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Jun 252017
 

Introduction:

This post is the second in a two-part series that seeks to explain the types of school options available to students in CPS and how students can gain access to those options.  This post will explore the difference between the types of school programs that CPS offers, and how that relates to schools in and near the South Loop.  For the purposes of this post, high schools in Bronzeville are included because our current assigned neighborhood high school is located there.

Please note that every attempt has been made to accurately synthesize information from throughout the CPS website, and that CPS revises their policies from time to time.  Additional detail and the most up to date information may be found on the CPS Office of Access and Enrollment website.  Additionally, each year CPS publishes a High School Guide, and the guide for the 2017-18 school year may be found here.

You can also use the CPS School Locator to see schools on an interactive map.

Private school options and terminology will not be explored, but the South Loop does also have nearby private school options for those interested in that educational path.

“Neighborhood School” or “Attendance Area School”

By nature of having an address, everyone residing in Chicago is assigned to one neighborhood school and is guaranteed a seat within one high school provided they can prove their residence within the boundary.

You can determine your assigned neighborhood school by searching your address in the school locator.

Requires Application: No. Only registration with proof of address.

Requires Testing: No.

Sibling Preference: All siblings residing at the address are automatically accepted when they reach the age of eligibility.

Neighborhood High School in Our Area:

Phillips High School: Serves as the neighborhood high school (grades 9-12) for anyone living within its boundaries. See boundary map below

So, why is this complicated, again?

As discussed in part 1 of this series, there are many circumstances that would cause a family to look outside of its neighborhood school for options. Some of these might include:

  • The child has learning needs that are not adequately addressed by the services provided at the neighborhood school.
  • The child has a particular interest such as art, music, or world languages that is not addressed at the neighborhood school.

For these and many other reasons, CPS offers families the opportunity to apply to other public high schools that might better suit their needs.

“Selective Enrollment High Schools”

Selective Enrollment High Schools provide academically advanced students with a challenging college preparatory experience. Each of the Selective Enrollment High Schools offers a rigorous curriculum with mainly honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses.  They are not limited by geographic boundaries: any Chicago resident may apply to any Selective Enrollment School, regardless of address, although achievement of a minimum score in reading and math on the NWEA MAP test is required for a student to qualify to take the admission exam, and final grades from seventh grade in reading, math, science, and social studies are combined with the MAP test scores and the student’s score on the selective enrollment admission test to derive a point score used to determine admission.

There are currently eleven Selective Enrollment high schools in the CPS system.

Requires Application: Yes.

Requires Additional Admissions Testing: Yes.

Sibling Preference: No. Individual applications are processed with no preference given to siblings wishing to attend the same program.

Selective Enrollment High Schools in Our Area:

Jones Prep High School: Jones Prep is a selective enrollment high school located in the South Loop.  It also has a College and Career Academy program, which will be discussed in the next section.

Admission: Total point score based on achievement test scores, 7th grade cumulative grades in reading, math, science, and social studies, and the admissions exam score.  A designated percentage of seats are allocated based on tier.

“College and Career Academies”

Students take college prep courses in the core areas of math, science, and English, and also participate in hands-on training experiences in their chosen industry.

Requires Application: Yes.

Requires Additional Admissions Testing: No.

Sibling Preference: No. Individual applications are processed with no preference given to siblings wishing to attend the same program.

College and Career Academies in Our Area:

Jones Prep (College and Career Academy program):  Students select Pre-Engineering or Pre-Law. 75 seats are available per entering 9th grade class.

Admission: Based on test scores and grades.  Students residing in the attendance boundary are selected first.

Dunbar HS:  Dunbar HS is a College and Career academy focused on Architecture, Automotive Tech & Body Repair, Broadcast Technology, Construction (Carpentry & Plumbing), Hospitality Management, Personal Care Services (Cosmetology).

Admission: By computerized lottery.  Preference for up to 30% of seats is given to students living within 2.5 miles of the school.

“Military Academies”

Military Academies prepare students for college and subsequent careers in a structured environment.

Requires Application: Yes.

Requires Additional Admissions Testing: No.

Sibling Preference: No. Individual applications are processed with no preference given to siblings wishing to attend the same program.

Military Academies in Our Area:

Chicago Military Academy High School:  Located in Bronzeville.

Air Force Academy High School:  Located in Bronzeville.

Admission: Based on a combination of test scores, grades, a motivation and perseverance assessment, and admission essay.

“International Baccalaureate Schools”

IB programs encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate, and lifelong learners who help create a better and more peaceful world through

intercultural understanding and respect.  Several types of programs are offered.  Some schools focus exclusively on IB programming, others include it alongside other selective enrollment or neighborhood programs.

Requires Application: Yes.

Requires Additional Admissions Testing: No.

Sibling Preference: No. Individual applications are processed with no preference given to siblings wishing to attend the same program.

International Baccalaureate Schools in Our Area:

There are no schools offering International Baccalaureate programming in our area.  Juarez HS, located at Cermak and Ashland, is the closest such program to the South Loop and includes IB and other programming in addition to being a neighborhood high school serving the Pilsen area.

Admission: Based on a combination of test scores and grades.  Additional consideration is given to students who reside in the neighborhood boundary of a neighborhood high school that also has an IB program.

“Magnet High Schools and Programs”

Magnet High Schools offer one or more specialty programs. They do not have neighborhood attendance boundaries (with the exception of Curie Metropolitan High School), and they accept students from throughout the city.

Requires Application: Yes.

Requires Additional Admissions Testing: No.

Sibling Preference: Yes.

Magnet High Schools in Our Area: There are no magnet high schools in our area.

Admission: Computerized lottery, also considering proximity and tier, with the exception of Madame Curie HS (which has an attendance boundary) and the Scholars Program at Von Steuben High School, which considers test scores, GPA, teacher recommendations, and a student essay in its admissions process.

“Tiers”

Tiers are the categories applied to each census tract based on socio-economic criteria (income level, homeowner occupancy, adult education level, native language, percentage of single-parent households, and achievement scores).

You are assigned one of four tiers based on this data (regardless of your personal situation) and this tier is factored into admission decisions in an effort to provide an equitable opportunity for students to access Selective Enrollment and Magnet schools regardless of the typical socio-economic profile within their neighborhood.

To determine your tier, you can go use the same map we used to determine your neighborhood school: http://cps.edu/ScriptLibrary/Map-SchoolLocator/index.html.

  1. Type in your address.
  2. Click on the magnifying glass.
  3. Click on the “Overlays” icon that looks like four lines on the right hand side.
  4. Select CPS Tiers

Put your cursor over the yellow push pin and your tier will appear.  See example below

How the “Tier” System Works:

Tiers are considered in the admission selection process for Magnet High Schools and Selective Enrollment High Schools.  According to the CPS website, the criteria used to determine admission to each school type that uses tiers as a factor in admissions is listed below.

Magnet High Schools:  Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements are accepted in the following order of priority for most magnet high schools.

  1. Students who already have a sibling attending the school.
  2. Students who live within 2.5 miles of the school (40% of remaining available seats).
  3. The remaining seats are distributed evenly across the four Tiers and students are selected randomly via lottery.

Example:  There are 120 9th grade seats available.  Of the students who applied to the school, 20 students have older siblings who attend the school.  They are offered seats.  The remaining 100 seats are allocated as follows:  40 seats are offered to students who live within 2.5 miles of the school; if more than 40 students meeting this criteria apply, a lottery is used.  The remaining 60 seats are offered via lottery as follows: 15 seats to applicants from Tier 1, 15 applicants from Tier 2, 15 students from Tier 3, and 15 students from Tier 4.

There are a few exceptions to the way the proximity lottery process is handled, so be sure to review the eligibility and selection criteria for specific schools of interest.

Selective Enrollment High Schools:

Students take an additional admissions exam which contributes to a total point score based on achievement test scores, 7th grade cumulative grades in reading, math, science, and social studies, and the admissions exam score.  Seats are allocated as follows:

  1. The first 30% of seats are awarded to the applicants with the highest point scores, based on rank order.
  2. The remaining seats are distributed evenly across the four Tiers and the students with the highest test scores within each Tier are selected.

Example:  There are 120 9th grade seats available.  Of the students who applied to the school, the first 36 seats are allocated to the 36 students with the highest point totals.  The remaining 84 seats are allocated as follows:  the 21 students with the highest scores from Tier 1, the 21 students with the highest scores from Tier 2, the 21 students with the highest scores from Tier 3, and the 21 students with the highest scores from Tier 4.

Charter Schools”

Charter Schools are public schools open to all Chicago children and are approved by the Board of Education, but they operate separately from the Board and from each other. In most cases they do not have an attendance boundary and anyone may apply to any school.

Each charter school has a different curriculum focus and a different application process. It is best to contact an individual school if you are interested in applying. A list of charter schools and a side-by-side comparison tool can be found here.

Requires Application: Yes. Seats offered through a lottery system if there are fewer seats than applicants.

Requires Testing: No.

Sibling Preference: Yes, as space allows.

Charter High Schools in Our Area:

Perspectives – Joslin HS:  Provides multiple programs for students of all interests, including parent-student workshops and internship opportunities with Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Young Women’s High School:  Young Women’s Leadership, Chicago’s only all-girls public school, aims to prepare students to become ethical leaders and to pursue careers in math, science and technology.

YCCS – McKinley:  Member of a network of charter schools designed to serve students who have had their schooling interrupted.

YCCS – Youth Connection Leadership Academy:  Member of a network of charter schools designed to serve students who have had their schooling interrupted.

Urban Prep – Bronzeville HS:  Chicago’s first charter high school designed for young men, Urban Prep offers high-quality college preparatory education to young men that results in college success.

Perspectives Math and Science Academy:  Perspectives/IIT fosters innovative critical thinkers through scientific inquiry and problem solving, supported by newly renovated science labs and industry-sponsored scientific opportunities.

Below is a map of the Charter (CH), City-wide (CW), and Neighborhood (plain red pin) high school options serving the Near South and Bronzeville areas:

In summary, there are many school options for students within the CPS system, and the process for a student to gain admission to a school other than their neighborhood high school is complex and can be stressful for parents and students as they try to get their child placed in what they hope will be the best possible school to serve their needs.  In the South Loop, there are several high schools but only one that does not rely on lottery or selective enrollment processes for admission.  This causes a majority of students to seek high school options outside of the neighborhood, which makes awareness of the alternatives more important.

We’ve included a simplified “cheat sheet” below to help capture the main points in a more visual format:

Jun 192017
 

Introduction:

We received quite a few questions as a result of last week’s summary of the community meeting held by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to discuss the future of schools in our neighborhood, and a popular area of interest was the admission process, the difference between the types of school programs that CPS offers, and how that relates to the public elementary schools in the South Loop.

This post is the first in a two-part series that seeks to explain the types of school options available to students in CPS and how students can gain access to those options, and was written by a neighborhood mom who has helped many families navigate the system.

Please note that CPS revises their policies from time to time.  Additional detail and the most up to date information may be found on the CPS Office of Access and Enrollment website: http://cps.edu/AccessAndEnrollment/Pages/OAE.aspx.

Cat. Dog. Sam I am.

Perhaps these were the “sight” words you assumed you would be working on as your little one prepared for Kindergarten.

But you live in Chicago, and with just over 380,000 students, this is the fourth largest public school system in the U.S. so you get a whole new list:

Neighborhood Boundary. Regional Gifted Center. Magnet. Magnet Cluster. Tier. Selected Enrollment. Open Enrollment. Charter.

Are you confused yet?

This blog post will serve as a glossary for these terms and explain how they specifically apply to the two Chicago Public Schools located in the South Loop: South Loop Elementary and National Teachers Academy. For the purposes of this post, private school options and terminology will not be explored, but the South Loop does have private school options (and excellent ones at that) for those choosing to explore that educational path.

“Neighborhood School” or “Attendance Area School”

By nature of having an address, everyone residing in Chicago is assigned to one neighborhood school and is guaranteed a spot within one K-8 and one high school provided they can prove their residence within the boundary.

You can determine your assigned neighborhood school by searching your address at this link: http://cps.edu/ScriptLibrary/Map-SchoolLocator/index.html

Requires Application: No. Only registration with proof of address.

Requires Testing: No.

Sibling Preference: All siblings residing at the address are automatically accepted when they reach the age of eligibility.

South Loop Elementary School: Serves as the neighborhood K-8 for anyone living within its boundaries. See boundary map below

National Teachers Academy: Serves as the neighborhood K-8 for anyone living within its boundaries. See boundary map below

At this point, you may be asking, why isn’t this the end of the blog post? You have an address, you have an assigned school, you attend that school, end of story.  For many families, it is, and they receive an excellent education at their neighborhood school.

We all understand, however, that there are other circumstances that would cause a family to look outside of its neighborhood school for options. Some of these might include:

  • The neighborhood school is far from the parents’ work.
  • The neighborhood school does not house a preschool, and the family has a younger child.
  • The child has learning needs that are not adequately addressed by the services provided at the neighborhood school.
  • The child has a particular interest such as art, music, or world languages that is not addressed at the neighborhood school.
  • The neighborhood school does not offer before or after school care and has a start or dismissal time that would prevent a parent from being there for drop off/pick up.

This list could go on and on. For these and many other reasons, CPS offers families the opportunity to apply to other public schools that might better suit their needs.

“Selective Enrollment Schools”

Selective Enrollment Schools are sub-category of schools that includes Regional Gifted Centers, Regional Gifted Centers for English Learners, Classical Schools, International Gifted Program, and Academic Centers. They are designed for academically advanced students and are not limited by geographic boundaries: any Chicago resident may apply to any Selective Enrollment School, regardless of address, although achievement of a minimum test score is required for a student’s application to be considered.

More information on the difference between the five types of Selective Enrollment Schools can be found here: http://cps.edu/AccessAndEnrollment/Documents/OptionsforKnowledgeGuide.pdf

 Requires Application: Yes.

Requires Testing: Yes.

Sibling Preference: No. Individual applications are processed with no preference given to siblings wishing to attend the same program.

South Loop Elementary School: Houses a Regional Gifted Center for Grades 5-8. For the 2017-2018 school year, South Loop Elementary will house Grades 6-8 in its Regional Gifted Center.

National Teachers Academy: Houses a Regional Gifted Center for Grades K-4. For the 2017-2018 school year, National Teachers Academy will house Grades K-5 in its Regional Gifted Center.

“Regional Gifted Center”

Since both of the public grade schools in the South Loop house some portion of a Regional Gifted Center it is worth defining it here (directly quoted from the Office of Access and Enrollment):

“Designed to provide appropriate services for children identified as gifted. The Regional Gifted Centers provide an accelerated instructional program that places an emphasis on thinking, reasoning, problem solving and creativity. In addition to rigor in the core content areas, instruction includes a world language or Latin, laboratory science, computer science and fine arts. A differentiated, enriched curriculum allows for skill development appropriate for the gifted student’s abilities and interests.”

Application and Testing for Selective Enrollment Schools takes place in the fall before the entry year. More information can be found here: http://cps.edu/AccessAndEnrollment/Pages/Apply.aspx.

“Magnet”, “Magnet Cluster”, and “Open Enrollment” Schools

“Magnet” Schools: Specialize in one particular area (arts, technology, Montessori, humanities, etc.) and have NO neighborhood boundaries. All students must apply through a lottery system if there are fewer spaces than applicants.

“Magnet Cluster” Schools: Specialize in one particular area and ALSO IS a neighborhood school with an attendance boundary. Students wishing to attend this school from outside of the boundary must apply through a lottery system if there are fewer spaces than applicants.

“Open Enrollment” Schools: Neighborhood schools with a traditional curriculum and with an attendance boundary. Students wishing to attend this school from outside of the boundary must apply through a lottery system.

Requires Application: Yes.

Requires Testing: No.

Sibling Preference: Yes, as space allows, siblings are often given preference for enrollment at all three types of schools.

South Loop Elementary School: Open Enrollment school. Has received applications and admitted students through the Open Enrollment application.

National Teachers Academy: Open Enrollment school. Has received applications and admitted students through the Open Enrollment application.

Applications for Magnet, Magnet Cluster, and Open Enrollment schools are submitted in the fall before the entry year. More information can be found here: http://cps.edu/AccessAndEnrollment/Pages/Apply.aspx.

“Tiers”

Tiers are the categories applied to each census tract based on socio-economic criteria (income level, homeowner occupancy, adult education level, native language, percentage of single-parent households, and achievement scores).

You are assigned one of four tiers based on this data (regardless of your personal situation) and this tier is factored into admission decisions in an effort to provide an equitable opportunity for students to access Selective Enrollment and Magnet schools regardless of the typical socio-economic profile within their neighborhood.

To determine your tier, you can go use the same map we used to determine your neighborhood school: http://cps.edu/ScriptLibrary/Map-SchoolLocator/index.html.

  1. Type in your address.
  2. Click on the magnifying glass.
  3. Click on the “Overlays” icon that looks like four lines on the right hand side.
  4. Select CPS Tiers
  5. Put your cursor over the yellow push pin and your tier will appear. See example below

 

How the “Tier” System Works:

Admission to schools via the lottery system may be based on up to 3 factors, depending on the school type.  According to the CPS website, the criteria used to determine admission to each school type is listed below.

Magnet schools:  Applicants are accepted in the following order of priority.

  1. Students who already have a sibling attending the school.
  2. Students who live within 1.5 miles of the school.
  3. The remaining seats are distributed evenly across the four Tiers and students are selected randomly by a computer program.

Example:  There are 30 kindergarten seats available.  14 students who have applied already have a sibling at the school.  They are admitted.  4 students who have applied live within 1.5 miles of the school.  They are admitted.  The remaining 12 seats are allocated as follows:  3 to Tier 1 students, 3 to Tier 2 students, 3 to Tier 3 students, and 3 to Tier 4 students.

Magnet Cluster and Open Enrollment Schools:

  1. Students who already have a sibling attending the school.
  2. The remaining seats are distributed evenly across the four Tiers and students are selected randomly by a computer program.

Example:  There are 30 kindergarten seats available.  Of the students who have applied to the school, 14 students already have a sibling at the school.  They are admitted.  The remaining 16 seats are allocated as follows (picked randomly by computer from each Tier group):  4 to Tier 1 students, 4 to Tier 2 students, 4 to Tier 3 students, and 4 to Tier 4 students.

How are seats allocated in Selective Enrollment programs?

Selective Enrollment (RGC and Classical programs):  Students must first take a test to determine eligibility for their application to be considered.  If they are eligible, seats are allocated as follows:

  1. The first 30% of seats are awarded to the applicants with the highest test scores, based on rank order.
  2. The remaining seats are distributed evenly across the four Tiers and the students with the highest test scores within each Tier are selected.

Example:  There are 30 kindergarten seats available.  Of the students who applied to the school, the first 10 seats are allocated to the 10 students with the highest test scores.  The remaining 20 seats are allocated as follows:  the 5 students with the highest scores from Tier 1, the 5 students with the highest scores from Tier 2, the 5 students with the highest scores from Tier 3, and the 5 students with the highest scores from Tier 4.

 Charter Schools”

Charter Schools are public schools open to all Chicago children and are approved by the Board of Education, but they operate separately from the Board and from each other. In most cases they do not have an attendance boundary and anyone may apply to any school.

The South Loop is home to one Charter School, Perspectives Charter School, which is located at 1930 S. Archer and serves students in grades 6-12.

Each charter school has a different curriculum focus and a different application process. It is best to contact an individual school if you are interested in applying. A list of charter schools and a side-by-side comparison tool can be found here: http://cps.edu/Schools/Find_a_school/Pages/SchoolSearchResults.aspx?Type=1&Filter=CPSSchoolGrade=Elementary school;CPSSchoolType=Charter

Requires Application: Yes. Spots offered through a lottery system if there are fewer spots than applicants.

Requires Testing: No.

Sibling Preference: Yes, as space allows.

South Loop Elementary School: Is not a charter school.

National Teachers Academy: Is not a charter school.

In summary, there are many school options for students within the CPS, and the process for a student to gain admission to a school other than their neighborhood Open Enrollment school is complex and can be stressful for parents as they try to get their child placed in what they hope will be the best possible school to serve their needs.  We’ve included a simplified “cheat sheet” below to help capture the main points in a more visual format.

In part 2 of our series on CPS school options, we’ll delve into the high school application and placement process.

Jun 092017
 

Take our survey to provide input that we will summarize as a voice of the community.

The rumors and speculation that have been swirling around the South Loop for weeks were clarified Tuesday evening (June 6), as CPS unveiled a proposal to repurpose the National Teacher’s Academy PreK-8 school into a high school which would serve the South Loop, Chinatown, Armour Square, Bridgeport, and north Bronzeville neighborhoods.

June 6, 2017 CPS Community Meeting at 2nd Presbyterian.

After a presentation by CPS of the proposed plan and rationale, representatives from South Loop Elementary, the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, and National Teacher’s Academy spoke, followed by a series of community members who shared their feedback and questions to CPS about the plan.

The key themes from each community group’s remarks were as follows:

The Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community shared how their community has struggled with high school options due to needs for bilingual support / support for students who may still be achieving fluency in English and the lack of proximity to a quality high school that is not populated via selective enrollment or a city-wide lottery-based admission process.

Representatives from the South Loop Elementary Local School Council (LSC) shared how the history of overcrowding at South Loop Elementary has necessitated the plans to construct a new building, which is planned to open in the second semester of the 2018-19 school year with capacity of 1200 students. The building is planned to be the third building in the South Loop Elementary campus, in addition to the existing main school building at Plymouth Ct. and the Early Childhood Center at 19th and Federal. Together, the three buildings are projected to have a total capacity of 1800 students.

Representatives from National Teacher’s Academy (NTA) included the principal, Issac Castalez, and the head of the NTA’s Local School Council. They shared their disappointment that NTA was not included in the plans or dialogue about the proposal; a proposal which impacts NTA’s student population the most. Mr. Castalez shared that he learned of the plan on social media, not via communication from CPS directly. This lack of transparency has led to mistrust of the motives of CPS and a small special interest group who they feel have been driving a secret, closed-door agenda.

It was clear that of the three groups, NTA stands to lose, while each of the other groups will gain; Chinatown/Bridgeport et al gain a high school nearby, which they assume will be better than the Level 2 neighborhood high school options available to them today, and South Loop Elementary will gain the new building they have been asking for for years, since overcrowding became a concern.

The current plan calls for the Regional Gifted Center (RGC) which has been transitioning from South Loop Elementary to NTA over the past 4 years to be relocated to South Loop Elementary, and the neighborhood attendance boundaries for South Loop Elementary to be extended southward to 22nd Street (Cermak). Students living within the new boundary would move to the South Loop Elementary campus when the new building opens, as well as 7 students who live within the tiny remaining NTA boundary.

NTA parents expressed concern for the 383 students who are not included in these aforementioned groups. NTA, by nature of its history, has a number of students who live outside of the attendance boundary because they or their families resided in the Harold Ickes Homes, a CHA housing project which occupied the now grassy land directly to the East, along State Street. When their homes were torn down, these residents were assured that while they would be scattered from their neighbors to secure housing in other parts of the city, they would always have a school home at NTA. It is critical to maintain the promise of a community tie for these students and their families. NTA also participates in the CPS Options for Knowledge program, which allows for a number of seats in schools which are not at capacity to be filled via a city-wide lottery designed to provide school mobility to students whose own neighborhood schools are not highly ranked. There are currently 383 students at NTA who reside outside of the NTA attendance boundaries due to their affiliation with the Ickes Homes or the Options for Knowledge program, and because CPS has specifically noted that the other two student groups (RGC and those living within the new attendance boundaries) WILL be offered seats at the South Loop Elementary campus, community members are concerned that these 383 students, the majority of whom are low-income and African-American, will be forced to relocate to non-Level 1 neighborhood schools, negatively impacting their academic growth.

Feedback from the majority of the community members who spoke on behalf of the South Loop Elementary School and Chinatown/Bridgeport neighborhoods included messages that while the prospect of having a high school closer to their community is exciting, it should not come at the expense of students who are thriving and have found a school home in a better school than would otherwise have been available to them. Many NTA parents remarked after the meeting that it was refreshing and inspiring to hear members of our broader community affirm that students at NTA, regardless of their physical address, are indeed a part of our community and we have a duty to ensure that their best interests are also protected.

Some community members questioned what other alternatives, if any, were considered, and requested attendance projections to better understand whether the planned capacity of 1000 students in a converted NTA as high school would be enough to serve all of the communities who are clamoring for access. Others asked how CPS would ensure that this new high school would be of better quality than the existing Level 2 rated high schools in the area. Many residents expressed concern about the short timeframe in which the community meetings are scheduled, which affords little opportunity for constructive dialogue between meetings. One parent likened CPS’s current approach to the community meetings held in 2012 to discuss the proposal to relocate the RGC from South Loop Elementary to NTA, which he stated felt like a mere formality.

Prior to the presentation of this plan, many people in the neighborhood knew very little about NTA and its dramatic improvement, moving from a Level 3 (lowest rating) school to a Level 1 (second highest rating) in just three years. Unfortunately this rapid improvement is not yet reflected on sites which provide school ratings on real estate sites like GreatSchools.org, as data is not updated annually; the current data on that site for NTA is from 2014, when NTA had a far different climate and was only beginning its rise.

The goal of the Greater South Loop Association is to bring neighbors together in an inclusive manner to build community in our rapidly growing neighborhood. The challenge at hand presents an immense opportunity for our neighborhood to show leadership and affirm the reason why many of us chose to move here in the first place; to experience an urban lifestyle in a vibrant neighborhood which is among the most diverse in the city. Two key themes emerged through Tuesday evening’s dialogue; CPS needs to work transparently with the community on a comprehensive plan that considers current needs and planned future growth, and that plan needs to ensure that it does not come at the expense of any students in the school communities most impacted by it.

If you feel that our neighborhood can work together with CPS to solve this challenge in a way that provides the best opportunity for all, please share your thoughts and ideas via this short questionnaire or email them to us using the form below.

Comments or questions are welcome.

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