Taft HS reports high cutoff score for admission to IB Diploma program


News that Taft High School had the highest cut-off score for admission to an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program in the city was announced at a recent event for Taft’s "principal of the day," Mariano’s Fresh Market founder Bob Mariano.

"Taft High School is the toughest IB school to get into in Chicago," Taft principal mark Grishaber said. "I want the perception we are the toughest to get into."

Grishaber said that he invited Mariano, who grew up in the area, to tour the school because many of its students work at one of his stores.

Grishaber said that the high cut-off score sends the message to residents that Taft offers the type of challenging curriculum that many local parents want for their children.

Applicants to Taft’s diploma program had to have a score at least 839 points out of a possible 900 points to qualify, with the next highest cut-off score in the city 835.5, Grishaber said. Half of the score is based on an applicant’s grades and the other half is based on an admissions test.

Cutoff scores at other North and Northwest Side high schools were the following: 835.5 at Lincoln Park, 600 at Prosser, 550 at Senn, 530 at Amundsen, 500 at Steinmetz and 344 at Schurz.

Taft’s curriculum features the International Baccalaureate curriculum for all students, and it also has a magnet International Baccalaureate diploma program that is open to local students and to students who live outside the school’s attendance area. Taft has about 300 students in the magnet diploma program, which allows participants to earn course credits for college.

Diploma program coordinator Irene Kondos said that the citywide admissions process gives an incentive to students seeking to apply for a diploma program in the attendance area where they live. She said that those applicants receive 50 bonus points.

All freshmen and sophomores at Taft are eligible to transition into the diploma program if they demonstrate the ability to handle its challenging course load, Kondos said. The program encourages independent projects and critical thinking, and at Taft the program’s philosophy is being incorporated into all classes.