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CPS Nearly Doubles High School Selective Enrollment Offers to Diverse Learners As Part of Long-Term High School Strategy

30 April 2021

High School Students Receive GoCPS Offers Today; Selective Enrollment Offers for Diverse Learners Nearly Doubles; For GoCPS, 89 Percent of All High School Applicants Matched with Top Three Choices  

CPS Office of Communications

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Correction: A previously-released version of this press release contained incorrect percentages pertaining to demographic data under the subhead titled, "Overwhelming Majority of Incoming Freshman Continue to be Matched with Top Choice Options" - it has been updated to reflect the correct information. We apologize for the error.

CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced that the number of selective enrollment offers extended to diverse learners has nearly doubled (from 262 in SY20 to 489 in SY21), which is part of the district’s long-term High School Strategy—a comprehensive roadmap that outlines specific goals and commitments to increase opportunities, outcomes, and support for high school students. In order to ensure diverse learners have the support they need at selective enrollment high schools, the district has invested $2.5 million in additional funds which includes a minimum of two additional positions per school as well as funds to support the work of school-based task forces.  

“This is a critical step forward in expanding high-quality educational opportunities for diverse learners and creating more equitable and inclusive school environments at our selective enrollment high schools,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “The district has been working with schools for months to ensure they are supported and prepared to welcome and meet the unique needs of diverse learners while providing a high-quality education to all students.” 

To ensure schools can successfully support diverse learners, selective enrollment high schools have been provided $2.5 million in additional funding in FY22 school budgets, which will provide each school with a minimum of 1 additional teacher and 1 case manager position, for a total of 22 additional positions. As part of the investment, schools were also provided funding to support the local school task force teams created to support the transition, and additional resources will be available depending on the needs of the diverse learners a school welcomes. 

In addition to selective enrollment high school offers, all incoming freshmen who applied to high schools through GoCPS are receiving offers today. Since the launch of GoCPS, the overwhelming majority of applicants for choice programs (programs at non-selective enrollment schools) have consistently received offers to their preferred school choices through the GoCPS high school application system. This year, 89 percent of students who applied to programs at choice schools received an offer to their first, second or third choice school—an increase of approximately 9 percentage points from 2020. The percentage of students who received their first choice offer also hit a record high of 63 percent. 

Increasing Equity and Representation at Selective Enrollment Schools 

Earlier this school year, the district unveiled its High School Strategy, which includes a commitment to provide additional opportunities for diverse learners to attend selective enrollment high schools, with the goal of diverse learners enrolling in selective enrollment high schools at a rate that is proportional to the district average. 

During the current 2020-21 school year, while diverse learners comprised 14.6 percent of Chicago Public School students, only 6 percent of students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) enrolled at selective enrollment high schools. The first step in increasing equity and representation at selective enrollment high schools is to expand the universe of student applicants to reflect the district’s diversity while also ensuring schools have the additional support they need to provide a high-quality education to diverse learners. 

“Every student deserves the chance to excel in their academic pursuits and it's especially important to ensure diverse learners have equitable access to a high-quality education and the support they need to thrive,” said Principal of Hancock High School Vanessa Puentes. “Our school community looks forward to supporting a larger group of diverse learners, which will further enrich our diverse and inclusive learning environment.” 

Since November, the district has been working with principals and staff at selective enrollment schools to assist them as they build new structures to successfully support additional diverse learners. Additionally, the district has formed a student support task force comprised of district subject matter experts to support principals through key implementation steps, such as providing scheduling support, parent engagement, programming and planning support, in addition to task forces established at each school.  

Overwhelming Majority of Incoming Freshman Continue to be Matched with Top Choice Options 

In addition to selective enrollment offers, 89 percent of students who applied to choice programs received offers to one of their top three high school programs, and 95 percent of all students who submitted a choice application received an offer. Additional information on offers can be found here

While CPS continues to work toward ensuring underrepresented student groups have greater access to high-quality programming, this year the district saw encouraging trends, with an increase in Black students receiving offers to competitive programs. Compared to last school year, 43 percent more Black students (926 in SY20 to 1,327 in SY21) were accepted into selective enrollment programs and 59 percent more students (336 in SY20 to 535 in SY21) were accepted into International Baccalaureate programs. Additionally, the number of Latinx students receiving selective enrollment offers remained relatively consistent compared to last school year (1,458 in SY20 to 1,462 in SY21), with a two percent increase in Latinx students receiving offers to International Baccalaureate programs (1,284 in SY20 to 1,308 in SY21).

Information About GoCPS 

Through GoCPS, all incoming freshmen were able to rank their preferred choice programs, and qualifying students were also able to rank their preferred selective enrollment schools. Students were matched with a high school based on their own program ranking, the number of seats available at each school, each program’s admissions requirements, and whether any priority preferences were considered, such as sibling or proximity preferences. Students can receive a maximum of one choice program and one selective enrollment offer through this process.

In addition to the offers issued today, students who did not receive their top choice may still have an opportunity to attend a school they ranked higher on their preference list through a waitlist or through second round applications at schools that have seats remaining.  

All students will always have the option to attend their designated neighborhood school and any student who chose not to apply through GoCPS will have a spot reserved for them at their neighborhood school.

To learn more about GoCPS and applying to Chicago Public Schools, please visit

Chicago Public Schools serves 341,000 students in 638 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.