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...
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