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

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