QuestChicago update and some other stuff…

January 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm 94 comments

I wanted to post some updates about QuestChicago, the new charter school that opened.  The school is located at 1443 N. Ogden, near the North/Clyborn corner and near the old Cabrini Green projects.  It’s just south of the area we were discussing regarding Lincoln/LaSalle.  The school opened last fall for 6th graders (they took in around 150 kids) and will expand one grade per year until they have a middle school and high school.  I was interested in the school because it’s based on a similar charter that operates in NYC and is sort of billed as the “video game school” no as much in terms of technology, but in terms of game-based thinking, which I can imagine would be appealing to my son.
The school had to promote itself all last year to build enrollment and they did not quite meet their goal, meaning any child who wanted to attend could do so.  I found this interesting in regards to seeing how the student body of a new charter is shaped over time.  Obviously parents who chose to seek out this new school must be a bit more education-minded and/or be looking for something better than their current school to make the effort/take the chance on a new school.
A reader here gave me some information on her child’s year at Quest last Fall and I followed up with the school to get their response.  It  sounds like despite the self-selection process that a charters benefit from, at least in the first year, there have been some behavior problems that the school is working to overcome.  Because of their need to keep students (for funding) I’m guessing that not many or any students are being “counseled out” at this point, as we’ve heard the other charters can.
The feedback on the curriculum sounds incredible to me personally.  I’m hoping the school can get some of the other issues in line within the next few years.  In theory, with a more committed student base I think the school could have really hit the ground running, but since they have to take who they get, they’ll have to spend time on non-academic issues for a while.
 There’s an open house Tuesday January 11th which I can’t make as my son’s school will be holding a meeting about the longer day (my son is LIVID about the idea and I can’t say I’m in favor of 7.5 hours either unless I’m promised I’ll never have to do homework with him again…)  But Quest will hold monthly open houses through the end of the year.
If you’ve heard anything else about this school, add to the comments.
Does the school seem organized and like they know what they’re doing?
No. Right now everything seems to be a work in process.  The staff is new, so we’re (the school/parents/staff) going through growing pains.  They didn’t get their full enrollment numbers so the budget isn’t as big as they had hoped so a lot of the staff is doing double duty.  It’s frustrating at times but we’re working through it as parents.  The curriculum is in order so the kids know what’s expected of them.  There are some very dedicated parents that are working with the administration to get things going smoothly.
I guess my key question is whether the style of learning seems materially different than typical CPS.  My son is in 3rd grade and I feel like the learning style is so boring (even though I think he’s got some good teachers.)
Yes, this is a very different mindset that I’m still wrapping my mind around.  I’m coming from the selective school environment where it’s all about testing and individual achievement.   At CQ, it’s about the total child.  Classes work off each other.  There is no math, science, literature, etc.  There is The Way Things Work(science), Being, Space and Place(social studies), CodeWorld(math, writing), Sports for the Mind(critical thinking), etc.  The classes all work together so that one day they kids may study mathmatical problems but they’re studying WHY do you carry the one in adding, plus have to make up a story using that formula, and have to work as a team to discover the answer to codes from the problems.  So in one class, they’ve done math, critical thinking, writing, and maybe some literature.  This is how all the classes operate; free-flowing and interesting.  One specific example was when a teacher had the kids pretend they were Spartan soldiers.  They had to perform certain tasks to be promoted to the next level of society so the kids had a history, math and critical thinking lesson all in one.  My daughter LOVES the school and the interactive lessons.  They just distributed iPads so that’s starting to be incorporated into the lesson plan. Kids work as teams to accomplish goals.
What is the student body like?
Downside: open enrollment.  The kids from selective enrollment schools are starting to get bored with homework and classwork that they did 2 years before.  The school is trying to find a way to keep them challenged.
Student behavior:  A lot of the students are very disruptive and very disrespectful to teachers and students alike.  It’s as if the administration was totally unprepared for this type of kid.  They’re altering the disclipline program to parents’ delights.
Teacher behavior:  New teachers not used to handling disruptive students so a lot of time is spent trying to quiet the class down.  The administration is going to work with teachers to see how they handle their classes and give them recommendations to improve.
Are you glad you sent your child there?
Right now it’s a draw for CQ.  I must say that parents, me included, are glad to see excitement in their children about learning.  My daughter doesn’t complain about getting up at 5:00 am to catch a van to school.  My daughter had started to dread going to school at her previous school but is really excited about learning now.  Once the school works on the discipline issue and gets a full staff, it will be a great school  So by time you son is ready for 6th grade, all the kinks should be worked out. I’ve talked to other parents that went to a new school and they experienced the same exact problems.  Each year it got better and now the schools are doing great.  Overall, it’s a draw but I believe that it will only get better as the bad kids get tired of doing detention and move on.
Response From Quest:
We had a great meeting for PTA Advisory and there’s so much coming down the pipe with the new focus on Common Core Standards.   I’ll send you the info.  Did you know that the OAES(Office of Academic Enhancement Services) was pretty much disbanded and distributed across CPS in different offices?  It will be interesting to see how this plays out this year.

All things considered, we have had a remarkable start to this first year.  We have had some behavioral challenges — students coming from all kinds of school experiences and norms.  Kids are learning the ChicagoQuest way, and that takes day-in, day-out persistence.
Our Parent-Teacher-Community Organization is up and running and they have been great about giving us real and hard feedback.  We are committed to using it to make the school better every day and I think that shows.

I am most proud of a) the amazing curriculum that our teachers and game designers have created and provided to kids and b) the fact that most of our kids LOVE to come to school, which is no small feat at the middle grades.

Our Open Houses for next year are on January 11th and every first Wednesday after that at 6pm at the school. features the weekly updates that teachers send to parents, as well as a message from our Design Team.

We are very proud about how much of the model that our teachers have been able to implement so far.

*****OTHER STUFF******

I’ve finally gotten my house listed.  Once again, giant bungalow in Waters district listed at $535 if anyone is interested.  I’ve sent the info to Brizard’s people with no bites.  🙂

My son took the gifted test last week for entry into 4th grade, just so I could see how he performed again (I’m curious about the consistency and let’s face it, practice testing in CPS probably can’t hurt.)  I was surprised that his dad said the kids were gone about an hour and 20 minutes total.  This time, they read the questions themselves and worked at their own pace.  Sounds like the usual questions on logic, patterns, etc and his dad said his feedback made it sound like a typical intelligence test.

I’ll be meeting at my son’s school about the longer day and also perhaps with some other parents from other schools next weekend.  I also have some info on it that CPS gave me to share.

I’ve been following the Facebook posts about the Lincoln elem issue and it sounds like CPS is working independently on some ideas and the area parents are coming up with some very good ideas of their own.  Brizard’s press person did say that CPS still supports the idea of magnets so we’ll see where it all nets out in terms of Lincoln/LaSalle and the area.

Finally, if anyone knows of someone selling or thinking of selling their house or 3 bedroom condo on the north side, feel free to let me know.  It is slim pickins out there!

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Easing overcrowding at Lincoln with a possible phase-out of LaSalle Rahm’s Education Town Hall 1/23 via Facebook

94 Comments Add your own

  • 1. another cps mom  |  January 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    “…but I believe that it will only get better as the bad kids get tired of doing detention and move on.” Ah, the charter school way. Let’s not consider that the kids might be special needs, etc. Nooooo.

  • 2. liza  |  January 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    . . . and they go back to their neighborhood schools where undoubtedly class size is much larger, there are no IPads, test prep is the mandated instructional focus, etc. and they can engage in their disruptive and disrespectful behavior to their heart’s content because there are no real consequences for poor attitude and behavior in a neighborhood school. It’s part of the bigger picture of poorer performing schools. Teachers must spend so much time and effort on maintaining order and defusing situations in their classrooms where the majority of the students are already far below grade level expectations. It becomes exhasuting and very difficult to not become discouraged at times!

  • 3. ChiMomma  |  January 8, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    I really appreciate your blog. My daughter just turned 2, but I’m already stressing about preschool options! Btw, our 2500 sq ft, 3-bedrm condo in East Lakeview (on Wolfram St. bordering LP) isn’t yet on the market but we’ll sell for $750k. Pls let me know if you’d like more info.

  • 4. different perspective  |  January 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    cpsobsessed, can you give us the street you’re on (nothing exact, obviously, but something like “the 4500 block of Rockwell”)

  • 5. anonymous  |  January 9, 2012 at 8:25 am

    c-o, really curious to learn more about how the OAE was disbanded and spread throughout CPS admin.

    Where did personnel go and why? What does this mean for ss schools?

  • 6. OAE was disbanded?  |  January 9, 2012 at 9:45 am

    OAE was disbanded? Who will handle placing students in gifted/classical programs?

  • 7. LR  |  January 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    CPSO, I may have a lead for you. I know a family who just had babies #4 and #5 in September. They own a 3 bed condo, but have mentioned wanting to find a house closer to our Catholic school (I think they haven’t pursued it because they are worried about selling their condo). Right now they live east of here closer to Irving. Let me look into it and I will get back to you (somehow).

  • 8. LR  |  January 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Also, I know the people who own our old 3 bedroom on Paulina north of Wilson want to sell after having a second baby. That is Ravenswood, though (Lakeview starts south of Montrose over there).

  • 9. Mayfair Dad  |  January 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Did I stumble onto the site by accident?

    I was looking for a press release or article on the disbanding of OAE. If true, this is an important event with serious implications. If anyone has further information, please share.

    P.S. Shall I start looking for 3BR condos in Mayfair? I’m sure I can find you a charming fixer-upper bungalow in the low 300s.

  • 10. cpsobsessed  |  January 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I need to follow up with what the Quest woman meant about OAE. They appear to still be fully functional and I haven’t heard anything else even remotely supporting this, but I was curious if anyone else had.
    She may have meant the Area Offices?, which did sort of quietly get re-arranged by the new CPS administration. I’ll follow up and let you know.

    Anyone can email me at

    No more fixer-uppers for me! And I need a 3BR with either a family room or den or 4th bedroom to accommodate an insane amount of stuff.

  • 11. Paul  |  January 9, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I remember the announcement of OAE being disbanded awhile back. It was either part of the budget cuts before the school year started or it was announced when Brizard was reorganizing the central office. I remember being surprised when I saw that OAE had a booth at the NPN fair because I thought it was being closed.

  • 12. cpsobsessed  |  January 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    FYI, my home is in the 2900 block of Leland Ave. Should be the only one for sale there….

  • 13. anonymous  |  January 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    I read a while back that next year an outside company will be hired to run the placement for the ss schools.

    Anyone know more?

  • 14. cpsobsessed  |  January 9, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Recent article about Quest, btw:,0,2486929.story

  • 15. Mayfair Dad  |  January 9, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    @ CPSO: You should be analysing the Tier map to find a great Tier 3 neighborhood on the north side to move to. Parts of Lakeview are Tier 3 – with $1M+ greystones on the block!

  • 16. anonymous  |  January 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Or perhaps you should be looking into a tier 1 or tier 2 home so as to better your chances for a good high school placement? 🙂

  • 17. cpsobsessed  |  January 9, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Honestly, as I have contemplated high school when I consider moving, I cannot see my son thriving in a selective enrollment high school. There is no way he’s up for the homework load unless he has an extreme personality/character shift and/or I channel tiger mom better.
    I suppose I could see him at Lane perhaps?
    I’m actually paying more attention to commuting routes than to Tier.
    I have considered a Tier 2 neighborhood near me (Albany Park) which has some good house values, but there’s reports of gang activity and shootings lately and despite the school-benefits, I don’t want to live amongst it.

    I’m still hoping Lakeview becomes a good non-selective option and that I can weasel our way in there…..

  • 18. cps alum  |  January 9, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    off topic…. but I was wondering if cpsobsessed was watching the Taft high school principal search.

  • 19. Mayfair Dad  |  January 10, 2012 at 10:45 am

    @ 18: On December 20, 2011, the Taft LSC called a vote to approve the advertisement for the position. So very early in the process, approving the verbiage of the type of principal sought. Assuming the ad was submitted in time to run on CPS internal job board this month, things will move pretty quickly.

  • 20. RL Julia  |  January 10, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Is Dr. Tarvadian retiring?

  • 21. Mayfair Dad  |  January 10, 2012 at 10:58 am

    @ 20: yes, Tarvadian is retiring for the second time.

    The position advertisement is already posted on the current CPS bulletin 366, dated 12/21/11. Other noteworthy open principalships: Audubon, Kenwood Academy, Eugene Field.

    I would think the Kenwood Academy job would attract alot of interest. Also the Taft job, being in a desirable part of the city.

    This will be interesting to watch.

  • 22. Vlajos  |  January 10, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Why are you moving?

  • 23. Vlajos  |  January 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Just read that Waters is doing away with its tuition based PreK.
    Any inisight?

  • 24. cpsobsessed  |  January 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    @ Vlajos:
    I’m moving because I have to downsize as a now single parent and haven’t found a rich guy who wants to support me while I write this blog. Any references in that regard are also welcomed. 🙂

    Regarding Waters, I’m so sad, as is the school, about closing the program that we fought for a few years back. Unfortunately as the school has attracted the neighborhood families they are running out of space. This year the school has 3 kindergarten classes for the first time. As elem schools grow, the prek is often pushed out. Bell does not have any prek classes at all. Coonley moved from 3 to 2 rooms last year. It’s the one downside of growth. Waters will still have the free half-day preK.

  • 25. cpsobsessed  |  January 10, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I didn’t know about the Taft HS principal search. Anyone who gets news there, keep us updated.

  • 26. Vlajos  |  January 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Sorry to hear that. I’ll keep my eyes open for a rich guy.

    We just moved into the neighborhood. Our kids will be going to Waters next year.

  • 27. Mayfair Dad  |  January 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    @ cpso

    Chicago gang territory map attached. You are wise to be leery about Albany Park. In Mayfair we have a saying “nothing good happens east of Pulaski.”

    I will make discreet inquiries to find out if Theo Epstein has a brother.

  • 28. RL Julia  |  January 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Audubon is looking for new principal? Really?? Where is the old one going? What will happen to the plans for the high school? Any intrigue?

  • 29. Mayfair Dad  |  January 10, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    @ 28

    Here is the bulletin — some people find this stuff fascinating:

    The principalship opening is for the elementary school.

    I don’t have any scoop.

  • 30. Esmom  |  January 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    @28, John Price was promoted. Some district position. Don’t know the details but as a former Audubon parent I get bits and pieces here and there.

  • 31. cpsobsessed  |  January 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Thanks for the gang info MFD. I’ve never seen this before. It looks like the problem is the 2 competing gangs in that area (also the location of the first Chicago murder of the year in 2012.)

    If their bureacratic headquarters would just consolidate that area into one gang due to under enrollment in each, things could likely be more peaceful.

    I’m seeing an interesting correlation with the spots where reasonably priced houses are for sale and gang population. Always a trade-off….

  • 32. cpsobsessed  |  January 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Stay tuned… as soon as I get my act together I am going to post some interesting information on which elem schools feed into the selective enrollment high schools, obtained by HSObsessed. Very interesting stuff…

  • 33. Paul  |  January 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    He was promoted to the #2 network position, under the Chief of Schools for the Ravenswood-Ridge network. It’s posted on the Audubon school Website.

  • 34. cpsobsessed  |  January 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    This map includes the gang areas AND CPS school by performance, showing that the worst-performing schools are in the heavy gang areas:

  • 35. local  |  January 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    You could always move into Beverly, but then you’d be stuck in Beverly. Nice housing prices, anyhoo.

  • 36. Mayfair Dad  |  January 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    @ 31, unfortunately your solution would never work. The People are union gangs and the Folk are charter gangs. There’s the rub.

  • 37. xCPS  |  January 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Albany Park = Taft HS

  • 38. Mayfair Dad  |  January 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    @ 37: Depends where in AP.
    Also Von Steuben (OK – scholars magnet program a plus)
    Also Roosevelt (gangbanger training center)

    North Park/Hollywood is one of the nicest neighborhoods in the city. A few blocks away and you are in Latin King country. I suppose you could say this about much of Chicago.

  • 39. Southside Mom  |  January 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Parents had been trying to tell CPS about gang realities before the Fenger High School tragedy and how did CPS respond? They distributed those same bad kids to good surrounding schools and “surprisingly” those schools are having discipline issues and decreasing scores. There are some caring people at CPS but they’re being drowned out by political cronies and administrative arrogance. Funny how City Hall had money to pay bonuses for any school that signed on for the longer day but is closing schools, cutting back park district and library hours due to the budget crisis. Hmmmmmm

  • 40. Audubon principal  |  January 10, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong but the current ‘interim’ Audubon principal’ is the recently retired principal from Stone. Talk about double dipping- full pension and a nice salary to boot. Gotta love CPS.

  • 41. RL Julia  |  January 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I am surprised that Mr. Price was interested in the promotion. He seemed like he had a real passion for being a principal.

  • 42. cpsobsessed  |  January 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    I think Albany park (at least the east part) is Roosevelt HS which looks kinda like a “no way” school to me. Although this past summer they have a new principal and someone had take the time to put up signs around the neighborhood with reminders about school starting and info with the school’s website. Gotta admire every little effort.

    To MFD’s point about Union vs. Charter, I’ve sometimes wondered if as humans we have an inherent need for conflict and protest… but if you’re growing up in gangland you don’t have a more respectable outlet so it’s funneled into gangs. Think of all the fighting we do in politics, the union stuff, the occupiers….. conflict everywhere and people seem to enjoy it to some extent.

  • 43. Mayfair Dad  |  January 10, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Don’t we all enjoy a snarky tussle every once in a while, safely hidden behind our invented blog identities?

  • 44. anonymous  |  January 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Just because Price went to central office doesn’t mean he wanted to go. This is an amazingly corrupt system, so who knows what happened. CPS may have someone politically connected that they’d rather have in that school and they may have told Price to go, regardless of what he wanted. It has happened over and over and over.

  • 45. anonymous  |  January 11, 2012 at 9:14 am

    sad but true, 44. Folks should be more concerned about the OAE being disbanded. This is the testing season. CPS just went through 2 years of winnowing out the corruption in that process, and now it looks to be all for naught.

  • 46. anonymous  |  January 11, 2012 at 9:14 am

    c-o have you checked with one of your friends at CPS on the OAE situation?

  • 47. HS Mom (formerly cps Mom)  |  January 11, 2012 at 10:12 am

    anonymous – If you don’t want to use a name that would designate yourself as a parent, teacher, community member or otherwise please consider a designation like Anon 12, Anon Z, angry Anon so that we know that we can tell if different people are talking and not a person with a sock puppet.

  • 48. s  |  January 11, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Academic Enhancement (OAE) was disbanded back at the end of October. Everyone in the department was given a pink slip except the chief. The chief is now in charge of a different department. Everyone that was let go was encouraged to re-apply for the new positions under the Department of Gifted and Talented Programs. The only reason I can imagine they are using the OAE name is because of the application process and not to confuse the parents. If you go on to the CPS job bulletin board you will see positions in the new department name.

  • 49. Anon222  |  January 11, 2012 at 10:20 am

    47 – formerly CPS — what school are you with now?

  • 50. Mayfair Dad  |  January 11, 2012 at 10:32 am

    @ 48 – this is potentially terrible news. Not to be a panic peddler, but reading between the lines you might surmise magnet, tier enrollment process, regional gifted, etc. now under review and subject to major tinkering. Why else would you eviscerate the entire department? More than a simple re-branding afoot.

    Remember Rahm/Brizard inherited all this from the previous regime. Sounds like they want to build their own thing from scratch.

  • 51. anonymous  |  January 11, 2012 at 10:37 am

    s — can you share how many people are in the Dept. of G&T Programs now? Who is running it? If s/he have been around a long time or a new timer?

  • 52. s  |  January 11, 2012 at 10:49 am

    @51 – I don’t know how many people are in the new department. Like I said in the previous post, they are still hiring. The new Director is Kyle Westbrook.

  • 53. Mayfair Dad  |  January 11, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I took a quick peek at the Rochester, NY School District website to glean information. Interestingly, no department listed that would be comparable to OAE, although a tab called “Other Programs” is currently under construction. Here is the link to their high school overview:

    I see two college prep programs, plus a good number of high schools that are career-focused (at least their name is). Might this be the direction CPS is headed? Would this be a bad thing?

  • 54. Mom  |  January 11, 2012 at 11:06 am

    How awful is Mather High?

  • 55. HS Mom (formerly cps Mom)  |  January 11, 2012 at 11:10 am

    @50 – my comment was going to be what you just touched on in 53 – maybe not a terrible thing. Do I dare say that there is a plan? The quick back down on the LaSalle issue leads me to believe that some kind of restructuring is in the works.

    @49 – thanks for asking, still CPS. Since my child is in high school I thought it more appropriate to specify that designation since I have commented on elementary school issues.

  • 56. James  |  January 11, 2012 at 11:20 am

    This is odd, even for CPS. I try to watch these things fairly closely and I have seen nothing public that says that OAE has been, or will be, “disbanded” and that everyone there has been, or will be, “given a pink slip” and told to “re-apply” for a job in a brand new and heretofore unknown department. Does anyone know of any such announcement or public confirmation of this? As for OAE, it certainly has continued to operate this year as if nothing has changed. Its web site is still up and running, with current news about this year’s application process, which is in full swing. A search for the alleged new department — “Gifted and Talented Programs” — comes up with nothing. And I could find nothing to indicate that OAE’s chief, Abigayil Joseph, has been re-assigned. Again, other than rumors, does anyone anywhere have any public confirmation of any of this?

    I’m not saying it isn’t true. Maybe it is. But one would think that, if it were true, there’d be some signs of this profound and watershed change in the workings of that office that would be apparent, even to a CPS outsider like me.

    Of course, it may simply be a name change. According to its web site, OAE was set up in the early 1980s to deal with the federal consent degree. That consent degree is no more. So perhaps it is simply a re-branding of sorts and, as we do around here every once in a while, we’re making a potential mountain out of a mere molehill.

    As for change to the programs that Brizard and Rahm are contemplating, I assume they are planning to make some changes. After all, they are in charge now and there certainly have been issues with the new tier system and whatnot. Don’t know why they’d need to change the name of OAE to make those changes, but perhaps that their first step. The more important question, it seems to me, is what the substance of those changes might be. For example, what role do they see for the SE high schools in the future and what will their funding support be? Do they see a future with fewer magnet elementary schools, such as, oh, I don’t know, Lasalle? That stuff is much more important than what they call the office that runs these programs.

  • 57. TwinMom  |  January 11, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I know that Trudy Wallace (the one who was in charge of gifted programs last year) is no longer there. When I contacted OAE last month, I got a response from some person I’d never heard of, whose title was “Communications Manager,” and she referred me to someone else (also a name I hadn’t heard before) with the title “Testing Manager.”

    They’ve been horrible (unlike last year) re: responding to my emails, so I wouldn’t doubt that there was a complete overhaul and they’re just in semi-chaos. Either that, or they’ve suddenly become horribly unresponsive.

  • 58. s  |  January 11, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I agree that the name of the department isn’t the issue. The issues are what the goals are for the change. By the way, Abigayil Joseph is now the Chief of Staff to The Board of Ed.

  • 59. cpsobsessed  |  January 11, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Wow, this is pretty disturbing. I hadn’t heard a peep about it either. As someone else mentioned, they had a table at the NPN fair with the full crew working, as though everything were moving along as usual.
    I am going to send an email to the person who usually responds to the inquiries on the question/comment box on the site to see what she says.
    I agree – this department has been one of the bright spots within CPS – more knowledgable, fair, organized, and responsive than other offices in the system.

  • 60. CuriousGirl  |  January 11, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I do recall someone from OAE speaking at Edison RGC (perhaps an LSC meeting) stating that the office has been disbanded. That’s all I know. This was in the last couple months.

  • 61. Mayfair Dad  |  January 11, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Sounds like a great question for Brizard on WBEZ Schools On The Line program.

    WBEZ’s next live education call-in show with Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard will be Thursday, February 2, 2012.

  • 62. bcuz you asked...  |  January 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    2740 W Morse will go on market 3/1. Very nice street. Well kept home. 4bd plus family rm. Senior who has already purchased condo and someone is going to get an awesome deal in an awesome neighborhood.

  • 63. James  |  January 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Great idea, Mayfair Dad. Shouldn’t be too hard for him to answer: Has OAE been disbanded? If so, why and what will take its place? Good luck trying to get more substantive answers on future plans for SE and magnet schools out of him, though…

  • 64. WRP  |  January 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Good to hear news of Chicago Quest.

    BTW, I’m going to be selling my house too. Because I haven’t officially listed it, it is for sale by owner for the moment (possibly in the future too). Details @

  • 65. another cps mom  |  January 11, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Re: OAE – Maybe ask Sarah Karp at Catalyst. She might know.

  • 66. another cps mom  |  January 11, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Wasn’t OAE folded into the Portfolio Manager’s job (or whatever he is called)?

  • 67. anonymous  |  January 11, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Not related to Quest, but I would love to know more about ISAT scores by school. I want more info than merely what percentage “exceeds”. I’d like to see breakdowns by stanines. It would be very interesting to see every school’s percentage of students with stanines of 8 or 9.

  • 68. anonymous  |  January 12, 2012 at 10:32 am

    67 – Great question!

    But wondering why you ask?

    Would it be a way to quantify the need for intervention and remediation during the new 7.5 hour day?

  • 69. OIP Mom  |  January 12, 2012 at 11:19 am

    @cpsobsessed – first let me say, great blog! So helpful for so many of us. Sorry to hear about your need to downsize, but my 3 bedroom condo might be something you’re interested in. We don’t have it on the market yet (haven’t found out which kindergarten my daughter will go to) but it’s in Old Irving Park, few blocks from Belding. We love where we live, just need a bigger place. If your interested in finding out more, please let me know.

  • 70. anonymous  |  January 12, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    @68, I ask because there is a huge difference between barely squeaking by into the exceeds category (which isn’t particularly difficult in and of itself) and the kids who score off the charts. I think it speaks partly to school quality.

  • 71. anonymous  |  January 12, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Exceeds = what stanines?

  • 72. Mom of 2 at CPS  |  January 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    Stanines only deal with the percentile and not the scaled score. The scaled score is how the meets/exceeds is determined. The percentiles only deal with a portion of the test being scored (first day or math and reading 30 out of the 40 problems given on each test). Hope that help!

  • 73. anonymous  |  January 12, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Thanks 72. Do you know if CPS reports stanines anywhere? Or the entire test score and not just the first part?

  • 74. Another Uptown Mom  |  January 12, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    The Illinois State Board of Education publishes cut scores for the ISAT each year. For 2011, see here:

    Cut scores reflect the scale score ranges to be considered below, meets, or exceeds.

  • […] QuestChicago update and some other stuff… CPSObsessed:  It’s based on a similar charter that operates in NYC and is sort of billed as the “video game school” no as much in terms of technology, but in terms of game-based thinking, which I can imagine would be appealing to my son. […]

  • 76. jill  |  January 13, 2012 at 10:21 am

    @54 I hear good things about Mather. A pre-law program, etc. A very viable option.

  • 77. cpsobsessed  |  January 13, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Well, according to the OAE they simply have a new name……
    (One has to ask why but the same sort of stuff goes on in every workplace, esp when new management comes in.)

    Thank you for your inquiry, and happy new year!

    The Office of Academic Enhancement has not disbanded, nor has our function. The name of the office will be changed to the Office of Access and Enrollment. The management and coordination of the application, testing, selection and notification processes will continue as they have previously.

    If I can be of any other service, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Karen Hannsberry
    Communications Manager
    Office of Academic Enhancement

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 78. ChicagoGawker  |  January 13, 2012 at 10:53 am

    @76 please elaborate on the other “good things” “etc.” you hear about Mather.

  • 79. lawmom  |  January 13, 2012 at 11:20 am

    To comment #1 about special needs children in charter schools — this is a serious issue. Charter schools are required by law to not discriminate against children with IEPS/504 plans, yet many are doing this. Parents need to know their rights and get legal help if need be. One place to go is Equip for Equality — they recently litigated a suit regarding this particular subject.

    Also, don’t know where to post this exactly, but if any one is interested, here are details on the “fuller school day”. This gives details about how the pilot schools are allocating the additional minutes.

  • 80. anonymous  |  January 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Ahem, c-o?
    Think it would be good idea to start a new post on CPS release yesterday of parameters on the long day?

  • 81. cpsobsessed  |  January 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    As usual, it’s in the works. :). Snow throws everything off. I’m meeting with some parents from a range of communities on the topic tomorrow morning so I’ll report in after that.
    Assuming I have time to look at condos and take a shower and clean the house for a showing, and….
    Bah. Did I mention that I hate winter? And I’ll hate it even more if school starts at 8am.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 82. Mayfair Dad  |  January 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Access and Enrollment means something entirely different than Academic Enhancement.

    The new name has an affirmative action vibe, and I don’t think the change is simply cosmetic.

    Maybe I’m just paranoid.

  • 83. s  |  January 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    I don’t believe what the communications manager wrote in her response to cpsobsessed. The reason I stated earlier at post #48 that the department was disbanded and they were all let go in October is because I know someone that was let go at CPS during the restructuring. She told me that everyone except the chief was let go. She has since been rehired and showed me the new hierarchy named Curriculum & Instruction (C&I). C&I is headed by the Chief Instructional Officer named Jennifer Cheetham. Under her are seven or eight departments. One of those departments is called Magnet, Gifted and Talented Programs. Again, they are still hiring for this department. The link is below on pages 34-35.

    The name of the department isn’t really a big deal. What is a big deal is that we don’t really know what direction this new department will be taking and how will it effect our kids.

  • 84. cpsobsessed  |  January 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    And to your point, why would the Quest woman have commented on the OAE change if nothing changed besides the name?

    She seemed to have run into some kind of situation where she faced the department change…..

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 85. HS Mom (formerly cps Mom)  |  January 14, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    @79 – I think @1 is referring to the fact that there are many kids who have learning or behavioral disorders and are not categorized as such because they are undiagnosed.

    At my old school I headed up a committee for special needs. The idea was that families with IEPs and 504s and those without plans with concerns would have a support group and could communicate issues and needs to the teachers and admin. We also had guest speakers to provide insight. It was rare that more than 4 (usually the same) parents attended out of what we were told was about 15% of the school population.

    The biggest problem is that parents for a variety of reasons don’t get their kids diagnosed (which is necessary for an IEP/504) or medicated (has some controversy surrounding it), and are sometimes disappointed/embarrassed/humiliated or are in denial.

    I’m sure that there are difficulties, but my experience has been that the school does their best given the individuality of kids issues. Some teachers are better with it than others They need parental involvement and support.

    I’m guessing that the Special Ed abuse that you are talking about occurs more at the level of the special needs students that are not integrated with the class system and are in special programs.

  • 86. mom  |  January 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    to Cps obsessed mom

    I am curious to know why you still take your son to be tested in for SE. The school my daughter is at has the NWEA test which is a great barometer to measure your child’s progress. CPS uses the test in the Fall when the kids first get to school then in the Winter to see any fluctuations and then the same in Spring. The test nationally ranks your child so you know if your child test in the 99th percentile that is huge. I heard that NWEA or Maps as it is sometimes called is going to be city wide next year. Your scores stay with you throughout elementary school so you can measure hopefully the “progress” of your child throughout the years.

  • 87. mom  |  January 14, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Mayfair dad

    You made me laugh when you brought up the Peoples and the Folks. The only North gang back in the 70’s.

    It seems like Brizard took some young upstarts to head the Networks. He took the principal from Suder Montessori and made her a chief Network blah, blah, blah.
    I just read that Audubon’s principal left for a similar position.
    These Chief people dont last very long. I think they will be kicking them selves for leaving to good schools on the upswing.

  • 88. @#87  |  January 14, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    A friend of mine that is a principal told me NWEA would be scrapped next year and all schools would be using Scantron tests as the majority of schools do! Scantron is similiar to the NWEA but I like the parent reports from NWEA better than Scantron…

  • 89. @#73  |  January 14, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    I have never seen a stanine report anywhere. At under school and citywide reports you will find a spreadsheet that breaks down each school by meets/exceeds. ISBE also has reports like that and they have a link to an interactive report card that reports data by school. has the exceeds data for all and highest grade when you look up individual schools. I hope that helps.

  • 90. mom  |  January 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I hope CPS uses NWEA. Our principal told me the district was going that way for next year.
    I have to do some Scantron investigating and see what is up.

  • 91. smadness  |  February 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Chicago Quest Open Houses coming up soon and is now offering shadow days so you can see if it would be a good fit for your child. Activlely seeking applications for next year. Especially 6th and 7th grades. See

  • 92. cpsobsessed  |  February 29, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Quest open house Weds March 7th 8am and 6pm.

  • 93. FP  |  April 17, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Liza yOu just described Chicago Quest – the disruptions are ridiculous.

  • 94. FP  |  January 7, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Sorry to tell you this but the bad kids don’t get tired.

What do you think?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed




Blog Stats

  • 6,161,179 hits

%d bloggers like this: