Catalyst finds neighborhood high schools losing neighborhood kids

Catalyst, in a report issued earlier this week, noted that neighborhood high schools have fewer and fewer students from within their attendance area.

“Five years ago, no high school enrolled fewer than 20 percent of the students in its attendance area,” Catalyst notes. However “the flight from neighborhood school is the result of the district’s orchestrated policy to give students more choices.”

The interactive map shows declines in neighborhood enrollment in every Ravenswood school, and also those serving parts of the neighborhood.

  • Mather currently enrolls 48 percent, down from 54 percent in 2006-7
  • Sullivan currently enrolls 29 percent, down from 39 percent in 2006-7
  • Senn currently enrolls 28 percent, down from 36 percent in 2006-7
  • Roosevelt currently enrolls 43 percent, down from 51 percent in 2006-7
  • Lake View currently enrolls 30 percent, down from 36 percent in 2006-7
  • Amundsen currently enrolls 39 percent, down from 46 percent in 2006-7

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North Attendance Area High Schools report

***Dec. 2, 2011 @ 4.09P An updated map and spread sheet on this subject is available. ***

How would you rank our area public schools?

In the next week parents will be sent a new report by the Chicago Public Schools. According to media reports, the ‘progress reports’ will accompany student report cards starting today.

The reports will emphasize students reaching benchmarks to go to college, according to the Chicago Tribune. Other indicators will include “teacher and staffing information, graduation rates, school climate, leadership and parent satisfaction,” the report says.

All of these measures are available through independent sources gathered here for you by The Bulldog.

Using surveys published within the past 18 months by Newsweek and Chicago Magazine, test scores compiled and analyzed by the Chicago Sun-Times, input from parents, students and community members on GreatSchools and in a University of Chicago survey and finally data provided by the Chicago Public Schools, The Bulldog set out this week to understand our public school system.

It is a difficult system to navigate. In the Ravenswood area there are four area public high schools: Lane Tech, Amundsen, Lake View and DeVry. In addition, a high school student has a wide choice of other schools. And a small part of our coverage has attendance at other schools, Roosevelt and Senn.

Mistakes made by parents and adults are paid for by children.

And we find this very frustrating: virtually no one in politics takes responsibility for the problems. They blame unions, parents, ‘the schools.’ We might look no deeper than the TIF issue to understand how this sorry situation has been twisted to benefit long-time politicians.

The Bulldog chose to start by creating a database that presents in one place a place for you to examine all the information on your school choices. We’ve presented this information to you as a searchable Google map and as a spread sheet that you can use to sort, filter and examine the information.

Today, we move on, providing information gathered about area public high schools.

In addition, we’ve added an outline so that parents who don’t live in Ravenswood or the North Attendance area can follow along and develop their own database. (For questions, see our report on elementary school posted yesterday.)

Did you have a suggestion? Did you see an error? Drop it in the comments and we’ll try to deal with it.

 

*** Update to table on Nov. 8, 2011 @ 11.24A. ***

A sharp-eyed reader asked about the ACT scores for Amundsen. We checked all the ACT scores and discovered that Amundsen and Lake View were incorrect, based on the CPS.edu site. In addition we added the ACT score for Northside Learning. The table has been corrected and the map should reflect the new results going forward.

We apologize for the error.

 

Mashup of Public High Schools for Ravenswood students

 

The Ratings and Rankings

 

Further Notes on the Schools

The instructions to follow regarding locating your neighborhood high school’s attendance districts are similar to those presented for the elementary schools. However the maps are in a different location. So, for instruction, finding information on schools not in our report follow these links to see a map of high school attendance districts.

North: http://www.cps.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/Zone%20maps/HS_North_Near_North.pdf

West/ Central and South: http://www.cps.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/Zone%20maps/HS_West_Central_South.pdf

Far South: http://www.cps.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/Zone%20maps/HS_Far_South.pdf

Ravenswood and North Attendance elementary schools scorecard

***UPDATED 12/2/2011 A more recent version of the map and spreadsheet are available.***

 

How would you rank our area public schools?

In the next week parents will be sent a new report by the Chicago Public Schools. According to media reports, the ‘progress reports’ will accompany student report cards starting today.

The reports will emphasize students reaching benchmarks to go to college, according to the Chicago Tribune. Other indicators will include “teacher and staffing information, graduation rates, school climate, leadership and parent satisfaction,” the report says.

All of these measures are available through independent sources gathered here for you by The Bulldog.

Using surveys published within the past 18 months by Newsweek and Chicago Magazine, test scores compiled and analyzed by the Chicago Sun-Times, input from parents, students and community members on GreatSchools and in a University of Chicago survey and finally data provided by the Chicago Public Schools, The Bulldog set out this week to understand our public school system.

It is a difficult system to navigate. In the Ravenswood area there are four area public high schools: Lane Tech, Amundsen, Lake View and DeVry. In addition, a high school student has a wide choice of other schools. And a small part of our coverage has attendance at other schools, Roosevelt and Senn.

Mistakes made by parents and adults are paid for by children.

And we find this very frustrating, virtually no one in politics takes responsibility for the problems. They blame unions, parents, ‘the schools.’ We might look no deeper than the TIF issue to understand how this sorry situation has been twisted to benefit long-time politicians.

The Bulldog chose to start by creating a database that presents in one place a place for you to examine all the information on your school choices. We’ve presented this information to you as a searchable Google map and as a spread sheet that you can use to sort, filter and examine the information.

Today, we start with our area elementary schools.

In addition, we’ve added an outline so that parents who don’t live in Ravenswood or the North Attendance area can follow along and develop their own database.

Did you have a suggestion? Did you see an error? Drop it in the comments and we’ll try to deal with it.

 

Ravenswood area neighborhood schools

North Attendance Area selective enrollment schools

 

 

The Ratings and Rankings

Further Notes on the Schools

 

Political Representation

Q: Where is the information from? What does it mean?

A: CPS Performance rating is a ranking of 1-100 issued for each school by the Chicago Public Schools. A score of 100 is best. If a school is on probation this is noted in the balloon. The information is available on the CPS.edu website.

The Chicago Sun-Times ranking of elementary schools (classes K-5), middle schools (classes 6-8) and high schools (classes 9-12) ranks schools based on the number of schools ranked. A ranking of one is best.

The University of Chicago Consortium study of CPS schools is exhaustive, covering many of the ‘soft’ issues that educators and parents believe are important to success. Each school has exhaustive reports including surveys of students who praise and critique the school. This ranking is based on a scale of -5 to +5. +5 is considered the best.

The Chicago Magazine ranking of schools was published in June 2010. The ranking of the top 250 elementary schools includes both city and suburban public schools. A ranking of 1 is best.

The GreatSchools site invites parents, students and educators to discuss their school. This rating is based on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being best and is awarded by the site. Further scores are published for community involvement.

Q: I don’t see my school. Why? 

A: Maybe we missed it? Ask a comment, we’ll answer. Other reasons: this is a site primarily designed for neighbors in the Ravenswood neighborhood. In the process of creating the database we attempted to identify every school choice for Ravenswood parents in CPS. That means that all of the North Attendance Area selective enrollment schools should be included.

Parents in the other two attendance area will need to develop their own data base. (This is really time consuming, but we’ll help by showing what we did. See our outline, below).

Q: My school shows a N/A or a N/R. What does that mean?

The reports are not comprehensive. In some cases no data was posted for a school.

In the case of one school, Chicago International Charter School, also known as CICS, we had issues with the data as it was sometimes aggregated for the more than 4,000 students in the CICS system of schools instead of for each school. Why is that important? Examine the relative differences for the Noble Street Schools, also charters, and you’ll see that the information should be broken down by school.

Q: One survey says the school is on probation, another lists it among the best, still another says the school didn’t meet Annual Yearly Progress. Help!

It is difficult to penetrate all the lingo used by educators. Our advice is to stop them when the initials come out and ask them to explain each set of initials.

There are differences in how different measures view the progress of a school. You as an adult will need to evaluate the different measures and make an informed decision.

Now, the AYP trips up even the best schools. A school can fail to meet AYP for RELATIVELY low scores in math or reading. We believe you’ll find AYP reports for the top three schools in the area. In some cases, the students in some categories, such as minorities or disabled, scored in the 80′s, missing the AYP of a score in the 90′s.

In other cases, among the poorest scoring schools, AYP demanded scores in the twenties or thirties and were missed. It is all RELATIVE.

But it is also an indicator of where the resources of the school, often determined by the Local School Council, should be focused.

Q: What other advice do you have for a parent?

First, we’ve listed the politicians responsible for these schools. This is not only your money, it is your child’s future being screwed up. Hold them responsible for improving the schools.

We’ve found the politicians love to cut ribbons, but they are also taking property taxes from TIF districts and using them for planters and special deals for developers. YOU have to say you notice and are holding them responsible for the schools.

The second advice we have is to dive deep into the University of Chicago Consortium report. The report explores areas that experts, parents and students all agree are critical to academic success. Here is one example, one school in the area discusses poor leadership with teachers criticizing each other.  That is an area of concern.

Which brings us to our final piece of advice. Go to the Local School Council meeting. Introduce yourself to the parent and community member representatives. If every parent in the school made a commitment to attend one LSC meeting during the year there would be dramatic increases in LSC participation.

Q: My primary language is Spanish (or Polish or Greek or something else). Do you have this report available in Spanish?

No. We are language illiterate here at The Bulldog. We apologize. There is a widget available that can give a rough translation of the text. You’ll find it on the sidebar to the right.

Q: Okay, but how was this information gathered? How do I do it for my neighborhood school that is not in Ravenswood?

Follow the instructions below.

  1. CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS DATA… Go to the following link and to find your school: http://www.cps.edu/Schools/Find_a_school/Pages/Findaschool.aspx
    1. If you know your school name enter it in the box. The CPS site is an unfriendly site: sometimes entering part of a school name works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes there is no listing when you’ve been accurate with your spelling. If you can’t find the school through the name box, enter the ZIP Code the school is in. That should give you a list of every school in the ZIP Code.
    2. Find a map of Chicago ZIP Codes here: http://www.city-data.com/zipmaps/Chicago-Illinois.html
    3. We found that looking for schools through ZIP Code returned the best results. The querry will return a list of all schools in a ZIP Code. Most schools will be ‘neighborhood’ schools. These schools have “attendance districts.” You can find the attendance districts for the city on the map here:
      1. North http://www.cps.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/Zone%20maps/Elem_North.pdf
      2. Near North/ West/ Central http://www.cps.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/Zone%20maps/Elem_Near_North_West_Central.pdf
      3. South http://www.cps.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/Zone%20maps/Elem_South.pdf
      4. Far South http://www.cps.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/Zone%20maps/Elem_Far_South.pdf
    4. If you follow the hyper-link to the school you’ll find a page called ‘At-a-glance.’ The information from our report is not on this tab. It is under the tab called “Scorecard.”
    5. Scorecard gets meaty.
      1. The performance rating we publish in our balloon comes from the bold faced number immediately below the check boxes.
      2. A second number to examine here is the probation status of the school. Charter schools are not put on probation and will have a N/A checked.
      3. Below that are scores for the previous three years detailing about nine measures. The most interesting score to us was the ‘Relative school impact on student growth’ measured against reading and math. We believe these should be positive. Negative numbers here seem to indicate the school is holding students back.
      4. Finally below, at the bottom, are some important reports presented in PDF format. We found class size by examining the ‘State School Report Card’ for each school. That was a lengthy process.
  2. CHICAGO SUN-TIMES RANKING… The Chicago Sun-Times ranking report can be found at this site: http://fh.suntimes.com/reportcards/
    1. We found that the report was difficult to navigate. So we set it up to return a list only of CPS schools, then looked for the schools we were listing.
      1. Click ‘Advanced Search’.
      2. Under District go to “City of Chicago SD 299”. Click search.
      3. The return will be a list of all CPS schools. Choose the school you are interested in.
        1. At the top of the next page will be the name of the school, attendance and the grades served. This is a very long report with a lot of great information.
        2. On the next line, below the hyper-links, the Sun-Times lists school rank.
        3. Below that is some text. Much of it is boilerplate. Take a moment to read why the school missed its AYP. Not the Composite scores in the box.
        4. Far down the page is where you can find average class size for the school. The Bulldog used a different source for its class size.
  3. UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO CONSORTIUM REPORT AND RATINGS… The University of Chicago Consortium report can be found here: https://www.ccsrsurvey.uchicago.edu/2011/
    1. You’ll either need the ZIP Code or the school name to start your search. By the time we got to this report for the database, we had already developed our list of target schools. This is the best independent report and is based on independent information. All the other information is based on reports to the state. Everything else is based on the same base of information. We highly recommend reading these reports in depth.
  4. CHICAGO MAGAZINE RANKINGS… The article for Chicago Magazine starts here: http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/October-2010/Best-Elementary-Schools-Ranking-Charts/
    1. Follow the link to the best Chicago schools: http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/October-2010/Best-Elementary-Schools-City-of-Chicago/
    2. The link isn’t obvious, but the ranking continues here: http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/October-2010/Best-Elementary-Schools-City-of-Chicago/
    3. The immediate issue with the ranking is that it seems to be based only on the percent of students who meet or exceed the state standard. So, other factors that determine success, such as those measured by the UofC study, are ignored.
    4. Finally, it appears the data in this study is dated, as the methodology indicated it was based on reports from 2005.
  5. GREATSCHOOLS RATING… Finally we get to the GreatSchools ranking. The site notes here: http://www.greatschools.org/illinois/chicago/Chicago-Public-Schools/that deadlines for high schools are due in December and for elementary schools in January.
    1. This page allows you to browse the top ranked schools. To find a particular school we used the text box in the upper right corner. This site will anticipate your key strokes with suggestions for the school based on what you type.  The site also has comments from students, staff and parents about the school.

Raise Your Hand to host town hall meeting Tuesday at Coonley School

 A forum hosted by the education reform organization Raise Your Hand will be held at Coonley Elementary  School this Tuesday  at 6:30 PM. RYH has organized this forum to solicit input on the longer school day and current waiver situation. Alderman Ameya Pawar, it is reported will be in attendance for the meeting.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
6:30 pm
Coonley Elementary
4046 N Leavitt

 

 

 

 

Gordon says no to CPS

JACK LYDON CONTRIBUTED TO THIS STORY

Gordon Tech has said no to Chicago Public School interest in leasing part of its building for use by Audubon Entrepreneurial High School. The Congregation of the Resurrection, which runs the Roman Catholic High School, said in a blog post “the Congregation will not allow the use of its space to any organization that is not aligned with their mission.”

The blog, headlined “Congregation turns down CPS comingling at Gordon Tech,” was also referred to on the Gordon Tech home page.

Gordon Tech has said NO to CPS interest in its campus

Gordon Tech has said NO to CPS interest in its campus. Credit: Patrick Boylan

Gordon, which last reported it had an enrollment of 814 to the IHSA, is reported to have about half of its facility available. The blog said Gordon’s excess capacity “is attractive to prospective renters due to its modern design and large capacity—thus peaking the interest of multiple organizations looking to expand their programs.”

Gordon “currently leases this space to a performing arts group, a neighboring college and the Archdiocese of Chicago,” the blog said.

“While the proposed new school has many positive qualities, we believe that the Gordon Tech community is best served by adhering to its Catholic, private school mission,” said Fr. Michael Danek, Provincial Superior of the Congregation of the Resurrection USA Province. Gordon says its mission is “built on the core values of Faith, Respect, Discipline, and Excellence, thus ensuring the development of sound character. Driven by a spirit of inquiry Gordon Tech prepares its scholars for success at the university level and beyond.”

The no closes the books on rumors that Gordon would lease space to the new CPS small school effort. The entrepreneurial high school is projected to have space for just 500 students. John Price will be the principal of both Audubon Elementary School and the new high school.

Audubon is a neighborhood school. It reported 508 students, according to the most recent report.

Gordon, a co-ed college prep high school, was a sister school to Weber High School. Weber closed in 1999 due to low enrollment and is now a CPS middle school called Northwest.

Bell shines in disappointing school report

Bell School was ranked 13th among all CPS elementary schools in an internal grading of all district schools obtained by the Chicago Tribune.

Bell School was ranked 13th among all CPS elementary schools in an internal grading of all district schools obtained by the Chicago Tribune.

Bell School was given an “A” grade by the Chicago Public Schools and was ranked 13th among all Chicago Public elementary schools in an internal school board report of academic performance, a Bulldog analysis of Chicago Tribune data released this morning indicates.

The data, which gives a dark picture of failing schools and a generation of students suffering from inadequate education, was obtained by the Tribune and described by the newspaper’s report as coming from “internal documents.”

What’s novel about this measure is that it offers a glimpse of the district’s own view of school quality,” the report said. “The ratings take in a variety of indicators including test scores, dropout rates and attendance. The scores are based on 2008-2009 test results as well as trends over time.”

[For a full discussion of the grades, what they mean, what observers make of them and maybe why they are not a full and complete picture of the schools, see the original Tribune article.]

In the Ravenswood neighborhood the numbers are disappointing. Three of the four high schools in the neighborhood are rated C-. Amundsen and Lake View, both ranked as a C-, however, saw improvements in their score, year over year. The three schools have 3,437 students registered and include one charter school, DeVry Advantage Academy.

Three neighborhood schools are given D+ or D- grades, McPherson, Trumbull and Ravenswood. The three schools registered 1,598 students, the report says.

Overall, 45.07 percent of high school students in CPS attend schools that are given an F. While half the 19 high schools ranked as Failing showed improvement year over year, 18 lost ground, the report indicates.

Including schools with a D+ or worse, 71,753 CPS students, fully 69.46 percent of CPS high school students, are enrolled in schools with poor performance.

Ravenswood Elementary School falls into the category of risk with a D- score. It’s overall score fell by more than half, it was scored as a C+ last year. 431 students attend Ravenswood according to the report.

Two other Ravenswood neighborhood schools fell into the D+ range: McPherson and Trumbull. McPherson’s performance fell from a C+ in the previous year while Trumbull fell from a B+ in the previous year.

Coonley saw dramatic improvement. It was ranked a B+, good enough to be ranked 51st among all CPS elementary schools. Courtenay, which saw its score fall slightly from a B to a B-, was ranked 72nd among all CPS elementary schools.

To see the data used by the Tribune, download here.

HIGH SCHOOLS OVERALL

Grade # Schools Enrollment
A 3 2706
A- 1 2262
B+ 1 4208
B 2 4606
B- 3 1275
C 6 7382
C- 13 12152
D+ 4 7012
D 12 10001
D- 8 8184
F 40 46556
TOTAL 95 103289

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS OVERALL

Grade # Schools Enrollment
A+ 5 4086
A 13 7628
A- 25 14477
B+ 5 4086
B 12 6431
B- 23 14248
C+ 42 29067
C 62 37155
C- 62 34504
D+ 42 29067
D 37 18133
D- 51 25598
F 108 50474
TOTAL 487 274954

NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS

School Name Overall rank Enrollment 2008-9 Score 2009-10 Score Grade
Lane Tech 6 4208 75 75 B
Amundsen 17 1589 44.4 45.4 C-
DeVry
Advantage Academy
22 197 63.5 50.8 C-
Lake View 25 1651 41.7 44.4 C-
HS Total 7645
Bell 13 944 81 88.1 A
Coonley 51 444 47.6 78.6 B+
Courtenay 72 236 74.4 71.4 B-
Waters 132 450 64.3 69 C+
Budlong 145 861 76.2 57.1 C
Chappell 149 426 61.9 59.5 C
McPherson 286 699 64.3 47.6 D+
Trumbull 293 468 78.6 45.2 D+
Ravenswood 419 431 66.7 33.3 D-
Elementary
Total
4959

Waters Field House comes down; Dreams stay up

The Waters Elementary School Field House was demolished on Monday. The Field House, located in a garden at the south end of the property, had become a center for a community garden and an ecology program at the school. The school plans to replace the building with a much smaller structure, according to Pete Leki.

The rubble of the Waters Elementary School Field House. In the background, the new addition to the school.

The rubble of the Waters Elementary School Field House. In the background, the new addition to the school. Credit: Patrick Boylan

“This is a great building,” Leki said outside the building on Sunday. “It’s a beautiful space. We’ve done our best in the past week to take away as much as we can both so things are reused– to prevent it from being dumped, and as memorabilia.”

As Leki spoke, a family was transplanting garlic in a plot it used. Volunteers carted away as much of the building as they could. Filing cabinets, desks, chairs, doors and sinks were posted on Flikr, with the hope they would find a new home.

The structure was painted with a mural that Leki said has been documented. But all that remains this morning is a pile of smashed lumber. Among the wood and metal, brightly colored parts of the mural that once celebrated what was here.

“We had a great send-off,” Leki said of a Riverbank Neighbors Spring celebration of the building. “We’ll just carry on.”

All that remained on Monday evening of the Waters Elementary School Field House. The structure will be replaced with a much smaller building according to Pete Leki.

All that remained on Monday evening of the Waters Elementary School Field House. The structure will be replaced with a much smaller building according to Pete Leki. Credit: Patrick Boylan

Waters Elementary School: 4540 N Campbell Ave., Chicago, IL

Bulldog in FOIA dispute with CPS over LSC candidates

The Welles Park Bulldog is seeking to force the Chicago Public Schools to release the nominating petitions of residents running for Local School Council in eleven schools, part of an effort by the on-line publication that pits privacy issues against the public’s right to know.

The Form 1-10, used by candidates for election to Local School Council

The Chicago Public Schools are claiming a form that states "the names and addresses of Local School Council members are a matter of public record" shouldn't be released to the Bulldog.

In a March 12th letter by Bulldog attorney Terrance Norton, Director of the Center for Open Government, to the Chicago Public Schools Freedom of Information Act Officer, Cassandra Daniels, the Bulldog requested the nominating petitions, known as Form 1-10, of Bell, Coonley, Ravenswood, Waters, Budlong, Chappell, McPherson, Courtenay, Lake View, Amundsen and Lane schools.

The form, which can be accessed here: [http://www.cps.edu/About_CPS/Departments/Documents/LSC/Form%201-10%20Candidate%20Nomination%20Form%20-%20ENGLISH.pdf], includes information the school board claims is personal and subject to an exemption under the FOIA law. Norton said that although he has had telephone conversations with Daniels, as of March 23, Norton says the school board has not replied with a written explanation of its decision. Illinois law requires public bodies to reply to FOIA requests within five working days.

“I do not agree that the use of those exemptions is proper as to the requests for the nominating petitions,” Norton said. “My client works for an electronic media that seeks to educate parents as to the qualifications of LSC candidates; and he needs to get and disseminate the information prior to the upcoming LSC elections.”

“I find it disturbing that the schools ignored the initial request of attorney Norton,” Welles Park Bulldog Editor Patrick Boylan said. “The schools, which are charged with teaching the value of our constitution, are presenting students with an excellent example of government non-responsiveness to public demands as represented by enactment of the revised FOIA laws in Illinois.

“Second, it is difficult for citizens to evaluate the character and aims of candidates without an open accounting by the candidates,” Boylan said. Boylan noted that the decision by the school district to extend the date to accept LSC nominating petitions meant that in some schools, the LSC public forum could happen before the nominating process closes.

The school board encourages people to become involved in “democratic government” at the “grass roots” level, Boylan noted, but attempts to put roadblocks in place to community involvement.

The Center for Open Government, housed at the Chicago Kent law offices,exists to support citizens who seek to exercise the powers of their office. “Citizens need a constant stream of information to provide meaningful attention to the actions of government,” the center believes. The Center offers the legal resources necessary to empower those citizens and stands with them as they exercise the powers of their office.

The Welles Park Bulldog is an on-line publication that provides news for the Ravenswood, North Center, Lincoln Square, Ravenswood Manor, St. Bens, Ravenswood Gardens, Rockwell Crossing and Graceland West communities. It’s mission is to “engage and inform readers about the important issues of the day, while serving the information needs of the community.

“The site will be a place where neighbors can thoughtfully discuss the important issues of the day,” according to its mission statement.

Welles Park Bulldog was formed this month following a partnership decision to terminate the Center Square Ledger, of which Mr. Boylan was editor.