Posts filed under ‘Academic Centers’

2013: Academic Center Letters

AC 2013

In anticipation of the mail delivery.

Post your news about Academic Centers here.   AC’s are for 7th grade students.  They require a special test for placement that is taken during 6th grade along with ISAT scores and grades from 5th grade.

The beauty of getting an AC spots is that you have a guaranteed high school spot at that school.

Cutoffs scores for ACs from last year are posted here:

2012 AC thread is here:


March 22, 2013 at 6:32 pm 431 comments

2012 Academic Centers – Post News Here!

These are LAST YEAR’s cut-off scores so we can compare to this year to see if they’ve risen like the high school cut-offs did.  Also will be interesting to see the impact of Lane in the portfolio.

2012-2013 cutoffs are posted here.

Please note that a reader has reported that WYAC will not be doing a second round, per the school AC coordinator.  If you want to turn down something else for a shot at 2nd round WYAC, I suggest calling the school to confirm this.  Good luck!


Like the High Schools, AC admission is based on 30% rank + the Tiers using a score of 900 points that includes 5th grade grades, 5th grade ISATs, and the AC entry test.

If you post news, include your tier and child’s score.

And good luck!

This was the scoring rubric from last year:

Click to access Scoring%20Rubric%20–%20Academic%20Centers%20and%20International%20Gifted%20Programs%20–%202010-2011.pdf

March 25, 2012 at 7:14 pm 254 comments

Learn about Academic Center and SE High School Admissions

Selective Prep is offering free sessions (one is full, one is still open) to learn about the application process for Academic Centers (grades 7-8) and Selective Enrollment High Schools.

Master the complexities of the Selective Enrollment High School Admissions Process.

Explore the NEW application process/timeframes, competitive environment, points system, and strategies for success. Registration is limited to 40 participants.

Registration for SelectivePrep’s 2011 FREE High School Admissions Seminars is NOW open!

The open sessions are Sat September 17th (one morning, one afternoon session) at IIT.

  • Who should attend: Parents of incoming 6th graders applying to Academic Centers and incoming 7th & 8th grade students applying to Selective Enrollment High Schools
  • High School Admissions Seminars are limited to 40 participants
  • Register now to secure your spot
  • Seminar Agenda:
    • Application process/timeframes. Outline of key dates and procedures
    • Competitive environment. Statistics on latest scores and competitive trends
    • Points system. Explanation of revised admissions criteria
    • New developments.Discussion of NEW socio-economic admissions policy, single offer admissions, principal selection process, October re-testing and other relatively recent developments.
    • Academic Center admissions. Overview of the process, timeframes, and test preparation
    • Algebra preparation. Introduction to CPS’ Algebra Exit exam and preparation for high school math honors programs.
    • Strategies for success:
    • Investigation. Uncover the facts with proper research
    • Calculation. Determine your status in the application process
    • Preparation. Discuss the exam and the SelectivePrep program

Register here:


August 19, 2011 at 5:01 pm 10 comments

Lane Tech Academic Center Approved/News on other ACs


OPEN HOUSE at Lane for the AC on Sunday, March 27 from 1-3pm



Info here:

Big changes coming on the north side, as Lane Tech adds an Academic Center, starting in 7th grade for the upcoming school year.

Kids who applied for 7th grade admission can re-rank their choices knowing the Lane will exist.

I guess the questions are:
Where will they pull from?
Is it fair that new kids can’t test/apply?
Will this “up” Lane’s reputation over time?
PLUS: A million other logistical details I’m not thinking of that we can dissect…

Does someone owe Terry M (interim CEO) a thank-you note?

Here are the new AC cutoff scores btw (thanks to Alejandro!)

Here’s an interesting explanation on the scores from Selective Prep:

The major reason why Academic Center admissions scores are lower is that points are awarded differently for the Academic Center Admissions Test than for the Selective Enrollment Entrance Exam. Any student who gets a 99% on the Selective Enrollment Exam gets a full 300 points – and a sizable number of 8th graders did exactly that. However, a 6th grader who gets a 99.0% (raw score of 135) on the Academic Center Admissions Test only receives 255 points – 45 points less than a perfect 300. The highest admission score such a student could receive would be 855. To get the full 300 points on the Academic Center Admissions Test, a student must get 99.957% (raw score of 150) – and only .043% or fewer than 1 in 2,000 students are able to score this high.

Also, here is a nicely summarized chart from Selective Prep with the average  scores by school:

Here is Selective Prep’s full article and POV on the scores:

March 23, 2011 at 4:52 pm 154 comments

Learn to obsess about Academic Centers

A reader contacted me recently about CPS’ Academic Centers, thinking readers might be interested in learning more about them.  I’d heard about the Whitney Young program briefly when I toured Decatur.  Since that school only goes up to 6th grade, they do their best to try to get their students placed in these centers. Besides that, I knew nothing about them, but was thrilled (ha ha) to learn that there is yet another step I can obsesses about before High School application time arrives.

Academic Centers: Hidden Gems

What’s an Academic Center? And why might you care?

One of Chicago Public Schools’ best kept secrets are its Academic Centers. These are middle schools that offer accelerated programs for 7th and 8th graders and a guaranteed path into their associated high schools.

Four of Chicago’s six Academic Centers rank among the top 50 middle schools in the State of Illinois.  On average, students from all six Academic Centers scored 35% above national norms on the EXPLORE test, a predictor of ACT performance.  These Academic Centers are: Harlan Community Academy, Kenwood Academy, Lindblom Math & Science Academy, Morgan Park High School, Taft High School, and Whitney Young.

Two of these Academic Centers (Whitney Young and Lindblom) are associated with a Selective Enrollment High School. So if your child is admitted to the Whitney Young or Lindblom Academic Center, he or she automatically gets a spot in the High School. Nice…

Many parents are relatively unaware of Academic Centers. Since most elementary schools run through 8th grade, school administrators often do not proactively provide parents with information about these schools. Surprisingly, in some cases information generated by these schools themselves is sparse.

Admission to these programs is based on 5th grade ISATs and grades and a special entrance exam that is given in 6th grade.  Some schools (those that only go up to 6th grade) give the entrance exam at the school whereas other families need to apply and go to a central testing location.

For more information about Academic Centers and the Academic Center admissions process, check out:

(Selective Prep is a company who can help kids study for the entrance exam they take in 6th grade.)

From me: So is it worth the stress of trying to get a 5th grader concentrating on their grades and having them take an entrance exam in 6th grade?  Well, if you’re looking to get into Whitney Young (and who isn’t) it probably makes sense to have your child take the test and give it a try.  You always have another (probably more competitive) chance going into high school.

If your child is in a school that you feel isn’t academically challenging but they haven’t tested into a gifted program, this could also be a chance for more accelerated classwork and better preparation for high school.

The tough part, of course, would be deciding whether to move your child in 7th grade if you’re happy with your current school (and possibly facing the wrath of an angry pre-teen.)

September 15, 2009 at 10:45 am 93 comments

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