Honor Roll: How the Elite Eight Make the Grade
Albert G. Lane Technical High School
2501 West Addison Street
Qualified applicants* 7,169
Freshman seats 1,050
Mean application score** 854
Total enrollment 4,278; 13.1% black; 28.2% white; 41% Hispanic; 11.5% Asian; 6.2% other
From low-income families† 58.2%
Extra credit “Because of our size, we have so many extras that other schools can’t offer,” says Principal Keith Foley. Topping the list are the school’s annual International Day celebration, two major plays each year, a strong athletic department, and a host of clubs ranging from philosophy to guitar.
Ivy bound Last year, two graduates went on to Harvard. Students also went to the University of Chicago, Northwestern, M.I.T., and Stanford.
Grade Old-school success
Northside College Preparatory High School
5501 North Kedzie Avenue
Qualified applicants* 5,599
Freshman seats 225
Mean application score** 956
Total enrollment 1,042; 7.1% black; 36.3% white; 21.1% Hispanic; 28.2% Asian; 7.3% other
From low-income families† 30.8%
Extra credit As part of the American constitutional law curriculum, lawyers from Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw help students write legal briefs and prepare and present arguments for several cases that are currently on the U.S. Supreme Court docket. Students later analyze the actual court decisions.
Ivy bound Last year, two students went to Brown, four to Columbia, one to Cornell, one to Dartmouth, five to Harvard, two to the University of Pennsylvania, one to Princeton, and three to Yale.
Grade Crown jewel
Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
1034 North Wells Street
Qualified applicants* 6,960
Freshman seats 200
Mean application score** 929
Total enrollment 835; 23% black; 37.5% white; 19% Hispanic; 9.9% Asian; 10.6% other
From low-income families† 30.6%
Extra credit “Kids who come to Payton are already leaders,” says Sandrai Stigler, admissions director. “We offer them opportunities to sharpen those skills.” Sixty juniors and seniors take part in a leadership training class that has brought in 18 corporate CEOs and directors of nonprofit organizations.
Ivy bound Last year six students enrolled in Ivy League schools including Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Columbia.
Jones College Preparatory High School
606 South State Street
Qualified applicants* 5,217
Freshman seats 140
Mean application score** 885
Total enrollment 734; 25.7% black; 26.4% white; 30.2% Hispanic; 12.9% Asian; 4.8% other
From low-income families† 55.4%
Extra credit Hot South Loop location gives students easy access to the nearby Harold Washington Library Center and several public and private colleges and universities. The CTA Red Line stops at the school’s front door. “It’s exciting to be downtown,” says Maureen Lai, admissions director. The Illinois State Board of Education recently recognized Jones as one of the state’s top high-performing high-poverty schools.
Ivy bound Last year, Jones sent one student to Harvard and one to the University of Pennsylvania.
Grade Rising star
Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
211 South Laflin Street
Qualified applicants* 8,471
Freshman seats 375
Mean application score** 932
Total enrollment 2,119; 32.4% black; 27.8% white; 22.2% Hispanic; 17.1% Asian; 0.5% other
From low-income families† 38%
Extra credit Young’s Academic Center provides an accelerated college prep program for 225 gifted seventh and eighth graders. These students take high-school classes and can earn as many as seven credits before they even enter their freshman year.
Ivy bound This year, three graduates are at Yale and one is at Harvard. Assistant Principal Mark Renz estimates that at least 25 other graduates are at Ivy League schools.
Grade Gold standard
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Preparatory High School
4445 South Drexel Boulevard
Qualified applicants* 2,024
Freshman seats 225
Mean application score** 804
Total enrollment 885; 90.2% black; 1.4% white; 2.7% Hispanic; 3.6% Asian; 2.1% other
From low-income families† 52.3%
Extra credit Rotating doors at the principal and assistant principal levels have left King families craving stability. Nathaniel Mason, who in January came out of retirement to serve as interim principal, has spent the past few months trying to curb low and spotty attendance. “We’re fairly young as a selective enrollment school, and our reputation is gradually improving,” he says. “You don’t just change overnight. It takes time.”
Ivy bound The first senior class will graduate in June.
Grade Wait and see
Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy
250 East 111th Street
Qualified applicants* 2,447
Freshman seats 200
Mean application score** 860
Total enrollment 781; 77.7% black; 3.3% white; 17.7% Hispanic; 0.3% Asian, 1% other
From low-income families† 65.8%
Extra credit “Our curriculum is really goal-oriented from the very beginning,” says Assistant Principal Robert Kobylski. To prepare for postcollegiate study, 33 students signed on for a new prelaw course load offered in partnership with the Northwestern University School of Law. Kobylski expects to add a premedical school program next year followed by a business track in 2007 that also will include academic sponsorship.
Ivy bound No Ivy Leaguers yet; last year for the first time a Brooks student was accepted to Yale, but chose Stanford instead.
Grade Best-kept secret
Robert Lindblom Math and Science Academy
6130 South Wolcott Avenue
Qualified applicants* 1,089
Freshman seats 150‡
Mean application score** 823
Total enrollment 114; 78.9% black; 3.5% white; 14% Hispanic; 0.9% Asian; 2.7% other
From low-income families† 60.5%
Extra credit As part of a yearlong project, ten students are putting together a historical video of the changing Englewood community. “Our students feel judged and misrepresented by the opinions of this neighborhood,” says Nathan Diamond, art teacher and one of the project leaders. “This is one way for us to step out in the community.” Diamond expects the project to continue next year and hopes students eventually can turn the material into a short documentary.
Ivy bound Lindblom will graduate its first class in 2009.
Grade Generating buzz
Sources: 2005 Chicago Public Schools Student Racial/Ethnic Survey, CPS School Scorecards, and CPS Selective Enrollment High Schools 2005 Applicant Statistics.
* Students may apply to as many as four selective enrollment high schools. Students “qualify” to take the selective enrollment entrance exam if they have scored at least in the 41st percentile in reading and math on a standardized test.
** Out of a maximum of 1,000. Student application scores are based on a composite of seventh-grade reading and math standardized test scores (300 points) and grades in reading, math, science, and social studies (300); seventh-grade attendance (100 points); and an entrance exam taken in eighth grade (300 points).
† Percentage is based on the number of students on free or reduced-price school lunches.
‡ Lindblom reopened as selective enrollment at the start of the 2005-2006 school year with just a freshman class. It was able to fill only 114 of its freshman spots, but expects to fill up next year as its reputation grows.