South Loop RGC Update – New RGC Opening?

July 22, 2012 at 11:45 pm 42 comments

Someone in the South Loop Elementary community passed this note on to me that seems to explain that a new RGC will open within 5 miles of South Loop.  It’s unclear what grades it will have initially or where it might be located, although it seems like it WILL be an option on the form this Fall.    It appears that current SL RGC kids will stay in the present building, but the program will be phased out there, but WILL fill empty seats each year.  FYI, Coonley has reached capacity this year and pending a decision about an expansion (funded by TIF money allocated by Alderman Pawar) is loosing some classroom space that is currently allotted to “extras” (ie computer lab, science lab) to make space for more classrooms.

Regarding the Phase Out of South Loop Elementary’s Regional Gifted Center

Dear Parent/Guardian:
In April, officials from Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) Portfolio Office held a meeting to discuss plans to gradually phase out South Loop Elementary School’s Regional Gifted Center (RGC) to relieve the school’s overcrowding issue. This letter contains the substance of what was discussed at that meeting as well as responses to several other requests for information made by South Loop Elementary parents.
CPS is currently in the process of identifying a school within five miles of South Loop Elementary where the new RGC will be phased in beginning in the 2013-2014 school year. We remain committed to selecting the phase-in school by this fall to ensure that the new RGC will be featured on the Selective Enrollment Elementary School (SEES) application.

Current South Loop RGC students will be able to continue their elementary school education career at South Loop. New transfer students also will be allowed to backfill existing RGC seats at South Loop.
 At this time, we are still working with South Loop school leadership to determine if it is feasible to allow out-of-boundary siblings of RGC students to transfer in provided that there is room to accommodate them. We will promptly alert parents/guardians and the school community once a decision has been made regarding this issue.
Although we have made the difficult decision to phase out South Loop’s RGC, the District remains committed to providing the resources needed to support its students and the success of the program during this transition period. We also remain committed to working collaboratively with parents/guardians to ensure that your voices are heard as we continue to finalize details.

Oliver Sicat
Chief Portfolio Officer – Chicago Public Schools

Entry filed under: Regional Gifted Program. Tags: , , .

Book Club Meeting Sunday July 29 7pm South Loop community interested in using Jones building for a new High School (guest post)

42 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Teacher4321  |  July 23, 2012 at 12:44 am

    5 miles is a wide range…..

    Guesses, but not good choices, Smyth or Medill (this might be a charter at the moment)….


  • 2. anonymous  |  July 23, 2012 at 7:51 am

    Would be great if CPS didn’t mess with the gifted program.

  • […] South Loop RGC Update – New RGC Opening? CPSObsessed:  Someone in the South Loop Elementary community passed this note on to me that seems to explain that a new RGC will open within 5 miles of South Loop.  It’s unclear what grades it will have initially or where it might be located, although it seems like it WILL be an option on the form this Fall. […]

  • 4. falconergrad  |  July 23, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I don’t know much about the RGCs so can someone clarify- the siblings they mention would have to test in on their own merits, right? And the advantage for the family would just be that they attend the same RGC??

  • 5. nervous at sls  |  July 23, 2012 at 8:31 am

    The prior policy was to allow siblings into the neighborhood classes if they did not test into the gifted program. While a nice perk to keep families together, it is part of the problem…

    A few months ago, I would have put money on nta. Now, I’m not so sure. Smythe kind of blew it with their early ib programing, so I doubt they will get another chance with an rgc.

    For the sake of my other kids, I hope they stay near south or west….

  • 6. Tchr  |  July 23, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Take a tour of NTA and meet with the new principal and the wonderful National Board Certifies Teachers. Maybe you can be a pioneer and help create a diverse school rather than taking over spots.

  • 7. nervous at sls  |  July 23, 2012 at 8:59 am

    We did tour nta under the old principal. It was a very positive experience. I am not sure nta wants the program, and I would hardly classify opening an rgc there as taking over spots. Even with the additional kids this year the school is empty and the neighborhood doesn’t really have the population to sustain it…

  • 8. Tchr  |  July 23, 2012 at 9:11 am

    So enrolling at NTA is an option?

  • 9. Peter  |  July 23, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Hopefully they get the funds to expand Coonley.

  • 10. JC  |  July 23, 2012 at 9:34 am

    NTA would be natural. Underutilized newish facility (<10 years?), location next to major freeway exits, upcoming new L station (Cermak & Michigan) two blocks away.

  • 11. cpsobsessed  |  July 23, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Sorry, what’s NTA??

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 12. Still searching for K  |  July 23, 2012 at 9:42 am

    National Teachers Academy. It’s a great facility. AUSL school, with all the associated pluses and minuses. Their former (strong) principal just left, not sure if a successor has been named.

  • 13. Tchr  |  July 23, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Check out k Teacher’s bio-

    New principal is coming from Chicago Teacher’s Academy on the northwest side. Another Ausl school.

  • 14. Tchr  |  July 23, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Also see:

  • 15. nervous at sls  |  July 23, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Enrolling at nta is just like enrolling at any other cps school outside your neighborhood- jump through the hoops. We only have one school aged kid right now. For the time being she will stay at south loop, but we are watching the integrity of the program like a hawk…

  • 16. Teacher4321  |  July 23, 2012 at 10:08 am

    The board has been throwing money at Smyth for years.

    It is the only school aside from South Loop off of Roosevelt before Western still standing and opened as the school it was originally. (Riis, Medill, Jefferson, Gladstone).

    I think NTA might be a viable option, but I didn’t realize there was a new principal and it was AUSL. That might make it less so.

  • 17. been there done that  |  July 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    NTA has one of the best of the new school buildings. It has a shiny new pool. It is really an awesome building but not used to it’s potential. The pool from what i hear is used by the park district for family swims, lap swim and lessons.
    I would guess that the gifted program might go to Galileo. A strong but dwindling group of parents have been trying to raise the bar at Galileo for a long time. Some have left out of frustration others are still pushing on. No Smyth wont get the Gifted program, they already have the IB program that is not doing well so why would they put a gifted program. The only way parents from South loop or University village would send their kids to Smyth is if they shut it down and started from scratch like they did with Jefferson which is now STEM.
    Seriously what is going on at Medill, is it a school? A teacher resource buidling? Airforce HS? What is CPS using that building for?
    it is on Loomis just south of Roosevelt in case no one knows what I am talking about. CPS closed a bunch of schools in this area after the ABLA housing came down.

  • 18. Teacher4321  |  July 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Jefferson was vacated in 2004 I believe. Long before it became STEM. It was opened as an eye care clinic or something for awhile.

    The thing about Smyth is that the board keeps throwing money at it and insisting it is a viable option. I wouldn’t put it past them to put it there. It would be interesting to see what happened if that did happen.

    The “old Jones” is getting bulldozed right?

  • 19. CLB  |  July 23, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    What’s the problem w/ Smyth’s IB program? Is it the 9-12 IB that is not doing well or the younger years?

  • 20. LR  |  July 24, 2012 at 9:42 am

    It’s great that CPS seems committed to keeping the gifted program, but I hope they make up for the 28 spots that were not available to this year’s class. I guess that would mean opening minimally a 1st grade class next year. Or, is this going to be like Edison, which is a self-standing RGC with no neighborhood program in the same building? If it is, it would make sense to fill it to capacity (or at least halfway to capacity).

    Also, regarding letting siblings attend South Loop, I’d say that’s a very generous policy considering how crowded the school is. At our RGC, this is most definitely not the case. Even with the pending expansion, the answer is still a firm no.

  • 21. LR  |  July 24, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Correction…I mean opening a first grade class the year the school opens, 2013-2014 because this year the class that got skipped over is going into Kindergarten, right?

  • 22. DSW  |  July 24, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Last I heard (in mid-May), there were three schools on the short list for the new RGC. James Ward is definitely one, based on the strength of the principal and her track record there (though the lack of space is clearly a disadvantage at that location), and McClellan in Bridgeport. I can’t remember which was the third “finalist,” but will check my notes later tonight. NTA was not on the list at that time.

  • 23. Peter  |  July 24, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Crains is reporting CPS and CTU are very close to a deal.

  • 24. Peter  |  July 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    City agrees to hire more teachers to handle longer school day

  • 25. cpsobsessed  |  July 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Wait, what?? What will we talk about for the rest of the summer?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 26. Mayfair Dad  |  July 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Didn’t Oliver Sicat play Doogie Howser on TV?

  • 27. Questioner  |  July 24, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    I read the Sun Times article, but can someone make it plain for me? Will certain teachers go home earlier leaving the enrichment teachers to handle the extended day? Or will hiring the enrichment teachers just simply mean that teachers will spend less minutes in front of students because there will be more teachers to divide up the school day?

  • 28. LR  |  July 24, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I can’t believe it. And there is no word on raises? Is this for real? How is the city affording almost 500 extra teachers? No capital improvements? So many questions!

  • 29. CPSTEACHER4321  |  July 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    There is a lot still to be determined according to the articles from both sides (length of year, raises, etc.)

    We will lose out on our “morning prep” but most teachers will still get to school well before the children. Having the children and teachers start at the same time is how Summer School works in theory and not once have I seen teachers just walk in with the kids (or the assistants for that matter) unless it was an absolute emergency.

    I’m not sure how it will work otherwise. I think the poor administration will have to redo the schedules yet again.

    I also think some IEPs will need to be rewritten for a 3rd time, depending on how minutes have been divided up.

    I am really happy that it means kids will get some enrichment, though knowing all of the teachers will come from the reassignment pool and the suggestion of the article, it might not mean enrichment in the way of the arts, gym or library, which was my personal hope.

    I think both sides can claim a partial victory on this one, but I don’t think the fight is over on either side just yet.

  • 30. Nervous at SLS  |  July 24, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    DSW – Where did you get the mid-May list? (Ward, McClellan, etc.) That was certainly not from the South Loop meetings, and I was unaware this was discussed elsewhere (although, I’d be glad if it was – it has taken a lot for CPS to see that this is bigger than just our kids).

    Mayfair Dad – Doogie! That may have made my day, although I don’t know that Doogie would have been as unprepared or frustrated as Sicat was at the first South Loop parent meeting! 🙂

  • 31. Jen  |  July 25, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Can someone clarify – are they keeping the existing South Loop RGC grades at South Loop and accepting students into any spots that become available in those grades? I asked CPS a while back about what would happen to the empty spots that are bound to come this year since they announced the closing and was told they’d have a new application period if they decided to do that. I think I’ll call them tomorrow to ask.

  • 32. DSW  |  July 26, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Nervous – I was in a small group conversation with Karen Anderson, principal of James Ward. She told me that her network chief had called her in to let her know Ward was on the short list for the new RGC on the south side. She let me know McClellan and Graham were the other finalists. Again, this was information that was circulating (though not at any of the SLS RGC meetings) as of 5/17. Things may have changed since then.

  • 33. nervous at sls  |  July 26, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I’m sure there have been 10 more lists of finalists since may. I love government entities…

    Jen – the existing grades are still at south loop, allegedly until they graduate. (I’m skeptical of that for the younger ones.) This year, they aren’t back filling the vacancies, no matter how many. (The rising 1st grade is losing at least 8 kids, maybe more. I’ve heard 3rd and 4th are losing quite a few too.) The cynic in me thinks they will try to merge the rgc classes with neighborhood if they are too small, or that they will use it as an excuse to close off those grades next year. That’s not what cps says- just what the nagging voice in my head says…

  • 34. TeachintheChi  |  July 29, 2012 at 8:22 am

    So they are pulling teachers that have been displaced since 2010? I wouldn’t expect much enrichment. Do you really want the teacher who was fired two years ago and hasn’t been able to find a job? Good teachers are able to find employment.

    At least they are spreading around the love. Ha ha. The displaced teachers usually just go to central office and mistreat the working teachers.

  • 35. HS Mom  |  July 29, 2012 at 10:32 am

    “Do you really want the teacher who was fired two years ago and hasn’t been able to find a job?”

    The sad truth about this economy and the painfully slow recovery is that employment opportunities are just beginning to open up and the “good”, professional jobs are being filled with people who are already employed. Companies are not hiring unemployed people. I’m sure this is the same in education. There are plenty of good people who have not been able to find jobs. I would be happy to have some of those teachers back – as long as they are qualified, good teachers willing to jump in and do what it takes.

  • 36. WestSidePops  |  July 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    RGC locations considered:
    NTA, Smyth, Graham, Doolittle, Perez, Orozco, Ward, and McClellan; Galileo doesn’t seem likely since it is pretty near capacity(

    It seems in recent years that new SEES schools start K-1. A new RGC would need to have K-1 to fill the missing year.

  • 37. Teacher4321  |  July 30, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Orozco is a Spanish gifted center already.

  • 38. Momof2  |  August 2, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Nervous at SLS, do you now why the grades are losing so many? are they unhappy with the program, family relocating, etc?

  • 39. nervous at sls  |  August 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    A little of each, really. Some are moving. Some want siblings together or to be closer to home. More than a few are not comfortable with the idea of being the last class/ classes and having to hold them to their word for years…

  • 40. been there done that  |  August 4, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Maybe Suder Montessori will get the gifted program, you never know….

  • 41. Leslie Contos  |  August 18, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Thank-you to CPS Obsessed for providing information and updates on the Regional Gifted Center situation.

  • 42. ChiSchoolGPS  |  September 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    There apparently was a meeting last week about the new RGC and it appears the NTA (National Teacher’s Academy) on Cermak is the location for the new RGC in the south loop area. The CPSOAE website doesn’t have anything on it yet, but there is a great FAQ posted here:

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