Time for Farewell

School for Blog





The time has come to retire as CPSObsessed. The blog saw me navigating my way through the school research process when my son was entering kindergarten to his entry into high school this past Fall.

Thank you to everyone who posted comments, asked questions, and contributed to the lively discussion over the years. I read virtually every comment posted on the blog over the years and they kept me engaged for over 9 years.

Some of my favorite or noteworthy memories include:

  • The first time someone posted a comment who wasn’t a friend or family member. I got such a kick out of, not having any idea who many people would pass through over the years.
  • The massive number of views a few years when elementary school letters came out – 30,000 in one night was the record.
  • The days of all of us collectively waiting by mailboxes for letters to arrive, reporting when the mail arrived by neighborhood.
  • Meeting several of the heads of CPS over the years. Arnie Duncan, JC Brizzard, and Barbara Byrd-Bennett (met her via a phone call, after which I almost started crying because she worried me about what she had in store for CPS…little did I know.)
  • Getting to appear on Windy City Live (thanks to one of the blog readers!). I didn’t know what the show was and I almost showed up in shabby jeans and winter boots thinking nobody would see me from the waist down. Didn’t know until I arrived that it was a real TV show.
  • Meeting some blog readers in person, who have now become friends. (And other who were virtual friends over the years!)
  • The time one blog reader threatened another one with an actual fight (after some disagreement about the Tier System.)
  • The expansion of how many “good” schools are available for families. When I started this process it was like Burley, Blaine, and Lincoln. Nettelhorst was just on the rise and changed the way schools thought about presenting themselves to parents.
  • Optimism about neighborhood high schools being accepted as good options.


Our good friends a Chicago School CPS are a good source of information on applying to schools and open houses. Their Hidden Gems high school fair is a great resources.  Check them out here:



Also, the CPS web site has improved vastly over the past 5 years and is much easier to navigate than in the past.


I’ll leave the old posts up for the time being and they are still searchable, so you can always look at the threads from prior years if you want to see what scores were needed for admission to certain schools.

The comments section will be locked, though.


Good luck to everyone this year. As someone who’s been reading 1000’s of comments, talking to parents, and living through CPS for the past 10 years, the one things virtually every parents says is:


So try not to obsesses (too much.) Despite all the turmoil, CPS has many great options and ultimately it’s the teachers and school community that make the school experience.  Find a positive community and your child will thrive.

January 7, 2018 at 5:11 pm 1 comment

Fall 2017: Applying to Kindergarten / Elementary School


Coonley Elementary + RGC

In the next couple weeks, the application season for Elementary School will begin.

While the high school application process is changing slightly, the Elementary process should still be largely the same.

So far, the CPS Access & Enrollment site doesn’t have the start date or end date of the application period open, but it should be ready soon.


In a nutshell, the process will involve:

Request a PIN for the site

Once you have your PIN, sign up to schedule a test (if you’re interested in the gifted or classical test)

Select and rank the schools you want to apply to (this can be done up to the closing date)

For magnet schools (no testing needed,) apply online for up to 20 magnet or other open enrollment schools

Separately, get familiar with your neighborhood school to assess whether it’s a good option.  Your child can always attend that school at any point.  Being part of a neighborhood school has many benefits:  local friends (kids and parents,) walking to school, and being part of a local community.





September 22, 2017 at 10:03 pm 207 comments

High School Application News – Fall 2017


Lake View HS 1943

2018-2019 CPS High School Application News (guest post from Chicago School GPS)

We often tell families we meet with that “The only constant in CPS is to expect ‘change’ “.  This fall, there is a LOT of change in the 2018-2019 CPS high school application process.  The rumors of a “Single Application” for CPS high schools have come to fruition with the unveiling of GoCPS www.go.cps.edu .  GoCPS is essentially a consolidation of what was previously several disparate applications (magnet, military, IB, CTE, etc) into one form, with one offer of acceptance based on the highest ranked school (out of 20) for which your student qualifies. The ONE EXCEPTION is that the 11 Selective Enrollment schools (entrance test required & 900 pt system) will still be a separate application. So think of it as “Single Application Plus SEHS”.  In other words, your student can get up to two CPS high school offers next spring, as opposed to the multiple offers from different types of programs that were given in prior years.

CPS has planned for a “single application” for several years now but this year is finally pulling the trigger.  The reasons?  Mostly to promote equitability, transparency, and they say, “simplicity”.  Before there were students who could have conceivably been offered several IB schools, several magnet schools, several CTE programs, and one SEHS school.  But because a student can only enroll in one school, those other offers sat “unused” or were delayed in being available for others.

Will this change really make it more equitable, as it is designed to do?  Much speculation remains, especially since cities like Denver, New Orleans and New York City are all still working out their systems.  Read more insightful analysis here: http://www.generationallchicago.org/will-a-single-application-for-high-schools-help-expan-equity-in-chicago-public-schools/

The following steps are for 8th grade families (the guinea pigs in all this):

  1. Subscribe to updates at www.go.cps.edu
  2. Follow the prompts at http://go.cps.edu/how-to-apply/high-schools and choose if you are a CPS student or a non-CPS student (non-CPS students still need to register to take the CPS-administered NWEA MAP reading & math tests either in September or October.  It’s first come, first serve so register early! http://cps.edu/AccessAndEnrollment/Pages/NWEAnoncps.aspx )
  3. Online accounts can be Activated now so you can see your student’s eligibility for programs, etc. https://cps.schoolmint.net/signup
    1. CPS students should have received an Activation Code at the end of last school year or will get one when school starts;
    2. Non-CPS students do not need an Activation Code but may need MAP testing (see #2)
  4. Applications open on October 2nd
  5. Visit schools, open houses, research programs, etc
  6. Applications close on December 15th.
  7. Rank up to 20 non-selective schools, and rank up to 6 selective enrollment schools, for a maximum of 2 school offers.
  8. You may still need to attend info sessions, auditions, selective enrollment testing or submit supplemental materials after the application deadline.
  9. You will be matched to the highest non-selective school for which you qualify, and put on the waitlist for any schools you ranked higher, with 1st round notifications coming on March 15, 2018.
  10. If you applied to an SEHS school, you will also get a single offer for one of those schools.
  11. If you don’t want to accept your single offer (and/or your SEHS offer), then you can apply again during a second round which begins in May 2018.
  12. Supposedly by June 2018 you will be settled in a single school offer, with your neighborhood school as your fallback.

Want to learn more?

The 6th Annual Hidden Gems High School Fair will be on Sunday, Sept. 24 from 1-4p at Amundsen High School; http://www.chischoolgps.com/CSG_HS_Fair.html

“What’s on the Test? HS Edition” w/Test Prep Chicago will be on Thursday, Oct. 19 from 7-8:30pm.  Location TBD.  http://www.chischoolgps.com/CSG_HS_Testing.html

CPS Go Contact Info


September 4, 2017 at 8:55 am 93 comments

Coming Soon – New Posts for New School Year!


Well, I was just about to close up the place, when I go a couple volunteers to keep CPSObsessed going for another year.

A friend of mine who has an 8th grader (and a current high schooler) will be acting as CPSObsessed this year.   She’ll be assisted by our friends at Chicago GPS, the school consultants who run the Hidden Gems school fair each year (and already know a lot about the new application process.)  See their site here:

Chicago GPS

There will be a post coming soon that talks about the new application, then you can continue to use the blog as a place to share questions and answers.

My son will be starting high school on Tuesday.  sniff..sniff…  I really can’t believe it.  I’m still bracing for what will be our early morning schedule for 4 years.

So stay tuned.  More to come soon.


August 31, 2017 at 11:30 pm 5 comments

Elementary Magnet and Neighborhood School Letter Spring 2017



In the spirit of information-sharing, please share the following if you get Magnet offers:

Grade child is entering

Also post your waiting list numbers, in the spirit of amusement.


March 30, 2017 at 1:02 pm 1,158 comments

Academic Center Letters Spring 2017


Starting the thread so people can share information and advice.  Will spruce it up later tonight after an Amundsen fundraiser (woo! woo!)

Parents will be emailed by Monday April 3 with their notifications.


March 30, 2017 at 1:00 pm 155 comments

RGC and Classical school Elementary “Letters” – Spring 2017


Emails will be arriving by Monday April 3 to inform parents of their scores and offers.

As a reminder, you can receive only 1 offer.  If you want a school that is higher on your list, you’d have to turn down an offer you get to be placed back in the pool.

Remember, the RGC and Classical schools go through several rounds of offers.  Many families don’t get placement until late spring, summer, or even the first week of school in the Fall.

CPS does not post cutoff scores for these programs, so in the spirit of crowd-sourcing, please (anonymously) share your information to help other families make choices.

Kindly post:

School admitted to
Grade entering

And finally — the scores in no way are a perfect measure of your child’s intelligence.  Many many smart kids end up not testing well for a range of reason.   One of the smartest 4 year olds I knew didn’t test well at the age and was just accepted to Walter Payton high school.   Intelligence shows up in different ways and on different tests over time.  And as well all know, ALL our kids are above average anyhow.  🙂

Please post your information, questions, and moral support for other parents below…

March 30, 2017 at 12:59 pm 1,065 comments

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