Chicago Public Schools’ updated high school online application system is up and running, offering families and students a single opportunity to apply to any district-run or charter high schools.
The new system, known as GoCPS, generates a map and list of all district-run and charter high schools, and identifies if a student is eligible based on his or her academic profile. Previously, not all charter schools were included, which mattered since each charter operator had its own application and deadline.
Students will be able to make educated choices about where they “favorite,” Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson said Wednesday.
Between Oct. 2 and Dec. 15, using activation codes given at the end of the last school year, students can apply, ranking up to 20 non-selective programs and six competitive selective programs. If they don’t fill out an application, they’ll automatically get assigned to their neighborhood school.
The site also includes applications to four magnet preschool programs and all district-run elementary schools.
The single application process aims to level the playing field for families who might not have known how to navigate the ins and outs of applications for different types of high schools or how to research programs available, Jackson said.
“What I’ve seen in my experience as a principal of a selective enrollment school, is that when parents know the schools — the cut-off scores, the number of applicants — they’re better informed,” she said. “And therefore, when they rank their choices, they make better choices that allow them to make the best possible match.”
The district aims to have 75 percent of CPS’ 27,000 eighth-grade students use GoCPS to apply to high school for the 2018-2019 school year, said Tony Howard, CPS Chief of Access and Enrollment. In May, 22,000 CPS families and students subscribed to receive more information on GoCPS.
Howard said the algorithm process for GoCPS will weigh greatly on student rankings, but couldn’t’ provide more details on how the algorithm will work.
The first round of matches will be delivered in March, and the second in May.
At a Board of Education meeting in July, when all charter schools announced they would participate, Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, said the new application would lower barriers for parents.
“Streamlining the enrollment process, consolidating applications, and creating consistent enrollment time frames across all of CPS high schools will help parents and students maneuver a challenging application system,” Broy said.