STEM Magnet School News

March 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm 525 comments

Looks like there is some news about the new elementary magnet school that will be opening this Fall.

Information from reader Maureen:

I went to the STEM Magnet Academy Community Meeting tonight. Here are the highlights:

Applications Due by 4/15
Lottery Results will be made public around the 1st Week of May

Lottery will be conducted the standard magnet fashion (40% proximity/60% from Tiers)

School will accept K-3rd grade for first year
Will likely be 2 classrooms per grade
Kindergarten will likely be full day
Will have World Language option, language not yet selected

No principal selected yet
No curriculum set yet, but will likely closely follow the national STEM standards

The CPS rep at the meeting was Margo De Lay and she can be reached at

The attendance at the meeting was about 25 people and very diverse. Good group of parents with great questions. Most seemed to be parents of Kindergarten students, so those looking for slots for upper grades may have  good chance.

STEM Magnet Academy
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The STEM Magnet Academy is the first of its kind in the Chicago Public Schools system.  In addition to studying science, technology, engineering, and math, students at the  STEM Magnet Academy will explore global issues through a multiple discipline approach and receive instruction in a world language. The STEM Magnet Academy will be located at 1522 W. Fillmore Street, in the building formerly occupied by Jefferson Elementary School.  The school will open in September at the kindergarten through third grade levels, and add one grade each year until it serves grades K-8.
Link to application:

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High School 2nd Round Letters Lane Tech Academic Center Approved/News on other ACs

525 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mayfair Dad  |  March 22, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Is this magent lottery open to everry family in Chicago, or just those families who applied for a magnet elementrary school last December? Hmmm…

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  March 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Good questions Mayfair Dad. I’ll email to find out.
    The application is on so I assume anyone can apply.

  • 3. @695 re Hawthorne  |  March 22, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    What incoming K parent is going to apply without knowing if the K is half or full? Get it together if you’re going to offer it.

  • 4. Maureen  |  March 22, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    It is open to everyone, not just those that applied to other magnets. As for the K question, I would call or email to see when those decisions are being made. A lot still seemed to be up in the air.

  • 5. magnet mom  |  March 22, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    I stopped in at the meeting too. They are choosing the principal and there will be no LSC to start.
    5 Million dollar investment in the school- two full science labs. No news on if they plan to have recess.
    Anyone who has a child of the grades included can apply by the deadline.
    Wish they were including another two or three grades up but it will be a big task to start off anyway. Margo De Lay seemed really really nice. Sounds like they are hoping for a big mix of every kind of family from the city.
    The STEM groups I could find while checking more about the STEM initiatives nationally were so interesting. One has ok go videos to illustrate integration of imagination, science and music.

  • 6. magnet mom  |  March 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    I stopped in at the meeting too. They are choosing the principal and there will be no LSC to start.
    5 Million dollar investment in the school- two full science labs. No news on if they plan to have recess.
    Anyone who has a child of the grades included can apply by the deadline.
    Wish they were including another two or three grades up but it will be a big task to start off anyway. Margo De Lay seemed really really nice. Sounds like they are hoping for a big mix of every kind of family from the city.
    The STEM groups I could find while checking more about the STEM initiatives nationally were so interesting. One has ok go videos up to illustrate integration of imagination, science and music.

  • 7. magnet mom  |  March 22, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    oops! sorry for the double post

  • 8. Mayfair Dad  |  March 23, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Sorry for my typos earlier, I was a tad steamed.

    How is this different from the opening of a new Academic Center at Lane Tech High School?

    I am delighted that the admissions process for the STEM Magnet Academy will be opened up to new applicants and not just those families who applied for a spot at another magnet school back in December 2010. This makes sense to me.

    Why doesn’t this same scenario apply to the new Lane Tech AC which didn’t exist back in December 2010?

    Inconsistent, hypocritical CPS bullsh*t.

  • 9. Kmom  |  March 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Hi .. On the above post by magnet mom what does “no LSC” mean … excuse my ignorance new to the process 🙂

  • 10. Mayfair Dad  |  March 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    LSC stands for Local School Council.

    It is an elective body that includes the principal, a few teachers, a few parents, a few community members, a student (at the high school level) and a non-teaching school employee.

    The purpose of the LSC is to a) create the SIPAAA, or school improvement plan to advance academic achievement; b) approve the school’s budget and monitor expenditures; c) principal evaluation; and d) lots of other stuff that affect your child.

    Kmom = kindergarten mom? Check the website of your child’s school to see if the past meeting minutes from LSC Meetings are posted. It will give you a good sense of what they do. You might even find the SIPAAA on the school website. Read that, too. Start going to LSC Meetings and ask lots of questions.

    When it comes to CPS and your child’s education, the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask.

  • 11. db  |  March 28, 2011 at 10:41 am

    How did they convince CPS to open this school? I want a magnet school in Ravenswood. Who do I have to convince??? Do I need parent signatures?

  • 12. cpsobsessed  |  March 28, 2011 at 10:59 am

    @11: I don’t know that there is always a “they” involved. It may have just been a new CPS initiative, as it seems like they’re trying to get new magnet options going (i.e. Disney II, LaSalle II, etc.)
    Most often, when I have heard of new programs getting off the group, if it’s not CPS-driven, there is a local contingent that may include the Alderman or State Rep? (I think Rahm helped get the Gifted program at Coonley.) Community groups might help. You need to make a case to CPS why it is needed (i.e. need in the community, or in Coonley’s case, it was a school that was on the verge of too-low enrollment and parents felt the school needed something to give it a boost. Which it did.
    If you and other parents, plus some politicians (ideally) can make a case, then CPS might listen. I don’t know that a bunch of parent signatures saying ‘we want a magent school” will help, unless you lay out the benefits/reasons for it in a compelling way.

  • 13. magnet mom  |  March 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    This was a partnership between two alderman- Solis and Fioretti, The University Village Assoc. which is a partly city funded neighborhood association and pressure from residents in both wards. It took them about a year and the first proposal which was an extension of Jackson Language Academy did not go forward.
    I’d forget the parent signatures and go to the nieghborhood association, alderman and anyone else with leverage and put together a plan. Part of what helped this succeed is the perceived small number of local families that are in the neighborhood magnets in this part of both wards at this point. Note it is not a neighborhood school and most parents in the proximity will not get in. Improving the local school- Smyth is part of the plan, though a Nettlehorst style change is not possible here. Most of the students at Smyth live less than a mile from school. Turning off the busing and reorganizing the population economically is not possible. It will take a different and probably long term- more than three or four years- to show change.
    I’d lobby a local neighborhood school if I were DB looking for a STEM program. Organize some parents and check out one of the schools growing with the gentrification already long happening in Ravenswood and see if they would adapt to the philosophy. That way if you want some definite possibility of having your child in a new program it will be part of the mission from the get go. I love the magnets in my corner of the city and how they are a real picture of the city we live in. That said having a failing local school with a ib program to boot is not great at all. Most families leave the neighborhood or the city to go to good schools. As terrific as the new STEM is it won’t change a thing here in terms of having a greater chance to attend a successful school.

  • 14. HSObsessed  |  March 28, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I think magnet mom summarized it nicely. STEM was an effort by neighborhood families who put pressure on Fioretti to create another alternative school for his ward (mostly west loop area) since Jackson is so popular citywide, and they didn’t see hope for Smyth. He is very responsive to his constituents. But as magnet mom said, by asking for and receiving a magnet school, they are taking a risk because only 30 percent of the spots are reserved for proximity lottery, which is 18 seats. I’m not sure how many kindergarteners looking for a public school spot are living within a three-mile diameter from the school, but it’s likely much higher than 18, so there will be many disappointed parents after that STEM lottery is held. It is great to see such quick action by CPS in cases like this, however, as well as the Lane Tech AC, so it gives me hope.

  • 15. diane  |  March 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    @magnetmom and @HSObssessed —

    I am very interested in this program for my 2011-12 1st and 3rd graders, and would not be in the proximity lottery. Do you have thoughts on what our chances may be?

  • 16. HSObsessed  |  March 28, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    diane, your chance of getting obviously won’t be known until CPS has all the applications in. But if we assume there are 60 spots open per grade, and that there will be no siblings lottery, one lottery for proximity for 30 percent of the seats, and 5 percent in each grade set aside for principal discretion, then that leaves 65 percent open to citywide, divided into the 4 tiers. Translating that to numbers, that is 18 proximity seats, 3 by principal discretion, and 39 open citywide (about 9-10 for each tier). I think obviously that there will be most demand for K spots, perhaps a little less for 1st and then certainly less for 2nd and 3rd since many people don’t wish to switch their children at higher grades. Crossing my fingers for you and report back any news, hopefully good.

  • 17. magnet mom  |  March 28, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Diane I’d reach out to Margo De Lay whose email is above to ask questions especially about the program as you might want more info about what they are planning. She might be able to answer any specific questions you might have and also she just seemed very helpful and nice at the meeting.
    I’d apply for sure because it’s not getting any better than the first lottery! That said being part of a new school like this is exciting and work for the opening families. (You get to be part of how the tone is set. An excellent opportunity to be the PTO you always wanted to be!) And it’s lots of work too! The applications are due Friday!

  • 18. magnet mom  |  March 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    p.s. HSO I don’t think that there is any principal discretion any more in the elementary magnet world. Does any one else know about it?

  • 19. HSObsessed  |  March 28, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    @18 — Thanks for pointing that out. I was reading the Blue Ribbon Commission’s recommendations, and now I have found a “final” version of them. It actually says that the BRC “could not come to a consensus in creating appropriate guidelines for magnet school principal discretion”, and they recommend that CPS continue to “study” the issue. So, it’s a little unclear, but given that PD for magnet school was suspended for last year, perhaps the lack of recommendation by the BRC resulted in no reinstatement of PD for magnet schools.

    In that case, the STEM lottery should be 18 for proximity and 42 for citywide for each grade, which would be 10-11 for each tier.

  • 20. Elementary Parent  |  March 29, 2011 at 12:15 am

    HSObsessed. To my understanding 40 percent will be allocated to children that live within proximity (1.5 miles from school). Alderman Fioretti supported but Alderman Solis clearly was the key to getting the school opened at the urging of his constituents.

    Also, University Village Association participated in the process but it was Alderman Solis and the local parents that were key to the approval of the STEM Academy. CPS reacts much more positively to parents and aldermen than neighborhood associations.

  • 21. cpsobsessed  |  March 29, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    @18: I was just re-reading the admission policy for magnet schools and it says no PD for this year. Also says that they must work off the OAE list until the END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR. So in theory, a school must keep working down that list even if a spot opens mid-year (rather than just giving it to the squeaky wheel, which may have worked in the past.)

  • 22. diane  |  March 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    @magnet mom —

    “The applications are due Friday!”

    The application said April 15th??????!!!!! That said my kids’ apps went out in the mail yesterday morning —

  • 23. magnet mom  |  March 29, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Sorry Diane my mistake Lane’s Ac test date has invaded my brain and I don’t even have a 7th grader.

  • 24. magnet mom  |  March 29, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Also quickly I’d like to second that Alderman Solis really did push for this school to get opened. After the first proposal wasn’t accepted he worked hard to find a good solution and really reached out to parents in our ward. He is very interested in growing a high school option to meet the needs of the ward.

  • 25. smp  |  April 2, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I’ve sent an email to Margo – never heard back. I have twins – it does not appear on the application that twins/multiples will be linked together for application purposes?? Anyone have any information on Stem schools where they have been successful? TIA

  • 26. KCK  |  April 6, 2011 at 10:05 am

    I was at the meeting 2 weeks ago too. Emailed Ms. DeLey last night on the world language issue. She said it was a mistake. There will be NO world language, HOPING for art and music.

  • 27. diane  |  May 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Received STEM school letters today. My soon to be 3rd grader is #5 on Tier 3 waitlist and my soon to be 1st grader is #20 on Tier 3 waitlist.

    UGHH! Was really excited about this school. We have good backups though.

  • 28. Simply Obsessed  |  May 3, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    My nephew was accepted into their 2nd grade on Tier 4. Attended the meeting some months back but info was limited so can’t wait to get more information on the school.

  • 29. Amy  |  May 3, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I have to decide between gifted school or STEM for my 1st grader…..pls help…am not able to decide.

  • 30. kinder mom  |  May 3, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Just received my son’s acceptance letter for kindergarten to STEM. Will definitely accept!

  • 31. PoshChgoMom  |  May 3, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    We received our notices today. My third grader was accepted but my first grader is #8 on tier 3. Keeping our fingers crossed. So excited about this new school.

  • 32. david  |  May 3, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    got letter today..
    number 3..but it says teir 4, what does that mean?

  • 33. ak  |  May 3, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    #31 on proximity list…Hard to believe, we applied to Jackson, Gallileo and now STEM (all proximity) and got wait listed at all 3! Luckily got into SEES. However, it does seem like there is a lack of options if there are 3 magnets and got wait-listed at all of them.

    Magnet acceptance is done by lottery. However the lottery is divided into 5 groups: 40% of available seats each grade go to proximity (1.5 miles around school), 15% tier 1, 15% tier 2, 15% tier 3 and 15% tier 4. Your tier is assigned based upon the census tract where you live. Each census tract is assigned to a tier based upon 5 (or 6?) socioeconomic factors. Hope that helps. You can go to cps oae website to see a map of tier breakdowns throughout the city.

  • 34. UICMom  |  May 3, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Hello, just received notice today. My kindergartener is #9 on waitlist in their proximity queue system. We applied many magnet schools. The best waiting number we received was around 50.

  • 35. zoe  |  May 3, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    my soon to be 3rd grader got wait listed as number 2 on tier 1
    and my soon to be 2nd grader got wait listed as number 10 in tier 1

    does anyone know what are the chances of them getting in? i don’t know what this really means…

    and the wait listed numbers, is that for the whole school or which ever grade the student is going into? for example, since my 2nd grader was waitlisted as 10, does this mean he is 10 out of the whole school?

  • 36. SC  |  May 3, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    I received my letters for STEM today. My twins were waitlisted #1 and #2 in tier 4for kindergarten. Does this mean that if 2 tier 4 students decline their offers, we would be offered their spots?

  • 37. PMD  |  May 3, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Amy @ 25: You have a tough choice between a gifted school and the STEM school. I have heard that CPS is making STEM a major priority and thefefore investing significant efforts to make it a great school. In fact they hired the former principal of Andrew Jackson to consult on the opening of the school. Further STEM would give you the opportunity to shape the school since you will be in its first class.

  • 38. citymom  |  May 4, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Anybody have any NEW updates on STEM? My daughter received her acceptance letter earlier this week and we are anxious for more info about this new school to make our decision. Thanks!

  • 39. edb  |  May 4, 2011 at 9:08 am

    @37 – which RGC are you considering?

  • 40. Amy  |  May 4, 2011 at 9:24 am

    PMD@37 ……Thanks for the input I am worried about STEM being a totally new school and will have lot of teething poblems, and RGC is already doing so well for so many years, but then being in STEM is also a great oppotunity to learn thing in a little different way.I wish it was 2nd or 3rd yr for stem so that we had something to look at…still confused.

  • 41. Gary  |  May 4, 2011 at 9:58 am

    @SC Yes, that means if 2 students in tier 4 decline, you get first shot at those spots. But the declination MUST be from your specific tier.

  • 42. cool dad  |  May 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    My kid received an acceptance letter at STEM for kindergarten. I now need to make a decision between Luthern Pilgram (a private school) and STEM Acadamy. I don’t know whether to stick with our original plan or send my kid to STEM this year… Any advise?

  • 43. Gary  |  May 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    @cool dad- I bet there are a lot of people reading your post that would suggest you stick with your original plan. 🙂

  • 44. SC  |  May 4, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Hey Cool dad! Mind sharing which tier you are in?

  • 45. mother of 4  |  May 4, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    I have a child that currently attends murray academy and has also been accepted to Stem entering the second grade. I also have twins girls school who will attend murray for kindergarden and were not offered a seat at stem for kindergarden. I really like the idea of the Stem curriculum but murray has such a great program I’m not sure of what I should do. murray is also closest to our home where can receive bus service

  • 46. parent  |  May 4, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    I am so relieved as I got an acceptance letter to STEM for 3ed grade. It has been my only offer despite relatively low wait list numbers for many magnet schools. ( I think its not often a 3ed grade spot opens) I am thrilled and plan to accept the offer. I have been a nervous wreck since this all started in December. Thanks to CPS obsessed for providing a place for us all to follow the goings on in this CRAZY system. If it were not for you, I would not have known this opportunity existed !! 🙂 THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

  • 47. parent  |  May 4, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    @29 Amy, My personal opinion would be, take the gifted program offer. I regret not accepting a spot in the program years back. I believe the STEM program will succeed but we already know the gifted programs bring about great results. 🙂 just a thought.

  • 48. parent  |  May 4, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    @42 Cool Dad, You could always try STEM, and if it does not work out for you, private school and all its expenses will be there for you next year. However, you may not get another magnet offer in the future. 🙂 MY opinion, Accept the offer at STEM Magnet Academy.

  • 49. parent  |  May 4, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    I am maintaining a positive attitude towards STEM being successful out of the gate. I must because it is my only offer, however I feel that a revitalized facility, a totally innovative approach to teaching, and the ability to direct the future of a new school will invigorate those involved and produce amazing results. They are starting fresh with only a few grades in attempts to focus energy on being flexible and open to change. Just my optimistic opinion. 🙂

  • 51. Kcooper  |  May 5, 2011 at 9:36 am

    My son recieved an accpetance letter yesterday for the 3rd grade. I was wondering if anyone knew if they provide transportation. I used to work a block away from the school a few years ago and noticed Jefferson school had buses.

  • 52. cool dad  |  May 5, 2011 at 9:52 am

    @ Gary, SC and parent. thanks for your comments and feedback. I’m beginning to like this forum. We are in tier 4, and still debating… I think we have until 5/20 to respond with yea/nay to CPS.
    @parent, I agree with you. Given the investment CPS made (5 million), I doubt they will make the program fail/mediocre. Hopefully they’ll have a progressive curriculum with forward thinking approach.

  • 53. Help  |  May 5, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    This forum has been quite informative. I, like all of you, is so confused and frustrated by the CPS maneuvers. We currently have two offers and I am really torn on which option to pursue. We have been offered a seat at an IB school and STEM. Does anyone have any familiarity with the IB curriculum?

  • 54. parent  |  May 5, 2011 at 2:04 pm


    Yes, my husband is a product of the IB program. I highly suggest that you accept the offer to this program. It is hands down the most well rounded education a child can receive, I am amazed on a daily basis by the extent of my husbands knowledge. A quick google search should give you some information about the program. Seriously, take the IB offer. It ‘s the opportunity of a lifetime, and a true gift to your child. It is sure to bring a future filled with success. 🙂

  • 55. HotMama  |  May 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    My soon-to-be 1st grader was offered a spot at STEM next year, and I’m pretty sure that I’m taking it. She attends a Fine Arts Magnet Cluster school for K, and had a great teacher and principal who knows her by name. Still, I have a sense of optimism about STEM (although that may have a lot to do with the oft-mentioned $5 million initial investment), and I’m excited about the chance to be part of something promising. I drove to the building yesterday and saw a crew at work in the late afternoon getting the school ready. Most of the parking spots currently are leased to Pompeii’s, which sits right behind the school on Taylor Street. Very cool area– brought back a lot of off-campus memories from my days at WY several blocks north on Laflin Street. However, the playground shown in the Google Maps pic no longer exists- that space also is reserved for parking. The school is on a quiet cul-de-sac, which will cut down on a lot of commercial cut-through traffic.

    I can’t wait for additional info, as I am worried that the World Language component of the proposed curriculum is no longer definite for inclusion in the Fall.

  • 56. PoshChgoMom  |  May 5, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    #50 Parent: Thanks for the links.

  • 57. Gary  |  May 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    @55 HotMama: With so many things to look forward to at STEM, the world language portion was at the top of our list. Our daughters are bi-lingual, and the idea of adding a 3rd language was exciting. Although the latest news is that language will not be offered at the outset, hopefully a well organized parent group can set the wheels in motion to have it added sometime in the near future.

  • 58. Working mom  |  May 7, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Wait listed AGAIN! STEM – #5 for 1st grade. I spoke with a rep at OAE last week-she said they received 900 applications for appox 300 seats. She did not disclose the number of applicants per grade. She also reported that the principal will determine “when and if” there will be a world language program, but they will not have one for the 2011 school year. They want to focus on the
    STEM curriculum for now.

  • 59. Comment  |  May 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Wonder what happened to the huge need/desire for the STEM school claimed by the organizing committee? Only 900 applicants? 1/3 accepted, many will decline, most on wait list will get in.

    @58 working mom, I’m sure you’ll get a call soon.

  • 60. cps Mom  |  May 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Gary – Did you get something? Prior posts were sounding frustrated. Hope so.

    @59 – When the local parents said there was a huge need/desire what they meant was – “I want my child to have guaranteed admission to Jackson Language Academy”.

  • 61. UICMom  |  May 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    @59 The application for this new school was started late this year. It was between March 15 to April 15. Most kids had been offered by many other magnet schools during that period. I believe that most STEM applicants were “no school” kids, just like mine. It is too early to draw any conclusion based on this year. Wait and see what happens next year.
    By the way, I do hope there will be many declines, and my kid can get in. The number we have is #9.

  • 62. SC  |  May 8, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Does anyone know whether an after school option will be offered at STEM or at a nearby location?
    Also, with 900 applicants it seems most people who were waitlisted have very low #s. I think the highest # I have heard is 20. Are all applicants that are not accepted, waitlisted?

  • 63. cps Mom  |  May 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    LADS (Lawrence Armour day school) at Rush has a preschool and after school program. They have a shuttle bus and pick the kids up. Great program. I’m sure the school will provide you with that info. There are a couple others – that’s the one we used.

  • 64. Comment  |  May 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    @61 UIC Mom – “Most kids had been offered a magnet seat” — are you kidding? Less than five kids in my daughter’s preschool class (40 between all the rooms) received a magnet offer, all parents knew about STEM and the deadline (school sent notification). None of my friends’ kids have received a magnet offer. Who are all of these kids you know with magnet offers?

    900 applications for that many grades/seats given the fact that MOST kids don’t have a magnet/SEES offer? Very low.

  • 65. parent  |  May 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    @59 I am genuinely interested in what you are trying to communicate. Could you please elaborate?

  • 66. UICMom  |  May 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I mean that there is no reason why Andrew Jackson and Galileo receive so many application, while STEM only have 900. I think STEM is a very promising school. Thus, the only explanation would be the process-related issues, especially the special application time. There are definitely some parents do not know this new school, and the others may hesitate to send their kids in because of its unclear future. Even that, as what you said, the majority of kids have no any offers from CPS ( less than 5 out of 40 after 2nd round), I still can not understand what bothers them for applying STEM. They may either have very nice neighboring school or have been successfully accepted by private schools? Unfortunately, our neighborhood school has been listed as a sending school in CPS system, and our application to a good private school has been declined. We will apply for the citywide school selection in this week, no matter how far the school is located. That will be another lottery…
    In Chicago, it is no doubt that there is a huge demand for good schools. STEM is the one successfully added into CPS system, and I hope that we can get more STEM , or convert unqualified school into good school in the near future.

  • 67. parent  |  May 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm


    900 applications for that many grades/seats given the fact that MOST kids don’t have a magnet/SEES offer? Very low.

    I don’t understand, are you saying that STEM is not desirable? Why in your opinion is that so?

  • 68. parent  |  May 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    @66 Thank You for your response 🙂 I was a bit worried you knew of something negative I was not aware of. Everything I have read online challenging STEM education lacks a compelling argument. I am not sure why neighborhoods are against introducing a quality magnet school as the model clearly works. I also hope there are more added in the near future to provide more opportunities to chicago kids.

  • 69. UICMom  |  May 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    @68 I physically appeared a couple of times in STEM campus. It is in a nice area. The building looks old from outside, but it’s definitely very solid building. Before CPS approval of this school, I also attended STEM local meeting. Hundreds of families presented at the meeting supporting STEM proposal. Even there were a few people against it, but the huge demand could be easily seen. What is why STEM eventually was approved by CPS. Of course, there will have many uncertain issues during the initial period of this new school. It will be great school, and the applicants will be much much more than this year. There is no question about it.
    Even eventually my kid has no chance to be accepted, I am still happy with this STEM. It definitely resolve the education problem for 300 families this year. To be fair, the people who has rights to mention about the DEMAND should be the person who still in the cold water, not the people on boat.
    Children is innocent. They should receive good education, for the good of their life, and for the good of our nation. The more chances, the better.

  • 70. Working mom  |  May 8, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    @Comment: Thank you for the reassurance!! I hope we get a call too. My child is currently attending a magnet cluster school that also teaches Mandarin Chinese K-8. But, I really like the STEM concept so I decided to pursue it. *crossing fingers*

    In regards to afterschool care for working parents, Kindercare provides afterschool care. It’s located at 15th and State St. They do not provide transportation, however.

  • 71. HSObsessed  |  May 9, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but STEM Is starting with K-3, and two classes per grade, so there are 240 seats available. Getting 900 applicants in the matter of a few weeks, after the formal application period, just through word of mouth and CPS’ somewhat lacking PR efforts is a great turnout, and does show a need for the school, IMHO.

  • 72. magnet mom  |  May 9, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I think that chances are not terrible for kids with low numbers on the wait list. The STEM school is only going up to third grade so families with older children in other stable schools need to think it over before taking a spot, Most families is our neighborhood around STEM who have not ever gotten a space in the local magnets- that would be many- with kids in grades above third have tough decisions to make if their younger children did get a spot. Leaving a good but far away school vs. a new well funded but not yet running program is a big decision.
    I really like the STEM ideas that I am reading about but have no idea how open or creative the new school actually will be. I don’t want my children in a test factory and have reservations about how deeply the STEM philosophy will be applied. Young kindergartners were red shirted at Jackson under the team putting this school together to gain points on tests in future testing years. I wonder what the pressure will be for them to get results on the isats to prove the worth of the investment in this program. I wish I weren’t so pessimistic.

  • 73. STEMareaMom  |  May 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    FWIW – I did attend a few progress/feedback meetings at both the CPS downtown office and in our area over the past couple years while school improvement plans were formulating. This was a very long, complicated, and passionate process for all parties, political/bureaucratic/parental…. In the end, an effort for the extension of the AJLA campus to the Jefferson building was suspended when it was decided instead to go with the STEM school and also to continue to work with the struggling Smyth program. The decisions were made after much debate and I am looking forward to seeing the success of both institutions.
    As for our personal involvment: our default, neighborhood school is Smyth and for current school scoring and historical performance reasons is not an option for us. We have 1st and 3rd graders who were both unable to get into the annual proximity lotteries for AJLA or Galileo since becoming school age – and we particiate annually in the classical and gifted testing processes to get a chance for Skinner. All without success. My 3rd grader went to a popular, private school downtown for PK thru 1 and then she was offered a seat for 2nd grade at an RGC school north of Division – where she is successfully attending now. My 1st grader has been at the same private school downtown for PK-1 and for 2012 was W/L seat #1 for 2nd grade at Galileo – which we are still today awaiting word about if the seat becomes available.
    We did apply in March for a second grade proximity seat at STEM and were successful. We have accepted. My oldest will continue on at the RGC program up North and I know we would have considered STEM if 4th grade was being offered. Instead we will continue commuting and testing her for an RGC seat at Skinner should one ever become available.
    We have lived in the Taylor Street area for 11 years and are excited to have this quality CPS option become available. Not for just us personally but for our neighborhood – even if we were to remain uninvolved as far as attendance. STEM is looking to be a fantanstic combination of proven leadership with the un-retiring of an AJLA hero, committed resources, fresh approach, and even the much-hated lottery programming that assures attendance from all over the city….it’s assuredly going to be successful. And we have no qualms about changing schools for this program.

  • 74. UICMom  |  May 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    @73 Thanks for sharing your experience with us. We have been living in the same area for many years, and do love this place. Last year, we did not send our kid to the private school for preschool, and lost a chance for getting a spot in kindergarten.
    Our family is trying to stay here. However, if we fail in getting any offer from CPS, where should we put our kid in? The only choice is moving to the suburb where there are qualified schools with guaranteed admission.

  • 75. STEMareaMom  |  May 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Please make sure you look at the end of cycle schools and fill out apps for those too. I sent mine in last week and selected 3 schools of interest on the list. Deadline is 5/13. Here is the link:

    End-of-Year Citywide Options Program

  • 76. UICMom  |  May 9, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    @75. Thanks for reminding me about this. I did it just now. If in any way, my kid get a chance, I will follow your story. You are really a good example for us.

  • 77. kinder mom  |  May 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    @ working mom–how often is mandarin taught to your child at the school he/she is currently at? my son is currently in pre-k at a school that teaches mandarin k-12 and was offered a spot at STEM for kindergarten but i would love for him to pick up mandarin . we have already accepted the spot at STEM but the world language option at his current school if very appealing.

  • 78. anon  |  May 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Hmmm let me see – your neighborhood has 2 magnets, 1 SEES an unacceptable neighborhood school and now a STEM program. My neighborhood 0 on three of those but yes to 1. I can certainly understand the frustration of not having a space for EVERYONE but please……

  • 79. Working mom  |  May 9, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    @kinder mom: mandarin chinese is taught twice weekly to the K class at my child’s school. It is hilarious to me when I hear him counting in Chinese! I find it very appealing too.

  • 80. HotMama  |  May 9, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    STEMareaMom: “STEM is looking to be a fantanstic combination of proven leadership with the un-retiring of an AJLA hero, committed resources, fresh approach, and even the much-hated lottery programming that assures attendance from all over the city….”

    Ditto. When the architect of Andrew Jackson’s magnet program pulls a Jordan to help get STEM off the ground, that, especially, is a pretty good sign.

  • 81. Amy  |  May 10, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Decided —gifted school for my daughter….it makes a spot open at STEM in tier 5.

  • 82. Amy  |  May 10, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Decided —gifted school for my daughter….it makes a spot open at STEM in tier 5. thanks for all inputs.

  • 83. STEMareaMom  |  May 10, 2011 at 8:58 am

    @78 anon — only after 5 years of continuous applying and testing has my family been able to access one of the magnet schools in the area – and then is for only 1 of our kids. Unfortunately and as we all can see and relate to, geography and address have nothing to do with attendance or access to the best schools. It is paperwork, persistence, luck, and accepting that commuting to another part of the city for school will be a reality for many of us. I get no pleasure in pushing my 3rd grader to get dressed and out of the house early to drive across town to school when we live blocks away from schools that are ranked better. Is a reality and yet we all do this to make sure our kids get what they need and feel safe, confident and challenged. Sarcasm aside, having a good school down the street is a luxury and great for the neighborhood but our odds of ever attending are the same as yours.

  • 84. cps Mom  |  May 10, 2011 at 9:51 am

    The odds of someone living within 1.5 miles of a magnet/lottery school are much higher because the neighborhood portion has a higher acceptance % than those relying on tiers only. Someone like 78 has a slim to nothing chance at a lottery school – much less than a neighborhood like yours or Lincoln Park that has multiple magnet schools in close proximity.

  • 85. Ram  |  May 10, 2011 at 10:20 am

    My child waiting list number is 3 in tier 3 for 3rd grade. We are very much interested and looking forward for the next round letters or call from CPS.

  • 86. magnet mom  |  May 10, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I think we can all understand the frustration of trying to get into any school we feel confident about in the city if we are not going to the neighborhood school. it sounds hard to believe that anyone in a neighborhood with now three magnets could complain but it is still a long shot for many of us to get in.
    I sat near two Moms at a STEM meeting who were unsatisfied with Skinner’s neighborhood program and were relieved to be in the STEM proximity. This kind of cracked me up because it seemed like such a great opportunity.
    STEM is a terrific thing to come here no doubt. Is it tricky for me to leave a school and start again? Well I think so. Irritating to anyone with no trusty options for now. Absolutely.

  • 87. sleeplessmom  |  May 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    It is a bit frustrating that we live in the proximity lottery of all 4 magnet schools now in the area and my daughter is wait listed in all 4 but…i was wondering if any one applied for the end of the year options now being offered and if anyone has any comments on the schools listed…we are looking at columbus, goethe, talcott and sabin. Thanks.

  • 88. Franklin magnet school?  |  May 10, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Has anyone heard of any calls from Franklin? My child has a #2 waitlist position and still no call. That is our only low number.

  • 89. Working mom  |  May 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    @Sleepless Mom: we applied and were accepted last year for a K spot at Talcott. The principal Craig Benes (no longer there) was a total turn-off. We had an appt but he met with us “standing” in the school office area, lectured us in a condescending manner about getting to school on time, and basically told us to work on improving the neighborhood school in our own neighborhood! (we do not live in the proximity). He discouraged the afterschool program saying that our child is too young and will not do well in an unstructured afterschool care environment. I complained in writing to the District Office and declined the offer for obvious reasons. The new principal that replaced him was formerly the asst principal. I can’t recall her name, Ms Bahena, I think? but my guess is that she subscribes to his style of leadership. She was pleasant at the “stand up in the office” meeting but seemed embarrassed about his behavior. As far as academics, we never made it that far. We left totally humiliated and unwelcomed.

  • 90. Working mom  |  May 10, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    @sleepless mom: oh, I forgot to add that Mr. Benes was promoted to Area Officer a few weeks after our disastrous encounter. Go figure…

  • 91. parent  |  May 12, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I have had experience with Talcott. Avoid it at any cost. If for any reason this is not enough to deter you feel free to contact me personally by leaving your email and I will tell you about our experience.

  • 92. sleeplessmom  |  May 12, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    @89 & @ 91 thanks for the input on Talcott..very insightful…I sit here and debate whether or not to fax over the last minute lottery application and in good conscience I cant because after reviewing the CPS website and other review websites, none of the schools really satisfy my need. I feel bad for saying that but I do not want to send my kid to a mediocre school I guess we will have to tighten our belts this coming year and pay for private school. 😦 Thanks everyone!

  • 93. westloop  |  May 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    I am in STEM neighborhood. Did not see any signs for repairing/ improving around the campus. It’s about 3 months to open this fresh-start school. Are they going to do something during this summer break, or just use the current building “as it is”? Just curious… Maybe, they already did some work inside the building.

  • 94. parent  |  May 14, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    @93 Our family drove by the week we received the acceptance letter, there were construction crews working on the school at that time. Maybe they are finished?

  • 95. magnet mom  |  May 15, 2011 at 1:52 am

    I think they have been working on the building. It’s a classic old Chicago school used in the last few years for the eye glass clinic so it wasn’t just shuttered. I hope they put in a nice playground to off set the asphalt.

  • 96. parent  |  May 16, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Received letter with Registration and Orientation Dates, Horray! I am so excited 🙂 Can’t wait to meet the Parents, Children, and Principle of STEM.

  • 97. mom of1  |  May 16, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    They have actually been working on the building for some time, and will continue through the summer. The new principal hails from skinner north, the AP there, McManus, I am excited about this new school as well. I had to make a big decision between this and another school with a proven track record, I finally decided to give this a try. This is a stressful situation, all this for grade-k?! I hope and pray that I have made the right decision, I guess only time will tell, but at least now I can get some rest. Good luck to all.

  • 98. derrick  |  May 17, 2011 at 2:18 am

    Any chances of my girl getting in: wait listed as number 2 in tier 1
    and my boy: wait listed as number 10 in tier 1?

    What do you guys think are the chances of them getting in for this Fall?

  • 99. parent  |  May 17, 2011 at 11:22 am

    @98 Its hard to tell really, but registration for STEM is May 28 (k&2) and June 4 (1&3). My guess is that if people fail to register, spaces may open up. It must be nerve wracking for you and for what it is worth I hope at least one spot opens for your daughter, then possibly for your son, but if not for him at least you have a stronger chance of getting him in the following year through sibling lottery? They will be expanding each year which makes me think spots in each grade will open up through this process. Not sure, but this is my thought pattern. Seems your daughter has good chance at #1. Good Luck!

  • 100. Christine  |  May 21, 2011 at 12:20 am

    The new Principal at STEM is Maria McManus who was the Assistant Principal at Skinner North. I have not have any direct contact with Ms. McManus (my child is at Skinner North) but she comes very highly regarded.

  • 101. Working mom  |  May 21, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Holding out for STEM 1st grade – waitlisted at #5 although we received a call from Pulaski IB for 1st grade and 2 other magnets offers. If no STEM offer materializes then we’ll stay at our current school and try again next year.

  • 102. parent  |  May 21, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Hmmm, I was really impressed with Pulaski IB, and the principle is extremely accomplished, did you visit the school? Why did you turn it down? Just curious…..

  • 103. HotMama  |  May 21, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Right when I’m in the middle of stalking Cps Obsessed for STEM-related postings and looking at properties closer to the school– wham! My first-grader receives an offer from Disney via telephone yesterday. This occurs a full two days after I delivered my STEM confirmation to the CPS headquarters. While Disney was among my original school choices, I don’t understand how this is possible when my child was #40 on the waitlist. What gives?

  • 104. Working mom  |  May 21, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    @parent: I visited the school last week. It’s very nice, large classrooms for k-1. I didn’t meet the principal but I have heard and read great things about him. The distance from our home is just too far and I work full time as does my husband. After thinking about it long and hard, it would be a hardship, so I will call the school Monday to turn down the offer:(

  • 105. Working mom  |  May 21, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    @HotMama: what gives? I think when parents who have received offers do not show up for registration/orientation at the schools, then spots become available. At least that’s what I was told by a magnet school that called me with an offer last week Monday. We were #50 on that list! I wish we could move but we’d have to sell our home 1st which is discouraging in this rough housing market. *sigh*

  • 106. mom of 2  |  May 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Did anyone receive a call or letter from Stem Magnet Academy for 2nd round chance?

  • 107. HotMama  |  May 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    @Working Mom Thanks- that makes total sense. However, I’m perhaps more confused, as we have much better numbers at other schools– single digits, even. *sigh* My gut tells me to switch to Disney, but my sense of adventure (and my gas tank) wants to keep my plucky first-grader @ STEM. I have one more day to decide, and I’ll return to inform the board regarding the decision.

  • 108. david  |  May 25, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    does someone have a direct number for stem

  • 109. mon of 2  |  May 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    I ask the same question with cps on last week. They don’t have neither direct number nor e-mail to contact.

  • 110. Trish  |  May 25, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    The e-mail address is

  • 111. mom of1  |  May 25, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    I have spoken with Mrs. Zeltman a few times in regards to STEM. I was looking for as much info as possible before I made my final decision. 773-553-2060.

  • 112. SC  |  May 26, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    So, has anyone received a second round offer for STEM? I haven’t and was wondering if anyone else had gotten a call.

  • 113. david  |  May 27, 2011 at 9:33 am

    i was told my cps hq that 2nd round begins next week.

  • 114. cool dad  |  May 27, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Well folks, for those who are planning to register your kids tomorrow, looking forward to the pioneer children who’ll take this forward leap to STEM philosphy! For those on waiting list, I wish you much luck and hope for the best. thx!

  • 115. Trish  |  May 28, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Did anyone register for STEM today; if so, how was it?

  • 116. STEMareaMom  |  May 31, 2011 at 8:55 am

    We registered our second grader on saturday and the process went smoothly. We were met by the principal and all the staffers present were cheerful and helpful. We were behind another family that decided against registering (walked out) since they were not eligilble for bus transportation. Good luck to those waiting for slots.
    As an FYI: we were w/l seat #1 for second grade at galileo and have not heard anything from anyone there yet.

  • 117. Deb  |  June 1, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Did they hire teachers yet? IB schools are a complete joke. Hence the reason that they all close down after they are started. How can you teach a child Mandarin before he/she has mastered English? Disney is one of the worst schools and the principal is horrific. The best school in CPS I have found is South Loop School. Amazing teachers and principal. They really challenge the kids. I would never try to get my child into a school before it is open. Who knows what it will be like regardless of what they call it. This is still CPS. Unless you apply to a gifted program, I would find a school similar to South Loop which is a hidden gem. I have been so happy there with my childs’ progress.

  • 118. Paul  |  June 1, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Hi Deb.

    To my knowledge the STEM school is not going to be an IB school. Also, I met the principal and she has an excellent reputation from Skinner North. Did you have any specific reason why you have a negative impression of the STEM school?

  • 119. Trish  |  June 2, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    I had not heard anything about STEM being IB either. Maybe we need to ask.
    Although I’ve never met the STEM principal, I do have friends with kids at Skinner North. They all speak very highly of her and hate to see her leave. A new principal, coming from a reputable school, who is endeared by parents and student is is very reassuring for me.

  • 120. Gary  |  June 3, 2011 at 10:59 am

    @ Deb- I encourage you to read this brief article regarding bilingualism and early childhood. It basically states the amazing advantages of teaching a second language to a child, even as they work to master their first language.

  • 121. Working Mom  |  June 3, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    I believe “second round” has officially begun! I got a call today from OAE with an offer for my soon to be 1st grader. We were on the waiting list.

  • 122. mom of 2  |  June 3, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    I was surprised. I just called CPS today, and the lady told me that it did not start yet for the 2nd round offer.

  • 123. mom of1  |  June 4, 2011 at 12:00 am

    I believe the next round has started, but since only k, and 2nd graders were registered on the 28th, a full round won’t truly begin until Mon. after everyone has had the opportunity to either accept or decline the offer. Good luck!

  • 124. Gary  |  June 4, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Having met the STEM principal today, my wife and I are ever more excited about this school since we believe that so much of the success of a school is directly related to the principal. She seems wonderful.

  • 125. working mom  |  June 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I did not know until this morning that Ms. M. Zeltman, the STEM contact person at OAE, with whom I’ve spoken to on multiple occasions, is acutally the former AJLA principal.!! LOL.

  • 126. kinder mom  |  June 6, 2011 at 11:55 am

    does anyone know if the children are required to attend the STEM orientation? or is it geared more toward the parents? THANKS.

  • 127. STEMareaMom  |  June 7, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Called the STEM admin to find out the hours for the fall (9:00-3:00) and to ask about local before/after school programs. There won’t be any offerings on campus so I was given two potential neighborhood choices to research: Cordi-Marian and Laurence Armour Day. I’ve left messages at both places and will post more detail once/if I get any.

  • 128. STEMareaMom  |  June 7, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Oh, and I was reminded about next Tuesday’s orientation and was told that it will be geared towards parents but there are expectations that some children will have to attend with parents since it’s so late in the afternoon.

    My two kids will be DSI ‘ing quietly next to me during the meeting.

  • 129. UICmom  |  June 7, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Anyone get STEM second round offer for kindergartner? My kid is in proximity list #9 and has no phone call.

  • 130. HotMama  |  June 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Sorry I that I took so long to return– very hectic last few weeks. As much as I like the enormous promise of STEM, I decided to go with Disney for the new first grader after turning a second late offer to boot. I stalked the campus, had a mini school-tour, and was finally swayed by the Chinese language program. We’ve just enrolled. I will be keeping an eye on STEM’s progress since I have three students to get through CPS– the first-grader is just the oldest.

    So one of the new second-round citywide spots was ours. Good luck, parents!

  • 131. Gary  |  June 8, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Went to orientation last night. According to all CPS personnel at the meeting, SCHOOL HOURS ARE NOT YET FINAL. All they would say is, “sometime between 8:30 and 3:30”. As for children in attendance, there were plenty. A bit of a distraction, but unavoidable for many- including our family.

    The presentation was wonderful and exciting. Portions of this curriculum and/or teaching method will become a model for other CPS schools – the integration of disciplines as thorough as STEM plans to do it.

  • 132. kinder mom  |  June 8, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    did anyone write down the Math curriculum they are going to focus on? I know they stated they will post the presentation online but I doubt that will happen any time soon. thanks!

  • 133. Gary  |  June 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Math will be the Trail Blazers curriculum.

  • 134. Gary  |  June 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Click this link for more on the math.

  • 135. david  |  June 8, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    gary, was oreintation for kndergarten only?
    i have a low number and havent received a call back.

  • 136. Gary  |  June 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    David, last night was for K only. There are other sessions scheduled for the other grades.

  • 137. christina  |  June 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    1st grade discussion with principle planned for tomorrow 6/9, registration on Friday 6/10.

  • 138. Hawthorne mom  |  June 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    They probably can’t say for sure what the hours will be because the new mayor and the State BOE is planning on lengthening the school day and year. CPS parents will know the new hours/calendar sometime between now and maybe the week or so before school starts.

  • 139. parent  |  June 8, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    this all sounds very exciting! The Trailblazers Math Program is amazing, any more info on the programming? I can’t wait till next week !!!! 🙂

  • 140. magnet mom  |  June 8, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Chicago Park District’s Sheridan Park also offers after school programs near the STEM, it’s only a block farther than the Cordi -Marian.

  • 141. working mom  |  June 9, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    I attended the parent orientation meeting this evening. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that aside from the dynamic curriculum, there will be recess and airconditioning in the building. Lol. The ” specials” have not been finalized so its unclear if music or art will be offered. World language will be added next year but Principal Mcmanus will decide which language. She has recvd suggestions from parents already. As far as curriculum, the following will be used. READING: Mcmillian Mcgraw Hill treasures reading series. SCIENCE: Science, technology, and children (STC). ENGINEERING: Engineering is elementary. MATH: trailblazers (as mentioned in prior post). If anyone is on the fence about enrolling, they really want a final decision by like “YESTERDAY” so they can continue to call ppl on the waiting lists. My impression is that if 1st graders do not register by tomorrow between 7 am – 2 pm, the next step is the waiting list calls! I wish the best for those still waiting. They do intend to utilize the lists for sure. On the downside, there will not be any teachers aids, but there will be coaches I think, to assist with the various disciplines. Oh yea, they bought iPads too. Smart boards will be in the classrooms as well. I’m excited and nervous too. My 1 st grader doesn’t want to leave his current school, which we both like, but I’m confident this change will be worth it.

  • 142. ConfusedParent  |  June 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Has anyone recieved a call for the 2nd round for the proximity list yet? Thank you for the replies!

  • 143. Hawthorne mom  |  June 10, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    So, wait, the new STEM school gets new ipads and smart boards but Lakeview HS can’t get the money to provide their students all safety googles? Don’t misunderstand, I don’t begrudge STEM all these terrific materials. That is awesome that they have them. But it seems awfully political that another school can’t get the basics, probably under the guise of “we don’t have the funding”. This is very typical CPS and gotta say, it makes me mad as hell. Every school should have everything they need, not just the schools that contain the highest percentages of kids from families with influence and money. I send my own kids to own of those schools with a large percentage of advantaged kids, and every time I see how much we have in comparison to what my west side school had, it pisses me off to no end. Again, I want my kids’ school to have those things. And I want schools in poor communities to have them too. Drives me mad.

  • 144. Want recess for all  |  June 10, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    RE: Open Campus – aka “time for recess” policy

    This is off topic – but I wanted to see what people have to say —

    Hamilton and Skinner N voted yesterday to have an open campus!

    Alcott voted not to have open campus, though nearly all parents were for it.

  • 145. mom2  |  June 11, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Schools that don’t vote to change to an open campus may find themselves having one soon enough. If CPS increases the length of the school day, they may want to have the open campus policy so their teachers aren’t starving waiting for the end of the day to eat lunch. Maybe those schools are playing a wait and see on this so they don’t try to set up a school plan twice.

  • 146. Hiri28  |  June 11, 2011 at 11:03 am

    My daughter was placed on the waitlist # 3 Tier 4 (Live near Midway airport), and we received a phone call yesterday (June 10) accepting her into the school. So, for those of you wondering, they have started the second round acceptance notifications. We are excited and eager to see what this new school brings. My daughter initially started school in the CPS system (Beasley’s gifted program), however, I was not pleased at all, so I am hoping that this school is everything and more that it is being hyped up to be.. Good Luck to those of you still waiting….

  • 147. working mom  |  June 11, 2011 at 11:39 am

    @Hawthorne mom: so many ppl feel the same way you do, including me. It’s sad but true….I have to leave my community for a decent school for my child. The disparities will continue to exist unfortunately. My child’s current school is a neighborhood school ( outside my district ) with 95% low income, 15-20% ESL, yet the principal has steadily helped increase test scores over the last 5 yrs, from around 50% or so when he 1st arrived to 83 % composite on last yrs ISAT. The staff write and are awarded numerous grants, the school has a MAC computer lab, afterschool programs, a Mandarin world language program, specials, recess and about 8 board certified teachers, and more. My point is that this principal has found ways to get the things he needs for the kids and continues to do so in creative ways with limited resources. AND LVHS can’t get goggles?!!! The reason I am considering leaving is only bc I like the STEM concept since me and my husband have STEM related careers. It’s so complex, I’m not sure why some “poor kid schools” can be successful and others not so much. Strong Leadership is a start, IMHO.

  • 148. SciRich  |  June 11, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    All IB programs are not the same. Privately speak to Ms. Tookie at Lincoln Park High or Visit Lincoln Elementary to see what an effective Pre IB program Looks like. Be wary of the party line”All IB programs are Equal.”

  • 149. mom of 2  |  June 11, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    @ 146 Would you mind to tell us that what grade is your daughter applying?

  • 150. mom of 2  |  June 11, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    @146 Would you mind to tell us that what grade is your daughter applying?

  • 151. hiri28  |  June 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    She is going into the 3rd grade

  • 152. mom of 2  |  June 12, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    @151 thanks for your reply

  • 153. working dad  |  June 12, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Did anyone receive a call for 2nd round offer be 2nd grade tier 3?

  • 154. Janette Linares  |  June 13, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    I got a call on Friday stating that the information session was today Monday when is the real information session?

  • 155. Surprised Mom  |  June 13, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    CPS needs to make sure that students are not registered for two schools for the 2011-12 school year. I heard that there are families that say they plan to return to their current school for Fall while also saying yes to the STEM school. How unfair to hold spots at two schools when SO many people are trying to get into just one.

  • 156. Surprised also  |  June 14, 2011 at 8:18 am

    @155 Surprised Mom – I personally know families who have spots at both a neighborhood school AND a selective enrollment school. There is no method evidently for CPS to weed out these people?

  • 157. momof1  |  June 14, 2011 at 11:09 am

    The info seesions are tues 2nd. and thurs 3rd grades. They are prompt since they are utilizing a different space.

  • 158. friend of surprised mom  |  June 15, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Parents with low waiting list numbers should approach STEM or CPS about this. It’s not right to wait all summer not knowing if you have anything. If kids are now enrolled – there should be a way to track the abuse.

  • 159. david  |  June 15, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    got offer,
    Kindergarten, tier 4, number 2 or 3,(i lost the paper)

    good luck to all.
    info session this thursday

  • 160. working mom  |  June 15, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Just wondering if anyone of you feel a little melancholy about leaving your current school for Stem 1 st, 2nd or 3 rd grade? I feel sad although I wanted and prayed for an offer to STEM and my wish was granted. I know it seems silly but I still can’t help feeling blue about leaving…

  • 161. HSObsessed  |  June 16, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Hi working mom, I’m not involved at STEM, but we did move our daughter from one school to another after 1st grade, and I know what you mean about melancholy. Her old school was wonderful in so many ways, and she had made a lot of friends there. Of course I had gotten to know other parents there, so I also had mixed feelings about the mvoe. However, I knew that the new school was going to be great, too, and it turned out that way. We kept in touch with 2-3 of her closest friends from the old school over the years, and especially at the beginning, that helped with the transition. Good luck!

  • 162. michelle butler  |  June 16, 2011 at 9:06 am



  • 163. david  |  June 16, 2011 at 10:58 am

    michelle, there is one today, call cps oae and ask about it.
    its at 5:45

  • 164. @mom3  |  June 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Help !
    Anyone else that got accepted to STEM.(live by midway or fordcity mall) the drive is big negative anyone be willing to carpool. I have three children. One got accepted to STEM…..looking for ways to make this work !

    going to school meeting today.


  • 165. Gary  |  June 16, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Congrats David. We are VERY excited about kindergarten at STEM next year.

  • 166. david  |  June 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    @mom, i am on the southwest side.
    email me at
    im looking for afterschool care.


  • 167. christina  |  June 16, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Does anyone know when and where the next registration is going to held?

  • 168. working mom  |  June 16, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    @HSObsessed: thank you for your thoughts! I’m glad to know my feelings are normal and shared by others like yourself. I will arrange playdates with some of his buddies to help with the transition. Great idea!

  • 169. mom of1  |  June 16, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    #168 hi fri. at skinner north 640 w scott from 7-2

  • 170. mom of1  |  June 16, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    Sorry last reply was to #167! Congrats, David and Gary, I also have a daughter in STEM Kdg!

    Also, #164 I am also trying to pin down transport. I live far South, but work near you, also have been communicating with beverly, and ashburn area parents, we are looking into something, you can email me at! Good luck!

    Hey are most of you all for or against uniforms?

  • 171. christina  |  June 17, 2011 at 10:17 am

    oh no….today from 7-2 is registration…wish they would offer more reasonable hours for working parents…does anyone know if they plan another registration time/date?

  • 172. Westloop  |  June 17, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    We visited the STEM school this afternoon and checked almost every room. General speaking, the condition is not good at all. Apparently, this previous abundant campus needs lots of work during this summer. It’s hard to believe they can complete this project on time. Highly suggest parents to keep eyes open and visit campus during the summer time.

  • 173. mom of1  |  June 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Hi, you were able to just go into the building and walk around today? PLEASE let me know about it. Thanks

    Christina, also, yes I’m sure there is another registration, call 553-2060.

  • 174. Westloop  |  June 18, 2011 at 1:31 am

    The front door was open when we walked around the building. So we got the chance to look inside. We met two workers on site. They told us that the renovation project might be completed before the end of summer break. We went through all the floors. This building is huge (you even can tell from outside). All classrooms are in nice size with big windows. However, in many places, the plumbing tubes and electric cables are old and exposed to outside.The whole floor has to be replaced too. No sure whether CPS will send more contractors to work on it later on, or they will fix enough classrooms to accept kids from K to 3 for this year, and continue the work in the future.

  • 175. david  |  June 18, 2011 at 10:49 am

    @ 164. mom3 I haven’t heard from you,
    i live in the scottsdale area of ashburn, and will be commuting to stem daily.
    if any other parents are near me, in the st. bede community, feel free to email me.
    i would like to work out arrangements with out parents


  • 176. mom of1  |  June 19, 2011 at 1:43 am

    Westloop thank you for the building info.

    David, thank you, hope you got my email and we can perhaps work transport out !

  • 177. working mom  |  June 19, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Any ideas for aftercare. I called Laurence Armour Day School – No openings, waitlist only. I was told that 26 kids from AJLA have already reserved spots for the fall class. Waitlists have become my life story. geez. Lol.
    I think the building will be ready before school starts. At least that’s what I keep telling myself….lol

  • 178. cpsobsessed  |  June 19, 2011 at 11:03 am

    My son’s school underwent a summer remodeling a couple years ago. I was skeptical they’d get it all done and I swear they worked up until the day before school started. But it was done!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 179. LakePk Mom  |  June 21, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    My son will be attending STEM for 1st grade. Does anyone have a name or information regarding the teachers, in particular, 1st grade teachers?

  • 180. crios2  |  June 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I know that STEM is in process of hiring (because they have the vacancies up on the CPS ebulletin) so they may not know yet who is teaching what. June is typically very early in the whole CPS hiring scheme….many schools don’t know who is teaching what until the very end of August, sometimes even September (though a magnet is typically a little more organized than that).

  • 181. Hawthorne mom  |  June 21, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Sorry, that was me, Hawthorne mom who posted #180….my husband left his wordpress account active and I wasn’t paying attention.

  • 182. KB  |  June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    What number do I call to contact STEM?

  • 183. LakePk Mom  |  June 22, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Hawthorne mom — Thank you for the information.

  • 184. Hawthorne mom  |  June 22, 2011 at 9:56 am

    You’re welcome. Good luck to you and your 1st grader. I love the concept behind STEM and think it will be the next great magnet!

  • 185. EW  |  June 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    My daughters got accepted to stem and anyone willing to carpool? I live by Oakland/north ken wood area. Please let me know.

  • 186. Gary  |  June 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    They have all summer and 5 million dollars to complete the school. I am sure it will be done in time. At least enough to house K-3.

  • 187. Gary  |  June 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    No uniform discussion?

  • 188. working mom  |  June 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    I could go either way with uniforms. My kindergartener wore uniforms this past school year. I actually liked the concept! Somehow, I don’t think STEM will require uniforms. Ms. Mcmanus wasn’t certain when the ? was asked. She did however mention that she was looking into a school logo of some sort. my friend said that uniforms would be a ” deal breaker” for her child. Hope she was just kidding * rolling eyes* lol

  • 189. STEMareaMom  |  June 23, 2011 at 11:14 am

    During orientation for second grade, “uniforms” were discussed and the only comments by the administrators were that if required, they would be ‘simple’ and would be something along the lines of white or navy shirts of your own choosing.
    Coming from 4 years of being a uniform parent, this is very easy to manage and is actually my preference. Our family did not use the tops and pants from a “uniform supplier'” which we found too expensive for the expected wear and tear, and chose instead offerings from Target and Kmart which have the tops and each fall. My kids never wore the white tops since they would never stay that color. Old navy was our choice for the pants a couple times per year and we went through those the fastest since our young son seems to walk on his knees and is growing like a weed. With enforced uniforms, dressing in the morning is super simplified, it eliminates any focus on labels/brands/images, and the school-as-a-unified-team is positive, in my opinion. No negatives from our family on the topic other than the kids would grow out of non-uniform clothes faster and they’d hardly be worn. We provide the cousins with good hand-me-downs.

  • 190. working mom  |  June 23, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    So now that school is out, my child is attending summer camp. We fight every morning about the clothes since he no longer has to wear the uniforms. Agree with STEMareaMOM that morning rush is much easier and to the belief that the school children are more unified since everybody looks the same…well almost. My formula was : 6-8 slacks, 4 shorts, equal numbers of blue and white short and long sleeved shirts. (confession: we did fight about short sleeves vs. long sleeves). The principal at his old school didn’t want to highlight the disparities between the haves and the have- nots, so uniforms were required for all except pk. I respected that POV. Signed * secretly wanting uniforms at STEM*

  • 191. M  |  June 23, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Will there be another orientation for kindergarten as we missed the earlier ones?

  • 192. UVillageParent  |  June 23, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Agreed. Uniforms promote unity amonst the students. Has anybody communicated their feelings to the new principal. She was ultimately decide.

  • 193. hiri28  |  June 24, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I attended the 3 grade orientation, and uniforms were brought up as well, and the principal specifically said that if the decision is made to have uniforms it will NOT be the traditional blue pants white shirts, or blue on blue that most public schools are wearing. She said that the uniform would be nice and hip, maybe even preppy. SO, if they decide to have uniforms (which I am not oppose to) I hope it is not the white shirt blue pants look. just saying

  • 194. hiri28  |  June 24, 2011 at 8:57 am

    oh yeah, the principal during the orientation said that they would put the powerpoint slide show online for parents to review. Does anyone know the web address for that, or if they’ve put it online yet?

  • 195. Gary  |  June 24, 2011 at 9:09 am

    At the orientation, Ms. McManus said that she would put the uniform issue to a summer vote amongst the families.

  • 196. davdi  |  June 24, 2011 at 10:45 am

    would anyone be interested in participation with a STEM parent website?
    a place to talk about transportation-afterschool-and other things related to stem.

    i have some personal webspace on my internet account.

  • 197. david  |  June 24, 2011 at 11:01 am

    i think the parents of stem students understand the value and commitment that we play in the development of our children.

    i think having a place on the web where we can support each other is a great idea.

    here are some domain names that are available

    Would anyone be interested?

  • 198. working mom  |  June 24, 2011 at 11:24 am

    @David, I’m interested in the parent website. Great idea.

  • 199. hiri28  |  June 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    @david I’m definitely interested in the website, great idea!

  • 200. Gary  |  June 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    We love it. Where do we sign up?

  • 201. LakePk Mom  |  June 24, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    @David, count me in as well!

  • 202. mom of1  |  June 25, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Hi David, of course you can count me in! Great idea, a chance for parents to contribute, even before school starts, I think we are all just so excited about the new school.

    I stopped by the building, curiosity, those guys are hard at work, extra long days, 6 days a week. Trying to have everything in place, can’t wait to see the new play area!

  • 203. UV Parent  |  June 26, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I believe Principal McManus was going to start a “Friends of STEM” so the parents could unite and support the school. We may want to coordinate any site with that process so that it is inclusive.

  • 204. cool dad  |  June 27, 2011 at 9:45 am

    @ 197 & 203… Great idea! Parents of STEM should have a vested interest in the sucess of the program. Sign me up!

  • 205. parent  |  June 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    On the subject of uniforms, personally I find it easier not to have them, I don’t enjoy the rush to purchase them at the beginning of the year as everybody is looking for the same items, and it is often difficult to replace worn items mid year.

    At my childs last school they could wear any clothing without images or lettering or logos. Just plain shirts and slacks or dark colored jeans (boys wear belt, girls had to have hair tied up, etc). The kids looked sharp and wore colorful clothing, took pride in their appearance and felt good about themselves. Quality, lasting sale items are easier to obtain and wrinkle free.

    It was so much easier than the uniform (which I also have experience with). I see the kids in uniforms and they just look ratty and worn after a short time and they lack the crisp clean well put together look. Its as if they lose interest in being tidy because they are to comfortable with everything always being the same.
    (Uniforms must be ironed or the kids look dumpy, I dislike ironing and doing special loads to keep uniform colors crisp and bright.)

    Parents get lazy and send them with pants with worn knees (happens to the affordable blue pants within a week) and the shirts look misshapen and dull in a short time.
    I am guilty of this as well, its difficult to get out and find specific clothing items when you are working, raising a family~ and they are often in short supply.

    As far as the haves and have nots, I am not sure it is relavant when logos, graphics, and lettering are taken out of the game. You can still tell who has and who does not uniform or not. Shoes, backpacks, etc. These kids HAVE so much in terms of facilities and materials, I am not convinced there will be much scrutiny pertaining to what the other is wearing.

    We are of the have nots group, and in my opinion being clean and well groomed is what really matters to a child’s peers, if parents provide their children with that, uniform or not, they will stand out and be accepted as an equal or be rejected based on poor personal hygiene and lack of a tidy appearance. Kids are very primal.

    I am however into the super preppy uniform, but it sounds expensive.

  • 206. parent  |  June 27, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    Don’t mean to rant, just thinking deeply about this, I think it may be more obvious who has – has not with uniforms. The nice uniform clothing is expensive, dress shoes are expensive, if someone has the nice stuff, it draws more attention? For example, there were kids at my child’s school that looked really sharp in expensive uniform clothing, they looked great and the clothing stayed new looking. It was so obvious as the weeks went on how much nicer their clothes and shoes looked. It was very obvious to me as an adult~ which familys had more money.

    When there are differences in color and style there is less room for comparison? You have more room to find great deals or sales on quality clothing because you are less restricted?

    My mother always told me, its not about the clothes you wear, when your hair and make-up are tasteful, and you are well groomed and tidy, you carry yourself with pride and others will notice. It was true, even in in my teen years.

    Am I getting to sappy here? 🙂

  • 207. Parent B  |  June 27, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Does anyone have a child that wants to choose his own clothing? How long does it take to negotiate what he or she will wear that morning?
    My little boy would wear his raggedy jeans every day of the year and
    he will not wear a t-shirt without some writing on it. He is five years old.

    It’s not so much about “have or ‘*have nots’. it’s about make your morning a little easier and making it to school on time.

  • 208. PMD  |  June 27, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Agreed Parent B

  • 209. Ram  |  June 28, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Agreed with parent B.

  • 210. Hopeful  |  June 28, 2011 at 1:29 pm


  • 211. hiri28  |  June 30, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Having been on both sides of the spectrum, I would prefer no uniforms. My daughter just left a Catholic school, and I must say right along with the expense of them, after awhile they do look overly worn because of the constant washing because you only have a limited amount. Out of uniforms give the kids a chance to express themselves. And trust on those running late days I wish I could’ve thrown her on a pair of jeans and a shirt. Uniforms are so much maintenance and making sure she kept up with her sweater or ties became exhausting. So, for you uniform lovers, and those who don’t, if they do choose to have uniforms, iron ALL the uniforms for the week every Sunday helps:)

  • 212. D  |  July 9, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Agree with Parent B!

  • 213. Momof2  |  July 9, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    I applied for this school and was wait listed #36, tier 4. I was very discouraged but decided to check the OAE website for any news. There I learned that I had been placed in the tier lottery and not the proximately lottery. I immediately contacted them and received confirmation that I had been added to the wrong lottery. I was told that they would do “mock lottery” and I would be added to the proximately lottery. After this supposed “mock lottery”, I learned that my daughter was still on the wait list but at #4! I was told on 6/17 that I would hear if my child had been accepted next week however I personally know someone who was wait listed @ a # higher than 4 and has already been accepted and registered. I’ve the OAE folks and questioned this several times and I still note have an appropriate answer or an acceptance offer. This is very frustrating.

  • 214. Emmy  |  July 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    We went to register for our child.I want to know the website from ”Stem Magnet Academy”We don`t have a E-mail from Stem.How do we let our child go to Stem without the website?

    (the mother of the child)

  • 215. Working mom  |  July 11, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    @Emmy: the STEM information, email address, FAQ, and PowerPoint slide presentation has been posted on the OAE website. It’s located under MAGNET SCHOOLS. Sorry, I’m unable to post the link right now. Check prior posts on this thread for the link.
    @momof2: I believe your situation will work itself out. I know it’s very frustrating. Have you spoken with Ms. Mary Zeltmann at OAE? She has been very responsive in my opinion.

  • 216. Still Waiting for a K space  |  July 12, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Has anyone heard from any selective enrollment elementary schools or magnet schools about K admissions in the last couple of weeks?

    I’m so depressed and worried.

  • 217. Yue Qin  |  July 14, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    We have spoken with Ms. Mary Zeltmann when we registered. Mary said ”When July 4 ends the next day Stem Magnet would E-mail us the website.” As of today, July 14, 2011 we have not received the E-mail address.

    Please forward this request as soon as possible.

    Thank you.


    (The child’s mother)

  • 218. Cool dad  |  July 15, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I’m not sure if STEM has its own website but here is a link at which has all STEM information. Hope this helps.

  • 219. Working mom  |  July 19, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    STEM block club planning meeting tomorrow 7/20/11 at 5:30pm will be held at the Italian sports hall of fame on Taylor St.

  • 220. kinder mom  |  July 20, 2011 at 10:20 am

    @working mom how were you made aware of the meeting?

  • 221. diane  |  July 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    OK — My older son got the call for a spot in the 3rd grade. I’m accepting because I am really excited about the STEM concept, and I know if I turn the spot down I’ll regret it. However, we’ll have to do the commute from the Northside. Anyone available for carpool?

  • 222. Trish  |  July 20, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    At the orientation sessions, parents were asked to sign the Block party volunteer sheet. We received an e-mail about the Planning Meeting from Principal McManus on Friday.

  • 223. william lo  |  July 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I will agree the student need to wear “uniform” to school. There are the reason why I believe:
    1) easily for the parent to handle their kids dressing in school day
    2) send a message to the kid that they are going to school, not shopping, since they all wear the “uniform”
    3) If the school can success, the kid will feel proud of themselves when they put on their uniforms

  • 224. Working mom  |  July 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    @kinder mom: ditto #222 Trish’s comment. I signed up to volunteer and received an email from the principal re: planning meeting for the block party. I attended the meeting this evening and it went well. Lots of great ideas and the parents were very enthusiastic. STEM parents rock!!! It’s going to be a great school.

  • 225. mom of1  |  July 21, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Hello all, I would like to know when the next meeting is, and when is the block party going to be held? Thanks!

  • 226. Trish  |  July 22, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    The Block Party is on Saturday, August 27. I believe the next planning meeting is August 3 at the Italian Sports Hall of Fame

  • 227. STEMareaMom  |  July 26, 2011 at 8:32 am

    trying to post an email re: STEM updates and not having luck..

  • 228. cpsobsessed  |  July 26, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Can you email it to me at and I will post it?

  • 229. STEMareaMom  |  July 26, 2011 at 8:44 am

    From: STEM Magnet Academy
    Good Morning STEM Parents…

    I trust that you are having a wonderful summer vacation. As the month of July is quickly coming to an end, I wanted to send an e-mail to provide a few STEM Magnet Academy updates.

    1. The STEM building iis scheduled to be completed on Sunday, August 22.
    2. Seven of the eight classroom teachers have been hired and two of the five coaches have been hired as well.
    3. Grade level welcome letters and supply lists will be e-mailed and sent via US mail on August 3.
    4. The STEM Magnet Academy Block Party will be held on Saturday, August 27 from 12pm – 3pm. Parents and students will be able to meet the classroom teachers and tour the STEM building.
    5. Many parents have e-mailed regarding medical forms. Please hold all medical forms until Monday, August 22. At that time, the forms can be dropped off at the STEM building between 8am and 4 pm.
    6. The STEM Magnet Academy will have a uniform policy. Students will not be required to start wearing uniforms until after winter break. More information regarding the STEM uniform will be forthcoming.
    7. The Office of Academic Enhancement has created a webpage for STEM.
    8. I do not have e-mail addresses for all STEM parents. If you know parents who did not recieve this e-mail, please forward it to them and as them to e-mail me at, and include their child’s name and grade, so I can add them to the mass e-mail list.

    If you have further questions, please feel free to e-mail me.

    Maria J. McManus
    STEM Magnet Academy

    [retyped by me since pasting didn’t work – typos are me….]

  • 230. STEM parent  |  July 26, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Uniform policy – don’t like it.
    I think this sents the wrong message to many parents.
    All other well performing schools in the neighborhood (Jackson Academy, Galileo Magent, Skinner West) don’t have a uniform policy. Why to set STEM apart?
    I wish parents would have been heard on this issue.

  • 231. Nicole  |  July 26, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Hello everyone, I trust that we are all excited about the upcoming events. Does anyone KnoW the time of the next planning meeting?

    l am a south west area parent who is in need of transportation. I have contacted several transportation companies and did finally locate a possible source, if there are any other parents in need of transport please let me know. the service is Reliable transportation, contact is Vivian Walker @ reliable ph #708 932 4796, email
    Vivienne Jviv@Aol. com or contact me Nicole

  • 232. Dee  |  July 26, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I’m not happy that stem will have uniforms. I love that my older son did not have to wear a uniform at ajla.

  • 233. mom of 1  |  July 26, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I agree, I was hoping that the Kids would have the freedom of no uniforms. As an experienced parent I uniforms are more work than we think!

  • 234. Gary  |  July 26, 2011 at 11:13 am

    We were never offered a Block Party sign up list at the first orientation meeting. Oh well. As for uniforms, we were told that parents would in fact have input, which does not seem to have happened.

  • 235. STEMareaMom  |  July 26, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Our family is in the pro-uniform camp.

  • 236. PMD  |  July 26, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Our family is also very supportive of uniforms after careful consideration.

  • 237. william lo  |  July 26, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    I totally disagree whoever believed the uniform will give more problem to the parents.

  • 238. Gary  |  July 26, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Whether or not one agrees or disagrees with uniforms, I was under the impression that parents would be consulted prior to the decision. This makes me dubious about parental input for any other matter of substance. Of course, it is all the prerogative of the school and its staff. I just don’t wish to be told that we will be consulted on an issue, and then in the end, ignored.

  • 239. neighbourhood parent  |  July 26, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    In my opinion a uniform policy is for a school troubled by gang problems or inappropriately clothed students. These are issues faced in middle schools and high schools and would not be an issue for K – 3. In addition, it is one more thing to administrate during the first year. Uniforms cost money, are additional clothing beyond what most kids already have, and require regular use of the laundry machine.

  • 240. parent  |  July 26, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Honestly I am just thankful that I have a quality school for my child to attend and will accept the policys set forth, but was really hoping there would be no uniforms. Its always some type of white shirt~ they are a nightmare to keep clean and bright~ expensive to replace them over and again, when even the smallest stain presents itself. Not looking forward to the cost involved in purchasing uniforms.

    Keeping things in perspective, at least we are not at our failing neighborhood school that also has a uniform policy. 🙂

  • 241. parent  |  July 26, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    If STEM is going to be extended into the middle school years, I can see why they would want to have uniforms, what grade will STEM Academy extend to, anyone know?

  • 242. Trish  |  July 26, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    We are in the pro-uniform camp as well. STEM is K-3 now, but is going to be K-8 soon. Uniforms give kids one less distraction.

  • 243. Working mom  |  July 26, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    @241 parent: STEM will add a grade each year up to 8th grade.

    @238 Gary: the fact that many parents were under the impression that we (parents) would have a vote or some kind of input re: uniforms and in the end, we really don’t, is irritating to some parents, to say the least. I totally understand why some parents are baffled by this unilateral decision made by the principal. Of course, the policy, I’m told, is that school uniform decisions are made by the principal….so, I guess she decided!

    At the block party planning meeting last week, the principal shared with us that we will have a variety of uniform coordinates to choose from. Polo shirts: must be either blue, green, red, or yellow (which are the official school colors) bearing the STEM logo.
    Slacks: khaki, black or blue. Hopefully t- shirts, skirts, and shorts will be included as long as the colors are correct. Many parents supported the decision, while few were totally against it. Either way, if we were consulted or voted on the issue, it appears that most parents at the meeting and on this blog would vote FOR them. I think if we were allowed to vote, the final decision would be more palatable and parents wouldn’t feel misled, for lack of a better word. Personally, I could go either way.

  • 244. parent  |  July 26, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I have never heard of uniforms with so many options, sounds pretty nice 🙂 as I would send my child in a shirt with a collar and nice pants regardless.

    I love the idea of choice within boundaries. The shirts with logos, perhaps brings about a sense of unity, belonging, and school pride. I am however still leery of the cost and availability of these shirts. But am pleasantly surprised by the versatility and color options.

    Its the best of both worlds, and in my opinion should please both sides of the debate.

    I have yet to loose focus on how truly blessed we are to have the opportunity to provide our children with a quality education~
    With insightful, experienced, progressive leaders.

    I really don’t understand the concept of parent led decision making, seems chaotic, political, lacks unity and clear direction. I think we have a good thing going here, with the right leader who has a clear vision.

    I for one, based on the curriculum and teaching style presented am ready to roll with the program put forth. Our kids have EVERYTHING you could want from a school.

    As parents we have to support our principle and be excellent team members, providing STEM with a strong foundation on which to grow and flourish 🙂

  • 245. STEMareaMom  |  July 27, 2011 at 7:47 am

    @244 … Hear, hear!
    Great sentiments!

    Interesting article today re: ipads for schools where CPS is contributor. The distribution/use of ipads has been mentioned repeatedly for STEM — love the idea for the kids as a tool for learning. Really great. 4500 units this year deployed throughout 50 schools.

  • 246. SuJe  |  July 27, 2011 at 8:14 am

    I couldn’t agree more, 244! The school can’t possibly get parental input on every issue, even if they’d like to. It is not practical, especially when you are creating a school from scratch. Please, let’s not pick fights where they don’t exist. The administration has been keeping us well-informed and I think they are doing a phenomenal job.

    There was talk earlier of a Friends of site or STEM parents site. Was any such Web site created in addition to the OAE site? My family has been away all summer and won’t be back until mid-August. I’m so bummed to be missing out on all of the in-person planning and talks!

  • 247. Working mom  |  July 27, 2011 at 8:44 am

    For what it’s worth, if anyone is interested in purchasing an iPad for your family or child, I know of a local Federal government facility that houses a retail store. The store recently received a shipment of iPad 2. They are priced a little lower (i.e, $10.00 off) but you will not pay SALES TAX. I bought one and saved about about $70.00. If you’re interested let me know:-)

  • 248. Gary  |  July 27, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Of course a school is not expected to get parental input on every issue. However the direct statement made at the orientation was that they would seek parental input on this particular issue.

    Furthermore, it would not have been “parent led” decision making, it would have been parent inclusive. A very different concept. And when led by an experienced staff such as STEM’s, it could have been the complete opposite of chaotic, political, lacking in unity and clear direction. An expectation was created by STEM leadership (re uniforms), just not properly managed.

  • 249. Gary  |  July 27, 2011 at 9:16 am

    This is fun. We are looking VERY forward to a fantastic year at what should be an outstanding school led by a seemingly wonderful principal.

  • 250. CoolDad  |  July 27, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I think we should be supportive of the principle and administors who will have a big imprint on our kids’ academic life. To me, (1) our kids have this great opportunity for high quality education that STEM is offering. (2) Principle and administrators seem to be very focused on success of the kids and academic program (3) does it really matter who wears what to school as long as they have great learning environment?

  • 251. LakePk Mom  |  July 27, 2011 at 10:53 am

    @247 Working Mom

    I would like to have the information regarding the IPad 2s.

  • 252. Working mom  |  July 27, 2011 at 10:57 am

    @ lake park mom: the retail store is located at 820 S Damen Chgo, Il 60612. (Jesse Brown Veterans administration Medical Center). This VA is located within the Medical District. They have both the Wi Fi and WiFi 3G models. 16 and 32

  • 253. diane  |  July 27, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Anyone willing to start a facebook page for STEM to communicate updates? I have a child that will be starting in 3rd.

  • 254. LakePk Mom  |  July 27, 2011 at 11:23 am

    @ Working Mom


  • 255. Gary  |  July 27, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    250 @CoolDad. Not sure if your last comment was meant for me, but for clarification; I have not commented for or against uniforms. My posts have been with regards to process. For me, a continually improving process, for all parties, is a great way to support the wonderful staff at STEM- which will further ensure the learning environment that we all expect.

  • 256. EM Mom  |  July 27, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Hi Diane – post 221. We too are commuting from the North side….and quite happy to do it. We are very excited about this opportunity for our kindergartner. We live in the Montrose / Pulaski area and would be thrilled to find a family to carpool with. Diane, where are you coming from? Anyone else commuting from our neighborhood?

  • 257. parent  |  July 27, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    It is often difficult to communicate your position on such forums, to clarify, my comments come from my own personal experiences and my statements do not harbor hostility towards others on the board. I do have strong ideas, but enjoy the perspective of others and have been inspired by others comments. It has been a great source of information and support for me during this difficult process. I offer my opinions but recognize that they are just that, opinions. I do my best to be positive and come from a place of peace 🙂

  • 258. diane  |  July 27, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    @EM mom — We’re in Andersonville, so we’re not that far from Montrose. I’m sure that there are other families up North.

    Also, for us it’s just a straight shot down Ashland, so it’s not too bad —

  • 259. Gary  |  July 28, 2011 at 10:12 am

    @parent 257: Couldn’t agree more! 🙂

  • 260. SuJe  |  July 28, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    My comments weren’t meant to be harsh. I’ve been lurking on this thread for months. Everyone here wants the best for these kids, I know. I’ve seen so much parent/teacher/admin conflict at other schools; I just want us to get off to the best (drama-free) start possible 🙂 We are psyched!

  • 261. TrishL  |  July 28, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    @ SuJe: Absolutely! We can spend our time arguing about uniforms and miss out on those things that matter most, our children. I am excited about STEM and what it will offer. My goal is to be as supportive of the principal and her staff as I can and help make STEM the best school in the city of Chicago.

  • 262. hiri28  |  July 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    So I drove by the school today, and I’m happy to report that the workers are working HARD, and hopefully things will be in place and ready for our kids come September 6! Still seems like so much needs to be done, but I have faith that it will be completed by our big block party. As far as the uniforms, I wasn’t personally for them, having been on both sides, I just hope that whatever they choose is something colorful, comfortable, and won’t look worn after 2 washes:) I am super excited about this upcoming school year, and looking forward to working with all of you in making our new school a success!

  • 263. Optimistic  |  July 31, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Does anyone know what afterschool options are available near the new school?

  • 264. Working mom  |  August 1, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    @parent: can u share the names of the STEM ebooks u purchased for your iPad? I recently purchased an iPad b/c of the new STEM school. I just want to be able to use it to it’s fullest educational potential…since they’re not cheap:-)

  • 265. parent  |  August 2, 2011 at 3:25 am

    @265 I just looked for materials based on links provided, feel free to contact me directly. I have been home schooling my child during the day all summer and working at night. Really looking forward to school starting :).

  • 266. parent  |  August 2, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Don’t know if anyone has mentioned this but MIT has a new stem summer/year round mentoring program for middle years students. Their new page is still getting put together but as they do the articles, data and resources section should be really interesting. The daily schedule for the summer program is also interesting. If I were at STEM I’d worry less about the uniforms and more about learning how STEM philosophy in it’s deepest implementation as per MIT and the National Science Foundation is being reflected in the program. The intense creativity that the MIT summer program combines with skills is antithetical to a test focused curriculum. Hope that the new programs gets those sparks flying damn the isats.

  • 267. John  |  August 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    So, the MIT program is or is not having uniforms?

  • 268. parent  |  August 2, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    just to clarify parent @267 is not the same person as the comments by parent listed above in this thread.

    I am deeply interested in the STEM philosophy and was thrilled to be selected because it is compatible with our ideas about how children learn.
    However, we also believe that it is crucial to build core skills, and isats are a valid measure of a child’s ability.
    The ability to test well is also a skill, that when mastered, opens many doors in a child’s academic career.

    We are interested in the development of our child as a whole~
    practical life skills, social skills, emotional maturity (self control, conflict resolution, etc.) as well as finding the most progressive academic environment in which to grow and learn together.

    When I looked around the room during the orientation I saw a group of parents that were deeply interested in learning as much as they could about the program and were deeply invested in providing the best education possible for their children.

    Although I found comment @267 to be both informative and articulate, it was also in my opinion a bit inflammatory in its mention of uniform policy and I would like to dissociate myself from that comment.

  • 269. magnet mom  |  August 2, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Sorry- What I mean to say is that uniforms at the new Near West Side STEM don’t seem to be as important as the content of the actual program they implement. The program at MIT is a middle school after-school and summer program geared to reaching underrepresented communities in Engineering and Science.
    They also have an interesting baseball and physics program for boys only in the summer. The ideas reflected in the daily schedule on the MIT site give a picture of a very muti-faceted and creative approach to the integration of math and science disciplines not a baseline test preparation focused or pure rote learning path.
    If I were a parent at STEM (which we are not as we decided not to move our child after a lucky acceptance) I would be focused instead on how the idea of STEM is realized at the new school. Being a teacher in a pilot school in CPS is very challenging and how creative the program becomes is largely based on how supportive CPS is of the administration and how big a risk taker / innovator the school administration can be.
    I think the last crucial piece is parents. I think the STEM challenge for them is two-fold. How informed can parents make themselves about how STEM is being developed ( specifically at it’s highest levels at institutions like MIT and by scientists the collaborate with the National Science Foundation) and how ready are families to really support something amazing and totally new.

  • 270. magnet mom  |  August 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    sorry wrote while 269 was posting and didn’t see it. I’m not saying kids shouldn’t be able to take tests. I think a new STEM program is an incredible opportunity and the first few years are key to how innovative it really is.
    I ‘m saying “Think big!” more than “tests are bad.” With a multi-million dollar city investment it should be a model at the edge of what is possible. Here is the link to the MIT Middle school programs page.

  • 271. magnet mom  |  August 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    p.s. a link to the curriculum model of the MIT summer program for middle school.

  • 272. parent  |  August 2, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    @270-271 I completely agree with you, very well put. I only became concerned as the post was listed under my user name and I was uncertain of your position. However, it seems after clarification, we are in fact likeminded. Thanks for the time put forth in your response, its very inspiring.

  • 273. mom of 1  |  August 3, 2011 at 1:24 am

    Does anyone know if there is a planning meeting tomorrow, if so what time? Thanks

    There are many interesting and informative comments here! Nice to see groups of concerned parents who are focused on the prize, the best education, environment and opportunities we can subject our children to.

  • 274. kinder mom  |  August 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    has anyone recv an email from STEM teachers? the last update email stated that the teachers would be reaching out today.

  • 275. Daddy  |  August 3, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Yes, received email containing welcome letter, supply list and a $200 student fee bill.

  • 276. Dee  |  August 4, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Did cps extend the school day? 8:45 to 2:45 was the same schedule he had last year.

  • 277. Optimistic  |  August 5, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Has anyone received any information regarding bus schedules?

  • 278. parent  |  August 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I feel nervous about bussing, do they make sure the children get off the bus and into the correct school in the morning? Do they insure the children get on the proper bus after being dismissed from school? Does anyone have any experience with bussing?

  • 279. Optimistic  |  August 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    yes, my daughter has used the bus for three years. They are safe, but not so timely! She enjoys her bus friends and misses them when I take her to school on occasion.

  • 280. parent  |  August 6, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Good to know, Thanks so much for the response.

  • 281. Paige  |  August 9, 2011 at 10:43 am

    This is our first experience with CPS and my son will be going to 1st grade.
    Does anyone know how to find out which teacher he will be assigned? The email was from both of them.

    Also, what is the window for drop off and pick up times? Do we need to go to the classroom for drop off and pick up? What happens if you are late for pick up?


  • 282. Momof2  |  August 9, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Has anyone in proximal list grade K been offered by STEM recently? I really want to know the latest waitlist number being offered. My son number is around 10. We are still hoping for the chance.
    Really appreciate for any information.

  • 283. 3rd Grade MOM  |  August 11, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Would anyone be willing to carpool around
    Ford City 76th/pulaski OR by Dore Elementary 61/Natoma ?

    Please Let Me Know ………..

  • 284. STEMareaMom  |  August 12, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Date: August 12, 2011 8:22:34 AM CDT
    Subject: STEM Magnet Academy Updates

    Good Morning STEM Parents…

    By now you all should have received a Welcome Letter from your child’s grade level team, a grade level supply list and a student fee list. If you have not received this please e-mail me and I will make sure you receive it by the end of the day.

    Below you will find a few STEM Magnet Academy Updates:

    1. The STEM Magnet Academy Block Party will be held on Saturday, August 27 from 12pm to 3pm. STEM families will have an opportunity to meet the classroom teachers and coaches, interact with other STEM families and tour the STEM Building.

    2. Many parents have e-mailed regarding medical forms. Please hold all medical forms until Monday, August 22. At that time, the forms can be dropped off at the STEM building between 8am and 5pm.

    3. Parents and students will find out who their classroom teacher is at the Block Party.

    4. Class schedules will be e-mailed to parents next week. The schedules will provide parents with a preview of what their child’s day will look like at their grade level.

    5. Parents have been inquiring about bus routes and schedules. We are entering students in the CPS bussing system and as soon as we receive the routes, we will forward them to parents. This process does take time and all routes may not be complete by the first week of school. Please consider making alternative plans for your child’s arrival to and departure from school during week one.

    6. STEM Magnet Academy will require students to wear uniforms. The uniforms will consist of red, yellow, blue, green or white polos with the STEM logo and black, blue or khaki bottoms. Students will not be required to start wearing uniforms until after winter break. More information regarding the STEM uniform will be forthcoming.

    7. The STEM Magnet Academy school hours are 8:45am to 2:45pm. Student may be dropped off as early as 8:15am for breakfast. There are no on-site afterschool programs this school year. Teachers will be planning and participating in Professional Development afterschool. All students will be dismissed at 2:45pm. There will be no supervision for students after 2:45pm.

    8. I have attached a copy of the CPS calendar and Parent Volunteer Packet. Parent who would like to volunteer for more than 5 hours during the 2011-2012 school year must complete a volunteer packet.

    9. During the week of August 21st, we will be looking for parents to assist with moving into the STEM building. If you have time, please consider spending a few hours helping us unpack boxes, move furniture, decorate bulletin boards, or distribute supplies. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    If you know parents who did not receive this e-mail, please forward it to them and ask them to e-mail me at, and include their child’s name and grade, so I can add them to the mass e-mail list.

    If you have any additional question or concerns, please feel free to e-mail

    I’m looking forward to an awesome first year!!!

    Maria J. McManus
    STEM Magnet Academy
    1522 West Fillmore Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60607

  • 285. magnet mom  |  August 13, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Hi- I think posting actual school memos on here is a little much. Do STEM parents really want to see their kid’s school notes home on here??
    Essentially handing out the principal’s email to a giant public blog seems a little uh unfriendly maybe.

  • 286. STEM Family  |  August 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Whoever posted the STEM Principal’s entire e-mail may have been trying to help. However, more than being “uh unfriendly,” I think it is distasteful and inappropriate. Why does an e-mail sent from the principal need to be shared on this blog or any other blog? Is Principal McManus aware that the e-mails she sends to STEM parents is being posted on this site? If we know parents who are not getting her e-mails, we should do as she has asked and “forward the e-mail to them and ask them to send her an e-mail so she can add them to the mass e-mail list.”

  • 287. parent  |  August 13, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Seems kinda silly, Its just a mass email, is this really private information?

    I don’t know, I understand @ 285, 286 ‘s position, and that they have privacy concerns.
    Is there a more diplomatic way to express your point?
    Why is everyone so quick to be hostile on this thread?
    Its exhausting.

    Its not really the opinions, more the tone.

  • 288. Working mom  |  August 13, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    The principal’s email addresses several questions that parents have posted on this blog. (ie bussing, school hours). Many STEM parents access this site for current information regarding the school.

  • 289. magnet mom  |  August 13, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    I don’t think that my post was hostile.I wouldn’t want my children’s school memos on here because it isn’t really the mission of the school or blog to communicate this way. I think that it might be good for parents seeking information about their school to create a solid internal network for communicating. I love cpso but relying on it to get important information about my child’s school would seem a little off to me. Maybe parents at stem could set up another place to post this kind of memo. Creating a school directory might also help move things along.

  • 290. STEMareaMom  |  August 15, 2011 at 8:57 am

    Block party/kick off email came out just now. Be sure to check the school website for all the details about how to RSVP and what to bring.

    Looking forward to a great year!

  • 291. kinder mom  |  August 15, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    @STEMareMom are you referring to the evite email that was sent on friday? or was a new email sent in regard to the block/party?

  • 292. Daddy  |  August 15, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    I’m with you @287 parent. No big deal. And yes, there are other ways to disseminate this information, however being a new school, this site works well for now until other networks are established- once school begins.

  • 293. STEMareaMom  |  August 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    According to the email we recieved today, “evite”s went to kindergartners and first graders and a copy/pic of the evite was included into today’s message. The subject line in my copy specified “2nd graders”.
    Email covered same material though: party particulars, what to wear and what to bring. Should be cute set up and we’re looking forward to seeing the teachers as well as the inside of the building.
    Over the past week we’ve witnessed a batallion of roof workers either repairing or installing a/c units and/or the roof itself. The area surrounding the building is full of construction vehicles and signage. It’s been a busy, busy place.

  • 294. concern parent  |  August 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    If the school would make more information available for parents and was more organized it would be great. I hope I made the right choice for my child and this does not turn out to be another bad school choice.

  • 295. TrishL  |  August 15, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    I think the school is doing a great job keeping us informed, especially since it is trying to function without one key element a building. I have e-mailed the principal regarding issues from bussing to supply lists to the upcoming Block Party and she always responds within a couple of hours. I am very optimistic and I already know that STEM is going to be a great school. I am happy that my child was selected to be a part of something like this.

  • 296. Working mom  |  August 15, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    …and functioning well without phones or fax lines.
    @ 294: may I suggest you forward your email to the Principal so that you can receive up to date information. Think positive! The school will be a success. Positive thoughts turn into positive things.

  • 297. Daddy  |  August 16, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Anybody using this blog has the capacity to get to any and all available information currently available for this wonderful school-to-be. This includes a very responsive and seemingly wonderful Principal McManus. Join me in my grateful appreciation of this fantastic opportunity for our children.

  • 298. STEMareaMom  |  August 17, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Releasing a second grade spot from the STEM neighborhood lottery today. Son offered a seat at an RGC last night — same school where his sister is enrolled in 4th grade RGC. Good luck to whomever is waiting in that grade and category.

  • 299. STEMareaMom  |  August 17, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Not sure of any waitlist status, but this change for us will also be creating a spot in the Cordi-Marian before/after care school-age room.

  • 300. Wondering  |  August 18, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    did anyone else get 2 different supply lists for kindergarten? the one that was emailed is a little different than the mailed one.

  • 301. Teddy  |  August 19, 2011 at 10:17 am

    @294 – concerned parent, if you’re unsure, there are MANY people behind you that are desperate for seats at this point. Either become sure, or move on…

  • 302. Daddy  |  August 19, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Received email note and daily schedule for K today. Very excited. I would post the email from the Principal, but I’m not in the mood for all the righteous indignation about such an act. Hope you all received your copy. 🙂

  • 303. parent  |  August 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    I just received the schedules for our children. How lucky we are to have such a balanced curriculum that address all of a child’s needs for growth and development.

    And the behavioral program in my opinion will play the most important role in our children’s success.
    -check out the links under Learn More at the bottom of the page.

    This school is everything I ever wanted for my child.

  • 304. parent  |  August 19, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    message of safety concern

    Good Afternoon Parents…
    It has been brought to my attention that several families, this includes parents and children, are stopping by the STEM Building. While we all are anxious to see the finished product, I would ask that you wait until you receive an e-mail from me stating that we have been given access to the building, before you go to the STEM building. Construction workers will be working around the clock to ensure that our building is ready for us to move in next week. Until then, for your safety and the safety of your children, please refrain from stopping by the STEM building.
    Thank you so much…

  • 305. parent  |  August 20, 2011 at 12:06 am

    i am just wondering why someone else also has a user name parent?
    @304 is not the same as @303, this is the second time this has happened. Anyone else have this problem.

    I would post info freely, but certainly not my style to post the info @304

  • 306. cpsobsessed  |  August 20, 2011 at 1:44 am

    I think a lot of people use the name “parent” on here as a generic, anonymous way to comment. Does make it harder to respond though.

    Do you STEM parents want me to start a new thread when school begins since this one is getting so long?

  • 307. parent  |  August 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    IC, I will think of a more unique user name. Thanks CPSobsessed.

    Would you consider a donation button using paypal? I for one would be interested in donating to help offset the time and cost of providing parents with this forum. It is an extremely valuable service to our community, and much appreciated.

  • 308. parent  |  August 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    You know what would be nice….. a STEM google calendar, so parents could sync important dates and events with their personal calendars with ease.

  • 309. Working mom  |  August 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    @cpso: yes, I think you should create a new thread when school starts.

  • 310. Working mom  |  August 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    @parent: I received the classroom schedule email, but it did not include “behavioral program” information. Is it being implemented thoughout the school or only certain grades?

  • 311. jay2ndgrade  |  August 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    The schedule seems so so for second grade too much gym and art they need more computer time math and science. I would love a longer school day. I have a question are they going to test the children to see at what level they are preforming at academically?

  • 312. parent  |  August 20, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    @310 It was mentioned in our welcome letter (email prior to schedules) that the behavioral plan would be based on the responsive classroom approach, I googled it and the links provided above were the result. I guess I made the assumption that it was a school wide program, I thought I remembered watching similar videos at the orientation.

  • 313. STEM Family  |  August 20, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    @311 After asking arounf all grades have art, gym and computer twice a week. They have science/engineering classes four days a week. They have math and reading for an hour and ten minutes daily. There are only so many hours in the school day. What more do you want? My friends have kids in CPS who don’t have computers classes or art classes and they barely have gym once a week. When I shared our schools schedule with them they couldn’t understand how some schools get things that other school don’t.

  • 314. STEM Family  |  August 20, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    @311 I forgot to mention that all of the grades have music class once a week as well.

  • 315. Working mom  |  August 20, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    @310 parent: Thanks, I must’ve over looked it in the welcome email. I viewed the youbtube videos – thx for sharing.

    @311 STEM family: So, I interpreted the schedule just as you described above, but was sure it was some sorta mistake or cruel joke from CPS. Lol. I’m very pleased with the curriculum too. Our children need art, music, and gym. They are still very young (k-3) and recreation is educational and important to their overall development. Gosh, as you stated, some schools barely get any “specials.”

    I’m growing tired of the negativity. It takes work to repel that kind of negative energy *arms folded*

  • 316. Working mom  |  August 20, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    Correction: post 315 meant for STEM FAMILY@313, not @311.
    Oops, my bad.

  • 317. parent  |  August 21, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Well in defense of @311 I am not sure if the majority is aware of the correlation between improved success in math and science when students also have art education. There is also a very direct link between art/design and engineering.

    Research and common sense tell us that physical education has a direct link to a child’s ability to concentrate (particularly with young boys) as well as addresses other important factors in the development and physical growth of children.

    From a health standpoint humans that are physically active are less prone to obesity and depression as well as a variety of other health issues that currently plague American children. Sedentary children are prone to the same health problems as adults, and it is beneficial to the developing child to establish good habits early in life. Healthy Mind and Body = reduced behavioral problems in the classroom.

    I think we will be very happy parents when our children are sleeping soundly at night because their minds and bodys are tired. Its such a terrible feeling during the winter months when your mind is exhausted yet your body is not physically tired, you just dont sleep as well and rarely wake feeling refreshed.

    For me personally exercise reduces stress and anxiety. Sports and games are a fun and engaging release, filled with laughter and challenges.

    I think the STEM curriculum has been given a great deal of consideration and is solid.

    The problem is that we as parents have had to be, until this point, fierce advocates for our children in this failing system.

    We have yet to let our guard down.

    I am, based on the evidence shown thus far, ready to become an active supporter of the STEM Magnet Academy.

    Principle McManus is young, ambitious, and responsible. I believe she fully understands the challenges our children will face ten to fifteen years from today, and is committed to preparing them to be innovative leaders in this rapidly changing world.

  • 318. parent  |  August 21, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I’m growing tired of the negativity. It takes work to repel that kind of negative energy

    I feel the same way, I feel like I am constantly writing things like the post above to convince people to bring energy to the school and be supportive of the pretty unique education that is being offered.

  • 319. Working mom  |  August 21, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    @318 parent: …and I appreciate your pips ( positive informative posts)!

  • 320. STEMareaMom  |  August 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Another random, late fill update — we were called today for Galileo 2nd grade seat, which we will be declining.
    We were waitlist #1. (!!)
    It seems to be a mad dash to the enrollment finish with the call last week by the RGC and now Galileo today (and for whomever got the call for the STEM seat we released after getting the RGC look).
    In May/June we thought we would have heard something being the highest on the list. But nothing until noon today!
    Good luck to whomever is Galileo 2nd grade w/l #2!

  • 321. jay2ndgrade  |  August 22, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Wow all I can say I hope that parents that post are also involved in the school. Plus I hope people stop being so aggressive towards each other everyone is in title to have an opinion and not be talked down about what they think. Thank for all the information I know where not to look.

  • 322. kinder parent  |  August 23, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Are there any kinder student who will be attending cordi marian?

  • 323. Galileo K Mom  |  August 24, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Hi 322. We have a K-kid at Galileo that will going to Cordi Marian. My understanding is that most of their K spots are filled.

  • 324. kinder parent  |  August 24, 2011 at 9:14 am

    was cordi marian your only option. i have mixed feelings, but there seems nothing else close by for working parents.

  • 325. Working mom  |  August 24, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    @kinder mom: what are your mixed feelings about cordi? I was planning to look into cordi. Is there something I should know?

  • 326. magnet mom  |  August 24, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    The after school program at Sheridan Park tends to fill fast but the park staff members that run it are very sweet and they really care for the children. It’s only three blocks further east than Cordi- Marian

  • 327. mom of 1  |  August 26, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Hi @ 283,

    I may be available for carpooling, let me know? Will be at STEM tomorrow, for Knider student, Nicole

  • 328. STEM_1stgrdr  |  August 26, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Very reassuring to see all of these caring parents posting.
    As ALL of us will be new to the STEM schol & program I agree with other parents that there shouldn’t be negativity here. All of us are concerned for our children but, the negative feelings will hardly get us anywhere . As far as I can see from here there are many supportive parents and we should continue to travel down that path to continue toward the success of our school.

  • 329. 3rd Grade MOM  |  August 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Hi, Nicole

    Sound good let’s see what we can figure out for carpooling. Hope to see you tomorrow.
    3rd student, Susan

  • 330. Working mom  |  August 28, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Great block party yesterday! Loads of fun.

  • 331. jay2ndgrade  |  August 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Had fun

  • 332. West Loop  |  August 30, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Thanks to all the parents that volunteered to make the STEM block party a great success.

  • 333. RUMC Mom  |  August 30, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    My 4 year old just entered pre-k yesterday, and I’m already thinking about the journey to find the best school for him next fall. I am glad to see so many parents that are like me – fevently seeking a good school for their child/children. I believe that it is never too early to start looking, and I’m happy to have found this blog.

  • 334. mom of 1  |  August 31, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Hi @327, decidewd to go with transport service, you can email me if you’d like I can share with you then. my email is hope to hear from you!, Nicole

  • 335. Dee  |  August 31, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Has anyone heard about busing yet?

  • 336. diane  |  August 31, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    @334 — What transport service?

  • 337. mom of 1  |  August 31, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Hi, I live southwest, so I am either using reliable transportation, legacy shuttle, or go go go transport

  • 338. Daddy  |  September 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Good Morning STEM Parents…

    September 6th is quickly approaching and we are planning an awesome first day of school for our students. This correspondence should ease your anxiety and answer all of your questions about that first day. To keep things running smoothly please adhere to the schedule below:


    · Fillmore will be open for parent drop-off. Parents will enter Fillmore and drop students off on the North side of the street. Using the cul-de-sac as a turn-around, parents will use the South side of Fillmore to exit. There is NO PARKING on either side of Fillmore.
    · Breakfast will be served in the Café from 8:15am – 8:35am


    · With the exception of media, Fillmore Street will be blocked off to thru traffic.


    · Students will line up with their classroom teacher. Each teacher will have signage.


    · After each classroom is in line in its designated spot, balloons will be distributed to each student for a balloon release.


    · Balloon Release


    · Ribbon Cutting


    · Students take pictures and enter building on red carpet


    · Student school day begins

    Additional information…
    · We have received busing routes for most students; however, the times for pick-up are still pending. Parents will receive a telephone call within the next few days regarding students bus pick-up and drop-off times and locations. As I have indicated in previous updates, busing routes and times may not be perfected until the 2nd or 3rd week of school, in the event the bus does not show or you have not received a call regarding busing, parents should be prepared to drop students off and pick students up from school. The Bus Company that will service STEM Magnet Academy is…
    Illinois Central School Bus.
    4100 South Wabash Avenue


    · Parents will not be allowed to accompany students to their classrooms; please get all of your tears, hugs and kisses out the night before.
    · Supplies can be dropped off in the lunchroom of the STEM building on Friday, September 2 between 10am-4pm. Supplies can be dropped off at the door adjacent to the parking lot on the first day of school. There will be two teachers there to receive the supplies. Remember to write your child’s name on the box or bag you are dropping off.
    · While the STEM Magnet Academy uniform policy will not be implemented until January, please consider the following when dressing your child:
    o Each of the classrooms is air conditioned, if your child gets cold please send them with a sweater, jacket, or long sleeves.
    o Students will walk from the first floor to the third floor for classes, please refrain from open flip fops or shoes that will make it difficult for children to walk.

    · Teachers will send an e-mail regarding which teacher is Schedule A or Schedule B.
    · We are in the process of scheduling an open house for parents to tour the STEM building.
    · Parents, teacher will send an e-mail regarding which teacher will follow Schedule A or Schedule B.

  • 339. Daddy  |  September 1, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    That last post was taken from an email received from the Principal.

  • 340. kinder mom  |  September 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Did anyone catch this on the news? Stem is one of the 3 schools who accepted the longer school year. Will start in January.

  • 341. STEMparent  |  September 2, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Just found some info about the extended school day for STEM.

  • 342. concernparent  |  September 2, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Question, don’t know if I missed this, but has anyone mentioned lunch for the first week of school. Will it be provided or will the kids need bag lunches? Just wondering..

  • 343. new STEM dad  |  September 2, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    I guess STEM school is getting longer day immediately?,0,7665521.story,0,1194505.story

    However, NBC reported (link listed @ #341) that STEM will have longer day starting next Jan…

    I hope we will receive more information soon from our Principal… It seems too short notice to prepare properly?

  • 344. new STEM dad  |  September 2, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    On the other hand, CPS website does not mention STEM school for longer day….

    Very confusing.

  • 345. new STEM dad  |  September 2, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Several News organizations are reporting that STEM school is getting longer day immediately…while NBC (see link @ #341) is reporting that STEM will start longer day in January.

    I hope that we will soon receive e-mail from our Principal regarding this issue…. Very confusing.,0,7665521.story,0,1194505.story

  • 346. Working mom  |  September 2, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    I read the Sun-Times newspaper article today that states STEM will extend hours beginning the 1st day of school. The other 2 schools are Skinner North and Gengieve Melody(sp?). Hopefully we will get some clarity from the STEM Principal as to when this plan will take effect. It’s my understanding that the daily literacy and math schedule would be extended, as well as recess/lunch time too.

  • 347. STEMparent  |  September 2, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    With an extended school day, wouldn’t kids need an additional break to allow for a snack? If my first grader has lunch before noon, he definitely would need a snack later in the afternoon.
    Also I hope that if not now then hopefully next year some of the extra 90 minutes could be used for teaching a language.

  • 348. diane  |  September 3, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    STEM school day will be 8:15 to 3:45 beginning on Sept. 26th. This is awesome news! I am so happy.

  • 349. Daddy  |  September 4, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Right on Diane!

  • 350. Stem mom  |  September 4, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Has any parents figured out a forum for parents of each class to contact each other or post information for each other? I thought the block party was really disorganized and didn’t get to meet other parents as I had hoped!

  • 351. parent  |  September 5, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Seems there is a steady flow of good news about our school, I am so looking forward to the school year as I am sure there is more good news to come.

  • 352. concernparent  |  September 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I recently posted a question about lunch, and decided to e-mail the principal regarding my concern. Just in case you all did not know she stated that the children can bring a sack lunch or purchase lunch from school, so if you are opting for the purchase option this is a heads up to be prepared!

  • 353. Janet  |  September 6, 2011 at 10:03 am

    I missed my son’s first day of school becuase I had to be at work early. If anyone has any pictures they could share please email me Thank you

  • 354. Daddy  |  September 6, 2011 at 10:36 am

    WOW! What a way to begin what promises to be an exciting year!

  • 355. Mami_4  |  September 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Few parents on this site are asking to create blogs for each grade level, how about FACEBOOK?

  • 356. Kcooper  |  September 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I think a blog on facebook is a great idea!

  • 357. Mom of 1st grader  |  September 8, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I was wondering if anyone knew how the school would be billing for lunch. I sent my son with money on tuesday, but wasn’t sure how much it costs per day, if I should write a check or if we get billed at the end of the week/month. At my son’s previous (non-CPS) school we were billed monthly.

    Thanks for any input.

  • 358. Mom of 2  |  September 8, 2011 at 9:43 am

    I knew some classes had already sent the form to fill in for lunch program, but my son still did not receive yet. My son is in 3rd grade.

  • 359. Mami_4  |  September 9, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    I just created a blog, it’s not the final thing but this is a great start. Please feel free to give me your feedback or suggestions to make this blog better for the parents, the teachers and if possible the principal, too. Please check it out:

  • 360. B. Lou  |  September 22, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    @359 Mami_4, how can I join the STEM blog? I tried visiting it, but I am not allowed, since I have not been invited. Thanks, b.lou

  • 361. Mami_4  |  September 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    @360 B.Lou-Unfortunately, I had to take it down…until further approval from the Principal, we need to discuss further. I think I provided too much information about the the Principal’s updates and I can understand the privacy and security reasons. I also had a calendar with all the events/meetings of the school and other newsletters for the parents to view. She did see the blog and thought it was very impressive, but wanted to discuss more about it and go over it what will be posted. I will be meeting with her and hopefully, she will approve. You can still view it, only if you have a gmail account. I will keep you all posted!

  • 362. Automotive avenue  |  December 18, 2011 at 1:25 am

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  • 363. мировые новости  |  January 26, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    мировые новости…

    […]STEM Magnet School News « CPS Obsessed[…]…

  • 364. Kristen Ostrander Holub  |  June 4, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    We are enrolled at STEM for K this coming Fall…haven’t heard anything from the school since registration day about summer reading, get-to-know-you gatherings, or even the attendance hours for next year! Does anyone have any info? Anything you can tell me about your experience at STEM is welcome, or if you have any 411 on what’s up (if anything) this Summer heading into next school year. Thanks!

  • 365. kiki h.  |  June 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    If you “like” STEM’s Facebook page, you’ll get updates. The year-end picnic for current families takes place this weekend, but I think something else is in the works for incoming families toward the end of summer. Hours next year are 8:00 to 3:00. If you call the office, I’m sure they’ll give you more info. K doesn’t usually have summer reading, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

  • 366. Jackie  |  July 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    There needs to be a Great Schools Profile on STEM so that honest opinions can be articulated. I see a lot of biased opinions and I don’t believe these are from actual parents.
    Just learned DCFS was looking into some situation of conduct by staff.

  • 367. sometruthinit  |  October 3, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    STEM principal = Dictator????????????

  • 368. Interested in STEM  |  October 11, 2012 at 10:27 am

    There is a Great Schools profile on STEM now. Can people who currently attend please post reviews for us prospective parents?

  • 369. Demika Caldwell  |  February 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    My child started at Stem when it first opened last year. We were excited because of curriculum offered, which has lived up to our expectations. I don’t have any complaints about the academic piece. It’s great.

    However, Stem is lacking people skills (customer service) starting with the principal as well as somewhat strict for primary grades. For example, children receive zeros if their name isn’t on the homework (no warning), zero if homework is late or if parent drops it off after 9am on the day it’s due, not allowed to wear holiday outerwear (hats), zero if homework isn’t in the correct bin, etc). I do believe in teaching accountability and responsibility to children without enabling, but children are human too and make mistakes just like adults. It’s just extremely harsh to primary children with an all or nothing policy.

    As for the staff including the principal, they haven’t created a child & family centered environment. Many parents believe it’s because majority of them are single, without children and unable to relate to parents. For example, a teacher told some parents they had to leave family science night because they brought siblings. And, it wasn’t to capacity. Really? Siblings are a part of the family. Parents were forced to leave with upset children.

    The curriculum is fantastic; I can’t say more about it. Also, they can’t make ever parent happy, but they can work on creating a more family centered environment and their customer service skills.

  • 370. annie  |  February 21, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    I too am a STEM parent and my children have been there since they opened. I love the curriculum but the staff leave an undesirable taste in your mouth. It is not everyone but most. i don’t understand how anyone would get into teaching for a reason other than inspiring young minds especially since they are dealing with children from K to 4th grade. These teachers are shaping the way they will view school for the rest of their educational career. yes we all are mesmerized by the test scores and the fact that they offer engineering is smoke and mirror. long term they are not learning they are being taught to cram for assessment tests. and the children that don’t measure up or if parents inquire or try to complain the principal’s response is find another school. which i think is not a stance that a principal should take especially when that comment is later followed by we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t care for the best interest of the children. the principal is not flexible and its her way or the hwy, but i guess its like everything when you have unsupervised power and the feeling of im untouchable because of the people i know you loose control and feel untouchable
    what is even more sad is that you have grown adults feeling pleasure and exercise uncontrolled and unsupervised power over children
    i feel that if i would have wanted a military school i would have chosen one for them. if i wanted an environment where i cant even speak to my child’s teacher because she avoids parent contact because we are annoying and crazy i would have chosen to be an uninvolved parent which i am not
    you may ask why are my kids still there well the answer is that i never thought i would be moving schools and unfortunately i didn’t apply for any other school and as you all know most of the good schools in the south side or in Chicago require testing or lottery.
    and lastly i was a STEM parent cheerleader until i witnessed some of the inappropriate behavior of the principal and lost all respect for her lastly parents are being bullied and are afraid of retaliation if they speak out 😦

  • 371. Amy  |  February 22, 2013 at 9:07 am

    @annie. Try Namaste Charter School. It’s in the south side. The deadline to apply for next year is March 1st. It is one of the few charter school that has good results.. Its worth a shot, even if it is lottery. Don’t know about other Charter schools but may be something to look into.

    It is sad that the principal is like that. It makes me happy that we didn’t get in even though last year I was number 9 and thought I had a chance.. Talking to teachers and principals is HUGE in dealing with your child’s education.

  • 372. HappySTEMParent  |  February 24, 2013 at 10:43 am

    My son is a 4th grader at STEM and we have nothing but positive things to say about the teachers and staff. I always feel welcomed and I appreciate how much they make my child feel important. The curriculum is excellent. He continues to be in the Honor Roll and has made it his goal to be a Principal Scolar. My son was not a happy student, an honor roll student but not happy, at the magnet school he came from and at STEM he truly enjoys learning. When I asked him how he felt about the homework policy he said he hopes they never change it because it makes him more responsible.

  • 373. ProudParentofTwo  |  February 26, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    I agree that STEM has a fantastic curriculum and believe it’ll be one of the top elementary schools in the state of Illinois and nationally in the near future. My son loves it. They offer a lot that the other high performing schools don’t (ie. dedicated teachers for science, technology and engineering). It’s the lack of “harmony” between the staff particularly the principal and parents that’s needed. It’s gotten better since last year, but there’s still work to be done. Last week the principal held her annual State of Stem Address, which outlines the current and future of the school (very informative). On the slide regarding area of improvements, emails were one; parents sending too many (she sarcastically says, wonder what they have to do besides send emails); then she informed parents they should be careful sending emails talking about teachers because the emails have gotten back to the teachers, which she’s right. However, in the next breath she says that she and the staff talk about parents especially the crazy ones. Myself and other parents were completely shocked by her comments. Do we all talk about each other good or bad? Yes, but there’s a time and place to make blanket statement. Also, there were CPS officials from Fulton Network in attendance. Hopefully, she received feedback and then more parents will want to work in “harmony” with a principal and staff.

  • 374. Happy STEM Parent  |  February 26, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    As an educator and a parent, I cannot tell you how happy I am to have my child at STEM. I agree with the previous post that STEM will be one of the best schools in the city and nation.
    My experiences with the staff and principal have been nothing but positive. My child loves attending school at STEM and is finally coming out of her shell.
    Working in a Chicago Public School, where the principal allows parents to “run the school,” I find it refreshing to meet a young principal who is honest, straightforward, not afraid to stand her ground and has high expectations of her students and staff. Believe me when I tell you things could be so much worse. Try interacting with a principal who has no vision for the the school, is afraid of parents and tells them whatever they want to hear because the LSC controls the contract, and has low or no expectations of the students and staff.
    Instead of complaining, I think we need should look at the bigger picture. At home many of us deal with one or two children. In the school setting teachers and principals deal with so much more; more than I think the average parent could ever imagine.
    Instead of bickering about the homework policy and recess let’s focus on how much our children are learning, because that’s what really matters.

  • 375. ProudParentofTwo  |  February 26, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    I agree that there are some parents that want try to “run” their school and administrators. However, as a parent we should be allowed to ask a question without being considered a “crazy” parent. Schools should be and are considered to be a community with the thought of working together; the administration and parents with the children as the first priority. Education fundamentals are an obvious priority, but that should also include child & family centered approaches, social, positive reinforcement, appropriate discipline, etc., which can speak to some of the strict policies at Stem.

  • 376. Happy STEM Parent  |  February 26, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    I don’t think the principal was implying that parents who ask questions are crazy. That doesn’t make sense when she and other staff members stood there for over an hour presenting and answering questions. She did say that sending 5-10 emails in a day is excessive (as an educator I agree).
    With regard to the strict policies, what may seem strict to some parents may not seem strict to others.
    The school is obviously trying to build better relationships with parents by offering parent sessions with the school counselor. Hopefully the parents who do so much complaining about building better relationships will attend.

  • 377. ProudParentofTwo  |  February 26, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    As I previously stated the State of Stem is very informative, but I’d also like to add that it was full of helpful details regarding the school stats and the goals of the school. The school’s curricullum is great, the communication received and responses to emails by the principal and teachers is phenominal. In the past I’ve experienced some that don’t respond at all. Also, I do believe the “harmony” will get better due to the passion that every one has for this to school to be a high performer. Hopefully, the gap will close for those parents and students that may have had some issues. The family counseling offered may also help too.

  • 378. Formerly working mom  |  February 26, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    I can’t imagine (beyond my involvement as a parent of a STEM student) what the Principal and Teachers deal with on a regular basis. No excuses here, but my guess is the Principal (who doesn’t have an AP) is responsible for non curricula things us parents might take for granted (I.e., broken toilets, snow removal, equipment repairs, broken phones, fire drills…making sure the building operations are running smoothly and safely daily). In addition, the Principal has to be accountable to the students, teachers, parents, and CPS (yikes)! Personally, I don’t care for some things but it’s put in perspective when I see the excitement in her eyes as she talks about what’s in store academically for our kids and how she and her team are determined to help our kids be the best they can be. My child is doing extremely well and continues to grow at STEM. As far as the emails to teachers, a STEM website with might help lessen some of the emails? It hasn’t been communicated when it will be up and running *sigh* Lots of growing pains, mine included. IMO, Principal must strive for balance to promote and maintain harmony.

  • 379. ProudParentofTwo  |  February 26, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Nicely stated… The website will be up March 1st per the State of Stem Address. It looks nice.

  • 380. stemdad2  |  February 27, 2013 at 12:58 am

    WOW! I just finished reading all of the comments. First, I want to thank my wife for convincing me to put our child in this school. I’m so impressed by all of the well-spoken, passionate and committed parents that we have regardless if you agree with each other or not. In the news young children are getting killed in record numbers by other young children and m first thought is, “where are the parents for the alleged criminals?” I’m pleased to know that Stem has parents that truly care and working to create a community. Here are my thoughts… We’re please with the curriculum, the extra-curriculum programs, and teachers and somewhat with the principal. The times I’ve been in contact with her, she comes across a little cold; not too friendly, but extremely career driven to make the numbers. Please keep in mind that I don’t think that’s a “bad” thing because I know schools are a business. When I learned about the homework policy, I too thought it was too strict for this age. I probably wouldn’t have made it out of under grad or law school if I received a zero for a paper that was turned in a little late. And, I probably forgot to put my name on a few assignments as a kid, but didn’t receive zeros. As I’m sure none of the highly intelligent and successful staff including the principal has attended a school with these types of policies. It’s called we’re all human beings. We make mistakes. In my opinion, the late policy was created for the parents. They want to hold the parents accountable and it’s not fair to the children. The no name on the papers was created to make the teachers jobs easier. How hard is it for a teacher to ask the students, “Whose paper is this?” Then reinforcing the requirement, “John, next time put your name on it.” I remember my teacher saying that to students and as a parent I have to remind our kids to put their clothes in the hamper daily. The purpose of homework is to help you learn what was taught in class or to gain information by reading and answering questions not a punishment.

  • 381. Formerly working mom  |  February 27, 2013 at 7:38 am

    @379 Thanks for the website info! Can anyone point me to the “homework policy” in writing, if it exists? I can’t recall ever seeing anything in writing other than no faxing or emailing homework and that 1st and last names and class rm number must be written on HW for science, technology and engineering. I do know of a STEM teacher whose practice is when kids don’t put their names on the their “classroom work” she instructs them to look in the bin, find your work and put your name on it!! Yet, reminding them that “the requirement will be enforced as they advance to higher grades” no do-overs! I appreciate that human approach even though it can be time consuming. I’m a stickler for names (and dates) on homework, always have been anal about that, but I still have to gently remind my child occasionally because in reality it’s just par for the course when working with young children! As far as late homework, do the teachers have the authority to make independent decisions on whether to accept it, depending on the circumstances? The perception (true or not) is teachers do not exercise this authority- HW policy applies to both repeat offenders and 1st time offender because “that is what the homework policy states”. Where is the written home work policy, especially the one that “allegedly” states you can’t get a replacement packet if you lost or damaged yours? The new STEM Website with policies parents can access will deter some of this “what is the rule?” confusion. It’s unlikely the rules “will be changed or amended” once stated, however:(

  • 382. STEM Kid's Dad  |  February 27, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    When stemdad2 refered to the Principal as being cold and not too friendly, I have to wonder if we encounter the same person. I agree that she is career driven, but ultimately her success as a principal is contingent upon and measured by CPS by how well our students perform. I find Mrs. McManus to be very friendly and easy to talk too. She is actually the reason my wife and I decided to put our kid in STEM. I am happy to have a principal and teachers who have taken the time to create and enforce rules for both parents and students. I am a police officer, who visits schools regularly and I see what happens in schools where kids are left to their own vices; it;s a nightmare! The rules may be harsh to some parents, but I’ve never seen or heard of a STEM student who dislikes school. Personally, I think years from now we all will appreciate what is being done for our kids. I tip my hat to the principal and her staff, I know for sure I could never do what they do.

  • 383. anonymouse teacher  |  February 27, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    @380, You wrote, “The no name on the papers was created to make the teachers jobs easier. How hard is it for a teacher to ask the students, “Whose paper is this?” ”
    You are kidding right?
    No, the idea that kids have to have their name on their paper is not to make teachers’ lives easier. It is so we can identify whose paper it is. I would never expect my bank to run around sending emails to all their patrons if my checks go in unsigned. I’d have a late-bounced check and I’d have to pay a penalty. Yes, I know you are referring to younger kids. I teach younger kids. I have been known to ask “whose paper is this?” as much as I wish I did not.
    But reality is, with hundreds and hundreds of papers each week, if even 5-10% of the papers get turned in unsigned, do you really want the teacher wasting all that class instructional time trying to find out whose paper it is? Kids learn habits early. This is a habit that is super hard to break later on. Be glad for it. Yes the purpose of homework is to reinforce what has already been learned during the day. Perhaps instead of reminding your children to put their clothes in the hamper, a better lesson would be no clean clothes for a day or two when they forget. (just like a zero on an assignment with no name) Natural consequences work wonders.

    As for the “no late work” policy, I can only assume if it is okay with you for your child to turn in late work sometimes (barring some emergency reason) then it is no problem if your child’s teacher is late to work a few times a year, and the parents have to wait outside with their children those days until she shows up. And yes, I attended universities with some professors who had a “no late” assignment policy. I wouldn’t dare think of ever asking a teacher or a boss to allow me to turn in work late. Who does that?

    Seriously, we have schools with crumbling infrastructure, shootings, gang problems, and communities in perpetual failure. And you want to complain about this?

  • 384. ProudParentofTwo  |  February 27, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    To the anonymous teacher… I agree that there are bigger issues within some CPS schools, but this isn’t a school that’s dealing with gangs, drugs, fighting, etc. These are K-4th graders. As irritating as it may be for you or another teacher to take a second to ask, “whose paper is this?” it’s your job and our jobs as parents to reinforce or assist with correcting the issue without punishment of giving out zeros after the 5yr, 6yr or 7yr old has completed the work. There are several other ways to handle that situation versus jeopardizing their grades.

  • 385. HappySTEMParent  |  February 27, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Our kids have a week to make sure their name is on their homework. Their homework is given on Monday and due on Friday, I would assume that’s enough time to write your name at any age.

  • 386. ProudParentofTwo  |  February 27, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Please don’t assume parents are only speaking about the name on the homework that’s turned in weekly and repeated late homework offenses because that’s an obvious answer.

  • 387. tchr  |  February 27, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    Tough love!

  • 388. teacherandmommy  |  February 28, 2013 at 12:35 am

    I agree with the “ProudParentOfTwo.” To give an elementary school child a 0 for omitting his/her name is ridiculous! What purpose does a “0” serve, and how does it solve the problem in the future? I commented to one of the teachers saying, “You must grade on a serious curve!” She laughed it off, but it really wasn’t funny. With these harsh policies it makes it difficult for hard working students to maintain good grades. I can’t imagine how 1 “0” damages those already struggling students. If every teacher “truly” enforced this policy there would be lots of low scores in STEM, and we all know that’s not what STEM teachers are aiming for. The best schools in CPS do not have such a policy. Why not take a more proactive approach instead of this reactive approach. Remind the students at the start to write their names, remind them again before it’s time to turn it in, walk around and compliment the ones that did have their names written. And let’s be honest… this isn’t a university or college, these teachers see the same students daily and know (at least they should by now) their student’s handwriting. How hard is it for the teacher to just write the name on the paper? And if it’s repeatedly happening, take away some recess time, take off 1-2 points. A “0” only makes the kid not want to work hard anymore and resent school. Wow, children not writing their names on papers must be a huge school wide issue, being that a policy was implemented. There are far more important things that could be implemented, such as help for our ESL students and families, fundraising events, student/parent/teacher morale survey, parent volunteer opportunities, etc. As someone stated above , since this isn’t a school that’s dealing with gangs, drugs, fighting, etc, I think our kids (good kids with parent involvement) do not deserve such harsh disciplinarian actions due to “no name” on a paper. And let’s be honest, neither the principal, teachers, you or I grew up under such harsh policies, and we all turned out great!

  • 389. Tchr  |  February 28, 2013 at 8:10 am

    What percentage of the grade does the homework count for? In kindergarten, I check off that the student does the homework. Homework is practice. If my kids are getting help at home, they have all the answers right because someone is retracting it. The kids that don’t get help don’t have the answers right because most of my students can’t read the directions by themselves. I am just curious how huge of an impact hw really has on their overall grade. Is this really a battle worth fighting over? Something I saw on pinterest- give the kid a highlighter and have them highlight their name before they put it in their folder to go back to school. Make it a routine that you enforce at home and soon it will be natural for them.

    Also, above wrote “since this isn’t a school that’s dealing with gangs, drugs, fighting, etc, I think our kids (good kids with parent involvement) do not deserve such harsh disciplinarian actions due to “no name” on a paper”. It is funny because this reminded me of the backlash parents had towards the $5 fines here and there for Noble St students being tardy, not tying shoes, eating chips, etc. Should these policies only exist for the “bad” kids?????

    On one hand, $5 is a ridiculous fine that can really add up and cause a strain on families. On the other hand, schools and teachers are constantly told they have to do more and do better, but without the support of parents and the structure and discipline in the school, it’s impossible. The hw policy seems silly, but really… Just put your name on the hw.

    In my class of K students, I don’t know everyone’s handwriting. Some of my students write big and messy and sometimes they write so tiny I can barely see it. My handwriting looks different when I make charts before school and when I am writing them as I teach. Sometimes students turn in hw, no name, no folder, and when I hold it up, NO ONE claims it!

  • 390. fourthgradeteacher  |  February 28, 2013 at 8:30 am

    bottom line the rules seem quite harsh for primary grade students. these are simple mistakes that get corrected quickly. as long as i’ve bee teaching (15 yrs), this has happened every year, but it wasn’t enough to create a policy. these situations have all been corrected with a conversation and for the repeat offenders a few more. enjoy your day parents. it’s time for me to get to school to teach my bright students.

  • 391. 4th Grade Mom  |  February 28, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Food For Thought: I wonder if the parents who complain about the homework and no name policy are the same parents who contribute to the over 800 tardys already this school year.

  • 392. Jackie  |  February 28, 2013 at 11:27 am

    The discussion back and forth shows that many parents are taking the time to care about their children. What I am reading here is that a supposed policy is enforced in this school. There is no such CPS policy indicating a zero for late work. You can call ISBE or CPS to be directed to the homework outlines.

    I am not sure why this school administrator feels the need to hand out a zero to a hard working child. It does not teach them that they will not do it again. It teaches them that they are in a hostile and stringent environment, where adults are the bully. I teach sensitivity training and have seen first hand what happens to children when Figures of Authority betray them. It is a betrayal when the teacher doesn’t acknowledge/accept the child’s work. This is a setup for failure. It brings the emotional well being of the child into jeopardy.

    The school Principal should take a closer look at what the priority and future of the school is to be. The goal is to uplift the children here, so they continue to thrive and want to please. Disrespect toward primary grade children, will foster disrespect from them as they get older. You don’t want them going into tween years resenting the faculty. This will cause behavior issues that even the best teachers and parents will struggle with. The future of these young minds depends on a broader and respectful vision not a hard line approach.

    Teachers have a difficult job, yes they do. This includes asking questions, guiding, grading and helping. You are charged with the great task of educating the children. Squandering time in the school day is not an option, so yes the names need to be on the assignments. However if the name is not on it, you will know it can only belong to the one without the grade. This is part of the educating process.

    If these common sense approaches are a strain to implement, perhaps these are not the right administrators for the children. Parents can voice their concerns to CPS Central Offices. Many CPS schools have seen an exodus of Principals. These new appointments are inexperienced in dealing with children and face the challenges of learning the job as they go. They need to be educated themselves on Social and Behavioral issues to help foster positive interactions for a successful educational environment.

  • 393. 4th Grade Mom  |  February 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I am amazed and annoyed by some people. We went from a policy ‘some’ parents dislike to getting rid of principals; get real! STEM is anything but a “hostile and stringent” environment. My son loves STEM and is excited to go to school even when there is no school. He never complains that the teachers or the principal are mean or bullys. Use your child and other STEM students as a gauge for whats going on in our school. If they are happy, then we should be happy to support what is going on at the school.

  • 394. ProudParentof2  |  February 28, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    I agree with the last comment. The principal hasn’t done anything to deserve firing. There’s no need for any parent to be nasty or spiteful.

    Like the comment saying she wonders if the parents complaining about the late homework policy contributed to the 800 tardys; my child has never turned in an assignment late and I think it’s a ridiculous policy. It’s not worth blog bickering. This is a school and since we’re all taxpayers and most importantly parents we have the right to ask or in other words “complain” about policies that affect our children.

  • 395. Bee  |  February 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    I am the parent of a 2nd grader and I must say that I really like STEM. I agree with a prior comment that the students have all week to write their names on the homework (what a challenge it would be to figure out which one of the children or many handed in homework without, it would take up so much class time.) Secondly, I don’t remember in growing up that I could hand in a school assignment late or whenever, I believe the teachers did not even accept it. My child does well in the school and we are very involved in his homework. I do feel bad for those students whose parents are not, but you have to be pretty much. I don’t think the children should be willy nilly about homework and certain requirements made by STEM to make them responsible for it, and parents shouldn’t be either about getting the kids to school on time. It seems pretty simple. I also like Ms. McManus, she has always been responsive for us, so that is all I can go on.

  • 396. Formerly working mom  |  February 28, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    @389 Tchr: my child’s weekly homework equates to about 15-20% of the final grade. I seriously doubt receiving a zero or perhaps 2 zeros would dramatically effect the final grade, since we have so many home work weeks in a quarter. I’m more concerned with the 20% weight for test scores in the various subjects because the child only has 2-3 opportunities to do well-unchecked by parents. At least the homework is an easy way to ensure the child earns maximum points because we have so many opportunities to get it right, submitted on time, and with names included. It’s totally under our control at this age.

  • 397. G. B.  |  February 28, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    Thank you for all of this great discussion. This really helps us parents read all the negative and positive. Better than those suspicious Great School reviews. Sound like they were written by school personnel with all of the compliments geared at themselves! Ha!
    We applied here and A. Jackson, but could walk here but this bullying is not good. Read about legal problems with this place too. What is up here?
    Where do we call to find out officially if a school has problems? Thanks all.

  • 398. HappySTEMParent  |  February 28, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    @397 There’s no perfect school. You have to find what’s right for you and your child. I use to want my kids at Jackson, but since my child started at STEM, and after talking to some Jackson parents, I’m 100% sure STEM is our perfect fit. My child is thriving and enjoys being at school. His test scores have improved so much. He’s more driven and more focused. He has a great group of friends and they are always challenging each other. He even knows where he wants to go high school and is starting his list of possible colleges. He loves all of teachers and all his classes. Most of all, he is happy.

  • 399. Kiki H.  |  March 1, 2013 at 9:20 am

    397, I’m not aware of any legal problems. Is there something you know that the rest of us don’t?

    FWIW, my kids have been really happy at STEM, despite the tough grading policies. I don’t mind that it’s hard to get straight A’s. it should be hard. My kids came from an RGC where it seemed like all the kids got straight A’s.
    I love the dynamic curriculum and the opportunities for problem solving and creativity. The teachers care so deeply for the studnts and are highly dedicated to meeting their needs.

    There have been a few glitches at STEM, but nothing terribly troubling. The biggest drawback has been the tiny playground. This is CPS. It could be far worse.

  • 400. annie  |  March 1, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    I don’t understand why parents get so upset at an opinion another parent may have. you being happy and having a great experience somewhere is great for you but others may not be having that same experience and we have to respect it. it doesn’t mean that it is not true it just means we all have different experiences.
    now as far as children being responsible: im pretty sure most of us didn’t experience responsibility until middle school and even then teachers where focused on teaching and inspiring and realized we are humans; thus err sometimes. I hear the principal; please excuse us we are human we make mistakes and the teachers: we are human we make mistakes ….. and these are adults and we have to comprehend that they are human.
    well hello parents, teachers, and principals these are children and they too make mistakes and in some incredible way they are human. as to the teacher that made the comment about the papers with no name; in STEM we do not suffer from overcrowded classrooms our class sizes run from 25 to 30 students so if 6 students do not have a name on a paper it is not hard for a homeroom teacher that spends 1to 2 periods with her students to ask them to claim them. the rest of the teachers have the kids 2 times a week it will not kill them to ask either.
    as high as the expectations the Principal has on our children she should have on the teachers
    I have not received any graded work from my child’s teacher for over 2 weeks. as a parent i would like to know what my child needs help in and with out class work passed back how will i know. parent portal has not been updated and my child’s grade is based on 4 assignments so my immediate thought is what do they do in class all day if they only have them for 2 periods a day that prevents them from grading and passing back work.
    I am GLAD that Ms Mcmanus is career driven and stern that is very admirable in a woman but maybe inappropriate in this field where you have to be compassionate when dealing with children. Business is more cut throat and possibly more appropriate.
    and for those that bring up the other problems in other schools and how minimal are problems or idiocies may be it is just a sign of mediocrity and complaisant view on what your child deserves.
    and for those that say everything is perfect ……. hello stop kidding yourself in life nothing is perfect
    I cant respect a person that asks for something they cant give
    yeah your human and you make mistakes well….. have the same tolerance for our kids

  • 401. annie  |  March 1, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    don’t forget that a child will always think things are great because they don’t know better
    for example the abused child will never see the abuse because it is the norm for him
    same thing here a child will not see anything wrong because they are at a tender age where we are allowing others influence their normal

  • 402. 4th Grade Mom  |  March 1, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    @400 You appear to be quite hostile with those parents who instead of joining your bandwagon and focus on the negative, are willing to take the good with the bad understanding that STEM is new and there will be growing pains. Many of us have had our children enrolled in other schools and have experienced far far worse. If you keep looking for the negative that is all you will see. Try a different approach!

  • 403. annie  |  March 1, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    that is exactly it. i am hostile with those that do not join me. sorry you feel that way with what i said. ultimately, im glad you are having a great experience and hope it will continue! unfortunately i don’t have far worse experiences with my child’s education and don’t feel that i have to be complacent!

  • 404. Kinder Parent  |  March 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    No need to be hostile and try to unnecessarily rally troops to join your side. Every child is different and the needs of every child is different. There are many schools in chicago and not every one is the best fit for every child or parent. I wondered at first if my kindergartener could handle all of the transitions, but I continue to be surprised by what my child is capable of doing. You don’t have to be complacent, but you do need to find a a school that you feel is going to better serve you and your child.

  • 405. J.A.  |  March 1, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Annie (400):

    I am a parent at STEM and I have had the unfortunate displeasure of my child being at a neighborhood school. I have to tell you it was horrific. I do feel that you are being a bit too unfair and unrealistic towards the school as well as the faculty. Perhaps STEM’s curriculum is too challenging for you and your kids and it would be best for you and your family to choose to enroll them in a less challenging school. I personally found the engineering lesson plans to be challenging but rewarding. My son gained valuable life lessons through those assignments which I am grateful for. He seems better equipped in knowing how to navigate problems and figure out their solutions. Personally, this has been a great help for me and my husband as before my son would want us to solve his problems for him, like how to fix something or create a solution. These are real world lessons!

    Where are you figuring that these teachers only have to periods a day with children? I never heard such a thing. They have like six classes a day they teach. Do the math that’s like 180 students. And I think it’s not about them not wanting to ask all 180 students whose paper it is, but more about teaching them how to follow instructions. Why don’t you tell your child to put his/her name on the paper…is that too hard for to do? If you can’t do it with only two kids then why would you ask a teacher to do it with 300? That’s ignorant.
    I don’t know, but I think maybe you’re not at this level of applying your children and yourself to this type of commitment that STEM requires. And that’s OK, There are many other choices in education that you can choose that’s a better fit for your family. We all have to enroll our children in the right type of learning environment to have peace of mind.
    Do you volunteer at the school? Perhaps we have met and crossed paths?

  • 406. Bee  |  March 1, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    @annie: you lost me at no responsibility for the kids…don’t bring up child abuse unless you know something about it (aka you are a child psychologist.) – which you clearly do not. No one is being hostile, except for yourself.

  • 407. StemParent  |  March 1, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    I can’t believe the ignorant and nasty comments written by some of these parents towards another parent that’s expressing HIS or HER opinion about the school, curriculum, administration, policies, etc. We all have the right to voice our opinion without being bullied on a blog! I never saw one parent stating they don’t want or can’t get their child to write their name on an assignment! They simply stated it’s a harsh punishment to give a child a Zero for it. It seems like everyone agrees that the school has many benefits, but has some room for improvement. Hopefully, it’ll continue to work through the growing pains. In the meantime, this is America and parents have the right to make suggestions and state their opinion.

  • 408. J.A.  |  March 1, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Really, not respecting or following directions is OK, then? Do they deserve a 100% for not putting their name on their assignment? Give me a break. I graduated HS in the 90’s and I got a zero if I didn’t turn my assignment in with my name on it. You parents who feel that it’s too much of a punishment need to stop babying your child and stop expecting everyone else to. Make your child turn it in assignments correclty, how about that? Can any of you do that? Stop blaiming the school because you can’t discipline your child to follow simple directions. They deserve to get a zero if they can’t write their name on a sheet paper…just like an adult would deserve not to get credit for a project at work if they didn’t put their name on it. Teach your kids life lessons now before it’s too late and they fail in life because you taught that they deserve to get chance after chance after change.

  • 409. beeonadiet  |  March 1, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    JEEZ – thank you J.A., exactly!

  • 410. StemParent  |  March 1, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    My child has always put their name on an assignment, but I’m not going to blame a parent of babying their child because they don’t think it’s a good policy to give a child a zero for no name after the child worked hard on their assignment. If it happens to my child, I’d rather his teacher remind him versus giving him a zero. Have you heard of the saying, “It’s called a mistake.” It’s a difference when it happens repeatedly.

    Once again, it’s called their opinion and we all have one. There’s no need for you to attack parents characters on a blog.

  • 411. J.A.  |  March 2, 2013 at 12:08 am

    But yet parents don’t have a problem attacking a teacher’s simply b/c they are training to enforce a good habit. Please it’s laughable at how so many parents at STEM expect to have their kids enroll in this school which is magnat school and not feel that they have to do their part. Try to get away with this at high school or college. Tell them you don’t like their zero policy for no name and they will have no problem not taking your kid back and letting another kid in who has respect for following rules. Gee everyone, you really are making too much of a big deal by this zero policy. It’s simple, have your kid put their name on their paper. Problem solved. Don’t you all look over your kids homework? How are you missing that? Wow.

  • 412. StemParent  |  March 2, 2013 at 12:36 am

    JA… I think all parents agree that their child should put their name on their assignments and I’m sure most if not all check the homework before its returned to school, but this isn’t the only time a child has to write their name. For example, when I vunteered in my child’s class the teacher passed out an assignment. I noticed a couple kids that just started doing the worksheet before putting their name on it and I reminded a couple not to forget. It happens. It’s not a big deal, but like another parent stated it shouldn’t be a punishment. It’s a lot of bigger fish to fry than giving out zeros for homework turned in late or a name missing and I’m speaking from non-excessive circumstances. When I was in graduate school at Northwestern, most of my professors accepted late work with a percentage deducted. I like the school and my child is doing great, but in my opinion there are some policies that are extreme for primary level only. Not high school or college.

  • 413. annie  |  March 2, 2013 at 8:34 am

    i don’t understand why some parents take it as a personal attack when a comment or an opinion is expressed.
    i don’t have a problem with the curriculum my child is a principal scholar. i have a problem with the some of the policies and some of the attitudes of some of the teachers and principal. the kids are being denied recess sometimes because they are loud during lunch or when lining up after eating lunch. I just think it is a bit excessive. and for those that said i was hostile by no means was that my intention. and reading over what i have said it still doesn’t sound hostile. as far as the abuse comment read it over it was an example on how children do not notice things are wrong when they considered the behavior the norm. As far as what I do for someone to assume i don’t have a psychology background I wonder if asking me would have been a wiser choice than having an incorrect assumption. this whole blog is hostile; attacks because we have an opinion
    the school is a magnet school not a school with a gifted program where you have to test….
    you get in not by merit but by a lottery
    and for anyone to suggest that i should move my child because i don’t agree with some of the things that go on in my child’s class or in the school is not right
    school is for learning
    and i think the problem with the no name policy is not a homework issue but a classwork issue

  • 414. sadatSTEM  |  March 2, 2013 at 9:21 am

    As a STEM parent, I agree with Annie that things are not right beyond the fantastic curriculum. My child has learned tons but I just recently learned he is paying a high emotional price as a mere 5 year old. very sad.

  • 415. Formerly working mom  |  March 2, 2013 at 9:58 am

    After reading several posts regarding the STEM homework policy, I did a quick search on the Internet to see how other elementary schools handle the late homework debate. I only looked at roughly 15-20 schools across the country and surprisingly did not find any in this small sample that support the “zero” policy as the 1st line of action. Several of the schools implemented steps…1 day late = 70%; 2 days late = 50%, 3 days = 0%. etc. One school had a 6 step process that included notes home, then escalated to phone calls and then parent/teacher conference by the 6th incident. Wow! However, I did not find any schools that address “no name = zero”. The more I think about this, the more I’m inclined to support evidence based policies designed to teach responsibility without jeopardizing a students motivation and grades. One example cited in an article I read earlier described a student who earns As on tests but received a few zeros on homework (20% of final grade) which resulted in a D final grade. Check out the link below and scroll down to bottom of the page to “what about late homework, absences and zeros?”

  • 416. StemParent  |  March 2, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Formerly Working Mom, thanks for sharing. This article speaks to all sides (students, teachers, principal). It would just be nice to have a policy that reflects teaching accountability, but not completely affecting the students grades.

  • 417. Happy STEM Parent  |  March 2, 2013 at 11:51 am

    I keep reading how fantastic the curriculum is at STEM. However, I don’t hear those same parent posts giving credit to the principal and teachers who created and now implement a curriculum that did not exist for primary students in CPS prior to the opening of STEM.
    I attended 2 orientation sessions year 1 and both of the open houses last year and all of the presenters, principal and kinder teachers, made it very clear that this is not a typical cps kinder program or a typical program within cps at any grade level.
    As a parent I have been stretched. I have been forced to readjust my schedule, turn off my cell phone and DVR my favorite programs so I can make sure my child is prepared for school. I have also learned from volunteering at the school for both lunch duty and with the specialists that dealing with one or two children is far different than dealing with 30, 60 or even 300 students at one time.
    The policies whether we agree with or even understand them are the polices, now let’s move on to something else.

  • 418. sadatSTEM  |  March 2, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Happy STEM Parent, when you volunteer at the school how would you describe the interactions between teachers/authority figures and students that are not standing perfectly still and quiet in line?

    I personally have no problems at all with the amount of homework or the policies regarding it. It is strict and I’m OK with that to a point. I knew we weren’t signing up for a warm fuzzy play-based kinder program and I specifically chose it for the STEM programing, rigor, differentiation, and the fantastic art and music programming that round it out.

    But I am disturbed by many interactions I have witnessed and heard about, the adults’ general attitudes, and the tone/feeling within the school during a regular school day. At some point the scale tips when you weigh your child’s social and emotional development against the wonderful curriculum. I’m not sure why we can’t have both? Be modeling kindness and respect instead of just demanding it? And while I’m on a roll, the punishments rarely seem to me to fit the crimes.

  • 419. Kiki H.  |  March 2, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Not to dismiss your concerns, 418, but I think the attitudes you describe are commonplace in CPS, not just STEM. I remember feeling very concerned when my oldest was in kindergarten at another school. As far as I can tell, the emotional price you mention is paid in all high performing CPS schools. I don’t know if it gets any easier, but you do eventually get used to it. Sort of. Some kids deal with it better than others. Mine is sensitive, unfortunately, and came home sad and ashamed after the awards ceremony yesterday, having not made honor roll. (Thanks in part to a homework packet lost by her mother!)

    Fortunately, we’ve found that on the daily,STEM teachers have been far more nurturing and engaging than we’ve had elsewhere. Aside from recess and lunch, which are definitely stressful for the kids, it has been a huge improvement over the last school we were at. The recess and lunch people really do need some training in how to treat children at the very least.

    And p.s., the k teachers do have a bad reputation. The first grade teachers are super sweet. If you stick it out, it will get much better.

  • 420. Happy STEM Parent  |  March 2, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    @ 418 STEM students are asked to be quiet in the halls, to me there is nothing wrong with that. Are they completely silent, no, but if a student is yelling and goofing off, which they do (these kids are no angels), I’ve seen a teacher go over and tap the student on the shoulder or whisper in his or her ear to be quiet. If the behavior continues, the student may be asked to walk beside the teacher. I have seen the principal use the STEM quiet symbol and never utter a word until the students are quiet and ready to proceed into the lunchroom or the next activity. I seen classes go late to recess because they took to long cleaning off their tables, dumping their trash and lining up quietly.
    Maybe you should volunteer for lunch or recess sometime, I think it will change your perspective. It definitely made me look at things differently. I can honestly say that I have found pretty much the entire staff, principal, teachers and others are nice, extremely intelligent and very respectful and really want what is best for all of our children.

  • 421. dee tadese  |  March 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm

  • 422. sadatSTEM  |  March 3, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    @421 – ??

    @Happy STEM Parent, of course I understand and agree with policies like no talking in the hallways. But the respectful, normal ways in which you relate their being enforced are quite different from what I have witnessed. We have obviously not experienced the same teachers on the same days.

    @392 Jackie – well said. And I believe the “no name on homework” issue is only the tip of the iceberg.

  • 423. MG  |  March 4, 2013 at 2:34 am

    I agree with another parent that this is just CPS. Based on my research CPS schools are extremely “institutionalized,” like many other major cities, which doesn’t reflect real life. These are somewhat the same type of practices exercised in prisons. In the real world, we solve problems and utilize our critical thinking skills. Unfortunately, this has now started at the elementary stage instead of teenage. As parents we’ve accepted this as strict discipline, responsibility, etc. We can believe that this will help our children in the long run, but does it? Many of the leaders of our country or their children haven’t been or being taught in an institutionalized environment. Unfortunately, CPS is our only choice.

  • 424. Neighborhood school parent/outside looking in  |  March 4, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Question for those that are ‘less than happy at STEM’ – Are you planning on leaving? Will you vote with your feet?

  • 425. We're all gonna stay right here.  |  March 4, 2013 at 11:27 am

    The curriculm is great? really?
    What is so great? Most of the teachers are nice but there are a few that try to snuggle up to the principal. Its not their fault. They have to keep their jobs so they do what they’re told. No one is blaming teachers!! They have to go to websites and print out sheets for the kids to work on at home. Smoke and mirrors is the perfect description. The curriculum is not designed by the principal its handed to her by the STEM program. Home schoolers can get the same material.
    What happens to all those funds they are always raising? Are they buying more ipads as gifts? Maybe? read the,
    @ KIKI See for the lawsuit against this school.
    @G.B. Call CPS Central Office and Ask for the Fulton Network, better yet call the Tribune ask for the local desk.
    @J.A. you are pretty hostile yourself calling someone ignorant, for voicing a concern against children.
    It wouldn’t surprise me if the principal is writing many of the above responses. It sounds like you’re talking to her. Telling people to leave all the time.
    @ 424 – Vote with your feet? No that would be voices to the media. It’s hard enough getting into any decent school in this city. Parents don’t need to take their kids anywhere.

    EVERY parent that’s had a modicum of interaction with this person knows she is immature and doesn’t care for children. This is a stepping stone for her. She’s just gonna keep stepping on those kids! Complimenting herself some more, she’s the only one who will. Hostile? Why yes she is! Slams her hands on tables during a meeting with the school committee! Frequently tells parents to leave the school if they don’t like her ways. Those 800 tardies. Does this include the principal? She is NEVER there at 8am!!!!! Misrepresents the founding of an LSC. Told the Friends of Stem that their group will suffice and no PTO allowed. Wants to handpick room parents so she doesn’t have problems with people. I could go on and on.
    This place has a serious problem and the city needs to take a closer look.

    The principal is PUBLIC employee paid with taxpayer dollars. Over $100K to a CPS principal with complaints to the hilt. Parents you don’t need to go anywhere. Many, many of you that transferred out you can still complain. Use your voices and speak up!
    Taxpayers own this school and dissatisfied parents need to step it up and complain to the proper authorities not this blog. Dozens have already done so and some things have changed. It will get better once more of you stop being afraid and advocate for your children!

  • 426. Happy STEM Parent  |  March 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I refuse to get drawn in to all of this NEGATIVE minutia. I appreciate the STEM team and all of the hard work they do for our children. I choose to remain positive!

  • 427. 4th Grade Mom  |  March 4, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Trying to refrain from commenting but after reading #425 I felt it was necessary. Do I like all of the STEM policies, no, but have I learned to abide by them, yes.
    @KiKi all CPS principals who opted for the longer school day( a benefit for our children) were sued by the union; nothing ever came of it
    @GB Start by scheduling a conference with the principal, you may get more accomplished that way
    @JA your comment was in support of the STEM staff, which obviously isn’t appreciated on this blog
    @424 I don’t think any parents will be leaving, STEM is a great school
    I could also refute some of the other comments regarding the principal not arriving at 8am by saying when the weather was warm she and the security officer directed traffic everyday before school and after school
    PTO versus Friends of STEM, why pay a national organization when we can have a Friends of organization for free
    Room Parents are not assigned, they volunteer and I have volunteered for the past two years
    There are dissatisfied parents at EVERY CPS school. One person in the form of a principal cannot and should not be expected to make everyone happy!

  • 428. Peter  |  March 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I corrected this for you:

    “There are dissatisfied parents at EVERY school.”

  • 429. Janet Linares  |  March 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    In my opinion the homework is too easy for third grade I am for children getting homework everyday. I love the school my son came from private school for four years he had to make major adjustments. As far as the teachers and principle they are highly educated people. Most cps school don’t care children are just a number and are a ticket for people to get paid. Don’t say bad things about the school unless you been to a south side school or a west side school where kids under perform teachers don’t care and children become lost in a system of school are underfunded but north side schools get more funding. So with the cuts our state made for education we will see how it impacts all children.

  • 430. chicagomom65  |  March 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    There is nothing wrong with listing pros and cons of this school.
    Prospective parents would benefit from hearing all the pros and the cons.
    I find it highly suspicious that some parents find this school to be perfect? and all good?
    As this was a new school, many of us didn’t realize there would be a 7.5 hour day last year for our very young children. Thank goodness it was decreased to 7 hours this year.
    As for homework, I find it ridiculous that K-2 even need homework! They spend 5 days a week in school and it should suffice.
    The school suffers more from quality of life issues not as many curriculum issues:
    Kindergarten kids are not allowed water with their snack
    Recess taken away as punishment (against CPS policy)
    Entire class punished for actions of a few
    Angry screaming and yelling at individual kids are frequently employed as disciplinary techniques by a nameless Kinder teacher.
    Parents’ suggestions not made to feel welcome by administration
    No PTO
    Many more….
    There is nothing wrong with parents voicing ways to make a school better for their children. Our first job as parents is to advocate for our children, not the school administration or staff.

  • 431. Parent Searching for K  |  March 9, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Can someone list the pros and cons of the kindergarten classes at stem? As well as the kinder staff..

  • 432. southloopmom  |  March 21, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Wait listed very high today … now I’m nauseous reading the growing pains. I’m already dealing with overcrowding, screaming teachers and a lunch staff who pull recess. We have a 504 in place, which would reduce HW, give him a few more days to turn it in and guarantees he will have recess. Does anyone have an IEP or a 504 that would want to chat via email? Thanks!

  • 433. M. Atlas  |  March 21, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    We have a 504. You can email me at maria_atlas, yahoo.

  • 434. Formerly working mom  |  March 23, 2013 at 8:25 am

    STEM Website
    The STEM Magnet Academy website is up and running. For the latest information on our school, please visit us at

  • 435. FormerStemFamily  |  March 23, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    voted with our feet, and it was the best decision we ever made.

    STEM was terrible in so many ways that we were happy to go through the awful CPS application process again and take our chances. I will refrain from posting the abuse I have witnessed and endured at this school as it seems there are some overzealous commenters ready to discredit any negative postings.

    We fully embraced this school, its vision, and all of its policies. We meticulously followed all the rules and accepted harsh penalties without complaint. Despite this, we never experienced any success in the classroom or with the administration. If anything, our alacrity was met with suspicion and our child regarded as a nuisance.

    Life with STEM was incredibly stressful, provided little benefit, and brought active harm, both intellectual and physical. I am not the only one who feels this way; teachers and students have been leaving STEM in large numbers since its inception.

    Though some characterize these problems as growing pains, I am unwilling to sacrifice my family to participate in their fumbled experiment. The entire system is replete with failure, from the dismal curriculum to the misguided penal system. I don’t doubt that STEM can grow into a better school, but your angry, uneducated children will be the stepping stones to this glorious future.

  • 436. southloopmom  |  March 25, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Please clarify what you mean by abuse — and can you also clarify what you mean by “success in the classroom?” How were your NWEA scores in Sept? ISATs? And where did you land – how does your new school differ? What grade were you in at STEM? Tx.

  • 437. Lisa II  |  March 26, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Thank you everyone for your comments the pros & cons of STEM, my DD was offered a spot at this school Kinder Fall 2013-14 as well as Hawthorne and Disney my neighborhood school is Ogden International any insights about the above mentioned schools? it would be helpful as well TIA! ; )

  • 438. Jeff  |  March 26, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Wow, well we certainly do have the extremes of STEM opinion represented here. And on both sides! The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, right? I’m a STEM parent and have been at the school since the beginning. I am really sorry to hear about some of the negative experiences people have posted about here. That has not been my families’ experience at STEM. My family has had an extremely positive experience. My second grade daughter is thriving, both academically and socially, and I do believe she genuinely loves her school. She loves going to school too, which is very important to me. While this is a small sample, I do believe my daughter’s friend’s families are having equally positive experiences, again, both academically and socially.

    I am sure the posters who are reporting REALLY negative experiences are being genuine. But I don’t think their experience represents the typical STEM experience. And in the interest of giving prospective parents the best possible information, I’m sure my STEM experience is not the typical experience either! I’ll give you my impressions of the STEM program, and you can add it to all the others on this blog. The STEM program is very rigorous, very challenging, and very demanding. The work load is high, right from the beginning, as are the expectations for all students. Homework and out of class projects do consume a good deal of time at night, probably averaging about 50 minutes per night. This varies across families of course. I know some who spend more, some who spend less. The teachers we have had (classroom and special teachers) are really outstanding. Some are actually beyond outstanding. They care, are creative, and are highly motivated to do their jobs. They come up with remarkably creative projects that my daughter has thoroughly enjoyed. And while STEM kids do work hard, they play hard too. My daughter enjoys the field trips they’ve taken, and the movie and pizza parties her classes have gotten for hitting certain milestones. My family has had some “issues” with the discipline policies. My wife describes the discipline policies in terms I will not use here! We do think they can be overly harsh, and we sometimes don’t think the punishment has fit the crime with some children we know. For example, taking away recess from a 6 year old boy because he was fidgeting is not appropriate in my mind. I have heard of a number of examples of this kind of thing. I’ve also heard of several examples of collective punishment where an entire class is restricted because of one child’s behavior issues.

    That’s the abridged version! My family is really happy at STEM and we feel fortunate to be there. Luckily, the program is a really good fit for my daughter. But that just isn’t going to be the case for every child. I have neighbors who are convinced that their children would not do well at STEM because of the things I said above. I hope this will help prospective parents learn more about what the school offers.

  • 439. chicagomom65  |  March 26, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    To 435
    Go to Hawthorne. Check out their before school and after school programming which is awesome!
    Huge parent participation.

  • 440. Mom  |  March 26, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has received a $4.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support the launch of a comprehensive initiative aimed at improving the health and well-being of Chicago’s students:
    CPS new policy for 2012-2013 year is mandatory 20 minutes recess for every student that cannot be withheld as a form of punishment.

  • 441. tier 3  |  March 28, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    we were offered a spot for K in the fall. I’m a CPS product and have an older child at another school, so I understand the bureaucratic/disciplinarian/etc issues that come with CPS.

    My question is: what type of child do you think is a good fit for STEM? what type of personality, what type of learner, what type of child in a social context?

    Another question: how responsive is the administration to suggestions and change? How much influence does the parent group have in terms of collaborating with admin for decisions that affect the kids?

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I appreciate all the comments, whether pro or con; my main concern is whether what STEM is doing well works and whether what isn’t working well is able to be improved.

  • 442. Formerly working mom  |  March 29, 2013 at 9:28 am

    @441 tier 3: Congrats on acceptance at STEM! This opinion is based only my experience: A child will do well at STEM if he/she can adjust to a highly structured environment, is able to make transitions daily to the variety of specials classes because kids are not in their homeroom class all day – the kids change classes sorta like HS students do. All types of learners can do well at STEM with parental support. The teachers do differentiate math and reading. Child and parent must be comfortable being exposed to a wide variety of personality types, cultures, ethnicities, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds. It is not a homogenous environment, it is multicultural. Parents must be involved and actively engaged with the teachers and staff because of the homework load and project based learning assignments. Kinder is not a play based, montessori style environment — hearsay, but perhaps other kinder parents will post on this.

    The parent group is brand new, officially started this current school year and is actively working with administration to support STEM on various fundraising initiatives.

    The administration and teachers have been mostly responsive (my opinion) when approached in a professional manner. This approach allows me to gain a better understanding of some issues they encounter and it sorta eases my frustration when I am able to talk openly and directly to them as opposed to sharing my grievances on a public blog such as this. I guess the jury is still out deliberating on “responsiveness from admin?” based on some previous posts. I agree with @438 Jeff on discipline policies being harsh. Also, Homework zeros even for 1st time offenders is drastic. There is room for improvement.

    We really like STEM. My child (boy) loves to socialize in class, is very outgoing and would probably rather play than work. But, he is very competitive for good grades and is doing fantastically at STEM despite all of his talking. His homeroom teacher works with him on making good choices, focusing, and less socializing when it’s time to work. We partnered on this effort and it’s working. I love her!

  • 443. local  |  March 29, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I wonder what happens for kids who have emerging ADHD/ADD in this environment? I’ve seen students with ADHD/ADD symptoms flame out with sanctions such as the 0 on homework mentioned above. Is there a way for those kids to thrive at this STEM or should they start looking elsewhere before they hit the higher grades? What is the school’s approach to IEP/504s?

  • 444. tier 3  |  March 29, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    @442 thanks for the feedback; very helpful. as for the harsh approach to discipline, do teachers and admin communicate this clearly? For example, I could understand if there are written policies sent home in a “handbook” during the first few weeks of class and if the zero policy is written out. If they’re not, I’d hate to learn these rules the hard way.

    Also, what is the start and end time? Couldn’t find it on the website..

    I feel like kindergarten is such an important year to acclimate to a school culture, socialize with peers, etc. So I’m a bit jittery considering I’m reading that the K teachers are a bit rough around the edges; any 5 year old adjusting to a 7-hr school day is gonna have some rough moments!

    Can any kinder parents share their experiences?

  • 445. howaboutcookie  |  March 29, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    @443 I agree, great question. sometimes I wonder if my child has mild sensory issues, but it’s such a new “thing” that seems to be not very well-received among traditional parents or educators.

  • 446. 2to4  |  March 31, 2013 at 1:15 am

    Your kinder will not do well if needing a loving nurturing setting. Even if not being yelled at, will witness much yelling and angry verbal discipline.
    Very small gym so many recess breaks take place in an empty classroom.
    Outside vendor who monitors recess frequently witholds recess to entire class for actions of a few. Apparently letting kids free to choose how they want to play during recess is very low priority. For grade school kids recess is crucial.
    95% of teachers are outstanding. Don’t know why they protect the very minority who would do better with older high school kids or different subject.
    Testing success is so obsessive, all school assemblies where honor students are rewarded in front of their peers is employed as an incentive discounting the fact that 6, 7 and 8 year olds cannot even figure out their gpa at this point! So sad to see the little faces of kids who are working incredibly hard to get a c!

    Parents have no formal venue for speaking about concerns. We are constantly asked to donate money to our school but the principal has no interest in what issues are of concern for parents. No surveys etc.

  • 447. MG  |  March 31, 2013 at 2:26 am

    I completely agree with the comments of 2to4! STEM would be a fantastic school if CPS truly cared about providing leadership that seemed interested in the students and not dictating.
    Even though my child has always received a honor roll award, I still think the Stemmie Awards are unnecessary and humiliating for the non-recipients at such a young age. Many schools acknowledge honor roll students, but not in this type of setting; it creates an environment that the students and parents are competing to get A’s and B’s.
    As for the curriculum, it’s good compared to other CPS schools, but we shouldn’t be grateful to the teachers or principal. All schools should have a good curriculum. The curriculum at STEM would be the same with or without them working at this school.
    A parent on here stated the teachers are highly educated. These teachers have met the requirement that all other CPS teachers have by having a minimum of a Bachelors, Masters or Ph.D. STEM isn’t any different.
    Also, many parents on this blog stated the punishments issued usually don’t fit the issue at hand. I’ve heard that the principal decided to start hardball at Stem because she came from Skinner North and the parents ran over the principal. Well, according to the statistics Skinner North is doing great, so the principal and parents are doing something right. Hopefully, it’ll get better in the future.

  • 448. Classical Parent  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:46 am

    @MG I am a waitlisted parent who is also a classical school parent. I have applied to STEM and been waitlisted every year since the school opened. You are right in your comment that the parents at Skinner North run over the principal. From the outside everything at Skinner North and other schools may look wonderful, but everything that seems to glitter is not gold. I keep applying trying desperately to get a coveted seat at STEM. Be grateful for what you have.

  • 449. Waitlisted Parent  |  March 31, 2013 at 10:53 am

    To the parent who thinks it has nothing to do with the principal and the teachers you couldn’t be more wrong. CPS is closing 61 schools not because of underutilization like they would like for us to think, but its because of a lack of strong leadership and poor instruction. They are agreeing to put STEM schools or STEM programs in the welcoming schools. If its that easy and anyone can provide the instruction then those schools should offer a program that is comparable to the first CPS STEM school and you might be willing to give up your seat, transfer your child to one of those schools and give my child your child’s seat. I don’t think so!

  • 450. keeping Stem together  |  March 31, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    @443 tier 3 says:

    “For example, I could understand if there are written policies sent home in a “handbook” during the first few weeks of class and if the zero policy is written out. If they’re not, I’d hate to learn these rules the hard way”

    –No, there is no STEM handbook detailing HW policies, etc. You learned as you go. This method can lead to parent frustration because expectations are not clearly spelled out.

    I read all the comments from the people above. Ms. Mcmanus if youre reading these comments, please help by addressing some of these concerns if you havent already done so. This stuff is festering and growing because parents may not feel as if they have an outlet to discuss at school, so resort to using this blog site. This might not be appropriate but i want to say that You can help, please send an email or letter to parents acknowledging youre aware and working on some of these concerns (recess, yelling, homework), something so we know we are being heard. Im concerned that our school community is being affected by these things and dont want it to spread. Stem is a wonderful school with wonderful teachers, parents and kids. Help us keep it this way so it has to be a collective effort.

  • 451. stem parent  |  March 31, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    @ keeping stem together, I agree stem may need a school wide handbook but for the last 2 yrs I received a handbook from the teacher for the grade my child is in. It had all of the school policies in it, including the no late homework policy. I also know that the company the school uses for recess and afterschool is a company the parents recommended. So why are they complaining about it? Its obvious Ms. McManus listens to our opinions, she just isn’t quick to respond or react to everything we want. There are over 300 of us and we all want different things. I personally think she takes time to process things and the impact its going to have on all families before making a decision. Lastly, I hope she isn’t reading this blog. For a woman with no assistant principal and works so hard for our children, how discouraging!

  • 452. Intently Following this Blog  |  March 31, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    @451 – Are you kidding? McManus and the staff already have this link. These are not the rants of a select group of discontented parents upset because their child lost recess. These are educated, committed (and some very experienced) parents who see the strengths of the school and have valuable/valid input to share with a first year principal, establishing a brand new school. McManus should welcome their concerns, communicate her perspective and review policies for the best interest of the children. The emphasis on grades without a social/emotional platform is short-sighted, particularly with these very young children. Schools want 100% parental involvement and commitment — well, that requires a reciprocal, respectful relationship.

    PS — Contracted recess/lunchroom aides — are simply enforcing the school’s discipline plan. I find it IRONIC that CPS has a direct link from their recess page to the STEM children – lol.


    “Recess provides an opportunity for physical activity, fosters an enjoyment of movement and exercise, and aids social development. Studies have found daily recess can enhance cognitive skills, reduce behavioral problems, and increase attention and concentration in the classroom. Recess also facilitates stress reduction, supports learning outside the classroom, and offers a break from instruction.”

    Recess at our schools

    *************Check out recess at STEM Magnet Academy*****************

  • 453. stem parent  |  March 31, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    @452 reciprocal and respectful, are you kidding??? cps obsessed is anything but that. parents hiding behind computers saying things about teachers and principals they would never say to their face. if youre serious make an appointment to talk about your concerns and stop wasting your time airing them on this blog designed to bash teachers and principals. that isn’t helping it’s only creating a greater divide between the school and parents.

  • 454. Intently Following this Blog  |  April 1, 2013 at 5:49 am

    @451&453 – Where’s the bashing and why is criticism divisive? Heck, it’s only divisive if you don’t like the response 🙂 But first you need a response. (Or, am I dense — is the lack of response, the response?)

    And, who is hiding? As you’ve noted — parents _have_ voiced these concerns (you believe “McManus listens but responds slowly”) — and are waiting. I see 3 areas where parents have expressed a need for improvement/clarification (communication/responsiveness, discipline and the heavy emphasis on a grades-based reward system). All are valid concerns, NONE particularly difficult to amend (or not amend), that need to be addressed if the school is to meet their goals (below).

    Establishing a strong school is an ongoing project. The majority agrees — the curriculum is strong, the teachers enthusiastic, the parents committed. The rest is fine tuning …

  • 455. Non stem parent  |  April 1, 2013 at 8:36 am

    I am not a STEM parent, my kids are happily attending another school.

    Just wanted to say that all this back and forth about STEM is painful to see. Many of the concerns (some real IMO and others absurd) are not any different from issues that you find at other schools. The common theme here is the strength of the curriculum and teachers. As someone else points out, be thankful for that because this does separate you from many other schools.

    The ongoing complaining and bickering by parents can’t be any good. If this was a business you would all be fired so that the company could move forward in a positive way.

    I am shocked that people expect the principal to come on to a public blog and make a statement about school policy. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t expect that or think it prudent.

    OK – I’ve said it FWIW. This is none of my business so I won’t be bantering back and forth, but this is a public forum. Instead of airing your dirty laundry try to make a change or move on.

  • 456. southloopmom  |  April 1, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Still information gathering — can someone tell me about bus service? Would I qualify from the south loop (15th & state) and would that mean they’d return my child back to the south loop school where I could enroll him in that after school program?

  • 457. STEM Parent  |  April 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    We have been doing the bus for two years. Touch schedule since pick up is around 630 AM and return isn’t until after 430 PM. They seem to go a big route and bus is around 3 hours daily. Not ideal use of time, but only option for us since I work.

  • 458. southloopmom  |  April 2, 2013 at 9:07 am

    FYI – The bus picks up at South Loop School @ 7:30am and drops off at 3:30pm — for parents near SLS. You would also be able to register for SLS’s after school program that goes until 6pm, run by Youth Guidance.

  • 459. Kate  |  April 2, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I agree with 455, but i also have to say these kinds of criticism occur and every school, and schools have all kinds of students and have all kinds of parents so there is bound to be disagreement on issues. It is a Process and parents and principals and teachers have to stay in productive communication about it, and if verbal doesnt work do it in writing.

    Disciplinary tactics sometimes differ from teacher to teacher.

    ANy discipline in Kindergarten is very hard for young kids to take. It doesn’t matter how ‘good’ they are at home or what your experience is as a parent. Now kids are in a Very structured environment where they have to learn to listen, keep their butts in seats, and keep hands and feet to themselves, so there has to be some strictness of order otherwise teacher can’t teach. I teach at 4 diffferent schools (level 3 to level 1) and Kids often behave differently in school compared to home–some kids behave better in school, some far worse/disruptive and some no change. If a measure of discipline or structure is causing damage to self esteem–take it up with teacher first, then case manager. Going direct to Princi[pal is totally ineffective. We changed discipline code at my sons school since one measure of discipline was causeing floods of tears and kids to feel “dumb”.

    Recess used to be taken away from students, now it cant be.

    I, as a fairly strict parent at home, want strict discipline in school. I also do not appreciate when my son’s entire class is punished for one kid’s behavior which has been a recurring problem at my son’s CPS school. I have been petitioning the principal to have kids sent to the office as it is not fair for all to be punished for one–I think it is total BS and not holding kids accountable, or holding their parents accountable.

    Kindergarten-2nd grade is when many learning disabilities and other disabilities with speech, language, hearing and behaviors are identified. This is a hard subject as sometimes there is no way of knowing until the child has significant problems with teachers, kids or tests/material. Sometimes kids have to be a certain age as some tests cannot be administered accurately to younger kids (since their responses or writing are not advanced enough).

    It took CPS over a year to diagnose that my son had significant disabilities that required and still have an IEP. In hindsight, I should have pushed in writing for immediate testing as I kept thinking…oh it is temporary…simply because he is a bright kid. Many bright children with above average IQ on one or both parts of the IQ testing have disabilities; so any doubts put in writing directly to the school Case Manager that you want your child tested for full battery. In a compettitive magnet school in particular kids can fall behind and feel quite lost if they do not have a diagnosis on a problem.

    We are very very happy with our Special Ed teachers (I LOVE THEM SO MUCH) and two of my suburban friends have moved back to Chicago so they could get into CPS due to poor Sped support in their respective school district, and one was in a private school.

  • 460. StemDad  |  April 10, 2013 at 7:23 am

    This comment us for the new kinder parents. My daughter and I were looking at the new website, which is very nice last night. But, when we got to the kinder page she immediately said the kinder teacher (Asian-last name starts with a T) was very mean and screams at the kids a lot. She can hear her scream in her class. My daughter started in first grade, so I can’t personally comment. However, my daughters a good student, never in trouble and not a known liar. But, this is just a heads up. Otherwise, outside of some extreme rules and non-welcoming environment to parents we like the school overall. Good Luck!

  • 461. StemParent2  |  April 23, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Attention Parents!!!! Here’s your chance to provide honest feedback about STEM to CPS via this survey. The questions are fair and addresses some of the issues that many parents speak about on this blog (non-friendly office, homework policy, sense of community) as well as the positives. See for yourself and complete it.

  • 462. TK  |  April 24, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    FYI Parents
    Survey Monkey tracks your ip address.
    However CPS website has a survey called Spotlight, that’s the real deal.

  • 463. 1st grade waitlist  |  April 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    My child has a low number (single digit) on the general waitlist for 1st grade. Does anyone know if any spots will be opening up for 1st grade next school year? I am trying to assess whether we have any shot at all.

  • 464. not sure  |  June 9, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Reviving this thread for the sake of some advice. Are we crazy to pull our soon to be K child out of STEM because of an RGC offer? I like the idea of the STEM curriculum, the small size of the school and the energy. But the idea of being surrounded by similar-achieving peers is nice. The K teacher at the RGC seemed a lot warmer, for lack of a better word.

  • 465. Happy  |  June 10, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Hi. Always a tough decision….my son was in RGC for three years before moving to STEM. Couldn’t be happier. Academically superior at STEM.

  • 466. not sure  |  June 10, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    Do you mind sharing the school you transferred from? How do teachers differentiate learning if there are kids at different levels?

  • […] STEM Magnet School News | CPS Obsessed […]

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  • 480. Mom of 3  |  September 3, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    This comment is very accurate from what I’ve seen at STEM and discussed with other parents. Very weak special ed services.

  • 481. concerned mom  |  September 6, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    hey everyone, im new to this and don’t really spend much time on any blogs except when my childs eduction and well being is at risk…ive been patiently sitting back watching and waiting to see when someone is going to decide that this sorry excuse of a principal needs to be removed from STEM. I think its about time that we as parents start asking questions and shouldn’t be afraid cause at the end of the day it don’t matter cause shes the “boss” and ultimately as shes shown in the past, its her way or the highway…which may be an indication for the high staff turnover and one of the reasons that families have come and gone. Mom of 3, you are 100% accurate and she is a big bully there’s several incidents which I think some or most of you can relate to and or agree. where to start…these are in no specific order just complaints/observations/incidents :
    first of all why aren’t there any male teachers at this school? is it just coincidental or will she see them as a threat? what happened to the MATH teacher when the school opened up? we were sold on the whole concept of S.T.E.M and now teachers are pulling double duty.
    Hiring outside agencies to watch our children 5minutes after school is out! like seriously what other school leaves with children in school unattended?! (god forgid anyone chokes or needs hurts themselves)then this company will charge you $1 per minute!! seriously? is this an ivy league school in which money is not an option?!
    Does this principal even take the time to think before she starts sending those ignorant emails, like parking is available on Ashland! last I looked there is no parking anywhere on ashland that’s walking distance to the school but oh wait, her parking spot is in front and secure so who cares right!
    Ok everyone and maybe im wrong here but we are talking about an elementary school here and not a prison or a military organization correct? SILENCE! SILENCE! SILENCE! Especially in the hallways near her office! so how is it that she expects for our children to be served and fed breakfast in 15min?? oh wait again, she doesn’t even have children to know that its impossible! we are talking about pre middle school children…they are kids and want to socialize and play half the time.
    Why doesn’t she have an open door policy and make herself more approachable? look around people, is it me or is she just more friendly towards a certain race? not being racial but maybe now you will start noticing it as well.
    This principal seems to be so “proud” of the students achievements (test scores) as if she had anything to do with it…this is by no means a reflection of the teachers who by the way are doing an excellent job at doing what they do best. they are very passionate about their job and the results show it. however, those that oppose Ms Mcbully either have to live with it or leave, cause how many of you have stood up to her in the past and look where that got you and her attitude towards you now!.
    There’s plenty more to be said but not until I receive some feed back and know that others will stand together and not put up with her bullying tactics any longer. So Ms. McCelebrity, why don’t you get off your high horse oh and don’t sprain an ankle with those stilettos and come listen to what we have to say. the reason for this blog after all, is to voice our opinion without repercussions and or grudges. its not personal but then again you aren’t being too professional.
    Stop using our kids as stepping stones to further your career oh and no one cares that our wonderful mayor made a mistake by appointing you principal. and a little FYI…you aren’t the only one that has clout! don’t forget who has their children attending your school.

    p.s (comments removed)

  • 482. stemmom  |  September 6, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    OK. I’ve just been reading this and I don’t know even know where to start, because some of the commentary really borders on the ridiculous. I have 3 kids at STEM, and have been there since the very first year it opened. I wish that people would be specific with their complaints, because in all honesty, our experience at STEM has been great, and I have been very pleased with the principal and the teachers. No everything is not “perfect” but no school ever is.

    Yes, the school is rigorous and structured, which is part of the reason that we like it. When my children have had issues, the teachers have been extremely helpful in working through them. As for the principal, my limited interactions with her have been pleasant, and I actually appreciate the fact that she has a backbone and has high expectations for the school and the students, and that she doesn’t make excuses along the lines of “oh well, this just CPS . . .” She also doesn’t seem to be distracted by every various and sundry parent complaint. Not that parents have no right to voice their concerns, but I’ve seen parents during “State of STEM” addresses completely sidetrack the presentation with random complaints that really can never be addressed to the satisfaction of all parents. At the end of the day though, I think the kids are getting a great education from teachers who I personally like and respect.

    Bottom line, I’ve had my kids at a variety of schools, parochial, independent private, and neighborhood CPS and by far, we’ve been the happiest with STEM.

  • 483. stemmom  |  September 6, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    @480: With respect to the Glassdoor comment regarding SPED services, while I have no experience with the SPED services at STEM, I think that complaints regarding these types of services are common in ALL public schools, CPS and suburban. Specifically, through doing pro bono legal work on behalf of parents of children who are in need of services, there are typically conflicts between what the school/teacher/parent thinks a child may need in terms of services in order to satisfy IDEA.

  • 484. Too rigorous?  |  September 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    As a pre-schooler’s parent, I have been keeping an eye on STEM because the students’ scores are really impressive so far. Judging from what I can gather from many complaints here, the principal is probably not a Ms. Congeniality. But as long as the students perform well, who cares about her personality? Now, it seems the root cause of some complaints, about homework for example, is that some parents didn’t expect the kind of academic rigor and behavioral discipline unfamiliar to them until then. Perhaps they should have known from the name STEM that it’s a school where fun dies more or less. In other words, those who think “pre middle school children…they are kids and want to socialize and play half the time” have chosen a wrong school.

  • 485. parent  |  September 6, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    I regards to the teachers, I have nothing but positive things to say but the principal is a different conversation. She doesn’t treat all parents alike. Unless you are bringing in money to the school, she doesn’t real care for your comments or concerns. The school’s test scores are impressive but it’s all thanks to the great teachers, who by the way are starting to leave. Maybe if she was at school every day she would be more aware or care more about parents’ concerns. Let’s hope her personality doesn’t cause for more and more of the great teachers to leave our school.

  • 486. Embarrassed and Ashamed  |  September 6, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    As the parent of two WHITE children attending STEM, I find the comments of concerned mom to be embarrassing, outlandish, out of line and borderline slanderous. Why is it that when an African-American woman is proud, self-confident, intelligent, successful, strong, courageous and not willing to be used as a doormat, “some’ white people have an issue with it. I wonder if Deborah Clark (Skinner) and Joyce Kenner (Whitney Young) started out this way? Are you upset because she refuses to bow down to an elitist group of white parents? I have heard, with my own ears, the ignorant and negative playground commentary and have witnessed, with my own eyes, the way many of you have disrespected her. Honestly, it’s shameful! I commend her for staying focused, and keeping children first, in the midst of the never ending, never satisfied parental distractions.
    My husband and I have had very positive interactions with Principal McManus and whether you believe it or not, she gets it. Her goal is to ensure that ALL students have access to a quality education. I elated to have her as my children’s principal and my goal is to ensure that she stays there at least until both my children graduate.

  • 487. @48  |  September 6, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    “Perhaps they should have known from the name STEM that it’s a school where fun dies more or less.”

    Science, technology and math were never my strongest subjects, but, WOW, your words are hardly inspirational for the next generation. Why can’t STEM be fun?? Hope you’re not raising a daughter.

  • 488. parent2  |  September 8, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Its not all about academics. This principal is so focused on test scores that it is neglecting children’s need for fresh air and exercise and play. No outside playground time before school? What school doesn’t have playground time before school in elementary? We have no before school programming.
    10 minutes for recess and 10 minutes to eat lunch? This is routine.
    These kids are putting in 7 hours. I challenge any parent to go 7 hours with this amount of down time.
    The teachers and parents make this a great school and we are starting to lose great teachers and great families. Look around!

  • 489. stemmom  |  September 8, 2014 at 10:14 am

    @488– Kids can play on the playground before school, their parents just have to be there to supervise them. And from what I understand, this is because some kids were getting way too rowdy on the playground. And the kids do get more than 20 minutes total for lunch/recess. My kids still complain though because they spend too much time yakking/screwing around and not eating.

    I know that some teachers have left, but they have left for a variety of reasons, not necessarily just because of the principal. Most of the teachers that were there in the first year are still there, and others have moved on to continue studies, for family reasons and for other opportunities.

  • 490. stemmom  |  September 8, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Just double checked my kids’ schedules and they get 45 minutes for lunch/recess.

  • 491. Get A Clue  |  September 8, 2014 at 11:03 am

    What Chicago Public School principal isn’t overly concerned about academics and test scores???
    The lowest performing school principals are trying to figure out how to improve their test scores and the highest performing school principals are trying to figure out how to maintain their test scores. Personally, I’m glad were in the latter.

  • 492. Anonyma  |  September 8, 2014 at 11:30 am

    To all you passionate STEM parents, there’s an LSC meeting tonight at 5:30 (Sept. 8) in the gym.

    This is your opportunity to be heard and have witnesses.

  • 493. parent2  |  September 8, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Bus kids have to go straight to the gym and sit until school starts. I feel sorry for them. Try going to recess and lunch. You will see that what is printed on the schedule and the actual minutes of recess/ lunch are quite different.

  • 494. A2  |  September 8, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    My kids tell me the lines for hot lunch are so long because of the free lunch program they no longer want hot lunch because they don’t have enough time to eat.

  • 495. STEMmom2  |  September 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I think it’s hard for people to be objective when they feel they aren’t being heard and supported. True, not everyone will be happy with the administration, but my experience is that the principal isn’t really concerned with anyone being happy. While she may be very strategic in her thinking, the great communicator she is not. And, yes, there are a variety of reasons the teachers could be leaving, but the facts as I understand them are that they are leaving because of the administration. The LSC is formed now and folks should attend meetings and have their feelings heard in a public forum. This is the group representing the interests of the parents, community and school. There is a meeting tonight at 5:30.

  • 496. Concerned  |  September 8, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    In addition to attending tonight’s LSC meeting it might be helpful to voice your serious concerns to the school’s network.

    Network 6
    501 W. 35th Street (60616)
    Herald “Chip” Johnson

  • 497. Get A Clue  |  September 8, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    @STEMmom2 and others, It might be helpful to get your facts straight. However, this is a blog (BS, Lies, Obloquy and Guile) and it gives people the freedom the create scenarios and type things they would never be courageous enough to address by having a sensible conversation with another human-being.

  • 498. STEMmom2  |  September 8, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    You are correct 497 – these forums have become a place for ad hominem attacks like yours instead of a place where reasonable people can disagree without being disagreeable. You have no idea what my experience with the principal is or where I get my information, yet you presume I am lying and/or being overly aggressive. You also insinuate that you are the only person who has “a clue” but don’t offer a suggestion for a better forum. You can’t argue with the fact that this principal evokes strong feelings on both sides. People have legitimate concerns that are being aired here and everyone deserves to be heard, which is why the LSC was suggested by several people.

  • 499. Get a Clue  |  September 8, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    @STEMmom2 I offered you a better forum-quit wasting your time on this blog because if you were really interested in a solution, you would engage in a mature adult conversation with the individual who can provide you one. You might be pleasantly surprised by the results.

  • 500. stemmom  |  September 8, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    Can anyone report on the STEM LSC meeting? I really wanted to go but wasn’t able to attend.

  • 501. ChicagoMom  |  September 9, 2014 at 12:17 am

    I’ve read all of the comments on this blog and see both the positive and negative sides. The only confusion I have is about the parents bashing the parents that express their pov that may not be in favor with the schools policies, teachers, or principal. Last I checked this is the United States of America and we have the right to express ourselves in any forum regardless if you agree or not. I’ve been a parent from the beginning and had challenges with teachers and principal. I’ve felt that backlash from voicing my opinion from the administration and parents in the STEM “clique.” However, I won’t let that interfere with me ever expressing my opinion or standing up for the rights of students.
    The person that said all principals are pushing for high scores are correct. It’s a business and an incentive for principals to have the best scores. As a parent, I want my child to attend a school with a driven administration, but for the right reasons and still treating be students fairly, which isn’t always the case at STEM. Other too schools in Chicago stents has stern and continuously produce top performers (skinner north, skinner west, decatur, lenart).
    Unfortunately, we’re in Chicago with minimal education options and majority of us are unable to homeschool like some parents have decided to do versus return to STEM. Parents should continue to voice their opinions, provide suggestions and discuss issues in order to improve the overall quality of education and social experience on this blog, at school, text, email, on the playground or where ever you please. It takes a village with parents that care not just a principal.

  • 502. CPS parent  |  September 9, 2014 at 7:58 am

    “Unfortunately, we’re in Chicago with minimal education options”

    Really? Try the suburbs or another city or town. We have extensive options. So many that the complaint now is that school options are “sorting” students.

  • 503. ChicagoMom  |  September 9, 2014 at 8:15 am

    I don’t know where you live, but there’s limited amount of good educational options in the city of Chicago at CPS schools not including the suburbs where there’s an abundance of good options. I apologize for not being clear with my comment.

  • 504. cpsobsessed  |  September 9, 2014 at 8:23 am

    I would perhaps clarify that there are plenty of options in CPS, they just don’t end up being available to many parents due to luck/logistics.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 505. mom2  |  September 9, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I’m thinking that ChicagoMom meant “GOOD” options, not options. Agree that we have tons of options now and it is certainly sorting kids which is not necessarily good for most people and not good for neighborhood schools. Many of our options are not “good.” Correct that SE schools are good options when they are in good neighborhoods, a few other programs, but not much else (although I’m hopeful that this is changing quickly). Suburbs don’t have a lot of options, but in many suburbs, the one or two options are “good”.

  • 506. stemmom  |  September 9, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Maybe I am just naive or don’t pay attention enough, which is why I wish people would be specific about their complaints. When ChicagoMom refers to “backlash” from the administration or the STEM “clique”, what does that mean? Do they just not listen to you? Are they mean to your kids? Are they enforcing homework policies disproportionately?

    I’m not trying to bash any other parent, I just would like to know what exactly the issues are, since I have multiple kids in the program (who seem to really like it).

    And to be fair, I’ve heard plenty of people complain about other high performing schools like Decatur, Skinner North and the like.

  • 507. concernedmom  |  September 10, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    hello everyone, i want to first address STEMMOM…are you really that clueless or just a front?! how do you think the word always gets back to mcmanus from the playground? everyone knows shes never at the playground before 8am. how much more specific can we get? I would like to start off by saying that once again the teachers are absolutely gret at what they do and this has absolutely no bearing on them whatsoever. youre right that mcmanus has not said “oh well,this just CPS” however, she has made it clear that her attitude has had an effect on the teachers leaving, as well as some families.
    I would also like to send a shout out to CHICAGOMOM for commenting on this being a free country and those who dont like what they read can stop reading it. period.
    What im writing about isnt her personality but rather to answer a few other bloggers comments/concerns…as in TOORIGOROUS, which i wont waste much time on but clearly you are in the wrong and need to learn a thing or two about children and just life in general because last i checked, learning is suppose to be fun so that everyone not just children are more receptive. It should go hand in hand, i think perhaps they sent you off to boarding school. Homework is not an issue.
    EMBARRASSED AND ASHAMED Oh boy…right away making it a race issue, WOW. Lets try and keep it professional and speak on only factual topics. The world isnt black and white as you previously implied. Youre angry comment leads me to believe that you dont have “WHITE” children as you wrote, or even a parent but rather a poser trying to speak for McManus. Then you go on to say how this African American blah blah blah blah…did you have to come up for air on that one?! i mean seriously. Other principals names! really? who cares about them and other schools (if i didnt know any better i would say our principal has either joined us or has sent in a spy just like in the playground lol) its grammar school and yet it seems like its a high school or fraternity with all the gossiping. whatever the case, you seem to forget that if her priority was in fact our children, then their parents should be just as important. so open your doors, literally and listen to the parents and their concerns and do something about it.
    Mcmanus isnt a bad person and i know she has a good heart in spite of her problems at STEM…some legal, some Union,some personal, some past some present and some she has swept under the rug. which brings me to my next topic…

  • 508. STEMmom2  |  September 10, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    STEMmom: The LSC was long and mostly procedural – the established some standing committees (Budget, Facilities, Continuous Improvement Work Plan, and one other that I forgot). FOS will be permanently on the agenda to obtain approval for fundraisers, spending, etc. And a couple concerns were raised such as teaching staff as the school grows – specifically the need for additional specials teachers. Also, the issue of the actual physical facility constraints was raised – hence the committee. That’s about it. Oh, and minutes, announcments, and other LSC info will find a place on the STEM website at some point. Ms. Brinza is heading that project.

  • 509. concernedmom  |  September 10, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    since the end of my first comment was deleted i think its extremely important for the safety of our children that before anyone thinks of deleting any part of this post please read it carefully: the following is a definition taken from a legal text book and theres more to it but just so you get the idea…is a general term for any type of sexual activity inflicted on a child by someone with whom the child is acquainted…so EMBARRASSED AND ASHAMED since you seem to know her so well, perhaps you can tell us why the parents were left in the dark about taht particular incident which occurred last school term inside STEM and CPS was involved?!. In the event that this is denied, then legal actions have already begun to ensure that no other children at STEM fall victim to the same. if any other parent on this blog has heard of this please state so by simply saying “I have heard” or “have some knowledge” im sure if the media or Inspector General got a hold of this and it has to be made public record, someone would have to answer up to our wonderful mayor. I understand the privacy laws and dont expect any names…however, we are entitled to atleast be aware of incidents like this and why nothing was done about it!. Then theres the issue of children being sent home with visible bruises inflicted by STEM staff members and nothing being done there.
    it amazes me how a letter can be sent to have your children inspected for lice,yet she will not send any letters perhaps advising parents to have a talk with their children about inappropriate touching. Perhaps even one of those “mass texts” she likes to write in which everyone can sense her atittude!. i rather get a text like this instead of a call to the school which involves law enforcement and other entities.
    so you see its nothing personal and hope i was clear with the information…i cant wait to hear what was or is going to be done in that incident cause im sure its not the end of it.
    This is the second attempt to dessiminate this information and hope it doesnt get deleted again.
    STEM is a great school with great teachers but at the top of every tree theres a bad branch.

  • 510. stemmom  |  September 10, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    @concernedmom: Honestly, your posts are about as clear as mud, and no I’m not “clueless”– except as to what you are talking about. Also not a “front”, just a parent who’s had multiple children enrolled in the school for the past three years. (FWIW I also happen to be a lawyer so I’d like to think that I’m not a complete idiot, but who knows?) I asked my kids what if anything they’ve heard about any sort of “abuse” and they just looked at me like I had three heads. At the end of the day, my kids love STEM and they are thriving academically and socially. And without any specific information to back up your allegations I can only assume that there is just a contingent of parents that don’t like the principal, and that’s fine. Any given school is not always going to be a great fit for all families.

    @STEMmom2: Thank you for the LSC update!

  • 511. Too rigorous?  |  September 11, 2014 at 9:14 am

    “Any given school is not always going to be a great fit for all families.”

    Totally agree. STEM can only get better if those who are not used to a scholastic culture choose to move out.

  • 512. Two years ago ... ?  |  September 11, 2014 at 10:50 am

    @510 — I think the story may have been from 2 years ago. I heard talk of it at that time. I don’t know any details, but I would be interested to either (1) have McM disclose the issue to the parents, (2) or have a third-party CPS official review and determine whether it was appropriately handled and report his decision to the parents.

  • 513. STEM Parent  |  September 11, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    A couple of years ago there were many complaints about ****. I always felt she was aggressive and had a bad attitude with parents and students she didn’t like. I actually spoke with Ms. McManus about it. Maybe it caught up with her and that is why shes no longer at STEM.

  • 514. Former STEM Parent  |  September 12, 2014 at 8:20 am

    I’m curious, which teachers have left? I looked on the STEM website; the directory does not seem to have been updated in a couple of years.

  • 515. cpsobsessed  |  September 12, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    @the person who posted the LSC members’ contact info, can you confirm that those people are okay having their emails posted publicly?

  • 516. ChicagoMom  |  September 12, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    It’s not against the law to post an LSC members info. They ran for office, which is public info.

  • 517. cpsobsessed  |  September 12, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Here is the rest of the posting:

    After talking with my neighbor, a retired CPS administrator and former LSC community member, parents should note —- Ms. McM is an interim principal without a contract. My neighbor explained that in a new school, a newly-formed LSC’s “usual” first task is to decide WHETHER to offer the interim principal a contract. To that effect, the LSC can start an evaluation process now which can include parents & teachers. My neighbor indicated the evaluations are anonymous to protect teaching jobs.

    So, *********Happy and unhappy STEM parents should *both* be contacting the LSC members and asking where they are on the hiring/evaluation process****************

    LSC contact below (I’d cc multiple members):

    LSC officers:
    Sadika Langston, Chairperson
    Jeremiah Abiade, Vice-Chair
    Lindsay McGrane – Secretary and FOIA/OMA Designee

  • 518. cpsobsessed  |  September 12, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Feel free to post names however I don’t want to post personal email addresses on the site without approval.

  • 519. STEM Parent  |  September 12, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    A LSC cannot evaluate an interim principal. Only contract principals can be evaluated by the LSC.

  • 520. Informal  |  September 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    I understand the LSC can “informally” evaluate the principal (not submit to network) to help determine if they want to offer her a contract. It can be done in a survey form, which offers the teachers and the parents an opportunity to weigh in.

    It’s also an opportunity to get a better feel for the overall morale in the school outside of these blogs.

    IMHO, the principal has had the job for 3 years. Before offering her a 4 year contract, I think the LSC has an obligation to solicit feedback from teachers and parents.

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  • 522. cpsobsessed  |  September 12, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    When I was on an LSC we administered a survey about the principal. I can’t say it was met with enthusiasm but it was very helpful in the evaluation and (I felt) allowed us to give feedback both positive and “opportunity areas.”
    We reassured the principal several times that we’d be looking at overall trends in what parents had to say and not a few highly vocal parents with situation complaints. (Of course if this is a trend, it’s fine but should be taken with caution as people find this their one chance to complain.). We surveyed both parents and teachers.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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  • 524. Parent  |  December 29, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Can anybody update on the principal status at this school? Apparently, there was supposed to be a search for a new principal -what’s up with that?

  • 525. JB  |  June 12, 2016 at 6:59 am

    The principal was offered a contract.

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