Knowing Tier Data Helps Families Make Informed Choices When Applying to Schools
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced updated tier data is now available via the District’s Office of Access and Enrollment’s (OAE) website at http://www.cpsoae.org. Families applying to selective enrollment and magnet schools can now visit the website to determine their respective tiers based on their home address, which can help parents make informed decisions on what schools and programs their children may be most eligible for.
“Now that application season is in full swing, it’s important for families to know what their most viable options are when considering selective enrollment and magnet school choices,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “Knowing which of the four tiers your family falls in removes some of the guess work from the application process.”
The District uses tier data, among other factors including grades and test scores, when evaluating each student’s application to selective enrollment and magnet schools. The tier system is specifically designed to ensure equal access and equity for all student applicants in the provision of magnet and selective enrollment schools and programs offered by the District.
Every address within the city of Chicago falls within a specific census tract. To identify the parameters for each tier, CPS considers factors including: median family income, percentage of single-family homes, percentage of homes where English is not the first language, percentage of home ownership and achievement scores from attendance area schools in each census tract. Based on the results of each of these six areas, each census tract is given a specific score. These scores are then ranked and divided into four tiers, each consisting of approximately the same number of school-age children.
The tier evaluation process happens on a yearly basis, which can result in changes among the tiers. However, the level of competition within any given tier depends solely on the application pool for each tier.
In October, CPS began its yearly application process, which allows families to apply for elementary magnet and selective enrollment schools, as well as high school offerings including magnet, selective enrollment, International Baccalaureate, military academies and career and technical education programs.
“As a District, it is our obligation to ensure families in every neighborhood across the city have access to great schools by expanding the number of high-quality options,” added CEO Byrd-Bennett. “It’s important for parents to know that what tools and resources are available to them as they make decisions on which option to pursue for their children.”
Recent efforts to expand CPS’ high-quality school options include:
- Creation of five new Early College STEM programs – one in each area of the city - to give our high school students a rich, technology-focused program of study that allows them to earn significant college credits and exposes them to careers in major IT companies like IBM, Motorola Solutions, Cisco, Microsoft and Verizon.
- A commitment to creating new IB programs, as well as creating five wall-to-wall IB neighborhood schools—one in each areas of the city.
- Implementation of a new selective enrollment program at South Shore International College Prep High School – creating an estimated 120 high-quality seats at the school.
All applications must be submitted by December 14 to the OAE for consideration.
The Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school system.