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William Howard Taft High School (Chicago)

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Public Secondary


Total enrollment
2,641 (2010)

Mark Grishaber

School district
Chicago Public Schools

Campus type

+1 773-534-1000

Chicago Public Schools

"Teaching Academics For Tomorrow."

7–12 (including Academic Center)

6530 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Chicago, IL 60631, USA

Lane Tech College Prep Hig, Frederick Von Steuben, Mather High School, Northside College Preparato, Lake View High School

William Howard Taft High School is a public 4–year high school located in the Norwood Park neighborhood on the northwest side of Chicago, Illinois, United States. Taft serves communities on the far northwest side, specifically Norwood Park, Edison Park, Jefferson Park, Forest Glen and O'Hare. Taft is operated by the Chicago Public Schools district. The school is perhaps most famous as the high school attended by Jim Jacobs, the writer of Grease. Jacobs used Taft as an inspiration in writing the musical. Taft's NJROTC unit has won a Distinguished Unit award every year since 2001. Since 2014, Taft High School has been considered a "wall-to-wall" IB school as part of the International Baccalaureate foundation. Taft high school has offered the International Baccalaureate program since 2001.



Taft competes in the Chicago Public League (CPL) and is a member of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). The boys' baseball team were Public League champions in 1968 and regional champions in 2009. The girls' volleyball team were Public League champions in the 1979–80 season.

International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate program is one of the most well known programs throughout the world. The Over arching theme of the international baccalaureate program focuses on "creating a better world through education". Classes such as the social sciences are taught with an open mind with all aspects included. Students are taught to be risk takers in classes such as TOK and take on perspectives in discussions that they normally would not agree with. Along with reflecting on concepts they learn with math classes. By the end of the four years students will be principled in their actions and will learn to be caring for others. Students will learn techniques and obtain knowledge that they will use for the rest of their lives.

Students in the IB program are placed in a smaller classroom environment and will have a lot of the same teachers. This helps the students grow relationships with teachers and make friends they will have for the rest of their lives. Students are able to earn college credits from the IB classes, which they take at school. Most IB students take AP classes as well, which also can transfer into college credit. Students take exams for these classes in may and based on their scores and the schools they apply to credit will be given. This pushes students to do the best they can in class and achieve the highest possible scholarship.

Students will be encouraged to work outside of the classroom whether that be playing a sport, volunteering for the community, or both! Students must complete CAS hours which involve earning 40 hours total in Creativitiy, Action, and Service. This not only helps students physically but mentally as well.

Notable alumni

  • Jim Grabowski is a former NFL running back. He was selected in the first round of the 1966 American Football League Draft by the Miami Dolphins and the first round of the 1966 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He played in Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II.
  • Robert Hanssen is a former FBI agent convicted of spying for the Soviet Union.
  • Ken Henry, U.S. Olympic gold medalist in speed skating, 1952 Oslo. At the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California, Henry was chosen to light the final torch at the opening ceremony.
  • Jim Jacobs is the co-writer of the musical Grease, parts of which were based on his high school experiences at Taft.
  • Terry Kath was a guitarist and co-founder of the band Chicago.
  • Jerry Krause is the former general manager of the Chicago Bulls (1985–2003).
  • Lynn Morley Martin is a former congresswoman who served as U.S. Secretary of Labor (1991–93).
  • Donna Mills, class of 1958, is an actress whose best known role was as Abby on the television series Knots Landing.
  • References

    William Howard Taft High School (Chicago) Wikipedia

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