CPS to Invest in Hancock High School to Create City’s 11th Selective Enrollment High School 

Expansion of Selective Enrollment School in Response to Families, Elected Officials and Community Leaders Asking for Additional Options on the Southwest Side
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
Phone: 773-553-1620

CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced today that John Hancock College Preparatory High School will become a Selective Enrollment and citywide Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school, beginning in School Year 2015-2016 (SY 15-16). CPS is proposing the investment after calls from families, elected officials and community leaders for more Selective Enrollment seats on the southwest side.

The new program offerings at Hancock will be presented at the October meeting of the Chicago Board of Education, with Hancock potentially becoming the city’s 11th Selective Enrollment high school and the first on the far southwest side of Chicago.

“We have heard from families in southwest side neighborhoods asking for more access to a Selective Enrollment program and an enriching CTE program, and we are delivering on that request while continuing to expand high-quality education options for students and families across the city” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. 

Pending a public hearing as well as Board of Education approval, in SY 15-16 Hancock will enroll a freshmen class with 105 students in its Selective Enrollment program and 105 students in its CTE program. Students from nearby neighborhoods will be given preference for the CTE program. Both programs will phase in one grade per year until the programs serve approximately 840 students total. If approved, current students at Hancock will have spots held for them until they graduate and will be able to benefit from the increased Advanced Placement offerings at the school. 

“CPS believes in the importance of providing families with high quality options, and the proposed enhancement of Hancock into a Selective Enrollment and CTE high school would create a top-tier option in a neighborhood that has been without a local Selective Enrollment high school,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “We are enthusiastic about the potential of a revitalized Hancock High School and look forward to establishing a new high-quality option in the far southwest side of Chicago.”

The new programs at the school will involve approximately $10 million in capital improvements, which will be funded by the State of Illinois. If Hancock is approved to open in SY 15-16, the number of students who live beyond three miles from a selective enrollment high school will decrease by approximately 7,400 students.

“We have been meeting with community leaders and parents for the past year to make this quality educational opportunity available to families,” said Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Michael J. Madigan.

In addition to Hancock’s proposed Selective Enrollment program, the school will also offer a CTE program with curriculum paths in pre-law and pre-engineering. Students living in the neighborhoods feeding into Solorio, Curie, Hubbard, Hancock, Kennedy, Bogan and Gage Park high schools will be given preference for the CTE programs at Hancock. 

"This is a welcome education option for students and families in the 13th ward,” said Alderman Marty Quinn. “Our community has been asking for additional high-quality education programs, and this will help ensure a bright future for our children and our city.”

To account for Hancock’s transition to a Selective Enrollment and CTE school, the boundaries of high schools in the surrounding area will be adjusted to ensure students have guaranteed access to a nearby high school.

Applications for Hancock’s proposed Selective Enrollment and CTE programs are being accepted beginning today as part of the 2015-2016 CPS School Application Process, pending Board of Education approving the change. The application process allows families to apply to elementary magnet, magnet cluster, open enrollment and selective enrollment schools in addition to high school programs including magnet, International Baccalaureate (IB), Selective Enrollment, military academies, and career and technical education (CTE) programs. The application process for district elementary and high schools opened today, Oct. 1, 2014, and will close on Dec. 12, 2014. 

Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett are committed to increasing the number of Selective Enrollment high school seats throughout the district. Last year, the District received more than 16,000 applications from students across the city for 3,200 available seats. In order to increase the percentage qualifying students who are able to enroll in Selective Enrollment high schools, the district has added approximately 200 Selective Enrollment seats since 2011, with an expected additional 420 seats at Hancock by 2018 and an expected additional 300-400 seats at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School by 2016. The new selective enrollment school, set to open in fall of 2017, will enroll 1,200 students, creating more opportunities for students and families across the city. 

Since parents and students have many choices to pursue in the district, CPS has made a variety of resources available to assist in the application process. General information about the District’s schools and academic programs is available on the CPS Office of Access and Enrollment website at www.cpsoae.org. The website offers assistance in determining Selective Enrollment and Magnet school tiers, an informational video on the high school application process and a comprehensive listing of elementary and high school academic programs.

Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 400,000 students in 664 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.