Find a School – Awesome Map!

October 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm 12 comments

View CPS Options for Knowledge Elementary Schools 2012 in a full screen map

A reader has created this very cool map that will allow you to determine which CPS elementary schools (non-charter) are near you.  Or near anywhere.  Here’s the information he’s written to go with it.  This works well in conjunction with the CPS map that tell what school zone you’re in as you can see which gifted/classical/magnet schools are nearby.  Have fun with it….

We have a 4-year old who will be in Kindergarten next fall. So, we attended the CPS Options for Knowledge Elementary School Fair this past weekend, and although I tried to filter out various schools by location as we passed by all the displays, I realized that: a) I was a little fuzzy on some of the school locations and b) not all of the schools in the 2012-2013 guide were represented at the fair.  So, I decided to make a map of schools near us to help us decide which schools we would be willing to drive to.
Well, one thing led to another, and after 3-4 hours I had exported all the elementary schools from the OFK guide into excel, added links to the CPS  information page for each school, and sorted them by type (neighborhood school, magnet, etc.).  You can access the file I created here, if you’re interested in that sort of thing:
Next, I used BatchGeo to create a publicly accessible map from the excel data.  The map uses the Google Maps platform and is available here:
So, here’s a quick how-to guide.  When you load the map, all of the OFK elementary schools will be shown.  It more or less works just like Google Maps, so you can pan, zoom in and out, use Street View, satellite view, etc.  The different types of schools appear in the color-coded legend at the bottom.  If you click on one of the markers in the legend, only that type of school will be shown.  Click the marker in the legend again and all schools will re-appear.
If you click on an individual school’s marker, a callout box will open with the school’s name, address, phone, and all the other information contained on that school in the OFK guide.  Clicking on the school’s name in the callout box will take you to the CPS information page for that school (use control+click and the link should open in a separate tab or window).  I’ve also started entering each school’s external website, but it’s a tedious process.
Double-clicking on a school’s marker will open a separate Google Maps window with that school’s location, so you can map directions to and from the school.
You can use the search box in the upper right corner to search anything in the dataset.  For example, enter “60630” and schools in that zip code will be shown.  Start typing “Year-Round” and you can filter the list to show Track E or non-Track E schools.  Enter a neighborhood (“North Center, Chicago, IL”) and you’ll get schools in that general vicinity (you have to include “Chicago IL” in the search box for this to work).
Anyway, I hope this is a helpful tool to you as you go through the CPS application process.  Feel free to email me at if you have any questions, spot an error, or have suggestions to make this better.  One thing that I would like to do but can’t yet is to show schools within a given radius of an address.  I’m not a programmer, so I can’t guarantee that I can make a lot of changes.  
Frank (Daddy of Zane)


Entry filed under: Applying to schools.

Ready, Set, Apply – 2012/2013 School Year Events and Info week of 10/10/11 (and beyond….)

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jill M  |  October 5, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Fantastic! Thank you so much, Frank, for your efforts! It’s really a shame that CPS can’t get their act together and put something together like this. Especially since the tools are readily available. Thanks again for taking the time 🙂

  • 2. DaddyofZane  |  October 6, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Just to clarify, the map I created ONLY has the elementary schools that are in the 2012-2013 Options for Knowledge guide. So if you don’t see your favorite neighborhood school on the map, it’s beacause they are not accepting applications from students living outside their attendance boundary. Thanks!

  • 3. anon mom  |  October 6, 2011 at 11:09 am has a similar search feature that includes private schools.

  • 4. cps Mom  |  October 6, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Great job putting that together. It’s interesting to note exactly how all these markers are clustered – by area and by color.

    This should be a big help.

  • 5. Skinner North parent  |  October 6, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    One issue in your map is that schools that are repeated in the spreadsheet (becuase they are both Magnet and Regional Gifted, for example) only pick up one, not the other. So, Carnegie and Beasley are only being flagged as Magnet, but they are also Regional Gifted. At the very bottom of your spreadsheet, the Classical and Regional Gifted are listed, but those that have multiple programs looks like they are overrided by the first entry. Also, don’t know why South Loop does not show up anywhere in the map or spreadsheet. So, the map may need a bit of work before it can be relied upon, but thanks for the effort!!

  • 6. Skinner North parent  |  October 6, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    …And Skinner West is only showing up as Magnet Cluster, ignoring their Classical school identity. There may be others…

  • 7. HSObsessed  |  October 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    The map by Frank is now being featured on the official CPS Facebook site! But we had it first. CPSObsessed got the scoop, just for the record. 😉

  • 8. DaddyofZane  |  October 6, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Thanks for the helpful comments, Skinner North parent. Let me address them:

    – Where there are multiple programs at the same school (e.g., Carnegie, Skinner West, Pritzker), there are actually multiple pins — if you use the search function you’ll see both programs listed — but you can’t see them both because one is on top of the other. However, if you click on the RGC or Classical color pin in the legend, only those schools are shown, so Carnegie would show as an RGC or Skinner West would show as a Classical school, as the case may be.

    Also, I just turned on a feature in the map that makes pins in close proximity show as a “super pin” with multiple colors. Unfortunately, when you zoom in or click the super pin the map still shows only a single color on top. But, when you click on the school’s pin, the callout box should show “1-2 >” in the lower right hand corner. Clicking on the > would then pull up the second program, even though the pin doesn’t change color. Ugh. I wish it were better.

    – South Loop is not on the map because they are not listed in the 2012-2013 OFK guide (for reasons blogged previously by CPSObsessed on 10/3/2011).

    Also, I fixed Disney, which was showing up as Open Enrollment rather than Magnet.

  • 9. DaddyofZane  |  October 9, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    All right! I was able to manually move schools that were stacked on top of each other. So, schools that share an address should now be able to be seen separately.

  • 10. cps Mom  |  October 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Wow! Great map – wish I had this when I was looking.

    Followed a couple school links. Anyone notice that the CPS scorecards are wrong for all the magnet schools in 2011? They all list meets or exceeds in math 75.4% meets or exceeds in science 81.1% and exceeds ISAT 9.1%. Keep this in mind when researching.

  • 11. cpsobsessed  |  October 10, 2011 at 3:09 pm


  • 12. cpsobsessed  |  October 10, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    If anyone is getting anything that looks virus-y, please email me at (on your computer… not talkin’ strep throat.)


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