Study affirms value of CPS On-Track program

By DASCHELL M. PHILLIPS
Staff Writer

Derrius Quarles known nationally as “The Million Dollar Scholar” and a multitude of seniors who received Millennium Gates Scholarships over the past five years always attribute a large part of their success to the counselors from Kenwood Academy High School’s Freshman On-Track Program.

According to a new study released from the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, On-Track Freshmen are almost four times more likely to graduate than their off-track peers. On-Track rates improved more among African American males than among any other racial or ethnic gender subgroup, rising from 43 percent in 2005 to 71 percent in 2013 and grades improved at all ends of the achievement spectrum, with large increases both in the percentage of students getting Bs and the percentage of students receiving no Fs.

In 2007, Chicago Public Schools launched the On-Track Initiative for teachers to use data to monitor at-risk freshmen, intervene in drop out patterns by calling home when students missed class and provide tutoring services.

At Kenwood, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., the On-Track program provides students with tutoring and study support. The On-Track counselors also help students understand the quarterly and class credit systems and show them how to check the online grade book. Kenwood teachers meet with small groups after school to teach study skills and come in during winter and spring break to help students who are behind on their work complete make up assignments.

With the help of the On-Track program, Kenwood has had the highest number of students in the city receive the Gate Millennium full scholarship for college.

Visit ccsr.uchicago.edu to view the full report, “Preventable Failure: Improvements in Long-Term Outcomes When High Schools Focused on the Ninth Grade Year.”

d.phillips@hpherald.com