Data Points: 10 High Schools and Communities Increasing College Access
As we enter the new school year, the To&Through Project is highlighting five Chicago Public Schools (CPS) high schools and five community areas that have significantly improved their CPS graduates’ access to college, according to data reported on our To&Through Milestones Tool.
We seek to celebrate the tireless support of educators, community-based organizations, and families who have driven these improvements not only in these schools and communities, but also district-wide. Most importantly, we seek to celebrate the thousands more students who are another milestone closer to achieving their aspirations.
On the other hand, college is a time when CPS graduates might need support from their schools and communities more than ever. We hope to see the types of gains we’re highlighting below become true for the district’s college completion rates as well, and we are honored to partner with the many offices and organizations in the city working diligently to make this dream a reality.
AMUNDSEN HIGH SCHOOL
Situated in the Lincoln Square neighborhood on the North Side, Amundsen High School is a neighborhood school attended by more than 1,400 students. The student body is racially diverse with a slight Latinx majority. Amundsen educators aim for their students to embrace intercultural respect and be leaders in their communities and society.
The college enrollment rate for Amundsen graduates rose by 25 percentage points, from 40% in 2005 to 65% in 2020.
BENITO JUAREZ COMMUNITY ACADEMY
Benito Juarez Community Academy is located in the Pilsen neighborhood on the West Side. The majority of Juarez’s approximately 1,700 students are Latinx, and the school serves more low-income students and students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) than the CPS average. Juarez strives to create an environment that prioritizes students’ needs so they can engage in personal and collective growth.
The college enrollment rate for Juarez graduates also increased by 25 percentage points, from 30% in 2005 to 55% in 2020.
JOHN F. KENNEDY HIGH SCHOOL
Located in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood on the Southwest Side, John F. Kennedy High School serves a majority-Latinx student body as well as more students with an IEP than the district. Educators at Kennedy aim to develop their nearly 1,500 students into productive, knowledgeable, active, and reflective lifelong learners.
The college enrollment rate for Kennedy graduates rose by 23 percentage points, from 45% in 2005 to 68% in 2020.
SENN HIGH SCHOOL
Senn High School, located in the Edgewater neighborhood on the Far North Side, serves approximately 1,500 students, most of whom are Black and Latinx. Educators at Senn seek to support their students in becoming motivated, creative, critical, and globally-minded citizens.
The college enrollment rate for Senn graduates increased by 26 percentage points, from 42% in 2005 to 68% in 2020.
TAFT HIGH SCHOOL
Situated in Norwood Park on the Far North Side, Taft High School serves a diverse population of nearly 4,000 students. Educators at Taft focus on educating global citizens who will seek to better the world.
The college enrollment rate for Taft graduates rose by 23 percentage points, from 49% in 2005 to 72% in 2020.
Brighton Park is a majority-Latinx neighborhood on the Southwest Side. There, community-based organizations like the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council work to create safer and more empowering learning environments for CPS students within the community.
The college enrollment rate for Brighton Park’s CPS graduates increased by 25 percentage points, from 32% in 2005 to 57% in 2020.
Located on the Northwest Side, Hermosa is a majority-Latinx community area home to nonprofit advocacy groups like the Hermosa Neighborhood Association seeking to use dialogue, empowerment, and direct action to promote the welfare of the local community.
The college enrollment rate for Hermosa’s CPS graduates rose by 25 percentage points, from 30% in 2005 to 55% in 2020.
LOWER WEST SIDE
Lower West Side, which encompasses Pilsen, is a community area that is home to a majority-Latinx population. Community-based organizations like The Resurrection Project focus on establishing the local relationships needed to create a healthier community.
The college enrollment rate for Lower West Side’s CPS graduates increased by 28 percentage points, from 29% in 2005 to 57% in 2020.
A majority-Latinx community on the West Side, South Lawndale (also known as Little Village) is the home of organizations like Enlace Chicago which seek to positively impact local residents by advocating for their safety and health and improving their educational and economic opportunities.
The college enrollment rate for South Lawndale CPS graduates who immediately enrolled in college rose by 25 percentage points, from 30% in 2005 to 55% in 2020.
Located on the West Side, West Town is home to organizations like Erie Neighborhood House which seek to empower the community — Latinx immigrants alongside individuals and families of all backgrounds — through education, access to critical services, and advocacy.
The college enrollment rate for West Town CPS graduates who immediately enrolled in college increased by 32 percentage points, from 36% in 2005 to 68% in 2020.
ABOUT THE TO&THROUGH MILESTONES TOOL
The To&Through High School Milestones Tool enables the public to explore CPS data on students’ attainment rates of key milestones — including Freshman OnTrack, high school graduation, college enrollment, college persistence, and college completion — by high school. The To&Through Community Milestones Tool also reports these data for each of Chicago’s 77 community areas. On both tools, the data can be tracked across time and disaggregated by race/ethnicity, gender, and more.
Arturo Ballesteros, a third-year undergraduate at the University of Chicago, interned with the To&Through Project during the summer of 2022 and produced this article.