CPS pushes back deadline to apply to schools, but acceptance letters will come later, too

“We hope that this added time will give students and families the opportunity they need to carefully consider the many school options that are available throughout the district,” the district said in an email to families.

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GoCPS was unveiled by then CPS Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson in 2017. Jackson is now CPS CEO.

Kevin Tanaka/Sun-Times

Chicago Public Schools on Friday extended the deadline to apply to schools for next year — which means families will find out even later which schools their students have been accepted to for the 2021-22 academic year.

In an email to families, CPS officials said they were pushing back next Friday’s deadline to submit applications through the GoCPS website by a month, to Jan. 8.

“The pandemic has impacted every aspect of our school year, including the important process our students go through when choosing the school options that will best match their talents, interests, and abilities,” the email said. “So to ensure everyone has the time they need to make this important decision, we are extending the GoCPS application deadline.”

GoCPS is the process by which families apply to send students to neighborhood, magnet and selective enrollment preschools and elementary programs, and for older students to apply to selective enrollment, charter, arts and technical high schools as well as International Baccalaureate programs. The deadline has been in December for years.

However, by moving the application deadline back, CPS said offers of admission will also be announced “slightly later than in years past.”

Typically, the notification dates are highly anticipated by stressed-out eighth graders waiting to learn whether they’ve been accepted to their preferred schools.

Last year, families of 26,000 potential high school students learned in late March where they had been accepted.

Families also eagerly await preschool and elementary school offers, which last year were announced in May.

Officials did not say when offers will be extended in 2021 but said they will provide an update at a later date.

While officials did not say how many students have applied so far, enrollment dipped dramatically this fall as virtually all CPS schools started remotely. Officials called the decrease from 355,000 students to 340,000 — a 4% drop — a “crisis” that was largely driven by a significant decline in new families enrolling in preschool programs and elementary schools.

Officials said the additional time to apply could help families get information on schools. Typically, schools will host open houses to attract students, but this year, many of those have been canceled or moved online.

“We hope that this added time will give students and families the opportunity they need to carefully consider the many school options that are available throughout the district,” the email said. “... We urge our students to look at all of their options, from their neighborhood schools to offerings in STEM, IB, world language, and selective-enrollment, among others, to determine which environment will best meet their needs.”

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