POST ELEMENTARY LETTER NEWS HERE!

March 14, 2011 at 10:33 am 222 comments

As of SATURDAY MORNING, MARCH 19, there are 2 reports of AC letters arriving so I’ve started a new post on elem/AC letters.  Go to home page to read the new post.

This week the letters for elementary gifted/classical/magnet AND “standard” school (magnet cluster, neighborhood, academic center) notifications will begin to mail.

Supposedly this year there will be one letter for the magnet schools for the first round (whereas in the past notification was done by each school.)

Gifted/classical letters will also be in one letter (together, but separate from magnet.)  In the recent past, the test score/s and school admitted to was included in the same letter.

Elementar letters are scheduled to mail MARCH 18.  Academic Center letters are due to mail Friday MARCH 18 so we’ll see when they start showing up in mailboxes.  As of Thursday 3/17 there are no reports of letters arriving yet for elem gifted/classical/magnet/neighborhood/AC.

I wonder if mailmen feel stalked this week.  I know I was always sticking my head out the door peering around for him.  This will be the first year I’m not waiting for anything, so please share here what you’ve received in the mail so others can know what to expect.  Good luck to everyone.

FYI, I called the OAE today to inquire whether the Standard Schools (magnet, magnet cluster, neighborhood) would be treated as one pool, like the gifted/classical schools are.  Meaning, if you accept one, are you still on the waiting list for others.  After the phone was passed around to find someone knowledgeable, I was told that the system will be like in the past:

You CAN accept a Standard school and you will remain on the waiting list at your other schools.  So say you get into Nettlehorst via their lottery, you’ll still have your spot on the waiting list at Hawthorne, Disney II, etc.  And you can always attend your neighborhood school.

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Get to know the North Side High School Initiative group Lane Tech meeting Thurs March 17 5:30pm

222 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Judy  |  March 14, 2011 at 10:45 am

    You might also want to be aware that there’s a community meeting with CPS representatives for the proposed Lane Tech AC scheduled for Thursday, March 17 at 5:30 pm. It would be great to have another option available, so please show your support!

  • 2. Christine  |  March 14, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Does anyone know what the highest score possible is on the classical and gifted tests?

  • 3. cpsobsessed  |  March 14, 2011 at 11:53 am

    In the past, there was speculation that the highest raw score on gifted was 150. But I believe someone was able to convince people they’d seen a score of 160. I think once you get up past 150 you’re past the 99.9% level anyhow.

    There is also speculation that the number is a rough equivilant of an IQ score (hypothetical only since the test is an abbreviated version of a full IQ test and the testing conditions are a bit less than optimal.) If that were true, there is no upper ceiling (or it is upper as far as IQs go and/or testing times go.)

    I just called OAE and (surprise!) the person on the phone know nothing, but said that when the letter mail, there will be a number to contact IIT, which makes sense as they administer the tests.

    Classical scores usually come with a percentile, which can help parents assess their child’s rank. I don’t know if they give a raw score for Classical… maybe just a percentil which is certainly more helpful.

    As a gentle reminder, the test before Kindergarten is not a fully accurate portral of your child’s future (or possibly even current) intelligence. I’ve been reading recently that around age 8 is when testing becomes more predictive of long term intelligence.

  • 4. anonymous  |  March 14, 2011 at 11:54 am

    There’s been some gossip/ discussion on a Yahoo listserv devoted to the Lane Tech AC that it’s a done deal and will start this fall. That is contrary to what CPS says. But the listserv says there is a sign up already at Lane Tech indicating it’s a go. Anyone know anything otherwise?

  • 5. Edison K parent  |  March 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    As to the maximum gifted score, one of my child’s classmates received a 168 last year. I didn’t even know that was possible. The parents called in, thinking it was a printing error, but it was legit. I guess the raw scores are dependent on how many children are clustered in the upper 1%. What are they putting in children’s vitamins these days?

  • 6. Patty  |  March 14, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    @anonymous, I just called Lane Tech and the Freshmen Admission lady told me that the Academic Center is opening this fall. She said that 6th graders has already been tested for the slots.

  • 7. mom2  |  March 14, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    @4 – I have heard that the AC at Lane was approved by CPS, but there must first be a community meeting (where people have a chance to voice their support or concerns) before it can be “a done deal.” That meeting is supposed to be this Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Lane. Once that happens, it will most likely be done and will start this fall with a group of 7th graders.
    I believe the principal at Lane was trying to get the OAE to send out letters to everyone that applied to an AC to allow them to re-rank now that Lane is one of the choices. If they don’t do that, then Lane could only end up with 7th graders that don’t get in anywhere else or those that decline their other offer. I don’t think they would let someone test now for Lane even though they might have wanted to go there if they knew it was available. Timing is very odd.

  • 8. anonymous  |  March 14, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    @6 and @7. Thanks for the info. OAE told me a efw mo nths back that Lane AC’s (if approved) would be made an option for anyone who had already applied to the ACs for this fall. Last time I called, OAE said there will not be a Lane TEch program for the fall.
    Ah CPS!

  • 9. Where is the meeting?  |  March 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I would be interested in attending (even if my kids score don’t warrant her admission).

    Please everyone keep on posting the scores when they come in for the academic centers. It sounds like there will be some strategic decisions that will need to be made. Turning down Whitney for the possibility for Lane is one thing. Turning down Taft (which has received mixed reviews on this board) is another. It will depend on your child’s score, your tier, and how desperately you need an academic center.

  • 10. cpsobsessed  |  March 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Meeting is at Lane. Western and Addison.

  • 11. Patty  |  March 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Lane Tech will be accepting its first group of seventh graders this fall (August). I spoke with the Admission Rep at Lane Tech today and she confirmed it. The meeting will be to inform parents of their options. Only students that took the AC exam last year, will be able to get “dibs” on Lane’s new AC program. That is all that she told me and she was extremely nice. If you have questions regarding the meeting or Lane AC, you can call Lane and ask to speak with the Freshmen Admission woman. She was extremely helpful!

  • 12. pins-n-needles  |  March 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Has the lottery even been conducted yet? NPN poster says it has not.

  • 13. cpsobsessed  |  March 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Well, cpsmagnet.org is updated to say that notices for SE Elem and “standard” elem schools will be sent this week. Yay, “standard” – just go on and throw a new word into the mix! Does that mean magnet? Or neighborhood? In the past, the neighborhood lotteries often took forever to run.

  • 14. pins-n-needles  |  March 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    What does “standard” mean? Anybody?

  • 15. rp mom  |  March 14, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I’m taking “standard” to mean the “standard elementary school application,” which would be for magnet and neighborhood schools. Anyone else?

  • 16. Albany Park Mom  |  March 14, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    “Standard” refers to both magnet and neighborhood schools. There was one application for both types (up to 20 choices), sent into OAE.

  • 17. tk  |  March 14, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Our neighborhood school (a neighborhood/magnet cluster school) is having a special breakfast/tour on the 23rd for those families who got in via the lottery… so they must plan on notifications going out soon.

  • 18. irvingparkmom  |  March 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    @15 – I’m with you – the term “Standard” refers to the “Standard Application” – see below. The standard application is for Magnet, Magnet Cluster and Open Enrollment schools (neighborhood schools without a magnet program focus area that accept students outside of attendance area).

    From “Events” on cpsmagnet.org:
    3/14/2011
    “Notification Letters for SEES and Standard Elementary Applications Mailed This Week”

  • 19. cpsobsessed  |  March 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Wow, well that would be amazing and impressive if all the school letters go out this week (meaning within the same week.) Will definitely be easier for parents to lay out their options (or lack of) in terms of SE, magnet, and neighborhood.
    I hope it works!

  • 20. Alejandro  |  March 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    I still have not gotten my letter yet. I applied for Whitney Young and Taft. Hopefully I will get an acceptance letter from Whitney Young and Taft

  • 21. Christine  |  March 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    It’s interesting that letters are going out this week and the applications for STEM and other new options aren’t due til April 15th. Hopefully, they will have mailed out 2nd round letters so that people that apply to the STEM schools are truly ones in need of that additional option.

  • 22. Maureen  |  March 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Yes, that is interesting Christine. I did send in the STEM application for my daughter. I called the OAE office to see if I can find out what language they will offer but I haven’t gotten a return call yet.

    Anyone know?

  • 23. Jennifer  |  March 14, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    Argh I had been expecting them to go out on the 25th as they had previously mentioned on the site, now I am going to be sending my husband home at lunch every day this week to check the mail! Waiting for selective elem news, for prospective 2nd grader so the chances are already very slim, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

  • 24. KCK  |  March 14, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    I called the OAE this morning, the lady told me letters are scheduled to send out between March 14-16. Then she said nothing will send out today. We probably won’t get anything until Thur/Fri then. Good Luck.

  • 25. KCK  |  March 14, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    P.S. Both SEES and magnet letters will be sent between March 14-16.

  • 26. Christine  |  March 14, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    I didn’t think the STEM school had a curriculum or even a principal yet but I’m not following it closely at all.

  • 27. Dad  |  March 14, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    @2 and 3-
    at least for kindergarten, both classical and gifted scores for fall 2009 testing were given in IQ-style scores. the percentile equivalent wasn’t on the letter, but a call to IIT could get a translation. the high score for the gifted test last year was “>169”.

  • 28. Anonymous  |  March 15, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Can I find the older posts somewhere on this website?

  • 29. Christine  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:31 am

    the OAE office recording has been updated to say that SEES letters will be sent on March 16th. It no longer says the 14-16th as it did yesterday.

  • 30. cb  |  March 15, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I called this morning as well and OAE told me letters will go out TODAY. The frenzy is slowly building…..

  • 31. WYAC  |  March 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Does anyone know — for Whitney Young AC admission, is there a separate consideration of students with IEP?

  • 32. pins-n-needles  |  March 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    The live CPS person said “today” and the recording said “the 16th”.

    Way to go, CPS.

  • 33. cpsobsessed  |  March 15, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Wow, usually the live person says “I don’t know” so that’s a step in the right direction.
    Actually, I do think it’s nice that it’s fairly easy to get a LIVE person.
    CPS, pay me $100K a year and a nice pension to man that phone line and I will blow it out of the water!

  • 34. Jennifer  |  March 15, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I have to say a friend of mine was working in the CPS offices until recently and it was nowhere near as cushy as you might think. She has spent a lot of Fridays working for free over the last couple of years (mandatory furlough days when she was still expected in the office), not counting the work she did at home and on weekends.

  • 35. mom2  |  March 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    @34 – that sounds like most private sector employees over the last several years. I think cpsobsessed was trying to be funny (and I thought it was).

  • 36. cpsobsessed  |  March 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Oh God no, I don’t think CPS is cushy. I just would like to be paid a lot to answer the phones knowledgelably and speak to all the parents who call up!

    It just drives me crazy that when I call to ask a question, the person on the phone acts like the question has never come up before nor ever occured to anyone to think about. Admittedly, the often get someone else on the phone to answer the question, which is nice. I just never totally trust what I hear 100% because they all seem a little uncertain about the revised policies, but then one person will answer more authoritatively. And I can’t tell if they know what they’re talking about. Or just sound like it and want to get me off the phone.

  • 37. CPS stressed  |  March 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    @#31. From what I was told from CPS teachers that I know, each school has a perecentage of IEP/504 students that they have to accpet. Each school has their own quota.

  • 38. Alejandro  |  March 15, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    I still have not gotten my letter from Academic Centers is that something to worry about. Does it mean anything?

  • 39. Junior  |  March 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    An Open Letter to the Obsessive-Compulsive SEES Applicants —

    Dear Mom and Dad,

    Please stop checking this site incessantly. The “refresh” button on your browser is not going to yield any more insight into Junior’s future academic outlook or his prospects for a happy life — nor will the OAE acceptance/rejection letter you anxiously await. Perhaps you have placed entirely too much stock in getting your child into a selective enrollment school or even a magnet school. But seriously, I doubt that Junior will be much better off in that school.

    While there are many neighborhood schools in CPS that are not good places for kids, I think that most people underestimate and undervalue the decent plain old vanilla neighborhood schools that are available to many. As long as a school can provide a safe and positive environment, I believe that Junior will be able to reach his full potential.

    How do I know that? I’ll give you at least two good reasons.

    1. There was a large study (published by U of C economics department) a few years ago that looked at a large population of students who entered the Chicago magnet school lottery. It then tracked how those who made it into magnet schools compared academically (test scores) to those who did not. Well, by and large, the magnet school population scored about the same as the neighborhood school population. It seems clear to me that the determining factor in Junior’s success is the fact that he lives in a household that has taken the active step of seeking out educational options for him, despite the fact that those actual options may make scant difference.

    2. I was once Junior. I attended a plain old vanilla Chicago neighborhood public school in the 1970s. I’m sure I could have attended a gifted program, but I’m certain my immigrant parents had no idea that this was even an option for me. But, my parents did value education and I did go to school intent on learning. And that was enough. Even attending an average school, I had no problem hitting the 99 percentile in test scores all the way through high school. Did my schools hold me back? I don’t see any evidence of that.

    So, what were the other effects of attending a neighborhood school? Well, I got to walk to school everyday, had a strong after-school social life with neighborhood kids, and gained valuable perspectives and relationships with kids from all walks of life (bussing began while I was in school and brought a diverse population into our school). Yeah, Junior might actually like going to a neighborhood school.

    So, are you thinking that your choices are SEES, magnet, private school or suburbs? Maybe you will think again. Have you been inside your neighborhood school? Have you looked into neighborhood schools in other neighborhoods that may have capacity? Do you really want to put your home up for sale in this real estate market?

    If you’re in a fairly safe neighborhood, then I think you owe it to yourself to check out your neighborhood school. Is it a good place? Is it in need of a little help? What would you change about it and can you be a part of that change?

    Our neighborhoods and their schools could benefit from more parental involvement. The reward is a great city to live in and wonderful exposure to the variety of life that only the city can offer. If you find yourself with a rejection letter in the next few days, please consider the hopeful step of enrolling in your neighborhood school.

    With Love,
    -Junior

  • 40. cpsobsessed  |  March 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    @Junior – good advice!

    My mom went to elem school in a one room school house with a bunch of hillbillies with a teacher who was more concerned about their perfect writing skills than anything else. She went on to get a Master’s Degree and forge a successful career during a time when the women’s movement was still fairly new. And she’s a Jeopardy expert. And come to think of it, I don’t even know if her immigrant parents put that much emphasis on education…..

  • 41. Christine  |  March 15, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    The way I see @Junior’s comment is I should decline any offers so that Junior can go to the school of his choice. Very sneaky that Junior

  • 42. Alejandro  |  March 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    I still have not gotten my letter from Academic Centers is that something to worry about. Does it mean something if i have not gotten the letter back?

  • 43. Christine  |  March 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    @Alejandro, When I looked at the cutoff scores for SEES ast year, they had ACs posted only. So maybe the AC letters will go out this week with the other SEES letters.

  • 44. Nice Nick  |  March 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    CPS needs to lengthen the school day and reduce class sizes. Strange that in an entrepreneurial city like chicago can have the shortest school day in the nation.
    Yes some of the schools are improving and there are parents volunteering their own time and money; let’s only hire teachers who are willing to work a longer school day.

  • 45. K D  |  March 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    @ 43 Christine – where did you see the AC cutoff scores? Please post the link or instructions. I’ve only seen High School scores. Thanks.

  • 46. StressedOut  |  March 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    @ Junior

    Entertaining letter, but we’re not in the 70’s anymore. Things, schools and options have changed dramatically. I went to CPS schools in the 80’s and you could see the changes.
    As far as the test scores, I would love to see that because most magnet and SE schools score higher on ISAT than the neighborhood schools. Good luck to everyone waiting for letters and try not to hurt the mailman.

  • 47. Alejandro  |  March 15, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    @Christine thank you!

  • 48. HSObsessed  |  March 15, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    @39 – nicely put.

    @46 – about test scores. I like to look at 3rd grade only scores, since it gives schools that have been turning around for only a few years to compete with the more-established schools. When you look at the “exceeds” numbers for 3rd graders for 2010, of course the top 7 schools are the classical and gifted centers, as they are self-selecting. But if you look at the next 25 highest scorers, there are 9 magnets and 16 neighborhood schools. And the magnets are not all on top, either, but rather interspersed. So although the test scores posted by magnet schools are probably on average higher than neighborhood schools on average, there are still many neighborhood schools within CPS that do just fine.

  • 49. Christine  |  March 15, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    The link to the 2010-2011 school year cutoff scores for ACs and International Gifted programs is posted at

    http://cpsmagnet.org/ourpages/auto/2010/10/12/50095471/Selective%20Enrollment%20Elementary%20Schools%20–%20Cutoff%20Scores%202010-2011%20_AC%20and%20IG_.pdf

  • 50. Junior  |  March 15, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    @46
    Of course magntest score higher than neighborhood schools because the populations are different. There is no surprise there, but this study went much deeper and showed that the actual impact on an individual of going to a magnet versus a neighborhood school was negligible. People like to think schools are good because high-achieving kids go there, but that is simply a myth. Good kids make good schools but not the other way around.

    Yes, it’s not the 70s. Regardless of the era, I think the point I’m making about a child’s success based on their efforts and talents has not been rebutted. I think it should require more than a flip comment to dispute that.

  • 51. Kelly  |  March 15, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    I entirely agree with Junior: If I lived in a safe neighborhood with a decent neighborhood school, I’d be thrilled to let my kids walk to school and would be satisfied with their level of education. Here in Chicago, however, the simple fact is that many of us do not live in safe neighborhoods with decent neighborhood schools. (In a perfect world, they’d all be at least decent, if not stellar, but we know that’s just not the case.) Every day I thank my lucky stars that I get to drive halfway across town to take my kids to a selective enrollment school.

  • 52. Jennifer  |  March 15, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    My parents came from the same mindset as Junior. The result was I went to schools that were good, but where I could coast on by with the minimum of effort, and by the time I needed to buckle down for the rigor of college it was too late for me to learn how to actually study. I’m 33 and I still don’t have my degree. I want better for my kids and my daughter is at least as smart as I was at that age. Yes it starts at home but I don’t have the skills or the education to give my kids a second school day at home once they get home from the neighborhood school.

  • 53. K D  |  March 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Christine – Thanks for showing us the AC cutoff scores.

    Each year, I ask CPS for the elementary schools’ cut-off scores. If anyone sees them, please let us know.

  • 54. cb  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    @Junior: I wish life wsas like it was back in the 70’s/80’s with Brady Bunch like families. I myself came from a family of immigrants who spoke very little english and lacked the skills to help me in school other than push me to be my best.I attended a neighborhood school and vanilla high schools but the drive to suceed came from within (I was a nerdy teen) and my parents high expectations. If it were not for those elements, Idoubt I wouldve learned as much as I did from my school, where many graduated without being able to write a simple college application essays. My point is that the RGC.Classical schools help ensure to some extent that kids at a young age are given an early chance to push themselves academically, which hopefully will make them challenge seekers in future years.If they dont get pushed at home, at least they do at a rigorous school where that is the norm rather than the exception, as is the case at so many neighborhood schools.

  • 55. Junior  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    @52
    I’m not suggesting that you should be doing a second shift schooling your kids. (My mom had a 5th grade education and barely spoke English, while my dad worked long hours and was not there to help with schoolwork — I did not get much help at home) On the contrary, that is the myth I’m trying to bust. You don’t have to spend more time working with your kid simply because he is in a neighborhood school versus a magnet or SE. In fact, the opposite might be true.

    @54
    Don’t get me wrong. I never said you shouldn’t select an SE or magnet school. I said that going to an SE/magnet will not generally produce better academic achievement for your kid, and I said that if you don’t get into an SE/magnet, you should seriously conosider a neighborhood school.

  • 56. StressedOut  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    @ Junior, HSObsessed

    My intention is not to argue with anyone, just state my opinion.

    With that said, I didn’t mean to imply that neighborhood schools are out of the question for everyone. But I wouldn’t send my daughter to the neighborhood school and I live in a decent area on the NW side. So it’s not a safety issue. As a matter of fact I car pool with another parent who lives down the block from our neighborhood school.

    As far as the test scores, I’m sure there are neighborhood schools that outperform some magnet schools. But I’m referring to magnet schools that are in demand like Jackson, Hawthorne, etc…

    In my opinion, until CPS is able to do something about the image of the neighborhood schools, they will not be the first option for most parents. For the parents that can afford a private school, they won’t even be the second option.

  • 57. Jennifer  |  March 15, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Junior my problem is not having to help my child at home, it’s having them spend the whole day in school bored and demotivated and then coming home to start the ‘real work’. I’d rather they spend their time in school being challenged and enjoying learning, rather than simply coasting along because they can get the As without having to try.

    For the record I submitted my child for testing this year because her current school (which is listed in Chicago magazine’s top list) isn’t able to provide her with the challenge she needs. She spent most of kindergarten watching her friends learn the alphabet while she read books off to the side by herself and 1st grade hasn’t been much better.

  • 58. different perspective  |  March 16, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth & I went to elementary school we were not facing incredible global competition. So being good enough was probably ok since there would be a job waiting at the end of the day. Students today today need to reach a higher standard to be successful tomorrow and much have a much greater level of mathematical skills. I think that parents should consider not only whether this is the best school in Chicago but whether this school is giving my child the best skills nationally & internationally. Do really think a neighborhood school is thinking about this? Are the gifted programs even thinking about this? Is anyone?

  • 59. klm  |  March 16, 2011 at 9:05 am

    It’s nice to think that kids will end up OK, no matter where they go to school. However, are people living on when they think “things will just work out fine, so just relax..etc.”. In reality, I look at ISAT scores for 8th graders at our “local” school vs. RGCs, Classical schools, top magets, neighborhood schools, etc. (anybody can do this) and the “end result” (i.e., 8th grade test scores) show a SHOCKING DIFFERENCE between schools. Nobody is ever going to convince me that a schools where 0% of kids score above “proficient” is a fine school, vs. one where MOST of the kids score ABOVE proficient, etc. So, my kid is going to be the ONE SMART KID in a low scoring school that will get into a top SE high school? Do people not read almost daily about the K12 “educational crisis”, how we’re not competing well with other countries, etc. For the record, I went to low performing inner-city public schools for K-5 and 7-8 grades. The schools REALLY were as bad as the steretypes (lazy teachers, my middle school math teacher read the newspaper 90% of the time instead of teaching, etc.–I learned next to nothing and was behind when I startwed high school). My uneducated immigrant parents didn’t know any better, but I (on my own) applied to Catholic school and received a great high school education (had a paper route and worked after school sweeping floors to pay for it). My siblings all got good grades at the local public schools, but were toally unprepared for college (even the ‘less competetive’ schools they attended) and dropped out. My sister now is virtually sick and angry about how bad her education was, compared to her kids’ suburban “good” public experience. Some schools are just plain BAD –why are so many people afraid to admit this and insist that parents who worry about the quality of their kids’ education are just self-serving jerks that want something better than a “regular” education?

  • 60. goodtobeobsessed  |  March 16, 2011 at 9:20 am

    59 comments and the letters haven’t even gone out! I love that parents are posting, disagreeing, and discussing on this blog – if all parents showed this much interest in their children’s education, we could spend half the money per student and prepare the next generation for true global leadership, responsibility, and hard work. I’m so tired of money being the big political argument for improving schools. It starts and ends in the home. To all the posters, I commend you on your decision to obsess about education versus all the trivial things that distract from what’s really important. I for one would rather read about new SE’s, Rahm’s transition team, and charters than whatever the hell Charlie Sheen is up to.

  • 61. Junior  |  March 16, 2011 at 9:47 am

    @59
    The SHOCKING DIFFERENCE you refer to is due to difference in socioeconmics and other factors. However, if you look at kids who apply to magnets, those who get in to magnets perform the same as those who don’t get in and go to neighborhood schools.Therefore the difference in test scores is a differerence in student caliber, not in school quality. I know some people have a problem with that bubble being burst.

  • 62. mandy  |  March 16, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Junior –

    I assume this article is summarizing the study to which you refer:

    http://ccsr.uchicago.edu/news_citations/120105_catalyst.html

    If so, you are not giving a complete picture of the information. It was a study of magnet high schools, not elementary, and it specifically excludes any schools that are Selective Enrollment. It also addresses the desire / success in finding a safer alternative to neighborhood schools…

  • 63. Junior  |  March 16, 2011 at 10:39 am

    No, not the study. But it does reinforce the same points, doesn’t it?

    The one I saw was some time ago and it was taken off line because it became a chapter in a book. It might be the same data set as this one:
    http://dss.ucsd.edu/~jbcullen/research/GainingAccess.pdf

  • 64. cb  |  March 16, 2011 at 10:42 am

    I wish we could all meet for coffee, this passion for our kids education is wonderful! Good luck everyone whatever you choose or chooses you…

  • 65. Junior  |  March 16, 2011 at 10:46 am

    More discussion on this from Steven Levitt (Freakonomics author) here:

    http://www.freakonomics.com/2007/10/04/more-evidence-on-the-lack-of-impact-of-school-choice/

  • 66. mandy  |  March 16, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Not completely, no. As a teacher, I would argue that data for HS kids is not readily transfered to early elementary school. It also only applies to straight magnet schools. None of it is applicable to selective enrollment, which is what most of these parents are “obsessed” with. And it supports the idea of magnets as a safer alternative. None of this discounts the fact that I wish my neighborhood school was safer and focused on something other than teaching kids english and basic social skills. I have been inside it, and my child will not be a part of that.

  • 67. Junior  |  March 16, 2011 at 11:07 am

    OK, the jury is in on magnets. Maybe you can keep your myths about selective enrollment schools, for the moment. There may not be evidence that SE schools don’t make a difference, but I think there should be some burden of evidence that they do.

    One important takeaway here is that we need to start measuring the quality of all schools based on both the inputs and outputs, not just the outputs. The outputs tell us next to nothing by themselves.

    If you give me all the students who go to NSCP or other selective enrollment schools, of course I’m going to blow test scores out of the water — even if I have a terrible teaching and administrative staff. So, give me some hard evidence that schools are doing good or bad. Measure inputs and outputs and let’s see which schools come out on top and what really works. We don’t know until we try.

  • 68. CA  |  March 16, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Mail arrived — no letters. Has anyone had a real person at CPS tell them that the letters were, in fact, mailed yesterday?

  • 69. cpsobsessed  |  March 16, 2011 at 11:17 am

    @Junior, I downloaded the article about the affect (or lack of) of lotteries since the topic is very interesting to me. 61 pages.. not sure I’ll make it through, but I’ll come back to paraphrase.

    I’m with you… input good, output good.

    I know I’ve told this story so many times now, but back when my son was a toddler and I was just investigating the concept of magnet schools, I used to work out with a lady who was a teacher (now top admin) at one of the top magnet elem schools. Of course I bombarded her with questions all the time, but my #1 question was “how does your school have such great scores when the kids who come in are random lottery?”

    Her answer was: Most of those kids could be locked in a closet all day and they’d still test well. (The implication was that it was the families that mattered, less so than the school.) And this was coming from a teacher there who could have rattled on about how they do everything so great.
    If the magnets were truly doing someting that was identifiable, it could easily be transferred to a low performing school with quick results. I WISH CPS would try that (Hawthorne staff all moves to worst elem school in the city for 5 years.) Continue with status quo and see what happens.

    I DO think there is some objective benefit to magnets – I suspect they attract better teachers and admin, they get some benefits that neighborhood schools do not, and the parents tend to be more involved. I’m sure there is less of a “rough” element that you find in some schools. That would all help any group of low-performing kids. But I believe greatly in the student affect.

    I’ll let you guys know what this research paper says. (If I can slog through it all.)

  • 70. cpsobsessed  |  March 16, 2011 at 11:24 am

    One other thing I’ll add about the neighbohood schools…. I’d like to believe that they’re all decent, but I do think they vary a lot. Unfortunately the nature of CPS allows for schools/teachers/principals to “phone it in” in many cases. I’ve seen schools where the bar is just not set very high and it would be hard for me to send my kid to a school like that. Sure, I could badger the teacher to give him accelerated word (trust me, this is often needed at private schools too!) But I can’t deal with principals who can’t articulate their goals, schools that look messy, lack of parent communication (I think teachers have been the last profession on the planet to embrace email – except perhaps for doctors.) I’ve seen a general attitude of (what I consider) laxness and unresponsiveness that would personally drive me crazy as a parent.
    On the other hand, I’ve toured a school that is still on nobody’s radar and met a principal who sounded smart and creative and compelling. He wanted parents to get involved and I could see he did/would raise the standards if only someone would demand it with him.
    I think the are hidden gems in CPS, scary schools, and just plain “blah” schools. And within each, good teachers and bad teachers.
    I think it’s worth getting to know your neighborhood school, for SURE. But I do think you need to figure out what you want out of a school and if it will meet you/your child’s needs.

  • 71. Junior  |  March 16, 2011 at 11:37 am

    @70 cpsobsessed

    Yes, I chose a magnet school for many of the reasons you list. But here’s the real conundrum —

    Magnet schools tend to be safer? Yes
    Magent schools tend to have more involved parent communities? Yes
    Magnet schools tend to have higher concentrations of high performing kids? Yes

    So, why don’t these major advantages of magnet schools result in better outcomes relative to the inputs??????

    Answer me that one and maybe you are a Nobel Prize candidate.

  • 72. klm  |  March 16, 2011 at 11:51 am

    @Junior. I don’t believe anybody is saying just because a school is a “magnet” or a “charter” it is ‘ipso facto’ a “good, high-achieving school”. However, look at all the books, newspaper articles (search NYT) and documentaries (“Waiting for Superman”), read about Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Kids Zone –there’s plenty of evidence that some schools really do a great job of taking “at risk” kids and help many get an education that puts then in the right direction. Places like KIPP Academy and similar schools statistically really do help poor (and mainly minority) kids learn what they need to succeed. Why was the single mother woman in Akron, Ohio arrested and prosecuted for sending her kids to a school district (suburban) not her own (inner-city) one? Obviously, she was trying to shelter her kids from someting. The culture of a school does not have to be one of failure or mediocrity just beacause the kids come from mostly poor, minority homes. Not to get too personal, but I can tell you the inner-city public schools I attended as a child were truly bad –and it wasn’t just my imagination. 1/3 of the teachers were good, 1/3 were so-so and 1/3 should not have been “teachers” beacuase kids learned nothing from them (they did virtually nothing but sit at their desks and read or talk to friends in the hallway) Smart kids I grew up with usually ended up in community college and usually struggled even there. Can you tell me they wouldn’t heve benefitted from a good public charter or magnet with a proven track record? My sister graduated near the top her her (inner-city high school) class and couldn’t even (per her own sob-infused admission to me several years ago) write a coherent college essay when she enrolled into college –she had to drop out and take remial classes at a community college! I had straight As at my inner-city middle school, but struggled to keep up at my Catholic high school until I finally “caught up”. These things are all real and using the “it’s all just socioeconomic factors” card cannot possibly trump discussions about the actual quality of schools.

  • 73. cpsobsessed  |  March 16, 2011 at 11:53 am

    @71 Junior,
    Well, I guess the question is whether those things contribute to high learning (i.e. test scores.) They probably don’t.
    The question is what DOES contribute?
    I think having more high=perf kids helps since differentiation is easier (entire reading groups versus one kid) BUT CPS has a set curriculum. A teacher at a magnet doesn’t have to differentiate or work beyond the curriculum.

    Things that seem like the WOULD help learning/test scores: I saw on the Hawthorne home page once that the school was recruting parents to help kids with upper level math during the day. (something like that.) To me, stuff like that could make a real impact on learning and test scores: kids being drilled or someone taking the time to really explain algebra to them one-on-one. But not every magnet school does stuff like that. That’s smart admin and using parents to help teach. I love that.

  • 74. New to CPS Mom  |  March 16, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Hi, I am a parent awaiting letters regarding news on my two children for both the selective enrollment elementary schools and magnet schools. I just called CPS’ Office of Academic Enhancement and the person on the phone said that letters have not been mailed out as of yet (Wed, March 16). And that we can pick copies of the letters up at CPS if we do not receive them in the mail by March 25.

  • 75. RL Julia  |  March 16, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I hate to even bring this up – but what about the impact of individual teachers on individual kids.Case in point, I have two kids, a boy and a girl. The boy had teacher X for fifth grade and loved, loved, loved him. The teacher made him work really hard, taught him a ton of stuff, engaged him in extra work/learning and etc….The NEXT year, my daughter had the same teacher for fourth grade. Now she is probably smarter but a lot more low key. Teacher hasn’t engaged her, gives her extra work (despite our asking for it for her repeatedly) only sporadically and both she and the teacher seem a little dead behind the eyes. I am just saying… sometimes the education you get is really as specific as the individual teacher and the individual student – and it has little to do with the larger picture of the school or the classroom or the other kids in the room.

  • 76. klm  |  March 16, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    @ Junior –Which magnets are you talking about? I’ve noticed that at many CPS magnet schools (LaSalle, Hawthorne, Jackson Language,….) low-income and minority kids really DO better than avaerage for their subgroup on ISATs. Anybody can go online and see this. Also, nobody’s saying magnet and charters are a panacea to all Urban K12 education problems, but isn’t it worth replicating successful education formulas if they can have a positive impact on kids’ educational outcome? ath the very least, shouldn’t low-income kids have some options instead of a single, too-often lousy or mediocre neighborhood school?

  • 77. anonymous  |  March 16, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Well, to add to the discussion, I’ve noticed that there are fewer and fewer low income kids at the “best” magnets and SEs. Have you seen the low income numbers for Edison? 4.6%. No, that’s not a typo. Consider the percentage of low-income kids in CPS and think about that number.

    And then compare magnet Lasalle to neighborhood Lincoln (as they are near each other and have kids from the same wealthy, Lincoln Park neighborhood). Lasalle is at 17.8% and Lincoln 13.4% low income. That could be the difference of just a handful of kids. And Lincoln has VERY comparable (many scores BETTER) than LaSalle — with a student body at least 150 kids larger. And no lottery. No testing.

    There is a huge socioeconomic factor to education. It can’t be denied.

    The only way I’d feel comfortable with this magnet/SE system is if every single child in the city were entered into the lottery and every single child were tested. However, of course, these things are optional. And if they remain optional, it’s really just a system designed to weed out the less-involved parents — and appease the wealthier, involved parents.

    CPS would never test EVERY child. They would never enter EVERY child into the lottery. That would make it truly fair. And that’s not what they want.

    I agree with Junior on a lot of her/his points.

  • 78. smp  |  March 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I just confirmed a few minutes ago from OAE – letters have not been mailed yet but will go out this week. IMO – I think that means they will mail then out on Friday, I’m not gonna panic till next week.

  • 79. mom2  |  March 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Why shouldn’t the city “appease” the “wealthier” (but still living paycheck to paycheck) parents by offering them schools that come close to competing with what some suburbs have to offer? Those parents pay very high property taxes which are supposed to pay for school. The city needs them to stay in the city for tons of reasons (if we want Chicago to stay Chicago and not become something like Detroit). It makes no sense to not want there to be schools that will keep these parents and students in Chicago and even in CPS as they add all kinds of value to the system. It isn’t an either/or proposition to give these “wealthy” parents what they want or need and also create wonderful schools for the more disadvantaged.

  • 80. pins-n-needles  |  March 16, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I just confirmed a few minutes ago with OAE that they are incompetent jerks.

  • 81. anonymous  |  March 16, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Paying high property taxes is still NOT a guarantee of getting into a good school. If it were, do you think we’d have parents freaking out every year about whether or not their child gets into the “right” school?

    CPS touts school choice when it is only school CHANCE.

    I don’t think that’s good enough. And, no, I don’t think it’s fair.

    But that’s just my opinion. I’m not saying I’m right. It’s just what I believe.

  • 82. Mommy2Beans  |  March 16, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    @80
    Hahhahahahahahahah! Love it! I needed a laugh this afternoon. Thank you.

  • 83. Christine  |  March 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I admit to being guilty of calling much earlier today. I still think they will go out today. But here’s an idea. Why don’t we all stop calling so they can get some work done, such as sorting and stuffing envelopes.

  • 84. Educate  |  March 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Anxiously waiting for 2 letters … First played the waiting game with my older daughter for high school letters and this week completed her process for principal discretion and now waiting on… Elementary letter.. All this waiting is giving me a ulcer !

  • 85. mk  |  March 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    CPS Obsessed: do you know does this possible “letters going out today, Wednesday 3-16” count for the preschools?

  • 86. Junior  |  March 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    I hear that calling OAE to inquire about your child’s letter automatically gets you put into the reject pile.

    I did call OAE several times today to inquire, but it’s OK — I used the names of other people on this board.

  • 87. cpsobsessed  |  March 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    @85 mk: I Preschool is a whole separate process, that I think is handled by the school, not centrally.
    So I don’t think they’re included in this mailing. This is just elementary.

  • 88. pins-n-needles  |  March 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Junior, your smoke bread from burger flippin is over, get back to work!

  • 89. pins-n-needles  |  March 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Junior, your smoke break from burger flippin is over, get back to work!

  • 90. klm  |  March 16, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    As a minority person who grew up in the inner-city, I don’t for the life of me understand why people sometimes get so upset when “high performing” schools (e.g., LaSalle, Lincoln, Edison, …etc., as discussed above) have a lower % of kids that are low-income. Is that really a problem? And for whom and for what reason? Chicago is approximately 1/3 black, 1/3 white, 1/3 latino. I, for one, am happy that middle/upper-middle class people (of all races) are moving to/staying in Chicago and considering CPS. Does that fact that Lincoln (a neighborhood school in LINCOLN PARK not UPTOWN!) has a relatively low % of low-income kids really surprising or really relevant? What next –Lake Foest High School having a low % of low-income students? Alert the media! Most people in America are NOT poor, so if they stay in a city like Chicago and enroll their kids in our public schools, so much the better. Diversity means “rich”, “white” and “Asian” as well as “poor” and “non-Asian minority”. The problem is that poor and non-Asian minority kids are not achieving enough overall, not that middle and upper-middle class white and Asian kids are achieving “too much”.

  • 91. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    @74, I saw your note and called the OAE. I thought we would have these letters by tomorrow or Friday at the latest. They said they have not been mailed they will be in the mail by the end of the week and we should have them by the 25th. Seriously? Why do they always need to push the date back. ARGH!

    They really must not understand how anxious the parents and kids are waiting for these results.

  • 92. anonymous  |  March 16, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    kim — I wouldn’t make assumptions about my race, either! I am not white. Nor do I live in the Lincoln district — although I did not grow up in the city, either.

    My reference to the Lincoln district was that here is a magnet, supposedly drawing from ALL areas of the city — and yet somehow it ends up not being all that socioeconomically different than a school that draws ONLY from a fairly (not all, I’m sure) wealthy neighborhood. That doesn’t seem possible in a fair lottery.

    My point was that it DOES bother me when so many (not all) of the SE/magnets have a much lower percentage of low income students than the CPS average. After all, weren’t the magnets supposedly created to help equalize educational opportunities in the city?

    More than 70% of the CPS student population is low income. Can it truly be believed that there isn’t a greater percentage of low-income students than 4.5% that would qualify for a school like Edison — if ALL kids were tested?

    And if all kids were entered in the lottery (which would likely require a community outreach program), one would assume that the percentages would be a lot more fair than they seem to be.

    And it may surprise you to know that, actually, the vast MAJORITY of public students ARE poor. And it’s worse in most of the country. 84% of public school students in Louisiana are low income. More than 50% (75% in Mississippi) in most of the South. And 49% across Illinois.

    So, yes. It does bother me that magnets and SEs are becoming more homogeneous by the second and that this tiered approach is not nearly perfect.

    I don’t make any assumptions about the race of the low income people because I think it is socioeconomic factors I’m talking about — not racial factors.

    People of the same socioeconomic class — no matter the race — are much more similar in their life challenges than people of different races in different socioeconomic classes.

    I hope this helps explain what I was talking about. I’m not always good at expressing myself! : )

  • 93. Jennifer  |  March 16, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Talk about rich people’s problems – my daughter’s current elementary school is having trouble figuring out how to accommodate the newly registered students that qualify for free lunch since the school has never had any before and therefore doesn’t have any kind of lunch program.

  • 94. Jennifer  |  March 16, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    Back to the discussion at hand, I think we have to consider the locations of schools when looking at their % of low income students. I do think there are still a large number of families that don’t want to send their kids to the other side of the city, even if it is for a better school, especially if we are talking about kindergartners. That has to account for at least some of the disparity.

  • 95. Alejandro  |  March 16, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    So when are the letters for Academic Centers coming out I have been like stalking the mail man since the 14th and nothing for CPS OAE can anybody confirm that they will indeed come tomorrow?

  • 96. JBL  |  March 17, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I just called and was told the letters have not gone out yet, but will go out this week.

  • 97. RL Julia  |  March 17, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Just out of curiousity, I wonder what the individual income breakdown (not the tier) of the families who try for the lottery – is that also disproportionately low income? It would seem given the problems experienced with tiers and race in filling slots that when compared to the general CPS population (which unlike the general population of Chicago is NOT a third, a third, a third) that the population of kids in the lottery is disproportionately whiter and richer than of CPS in general. Not necessarily suprising since test scores are positively tied to economics so it statisically more likely that richer families would have children who they feel have a shot at getting a spot in a lottery where test scores were a component.

  • 98. Christine  |  March 17, 2011 at 9:55 am

    85% of CPS is low income. So I would say that yes the majority of people that try for magnet schools is low income.

  • 99. anonymous  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I don’t know. I am would question whether or not 85% of the applications for magnets are low income. (I’d love to know, actually.) Does anyone know?

    Why? Magnet applications are optional. They require some work, as we all know. They require some maneuvering. They are not all that easy. Income does correlate to education. So, the least-educated parents (or perhaps those with language barriers and such) may not be aware of the magnet program and the steps required to enter.

    So, the magnet and SE systems (even harder to have your child tested) DO weed out the exact children that could be helped the most — children who already have a generational issue: parents who themselves are undereducated.

    Who knows? I hope this discussion was a nice distraction for those of you waiting anxiously for your letters. I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore. Phew. Good luck!

  • 100. StressedOut  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:32 am

    How does CPS know the percentage of low income students? Is this based on the lunch form that is filled out in the beginning of the year. If I remember correctly, they didn’t ask for proof of income on that form. And what is considered low income?

    Not that I don’t believe Christine. I’m sure she saw this on the CPS website. The reason I ask is because 85% seems high.

  • 101. anonymous  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:38 am

    There are statistics somewhere — cps research has a website. I thought the number was closer to 70% or something.

    I worry about your name — Stressedout. I hope you get good news!!

  • 102. Maureen  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Statistics don’t mean everything. We live in Tier 1 and my daughter is a minority. But we are not low income nor high risk, so we don’t fit our “CPS profile” very well. I’m not sure how common that is, but I just wanted to throw that out there.

  • 103. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:46 am

    StressedOut I think you are right and they are looking to that form which is why they ask us to fill it out even if we are not applying. And if that is truly the case then I would not think the 85% was at all accurate. I have heard of people who have adjusted the number of people living in the household on that form just to qualify for free or discounted lunch. There are probably more people then we know who lie on that form since there is no accountability which is truly sad since this it is a great program for those in need of it.

  • 104. CA  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Mail arrived, no letters (I know they say they haven’t been mailed yet, but I thought maybe with the luck of the Irish…)

  • 105. StressedOut  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:57 am

    @ 101

    LOL. My name is something I picked out last year when I was trying to get my daughter into a good school for kindergarten. Luckily, she’s in but I love this site. I find it very interesting, not to mention that I’ve learned a lot reading it.

  • 106. anonymous  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Oh, thank god! Otherwise, I get stressed out for everyone ELSE! : )

  • 107. RL Julia  |  March 17, 2011 at 11:11 am

    The 85% number comes from free lunch subscription which is sefl identifed -although you do have disclose your income I don’t think they require you submit a paycheck stub or anything -so in part that number reflect culture and savvy about working the system. I think it all evens out in the end.

    To 98 – I know that the overall population of CPS is low income (as defined above) – but I would bet that the population of kids applying for the lotteries is not AS low income and is more white than the overall % of white students in the CPS system (9%). Who even knows if CPS keeps these statistics.

    To 99 – to your point about the application process system weeding out the kids who need it most – EXACTLY. That is exactly why it is important to have good neighborhood schools so that those kids are nutured and challenged as well.

  • 108. Observer  |  March 17, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Just to add something here – there ARE community outreach volunteers out in force signing kids up for magnet and stem programs. Neighborhood preferences would theoretically be the only factor influencing socio-economics. Don’t kid yourself that only “white and rich people” care or know enough to apply for schools.

  • 109. anonymous  |  March 17, 2011 at 11:34 am

    108 — Thank you! That makes me happy to hear!

  • 110. rp mom  |  March 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I heard through the grapevine that Peirce, located in Andersonville, was telling parents at an open house last week that they accepted ALL of their lottery applicants and are adding a FIFTH kindergarten classroom to accommodate the student population. We applied, but I won’t believe it until we get the letter. I also haven’t been on a tour, so I’m not of a lot, primarily how I feel about the size of the school. Any one have any knowledge or experiences they can share??

  • 111. Christine  |  March 17, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Here’s a link to an article posted on the trib where the CPS person said 85%
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/ct-met-cps-fafsa-20110228,0,1814347.story
    She may have misspoke, I don’t know, and meant that 85% of eligible people had filled out the FAFSA.
    There’s a press release on the CPS site that indicates 73% of 19K kids graduating this year were eligible for Pell and Map grants. Amount of Pell grants awards are income based grants.

  • 112. Christine  |  March 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Press release is http://cps.edu/News/Press_releases/Pages/02_28_2011_PR1.aspxon FAFSA apps that I meant to reference in #111

  • 113. HSObsessed  |  March 17, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Re: low income, those figures are based on how many kids qualify for free or reduced price lunches, and that is based on the form that the parents fill out at the beginning of the year. I agree there might be quite a bit understating household income, and they make it so easy for people to do this, as they provide a chart that tells you what the cut off is, depending on number of children you have. Also, principals get extra funding (a lot) for every kid who qualifies for free or reduced price lunch, so there is incentive for the principal to show big numbers of “low income” students.

    I think the official figure is 85 percent for all of CPS. If you look at the demographic data of all individual schools, it’s incredible how many schools have nothing but low income kids: Of the list of 675 schools, more than half have 95 percent or more qualified for free or reduced lunches.

  • 114. What about my kid  |  March 17, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Does anyone know when SEES letters are coming out?

  • 115. EDB  |  March 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I just called OAE & was told that the letters HAVE been mailed. Wonder if it’s true?

  • 116. KCK  |  March 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    @115, Would it be the same case as last year? Mails were out on Thursday and whoever got it on Friday was an acceptance letter.

  • 117. trish  |  March 17, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    @ junior
    I could not agree more about measuring the input as well as the output. Measuring true progress should be individual, baseline, where was the student on the first day of joining the school, and then measure at the beginning of each year and the end. I don’t believe the ISATs give us a true picture.

    Along with the input, how about looking at the homework issue. I sit here with my 3rd and 5th grader night after night and think about the students who don’t receive that kind of support. These students were well behind the starting line to begin with and the gap continues to widen as they progress through the system.

    Would it be possible for the new administration to start a program whereby there is homework club afterschool every day. I would think we have enough high school, college students, student teachers to volunteer under professional direction. I’m not talking about the tutoring/ISAT prep programs some schools have where the kids participate in a class or program til 5 and then go home to do an evening’s work of class homework, but some system where our more at risk students, at risk for any reason, get support with their regular homework and projects.

  • 118. adad  |  March 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    @115 & 116

    It appeared last year that the 40% chosen by the highest score ranking received their letters first, as in mailed Thursday, received Friday. But, like I said, it appeared that way. Just guessing. So, good luck everyone.

  • 119. mom2  |  March 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    @117 – I like the idea of a homework club as an offered after school program for all students. It would be a great benefit and a big help for many kids – even those that have parents willing and able to help – but who work full time and cannot help until it is almost bed time.

  • 120. RL Julia  |  March 17, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    108 – there is a lot of income between “low income” and rich (regardless of what tier you happen to live in). As for white- if only 9% of the SE lotteries were white, it would be physically impossible for so many north side SE schools to be as white as they are. I never said that only white people or “rich” people cared about their kids. I think it safe to assume that everyone cares about their kids – equally.

  • 121. StressedOut  |  March 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    A Homework Club is a great idea for all schools. Especially for parents that don’t pick up their kids until 5:30-6:00 because of work. Our school has one but we have to pay for it.

  • 122. two cents  |  March 17, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Yes, it seems that those with acceptance letters get their’s first. I had one child who scored 149 on gifted and we got that letter immediately. My other one scored ‘average’ and the letter came two weeks later.

  • 123. Christine  |  March 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    The person I just spoke to says some letters went out last night. She didn’t know if it was magnet or selective. The remaining letters are going out this week.

  • 124. Alejandro  |  March 17, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Mail came and still no letters does anyone know when they are going to come?

  • 125. cb  |  March 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    id stop calling today b/c its already friday almost. Surely the letters have gone out but they just dont know when excatly their mailroom sent them. Just check your mail pointless to call anymore.

  • 126. cb  |  March 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    well, just checked box and no mail…..

  • 127. Junior  |  March 17, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I say keep calling every hour on the hour — until they finally get the message that, uh… er…. we’re a bunch of freaks. Then they’ really fear us! Or at least have a good laugh at our expense.

    You know you’re scarin’ your kids too. My wife told me that at the AC exam, all the parents looked totally freaked pacing the halls and the kids looked like deers in headlights. What’s up with that? Little zombie mini-me’s. Not good I think.

    Seriously, folks, chill out. Say a serenity prayer. Go play with your kids. You can do it. Junior wans to play. Spring is in the air. It’s St. Patty’s day — have a beer, or a few. C’mon now, what’s done is done. Elvis has left the building.

  • 128. Jennifer  |  March 17, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I noticed Pritzker is having an open house on Saturday, why would they be doing that if parents aren’t going to know if they have a spot there before then? I don’t understand the logic.

    Really hoping we get something tomorrow.

  • 129. mandy  |  March 17, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Ok, Junior. This time I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for the laugh.

  • 130. jenny clements  |  March 17, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    All children are capable of learning regardless of their race or socioeconomic status. There are plenty of examples of highly effective schools serving urban, low-income, minority youth.
    We must not forget, that the responsibility of a failing school lies with the administration and individual classroom teachers. In fact it can be said that the neighborhood is a reflection of the quality of the school and not that the school is a reflection of the of the neighborhood. That being said, I look forward to seeing the results of Rahm’s Education Plan

    http://www.chicagoforrahm.com/blog/rahm-releases-comprehensive-education-agenda-for-chicago

    **************** In particular:

    Broaden the impact of the extraordinary principals within the district
    There are a number of highly effective principals and leadership teams already within CPS and Rahm will provide them the opportunity to manage additional schools, ultimately creating a network of schools that they would lead. Allowing these visionary, passionate educators to lead additional schools is a cost- effective way to broaden their reach and accelerate student learning and academic growth for more CPS students.

    Double the number of teacher training academies
    By the end of 2010, there will be seven urban teacher residency programs in Chicago. They combine a full year of Master’s Degree level university course work with a full year of progressively responsible teaching under the guidance of a mentor teacher. After their year of training, successful graduates are employed as teachers in one of Chicago’s schools, where they receive ongoing coaching and support. More than 80 percent of the program’s 368 graduates over the past eight years are still teaching.

    Rahm would like to double the number of academies and allow the graduates to teach in any Chicago public school – traditional, turnaround, magnet or charter. The current teacher-training program produces 50-70 new teachers each year, at a cost to CPS of $3.5 million. The program could be scaled up over two years to produce 150 new teachers a year, at a cost to CPS of about $10 million. Training academies would also have capacity to re-train teachers already serving in Chicago to prepare them specifically for making a difference in the city’s most underperforming schools. The program would be funded with savings from the district’s professional development budget, which has demonstrated little evidence of effectiveness.

    Incentives for highly-accomplished teachers to take on the toughest challenges
    Rahm believes that it is time to finally start treating our teachers like the professionals they are and reward them for excellence, just like they would be rewarded for excelling in any other profession. He wants to create real incentives for highly accomplished teachers to work in schools that need the most help, and implement a new salary scale so new teachers can reach top compensation in eight years if they are the best of the best, and twelve years if they are very good. Those who are most effective will be eligible for bonuses if they transfer to a low performing school and help to improve it.

    Make performance matter
    In Chicago’s schools, layoffs are typically done by seniority. Rahm will change that policy to ensure that those who are laid off are the least effective teachers, not the most junior. This will require a new teacher evaluation system based on a comprehensive assessment of instructional quality and student performance, not simply results from one annual exam.

    If these proposals are in fact realized, Chicago would be on its way to Reforming its educational system.

  • 131. cb  |  March 17, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    theyve benn having open houses since fall. The only logic I do see is what others said about acceptances arriving first. Think about it: if those accepted decline, then they can send out the rejection letters and /or put them on a waiting list, based on how many accept an offered spot.

  • 132. Alejandro  |  March 17, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    Has anybody gotten an AC letter yet? I am still anxiously waiting for the results of my kid on the AC test.

  • 133. parent  |  March 17, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    All children are capable of learning regardless of their race or socioeconomic status. There are plenty of examples of highly effective schools serving urban, low-income, minority youth.
    We must not forget, that the responsibility of a failing school lies with the administration and individual classroom teachers. In fact it can be said that the neighborhood is a reflection of the quality of the school and not that the school is a reflection of the of the neighborhood. That being said, I look forward to seeing the results of Rahm’s Education Plan

    http://www.chicagoforrahm.com/blog/rahm-releases-comprehensive-education-agenda-for-chicago

    **************** In particular:

    Broaden the impact of the extraordinary principals within the district
    There are a number of highly effective principals and leadership teams already within CPS and Rahm will provide them the opportunity to manage additional schools, ultimately creating a network of schools that they would lead. Allowing these visionary, passionate educators to lead additional schools is a cost- effective way to broaden their reach and accelerate student learning and academic growth for more CPS students.

    Double the number of teacher training academies
    By the end of 2010, there will be seven urban teacher residency programs in Chicago. They combine a full year of Master’s Degree level university course work with a full year of progressively responsible teaching under the guidance of a mentor teacher. After their year of training, successful graduates are employed as teachers in one of Chicago’s schools, where they receive ongoing coaching and support. More than 80 percent of the program’s 368 graduates over the past eight years are still teaching.

    Rahm would like to double the number of academies and allow the graduates to teach in any Chicago public school – traditional, turnaround, magnet or charter. The current teacher-training program produces 50-70 new teachers each year, at a cost to CPS of $3.5 million. The program could be scaled up over two years to produce 150 new teachers a year, at a cost to CPS of about $10 million. Training academies would also have capacity to re-train teachers already serving in Chicago to prepare them specifically for making a difference in the city’s most underperforming schools. The program would be funded with savings from the district’s professional development budget, which has demonstrated little evidence of effectiveness.

    Incentives for highly-accomplished teachers to take on the toughest challenges
    Rahm believes that it is time to finally start treating our teachers like the professionals they are and reward them for excellence, just like they would be rewarded for excelling in any other profession. He wants to create real incentives for highly accomplished teachers to work in schools that need the most help, and implement a new salary scale so new teachers can reach top compensation in eight years if they are the best of the best, and twelve years if they are very good. Those who are most effective will be eligible for bonuses if they transfer to a low performing school and help to improve it.

    Make performance matter
    In Chicago’s schools, layoffs are typically done by seniority. Rahm will change that policy to ensure that those who are laid off are the least effective teachers, not the most junior. This will require a new teacher evaluation system based on a comprehensive assessment of instructional quality and student performance, not simply results from one annual exam.

    If these proposals are in fact realized, Chicago would be on its way to Reforming its educational system.

  • 134. cpsobsessed  |  March 17, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I’m sure Pritzer probably had that scheduled for a while (or maybe thought letters would be out right now.) I know at my son’s school I had to go and actively point out that an open house was scheduled in a way that didn’t make sense.
    They don’t follow the whole process quite as much as we do. 🙂

  • 135. cb  |  March 17, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    theyve benn having open houses since fall. The only logic I do see is what others said about acceptances arriving first. Think about it: if those accepted decline, then they can send out the rejection letters and /or put them on a waiting list, based on how many accept an offered spot.

  • 136. food for thought  |  March 17, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Many people wonder “Are the gifted programs truly two grade levels ahead?” Let me tell you my experience. I have a normal, bright thrid grader and a ‘gifted’ first grader – (I secretly agree with the labels.) This week’s Geography items to know for test:
    THIRD GRADE MAGNET: rural, suburban, biosphere, climate, precipitation, climate, conservation, crossroads equator and Chicago river.
    FIRST GRADE GIFTED: area, bay, boundary, cardinal directions, circle, compass rose, degree, distance, equator, hemisphere, intermediate directions, latitude, longitude, location, meridian, parallel, pole, prime meridian and tropic.
    In math:
    THIRD GRADE MAGNET: perimeter, regrouping 2 digit addition and subtraction

    FIRST GRADE GIFTED: algebra (division) , regrouping 2 and 3 digit addition and subtraction, multiplication facts,

    Homework:
    THIRD GRADE MAGNET: 20 minutes/night max
    FIRST GRADE GIFTED: 1-2 hours nightly (really, no joke or exaggeration). I don’t think I remember my mom ever sitting down and doing homework with me and I think I turned out okay.
    And then there are the multiple projects in the gifted program.
    So, hopefuls be warned, some kids get into the program and are overwhelmed. I hope your child get’s into the school that is right for them and not too inconvenient for you!

  • 137. parent  |  March 17, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    note: I recognize that this is not a forum for this type of discussion that it is to discuss information regarding the arrival of acceptance letters and information relevant to the topic, however I could not resist responding to comments outside the topic as I feel we as parents and citizens are failing to understand the problems with our educational system and therefore focusing our energy on the wrong issues. If we do in fact focus our energy on the issues that will bring about positive change for all — and collectively pressure politicians and school administrators to make changes, we would not be desperately awaiting a letter that determines the academic success or failure of our children. It takes a village to raise a child, and this ‘village’ needs effective leaders who can produce results.

  • 138. Alejandro  |  March 17, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Has anybody gotten an AC letter in the mail yet?

  • 139. Alejandro  |  March 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    This is for CPS Obsessed
    Have the Academic Center letters come out yet. I have been like stalking my mailman since the 14th and still no letters have arrived. I checked again today the 17th and still no letter. All letters were mailed the 14th-16th. Does this mean anything? Did my kid not get accepted into an Academic Center? Do you think that they will arrive tomorrow?
    Thanks

  • 140. 6th grade mom  |  March 17, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Alejandro- I have not heard yet of anyone receiving any letters for the AC’s or any other of the elementary school programs. We’re waiting on an AC letter too (as well as letters for my incoming K kid). Other posters have said that an AC will probably be approved at Lane, so we’ll keep our eyes on that if we don’t get my kid’s first choice on this round.

    I am sort of worried that this process may slower than usual, after all, the central office has to send at least twice as many letters as they did in years past (probably far more) since up until this year the schools sent out the magnet/open enrollment letters, not central office. Sounds like a lot of letters.

  • 141. Alejandro  |  March 17, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Yeah it does sound like a lot of letters. Thank you so much @ 6th grade mom. I hope both of our kids get into a good academic center.

  • 142. momof3byos  |  March 17, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    my child is at a RGC and he never gets 1-2 hours worth of homework. i was scared when he transfered in 2nd grade that he might but i really havent seen that much homework. he does work, howver, at 2 grades above. i’m not complaining or anything because he really into a sport….

  • 143. goodtobeobsessed  |  March 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Agree w/ #142 – 1st grader at RGC gets about 20-30 minutes of homework a night. It would probably be even less if he’d actually hold still for a minute.

  • 144. Stressed by CPS  |  March 17, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    At Lane’s AC proposal meeting today, the OAE officer said AC letters are going to be mailed tomorrow. I don’t know about SEES-if they meant that as well.

  • 145. Alejandro  |  March 17, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    The suspense is killing me. I keep looking in the mailbox to find nothing from CPS OAE

  • 146. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    They also mentioned at the meeting that with all letters you will receive an application to re-rank your AC choices and add Lane to that list.

  • 147. Alejandro  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Oh that sounds nice

  • 148. Alejandro  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Will current 7th graders be able to apply for Lane Tech?

  • 149. IB&RGC Mom  |  March 17, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    No they are starting with incoming 7th only. Next year they will have 7th and 8th. It is still a proposal, but it did sound pretty much like a done deal.

    They have a board meeting on the 23rd and then they will have an open house on the 27th as long as the proposal is approved.

  • 150. SW Side Jen  |  March 18, 2011 at 2:23 am

    @#128 Regarding the Pritzker Open House- My son is in the RGC there and I recently read something on the website about them not having tours during the week because of ISAT testing. I’m guessing that they know the letters usually come out around now, and so they wanted to fit in an extra open house. When school started in the Fall, the K class for the RGC was not full- they only had 22 students.
    Also, Pritzker will be open to the public this Friday night as part of their “Festival of the Arts” program, where they showcase student art work. Might be a chance to get a sneak peek of the Pritzker community?
    When I got the acceptance letters last year, I had wished that I had toured the schools in advance, because I wanted to make sure that I made the best decision ASAP. Good luck everyone, I’m not waiting on an SE letter this time around, but waiting to find out if my preschooler will land a spot at one of the PreK all-day magnets.

  • 151. Jennifer  |  March 18, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Thinking I may go to the open house at Pritzker tomorrow. I came a little late to the game and didn’t attend any of them, this may be my only chance!

  • 152. Albany Park Mom  |  March 18, 2011 at 9:05 am

    For those of us considering the new STEM school I saw this on OAE this morning…

    Community Presentation on New STEM Academy (K – 3) – Near West Side
    3/21/2011, 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
    Location: 100 North Hermitage

  • 153. snowball's chance  |  March 18, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Just wondering if anyone knows of any second grade RGC openings for next year (i.e., a 1st grade class that is either not full or will have a student leaving)?? It’s such a long shot this year, that I’m not even nervous 🙂 but curious… Thanks.

  • 154. Lucky with a Chance!  |  March 18, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Is anyone familiar with Lasalle II? Can you offer me any insight on this school?…Thanks!

  • 155. Ben  |  March 18, 2011 at 9:48 am

    The mailman came this morning and no letter from CPS! CPS has to work on a way for parents to check on-line. This snail mail doesn’t cut it for me.

  • 156. Ben  |  March 18, 2011 at 9:59 am

    FYI – One of the parents who was at the Lane Tech AC meeting yesterday said CPS officials informed them that the SEES letters will be mailed out today. Apparently, the meeting at Lane went very well for the AC. I’m glad there will be another option for 7th and 8th graders on the North Side (pending board approval on 3/23).

  • 157. Jennifer  |  March 18, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Snowball I’m looking for the same.

  • 158. cb  |  March 18, 2011 at 10:46 am

    @150 SW side Jen-is the pre_K magnet the free preschool for all? And I thought it ws only 2.5 hours, not all day? This is something im interested in when my twins are 3.

  • 159. cb  |  March 18, 2011 at 10:47 am

    @155 Ben: your mail comes so early at 10am? Maybe its a first batch and more later. I dont get mail till noon time.

  • 160. cb  |  March 18, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Just to clarify since Im new to this process, a child is only selected for ONE of the 6 Gifted or classical schools they applied to right, and for all others, (i.e., magnet, neighborhood) they may get accepted at more than one? If thats the case I personally wouldnt attend an open house at a SEE school unless my kid got in there , else why bother? I can always request a tour later on, right?

  • 161. CA  |  March 18, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Mail came. No letters…

  • 162. anonymous  |  March 18, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I have no letters to wait for this year. But am I allowed to be envious that you actually got your mail already? : )

    My mailman saunters down to our house between 4pm and 7pm. Good thing I don’t have a home-based business!

  • 163. anonymous  |  March 18, 2011 at 11:34 am

    my mail just came, no letters.

  • 164. SW Side Jen  |  March 18, 2011 at 11:47 am

    @158/cb I’m waiting to hear back from Suder and Drummond which have magnet programs all-day starting at age 3. My son actually landed one of the spots at Suder in the fall, but had just turned 3 and wasn’t completely potty trained, so we had to turn down the spot. Inter-American also has an all-day PreK, but the location would not work for us, so we didn’t apply, although we’ve heard some really good things. These are not preschool for all spots.
    I also did apply for a Preschool for All spot at Pritzker, since my older son will be in 1st grade there next year and we have been really happy with the school.

  • 165. Anonymous  |  March 18, 2011 at 11:48 am

    @ 130 and 133 Hope you don’t take offense but thew points you have posted from Rahm’s education plan are tactical in nature and not likely to make more than a small change to the big problems CPS faces. Rahm hasn’t been in chicago for some time, and he hasn’t had the experience we parents have haad trying to make the system work for our kids, so I guess he could be excused this time.
    He should have Terry mazany on his transition team. Mazany is a knows the big problems facing CPS. He is writing a plan for his successor; hope Rahm sees it.
    Rahm has too many charter school operators on his team. The State of Illinois show 31 of 39 charter schools in
    Chicago have been on academic probation for 2 to 4 years.
    iirc.niu.edu/ListCharterSchools.aspx
    His pick for CEO is important, we are not looking for someone who gives us more charters. Charters are not the only answer.

  • 166. Maureen  |  March 18, 2011 at 11:58 am

    @152 — I live at 100 N. Hermitage so I guess the meeting is in our community room. Interesting.

    @154 — my daughter goes to LaSalle II. I’d be happy to share our experience with you.

  • 167. cb  |  March 18, 2011 at 11:58 am

    @164 SW side Jen: Are thesepre K programs at drummond, etc fee based?thnx

  • 168. adad  |  March 18, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Not all SEES are willing to let you come in for a personal tour, that is why they schedule “official” ones. It is a pain but I went to tours of all I could before I sent in my child’s application last year. It was helpful in ranking my choices. For example, after seeing Edison I switched my ranking and placed Bell ahead of it because I felt it would be a better fit for my child and his personality. (That’s just how it worked for our family, so no offense intended.) I actually ended up placing schools on the list which were a much further trip, but a better fit as well. If you have the time and opportunity to go on a tour I would highly recommend it. Plus, there isn’t always a lot of time between receiving a letter and the answer deadline – especially in the 2nd rounds.

  • 169. Hopeful  |  March 18, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Just spoke with a woman at OAE and she said letters have not been mailed yet, but are expected to go out today.

  • 170. Bevdad  |  March 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    No mail here either. I think I will log in to CPS’s website and check out status with our SSN. Wishful thinking!

  • 171. cpsobsessed  |  March 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Once the first letter is reported, I’ll start a new post… this one is getting too long!

  • 172. cpsobsessed  |  March 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    @Junior, thanks for all the laughs!

  • 173. db  |  March 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Just called OAE and according to Teresa, the letters are all going in the mail today. So another weekend of agony…

  • 174. cpsobsessed  |  March 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Whoever is the 500,000th blog hit wins a prize. Milestone to be met today.
    Just kidding. I don’t know how to determine that.
    But just a thanks to everyone for reading and obsessing along with me!

  • 175. Anonymous  |  March 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I called OAE about an hour ago, they said letters have not gone out yet and may go out today or tomorrow. Why do they even post the dates that the letters will be mailed when they are never mailed within that time period?

  • 176. hat  |  March 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Oh yes, a different answer from everyone that you talk to at the OAE office. If they really mail them today, let’s assume the end of the day, they will be sorted at post office tomorrow and most likely not delivered until Monday. That way if they sort them at the post office tonight and deliver them tomorrow, we’ll all be shocked. But count on Monday at earliest for your sanity over the weekend. It’s so antiquated. Why not move up to an automated e-mail response, or log-in at x date/time? Well we might crash the city server if they had us log-in to see it. Maybe since they added the online app this year, they’ll add e-mail responses next year.

  • 177. Jennifer  |  March 18, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    They did originally say March 25th so I wonder why they bothered changing it on the site as all it’s done is tie their phones up all week! Perhaps next time they’ll wait to change it until they are really sure.

  • 178. Alejandro  |  March 18, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    When are the letters coming the suspense is killing me!!!

  • 179. HSObsessed  |  March 18, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Cpsobsessed, congrats on hitting 500,000 today! But you know it’s only 5 of us, and we’ve each checked in 100,000 times, right?

  • 180. Alejandro  |  March 18, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    cps obsessed when do AC come?

  • 181. magnet mom  |  March 18, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Good luck with the letters- sounds like it’s going to be a long weekend for everyone. Hope everyone get’s what they are hoping for!
    p.s.@93 if your kid goes to a public school in Chicago they have a lunch program. Every school in CPS has one ;).
    p.p.s. the Suder and Drummond pre-schools are free but Montessori .

  • 182. wandrerr  |  March 19, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Prospective parents wouldn’t be so “obsessed” if information from OEA/CPS came out in a timely and consistent manner. I’ve been checking this blog too and it’s frustrating that the mailing date has changed almost every day and for the individuals who called OEA, they were given different answers. I agree with #140, it IS a lot of letters, but if they could give people better information, everyone would be a lot more relaxed and patient.

    As an aside, for some reason we did not receive mail yesterday. I’m grateful for this blog or I’d be trying to find our mail carrier.

  • 183. cpsobsessed  |  March 19, 2011 at 7:30 am

    @180 Alejandro – maybe Saturday but probably next week. Hang in there!

  • 184. Teased  |  March 19, 2011 at 9:53 am

    My mail comes early. Heard the mailman, ran to get the mail. Saw an envelope from OAE. Started getting nervous, scared to open. Slowly opening …. Blah! It was an application for the Stem magnet academy. Couldn’t they just put this application with my letter of acceptance?? Ugh! Hopefully something will come on Monday.

  • 185. Teased  |  March 19, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Or is this their way of saying we were rejected??

  • 186. cpsobsessed  |  March 19, 2011 at 9:58 am

    That WAS a tease! I suspect the STEM application is totally independent of the other stuff and doesn’t mean you were rejected.

  • 187. KGB  |  March 19, 2011 at 10:11 am

    I do have to mention that how much homework one has at a RGC depends greatly epends on which teacher one has, which “grouping” (by ability) one is in, etc. At our RGC there really is a lot of homework in 1st grade, but the 2nd grade teacher is famous for not giving so much. However, ther a separate teacher for science, foreign language, etc., so each teacher decides. 1st grade was tough, but the parents were more stressed than the kids, I believe. Also, most homework really was productive –not much “busy work”, so it wasn’t just a waste of time. Our child had to work, but it was productive. RGCs have lots of big “projects” (famous African-American, Science Fair, famous Women, etc.) in 1st grade (even in K), so the kids (and the parents!) are busy with that quite often. In short, there’s no prescribed amount of homework, but it can be “a lot” or “not too bad” depending on which teacher one’s kids has for each subject. Our homework has taken as long as 2 hours or as little as 10 minutes, depending on the day. Also, there is a general rule that (apart from ‘projects’) kids aren’t given much if any homework on the weekends –at least in the early grades. DON’T not choose a RGC because of concerns about “too much homework”, since the kids really do seem to take it in stride, not to mention “regular” schools seem to give lots of homework these days, too.

  • 188. Junior  |  March 19, 2011 at 10:19 am

    SATURDAY MORNING TWITTER FEED OF THE CPS OBSESSED

    09:35am: No sign of mailman.

    09:56am: Yep, I’m here waitin’…

    09:59am: Uh-huh…

    10:11am: Figures he’d be late!

    10:12am: Prob late on purpose! Ha-ha. OAE havin a good laugh, too!

    10:15am: Got sight of him in my binocs! Next block over!

    10:16am: Geez, could u move any slower?

    10:20am: Crossing over onto our block!!

    10:21am: He’s like all smilin’ and whistlin’. A**h***!

    10:21am: OMG, he stopped to talk to the dog walker. WTF could be so important?

    10:24am: Three houses away!

    10:25am: Two!! — Holy $#&@! I can’t believe it — just pee’d my pants!

    10:25am: My neighbor subscribes to Forbes??? What kind of &^$#@ reads Forbes?? No time 2 change pants. Goin’ outside…

    10:38am: Uh-BIG problem. Hands me bunch of catalogs. Looks @ me like ‘what letter’? I know he’s holdin back–must have his own kid applying!! He looks down at my pants and I lose it. Go postal and beat him silly. Help. Still no letter!

    11:14am: They say he’s going to be OK. Hopefully he won’t remember what happened when he wakes up!! This wouldn’t affect admissions, would it?

    11:15am: @cpsobssesed: Which one of your genius kids can tell me how to clean the blood off my sidewalk???

    11:15am: Gotta calm down. No mail til Monday! Argghhh.

    11:21am: Called OAE. They’re closed Saturdays! Lazy $#@*&^.

    11:23am: Uhh… the blood stain? Anyone? Don’t they teach that stuff in RGC? No letter yet.

    11:29am: Yep. Anyone get a letter?

  • 189. cpsobsessed  |  March 19, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Hahahahaha!
    That’s great junior.

    My son has a lifetime ambition of leading an angry mob about something (I think he’s seen it in SpongeBob.) Maybe I should get him riled up and we all head down to CPS headquarters Monday morning….

  • 190. cps obstressed  |  March 19, 2011 at 11:25 am

    852 tier 4 wyac accepted!!

  • 191. Jodi  |  March 19, 2011 at 11:34 am

    MY DAUGHTER’S LETTER ARRIVED TODAY, SATURDAY!! She did not get into her only choice W. Young. We are lucky that she is currently enrolled in a good school. She had straight A’s, and had in the 90th percentile for REading and Math ISAT. She said the test wasn’t one she had taken before, and she didn’t think she did well on it. We know of at least one group who took the 7th / 8th grade test, but was given the wrong test that was a similiar test, but for younger kids. They were called in to retake the test, but for their age group. I wonder if that gave an advantage to them? Anyways, we were given another application with Lane Tech and the rest of the SE schools to reapply for 2nd round choice? So I guess the waiting is not really over yet….

  • 192. sfw  |  March 19, 2011 at 11:35 am

    We need a hashtag for CPS admission-related Tweets! Seriously, how did people keep track of when the letters came and what the scores were prior to message boards, web pages, and now Twitter? Perhaps things were more calm then…

  • 193. cpsobsessed  |  March 19, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Thanks for the updates. CPS Obstressed win a CPSObsessed mug for being the first to post. Just kidding… think you’ve got a good prize. That must be a nice sigh of relief to know that the next 6 years are taken care of.

    @191 Jodi, keep us posted about Lane…..

    I have heard of that testing issue and am working on contacting OAE about it.

  • 194. Jodi  |  March 19, 2011 at 11:37 am

    by the way, her score was 733.4, We live in Tier 4. I don’t know if they do that for the selective enrollment academic centers. My older daughter was accepted to w. young highschool, but I don’t think they have a sibling thing…

  • 195. bad news for us  |  March 19, 2011 at 11:37 am

    812 tier 4 Not accepted at WYAC.

    More interesting was the letter accompanying the letter re Lane AC. The letter makes no bones about the fact that Lane AC is not approved yet. I also am confused about the directions. You can rerank all of your AC choices. So am I supposed to include WY again in my rankings? And what is the rankings game? Does still putting WY first lessen my chances of getting my child in to Lane, if that is approved? Any advice? Thoughts?

  • 196. cpsobsessed  |  March 19, 2011 at 11:41 am

    HEY GUYS… I’VE MADE A NEW LETTER POST CALLED PART 2.

    Why don’t you start posting there since this one has gotten so long…..

    @195 I’m curious to see what people say about your situation. When do you have to mail it in?

  • 197. cpsobsessed  |  March 19, 2011 at 11:45 am

    #192. I don’t know what the hashtag means, but I did set up a Twitter account for CPSObsessed.
    If people think they’d use it, I can Tweet/Twit/whatever it’s called.
    I have 2 followers so far. If you can advise me what to do with a hashtag (I imagine not smoke it?) let me know…

  • 198. bad news for us  |  March 19, 2011 at 11:50 am

    @CPS Obsessed – According to the letter, anyone who wants to apply to Lane has to have the application in by 4/1/11 (April fool’s day – hope that is just a coincidence).
    There is an open house at Lane for the proposed AC this Sunday from 1-3, according to the letter.

    The wording of the letter strongly implied that anyone who has applied for any of the ACs can reapply to all of them, including the proposed one at Lane, and that CPS will then see if there are open spots at any of the existing ACs for second round openings and to first round at Lane if it is approved.

    I must add that the the principle at WY (at the fall open house) said there is no second round of admissions there.

  • 199. sfw  |  March 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    A hashtag is a twitter term that helps you find topics quickly. I’m going to take a stab at starting one, #CPS_SE

  • 200. KCK  |  March 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    @196, All I got today is a STEM application. Hopefully I can share some good news on the following Monday under the new thread. Good luck everybody.

  • 201. cpsobsessed  |  March 19, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks sfw. So do I include that in my tweet?

  • 202. Jennifer  |  March 19, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Freaking mailman brought me GQ.

    @magnet mom we are currently in a north shore suburban school that doesn’t have a gifted program.

  • 203. Working mom  |  March 19, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    @junior: hydrogen peroxide might help remove the blood stains… from your clothes! Haha. Not sure if it works on cement but give it a try. Lol.

  • 204. Working mom  |  March 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    To prevent me from tearing out my armpit hair during this waiting period, I calm myself down by thanking God for the wonderful things I have, that my child is happy and learning new things like mandarin Chinese at a neighborhood school, that he’s safe and healthy, that I’m abundantly wealthy (not $$$) in that I’m blessed with good health, family, job etc…and that an acceptance letter to an SEES would be an expansion on the good I already possess. Don’t wanna sound preachy but this thought process keeps grounded when I’m feeling obsessed about that D@$n letter from OAE.

  • 205. Not all RGCs the same  |  March 19, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    My kid goes to an RGC. Gets regular homework, but not very much, not hard to handle by any means. Easy on writing assignments, for example. Freind’s child goes to WY AC. Those kids get much more homework in general.

  • 206. sfw  |  March 19, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    @ cps obsessed, yes, the idea is to include the hashtag RE CPS SE in your tweets related to that.

  • 207. badgergirl  |  March 19, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    No letter today; kids got into Old St. Mary’s for preschool and 1st grade, had almost (but not quite) forgotten about the CPS admissions scrum. Good luck to everyone!

  • 208. SW Side Jen  |  March 20, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    @167. cb – No these are FREE CPS programs. I was so disappointed that we weren’t ready for Suder in the fall last year, seemed like such an awesome opportunity.

  • 209. Rajani Chilukuri  |  March 21, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Received one letter from SEES and one for Magnates. My daughter scored high enough for Gifted but didn’t get in anywhere . She scored 130. The Magnates she got in at Burr but I don’t think I’ll be accepting that one. She is wait listed 5 at Disney II. I’m glad the waiting is finally over. Good Luck to everyone else

  • 210. EJ  |  March 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    score:126 RGC
    Accepted into AJLA and Courtenay. No luck on RGC or Classical (her scores were low – 89% english, 72% math)
    we plan on accepting Andrew Jackson as they are a very good school. We are in tier 4

  • 211. KT  |  March 22, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Applied to 13 magnets, 3 of which were proximity. On the wait list for everything. Boo.
    No luck on RGC or classical (gifted score: 125, classical scores were 21% reading, 93% math)

    Guess we’ll see how the wait lists go. Any idea what my chances are? We have #1 at Talcott, but it’s a bit far. #6 at Columbus (also a little far). #12 at Galileo and #27 at AJLA. Would choose AJLA first, then Galileo.

    This process is ridiculous!

  • 212. tigerdad  |  March 22, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Got two letters yesterday. one from magnet and one from gifted and classic. My daughter got accepted by Keller RGC for grade 1. score 134, reading 99, math 99. Applied for 9 magnets, all are on waiting list.

  • 213. AM  |  March 22, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Can anyone give me some parent feedback on the Pritzker school? My son received a spot in the RGC there….on waiting list at all magnet schools.

    Thanks in advance!

  • 214. Adam  |  March 23, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Our daughter got a 142 on the RGC…but was not offered a spot. How high do you have to score to get an offer…she should be in the top 0.4 with a 142.

  • 215. For @214 Adam  |  March 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    @214 Adam – what tier? Tier 1, 2 and 3 — should get an offer.

  • 216. hopingforround2  |  March 23, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Here is the link for cutoff scores for Academic Centers this year

    http://cpsmagnet.org/ourpages/auto/2011/2/24/52593646/Academic%20Center%20Cutoff%20Scores%202011-2012%20–%20Round%20One.pdf

    This confirms that if we were Tier 1, 2, or 3 my child would have been accepted. Here’s hoping that Lane opens up spots.

  • 217. Alejandro  |  March 23, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    Okay so I talked to my conselour today and she said that she is not sure if I can get into Taft Academic Center for 2nd round she said something about a cut off score. What is a cutoff score, because my total points was 742.4 and I still got into Kenwood I will give everybody the link to check out the Taft AC cutoff score. I want everybodys honest opinion do u think I could get into Taft for 2nd round? I got a total of 742.4 points and i am in 7th grade.
    Thanks!!!

  • 218. Alejandro  |  March 23, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    LInk for cutoff scores is http://cpsmagnet.org/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=177470&id=0

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  • 220. Melpom  |  March 22, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Received magnet letter today. No SEES/SE/AC/IB letter (applying for 7th grade). Got #2 at Coonley (sib preference, daughter is in gifted there, soon-to-be 7th grader is leaving Decatur) and #2 at Nettlehorst. I’d really love to have my kids in one school, if only for 2 years of their lives. Hopefully a Coonley kid or two will take an AC spot or we will get gifted. Sigh… Neighborhood school is Gale. Not happening. Offers at 3 mediocre schools (Courtenay, Breneman, Chappell).

  • 221. Jenn  |  March 26, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    @Beth – welcome to the Prescott family! We are thrilled you have decided on Prescott. If there is anything I can do to help you with the transition, please reach out. I hope to meet you next week.

  • 222. Jill Hundrieser  |  July 6, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    I need help with getting some questions answered. Where and when do I have my child test to get into certain schools for kindergarten for 2017-2018 school year?

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