High School Letters “Pre-Show” 2016

February 12, 2016 at 1:23 am 520 comments

LVHS Music



I figure if the Oscars can have a pre-show, then the High School notification process can as well.  SEHS letters are 2 weeks away.

I am curious to see where people’s heads are at if you have an 8th grader applying to high school.  Is the stress level high?  What are the top choices?  Did you cast a wide net?  Is anyone embracing the neighborhood high school?  Anyone consider a charter?

I was fortunate enough to meet with HSObsessed this week who talked me off a moving-to-Evanston ledge by convincing me (just as I convince others) that there are plenty of good options in the city.  That we can fulfill our dream of raising city kids who get a good high school education.  I know this rationally, but the news about CPS budgets wears me down at times.

Feel free to share any pointers on dealing with lackadaisical pre-teens during 7th grade.






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The CTU and Budget Thread College Admission

520 Comments Add your own

  • 1. FunnyMommy  |  February 12, 2016 at 5:12 am

    Haaa!!! I’ve been on the Naperville ledge. Glad I’m not the only one. After visiting a few schools and researching stats, I’m much more comfortable with CPS’s ability to offer my son a solid high school education.

    I’m actually pretty excited but definitely a bit stressed. Seems like it’s taking forever for decisions to be made. I don’t remember the last time I’ve been so obsessed with checking the mail.

    Only school we’ve heard from so far is Urban Prep. I was giddy with excitement but of course the call just made me want to hear from the others.

    I wouldn’t say we cast our net wide although I kinda wished we had. Options are good. But I also had to think about the transportion piece. We’re south so I focused on the best schools the south side has to offer: Lindblom, Brooks, Kenwood, etc.

    Hopefully, we’ll all hear something soon. 🙂

  • 2. pantherettie  |  February 12, 2016 at 6:22 am

    What a great idea for a post. Our family went through this in 6th grade for AC enrollment. Don’t move to Evanston! There will be good school options for your son. Just hang in there a bit longer.

  • 3. Mama Serengeti  |  February 12, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Educate me, Obsessers. I’ve got a kindergartener-to-be and a toddler, so I’ve got a long way to go. And who knows how things will change in another nine years within CPS. But what’s the draw of Evanston Township High in particular for high school? LPHS is my neighborhood high school right now.

  • 4. Sheketta Mason  |  February 12, 2016 at 7:18 am

    We’re definitely stressing awaiting the arrival of letters from SEHS, IB and Von. We also applied to Trinity high school and those letters were mailed yesterday.

    This is the second time we’ve gone through this process. We have a daughter at Payton, who’s a junior but it doesn’t make things any easier. We’re just happy this is it for us. This process of waiting is tough.

  • 5. Chicago School GPS  |  February 12, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Here’s hoping the CPS HS notification letters, which are scheduled to be mailed by Feb. 26, are on time. The central office layoffs in January hit some big players responsible for SEHS and it’s unclear who is answering parent inquiries now and how efficient the notification process will be since they let go the folks who have done this for years.

  • 6. Hydeparkmom  |  February 12, 2016 at 8:05 am

    Here the anxiety is to the max. I can’t wait until everything is over.
    Hoping for Jones over here!

  • 7. edgewatermom  |  February 12, 2016 at 8:55 am

    I am so glad that her top choice is Senn IB so that we are not too anxious about results. We live in the neighborhood (which gives a 50 point boost) and should not have a problem getting in, but of course I still have moments when I think “I did apply correctly, right?!!!”

    I knew that it really was our top choice (and that I wasn’t just convincing myself so that I wouldn’t be disappointed if she didn’t get in elsewhere) when my middle-aged eyes misread the tier maps and I thought we were suddenly in tier 3. My first thought was “Hey, she could get in to Jones.” which was immediately followed by, “No, Senn is still a better fit for her.”

    After doing the shadow day in the fall she is REALLY excited for it. The IB program is a great fit for her, and the extremely short commute is a huge plus.

  • 8. cpsobsessed  |  February 12, 2016 at 9:26 am

    Regarding Evanston, it’s just top of mind for me because I live on the far north side and I’ve been up there a lot this year for my mom’s medical issues.

    Plus I think I’d fit in with the aging-hippy demographic. 🙂

    The school is racially diverse.

    And, they have a lot of offerings. I posted a photo above from a friend of mine showing the courses her son could choose from.

    I am very interested in the north side neighborhood high schools. Amundsen is nearby and we are a bikeride away from both Senn and Lake View. The Amundsen principal is impressive, the energy there is great, she’s tenacious and a good budgeter.

    It’s just that when I see that shiny list of courses in Evanston that I think “why not?”

    But I need to do more homework about what’s offered at the CPS high schools. Though budgets are being trimmed, I believe many schools still have a wide range of options.

  • 9. Jaguar Bronco Mom  |  February 12, 2016 at 9:26 am

    CPSO! This is a great thread! My 8th grader is in the AC at Kenwood AND guess what…I didn’t have him test and he is staying at Kenwood! No stalking the postman for me this year! Those days are behind me now! I also have a son that’s a Junior at a SEHS and I just remember losing sleep over this process. I’m at peace! Yeah!

  • 10. cpsobsessed  |  February 12, 2016 at 9:27 am

    @Edgewater mom, can you give a few points about what in the IB program feels like a good fit? I’m still having trouble articulating what IB is to my kid. (And myself.)

  • 11. cpsobsessed  |  February 12, 2016 at 9:29 am

    @5 Chicago GPS – oh no, that stinks about the SEHS internal people being layed off. Thanks for the intel. I do hope they manage to implement it correctly. I always suspected the process was way more complicated and labor intensive than people gave it credit for. I shudder to think what’ll happen if they just hire some temps to handle it.

  • 12. 8th Grade mom  |  February 12, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Not anxious, but really curious to see what happens! WY 1st choice, Lane 2nd – we’re happy with either. Also applied to Von Scholars, which we like; and LPIB, though the information session was so deadly that my student has no interest at all.

  • 13. Jaguar Bronco Mom  |  February 12, 2016 at 9:34 am

    @Funny Mommy–I posted before I read the thread. My oldest son goes to King and you only mention Lindblom & Brooks and you didn’t mention King. I hope you put King down on your application! It’s a great place! Of course Kenwood is too! I think Kenwood and King are great choices and I can’t really say which one I prefer. I do believe that the schools are the right fit for each of my kids’ personalities.

  • 14. edgewatermom  |  February 12, 2016 at 9:52 am

    @10 It really is hard to articulate. I think it is better preparation for college because the emphasis is on “learning how to learn”. The theory of knowledge class itself is fascinating.

    I love the projects that span more than a year. It is a holistic approach to learning and challenges kids to try new things and also pursue their passions.

    When my husband came home from the shadow day he said he had never seen such engaged teens. He also wanted to sign up for the IB program – but I told him he is a few decades too late. 🙂 He said it reminded him of his A level courses in Britain in the 80s.

    We are also impressed with the college acceptances and scholarships for Senn students. Their partnership with Loyola is a huge plus for the school. My daughter is really excited that she will get a Loyola library card if she is in the Senn IB program. I think that having the Fine Arts program in the school is also a big plus. She actually auditioned for the theater program, even though IB is her top choice.

  • 15. S Mason  |  February 12, 2016 at 9:58 am

    @. 8th Grade mom, yes that IB presentation at Lincoln Park was awful. My daughter was totally against going there.

  • 16. mom2  |  February 12, 2016 at 10:30 am

    @edgewatermom – PLEASE stay on cpsobsessed after your daughter is at Senn. I love hearing about all the parents that picked Senn, Lake View, Amundsen, etc. It is so encouraging! I can’t wait to hear all the great news as her year progresses.

  • 17. genxatmidlife  |  February 12, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Perhaps HSObsessed can do a full “talk-me-off-the-ledge” seminar next time around. The siren song from the north is calling even my city-born-and-raised husband (though much more quietly than it did for me a few years back). We are a 7th grade family. Already jumping right into school tours, test prep, stressing over grades — the whole fun CPS package.

    Though the edge is being taken off by the trajectory of Amundsen, our neighborhood school. My child loved it when she toured, and I have to say that I am quite impressed. My bigger issue now is with the budget issues impacting CPS as a whole vs. individual school choice.

  • 18. eager to hear  |  February 12, 2016 at 10:33 am

    We are also expectantly waiting for our daughter’s letter to come. I am assuming that she will get her first choice (WY) with her 900, but you know the old saying about assuming anything…….. I will feel much better when we have her letter in hand confirming where she will be going next year! Good luck to all of you who are also waiting to see what the next step will be.

  • 19. cpsobsessed  |  February 12, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Did any of you go to the Taft IB presentation? I am curious as to how Taft surpassed LP IB in entry scores (not to sell their program short, I know nothing about it other than they have a new principal but this was the first time Taft took the lead.)

  • 20. cpsobsessed  |  February 12, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Also, any info on the current Senn principal? Not sure if she is interim or not at this point. She wasn’t able to attend the night I went to the open house.

  • 21. eager to hear  |  February 12, 2016 at 11:28 am

    My husband took our daughter to the Taft presentation, as we also applied to LP IB. He said it was well done, direct and to the point and my daughter said it was interesting. That, coming from a 13 year old, says alot. Sounds like it was very different than the LP presentation. We have some friends who have kids in the Taft AC and they speak very highly of it and their new principal (who came from WY). I think both are considering keeping their kids there for the IB program for HS.

  • 22. 8th Grade mom  |  February 12, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I think my anxiety over which high school we are accepted to has now transitioned to anxiety over this pending big change in our lives. We’ve walked to our neighborhood school since K. I’m so excited for my daughter to start on this big new adventure of high school! And she is so ready to move on!

  • 23. Marketing Mom  |  February 12, 2016 at 11:36 am

    My son learned he was accepted to a STEM charter school on the NW side. It had over 1,000 applicants and drew 150 names in a lottery last week. He really liked the school when we visited the open house last fall and spoke with teachers and students. We are leaning in this direction. He is concerned about what his peers will think if he turns down SEHS. Many of his teachers are anti-charter and have passed this stream on thought on to the students.

  • 24. Logan Square Parent  |  February 12, 2016 at 11:54 am

    We are hoping for 1)Lane 2)W.Y. 3)Jones Pre-Law 4)Westinghouse CTC 5)L.P.H.S 6) Noble (U.I.C.) Campus 7)Lakeview

  • 25. cpsobsessed  |  February 12, 2016 at 11:59 am

    I’m not familiar with that charter. What’s the name of it?

    Interesting about the SEHS/charter social pressure. I do hope it continues to get easier for kids to select non-SEHS schools that fit their lifestyles/interests with pride.

  • 26. mom2  |  February 12, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    I saw some kids proudly wearing Lake View HS t-shirts at their elementary school recently. They gave them out at their open house. That’s a good sign!

  • 27. Logan Square Parent  |  February 12, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    U.I.C. College prep is part of the Noble Charter Schools. It’s 1231 S. Damen

  • 28. 8th Grade mom  |  February 12, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Our counselor has been very good about presenting options to our students. Charter as well as traditional. Giving them good criterion for evaluating the fit of potential schools. And our principal has also told that students that when she thinks of the people she respects the most, she has no idea where most of them went to high school!

  • 29. cpsobsessed  |  February 12, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    ^ that is very good advice!

    I keep seeing things on the Internet saying that there is a huge demand for plumbers and that pay is up to $100k. I am actually pondering whether I should just tell my son to be a plumber. Actually I think I mentioned it once and he had an aversion to touching toilets. Okay, back to the drawing board. Maybe I will become a plumber.

  • 30. FunnyMommy  |  February 12, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    @Jaguar Bronco Mom thanks so much for your reply. Actually, we did apply to King. I’ve heard great things about them but I’m not personally familiar. I’m a suburban girl so all of this is new to me. My ex went to WY though. They couldn’t have been to selective then. Lmbo! 😉

    I’m drawn to Lindbloom because of their scores and I’m drawn to Kenwood because of their diversity and knack for getting kids scholarshipped (just made that up).

    I’m mad at myself for not looking into AC for my now 6th grader. I would have loved for him to be at the same school as his big brother in the fall.

    Oh well, this process is interesting. I’m learning as I go. The fact that the letters may not even be mailed until the 26th is nerve wrecking in itself. I hadn’t even really considered the effects the layoffs of Central Office may have on notification. Ughhh.

    Just checked the mail. Nothing. I think I’m about to step in and give myself an intervention. No more mail checking for me during this process…unless of course one of you report that you got something. That would be a game changer. Lol.

  • 31. FunnyMommy  |  February 12, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    “And our principal has also told that students that when she thinks of the people she respects the most, she has no idea where most of them went to high school!”

    Very cool and makes perfect sense to me.

    P.S. I should have aspired to be a plumber.

  • 32. Eager to know  |  February 12, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    @FunnyMommy , I was really impressed with Lindbloom. That school is a gem and because where it’s located people don’t give it a second look. My daughter’s first choice is Lane, 2nd Lindbloom. Good luck to you all 🙂

  • 33. HydeParkmom  |  February 12, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    I was also really impressed with Lindbloom. My student is looking for more diversity though. I would be happy sending her there, but it’s her choice.
    I won’t start looking at the mail until the 29!

  • 34. waiting  |  February 12, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    The distance between Lane and Lindbloom is huge. I’m surprised those two schools so far from each other are your choices. Just curious.

  • 35. CPS course requirements  |  February 12, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    @CPS obsessed…just wanted to make all aware that your children will have very few opportunities to take electives in HS. This is due, in part, to the CPS requirements for graduation. In addition, SEHS have further “recommendations” regarding the number of years a student should take various core classes. At most, students are allowed 4 electives during their HS years. All students MUST take 4 years of English. However, most SEHS schools do NOT allow students to deviate from the prescribed English classes i.e the school may offer creative writing, journalism, etc…but these are considered ELECTIVES & do not satisfy the English requirement.

    So while certain schools may offer a wide range of course options ..in reality your child will not have room in their schedule to take most of them. In addition, all AP core sciences take up 2 periods. This further limits room for electives. Moreover, the AP capstone program recently introduced at many SEHSs does NOT count towards any core requirements. Rather, the 2 year program will use up 2 electives.

    I believe Jones is currently the only SEHS that does allow students some choice regarding which English classes they enroll in for junior & senior year. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Otherwise, the only way to avoid the prescribed English class is to take AP Lang or AP lit (which may not be a good fit for all).

    Just some food for thought…

  • 36. cpsobsessed  |  February 12, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Thanks @35 – and do you know if this differs from how it’s done in the suburbs? Are there typically more electives there? I though Lane’s strength was offering a hung range of classes. Where do these all factor in?

  • 37. 8th Grade mom  |  February 12, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    @35 thanks for the perspective.
    @29 A few years ago the Sun-Times or Trib had a piece about how it was harder to get into the plumbers union than Harvard. I can’t recall the methodology. 🙂

  • 38. HSbound2016  |  February 12, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    HSObcessed? Is that another blog?

  • 39. 8th Grade mom  |  February 12, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Does anyone have any experience with how and when the programming works at Lane? If I understand correctly, the student is assigned or selects one of the tracks. I am not sure what would be right for us – Honors, a-STEM, Capstone? If I read the programming guide corrrectly, Capstone is like Honors, but Capstone replaces PE junior and senior year. Seems like a lot of additional work, in addition to extracurriculars and other AP classes.

    I’m not a huge fan of the AP push….it seems like a marketing tool. I was a school nerd myself and always thought I’d want my child in the most challenging possible, but this seems like overkill.

  • 40. HSbound2016  |  February 12, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    So letters we hope will be mailed Feb 26th, but some people have heard already about their Charter school selections?

    Our choices are
    Lane Tech

    NS or LT we would be happy with either my child’s classmates seem to prefer LT so it makes child lean towards LT but they really want NS.

    I think we selected Lincoln IB and Taft. I don’t remember anything else. I seriously don’t remember if I selected charters.

  • 41. ELT  |  February 12, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Eighth grade parents I feel your pain. We were there last year and will be there again next year. Just let you kid know you love them and whatever happens it will be OK.

  • 42. HSbound2016  |  February 12, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    @8th Grade Mom keep in mind those AP course you have to also pay additional fees for. Is anyone considering Principal Selection application if there child does not make the cut? My understanding is that you should only apply to the first choice if you don’t make it. Also your child should have a spell talent or something they excel at music, sports etc. That your child has to almost have a resume of their accomplishments. Thoughts?

  • 43. HSbound2016  |  February 12, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Naperville is so far! We looked at Adli Stephenson, Fenwick and Oak Park River Forest. Stephenson is so far too though!

  • 44. HSObsessed  |  February 12, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    LOL, CPSO, it was pretty easy to talk you off that ledge. It’s hard justify jumping when it requires landing in a suburb.

    My kid hasn’t had the same experience with lack of ability to take elective courses. CPS requires 4 years of English, 3 of math, 3 science, 3 social sciences, 2 world language, 2 music/drama/art, and 2 PE. Even within most of those categories, there’s some room for choice (for example, biology is required but then you choose two other science subjects to fulfill the requirement).That’s a total of 19 required courses. Kids have 7 class periods a day, so that’s 28 in their high school careers. Therefore, at minimum there’s room for 9 other elective courses.

  • 45. ELT  |  February 12, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    @35 you are correct — Jones has a number of options that satisfy the English III and IV requirements most of which are focused on specific cultures’ literature. There are the electives — Journalism, Creative Writing and Argumentative Literature — but those do not satisfy the English credit requirement.

  • 46. 8th Grade mom  |  February 12, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    @42 good point. I think it’s probably a good idea to have a Principal selection plan to avoid scrambling. I have a couple neighbors who made it into NS on principal’s discretion so it’s worth trying. And yes I believe you can only apply to one school; I don’t think it has to be your first choice. If it doesn’t have to be your first choice, I’d pick the one where your student was closest to the cutoff score. I have neighbors who got their kids in on principal discretion, and they think it was just because their scores were so close to the cutoff.

  • 47. North Center Mom  |  February 12, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    This is cut/pasted from Jones course manual:

    Current Graduation Requirements

    CPS Graduation Requirements
    4.0 English
    3.0 Mathematics
    3.0 Science
    2.0 World Language
    3.0 Social Science
    2.0 Fine Arts
    4.0 Physical Education
    4.0 Electives
    Student Advisory

    College Prep Recommendations
    4.0 English
    4.0 Mathematics
    4.0 Science
    4.0 World Language
    4.0 Social Science
    2.0 Fine Arts
    4.0 Physical Education
    4.0 Electives
    Student Advisory

  • 48. Eager to know  |  February 12, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Did anyone on this feed apply for the double honors program at LP?

  • 49. ArtfulOffspring  |  February 12, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Looking forward to completion of final callback session at ChiArts next Saturday. Didn’t apply to any SEHS because ChiArts is my son’s number one choice. Does anyone know whether Charters send letters at the same time as CPS? I would think that they would have to, I just haven’t seen that info anywhere.

  • 50. FunnyMommy  |  February 12, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Naperville really is far. It’s only a possibility because grandma lives there. Relocating isn’t a possibilty for me as I work for CPS. Do you have plans to relocate? I love OPRF! If only I lived in Oak Park… ❤

  • 51. FunnyMommy  |  February 12, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    @HSbound2016 ^^^

  • 52. Chicago School GPS  |  February 12, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    @49- ChiArts is not part of the centrally managed applications from CPS’s Office of Access & Enrollment (CPSOAE) so their timing and notifications come directly from them. They will notify on March 1.

    Each charter network (CICS, Noble, Uno, Aspira, Intrinsic, etc) is separate in applications and notifications.

    ChiArts is a contract school, not a charter school, so they are actually under CPS’s umbrella but are managed by an outside entity. Confusing, I know.

  • 53. cpsobsessed  |  February 12, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    @47 – so that adds up to 30 classes for college prep… isn’t that more than the 7*4=28 that HSO mentioned?

    So basically you guys are saying not to pick a school based on electives since that’s such a small part of a student’s HS career?

  • 54. FunnyMommy  |  February 12, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    @Eager to Know and HydeParkMom Yes, Lindbloom really is a hidden gem. They have the scores to prove it. Not a lot of diversity though…mainly AA and Hispanic. Eager to know,Lindblom us South while Lane is North. How are you going to manage that?

    @artfuloffspring We heard from Urban Prep last week. I think we also applied to Bronzeville Scholastic but haven’t heard from them. I think charters just kind of do their own thing. It may also depend on the acceptance policy. UP accepts by lottery which I’m sure it’s significantly easier.

    UP already has registration and curriculum nights scheduled. I’m really impressed. Looks like they’re trying to get they’re numbers early. But I’m not willing to make a decision until I can make a well informed one.

  • 55. CPS course requirements  |  February 12, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    @53 cps obsessed
    @47 thanks for posting as will make clearer to those not as familiar,
    Also, going further thru the core classes:

    Science – 4 years but CPS requires biology, chemistry & physics…so that’s 3 out of the 4 chosen for you

    Social studies – all freshman required to take either AP human geo. or World studies. Students also required to take either US history or APush so 2/4 chosen for you

    P.E. – 4 years & I don’t believe it is possible to “waive” all 4 years as Driver’s Ed & Health are required. It is possible to get PE waived junior & senior year if involved in AP capstone or 2 sports (both Fall & Spring). In any event, the PE requirement will take up at least 1 class spot for 2 years

    English – discussed above in @35

    Arts – CPS requires 2 years BUT in 2 different categories i.e visual arts, performing arts (drama, dance) & musical (chorus, band etc…) Thus, is X student really loves playing the trumpet & joins band…that’s great but if they want to continue band the additional 3 years that will take up 3 class spots that will NOT goes towards satisfying the “arts” requirement.

    Hope that helps. I don’t know ANYTHING about suburbs so won’t comment. However, common sense tells me there must be some consistent requirements for HS grads statewide.

  • 56. HSObsessed  |  February 12, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    I don’t believe that 4 years of PE are required by CPS, although the wording on the official website sheet is kind of confusing. My kid signed up for it this year, but I thought it was because she liked the easy A, LOL.

    @53 – I still think it’s worthwhile to look into the course offerings because it’s nice to have a variety of classes to pick choose from, like for the social sciences category, for example: are there a few options like European history, economics, psychology, geography, etc. to take beyond the two required world history and US history? However, it shouldn’t be a huge factor in the overall decision about whether the school is acceptable.

    I’d say the same thing for the number of AP courses a school offers. Sure, it’s brag-worthy for huge schools to offer 30+ AP classes, but the reality is most kids only take a few in their junior and senior years. I feel like as long as there are at least a few offered in each broad category (science, math, social studies, English), that it’s enough.

    @48 – My kid is in that program currently; if you have any questions, I might be able to respond.

  • 57. HSObsessed  |  February 12, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    Individual schools might have their own requirements, but the official current CPS high school graduation requirements are posted on the CPS website in PDF form:


  • 58. CPS course requirements  |  February 12, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    @56 the PE requirement was changes from 2 to 4 years starting with Class of 2017 I believe.

  • 59. Eager to know  |  February 12, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    @FunnyMommy, Lane is closer to us so we are hoping she gets in there but if she is accepted into Lindbloom instead, I will take her in the morning and my husband who works over off 43th and Ashland would pick her up after school. In addition, she has a friend who lives in Pilsen that attends Lindbloom and has offered to carpool. I see some people selected Westinghouse but I was not impressed.

  • 60. Eager to know  |  February 12, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    @56 if your child plays A Varsity sport, they don’t require them to take gym.

  • 61. eager to hear  |  February 12, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    I just checked in with the Social Studies Chair at WY. Students there must take World Studies as a graduation requirement. They cannot take AP Human Geo in place, so if a student wants to take AP Human Geo Freshman year, they will still need to take World Studies in a subsequent year to meet their requirements .

  • 62. CPS course requirements  |  February 12, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    @60 Even those in a Varsity sport must take 2 years of PE or ROTC (offered at Lane…not sure about other SEHS)
    @61 interesting that AP human geo does not replace World Studies requirement at WY. It does at Jones

  • 63. FunnyMommy  |  February 12, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    @Eager to Know OK, you have a good plan. Think I’ll have to take my son to and from school on my way to and from work. Transportation is a whole ‘nother beast to tackle. Always something… lol

  • 64. eager to hear  |  February 12, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    @62 AP Human Geo can replace World Studies at Lane as well.

  • 65. eager to hear  |  February 12, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    @62 And at Payton and Northside.

  • 66. eager to hear  |  February 12, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Just looked at WY 2016-2017 course guide now posted on website and SS graduation requirements are listed as World History (not World Studies), US History or another elective. Now confused.

  • 67. pantherettie  |  February 12, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    @FunnyMommy – I’m glad to hear that your child has applied to the southside SEHS. I’m totally partial to Lindblom 🙂 but I think that they are all strong options. Let us know what happens!

  • 68. @FunnyMommy  |  February 12, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Just as an FYI–I believe Kenwood admitted 8 eighth graders into the AC to replace some students who transferred. I would apply in 7th grade for an 8th grade seat. I just want to forewarn you that your child will be basically starting Freshman year in 8th grade. The only elementary school class the 8th graders have is gym. It could be a tough transition for a child that had regularly paced elementary school classes to go from 7th grade work to freshman year work. However, my friend’s daughter who started in 8th grade at the AC is doing very well so it is possible to do well!

  • 69. FunnyMommy  |  February 12, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    @Pantherettie Thank you for the support. I feel like it’s a great option too. As soon as I know, you guys will know. You’re the only ones who understand the struggle. 🙂

  • 70. FunnyMommy  |  February 12, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Whoa! Possible admission into AC in 8th grade. That is excellent information. I’ll try it. Thanks so much! ❤

  • 71. FunnyMommy  |  February 12, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    @Eager to Know sounds like you have a great plan and back up plan. The issue of transportation is a whole ‘nother beast.

    My babe is so green that public transportation is just not an option. I’ll probably have to drop him and pick him up on my way to and from work. Praying that my school’s start and end time will be close to his.

  • 72. SK NW Side  |  February 12, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    CPSO, good thread. Come down off that ledge!

    Trying to go in order of items in your post, but I may not be successful because the comments are so interesting.

    Our neighborhood school (Taft) is a great option, just not for our family – no orchestra program. So my current 8th grader didn’t consider it (except as being the school she would attend if she didn’t get in anywhere else). Any school without an orchestra did not make her cut in her HS considerations. So not a very wide net there.

    Top choices for my 8th grader are Lane, Jones, North Side, Whitney, Payton. She loved Jones when we visited – engaging students and parents, loved the principal. But Lane was her first love when she toured it several years ago, and when we re-toured this year she was reminded of how much she loved it — she knows the music program and likes how it is set up, she is excited to get involved in the clubs that are available, she wants to take German (Lane is the only school to offer it), and her sister is there (the least of her reasons, ha!).

    We are a low-stress household. No test prep for MAP or SEHS. She took the test early to get it over with – gets the points early, knows the ballpark where she falls based on last year’s numbers, and can just continue to do what she likes to do. As a parent, I liked having the opportunity for her to test early, as the scores were back before the application deadline. So if her scores were not in the ballpark for the schools in which she was interested, there was still time to get her head ready for other options.

    Impressed by Senn and Amundsen, and so very happy for those for whom those schools are their neighborhood HS.

    I find people’s comments about LP interesting…it seems like a love or hate thing, with nothing in between. My 8th grader didn’t care for it – thought there was a lack of energy and interest on the part of the students who were there at open house. The only students who were really engaging were the ROTC kids – the rest were more interested in talking with each other or looking at their phones than interacting with people who were touring the campus and had questions. If we hadn’t had friends with us who wanted to tour the entire school, we would have left after hearing the presentations of the principal and music department. We have friends there who absolutely love it, though.

    As far as AP classes are concerned, I have to agree with those who posted above – just because AP classes are offered does NOT mean that your child has to take them (and they will be pushed to do so at Lane, the school with which I am most familiar because my freshman there started in the academic center). Don’t be afraid, as a parent-child team, to discuss the options together and have your child choose the classes within a subject that will keep them engaged – AP isn’t the be-all, end-all.

    So. Stay off the ledge. There are loads of good options here in Chicago!

    Now we get a breather – the younger siblings are in 2nd and 3rd grade, so we get to watch from the sidelines for awhile.

  • 73. SK NW Side  |  February 12, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    P.S. I love to see Pantherettie on here. She is such a wealth of information where Lindblom is concerned.

  • 74. Marketing Mom  |  February 13, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Noble has multiple charter schools. The one my son was accepted to last week through lottery was the Noble ITW (Illinois Tool Works) David Speer Academy. It the first STEM focused charter with a focus on engineering, math and computer science all four years. They built a new facility on Grand Avenue that opened last year. Noble UIC is a different charter focused on healthcare a medical fields.

  • 75. Vikingmom  |  February 13, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    @genxatmidlife, I was so happy to hear your thoughts about Amundsen. Having a daughter who is a senior I can say it IS a great option. She is still waiting to hear from some colleges, but so far has been accepted to all she applied to, and offered scholarships at all, except for u of I, no surprise there, given the state of the state. Scholarships have ranged from $13k/year to full tuition for 4 years. She worked hard and had a great support system of teachers and counselors at Amundsen.
    CPSO, after nearly 4 years I probably still can’t clearly explain the IB program but someone earlier mentioned it being a holistic approach and I think that is a good description. One thing about IB—the curriculum is such that there are no electives. You follow a prescribed set of courses. However, there is great breadth, depth, and freedom in many classes. There are many long term projects where the students can pretty much choose to research their own topic. And the Theory of Knowledge class is really amazing.
    Good luck to everyone applying for SEHS!

  • 76. Logan Square Parent  |  February 13, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    @74 Marketing Mom…Is your son attending David Speer Academy in the fall? My kid is on waiting list for David Speer Academy.

  • 77. Marketing Mom  |  February 14, 2016 at 12:15 am

    I would say yes at this point. Speer was in the top 3 choices. Still waiting to hear from St Ignatius and SEHS. Hope to weigh all options. I’ve heard from several sources that Ignatius is a long shot for families that do not have legacy or come from a catholic elementary. We’ll see what happens.

  • 78. westrogersparkmom  |  February 14, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Interesting conversation about electives. This probably isn’t the right place for it but it’s another reason AC’s are so attractive.

    Good luck to everyone. With a 7th and 11th grader this is a year ‘off’ for us.

  • 79. Vikingmom2  |  February 14, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    @genxatmidlife: I second Vikingmom – great to hear your thoughts! My child is a sophomore at Amundsen IB. It’s a challenging and rewarding program, mostly because of the teachers and support system at Amundsen. I continue to be impressed and happy with our choice.

  • 80. edgewatermom  |  February 14, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    I am so glad to hear all of these great things about Amundsen. I really wish that more people would consider their neighborhood school – and not just as a “backup” plan if you don’t get in to SEHS. I realize that not every neighborhood school is a good choice, and that SEHS is a better fit than a good neighborhood school for some kids, but we really need to get out of this SEHS or nothing mind set.

    CPSObsessed, I will be sure to report back next year (and the next…) about our experience at Senn.

  • 81. WRP Mom  |  February 14, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    @39 8th grade mom, With the exception of Alpha/STEM, the tracks at Lane are pretty fluid. They seem more of a suggestion of classes to take than a requirement. I would say most incoming freshman take pretty much the same classes anyway. The differences are mainly in upper grades. For instance, students on the art track will get priority to a lot of the art electives. AP capstone classes are typically taken during junior/senior year. Many kids take the capstone to get out of PE in 11th/12th grades, but there are other ways to get a waiver.

    As I mentioned, Alpha STEM is different. Incoming freshman would need to declare this track at the beginning. The math/science/English classes are only with other alphas and are more accelerated than the comparable class a non-alpha would experience. They also do a long term science fair project during freshman and sophomore years.This is really for kids that are passionate about science & want to go into a STEM career. I do not recommend it for students with only a casual interest who are trying do something that looks good on college applications.

    Students don’t have to stay in the same track all 4 years if they feel it’s not for them. Lane has so many options and the counselors will work with the kids if they have any concerns regarding programming for the following years.

  • 82. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 14, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    CPSO~Feel free to share any pointers on dealing with lackadaisical pre-teens during 7th grade

    I wouldn’t put him in a SEHS. If he truly is lackadaisical and not trying to be number one in his class now, he won’t like SEHS. It could be too much stress for him. Not what you would want to hear, but what I have seen in the kids who leave SEHS.

    My child liked his AP classes~he took 5 last year so that’s 5 x $91 + $455 I had to pay in fees for the exams.

    As for AP classes, if you don’t take them and they are offered at your school~ivy or top tier universities will FLAG that on your application and that will greatly reduce your acceptance. My first child took a lot of AP classes bc he knew where he wanted to attend university and what he would need to get there. My next son won’t take as many bc what he is going into, most universities offer it for a masters~and the college he will be attending for his BS is a nice school out east but not what I would call top tier~so why have all the stress?

    I have never have or will have any of my kids take 7 classes. They can have a study hall since CPS wanted the longer unfunded day and do their hw then.

    35. CPS course requirements | February 12, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    AP core science classes do NOT take up 2 periods~at least not at WY.

    61. eager to hear | February 12, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    You are talking about 2 totally dif classes~WS & WH.Most kids take APWH their junior year.

    I just want to add one more thing. I am very appreciative that my kids earned their spots at WY. WY has offered them not only a wonderful school academically but socially also, and they took full advantage of what was and is offered.

  • 83. eager to hear  |  February 14, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    @82 I understand that World Studies and World History are two different courses. Trying to understand what will be required to graduate from WY. The new Academic Planning Guide notes that US and World History plus another elective are required to graduate but several course descriptions like US History have World Studies as a prerequisite. So if you go with the course progression of World Studies, US History, World History, a student really only has one SS elective to choose in their 4 year tenure. Maybe you could shed some light on your child’s experience.

    Am glad that you have had such a positive experience at WY. Our daughter was struggling to make a decision between WY and Payton and has a composite that would have allowed her to go to either school. She has always loved WY and went with her heart. She is not having any second thoughts about her choice. As a parent, you just hope that choice was the right one and that they will be happy and healthy in their HS career.

  • 84. Partent of SEHS kid  |  February 14, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    “I wouldn’t put him in a SEHS. If he truly is lackadaisical and not trying to be number one in his class now, he won’t like SEHS.”

    Pish Posh

    Plenty of different types of kids with different learning styles in SEHS. The #1 student going on to the Ivies is so NOT the typical student. Plenty of kids benefiting from a robust HS experience and going on to a variety of colleges by design – INCLUDING the laid back ones. Don’t let anyone mislead or intimidate your family from pursuing any program that your kid qualifies for and feels good about

  • 85. jazzman  |  February 14, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    If your child is considering SEH or AC at kenwood or Lindbloom Urban prep is not a option for them. They will be bored and very far ahead of the rest of the class and that will only hurt your child. Urban Prep is a good story but its not what you think it is a lot of the students are far behind and is very pass the test centered. I am not knocking what they are doing over there I think its great but its not for focused advanced students.

  • 86. CPS course requirements  |  February 14, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    @82 AP biology & chemistry
    Interesting that they are a single period at WY. Assume that is 5 times a week? At Jones, the AP science takes up two class periods – lecture & lab. As Jones is on a block schedule, this means a student will have AP chemistry for ex. on both A days & B days or everyday for 90 minutes.

  • 87. cpsobsessed  |  February 14, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    @84 – haha, thank you for the Pish Posh.

    We still have some thought to give it, assuming he gets in. Based on the feedback from everyone here (thank you all for sharing) if we place a smart-but-non-high-striving kid into an SEHS it would be with a lot of framing the experience in advance and ongoing. I don’t think the issue about AP/Ivies will matter in our circumstance.

    But we’ll see how things shake out. I would love to see a neighborhood school in our future, but it’s hard for a kid not to be drawn in by the shiny extras at the SEHSs. This is what is depressing about the difference in these schools vs the neighborhood schools. How can they compete with the fancy stuff?

  • 88. luveurope  |  February 15, 2016 at 10:24 am

    77 Legacy means nothing at St. Ignatius. Yes, they take kids from catholic grammar schools before public.

  • 89. edgewatermom  |  February 15, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Did anybody catch the interview with the principal from Amundsen on WBEZ Morning Shift today? I missed the beginning, but what I heard was great. She came across as intelligent and compassionate and truly invested in the success of the school and the students. It will probably be available on the website tomorrow – well worth the listen.

  • 90. CPS course requirements  |  February 15, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    @89 Thanks for sharing! @CPS obsessed I concur that Amundsen is a good neighborhood school alternative to SEHSs. Several of my neighbors went to the Open House at Amundsen this Fall & are seriously considering it as an option for their children. With just a little push, I believe Amundsen has the ability to emerge as a top neighborhood choice for families on the NS. It is easily assessable by public transportation & sits on a beautiful campus in what I would describe as a “safe” neighborhood.

    Not sure if accurate, but at one point I recall hearing that children in district for either Amundsen or Lakeview could attend either HS (with Lakeview lining up more on the STEM side & Amundsen more aligned with liberal arts). The idea was that as both HS are in the same ward that it would help alleviate competition for resources & encourage parents to support both. In any event, I thought it was a brilliant idea. And I do know of a former Options student currently attending LV & enjoying the experience.

    As mentioned above, SEHSs are filled with ALL types of students from the somewhat lackadaisical to the intense Ivy bound (or more realistically ‘Ivy hopeful’ students). In fact, I would venture to say that the majority are more in the A/B range with the occasional C versus the straight A track. Wherever your son lands he will be fine…after all, he has you for a parent😊

  • 91. JAG  |  February 15, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    @48 Eager to know. My daughter applied to the Double Honors at LP. We consider it a great option, along with SEHS. She is at Kenwood AC right now. She loves Kenwood, and really wants to stay there. However, it would just be too far to travel for High school. The beauty of the AC’s is school buses are provided.

  • 92. mom2  |  February 15, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Has anyone heard any updates on the honors program that was going to be started at Lake View? From a DNA article this past November,
    “There’s also a multimillion dollar investment coming to the school, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) revealed Wednesday. With plans to increase the academic rigor of the school, build an honors program and provide stronger connections to area elementary schools, “this will further build on the efforts” by Grens, Tunney said.”

  • 93. Caroline  |  February 15, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    We got our Catholic School letters. I thought CPS would follow in a week or so. I am disappointed that we will not hear until after the 26th. Our child also applied to some boarding schools. I am really worried about the cuts that CPS is making and the budget problems will not be fixed any time soon. I have two older children who have already graduated college and the high school process was bad when they went through it. It is way worse now. It is so much more competitive with the new tiering process. If CPS would put the same resources into all the school, neighborhood schools could offer the same courses as the SEHS. I am frustrated and just overwhelmed with this process. I so not wish this on anyone. If I could move out of Chicago I would tomorrow.

  • 94. Rockyracoon  |  February 15, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    As someone who moved from CPS to the suburbs when my oldest was going into fifth grade (he’s now in 10th), I can say it was the right move despite leaving a school and a neighborhood we loved. I knew my smart yet not overly ambitious and also anxiety prone kids would have a really hard time with the SEHS process. A couple comments here make it sound like leaving the city for the suburbs is akin to torture. I would examine putting your own aversion to suburbia over your child’s needs before just dismissing the option. Especially if you like what the suburban schools have to offer. As for shiny amenities, have you seen New Trier? It’s as old, shabby and worn as some of the old city high schools. Yet the quality of education is still high. My kids don’t go to New Trier but they are happy with their high school, our community, the academic and extracurricular options, the teachers, counselors, coaches and other resources available to them as they figure out what do with their lives after high school. I would echo others’ sentiments that if you’re on a college prep track, the opportunities to take many of the great electives offered just aren’t there. Four years is just too little time, imho! Best of luck to all.

  • 95. cpsobsessed  |  February 15, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    I’m curious to see what happens with the cutoff score at Lane. I feel like that school is really moving up on kids’ lists. In the past it was like “rank the other schools at the top and Lane at the bottom” and now I’m seeing that flipped.

    So that is likely the wildcard for kids who have Lane on the list and don’t score in the top 90’s on the tests.

  • 96. Village Idiot  |  February 15, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    @94 Which high school? My kid is begging me night and day to move to the suburbs for high school. It’s not my first choice but I’m considering it.

  • 97. Parent  |  February 15, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    What happened to the plan to build a new SEHS (supposed to be named “Obama”)? Is the plan still on?

  • 98. cpsobsessed  |  February 15, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    @96, what is it about the idea of suburban high school that appeals to your child? Do they have friends/relatives in suburban high schools? It’s a lot to ask a kid to make a move as a new kid in high school, so they must be really interested in it!

  • 99. cpsobsessed  |  February 15, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    I assume the Obama HS is still being planned, mainly because a petition is circulating trying to stop it from being built.

    While I like the idea of a place where more kids can attend high school in a diverse setting, I have to agree that CPS does not have the budget to build this school and that it makes more sense to put the $ into existing high schools. The slim pickins is being spread too think as it is.

    If you care to sign, here is the link:


  • 100. Village Idiot  |  February 15, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    @98 My kid has no fear of knowing no one. Wants something totally new and different. Craves the tranquility of suburban living and wide open spaces. Maybe I let kid watch too many John Hughes movies.

  • 101. OMG I'm a suburbanite.  |  February 16, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Ok, it sort of feels like admitting we went over to the dark side.., but we’re one of ones who moved to Evanston and are at ETHS. Features: the place is yuuge physically and in academic and extra-curricular offerings. Languages offered include Hebrew and Latin, robotics, My teen has dabbled in Shakespeare club, classic film watching club, a very well run debate club, art history club,a feminist club. There is AM tutoring every morning and tutoring on Sat. morning, opportunity to get health class etc. over during summer to free up schedule for more electives. Top out on all the advanced courses in a subject, and you can take one at Northwestern. Can leave home at 7:30 and get to school early at 8 for 8:30 start of classes. had wanted my teen to do IB at Senn, but she found the curriculum too restrictive. And we must have caught them on a bad day and class when we shadowed last year. The teacher literally had to force discussion in the Senior IB English class we visited. I took that with a grain of salt, but it did fall flat with my teen when she had expected the interesting, probing class discussions I had told her she would get with IB. She did not want to go to Senn, I wish we had looked at Amundsen. We rented at the time and it was easy to move. We are 1 mile from the city border and we can still walk to Thai, Ethiopian, the dry cleaners etc. The purple line runs express to the Loop. The NYT had an article recently on Evanston “the urban suburb”. One warning: the parents here all tend to drive their kids even when it’s unnecessary. They are impressed at the independence of my kid assuming public trans as the 1st option. All that being said: we wish it could have worked in CPS, but we were exhausted trying. We do miss living right in the heart of the city, but we like it here, too. My kid is happy, and I don’t regret the decision.

  • 102. Counterpoint  |  February 16, 2016 at 12:54 am

    It really depends on the kid… I was a former city kid who was moved out to a burb, and I was absolutely, positively miserable. Granted, it was in a little-known lower middle class suburb (definitely not Evanston), but simply the fact that it wasn’t Chicago drove me nuts. I hated it there with a passion. I had good friends, went to a decent school, and there were a few things to do, but I spent my whole suburban career plotting my escape back to the city. It wasn’t home. I’m terrified of my kids moving to the suburbs when they grow up, honestly. I worked so hard to keep them here, and I want my grandchildren to be 5th generation Chicago born 🙂
    So, if the suburbs seem to be calling your name, the most important thing to keep in mind is your child’s happiness. Good luck to everyone with skin in the game this year, stay positive!

  • 103. Chicagoan  |  February 16, 2016 at 8:09 am

    @102 – Ditto – exactly my story. We were miserable. My parents didn’t like it in the suburbs either.

  • 104. cpsobsessed  |  February 16, 2016 at 8:52 am

    @101 – thanks for the detailed info! How is the class differentiation in Evanston? As I drive through I have to remind myself that we wouldn’t be living in one of those giant houses I have loved since I was a child when I visited cousins in Evanston (this also explains my soft spot for the town – it was my first out-of-regular-suburb experience as a kid.)

    Ultimately my kid probably isn’t a big joiner of activities anyhow, which proves yet again that wherever he ends up will likely be just fine.

  • 105. 8th Grade mom  |  February 16, 2016 at 9:16 am

    @82 SoxSideIrish4 Can you help me understand your 7 classes/study hall comment? I do also recall hearing a principal mention kids opting for 7 classes…not sure what that means. If we look at the typical schedule it looks to me like 7 classes (math, english, science, social studies, foreign language, PE, fine arts). And in a non-block schedule, 8 periods (which would be the above 7 classes plus lunch).

    @CPSO I can understand your concern about a lackadaisical attitude given the significance of grades and test scores in high school admissions. But I wouldn’t project that to your student’s ability to succeed in a SE environment. Based on my observations of students we know at various SE’s….not all the SE kids are type-A , genius strivers; many just happen to have won the genetic lottery of academic ability. If they lived in the suburbs they’d be “typical” kids, taking honors classes.

  • 106. cpsobsessed  |  February 16, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Thank you @105. I’m sure you’re right about kids dealing okay with SEHS if they are by nature, laid back. Truthfully any stress he’s had regarding school has come from ME rather than school or other students.

    The 5th grade girl in me cringes when I see a messy rumpled project being turned in. 🙂

    It’ll work out. And there’s always plumbing school.

  • 107. cpsobsessed  |  February 16, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    I haven’t listened yet, but here’s a piece on the Amundsen HS principal from WBEZ:


  • 108. genxatmidlife  |  February 16, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    @Vikingmom and @Vikingmom2 — Thank you so much for spreading the good word about Amundsen. One of the things my child is dealing with right now is talk about the school that is, while not outright discouraging, clearly places it in a different “category” than some of her other preferences.

  • 109. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 16, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    84. Partent of SEHS kid | February 14, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    I don’t know what you consider the TYPICAL student at a SEHS~I know what I’ve seen of my kids’ friends at WY~MANY are looking for and working at going to an ivy or top tier universities. There are many other students who choose to attend other universities of their choice, but they are usually taking the hardest classes and preparing for their college years~knowing they will be fully prepared to attend university. Yes some kids benefit from going to SEHS who aren’t pulling As, but I really feel those are the kids that are doing their best and working their hardest just to get Bs and Cs. I’m just stating my opinion. And of course students go to university by design, but I’m just stating what I’ve seen. My thought is always, start with SEHS, if it’s not a good fit for the child, leave.

    86. CPS course requirements | February 14, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    All AP classes are daily for 50 minutes each.

    87. cpsobsessed | February 14, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    I knew when I wrote that, many wouldn’t like it. But you asked ppl to comment. This is what I have seen in SEHS (and not just at my kids’ school). Here’s the deal, if your son gets in, he’s earned his spot. However, if he really is so laid back about his work, other kids won’t want to be his partner for math and science (and there is a lot of partnering in pairs and more), except for the other lackadaisical students. As a parent, it’s hard when kids don’t give it their all at SEHS, and it makes life miserable for everyone in the household. In high school, the dynamics of the household changes, this is a time where they should be able to use time management to get their homework accomplished, prepare for the next day (take more responsibility for the academics). I’ve seen parents and kids argue (nightly) bc the kid just wasn’t interested. Actually, it was far more stressful for the parents than the student. Your son will be fine wherever he ends up. It may be a SEHS where he meets friends and they light that fire under him. Also, no matter where he goes, even if you don’t think your child will join a club now, chances are that will change.

    105. 8th Grade mom | February 16, 2016 at 9:16 am

    My son takes 6 classes and study hall, along with lunch~so 8 periods. I don’t know what schedule you are following~all those subjects don’t have to be taken every year.

  • 110. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 16, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Oh gosh, I hope the above doesn’t sound harsh~that wasn’t my intent.

  • 111. Rockyraccoon  |  February 16, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    I was a city kid who moved to the suburbs in 8th grade for high school. So I’m essentially emulating what my parents did, although I made sure we moved earlier so my kids would get to meet people when they were younger. Moving in 8th grade was hard.

    I also didn’t love the suburbs and moved back to the city immediately after college, I find the density comforting somehow. But I did get a great high school and then college education and that’s what I kept coming back to as we made the decision to leave the city. And honestly our city neighborhood became so gentrified that my neighbors referred to it as Little Winnetka so it was feeling pretty darn suburban anyway. The suburb we moved to is much more socioeconomically diverse than our city neighborhood, which I don’t think we could afford anymore anyway now!

    My kids are still in touch with their city friends and sometimes look at their lives with a bit of envy — the city kids do seem more grown up and less reliant on their parents. Although my kids brought that mentality with them and are more independent than many of their peers. But mostly they are happy with their lives and the choices they’ve made in high school. They’re very involved in sports and fine arts and I believe they might have missed out on much of that had we stayed with CPS. Who knows.

  • 112. OMG I'm a suburbanite.  |  February 16, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    @104 cpsobsessed Differentiation at ETHS: Regarding math, my freshman and her friends are taking a range of Geometry to Trig. Algebra I is an option, too. The math smarties actually go to ETHS in 8th grade to take Geometry, so they can go right into Algebra II as freshman. I guess they are tracked into Algebra I as 7th graders. She has one friend she considers a “math genius” 😉 who is taking trig as a freshman. Would be interesting to know how she was tracked in Evanston elementary or if they placed her by test scores, parental advocacy or what. So, yes there is math differentiation.
    Our experience with freshman language arts differentiation has not been quite so happy. Humanities(English/History) is not leveled. The more verbally talented/interested do not have their own advanced courses freshman year. Everyone is together, in order to avoid funneling the freshman lower achieving right into a non-honors track they can never get out of. I support the concept. But ha, as is so often true, when you are afraid it might have detracted from the heights your own snowflake might have achieved surrounded by her advanced peers, you develop some reservations about the concept in practice. This is a 99 MAP reading kid, whatever that means. Basically, to get honors credit they must achieve a higher grade and do some extra assignments. The assignments are not arguably not more in depth or enriched, unfortunately. I haven’t seen any substantial development in my kid’s writing, but haven’t seen substantial attention given to writing skills since she was in private school. Biology is the same. I don’t consider all this a tragedy for my kid’s future, although she was not really challenged in language arts. Whatever. She’s a FRESHMAN. She had the experience of Shakespeare club, smart kids discussing classic film and feminism etc. Next year she is taking AP courses. There are AP courses galore for differentiation. I am not sold on how the superiority of AP courses over a quanot push AP courses like ETHS does. ETHS does push AP courses. However, so far, I really have not heard or seen anything like the (anecdotal) stress and pressure to achieve there is for some atlity high honors HS course with a great teacher. AP courses can be ‘teach to the test’ driven. So, ETHS has regular, honors, and AP. I hear New Trier has advanced honors courses, and does CPS SEHSs. We were very leery of a lack of diversity at ETHS. So far, we have encountered plenty of international diversity. However, it is different diversity than CPS. At CPS, for eg. it is far less likely that the Serbian in your math class has a parent who is a professor at NW.

  • 113. OMG I'm a suburbanite.  |  February 16, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    “I am not sold on how the superiority of AP courses over a quanot push AP courses like ETHS does”

    Meant to type: I am not sold on the superiority of AP courses for HS students over advanced honors HS courses taught by a great teacher. I have heard that New Trier has advanced honors and does not push AP courses on students as the highest level offered. ETHS does push AP. No advanced honors offered.

  • 114. OMG I'm a suburbanite.  |  February 16, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    “However, so far, I really have not heard or seen anything like the (anecdotal) stress and pressure to achieve there is for some atlity high honors HS course with a great teacher”

    Bah to phone typing long paragraphs. Meant: So far I have not really heard or seen anything like the anecdotal stories here about pressure to achieve in SEHSs. It’s cool to study and achieve at ETHS. Tears, breakdowns, and up to midnight to finish homework, we have not seen.

  • 115. Chicagoan  |  February 17, 2016 at 8:47 am

    Gotta love this – suburbanites coming to a CPS website to sell their schools.

    “As someone who moved from CPS to the suburbs when my oldest was going into fifth grade (he’s now in 10th), I can say it was the right move despite leaving a school and a neighborhood we loved. I knew my smart yet not overly ambitious and also anxiety prone kids would have a really hard time with the SEHS process.”

    So your perception, not experience, was that your kids would have a hard time with the process. That’s a fair statement, some people do.

    For those who don’t have these issues or are willing to face the challenge and consider all the options, living and going to school in Chicago can be very rewarding. I don’t need to offer up a list of bells and whistles because most schools have a variety of programs and anyone doing their homework know about them.

    Maybe the suburbanites can give us some insight into the HS drug scene. Things haven’t changed much since I’ve left. The rep is that the suburbs are where the “good” drugs are. Heroine and now Crystal Meth.

  • 116. edgewatermom  |  February 17, 2016 at 9:13 am

    @115 Chicagoan

    Maybe the suburbanites can give us some insight into the HS drug scene. Things haven’t changed much since I’ve left. The rep is that the suburbs are where the “good” drugs are. Heroine and now Crystal Meth.

    I think that there are drugs at *every* high school. I have friends with kids at most of the SEHS in Chicago and there are drugs at all of them. Yes, I am sure that the amount and type of drugs varies somewhat from school to school, but they are all dealing with the issue.

  • 117. Another Rogers Park Family  |  February 17, 2016 at 10:11 am

    “Mom, I’ll be fine wherever I end up” I have two nephews who went to Farragut and got full rides to U of I. Quote from one…’If you want to learn, you’ll learn, no matter where you are.’

    We LOVED Alcott College Prep (never hear about that one). Also Von, Senn IB or Arts, LPHS. We opted out of the SEHS drama. I hope it was the right decision…you can thank my daughter for your spot if you sneak in!!!

  • 118. Caroline  |  February 17, 2016 at 10:38 am

    @115 Chicagoan
    Maybe the suburbanites can give us some insight into the HS drug scene. Things haven’t changed much since I’ve left. The rep is that the suburbs are where the “good” drugs are. Heroine and now Crystal Meth.

    The “good” drugs in the burbs generally come from the city. Check out the statistics, they are staggering. That being said, drugs exist in every school. I went to high school in CPS and could buy anything I wanted, if I had wanted to. Drugs, weapons, sex, where all for sale at my high school and can still be found at any CPS high school you enter. You just need to know where to look. I went to a selective enrollment high school and there were some crazy things going on there.

    What the suburban schools can offer that CPS does not, is an all inclusive program in one school. Shops, AP courses, sports, drama, all at one school. You can be in an AP mathematics course and a remedial reading course at the same school. They have more offerings for courses in one school. In CPS the best of the best is reserved for the SEHS and the rest of the schools get screwed to say the least. Look at the difference in course offerings between Whitney Young and Lake View or Amundsen and you see the discrepancies immediately. My daughter used to bring home a catalog, from Whitney Young, of the courses offered. While my son brought home a sheet of paper, one sided, with the offering from his school.

    As a parent and a teacher in CPS I can tell you the pressure put on these kids in 7th grade is unbelievable. There should not be this much pressure on a 12-13 year old child. There have been cases of students committing suicide in 7th grade because of the pressure. It is harder to get into Northside prep than Harvard. NSCP only accepts 220 students out of the hundreds of thousands of kids in the city only a select few can have the honor of being a NSCP graduate. The program there is amazing, but it is not open to everyone. Kids who do not test well or have learning delays for whatever reason do not have the same opportunities as others.

    Parents lie and cheat to get their kids in these select schools. Pretending to live in a lower tiered neighborhood, or not even in Chicago at all. Then there are those parents who have the means to pay for extra tutoring and test prep so their kids have an advantage. Parents will get outside testing to show their kid should have an IEP when they do not need one, so their child will have an advantage. The system is flawed and the students suffer.

    What the suburbs offer is an idea that everyone goes to the same school. No testing to get in, no applications, no waiting to figure out where you are going to go to school next year. There is comfort in that. The burbs are not utopia by any means. The schools there have their issues, but they are different than the issues we have in CPS and everyone has to pick what is best for their family. Sorry this response is so long, but I was really upset by your post. I found your comment offensive. CPS high schools are no picnic when it comes to teenage angst. While it is true that all schools have problems, CPS creates a special set of circumstances for families when it comes to the school “selection” process. Not everyone wants to deal with that, and that is ok.

  • 119. OMG I'm a suburbanite.  |  February 17, 2016 at 10:55 am

    @115 Chicagoan, Lord. No one is trying to sell anything or put down any choice. I am a parent sharing our experience to provide info. Not saying suburbs are a better choice. I’m sorry you see all this as a contest. Certainly do not miss that attitude found in some hyper CPS parents. Get a life. Stop living through your child’s achievements. We’re talking about HIGH SCHOOL here, not law school admissions for Pete’s sake.

  • 120. RL Julia  |  February 17, 2016 at 11:04 am

    I concur. There are drugs in every school. In fact, I’d say, the more affluent the student populations, the better the offerings. Nice to see so many none SEHS high schools being considered. The SEHS’s are great places but they are not the only places and they are not for everyone. The downside of the CPS high school system is that every school has it’s character and it’s probably worth it to find the one that works for your kid, the upside is that if you have a kid with strong preferences and you find that school, they will probably enjoy high school more than the would have at a ETHS one size fits all type school. I agree it’s a crime that all this goes down on 7th and 8th graders who are not fully formed but that’s what we have to work with and it’s not like anyone was exempted from the pain.

    Final word of warning: SEHS’s are not necessarily a good fit for every kid. I have seen kids blossom in the “right” school and I have also seen kids be practically be destroyed by the same school. High school is a time of radical growth and the moniker “little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems” has never seemed truer. Chose carefully and remember you can always re-chose if you really need to. It will be hard and perhaps disappointing but it can be done.

  • 121. Chris  |  February 17, 2016 at 11:11 am

    “The “good” drugs in the burbs generally come from the city. ”

    Of course, and at least some of the ‘good’ drugs are probably being sold by HS-aged city kids.

    But you hear about a lot more suburban kids OD’ing on heroin than you do about city kids doing the same. Which is the source of the perception.

  • 122. cpsobsessed  |  February 17, 2016 at 11:19 am

    I think these days everyone is OD’ing on heroin, no?

    RL Julia – good advice. Thank you all for the ongoing sanity checks.

    I saw a great article posted on FB today about the top Ivies trying to turn the tide on the emphasis on APs, test scores, and over-scheduling. I hope this really comes to fruition. I feel lucky to have a kid who missed out on this level of intensity in the schooling process. Was this propagated by the baby boomers?

    I am at the tail end of the baby boom and had my son later in life, so I am probably among those who have some of the last baby boomer kids starting high school… so it’s interesting timing that this trend is reversing, just now.


  • 123. ArtfulOffspring  |  February 17, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Drugs are present in all cities, suburbs, small towns, socio-economic groups. A student will be exposed at some point by some one, so best to arm them with knowledge and a practiced way of declining and exiting any situation that presents itself. Additionally, talking realistically with your kid about pressures and stresses and alternatives for dealing with them without chemically altering themselves.

  • 124. Caroline  |  February 17, 2016 at 11:26 am

    @123. Absolutely. Knowledge is power.

  • 125. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 17, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    122. cpsobsessed | February 17, 2016 at 11:19 am

    I remember hearing about turning the tide last year~but I really think it has to do with the ivies and many top tier universities when they will no longer be using the Common App for admissions. I think there is a correlation ~ while on the surface it looks like the these schools are *helping students* ~ I think it also weeds out students.

  • 126. cpsobsessed  |  February 17, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    It also seems to be tied to increasing diversity by not placing an emphasis on standardized testing. they can look at kids who have overcome more challenged backgrounds and kids who have shown perseverance in school, no matter what their opportunities are.

  • 127. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 17, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    126. cpsobsessed | February 17, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    True. You can look at the colleges now that are test optional. But I wonder where the money will come from so that schools can be more economically diverse? In the climate we are in now with financial aid ~ I would hate for students to come out of university in so much debt.

  • 128. cpsobsessed  |  February 17, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I don’t know. Ask Bernie. 🙂

  • 129. Chris  |  February 17, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    “I think these days everyone is OD’ing on heroin, no?”

    If there are city *kids* OD’in, it’s not making the press,

    Which is why the reference to perception. It’s pretty easy to connect the dots on why people might think that the ‘hard drug’ problem is worse in, say, Naperville.

  • 130. Rockyraccoon  |  February 17, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    From my own kids’ stories, drugs and drinking seem equally prevalent among their suburban and city peers. We used to live a block from Lane Tech and the kids used to come to our alley at lunchtime to smoke pot. Their old city friends have lots of tales to tell about parties where at least drinking and smoking pot is happening and one former classmate who’s gone to rehab. I’m sure the same happens in the suburbs. As for “hard drugs,” the only story I’ve heard from our high school was about a girl who died a few years ago after taking ecstasy. My kids and their friends say they’re not sure where or how to buy drugs at school but hear vague references about it all the time. I think no matter where you are, you have to be vigilant. Teens are teens and being in the city doesn’t somehow make them magically exempt from the temptations or issues.

  • 131. cpsobsessed  |  February 17, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    I remember when that Naperville heroin story came out a few years ago — I recall at the time thinking it sounds so odd that upscale suburban kids would be doing heroin. That was probably the beginning of the beginning of the drug’s rapid rise in availability and popularity — so likely the stories are not being reported as much any more. It still seems like a hard-core drug user’s drug to me, even though I know that’s not the case any more.

    I think a couple episodes of Breaking Bad might help with the scare tactics.

  • 132. Mommie_23  |  February 17, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Does anyone has any idea if cutoff scores are to drop or increase? I really regret not having my kid do the earlier testing to have their score already! I bet that would’ve made this wait a lot more stress free!

  • 133. Mommie_23  |  February 17, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    Oh and any tips on a good Principal Discretion folder? Im really thinking about doing the packet before we even get the letter just in case!

  • 134. HsObsessedMom  |  February 17, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Decided to look on Jones website for updates and found dates about freshman connection! For parents that are expecting an acceptance letter for Jones here is information http://www.jonescollegeprep.org/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=391653&id=0

  • 135. Patricia  |  February 17, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    @131 CPSO
    There was also a feature story about St. Charles, IL with a HUGE teen heroin problem. Every 8 days someone ODs in DuPage county—this is from about a year ago. There was an effort to equip all squad cars and first responders with the OD detox drug (don’t know the name).

  • 136. 8th Grade mom  |  February 17, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    I wish these Freshman connections were a little shorter. I think Von’s was 3 weeks. I want my student to participate but it really cuts into the summer!

  • 137. Motherof12  |  February 17, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    My 8th grader struggles with “brain fog,” making academics harder for him. However, he manages! Any tips?

  • 138. HydeParkmom  |  February 17, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Are the freshmen connections a requirement?
    My student’s camp is in July and I was wondering.

    Testing earlier doesn’t help with the anxiety:/

  • 139. Jen  |  February 17, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    I suspect the rising heroin and other hard drug problem has more to do with: kids with money and kids who are not being supervised. Parents don’t get home from work until 6-7 p.m. and the kid has access to money? That can’t help. And yes, of course, I am sure there are users with a sahp or a parent that works part time too.

  • 140. HS Mom  |  February 17, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Hi – Just wanted to comment on the drug issue.

    Chris – you’re right on with what you are saying. In our SEHS experience, my teen saw only pot and alcohol. If anything else was there, he was not aware of it…..which is the best a parent could hope for. Not saying it didn’t exist or that the blanket statement that “there’s drugs in every school” isn’t true. Just saying that this gave us a certain level of comfort. This certainly wasn’t the case with my own high school years which were spent in the suburbs. I wouldn’t give up our lifestyle here for the school I went to. It really all depends on the family.

    All the way around people need to choose wisely whether it’s between HS’s in Chicago, the variety of burbs and what they offer (or not), or maybe even which city or state may work best for the well being of all concerned.

  • 141. HS Mom  |  February 17, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    @139 – Money, yes, it also has to do with kids being bored.

    There’s a huge plus to teens being scheduled with commutes, academics, academics and structured activities and events.

  • 142. Newcomer  |  February 17, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    @cpsobsessed: The best piece of school advice I ever got was from the principal of a highly competitive, very sought after IB school overseas. He said, “If your child is getting an A plus in English, and solid B’s in math, and he has some free time, which subject should he spend time on? He should spend his time on English, the subject he is GREAT at, because he probably loves it so let him become even better at it.” The point is, let your “lackadaisical” son explore the things that might interest him, expose him to a lot of things, and eventually, he will show you what he wants to spend his time on. And maybe he will want to study Astronomy and ASL and you will realize he needs to be at ETHS. Or maybe he will fall in love with Latin and he will strive for NCP and their Latin team. In my opinion, the disadvantage of the SEHS process is NOT that kids are pressured to get all A’s, it’s that they are pressured to focus solely on grades and test scores and they can’t stop the noise and reflect on what they truly want to bring to the world. (And they are not all just “good schools” – each school is different and they each offer different things for different kids. Maybe it’s early for some to know exactly what they want, but we have to do the best we can and it seems like a lot of kids, at least on this forum, get an accurate gut feeling from visiting.) Anyway, we also looked at ETHS, and there were good points and bad. In the end my son was very clear about what he wanted: challenging, high level classes and a great orchestra, and so he opted for Northside. And he couldn’t be happier. You will make it to the right decision also!

  • 143. zhuzhou02  |  February 18, 2016 at 1:06 am

    You asked about stress and how our children are holding up. In our household, not well.

    As the parent of an eighth grader at a neighborhood elementary school, I have read this list with great interest over the past few years. People argue about Lane vs. Jones vs. Peyton vs. NSCP and angst about whether test scores in the high 90th percentile will be good enough. This is not a common dilemma, it is only common for this list. What is rarely discussed is that student who works hard, achieves As but rarely tests above the 90th percentile and sometimes well below (mid-70s). That child is mine. She has always had wild swings in her test scores, even with test prep. She was in the 90s on ISAT, typically in the 80s on NWEA. Lots of test anxiety. She actually vomited before school the morning she took ISAT for the first time in the 3rd grade. (I was furious at the amount of test prep done for that test, and the messages sent to eight-year-olds.)

    This pressure does not come from me. It is all around us. In spite of my assurances to her that she is a bright, hard-working and emotionally intelligent person who will do well in life (she is and she will), and that test scores are only one measure at one point in time, this process has left her feeling like she is no more than a test score. She does not believe she is smart, she worries constantly about getting in and succeeding in college and she is already preparing herself to be rejected by the schools she applied to. Because her elementary school is completely lacking in rigor (no homework, no writing, no focus on critical thinking, shallow group project work, etc.) she is fearful she won’t even be able to complete work at the high school level. (Ironically, the school is considered one of the top neighborhood elementary schools.)

    I honestly have no idea where she will go to high school. We are Tier 4. Based on grades and MAP she has a slight chance at Lane if she tested at her best on the SE exam. I think Lane is a terrible fit for her. Von Steuben Scholars is her first choice, but once they cull the kids who don’t meet the application requirements (scores and essay) she is put in a lottery for that. I think the next best fit for her is Amundson IB. I’m impressed with the changes and believe she would shine there. She excels at sports and would probably make any team she tries out for. However, she has been brainwashed by her peers on the northwest side that Amundson (and Senn) are dangerous places with poor academics, places kids go when they aren’t smart enough to get into more elite programs.

    I wish I had moved to the suburbs years ago, and I am definitely an urban person. Prior to having my daughter, I couldn’t tell you where most suburbs were located other than Evanston. I honestly believe my girl would be better educated and far less stressed had I moved to a system where middle-schoolers don’t constantly obsess about test scores and where they will go to high school.

    I’m sad for my daughter, and exhausted by this process. If nothing works out, we will move to a near north suburb so she can attend Niles West. Given the budget impasse, that might end up being the best option regardless of where she is accepted.

    Three years reading CPSobsessed and first time posting. Lots of pent up anger and angst I guess. I do wish everyone well, and hope your kids land where they will thrive and be happy.

  • 144. pantherettie  |  February 18, 2016 at 7:02 am

    Zhouzhou – your post really highlights what’s wrong with the whole CPS SEHS rat race. I think that both Senn and Amusend(sp?) are strong schools. The labels that we put on the schools are just that – labels and nothing else should be attributed to them.

  • 145. Logan Square parent  |  February 18, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Will “Jones Pre-Law & Westinghouse CTC” programs send out acceptance/denial letters before Feb.26???

  • 146. Caroline  |  February 18, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I have the same issue. My daughter is an amazing young woman. She has fantastic grades and is extremely athletic. She just does not test well. The pressure to get into a “better” school is tremendous. We opted for Catholic schools for the elementary level, but the cost for high school is more than we can swing. This whole process has left her feeling as if she is less valued. I wish we could move out of the city, however as a city employee I am stuck. Taft is our neighborhood school and although it is an great option, she hears stories about fights and other unsavory things and is scared to go there. I have tried to explain that those are just stories and everyone’s experience is dependent on their own actions. I would so love to take her to Niles West or Glenbrook South. As for the labels that are attached to these schools, it is really hard for a young person get over feeling not worthy. As if they are less of a citizen and only the best receive the best. It is just sad.

  • 147. mom2  |  February 18, 2016 at 10:49 am

    zhuzhou02 and Caroline – I cried reading your posts. We are in the same situation. Great grades, wild swings in test scores. I HATE the labels we hear from parents and friends on the North side about “better” schools and the schools you go to when you can’t get into the “better” schools. Make me so sad for our kids. Those labels are coming from the school staff, too. Not because they don’t care about each kid, but because they care more about their school’s reputation for having the most kids get into those “better” schools. It is a vicious cycle that is kept going by parents.

  • 148. cpsobsessed  |  February 18, 2016 at 11:21 am

    It’s so hard for these schools to shake their long-standing reputations. That was they beauty of the community shift at the Elem level – kindergartners don’t gossip or compete about which school is better. Makes it so much easier.

    The north side parents (at least those who are interested in making these HSs an option) are trying to shift the conversation about the neighborhood high schools – so even if kids don’t choose to attend them, that they’re presented as a good/viable option by the elem schools and local parents. It does seem that the image has changed a lot, especially as kids attend the open houses and know older kids who attend. It takes time, though.

  • 149. cpsobsessed  |  February 18, 2016 at 11:24 am

    @127 Motherof12: regarding brain fog…. I know from my mom’s health issues this past year that plenty of medical conditions and medications can cause mental fog. I’d ask the doc for a very detailed blood test and review any meds he’s on.
    I wonder if those bright lights (for SAD) help at all?
    I feel like I have brain fog from staring at my phone too much sometimes.

  • 150. Vikingmom  |  February 18, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    @ 143, 146, 147: I am reliving four years ago reading your posts. The SEHS admission process is terrible; it was easily the worst experience of my daughter’s life. After receiving the first rejection she tried PD and was rejected there, so she felt doubly a failure, a loser, completely rejected. And she had to finish 8th grade hearing who got into where, from students and teachers. The idea that a student who tries hard, gets good grades, decent test scores, and has outside interests, is somehow deemed not good enough is unacceptable. My daughter has a strong sense of self—I feel so badly for the kids who have a more fragile self-esteem. I am so sorry to hear your experiences, which are being played out all over the city. Whether you choose to move or stay, your kid will be alright.

    “However, she has been brainwashed by her peers on the northwest side that Amundson (and Senn) are dangerous places with poor academics”
    I hate this!!! I am so glad of the efforts being made through the communities to relay the information that schools like Amundsen, Senn, Lakeview, etc. are extremely viable options.
    I am curious if you and she visited Amundsen at the Open House or any other event?

    My daughter has absolutely thrived in her four years at Amundsen: worked hard in the IB program and got very good grades; got to play the sports she wanted (not that sports are be-all end-all); was surrounded by like-minded, college-minded (I need a better term here) students; had an amazing support system in her teachers and counselors. Not to mention a great principal. End result is she gets her pick of colleges, with a large scholarships — and the college app process is a walk in the park compared to SEHS.

    Anyway, all I can say is hang in there….

  • 151. edgewatermom  |  February 18, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    @150 VikingMom Thank you so much for sharing your success story! Your daughter achieved exactly what I think many parents are hoping for their children – an enjoyable high school experience that led to college acceptances and scholarships!

    I think that we have to do everything we can to fight the idea that SEHS is the only viable option for a college-bound kid in Chicago. Until everybody gets out of that mindset, 7th grade is going to continue to be ridiculously stressful for our kids.

    I would love to see a video of seniors from various neighborhood high schools talking about their experience at their schools and where they are headed after high school. It could be an interesting project for kids from various schools to collaborate on and help everybody see that there really are options.

  • 152. Ogden IB Mom  |  February 18, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    my niece graduated with the IB Diploma from Amundsen. She had a great experience going to her neighborhood Albany park High School. Gaby is now on route to graduate from Loyola with help from scholarships she received with the help from Amundsen counselors.

  • 153. ArtfulOffspring  |  February 18, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    @151. I LOVE your video idea. I also think it would be very interesting to see the inequities there are among high schools around the city. Hmmm, picturing a Kartemquin film opportunity here!

    At the conclusion of our tour of Senn this Fall, a touring dad spoke up to say that as a neighbor living very close to the school for the last 25 or so years, he is completely impressed with the facilities and the quality of students. It is not the school it once was. If my kid wouldn’t have to commute an hour or so each way, we’d be very happy for him to be accepted into the visual art program he auditioned for. Who knows— depending on the news we receive?!

  • 154. OMG I'm a suburbanite.  |  February 18, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Based on our CPS elementary school 7/8th grade experience, principals and teachers need to be pressured to stop talking trash to their students about neighborhood high schools. My child’s 7th and 8th grade teachers were big factor in forming her negative view of Senn. I complained about it. I hope it has stopped or at least improved.

  • 155. mom2  |  February 18, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    I think a video would be fantastic. If there is anyone here that has connections to get that done (maybe Pawar), it would be great. They could show the video to all these schools and kids could see that there really are smart, college-bound kids that go to these schools and not just stupid gang bangers (lol). They could show the kids in class, reading and working on computers, doing lab experiments, going to football games and pep rallies, laughing with teachers and getting their college acceptance letters and scholarships. Sometimes I think the image kids have of these schools is so out of whack from reality – Kids fighting in the halls, threatening students near the school, walking around pregnant, doing drugs in alleys, throwing things at teachers and not listening, etc. I know I had pictures in my head before I started really touring these schools.

  • 156. HSObsessed  |  February 18, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Here’s a nice video the Amundsen kids made in 2014 that shows the happy school environment. I’ve posted it before but maybe not everyone has seen it:

  • 157. zhuzhou02  |  February 18, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    @ VikingMom.

    Yes, we went to the open house and to the IB session at Amundsen. She also attended open houses at Lane, Disney, LakeView, Taft and Von Steuben. The presenters at Lane and Von Steuben connected extremely well with prospective students. Von made a wonderful impression, and her first choice remains the Scholars program. Disney made a terrible impression – I can’t imagine anyone wanting to go there based on the open house, and the building and grounds do not feel like a high school. Also, both presentations at Amundsen were pitched at the parents, not the kids, and while I understand what Principal Pavichevich was trying to do with the charts and data and stories, it fell flat with my child. My daughter described Amundsen as “that kid who tries too hard to be liked.”) Still, there was nothing about Amundsen to warrant her negative views of it. If her peers and teachers saw it as a viable option, she would as well.

    While I need to know more about academics, Amundsen is still on my list. In addition to the quality of the principal, the community support and the fit, the location is excellent. I own a two-flat in Andersonville, six blocks away. I would sell our current home, do a little rehab on the first floor unit and move in. She could walk to high school. How great would that be?

    It’s quite the dilemma to choose a school she does not want to attend. I told her to put it all out of her mind, and let’s evaluate the options when we know them. She is so stressed.

    I am not sure how these lists work – if I wanted to speak to you personally, would you be open? How would I do that?

    Thank you.

  • 158. JAG  |  February 18, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    @152 Ogden IB Mom, can you give any insight to Ogden’s IB program, and the school overall? I never hear much about it.
    This was one of our selections on the application.

  • 159. cpsobsessed  |  February 18, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    If anyone wants to connect off the blog, you can send me your email addresses to cpsobsessed.com and I can share them with each other if both parties agree.

  • 160. cpsobsessed  |  February 18, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    @157, I think I’ve posted on here that I’ve given Amundsen that same feedback. I said “you sold me on you IB program but you didn’t say anything that would make a 12-13 year old interested in it.” I told the IB person that feedback last year. I didn’t make it to the IB open house this year to see what they’re saying now.

    They really need a parent who can get involved and help them sell it. that’s what worked at the elementary schools for the most part… passionate parents who did tours, went to fairs, and talked parent to parent to get people on board. Unfortunately it’s harder to harness that parent power at the high school level. I think that’s what would put some of these schools over the tipping point. Just my opinion…

    Actually, that OR a group of say 50 kids from all the feeder schools that used to be neighborhood resistant committing to going to high school together. That is unlikely to happen because of SEHS pressure, but it sure would be great.

  • 161. Marketing Mom  |  February 18, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    What happens if a child who applied to SEHS no longer wants his first or second choices. For those who have been through the process, will there be an opportunity to be considered for another school that was further down on the list? Do you forfeit the school you have already been accepted to?

  • 162. Kenwood!!!  |  February 18, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Let me be the first to remind you that Kenwood Academy started the “first” happy video! My son is an 8th grader in the AC and I couldn’t be happier about the level rigor! Kenwood retains on an average of 85% of their AC students, they take neighborhood kids and have a magnet program coordinated by OAE. I didn’t even apply for SEHS because my son DID NOT want to leave! Kenwood offer numerous classes AP, honors, regular, dual enrollment (at U of C or the City Colleges) and college classes taught at the school! Don’t forget that it was a Kenwood student Arianna Alexander who broke the CPS record for most college scholarship money awarded to a student! The principal is also starting the Capstone program in September of this year! We are a two campus building because we have so many students!! Please click below to see the FIRST happy video that inspired so many other high schools to make their own! Full disclosure the student who directed this video and Ariana both started in the AC at Kenwood! Nearly all of the most recent years Kenwood students have been awarded the most scholarship money of any school in CPS!!! I think Jones beat us last year but previously Kenwood has always been the school touted to have the most scholarship money awarded to students! It isn’t even an SEHS! Go Kenwood Broncos!

  • 163. Vikingmom  |  February 18, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    @edgewatermom: “an enjoyable hs experience that led to college acceptances and scholarships” absolutely I concur that is what us parents want!
    @ogdenib: so great about the IB diploma. While my daughter was in the program we agreed the diploma was not a goal. Too difficult!
    @zhuzhou02: that would be so awesome for you and your daughter to be so close to the school. I would love to (nonstop) talk to you about our experience 🙂
    Cpso not to sound like an idiot but to share email addresses is that done under the general email inquiry?
    And to follow up about IB programs…I think I’ve said it before but what sold me on Amundsen was the presentation by the IB students at the time. Hands down, amazing kids, as awesome as any SEHS student. That (student participation) should probably be
    a bigger picture in the presentations. I think it would help in relating to prospective students

  • 164. HSbound2016  |  February 19, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    @161. @Marketing Mom

    If you child does not want their 1st or 2nd choice and now prefers the third choice you can try to contact the office of Selective Enrollment and change that but I fear at this point it is to late in the game. I know you have to put it in writing. Call them and ask it is worth a try. BUT you can also wait for your first letter to see what you get. What were choices 1 and 2 what is choice 3? Do you know your childs tier and score? IF By change you get school choice #1 you can pass and you go back into the selection pool but pass on it right away! You will then be given offer #2 but it is not the best method I think because if all the slots are filled at school choice number 3 for example if #3 is Lane Tech which is really a in demand choice I would try to contact them today to see if you can change your choice. You cal also apply for Principal Discretion Application. The Principal can select 5% of the applications. These spot usually go to children with talents/skills such as music, great accomplicment type resumes and sports etc

  • 165. ArtfulOffspring  |  February 19, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    We cast a wide net and I’m hoping maybe someone can tell me:
    For non-SE schools, how does acceptance or decline of acceptance work regarding magnets, charters, neighborhood schools?

  • 166. Chicago School GPS  |  February 19, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    @165- CPS will send a separate letter for each application submitted. One letter for IB, one for CTE, one for SEHS, one for Military Academies, and one for Magnet. They all are expected to be mailed by Feb. 26 and replies are typically due in 2 weeks, so around March 11. Theoretically your child can be accepted to all types of schools, but can only enroll in one. Each letter will have a form to mail back confirming your acceptance or declining of a spot.

    If you decline an offer, you can be contacted later if another school on your application has a spot. It can happen where you accept an SEHS and decline an IB, but get a call later in the year about whether you want another IB on your list, etc. You just keep politely declining and they eventually take you off the list once you register at your desired school.

    We are planning a “What Next? Decisions After HS Notifications” for Sunday, 3/6/16 at 10am downtown if you are interested in learning what to do about public and private high school decisions, including Principal’s Discretion. Email us at info@chischoolgps.com if you would like more info on the seminar.

    Our 2016 Hidden Gems High School Fair is scheduled for September 25, 2016 downtown as well, so save the date!

  • 167. Chicago School GPS  |  February 19, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Schools also mail their own letters, including Lincoln Park Double Honors or LP Performing Arts, ChiArts, Alcott College Prep, etc. Accepted students can sometimes get their school’s welcome letter before CPS mails the CPSOAE letters. Good luck to all!

  • 168. ArtfulOffspring  |  February 19, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    @166. and 167. SUPER helpful to know what to expect. Just emailed the link for “What Next?” info, too. Thanks very much!

  • 169. Marketing Mom  |  February 19, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    He has a 900. Tier 4. His choices on the application was: 1-Payton, 2-WY and 3-Lane. Now he doesn’t want Payton or WY and really wants Lane, which I felt would have been a better choice from the beginning. We really screwed this up and I wish we could have a do-over but it is too late. I agree it will be very difficult for him to get into Lane so we will probably go charter or Ignatius.

  • 170. Caroline  |  February 19, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    It will not be difficult for him to get into Lane. Do Principal’s discretion.

  • 171. Chris  |  February 19, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    ” I agree it will be very difficult for him to get into Lane”

    CALL OAE (or whatever they call it now)!!!

    The *worst* that can happen is that they say “sorry, too late”–which leaves you where you are now. It is still possible that they would say “do xyz, we will change his ranking”.

    Do it *NOW*, not Monday.

  • 172. Marketing Mom  |  February 19, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    I called OAE about two weeks ago to make the change and they said it was too late.

  • 173. Chris  |  February 19, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Try filling out the form, back dating it, and mailing it in. USPS is notoriously unreliable, so you’d have a hook.


    Gotta be committed to it, tho.

  • 174. tess  |  February 19, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Isn’t there a window of time later when families who decline invitations to schools free up spaces for other students to have a second chance to get in?

    My home remedies for brain fog are vigorous exercise and a full night’s sleep.

  • 175. @Marketing Mom  |  February 19, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I think you should call Lane & speak with the principal. I think the principal might be able to make a case for accepting your child since he has a 900. I think the principal can go to the board or OAE and get an exception. I think with thw cuts in student based budgeting principals will be desperate for students. I think there will be a lot of “stealing of students” to increase school budgets.

  • 176. cpsobsessed  |  February 19, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    @tess, they do not do second rounds anymore. They know the general acceptance rate so they give all offers in one batch. So principal discretion or transfers are the only way to get in.

    I suppose if a school had an unexpectedly large rate of declines they woukd need to send more acceptance letters but that hasn’t happened in several years.

  • 177. @cpso  |  February 19, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Some of for like of a better term “more popular SEHS” don’t have second rounds. However, there are some SE schools that have second rounds BUT people from the north side tend not to take advantage of this because south side SE schools aren’t diverse enough for them!

  • 178. cpsobsessed  |  February 19, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    Or too far! Thank you for clarifying.

  • 179. Logan Square Parent  |  February 20, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    @Marketing Mom…..If you don’t get your SEHS choice, you should try principal discretion at Westinghouse College Prep..

  • 180. NSMama  |  February 21, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Marketing Mom, what a good problem to have! You have two choices…1) take the Payton spot and apply for PD for Lane. Have your child start the essay very humbly with ” I made a mistake”. or 2) Turn it down on time and hope they go down the list for your second and finally third choice. With a two week span between each however, chances are the seats will be filled by the time it gets to the third choice.
    Actually you do have a third option…Take the Payton spot and then transfer into Lane as soon as they allow.
    Good luck!

  • 181. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Here is last year’s HS letter thread btw. Letters mailed on a Friday. First posting about getting a letter was Monday.
    Cutoff scores posted that Monday as well.


  • 182. stories to tell  |  February 22, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    pins and needles, needles and pins,
    where offspring’s anticipation with bated breath ends, mother’s begins

  • 183. HydeParkmom  |  February 22, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Maybe we recieve the welcome letters before Monday. This experience has been too much..

  • 184. Chicago School GPS  |  February 22, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    Supposedly the decisions are due back on Friday, March 11 this year. Students typically get a letter from the high school that has accepted them (remember, each application type can offer an acceptance) and that letter typically lets kids know when an “Admitted Freshman” Night is scheduled. Some families may have just a one or two day notice of this night but it’s a chance to come see the school again and hear from admin, students, parents, etc to help families decide once and for all whether they want to accept their offer.

    Schools do typically offer more seats than what they want their final class size to be, as they expect a percentage to turn down offers since students may have offers from public, private, SEHS, magnet, etc. Some schools don’t offer a ton more seats since they have a high yield, while others offer quite a few more seats. Also, Payton is expanding its freshman class this Fall so they are supposedly accepting about 75-100 more students than prior years.

    Cutoff scores will be interesting to see, and hopefully they do come out on Monday. Good luck to all!

    For families wanting to know about “What’s Next? Decisions After Notifications: Public & Private HS Edition”, we have a seminar on 3/6/16 (if enough folks pre-register) and we will talk about Principal’s Discretion at length as well as how to decide among the offers at hand, or what to do if you are left with few options: http://www.chischoolgps.com/CSG_HS_What_s_Next_.html

  • 185. FunnyMommy  |  February 22, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Yeah. I’m ready for this to be done already! You ladies are most certainly a wealth of information though. Glad I Googled my way here.

    Based on my caculations without the test, I seriously don’t think my child will make the cut (being eligible and actually getting in are clearly two different things). But maybe SEHS isn’t what’s best for him. And at the end of the day I’m ok with that. I would rather him be at a school where he won’t be overwhelmed because he’s incapable of competing.

  • 186. dednimnepo  |  February 23, 2016 at 9:33 am

    @161. @Marketing Mom

    My daughter is applying for WY but if she does not get in, her next choice is Lane Tech which is almost guaranteed based on her score (she qualifies for WY based on last year’s cutoffs – 9 points higher). If she does not get into WY and receives an offer from LT, perhaps CPS would allow us to “trade.”

  • 187. 8th Grade mom  |  February 23, 2016 at 9:56 am

    I’m ready for this to be over. I have constant second guessing, wondering if we made the right selection. We chose WY as our first, even though NS is much closer; my daughter just loved the WY offerings, size and environment, liked the idea of taking the train to school. I’m ready to know where we’ll be, and move forward!

  • 188. Northwestsidemom  |  February 23, 2016 at 10:31 am

    The suspense is killing me!!! My son put Payton as his first choice and WY as his second choice. Now he’s wondering if he should have put Lane as his first choice….so much worry, so much unknown. I like the size of Payton, but the ability to craft a very personalized schedule at WY based on the class availability. Happy my son has options this year.

    Question: do folks expect that the Admitted Student meetings will be the week that letters arrive? Or the next week?

  • 189. Our last HS Ordeal  |  February 23, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    @188, NWsidemom, some of the schools have this event on their website calendars already.

    And agree with many: I am ready for this to be over! This is the longest week.

  • 190. Caroline  |  February 23, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Some of the schools have sent out their letters already. Not the SEHS, but some of the others. We received a letter yesterday. It makes me even more anxious about the other schools. We did not apply to selective enrollment schools, but we did apply to several others and the wait is rough. As a teacher it is hard to keep students motivated after those letters go out. Once they know where they are going next year, many of the students start to check out, as if the year is over. Good luck to all

  • 191. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Also good to discuss with your child if you’re allowed to open letters while they are at school. That’s a dilemma every year.
    Hint: don’t microwave it open, my cousin once set an envelope on fire that way.

  • 192. edgewatermom  |  February 23, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    @191 cpsobsessed “Hint: don’t microwave it open, my cousin once set an envelope on fire that way.” LOL

  • 193. 8th Grade mom  |  February 23, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    I wonder when the magnet and IB letters mail?

  • 194. 8th Grade mom  |  February 23, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    @191 cpsobsessed Good idea. We won’t open it in advance. In fact I think I’ll leave it on her desk so she can see it and open on her own when she gets home from school. Like the adult she’s on her way to becoming:)

  • 195. Northwestsidemom  |  February 23, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    I also think it’s important to talk to your child about being humble and not bragging about acceptances. It’s really awful to hear the kids that are not going to SEHS next year talk about their feelings during this time. They really are made to feel “less than” because of this process. I told my son to be low key in demeanor and not tell everyone where he gets accepted and to be sensitive that some kids will be heartbroken about it all.

  • 196. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    That is very good advice @195. thanks for the reminder.

  • 197. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    I really would love it if it would be like the x% of kids who don’t get into a selective program (which has to be >50%) at any given school would be like “that’s okay, we’re all going to XYZ neighborhood HS together, which’ll be fun.”

    But that critical mass hasn’t really happened yet, I don’t think. Hopefully moreso this year.

    One thing I DO like a lot about CPS elementary schools is what seems to be a lack of extreme social hierarchy like I experienced in a big middle school back in the day. I don’t know if suburban middle schools are still like this, but I enjoy seeing the camaraderie at my son’s school. He says there isn’t “mean kids” preying on younger kids like I recall.

    So I wonder they glom into the SEHS process as the one way to exert hierarchy. And maybe it’s better that it’s academic (rather than based on other social/appearance traits, as I remember it.)

  • 198. HSObsessed  |  February 23, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    I feel like I haven’t done enough to promote LPHS as a very good choice for high school, so I’m finally doing that now with my list below. I may re-post this occasionally on other threads to make sure others who may be interested see it. I write this from the perspective of a parent of a kid who had several other options for high school, chose LPHS, is completely happy, and never looked back.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ACT and PSAE scores very solid (22.7 schoolwide ACT average, covering the entire spectrum of academic abilities within the school)
    78% of graduates enroll in college

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And what will your kid NOT get at LPHS?

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

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

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

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

  • 199. mom2  |  February 23, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    HSObsessed – Thank you for the detailed list regarding LPHS. What can you specifically tell me about the regular level classes, program and kids? “Some parents” have said that they are forcing their child to be in double honors (even if it is too rigorous for them) in order to protect them – to keep them away from gang bangers and/or to make sure they are friends with the right crowd. Is that really true?

  • 200. 8th Grade mom  |  February 23, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    @197 interesting thought. Yes, in our neighborhood school the hierarchy is not nearly as extreme as my experience growing up in the suburbs. It’s the #1 reason we’ve remained in Chicago, and CPS. Kids that don’t have to fit the mold. Academics are one thing, but learning to be a friend is the hardest thing to learn and teach. My children have learned much more about tolerance, kindness and working well with others than I ever did.

    My daughter says the kids in her school don’t really talk too much about HS. They talk some of course,particularly during the open house season, but not as much as I thought they would. Her friends are predominantly high achieving students applying to “elite” schools, but somehow they manage to not let that take over 8th grade experience. (I obsess…she doesn’t)

    I am of mixed feelings on the relative merits of moving on with your classmates to HS, or starting “fresh” in HS. I was very glad to break away from my junior high school classmates when I went to HS and I think my daughter is ready for that too.

    @195 good reminder, we just had that conversation yesterday. Also a reminder to my student that no matter where she is accepted, we are proud of her and she’ll do well at any HS.

  • 201. 8th Grade mom  |  February 23, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    @198 Any insight on theater participation opportunities for kids that didn’t apply to performing arts? My daughter is super interested in participating in high school theatre productions, but we didn’t want to apply to the arts program. That’s one of the reasons we’re leaning towards WY/Lane, since they have strong theatre programs but not a theatre track per se.

  • 202. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    @200 – agreed about HS being a good time to move on. My son is like a cat – very attached to his environment and is already sad to have this class disperse. I keep assuring him that when the time comes, it’ll feel good to have some variety.
    That said, I think he’ll feel a lot better about the change if he knows at least a few kids wherever he goes.

  • 203. westrogersparkmom  |  February 23, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    @201- There are many many theater opportunities for kids today besides high school. And they aren’t all fee based programs. My daughters have participated for years in fury theatres programs. There is also an after school matters program, which pays (though I’m not sure if they are doing the musical theater one this summer), and community theater programs. My oldest went out to Wilmette last summer to participate in ‘Once Upon a Mattress’. Chicago also has the Saturday All-City programs . . . I know there are more too ! I love that my oldest has friends from all schools, all over the City, and a big part of that is her theatre experience.

  • 204. HSObsessed  |  February 23, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    @198 – My kid was in double honors classes and now IB/AP classes, so I can’t really given an opinion on the rigor of the regular level classes, I’m sorry. As to the kids, I really hate reading about any talk about a “wrong crowd” and a “right crowd”. (I know you were just repeating what others said and mean no offense.) Believe me, there are plenty of parents who think that all students at LPHS are the “wrong crowd”. I think it’s time to get past that. I’ve asked my kid if she ever felt at all ill at ease because she felt scared or threatened at school by another kid or a situation, and she said never. It’s a large, diverse student population, the vast majority of whom are law-abiding, normal teenagers, no matter what their academic abilities.

    @201 – Yes, any LPHS student can audition for the drama productions, not just drama program students.

  • 205. HSObsessed  |  February 23, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Oops, I was responding to @199, mom2.

  • 206. Cut-off predictions?  |  February 23, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    Any cut-off predictions this year? Will scores go up or down? Here’s mine – Lane cut-off for Tier 4 will go up – should hit the 840s. Payton will go down (albeit slightly 1-3 points) due to addition of seats. NS should remain stable. WY seems to be a very popular choice this year based on comments on this blog…thus, cut-off could rise slightly this year.

    Also, anyone else notice that students that preference WY or Payton also gravitate towards Lane. And students that like NS also seem to like Jones.

  • 207. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    I know from tracking Lane Tier 4 that last year the cutoff was 809 and the year before was 836 (pre-MAP?). So I would expect the cutoff to be close to that, so 840 would be a solid guess.

    My son’s participation in a test prep class hang in the balance of that cutoff score. Although I am positioning Lane as “just so you have that as an option, it doesn’t mean it’s the best choice.”

    I feel some test prep would do him well in general, for math refresher and test-taking skills.

  • 208. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    FYI, here are the cutoffs for Tier 4 comparing last year’s to the year before. Last year MAP was announced as the scoring test, but nobody had known that going in, so less test prep, less “focus” during test times.

    So speculation is that the scores will increase this year to match previous years (unless the MAP has different outcomes from ISAT.) So that will be an interesting observation. Just be aware that the cutoffs from last year may look un-naturally low. I will post Tier 3 as well.

    School Tier 4 cutoff 2 years ago/Last year

    Young 877/862
    Westinghouse 697/617
    S-Shore 651/600
    Payton 896/891
    NSCP 894/886
    Lindblom 732/629
    Lane 836/808
    King 650/600
    Jones 883/873
    Hancock NA/635
    Brooks 740/655

  • 209. cpsobsessed  |  February 23, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    School Tier 3 cutoff 2 years ago/Last year

    Young 857/835
    Westinghouse 718/665
    S-Shore 650/605
    Payton 883/877
    NSCP 879/857
    Lindblom 728/676
    Lane 813/782
    King 650/600
    Jones 857/839
    Hancock NA/718
    Brooks 755/690

  • 210. 8th Grade mom  |  February 23, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    I think we’ll see slightly higher scores across the board, as students may have acclimated to the MAP test. The additional seats at Payton will help. I live close to NSCP, and feel like there is more interest in Lane/WY/Jones vs NSCP/Payton, but that could be due to parents managing their student’s expectations.

  • 211. SilentRunning  |  February 23, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    It’s definitely a frustrating time of year, and I can relate to some of the sentiments. Our family has been through this process once before, so I can say with confidence : these kids grow a thicker skin as a result..not sure if that’s good takeaway, having to toughen up at only 13/14 years of age!
    One qualm I have with some of the ideas expressed here is the sort groupthink/ herd mentality being promoted. I wholeheartedly agree that we must the stress importance of using compassion, and that our children be sensitive to their peers (and also to themselves!) ..why though, must everyone now be open to certain other schools?

    Why is it assumed that these (undesirable to some) schools be pushed/ accepted by the rest of us? If your child is at said school and has had successful time, it’s great to share that experience with other prospectives. However, it’s dangerous to expect or almost demand that others must accept ( what I view as) propaganda to bolster certain schools reputations. It’s also presumptuous to assume ones child’s good experience will be replicated by many others. Individuluality means nothing? We should jump on bandwagon, change our views and even send our students, too?

    If I am adverse to sending my child to a Southside school like Lindbloom or King because of the location or reputation, don’t try to guilt me into applying for my student. If I grew up in Chicago and am adverse to Northside schools like Senn, Amundsen, Lakeview, etc because of their historical reputations..don’t try to guilt me into applying for my student.
    I do not say any of this in a mean spirited way. Live and let live.

  • 212. HSObsessed  |  February 23, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    @211 – Nobody’s dangerously demanding that you accept propaganda. We’re all just trying to share information that might be helpful to others.

  • 213. mom2  |  February 23, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    And just because a school has a historical reputation that you didn’t like doesn’t mean it isn’t different today. My parents grew up on the south side of the city and their neighborhood high schools were amazing back then, they are nothing like that today. So can’t the reverse be true too? Guess what? It isn’t all propaganda. Wow.

  • 214. Rockyraccoon  |  February 23, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Re: 197. Interesting that you mention a lack of “extreme social hierarchy” in CPS. We had the opposite experience, our CPS school was intense, socially and academically. My kids even remarked on the difference when we moved to the suburbs, although they didn’t articulate it quite that way. They just said there were fewer bullies, which was interesting to me because I didn’t think there were bullies per se at their CPS school. I think they were referring to the very rigid social pecking order. They were both happy to have a “fresh start” and to meet new people when we moved.

    By the end of middle school/start of high school here in suburbia, the kids had sorted themselves into groups, but they seem pretty flexible. Both my kids float between various configurations of friends. They hang out with some old friends from middle school and have enjoyed making new friends in high school.

    I agree with whoever said making friends is really, really hard. I’m not sure it’s easier or better in one setting (city) than another (suburbs).

  • 215. Gramlins  |  February 23, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Does anyone know when ChiArts will contact students?

  • 216. Momof12  |  February 23, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    @cpsbssssed Thank you! Has anyone heard from Jones Pre Law? Do you know if they accept some kids outside of the residential boundaries?

  • 217. pantherettie  |  February 23, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    @SilentRunning – I’m really surprised that you would consider a post about the positive aspects of a high school “propaganda”. That terms implies that the information being provided is some how inflated (or deflated) information to manipulate opinions. I don’t think that is at all the motivation of the posters here. I’m also surprised that you would feel that posters are attempting to “guilt” you into sending your kid to Lindblom or King. I think the challenge comes when parents say that’s there are not enough SEHS options while not considering all options across the city. After reading this blog for the past 4 years, I feel comfortable saying that the majority of the parents here are from the north side of the city and they don’t consider south side SEHS for a variety of reasons. As a parent of a Lindblom high school student (since 7th grade) I can promise you that the school has no problems filling its seats. While it may be a surprise to some, the school is a fantastic fit for many kids and it’s incredibly successful when it comes to academic achievement. If it’s not the place for your kid, cool. But it’s not propaganda to say that it’s a great school.

  • 218. eager to hear  |  February 23, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    @215 I think that the ChiArts acceptance letters are being sent out on 3/1/16.

  • 219. @silentrunning  |  February 24, 2016 at 1:46 am

    Thank you Pantherettie! I am extremely annoyed with the comments as well! SilentRunning–have you visited King or Lindblom before passing your judgment! YOU are the VERY reason south side parents MAY lurk and not post here. Let me say for the record–Northside parents YOU can get to King via Metra. You choose not to do so! The teachers at King teach to the top (and actually I have an issue with it–they should differentiate more), hence we don’t have every seat filled. Some students get in and have to leave because of the rigor! My child has actually had some unsettling grades for me, but what I will say… Junior year he got himself together and picked up his grades! King DOES not “dummy” down the work. I actually think the teachers think if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. Nothing will happen to your precious KIDS if they hop on Metra & get off at 47th street and take the CTA a few blocks! For GODS SAKE it’s Hyde Park!! Don’t tell me there aren’t enough SE seats for you! King has plenty! **rant off**

  • 220. FunnyMommy  |  February 24, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Generally, if you find yourself prefacing or closing a post with the disclaimer “I do not say any of this in a mean spirited way” the chances that others will interpret it that way are highly likely.

    Very interesting that alienation also takes place here. I’m a Southside mom and since it’s my first time here I guess I didn’t have sense enough to lurk. But after reading all the comments, I have since decided that I won’t attend the “What’s Next” seminar.

    I have also decided that my son will be fine wherever he lands be it Urban Prep, King, Kenwood, LindblOm, Chicago Military, or Naperville. While he may not be the smartest child in the room, he makes up for it socially, mentally and emotionally (and he’s cute…or so the girls say). Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Haaa!!!

  • 221. mom2  |  February 24, 2016 at 10:44 am

    FunnyMommy – Cute always helps in life! I’m sure he will be fine, too. (I’m looking for safe). Don’t let others discourage you. They have no clue about real life.

  • 222. stories to tell  |  February 24, 2016 at 11:54 am

    according to this results mailed 9th grade results on 2/26, replies due by 3/11, individual schools (except selective enrollment) can be contacted for availability


  • 223. stories to tell  |  February 24, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    At ChiArts, the admissions person said they work over the weekend to send out their invitations earlier in an effort to “beat” the ones from selective enrollment. So that made me think over last weekend, but my offspring said a friend has a call back next weekend–so I’m confused.

  • 224. Was that taught there?  |  February 24, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    To 219: Nothing will happen to your precious KIDS if they hop on Metra & get off at 47th street and take the CTA a few blocks! For GODS SAKE it’s Hyde Park!! Don’t tell me there aren’t enough SE seats for you! King has plenty! **rant off**

    From Cognitive Dissidence: The neighborhood has thugs and homeless wandering around. How can my child be safe?

  • 225. westrogersparkmom  |  February 24, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    A few years ago ChiArts did send out acceptance letters before SEHS- but last year it was a week or so later. They called you; left emails, and sent packets. It was very well done. However, if there are call backs next weekend it probably won’t happen this year. It wouldn’t hurt to call and ask. Maybe they have their selections made for some conservatories while still conducting call backs for dance. I don’t know.

    ChiArts does not over accept. If they have room for 20 dancers, 20 kids will get offers; 20 musical theater offer; etc etc. Not everyone who is accepted goes so there is (or was a few years ago) movement on the waitlist.

    ChiArts is a great school for any child who LOVES their art, whatever it may be. Don’t be put off by the extended hours. Wherever your kid goes to school they will be staying late if they are involved in sports or other activiites. For my youngest, its not every day but most days . . .

  • 226. stories to tell  |  February 24, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    thanks, not sure what conservatory friend is applying for, I’ll be patient and watch our mail, LOL, I don’t especially like it when people interrupt my work to ask if I’m done with my work yet, a test of patience, good to know they e-mail too, our mail carriers have misdelivered on not delivered in the past, another worry, I rather have child spend a couple extra hours in school doing art, rather than zigzagging across the city on the cta, (we live in wicker park, so chiarts is nearby)

  • 227. ArtfulOffspring  |  February 24, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    @226. We’re anxiously hoping to hear from ChiArts as well— the Visual Art Conservatory. Wishing you good news! Hope we both get good news soon and if not, that our second choice comes through.

    Talked with son this morning and he’s in a good place: hopeful, yet knows it’s not the end of the world if he doesn’t get acceptance to his first choice. We’ll cross the bridges as they present themselves. I encouraged him to discuss with his friends, the fact that some of them may be happy, some very sad once the letters are delivered and that they might brainstorm together how they can support one another no matter the news they receive.

  • 228. cpsobsessed  |  February 24, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    “While he may not be the smartest child in the room, he makes up for it socially, mentally and emotionally”

    As most of us have learned by being working adults, that goes a LONNNG way!

  • 229. stories to tell  |  February 24, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    thank you, yes, best wishes to your family & everyone’s,
    hope of happiness and fortitude

  • 230. Shuliu  |  February 24, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    @zhuzhou02 if you don’t mind sharing which elementary school is your daughter attending? I am considering moving my daughter to our neighborhood school in 2016-2017. We have heard complaints by some neighborhood parents and this is worrying as we moved to our curren neighborhood for the school. Your reply and insight will be most appreciated. Thank you.

  • 231. cpsobsessed  |  February 24, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    To reiterate the previous comments, the intent is certainly not to induce guilt about the school selection process. As my mother used to drum into our heads back when she was studying to be a social worker in the late 70’s, taking therapy classes…. “nobody can MAKE you feel anything.” That used to drive me crazy as a dramatic teenager. Now I understand it.

    The goal is to help parents/students keep an open mind about the wide range of options available.

    However I would respectfully ask/wish that long-standing stereotypes aren’t passed on, with the result being that we instill in kids that “it’s 3-4 SEHS or nothin’.” I think that’s what causes the stress and anxiety that many parents are looking to avoid. Heck, even Lane was a no-way for many parents about 5 years ago. Without keeping an open mind, opinions will never change and options will remain highly restrictive.

  • 232. majaramirez  |  February 24, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Anyone heard from any of the SEHSs yet? The suspense is killing me too!

  • 233. Northwestsidemom  |  February 24, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    The letters get mailed tomorrow!

  • 234. 8th Grade mom  |  February 24, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Mailed on 2/25 rather than 2/26? Really!?

  • 235. Northwestsidemom  |  February 24, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    I meant Friday!!!!

  • 236. 8th Grade mom  |  February 24, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Long weekend ahead:)

  • 237. Nwsidemom2  |  February 25, 2016 at 9:26 am

    I live on the Northside and have a student at Lane. My child didn’t apply there because it’s selective enrollment, but because he loved the school.
    We never entertained the idea of a school more than 10 miles away, because as a parent with other children I am involved in their schools. I attend events regularly and have had to pick up my child in bad weather or because my child was involved in school functions. There are very late days when you’re in high school, and to shame parents because they don’t want their child traveling to the other side of town every day is unfair and naive. As a parent, we have to expect to make several trips to your child’s school often.We also have to expect our kids to make friends who may live several miles past their school and want to hang out with them…which for freshmen and sophomores, they will be taking additional public transportation and hoping you can get them in the evenings. If you are close to King, and your child goes to Northside prep, you can expect their friends to live near O’Hare perhaps. Our city is huge and this works both ways. Please don’t shame parents who make decisions based on their own children and schedules. It’s out of line and not productive to this thread.

  • 238. pantherparent  |  February 25, 2016 at 9:32 am

    As a parent going through this for the third (and final) time, I’m glad it’s almost over. Now we get college rejection letters instead.

    I know 17-year-olds should be better equipped to handle rejection than 13-year-olds, but I’ve never seen my oldest more devastated than when his #1 college choice said “no”.

    I would say something about life lessons here, but nobody, no matter how old. likes being rejected and it’s something you never get used to.

    Good luck, everyone. And thank you CPSO. Your site has been invaluable over the years.

  • 239. @nwestsidemomof2  |  February 25, 2016 at 10:48 am

    I think you missed the point of my frustration with this blog. I was responding to a parent who was putting down King & Lindblom. Yes, I do understand the importance of being in close proximity to your child’s school. I have kids at two different schools & I am very involved.

    I’m tired of folks bashing the south side SE schools. I think if you considered Jones or WY you still would be able to get to King. It’s not that far away. That was my point. I wouldn’t expect someone who lives far north to come to King. If you go back & read the post I was referring to in my post then you would see why I was upset. This parent just out of the clear blue starting talking about King & Lindblom. A Lindblom parent was also offended and posted a response to that poster. No one is trying to guilt anyone into an arduous commute. I’ve done it before and it’s tough. Now I will go back to lurking and not posting and actually probably will never post again.

  • 240. cpsobsessed  |  February 25, 2016 at 11:00 am

    @238 – yes and that is why I am encouraging my son to brush his hair before trying out for the school musical. 🙂

    So hard to do all this (high school, college) when teen emotions are in the mix….

  • 241. Laurie  |  February 25, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Hi everyone! New to this process and was wondering how a student with an IEP gets selected. Example: My son is High Functioning autistic. He excels in some subjects but average in others. Is there a special process? Any insight would be helpful!

    Thank you

  • 242. SilentRunning (On Dangerous Ground)  |  February 25, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Comprehension is everything. I did not single out King and Lindbloom, I used both as examples of Southside schools I wouldn’t want MY kids to attend. If you weren’t defensive and seeing red, you’d also have read that I also used Northside schools Amundsen, Senn, etc as examples I wouldn’t want MY kids to attend.
    Your rants have only bolstered my original statement that it all boils down to PREFERENCE, personal freedom, individuality. Those who attempt to guilt others into their way of thinking are wrong!

    FYI, I’m from the Southside. I’ve lived in Chicago long enough to remember and have experienced when it was just Whitney, Morgan Park, and maybe Kenwood at the top..when those were the greats. You’re so far off base here it’s almost laughable. Your posture reeks of : “who are you to not accept my viewpoint??? How dare you not apply here!”
    I’m realistic about today’s world, the harsh realities in this city, what my children need and what works well for MY level of comfort.
    You mentioned King high school in your rant, and I can’t help but think about that beautiful, talented girl who attended King. Executed not far from the school and for NO reason. My heart still bleeds every time I hear the story..so no, I’m personally not strong enough to deal with the fear of something similar happening.

  • 243. HSbound2016  |  February 25, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    @241 @ Laurie

    Nobody is going to want to hear this but it is true that IEP children have slightly different set of rules and are looked at differently so be prepared if you get into one of the best schools people will say behind you back it is because of your child’s IEP. Here is what I will say; Congratulations on your successes with your child! I know having a child on the spectrum even high functioning is very challenging! I am curious what schools you applies too? I think a school with block scheduling such as Northside would be a much better school for your child than Payton for example where the schedule rotates forward.

  • 244. SoxSideIrish4  |  February 25, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    238. pantherparent | February 25, 2016 at 9:32 am

    I’m sorry you’re son’s #1 university said ‘no’. That’s devastating to any kid BUT I trust that an even better fit school will be a blessing in disguise for him! He may not realize it until he’s almost done with university. Good luck to him and your family. I’ve enjoyed all of your posts over the years.

  • 245. Eager2know  |  February 25, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    @HSbound, I am a parent of a Payton student and just like Northside they have block scheduling as well. They call them Orange and Blue days

  • 246. Pantherettie  |  February 25, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    @ SilentRunning (239) – What I found problemmatic in your comment (211) was your statement that those who provided alternative experiences to incorrect and biased information against certain schools were using “propaganda” to inappropriately bolster the images of the schools. That statement assumes that the statements made are untrue and designed to be influence opinions based on lies. That wasn’t what anyone was doing in this board. I heard honest opinions about LPHS, Senn, Amunsden, ect. that were real life experiences of students and their families. *You* decided that it was propaganda to imply that these schools had something to offer to students who would also consider SEHS. On a personal note, I think that it’s interesting that you specifically brought up Lindblom and King as the two schools that you shouldn’t be “guilted into sending your kid to”. You didn’t bring up any north side schools, That’s the reason there was a specific response to your comments. For the record, living in Hyde Park means that NSCP, Payton, Lane and Brooks were not even close possibilities for my family due to proximity issues. No one’s judging you for that. What I am saying that is completely uncool, is your propaganda statement. It smacks of a nasty set of preconceived notions about schools and your sense of entitlement to not have those notions challenged.

  • 247. Lakevi  |  February 25, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    We applied to: Payton, Jones, Whitney, Lane + Lincoln Park Double Honors. We have another kid at Payton already, so Payton is the first choice, but scores look more like Whitney. She is not super excited about that, so will probably try Principle’s Discretion. Definitely steaming open the envelope. : )

  • 248. Lakevi  |  February 25, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    Payton has block scheduling and Seminar Days (half day) every other Wednesday. It’s a great schedule…just FYI @HSbound

  • 249. @silentrunning  |  February 25, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Hadiya was shot about a mile from King in a park surrounded by homes valued in the 250-300K plus homes. She wasn’t near the school. This was back when students had half days and could leave after finals. Since her death none of our other students have been shot. This is Chicago and if you haven’t noticed crime is on an uptick especially murders unfortunately. I read & comprehend very well. Thank you! I had to clear up your misconception about the neighborhood. By the way the homes near King are going for about 250-500K…

  • 250. Caroline  |  February 25, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Can anyone explain to me why Albert G. Lane is not called Albert, but Whitney Young can be called Whitney? When I was in school it was Young High School. I am not sure why it would be called by his first name.

  • 251. worried tier2  |  February 25, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    @247 and @248 and anyone else on this board. Are there any parents NOT from Tier 4 that have kids at Payton here? I’m Tier 2, my son will have a high score, but more like in the 870’s or 880’s and not the high 890’s. Will he be okay with academics? Any experience with kids going to Payton with much lower scores and doing well enough to get financial aid for college?

  • 252. mom2  |  February 25, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Most people call it Lane Tech College Prep and then shorten it by the first word often used – Lane. Most people call it Whitney Young and then shorten it by the first word often used – Whitney. No other reason.

  • 253. Caroline  |  February 25, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks. I know there is a Whitney school in Chicago and that can be confusing. I know that the principal there stressed that it is not Whitney. I remember that from when my daughter went there.

  • 254. Caroline  |  February 25, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Does anyone here know anything about other schools besides SEHS. What about Von Steuben, Prosser, Chicago Agricultural?

  • 255. Mommie_23  |  February 25, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    so is it a more likely chance for a child to meet the mean score or the minimum cut off score to say she/he is more than likely to get in? This is for tier 1…anyone have any idea how those score should change? My daughter is hoping for jones but doesn’t think she did as well as expected on the test

  • 256. Laurie  |  February 25, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    @243 North side is the only SEHS we applied to. Others are Von Steuben, Chiarts, Senn Arts and Amundsen. My son is so into musical theater and we did audition at both Senn and Chiarts. No call back from Chiarts though. I don’t know if that means he won’t get in? Anyone have an idea if no callback means no admission? I am on pins and needles waiting to see if he gets in anywhere!! Our neighborhood school is Mather and if if comes to that we will be moving.

  • 257. 8th Grade mom  |  February 25, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    @250 My husband and his friends who went to the school circa 1990 always say Whitney Young. I’ve never heard them use either the first or last name independently.

  • 258. cpsobsessed  |  February 25, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    @255 Mommie_23 — what schools are you looking at? I can look up what the cutoffs were 2 year ago (which the hypothesis is that the cutoffs this year will be similar to those.)

  • 259. 8th Grade mom  |  February 25, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    We live within the proximity area for Von, so a fair number of students from our neighborhood win the lottery. Scholars, as well as general. I’ve heard great things about the staff there. In fact we have a few neighbors that teach there, and one of them has a freshman son there as well. Some people like the size…not too large. And it seems like if you want to be on a club or sport, you can; compared to some of the SE’s where it’s hard to make the team. If you enter Von through the general lottery, you have the opportunity to enter the scholars program later if you desire and have the grades to qualify. I guess a fair number of students do this – which I think is a testament to the quality of instruction that they are able to move students forward.

    Von is just a couple blocks from the Brown line which makes it accessible for many.

    We applied to Von Steuben. My daughter will consider it if we get accepted. The students we know are thriving at Von.

  • 260. Chris  |  February 25, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    “Northside parents YOU can get to King via Metra.”

    That’s an hour, each way, for someone who lives *at* an el stop north of North Avenue. From my house (NOT far north), it’s more like 90 minutes–which is double the time to Jones, Young, or Westinghouse. Lindblom is also 90 minutes.

    The attitude expressed in the post was despicable. But acting like complaints about commute distance are pre-textual is denying reality. Are King and Lindblom better than Lake View or Senn? Certainly. Is it *enough* better to justify 2+ hours a day in transit time? You tell me–but it would have to be *extremely* persuasive.

  • 261. cpsobsessed  |  February 25, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    @254 _I’ve hear good reports on Von Steuben (one from a friend of a friend… child went to private school through 8th grade and is now at VS, both parent and child like it.)

    I don’t know anyone who has sent a kid to Ag, but reports on the blog from people in that neighborhood make it sounds like a real gem, if you can get in (via lottery I think?) It seems to operate like the elem magnets do… producing good results. It’s a Level 1+ school, diverse, 46% low income (which is a low % in CPS.)

    Don’t know anything about Prosser.

  • 262. westrogersparkmom  |  February 25, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    @Laurie (256)- I have no idea about ChiArts and callbacks but if you do decide on the school let us know for am carpool purposes. My kid is at ChiArts and Mather is our neighborhood school as well so you may be close by. We didn’t carpool this year because of her schedule but in the past it has worked out very very well. While you can take the bus in the mornings the kids prefer door to door pickup. Plus with Western construction the bus might not be much of an option this spring and next year.

    Good luck – I LOVED SENN and still have pangs that my daughter didn’t go there. The drama program at Senn is amazing.

    Also curious as to why you didn’t apply to LP’s drama program or other SEHS high schools besides Northside.

  • 263. cpsobsessed  |  February 25, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    It *would* be kind of funny to hear Lane Tech referred to as “Albert” 🙂

  • 264. Caroline  |  February 25, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    LOL. Yes it would.

  • 265. Mommie_23  |  February 25, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Jones, Payton, Young, King, Lindblom, Brooks. Is it more than likely true that if you didn’t put Payton or young as first place you more than likely won’t get it?

  • 266. mom2  |  February 25, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    “Are King and Lindblom better than Lake View or Senn? Certainly” – Also, the definition of better is always different depending on your wants and needs. Just based on test scores alone – certainly.

  • 267. Chris  |  February 25, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    “It *would* be kind of funny to hear Lane Tech referred to as “Albert””

    I think we should put it into practice, for all of them:

    North (drop the side, as a tip to Kanye!)

  • 268. Chris  |  February 25, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    PS: I had to look up several of those.

    mom2: “definition of better is always different depending on your wants and needs”

    Intended as a stipulation of fact. I don’t want to (even seem to) argue about King/Lindblom v (say) Lake View–it’s not productive.

    I want to explore whether there is a sound basis that they are *enough* better to justify getting up by 6am everyday *just to make it on time*.

  • 269. cpsobsessed  |  February 25, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    And if the new one gets built… Barak.

  • 270. edgewatermom  |  February 25, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    And for a little humor to break the tension while everybody is waiting…

    Does anybody watch “Life in Pieces”? That had a really funny episode about trying to get in to exclusive preschools that had my daughter and I cracking up. She decided that when anybody asks where she is going to go to high school she is going to say “Invisible Rainbows” 🙂 http://www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink/watch/life-in-pieces-invisible-rainbow/vp-BBpGBLn

  • 271. cpsobsessed  |  February 25, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    @Mommie_23, this shows the min Tier 1 cutoff for 2 years ago/last year.
    As you can see when it was still the ISAT it was much higher. So the million dollar question is whether the MAP score cutoffs will go back up to that level now that kids have had more experience with it, students know it’s the input for admission, etc.
    Good luck!

    Payton 838/784
    Young 806/770
    King 650/601
    Lindblom 695/606
    Brooks 681/602

  • 272. Laurie  |  February 25, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    @262 westrogersparkmom, North side is a few blocks from us. He doesn’t want to go to Lane and the others are just too far for us. My son is not at the point where he can take public transit by himself , so I need schools that I can drop him off or have him dropped off and picked up. He really just wants to fit in and have friends and be able to do theater. He suffers in social situations so I am at a stand still until I know if any school accepted him.

  • 273. Following  |  February 25, 2016 at 5:12 pm


  • 274. pantherparent  |  February 25, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    @244 SoxSideIrish4. Thanks for the kind words. He ended up in the College of Engineering at U of I in Champaign and indicated that was his second choice all along. I’m like, then why the hell did we apply to 8 other schools at 100 bucks a crack??!!

    And your name shows that both Cubs fans like me and Sox fans like you can join together here in our disdain for CPS.

  • 275. North Center Mom  |  February 25, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    @274 pantherparent, what was the cutoff gpa/act for UofI College of Engineering this year? Will the school even divulge that info by college/ department?

  • 276. @chris & Caroline  |  February 25, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    @Kris: Yes, I agree it isn’t productive to put down any schools. I don’t have kids who attend Lakeview or Senn but in your last comment–well you kind of put down those two schools. We’ve been hearing great things on the blog about both of these up and coming schools. There could even be parents waiting on a letter from Senn.

    I never said that commute shouldn’t be factored into the selection of a HS. I didn’t put Lane or Northside on my son’s application when I went through the SE process. I live southeast and would never be able to get my children to either of these schools. I was merely suggesting that parents in the South Loop could get their children to King, so I just wanted to clarify. I guess I should have been clearer.

    @Caroline: You asked about Chicago Ag & I went to their tour several years ago. It is an amazing school & very unique. I did apply for my son and had an awful waitlist number but it was too far from my home anyway. Also, they are allowed to take more students in the proximity lottery and fewer from the tiers than other magnet schools.

    Also, you asked for suggestions of other great schools that aren’t SE. Kenwood Academy in Hyde Park is great and rated level 1 plus! My other son is in the 8th grade at the AC and he is staying there for HS, so I didn’t apply to any SE schools for him. Kenwood is classified as a neighborhood school, but they do have a magnet program too. The application is on their website and the requirements/instructions for applying. Although, you submit the application to Kenwood, OAE handles the lottery and makes the notifications. Kenwood has a wide array of courses including many honors and AP classes, as well. Lots of sports and clubs that there are too numerous to count. It’s definitely worth your time to go to the open house next year. The vibe and energy is amazing. Kenwood has high academic expectations with a very supportive staff. I couldn’t be more pleased!!

    What area of the city do you live in? Chicago Ag is far south and the other schools you named I think are more north. If we knew what area maybe some bloggers would have more suggestions.

    Good luck to everyone!!!

  • 277. Addison S.  |  February 25, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    I heard from a source that some people receive their letters early if they applied for any of the CTE programs. Do you think Jones will accept some people for their CTE program if they live outside of the attendance boundaries?

  • 278. Chris  |  February 25, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    “well you kind of put down those two schools.”

    Oh, come on.

    We have *multiple* people carping about how northsiders won’t even consider Lindblom and King and not very subtly imply that it is largely (and likely primarily and possibly only) about race.

    I’m willing to stipulate–for purposes of discussion–that each of them is better than Neighborhood HS X (or, heck, Catholic HS X, think St Bens, Depaul/Gordon, St Pat’s/Notre Dame) that is a 10 minute commute for a given Northsider family, but I want the carpers to explain why they think Lindblom and King (and Brooks and Hancock and South Shore, but no one mentions them, because they’re *really* far) are enough better to justify adding 2 hours (or more) to a kids day to travel there.

  • 279. Chris  |  February 25, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    and PS, @276:

    I wasn’t addressing the comment solely to one person; it’s been a common (understandable) issue for many here for several years.

    Yes, for a family living South of Congress, then King is easier to get to (certainly on transit) than Payton, and I think we can all agree that it is better than Phillips (the attendance area school for all of the South Loop, and most of the Loop, too).

    Or is that putting down Phillips?

  • 280. zhuzhou02  |  February 25, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    @230 I’m not comfortable posting the name of my daughter’s elementary school here, but happy to correspond via mail. Cpsobsessed, can you forward my email to Shuliu and to VikingMom?

    I am not quite so high on the ledge anymore, if anyone remembers my posts (143 and 157). In the past week I put a bid on a house in Morton Grove that I did not get. But the process was great for us, because we realized a move to the suburbs and high school at Niles West is a real possibility. I’m also confident that Von Steuben Scholars, my daughter’s first pick, will also be an option. We are going to tour Niles West, and hopefully Von Steuben will have a session for prospective students who have been accepted. We’ll figure it out. We are both much more relaxed. (Single mom here, one child.)

    One of the selling points of Von for me is the extraordinary racial, ethnic, social, economic and religious diversity. I’m also ok with the neighborhood, but understand not every parent feels the same. There are only three eighth graders applying to Scholars from my daughter’s elementary school, including my daughter. I know one family is extremely uncomfortable with their child using public transportation and attending high school in the heart of Albany Park. I’m comfortable my daughter will be fine. She has been taking transit on her own for over a year. Plus I’m in Albany Park all the time – I have good friends who live there, the restaurants are fantastic and I catch the brown line at Kimball, two blocks from Von Steuben. The other family will probably send their child to Taft, a school I won’t consider due to the extreme overcrowding and lack of transit to get there. I hope both our kids love their choices and flourish, wherever they go..

    Let’s not judge other families based on what they want for their children or their boundaries and tolerances. I recognize my needs are specific to my family and my views are colored by my life experience and exposure (or lack of exposure) to other neighborhoods. Would be good to remember this before posting comments about thugs (could there be a more loaded word?) or assuming someone is putting down a school by choosing not to have their child commute for ninety minutes to get there.

  • 281. cpsobsessed  |  February 25, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    FYI, there will be a slight delay in comments posting today, so if you don’t see your post right away it’ll show up shortly.

  • 283. pantherparent  |  February 25, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    @275 NorthCenterMom I haven’t seen any detailed breakdowns by department. Just the broad statement that the average ACT score of incoming freshman for engineering was 32.

  • 284. pantherettie  |  February 25, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    Chris, I don’t think that any school is worth a 2 hour commute one way when there is an option not to avoid it. But many, many kids get to bus stops at 6am and to get to school by 8am who live less than 10 miles from the school due to public transportation or family situations. I’m not a “carper” when I honestly stated that it was inappropriate to call positive remarks about certain schools as “propaganda”. Somehow, that ugly comment has been diminished for the old argument of “don’t guilt me because I won’t send my kid to a Lindblom”. It’s easier to focus on that and ask posters, once again, to justify why anyone would have the “audacity” to suggest that there are schools that are in different parts of the city that are strong options for a kids. Chris, I don’t think that you’re attempting to belittle the Lindblom or King, but I’m pretty tired of proving the “worth” of the schools. That said, I’ll do it one more time and leave it alone. Lindblom is a fantastic SEHS. The students are academically successful in high school and they have a high college retention rate. The teachers are highly educated and incredibly committed. The curriculum has an incredibly strong STEM focus along with an award winning fine arts department. The school is in Englewood and is overwhelmingly African American and Hispanic. That said, I believe that the kids who attend are welcoming to all different types of people. So, to me, the school is absolutely worth a reasonable commute. For other families it’s not. It is really up to families to decide. BTW, not cool to call people carpers.

  • 285. North Center Mom  |  February 26, 2016 at 10:15 am

    @283 pantherparent I should add, congratulations on your child being accepted to the U of I College of Engineering. It’s a big accomplishment for him/her, speaks well to their education at CPS, and in-state tuition for mom and dad – yah!

  • 286. cpsobsessed  |  February 26, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Thank you, LVHS parent for the course catalog. I’ve posted a sample page up above.

  • 287. Ogden IB Mom  |  February 26, 2016 at 10:48 am

    My daughter is in 7th grade at Ogden. The middle school and High School share the same building. I am under the impression that the HIgh School will soon have the whole building in the near future.. The middle school kids will be located in another building.
    My daughter knows the High School teachers and some of the kids. I feel that it is an advantage for my daughter to stay at Ogden through high school, She likes what she sees and hears about the High School offerings. The school is a level 1 school from kinder to 12th grade. Ogden has a small school feel to it, the teachers for better or worse know who my daughter is. She enjoys the IB curriculum and will likely graduate with in the Diploma program if all goes according to plan! Ogden is rigourous the Diploma program is tough! but worth it. Ogden has many programs from drama to sports. You really have to take a tour to get all the info you need. I saw on the website that tours are being offered through March, Im sure more will be available after March as well. The Ogden Facebook page is active and currrent … more information there. plus the school website.

  • 288. Vikingmom  |  February 26, 2016 at 10:57 am

    I found the “propaganda” post somewhat offensive but decided not to take the bait. The majority of us are here to share information, and we all want the best for our kids. You don’t want to consider Amundsen, Senn, LV, Lindblom, King etc. fine, makes no difference to me, just don’t put out assumptions about schools. I will continue to express my experiences about Amundsen based on my senior daughter and soon-to-be freshman son (yep, I’m around for the next four years people!!)–the information is/will be there for anyone who wants it.
    RE: Von — some members of my daughter’s summer softball league were students and I heard only great things about the school, although the conversations were more general rather than specific.
    @pantherparent that is great about UIUC College of Engineering! My daughter also got into the university (NOT Engineering) and although it is one of her tops pics, and I am an alum, I think she may end up choosing a smaller school.
    @cpso — how do i get my email to you for sharing?? :/

  • 289. cpsobsessed  |  February 26, 2016 at 11:04 am

    You can email me at CPSObsessed@gmail.com.

  • 290. JAG  |  February 26, 2016 at 11:34 am

    @Ogden IB Mom
    Thank you, for sharing!! We will definitely take a tour.

  • 291. Newcomer  |  February 26, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    @cpso, Can you post a new thread about college admissions and what people learned and can share with the rest of us? Now that my son is a freshman at a SEHS, I’d love to hear about other people’s journeys through the process. It can also include discussion on AP choices, test prep, summer programs, managing expectations…. there is much to talk about! PS Congratulations Pantherparent on the Urbana Engineering pick!

  • 292. cpsobsessed  |  February 26, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Sure, I can start that so people have a way to stay busy over the weekend 🙂

    If you look at the Categories list (right nav bar) you’ll see College as a category. There were 3 previous posts related to college admissions, but not a general one, so that’s a good addition.

    If anyone has a good article/list/blub/POV to use as a starting point, feel free to share or email me. I am (currently) blissfully unaware of the college process.

  • 293. stories to tell  |  February 26, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    looking at your original questions again,
    Stress level high? Yes! personally self-medicating with stale Halloween candy last night and coworker’s birthday donut today,
    why is it not helping?
    offspring snappish, not sharing, maybe with friends?
    top choices: 1=Jones, 2=Whitney Young, 3=ChiArts
    comparing to last year’s cut-offs just below or at cusp for 1 & 2,
    we are in Tier $, I mean, Tier 4, without the means of our neighbors, would have like to have considered Beacon school in Evanston,
    wide net? Yes! applied to Lakeview, Senn, Alcott, Admundsen,
    Von Stueben, Disney 2, Lincoln Park, various programs at each,
    all are 1or 2 long bus/train rides away, picturing great difficulties in the morning for our night owl,
    neighborhood school? No, Wells reportedly better per Reader article, Attended IB session at Clemente, representative said better as well, Holy Trinity open house & testing declined by student, seemed lots of financial aid available 90% for corresponding test score
    Charter? No, didn’t apply to Noble schools, turned off by the military aspect–but seems others had positive experiences???
    Lackadaisical 7th grade teen? A measure of calm is a good thing, my (last year’s) 7th grader stopped all hobbies to get all As, studied heart out for MAP test and SE tests, devastated by “low” score in MAP

  • 294. Chris  |  February 26, 2016 at 1:19 pm


    “I’m not a “carper” when I honestly stated that it was inappropriate to call positive remarks about certain schools as “propaganda”.”

    I don’t think any reasonable, fair person could read any of your posts (that I have seen) as carping. And the characterization of positive remarks about certain schools was absurd (and unfair, but I focus on the absurdity of it).

    As to carper: [and, again, I don’t think *you* have done it *at all*]

    Implying that an assertion that the commute to Lindblom/King is too far from [someplace north of north avenue] is pretextual, and the *real* reason must be ignorance of the South Side or something more sinister, fits the standard definition of ‘carping’–it’s unreasonable complaining. And that has come up several times over the years [again, not *you*].

    The “propaganda” comment *also* was carping. And, sure, meeting carping with carping is understandable, but we should stay away from the trash-fish+ approach.

    +am I being unfair to carp??

  • 295. HSbound2016  |  February 26, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    @272. @Laurie I started to type a reply to you yesterday and honestly not sure if I ever sent it. You asked about IEP kids and getting into the schools. Nobody likes to hear that IEP kids have a slight advantage but they do. There are some schools that are better for IEP kids than others. You stated you wanted NS and that would be a great school for your son if he is high on the spectrum. I know many IEP kids there and they are doing fantastic. The block scheduling really works out well for special needs learners. I know of 2 boys there with Asbergers, one high on the spectrum, several ADHD kids. Best of luck to you! I hope he gets in!

  • 296. 8th Grade mom  |  February 26, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    @295 how is it that IEP kids have an advantage? Thanks for any info!

  • 297. emk  |  February 26, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    long time listener, first time caller 🙂

    Like many of you, I’m hoping for SEHS good news for my 8th grader next week, but all of this budget uncertainty has me (all of us) really worried. Our long time hopes and plans were to make the jump from Catholic grade school to CPS for high school, but I’m thinking harder about Catholic high school options than I ever expected to.

    Any guesses as to worst case scenarios in the SEHS for next year? Do you worry that class sizes will be so large or cuts will be so significant that the quality of education will be irreparably affected?

    We have such a short time to accept a spot anywhere, I thought I’d ask now. Is this chaos minimizing anyone else’s enthusiasm for these wonderful schools? Or should I be trusting that, despite the current uncertainty, things will generally work out?

    Any insight would be appreciated.

  • 298. HSbound2016  |  February 26, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    @296 it is a heated subject. I will just leave it at that. If your kid has good grades and an IEP feel good about it.

  • 299. cpsobsessed  |  February 26, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    @Emk, thanks for calling 🙂

    I think the bigger risk is for the neighborhood high schools which tend to operate more bare bones. The common complaint is that the SE schools get more resources. Which seems to be true. Which is ridiculously unfair.

    But like look at the language offerings at Lane (granted, this is a giant school so they can offer more.)
    Currently, we offer Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, Spanish, and Spanish for Spanish Speakers.

    One could imagine electives like this. Or the hydroponic lab. Or 3-D printers. Or other extras being cut from the budget and there would still be a decent amount of operating money.

    These schools have critical mass, good admin and teachers, extra curriculars and clubs in place. And a lot of smart, ambitious, creative kids together. They may cut some of the “good” stuff, but the majority of what really matters will still be in place. I think the pros will still outweigh the cons.

    Or I could be naïve and delusional about how bad things are going to be….

  • 300. cpsobsessed  |  February 26, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    @296, I believe “advantages” = “accommodations” such as special test-taking accommodations, etc.

    Similar to the Tier system, some see this as a (possibly unfair) advantage while others see it as a means of leveling the playing field for kids who have true learning issues.

  • 301. Chris  |  February 26, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    “The common complaint is that the SE schools get more resources. Which seems to be true.”

    Honest question:

    Is that even remotely true with SBB? Don’t all the schools get the same $$ for operations?

    Obviously, one has to also consider the building issue–most of the newer HS’s are SEHS. Which does make a big difference, and is a huge ‘resource’ advantage. But seems separate from ‘the common complaint’.

  • 302. Mommie_23  |  February 26, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    When should we expect cutoff scores to be posted?

  • 303. cpsobsessed  |  February 26, 2016 at 4:55 pm


  • 304. cpsobsessed  |  February 26, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    @302: based on last year, the scores would theoretically be posted later on Monday 2/29. In the past it often took a few days lag after letters went out, but hopefully this year will be fast like last year was.

  • 305. emk  |  February 26, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    @cpsobsessed it’s I who should be thanking you for providing this space! I hope you know how valuable it is – it has been integral to my getting up to speed these past few years. I really appreciate the intelligent conversation here.

    I have been self soothing with Pollyanna-ish thoughts myself. I do see what you’re saying about neighborhood vs. SE, and agree that the unfairness of it all is really overwhelming.

    Unless something really surprising happens in the next 10 days or so, I really hope that we will wholeheartedly be accepting a spot at a SEHS – my child is really ready for the challenge and novelty. I hope I’m not naive in thinking that the essential special qualities of each of these fine schools won’t be significantly undermined.

  • 306. HSbound2016  |  February 26, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    Just curious did anyone last year get emails stating acceptance like we did for IB schools and grade school? I remember getting emails late in the day saying we were accepted to school XYZ

  • 307. 8th Grade mom  |  February 26, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    SBB – student based budgeting. The amount of money the school receives for each student. I don’t know that the SEs actually receive any more money do they? But they probably have an active community that seeks grants and fundraises effectively.

  • 308. Mommie_23  |  February 26, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Just got an email acceptance letter from South Shore IB

  • 309. HydeParkmom  |  February 26, 2016 at 6:17 pm


  • 310. pantherettie  |  February 26, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Congrats Mommie_23

  • 311. realchicagomama  |  February 26, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    @296 and @300: You can’t get an IEP if you don’t qualify under the IDEA. Who wants a learning disability?!?

    @301: Magnets get some positions that are protected or not budgeted for out of SBB accounting. I imagine this is also true for SEs.

  • 312. LV365247  |  February 26, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    stress level at our north side k-8 is WAY high in 8th grade. kids hyperventilating and being removed from the room, non-stop chatter about “i’m getting into X, and if i don’t, i’m going principal discretion” etc. it’s horrible. good job by the adults who put this system together. last year, the kids who didn’t get accepted didn’t show up for a couple of days. the ones who did wore sweats from their new SEHS. total win/fail when you’re 13.

  • 313. HSbound2016  |  February 27, 2016 at 9:53 am

    @LV365247 while it is great that children are excited, I know it must be a major let down for many as well. My son’s school had an 8th Grade breakfast, then they had a group of psychologists come into to talk about the stress of High School selection and HS. Next week the group will be giving more working type talk sessions. Then the kids destressed some more and watched a movie. If your school does not offer something like that then have open conversations with your child about the what IFs. I prepared my child and said what IF you don’t get in. Then we discussed the other options. We have discussed plan B and plan C. The kids at his school aren’t really talking about it as much because the school has done a fantastic job of giving them support and preparing them. Their parents on the other hands will get defense if you even ask and don’t want to talk about it. I know the pressure is high. I will be glad to get our letter and be done with it. Most kids have said Lane was their #1 pick at his school. Being a north west sider I would be happy with NS or Lane. Everything else is such a hike when you live this far out!

  • 314. edgewatermom  |  February 27, 2016 at 10:55 am

    I think that it is great that some schools are really preparing 8th graders for the results. While our school has told the students to “keep their results private”, I don’t really think that is realistic. And after several years of teachers talking up SEHS and telling kids that they better work harder or they will be stuck at a neighborhood high school (paraphrasing, but that was the msg) it is too little, too late.

    I went to the principal last year after dd’s teacher tried to “motivate” students to do well by telling them the “cautionary” tale of her brother. He supposedly made some bad choices in 7th grade and ended up having to go to his neighborhood school – and losing out on so many opportunities in life!!

  • 315. edgewatermom  |  February 27, 2016 at 10:59 am

    @308 Mommy_23 Did it come to the student’s CPS email or the parent email?

  • 316. Marketing Mom  |  February 27, 2016 at 11:55 am

    My son’s elementary school will have extra counselors at the school on Monday. It is truly sad that this is even necessary.

  • 317. Mommie_23  |  February 27, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    My email (parent) I am so happy that my daughter got into at least something because that was HER fear but by her scores I knew she would get a lot of choices, but she can sleep at night this weekend a little bit better!

  • 318. NS Momma  |  February 27, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    My kids are younger so I’m not fully aware of the in-school stress of this yet for high schools.

    In the schools you’re describing, how many of the kids get into the selective school they want? Won’t there be more kids NOT getting in than getting in? The way the newspapers talk about this, the odds of getting in are like getting into Harvard or worse. Is the expectation that they’ll all get in? Don’t kids know their odds more or less ahead of time? Or is it more like the odd kid out doesn’t get in?

  • 319. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    @Mommie_23 — congrats! And HIGH FIVE for being the first good news of the 2016 thread 🙂

  • 320. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2016 at 12:19 pm


    Where does one procure SEHS sweats mid-week, just out of curiosity?

  • 321. edgewatermom  |  February 27, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I know this is probably talked about every year, but why can’t CPS just email the results?!! If you applied online, you should be able to get your results online. It would save so much money on postage/printing and SO much anxiety.

    Is there some hidden benefit to CPS in mailing them out? Is there some outside agency that is profiting from the mailings? It just seems nuts.

  • 322. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    If what 312 posts is true, it sounds repulsively like sorority rush.

    I need to remind my son to be cool with his 8th grade comrades. I really hope kids who are going to neighborhood schools can hold their heads higher this year. As parents, we know it’ll all work out, but it’s hard when you’re an emotional teen. Wah.

  • 323. HydeParkMom  |  February 27, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Do you think I’m being highly optimistic expecting the letter today?
    This wait is killing me. My husband in the other hand is cool as a cucumber. Lol

  • 324. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Chicago mail *used* to provide some miraculous delivery, making Sat morning letters possible. I don’t know if the mail is this fast any more and/or if the letters actually go out early enough Friday to make it into the Sat mail.

    2 years ago a letter showed up in Lincoln Square on Saturday, but no other reports.

  • 325. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    If only Amazon Prime handled this. 🙂

  • 326. Slow_Nerve_Action  |  February 27, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    For all of you waiting today…..
    Go out and enjoy the sun.
    Your kids feed off your nerves and you anticipation and are already stressed enough.

    Go see a movie, go do something with them now…because the next four years, they are going to be awfully busy, no matter where they go to high school.

  • 327. LR  |  February 27, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    I don’t understand why they can’t just have you log in to your registration account and post the information there. That way everyone would have it at the same time and there would be no postage involved.

  • 328. HS Mom  |  February 27, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    @318 – This all depends upon the school and other factors. For example, some people only apply to the top selective schools and are then frustrated/disappointed when they don’t get in. At our elem school, and this was a few years back, Kids met with counselors and filled out multiple applications – SE, IB, charters, arts and other programs. Unless the family is uninterested or dropped the ball somehow…..kids got into some program. By nature and by working hard some kids glowed with pride getting into a great school. Others, were very disappointed. In our situation, it was not really about kids gloating it was more about individual reaction to acceptance or rejection. A lot of this can be avoided by preparing your kids, exploring and applying to all the options and keeping an open mind remaining confident in your childs abilities. Once the initial effects die down kids become very content with their outcomes (in general). Everyone was very happy for each other and looked forward to the new road ahead.

  • 329. Another Mom  |  February 27, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    I went through this process twice. Yes, it is crazy, but the stress and anxiety is largely driven by the parents (sometimes it feels like that is all the 7th and 8th grade parents talk about). I probably fed into it more than I would like to admit for my first rodeo, but we refused to get caught up the second time. It trickles down to the kids and that is all they talk about at school (it seems like many of the girls really go for the drama too….). So even if you are having a rational conversation at home about your child and what would be a good fit for them academically and socially, and you are realistic about their options, you can’t really manage the environment at school. But it’s the job of parents to help their kids develop the skills to navigate through life — you can only control yourself – not what others do/say, just how you react to it. Stress is part of life, our kids need tools to deal with it.

    I was happy to hear that a few kids from our neighborhood school have consciously decided not to even test for SE and are skipping the drama and choosing to go to the neighborhood school (Lake View). My younger kid did test, but was comfortable with Lake View as the second or third choice, so we skipped the parochial schools test and just applied to what we thought was the best fit and let it play out. My child was fortunate to be accepted to the first choice, and is happy and doing well. (btw – didn’t want to wear the HS sweatshirt to school out of sensitivity to kids who were disappointed.)

    Ironically, my oldest, was not stressed about getting into an SE high school, but the college process caused a ton of anxiety…go figure. Once a couple of acceptances trickled in (after being sure to apply early to a couple of safety and mostly match schools — again it’s about finding schools that are a good fit academically and socially) it eased up. The decision process is another story….arghhhh ” : ) It’s hard when you have no clue what you want to do….but that’s exactly how I was at that age!

    On a completely unrelated note, I think it’s funny that people that moved to the suburbs years ago are still “CPSobsessed” : )

  • 330. Momof12  |  February 27, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    The mail arrived in my area of the city; however, there was no mail pertaining to CPS.

  • 331. Eager2know  |  February 27, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    @Momof12, what part of the city, if you don’t mind me asking?

  • 332. wifeyspeaks  |  February 27, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Posting from 60657 – Belmont and Sheffiled area. No letters today.

  • 333. HydeParkMom  |  February 27, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    No CPS letter in my mailbox today:/

  • 334. Momof2  |  February 27, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Northwest side (Cicero & Armitage)
    No letter from CPS today (:

  • 335. Mommie_23  |  February 27, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Has anyone’s child got in thru PD here from pervious years? Any tips and tricks?

  • 336. Momof12  |  February 27, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Principal Discreation is now on the CPS OAE website.

  • 337. L Fitz  |  February 27, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    Sat Feb 27… 4:10 .. 60646 .. Mail came . No letters from CPS – good luck everybody !

  • 338. CPSDad  |  February 27, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    @335 Best chance for PD historically stems from demonstration of a special skill: athletics,music,dramatic arts. Another way is to perform some unique/intense form of community service. Near North Montessori has an annual spring break trip to Honduras where the kids have an opportunity to work with disadvantaged communities there. It makes for a great essay when applying PD.

  • 339. Chicago mom  |  February 27, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    I think the elementary schools need to do a better job getting the kids to feel their neighborhood High School is a great option. Stop giving kids A’s in 7th grade if they do not deserve it. Promote neighborhood schools by working together. Audubon is doing an amazing job with this. Audubon is one of the few schools in tier 4 that in 7th grade do not give A’s unless you earned it. It helps the kids in the long run. Inflating grades for admissions is wrong.

    Send your kids to Lakeview or Amundson. They are great options.

  • 340. tess  |  February 27, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    60622, lakeview invitation

  • 341. eager to hear  |  February 27, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    60641 no letters today.

  • 342. AnxiousDad  |  February 27, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    60611 no mail delivered today (which is unusual). The waiting game goes on…

    Thanks @cpsobessed for this amazing resource, and to all forum participants for the high-quality info and moral support! Good luck everyone!

  • 343. Logan Square Parent  |  February 27, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Got my mail today! Nothing but bills. Time to enjoy the weekend.

  • 344. Momof3fish  |  February 28, 2016 at 1:13 am

    The PD is pretty much a sales pitch. Basically why they would want u r kids to attend their school. I think it all about how the essay is written and supporting evidence. My kid got in thru PD but I know a bunch of people who did not.

  • 345. Chicago School GPS  |  February 28, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Here’s the link to the Principal’s Discretion packet that @336 Momof12 mentioned: http://www.cpsoae.org/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=393264&id=0

    The packets can’t be more than 15 single sided pages and need to include:
     Personal Statement of no more than 1,000 words
     Letters of recommendation (Suggest that you include no more than three, but any number will be accepted.)
     Supporting documents of recent honors and achievements
     If necessary, completed Statement of Non-Interference form
    The packet is due by 5pm on March 18.

    We have our “What’s Next? Decisions After Notifications” seminar on March 6, for anyone needing guidance on how to proceed or make a decision or wanting to continue looking at other options, etc. Check out chischoolgps.com

  • 346. Mommie_23  |  February 28, 2016 at 9:55 am

    How many letters of recommendation did you have? What criteria did you apply under? What school? Can I have your email? I would really love some help/support throughout the PD process!

  • 347. HSbound2016  |  February 28, 2016 at 11:04 am

    @340. @tess you said you received an invitation. Does that mena you received an acceptance letter? If so what zip code are you in?

  • 348. tess  |  February 28, 2016 at 11:59 am

    @347 we are in East Village/60622 zipcode,
    yes acceptance/invitation letter from Lakeview HS (not OAE)
    paraphrasing, summarizing:
    pleased to inform your student selected for enrollment, if you intend to accept notice complete instructions before April 15 (so much later than SE due date of Mar 11), return copy of letter to LV, filled out with student name id no., name elementary school, also copy to current school counselor, if letter not returned before April 15th they will offer seat to another student,
    mentioned that “Level 1” school, in demand,
    included also “HOME” flyer with school motto and 10 selling points including scholarships won by graduates, sport victories, 27 college credit classes, etc,
    picture shows a green space behind fence, I don’t remember that from the open house, just the big building, we entered on the Irving Park side, so maybe it’s to the East???
    hope this helps, good luck to your family

  • 349. Momof3fish  |  February 28, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    2 letters. We kept our packet at the minimum because I felt like they would lose interest if there were too many pages. I figured my kid would have to be able to hook the reviewer in 10 seconds. He’s a great writer so he wrote about his story.

  • 350. Jal laz  |  February 29, 2016 at 7:46 am

    @339 – There are plenty of schools that do not participate in grade inflation during 7th grade. My child goes to a parochial school and his A’s are earned, not given. In fact, the grading scale at most private and parochial schools is such that an A is a 93% and up (and in fact my child “earned” a B that was a 91.3% last year in one of the subjects that mattered). Very few of the private schools convert the grades to the CPS grading scale before grades are reported, though I know a couple that do (ours is not one of them).

    I am sure there is grade inflation at many schools. Indeed, some SE elementary schools used to have the same grading scale of 93% = an A, but changed it when their kids weren’t getting the A’s needed to get into high schools (supposedly – I have no actual confirmation of this being the reason for the change). I have a child who graduated from an SEHS and trust me, there was plenty of grade inflation there as well, as well as whining when a child didn’t get the grade he/she wanted (my own included), plenty of opportunities to retake a test to get a better grade (even if your grades was a C or a B) extensions on projects, as well as all kinds of other tactics used to raise mediocre grades — things that never would have happened when I was in high school, when your grade was your grade.

    If your child goes to a school that does not participate in grade inflation, that is great. He or she is learning about hard work and can take satisfaction in knowing that their grades reflect their ability to do the work for which the teacher asked. They are also learning, much like my own children, that the system isn’t fair and that they have to work within it.

    Our system is so broken, I think grade inflation is the least of it.

    Good luck to you and your child!

  • 351. edgewatermom  |  February 29, 2016 at 8:09 am

    I really do not think that there was grade inflation in my daughter’s CPS school. Grades are based on test scores, homework assignments, etc and there were no special opportunities for extra credit. I suppose that doesn’t mean that it didn’t go on behind the scenes if a parent or student begged for a grade to be bumped up, but if it did happen, it wasn’t obvious.

  • 352. westrogersparkmom  |  February 29, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Cut off scores are posted !


  • 353. Caroline  |  February 29, 2016 at 9:51 am

    @350. Most of CPS schools changed the grading scale when CPS told them to. The school I work at had a 95% and up was an A. CPS told schools to change the scale.

  • 354. Chicago Dad  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Regarding the new cutoff scores—-

    Notice that if you are a Tier 4 student who wanted to go to Lane, If you got an 826 you didn’t get in. But if you were a Tier 1 student and got a 694 (mediocre at best) you did!


  • 355. NWSMomof4  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:16 am

    Cutoff scores for sehs have been posted on cps oae website….

  • 356. AnxiousDad  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:18 am

    @352 great catch!

    Very interesting. In tier 4, Payton down by 1, Northside down by 4, Young up by 4, Jones up by 3, Lane up by 19 (!). [Sorry for this very very partial comments; these are the schools and tier we were looking at, so they’re the ones that caught my eye. Also, need to get back to work :)]

    The new seats at Payton probably helped there, and perhaps at Northside as well. However, that’s not the whole story. I think the fact that Young, Jones, and especially Lane went up is consistent with the “informed chatter” here at cpsobsessed—these are phenomenal schools, and they are probably getting more attention.

    Now waiting for the mailman for the official, on-paper confirmation (sorry, I’m old-fashioned)…

  • 357. Stressedoutmom  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:21 am

    If your child received the minimum cutoff score for a school does that mean they still have to win a tiebreaker?!!

  • 358. Hopefully letters will come, too!  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Email acceptances received for Senn IB and Senn Arts this am. Whew, just saved me $15K private school tuition!

  • 359. Chicago Dad  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:23 am


    If a Tier 4 student applying to Payton got an 889 (an almost perfect score), he didn’t get in.

    If a Tier 1 student applying to Payton got a 769, he did get in!


  • 360. 8th Grade mom  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:27 am

    @357 I don’t think you’ll know till you get the letter. it would depend on how many students also had the minimum cutoff score vs. available seats.

    We received an email acceptance from Senn IB. this is good news but just wondering…this was not our first choice IB. Would this mean she was not accepted to LP IB? Straight A’s, 93/99 Map scores…that would have made the cut in past years.

  • 361. stressedoutmama  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:27 am

    This is just a nerve-racking system. It is just too much for the kids and the parents. I wish CPS would just post the results in the online application system or email them. It is sheer torture, making people play this waiting game with the mail. Our mail tends to come very late, so I would not be surprised if I don’t receive the letter this week and will have to call for the results.

  • 362. LSmom  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:30 am

    @359 – Life is not fair 🙂

  • 363. worried tier2  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:31 am

    @360 the cutoff scores for IB are posted on the OAE website

  • 364. 8th Grade mom  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:32 am

    I found the IB scores, I guess Senn is just quicker than LP maybe Interesting that Taft IB had a higher cut off score 825,than LP 820.

  • 365. stressedoutmama  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:37 am

    @364 I think this is the second year in a row that Taft had the highest cut-off score of all the IB schools.

  • 366. westrogersparkmom  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:38 am

    The extra spots at Payton seemed to favor Tier 3 applicants (cut off this year 853/ last year877). The biggest increase seems to be Lane (across all Tiers)

    If I had to guess I would attribute this to NWEA test prep.

  • 367. LSmom  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:39 am

    that’s because they have a more established IB program? I can’t imagine all these new IB programs being the same and good. I heard Schurz has an IB? it sounds like all these schools are creating an IB program.

  • 368. cpsobsessed  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:40 am

    I’m going to start a new thread and post the SE cutoff scores there.

  • 369. cpsobsessed  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:42 am

    @Chicago Dad – you could have raised your child in a Tier1 neighborhood for 14 years and have gotten the same “advantage.” those neighborhoods are open to all Chicago residents, which seems fair IMO.

  • 370. LSmom  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:43 am

    @368 – are the cutoff different every year because the student are different? some classes more prepare than others? does it have to do with the school or the group of students?

  • 371. ArtfulOffspring  |  February 29, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Just received email acceptance to Senn IB and Senn Fine Arts!
    Not my son’s top choices, but we’ll see…. I think it’s a really great, yet geographically challenging prospect.

    Generally, anyone with good suggestions for ways to connect with other families to discuss carpooling once you know your freshman’s intentions? Thanks!

  • 372. Norwood  |  February 29, 2016 at 11:18 am

    @371. Congratulations on Senn. This is my first choice for my 5th grader, primarily because it’s 3 blocks away and I’ve met some of the teachers. My son is determined to go to Lane with his friends who are mostly from that neighborhood. It’s not fair that you live so far away. My son will probably end up going to school in your neighborhood and we can both complain about the commute.

  • 373. cpsobsessed  |  February 29, 2016 at 11:22 am

    @370 – there was a big change in SE cutoffs when CPS switched from ISAT to MAP as the test score part of the rubric. It dropped last year, but went up again this year as students knew it was an “important test” and probably did some in-school practice, test prep, took it more seriously etc.

    I’m not actually sure about the IB cutoffs. I don’t know if I have those from previous years. But traditionally Lincoln Park IB had the highest cutoff for IB and they kind of sold themselves as a very elite program, so it’s interesting to see the shift at Taft where there is a new principal (previous AP from W Young.)

  • 374. One and Only  |  February 29, 2016 at 11:23 am

    CPSO – Great response to the Tier complaint! I completely agree with you. I hope that’s the end of it this year!

  • 375. 8th Grade mom  |  February 29, 2016 at 11:25 am

    @370 The scores vary each year, based on the number of applicants, the scores of the pool of applicants, and the number of available seats. The scores will vary based on the number of students applying for those seats, and the scores of those students. As one example, if School A has the same number of seats as previous years, and if more students apply to School A and have similar test scores…the cutoff score will rise. If the scores trend upward, they would rise even more.

  • 376. ArtfulOffspring  |  February 29, 2016 at 11:28 am

    @372. Thanks! I am WAY closer to Lane, you’re so right. And a Tier 2, I believe. Maybe we could do a house swap ?! Hahaha!

  • 377. Caroline  |  February 29, 2016 at 11:30 am

    I cannot locate the IB scores on OAE site. Can anyone point me in the right direction. TIA.

  • 378. IB Cutoffs  |  February 29, 2016 at 11:36 am

    @377 – Here you go!


  • 379. Julie Moore  |  February 29, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    My mail came uncharacteristically early today (60625 zip). Four letters from CPS. Three letters are addressed to me/my daughter. One is addressed to my daughter/me. I am in a quandary about opening any of them. Good luck everyone.

  • 380. CPSDad  |  February 29, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    @379- If you received a letter from a particular school, you were admitted to that school. Sometimes school letters arrive before CPS-HQ letters.

  • 381. Bens Mom  |  February 29, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Of course it’s unfair. It’s voodoo math. Your 800 is my 700.

  • 382. ArtfulOffspring  |  February 29, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Anyone have opinions regarding Ogden International IB vs. Lincoln Park Double Honors? Specifically regarding…. how rigorous or demanding the culture, how are their Special Ed depts., whether kids get the academic support they need, etc.
    I know that LP has a very strong art dept., which interests us but I did not get to tour Ogden and really know very little, so any intel. regarding either school would be much appreciated! Thanks all— wishing you good news in your mailbox!

  • 383. Eager2know  |  February 29, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Only offer Ogden IB, Tier 3

  • 384. NewNSParent  |  February 29, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    Northside, accepted Tier 3 898
    Not accepted at any IB school it says we did not attend the info session and we did. Oh well, that is fine for obvious reasons.
    My Nephew accepted to NS Tier 1 835
    Everyone is happy!

  • 385. JM  |  February 29, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    382 You should have gotten an email with info about Ogden. They are doing another info session on Thursday, but RSVP for it asap as they said availability is limited. I toured Ogden and liked it a lot. It is small (which has advantages in the specialized attention and everybody knowing each other, but also disadvantages in the fact that there are only a handful of clubs and sports. From my own perspective, the big disadvantage was that it’s a bit tricky for us to get to via public transport. But you should go see for yourself. Call them asap tomorrow and get in on Thursday’s tour!

  • 386. Momof3  |  February 29, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Can anyone shed light on the Jones CTE wait list process? My child received a spot at our last choice SEHS but would much rather go to Jones. When do we get notice for the CTE wait list? Do many of the kids that get accepted into SEHS also get accepted into Jones CTE? Thanks!

  • 387. Disappointed  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:33 am

    We didn’t receive an offer go SE, however, we were wait listed for Jones CTE program

  • 388. Anxious Mother  |  March 1, 2016 at 1:07 am

    @Momof13 If you mind me not asking, what number are you on the wait list?

  • 389. Tiers  |  March 1, 2016 at 7:54 am

    I don’t have to worry about SEHS for a while, but what I do know about Tiers, CPS and fairness is this: CPS doesn’t give a rat’s @ss about being “Fair”.

    Basically, CPS was told by the Supreme Court they couldn’t use race as an admission criteria, so CPS came up with the “Tiers System”, a back door method to give black students an easier way to get in to SEHS. This was done to placate the blacks in the City of Chicago government, CPS, Cook County, etc, so they could get “their” kids into Payton, WY, Jones, undoubtedly many of whom would not qualify if it was based on scores and grades alone, which is why Tiers must be added in to the mix.

    ALL white areas in Chicago are Tier 4. So in the “left is right, up is down” world of CPS, kids from Canaryville and Ashburn has the same socio-economic advantages as kids from Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast. Right.

    The easiest response to this post is to call it “racist”. It’s not meant to be bigoted, just a description of CPS Standard Operating Procedures.

    If you feel this is inaccurate, please respond as to why you feel the Tiers system was created.

  • 390. Northside Mom  |  March 1, 2016 at 9:02 am

    @386 & @387 I know of 2 families who were offered seats at Jones CTE last year from the wait-list in either late spring/early summer. Their numbers were in the mid teens. It was agonizing to say the least for them. Good luck.

  • 391. HydeParkMom  |  March 1, 2016 at 9:04 am

    I’m going to take the easy response and call you racist.

  • 392. edgewatermom  |  March 1, 2016 at 9:16 am

    @389 Tiers

    …ALL white areas in Chicago are Tier 4. So in the “left is right, up is down” world of CPS, kids from Canaryville and Ashburn has the same socio-economic advantages as kids from Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast. Right.

    I really don’t think that I need to make as much money as somebody living in a multi-million dollar home on the gold coast does in order to give my child all of the educational advantages that she needs. I think that most families who live in Tier 4 are able to provide books, trips to museums, time to read to their children, access to libraries and to the internet. More importantly, *most* families in Tier 4 have access to a decent public school for their kids (either a neighborhood school or a magnet school). I am not saying that children from lower Tiers don’t have any of these things, but in general, they are less likely to.

    The only “advantage” that being in a lower Tier gives the student is that they are then competing against other kids from the same Tier. Yes, this does result in lower cut-off scores, but that makes perfect sense. They are competing against kids who have a similar socio-economic background.

    No, it is not a perfect system, but I think that it accomplishes what it is supposed to.

  • 393. M&Ms  |  March 1, 2016 at 9:20 am

    I love this blog and have been avid supporter of the obsession for the past 5 years and I rarely feel the desire to leave a comment. However Mr./Ms./Mrs.”Tiers” has driven me to reply (please note: no other comment will be made on behalf of myself on this comment)…it is apparent you have not stepped out of your community or if so a community outside of your unfortunate comfort. Tier 4 are not indeed “ALL” white areas. I grew up in one and our current home is in Tier 4 with other African Americans and minority families. I do hope that your child/ren lands a spot in a school of your choice because Chicago indeed does not need another bitter parent (raising a duplication/s) that doesnt understand most in life is not fair. Just like police brutality, the Holocaust, Asian imprisonment, slavery, or lets simplify the facts to even bullying…it too is unfair.

    Now I must return to getting my child to school….in which my scholar scored 99/99 on the SEES exam (tier 2 at the time)

    Good day & Good Luck!

  • 394. Caroline  |  March 1, 2016 at 10:04 am

    We got our letters, we did not apply to SEHS. I do not understand Jones CTE program wait list. She has been placed as 1679. Seriously, as if it will get that far. Wait listed for Von and Disney 2 as well. No options. This is frustrating. Home school may be an option.

  • 395. Tiers  |  March 1, 2016 at 10:07 am

    @391 Of course you are gonna just say “That’s Racist”. No response on how the Tiers were constructed, how it unfairly lumps all kids based on a zip code and other phoney baloney criteria, which in a highly segregated city, is code for white/black/Hispanic area. You appear to be unwilling to think that any criticism of the Tiers has to be based on bigotry, so it’s not worth engaging you. The attached link is for you.


    @392 How does it make “perfect sense”? If one kid scores an 890 and gets in, and another kid scores a 720 and gets in, does it mean that the TRUE score to get in is 720? That scoring a 720 means you are able to grasp the subject matter and excel? That’s what’s so weird. Is the kid who scores 890 overqualified, or the kid who scores 720 unqualified for the course work at an SE?

    You are right, though; it does accomplish what it is designed to do: Give access to SEHS to black kids who otherwise would likely not be admitted based on scores alone. No such accommodation is given to white or Asian kids. Even this is not enough, even though South Shore, Brooks, and King are nearly all black, and Westinghouse is almost all black, some Aldermen want MORE black students admitted to SEHS. So, in other words, the system is rigged to accommodate black students. There’s no other way to justify the way Tiers are set-up.

    @393 1.) All white areas are Tier ;. 2.) The Holocaust? Police brutality?Asian slavery???? WTF??

    What do these possibly have to do with a Tier System that was structured to be a not-so-clever side-step that coincides with a federal judge’s 2009 decision to lift a 1980 consent decree that had required Chicago Public Schools to be desegregated with no school being more than 35 percent white.

    Imagine a court order that said “All SEHS cannot be more than 35% black. You must allocate your students throughout the city.” EVERYONE would freak out.

  • 396. Tiers  |  March 1, 2016 at 10:09 am

    @393 All White Areas are Tier 4.

  • 397. edgewatermom  |  March 1, 2016 at 10:28 am

    @396 Tiers. All white areas are Tier 4?! We must live in different cities. I live in Tier 4 and there are whites, blacks, Asians, Hispanics etc. And I also know white families that live in Tier 3 and Tier 2.

    Do you REALLY believe that a child who grew up in a Tier 1 neighborhood had the same advantages as your child? Is it really so horrible that your child has to compete against other children from the same tier?

  • 398. pantherettie  |  March 1, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Just curious Tiers- do African American kids who live in tier 4 neighborhoods get special “black” scores to supplement their scores to ensure that they are offered seats at an SEHS? Do you have to apply for it or does CPS just magically know the race of the child taking the SEHS and SEES entrance exams at the time of test? Just asking in case I missed something from CPS. I know that you’re probably having a hard time with getting through this process, so I’ll just say I hope that you and your kids are in places you can’t spread nasty and racist comments to other people (especially kids/teens).

  • 399. Caroline  |  March 1, 2016 at 10:31 am

    Where I agree with most of what you are saying, Tier 4 is not necessarily the Gold Coast. We live in tier 4 and our home is very modest. We live on the NW side. All of the blocks around us are Section 8 housing. Our neighborhood elementary school is 70% low income. There are a number of factors that CPS uses to determine the tiers, that in no way means it is fair. I applaud CPS for trying to maintain cultural and socio-economic diversity. In all actuality, CPS should distribute the wealth to all the schools, with similar offerings at all schools. That would be more equitable. There should be no SEHS or magnet programs. They take away from the neighborhood schools. They are touted as the best schools in the state and in the country, but they only take the best of the best. The suburban school they compete against take all the students in their area and still rank in the top 100.

    These exceptional programs were designed, for the most part when Mayor Daley took over the schools, to keep the middle class in Chicago. The middle class was moving to the surrounding suburbs and taking their tax base with them. Daley took over the schools by appointing the school board, which was elected at the time, and started adding more SEHS programs. CPS was ranked the worst district in the nation in the early 1980s. The addition of these schools changed the reputation of the district but did not alleviate the real problem. It just added another layer make-up to a very damaged system.

  • 400. HSbound2016  |  March 1, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Interesting conversation, however, the Tier system does not take into account the hardworking single Mother (or Father) who tries to keep their head above water in Tier 4. Living there so the child who grew up as a latch key kid can live in a safe neighborhood. Their child does not get museum trips unless it is a field trip and all the other priveledges.
    Point is that lower income lives in Tier 4 too!

  • 401. Chris  |  March 1, 2016 at 10:44 am

    “The suburban school they compete against take all the students in their area”

    Yeah, lotta economic and racial diversity at New Trier and Hinsdale Central.

    As you say, easy to do well when you pool is a bunch of kids that have all the advantages.

  • 402. ArtfulOffspring  |  March 1, 2016 at 10:50 am

    385: Thank you!
    391: Right on.

    Curious about wait list numbers. My kid is on 2 wait lists, 2 different queues— are numbers in the 200-300s even a possibility or is it completely silly to imagine getting an offer?


  • 403. Tiers  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:03 am

    @397 Predominantly white areas in Chicago are all Tier 4: Canaryville, Greater Ashburn, Hegewisch, Mt Greenwood, areas west of Midway. These are middle-class/working-class White areas of the South Side, and ALL are Tier 4. Kids from here also face single-parent households, economic insecurity, parents who cannot afford to give them advantages as families from Beverly, Sauganash, North Center. Why are these kids f**ked over because CPS says so? Can you identify ONE predominantly white area in the City of Chicago which is NOT Tier 4?

    @398 “Do you have to apply for it or does CPS just magically know the race of the child taking the SEHS and SEES entrance exams at the time of test?” YES. CPS came up with Tiers because their existing racial limits on not making a school over 35% white had been deemed unjustifiable. Instead of CPS handing this over to an independent body, CPS came up with a cutesy-poo work around to not use race, but to still use a differential to identify black neighborhoods and set the entrance scores accordingly.

    CPS set up the OLD illegal policy, and they set up the new unfair policy. They knew EXACTLY what they were doing.

  • 404. Chris  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:10 am

    The tier system is designed for one thing, and only one thing:

    to provide a US SCt compliant (that is, facially race neutral) system for ensuring that the S-E schools are *reasonably* demographically representative of the population of Chicago.

    Everyone can kvetch all they want, but this (almost certainly) is the least worst system. Sure, one can muck about at the margins, and make it better with tweaks, but does anyone have a alternate proposal that is:

    (1) relatively simple to administer (that is, it cannot require review of every applicant’s personal situation).
    (2) relies on publicly available data (again, no individual info required)
    (3) does not take race directly into account in any fashion,
    (4) notwithstanding #2, results in ‘race-based outcomes’ that are at least as representative of the city as the current system
    (5) generally seen as “more fair” by at least 80% of the city.

  • 405. cpsobsessed  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:13 am

    They knew EXACTLY what they were doing.

    Um yes. So?

    Chicago is a diverse city, committed to improving the lives of all citizens — for the benefit of all citizens. I’m personally in favor of that.

    Other people prefer to see race and socio-economic status perpetuated infinitely. Typically those tend to be the people benefitting from advantages in society.

  • 406. edgewatermom  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:18 am


    CPS came up with a cutesy-poo work around to not use race, but to still use a differential to identify black neighborhoods and set the entrance scores accordingly.

    CPS does not “set the entrance scores”. Schools choose an equal number of kids from each tier so that kids are competing for spots against other kids from their tier.

  • 407. Tiers  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:26 am

    @405 It appears that via the Tiers system, CPS is advancing students that are black at the expense of students who are white and Asian, because white and Asian students “have privilege”. Are you ok with that?

  • 408. Chris  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:26 am

    “ALL are Tier 4”

    Yeah, because all of them are in the top 1/4 of the city on the basis of the six criteria. It’s not that hard to figure out why.

    PS: Ashburn north of 79th = Tier 3

    Hegewisch east of Carondelet/Brainerd = Tier 3

    Canaryville, except 43 to 47, Wallace to the tracks = Tier 3

    areas west of Midway, South of 59th bt Central and gansett = Tier 3

    Mt Greenwood is all Tier 4, but only one of the census tracts (17031823304) has a median family income under $85,000, and only one other (17031740400) is under $98,000. Seems fair to wonder how 17031823304 is top 1/4, but it’s relatively high on elementary school scores, home ownership, parental education attainment, and low-ish percentage of non-english speakers.

  • 409. momof3  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:31 am

    @387 and @388 We were disappointed that my son did not get a seat at WY or Jones, however, we knew that this would be the case. We are in Tier 4 and my son did not have straight A’s. No way for us to get into these schools with B’s. My son is currently at an SEES and the majority of his friends did get acceptance into WY and Jones and the difference is that they had all As. Pretty much everything else the same. Most of the kids live in Tier 4. We are #8 on the Jones CTE wait list, so praying 7 kids choose other schools. He will be more than just fine if he gets in, no doubt in my mind. Best of luck!!! First high school student, so I don’t have any other information about the wait list process. All I can do is wait:)

  • 410. Tiers  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:32 am

    @408 5046 S Greenwood is Obama’s house. It’s a Tier 3. That’s totally fair. Have a divorced cop in Hegewisch have the same requirements as the kids of the President.

    Wonder why that is…?

  • 411. Caroline  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:36 am

    To be fair to the system. There are 6 criteria used to determine the tier of a neighborhood. They consider the number of homes that are owner occupied, the number of homes that speak English as a first language, the median income of the area, the number of single parents and two more that I cannot remember off hand. They also assign the first 30% of seats to the highest scoring students no matter what tier they are from. The rest of the seat are evenly distributed among the tiers. This system is way more fair than the old one. It is not perfect. The point I was trying to make originally was that if CPS put the resources into the neighborhood schools that they need we would have better schools. Taking the top kids from the neighborhoods for a SEHS takes away from the programs the neighborhood schools could offer and brings the reputation of the school down. If the top scoring students are pulled the overall score of the school drops. Those scores are attached to money. Money defines the programs a school can offer. It is that simple. When my oldest daughter went through this program, when there was not tiering system, her first comment to me was,”Why can’t our neighborhood high school be good enough for me to go to”.

  • 412. pantherettie  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Tiers – you interestingly omitted and misrepresented what I said. Do Black children who live in Tier 4 neighborhood – say my street in Hyde Park – get special extra points for being black? I’ll answer that for you – they don’t. Race does not matter within tiers at all.

  • 413. Chris  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:43 am

    “two more that I cannot remember off hand”

    test scores at the attendance area elementary/ies
    median family income.

    If there were only attendance area schools, even with the ability to ‘apply to’ a different neighborhood school, there would still be very sharp differences, and the “top” kids would end up pooling at a subset, and it would still be self-reinforcing.

    If you’re suggesting zero choice–that everyone must go to their attendance area school, or not go to CPS HS at all–that would be even worse.

  • 414. Chris  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:44 am

    “Have a divorced cop in Hegewisch have the same requirements”

    Before you claimed that ALL “white” areas are Tier 4. You’ve been proven incorrect. Perhaps you should get your facts straight, first.

  • 415. Tiers  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:45 am

    @412 Who constructed the Tiers? Why were tiers created at all? I’ll answer that for you: “Declines in minority enrollment in the city’s 10 selective enrollment schools began after 2009, when a federal court lifted a consent decree that required schools be no more than 35 percent white.”

    So, CPS wanted to keep things as racially “equal” as they thought they were under the original consent decree, and came up with Tiers.

  • 416. Tiers  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:48 am

    @414 Hegewisch, Mt Greenwood, Canaryville and Garfield Ridge are predominantly white. Majority of those neighborhoods are Tier 4.

    Obama’s house is in a Tier 3. Look it up.

  • 417. cpsobsessed  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:50 am

    “Have a divorced cop in Hegewisch have the same requirements as the kids of the President.” — I can assure you that the kids of a President or anyone else in that income bracket isn’t going to be stealing a CPS seat from anyone.

    There is an entire class of private schools in this city that people in the upper echelon attend. I don’t know if choosing “kids of a president” make a very representative argument as well. That’s 2 kids out of 100 million in the country. 🙂

  • 418. cpsobsessed  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:51 am

    CPS did not invent the Tier system FWIW.

  • 419. ArtfulOffspring  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Sorry to not continue the Tier discussion, but….

    ANY info on what being on a Magnet HS wait list really means if you’re like 257th? Anyone?

  • 420. cpsobsessed  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Can you specify which magnet, @419?

  • 421. WayNorthSider  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:59 am

    @ Tiers I live in a tier 2 area and my kid is straight A’s perfect attendance, 860 score and going to Jones. Just so happens, my tier 2 area is 60% white. Tiers are about income and access, not race. It is true that many minorities are poor and cannot spend the little they have supplementing a broken school system. It is also true that with poverty, comes crime and violence. These are sociological facts that don’t feel good but are provable mathematically. Now, Chicago’s poverty(not race) issue makes a system like the income tier system necessary, so that the wealthy (disproportionately white men) cannot indirectly “buy” every spot in the best schools. Don’t get me wrong, if daddy is paying for selective prep, after school tutors, Macbooks, subscriptions, trips etc. , that student will likely EARN a spot at a top school. We cannot blame people for being successful or for being white for that matter. We must make a way for the children that don’t have those privileges. And, If you think being white is not a privilege in this country,then you have been sleep for 500 years. We often talk about race, but it is Elitism that is the real enemy here. Trust me, many blacks that live in tier 4 areas feel like you do. We need to make sure that in the future, tiers are not needed, WE must build a school system that supports the need of all children, not only the ones that can financially forgive it’s shortcomings.

  • 422. tier 4 parent  |  March 1, 2016 at 11:59 am

    While the tier system is not perfect I believe in its purpose. We are tier 4 and are accurately designated as such. Our kids have many advantages in life that others do not. I have no issues with them having higher cut-off scores than others due to these advantages. Even if this means they do not get into the school of their “choice”.

  • 423. Caroline  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you!

  • 424. WayNorthSider  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    @Tiers – You can’t hang 3 generations of a kids grandparents from trees and then say lets be equal. CPS will not “even” the playing field, just have to do what it can to help today’s children.

  • 425. Chris  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    “Majority of those neighborhoods are Tier 4.”

    You stated, and reiterated, that ALL “white” areas are Tier 4. That is demonstrably false. You are ranting based on incorrect information.

  • 426. WayNorthSider  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    I agree with Tiers that the “white” are tier 4. Especially if you do not consider eastern European, Cuban, or Jewish immigrants as ” white.”

  • 427. ArtfulOffspring  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Yes! We are on wait lists for Von and Disney II HS, but wondering if, being in the hundreds, whether I should be hopeful at all or not.
    Accepted to Senn, but my son really like Disney and we’re in the proximity queue. Thanks!

  • 428. WayNorthSider  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    I live in tier 2 because of the cultural diversity it provides. I also understand that this can also mean under performing schools and violence. My kids will never have the experience of riding their bikes to school, and maybe stopping at a local park for a swing. Instead, they get celebrity, door to door service and use their iDevices on the ride home. It is a different life, not perfect, but I will take it over my kids assimilating and having no sense of the good that people who look like them, as well as those that don’t provide the world

  • 429. Tiers  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    @424 A mighty big F*CK YOU on that. $hitheads like yourself is one of the many reasons why America can never advance on race, because somewhere somebody’s great great granddaddy was sold by African slaves to a plantation owner in Georgia.

    Newsflash, @SSHOLE: It’s 2016: We have a black president, whom I voted for over his white opponent. Chicago kids who took SE tests had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE which ended over 150 years ago. I know — let’s use OJ Simpson murdering a white woman as to why white girls shouldn’t be allowed to date black boys.

    Makes sense, right? That’ll REALLY get race relations moving in the right direction.

    Back to Tiers: There’s no “justice” in saying b/c someone was oppressed 50 years ago, others must be oppressed in retaliation to “make it fair”.

  • 430. WayNorthSider  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    @Teirs- Lets be civil. I want to talk not fight.

  • 431. westrogersparkmom  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    @426 – We are white and in tier 3. Just plain old boring non-immigrant (unless you go back to great grandparents) white, who happened to stumble upon a fabulous affordable bungalow. Our area was Tier 4 for many many years and I always maintained that while our family was probably tier 4; it was not a proper designation for many of our immigrant neighbors.

    I implore everyone to be careful of this ‘Tier talk’ with their children and how they interact with their classmates. Families should not have to reveal their score to ‘prove’ that they got in according to rank and defend whether or not their child belongs in a school.

    Kids with perfect scores going in can struggle in high school. Kids who barely make the cut off whatever it may be thrive.

  • 432. Tiers  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    @430 When you advocate that “White Guilt” over lynching and slavery be applied to children born in the 21st Century, it’s hard to take your argument seriously. You’re advocating that because discrimination happened to someone’s family members decades ago, it’s “fair” to discriminate to kids NOW.

  • 433. Eager to know  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    @WayNorthSider, I agree! Let’s be civil here. There is no need for all the foul language and Tiers you’re getting all upset and don’t actualyl have a kid graduating this year so with that said, maybe you should come back another time. In fact, when it’s your time to go through the process and then you can discuss the issues with tiers. For us parents who didn’t get our kids into a SEHS it’s ok but we are on here trying to find a good reasonable option for our kids and can skip past all this foolishness…

  • 434. realchicagomama  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    @394 – what’s your WL number for D2? I have a feeling that the D2 waitlist will move fast this year.

  • 435. WayNorthSider  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    I agree that many slaves were initially sold by other Africans. This is a fact, I am black, but did not vote for him the first time because I felt he lacked experience. I voted for Hillary then, and will again. The slave trade is still alive and well, and the proof is in the enslaved minds of generations of children who do not think that they have value because our society taught them this. George Bush can trace his lineage to George Washington. I can trace mine to a “Mulatto” slave from the West Indies, You don’t think that oppression and slavery has anything to do with that? You don’t think that real estate agents refusing to show properties to blacks and Hispanics in prime areas during the time when these properties were cheap affects the demographics of these ares today? Come on?

  • 436. edgewatermom  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    @432 Tiers are NOT just about race, but you are determined to make this about race. You really don’t think that minority children in America today face discrimination and have the same resources as white children?

  • 437. NorthAustinmom  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Anyone here have any input regarding Von’s wait list? We are #28, do you think it’s feasible we’ll be offered a spot

  • 438. WayNorthSider  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    @Tiers. I hear you. I don’t believe in white guilt, just acknowledgement of the facts. Syrian immigrants will face an uphill battle as they immigrate to safer lands. Blacks faced an uphill battle after segregation. Unfortunately, continued discrimination, self hate and self segregation all play a part in that battle That is a fact. I burns me that a little girl, living in Lincoln Park may not get her first choice because only so many tier 4 slots are available. It also burns that a little boy in Rogers park will not get into his first choice for the same reason. Local schools should all be great. So what causes the discrepancy? This is the question to ask first. And, the answer is not black and white.

  • 439. momof3  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    @389 Tiers I am only responding because I think that is is important to educate people that are misinformed. Racism is present in our city and across the world because of fear and a lack of understanding of other races and cultures. The Tier system is there to allow families that have an ECONOMIC disadvantage have a chance at a free high quality education that they otherwise would not have living in a segregated city like Chicago. Yes, the majority of economically disadvantaged families in our city are Black and Latino, and the only way to change that is through education and exposure. Many of the kids living in Tier 1 don’t have the means to pay for Test Prep, get tutoring and participate in educational trips. Have you ever stepped into a Tier 1 school? The lack of resources these children have is disheartening. The class room sizes are ridiculous. Many of the kids walk to school in the morning or ride the bus because their parents don’t have cars. Some kids go to school hungry, have to eat free lunch (not very healthy) and yet they are expected to sit in class and focus. Smart boards, computers and technology in the classroom? PLEASE! Computers and internet at home?!?! DOUBLE Please!!! AP classes, foreign languages, actual science labs. You are kidding right?!? AND these kids should be expected to compete with Tier 4 kids that have all of this and more. How could these Tier 1 kids ever make it? How can we get these Tier 1 kids to become Tier 4 adults? OPPORTUNITY. The Tier system is merely a way to create an opportunity for kids that would be stuck in a Economically challenged state for the rest of their lives.

    I was a Tier 1 kid, in a below Tier 1 school and the first in my family to go to college. My children are Tier 4 kids all in SEES and what’s not fair is the disparity of the two. Before you want to complain about racism and unfairness in the Tier system please understand why it is there. It is truly a system that is needed to give all kids a chance for success. Instead of blaming the system, we need to focus our energies in creating better school environments for all of our kids so that we are not fighting in this rat race of CPS.

    And FYI… we are in Tier 4 (and btw, a Black family) and my son did not get into his 1st or 2nd choice SEHS, but would have if we lived in Tier 1 or 2. We are not mad, or upset that other kids with lower scores have seats and we don’t. He knew what he had to do to get in and he didn’t make the cut. It is not any else’s fault but his- definitely not a Tier 1 kid who wants the same education that he does.

  • 440. Caroline  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    For Disney 2 I believe it was 168. That or 179. I left the letters at home today. Those were the number for Von and D2. Just do not remember which goes to which. My daughter does not test well so we opted out of SEHS. Based on her other scores she would have needed a perfect score on the entrance exam to have any chance. She decided the stress was not worth it. I have to say that was probably the best decision we ever made.

  • 441. Tiers  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    @ALL You’re right, I over-reacted and my apologies to WayNorthSide for doing so, and anyone else I offended.

    What typically happens when we as a country talk about Race is someone declares the other side as being bigots, brings up slavery or lynching, and it turns into something akin to the Jerry Springer show.

    We never move forward because we are so hung up on the past.

  • 442. NorthAustinmom  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    @Caroline, what are your other options if you all don’t get a call from Von or Disney? Will you attend Catholic or move to a burb?

  • 443. Tiers  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    @439 There are many people who are in Tier 4 who also have economic insecurity as it relates to jobs, food, housing, single-parenting, etc.

    I think the CONCEPT of the Tiers system is good, but I think a better way would be to make it based on economics BY FAMILY and not by zip. Just an idea.

  • 444. WayNorthSider  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Just as a suggestion. Had my son not gotten his first choice, I sent emails to every teacher who gave him an A over the last two years and asked for a recommendation. They all agreed. I also cataloged all his awards, perfect attendance letters from the Mayor, honor roll trophies, ribbons etc. I emailed his coaches and pastor. I took photos and made print outs for his application. Use every one of the 15 pages they give you to “brag” about your kid. This is a one shot deal.

  • 445. WayNorthSider  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    @ Tiers – You would not be on the site if you did not love your family! This is what makes us all the same, and no tier can change that.

  • 446. ArtfulOffspring  |  March 1, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    @Caroline, Well, we’re about 100 places behind you on the Disney and Von lists, so please post if you hear anything. Fingers crossed for you and all who are playing the waiting game.

    In other news, I couldn’t help myself and phoned ChiArts admissions— letters are going out by end of day today, so we won’t hear until tomorrow at earliest.

    Hang in there, everyone.

  • 447. Mommie_23  |  March 1, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    This is NOT true. I live in a tier 4 area which is ALL black, not even 1 white family.

  • 448. WayNorthSider  |  March 1, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    @447 Where is that?

  • 449. Mother Knows Best  |  March 1, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    It’s interesting something from Lake View High School would be part of the post. Lake View is having an extremely hard time controlling their African American students who live on the south and west sides and who troll the halls, cut, classes and bully students and teachers. Nettlehorst and Blaine students who attend Lake View have been complaining to their parents BIG time and they want out of there. One of the biggest complaints from both students and teachers has been the new deans at Lake View who aren’t giving out any suspensions or detentions, just giving the problematic students a talking to and letting them to run free at Lake View.

    Things got so bad at an awards ceremony in the auditorium as students heckled and swore at the principal that he canceled a pep rally for the next week.

  • 450. Caroline  |  March 1, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Catholic is hard to swallow with the cost of tuition. There are other factors there that make it difficult. I work for CPS so moving to burbs is not an option at this point. She got into Taft AVID. Taft is so overcrowded. That is why we tried for Von and Disney. They can limit their enrollment. She applied to other school and did not get in. Taft is a great school. It will be an adjustment going from a class of 16 to any of the CPS schools. We have one more school we are.waiting for. It is private. I am not optimistic about that one, but I am hopeful.

  • 451. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 1, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    449. Mother Knows Best | March 1, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    I’m not saying this didn’t happen, but how do you know that the AA students were from SouthSide/WestSide?

  • 452. Mother Knows Best  |  March 1, 2016 at 1:34 pm


    The Lake View teachers have been complaining to us (parents) about this it and they say their administration team will do nothing about it.

  • 453. WayNorthSider  |  March 1, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    @449 LVHS is only 11% AA and 13% White. The demographics doesn’t support the ” bused in African Americans reeking havoc” argument. Let find out what the issue really is before we spread propaganda. I am sure that some of the 11% AA students represent part of the problem, I am just not sure they ARE the problem.

  • 454. WayNorthSider  |  March 1, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Also, Blaine and Nettlehorst are 55+% white and LVHS is 61% Hispanic, meaning that neither Blaine or Nettlehorst are feeder schools for Lakeview. These kids are going somewhere else.

  • 455. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 1, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    452. Mother Knows Best | March 1, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    I meant, even if some of the disruptive students were AA, that doesn’t necessarily mean they were from SouthSide/WestSide…there are AA in all parts of the city. I don’t know why you would reference a particular area.

  • 456. Caroline  |  March 1, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    @438. You are absolutely correct. There has to be a way to make all schools great. By having selective schools we diminish the possibilities for the neighborhood schools. I wish it was easier for everyone involved.

  • 457. Mother Knows Best  |  March 1, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    It doesn’t seem it’s about the amount of AA students at Lake View, it’s the ones which are there are running free without any repercussions. The teachers we (parents) spoke to said the Restorative Justice practice isn’t working at Lake View and discipline needs to be racheted up again. The thugs are laughing at the adults right now.

    Lake View now has 15-20 students from Blaine and Nettlehorst and more are coming if the administrators can curb the thug behavior there. Believe me, this is talked about frequently at faculty and LSC meetings

    I just checked The Illinois Report Card for Lake View and it’s 13.7% (AA) and 11.7% (White) students.

  • 458. AVID parent  |  March 1, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    My daughter went through this hellacious process last year. She was accepted at some and wait listed at others. She was accepted into the Avid program at Taft and it was the BEST decision she could have made. She absolutely loves the program and is encouraged to take rigorous classes that challenge her. For example, she just registered for next year and will be in all honors and AP classes. She has said all year that the program has benefitted her academically more than she could have imagined. If you want more info or have questions just let me know and we can email or whatever. Congratulations on her acceptance to the program.

  • 459. Caroline  |  March 1, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Thank you. The nice thing is, she will be in the neighborhood. I wish there was an easy way for her to get there. She would have to take 3 busses from our house and we live about 2 miles away. The decimated the public transportation system on this side of town.

  • 460. WayNorthSider  |  March 1, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    If children are misbehaving without repercussion, it is ultimately the Principals fault. Maybe this is what you should be discussing at your LSC meeting. AA kids can be bad just like any other race kids. You say it like a minority of a minority of student is discouraging the majority of parents a two other school from sending their kids there. This is an absurd concept. Hold your Principal accountable! Remove bad apples no matter their race.

  • 461. Chris  |  March 1, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    “a better way would be to make it based on economics BY FAMILY and not by zip”

    And, you would probably still be Tier 4, and certainly Tier 3. Given that the breakdown of tiers is based on *overall* population of children, not total population, and 1 in 3 kids in Chicago has family income below the poverty line, and the median family income is only $42k. Top 1/4 is about $80k.

    Nevermind the impossible administrative burden of verifying and processing the information. They can’t even verify claimed addresses–how is CPS going to verify assertions of family income, parental educational achievement, native language, etc??

  • 462. cpsobsessed  |  March 1, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    “I think the CONCEPT of the Tiers system is good, but I think a better way would be to make it based on economics BY FAMILY and not by zip. Just an idea.”

    I think this would go a long way towards helping people feel the Tier system is fair — unfortunately as pointed out, virtually impossible to oversee or have people report income properly.
    Maybe the ability to file an exception would work.

  • 463. Cindy K  |  March 1, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    @462 Interesting points. I applied for college aid using my 1040 form, and even though my neighbor was making a lot of money (he was a house flipper) I was only making 25 thou a year and as deemed eligible for financial aid. My neighbor had no impact on me THANK GOD. If he did, I would have been denied aid.

  • 464. mom2  |  March 1, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    “Lake View now has 15-20 students from Blaine and Nettlehorst and more are coming if the administrators can curb the thug behavior there. ” – If this is really true and this “thug” behavior is coming from kids outside of the neighborhood, why can’t the school just stop allowing kids from outside the neighborhood or require great grades and no prior discipline issues in order to lottery in?
    I’m shocked to read this and I hope you are wrong or it is an isolated incident. I’ve heard from people there that it is warm and safe and that friends at places like Lincoln Park wish they had selected Lake View to avoid the “thugs”.

  • 465. WayNorthSider  |  March 1, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    @Chris- I agree that simple economic selection is not the answer. Teirs are already economically based, just as an area, not as an individual.

    @All What we need is 20,000 slots to service Chicagos smartest students, with a goal of increasing that № every year. Failing schools is not just about bad teachers, bad students, or even bad parents. It is about the culmination of circumstances that can degradate any environment or positive process.

  • 466. Chris  |  March 1, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    “Maybe the ability to file an exception would work.”

    Still need to verify everything.

    And the only people who seem to think that they are ‘properly’ categorized are (i) those who are in Tier 1 and (ii) those who know they are 90%+ income, have college degrees from US universities, are still married, and own a house in a nice neighborhood.

    And even some who fit that latter category would appeal.

    And, if there are appeals, then clout would *inevitably* come into play.

    The tier system isn’t about making everyone think its “fair” (NB: what is??), it’s about a legal method to maintain a politically palatable proportion of not “rich” “white” kids at the “big four”.

    Has everyone forgotten that several aldermen somewhat recently complained that there are still too many white kids at Payton? Do you think that a system that made Payton substantially more white wouldn’t lead to a lawsuit?

    Yes, it’s terrible when a kid just misses a threshold. I have a kid who just missed a SEES seat back when the race AND sex based quota system was still the process.

    Do any of the complainers think that their kids would do better under the old system? Because an NYC-style system (which, btw, is almost certain to change in the near future, anyway) just ain’t gonna happen in Chicago any time soon.

  • 467. Caroline  |  March 1, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    @465 I agree with your entire statement except the word just. Teacher, parents and students are not the problem. There are so many factors at work within this situation. Our children and community deserve better. There has to be another way.

  • 468. Chris  |  March 1, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    “20,000 slots to service Chicagos smartest students”

    20k HS freshman slots? There are only 29k freshmen! That would be a number approximately equal to the number currently qualified to sit for the SE exam!!

    As it stands, there are about 16,000 seats in the 11 schools. Do you think that adding 4,000 seats would make it seem ‘fair’ to everyone, or merely change the identity of the pissed off parents?

  • 469. Chris  |  March 1, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    “I just checked The Illinois Report Card for Lake View and it’s 13.7% (AA) and 11.7% (White) students.”

    I pulled up the CPS demographics spreadsheet, and, for 15-16, it shows:

    1,289 students

    161 white (12.5%)
    163 AfAm (12.6%)
    6 NatAm (0.5%)
    882 Hispanic (68.4%)
    26 Multi (2.0%)
    49 Asian (3.8%)
    2 HI-Pac (0.2%)

  • 470. yay  |  March 1, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Every year, I tune into the latest about CPS acceptances. I like to hear the good news, the strategies that people used to help their kids navigate the system, the ways they supported their kids, etc. And every year, the whole conversation gets side tracked by Tier 4 complainers and Race bashing.

    The system is what the system is. Kids needs to learn to navigate in an imperfect world. And that is just that. Really….I first got on this site when I moved from out of state – I wanted to figure out how the system works, to prepare my family for that system, to teach them how to navigate the system and hopefully to succeed in the system.

    I wasn’t around when the system was based on race. But I’m sure there would be people jumping on CPS Obsessed saying that more white kids would be getting seats at Payton/Jones/Lane etc. if the white seats at the schools were not capped! And complaining how Blacks and Latinos with lower scores were taking all the seats.

    Tier system seems to me about the best way we can ensure diversity in the city. Diversity by race, by income, by first generation to the country, by education level, etc. This is probably about as good as we’re gonna get it. No one on this site can tell me that kids get out of school in Chicago and go live in a world where everything is fair and equal, so maybe just teach your kids how the world IS and why it’s that way…and how they might want to participate in changing that world, but for now, they gotta figure out how to live in that world.

    By the way, my family is Tier 3: I am white, my husband is Puerto Rican, my step son is Black and my son is half white/half Mexican. WE, like most families, don’t fit into any categorization that gets thrown around on this site daily.

    Whoever said “All Tier 4 are white” – wow! I don’t know what city you live in and who you talk to, but it’s simply not true. My BLACK step son lives in Tier 4! His mother lives in Tier 4.

    My son’s stepmother who is white and came from money – guess what? She lives in Tier 1 – Humboldt Park.

    One of my kids goes to Lakeview (and whoever just posted about “thugs” – shame on you…all kinds of implications using that word), another goes to D2 and on his way to Payton.

    I could go on and on. I’m hoping I haven’t offended, now I will go over to the happy news at “High School Letters 2016” and lurk on the “College Admissions” thread to learn about how that system works (and doesn’t work) and start to figure out where there’s a place for my kids.

  • 471. mom2  |  March 1, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    @yay – will you comment on Lake View? I would love to hear from someone in the know and someone that has a child there really should know. What is it really like?

  • 472. yay  |  March 1, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    Hi. We like it. My son is on the basketball team and football team. He has all honors courses and even has AP US History this year.

    He was very disappointed when he wasn’t accepted to Lane, but now, he’s a junior and doing well. He is not the all A’s kid, but really loves science. He’s been able to take lots of Science classes and there seems to be a lot of support for motivated kids.

    He hasn’t had any problems with “bullying”. (that we know of) Are there troublemakers? Sure, those are at every school. Even at Payton! My neighbor graduated from Payton. He was always in trouble, but nobody called him a thug.

    My third son will be entering Lakeview next year as a Freshman, following in his brother’s footsteps. He really like the Open House and the vibe in the classrooms. Of course, he hoped for Whitney Young, but just didn’t pull the grades last year.

    It’s also really easy to get to Lakeview on public transportation.

  • 473. mom2  |  March 1, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Thank you, yay!

  • 474. NewNSParent  |  March 1, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    @427. ArtfulOffspring what number are you on the wait list? We were accepted to Disney II and will be declining it. Good luck!

  • 475. WayNorthSider  |  March 1, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    @ Chris. I guess I was referring to freshman seats to accommodate the 16000 applicants plus room for Principal Discretion. I’m sure this № still leaves many students out and you are probably right in saying it would shift the anger to other parents. All this talk about the “whys” and “fault,” I just can’t understand how a straight A student doesn’t get into one of the best schools. Maybe the 20000 slots isn’t an answer, but with 390000 students, and over 170 HS shouldn’t it be an expectation.

  • 476. HP Parent  |  March 1, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    I have a question about enrollment. We currently live in Humbolt park and moved near the 606 last fall thinking we had the smart buy of the century. We now realize this is a mistake and the worst neighborhood for our white teenage son. There is no way he is commuting to school on a bus from here. He has been jumped twice now. Does anyone know what we need to enroll into the High School? Or does the current Elementary School just transfer our son to the High School. How do you prove address? As our mailing address is changing. We listed our house and someone bought it the first weekend with a 30 day close so we literally are out of here by the 15th! We are renting temp housing in Presidential towers until we find a new home. But I want to be sure I retain all paperwork needed to prove address. We called CPS and they said we are fine with our application since we are moving now. But our letter does state enrollment and proof of address. Now I am worried that we are somehow jeopardizing our spot. To those complaining about Tier 1 or Tier 2 believe me you do not want to live here! The family who bought our house is so excited to be by a 606 entrance ramp. Worst mistake ever as it is traveled by gangs are night.

  • 477. realchicagomama  |  March 1, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Hi, as a very involved D2 parent, I can offer some details on WL numbers. I think numbers in the 200s have a shot at getting offered a spot, but it depends on how fast the school burns through its waitlist. The school’s acceptance rate is about 1%. Feel free to email me through my profile.

  • 478. pantherettie  |  March 1, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    @waynorthsider – all African American tier 4 = Jackson Park Highlands AKA “Pill Hill”. Long established neighborhood of African American MDs and other professionals. That said I do believe that there are a couple of multicultural families there 😉

  • 479. Chris  |  March 1, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    “I just can’t understand how a straight A student doesn’t get into one of the best schools. Maybe the 20000 slots isn’t an answer”

    If over 2/3s of 7th graders really are getting straight As, then the grading system has become completely meaningless.

    *EVERYONE* deserves an appropriate, safe, good, education.

    Asserting that over 60% of Chicago kids are “top students” deserving of admission into ‘selective’ HSs is hokum that reduces the chances of all kids getting an appropriate, safe, good, education.

    Whenever there is something competitive, there *has to be* a line. There are SEHS seats for something like 10% (including private school) of Chicago freshmen. And then about that many more for IB/other selective enrolling schools.

  • 480. pantherparent  |  March 1, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    @ 439 Well said. This is my third time through this and didn’t even look at the other tiers below 4 when my daughter got her score. It’s something I’ve come to accept and even agree with.

  • 481. Enough on Tiers  |  March 1, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Way to hijack this page arguing about Tiers. Do you notice nobody is announcing where they were accepted? This entire thread has become arguing from a Negative Nancy. If you do not like it please move to the suburbs. It is not changing, it does not make it right but it is what is is.

    @cpobcessed can you delete post? I wish you would consider deleting those. It is totally ruining the joy and excitement of others. It is also only making those who did not get in more upset.

  • 482. ArtfulOffspring  |  March 1, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    @474. We are lucky number 257 on the Disney wait list within the proximity queue. Also very sad to be on the waitlist for ChiArts visual and given no idea where we stand. 😦
    Congrats to you on whatever trumped your Disney acceptance!
    It’s a gift to have a choice in this insane setup.

  • 483. Cx2  |  March 2, 2016 at 1:02 am


    We are also in the waiting list for Von which was our 1st option. I’d also like to know how far down the list they go or they have gone on previous years, though we are so far down the list that I think it impossible.
    My child got accepted to ChiArts for Voice and waiting on Violin. Also got accepted into Senn Performing Arts and IB and Amundsen IB. So now we have some decisions to make.
    My child wants to try PD at Lane for Music but don’t know if I should still try. Is very talented and a good student but has ADD and doesn’t score well on tests. Usually does well in tests at school but not standardized tests, plus doesn’t have any awards, but does know how to play 4 instruments and is a good singer.
    Most friends/ classmates made it into Lane or Von. And that’s why my child wants to still try at both. I am just so ready to leave all this behind.
    So far we are inclined to Senn Performing Arts.

  • 484. Hopeful  |  March 2, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Does anyone know in previous years how far Von went down on their wait list?

  • 485. ArtfulOffspring  |  March 2, 2016 at 8:30 am

    @483. Congratulations and I hear you!
    I have friends who are celebrating that they have crossed the finish line. We don’t have that sense of satisfaction yet and it sounds like similar at your house.
    A classmate who plays many instruments, like your student, bypassed ChiArts due to having to choose only one, which I think is kind of hard when you’re still 13 or 14 and are still discovering. So, while the Visual Arts program is top in my son’s mind, I also wonder if going to a school with more broad offerings, but a strong art program, which I think Lincoln Park is, isn’t a better choice? He was accepted at Senn Visual Arts, which we would jump at, but it’s an hour commute each way by public trans. Ugh.
    More work to do and tough decisions still in process.

  • 486. Caroline  |  March 2, 2016 at 10:32 am

    @477. Thanks for the info. It makes me feel a little better. My daughter is #168 on the list, I believe, the letter is at home and she was wait listed at other schools as well so the numbers are blurring together. LOL. Since you are a very involved parent, what can you tell me about the school. Reading about it and going to the open house does not always give you a complete picture about their programs. Any information is greatly appreciated.

  • 487. WayNorthSider  |  March 2, 2016 at 11:17 am

    @pantherettie- I knew it was Pill Hill! Bet my wife, now she owes me Starbucks!😀
    @Chris- In order to even reasonably be considering SEHS you needed 300 points leaving 7th grade. That’s straight As. Even though some had Bs They may have had excellent NWEA scores. Truly, you needed a perfect score in at least one of the 300 point areas or very very close to it. And I guess Im referring to applicants of top ten programs, LPHS and up. The grading doesn’t matter because you still need to know the material on the NWEA and entrance exam. These kids are truly straight A! Now that has nothing to do with the other 380000 kids and I agree with you that they need safe and engaging school as well. I just don’t know how we get there without punishing truly exceptional performers.
    @Enough of Tiers – I did say that my son is going to Jones. Tiers is on everyone’s mind because they want an explanation as to why their little ones are now heartbroken, and they deserve one! 15% of kids that don’t get into SEHS leave the district. That’s something like 1500 of our best students leaving! That’s insane! If tiers are the cause of this(which it isn’t) people want to talk about it and we shouldn’t ask them not to. If I were in tier 4 , my son would have been short 17 points and likely would not have made it. He still would have been on student council, perfect attendance for 3 years and straight A for 3 years and guess what I would be piss on the site looking for a reason behind that madness. So, I understand and just come on here and try to partner with others to help get all our kids into a good program.

  • 488. Tier4Mom  |  March 2, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    They do not count attendance anymore so that does not factor in,

  • 489. WayNorthSider  |  March 2, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    @488 – I know, just painting a picture. Just saying he worked very hard and would have been heartbroken if he did not make it.

  • 490. Chris  |  March 2, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    WayNorthSider: “In order to even reasonably be considering SEHS you needed 300 points leaving 7th grade.”

    This is ONLY true if the only SEHS one would consider are PaNJY and Albert***, and EVEN THEN, only really true for Tier 3 and Tier 4.

    “the other 380000 kids”

    There is no point in talking about it in terms of anything other than a single class year. There are around 40,000 Chicago kids per grade, included CPS and private. That’s the relevant number.

    Right now, about 10% of them get a SEHS seat, about 10% more get a IP/HH/Arts seat. How much more than 20% counts as “top”? It’s certainly not half of them.

    ***thus, PaNJYA, or the whole world (that is, Pangaea), to some.

  • 491. WayNorthSider  |  March 2, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    @Chris – “This is ONLY true if the only SEHS one would consider are PaNJY and Albert***,
    Right, That is why I stated ” top ten LPHS and up.” Also meaning any school with over 800 points for a cutoff. There was very little wiggle room. I agree that a single class year is what counts. and the data says that over 13000 kids apply for something like 3000 seats. All of these kids are not from CPS. There are homeschoolers, private, Catholic, etc. Maybe CPSObsessed can help me with the numbers?

    Needless to say, these kids are invited to test. Meaning the performance had to be there on the NWEA as well as in the classroom. The issue is not how many kids are straight A or close, but why don’t we have a top rated high school for them to attend.

    “and EVEN THEN, only really true for Tier 3 and Tier 4.”

    That would be Tier 2,3 and 4. 75% of applicants. Also, tiers 1 and 2 had the highest increases this year over last year, so it was much harder this time around for them.

  • 492. zhuzhou02  |  March 2, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    I was curious about the numbers so I looked on the CPS website:

    336,000 total students all schools (public, charter, other)
    – 87,000 high school
    – 21,000 ninth grade (2300 are white)

    Below are the number of ninth grade spots at high schools discussed in this thread. Probably not 100% accurate, but close enough.

    North Side spots
    2500: SE (NS, Peyton, Whitney, Lane, Jones)
    1000: Selective programs and magnets (ChiArts, IB, LPHH, Scholars, Senn and LP Fine Arts, Ogden, Disney, Von Steuben)
    1800: Neighborhood high schools with improving or decent reputations (Taft, Amundsen, Senn, Lake View)

    So about 5300 spots in total on the north side, of which 3500 are selective.

    South Side spots
    1200: SE (Brooks, King, South Shore, Lindblom, Westinghouse)

    Even if I am missing several thousand spots at acceptable high schools, clearly the demand for good high schools, north or south side, far exceeds the supply all over the city. That 21,000 current student enrollment number obviously doesn’t include the 50% of white parents that opt out of CPS but may have stayed if they had received an SE spot. (I couldn’t find the non-white percentage of parents who opt out, but I assume it is significantly lower.) Regardless, the demand is even greater than these numbers imply.

    What keeps getting lost in this conversation about tiers and race is that options are limited for everyone, and they are especially limited for the most underserved, economically disadvantaged population. As Finnick said to Katniss: “Remember who the enemy is.” The enemy is a system that pits parent against parent over scarce resources, not the disadvantaged child in a lower tier who earned a spot and a chance at a better education. We need to keep the focus on making neighborhood high schools better and increasing options for everyone, from brainiacs to kids who struggle. Chicago’s future depends on it.

  • 493. WayNorthSider  |  March 2, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    @zhuzhou02- I’m sure we all agree with you, we just don’t know how to get there.

    I have been trying to post the link the the Central Standard SEHS special for like 30 mins. are links allowed, or is there an approval process? Also, trying to post the link to the study guide we used on the SEHS Entrance Exam.

  • 494. Chris  |  March 2, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    “these kids are invited to test. Meaning the performance had to be there on the NWEA as well as in the classroom”

    Here is the entirety of the requirements for the “invitation to test”:

    “Applicants to Selective Enrollment High Schools (SEHS) must pre-qualify to take the SEHS admissions exam. Eligibility to take the exam is based on the student’s reading and math scores on the NWEA. The eligibility requirements are below:

    General Education Students and Students with a 504 Plan:
    Minimum percentile of 24 in both reading and math.”

    There is NO grade component, and 24th percentile is not an indication of a top student.

    So, statistically speaking, there are a TON of those 13,000 applying who do NOT have the grades/score to–using your construct–“even reasonably be considering SEHS”. Yet they do anyway. As they should, bc you absolutely can’t get in if you don’t apply.

    They reduced the qualifying scores (it used to be a required minimum of two 40th percentile scores) in no small part to get enough kids applying to the non-PaNJYA schools, and to create the perception of options for a broader swath kids.

  • 495. cpsobsessed  |  March 2, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    @493 – posts with 2 or more links go into moderation to reduce spam.

  • 496. cpsobsessed  |  March 2, 2016 at 1:21 pm


    hahahaha – I love it!!

    ***thus, PaNJYA, or the whole world (that is, Pangaea), to some.

  • 497. Chris  |  March 2, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    “Even if I am missing several thousand spots at acceptable high schools”

    You are, as several of the Charter HS are more than acceptable (whatever you feel about charters; I’m mostly ambivalent, tending negative, but we have other options).

    “336,000 total students all schools”

    That’s the non-charter, only, total. Including charters, it’s 392,285 for 15-16, per 20th day count.

    “– 21,000 ninth grade (2300 are white)”

    Again, that excludes charters. 7,982 at charters, for a 29,130 total. 4,000 9th graders at the various Noble HS, well over 95% of them non-white.

    Toting up the 9th grade enrollment at the “acceptable” schools, I come up with 7,500. The only partly open enrollment schools on the list *are* all on the Northside (which is a scandal, really)–Ogden, LPHS, LVHS, Alcott, Senn, Admundsen, Taft.

    So, fully 1/3 of “regular’ CPS 9th graders are going to a school that takes some effort to enroll in. When you add in the charter schools (again, whatever you feel about charters, they *do* require the effort to apply, at least), then you have over 50% of CPS 9th graders going to a school that they and/or their parents *chose*.

    Do the “bad” schools need to be better? Of course. Is the answer to that creating more ‘selective’ (even if by lottery) options? I don’t think so.

  • 498. WayNorthSider  |  March 2, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    @Chris- Harvard doesn’t even have minimums or cuttoffs for sat or act, but without a 32 act score or a 2300 sat, you are probably wasting your $75 application fee. This is a school that you pay for. Acceptance is 6%! What are you suggesting we do?
    Advertised minimums don’t reflect the desired talent pool.If you have a child who is not scoring close to the cutoffs of their desired school, it is time to have a “real world” conversation with your child. By the time you are taking the test, it is too late. You should be talking to and teaching your child everyday at the dinner table or where ever. We started 2 years before the “process.” This is a parents responsibility.I would never apply to a school that my son can make it in. We talk about this last night. I turned the WIIU off and told him to read the full handbook of a Jones student. It’s get real time!

  • 499. WayNorthSider  |  March 2, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    @495- Got it! You may have some multiple submissions. I’m Sorry. 🙂

  • 500. Chris  |  March 2, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    “hahahaha – I love it!!”

    Only came to me *after* I’d typed PaNJY and changed Lane to Albert–then it all came together***.

    ***Sorry, not sorry.

  • 501. WayNorthSider  |  March 2, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    @498 Correction -This is a parents responsibility.I would never apply to a school that my son CANNOT make it in.

  • 502. Chris  |  March 2, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    “What are you suggesting we do?”

    “Advertised minimums don’t reflect the desired talent pool.”

    I’m suggesting that the complainers get over it, and do what you did.

    We’re a Tier 4 family, all around. Our kids have genetic, social, financial and other advantages that are not shared by most kids in Chicago. We tell them that, quite a bit. If they don’t make the cutoff for their preferred PaNJYA school, then that’s life, they’ll go somewhere else, and will *still* be able to have a happy, successful HS experience, get a good post-secondary education, and be able to have a happy, successful *life*.

    And I’d feel that way even if my kids were among the unfortunate few who butt heads with a 7th grade teacher, or are sick/just have a bad day for NWEA or SE test day. ti would suck, I’d be *horribly* disappointed *for them*, but it sure as [stuff] wouldn’t lead to me lashing out about the unfairness of the system. The system is what it is, and they have to meet *their* obligations, even if it isn’t “fair”.

  • 503. WayNorthSider  |  March 2, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    @502 Agreed! We must prepare our children for life in the “Big Bad Real World” and sometimes that is unfair. Sometimes that means me and my son, 20 Saturdays in a row, side by side studying on Kahn Academy until we knew Algebra inside out. Kahn Academy is great by the way. I know this doesn’t sound like a great way to spend Saturday, but I will do anything to help my kid. PS. My kid has no idea what tier he is in (tier 2). We went after all 900 points and got 860 and I love him to death for it. Next, we are going after a High Pass on the Algebra Exit Exam!

  • 504. HydeParkmom  |  March 2, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Congrats to your son!
    How are you planning to prepare your son for the exit exam?
    Jones is going to have a placement test for math and I was wondering how to prepare my daughter for it.

  • 505. North Center Mom  |  March 2, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    @504 My son did not prepare for the Jones placement test. I wanted it to be an honest assessment of where he stood so he could be placed in the best class for him. Having said that, if your daughter can stay focused for the last few months of 8th grade math, it will help.

    @503 I love Kahn Academy for math and science. Does anyone know of an equivalent online tool for Language Arts?

  • 506. Caroline  |  March 2, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    @505 Khan Academy has a link for Humanities and Arts. There is a grammar section in there. Most of the LA stuff I find is for grammar and writing. If I find a good one for Reading I will let you know. I will ask around. The ones I have found charge a monthly fee.

  • 507. WayNorthSider  |  March 2, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    @HydeParkMom – Last night we went to selective preps website and did their practice exam. I look at all the question and determine what area or Algebra it comes from. We will use Khan, Quizlet flash cards( I even think there is one specifically for this test), and all his previous NWEA test prep materials. We will focus on core algebra methods, order of operations, math facts and rules. I find that when my son knows the rules completely, he can apply them. We do all are math long and do not use calculators for practice test. I hope it’s enough.😅

  • 508. WayNorthSider  |  March 2, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    I have a very naughty predictive text feature on my phone.😡 “We do all of OUR math long and do not use calculators for practice test. I hope it’s enough.😅”

  • 509. HydeParkMom  |  March 2, 2016 at 3:28 pm


  • 510. WayNorthSider  |  March 2, 2016 at 3:31 pm


  • 511. realchicagomama  |  March 2, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Caroline – email me at cpollicki at gmail and I can give you more info. 🙂

  • 512. newtoCPS  |  March 2, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Hi, did anyone accepted at Payton receive anything from the school yet? I heard that the new student event is on March 7 but we haven’t received anything in the mail yet except the CPS letter. thanks.

  • 513. LV365247  |  March 4, 2016 at 12:10 am

    512 – yes, the new student event is on march 7th, at 6 in the evening. give a call to the office if you didn’t receive your letter. we got ours about a day after acceptance, but who knows with the mail. see you there….

  • 514. masondixie  |  March 4, 2016 at 1:24 am

    LV365247, welcome to the Payton family. I currently have a junior enrolled there. It’s a great school and I’m pretty sure you guys will enjoy the wonderful experience at Payton!

  • 515. Chris  |  March 11, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Regarding NYC’s SEHS for next fall:

    “At lower Manhattan’s Stuyvesant High, for example, just 23 black and Hispanic students won seats in next year’s freshman class—compared with 178 white students and 682 Asian students.”

    So, whingers, do you think your kids would do better in *that* scheme? It’s based on a single test, and doesn’t care if your kid is a straight A student, or a Cs and Ds slacker.

    Overall, NYC public schools are 15% asian, 15% white, 27% black, and 40% hispanic (2% other). Stuyvesant’s freshman class will be 77% asian and 20% white.

  • 516. Random Mom  |  March 13, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    @515Chris: Why Stuyvesant accepted so many Asian students?

  • 517. Jen  |  March 13, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    @516, Stuyvesant accepts such a high percentage of Asian students because, if I understand it correctly, they admit students solely on the basis of their scores. They do not try and balance their student bodies out racially or economically whatsoever. Their Asian students are obviously seriously outperforming everyone else at a dramatic level.
    I’d be curious to know how many kids at Stuy are living below the poverty level. I’ve always heard that so many Asian students in NYC are extremely poor yet do so well academically due to the fact that their families refuse to accept anything less than excellence.

  • 518. Chris  |  March 14, 2016 at 10:21 am

    ” they admit students solely on the basis of their scores”

    Yes, but, not scoreS.

    Score, singular, on the admissions test. Want to talk about ‘high stakes’ testing, that is it. 4 Ds in 7th grade? No problem.

    “their families refuse to accept anything less than excellence”

    I’ve known quite a few folks who grew up in such families. A number of them (*of course* not all) “less than excellence” resulted in a beating.

  • 519. Jen  |  March 14, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    @518, yes, I’m quite familiar. Not saying I agree with the price some students pay for that “excellence”, only that it is demanded. And as the NYC data shows, they do outperform most everyone else. I’m curious to know, what percentage of CPS is Asian American and what percentage makes us SEHS’s?

  • 520. feeder schools  |  March 14, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    CPS Racial Makeup (from its website)

    African American: 39.3%
    Asian: 3.6%
    Hispanic: 45.6%
    White: 9.4%

    Percentage of Asian students:

    Payton 15.2%
    Northside 19.0%
    Jones 12.0%
    Whitney Young 15.4%
    Lane 10.9%

    and in some purely test-in elementary schools:

    Skinner N. 29.9%
    Edison 17.7%
    Decatur 32.0%
    Keller 16.1%
    Lenart 14.4%

    From these CPS and those NYC numbers, it appears Asian students can achieve up to 4 or 5 times their population ratio in purely or mainly test-based admissions. For individual schools, location also plays a role. How tiers figure into the Chicago results is not easily discernible.

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