What’s good about CPS

February 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm 6 comments

CPSObsessed.com is mentioned in the newest issue of Time Out Chicago Kids in a little Q&A section titled “Will I really have to move to the suburbs once Junior’s ready for kindergarten?”

 http://www.timeoutchicagokids.com/things-to-do/baby/34007/will-i-really-have-to-move-to-the-suburbs-once-junior%E2%80%99s-ready-for-kindergart

Assuming that parents who read this article might be opening their eyes for the first time to the idea of CPS, I figure it’s worth a nice post for them to read, so they don’t get scared off hearing about high school, tiers, tests, and other topics that are boring to parents of babies/toddlers.  I will always remember my first tour of a CPS school – Alcott.  I went to check out the preK, as it bought you a spot in elementary.  As I sat in the auditorium waiting for the tour to begin, the bell rang and I actually got teary-eyed imagining my then 2-year old son in a school where grown up things took place – like school bells and lunch rooms. 

The more I’ve I thought about it, I think the beauty of CPS lies at the local level.  Many kids (and their parents) are having great experiences and are getting a good education in Chicago.  Despite the obstacles of the system, there’s a lot of good that goes on in CPS.

I’ll share mine… feel free to share your experiences so other parents can learn about CPS.

To me, a school – any place, any where, in any building can provide a good education if you have an engaged staff and involved parents.  My son has had excellent teachers so far in his 3 years in CPS – teacher swho are smart, enthusiastic, and make it clear they have a genuine interest in the kids and in teaching.  I feel like they do their best to make class/learning as fun and engaging for the kids as possible, while still challenging them.  I get the sense that the kids’ different learning levels have been taken into account in an appropriate way.  Yes, worksheets seem to be an ongoing factor in learning, but the classroom activities and project have provided a nice balance.

The sense of community at our school adds a lot to the school experience.  Parents are always around helping out, and during warm weather, families hang around after school playing and talking on the school grounds.  This creates a nice sense of connectedness and community for the kids (and parents too!)

I think there are a lot of great teachers in CPS, and plenty more who may be just waiting for some parents to raise the bar and re-engage (don’t we all feel like that in our jobs at times?)  There is a bit of a “do-it-yourself” factor to CPS.  You want karate classes after school?  Make it happen.  You want a car drop-off lane?  Make it happen.  I happen to like that vibe.  The “we’re all in it together” and “yes we can” mentality.  No, it’s not for everyone and for some, the suburbs or private school may be a better fit.  If you find a neighborhood you like, it’s so great to send your kids to school with the neighbors’ kids, see them out trick or treating or at the park, and to run into people you know from school while you’re out and about.

I cant’ compare directly to a suburban school.  Is any CPS school going to be the same as an elementary school in Winnetka or Hinsdale or a city private school that costs $24K per year?  Probably not.  Maybe I don’t even want it to be.  But I feel like many CPS school could easily hold their weight against the decent suburban school.

As long parents pay attention, speak their mind, keep the school on their toes (and put in our share as well) I think we’re in good shape.

The last line of the article says “with careful research followed by a calculated move within the city you can land a good school fit and find the sense of community that makes the suburbs seem so appealing.” Ok, for the record, I don’t find the suburbs appealing, just their school funding.  🙂

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Finally, a school my son could get excited about “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.” And charter schools.

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. This drives me crazy  |  February 11, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I know this thread is suppose to be about what’s good about CPS but when stories like this come it bothers me. Apparently this is common practice at a lot of schools…

    http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/02/07/school-sends-teachers-to-vegas-spa-on-taxpayers-dime/

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  February 11, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I don’t know… just a hunch, I’m gonna say it’s not “common practice” to send CPS teachers to Vegas. Feel free to provide evidence to the contrary.
    We want good teachers and we want “top performers” and as in many fields, ongoing training can be very helpful.
    Would it be better to have spent that money on special ed services? Probably. Does improving teacher performance having long lasting benefits that help a lot of kids? Probably.
    I think it’s a grey area as to how to spend every cent in a district that is lowon funds. Expensive champaign, I think we could all agree is excessive. A job-related seminar doesn’t seem that out of the question to me. If teachers are going to Vegas every year, I may question it. Once in a decade or so… I can live with that given how much they scrimp year-round.

  • 3. This drives me crazy  |  February 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I’m told it’s common practice. Also, I heard 19 other schools went to the Las Vegas conference. I had no idea CPS allowed such mismangement of funds. The CAO must approve the trip then it goes to the LSC approval. It happens more times than you think…

  • 4. cps Mom  |  February 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Plus there are New York and Florida “conferences”

  • 5. rk  |  February 28, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    That TimeOut thing is such a fluff piece. “Do some research.” Hey, thanks. I’ll just roll the dice with my child’s future on a move that might sense in the short term, but puts me at the mercy of the CPS lottery long term.

    How about this? I’ll make a “calculated move” to a suburb with a school system that has fewer overall problems. That sounds easier and smarter to me.

  • 6. cpsobsessed  |  February 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Awesome. The suburbs needs smart people like you!
    Really not sure why people like you bother with the city in the first place. It’s nice and clean out there. You’ll like it.

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