Planning Ahead - High School Hidden Gems

Written by: Chicago School GPS

How quickly time flies!  It seems like just yesterday that I was walking shoulder to shoulder with fellow toddler parents at my first NPN School Fair, held in a school gymnasium in those days.  As I scanned the booths of various schools, I soon realized that there were far more schools than those that I had heard about through the buzz of playgroup talk.  So many schools with so many programs and teaching styles I had no idea existed!  While I felt the worry of choosing the right school, and then wondering if my child will have what it takes to “get in”, I also realized that there really were choices out there in our vast city. 

Fast forward 10 years and two schools (private and public) later, and I realize that through early planning and research, my daughter fared extremely well over her elementary years at schools that engaged her, challenged her and enriched her world with a diverse mix of friends and cultures.  And through those same 10 years, I saw changes in Chicago’s school landscape that made me realize there are thousands of other engaged parents like me who will do what it takes to insure that the school choices in Chicago improve and grow.  It’s amazing what can change in the time a child enters preschool to when she enters high school. 

For current preschool parents wondering how long they can “stay in the city”, I want to assure you that quality programs for all types of students are being pushed, created and nurtured in both public and private high schools.  As few as 3 years ago, parents north of the Loop would only consider Northside, Payton and Young among viable public schools for their child but now Lane, Jones and Lincoln Park have all become first choice schools.  Those schools were poised to change and were waiting for a dedicated group of parents and administrators to give them that push to the next level.  Additionally, the next one to two years will bring Chicago’s first “learning differences” high school as well as a Montessori high school.  This increasing slate of public and private high school choices will only be more developed as your child grows.

While a preschool parent today still has the same worries of which school to choose and how to get their child into that school, they can take heart in the fact that the prospects for Chicago high schools will continue to grow and improve by the time their little one is poised to enter those lofty halls.

Interested in learning more about up and coming Chicago High Schools?  Come attend the “Hidden Gems” Chicago High School Fair on Sept. 16 at 2-5PM at Holy Trinity High School.  Visit for more info.

Grace Lee Sawin co-founded Chicago School GPS, a school search company that will help guide families through their public and/or private school search process, from preschool to high school.  She lives along the Chicago River with her husband and two daughters.  Grace has been a follower and fan of NPN since the early 2000s.

Posted on September 03, 2012 at 10:37 AM