William Howard Taft High School (Chicago)

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Taft High School
6530 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60631
United States
Coordinates 41°59′04″N 87°47′31″W / 41.9844°N 87.79192°W / 41.9844; -87.79192Coordinates: 41°59′04″N 87°47′31″W / 41.9844°N 87.79192°W / 41.9844; -87.79192
Type Public Secondary
Motto "Teaching Academics For Tomorrow."
School district Chicago Public Schools
Principal Mark Grishaber
Grades 712 (including Academic Center)
Gender Coed
Enrollment 3,220 (2015–16)[1]
Campus type Urban
Color(s)      Royal blue
Athletics conference Chicago Public League
Mascot Eagles
Accreditation North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Yearbook Aerie[2]

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.[3] 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.[4]


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.[5]

International Baccalaureate[edit]

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".[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] This not only helps students physically but mentally as well.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chicago Public Schools: Taft
  2. ^ 1967 Taft High School Yearbook- Chicago, Illinois
  3. ^ Taft NJROTC
  4. ^ "IB Diploma Programme". www.tafths.org. Retrieved 2016-02-09. 
  5. ^ IHSA Chicago (Taft)
  6. ^ "Mission". International Baccalaureate®. Retrieved 2016-02-10. 
  7. ^ "IB Diploma Programme". www.tafths.org. Retrieved 2016-02-10. 
  8. ^ "IB Diploma Programme: CAS". www.sumner.wednet.edu. Retrieved 2016-02-10. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f Defiglio, Pam (19 February 2009). "Debate plays on for Chicago guitarist’s induction into Taft High School’s Hall of Fame: Group wants late guitarist added to school hall of fame". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 27 November 2009. But none of that is enough to sway some alumni of Taft High School, Kath’s alma mater, to induct the guitarist, who died in 1978, into the school’s Hall of Fame ... Alumni honored in Taft’s Hall of Fame include Jim Grabowski, who played for the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers; Jerry Krause, former Chicago Bulls general manager; actress Donna Mills; Lynn Martin, a Cabinet member in the George H.W. Bush administration; and Jim Jacobs, who based his musical “Grease” on Taft High School. 
  10. ^ Havill, Adrian (2001). The Spy Who Stayed Out in the Cold. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. xix. ISBN 0-312-98629-7. Robert Philip Hanssen, a senior at Chicago's William Howard Taft High School in 1962, also saw the first James Bond movie that year. 

External links[edit]