December 13, 2012
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced today that Taft High School and Lincoln Park High School will become the fifth and sixth wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate (IB) schools in Chicago, expanding this rigorous curriculum program so that more parents and students have to access to high-quality education in their neighborhoods.
“Every student deserves access to a quality education so they have every opportunity to excel,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We need to make smart investments in our schools and classrooms to support the growth of our students, from early learning to college, and expanding access to the IB Programme’s rigorous curriculum helps us do this at the high school level, laying the academic groundwork for student success.”
According to the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, CPS students enrolled in the IB Programme are 40 percent more likely to attend a four‐year college and 50 percent more likely to attend a more selective college. Additionally, students enrolled in IB Programmes show a college retention rate of nearly 90 percent. This announcement comes just three days after the Mayor announced the expansion of a dual credit program for CPS students, which allows students to gain advanced skills and earn college credits in their high school classrooms.
"At CPS, we believe in all of our students and hold high expectations for their success in a rigorous curriculum,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “By making Lincoln Park and Taft wall-to-wall IB schools, we will boost the number of children receiving that kind of high quality programming and create more pockets of hope across the city.”
A wall-to-wall IB school is located in an existing neighborhood school and maintains its open enrollment. Every incoming freshman is enrolled in courses taught using the IB Middle Years Programme framework. At the completion of the sophomore year, students can choose to enroll in either the full Diploma Programme, which contains the most rigorous course load, opt for the IB certificate where students can take one or more IB classes, pursue an IB career related certificate or fulfill an IB core requirement. With these options, all students at every wall-to-wall IB school touch the IB Programme.
Patrice Pirpiris, a senior at Taft High School who as a child met Mayor Emanuel when he was a Congressman at one of his regular “Congress on Your Corner” community meetings, talked about how the IB Programme has shaped her education: “I enrolled in the IB Programme at Taft beginning in my freshman year, and while these classes are challenging, my teachers and classmates challenge me to do my absolute best every day. I know I am more prepared to take on college as a result of this education.” Pirpiris, has excelled across the board in school and is most interested in the sciences.
Taft High School and Lincoln Park High School join Senn, Clemente, Hyde Park and Back of the Yards high schools as new wall-to-wall IB schools, beginning in the 2013-2014 school year. These wall-to-wall IB schools were chosen after engagement with each community. CPS currently offers IB Programmes throughout the city at 14 high schools: Amundsen, Bogan, Curie, Hubbard, Hyde Park, Kelly, Lincoln Park, Morgan Park, Ogden, Prosser, Steinmetz, Senn, Taft, and Washington. Shore South Shore International College Prep has recently opened and is going through the authorization process. Starting with the 2013-2014 school year, CPS will offer IB Programmes at five additional schools: Schurz, Kennedy, Farragut, Bronzeville and Juarez high schools. Approximately 75 percent of CPS’ IB students are African-American and Latino, and live in low-income neighborhoods, the majority being first generation college students.
"We have seen strong evidence that enrolling in IB Programmes have an incredible impact on our students, and I was happy to partner with CPS and the Mayor’s Office to bring this exciting opportunity to the students at Lincoln Park High School,” said Alderman Michele Smith.
Currently, CPS offers IB Programmes to approximately 3,900 students; that number will jump to approximately 6,800 at the start of the 2013-2014 school year and is expected to continue to grow as the new wall-to-wall IB schools and Programmes are implemented.
“This investment in Taft High School will provide students with a first-rate education and put them on track to succeed by creating an environment that encourages excellence. Parents will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing their children will have the tools and training to excel in college and beyond,” said Alderman Mary O’Connor.
Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.