New magnet application process – limit of 20?

September 16, 2010 at 12:16 pm 52 comments

While I was at the education news focus group last night, I found out from someone attending that the magnet school application process is different this year!  Jeez, I need to look at more often.

So instead of sending applications to each and every school, you complete one application that you send to the OAE (Office of Academic Enhancement.)  The form allows for 20 schools.  This ALSO includes neighborhood schools with open enrollment (meaning those that have room to take kids outside their neighborhood boundaries.)

So I called OAE to inquire as to whether you can submit 2 application for more than 20 schools.  Hmmm, she didn’t know but I don’t think it allows for that.”  I was like “I think you need to be ready for that question on October 1!”  She went to check and came back with her brain reprogrammed by CPS: “You will find out the answer to that the day the applications are available on October 1st.”

I’m sure she will be flogged later for revealing any information before the “reveal” date.  I can never tell with CPS if it’s about secrecy (well, yeah, I can tell that) or lack of information distribution.

What do you guys think of the 20-school limit, assuming it’s valid.  It seems like it should be enough, but shouldn’t every child have the right to apply to every freaking magnet school?   Actually, maybe it will make the process more streamlined as people will apply to the 20 that they are actually interested in and/or live near.

UPDATE:  Another revision is that the applications for selective enrollment schools (gifted, classical, academic centers, SE high schools) can now be done online this year.  Not sure I’m trusting that unless I’m guaranteed of a confirmation that lists the schools I applied to.

All the news is here:

UPDATE: A reader has informed us that he tried submitting an application using the 3 extra sibling spaces (the application states that if you do not have a sibling to report, you can use those spaces to select 3 additional schools.)  The application was returned, requesting that he only select 20 schools.


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52 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Catherine  |  September 16, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    I also found out that same information today…..and I’m not so sure that 20 is an acceptable limit. My reason is that neighborhood schools (which do take some out of boundary students if space is available) are counted in that same limit. And CPS encourages parents to apply to neighborhood schools in the “aplication tips” portion of the website:
    (read the second bullet point in particular)

    So I’m not sure if the two neighborhood schools I am interested in (Sutherland and Clissold) then limit my options for magnet schools. And charter/contract schools. I guess I have to wait and see how it works October 1, but it’s still somewhat frustrating, because the purpose (and chances for success) of applying to a neighborhood school as a non-boundaries resident is very different from that of magnet schools…..when I spoke with Sutherland, I was informed that if I did apply, I would not be informed as to my application’s success until nearly the start of the 2011-12 school year, many months after the March 11 magnet decisions are made. So my daughter could theoretically be accepted into a magnet program and yet if she got into one of our great (Beverly) neighborhood schools, I would definitely prefer to send her there. (Full disclosure, we live 2 houses from the Sutherland border).

    Another question: any idea how CPS plans to use the census tract info this year?

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  September 16, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Ooh, you’re right – it does say OPEN ENROLLMENT schools too, which I missed, since most of us refer to them as Neighborhood Schools. I’ll update that. You’re right – 20 might feel limiting.

  • 3. Paul  |  September 16, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Are there actually 20 schools that folks would consider sending their children to? I ask because it seems like a lot of people apply to 20 or 30 magenet schools, get accepted into some, and then decide that the schools are too far away to attend, or they aren’t as good as their neighborhood school. If folks only applied to schools that would actually send their children to if accepted, it would probably cut the list down to less than 20.

  • 4. Stressed Out  |  September 16, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    I tend to agree with Paul. I went through the process of “applying” to magnet schools and SE schools last year. In all, there were between 10-15 schools. Even with that, I felt like I had about 5 to many. There really iaren’t 15 schools I would send my daughter to (magnet or SE).

  • 5. RL Julia  |  September 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Its amazing how CPS seems to manage to create a completely NEW nightmare set of hoops to jump through every year. They are so creative!

  • 6. Paul  |  September 16, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Does this analogy work? A couple has to choose one restaurant for dinner, so they ask around for the best restaurants in the city. Everyone mentions the same 20 “best” restaurants, so they try to get reservations regardless of location, type of food, whether they feel comfortable in the restaurant, whether they know anybody who has eaten there. They get reservations to four of them, and then in trying to decide which reservation to keep they decide that they would really only cosider going to one. Did they really need to ask for reservations to all 20 restaurants?

    Now, what if they have to eat there every day? There are probably only 5 restaurants they’d consider eating at every day. And, they probably aren’t the “best” and highest rated restaurants in the city that everyone says are the best.

  • 7. cps mom  |  September 16, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Spoken like someone who does not know the terror of the default option being the neighborhood school.

  • 8. Mom of Boys  |  September 16, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    I don’t think I could actually list 20 schools that I think are great and would be convenient to travel to. It probably would make all of us very judicious about where we really want our children to attend school instead of panicing and send 50 applications out. The real piece of info is that now we send everthing to OAE–increasing the chances of the application getting lost if you mail it. I like dropping off magnet (non testing) apps at the schools. Also, to #1, the charter schools have a seperate application process so that wouldn’t count in your 20 schools. Charter apps probably are still individual and sent to each school that you want to apply to.

  • 9. Christine  |  September 16, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    This year you apply for everything online. Let’s hope their server doesn’t crash. I too can’t come up with 20 schools I’m interested in applying to. I can barely come up with 5 because I crossed a lot of them off for distance. I think it’ll help streamline the application and force people to focus their attention on realistic options and weigh, in their own individualized process of what they find important, the attributes that they find important for considering in a school. I know my own thought process has me considering 3 maybe 4 schools but no more than that.

  • 10. Christine  |  September 16, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    correction to my post: the selective enrollments are online. Let’s hope they didn’t get their software from the same people that are supposedly making the Chase banking system slow.

  • 11. Chopin?  |  September 17, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Where can I find more on this policy? Our neighborhood school is Chopin and while it has made serious advances on test scores, I still find it an unacceptable option. I commute to the NW suburbs daily, so there are many acceptable options for me in terms of distance. The limit of 20 concerns me, though not too much yet as I am not sure that I will want to apply to more than 20.

  • 12. Christine  |  September 17, 2010 at 11:32 am

    #11 Chopin, the link is posted in the comments by #1 Catherine.

  • 13. Chopin?  |  September 17, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Thanks Christine, but Catherine’s link is to the old information suggesting you apply to as many open enrollment/magnet schools as you’re willing to send your child to. I’m wondering about the new rule.

  • 14. Paul  |  September 17, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    It looks to me like you can still apply to as many schools as you want. It’s just that the new application allows you to for 20 schools on one form and submit it centrally rather than copying it 20 times and sending it to each school. My guess is that CPS will allow you to fill out a second application, select 20 more schools, and submit it centrally too. But, they’ll have to clarify that.

  • 15. Kelly  |  September 17, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I definitely applied to more than 20 schools last year. I was casting a wide net because I was hoping against hope to get two kids into the same school, which made me willing to travel as far as necessary to get to a school that would accommodate us. I don’t care for this 20-school limit.

    @Christine: Yeah, what is up with Chase?! They’re driving me insane.

  • 16. beth  |  September 17, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    My daughter attended Chopin from 4th grade on when we moved from out-of-state to Uk Village. It is as good as any other neighborhood school in Chicago. She graduated last year, she and 7 of her peers, all of whom but one spent their whole K-8 at Chopin, are attending good high schools: Payton, Northside Prep, Lane, Lincoln Park, St Pats. The previous year kids went to Lane, Lincoln Park and Whitney.

    If more parents were willing to send their kids to their neighborhood schools, all the neighborhood schools would improve. I doubt your child is such a genius that Chopin is unacceptable.

  • 17. SWSide Jen  |  September 17, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    I think that the 20 school limit is reasonable- that is about how many I applied to (not counting the SE schools since I didn’t know if my son would score well enough or not.) The schools I chose to apply to were all schools that I would not have a problem driving to.
    So does this include charter schools? What about Preschool? My (now) 3 year old got a spot and a few spots on magnet charters with PreK. Although he was accepted into Suder, I just couldn’t get him potty trained in time. I’m hoping to get him into a good free CPS preschool next year. Any advice? Last year I sent the OAE applications to the school with the Preschool for All application.
    Just when I thought I might know what I was doing.

  • 18. Chopin?  |  September 19, 2010 at 7:01 am

    beth – appreciated your first hand experiences, not as much your comment at the end. you might want to refrain from things like this that negate an otherwise well stated & helpful post.

  • 19. Catherine  |  September 19, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Well I read through all the comments, and FWIW, I was only referring to a very specific portion of the website, which is what I located on the Office of Academic Enhancement website, specifically CPS’s encouragement to apply to neighborhood schools.

    Part of the problem I am encountering is the swirl of information and misinformation out there.

    I would prefer to send my child to the local neighborhood schools–but not ours, since it has a nondiverse attendance profile. However, all of my friends and neighbors here in Beverly say I have no chance of getting my child into one of the two ‘premium’ neighborhood schools that are in my neighborhood……but I am applying anyway and taking my chances. I would just sell my house and move (we live on literally the next block from the boundary), but I think it is a better (and cheaper) strategy to at least apply first to see if I can get in.

    What I am somewhat frustrated about is if CPS is encouraging parents to apply to neighborhood schools, then why is the process so murky and why does it merge it with the magnet applications if indeed the decision is a completely separate process? I’m not trying to hold slots at multiple magnet schools, but rather look for some transparency in the process. So I do not have a final number of schools to apply to yet, but in the application process I will cast as wide a net as possible. I don’t want to end up like a friend of mine (on the north side) whose child ended up in private school after casting too narrow a net.

    There is simply not the geographic density of magnet, charter, and gifted options on the south side (especially the far south side and especially for kindergarteners–our local school, Keller, starts in 1st grade) as there is on the north. It’s an unfortunate matter of fact that southside parents are competing for limited resources and a large number of subpar neighborhood schools.

  • 20. Well said Catherine!  |  September 19, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more!

  • 21. cps mom  |  September 20, 2010 at 9:07 am

    On the NW side we had no magnets until now, Disney 2 that only goes up to 2nd or 3rd grade. The only options were gifted programs that we tried but did not get into. I applied to 17 schools and miraculously got into 1 that I had to travel to. My neighbors child who just missed a gifted cut off did not get into anything with something like 7 applications and had to go private. For her daughter, she applied to every magnet and magnet cluster. She got 1 acceptance (also traveling). If you have no neighborhood magnet school you need to apply everywhere unless the burbs or private is an option for you. Now that the neighborhood portion of the lottery is bigger, your chances of getting in are slim. I count 4 magnets in Lincoln Park alone. I’m not sure if the number of schools that someone would attend are 20 but I think that they should have the option to apply to more if needed.

  • 22. Paul  |  September 20, 2010 at 9:42 am

    If your neighborhood is so bad that you would, if accepted, send your child to one of 30, 40, or 50 other schools, then I think you should apply to all of them.

    But, I think there are a lot of people that just ASSUME their neighborhood school is bad and then ASSUME that all magnet and selective enrollment schools are better. They don’t really decide that if they get accepted to only one of the 50 schools, they will actually send their child there. They wait until they get accepted to it and then learn more about the school to see if they’ll consider it, and many times they decide they don’t like the school for one reason or another (location, school philosophy, they don’t know anybody there).

    Applying to 50 schools causes other logistical problems that make the school selection process worse for everybody. The people applying do not get accepted into most of the schools because there are so many people applying. This fosters a belief that it’s difficult to get into any of the good schools. Of the few people that do get accepted into the school, some of them decide that it’s not the school for them because it’s too far away, they don’t agree with the school philosophy, or they don’t know anybody there. So then, the school has to work the waiting list to fill the vacated slots. Meanwhile, the people who were not accepted in the first round are frantically trying to find a decent school for their child. In some cases, the frantic people will find a school, get used to the idea of going to that school, and then get a call off the wait list of their first choice school.

    I think that the long term solution is improved neighborhood schools as opposed to more choice. Most people I’ve talked to do not want more choice between magnet, gifted, classical, montessori, waldorf, etc. They just want a good school and be guaranteed or at least have a good chance of getting into that school.

  • 23. cps mom  |  September 20, 2010 at 10:01 am

    I agree. I can’t imagine that someone would apply to 50 schools – let be reasonable about our assumptions here. On the northside not every neighborhood school is even close to acceptable. Ours has a majority of non-english speaking students and extremely low scores. The “gifted” class is simply kids that can perform to grade level and speak english. The high school even worse. Located close to Northside has gun violence and gangs. Neither one is close to being an option. Just because it’s located on the northside doesn’t make it good/safe. Other neighborhoods have the same or even worse senario. So really, who are we kidding about more people needing to attend the neighborhood school. Not my kid – nor anyone on my block (attending charters or traveling to magnets or moving).

  • 24. RL Julia  |  September 20, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I agree with Paul. I do think that people are frantic and apply first and figure it out second and that this overloads the system and convoluted the odds.

    As far as a school being unacceptable, I also stress, you can’t tell what is going on with a school by looking at the test scores, listening to the neighborhood gossip etc… You really have to go visit, make an appointment with the principal, ask them the hard questions and perhaps talk to a parent who has kids at the school before legitimately making a “this is unacceptable” decision.

    Ideally, you probably should do this everywhere.

    I did this and ended up on the LSC of my local school. What I found was that they had great staff, great administrators, linkages to all sorts of programs and resources. They didn’t have gifted programming, a lunch room or a language program- but they did have recess and computers and a strong commitment to the arts.

    Years later, my local school (which did post terrible test scores and was (and still is) largely lower income) is finally becoming a place that people outside the district would consider applying to and that most neighborhood people consider a viable option. Because of the increased test scores, we are now talking about gifted programming.

    I never would have considered sending my kids there if I hadn’t taken that tour (when my son was about two or three – insane – Huh!) – everyone on my block sent their kids to the local parochial school and the school didn’t look good on paper.

  • 25. cps mom  |  September 20, 2010 at 11:35 am

    RL Julia – I’m glad that it worked for you and I agree that more people need to take a closer look. You are making a difference and other parents can too. True story – my neighbors 12 year old was beat so badly for whatever little money a kid would carry that he obtained 2 black eyes and a trip to the hospital by a bully just walking from the school to the afterschool program at the park. The other person I know attending the school had the younger son in the gifted program that was “a joke ” and the 6th grade daughter hanging out with kids that “worried” the parents with her grades spiraling downward. The non-english speaking issue is a huge problem when the teacher needs to teach to the level of the class. Both families moved and could easily do so because the neighbohood has a lot of renters not vested in the situation. I admit that these are the only 2 people I know that went to the school and I did not look into or interview the school especially since the woman active in our neighborhood council was driving her kids to Franklin. Why would I put my kid in a progam like that when he can (and fortunately did) get into a magnet school with a fabulous challenging program and diversity of student cultures? Why wouldn’t other people want that? I’m guessing that my neighborhood school is not the same as yours. You need to apply to many schools to get in. And yes, why would one investigate any options unless you know that you can get in? I think that you would agree that for some it’s not an option plan. I’m just saying that I don’t think people should be limited – especially since it looks like the process has become more automated.

  • 26. cps mom 5  |  September 20, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Because parents applied to more schools than they were REALLY interested in attending…my child got waitlisted in the 100s to the school he really wanted to go to. Then when parent make up their minds at the last minute after hoarding slots, the schools do not make those new slots available. There’s got to be a better way.

  • 27. RL Julia  |  September 20, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    cps mom – so you agree more people should take a closer look at their neighborhood schools – just not you? I don’t know if you rent in your neighborhood or not – but if you own a house – one reason you might take a look at your neighborhood schools is because if it improves, your property values will go up.

    My point wasn’t to dissuade people from trying for the magnets but to do so in a more thoughtful manner – like Paul and cps mom 5 suggested – and to not out of pocket dismiss their neighborhood schools as unacceptable. It is always an option, even if it is one you don’t like.

  • 28. Chopin?  |  September 20, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Imagine my surprise when Chopin showed up in Chicago Magazine’s “Best Elementarty Schools” under a category of something like “Schools to Watch”. The strides made in test scores are fairly remarkable, but we have visited (and live across the street). We just don’t get a good feeling about the school. It’s largely hispanic (not a problem), but has very little diversity (a bit concerning). I’m at a point where I don’t feel quite as frantic about my neighborhood school, but still don’t think it’s the right place for my son. I’ll be the first to admit that I could be wrong on this, but so much of parenting come down to gut feel.

  • 29. cpsobsessed  |  September 20, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I just called the OAE office to inquire about the application process. I got a nice young woman on the phone who had to go inquire about the magnet application (really, the person answering doesn’t know the answer to that?!)

    She said (not that I trust this) that the limit on 20 schools is true. I told her that some people might freak out about that. She said she felt like 20 was plenty. I asked if she has kids. No.

    No need to insert snarky comment, it speaks for itself. 🙂

    She did say that the online applications will be up on Wednesday (Sept 22.) We will see…..

  • 30. cps mom  |  September 20, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    RL Julia. I do hear you. I know there are some great neighborhood schools and some that you might have to squint a little harder at to see the hidden jewel. But I have to say that with or without a magnet option, I’m with #28. On gut feel alone I wouldn’t send my son there. I own my home and it’s done nothing but go down in value due to the economy and there is not a single neighborhood school that I would put on a listing – although you are right, I would like to.

    I think it’s misleading to tell people who really depend on getting their child into a good school to send out 5 to 7 applications. They need to send out more than that to get in. I don’t know about people hoarding positions because we only had one yes as did most of my friends. Only those that did not apply to enough schools got nothing.

  • 31. Hawthorne mom  |  September 20, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I can’t speak for anyone else. I can tell you why we applied to 30 schools. We were desperate. After a really bad go around with our neighborhood school, it became very clear to us that we did not want our kids going there. We applied to so many other schools in hopes that we’d get just one spot. Well, we got 7 spots. Two magnets, one classical, and four neighborhood schools. We immediately informed all the schools of our choice within two weeks of the first letters going out.

    Perhaps it would make more sense to say that people can apply to as many schools as possible, but only get one offer, like they are doing with the high schools. And then it is a take it or leave it situation. We would have taken ANY of the spots we were offered if that was a way to get out of our neighborhood school based on our personal experiences there.

  • 32. smp  |  September 21, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Regarding schools – I applied to close to 25 – the one we did get into was the furthest away and probably if you asked me in March/April if I would consider going there I would have told you no but I applied anyway. Fast forward to September, we are at that school and driving 14 miles round trip each day because that was all we had. Our neighborhood school was not an option for us. His twin brother did not get into any CPS School and in the end had to return to our private preschool for kindergarten. So IMO you should apply to many schools because your not sure what the circumstances will be when it comes to the final decision.

  • 33. smp  |  September 21, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I wanted to add that I expected the Board to vote/pass the revised magnet policy at tomorrow’s Board meeting but I did not see anything on the agenda. I called OAE yesterday and she said they are not going to vote/pass it till the October meeting so that means the application period will open before we know what the magnet admission policy will be. Jeez can’t they get it together..they have know the policy was only for one year and the community forums were held in August/September. I hope it is revealed next month and not after the application period ends.

  • 34. alcott  |  September 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I heard today that CPS will reinstate the attendance requirement in the October announcement of SEHS policy changes. Presumably, this will not apply to this year’s 7th graders given the OAE written policy suspending the attendance factor through the 2011 school year.

    Does anyone have confirmation that the 100 attendance points are going back into the equation?

  • 35. @alcott  |  September 21, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    This may be the reason at my son’s parent night the teacher speaking stated that attendance was a factor in the SE equation. I whispered to the parent sitting next to me that it wasn’t correct but now I don’t know….

  • 36. cpsobsessed  |  September 22, 2010 at 9:56 am

    @alcott – not sure there is confirmation of anything quite yet. Supposedly the changes won’t be approved until the oct board meeting, but I’m not sure if the SEHS policy is included in that.

  • 37. cpsobsessed  |  September 22, 2010 at 9:57 am

    OK, so the young woman on the phone at OAE told me the gifted/classical applications would be available online today. Nothing yet so far…..

  • 38. cpsobsessed  |  September 22, 2010 at 10:02 am

    I’m thinking more about the possible limit of 20 schools per child limit. I will admit that having people clog up the pipeline by applying to an insane number of schools.
    With my neighborhood school when people got into the lottery, we’d have well over 100 kids to rank. Then someone would call the parents starting at the top of the list and often the parent had no idea what or where the school was, nor any recollectiong of applying! I mean that’s fine, you just move to the next kid, but really that list of 100 was more like 20 real applicants. It just wastes resources and time.

    Oh the other hand, perhaps the best way to choose a school is by your willingness to move within the city. Probably the best way is to move into a neighborhood where you like the school, but perhaps someone would like to apply to as many magnet schools as possible and then move near the school. Shouldn’t they have an unlimited number to apply to?

    I’ll be interested to see what happens with this…

  • 39. Paul  |  September 22, 2010 at 10:43 am

    I like Hawthorne Mom’s idea to have applicants rank order their magnet school selections and then receive one offer. That could reduce the number of schools that folks apply to and increase the chances that they would be accepted into one of their first choices. CPS or schools would still have to work the list like they do for gifted and classical schools, and there would still be movement, but it might reduce the number of people who apply to a school without seriously considering sending their child there.

  • 40. RL Julia  |  September 22, 2010 at 10:56 am

    I agree about the application glut. The same thing happened at my school. Its really depressing to sift through so many applications and only find seven people who were serious about sending their kids there. I am all for the ranking system the way it was on last year’s application- except add a box to do you want to be on the wait list for this school – or something.

    As for willingness to move within the city – while I see the reasoning, I don’t think it would work. The entire northside can’t live in Bell’s district and/or afford housing in Lincoln Park and if you are going to move – why not just move to the suburbs instead of playing the lotteries and etc…?

  • 41. Paul  |  September 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Another thought. Could the gifted/classical and magnet applications be combined? That is, could there just be just one application for all schools in CPS? Applicants could rank order their choices, have their children tested if necessary, and then CPS would reply back with acceptance to one school or a rejection (in which case they would be referred to their neighborhood school).

    Data on how parents rank the various schools and the number of schools they apply to could be used to assess demand for certain types of schools and the desire of parents to attend schools other than their neighborhood school.

  • 42. cpsobsessed  |  September 22, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Update from the OAE – no, no applications will be online today as they told me on Monday. The decided it wasn’t fair to have it online since not everyone has online access.

    I guess that’s what worries me about CPS at times…. I’d like to think that things were more thought-out. That there was more strategic direction than the morning the applications were to go online, someone in the office says “Hey, you know this might not be fair to some people.” Uh, yeah.

    I also inquired about confirmation when you send in your application with the 20 magnet schools on it. She said you should send in a self-addressed stamped postcard for them to mail you as confirmation.

  • 43. Paul  |  September 22, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    But they are going to allow folks to apply online for Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools (SEEP) on October 1st right? The site is already up at But, they have to snail mail you a PIN before you see the application.

    I like how GEAP changed to SEEP. Does this portend a future broadening or redefining of our school classifications? Since the desegregation ruling, the magnet term doesn’t quite make sense.

  • 44. cpsobsessed  |  September 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Thanks Paul – well, indeed something is up. I’ve applied to get a PIN so we’ll see what happens.
    Oh, how I love the uncertainty of this process. lol

  • 45. just applied for pin  |  September 23, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Thanks for letting me know that I need to apply for a pin! I found it creepy that you need to select city. Shouldn’t you live in Chicago to apply for a CPS school? Yadaa Yadaa about I’m moving to Chicago you should already live here to apply to a school IMHO?1?1

  • 46. momof4  |  September 24, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Regarding the PIN, I applied for it yesterday and I received it today in the mail. The efficiency related to the first step of the process is surprising. Let’s see how the rest of the application process goes.

  • 47. I'm Number 45  |  September 25, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I applied for my pin on Thursday and received on Friday (yesterday). Wow that was quick. The directions I received with my pin make it seem that you can only apply to SE elementary and HS and the military schools. It makes no reference to academic centers or magnet non testing (lottery) schools. Hmmm…..

  • 48. Mayfair Dad  |  September 27, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    @ # 47. You are correct, at least for the time being.

    More info here:

  • 49. cpsobsessed  |  September 27, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Yep, the online form is for the selective enrollment Elem schools (meaning schools where kids are selected.) Yay! a CPS name that makes sense!

    The applications for the magnet schools and neighborhood school outside your own will still be mailed in.

  • 50. snarky chopin beth  |  October 4, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I sympathethize with the anxiety that emanates off this site, but that said, you all know you will never find the perfect school. What would your parents do? Send you to the school down the street and teach you to deal with and negotiate with people from different backgrounds holding different opinions than your own.

    We moved to Chicago when my daughter was in the middle elementary school years. The first neighborhood school we tried was a disaster. I pulled her after four or five weeks, and she ended up at Chopin which was our neighborhood school and a friend knew a teacher there who testified on its behalf (while also pointing out that it wasn’t perfect). Well it wasn’t perfect, and it was a big adjustment. Classes were large, some subjects got more classtime than others. My daughter had always gone to an urban, non-magnet/lottery, diverse school in which she was a minority, but Chopin isn’t diverse, its about 90% hispanic, and she was called a “white girl. ” But by the time she left, her friends thought she was an inner-Mexican. And that never happened among the kids in her class, Hispanic and white, who had all started in K-garden together.

    Ask yourself why you live in the city in the first place. What your child doesn’t get at school maybe you can give them at home or extra-curricularly, but there are things that you can’t give them at home that they can only get from being in an environment in which they are the minority, not only racially, ethnically, socio-economically, but also in terms of academic ability.

    And since she wasn’t saddled with tons of homework, she actually had time after school to explore interests,etc. And because we lived a block away, she could walk home from school and easily hang out with friends, which was nice especially for the junior high years.

    Still, for the parent who lives across the street from Chopin, you can send your child to Columbus, which is what all the Ukranians in the neighborhood do. I also know parents who have had good experiences at Talcott and Otis. But all the West Town schools with the exception of Columbus resemble Chopin in essentials.

  • 51. Chopin?  |  October 4, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Beth – Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I really appreciate it. I’ve cast a wide net for selective and magnet schools, but we are considering Chopin as an option now – we weren’t initially. Feedback like yours is what we needed to be willing to take a look at the school.

  • 52. adad  |  October 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Just some additional info to consider. Chicago Magazine ranked the elementary schools and Chopin came in at #39, while Beaubian was #47, Pritzger was #91 and Coonley was #97 (all well regarded schools.) Now, this doesn’t take into consideration what the environment is like in the schools, but is interesting.

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