ABC’s of CPS – Parent Workshop

September 17, 2010 at 6:35 pm 15 comments

A Chicago parent will be holding 2 workshops to help navigate through the CPS application process. Oh, how easily we forget that information that seems fairly basic to us is like a foriegn language to these poor, unsuspecting parents.  It’s always nice to be able to ask questions in person, I’ve found (and to share concerns, frustrations, etc.)

The ABC’s of CPS — a workshop for parents

by CHRISTINE WHITLEY – child & family therapist, parenting coach

Chicago Public Schools as easy as 1-2-3!
Applications for the 2011 – 2012 year are due December 17, 2010

As parents, we want to provide our kids with the best opportunities in life.
Here in Chicago, we have some of the best schools in the state. But giving your
child the chance to attend those schools takes time, planning, and in-depth
knowledge about the application process. The better informed you are, and the
earlier you start, the more you increase your child’s chances of getting the
best public education available.

The first step is to attend an informational workshop. Educate yourself about
the process so you can maximize the outcome!

How to identify your neighborhood school
Options for Knowledge programs
How and when to apply
Differentiating between magnet, magnet cluster, and charter schools
Testing into and applying for Regional Gifted and Classical Schools
Proximity lottery
TBPK and PFA (preschool)
Resources for ratings of specific schools
Timeline for application
Census Tracts or “Tiers”

WHO: Christine Whitley,  MA, LPC
WHEN: Weds., Sept. 29th (FULL,) Sat Oct 9th 10:30am – 12:00
                Weds, Oct 27th, Thurs Nov 4th 7-8:30 pm
WHERE: Margate Park Fieldhouse, 4921 N. Marine Drive Chicago IL  60640 (parking

RSVP:     312-218-0329 or
COST: $20 per family

Entry filed under: Applying to schools.

Oprah doing a show on Waiting for Superman CPS Options for Knowledge Fair Oct 2

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dad  |  September 19, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    I have to say I’m disappointed to see that someone can charge $20 per family for a workshop like this. Not necessarily with the speaker- I have no idea how much she puts into this, and I’m sure there are parents who consider $20 a deal. It’s just sad that the CPS website is so user-unfriendly, and school staff can be so unforthcoming with information, that parents feel they have to pay an independent resource to help them figure things out.

  • 2. Mayfair Dad  |  September 20, 2010 at 9:10 am

    I agree with you, Dad. My pet peeve is the lack of information being shared with parents of 6th graders at the neighborhood schools. Why aren’t more parents “clued in” to the importance of 7th grade? Why aren’t school counselors doing a better job?

    On the other hand, four years of St. Ignatious will run you about $60-80K, so $20.00 might be a very good investment, provided the presentation is well done and current.

  • 3. cpsobsessed  |  September 20, 2010 at 10:22 am

    It is dissapointing it’s so hard to navigate the CPS site and that families need a session like this, but sadly it’s true. I think the CPS site is better than it’s ever been, but you really need a live person (or web-friends!) to put it all in context. I remember those first months as people explained the whole school appication process to me it seemed like complete insanity. I think I needed to be reassured that it was actually real, as I couldn’t really get my head around it.
    The host of the session is using the money to cover the space she’s using, so she’s not making big money off of it, by any means (although in NYC, there are people making big money as school consultants!)
    CPS used to have a woman who held sessions like this that were free to parents, but she was eliminated when Arne left (and apparently Ron H has not seen the need for it.)
    I’ve asked some middle school students at my neighborhood school whether they were given info on the whole HS process and they said they hadn’t (this was a couple years ago and the school is now better at it.) But yeah, there is certainly a lack of information sharing even within the schools unless a principal goes out of their way to make it happen.

  • 4. Christine  |  September 20, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Hi there! Aforementioned speaker here….

    it’s true that I am renting out park district space which isn’t free. I’m not really making big bucks off this presentation, just trying to help parents get an insane amount of complicated information in a concise, clear manner.

    I’ll have coffee and I’m putting together folders with the Options applications, a timeline, etc. So I think $20 is a pretty good deal!

    In the interest of fair play, however, I feel I should point out that it appears that CPS is offering something similar and you can find the dates and times on this calendar:

  • 5. SFW  |  September 20, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Is GEAP having a school fair this year? I didn’t come across a recent listing for one on CPS website.

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  September 20, 2010 at 10:54 am

    The OAE site says this:
    Note three important OAE dates: October 1 (opening of application period), October 2 (Options for Knowledge Elementary School Fair), and December 17 (OAE applications due). A link to the calendar is provided here.

    And in true CPS fashion, I cannot easily find details about the school fair! 🙂
    I do admit, looking at the OAE site, it is much better than in the past, but c’mon – how hard do I have to look to find the school fair information? I’m off to hunt for it….

  • 7. anonymous  |  September 20, 2010 at 11:00 am

    October 2, 2010
    9:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Options for Knowledge Elementary School Fair
    Location: Malcolm X College 1900 West Van Buren Street

  • 8. anonymous  |  September 20, 2010 at 11:01 am

    The only way I could find it was to put “options fair” in the search function at the top of the site 🙂

  • 9. Mayfair Dad  |  September 20, 2010 at 11:19 am

    @ Christine. If a Local School Council wanted to hire you hold a tutorial on the high school selective enrollment process at a parents night, what would that cost? Would you consider it?

  • 10. Christine  |  September 20, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Mayfair Dad:

    Why don’t you email me and we can discuss it!

  • 11. cpsobsessed  |  September 20, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Yep, that’s all the information I could find as well…
    Ideally, CPS would hold information sessions at the fair, but I’ve not known them to do that in the past.

  • 12. 2ndtimearound  |  September 20, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I was at Sulzer Library today and found the flyer for the fair at Malcom X posted in 2 or 3 different locations, one being by the entrance and the other in the children’s section. Hopefully other libraries are advertising as well.

  • 13. SFW  |  September 20, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    I was at the Options for Knowledge session last year. They did have a session where the woman I believe is in charge of GEAP spoke, cryptically, if you ask me, about what’s involved on the classical and gifted tests. IE, she mentioned as an IE that children were shown things like a picture of a bunny, and asked to ID from other pictures what a bunny eats. The fair was very crowded and I can’t say that anything I took in changed my opinions, but at the same time I’m glad I went. If you’re like me and you’re going to obsess from October to the end of March about how your child did on his or her SE tests, you might as well take in everything you can!

  • 14. parent  |  September 20, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    If you wish to create a high school night at your school both the cps high school office and the oae will send a rep to explain the process for free. We have had one at our school for about five years now.
    We have also had an organization come and explain some of the intellectual and social changes that are part of the transition to high school. It’s the usual do it yourself world but it has been very useful at our school. Our nclb pac did the footwork for about two years and then the counselor took over. Our principal was very glad to make a space and help get our notices home to parents. We started by inviting the 6th graders and their parents all the way up to eight grade. It helped to get the information out early on in middle school so kids to start putting it together in sixth grade.

  • 15. klm  |  September 24, 2010 at 11:19 am

    I have to say that while, yes CPS could definitely do a better job of getting information to people about Options for Knowledge, but what can we expect? CPS is bureaucratic and strapped for cash –no paid emplyees is going to go knocking on doors giving away brochures and apllications. The information is there, people just have to find it. I starting looking into things CPS-related info even before we even moved to Chicago — while my son was still an infant. A short online search into which schools have great ISAT scores, published rankings, etc., and I knew which areas had good neighborhood schools, learned about the “good” magnets, RGCs, classical schools, etc. We bought our place because it has a great neighborhood school if nothing else worked out. Same goes for high schools –there’s a formula (although it’s changed it still remains fairly straight forward) for getting into the “good’ selective enrollment schools that’s provided by CPS, plain and simple. Average ISAT scores, average ACT scores, rankings, etc. require only a few Google searches. I think we all agree that the anxiety over whether your kid gets into a “good” school or a “lousy” school (especially when financial circumstances preclude private schools or a move to an expensive suburb) can be truly awful –that’s the really difficult part for most people. Learning which schools are good is actually pretty easy, as is filling out a simple application and dropping it in the mail –it’s the uncertainty of getting in or not that maked us all crazy.

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