if you apply for principal discretion it helps if that particular school was the first choice on the application. So if test score makes it absolutely impossible to get into Northside, there is no reason to put it as a #1 choice. Nobody really knows if this is true since there are very few kids that got in this way and their parents usually not talking about it.

    Plus if results are not too high one might skip few top schools since one can apply only to 6 schools.

  • 470. HS_newbie  |  December 4, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    @467 – how does test scores compare to the NWEA MAP results?

  • 471. cpsobsessed  |  December 4, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    ^ good question! If anyone can let us know if the admission test % is similar to your child’s general MAP test %s that would be great.

  • 472. Parent  |  December 4, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    HS admission test scores generally in line with the MAP results. Math score was higher on admission test, probably because we focused on that area over past year.

  • 473. vb  |  December 4, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I think in most cases a high admission test score goes with a high MAP score. I’d guess the correlation was stronger when they used ISAT instead of MAP. The difference is that the MAP is untimed and the admission test (and ISAT) is timed. The kids who “blow” the admission test do so because they run out of time. If they pace well on both tests, the % should be similar.

  • 474. tess  |  December 4, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    466. yes, possible to get accepted for up to 6 IB schools,
    but only 1 (or none) SE schools

  • 475. tess  |  December 4, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    467. what zip code are you in? waiting in 60622

  • 476. Parent  |  December 4, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    60643. SW Side.

  • 477. msiniscalchi  |  December 4, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    471 do I infer correctly that you have already received the HS admission test results?

  • 478. first time HS applicatiob  |  December 4, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    I have a printout of cut off scores for SEHS that list Northside TIer 4 at 891 for the 2015/16 school year, and then a revised cutoff scores using NWEA MAPP that lists northside at 865 same tier 4. DD would win acceptance at 865 but not 891. Any idea what the difference is? I know these are just benchmarks as cut off scores determined after applications… just curious as we decide how to rank.

  • 479. 8th Grade mom  |  December 4, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    RE early testing. Our school counselor recommends December testing, feeling that that gives the students more academic instruction time, but not so late as January when 8th graders may be less academically focused after the holiday break. We’ve put in our applications, test next week and I am going to look forward to not thinking about this for a couple months till we get our application results.

  • 480. Parent  |  December 4, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    476 – Yes. We received the scores in the mail today.

  • 481. msiniscalchi  |  December 4, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    479 – thank you. When did you take it? 11/14 or 11/21?

  • 482. 8th Grade mom  |  December 4, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    @479 did you also take spring map, and how did your scores compare? I won’t have our scores till February and am curious.

  • 483. Chicago School GPS  |  December 4, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    @477- the actual cutoff scores for the current 9th graders is in the middle of the page at the link below. The link is to the Point Calculation Tool that gives you a bit of an idea of whether, based on last year’s cutoff scores, if you are in range of possibility for a particular SEHS.

    Given that there are 100 more seats for incoming freshman at Payton, the scores cutoffs are even more unpredictable than usual. You are definitely encouraged to put down whatever your child WANTS as first choice, second choice, etc.


  • 484. HS_newbie  |  December 4, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    zip code 60610 – letter is in.
    results are the same as NWEA MAP, so it is 900 points total.
    She is sure that she got at least one spelling question wrong and most likely a question or two in the reading section.

    So after all I do not need to figure out what IB is all about,
    Whitney Young it is!

    Will be back in 4 years for the next round with kid #3 🙂

  • 485. edgewatermom  |  December 4, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    I agree that it doesn’t make much sense to factor in cut-off scores for your ranking – unless you really have more than 6 schools that your child would want to attend.

  • 486. Chicago School GPS  |  December 4, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Congrats, HS_newbie! This is the benefit of finding out the 900 point total prior to the end of the year…..that if you score 900 points or sit very comfortably above your tier minimum points, you are pretty much guaranteed your #1 choice SEHS school and can relax about applying to other schools.

    Enjoy your holiday break and congrats to your 8th grader!

  • 487. Suzanne  |  December 4, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    zip code 60634, scores arrived today. Very happy kiddo here.

  • 488. Parent  |  December 4, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    481 – Yes, we took Spring MAP and the admission exam scores are generally in line. There was room for improvement in one area of MAP test, and that improved/came into line with other scores by the admissions exam. Otherwise, the scores are consistent between the two.

  • 489. NWS parent  |  December 4, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    60641 letter came today.
    I have to say I’m glad this whole process is over now considering how stressful it’s been for our whole family. I’m happy to say that our 8th grader received 900 points. She’s amazing and I’m glad she will get to choose where she wants to go.

  • 490. Parent  |  December 5, 2015 at 11:09 am

    I wonder if anyone has any hunch or thoughts as to whether cutoffs at Payton are supposed to be roughly in line with last year’s, given that they are adding seats. Otherwise I would expect them to creep up, though that’s not based on any hard info (just a sense that the MAP was new last year, at least for non–CPS kids, and this year it’s not).

  • 491. Begowill@hotmail.com  |  December 7, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    My daughter has a 94 in MAP and a 93 in SE, so pretty close.

  • 492. 8th Grade mom  |  December 9, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    @490 Payton is adding approximately 70 seats to the class, for a total of 300 to be admitted. If you divide that additional 70 across rank admissions and tiers 1-4, does that mean about 14 more seats per tier ( I can’t recall what percentage goes to rank vs. the tiers).? Not a huge number of seats, but it is good to have more seats available.

  • 493. begowill@hotmail.com  |  December 10, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Do you think that would affect the scores at the top 4? or just for Payton?

  • 494. 8th Grade mom  |  December 10, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Does anyone know if Jones is accepting more, or if their class size this round is the same as last year? The added seats at Payton might affect the overall SE acceptance scores or Payton scores, but this varies so much year to year. The new addition at Payton may attract more applicants. I don’t know of any source for data that shows how many students there are in Chicago overall this year entering 9th grade vs other recent years. The SE schools don’t take more students based on population levels as far as I know.

  • 495. stories to tell  |  December 10, 2015 at 11:21 am

    492, et al. I think 30% of the freshman seats go to the top scorers, the other 70% get split between the 4 tiers, so 17.5% per each tier.

  • 496. Chicago School GPS  |  December 10, 2015 at 11:29 am

    You can count up how many SEHS seats were offered last year from the numbers posted on the cutoff sheet: http://www.cpsoae.org/SEHS%20Cutoff%20Scores_2015-2016_Seats.pdf

    These numbers are the seats “offered”. Enrolled is typically a bit smaller. Jones offered 400 SEHS seats and also offers about 75 CTE seats to neighborhood kids interested in Pre-Law or Pre-Engineering. Their freshman class size ends up being closer to 425 total with both entry paths combined. With student based budgeting, I have noticed that most schools are trying to fill to the brim these days.

  • 497. begowill@hotmail.com  |  December 10, 2015 at 11:43 am

    When are the cutoff scores going to be posted? This is going to be a long two months. Looking at last years scores my 8th grader is above the mean points needed, but of course we don’t know the scores for this year. So I’m not sure why it’s a benefit to test earlier.
    Thank you for the link!

  • 498. Luisha  |  December 10, 2015 at 11:49 am

    “When are the cutoff scores going to be posted? ”

    Probably shortly after offer letters go out in the Spring. They can’t determine cutoffs until everyone takes the test.

    I find it best to check the CPS SEHS website every day between now and then.

  • 499. HS_newbie  |  December 10, 2015 at 11:50 am

    @497 cut-off scores are posted way the letters with offers are mailed, so it will be more than two months from now.

    I would say that if he is above mean for his tier, he should be fine.
    Good luck!

  • 500. 8th Grade mom  |  December 10, 2015 at 11:51 am

    The cutoff scores get posted at the same time the acceptance letters are mailed, so late February probably. We are testing Saturday then I am going to attempt to put this out of my mind for awhile. Yeah, I think the early testing is more of a benefit to CPS than the applicants.

  • 501. Marketing Mom  |  December 10, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Does anyone know where I can find a ranking of the top charter high schools and top private high schools in the city of Chicago? This would be very helpful as we are looking to cast a wide net.

  • 502. stories to tell  |  December 10, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    try chicago magazine, think they have yearly rundowns

  • 503. HS_newbie  |  December 10, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    CPS lists charter schools on the same reports as public, so you can look at any CPS report here:
    If you look there at the ACT scores, you will see there some charters schools near the top:
    NOBLE ST CHTR-UIC 400057 Charter
    NOBLE ST CHTR-MUCHIN 400098 Charter
    NOBLE ST CHTR-PRITZKER 400054 Charter
    CICS-NORTHTOWN 400034 Charter
    NOBLE ST CHTR-CHGO BULLS 400097 Charter
    NOBLE ST CHTR-GOLDER 400053 Charter
    CHGO MATH & SCI ACAD CAMPUS HS 400035 Charter
    NOBLE ST CHTR-RAUNER 400055 Charter
    NOBLE ST CHTR-COMER 400052 Charter
    NOBLE ST CHTR-NOBLE 400051 Charter

    For private schools you can look here:

  • 504. HS_newbie  |  December 10, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    For charter schools try CPS reports, the include both public and charters:
    from the ACT standpoint the top 5 charters are:

    Well, Chicago Virtual is not exactly a school, but others look like regular HSs.

  • 505. HS_newbie  |  December 10, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    oops, sorry, it looked like it did not go through the first time. Did not mean to post the list twice :))

  • 506. cpsobsessed  |  December 10, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Sorry, I think one was waiting for moderation and then I approved it while you were re-posting! (comments with 2 links go into moderation approval mode.)

  • 507. HS_newbie  |  December 10, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I see. Did not know about the 2 links rule.

  • 508. jen  |  December 10, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Just fyi, PARCC scores are out. Go to the new IIRC website through NIU.

  • 509. Sarah  |  December 10, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Oooh PARCC scores. Have only looked at our school but looks a lot better then the doomsday predictions! Anyone else pleasantly surprised?
    PS- This website is pretty fantastic. Love the visuals. They did a good job.

  • 510. South side obsessed  |  December 11, 2015 at 12:29 am

    Good evening. I was wondering if someone could help me. Last year I came across a spreadsheet. It listed each elementary school and what percentage of the graduating class went to sehs and what percentage went to specific neighborhood schools. I can’t find that link. If anyone has it could they please post it. Thanks.

  • 511. HS_newbie  |  December 11, 2015 at 1:08 am

    @510 Are you looking for this?
    (links are at the end of the post)

  • 512. NWS Mom  |  December 11, 2015 at 4:23 am

    @494: Went to the Jones open house in the fall.. I believe they said they would be accepting around 425 this year.

  • 513. cpsobsessed  |  December 11, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you @HS_Newbie!

  • 514. South side obsessed  |  December 11, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Yes. That is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks so much. I was wondering if there is a way to get a more recent grid. Perhaps a FOIA request?

  • 515. cpsobsessed  |  December 12, 2015 at 11:01 am

    The last set of data was obtained via special favor by a reader who knew someone at the time in the CPS data department but I’ll see if a FOA works this time as that process is now easier.

  • 516. Marina  |  December 19, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Any CPS data available on 2014/2015 SEHS offers with public vs private school split. With everyone taking same test last year it would be interesting to see how public/private offer mix changed vs prior years Thanks.

  • 517. North Center Mom  |  December 21, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Marina, you may have to undertake that research yourself. I think that the commenters who did that in the past have moved on.

  • 518. HSObsessed  |  December 21, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I’m still here, mostly lurking! But my CPS contact who got the data (@511) a few years ago on which K-8 schools sent the most 8th graders to some of the high schools has sadly moved on. That person provided a custom grid based on the criteria I requested, so it’s not like the data is easily there for CPS to simply hand over; I’m not sure how FOIA requests work, that is how much they’re legally obliged to mine and shape the data for a request. That would certainly be interesting to have updated every couple years.

    The data that Marina mentioned @516 was part of a WBEZ report done a few years ago. I doubt that they’d run a similar story any time soon, unless the numbers changed substantially.

  • 519. Chicago School GPS  |  December 30, 2015 at 11:36 am

    CPS released their 2016-2017 calendar, although I won’t be surprised if it will change. For now, school begins on 9/6/16 and ends on 6/20/17. http://www.cps.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/2016-2017_CPS_CalendarElementaryandHighSchools_English_12.09.15.pdf

  • 520. HSObsessed  |  January 4, 2016 at 10:17 am

    The Inspector General’s office has released a report on numerous instances in which parents lied about residency in order to gain a spot at a SEHS. Some of the falsifications appear to be non-city residents, some using a lower-tier address to increase chances of admission. Not surprising, given the low risks and high rewards involved, but interesting to read.


  • 521. CPS system is broken  |  January 4, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Suburban Kids Take Coveted Spots in City’s Top Schools by Cheating System

    Suburban kids snatched some of the most sought-after spots in Chicago’s selective-enrollment schools by lying about where they actually live, according to a report by the Chicago Public Schools’ watchdog….


  • 522. cpsobsessed  |  January 4, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    So very infuriating. These will likely be the same kinds of kids I went to college with whose parents sanctioned cheating or getting someone else to do their work (I knew a girl whose parents hired an architect to do some school work for her) in the spirit of “whatever it takes to get ahead! *wink wink*)

    Although I’m guessing that people who lie about their tier justify it by thinking that their kid is somehow getting screwed by the “unfair” tier system.

  • 523. 8th Grade mom  |  January 4, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    This is frustrating, but also sad and a commentary on our broken school system in Illinois and beyond. If the public schools that these families’ could attend (neighborhood, or suburban – by virtue of their actual address) were perceived to offer a safe and effective learning environment, they wouldn’t need to game the system.

  • 524. CPS system is broken  |  January 4, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    The suburban CPS cheaters story will be the topic of a special segment on channel 7/abc at 5:00pm tonight.

  • 525. karet  |  January 4, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    @523, Some people game the system even if they have a safe, effective learning environment in their suburb / neighborhood. Rauner clouted his kid into Payton and used the address of a condo in Chicago. Their neighborhood school was New Trier.

  • 526. southside obsessed  |  January 4, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    This is so selfish. People want to take the best of the city but leave the worse out. Instead of cheating, you could legitimately move to the city, to any tier you desire and do it fairly

  • 527. lane dad  |  January 5, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    NPR did a story this morning; “Some Families Lie To Get Their Kids Into Top CPS Schools”


  • 528. Chris  |  January 5, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    “Rauner clouted his kid into Payton and used the address of a condo in Chicago.”

    First, I don’t believe that there is any evidence that the Rauners fibbed about their address on the application–it wasn’t necessary, as he clouted her in with a call to Arne.

    Second, he actually bought and owned that condo that was their ‘city address’ for (at least) the 4 years she was a Payton. So that was a real family address (obv. dunno how much time they spent there), and he paid real CPS property taxes on it.

    So, notwithstanding how much I think that it stinks that Rauner clouted his kid into Payton (which is a TON), that situation is distinct from the situations in the IG report.

  • 529. Chris  |  January 5, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    The remedy for proven lying about the address should be summary expulsion from CPS, and a note on the kids academic record (that would be sent to colleges). And the audits should be conducted over the summer prior to the fall of enrollment.

    It’s easy enough to confirm in most cases (no one is lying about being in T4, anyone living in subsidized housing, anyone who owns a home)–it’s not like they need to do extensive checking on the large majority of kids.

    Yeah, yeah, the kids shouldn’t be penalized for what is surely the bad act of the parent(s)–but there needs to be a serious hammer to stop the cheating, and current remedies make it far too tempting.

  • 530. cpsobsessed  |  January 5, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    I think it’s probably difficult to prove, no? If a family owns or rented a property during application time but says they moved since then. Then what does CPS do? Even if the family still owns/rents the Tier 1 place, does someone follow the kid home every day to see if they actually live there? (I think in the past we’ve brainstormed having a vigilante group do this, filmed as a reality TV show.) 🙂

  • 531. cpsobsessed  |  January 5, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    But I’m all for kicking the kid out of the school, seriously.

  • 532. karet  |  January 5, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    @528, Of course the Rauner situation is distinct. The previous poster suggested that the motivation to “game the system” (not my words) was to avoid poor suburban schools. That was clearly not the Rauner’s motivation, since their school was New Trier. They are certainly guilty of “gaming the system” even if they did it a different way.

    @530, The story on NPR today talked about going to the neighborhoods and investigating … apparently when investigating one family, they found out about a whole carpool of suburban kids.

    BTW, they do investigate to see if CPS principals actually live in the city. The wife of a principal in my neighborhood was telling me that their neighbors were interviewed to see if they actually lived there. (The neighbors were totally freaked out, thought it was FBI or something)

  • 533. Patricia  |  January 6, 2016 at 8:30 am

    @532 – I believe when Rauner sent his daughter to Payton, the official process allowed secondary residents or owning property in Chicago to count. Michael Jordan did the same thing sending his son to Whitney Young while they lived in Highland Park. At the time, it was not gaming the system. At the same time Principal discretion was not defined and there was a “clout list” that Arnie Duncan kept to hand out spots. I remember an article with the clout list showed Carol Mosley Bruaun used her clout A LOT. I am not condoning or defending, just pointing out at the time it was all within the “ill defined” process.

    Now the process is different and I think CPS should follow the inspector recommendation. Place a large “fine” if busted and conduct follow up investigations. I think a very stiff penalty could serve as a deterrent to those considering cheating. Even if money is not the issue, a few cases highlighted in the media focusing on the parents may be a priceless deterrent.

  • 534. CPS system is broken  |  January 6, 2016 at 9:23 am

    CPS is at it again…

    New Report “Jan 5, 2016: CPS Says These 300+ Schools Are ‘Underutilized’ (LIST)”


  • 535. Chris  |  January 6, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    “when Rauner sent his daughter to Payton, the official process allowed secondary residents or owning property in Chicago to count”

    *Even now* you don’t have to live in the city at application time–only prior to the first day of school. So, under current rules, a Winnetka kid could apply and, if offered a seat, would merely need to have established residence in Chicago by 9/1/16. Yeah, the question is “did they really move, or did they just rent a city apartment for the address”, and that’s where it gets hairy. But there is the same hair on a lot of city employees, massaging the residency requirement.

    There were the folks who commented a lot on here last year or the year before about applying to SEES while living out of state (NY, I believe) and *getting assigned a tier based on their out of state census tract!!* Now, they might have been lying, but why?

    Dunno if that gets applied to SEHS, too, but if it does, I would consider it a *total* scandal.

  • 536. Sandra  |  January 6, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    If one lists suburban address on the application for SEHS, they have a chance of being admitted only through on rank, they do not compete for the tier seats at all. And yes, they have to move to the city before start of the school year. It is no different for out of state residents – get in on rank, move to Chicago by September. What might be different is their state test scores. When it was ISAT for CPS there was a list of other tests that could be submitted instead, it was mostly directed at private schools and homeschoolers, since they could not take ISAT. Probably someone from a public school in NY could have used their state test results even though that test was not on the list.

  • 537. cpsobsessed  |  January 6, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    I thought we’d determined that OAE assigns you a Tier based on your census tract even if you live outside the city.

  • 538. cpsobsessed  |  January 6, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    FYI, one more plug for the film SelectED, playing at the Davis this weekend:

  • 539. Sandra  |  January 6, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    @ cpsobsessed
    I am not sure who determined what and when, but this is what selectiveprep is telling the parents. Or at least was telling a year ago. On the first day of classes they have a meeting for all the parents and this was one of the questions asked.

  • 540. jen  |  January 6, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Suburban kids attending CPS is a non-story. Though I am shocked at why any parent would have their child commuting from Mundelein to the city for school! That’s just stupid. No school on the planet is worth that.
    The amount of suburban kids attending city schools is tiny compared to the amount of city kids attending suburban schools. The far more important story that is just beginning to unfold is the one that indicates CPS is going to shut down or consolidate a whole lot of schools summer or next.

  • 541. Chris  |  January 7, 2016 at 5:15 pm


    “It is no different for out of state residents – get in on rank, move to Chicago by September.”

    I just know that we had a commenter here in one of the Elem admissions threads (last spring? spring 14??) that *claimed* to be moving from out of state, and having been assigned to Tier 1 based on their NY census tract.

    S/he may have been BS’ing everyone here, but it was a lot of effort if it was–s/he posted for *weeks*.

  • 542. cpsobsessed  |  January 7, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    OAE emailed me this in August of 2013. Not sure if it has changed since then:

    “Students who reside outside of the city of Chicago are assigned to a tier based on the median family income of the census tract in which they live.”

    (I don’t know if this means that ONLY income is used? And not the rest of the criteria?)

  • 543. PREP Chicago  |  January 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    I will second what cpsobsessed reported. I confirmed directly from the head of OAE that students who live outside of the city of Chicago are assigned a tier based on the census information for their current address.

  • 544. Chris  |  January 8, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    “students who live outside of the city of Chicago are assigned a tier based on the census information for their current address”

    That is complete CRAP.

    No wonder there are so many suburban kids going to SEHS.

  • 545. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    @Chris – why? I would suspect (maybe naively) given the low skew of income in Chicago that many people in the suburbs end up being Tier 4, no?

  • 546. Chris  |  January 8, 2016 at 2:15 pm


    What do they do to deserve an option on anything in CPS? What purpose does a policy that *invites* address cheating serve, from the CPS perspective?

    The Tier system is supposed to be about city diversity Allowing suburbanites into Tiers skews the metrics–instead of 25% of the population, it’s 25% plus whatever comes from the burbs–no wonder the numbers skew so much for T4.

    Just CRAP, especially with the way that State funding for local districts works.

  • 547. David Gregg  |  January 15, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Hi all,

    Senn’s Magnet Arts program continues to make waves.

    Check out the Sun-Times review of the latest production by The Yard (our student theatre production company).


    It runs through next Saturday (1/23).

  • 548. Fam  |  January 20, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Did anyone see on the news last night where legislation is being introduced today for the governor/the state to take over Chicago Public Schools? Something about the governor preferring to take over the schools and CPS budget himself, rather than send the money to CPS with no oversight.

  • 549. mom2  |  January 20, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    @Fam, I saw and heard about this. I’d love more details. It sounds like some people would prefer this happen so we could get an elected school board (or at least I thought I heard that). It would allow CPS to declare bankruptcy like businesses do and then they wouldn’t have to honor the exact CTU contract so they could put more money into the schools themselves and have the teachers pay a bit more for their pensions. But I’m just reading and hearing things. I don’t know all the facts or the truth (depending on who you ask).

  • 550. 60660  |  January 20, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    The governor has zero bargaining power with the democrats in the legislature so now he is using CPS as a pawn in his game.
    He really doesn’t give a flying f*ck about Chicago but he gets to look like Rambo to his suburban and downstate fans by threatening to bankrupt our schools.
    This is another manufactured crisis that will be used to push a privatization agenda on Chicago , Why should Chicago students not receive the same funding as suburban students? Let’s see Rauner threaten to bankrupt Willmette schools? – the ILTRS is in at least as bad a state as Chicago pension funds…
    Our students deserve the same deal as our neighbors in Oak Park or Evanston: An elected school Board and properly funded schools.

  • 551. mom2  |  January 20, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    @60660 – When we had Quinn as Governor and all democrat controlled Chicago and State, how exactly did they fix our schools?

  • 552. Chris  |  January 20, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    ” the ILTRS is in at least as bad a state as Chicago pension funds”

    They’re all a lot worse off today, compared to a month ago.

    And, yeah, TRS’s funding ratio is worse, the accrual is (largely) divorced from the cost, etc. But the ridiculous thing is that CTPF was at *100%* funding ratio only 15 years ago. Richie Daley drove the city into a ditch, because he was too scared to confront the situation. Total leadership fail.

  • 553. 60660  |  January 20, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    @mom2 – the underfunding of CPS has gone on for decades – if any one person is to blame it’s Daley, who borrowed from the teachers pension fund for years, but there is plenty to go around.
    it’s not rocket science – we just need the well funded schools with well trained professional teachers and administrators that the suburban districts take for granted.
    bankrupting CPS and shafting our teachers isn’t a plan that serves anyone except our posturing governor. all the shortsighted BS he is pulling will land us with much greater costs in the long term.

  • 554. michele  |  January 21, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Blaming and Pointing fingers will do little to move school funding forward for all IL school districts. As I understand 2/3 of IL school districts use deficit borrowing as a way to continue to operate. IL just plainly does not do a good job at funding schools. I know this is not new news but it is lost in the conversation. Additionally, it would benefit CPS Parents and our students to seriously look at systemic issues in our system. Many who know CPS will agree with Mr Claypool’s quote:

    “Our children are facing systematic discrimination,” Claypool said in a statement. “CPS represents 20 percent of state enrollment but gets just 15 percent of state funding, even though 86 percent of our children live in poverty. The missing 5 percent represents nearly $500 million, the exact amount of our budget gap. Our children’s futures are just as important as those in the suburbs and downstate. But the state does not value them equally”

    Many also agree locally we need to be more responsible on all fronts, including supporting legislation that allow CPS to use more TIF dollars, getting at least a hybrid school Board with some elected representation, and of course managing benefits and payroll payments.

    I would encourage all of you to think about engaging your Aldermen and State reps in a real way and hold our city and State accountable. If not the District should welcome the Feds to come in and investigate how Chicago’s schools became so separate and unequal from all the rest of the state’s districts. Remember unequal access to quality public schools is the foundation for unequal social justice through out a lifetime.

    Parents have been organizing to support Equitable Education Funding. Please help your kids and your family by not being divisive on this issue. Blame later – solve funding today!

  • 555. Patricia  |  January 21, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Rauner is not”‘bankrupting” CPS………….CPS is already bankrupt! I do not understand the implications enough yet to support or fight this. i do know that bankruptcy is a scary word, but in fact does provide more options when managed appropriately. Government managing anything is questionable. In private sector, bankruptcy is used for a clear solution with a roadmap to solvency. I fear in government the fights and politics will muddy the waters and make it a mess. Then again, SOMETHING needs to change. The “revolving credit card debt” is out of control and we are already taxed to death in Chicago.

    The funding allocation is certainly worth exploring, however, Illinois is a fiscal disaster and billions over budget. SOMETHING needs to change! It seems that every day there are fewer and fewer reasons to remain in Illinois.

  • 556. Patricia  |  January 21, 2016 at 10:02 am

    Agree Daley should be called “Disaster Daley” because that is his legacy. That said, the taxing and borrowing brigade with Preckwinkle and Rahm are destroying Chicago, not saving it. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but SOMETHING needs to change.

  • 557. mom2  |  January 21, 2016 at 11:05 am

    I would love to know the details about how we got into this mess. When did the state stop funding CPS equally? Who agreed to that and why? What did someone get in exchange for this change?

  • 558. 60660  |  January 21, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Hi Patricia

    I guess I should have said Rauner wants “drive CPS into bankruptcy”. I disagree that CPS is bankrupt – there would not be a CPS deficit if the city hadn’t neglected to fund teachers pensions for years, But demanding that the deficit which built up over a decade be resolved from current spending has pushed the school system towards insolvency and a “pension crisis”.
    A long term solution would include winding down TIFs and closing the discrepancy between how CPS pensions are funded and teacher pensions in the rest of IL are funded. It would also include closing the current pension schemes to new hires and placing them in defined contribution schemes.

    IL isn’t billions over budget – we don’t even have one. When you have a budget to manage would you cut income when we are running a deficit? Because that is what Rauner chose to do to manufacture a crisis. He is incompetent.
    For sure there is waste in government but we are cutting vital services to save money. In the long run cuts to special ed and health services will cost us all a lot more.
    Chicagoans deserve the same deal as our neighbors in the suburbs get – an elected school board and well funded schools – and we can afford it.

    As far as the implications of bankruptcy go?
    The whole point is to cancel contracts – this would include laying off all the teachers and admin staff but of course would result in thousands choosing not to return to CPS. We are already losing talented teachers and administrators in droves to suburban districts.
    Like the other “money saving” wheezes, closing schools, privatizations, a bankruptcy would end up costing us more money. Wouldn’t you like to be one of the lawyers sorting out the resulting mess?

  • 559. mom2  |  January 21, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    “It would also include closing the current pension schemes to new hires and placing them in defined contribution schemes.” – Why can’t we do that right now rather than waiting? That seems like a no-brainer.

  • 560. Patricia  |  January 21, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Hi 60660,
    We certainly are in a “pension pickle” thanks to Daley, Madigan, former Governors and former CTU/CPS negotiators. As a result, CPS is BANKRUPT for all practical purposes! Isn’t it about $300-500 million that needs to go to shore up the pension fund each year? This money is taken out of the budget that operates the CPS schools. Imagine what CPS can do if it had $300-500 million that was not diverted into pensions. So yes, there would not be a crisis if there was not pension raids—no argument from me there. But this crisis is draining the operating budget of our schools today. (please note that I fully recognize teachers paid into their pensions and do not blame them—it was those listed in the first sentence that are to blame.)

    A lot of the potential solutions you mention seem logical, especially the TIF. I also agree with mom2 that pension schemes should be immediately rectified and defined contribution transition.

    I am not yet willing to say bankruptcy would be bad. Right now, NOTHING can be changed because of the pension protection language that was added to the Illinois constitution. CTU is in a tough spot as are other unions in Illinois. Even if they wanted to agree to a logical change, they really can’t because it would cause a “precedent” of concession that may backfire in the courts. i.e. tying the mandatory 3% pension increase to an index instead of 3% regardless of the economy is a logical change that I imagine all could agree to make, but can’t or won’t because it could open the door to other changes that the unions do not want. It is clear that when Governor Ryan (?), Madigan and the Illinois legislature agreed to the “3% no matter what” that no one had a calculator and it is crushing at this point. Bankruptcy may give all parties a way to save face. It is unfortunate that bankruptcy may be necessary to make even simple logical changes. Again, SOMETHING needs to change. Not sure what that is, but I am hearing a lot of borrow and tax as well as trying to get a bigger slice of an inadequate pie.

  • 561. Chris  |  January 21, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    mom2: “[1]When did the state stop funding CPS equally? [2]Who agreed to that and why? [3]What did someone get in exchange for this change?”

    1. There are major differences of opinion on what constitutes “equal”, but if you just mean a pure $/student basis, the major shift happened when Quinn started making the full TRS contribution. Not that it had been ‘equal’ for some time before that.

    2. Daley. For the control.

    3. Daley got control of CPS.

  • 562. jen  |  January 21, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    However, the state controlling CPS, if that were ever to happen, probably won’t be good either. Just read about the takeover of Detroit schools by the state of Michigan. I know they had and have other issues, but the photos I’ve seen recently of schools with mold growing all over walls, large sections of buckling floors and kids who can’t go out to recess due to damage to the outside of buildings or other factors is beyond shocking.
    Changes are no longer “coming”. They are here at the door. My guess? Closure of at least 50 more schools, the union will agree to pay more of its share of the pension contribution though not all 9%, bus service will end to all but sped kids, all extracurricular and sports money will end, fees will go up, TIF money will get returned to schools, and I predict we’ll see at least 1000 teacher layoffs at minimum. I also think all this may not be enough to prevent a systemic collapse and perhaps bankruptcy may be the only choice to keep schools open at all.

  • 564. Patricia  |  January 22, 2016 at 10:47 am

    YOUZA! $800 million hole next year………….

    Bankruptcy becomes more and more of a possible reality. I am by no means advocating for bankruptcy, but SOMETHING needs to change and now it seems it needs to be a drastic change.

  • 565. Chris  |  January 22, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    “However, the state controlling CPS, if that were ever to happen, probably won’t be good either”

    Yeah, no, of course not.

    And, certainly with the current (and prob with at least the two prior Guvs) worse than the current mayoral control from the perspective of CTU, students and parents.

  • 566. Chris  |  January 22, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Patricia: “YOUZA! $800 million hole next year………”

    Weren’t they talking about a $1.1b+ hole about this time last year???

    So, next year, the hole is $300m smaller, already, before the magical $600m in cuts/revenue shows up (as has happened most recent years)?

    Or is next year supposed to be different, and we should believe that the advertised hole is the *real* hole, rather than a negotiating number??

    Or is it that all of the pockets are finally empty, and there is nowhere left to pull the money from?

  • 567. Patricia  |  January 22, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    LOL…………as I was reading your post #566, I was having visions of whack-a-mole as the various “budget numbers” pop up and get slammed down. Whatever the number ends up being, is not good for the students!

    Also, do you know how much of the “operating budget” now goes to debt service? Between paying interest on all the money borrowed AND pension coverage, is there any left?

  • 568. Chris  |  January 22, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    “how much of the “operating budget” now goes to debt service?”

    Very little, at least this year. The Capital Budget has most of the debt.

    The FY2016 budget shows $24.4m for debt service. $676m for employer pension contribution (and pension pickup costs $167.4).

    $1.1b for charters.
    $2.56b for salaries, $490m for healthcare + other benefits.

    See: http://cps.edu/fy16budget/Pages/overview.aspx

    You’ll see that the $800m hole for next year is (already) $130m smaller than it was projected to be in August.

  • 569. first time HS application  |  January 22, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Such a depressing week all around.

    Wondering if the Feb 26 mail date will be honored given the staff cuts, and does anyone know if cut off scores are published prior to the mail date?

  • 570. Chris  |  January 22, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    “does anyone know if cut off scores are published prior to the mail date?”

    They have not been in the past.

  • 571. momof3fish  |  January 22, 2016 at 7:18 pm


  • 572. momof3fish  |  January 22, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    sorry. didnt read the date.

  • 573. Edison principal  |  January 25, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Any ideas as to reason for LSCs decision to not renew Edison principals contract?

    Interesting article on DNA info.

  • 574. mom2  |  January 25, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Selfish thought on my part but maybe money-saving? Would it save money if they combined some schools? I’ve always thought it would be great if they added a neighborhood component to Lane – like they have with Lincoln Park – some selective, some neighborhood. Then, they could put the academic center and maybe even Freshman at Lake View High school and put Sophomore through Seniors in the Lane building. They have two buildings at Lincoln Park. I know it would solve the K-12 solution for Lakeview residents because they would have all great schools and the higher grades would have their athletic fields and stadiums for varsity sports while giving the younger grades a chance to get used to high school before approaching the large building and all the stress of changing classes, bigger kids, etc. Just trying to help those that live near me :). Maybe there are other thoughts like that that think outside of the box?

  • 575. momof3fish  |  January 25, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    @574 that will never happen.

    besides what are you going to do when your kid goes off to college or out in the real world? suggest that they revise their campus? continue to allow them to think that everyone needs to adjust because of them? give me a break. kids need to learn to deal with change. parents need to stop babying their kids and let them learn to deal. that prob way there are so many dysfunctional kids out today.

  • 576. Annie K  |  January 25, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Chris is clueless, but entertaining.

  • 577. Patricia  |  January 26, 2016 at 2:28 am

    @ mom2
    I personally would not support your idea—-but I like creative ideas. The reason is two of my kids go to Lane and your description would kick out their best friends and subject them to the horrible schools they have in their high poverty neighborhood. The situation you describe is very focused on the Northside and Alderman Pawar is doing amazing things to support neighborhood schools—it is happening! The SEHS are the ONLY places in this city that allow this highly segregated city to offer true diversity and give these kids a ticket to changing their (and their families) future. On the Northside, we want to keep from moving to the burbs. While I live that desire, seeing my kids friends makes it clear to me the SEHS serve a critical purpose until this city and state can get their education act together—-at least 15 years IMO.

  • 578. Patricia  |  January 26, 2016 at 2:32 am

    Can’t talk abut the Edison debacle yet. I am still up——and still crying about the travesty! Horrible thing the community went through tonight. More wine, less sleep trying to figure out how the heck to explain it to my kid in the morning.

  • 579. otdad  |  January 26, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Cheer up. A new principal is not hard to find. The teachers are still there. What was the big loss? We attended open house session at Edison 3 years ago and came back unimpressed. As one of the flagship schools of CPS, Edison needs a more capable leadership. We heard that at least one Edison teacher is horrible, that by itself is enough reason for the principal’s removal.

  • 580. 60660  |  January 26, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Mrs O like most educators, has been a friend, mentor and essential support for thousands over her career. It’s wrenching for the broader community, including those who aren’t fans. For the many parents who are close to her it is devastating. People are grieving so lets not be glib.

    There are no “horrible” teachers at Edison, and haven’t been in our past 5 years there. Invariably, at Edison or our other schools, when someone tells me about a “horrible teacher” or an “unpopular teacher” without having specific detail to add it turns out they are talking about an older woman. frequently a woman of color.
    Maybe that just reflects the demographics of the profession but maybe it reflects our biases.

  • 581. mom2  |  January 26, 2016 at 11:20 am

    @Patricia – I was thinking that my idea wouldn’t require them to “kick out” anyone because they would be adding space, not taking away. But the more I think about it, I’m not sure it would save money since there are two buildings to run. The benefit is that they quickly would create the K-12 that parents want without needing to spend the time adding new programs to an existing school.

  • 582. Hyde park mom  |  January 26, 2016 at 11:24 am

    I’m so stress waiting to know my daughter’s high school. I can’t think of anything else.
    I just want to remind some parents that Chicago isn’t only the north side.
    Do you think the letters will be sent out the 26 or maybe earlier?

  • 583. mom2  |  January 26, 2016 at 11:53 am

    @Hyde Park Mom – I definitely don’t think Chicago is only the north side. In fact, I totally agree with you about the stress and how horrible this process is. Wouldn’t it be great if you just knew where your daughter was going to high school long before 7th or 8th grade? If your daughter could go to school with her friends and not have to be split apart? If your daughter could go to school close to her home and not have to travel for an hour on public transportation every day? That’s what I want and I would think parents on any side of the city would want as long as the school was filled with good teachers, and a large percentage of kids that want to learn and care about education.

  • 584. @hydepark mom  |  January 26, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    I think the letters will be late. OAE lost 4 staff in last Friday’s layoff.

  • 585. Chris  |  January 26, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    “Chris is clueless, but entertaining.”

    ??? Could be about so many things; please specify, Annie K. Are you asserting that:

    1. The SE cutoffs are published before letters are mailed?
    2. That I am misinterpreting the budget info?
    3. Improperly laying the blame for the CTPF deficit on Daley?
    4. I’m clueless about how suburbanite SE applications are handled?
    5. I’m clueless about things related to Ruaner and Payton clouting?
    6. I’m clueless about AC test/test prep?
    7. I’m wrong about not worrying about a kids first map test?
    8. I’m wrong about how kids grades–on average–are lower in college than HS?
    9. All of the above???

    I’d like to be not clueless about one or more of these things, but am not sure where my clue-gap is. Help me out here!

    Here’s another thing I might be clueless about, in response to Hyde Park Mom:

    There is *zero* chance the letters will go out early. And it’s certainly possible that they will push it back with the layoffs.

  • 586. Hyde Park mom  |  January 26, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Maybe if the letters are mailed out later than promised they will publish the cutoff scores on such date?
    Honestly, it would be a nightmare to wait longer.
    At least, we have this group to vent because my friends are sick of my obsession;)

  • 587. 8th Grade mom  |  January 26, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    @586 I understand the obsession….it would be nice to know now where our children will attend school in the fall. For many reasons including planning our summer…since some schools have multi-week Freshman connection programs. I doubt they’d release the cutoff scores early. I have a neighbor who did not get accepted into first choice SE even though the student’s score was at the minimum for the tier, because there were 100 students with an identical score and they went into subscores to pick the students awarded a seat. They usually mail, then release.

  • 588. Jparent  |  January 26, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    This is one reason to have your child test early. That way, you know your child’s score & often (if they scored well) rest assured that they will get into “x” school.

  • 589. Hyde park mom  |  January 26, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    I had my daughter tested earlier and we know her results. She is ten points above the mean average for our tier from last year, but we don’t know how many kids tested this year and how they did. So basically we are waiting for the letter to know…

  • 590. Chris  |  January 26, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    ” She is ten points above the mean average for our tier from last year”

    If you want to make yourself nuts, you could dig around for the relevant cut score in every previous year with tier admissions, and see if there has ever been enough variation to cause concern.

    Of course, this being the first MAP cycle, it would most likely be for naught. And, as noted, would make you even more nuts than the waiting.

    Good luck!

  • 591. Sandra  |  January 27, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Do we have any parents of current WY students?
    I am trying to figure out when they do their freshmen orientation – is it the first week after the end of school year or at the end of August?

    Last summer AC kids had three weeks of orientation, but for the HS it is only one week, right?

    Trying to plan the summer…

  • 592. Sandra  |  January 27, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Never mind, found the last year info in their google calendar – freshman connection was the last two weeks of August.

  • 593. 8th Grade mom  |  January 27, 2016 at 10:47 am

    One more reason this wait is agonizing! All the schools have their Freshman stuff at different times. WY is our first choice and has recently held Freshman connection in August. Lane our second choice has FC in June. I just hope the budgets allow the connection programs to continue.

  • 594. edgewatermom  |  January 27, 2016 at 10:57 am

    @593 I believe that all high schools are going to have the orientation program now. It used to have to be paid for out of the general school budget (and was cut by some schools) but it is now going to be paid for by a tobacco tax. https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160111/downtown/cps-add-weeklong-orientation-program-for-high-school-freshmen

  • 595. Sandra  |  January 27, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Hm… does this mean that everybody will have it at the same time and this time will be set by CPS, not the schools? CPS published the 2016-17 calendar back in December, there is nothing about the orientation on it, but they did not know about it back then.

  • 596. edgewatermom  |  January 27, 2016 at 11:09 am

    I think that it think that it just means that everybody will receive funding for the program. It is probably up to each school to determine the format and scheduling.

  • 597. jen  |  January 27, 2016 at 8:05 pm


    If investors decide not to lend to CPS, then what? And, is it likely they won’t? It doesn’t sound like they should, but is the only other option bankruptcy? Or is this a type of negotiating tactic of sorts?

  • 598. eager to hear  |  January 29, 2016 at 11:04 am

    This may have been addressed in past posts, so my apologies if so. For those of you who have students in SEHS, do you know if shadow days are offered before the deadline for acceptance? Just curious. My daughter listed her first choice as Whitney Young, so am most curious about that school.

  • 599. JenFG  |  January 29, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    @598–yes, WY has done so in the past. Good luck to your daughter!

  • 600. Jen K  |  January 29, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    @598 Last year for WY AC, the shadow days were offered within a week of the acceptance letters – the process moved very quickly.

  • 601. Jen K  |  January 29, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Also…lifetime ban on students who fraudulently get into SEHS and get caught.


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