William Howard Taft High School is one of the secret jewels of the Chicago Public Schools. One of the reasons so many parents want their children to attend. The IB program is wonderful.
I'm gonna have to keep it short because there is a limit for how many characters I put for this review. Here it is: The Positive: -Challenging subjects -Teachers that care for your education -Loads of extracurricular activities and opportunities -A good uniform code that makes students fell more comfortable The Negative: -Smoking in the bathrooms -A lack in variety on foods -Most students are pretentious jerks -Security guards aren't really doing their jobs -Loitering all over the place Verdict: Taft is a mediocre school at best. It could've improved on a lot of aspects this school has. This is just my opinion.
This review is for the academic center at Taft. It is WONDERFUL!!!!!!! My daughter will soon be graduating from eighth grade from Taft AC. She will be attending Northside College Prep in the fall. I truly believe it is with the hard work and dedication of the exceptional teaching staff that this is possible. The students absorb content because they are taught well. I also have a twenty year old daughter who also attended Taft AC and went on to Northside College Prep. She is currently at U of I Urbana studying pre-med. What a hidden gem this school is. If you have a hard working, studious and highly motivated child, this school's 7th and 8th grade program is a perfect fit! It will prepare your child for a successful high school experience. Thank you Mrs. Asvos and staff for a wonderful job!
I felt that Taft's prime objective was to get my son through high school and out the door. His transition plan was abysmal. All the eggs were placed in one basket: that is, job training that met for one hour a week after he graduated. This was clearly not enough support and since he graduated about 3 years ago we've been carving out our own 'transition plan.'
My son was quite interested in sports at Taft; the wrestling coach welcomed him but when he approached the baseball coach about trying out for the team the coach discouraged him from even trying. The school has a stellar team but no room for a special ed student to even try out. I found that just plain offensive.
Taft really needs to step up its transition resources. Too many kids are left adrift with too few resources brought to the table.
High school is a tough environment, particularly in a large, overcrowded Chicago public school. The times my son was verbally abused, called names and teased, he ended up talking to a social worker, not the individuals who did the taunting. Again, ridiculous. There's so much that can be accomplished by assigning peer support for our special ed kids, but that would require some effort.
An overcrowded Chicago public high school. Security is lax and the neighbors around the school often complain of inappropriate activity by students who are dodging classes. A number of the teachers are above average but seem overwhelmed at times. My sons graduated from this school but I live in the neighborhood and I keep an active interest in it. It's better than many high schools and there seems to be a core group of involved parents but I am very happy that my sons no longer attend there. It has deteriorated since they attended.
My daughter transferred to Taft this year (sophomore) after attending Resurrection College Prep last year. She needed to attend this school due to financial reasons. She was in all AP classes at Res and did very well. They could not put her in honors or IB programs as they were full and now has to wait for recommendations from the teachers to be placed in them for next year. Well she is not challenged at all. They discipline the innocence parties in altercations as well as the guilty. The security is a joke and not enough. The school is overcrowded. The smoking in the bathrooms is obscene. My daughter refuses to go in the unless absolutely necessary. Drugs very accessible. I had to contact them twice because twice my daughter was threatened to be beat up. My daughter positively hates it. I have enrolled my daughter in the CPS Virtual online school for next year. The only other choices for CPS in our area are Schurz or Steinmetz. Sorry these are worse that Taft.
My son is a freshman and he is doing exceptionally well.. He is in honors algebra and he is getting straight A's.. The teachers are doing a great job with my son, he really likes it there. I'm not sure what they could improve on yet, because we're only a few months into the school year, but so far so good..
Taft was at best mediocre for both of my sons, one of whom graduated this past spring and was relieved to get out. Don't expect a lot of interaction from the teachers; the last report card period I attended in the spring of 2013 many teachers were absent because of weather/flooding and when I attempted to reschedule appointments they never responded. More than a few of the teachers really need to retire and that situation will probably get worse this year because of the layoffs and rebalancing of instructors. I don't have too much faith in CPS, especially now and I'm just thankful that my kids are out. We'll see how well prepared they are as they proceed through college.
My daughter is a freshman and is in the IB program. If she wasn't I would not have sent her to Taft. I have heard so many stories about this school, fights, smoking weed, and teachers not caring. But my daughter did get in the IP program and she really wanted to attend Taft because she knows alot of kids that go there. Well my first impression was this school is not organized. The registration process was a joke. We were at the school for 3 hours waiting to get her schedule and of course pay the fees. You have to purchase it from the box office during lunch. The kids either eat or don t eat and wait in that long line. The person in the box office is the slowest moving person I have ever seen. I took off a half day of work so I could go to school and buy the bus pass for my daughter so she wouldn t miss lunch. They need a better system to be able to purchase items. As for the teachers my daughter isn't too happy with a few of her teachers. She told me they are mean, they yell at you and don't care. One of her teachers was picking on her and she didn't know why. Now the teacher is picking on another student.
I HATE this School. Overcrowded, teachers don't care,security doesn't care,administration doesn't care .You call the Office ,No one answers the phone, you leave a message and no one calls back ever.So frustrating. The Principal herself said they have 1000 more students than they are equipped for. I went to the School and the halls are so bottle necked and dangerously over crowded. I feel for my child and I hope we can move to a better. school district soon.This IS AN AWFUL CPS.
My son is a freshman, not in the IB program. Though the entire school is considered IB,in actuality this is not true,there is the actual IB tier one tests into and their is the general poulation. He is in some honor classes. So far not impressed. The kids are treated like a # and they make sure you know you are just a # are not going to get any individualized attention. Many of the teachers seem burnt out and just going through the motions. He did not get his bus pass for a week-they don't hand them out,students have to wait at the box office,during lunch and the box office closes before the student have gotten through. He says when he goes to the bathroom kids are smoking weed (between security guard checks). As a freshie trying to find his way around he would arrive a few minutes late.So the teacher marked him absent (really teacher you can't check who came in?) . We are very disappointed. I have to say ,we came from a parochial school,so in all fairness,we are used to a more attentive, engaged and nurturing learning envronment. I guess you get what you pay for. If you have a better option,I suggest you excercise it.
The IB program in this school is one of the hidden gems in Chicago. Last year's average score was 25.1, which is higher than some selective enrollment schools, including Lane Tech. And this year, Taft is becoming wall to wall IB, which means all students will have access to the program. Well done Taft!!
Choosing to have both our children attend Taft High School has worked out well. This neighborhood school continues to provide a great education while offering its students a plethora of after school activities and sports. For parents that want to be involved, there are opportunities like attending LSC and PTSA meetings, joining the Taft High School Foundation efforts for fundraising, and other campus activities.
Drugs, fights, over crowded, high drop out rate, some teachers and counselors that just don't care (that can happen anywhere), and lazy security among a few problems. I've walked in and out of that school so many times through side doors where kids were leaving in the middle of the day. If your kid is in the IB program it is probably fine but I would not put my kid back in the regular program. Notice how on this site they don't list the 11th grade test scores like most other schools, they use the 7th and 8th grade IB student scores.
My vote of five stars goes to William Howard Taft High School on the Northwest side of Chicago. As an alumnus from 1971, I personally have noticed that Taft was taking a turn for the worst and stopped being the neighborhood school it was when I attended it. Since Dr. Art Tavardian came in as Principal in 1990 he gradually brought back respectability to the school be insisting that GPA scores must change for each and every student. The change has since continued under Ms. Mary Kay Cappatelli who has taken over last year and gradually sought approval from the Local School Council to continue this effort. Now with the leadership of alumni from Taft, the school has now developed a foundation for collecting donated monies that will surely make the future even brighter. Many outstanding alumni graduate from these hallowed halls. Included in these are Jim Jacobs, creator of the Broadway play, Grease; Terry Kath, co-founder of the rock fusion band, Chicago; Jim Grabowski, football great who played for the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears and many more. Taft will always shine as a Number 1 school in Chicago for years to come.
Taft is a good high school that has suffered a great deal of neglect by CPS. CPS is now throwing Taft a bone in making it "wall-to-wall" IB. The teachers and counselors at Taft are doing the best that they can given the fact that the school was built for 2400 and in the 2013-2014 school year will in all likelihood have over 3000 students. CPS has cut its budget for Taft in spite of the ever-increasing enrollment.
Taft has a bad reputation from past when there were a lot of kids bussed in from the worst parts of Chicago. Today, when it's mostly a neighborhood school, it has become a very good school. And with a new "IB Program For All"l starting 2013, it can only get better.
I have two kids at Taft. We pulled our oldest from private school due to the lack of education he was receiving. I had been afraid to send my kids to Taft due to people talking about how bad the school was, needless to say these were people who had never stepped in to Taft so the only thing they knew about it was what they were told by other parents who knew nothing about the school in the first place. With a senior and a sophomore at Taft I am so very pleased with the quality of teaching this school provides. I was surprised at how many students work hard to helping the environment and charities in need. We had been witness to kids being bullied at our old school Notre Dame, luckily our son was not a target. It s too bad people listen to hearsay and not the facts. As far as Taft being on academic probation due to test scores the person who wrote this doesn t understand how that CPS works. The school has a special education program and it was at that point where the school did not gain, unfortunately all classes are meshed together for a total grade score.
This school deserves more support from CPS than it gets. It's a widely diverse school serving average to academically gifted students. From the exterior, the place gives the heebie jeebies and CPS would serve itself well by spending money on fresh painting/landscaping. But the teachers and administrators I've encountered are topnotch. The principal and Ms. Asvos cares deeply about the students. The school will not parent your child; he or she is expected to be mature enough to perform assignments. CPS, please devote some of your ample resources over here.
As far as neighborhood schools go, Taft is far better than average. But the student with other options should shy away. The Principal and administration are out to improve Taft's reputation (ergo positive reviews). Being a Taft parent for 7 years now, I can tell you my run-in's with Dr. Tarvardian have been negative and included him calling my 8th grader 'lazy'. The school pushes the limits in some respects. For example, they charge students $2 each time a student forgets their ID. The school also charges $6 for student CTA passes, even though they cost $5 elsewhere. Finally, the dress code enforcement is completely out of line. I had a dean call me at work and threaten to give my child 10 days of out of school suspension for having worn a hoodie in the lunch room. No, it was not my child's first infraction, but out of school suspension is more than a bit steep for a dress code violation. I would transfer my child out of Taft if I could. But our options are limited...
I was a student at Taft H.S. and I have to say that I enjoyed my time there. The educators were great and did there part by educating their students. It's pretty much up to the students to absorb all the knowledge that is being handed to them. While attending T.H.S., the educators showed me how much they cared by pushing me to do my best. They believed in me and made me feel that I could accomplish anything at all. I am where I want to be today. I have an amazing family and a great career. I am a success story thanks to my educators at T.H.S. I believed in me because they believed in me. To all the educators.....KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!!!
WOW there are many bitter parents and current /former students connected with this school! It certainly makes one think twice about this school because it sounds as if one is not in the honors.IB program, they are just cast aside :( Maybe they protest too much??
I am a former parent and a school teacher. They are fair, dedicated, and challenge all the students who attend Taft. If you don't like it LEAVE because there are many trying to get in. Taft has a dedicated staff and if you think that kids can't pass the AP tests, come see my kid's scores! And YES, you are expected to parent. SO, do your part and you won't complain and Taft won't babysit your child and they WILL TEACH YOUR CHILD and to your amazement YOUR CHILD WILL BE EDUCATED!!
Okay, so I attend Taft High School and not all of these negative comments are true. People should stop saying that Taft does not challenge their children. Maybe, if they were not taking "regular" classes they would be challenged! I am in the IB program, and it is one of the most challenging programs. And you know what, I love it! I also was a student in the Academic Center and I loved that too. Some of the teachers don't know how to teach but other than that, Taft is a great school. Maybe if students actually tried to succeed, parents wouldn't have such a problem with everything! If you don't like Taft, take your student out of here because there are many students that enjoy it! And if your child is having a problem with the "challenging" classes, have them take all honors like I am, and then they will probably complain that it is too challenging for them! Have a nice day.
i have read through the negative comments and being a former suburban student who now is raising a family in the city, you will find the same bad things that happen at taft as they do in the suburbs. Be a parent who wants whats best for their child. Don't let them bring an IPod to school and it won't get stolen.(if they didn't lose it). I have had nothing but great things to say about Taft. Teachers are awesome, Counselors are awesome, and principal CARES about your child. He EXPECTS you to parent your child and his teachers to TEACH you child, NOT babysit them. Spend 8,000 a year and get less in a private school.
My son attended the 7th and 8th Grade Taft Academic Center. Ms. Asvos, its principal, is beyond dedicated and devoted to her students. I know that Taft HS can work well with some special needs. The online parent portal for class work and grades was a godsend. The teachers are devoted. A parent's involvement, which was common among AC parents, makes the difference. I would have sent my child to Taft HS, without hesitation. I wonder whether Selective Enrollment is necessary once accepted to the Academic Center. However, in our situation, the Selective Enrollment High School was closer to our home.
Taft is one of the best High schools in Chicago, if you have a problem or the student has a problem it can be worked out, the teachers, staff, and principal are all easily accessible, the job of the school is education not to babysit or raise your children, thank you Dr. Tavardian.
best school ever. i went to the academic program and it is so fun and i learned so much.
I would not send another child to Taft High School. Very unorganized. Based on the 2009 review, the school should be on academic warning (level 3) but a review by the district says school passed(moved to level 2) Hasn't not made adequate yearly progress. And passing the school anyway hurts our kids. Retaliation happens when you complain. Fights all the time. The way staff treats and speaks to students is horrible. The access to drugs is incredibly alarming. .I should have listened to what I was told about Taft. Parents do anything you can to keep your child out of this school if you want them to be sucessful.
This is an excellent school with challenging classes and a wide variety of afterschool programs including flag football, football, softball and swimming during gym. Ms. Asvos is the director the Academic Center and she works hard on behalf of all of her kids.
My children have received a high quality education with highly qualified educators. We are very pleased with Taft High School and its programs. Children who want to learn will always excell but with good teachers and a good curriculum they will do even more. Look seriously at Taft when choosing a high school!
This school is very unorganized. The lack of care for the students is horrifying. The principle is rude and doesn't get the job done
Taft HS is the best school in Chicago. I have three children attending Taft. The IB program, Honors Academy and Academic Center challenges the students. The teachers are awesome. The students are wonderful. The principal has done an excellent job.
I am a current 8th grader in the Taft Academic center. I do have to say that the education I am getting in the Academic center is much better than my old school. It challenges you, teaches you things, and most of the courses are honors. The teachers are a different matter. The teachers all vary with their attitudes. Some teachers show that they really dislike children and they are just instrcutors that aren't exactly 'teachers', even though you still like, but then there are others that are birlliant and teach you things in a way that you understand. Another issue is the way the school disciplines their students. The security guards are rude and have no respect for the students. I do recomend Taft for the education, but don't count on your child making more than one real friend because Taft has a way of transcending the pressure into hatred.
Taft is an awesome school in the Chicago land area. We have great teachers and a good learning environment.
Taft High School is the best high school on the world. The education is great and it really challenges kids to try their hardest.
The school is a good school in a good neighborhood but the office is very disorganized and disfunctional
The Taft Academic Center (7th & 8th grade) is wonderful. The best thing about it is that it is a Jr. High School, which is needed, but lacking in Chicago, to transition kids into high school. The principal is wonderful. He has really turned that whole school around. It's coming back. Most of the teachers seem really good and seem to care about the kids. My daughter has gotten a good education there and has really enjoyed it. I do have to recommend Taft.
The school has come a long way in the last few years. My daughter is a sophmore and is getting a great education.
The education system at Taft is terrible! They are not good with preparing you for college! I felt like I was attending the seventh grade all over again. Fights break out everyday.There is a lot of theft and vandalism too. Overall, the students that attend this school had the worse attitudes that I have seen anywhere!Most of the students dont have any ambition to succeed and a lot of people I ran across dropped out. The best move I made was transferring to a better school in my junior year! I dont think that I would have been as successful as I am today if I would have remained in that negative environment!
I went to a suburban public schoolMaine South and a private Catholic school Res before coming to Taft and Taft does not even compre to other schools out there. Teachers have low expectations for students and the classes are not rigorous at all. A lot of kids who went on to college were not prepared for the coursework. Aviod at all costs if you're serious about education and being competitive with other students. The 'cheer/dance' team was also a joke. We taught ourselves. We also had low funding and envied other teams.
Wonderful school that has come a long way from the bottom of the pack. Taft is a school everyone should consider. While it is not a 'selective' enrollment, it has great teachers, great programs and great involvement of parents, LSC and PTSA
Although I think all 3 of my children are recieving a wonderful educationa at Taft, the severe problem with stealing concerns me to no end. It seems that no one at any time is safe with having anything in the school. Gym lockers are broken into, bookbags are torn apart and the kids are all complaining about losing what they have with them. This is certainly something that needs to be stopped.
My son is attanding Taft H.S. for three years and he is now in his fourth and final year. He not only learned all the subjects but a lot more. He is also enrolled in the NJROTC program that is the best in the City Of Chicago. He has learned many leadership skills and has advanced up very fast. This school is great. It is great because they have one of the Best Principles in the World. Dr. Tarvardian has done so much for the school and made a lot better than the last principle that was there.
My son is currently attending Taft and is very happy not only with the kids but the teachers as well. We recently attended Sophmore orientation which only took 20 minutes! These people are so organized it'll make your head spin. Good job!
I believe that Taft High School is a great school to attend, because it is there for the students not only to learn the subjects that they need to take to graduate, but also it is there to challange the students in becomming more caring, self-reliant, and responsible adults.
Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.
The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
To start a new list, click OK. Otherwise click Cancel.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of Taft High School on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for Taft High School, including performance data and recently posted user reviews.