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:

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