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Methods and Sources
In its October 2007 issue, Chicago presented a wide array of statistical data about 233 public high schools. Now we take a look at the area’s private high schools.
This chart provides data for 56 private high schools—or the high-school segment of schools that include kindergarten through grade 12—in the six-county metro area. Chicago requested information about the 2006-2007 academic year from 83 private schools; all the schools that responded have been included on the chart. The anomalies in the data submitted by particular schools are explained in the annotations below.
The three columns following the name of the school indicate the town where the school is situated, the school’s religious affiliation, if any, and the number of students enrolled in grades 9 through 12 at the school. If enrollment is limited to students of one sex, that is indicated with an (F) for female or an (M) for male. Chicago’s De La Salle Institute has separate campuses for boys and girls, but for purposes of this survey, the two schools have combined their data. With a high-school enrollment of 67 students, Chicago Waldorf School and Lycée Français de Chicago are the smallest schools on the list; Loyola Academy in Wilmette, with 2,000 students, is the largest.
Like most colleges and universities, many private schools accept only a fraction of the students who apply. A low rate of acceptance can be a mark of exclusivity. By that measure, Francis W. Parker School is the most exclusive school on the list, rejecting four out of every five applicants to the high school. One Catholic school, St. Joseph High School in Westchester, accepts 100 percent of the students who apply. Twenty-one schools accept 95 percent or more of the students who apply. Lycée Français accepts 98 percent of applicants, but all applicants must speak fluent French. “Otherwise,” says Delphine Lenoir, the school’s director of admissions and communications, “we are not able to take new students at the high-school level.” Other schools have similar built-in restrictions. “Wheaton Academy seeks students from evangelical Christian families,” says Dave Pacheco, the school’s communications coordinator—which means that many potential students won’t even bother to apply. At Parker, which educates kids from junior kindergarten through 12th grade, most graduates of the eighth grade continue on to the high school. “We take in only 10 to 20 new high-school students each year,” says Dan Frank, the principal at Parker—and the competition for those spots can be fierce.