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Drugs in schools

Most drug violations in CPS involve an ounce or less of marijuana. Schools are quick to call police, yet rarely have the resources to offer education, counseling or other non-punitive help to students.

Jones College Prep set to add selective seats

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday that the old Jones College Prep building, standing in the shadow of a gleaming new school, won’t be demolished, but that it also won’t be the neighborhood school some nearby residents want.

Instead, the new building will incorporate the old and become one school, with about double the number of selective enrollment seats. Jones currently has about 880 students. With an additional 250 selective enrollment seats each grade, it will eventually be about 1,700 students.

Emanuel said he made the decision after realizing that many students wanted to go to Jones, but couldn’t get in. Of the 18,000 who applied for selective high schools last year, 9,000 listed Jones as one of their choices, he said.

“We all know that when the [selective enrollment rejection] letters arrive, the next day, there are some `For Sale’ signs in the windows,” he said, referring to parents who move from the city if they can't get their children in top schools.

Emanuel said parents should have more choices to send their children to a selective enrollment high school, charter high school or neighborhood high school. And he lauded the fact that Jones serves a diverse student body.

Emanuel did not take questions at the press conference.

But Ald. Bob Fioretti, who has led the push to turn the old Jones into a neighborhood school, said residents who don’t feel like their neighborhood school is a safe, quality option will also leave the city.

“The last 15 years has seen the central loop grow exponentially,” he said. “When it comes to high school, 40 percent move out of the city. It is an incredible economic loss to the city and this is a way to stem the loss.”

Fioretti says community groups from the South Loop, the West Loop, Chinatown and Bronzeville all support the idea of creating a new neighborhood high school.

The existing high schools where students from these communities would be assigned are Phillips, Wells or Dunbar. Dunbar and Phillips are Level 3 schools, the worst CPS rating. This year, Wells moved to a Level 2 school, the mid-rating. All three are underutilized.

Though Fioretti says it is not enough, the new Jones will have some concessions for neighborhood students. They will be given preference for 75 seats set aside for a new pre-law and pre-engineering program. Katie Ellis, executive director of access and enrollment for CPS, says the seats for the new programs will be awarded to the top 75 students who apply from the neighborhood, based on test scores and grades. At least 800 students applied this year.

For current parents of students at Jones, the expansion brings some mixed feelings. Yvonne LaGrone, who has a freshman and a senior at the school, says the transition from a small school to a relatively big one will be hard for students. LaGrone sent her children to small private elementary schools and says they have been somewhat sheltered.  

But she says more students need the opportunity to go to a selective enrollment school. Like many, she says her neighborhood school is not an option.

At the same time, her brother, who has a daughter in 8th grade and lives two blocks away from Jones, should have the option of going to Jones for high school, she says. She thinks the seats set aside for neighborhood students are enough.

LaGrone says that Jones offers all honors and Advanced Placement classes and, therefore, students need to be functioning at a certain level to be competitive.

“We have a reputation and we want to maintain that reputation even as we expand,” she said.

8 comments

Mayfair Dad wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

Relax South Loopers

One of those CPS failure factories (Phillips or Dunbar) will become a shiny new charter high school by Fall. And didn't Wells just go wall-to-wall IB? All part of the pro-charter pro-gentrification plan.

John Ashford wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

Principal Evaluation

It is about time. It is amazing how many Cps schools have been found in disarray. BBB stepped right in and could see that there has been a lot of cover ups and scams at schools by many Principals. A lot of teachers that lost their jobs at some of those Principals hands should not have. Lot of the funds were mismanaged; also. Lot of in wrong ways; that could have paid for teachers. Children were bunched up in classrooms and money misspent. With all of the positive; why are there so many Level 3 schools? What have they been doing? Have they been telling the truth? Have they been reporting the correct enrollment when they were getting money for their budgets? Well; they will now. These Principals have to fall in line too. The problem at some schools; the Principals were rating themselves. Not the LSC. If the Lsc were telling the truth; then the parents should have known their schools were low performing. They were Level 3. This is why BBB is saying high quality Principals are to be at the schools. This is the only way you are going to bring them up off low performing. The leadership has to know how to lead. Not just to be at the school and say I am going to fire people; bunch all the kids together; and use the money for something else. It did not work.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

Hope to remind you that there

Hope to remind you that there are children and teachers who attend those schools whose lives have little in common with yours, and calling the schools failure factories is harsh.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

Jones College

I'm on Fioretti's email list and live in Bronzeville/Douglas and was never asked if I support Jones being a neighborhood thread. Where/When did he take a survey?? On another blog, a community organization in University Village indicated that our area Douglas would not be included in Fioretti plans even though the southloop has a history of spending our TIF dollars.

Anonymous wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

Wells HS

Wells is not an IB wall to wall, but what they do have is a fantastic Principal.

Anonymous wrote 48 weeks 3 days ago

cool

accept more students and you will be all right!

Anonymous wrote 17 weeks 5 days ago

I dont think they have a

I dont think they have a fantastic principal because all I see there everyday is faking grades and total lack of rules. I will say no more.

Anonymous wrote 17 weeks 4 days ago

they never had a good

they never had a good principal

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