Here’s the 2nd official college-themed post to discuss admissions to Ivy League and other harder-to-get-into universities.
There are likely some unique considerations for parents in Chicago, given the existence of selective high schools that are filled with the top kids in the entire city.
Will your child be able to stand out and excel among so many smart, talented, and hard working kids? Is it better to be the big fish in a smaller (read: lower achieving) pond?
Below, I’ve copied the comments from the HS 2014 post. Apologies if I left anything out. I didn’t include the references to the comment # since it wouldn’t apply so it may be difficult to follow, but I’m sure you can get the gist.
Feel free to continue the discussion here.
March 2, 2014 at 9:45 pm
Thanks for the alert that the PreK application period is now open for the half-day programs.
These programs are free or fee-based, depending on your household income.
You can apply to any of the programs as not every school has a PreK program.
I am still a little unclear on the selection process. Is it still uber-difficult to get in, now that it’s not free for everyone? Are schools giving priority to neighborhood kids?
FROM CPS SITE:
Chicago: Ready to Learn! Applications will be accepted for School Year 2014-2015 from March 3, 2014 – April 11, 2014.
To apply, please visit one of our centralized application sites.
If you are applying for a child who has a sibling already in a Chicago: Ready to Learn! program, and this sibling will be at the same school next year, the new applicant can apply under the sibling priority. Please see below for instructions.
Here are some of the key questions from the site below.
Any feedback on the programs this year? For those who chose to send their child and pay the full rate, what are your thoughts on this?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I apply?
A. You may apply to a Chicago: Ready to Learn! program in person at an authorized application site or an authorized application event. For a list of these events, please call 312-229-1690. Paper applications will be available at the application sites or can be downloaded beforehand. Please note that income, residency, and proof of birth documents are required for all application submissions.
Q.. What factors are taken into consideration when placing my child?
A. The Chicago: Ready to Learn! program takes a variety of factors into consideration when placing a child, such as a family’s income, a child’s age, housing type, sibling status, and other factors. For a comprehensive list of entrance priorities, please visit our programs section.
Q. If my child was on the waiting list for the 2013-14 School Year, do I have to re-apply? Why?
A. Each year, all students are given equal opportunity to apply for seats at the upcoming grade level to which they are entering. Students who were placed on a waitlist for the 2013-2014 School Year must re-apply for entrance into a Chicago: Ready to Learn! program for 2014-2015. If your child is on a waitlist for this current school year, and you would like to find out more information about this or to check the status of availability for schools this year, contact 773-553-2010.
Q. Do I need an appointment to apply at one of the application sites?
A. No, you do not need an appointment to apply at one of the application sites. Please visit our how to apply section for a listing of sites and hours of operation.
March 2, 2014 at 4:25 pm
3 years away and counting…. for my son. Man, it goes fast!
High school letters will be mailed out on Friday, February 21. Students will have until March 7th to choose their 1 school.
Cutoff scores will be posted next week (week of 2/24.)
Here are OAE’s FAQs on the letters with info on the process and Principal Discretion.
For now, those of you with 8th graders can start the final countdown to knowing WHERE your child will be attending high school. What a big fork in the road, leaving most of their elementary classmates and heading to bigger buildings in new locations. Sniff, sniff, I get a little teary-eyed thinking about it.
On a bright note, it’s a chance to branch out, meet new kids from all across the city and exert some independence, breaking free from schools where they are still housed with Kindergarteners.
I hear the private school letters have gone out already. Any news on those?
Good luck to everyone. May your wide net casted pay off now.
February 20, 2014 at 8:18 pm
Just for a change of subject, someone emailed me with this dilemma about trying to tour their neighborhood school before Kindergarten begins.
I won’t name the school, but it is one of the well-regarded neighborhood elementaries. Very high test scores (and as typically goes hand in hand, a low ratio of lower income students.) You get the drift. One of the schools that a parent might seek out a neighborhood for. Probably doesn’t take many/any kids via lottery.
CURIOUS WHAT YOUR THOUGHTS ARE? Any advice? Does the school owe local parents tours? Is this common?
The reader writes:
I moved into a neighborhood this winter and will have most oldest child in kindergarten next fall (2014-15 school year). I called (Neighborhood Elementary School) and they do not schedule any open houses for new families.
I inquired about a school tour and was told that it is the school’s policy is to not give tours. I escalated my request and received a call from the asst. principal stating again that they do not give tours and that the administration spends every minute of the day tending to school related issues and does not have the time to give tours as well as tours are disruptive to the students and teachers. I requested an after hours tour and suggested that a member of the PTA could show me the facilities. Again, they stated policy is no tours.
They directed me to check their website for school information and they can answer my questions over the phone. I explained that I am new to the area, do not know anyone that attends the school and do not feel comfortable sending my 5 year old child 7 hours per day/ 5 days per week with out seeing where they were going, however they just stuck to the no tour policy. I requested a meeting with the principal and she said she would forward my request. Still waiting to hear back….
Can a public school deny a parent access to the school? Is there anything else I can do?
February 8, 2014 at 12:08 pm
I’m headed out of town for the weekend and don’t have time to write anything, but here is the long awaited news from OAE about the shift in testing as part of the 900 point rubric.
Will we see a big shift in in the % of private school kids who get in?
Will there be more MAP test prep in schools?
Will the test prep companies be ready to help kids get ready?
Inquiring minds want to know…
CPS to use NWEA MAP Exam for Standardized Testing
Historically, the qualifying standardized testing assessment used by Chicago Public Schools to qualify for Selective Enrollment and other specialty programs has been the ISAT. Starting this year, the standardized testing assessment utilized by the Chicago Public Schools will be the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) MAP exam.
Students will be administered this test in spring 2014, and the scores from this test will be used by the Office of Access and Enrollment in the selection process for Selective Enrollment High Schools, IB High Schools, Magnet High Schools, and Military Academies for students applying this fall to enter ninth grade in August 2015.
The rubric for the Selective Enrollment process, which can be accessed here
, will remain the same. The scores from the NWEA will simply replace the scores from the ISAT. In line with the new promotion policy, students will need a minimum score of 24% in reading and math to qualify to apply to these programs.
For non-CPS/non-charter students who do not take the NWEA, scores will be accepted from one of the tests listed below:
Terra Nova 3 (2011)
Woodcock Johnson Achievement Test 3
Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS)
Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT 3)
Look for the letter from the Chief Executive Officer, Mrs. Barbara Byrd-Bennett, to parents, school principals, and counselors to read more about the importance of making the NWEA MAP a priority for your family.
Please note: This change does not affect current eighth grade students. This year’s selections will be performed using the ISAT data from students’ seventh grade year.
If you have questions, please call 773-553-2060.
January 31, 2014 at 10:32 am
As I’m sure you’ve heard, CPS voted to approve 7 new charters today, among 17 proposed.
The tribune (intrepid education reporter Noreen) covered the story as shown below.
I remain “charter neutral,” conceptually. Meaning I am okay with the idea of choice and offering options, especially to families who are surrounded by low performing schools. When I attended the New Schools fair last year I could fully understand the appeal. BUT, that is just conceptual. The current reality of our school district makes the notion of choice and schools competing for students a bit ludicrous. How long can the Mayor and Board pretend that opening these schools won’t have an impact on neighborhood schools? I would be much more open to embracing new charters if some kind of strategic plan was laid out and sense of forthrightness was shown in managing the shift from neighborhood to charter.
Without any hint of a strategy to manage the shifting student population (which is inevitable) it appears that it will be left to chance, to “free market” results. What can the result be other than less efficient neighborhood schools? If there is another outcome that doesn’t result in inefficiency, I would love to hear about it. If the goal is to continue to reduce neighborhood schools with charters, just say it. Or just have the balls to do it. Let a charter take over a neighborhood school if some of the charters so are good. Figure out a plan to shift students that doesn’t let schools dwindle and fester.
Yes, competition can be a good thing. It works when 2 independent companies or entities compete. One wins business and the other loses business and the only downside is to the owners of the “losing” business. But in this case WE (CPS, Chicago, taxpayers) own BOTH the businesses. If one loses, that results in losses and inefficiency, neither of which we can afford right now.
Show me the strategy, Rahm.
**Original link to Trib story here:**
By Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah Tribune reporter8:54 p.m. CST, January 22, 2014
While Chicago’s Board of Education on Wednesday approved just seven of 17 proposals for new charter schools, the growth of privately run schools in the city remains on a pace sought by advocates.
Five of the seven schools that got the go-ahead are scheduled to open up this fall, at the same time as 10 charter schools previously approved by the board. So the rejection of 10 charter proposals Wednesday was not seen as a setback by the charter community.
“It’s a somewhat modest number, but it’s good,” said Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. “It’s progress.”
With the 15 new charters opened this past August, Broy said the district would still be on target to meet its goal to open 60 new charters between 2012 and 2017.Chicago Public Schools has promoted the growth of charters as one way to fix the city’s troubled educational system because they can offer a range of innovative learning environments and offer parents more choices.
But charter expansion efforts this year have met with especially strong criticism in large part because they follow the decision last year to close nearly 50 district-run schools because of underenrollment, in addition to tens of millions of dollars in budget cuts at schools.
CPS has made clear it intended to be conservative in charter growth this year, and on Wednesday again stressed that only a handful of the 10 schools approved earlier appear on track to open in the fall.
The board Wednesday followed the recommendation of CPS staff to approve seven of the 17 proposals. Only three of the schools approved Wednesday will be located in communities with overcrowded schools, which CPS had said would be target areas for new charters this year.
None of the four district-recommended charters in “non-priority” areas passed unanimously, with one board member, Carlos Azcoitia, voting against all four. Those schools are slated for communities on the South and West sides, which saw large scale school closures this past summer.
“This is a very difficult decision, and it’s very difficult for me,” said board member Andrea Zopp who voted against one of the seven recommended proposals. “I think we have some real challenges. It is hard to balance what we’ve done already this year with opening schools that are in communities where we have said we have too many seats. I struggle with that significantly.”
Zopp said voted for three other charters planning to locate outside CPS’ “priority communities” on the Northwest and Southwest sides because they had demonstrated strong community support.
Right now, 126 of the district’s 658 schools are charters. Charter schools can employ non-union teachers, and the Chicago Teachers Union has led protests against charter expansion, culminating with an overnight vigil outside CPS headquarters that ended early Wednesday.
Ald. Emma Mitts, 37th, a charter proponent, spoke passionately about her desire for a Noble Street Charter campus in her neighborhood. Ald. Howard Brookins, 21st, spoke out in favor of a charter that was part of a play by mayoral ally the Rev. Charles Jenkins to redevelop the old Johnson Products Co. site on 85th Street..CPS officials said they settled on recommending seven charters as opposed to all 17 based on the quality of applicants, strong track records, solid finances and evidence they could meet additional requirements.
Noble Street Charter Schools, a favorite of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s, won approval for two new high schools which will increase its number of campuses in the city to 16. Concept Schools, which has a high school in Rogers Park and opened two campuses this year, won approval for two more.Intrinsic Schools, which opened its first campus this year, needs to meet further requirements involving academics and other factors before getting final approval for a Fall 2015 starting date for the new high school it wants to open.
Bishop James Dukes, part of group of South Side pastors who applied for a new school through the Connected Futures Academy charter network, which targets troubled youths and dropouts, made clear his disappointment with the board’s rejection of that group’s proposal.“It’s a sad day in Chicago that of all the applications you have the usual organizations being approved, none of the charters (that were approved) are lead African American organizations and yet all of them are going to operate primarily in African American communities,” Dukes said.
The board followed a recommendation made earlier in the day from Chicago Public Schools staff to move ahead with seven of the 17 proposed charter schools.The board approved proposals from the following charter operators:
• Concept Schools: two schools at 5401 S. Western Avenue and 8522 S. Lafayette Ave.;
• Intrinsic Schools: one school at 4540 W. Belmont Ave. in first year before moving to another unspecified Northwest Side location;
• Noble: two schools, at 5321 W. Grand Ave. and 17 N. State Street;
• Chicago Education Partnership: one school, with grades K-6 at 400 N. Leamington Ave., grades 7-8 at 415 N. Laramie Ave.;
• Great Lakes Academy: one school, location to be determined.
January 23, 2014 at 12:55 am
Switching the previous topic to be more general.
We were discussing the topic of how much parents can request a teacher to ask for specific accommodations to help the child succeed in class. Some kids need extra help getting organized (this has been a challenge for my kids,) some need reminders to do things, to stay on task (my son’s teacher helped us out with this last year,) certain placements in the room. With large CPS classes, how much is too much to ask of a teacher? If 10 out of 30 kids has special requirements, is that fair to the teacher? Conversely, shouldn’t the teachers want to step up to do what’s needed to help each child succeed? Should the help with learning the material/curriculum be the top priority above teaching kids things like responsibility and organization skills?
Parents can now get formal 504 plans written for kids with these issues to require teachers to fulfill some of these special needs.
I’m curious to hear from parents or teachers who have experienced this, to see what types of behavioral, processing, executive functioning, attention, sensory issues can be included in a 504 plan.
Some readers had also asked whether RGC (Regional Gifted Center) and I assume Classical school parents were more extreme in making demands on a teacher. My son’s class has seemed generally laid back, but of course I don’t know about specific situations. I have to imagine that parents of kids who are gunning for Academic Centers and SEHS are going to be more intrusive/demanding about the grades and test scores in 5th and 7th grade, and there are likely more of those parents in RGCs. I know from my sister in law who has taught in Naperville for a long time that it’s just assumed that many of the parents are like that. Perhaps there’s a socio economic link?
January 1, 2014 at 7:41 pm