I was joined today by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Public School's CEO Barbara Boyd-Bennett, State Senator John Mulroe and officials from William Howard Taft High School to announce some very exciting news about the future of the 41st Ward's only neighborhood high school.
Beginning in 2013-2014 school year, Taft High School will officially become home to Chicago's newest Wall-to-Wall International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme.
With this new designation, every student within the school's attendance boundary will have the opportunity to take advantage of a high quality and academically enhanced education without having to navigate a Selective Enrollment Tier System that has traditionally placed our neighborhood students at a disadvantage.
Taft High School will benefit from investments in technology, science laboratories and other improvements to the campus. An additional full-time IB Coordinator will also be on hand to help ensure a smooth transition.
I am very excited about what this new IB designation will do for strengthening the bond between Taft High School and the surrounding community. In many ways, this is the news 41st Ward residents have been waiting for.
What is a "wall to wall" model?
In a whole school (wall to wall) model, every student will benefit from the International Baccalaureate model. Every 9th and 10th grade student will participate in the Middle Years Programme (MYP), either in an honors track or regular track. At the end of the 10th grade, students will opt for one of 4 IB related pathways for grades 11 and 12. These "tracks" are designed to accommodate all range of students:
IB Diploma Programme- A comprehensive and challenging pre-university program for academically advanced and highly motivated students
IB Core- This program includes three core requirements (Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge, Creative-Action-Service) that are designed to broaden the educational experience and challenge students to apply their knowledge and understanding
IB Course Certificate- A program for students who complete the Middle Years Programme, but do not enroll in the IB Diploma. Students can enroll in one or more IB Diplomma Courses ranging from English, Spanish, History, Math, Biology, and Visual Arts
IB Career Related Certificate (IBCC)- This track allows the educational principles, vision, and learner profile of the IB into a unique offering that specifically addresses the needs of students who wish to engage in a career-related education
In a recent analysis of the IB Programme in the Chicago Public Schools, the highly regarded Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago suggests the following:
"International Baccalaureate students are entering college with strong academic skills and powerful confidence about their ability to engage and excel in college courses"
"International Baccalaureate students in CPS attend four-year colleges, attend more selective colleges, and persist in college at higher rates than similar students in honors programs and selective enrollment high schools"
This investment in Taft High School will provide students with a first-rate education and put them on track to succeed by creating an environment that encourages excellence. Parents will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their children will have the tools and training to excel in college and beyond.
Taking Taft High School to the next level has been a top priority of mine since being elected alderman. I want to thank the parents, students, teachers and administrators at Taft for working so closely with my office over these last 18 months. As a result of your hard work and dedication, this neighborhood school has experienced a remarkable turnaround in recent years. With today's news marks a new and exciting chapter in your journey to make Taft High School the best our public school system has to offer.
Please feel free to contact my office at (773) 594-8341 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about what this new designation means for you and your family.
Alderman 41st Ward