North Center is Hot! Hot! Hot!

North Center is Hot! Hot! Hot!

Chicago’s North Center neighborhood

has been a terrific investment over the last 5 years!


During the last 5 years, families have moved into North Center to take advantage of great CPS neighborhood schools:

alexander bell elementary schoolAlexander Bell  (website)

coonley elementaryAvery Coonley (website)

audubon elementaryAudubon (website)

Statistics about home sales

in North Center:

    • # of Home Sales (2015) are up 62% since 2010
    • Median Sales Prices (2015) are up 39% since 2010
    • In June, July and August, 2016 alone, 246 homes closed vs 227 in 2015!!!
    • Their average price was $1,201,975 in J/J/A 2016
    • The average % sold to list price was 98.8% in J/J/A 2016

Click on the Graph Below to see prices throughout the last 5 years…

Thinking about buying in one of these school districts?

Check out homes in each of the elementary school districts…

Click on the photo or link below to find homes for sale in Bell, Audubon, and Coonley Elementary School Districts

Homes for sale in Bell District

Homes for Sale in the Bell School District

Homes for sale in Audubon District

Homes for Sale in the Audubon School District

Homes for Sale in Coonley District

Homes for sale in the Coonley District

Thinking of Selling your North Center Home?


Here are some options for learning about your North Center home’s value…
Resources for CPS Families – PIN by 11/28, application by 12/9/16:
If you would like to be put in contact with a parent from a particular school,
I would be happy to make an introduction- 
email me today!

Contact Anne today to learn more about North Center Homes for Sale!

Email her today!

Chicago High Schools – Selective Enrollment Process

Welcome back to school!


Everyone’s back in school now, and we’re all looking forward to a great year!

If you have an 8th grader in the CPS system, this is a big week. It’s time to get moving on the Chicago High Schools application process!

There’s a big change in the selective enrollment process this year – the ELIGIBILITY LETTER.  The CPS OAE site reports:

Eligibility Letters for CPS and charter school students will be distributed to students through their school counselors the first week of school.  Eligibility Letters for non-CPS students will be mailed to their homes after the student takes the NWEA MAP. 

I’ll be curious to hear if these letters went out last week, if it went smoothly, and how parents are feeling about this change. Add your comments to this post and let me know your experience!

For those who are eligible, they may now begin prepping for the Dec/Jan entrance exams, the 3rd piece of the entrance requirements.

I’ve never been a fan of this process – what stress! However, test prep CAN help some kids. Here are some class/tutoring options you might want to check out:

How are Chicago High Schools’ Selective Enrollment Students Chosen?

CPS tiers for selective enrollment   Selective Enrollment High Schools base their enrollment on a 900 point system (and their address – see the map)

1.  NWEA test scores  , previously the ISAT test scores (see article about the switch) – 300 points

2.  Grade point average – Core subjects- English, Math, Science, Social Studies (300 points)

3.  8th Grade Selective Enrollment Test Scores (300 points)

Here are the score results from last year’s 8th grade class, using the NWEA tests:

Mean/Minimum Test Scores for each Chicago Selective Enrollment High School

Select this link for a step by step accounting of how students can enroll in a Selective Enrollment High School.

How do you apply for Chicago Selective Enrollment High Schools?

This Week   If your child is eligible, he/she will receive a letter at school (if they currently go to a CPS elementary school).

Sept 19     You can open your CPS account (select this link)

Oct 1       Begin the application process – choose a test date

Oct 1 – 12/12  APPLY — you have to go BACK after you’ve scheduled the exam to make the formal application.


Visit the High Schools This Fall!

Many parents/students like to visit the schools before making their final preferences on the CPS high school application. See this list of fall open houses, and be sure to visit!

CPS Selective Enrollment High School Open Houses


Articles and links of note:

walter payton college prep

Is all this CPS HIgh School Stuff Stressing you Out?

Contact Anne Rossley

to find out how you an live in a

great CPS neighborhood high school


get more information on the Chicago High School Options!

Anne Rossley


CPS High Schools – Which Schools do Top Students Choose?


Chicago has 5 Selective Enrollment High Schools who score among the top 10 schools in the state.


Are these schools truly the best, or are they just attracting the best students?

WBEZ posted a great article that graphically demonstrates the relationship between student EXPLORE scores and their eventual high school choice.

WBEZ voices the concern:

Is the city’s school choice system actually creating better schools, or is it simply sorting certain students out and leaving the weakest learners in separate, struggling schools?

Chicago Public Schools

There were 104 kids who scored a perfect 25 on the EXPLORE exam. One hundred of them — 96 percent — enrolled in just six of the city’s 130 high schools (Northside, Whitney Young, Payton, Lane, Lincoln Park, and Jones).

See how student achievement relates to high school choice in an interactive chart linking each score in 2012 to a school.  Sort schools by type, demographics or location, and explore and compare the distribution of scores at each school.


CPS high school sort

CPS High School Admissions Results – Selective Enrollment and CTE


The CPS Office of Access and Enrollment is feverishly finishing the selection process for this year’s Chicago 8th grade students.

Letters are to be mailed this Friday by the central office, letting 8th grade students and their parents know which selective enrollment high school, if any, they will be attending in the fall.

In addition, special program invitations will also be mailed.

For Jones College Prep, 390 “offers to attend” will be sent for selective enrollment seats. The class size should be about 350, so OAE Jones College Prepexpects around 40 students to decline the opportunity to enroll at JCP. For the 75 CTE slots, 75 letters will be mailed.

CPS has cross-referenced the selective enrollment and CTE  applications – if a student applied to both selective enrollment AND CTE at Jones College Prep, and he/she qualifies for the selective enrollment program, he will be slotted into that group. No one should receive an invitation to both programs at Jones College Prep.

This year, 4000 applications city-wide were submitted for the 75 CTE slots at Jones College Prep.   Last year, there were 1000 applications. For Jones, CTE is the pre-law and pre-engineering program that is geared to neighborhood students. Students are not separated from the selective enrollment students – they take all the same honors classes as everyone else. They have, however, a pre-law or pre-engineering  class each semester that relates to their particular interest.

After the selective enrollment assignments are made, the process for CTE selection begins.  OAE has 2 pools of applicants – a)  neighborhood, and b) outside the JCP boundary.  These applications are placed in order, beginning with the highest score. Students FROM THE NEIGHBORHOOD are offered CTE slots first, in order of their scores. As seats are assigned, and the scores drop, eventually an application will have a score 150 points below the tier 1 cutoff for Jones (a number that’s not published as of this writing).  At that point, the selection process moves to the OUTSIDE – BOUNDARY students, and begins at the top. As previously mentioned, these 75 invitations will also go out in the mail on Friday.

We don’t know the ratio of “neighborhood” to “outside-boundary” applications, so it’s impossible to tell what any particular student’s chances are of getting in to this new and popular CPS program. This is only the 2nd year for the program, so historic numbers aren’t indicative of the program’s current popularity. Parents may remember that the program was recently announced that many didn’t even know of the program last year. That was last year! This year, based on the success of the program and the new building’s debut, the four-fold increase in applications isn’t surprising.

One fact remains — there are not enough seats available for students who want them, or for that matter, deserve them.

Great CPS school choices for B students are nil, and as the popularity increases for programs like Jones’ CTE (pre-law, pre-engineering), more private school elementary students will migrate to the Chicago Public School system for high school, leaving even fewer options available to students who grew up in the CPS elementary school system.

Once these admission letters are mailed, each high school will follow up with an information packet to their students. This packet will provide information on the school, as well as procedures for accepting the offer to attend. In the case of Jones College Prep, packets will go out right away, including an invitation for Freshman Welcome Night – March 4 and 5 — when students and parents can turn in their acceptance forms and learn about the registration process.

chicago public school admissions letters arrivingAt this writing, Jones College Prep does NOT have the list of accepted students from OAE.  They may not have the list until Friday, so the packets are now being stuffed to wait for the lucky winners’ address labels.

I’ve gone through this process 3 times, and my heart goes out to the Chicago families who are waiting to hear if they got into the selective enrollment high school of their choice. It’s a very stressful time. I wish you all the best!

Did anyone warn the mail carriers that Chicago parents will be stalking them on Saturday?!?!

If you have a question about navigating the Chicago Public School system,
and you’re looking for a parent who can give some insight or direction,
please give me a call!

I can’t promise I know every answer, but I can point you in a more helpful direction!

Anne Rossley


Anne Rossley

Chicago Selective Enrollment High School Admissions

I don’t know how many applications have been entered into the system for the CPS selective enrollment freshman class of 2018 – I’m sure, though, it’s a new record. This past Saturday, January 25, was the last date for 8th graders to take the exam, 1 of 3 criteria used in the admissions process. (Select this link to get FAQs on the CPS Selective Enrollment Process)

chicago public schools

The selective enrollment high school experience is the finest education opportunity in the state of Illinois.

As many of you know, I’m the Chairperson for the Friends of Jones parent organization. I’m a huge fan of Chicago Public Schools, and more specifically, the teachers and administrations who go above and beyond to provide a great educational experience for our kids.

Jones College Prep has become one of the premier selective enrollment schools, indeed, one of the best schools in the state of Illinois. (It’s the first CPS school to win the Dept of Education’s Blue Ribbon Award.) When the new Jones College Prep building was under construcxtion this year, the South Loop neighbors raised concerns about local education opportunities, and Mayor Emanuel answered by creating the CTE program for engineering/law. Students apply for 75 seats in the freshman class each year that offer pre-engineering/pre-law educational experiences – in addition to the honors-only college prep classes in this world-class facility.

Jones College PrepHaving worked closely with department chairs Chuck Trott (engineering) and Christy Gerst (law), I cannot image finer leaders and educators for the talented and fortunate students who are selected into their programs. Students won’t learn until March if they’re accepted, but I want to say, “Congratulations!” now to those who will soon learn that they have been accepted into this fine program.

I understand that over 4000 applications were submitted for these 75 slots. WOW!!!!

jones college prep - best kept secret

Granted, most have probably ALSO applied for the general selective enrollment seats, but I’m delighted that Chicago is already recognizing what an amazing program Jones is offering.

Jones College Prep used to be the best kept secret in Chicago education, but it’s a secret NO MORE!

Want to find homes for sale in the Jones CTE Boundaries?

homes for sale - Jones College Prep High School

Select this link!

The selective enrollment process is very stressful, and perhaps not the best method for assigning 8th graders to a Chicago High School (there’s probably no PERFECT method for all–  but let’s keep trying!!!!) .  I’m sending a virtual hug to all parents with a message, “Hang in there! It’s going to be okay! It truly does work out in the end!!!”

amundsen high school vikingsI applaud Chicago residents who are leading grass roots efforts to improve  neighborhood high schools — kudos to Amy Williamson who’s leading the charge at Amundsen, and others who are working to make their local high schools a viable option for Chicago students and parents.


Today, more people are choosing to live in Chicago and raise a family. It may not be simple, but I sincerely believe it is a magnificent opportunity for raising our children to become the finest adults anywhere. They’re independent, flexible, aware, open-minded, confident, and unflappable. They go to college with color-blindness, street smarts, AND a great education.

When asked where they’re from, they say, “Chicago!”, and they clarify that it’s the CITY – not a suburb.  Their new friend is envious and awestruck that our child has climbed the highest mountain – he/she has a great education, a great social experience, and world-class cultural upbringing. These Chicagoans are  truly accomplished, well-rounded, and confident. They have the world by the tail.

chicago public schools 8th grade graduate


I’m so glad I chose to raise my kids in the city!

Good luck, Chicago 8th Graders –
May the odds be with you!

Catholic High School Exam Date Looms


Chicago School OptionsSaturday, January 11, is the date many 8th graders will be taking the Chicago Catholic High School Entrance Exam.

While CPS offers several dates to take the public school exam, the parochial test is only offered on January 11, 2014.  Eighth graders and their families decide which school to go to on that date – students may only test for one school.

Here are links for several popular Chicago Catholic High Schools:

Find Chicago Catholic High Schools

Select this link to find a Chicago Catholic High School

Chicago Public School applications for high school (selective enrollment, IB, CTE, and magnet) were due in December, 2013 for enrollment in August, 2014. Two more exam dates are available  – January 11 and 25, 2013.

For information about CPS high school enrollment options, select this link

Notifications for CPS high school admissions will be mailed no later than February 21, 2014, according to the Office of Access and Enrollment.

Catholic School acceptance letters go out February 14.

Find Out More about Schools in Chicago

School Selection and Real Estate go hand in hand, but parents often don’t know how to find real estate agents who have extensive experience in how the Chicago school systems work.

If you have questions about how Chicago schools work,

or if you’re interested in finding homes near particular schools …

Contact Anne Rossley

Call Anne Rossley

by phone (773-620-5333) or email (

Email Anne Rossley

Anne will take the mystery away and

help you find the home and neighborhood that’s right for you!



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