WBEZ | admissions http://www.wbez.org/tags/admissions Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en You've got mail, Dr. Jones http://www.wbez.org/news/youve-got-mail-dr-jones-104370 <p><p>UPDATE: 12/17/2012 - <a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/post/38163049522/uchicagoadmissions-mischief-managed-for-those">The mystery has been solved</a>!</p><p><img align="middle" class="alwaysThinglink" src="http://s4.thingpic.com/images/Qe/QutL8eUbtxvzPieTeAK8UiZT.jpeg#tl-335870279513276416;626328886" style="width: 600px;" title="" /><script async charset="utf-8" src="//cdn.thinglink.me/jse/embed.js"></script><br /><span style="font-size:11px;"><em>Hover over the picture for fun facts about the mystery package (Tumblr/University of Chicago Admissions)</em></span></p><p>When a crinkly manila envelope addressed to Henry Walton Jones, Jr. arrived at the University of Chicago&#39;s admissions office few days ago, no one paid much mind.</p><p>It&#39;s prime time for them: college hopefuls will find out their admission statuses next week. And busy times mean lots of mail.</p><p>&quot;We get the wrong mail a lot and so we thought it was just something meant for a professor,&quot; said Senior Admissions Counselor at University of Chicago Grace Chapin. &quot;But when one of our student [workers] looked up the name, he just came back and laughed at us and said, &#39;You know this is Indiana Jones, right?&#39;&quot;</p><p>The office often gets art and research projects that students send as part of their application. Garrett Brinker, Director of Undergraduate Outreach (and a <a href="http://uchicagoadmissions.tumblr.com/post/36733584282/see-there-is-a-benefit-to-reading-all-the-way-to" target="_blank">Jedi Knight</a>), said it was their first thought, but it seems this is a well-done replica of a real movie prop.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re baffled by how much work has gone into this,&quot; Chapin said.</p><p>Brinker said they determined the package was dropped into a mail bin on campus. Further research turned up an e-Bay listing of another prop replica similar to this one, but there are key differences from the one they got.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s clearly trying to attempt to be this journal from &#39;Raiders of the Lost Ark&#39;,&quot; Chapin said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/tumblr_mevtbcBvWC1r0p8d9o2_1280.jpg" style="height: 300px; float: left; width: 300px;" title="(Courtesy of University of Chicago Admissions)" />And someone put a lot of work into it. The package included a teal, bound journal belonging to Abner Ravenwood (though the handwriting inside isn&#39;t real), copies of Pan Am tickets, pictures, fake money, maps and fake stamps from Egypt on the envelope. And there&#39;s no return address.</div><p>Chapin said she has no idea why someone would send this.</p><p>One connection, she said, is that Indiana Jones mythology has him <a href="http://indianajones.wikia.com/wiki/University_of_Chicago" target="_blank">attending the University of Chicago </a>(and his roommates were Eliot Ness and Jack Shannon). That was where Jones studied under Ravenwood, before their work was strained by romantic liasons between Jones and Ravenwood&#39;s daughter Marion. Ravenwood was fired by the university over his obsession with the Ark of the Covenant.</p><p>Chapin also said the building that houses admissions and the economics department used to be the geography and geology building.</p><p>&quot;There are stone carvings that say &quot;Dig and discover,&quot; so it&#39;s possible someone latched on to the fact that this building used to be that kind of purpose and theorized that he may have worked here,&quot; she said.</p><p>Admissions hopes the Internet can come to their rescue with an answer, posting to its <a href="http://uchicagoadmissions.tumblr.com/post/37809971913/indiana-jones-mystery-package-we-dont-really" target="_blank">Tumblr</a> about the mysterious package. There&#39;s also an email address, in case anyone has tips or theories: <a href="mailto:indianajonesjournal@uchicago.edu?subject=Indiana%20Jones%20Journal">indianajonesjournal@uchicago.edu</a></p><p>If it is a student project, Brinker said it would be a &quot;wonderful way to have a little fun with the [admissions] process.&quot;</p><p>Although, he added, there&#39;s no need for every prospective student to send one.</p></p> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 13:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/youve-got-mail-dr-jones-104370 Diverse neighborhoods, segregated schools http://www.wbez.org/story/news/education/diverse-neighborhoods-segregated-schools <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//IMG_0238 fixed.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In neighborhoods across Chicago where development and gentrification have taken hold, middle-income families are staying in the city and raising children. But there’s one aspect of city life many have been slow to embrace: their nearby public school. WBEZ looks at the dynamics that come into play when higher income neighbors don’t feel the neighborhood school is good enough for their kids.</p><div>Jeff Rosen thinks he lives in one of the best neighborhoods in Chicago, the area around the University of Illinois.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ROSEN: We’re a vibrant university community, a very racially and socioeconomically diverse community.&nbsp; We’re really a microcosm of the entire city.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And every morning, all the middle-class public schoolkids in the community scatter across the city, to more than a dozen magnet and gifted schools where they’ve won seats in the district’s lottery.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Last year, Rosen applied to all those schools for his kindergartener. He says you don’t realize how difficult the Chicago schooling situation is until you’re in it. Pretty soon, Rosen had a stack of rejection letters.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ROSEN: You know, your greatest fear takes hold, and you think to yourself, ‘My gosh. I don’t have any option for the fall.’ Other than the neighborhood school, which you don’t consider to be an acceptable environment for your child.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><i>Ambi: Smyth school kindergarteners and first graders read details they’ve written about toads</i></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>More than 600 kids attend Rosen’s neighborhood school, Smyth. Rosen’s daughter has a guaranteed seat here, no lottery needed. But nearly all Smyth students are black, and nearly all are poor, many from public housing.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It’s essentially a segregated school, one of dozens that exist in otherwise diverse Chicago neighborhoods.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And Smyth is struggling. It posts some of the worst test scores in the city. In fact, scores here are 20 points below the district’s average for both African-American and poor students. Rosen never even considered sending his daughter here.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>That stirs up a lot of emotion in Delora Scott-Wimberly, a Smyth parent who’s had to explain to her seventh grader why white people won’t send their kids to her school.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>SCOTT-WIMBERLY: If you come inside and get an actual visit of the school, then maybe they’ll change their perception of the actual school and the people that’s inside of it.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><i>Classroom ambi, 6<sup>th</sup> grade </i></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Inside Smyth, the spacious, 100-year-old classrooms are bright and welcoming, floors polished until they gleam. Smyth’s main hallway features fish tanks and flags from around the world. Every kid here studies Mandarin and is part of the highly touted International Baccalaureate program.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Principal Ronald Whitmore was an award-winning teacher and oversaw early childhood education for the entire school district before coming to Smyth. But just about every other year since Whitmore arrived, CPS has closed a low-performing school nearby, and assigned those kids to him.&nbsp;Whitmore says his attention is on improving Smyth.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>WHITMORE: I can only welcome people that come. I can’t make people come that don’t want to.&nbsp; So we’re focusing on how to make Smyth a better place for the students that choose to come here.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>O’NEILL: Smyth— I think the principal is doing a very good job there. It is not yet seen, however, as an acceptable alternative.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>That’s Dennis O’Neill, speaking to the Chicago Board of Education. O’Neill directs the well-connected University Village Association. He’s met privately with top CPS officials and twice with the mayor about getting what he calls an acceptable school option for the neighborhood.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Demands from O’Neill’s group are probably the main reason CPS is thinking about adding magnet school seats to this area—O’Neill says fixing Smyth is a long-term project. He says people’s property values are on the line—and so is a plan to build 2,000 more market-rate homes here.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A segregated school is something nobody wants.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MURPHY: They say, ‘Oh, it’s not socio-economically or racially diverse.’ Someone has to start that trend.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tamara Murphy has a second grader at Smyth.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MURPHY: They were willing to move into this area knowing it’s not racially diverse. If they were willing to take that step in the real estate market, then why not be willing to go all the way and diversify the school system?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>ORFIELD: Most people who move into a neighborhood like this are not racist. They’re perfectly willing to be in a diverse setting—but they don’t want to be the only one.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Gary Orfield is a national expert on racial integration in schools. He says integration leads to equity—and it brings connections and resources that middle-income families possess to kids who need them.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Orfield says few urban school districts have figured out how to promote integration in schools like Smyth. Chicago has a tiny bag of tricks to lure higher-income parents into neighborhood schools—things like gifted programs, and preschools that charge tuition.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But while CPSspends lots of time and money promoting diversity in magnet schools—it has nooverarching strategy for supporting integration in dozens of neighborhood schools where that would be possible.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>That leaves a lot up to parents.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>EDELBERG: So here’s our lunchroom. We turned it into Bistro Louis</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Jacqueline Edelberg is showing me around Nettelhorst School in Lakeview. It’s become the textbook example of a local school that middle-class parents finally bought into. Today, every inch of Nettelhorst is covered with painted murals. There is a new science lab and a jaw-dropping kitchen <span style="color: navy;">…<br> <br> </span></div><div>EDELBERG: All of this is the work of people in this neighborhood who wrapped their arms around the school and said, ‘We want this school to be the heart of the community.’</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In her book, <i>How to Walk to School</i>, Edelberg describes how she and a small group of parents took nine months to get the school to a point where their friends would enroll their children. Scores were still dismal, but parents signed on.&nbsp;Looking back, Edelberg says the transformation was both maddeningly difficult and “shockingly easy.”</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>KAHLENBERG: It’s not as if the school has to overnight has to turn to 50-50. If the kindergarten class is economically mixed, that’s the key variable.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Richard Kahlenberg says as few as 10 or 15 kids can meaningfully integrate a classroom. Kahlenberg helped design Chicago’s new magnet school admissions policy, which mixes kids up by income.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He says high-poverty schools aren’t good for anyone—not for poor kids, and not for middle-income kids either. At Nettelhorst, integration has meant higher test scores for minority and low-income students. But every year there are fewer of those students represented at the school… that is a whole other story.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There’s been an interesting side effect to the debate over schools near UIC: people are looking more closely at Smyth.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Leslie Thomas lives four blocks away. She’s applying to magnet schools for her five-year-old—the deadline is today. But she’s also visited Smyth, and is considering&nbsp;it, even if her son would be the only white kid. He wouldn’t be the only kid, she points out.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>THOMAS: I didn’t move here so that we could drive across town and go to school in another neighborhood. I moved here so that we could contribute to this neighborhood. We’re torn and we’re really trying to think about what the best thing for our son and our community is right now.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Thomas has hung flyers up near her loft development…to try to find other families who might be interested in looking at Smyth. She says no one has called her back yet.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Maybe they will when rejection letters go out from the city’s magnet schools.</div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 17 Dec 2010 10:58:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/education/diverse-neighborhoods-segregated-schools