If you’re a 7th or 8th grader — or the parent or tutor of a student in those grades — be sure to sign up for the Oct. 29 Cluster Tutoring workshop for tips on how to navigate the Chicago Public Schools’ online high school application process. CPS has streamlined the process for students to apply to a CPS high school online, but the COVID-19 pandemic has added some complicating factors.
The workshop has been pushed back a week. It now will be at 6:45 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, and will spell out all the needed steps and answer questions. The workshop will be held over Google Meet and will be run by Kathryn McCabe, former executive director of Cluster Tutoring and now the executive director of the tutoring program at the nonprofit group Lawyers Lend-a-Hand. All families with 7th and 8th graders and their tutors will receive an email invitation to sign up for the workshop as the date gets closer.
The application process is open to all 8th graders, no matter if they attended a CPS school or charter school.
The online application system was established in 2018. The global pandemic, however, has created some uncertainty for families. So CPS has issued slight revisions to some of its applications policies.
Test scores. Usually, seventh grade spring NWEA MAP scores are used in student applications. But because in-school classes were suspended in March, not all students have those spring scores. Instead, CPS will consider students’ highest scores from NWEA MAP exams administered by CPS during any of the following prior administrations:
- Spring 2019 (2018-2019 school year).
- Fall 2019 (2019-2020 school year).
- Winter 2019 (2019-2020 school year).
Grades. Another factor used in determining high school placement is grades. But not all students received letter grades last spring. Some grades were only pass/fail. Instead, for the 2021–22 high school admission process, the district will use the highest scores of either their final grades or the average of their first and second quarter grades.
Selective enrollment. Many students are interested in applying to the district’s 11 selective enrollment high schools. Besides using the criteria of grades and test scores, CPS uses scores from special selective enrollment exams, which all interested students will need to take. CPS plans to administer these exams in person this winter, with proper health and safety protocols in place, for students interested in those schools. The dates of the selective enrollment exams will be announced sometime this fall.
By using the online search function, families and students can explore all schools. The schools are listed alphabetically, with addresses and phone numbers. Some are neighborhood schools, some are citywide, some are selective enrollment schools, and some are charters. Clicking on a particular school offers specific information about that school, such as the school’s demographics, a map where the school is located, and what public transportation routes are closest. You also can search for a school by ZIP code.
As schools are still currently offering remote learning, all school open houses are being done online. You can visit this link to see dates for virtual visits at various schools.
The CPS high school application process opened Monday, Oct. 12. Complete instructions on how to apply, including regular updates, can be found at this link, which is the Chicago Public Schools’ application website. The site offers the basic directions of what students and parents need for selecting and applying to high school. Parents also can contact the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060 or email [email protected].
The final deadline for high school applications is Friday, Dec. 11. Students and families will learn the results of their applications in the spring.