Skinner North

April 4, 2009 at 2:48 pm 31 comments

So this appears to be the one wildcard for the upcoming school year.  Skinner is a Classical School that is splitting into Skinner North and Skinner West.

The problem is that apparently CPS doesn’t know yet where Skinner North will be located, and between the 2 proposed sites, neither are highly desirable based on potential shady activity near the school.

Here is the most recent comment here.  Feel free to continue to comment to discuss it.   This is a tough one.  It is so hard to give up the chance to get into a Classical school when there are so few spots in CPS.  Personally, I would say that if your child is really advanced and would do well in the Classical-type of program, give it a chance.  There is a strong upside if parents mobilize and take the time to build it up.  Lack of staff isn’t necessarily a bad thing in CPS.  If the person who is doing the hiring seems to have a good vision for the school, it’s great to start fresh.  If you’re looking for a school where everything is in place already, this probably isn’t right for you.

“Anyone else at the Skinner North open house yesterday? If so, what are your thoughts about sending your child there? We are probably not going to primarily because of the safety concern of it being located at Schiller. We are also very skeptical of the Board of Ed in that they want us to confirm attendance by 4/17 but they cannot show us Schiller School or make a firm decision about Skinner North’s location unitl 4/22. So much for transparency. As a lay person I find it concerning that no staff has been hired and the extra curriculars seem to be lacking.”

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31 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Edward Sices  |  April 8, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    I attended the open house, and will send my daughter to the new Skinner North.

    The lack of information and the tentative nature of the school dampened some of my enthusiasm about the program. I am hoping that we will be able to influence the school’s development over time and that it will work out for us. We plan to get involved with the school, most likely through the PTA.

    I am not as concerned about the proximity to the former Cabrini Green buildings as they have been dismantling the public housing. I think the greatest physical danger to the children would come from inside the school and I am sure they intend to keep security at the entrance to the school.

    This is a risk, and we have decided to try it and if it fails look for other options the following school year.

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  April 8, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Hey, good for you for giving it a try. I’m sure if there are other parents like you, it stands a good chance of succeeding.
    I think safety perceptions vary a lot between parents in this city. My son’s school sits surrounded by million dollar homes (well, they were at one point) and a parent on the school tour still asked whether we thought the school was safe for kids given the neighborhood!

  • 3. Brian's mom  |  April 8, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    I’m happy about Edison’s new location – and it’s right by my son’s favorite park (River). (how does this relate?) Last year there was major hullabaloo about moving Edison from far northwest corner to current location. Any other Edison acceptees with comment?? Hope you Skinner families are pleased with new school, as well!

  • 4. Claudio  |  April 17, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    What score is used to determine how kids get into Skinner? My son received a 115 and a 95 percentile on the GEAP exam and was not accepted to any schools.

    Also, did anyone ever receive the amended GEAP application distinguishing between Skinner North and Skinner West? When I applied for my son back in October, the application only gave the choice of selecting Skinner, not Skinner North or West. And when I called to speak to the Office of Academic Enhancement, they said parents who didn’t return the amended application indicating they were interested in North didn’t receive consideration for that school. I am upset about the way they handled this situation as I have heard from other parents who didn’t receive the amended application. It put all of the students who took the test early at a disadvantage. A LITTLE HELP HERE!!!

  • 5. KS  |  April 18, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Hi Claudio-

    My daughter also took the GEAP test for K this past November. We initially ranked Skinner as one of our choices and received a second application in the mail after taking the test (December maybe?) allowing us to include both West and North. From what I understand, you only received an amended application in the mail if you ranked Skinner as one of your choices on your original application. Is it possible that you didn’t choose Skinner originally?

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  April 18, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Claudio – The 3 digit score is used to determine admission into a gifted program (it is a raw score) and the 2 digit number is for the Classical schools. It is a percentile, meaning your child scored better than 95% of kids who took the test nationwide.
    In the past, kids seemed to get into a Classical program with scores of 96% and higher. So far this year Decatur seems to have taken kids with a percentile of 99%. It may be possible that with the addition of another Skinner (and some lack of willingness to attend) that kids with a score of 95% could be offered a spot by the time school starts in Sept.
    For gifted, in the past kids with scores in the mid 120’s and up often got spots, but this year kids with scores in the high 130’s are being turned down so far (but may get spots as things shift around.)

  • 7. Claudio  |  April 19, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Thanks for your comments KS and CPS obsessed.

    I am puzzled by not receiving the amended application because I ranked Skinner as my TOP choice. When we receievd the notification of admissions letter, Skinner West was listed. spoke to two people at the Office of Aca. Ench. and they said the letters were sent out early January but I never received it. They said they would make a note on my child’s file that we want consideration for Skinner North but I don’t know what good that will do. They also told me over 2100 kids took the K test.

    Thanks for the blog. I was telling a couple friends about it and they were interested. Keep up the good work!

  • 8. Peggy  |  April 19, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    We got into Skinner and have decided not to accept the spot based on safety issues (I would never allow my child to go outdoors for recess there, and imo, recess is too important to skip). There are a number of buildings and populations being shifted around, and the likelihood of sour feelings in the neighborhood is high.
    We were fortunate enough to have been accepted at multiple schools, and chose Hawthorne. I wish the best of luck to other families as they decide to accept or reject the Skinner spot.

  • 9. dazedandconfused  |  April 20, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Huge thank yous for the blog- it truly helped in making the decision to send our child to Skinner West.

    For what it’s worth- my child got a 99.6% and did NOT get into Decatur. As for the gifted- I know of numbers in the 140s that did not get into Coonley or Edison and GEAP did indicate there were a significant amount of 140s not offered spots.

    we decided on Skinner West after the open house because we loved the principal and the K teacher that will both be going to Skinner West. The new building is exciting and will hopefully be done in time.

    we’ll see how it all pans out but we were not hopeful for throwing our hat back in the ring with such uncertainty of the pool.
    thanks again!

  • 10. dazedandconfused  |  April 20, 2009 at 9:28 am

    oops- forgot to mention we did get the amended letter but honestly did not bother modifying our school choice since it was our last choice.

  • 11. Peggy  |  April 20, 2009 at 10:22 am

    I am not sure if you meant Skinner North instead of Skinner West, or if I have missed something. From what I understood, Skinner North, wherever it ends up landing, will be the classical school and Skinner West will be a neighborhood school. (or maybe a magnet, but not a classical). So if you accepted Skinner West, I don’t think there is a classical program there. Or have there been so many changes, did I get confused on this?

  • 12. dazedandconfused  |  April 20, 2009 at 11:17 am

    the skinner west program will have 2 classical programs and 1 neighborhood program. I like this option alot since it allows my child to interact with others not in the classical for some of the programs. A survey went out last year to the existing parents and they were given an option to stay at SKinner North or to move to the new location. The large majority of the parents and teachers chose the new building. The neighborhood program will be a fine arts and technology magnet program. Including a neighborhood component does don’t bother me at all and I like that Bell and Coonley both have neighborhood programs.
    originally it was planned to be only classical but when the neighborhood insisted on there being a neighborhood component that opened up the extra classical class BACK at Skinner North.

  • 13. Julie Trenker  |  May 27, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Okay, I just visited Skinner North today and I have to say, I was horrified. The building (temporary as it may be) is in disrepair and down right depressing! While we were waiting to speak to the principal, a young girl with an injury was clearly upset and wanting to call her Mom. The secretary all but ignored her and when she did acknowledge the situation, turned to a teacher and said the girl was being dramatic. I found this rather disturbing. When my daughter was tested, Skinner was our last choice, and clearly, judging from the posts that I have read, she was offered the spot given how too many other parents are declining. I have to say, the possible new location is not bringing me any comfort either. That area still is shady and despite that CHA has officially disassembled the projects, they are still there! This is not going to be remedied in the near future. I don’t wish to deprive my child of a chance at a better education, but I don’t know if I can spend my days worried about her safety either. It appears I am not the only one with concerns.

  • 14. C  |  June 4, 2009 at 12:44 am

    My son was accepted to Skinner West and I will be calling tomorrow to accept the position. He scored a 95% on the classical test, minority applicant. I am looking forward to it!

  • 15. worldlywise  |  July 12, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    great blog. Keep up the good work.

  • 16. Jax  |  July 23, 2009 at 11:39 am

    My son was accepted to Skinner North, and we are excited about it. It will be in the former Schiller School building, which is currently being renovated. I am a little concerned about the neighborhood, but I agree, security in the school should and probably will be provided. Does anyone know where I can find out what we need for the school (Kindergarden). Will there be some sort of notification, letter, communication going out to us soon? We are from Europe and this is our oldest child attending an American School. So exciting.

  • 17. AK  |  August 23, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Here are the supply lists if you haven’t received one yet.

  • 18. Melissa  |  November 29, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Any new comments from attending students/ parents?

  • 19. Elena  |  February 26, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Is there anyone who is in Skinner West now and loves it or hates it??? My child is going to be 4 soon and I am looking for schools to apply in the fall. Skinner was our top choice by hearing a lot of good things about it and I also heard about South Loop Elementary School which is also considered to be a good one…Any feedback???

    Also, how difficult is to be accepted to Skinner school – what are the chances?

    Thanks a lot!!!

  • 20. Kim  |  March 28, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    We just receives our acceptance letter to Skinner North! We currently have a 3rd grader at Skinner West and was hoping to get both students in the same school. Although I ‘m thrilled that my daughter is in the Classical system I was hoping for the West location. I placed both locations on my application as one is better than none… I just took a gander at the North website and Kindergarten curriculum and must say it appears very impressive and detailed. The curriculum gives plenty of info. that will aid in preparing her for the upcoming kindergarten year. Skinner west has been great and we LOVE it there, I know nothing about the ins of the north location and look forward to learning more!

  • 21. Kim  |  March 28, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Also, the word is 8,000 students applied for Classical kindergarten slots! I was sure she would not get in although she scored above 95% the odds appeared to low. We are very excited as we love the Classical program and know that its a great fit for our children. Needless to say, this will be our daughters last 2 seasons of circle time as Kindergarten in the classical format is desk seating and chalkboard instruction! yikes!

  • 22. vermaao  |  March 29, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Our son received an invitation for a spot in Skinner North’s kindergarten for the fall.

    Would love to hear some more feedback from parents with kids currently in the kindergarten program. Pros/cons?

    Has the school met your expectations considering it’s a new program in a new building with new faculty/resources?

    What do you think about the facilities and the surrounding neighborhood? The quality of the faculty, staff and curriculum? The workload and support for your child?

    For those of you who have reference points at Skinner West (friends, etc.), how does the Skinner North experience compare?

  • 23. klem  |  March 31, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Kim: At Skinner North, the kindergarten kids sit at small tables of three. No desks. They also spend a fair amount of time sitting on the floor, gathered round a big rocking chair. The teacher may sit in the chair or the kids sit there while they give presentations.

    Vermaao: My DD is in kindergarten at Skinner North. We love it there and feel very fortunate to have gotten a spot. I would encourage you (and everyone else whose child was accepted) to attend the open house on April 6 from 1 to 3 p.m. You will get a lot of info on the school there.

    In a nutshell, we like the curriculum. In reading the students are individually evaluated and given books suited for their specific level. Some kids are reading chapter books–others are in the See-Spot-run phase, but everyone works at their own pace. They also spend a lot of time on writing. In math, they start at the first grade level. They also have regular units in science and social studies. Music, Spanish, technology, library and PE are their electives. No art, but they get a lot of that in class. No official recess, but the kindergarten kids go outside or play in gym almost every day.

    The teachers and staff are top notch. Everyone there is focused on student learning, and there is great feeling of team spirit/cohesiveness. Homework is regularly evaluated for effectiveness.

    They also look to develop the whole student (character), and the diversity of the student body (ethnic, religious, geographic) is considered a positive.

    The location near Cabrini has not been a problem. The after-care and after-school programs are great.

    In short, my daughter is challenged on daily basis but also feels supportive. She loves going to school and loves being with the other students.

    If you have specific questions, let me know. Or ask us at the open house.

  • 24. dave4118  |  April 1, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks….you have provided insights that I could never get from my previous open house visit..and our daughter scored well enough to receive an invitation to apply at skinner north… my wife and I have been debating whether or not to commute to skinner north(north siders) or rely on the neighborhood school with a comprehensive gifted program(1st-6th). Your report will help us flesh out the details so that we can compare the two options…We will both attend the April 6th open house….Thanks.

  • 25. klem  |  April 5, 2010 at 10:20 am

    dave4118: I am glad my post helped a bit. We were in the same situation last year. Our school has its own gifted program (1-6), and I was comfortable sending out daughter there with regards to the basic curriculum. Teachers were good, etc. For us it came down to “bells and whistles” such as after-care, science, foreign language and extracurriculars. I know the transportation is a major factor, and that some families won’t be able to transport. So I wish you well in your decision making. See you at the open house…

  • 26. Amy  |  May 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    I got my child tested for classical but did not fill up skinner(north or west) as it was quite a ride from our home.But, he was not selected for decatur and geap office said, if I would have filled up skinner as my choise, he would have gotten in.
    I am very upset with myself for not marking skinneras my choice.
    Skinner Mom, can you please tell me a bit in detail about skinner, so that next year I fill it up asmy choice.

  • 27. Chevonne  |  June 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Im a skinner North mom and I SIMPLY LOVE IT!!!! I homeschooled my child for pre-school so the anxiety I felt about her entering a traditional school was overwhelming. The staff is great, and all the children appears to be happy there. The curriculum is rigorious and the children are being challenged.

  • 28. Diane  |  March 23, 2011 at 10:50 am

    My son is accepted to Skinner west (5 th grade) next year. Skinner west is far from our home, he is now at South Loop. Should we move him?

  • 29. Jeanne  |  March 28, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    My son tested into Skinner West and we’re excited about the possibility. However, our other son is at LaSalle II – which we love. Does anybody know if Skinner West has transportation options or a before school program? I would love to hear from anybody else who has tried to juggle 2 schools.

  • 30. Tracy Moore  |  June 29, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Not very many posts for the 2011 year, but all the same, I wanted to see if any parents had feedback on the neighborhood portion of Skinner West. We are relocating to Chicago this summer and considering a loft in West Loop. I realize the first graders are separated into two gifted and one neighborhood class and that they do not mix the kids. My concern is that my daughter would be treated ‘differently’ than the other kids… perhaps even ostracized. Are there any neighborhood parents out there that can fill us in on the details? The school staff was less than explicit. Thanks!

  • 31. Simon  |  April 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Hi, I’m trying to decide between Skinner North and Disney for kinder next year. Skinner North is obviously excellent in terms of academic performance but Disney seems to have more programs and is much more diverse. Any feedback?

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