Reflecting on the past week

April 3, 2010 at 9:00 pm 118 comments

Well, it’s been about a week now since people got their news and it’s been really interesting to read everyone’s input.  Again, thanks for your kind words.  If my blog made things more sane for anyone, I’m glad it helped. 

I really do think that knowledge is power.  I love that people were so open about sharing their scores and Tiers.  I suspect it’ll be the closest that any of us get to really understanding how this new Tier system impacted the ability to gain a spot in a gifed/classical/magnet/academic center, etc.  I really wish that CPS would publish stats on the test scores like they did for the high schools, just for our own knowledge.

I also love the posters who have come on to reassure those who are disappointed with their initial placement or lack thereof.  It really helps to hear from others who have gone through the process already, doesn’t it?  It was interesting to see the range in scores that people have reported for their child year to year on the Gifted/Classical testing.  In the past I’d heard of plenty of 20 point swings, this year up to a 30 point swing.  It’s proof that kids have their good days and bad days for testing.

The talk about academic centers has been really interesting to me.  I’ve realized that I don’t really care whether my son is in schools where he is really pushed to his limit all the time.  I just want him to get a good, solid education.  And I think that is part of the frustration of CPS — the feeling that you get in a program with too much homework/too much work intensity, or you’re stuck with lack of stimulation.  Why can’t there be more in between?   I feel like the good neighborhoods schools are getting there, which is encouraging.

I’ll sad/mad/disappointed/not surprised that some schools have seemingly not sent out their lottery letters yet.  I guess people will start hearing this week? 

So now we wait for round 2.  Once the acceptance dates pass, it seems to take CPS a few days to get new spots assigned and they’ll start mailing/calling?  So keep the news coming in…..

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Some good budget news Springfield Day

118 Comments Add your own

  • 1. K D  |  April 4, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    773-553-1620. That’s the CPS Office of Communications. Let’s ask them to publish the scores by rank & tier by school. They did it for the high schools.

  • 2. K D  |  April 4, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    The Tiering system is not perfect: I’ve found a very poor area that is “trapped” in Tier 4. I also found a very priveleged area that happens to be Tier 1.

    There’s a lot for sale at 1020 N. Larrabee. They’re asking $625,000. If you buy it and park your RV there, you’ll be in Tier 1.

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  • 4. anonymous  |  April 5, 2010 at 9:15 am

    KD – I second the idea of having them post scores and rank. I also had posted that they should do the same for non-selective magnets: post the names of those accepted and the waitlist — if only to rescue the poor mail carriers!

    Transparency is the only thing that’s going to help this broken system … short of dismantling the whole thing (which is what I’d really love to see).

    They’ve counted on parents not knowing each other’s waitlist number or rank or whatever for far too long. Blogs like this (and NPN) may make them realize they can’t hold secrets as well anymore.

    BTW — I am sending my child to our neighborhood school a mile away. We did try for one non-selective magnet lottery since we live next door (literally), but were waitlisted. So, I do not have a vested interest in the scores.

    I just have a vested interest in making CPS work better and be more “honest.” I think that’s something we could all agree on.

  • 5. chicago mom  |  April 5, 2010 at 10:48 am

    I win, I think…we had a 40 point swing on the gifted test. Basically, she tanked it…went from 142 to 102. She liked the one on one testing for PreK but said the group format “wasn’t fun”.

    Grrrr…. I tried hard not to push her about the test, maybe that was a mistake? Last year I turned down Skinner West and Pritzger.

    Luckily we’re at Hawthorne, which while not challenging enough (I’ve become her math and reading teacher on the side, on top of working full-time) is still a really good school. And I plan to make her test again next year.

  • 6. two cents  |  April 5, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    #4 chicago mom, I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s child tanked the following year. For KDG my DC scored 95% for classical…the following year crashed to 69%. OMG! Gifted score started at 129 and tanked to 116. I was afraid to have DC tested again this year, so didn’t. This child is a VERY inconsistent tester. I may do it next year just out of curiosity…especially after reading that some kids get in with scores in the 120s.

  • 7. Alicia  |  April 5, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Does anyone know if Bell sent out letters yet? I haven’t heard either from the school nor CPS on my son’s scores. Is it an issue with our mail, or is there a delay? Just curious.

  • 8. two cents  |  April 5, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    So for all of the complaining we have about the postal service in Chicago – The acceptance letters for the RGCs and Classical schools do appear to have all reached the appropriate homes within a week. It is the rejections and lottery letters that seem to be delayed.

  • 9. CPSnewbie  |  April 5, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    # 6 Alicia – I heard concerning Bell.

  • 10. CPSnewbie  |  April 5, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Just curious, if anyone is willing to share – what are the scores like for kids getting into Coonley and Edison 1st grade?

  • 11. Y  |  April 5, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    @CPSNewbie- There may not be any acceptances for 1st graders at Coonley or Edison. Those programs start at KG. There would only be openings if an existing student leaves the program.

  • 12. momx3  |  April 5, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    @ Alicia (#6) — CPS sent out scores/acceptance letters 3/25-26. I would call if you haven’t received anything yet. Regarding a letter from the school, I recall receiving something for my oldest child (who currently attends Bell’s RGC) in late April or early May the year he was accepted… definitely after second round calls. There was a parent orientation at that time, and then a 2-day student orientation in June w/ the first grade gifted teacher.

  • 13. KS  |  April 5, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    My dd just got an acceptance for Edison for 1st grade. We are Tier 3 and her score was 139. HTH!

  • 14. wondering...  |  April 5, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Do anyone here accepted to Andrew Jackson via proximity lottery? I am wondering how may spots are actually open for proximity lottery for Andrew Jackson…

    In any case, I am also not sure if number of spots available for proximity or general lottery would be affected by how many of siblings are coming from neighborhood or other parts of the city. Do anyone know if percentage of sibling coming from neighborhood would reduce spots available for proximity spots, or they are independent?

  • 15. cpsobsessed  |  April 5, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    @Wondering, I THOUGHT that the siblings are considered independant of the neigbhorhood status. That is, they assign sibs first, then neighborhood, then others. But maybe I’m just assuming it… the world may never know.

  • 16. cpsobsessed  |  April 5, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    @Chicago Mom: wow, 40 points! You do win the prize. I wonder if the scores tend to even out more at the older grades? I can see why there is volitility in the younger years. I just hate to think that the testing in 7th could end up in such a wide range.

  • 17. Another mommy  |  April 6, 2010 at 7:09 am

    I totally agree posting the scores. Posting the names along with the scores could pose a privacy issue. Maybe they could use another identifier, like a number (along w/ the score and/or waitlist #).

  • 18. cpsmom  |  April 6, 2010 at 7:44 am

    For siblings, this year, ALL available spots are offered to sibs, independent of neighborhood status. Then, if there are spots left (and seems like there usually are), the remaining spots are offered to their proximity and general-lottery-broken-down-by-tiers. So, if a school has 64 K spots like ours, and say 40 are taken by siblings-no matter where they live, that leaves 24 spots to be divided up and offered to proximity (I think 40%, which would be about 9 spots going to proximity and 12-13 spots divided up within the 4 tiers).

  • 19. JD  |  April 6, 2010 at 8:34 am

    to KS (whose kid got into Edison 1st grade (Tier 3 139 score) – congrats. Did you just receive the letter recently?

    Does this mean they are starting to send out the second round of acceptance letters? I thought it started week of 4/24?

  • 20. two cents  |  April 6, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Edison has a few openings for first grade next year.

  • 21. momx3  |  April 6, 2010 at 10:33 am

    There have been several comments regarding scores that have dropped significantly — particularly between K and 1st grade testing (wonder if the test format has an impact on this).

    Has anyone had a score increase by a notable amount?

  • 22. JD  |  April 6, 2010 at 11:47 am

    #4 chicago mom – what did you mean by group testing? Is the testing different for grade 1 and higher compared to K? Are the kids tested as a group? No longer one-on-one? That would be scary for a 5/6-year old.

  • 23. also obsessed  |  April 6, 2010 at 11:53 am

    My daughter went from:
    127 testing for Kinder
    112 testing for 1st
    132 testing for 2nd


  • 24. momx3  |  April 6, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    @JD. Yes, kids in Kindergarten who are testing for first grade spots are tested in groups of approximately 25 kids. From what I can gather, the kids are given a test booklet to mark their answers (fill in bubbles??) while the tester reads questions to them. I imagine that nerves and distractions could impact scores, although I felt that IIT did a nice job at keeping things calm and orderly for the kids… at least the parts I saw.

    @ also obsessed. I’m sure I could go back through the posts and figure this out… but did your daughter get an offer this year with her (great!!) score? My child received a 114 testing for 1st grade and I’m wondering if I’ll test again next year w/ spot being so limited after 1st grade…

  • 25. KS  |  April 6, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    JD- No, my dd received the Edison acceptance letter on 3/26, so first round. Fwiw, we are most likely giving up the spot. She is currently at Decatur and very happy there. I only retested her this year because her brother will start K in the fall and I had *hopes* that I could get them in the same school, though that is looking unlikely at this point. Good luck to you!

  • 26. also obsessed  |  April 6, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    No she did not, but I am not surprised. By 2nd grade, IF there are any spots, your score needs to be AT THE TOP to get a call (or so I would think. With all these 145s and above I am hearing about, I doubt she will get in. However, that’s cool, we love the school she is at now.

    I was just so surprised at the 112 (which they told me last year they don’t consider anyone under 115 for this program) and it jsut didn’t seem right that she didn’t even qualify. That’s why I tested her again….

  • 27. CPS Montessori Mom  |  April 6, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Any information about the Pulaski IB program. Anyone receive a lottery letter yet? Do you know anyone who is sending their child to Pulaski that lives in Bucktown?

  • 28. Ka  |  April 6, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    I have been obsessed with the 9 years we have been in the system. 2 of my children are in CPS- 1 Whitney academic center, 1 gifted/classical. I am surprised to hear about the variance in scores. I am sure that exists, but I am also sure that is the exception vs. rule. My oldest has tested within 2 points on tests for 8 years. Our other children test within a tight band over the years and I have seen that to be the case with most kids. It is more typical for a child to have big test score differences between classical and gifted as they test different things.

  • 29. Y  |  April 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

    We’ve tested our DD for the past three years. On the RGC test, she tested within one point for KG and 1st. For entering second grade, her raw score increased 34 points. Her CS score has risen steadily, seven percentile points over the three years.

    Based on the scores discussed on this blog and on NPN, it seems like the RGC test (especially this year) doesn’t do a very good job of spreading out the scores since the statistics do not work out very well. As others have mentioned, the number of students in the 99.9+% range doesn’t seem statistically possible with the number of students out there.

  • 30. LVmom  |  April 7, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Wow, the point swing is interesting. My daughter tested 136 on gifted last year (for K), 117 this year (1st gr). Maybe she had an off day this year, or an ON day last year… regardless, the whole process makes me crazy!

    Speaking of craziness, did you read the article about Huberman in the Chicago Reader? Someone on NPN posted about it:


  • 31. Julie  |  April 7, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Pritzker has an open house today at 10am.

  • 32. Susan  |  April 7, 2010 at 8:20 am

    A few comments:
    1. If you want the tier/rank information perhaps you could submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. I plan on doing so,
    2. Does anyone know if I can appeal the tier designation? We moved from a high income tier to a low income tier (go figure) and are now only renting. Is this a valid basis upon which to appeal?
    My child was tested for Kindergarten. I wanted Skinner North. I never rec’d a letter but called and was told she scored 119 and would not be admitted. Any hope for a wait-list?

  • 33. chicago mom  |  April 7, 2010 at 10:37 am

    The one thing that’s nice about our 40 point swing on the gifted test is that I’m fairly sure she just didn’t try. She said it was boring and she didn’t like the group format. So not so much an off day in this case. I wonder if she actually filled all of it in?

    My husband would argue that CPS (or IIT) had an obligation to make the process fun for the kids (after all, she’s only 6) and that they failed.

  • 34. Stephanie  |  April 7, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    I just called CPS and they told me that the lottery letters for the Magnet programs at South Loop, Murray, and Skinner West have not gone out yet. She said they should go this Friday.

  • 35. KCK  |  April 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    A friend of mine got the acceptance letter from Murray last week!

  • 36. kr  |  April 7, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    @chicago mom- my son had a 144 on his gifted test last year for kindergarten. This year he received a 128 for 1st grade. Frustrating. After reading your post, I just asked him what he thought of the test. He said it was kind of boring. So I asked if he filled it all out and he answered that WE kind of skipped some parts. Not sure what that’s all about!
    Luckily he’s at a great classical school this year, but we were really hoping to transfer to a gifted school closer to home.

  • 37. mimimama  |  April 7, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Has anyone received a response from Andrew Jackson? My son tested 129 for gifted in tier 2 did not get in. This blog has helped so much with the anxiety. I called Jackson letters went out the 22nd but I have not seen it. I am looking into private schools any by midway?

  • 38. CPS Montessori Mom  |  April 7, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    a friend at Andrew Jackson told me that the school received the most applications citywide of any CPS school. They literally had only 50 spaces available through kindergarten. So many of the kinder slots will be taken by siblings so that reduces the 50 spaces to even less.

  • 39. CPSnewbie  |  April 7, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    mimimama – Your son’s gifted score would have no bearing on getting into Jackson, which is a magnet school. “Contrary to widely held beliefs, magnet schools do not provide an accelerated curriculum – they are designed for all students, and students are randomly selected through a computerized lottery.” (description from CPS OAE website) His gifted score applies only to any of the regional gifted centers which you listed on your separate application. Hope that helps.

  • 40. klem  |  April 7, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    @stephanie: Skinner West doesn’t have a magnet program. It has a classical program (which you test to get into) and a neighborhood program. I suppose you can apply to the neighborhood program, but it is not a magnet.

  • 41. Wondering Mom  |  April 7, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Has anyone had any experiences with Hamilton or LaSalle Language academy? I see that LaSalle’s scores are higher, but they do not offer before/after school activities until 2nd grade. This would make things kind of difficult for our family schedule-wise.

    Hamilton would work much better, but their test scores are lower – plus I saw that they came close to being shut down due to low enrollment, and I am not sure if they are out of the woods yet. Sorry this is so long, but I thought I would ask!

  • 42. Adele  |  April 7, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    I learned that CPS hired an outside accounting firm, Crowe Horvath, to audit the admission procedures for gifted / magnet / classical / and s.e. schools.

    Does anyone think we taxpayers could do a FOIA and get a copy of their report?

    Wouldn’t I like to know what they found.

  • 43. Adele  |  April 7, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Also, take a look at the REader’s Ben Joravsky report on Ron Huberman’s CPS budget that gives him and other central office staff big fat raises. It’s a great article. CPS is a mess .

  • 44. klem  |  April 7, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Wondering Mom: I think Hamilton is a good school. We applied and were accepted there last year–we didn’t go because of things particular to our family situation, not because of the quality of the school. We also know several families who have kids there, and they are all happy.

    The school was scheduled to be closed because its enrollment was down, and I got the impression that it was the school’s then-principal who hadn’t done a great job of marketing the school. But the academics and programming have always been strong, and that’s what saved the school from being closed. Huberman said it was too high performing to close.

    The school, parents and new principal have done a good job of getting the word out about Hamilton. We went to an LSC meeting, and the group was very well-organized. I hear that enrollment was up last year and should be up this year as well.

    And yes, the afterschool stuff is really good.

  • 45. LVmom  |  April 8, 2010 at 2:08 am

    @kr: my daughter said during the group test (for 1st gr), they skipped over some sections. Another parent mentioned that her child told her this also (either here or on NPN). Of course no one knows why, but they were told to skip, for example, questions 40-60 or something. So, if they filled the answer next to the wrong #, it could have messed up the rest of their answers. Who knows. Maybe part of testing a kid’s ‘giftedness’ is seeing if they can follow along on OAE’s mad journey of test taking!

    My daughter also told me that the ‘teacher’ read a question, but she spoke too softly and my daughter couldn’t hear her, so she asked her to please repeat the question but the ‘teacher’ wouldn’t. My daughter focused on answering the question, but was flustered and I think surprised that they said no, especially after she had asked so politely! Lol. She said she then missed the next two questions. (Although, from what I can tell, I’m not sure if hearing the question was necessary for answering… again, who knows.)

    At that point, I just had to hug her and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Guilt with a BIG G. It was done and over with and I didn’t want to make a big stink about it in front of her.

    I will admit though — I was a little peeved that they wouldn’t repeat the question since she didn’t hear it… especially after I read another parent’s comment saying that her son told her that a teacher repeated a question in his group. Huh?

    UGH. Done. Over. On to next year!

  • 46. CPSlies  |  April 8, 2010 at 9:06 am

    @#4 Chicago Mom: I am also a Hawthorne parent and feel the primary grades are not very challenging either. I like the projects they do and they do a lot of exploring. but the basic stuff is taught too slowly. like why is the first grade work more like KDG? But yes, it is a great school and the upper grades I think provide more challenge. A lot of those kids get into SE high schools.

    @also obsesses: can i ask you where your child goes to now?

    TO ALL: I am new on this board. please explain to me what these mean: DC, DD, DS.


  • 47. Y  |  April 8, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Dear or darling child, daughter, and son.

  • 48. cpsresearcher  |  April 8, 2010 at 9:36 am

    @Cpsnewbie–regarding CPS magnet schools, please see below, straight from CPS website. You’re a little off in that there is a difference in curriculum for neighborhood schools and magnets…

    Specializes in a specific subject area, such as such as Montessori, International Baccalaureate, math and science, humanities, or dual language immersion.


    Magnet schools specialize in a specific subject area, such as math and science, fine arts, world language, or humanities. These schools accept students from throughout the city and reflect diverse racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition to accepting students citywide, an elementary magnet school may accept up to 30 percent of its students from those who live within 1.5 miles of the school. This is known as the school’s proximity.

  • 49. two cents  |  April 8, 2010 at 10:09 am

    To all of those who have not yet been accepted. HAVE NO FEAR. We were contacted my many magnet schools over the summer. They were practically ‘begging’ us to have our children attend…I believe that there are student quotas that need to be met. Many families are accepted in selective enrollment schools in the second or third rounds resulting in other schools scrambling to maintain admission levels. The real juicy calls started coming ONE to TWO weeks before school started. We switched a mere two days before school started. I’ve even heard of families being contacted during the first few weeks of school

    Be sure to stop by the schools you really want and say ‘hi’ to the secretary and principal to let them know who your and that you are really interested…not just randomly sending out applications. Maybe attend a PTA or LSC meeting and introduce yourself, to show that you plan to be an involved parent.

  • 50. CPSnewbie  |  April 8, 2010 at 10:09 am

    I was actually referring to magnet schools compared with rgc’s, not neighborhood schools, and got the info directly off of the CPS OAE website. Of course, as we’ve seen in the past, those sites aren’t always consistent! 🙂

  • 51. anonymous  |  April 8, 2010 at 10:42 am

    What the poster above said about the calls coming later is why I’d love transparency! I heard this exact same thing over and over again. And they’re supposed to stick to their waitlists. I don’t believe they do. I believe they DO look at kids who have tested rather than just who is on their waitlists.

    I would love to know that they don’t go off the waitlists. But I firmly believe they don’t care about those lists after a certain point. And then it does become test scores (for non-selective magnets, as well) and persistency.

    And that’s not right. I’d love to see an audit of the selection process.

  • 52. MJS  |  April 8, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Just a general comment on test score swings. My younger daughter did poorly when testing for K, she scored very well when testing for 1st. She was very uncomfortable speaking 1 on 1 with someone she didn’t know. The group format worked so much better for her because she could answer questions without interacting with an unknown adult. I don’t remember the exact scores because this was 3 and 4 years ago, I think it was the first year CPS used IIT. My daughter is now at Keller and doing quite well.

    I believe that a good test score is a representation of how well your child can do. A poor test score is probably inconclusive since so many factors weigh in.

  • 53. cpsobsessed  |  April 8, 2010 at 10:49 am

    @anonymous – that is a key question – whether (and when) do they stop going off the waiting lists.
    I have heard there is some date (maybe end of June) at which they can stop using the lists. I get the idea – at that point they assume that most kids are placed somewhere and it become inefficient to call through a whole list to find the one kid who is willing to make a change.
    On the other hand, it’s not quite fair.
    I am pretty certain that some one of the top magnets has done this in the past (don’t know about others.)
    I’m NOT certain if this is CPS sanctioned or not. There’s no way that CPS can keep track of what each school does over the summer.
    But I do wonder whether in the new non-discretionary environment whether this will still hold true.
    But ultimately, there’s no way central CPS can watch over it.
    That’s why I like the GEAP thing – all controlled from a central location.

  • 54. CPS Montessori Mom  |  April 8, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Magnets are not more challenging. The more you know about CPS schools the more you know there is not a big difference. I too was surprised when we transferred from one good magnet school to another just how similar the curriculum was. The one thing i did notice was that the principal dictates how fast the curriculum is laid out. The reason we left the 1st magnet school was because my dd felt rushed and not properly prepared because of the rush. Ironically the Ist school was Montessori. She told me that sometimes the homework did not reflect what was done in school that day which really confused her. I personally felt that the teachers were giving the parents the lessons to teach for homework. My husband and I would spend literally hours in the evening teaching her so she could do the homework.
    In her new school the curriculum is right on target and homework is so manageable and even fun…because she understands it. In the end we came to the realization that they are getting the same curriculum, it is just how the school chose to roll it out. The students will get to the same place at the end of the year. Hawthorne sounds very similar to Galileo as far as primary grade academics. I find it comforting that the child is not stressed. My dd Ist grade teacher plays Beatles music
    ( good day sunshine) for break time and they all get up and shake and dance. I think that is priceless!

  • 55. cpsobsessed  |  April 8, 2010 at 11:12 am

    @Wondering Mom, I would certainly pursue Hamilton. I’ve known some families involved there and I think it is a great neighborhood school. Many of the north side schools have almost reached closure status due to low enrollment, then a group of parents would help “market” the school and draw in more families. It just take a little time. I wouldn’t get hung up on the test scores. They start testing in 3rd grade and in many of these schools it takes time to see the shifts in demographics (which tend to be closely related to test scores.) Many of the now-popular schools had sub-par test scores not that long ago.
    I think if you like the vibe there, like what you see in the classrooms, and like the other families, it is a good bet.

  • 56. Coonley Mom  |  April 8, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    two cents-I agree with you! I think this year could even be more crazy due to the unknown of busing. If busing is taken away, some families will have to decline a slot, or even pull their child out of school after a few weeks when they realize they just cannot get their child to and from school.

    Our preschooler did not get into Coonley gifted (where our 1st grader attends) and now we have to wait until August to see if he can get a spot in the neighborhood class (we do not live in the neighborhood)-talk about last minute! It is difficult, b/c we will register him at the private school he attends now, but I feel bad thinking we may pull him out at the last minute. I know that affects their budget and class size. Thank goodness I have other stressed out, obsessed parents to vent with:)

  • 57. also obsessed  |  April 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm


    She goes to Waters.
    @CPS Montessori MOm, well said and I agree.

    There has been lot of talk about comprehensble gifted programs, pulllout , IB Progams, and what not on many of the bulletiin boards I read (obviously I am also obsessed). My questions is…how much MORE rigor are these programs actually offering? Is it the name of the program that people are drawn to? Do people really see a difference when they compare? I ask because CPS curiculum is CPS curriculum.

    Yes, GEAP schools are likley to move faster, but it is still a certain grade curriculum. Just makes me think, that’s all.

  • 58. momx3  |  April 8, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    #56 For what it’s worth, my experience in a RGC is that the kids work above grade level. My second grader uses the 3rd grade Everyday Math curriculum and a 4th grade spelling book. Not sure about our neighborhood program so I can’t compare, but I understand there are ability groups at least in reading. I guess I’ll find out this year!

  • 59. also obsessed  |  April 8, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    #57, sorry I shoudl have been more clear on my question. I know the GEAP calsses are above grade level.

    I am wondering about these other programs that some schools have:

    I hear about these schools like Thorpe, Blaine, Bateman…that have what they call “comprehensive gifted programs” in their schools. Typically they take the top 28 of the brighest kids in their classrooms grades and put them into one classroom so they can move faster.

    Are there any parents on this thread that have kids in these classes? I would love to talk offline…or jsut on this thread if you’d rather.

    How much faster are they going? I am curious?

  • 60. KCK  |  April 8, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    @also obsessed – 2 of my cousins were in the gifted class of a neighborhood school, I heard it was one grade level up. And they got into SE high school in the first round.

  • 61. CPSlies  |  April 8, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    To further comment on #48 Two Cents:

    This was very true for my kids as well. Hawthorne called for my son the week of July 4th 2 years ago for 7th grade. Since he had already accepted a space at an AC, we turned it down. But I have 2 girls and I happened to ask if there was space for them in 2 primary grades. Although the process was different then, the girls were both accepted. I also heard of many RGC’s and CS’s that do call well into the summer. People move, they change their mind, etc.

    I am not sure who mandates the waiting lists whether it is CPS or the schools itself but I would definitely call the magnets schools to check on the status. Only one of my girls was accepted that week of July 4th. The other one was taken 2 weeks before the school year.

  • 62. WontTryNextYear  |  April 8, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    @LVmom, my son was tested in one Saturday afternoon in 1st grade test for 2nd grade of next school year. He was assigned in third subgroup. I found his subgroup was 10 minutes later to take a test than second subgroup, and second subgroup was out later 15 minutes than third subgroup. My son told me he can not hear clearly what the teacher read some problems, and he was seat at last row in the test room, so he guessed at least 7 problems. His final score is 147. We got the offer of Bell RGC. We could take it because we will not try for next year. I hope the test environment should be friendly and fair for everyone.

  • 63. Cristine  |  April 9, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Hello again lovely people well i guess my child didnt make it for any gifted schools. I just dont understand. I mean she’s 5 and she plays classical music (piano) she’s freakin reading notes from mozart and bach musical piece and yet she cant read a whole sentence. I so confused and sad and a bit glad 🙂 hello saint matthias :):):):) good morning to all the lovely people here:)

  • 64. also obsessed  |  April 9, 2010 at 9:33 am

    It sounds like youu are up north. Have you checked out any of the local public schools up there? Hamilton, Ravenswood, Waters….theyare all worth looking into as good public optioins…..
    if you’ve already looked and it’s not for you, that’s cool, but it might be worth your time if you haven’t checked into it yet.
    Bateman, also here up north, also has a comprehensible gifted program within its own school program, starting at K.

    Just saying, it may very well be worth your while to look at these.

  • 65. anonymous  |  April 9, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Cristine, do not feel that way! Remember, this is just Chicago’s screwed-up system. Our son is five and DOES read and write. But he could never play the piano. And I did not test him for the selective programs.

    This board is full of wonderful parents who just care about education and are forced into this system where we have to label our children at kindergarten. If we were in suburban systems that just had gifted programs within the schools, there would be no testing at kindergarten. They’d naturally find their place in later grades.

    Read “NurterShock.” You will find that all this testing at the kindergarten age is actually useless and a waste of our resources. But, right now, anyway, it is the way this system works. I hope and pray it will change. Yet in the meantime, no one (including you) should take not getting into a gifted program as ANY indication of the intelligence of your child or their ability to do well in any school.

    I second what “also obsessed” wrote. My reading and writing soon-to-be-entering kindergarten child is going to a neighborhood school. I’m sure he’ll be nurtured there, too.

  • 66. stillhoping!!  |  April 9, 2010 at 10:21 am

    So when are the second rounds supposed to be mailed out?

  • 67. JD  |  April 9, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I thought I saw from past posts that it was the week of 4/24.

    the first rounders were given a couple of weeks to send in their acceptance letters; then the crack minds at CPS/GEAP were to evaluate those next on the list (of which there is no list available they will share with us).

    2nd Draft – here we come.

  • 68. New CPS Dad  |  April 9, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Parents have until 4/16 to decide if they want to accept. I was told that phone calls would begin the following week.

  • 69. Gratamama  |  April 9, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    @ #57 (also obsessed)

    My son didn’t make it into any of the GEAP schools (i am not holding out hope – 110 on classical) but he did get into Thorp and i am wondering about the gifted kindergarten there. Looking to get more information although i do have a friend who has a son there and is very happy. Kindergarten there, at least, is full day (8 -1:45)

    We are trying to decide between that a Catholic school on the NW side. He attended pre-k there are we’re a little sad about the idea of leaving there.

  • 70. CPSlies  |  April 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    @Gratamama: i have a friend in Thorp’s gifted program and she is very happy. she is currently in KDG.

  • 71. also obsessed  |  April 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Is the kindergartenr at Thorp doing 1st grade work? As that is a comprehensive in-school program…..I am curious?

  • 72. the heckler  |  April 9, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    I had a very long meeting with Principal Dasco at Bateman earlier this week. He is doing some impressive things at that school. The comprehensive gifted is just one of them. He has high expectations of students and staff. He feels all children should be challenged to the best of their own ability and he offers that education model in his school. SMART boards (although theirs were another brand) in most of the classrooms, computer lab, science lab for the middle school, nice examples o the kid’s work through out the school and stops at universities on the middle school class trips. Nice, very nice touch. His big thing is preparing his students for their futures beyond Bateman. If I had to start all over again with CPS, I might have chosen this school. Oh, and the facility itself is dreamy with their amount of space. No recess and has cell antennas, were the negatives for us.

  • 73. BEVdad  |  April 9, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Given this new admissions policy, it is clear to me that CPS is not concerned about Gifted education. Either you are gifted or you are not; you can’t teach someone to be gifted. Admissions to the RGCs should only be based on who’s got it, that is, those who do the best at demonstrating their giftedness on the entrance exam. Anything else is a slap in the face of the whole notion of gifted education.

    To keep the true spirit of gifted eductation, I submit that merit only should drive admission.

    Secondly, I also agree with several posters that we all benefit from having great neighborbood schools and keeping our kids close to home. That said, I suggest that the city should be subdivided into several education areas/zones. These zones would each have a couple of magnets that can only admit students from that zone. In the spirit of magnet education, these would provide advanced schooling to the best in the zone who can’t or choose not to go to RGCs.

    Lastly we have neighborhood schools where everyone else goes.


  • 74. cpsobsessed  |  April 9, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    @BEVDad – regarding the “gifted is gifted” idea, think that holds true assuming a test can really measure cognitive ability with no outside influences. The people who develop those test would support your theory (which is why they claim that you can’t prep for it.) I would like to believe them, and then I’d be OK with a totally score-based approach.
    But if it is a pure measure, then what explains the difference in scores between higher and lower socio economic tiers? Ideally, CPS would show the numbers, but I think anecdotelly we can surmise that there’s a difference between tiers. If the test is “pure” then there is an inherent intelligent difference between these groups. If not, it must mean that outside factors influence the test results.
    Jeez, this is sounding like a memo I’d write at work.
    Anyhow, that is the opposing argument. So to me, with CPS giving out score-based AND tier-based (still score-based) spots, it seems like a good compromise.

  • 75. Amy  |  April 10, 2010 at 3:01 am

    It’s been depressing since the letters stopped coming. All we can do is wait over here.

    This is our first time dealing with the lottery system. I feel that we had 3 strikes against us. We are located in tier 3, and are also on the waiting list for 2 magnate schools due to the amount of siblings admitted that also lived in proximity. We also did not get slots into the gifted or RGC programs because his score wasn’t high enough for Tier 3, though it was much higher than many Tier 2’s and 1’s that made it.

    I understand that socio economic factors can weigh in on the scoring. What I do find unfair is that Tiers are based on where you live, not what each individual’s family actually makes. I for one do not find that fair, the tiers should be dictated by actual income; it would level the playing field. What really puzzles me is that our neighborhood school is 90% low income. How is this possible when the area is considered Tier 3?

  • 76. NoLongerWaiting  |  April 10, 2010 at 8:25 am


    I actually think that the tier-based system is inferior to the race-based system. Because it is so inaccurate, in our neighborhood at least, the kids are now in the situation where kids from the same socioeconomic background are somewhat randomly admitted into the gifted programs. Thus, a kid from Tier3 is admitted, but a kid from Tier4 with higher scores is not. The kids live within blocks from each other, there is no discernible difference between the two families or where they live. If race were the factor, it is much easier to expThe tie that lain to children and teenagers how there is a historical, societal wrong that still lingers and that we are trying to make right. For anyone living in Chicago, that is something that is easy to see. The random outcome of the tiers are much harder to explain and justify.
    I agree with those posters who suggest that the tiers should be truly reflecting the socioeconomic status by making applicants submit their income. That way you truly catch kids who are disadvantaged by their socioeconomic background. If people do not want to divulge their income, they can always hope that their kids will be in that half of the kids who are admitted pursuant to merit alone.

  • 77. This is insane  |  April 10, 2010 at 8:25 am

    My friend’s little girl with a 99% percentile gifted score in Tier 4 is getting ding letters. Craziness.

  • 78. This is insane  |  April 10, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I agree, applicants should have to submit household income and then be subject to audit.

  • 79. sfw  |  April 10, 2010 at 8:53 am

    My memory of the tier system is that the top scorers from each tier are selected first. IE if your kid was one of 20 with the highest score in your tier, he or she would get into one of the top GEAP schools you selected. That being said, I really hope CPS at some point releases what the ceilings were by tier, and how the scores were calculated. It’s not just a raw score, it’s a percentage, with things like birth date figuring in. I’m getting the impression that people assume tier 3 and 4 have higher scores, so it’s harder to get in living there, not fair, etc etc. And when you assume…

  • 80. Ironic  |  April 10, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Some time ago, I had joked that instead of the current tier system, people should just submit their W-2s. Now I see that it’s not a joke anymore.
    The current tier system, as well as other schemes that purport to ameliorate historical inequities, disparities in income, etc. all suffer from the same salient problem: how do you convince people with objectively more merit that they really don’t deserve the rewards that they think they won fair and square? These schemes always have to make excuses to the meritorious, but the problem is that nobody really believes them or feels that they justify the outcomes. For example, if a critic charges that a minority student was an affirmative action admit (implying that he was academically less qualified than other applicants), the most common reply from that student and his defenders is not that he’s entitled to the spot by virtue of his race, but that he is just as qualified as the other admits.
    See? Even when a person gets special consideration for admission by virtue of race or income, he certainly doesn’t feel that that’s something to trumpet as his qualification.

  • 81. cpsmom  |  April 10, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    It is possible for the neighborhood to be tier 3 and the school to be very low income when the middle and upper income families in the neighborhood refuse to send their kids to the neighborhood school. This leaves only the lower income kids at the school and perpetuates the idea that if middle income kids don’t attend, it must not be a good school. When in reality, if all the middle and upper income kids were there, scores would automatically rise without any change in instruction simply because those kids have so many more advantages.
    The neighborhood can have many higher income families in it, but they just don’t attend their local school. Plus, the tiers are not solely determined by income. Educational status, marital status and language also factors in.

  • 82. jsc  |  April 10, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Today I received an acceptance letter for my daughter for the GEAP program at the South Loop school. (Score 136 Tier 4). Two weeks ago I had received a wait list letter for the program in general, with no specifics regarding schools or number on the wait list.

    My daughter is in third grade at a private school. Love the private school, but the tuition has become unaffordable.

    A couple of questions, that I’d love answers to based on all of your infinite wisdom:

    Is it possible that my daughter might get accepted at other GEAP programs or does acceptance at South Loop preclude acceptance at the others?

    Can anyone tell me anything about their experiences with the South Loop GEAP program?

    Many thanks!

  • 83. klem  |  April 10, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    @jsc: If your daughter accepts the spot at South Loop, she will not be accepted at any other GEAP schools. If she declines the spot, it is possible that she could be accepted at another school later on. But you don’t if a spot will open up.

  • 84. BEVdad  |  April 10, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    @ cps obsessed

    I don’t think it is a valid assumption that placing economically challenged students in RGCs will automatically move them ahead academically. If that was the magic formula wouldn’t we just make all schools RGCs?

    The reality is that those who are not gifted will struggle. This will not be good for the students’ confidence or, in my judgment, long-term best interest. (You don’t take a student destined for Sangamon State U and send them to Harvard because of their economic situation. However, you might push him to go to U of I.

    I wonder if the system might have been bettered served by pushing these kids to consider magnets instead of their neighborhood schools.

    I feel for the principals and teachers at these schools. They must now either slow the class down (which won’t be fair to the rest) or isolate them into their own remedial class.

    The result will be schools that become more average. Remember Payton’s scores in the early days when it was required to take 50 students from the neighborhood? It is not until this burden was unshackled that it blossomed.

    Maybe they want to make us all Harrison Bergerons.

  • 85. Y  |  April 11, 2010 at 12:57 am

    CPS has established cutoff scores for the RGC and CS programs. They are not taking someone who scores in the 50th percentile or even the 75th percentile and placing them in these programs. That would clearly be an injustice to the child, teachers, and classmates.

    I believe the range of scores from each tier at a school will be closer than what everyone is speculating at this point. Yes, probably the lowest score of the lower tiers will be lower than the upper tiers but it will be in the top 10% of all students. The previously released Selective Enrollment HS scores show that the highest score for entry (non-merit) from each tier was exactly the same. The lowest score for the tier varied about 5%.

    Between all RGC and CS programs, there are approximately 500 entry-level slots (KG or 1st depending on the program) total. 200 (40%) of these spots are assigned based on merit only. Given the size of this city, there has to be 75 (15% allocated to each tier) qualified students from each tier. BTW, there are roughly 540,000 school-aged children in Chicago or nearly 42,000 students at every grade. The problem is that too many families do not have an acceptable option in their neighborhood school.

  • 86. suburbsbound  |  April 11, 2010 at 7:09 am

    regarding @jsc #81 – does this mean the 2nd round of letters are starting to come out?

  • 87. CPS fails its kids  |  April 11, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Any school system that works for only a small percentage of its kids is an utter failure. What is the combined enrollment of all the “good” neighborhood schools, rgc and cs programs, and magnet schools? Can it be more than 10% of the CPS population? Even being thiis generous, one would have to acknowledge that any other “business” that delivered a satisfactory service or product to only 10% of its clients could only be deemed a failure.
    Given the relatively tiny enrollments of the rgc/cs programs, one would statistically need stellar scores to win a spot based on “merit” alone. In such a competitive environment, “giving” away even one spot for anything other than merit is a huge disservice to the students who, by “merit”, most deserve it. The issue is not whether a kid is in the top 10% of students or not (and, given the level of competition, such a low cutoff would be an insult to those parents who are seeing their own kids being rejected at 99.5%iles): it is who performed the best on the testing, which is the only real merit-based criterion that I am aware of.
    To me, the cutoffs in the tiers seem to me to be much more important than the top scores in each tier: nobody is arguing that the best students in tier 1 could not possibly score as well as the top students in tier 4. What infuriates people is that the cutoffs are lower in tier 1 than in tier 4, and thus, students with less “merit” get in (due to the scarcity of higher scorers in the lower tiers) while those with more do not. They feel that the system has been “gamed” against them because they have been placed into a disproportionately competitive pool.
    If the consequences of “failing” to get into an rgc/cs program were not so dire, much of the desperation and despondency I sense here would be gone. But given the scarcity of positions for all of these parents who have qualified kids and nowhere else to go, I think that CPS should quit goofing around and just make the whole thing merit-based.
    To put it another way: would you give a spot on an Olympic team to anyone who did not deserve it more than anyone else? Of course not–the number of spots are too low, and the stakes are too high to “give” away any spots.

  • 88. Disgusted  |  April 11, 2010 at 8:42 am

    If you believe that the US, the richest nation on earth, suffers from a morally unacceptable health care crisis, you should contemplate the job that CPS does for its student population. When I think of all of the well-educated, successful, and well-motivated parents on cpsobsessed reduced to tears because they can’t get their kids a decent education, THAT is a morally unacceptable crisis.

  • 89. Dad  |  April 11, 2010 at 8:58 am

    @73: Perhaps there are substantive, reproducible differences in IQ between the tiers. The ability to perform well on the GEAP assessments is probably not randomly distributed throughout the population. The differences in the scores between the tiers might represent the long-term, generational tendency of “better-performing” families to end up in tiers 3 and 4, while “worse-performing” families tend to drift or remain in tiers 1 and 2.
    Before everyone gets out his/her flamethrowers, I want to say that this doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with race. It has more to do with the socioeconomic success of your parents and your parents’ parents. Hence the perceived necessity for tiering in the first place.

  • 90. On the other hand  |  April 11, 2010 at 9:05 am

    I tend to think that IQ tests measure something correlating with cognitive function, although i’m not so sure how free they are of extraneous, confounding influences. I used to administer IQ tests as a research associate, and I remember that one of the questions was, “Who is Neil Armstrong”? That does not sound like an appropriate question for an IQ test, but it was part of the WAIS-R.

  • 91. JSC  |  April 11, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Re suburbsbound — I am assuming that the acceptance letter was 2nd round bc it was dated April 8. But we have to respond by April 16 which i thought was the response date for first round. Doesn’t make sense to me. I wonder if I call CPS if they will give me more time to make a decision.

  • 92. also obsessed  |  April 11, 2010 at 9:39 am

    @Disgusted #87
    “When I think of all of the well-educated, successful, and well-motivated parents on cpsobsessed reduced to tears because they can’t get their kids a decent education,”—–
    I’m kind of disgusted if most people on this thread think RGCs. and CSs are the only way they can get a good public education in Chicago.

    I wonder, with as much research as we have all done on RGCS and CSs done here, how much has there been with their own neighborhood schools?

    I might be seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, but even with RGC/CS, the education STILL blossoms because of parent care and priority at home. Plenty of magnet AND neighborhood parents work the same way with their kids, and plenty of those kids get a good education.

    In my opinion it is no way the end of the world if you don’t get into a RGC/CS.

  • 93. Disgusted  |  April 11, 2010 at 10:35 am

    @91: You are probably on target with your criticism on misplaced priorities. I totally agree that the system would be much better if neighborhood schools were uniformly, significantly better. But this thread is full of parents who are shut out of magnet and rgc/cs schools, and can’t afford private school.–and don’t have an acceptable neighborhood school to go to. They need a spot now, not five years down the line when they can turn around the neighborhood school.
    It is common on this blog to accuse cpsobsessed and other posters that they have this elitist tunnel-vision that keeps them from considering neighborhood schools as acceptable alternatives. But maybe for these people it’s not an acceptable alternative and they need to find a spot now, not later.

  • 94. also obsessed  |  April 11, 2010 at 10:54 am

    @ #92
    In some cases, I agree that some posters may not have a real option.

    But my guess is many do. I’d be curious to see what the local schools are that many of these posters don’t consider…who will pick up their lives and move because they did not get into an RGC or CS, or spend $20K per year (or whatever it is) because they won’t try a different public option that might be worth looking into.

    That being said, you do have another point, that is that this thread is basically those interested in the gifted programs….so I may be well out of line with neighborhood school thoughts and points.

    I am not saying I’m right or wrong. My point is, for many of us, our kids will not suffer from not being in an RGC or CS.

  • 95. dave4118  |  April 11, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Obviously, we all have options if the gifted/classical route doesn’t work out. But I think it becomes a matter of acceptable options, and not so much realistic options. The gifted/classical route is an attempt to attend a school with perhaps a better learning environment. the neighborhood school options seem to represent a diminishment, in some way. Couple that diminishment with the unknown, unpredictable nature of fellow students/parents..and the option of a neighborhood school seems to become unacceptable. Every school is different, everyone’s tolerance for these conditions differ.

  • 96. CPSlies  |  April 11, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    @#70..also obsessed. Here is what my friend had to say about Thorp’s gifted KDG:

    The gifted kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Benedict, is a good teacher – firm but nurturing. They do have homework every night. Depending on how your child is wired it may or may not seem like a lot. If the kid is one that hungers for learning and is self-motivated, they will be very happy and rip through the work quickly. If your child is one that you have to push to do anything, you will likely have to sit with them to keep them on task with homework. Some of the work seemed ridiculous to me, like the letter of the week, but the kids seemed to eat it up because they tied it in nicely to other exercises. The kids were able to get into a nice homework routine, because the homework was essentially the same every week, but with a different letter.

    They do a lot of writing, a good amount of spelling (and it’s not all baby words) and starting after winter break, vocabulary. They do math and reading lists, and if your child blows through them, they allow them to move on to more challenging material. Even library is a class, with them doing little book reports from day 1! They even have music and art (the art projects are cool), which many schools don’t although who knows what will be left next year with the CPS budget cuts?

    The down sides – no foreign language, just 20 minutes for lunch and the lunch calendar is unreliable – as they have no kitchen to keep the food CPS sends warm, it is sent to another nearby school and is then delivered later, and that other school picks over everything and sends Thorp what they don’t want. There is NO RECESS whatsoever and early start (7:50), and early end (1:45). Gym is supposed to be twice each week, but because they have so many students and only one gym, we only get the gym once a week and the other day they have gym in the classroom (???) and they play games.

    There is almost no fundraising at all, certainly no pressure to participate (though they are appreciative when you do), and they do cool events like whole school outings on the weekends to sporting events like Chicago Wolves games, etc . . . They seem to welcome parents volunteering in the classroom as well.

    All-in-all, we are pretty happy there. If I could change one thing, it would be to add a foreign language.

  • 97. Grimly Amused  |  April 11, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    @95: The nearby school takes the good stuff and passes on the rejects? This is the kind of nastiness that I normally wouldn’t believe, except that it’s CPS.

  • 98. Stephanie  |  April 11, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    @klem – The ’10-’11 Options for Knowledge Guide (got it at the fair) indicated that Skinner West had a Technology/Fine Arts Magnet Cluster, in addition to the Classical program. Being a new school we figured there was chance of it being canceled, but we decided to send an application anyway since it was in the guide. They sent back the stamped postcard we included with our application, so hopefully the program is still in place.

  • 99. LR  |  April 11, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    #20 (momx3) – yep, my daughter’s 1st grade score on RGC was an improvement versus last year, but I think we are the only ones.

    It sounds like there are more drops and pretty significant ones, which I think is no shock given that way too many kids taking the Kindergarten exam (both this year and last year) are scoring 99th percentile and above.

    I don’t know what to make of this. I do think CPS needs to take a good hard look at these numbers (specifically the overall drop in scores between K and 1st). I also think that gifted programs should not start at Kindergarten, and probably not at first grade either. But, what we should all take away is that scores are not at all consistent, so don’t read too much into it, whatever score your child gets.

  • 100. Torn  |  April 12, 2010 at 4:58 am

    My letter doesn’t mention a Tier. Could someone pass along how you’re determining that? My youngest tested into an RGC (142) for K and I’d love to know if she’s at the lower end of the spectrum or not and it sounds like the Tier factors into that?

    I’ve been told the “level of giftedness” makes a difference re: whether the child can be sufficiently challenged with a “regular” curriculum and if extra help from a parent will be enough. Can anyone point to any research on this?

    Has anyone out there declined an RGC space? If so, are you finding your child is sufficiently challenged at a “regular” school? Very new to the whole “gifted” matter and am insanely worried I’d be holding my child back without that instruction.

    Just not sure as a single working mom how I’d manage the 2-school lifestyle (would need to move to this rather expensive neighborhood to get my oldest in) w/different school year start dates, vacation schedules, drop-off, pick-up, etc. Is anyone out finding that possible? Thank you.

  • 101. RL Julia  |  April 12, 2010 at 9:57 am

    How a child tolerates a regular v. gifted curriculum has a lot to do with the teacher and the child’s personality. I have two kids who test high (whatever that means), both of whom attend our regular, local elementary school – one is very self motivated, fairly introspective and pretty intense. He ALWAYS has tons of homework – mostly because (thanks to his personality and his work ethic) he has a high need to know everything about a subject. He has blossomed at school because he has enough time to learn all he wants to learn about a given subject. His teachers love him because he is enthusiastic, involved and curious.

    The second child is not particularly self motivated (by her own admission), more laid back but very competitive. School has been a bit more of a mixed bag for her since she is less likely to care about school work period.

    When my son was in Kindergarten, he was well ahead academically of his peers but really needed a year to kick back and grow up socially – and figure out how to interact with kids who were different than him. My daughter ended up being pushed up to 1st grade mid year. It has all worked out in the end.

    Both kids know that we expect them to do well in school and if there is something they don’t understand that they are either to ask us or their teacher. I make a point of checking in with both their teachers about once a month – six weeks just to see that everyone is on track academically and socially.

  • 102. Interested, but disinterested  |  April 12, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Perhaps this should be on another thread because it has more to do with the philosophy of the RGC/CS. From what I can tell, these programs are really just accelerated programs (1-2 years?). The content or approach, as far as I know, aren’t really tailored for “gifted” kids, and the teachers, on the whole, are not specialists in gifted education. It seems that most of the parents are just looking for a decent education not available at the neighborhood school, and do the GEAP thing just to gain admission into a decent school, not to get a “gifted” education, per se. Am I right?
    If GEAP testing picks up a highly gifted or profoundly gifted kid, perhaps the RGC/classical programs might be somewhat better than the neighborhood option, but couldn’t it be argued that that kid needs something much more than RGC/CS?

  • 103. jmom  |  April 12, 2010 at 10:06 am

    @momx3…I had a case where there was a considerable increase. Last year my son tested for kindergarten and scored in the low 80’s percentile for gifted. I was shocked because I know he is a gifted child. BTW, same year, he got a 99.8 on classical. This year his score was in the 97th percentile for gifted. Go figure.

  • 104. jmom  |  April 12, 2010 at 10:12 am

    #101- The curriculum is taught faster in a gifted school than a non-gifted school. The students go through a book that is meant to last for a whole school year in maybe 2/3 of the year. That’s how they are able to have high school level courses in 7th and eighth grades. They start at the beginning in kindergarten with letter sounds and vowel blends but finish eight years of work in 6 years to accommodate the quick learning capabilities of a gifted child.

  • 105. Y  |  April 12, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Also, the teachers in the gifted programs usually try to setup assignments and work to allow students to further explore what’s being studied. It isn’t all just about being an accelerated curriculum.

  • 106. RL Julia  |  April 12, 2010 at 11:04 am

    101 I am with you. One of the reasons that we’ve kept our kids at our neighborhood school is because when I looked into the gifted curriculums they just seemed accelerated (or as I have heard from a few parents – more worksheets) – not necessarily deeper or more thoughtful. Even now, I worry that my 6th grader will crash and burn at Taft next year because they go faster – not deeper and he more of a deeper kind of a kid. Theoretically teachers should be able to individuate curriculums up or down to accomodate kids who move at a faster past in a “regular” classroom but this seems only to happen haphazardly. It certainly helps if there are a few kids who are ahead of the curve (and it seems like there are always a handful capable regardless of their test scores ).

  • 107. Interested, but disinterested  |  April 12, 2010 at 11:27 am

    @Y: So I guess that the teachers then act more as facilitators for certain advanced students, but not so much as tutors or instructors.

  • 108. momx3  |  April 12, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Based on my personal experience (one kid at an RGC and one in a neighborhood program), I agree that an accelerated curriculum is a large part of the RGC program. However, we have also experienced some very creative and challenging assignments that supplement the curriculum and encourage critical thinking. Also, my child’s current teacher is specially certified in gifted education (although I understand this may not be typical).

    More generally, I believe the quality of the teacher is a huge factor in any class (RGC or neighborhood). I think there are neighborhood teachers that offer creative activities to challenge students and differentiate instruction for those who need a faster pace. A school that supports differentiated instruction (e.g., reading or math groups, etc.) helps too! On the flip side, I imagine there are some duds in the RGC/CS programs… As a result, I personally believe it is very difficult to generalize.

  • 109. CPSlies  |  April 13, 2010 at 9:10 am

    @#99 TORN: go to and under news you will find how to look up your tier.

    @#105 RLJULIA: your child will be fine at Taft. It isn’t the “fastest” course of study. they do learn at a higher level but it isn’t as tough as whitney young. all the kids who enter 7th grade come from different programs like neighborhood, classical, RGC, so they find a way to make sure everyone catches up. for some kids it is way too easy but for some, the challenge is very welcoming. my son is graduation from taft this june. 8th grade is much more difficult than 7th but for him that was ok. he came from a classical school and needed a little break from all the constant studying. not to say taft will just be lazy or simple. they just allow for a child to do well in school and still be able to be a child who participates in other activities without feeling so overwhelmed.

  • 110. jmom  |  April 13, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    @93…some children will suffer if not in the right school setting for them. If you were not a gifted child or have not had one you may not understand this. I was a gifted child who was miserable at my neighborhood school. The principal said I stood out like a sore thumb. But in my early years, there were no options available for children like me. Eventually Beasley opened up and I transferred. It was like someone had turned on the light in my life. I was finally around other kids like me. I am so glad that there are options now for our gifted children to choose from so they don’t have to be teased by children who don’t understand them. Some children are testing well and still not getting in and some of them will suffer until an option is found for them. I have been fortunate to have all of mine accepted at RGC’s but some have not. Don’t knock there quest to do what is right for their gifted child that has yet to be recognized.

  • 111. Jeannine Cordero  |  April 14, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    My son was admitted to Pritzker. We will tour the school on Friday. Can any one offer some insight into the school? I know there was quite a bit of teacher turnover back in 2007, but was hoping they have improved. Thank you.

  • 112. dave4118  |  April 14, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    So tomorrow we hand in and call in our acceptance to Skinner North. We like the school based on my two open house visits, and my wife’s single open house visit. The commute doesn’t thrill us; we had planning all along to drive for the commute since CPS bussing will likely end. We are torn tho…..our neighborhood school, Bateman, seems to be a gem. Our previous tour of the school with the principal was enlightening and encouraging. They have a Comprehensive Gifted Center within the neighborhood school that currently is for 1st-6th, with expansion to include 7th and 8th. They are wisely spending funds and have a committed core of teachers and administrators. The community is predominantly hispanic and low-income(about 75% low-income), but they have their kids ready for class and the school runs a tight ship. We want to stay at the neighborhood school….even if it just comes close to be comparable to a gifted, or accelerated school.

  • 113. SmartBoy  |  April 14, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Anyone get letters from Bell or Wildwood?

  • 114. RL Julia  |  April 15, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Bateman is lovely. Why not give it a try.

    My kids’ school also is about 75% hispanic and 85% low income. I have found that the low income part of that equation is not completely true – it seems like there is a lot of under reporting of income.

    Don’t underestimate the benefits for your whole family if you go with a neighborhood school. Your kids make friends with neighborhood kids and (eventually) will be able to walk to their houses instead driving everywhere, you’ll know your neighbors that much better. You’ll be able to participate in any after school stuff so much more easily as well. Going to a neighborhood school when you are a little older is also a great way to foster independence because you can walk to and from school yourself. If you forget your homework, you can walk back to school and get it etc…. Its kind of like the difference between living on campus and commuting.

    On the other hand, you can always try Skinner and if the commute kills you or the school itself doesn’t work out, you can always transfer back. In any case, I am sure Bateman would be thrilled to have you and your family be part of their community.

  • 115. CPS Mom  |  April 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    #19 Two Cents Do you know how many spaces are available for Edison first grade next year? Does you dc attend Edsion, if so, your thoughts? TIA

  • 116. twocents  |  April 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    #114, We LOVE Edison and it seems to be right for our child. Not everyone seems to feel that way – I’ve heard comments from a couple of folks that they don’t want their kid pushed that hard. It looks like there are at least four openings. The curricula is very driven and there is homework almost every night. I’ve heard that 1st grade is particularly rough with a lot of educational goals that the teacher (thus students) need to attain. There are plenty of field trips, two recesses, gym, afterschool enrichment courses, unbelievable parental involvement, It is NOT the magical ‘think tank’ that outsiders may think it is. It is a normal school with bright kids and involved parents. Lowest score I’ve heard for the current kdg class on gifted is 139 (in case you were curious about possible cutoff).

  • 117. Tiers Don't Work  |  April 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Address should never be a determining factor.

    My daughter lives in a tier 4 area…achieved straight A’s and earned 98 in both reading and math on the ISAT. She had perfect attendance, which was what she strived for in 5th grade, thinking that was the actual criteria. We have 4 children in our household. She was not accepted into her perferred academic center choice, but got into the one I like. What bothers me most is that one of her peers, who happen to live in a tier 1 area, had lower scores on the ISAT, more than 8 days absent, and had a pattern of missing homework. This student was accepted.

    This student has two parents that make 6 figures and is the only child. We are the family that worked hard for ten years to pay for a house that was significantly out of our budget…just to make sure our children can live in an area where the probablity of getting shot on the way home is less. As a result of many years of sacrifice, we’re thrown into the “rich” category.

    As a parent it completely counteracts the “hard work pays off in the end” principle that we try to instill in our children! I understand the concept of the tier system, but address alone is lazy and inefficient. A family of 6 in a tier 4 area struggles just as much, if not more. Other factors clearly need to be included.

  • 118. A whole new world  |  April 18, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    This is my first time posting. I am new to this site. Our dd (I’ve got the lingo) is at a fantastic cluster magnet school that instills confidence and nurtures her love of learning. This winter we tested her. Tuesday we were called and told she was accepted to Bell gifted for the 4th grade. Friday we accepted. Our sons are at her soon to be old school. Any advice on navigating the system at two different schools in two different neighborhoods would be helpful. Also, has anyone out there dealt with entering a program in an older grade? Thanks.

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