Ready, Set, Apply…. for the 2013/2014 school year!

October 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm 483 comments

“And then our CPS computers carefully process your application!”

It’s that time of year again, when the often-puzzling process of applying to schools begins.

The wonderous process of applying ONLINE (hallelujah!) continues and applications are now being accepted.

STEP 1:  Get your PIN!

You need it to submit an online application.  It will be mailed to you in a few days.

STEP 2: Figure out which school you can/should/will apply for:

Also click Programs at

The applications are here:

Use CPS’ awesome new tool to see where schools are located and how they measure up:

STEP 3: Print or pick up the Options for Knowledge guidebook.  Available online (coming soon!) and in libraries, park districts, schools any day now (high school later in the month.)

This guide will have details on which school have lottery enrollment (ie, neighborhood schools who have extra room to take kids from outside the ‘hood.)

STEP 4: Ask questions!

Always better to ask someone than to assume anything.  Feel free to ask here, but  is a great place to get stuff right from the horse’s mouth and they are seemingly the most responsive office in CPS.  I got an email response at 1am this past Saturday night.  From a human.

STEP 5: When you’re good and ready and have done all your research, submit your application online.  The deadline is December 14th.


There will be separate Elementary and High School guidebooks.  All 8th graders will receive the High School guide.  Yeah!

There will be no CPS-sponsored school fairs this year however CPS will provide a Power Point deck (huh?) in place of that.  So feel free to throw your own fair and show the deck.

South Look Regional Gifted center is enrolling again for grades 2-8

Pending board approval, National Teachers’ Academy is enrolling for a new gifted program for K-1.

South Shore is a new Selective Enrollment High School.

For info on consultants (who can help you navigate this process) and test prep services, see my resources page:

(Thanks to these consultants who help keep me up to date on the latest happenings.)

Entry filed under: Applying to schools.

Won’t Back Down – School Choice Movie Well, I’ll be damned…. JCB is out, BBB is in

483 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Workingmommyof2  |  October 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    That’s funny, I just finished setting up my next year-K student’s application and then here this is. Going to wait a while before officially submitting it. Still busy obsessing over what’s best for my son.

  • 2. North Center Mom  |  October 8, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Is this the Ready Set Apply….Elementary Edition? Because the SEHSs will still have open houses according to the OAE.

  • 3. cps alum  |  October 8, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Options for Knowledge is now available in English–%20English.pdf

  • 4. cpsobsessed  |  October 8, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Schools will still have open houses and tours at the school level but there won’t be a cps-sponsored fair where some of the schools have tables and you can pick up info on a range of schools.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 5. Teacher4321  |  October 8, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    I anticipated NTA being one of the choices for the gifted program. Makes sense.

  • 6. Y  |  October 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    It’s odd that Pritzker had their only scheduled Open House prior to the start of the school year.

  • 7. IB obsessed  |  October 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Any lottery/magnet school recommendations for a 7th grader next year. 99th IOWA in everything, but NOT IN MATH, so not trying for an AC? Where should I apply? Does she fit anywhere??? So Sad you have to excel in EVERY subject.

  • 8. Chicago School GPS  |  October 8, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    #7- you should definitely apply to various AC programs because you simply never know and you lose nothing by applying. While Whitney Young & Lane AC may not be good shots with a low math score, Taft AC may be (and they lead straight into an IB program in HS). Also apply to various RCG programs because they typically have openings in 7th when several students leave for AC programs. The International Gifted Programs at Lincoln & Ogden (IB focused) also tend to have 7th grade spots. There is always hope but the first step is to simply apply and take the exams (RGC, IG & AC test is all the same test- an aptitude test).

  • 9. cpsobsessed  |  October 8, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Can someone clarify for me….do grades from 5th grade count for entry into Academic Centers? So 5th grade grades and ISATS and an entry test in 6th grade? Is that possible that one would need to agonize over 5th grade grades?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 10. Questioner  |  October 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    It is fifth grade grades that are counted toward Academic Center admission.

  • 11. Questioner  |  October 8, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Fifth grade grades, ISAT, and AC entry test (taken in sixth grade).

  • 12. BuenaParkMom  |  October 8, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    And just FYI, it appears that you have to apply for a new pin. Mine from last year does not work. Still waiting for that waitlist call for PreK at Drummond at #4 (hahahaha, blahhahaha) – Just kidding I knew that was never coming.

  • 13. cpsobsessed  |  October 8, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    My son’s class got a new kid today! So ya never know!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 14. JustanotherCPSparent  |  October 9, 2012 at 6:02 am

    From Catalyst, the single application process for high schools has been delayed til next year:

  • […] Ready, Set, Apply…. for the 2013/2014 school year! cpsobsessed: STEP 1:  Get your PIN! STEP 2: Figure out which school you can/should/will apply for: STEP 3: Print or pick up the Options for Knowledge guidebook.  STEP 4: Ask questions! STEP 5: When you’re good and ready and have done all your research, submit your application online.  The deadline is December 14th. […]

  • 16. Anon  |  October 9, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Bell is not listed as an RGC option, at least for incoming K. Interesting.

  • 17. City Mom  |  October 9, 2012 at 9:36 am

    @16 Bell has never been an RGC option for incoming K. The options program at Bell begins in 1st grade.

  • 18. Anon  |  October 9, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Thanks City Mom! How did I not know that?

  • 19. SoxSideIrish4  |  October 9, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Good luck to all the CPS parents/kids that are applying to selective enrollment schools

  • 20. P. Joseph Powers, Ph.D., Principal, Jones College Prep  |  October 9, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Jones College Prep’s annual Open House will be Saturday, October 27, 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Visitors will learn about our outstanding programs as well as our new building at 700 South State, which is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2013. Jones was recently named a National Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education. We look forward to seeing you at Open House!

  • 21. Mayfair Dad  |  October 9, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Let the insanity begin!

  • 22. local  |  October 9, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    @21: …To be repeated when they’re all juniors in high school aiming for their college acceptances.

  • 23. anotherchicagoparent  |  October 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm–%20English.pdf Elementary guide online now

  • 24. MKM  |  October 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I’m confused. You wrote above that South Look (presumably type for South Loop) is back to opening spots for the RGC. I thought that it was being phased out. Or is it just for 1-2 spots that opened up because of attrition?

  • 25. Time4Kid#2  |  October 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    South Loop is being phased out one grade per year (currently 1st-8th). However, SL lost more than 1-2 spots due to attrition. The RGC 1st grade has 8-10 less students than prior year. Since SL wasn’t an option for SEES enrollment last year, those seats are unfilled. Not sure about 2nd-7th grade but there wasn’t a process to fill ANY of the RGC seats through OAE last year.

  • 26. LSMom  |  October 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    South Loop is taking applications for spots that open up for one reason or another in grades 2-8, it’s still being phased out.

    I’m wondering how popular the new RGC at NTA will be. I haven’t decided whether to list it yet because a few of the posts on GreatSchools mentioned safety issues.

  • 27. Christine Whitley  |  October 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    The RGC at South Loop is being phased out. They are not accepting incoming students for K or 1. They still have grades 2 – 8 though — they’re not kicking those kids out and will take applications for these grades.

    Next year (I imagine) South Loop will only take 3 – 8, the following year 4 – 8 and so on until there aren’t any more RGC kids at South Loop.

    At the same time, a new RGC is opening up at NTA, it appears. This year they will take K & 1, next year K – 2 and so on.

    Does that make sense?

  • 28. SLS Mama  |  October 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    NTA is a beautiful school with a very supportive administration. We’d be happy to consider it when our youngest is ready. I certainly did not get any feelings that it was unsafe when I visited. Remember, people said the same thing about South Loop when its RGC started…

  • 29. jfc  |  October 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Not sure if folks realize this, NTA has a VERY sizable, fantastic and modern (<10 years old?) park district operated athletic facility with indoor swimming pool and basketball/gym court literally on its campus.

  • 30. LSMom  |  October 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks for the info about NTA, sounds like it will definitely be worth checking out!

  • 31. Sped Mom  |  October 9, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    CPS opens application process for selective, magnet schools by Sarah Karp at Catalyst:

  • 32. Sped Mom  |  October 9, 2012 at 7:37 pm


    “Questions on charters, neighborhood schools

    “Among the biggest unresolved issues with the new CPS process was how to incorporate charter schools and neighborhood high schools into the mix, say Illinois Network of Charter Schools President Andrew Broy. Broy served on the committee working on developing the application.

    “Charter schools currently accept students based on a lottery, but students may apply to many charter schools and get put on waiting lists. With a single application and a single offer, these waiting lists would disappear—and that could prove to be a problem, Broy says.

    “’So what would happen if a student listed their preferences as Northside Prep, Perspectives and Noble Street, in that order?’ Broy says. ‘They didn’t get into Northside Prep or Perspectives, but get an offer from Noble Street. Now what if someone transfers out of Perspectives, but there’s no waiting list and no way to let the student at Noble Street know the seat is available?’”

    — at Catalyst

  • 33. BuenaParkMom  |  October 9, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    @cpsobsessed – So far EXTREMELY happy with where he is 🙂 It’s been a month and he has already corrected my grammar! So I’ll play the lottery again, but doubtful I’ll move him. I suppose I will justify it by having “options open” in case finances change….

  • 34. cpsobsessed  |  October 9, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    @buena: hey, that is great news! I always say one should apply just in case. I was burned by private school jerking around so I’m a little biased. But what can it hurt…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 35. ZanesDad  |  October 9, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    You know what would be really helpful? An interactive map showing all the options schools. You know, like that one parent created last year. 🙂

    You would think after CPS put up the school locator resource this past year that they would have adapted it somehow to the options guide. They had some mapping capability within the site last year, but it was pretty clunky and didn’t contain all the information from the Options guide for each school. Looks like it’s the same this year.

  • 36. John  |  October 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    @35 They have created one –

  • 37. ZanesDad  |  October 10, 2012 at 8:24 am

    @36 – that only gets you part of the way there – you can see citywide magnet, RGC and SEES. But there’s no way to determine if a particular neighborhood school is in the options program without having to separately consult the options list.

    Similarly, if you are working on your options application online and you are looking through the list of magnet/open enrollment schools inside the options application website, you aren’t told whether the school has half-day or full-day kindergarten, or which type of magnet cluster a particular school is.

    My point is, they collect all this information for the options guide and dump it into a PDF; it should be very easy to add options data tags to their existing map application.

  • 38. Mayfair Dad  |  October 10, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Interesting read, with implications for CTU’s current tier system.

  • 39. Getting Nervous  |  October 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Lane Tech parents — Help me out. I have a sharp student w/a great chance of getting in Lane Tech. He’s also a gym rat. Plays basketball and football. I hear that the new principal is not very supportive of LT’s long standing athletic culture. Any feedback? This could be the thing that keeps Lane off the #1 slot.

  • 40. Belmont  |  October 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Does anyone know when Skinner West’s open house is? I called and left them a message, emailed them twice, but no reply.

  • 41. RL Julia  |  October 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Mayfair Dad – what do you see the implications for the current tier system being? Not getting it.

  • 42. local  |  October 10, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Tier system for SE: Private colleges, especially the most “selective,” consider lots of factors when reviewing student applications. Special consideration is given to students who have struggled to achieve… as well as others. That can include under-represented race/ethnicity, low income, low access to quality education, and other hardship. It can also include athletic (which yields many white rich students, not just the stereotypical black basketball star) or artistic skills, potential for mega-donation or mega-celebrity-halo, legacy, faculty/staff and other populations granted special admissions consideration. Public colleges look more at race, income and other factors, however. Every school has a range of admissions test score and HS GPA profiles. White, bright, well-rounded academic achievers can easily land in the bottom of this range. I don’t see much discussion of the affirmative action on the basis other than race, such as student-athletes, student artists, legacy, development cases, faculty/staff, etc. Why the hyper-focus on race?

  • 43. HSObsessed  |  October 10, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    @MFD, the tier system already is supposed to be race-blind, so any ruling by the Supr Ct that strikes down affirmative action would only strengthen the system.

    What irks me is that one of the first handful of questions that CPS asks on the OAE online application is the race of the child. Why? If the selection is no longer based on race, why is this asked? The post-decree tier system is supposed to achieve the outcome of mixing socioeconomic levels of the admitted kids; yet, we are not asked our HHI, nor the level of parents’ education, nor whether we rent or own, nor whether we are native English speakers. No — that is all assumed to be a certain way based on the general geographic area in which we live. But, we MUST choose a race category to apply — can’t decline to respond, and can’t choose more than one race if you have a multiracial child. Seriously, CPS?

  • 44. RL Julia  |  October 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    HSO – I too have noted that – on the other hand, I do wonder if the reason CPS keeps asking is because people (the press, parents, the federal government, perhaps) want to know. For better or worse even if it’s only from a cultural perspective, in this country race matters – and in Chicago it definitely matters (just ask your alderman or go to a City Council meeting during budget discussions.

  • 45. Sam  |  October 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Does anyone know how many seats are they this year for Whitney Young 8th grade?

  • 46. Mayfair Dad  |  October 10, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    RL Julia and others: the point I was making is that the current CPS race-neutral approach could be scuttled IF the SCOTUS decides race is valid when determining school admissions. So hypothetically CPS could “tweak” admissions to certain schools to achieve the desired diversity levels and have some legal cover to do so. Which is why CPS still asks the skin color question on the application.

  • 47. HS Mom  |  October 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    @38 – Mayfair Dad – here’s another article. I see what you’re getting at. If this ruling is about racial standards it could also potentially be applied to socio-economic means of diversification.

    From the article

    “her lawyers today argued that the university’s consideration of race doesn’t meet the standards of a “holistic” approach.

    “We’re entitled to the equal protection under the laws, and that is what this case has been about from the beginning,” Bert Rein, Fisher’s lawyer, told reporters after the hearing. While schools have “some interests in diversity,” Rein said it should not be “an overriding consideration” in admissions.”

  • 48. HS Mom  |  October 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    @46 – writing at the same time – OK, got it they could get some legal cover and possibly lose some. This suit could really open up a can of worms for school admissions in general.

  • 49. frank  |  October 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Let the brain drain from the neighborhood schools continue………….

  • 50. local  |  October 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Really interesting comments about the coming single-application for CPS schools over at Catalyst:

  • 51. concernedmom  |  October 10, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    My son will take his test for 1st grade, and I heard that it will be multiple choice. One of the parents I know said kids have to fill the answers in the scantron. Is this corrected? I am worried because this will be a new experience for him…He is too young for scantron; surely, he will mix up his answer.

  • 52. HSObsessed  |  October 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    @46 MFD – Yes, I see what you mean. And now that I’m at home and not at work, and my brain is functioning better 🙂 I seem to recall vaguely that the tier system is not actually “race-blind”: the decision was that race can’t be the main factor, but it can be one of many factors.

  • 53. HSObsessed  |  October 10, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    @50, yes, very interesting article about the single application. It will be interesting to see how that works next year for high schools, to have all of selective enrollment, magnet, IB, neighborhood, military, charter, contract, schools on one app. I’m assuming the new admissions form will be based on grades and test scores alone. I also assume HS programs will no longer be able to require an essay or an interview, or require attendance at an information session, ’cause that would gum it all up. Luckily, it’s still a big free-for-all for those of us going through it this year!

  • 54. Momto2  |  October 10, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    For Elementary Academic Centers, ISATs are just used for qualification to take the test, correct? They are not used in determining acceptance?

  • 55. Chicago School GPS  |  October 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Academic Centers are on a 900 point system, similar to SEHS schools. 5th grade ISATs, grades, and 6th grade exam go into the 900 points. The exam is more of an Aptitude (IQ) type exam, however. Check out

  • 56. Jill  |  October 11, 2012 at 3:52 am

    @43 I’m glad race is still being tracked. The consent decree was vacated when CPS successfully argued to Judge Korcoras that the district’s schools were sufficiently integrated and judicial oversight was no longer required. However, based on % of race, the new system, which is supposed to foster economic diversity, is leading to many SES and magnet schools becoming even more white, and even more affluent.

  • 57. jillwohl  |  October 11, 2012 at 3:54 am

    P.S. The circle infographics that used to share the ISAT meets/exceeds etc. info for schools on is now missing in action. Does anyone know where the ISAT info can be found?

  • 58. WRP Mom  |  October 11, 2012 at 7:34 am

    @39 My daughter just started at Lane (LTAC) this year, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but it seems like they’re adding athletic programs, like rowing, field hockey, flag football. I also heard something about them building a new baseball stadium.

    My advise to you is to go to their open house on Nov 4 and see for yourself.

  • 59. AW  |  October 11, 2012 at 10:01 am

    @51 My understanding is that questions are read out loud and then kids fill in a bubble under the answer they are selecting on the test booklet itself. There is no separate scantron sheet. Also, according to one of my kids, they were show/told how to fill in the bubble completely and test administrators walked around to periodically check.

    If anyone has a different understand, please feel free to correct me…

  • 60. AW  |  October 11, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I have a few questions re: the RGC test for third graders (looking for a fourth grade spot) — Does anyone know if the test is still read out loud at this age, or will the kids be expected to read the questions themselves? Has anyone heard from their kids what types of questions are on the test — Is it basically the same as as earlier years??

    Lastly, how does CPS handle testing students with section 504 plans? And what has been your experience with that?

    Thanks in advance for any input!!

  • 61. Pritzker Mom  |  October 11, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Pritzker is having an open house this Saturday, 10/13 from 10 am to noon.

  • 62. cpsobsessed  |  October 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    I understood that kids circle correct answer as well. First grade is conducted in a room full of kids and I’d say it’s certainly not an ideal situation, but better than scantron.
    My son is in forth grade and I still think he lacks ideal bubble-filling skills.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 63. How is Lenart  |  October 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Lenart had their open house this past week, but I was not able to attend. Did anyone on CPSO attend? If so, how was it? Any current Lenart parents here that can share their experience about this school? Thnx!

  • 64. concernedmom  |  October 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    @60 & 62 – Thanks so much for the clarification.

  • 65. Free Education Forum  |  October 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    If you haven’t seen or heard, the Bucktown Community Organization is holding its annual Education Forum again soon.

    The first part is an open house with reps from all of the Bucktown elementary schools in attendance.

    The second part is a presentation on ‘Everything CPS’. It’s a 60-90 minute boot camp on how to navigate CPS. The presentation is not Bucktown specific, it would be of value to anyone considering CPS. Best of all, it’s free!

    Here are the details:

    Location: Burr Elementary (Ashland and Wabansia)
    Date: Thursday, July 18th
    Time: 6:00-7:30 Open House
    7:30 -8:30 Presentation
    Cost: FREE

    Details are also available on the BCO website-

    any questions email:

    Steve Dillinger
    Bucktown Community Organization

  • 66. ChiSchoolGPS  |  October 11, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    The much ballyhooed “CPS High School Guide” is online now and although I have only perused it briefly, I will say I wish they had hired a graphic designer to make it easier to read.

  • 67. Working mommy of 2  |  October 11, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Was just reading through the elementary school guide and came across this “warning.” Wonder if they always put this in to cover themselves, or if transportation cuts really are a serious possibility.


    Please note: Due to the extreme budgetary pressures facing the District, the Board of Education will be reviewing all
    transportation policies to determine its ability to fund ongoing programs including those related to magnet, gifted,
    and selective enrollment programs as well as many others throughout the District for the 2013-2014 school year.
    When making choices about school applications for your child please keep in mind that current transportation
    policies and guidelines could be subject to change. If our transportation policy should change, updated
    information will be available on or

  • 68. CPS Teacher  |  October 11, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    Surprise, surprise. Another 6-figure school chief is out. I wonder what great changes the new one will make. Here we go again.

  • 69. Christine Whitley  |  October 11, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    @Steve July 18?? Really?? Getting an early start on next year? LOL

  • 70. Susan Lofton, Principal Senn HS  |  October 11, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Senn’s IB and Fine Arts open house will be November 17th, 1 – 4 p.m. But if you want to see what it is really like, come shadow during a regular day. Email

  • 71. sen  |  October 12, 2012 at 8:25 am

    @67 not surprised to see that. The bus this year has been a mess. If they eliminate it though, it will make it very hard on working parents. I would be willing to pay.

  • 72. Free Education Forum  |  October 12, 2012 at 10:22 am

    @Stupid is more like it! OCTOBER 18th. Next Thursday. Argh.

    Thanks Christine

  • 73. cpsobsessed  |  October 13, 2012 at 11:25 am

    FYI: This should be interesting. The new principal and activities director have put together this agenda and this will be the first chance for the community to hear her vision for the school.

    Community Night
    6:00 – 7:30 PM

    6:00 – 6:25 PM
    Enjoy cookies and coffee as you mingle with students, faculty, staff, and other members of the Amundsen High School community.

    6:30 – 6:50 PM
    Join the School Data Strategist as he reviews the facts about student safety, academic growth, and overall school performance.

    7:00 – 7:20 PM
    Principal Anna Pavichevich will illustrate her vision for making Amundsen the preferred school of choice for our local community.

    6:00 – 7:30 PM
    Discover what Amundsen has to offer as you explore over 50 extracurricular clubs, activities, and interscholastic sports teams.

    All of our guests will receive complimentary tickets to attend the Homecoming Football game on Friday, October 19, at 4:00 PM.
    5110 North Damen Avenue
    Chicago, Illinois 60625

  • 74. anonymouse teacher  |  October 13, 2012 at 11:50 am

    @67, every single year they talk about cutting or eliminating bus service. Personally, I think bus service should only be offered to special needs kids whose home schools don’t have an appropriate program. All others should be paying, on a sliding scale, for bus service. Suburban schools charge for this expensive luxury and so should Chicago.

  • 75. EdgewaterMom  |  October 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    @74 anonymouse teacher. I think that would only work if you charged kids who are not eligible for free or reduced lunch. Otherwise, you are effectively making the magnet / SE schools available to only the upper and middle class kids. I think that somebody else pointed out that even some kids who do not qualify for reduced lunch may not be able to afford the bus, so there may have to be some additional criteria.

    I agree that those who could afford it should have to pay for the bus. But it is important to make it available for those who cannot afford to pay – or get rid of all magnet/SE schools and focus on improving neighborhood schools so that the bus in not necessary.

  • 76. mom  |  October 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Can someone remind me – how is a school able to cap class sizes? Disney 2 caps at 25, for example. Can you think of other capped schools? Thank you.

  • 77. CarolA  |  October 13, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    I am surprised Disney2 caps at 25. Are you sure? I know of lottery schools that cap at 28 which was/is our cap for primary (even though neighborhood schools go over). Lottery schools and SE schools can cap because……they can. They are specialized. They are part of the elite schools which do better because of many things…one of which is capped classrooms.

  • 78. Jen K  |  October 14, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Disney II has 25 or 26 per class.

  • 79. Christine Whitley  |  October 14, 2012 at 8:25 am

    According to the Tribune 2011 School Scorecard, Disney II has 25 kids in each class K – 4. I honestly don’t know how they can cap their classes at 25 when everyone else has 28 – 30. They are having a tour on October 25th. Sounds like a great question to ask!

  • 80. Jen K  |  October 14, 2012 at 8:46 am

    The Disney II website asks that you reserve a spot for the tour by calling the school: RSVP at (773) 534-3750 to join tour
    10/25/2012, 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM. It’s an amazing school & we have an incredible Principal.

  • 81. HS Mom  |  October 14, 2012 at 8:52 am

    @76 Newberry did this (not sure if they still do). They would allocate their funds in such a way or fund raise so that they could get an extra teacher for K-2. They had something like 20 to a class with 3 classrooms. They would then consolidate into larger classes at some point.

  • 82. mom  |  October 14, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Yes, Disney for sure caps at 25 Jen says 26 and that may be true for some of the rooms but the rule is 25. It sounds great, but not necessarily “fair” if other magnets have 32 for example.

  • 83. HS Mom  |  October 14, 2012 at 9:45 am

    @82 – it would also depend on the space. At our school, we kept the larger size classes because they wanted/needed dedicated space for language and pull out services.

  • 84. anonymouse teacher  |  October 14, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Magnets use their extra funds, both from the district and from fundraising in different ways. One school may cap at 25 but have less support staff , while another has 32, but then uses tons of support staff in the form of extra reading specialists to pull out small groups. Space is also a consideration as HS mom said. Any school with 30+ and NO additional push in or pull out help for math and or reading is not going to be able to provide the best of services. But with push in or pull out help bought through extra funds, they can.

    Edgewater mom, fwiw, I agree that the district must be careful not to inadvertently eliminate lower income families through elimination of transportation. I have further thoughts about the massive inequities between typical neighborhood school A and typical magnet school B, but those things have been argued to death on this board and further discussion is likely to not be helpful.

  • 85. mom  |  October 14, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Thank you for the explanation.

  • 86. cpsobsessed  |  October 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Wow, I had no idea the magnets could vary their class sizes. I thought that was set by CPS. Ya learn something new everyday, I swear.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 87. Ma  |  October 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    What is preferable – smaller classes or bigger classes with more pull outs and push ins?

  • 88. HS Mom  |  October 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    @87 – I cannot attest to the success of the smaller class since we did not have this. What happened with the pull outs, however, was a reduced size reading class. They were able to split this subject into smaller groups for all grades as well as the language classes. For upper grades, Algebra and advanced science were offered as a pull out. It worked well, the school was very successful. The extra reading class made a big difference the other subjects worked fine as larger sized classes.

  • 89. CarolA  |  October 15, 2012 at 6:27 am

    I find pull outs and push ins to be distracting. In the case of push ins….it’s hard to have 2 teachers teaching different things in one classroom successfully. In the case of pull outs, in our school it seemed those teachers were often pulled for other duties and couldn’t be depended on every day. It seems anyone who doesn’t have their own designated set of children in front of them gets pulled for last minute changes (no sub, assembly, special guest, testing, etc.) Also, my experience was that even though another teacher taught the reading, I was responsible for the grade. Doesn’t make sense especially since now that will be a part of MY rating. HMMMMMMM

  • 90. anonymous  |  October 15, 2012 at 6:35 am

    Today you are invited to a conversation with Diane Ravitch,
    noted public education advocate and author of

    The Death and Life
    of the Great American School System:

    How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education

    Monday, October 15
    4:00 pm
    Lane Technical High School
    2501 W. Addison Ave., Chicago, IL
    You may purchase a ticket on the CTU website or at the door.

    Why you should go –

    To hear more about the over-testing of students going on now in CPS and in other parts of the country.

  • 91. anonymous  |  October 16, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Can someone help me understand the SEHS cutoff scores for last year round 1 for NSCP that are listed here:–%20First-Round%20Scores.pdf

    I don’t understand the difference between the Rank and Tier scores (the document above shows First Round Mean score for Tier 4 of 894 and a Rank score of 899).

  • 92. ChiSchoolGPS  |  October 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    For all Selective Enrollment entry years (9th grade for high school), 30% of available seats are awarded to the highest scoring students citywide, regardless of where they live/what tier they are in. The remaining 70% of seats are equally divided among the 4 Tiers. Thus, rank scores have a higher mean than Tier scores, and typically Tier 4 scores are higher than Tier 1.

  • 93. RL Julia  |  October 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    The students do get to choose/rank what schools they want to go to. Thus a student who gets a perfect score will get their first choice school. In the case you mentioned, the rank score was 899 – that means that the lowest score in the 30% of the kids getting into NCP was 899. For kids living in tier 4, the lowest score accepted for that year was 894. What the lowest acceptable score is for entrance to a given high school is largely determined by supply and demand. If no one wanted to go to NCP, the minimum entrance scores would fall. Sometimes subscription to a certain school is also influenced by geography, I believe that this past year, it was harder to get into the Kenwood AC if you were in tier 2 than in tier 4. Given its location, there simply were a lot more tier 2 kids interested in going to Kenwood than tier 4 kids -apparently. NCP is a good school but it is also surrounded largely by tier 4 neighborhoods, thus lots more tier 4 kids are going to want to go there because it is a shorter commute. There are other factors that come into play as well -but proximity is perhaps the one easiest to explain.

  • 94. OptionHS  |  October 17, 2012 at 3:34 pm,0,3760813.story

    Another option for those unable or unwilling to roll the SE HS dice.

  • 95. anonymous  |  October 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    @93 – Thanks, Julia! I believe these are 1st round scores only. Do we know if there was a 2nd round at NSCP (or any other school for that matter)?

    Also, any idea how many perfect scores there typically are each year? Seems like they would be statistically rare (well less than 1% of students).

  • 96. Mayfair Dad  |  October 17, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    @ Jen K and other posters talking about D2:


  • 97. Jen K  |  October 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    @ Mayfair Dad. Sorry, can’t help myself sometimes 🙂

  • 98. RL Julia  |  October 18, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Anonymous – A second round is not guaranteed. Last year Northside did not have a second round. Lane almost always does – but it really just depends. Unlike like the SEES lottery, the high school one doesn’t go on and on all summer. There are always a few slots given to principal discretion as well.
    I don’t really know how many kids get 900’s -how many kids per grade get 99s on both parts of the ISAT and A’s in the four key subjects. I imagine that you managed to pull that off, you will also ace the entrance exam. Certainly more people do not get a perfect score.
    As someone who went through the SEHS process last year, I cannot stress enough the value of going to the open houses and not getting hung up on the idea that there is only one school out there that will work. All of the SEHS’s are unique and special places and each has their own strengths (and weaknesses). As a person with a child at NCP this year, I can assure you that while it is a wonderful school, it is not necessarily a good fit for every smart kid. I know a lot of really bright kids who probably would be miserable there.

  • 99. Meg Welch/IBobsessed  |  October 18, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Can you elaborate on what type of smart kid you think would be miserable there?

  • 100. klm  |  October 18, 2012 at 9:57 am

    @49 Frank

    “Let the brain drain from neighborhood schools continue…”

    Well, I guess that’s one way of looking at it.

    Another view: “Let the flight to the suburbs discontinue or at least slow down…..”

    I can’t tell you how many people I know that have stayed in Chicago because their kids got into a good CPS magnet or SE school. No middle-class/upper-middle-class family in Streeterville, Near North Side or the Gold Coast would send their kids to Wells or Manierre. Ever. Private schools are not always an option, either, because of cost (what about families with several kids, like mine? Even most physicians can’t afford to send 5 or 6 kids to Latin or Lab) or inability to be admitted.

    Also, there are so many great neighborhood schools in Chicago now (Alcott, Bell, Blaine, Burley, Chopin, Edgebrook, Lincoln, Oriole Park, Nettelhorst, ……etc. Many of these schools are ones that no middle-class parent would have even considered a decade or 2 ago, as we all know) so many people in those attendance zones don’t even bother with testing, lotteries, etc. If anything, the high-ranking magnet and SE schools have given people a sense that a CPS education can –surprise, surprise– actually be OK, if not outright “good” (a feeling that was largely absent in Chicago a generation ago). Accordingly, this newer faith in CPS born of SE and magnets has, if anything, given parents reason to believe that maybe even a CPS neighborhood school may work out and (in my opinion) actually has been very beneficial to neighborhood CPS schools by “spreading the faith” that for a good public education, one does not have to leave Chicago, as many/most people actually believed not too long ago.

    I’ll never understand the mentality of “There should be no magnet or SE schools in CPS. If people were forced to attend their local school, then these schools would improve for ALL kids.”

    No way. The (unintended perhaps, but very real) consequence would be a giant sucking sound of middle-class families running to Oak Park, Wilmette and Northbrook the moment their first kid turns 5 –a la 1950/60/70/80s.

    A city like Chicago needs a large middle-class presence (as does CPS) and, like it or not, the SEs and magnet schools have succeeded in their original purpose when they were first designed in the 1970s: keeping in and attracting middle/upper-middle-class+ families to Chicago.

  • 101. RL Julia  |  October 18, 2012 at 10:33 am

    @ 99 Sure- but this is really just my opinion please keep that in mind – I hate writing this sort of stuff because I am afraid it will be twisted around into something I didn’t really mean. It’s not the gospel for sure.
    In my observation, North side seems to be a good for kids who like school – and I mean really like school -the kind of obsessive learner who gets passionate about school subjects and goes the extra mile because they are so geeked out about it. They also have this block schedule which means that classes are long but only happen twice a week. Because of this, the assignments given in class tend to be a little lengthier. In order to not get snowed under, the kids have to have good time management skills. Teachers have very high expectations of the kids which is nice and there is plenty of help for those who ask for it – but it is not a school that you can slide through getting A’s or even B’s (although I am sure there are exceptions). Some of larger assignments are challenging to say the least, and I don’t think there is a lot of grade inflation. Most of teachers seem to know what the kids are capable of grade accordingly (and they seem to have a sensor for when the kid isn’t giving their all and somehow factor that in). As an example, one of my son’s larger assignments so far was to write a (typed) three page essay comparing/contrasting a movie and a book by Cormac McCarthy (both watched/read over the summer) in how they exemplified the myth of the American West.
    Mostly I think the kid’s maturity and interest in school play into whether or not they would like Northside. The kind of kid who might not like Northside would be one who likes school well enough but whose true passion lies elsewhere, one who is not great time manager and who would do better with having all of their classes every day. Kids who don’t particularly like being in school would also not be so happy –because you end up being in school and/or doing homework most of the time. Also –Northside doesn’t have a dance program and while it has a lot of sports, it is not a powerhouse so a super athletic kid might be disappointed or might not be challenged that way.
    I am sure there are exceptions to this but this is just what I’ve seen thus far.

  • 102. HSnope  |  October 18, 2012 at 10:34 am

    100 Kim – yes, you are right. Many of the CPS grammar schools are good viable options now. If only the HS issue wasn’t such a mess…..

  • 103. NotSure66  |  October 18, 2012 at 10:47 am

    101 Block schedule or not, time managment is huge at every hs, not just NS. It’s so easy for all these kids to waste time on FB and computer stuff.

  • 104. local  |  October 18, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Two students, two high schools, two divergent paths to college

    Jasmeen Wellere grew up on the south side, Hayley Himmelman on the North Shore. Both flourished in their classes, but they’ve faced very different challenges—and been afforded very different opportunities..

    By Steve Bogira

  • 105. local  |  October 18, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    The first magnet schools in CPS were a deseg effort.

  • 106. OldIrvingPark  |  October 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    CPS Announces Five New International Baccalaureate Programmes in Public High Schools

    Bronzeville, Farragut, Kennedy, Schurz and Juarez High Schools Will Offer Students Rigorous and Stimulating Educational Opportunities

    October 18, 2012

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett today announced the location of five new International Baccalaureate (IB) Programmes in neighborhood high schools across the District. Starting in fall 2013, Bronzeville, Farragut, Schurz, Kennedy and Juarez High Schools will offer rigorous IB curriculum in addition to their traditional curriculum, as part of a continuing effort to provide high-quality school options for every student in every neighborhood across Chicago.

    “I am committed to expanding the options available across the city for a high-quality education for every family and student, and increasing the number of IB programmes available for students across the city is one way that we are providing additional opportunity,” said Mayor Emanuel. “As a parent, I know that every student is different, and parents deserve to have the ability to choose a good school or program that works best for their children.”

    The five new IB programmes are part of Mayor Emanuel and CPS’ initiative announced in March to create and open 10 new IB Diploma Programmes in high schools across the city in the fall of 2013, with final authorization set for 2015. The five new programmes that are being announced today will be presented to the Chicago Board of Education for approval.

    “As a former teacher and principal, I know the importance of meeting our students’ individual needs by providing them with access to a variety of high-quality school options,” said CEO Byrd-Bennett. “By expanding IB programmes across the city, we’re giving more students access to the kinds of challenging curricula that not only prepare them for college, but develop their intellectual curiosity, laying the foundation for our children to become active, lifelong learners.”

    Half of the 10 new programmes are wall-to-wall IB schools, each located in one of the District’s five regional collaboratives. The five new wall-to-wall schools are located at Senn High School in Edgewater, Back of the Yards High School, Roberto Clemente Community Academy in Humboldt Park, Hyde Park Career Academy in Woodlawn and one more high school that has yet to be announced.

    To identify the areas where new schools and programmes would best meet the needs of students and communities, CPS worked with key stakeholders including network Chiefs, principals, Community Action Councils, community groups, faith leaders and parents.

    The IB curriculum engages students in a challenging programme of international education and rigorous assessment that has garnered worldwide recognition for its high academic standards. In CPS high schools, pre-IB Diploma students are selected for enrollment using grades, grade 7 ISAT results and attendance at an information session. Students apply to the pre-IB Diploma Programme before their freshman year and those accepted are enrolled into an honors or honors Middle Years Programme (MYP) for grades 9 and 10. After grade 10, qualified students enter the IB Diploma Programme, a comprehensive and challenging college preparatory program for students in grades 11 and 12.

    IB students leave high school with extremely strong qualifications for college, making them very competitive for college admissions. According to a March report by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, CPS IB Diploma Programme students are 40 percent more likely to attend a four-year college and 50 percent more likely to attend a more selective college, and they persist in college at higher rates than similar students in honors programs and selective enrollment high schools. IB Diploma Programme students’ college retention rate is nearly 90 percent.

    IB Diploma Programme students complete seven courses and receive a breadth of experience in languages, social studies, experimental sciences and mathematics. Coursework aims to help students become culturally and internationally aware, open-minded and confident in a language other than English.

    CPS currently offers IB programmes to approximately 3,500 students throughout the city at 14 neighborhood high schools: Amundsen, Bogan, Curie, Hubbard, Hyde Park, Kelly, Lincoln Park, Morgan Park, Ogden, Prosser, Steinmetz, Senn, Taft and Washington. South Shore International College Prep recently opened and is going through the authorization process. Seventeen CPS elementary schools also offer IB programmes; four more programmes are going through the authorization process. About three- quarters of CPS’ IB students are African-American or Latino and live in low-income neighborhoods; the majority are first-generation college students.

  • 107. klm  |  October 19, 2012 at 12:58 pm


    That story is so sad. It’s upsetting that the student stuck in a CPS ghetto HS had such apathetic/crappy teachers. When I’ve pointed out similar stories in my own “ghetto public school” experience, there has been an attitude from some people of either disbelief or “it’s not the teachers’ fault –it’s all the fault of administration and society.”

    OK, I know I’m going off here, but when Karen Lewis was trying to go against the 7-hour school day several months ago “because CPS teachers are already working 12 or 13 hours a day, on average…(as if)”, well it kinda’ made me sick. I’m all for teachers (who isn’t?|) but why do poor black kids in the ghetto have to deal with apathetic ineffective teachers, when the same attitude from educators would never ever in a million years be tolerated at New Trier? There are enough great CPS schools and teachers, so why is such neglectful behavior tolerated (and yes, protected by union rules) when the students involved come from poor,uneducated families, but not from white, upper-middle-class ones? I guess if parents and students are less sophisticated and therefore less “threatening”, it makes things OK.

    Just blowing off steam here, no need to demonize me (I know certain people on this site are ready to immediately pounce at any suggestion that unions protect ineffective teachers).

  • 108. RL Julia  |  October 19, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    klm – I too found the article really disturbing. I also sort of found the hinted at solution (have suburban white people at your urban school is really all you need!) to be disturbing as well. Do you think the IB stuff in the high schools might help with this problem (the educational quality one – not the other one)? Provided, by high school, it’s too little too late in many cases. I posted a link to a good report in another post -to get to it google Title I Harvard – its the second link – “Reforming Title I -Closing the Achievement Gap” by Michele Stillwell Parvensky.

  • 109. klm  |  October 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    @108 RL Julia

    I think having IBs at ghettos HSs may help a few kids, but let’s face it (as you said, it’s kinda’ too late by 9th grade –heck, some educational experts will tell you it’s too later after 5th or even 3rd grade to get kids up to grade level, if they’re already at ‘ghetto’ levels of lagging academic achievement), even the academic rock stars at some CPS HSs are probably no more prepared for college than some 7th and 8th graders in Glencoe. Sad, but true.

    Don’t get me wrong –there are higher achieving A-A kids from the Chicago inner-city at “good” HSs, but they’re going to WY, Brooks, WP, JCP, (or getting scholarships and financial aid or having parents that can pay full-price at SICP, DeLaSalle), etc. Putting an IB program at a school like Farragut HS (whose mere mention sends shivers up the spine of any Southside parent that cares in the least about their kid[s] well-being and safety) is wishful thinking, in my opinion. I know this sounds horrible, but it’s kinda’ like putting lipstick on a pig.

    I recall on this site people mentioning IBs at some CPS HSs where the average ACT (of the IB program kids, not the HS as a whole –which is even lower) was like 18.1 –hardly a high-achieving atmosphere.

    If in the US as a whole, the achievement gap between A-A and white kids is 4 (!!!) years (as in the diff. b/t 8th and 12th grade), so can you imagine what the difference is between Glencoe and the most ‘ghetto’ parts of the ghetto? What, maybe 6 years? 7 years? I remember reading that the average adult in Cabrini Green (around the time the decision to tear it down) could read at only a 3rd grade level.

    As I mentioned before, I once volunteered at an inner-city HS, helping teach an 11th grade civics class. Those poor kids were being taught at basically a 5th or 6th grade (at most) level in order to get more kids passing (which is the emphasis at a lot of inner-city HSs, more than ‘mainstream’ levels of learning). It was shocking. The saddest part is, many of the kids were planning on going to college. Some wanted to be physicians and lawyers. It was beyond upsetting. I would bet my life that virtually nobody in the class was able to write a HS-level essay (especially not a New Trier-level essay), but many were convinced they were going to be pediatricians, surgeons and criminal defense lawyers. The verbal communication skills alone (virtually nobody spoke in complete sentences) were enough to make any caring person want to cry. The experience haunts me to this day. I’d be amazed if many of those kids made it through community college. Probably a similar academic atmosphere as the school in the fore-mentioned story, (where the valedictorian gets in the ‘teens on the ACT –mind you the 25-75th percentiles at the University of Illinois on the ACT is 27-31, never mind a school like Northwestern [30-34] where she really wanted to go. It would have been cruel to admit her there).

    I could go on forever, but you get my drift. Some situations seem so hopeless it’s hard to know where to begin.

  • 110. local  |  October 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Did the IB organization approve these programmes yet? “The five new IB programmes are part of Mayor Emanuel and CPS’ initiative announced in March to create and open 10 new IB Diploma Programmes in high schools across the city in the fall of 2013, with final authorization set for 2015. The five new programmes that are being announced today will be presented to the Chicago Board of Education for approval.”

  • 111. CPS Teacher  |  October 19, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Things appear hopeless as we read about them, but believe me, for most teachers at the school described, it is a nightmare as well. There were days that I had 5-6 children surrounding my desk where we would work while the others did there own thing. IT was better to separate the ones who wanted to learn from those that were disruptive and often abusive. There were days when those “special” children were afraid to show that they wanted to learn from fear of retribution somewhere later in the day. I once was teaching a 90 minute double period algebra class where the classroom had to have felt 100 degrees. Out of nowhere a woman walked in, announced herself to be a student’s mother and started going on about how she was available to help anytime and I should call her because she was involved in her daughter’s life. Well, guess what? At that moment, her breast popped out of low cut dress she was wearing and she turned to the kids, laughed and said “You like that?” to one of the boys. Chaos began. How’s that for support? Later, the asst. prin. told me the mother was drunk.

    Let’s not forget that the principal of HIrsch was removed from the school this september. She had her own agenda and it was not education. I also need to note that Hirsch has a large number of TFA on their staff. How many are at New Trier? Not one. Parents at suburban schools would never allow there children to be instructed by 5-week trained teachers. They don’t have the skills necessary to manage behaviors that occur in the teenage classroom, let alone at a place like Hirsch.

    There are so many things wrong with Chicago that changing a building or a group of teachers will not even begin to address them.

  • 112. RL Julia  |  October 19, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    I”d imagine that the thinking around all this IB action into the high schools stems from the report released earlier this year that pointed out that of all of the curricula and interventions and etc… the IB one was really the only that had any results. Perhaps most notably that even in cases where students were not able/willing/capable of pursuing the IB diploma – the mere fact that they had been enrolled in an IB curriculum did help them achieve some higher level of academic competency than if they had been enrolled in a regular gen. ed. class.

    Another part of me also thinks that this is a way for CPS to do a little positive marketing in neighborhood high schools to make them seem more attractive to tier 3/4 parents whose children might not make it into an SEHS (or who are unwilling to travel at least from the North side to Westinghouse). My neighborhood school which is 85% low income has a catchment area drawing almost exclusively from tier 3 and 4 neighborhoods – go figure (read – lots of families doubling up on housing in order to live near a decent neighborhood with a decent neighborhood school). While all of last year’s 8th graders were eligible to take the SEHS exam – only TWO kids actually got offers from an SEHS and only about five more got offers from IB or other test in high school programs. This mean two things – 1. there were a lot of kids who, although perhaps not tier 3 or 4 level SEHS competitive, are going to their neighborhood schools who are capable of doing honors level, AP level work etc…. and the schools (in this case Schurz and Roosevelt) should have some sort of all encompassing way of addressing those kid’s academic needs. 2. All of these kids and their parents had their expectations raised about what their kids were capable of academically and did enough research to see what an SEHS, IB etc… type school/education looked like. It would be nice if the neighborhood schools could try and meet that raised expectation. 3. Unless the tier system is again re-vamped (which quite frankly seems really unlikely to me) or CPS decides to open another SEHS on the North side at least (another pipe dream, IMO), more and more tier 3 and 4 parents will be forced to figure out some alternative to the test in high schools – having an viable (or at least theoretically viable) program of study offered at the neighborhood schools for higher achieving kids can only help… The fact is no matter how many people threaten to move, home school, go private, go parochial etc… a certain percentage of them are going to need a public school choice. Plus, more “good” kids from “good” families can ultimately turn the school around (i.e. Lakeview, Senn, Amundsen etc..).

  • 113. cpsobsessed  |  October 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    @RL Julia, yeah, I think this is stemming from the IB research that came out earlier this year. At the Amundsen open house weds night, the principal had just had lunch with the mayor that day and she was mentioning the study — he clearly had been talking about it.

    I still don’t fully grasp the IB thing but it sounds more liberal artsy, thinking more coneceptually, etc. Seems like it’s worth a try in these schools I guess. Maybe it’ll make school more engaging for some of the kids who are up for it.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 114. local  |  October 19, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Does anyone know: No sped accommodations are permitted for the IB Diploma exam. True or not?

  • 115. Family Friend  |  October 20, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Why CPS asks for race on the application: race/ethnicity is one of the categories school districts are required to use when breaking down test scores for NCLB. They just follow the federal requirements.

  • 116. Family Friend  |  October 20, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Should you send your middle class kid to a charter school (or move to the suburbs)? I am going to start a series of posts on the CPS obsessed forum at the High School/Charter School section, beginning with Noble Street schools, probably tonight. There are a number of charter schools most of the parents who post here would like, and I think that including charters among your applications is a good way of maximizing your options.

  • 117. cpsobsessed  |  October 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Hey, FF, that would be awesome! If you start that there I’ll help make some posts too.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 118. Christine Whitley  |  October 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    @FF I would be really interested in reading that. I am so impressed by Namaste Charter School.

  • 119. Family Friend  |  October 21, 2012 at 12:26 am

    Christine. I love Namaste, too. It’s one of those schools where the support oozes out of the walls. They received a federal grant to share their best practices with other schools, including regular CPS schools — I hope lots of schools are taking them up on it!

  • 120. Family Friend  |  October 21, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Discussion of Noble Street is up. I also plan to cover CICS Northtown and CICS Quest, Chicago Math and Science Academy, Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy, and Chicago Virtual, and maybe Perspectives Rodney Joslin and/or IIT, and maybe Young Women’s Leadership Academy. If anyone is interested in another school, let me know. I am focusing on schools where I believe that the program is capable of not just bringing poorly educated students up to a standard where they can attend college, but also to maximize the potential of students who are already doing well.

  • 121. RL Julia  |  October 21, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    I’d like to see Taft, Rickover and Chicago Bulls,

  • 122. anonymous  |  October 21, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Is there a good place to find a list of Open Houses at SEHS’s?

    I attended Northside’s Opern House this afternoon and was extremely impressed but I’d like my child to look at a few other options as well.

  • 123. cpsobsessed  |  October 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Looks like the SEHS open house schedule is here…

  • 124. cpsobsessed  |  October 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    @122 – how was it at northside? I assume it’s highly impressive….

  • 125. cpsobsessed  |  October 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I’m sorry, I STILL can’t believe they each do ONE open house.

  • 126. Chicago School GPS  |  October 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Speaking of impressive, I am very optimistic about Westinghouse. They had their open house this weekend, but will do another one on Nov. 28 @ 5:30PM (one of the only SEHS that does 2 open houses). Not only do they have a dazzling facility, but they have some unique programs like the Northwestern Medical Scholars program open to high achieving kids in both their SEHS & CTC (College to Career) programs (check out ) Good diversity there as well. I definitely call it a “Hidden Gem” high school.

  • 127. southie  |  October 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    What are Westinghouse’s diversity stats?

  • 128. Chicago School GPS  |  October 21, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Admittedly, the kids I saw were those who volunteered at the Open House and therefore may not be representative of the student body as a whole (which has stats listed at but those I saw were mixed fairly evenly between Hispanic, African American, and a larger than expected Asian population. While I didn’t exactly see a lot of Caucasian kids as tour guides, I did see a lot of Caucasian families touring and sounding impressed with the tour, so I think their numbers may be changing. This happened when Jones and Walter Payton first started as SEHS where their early years had a different diversity mix than now.

  • 129. cpsobsessed  |  October 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Was just talking today about westinghouse with a mom who has an 8th grader. I think the bus commute there goes through some sketchy stretches and we discussed the idea of a transportation service or carpools to get kids there.
    She was also saying she heard great things about vonsteuben from a friend who’s child just started there after private elem school.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 130. Chicago School GPS  |  October 21, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Von Steuben is a definite “Hidden Gem”, especially its Scholars and Science programs, both of which require applying via CPS’s Magnet HS application–%20English.pdf.
    Their open house is on Nov 3 @ 8AM for Scholars and 9, 10 & 11AM for the other programs.
    I liken the Scholars program to an RGC, whereby the kids take accelerated classes together their first year or so there, like the “School within a School” concept of most RGCs.

  • 131. cpsobsessed  |  October 21, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Does VonSteuben have any neighborhood elements or is it all application? I also wonder if it is very “mathy” or not. Nice location at the end of the Brown line.

  • 132. Chicago School GPS  |  October 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    No neighborhood element, according to CPS’s not so easy to read High School Guide–%20School%20Profiles.pdf
    BUT, I did see on their homepage that they are taking upper classmen transfers to their Scholars program this application period.

  • 133. Todd Pytel  |  October 21, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    We’ll be hosting an Open House at Senn High School for our IB Diploma Prep and Fine Arts programs on Sunday, November 17th from 1pm to 4pm. Students, faculty, and administration will be available to answer questions, provide building tours, and show off our students’ work. The Fine Arts Theatre students will also present their Fall Shakespeare Festival after the conclusion of the Open House, from 4pm to 6pm.

    More information about Senn and its programs is available on our website at . Also, for those who would prefer a closer look at classrooms and climate, you’ll find a Shadow Day Request form on the website to schedule your student for either a full or a half day following a 9th grade student from your program of interest.

    If you have questions the website can’t answer, feel free to email me at Hope to see some of you on November 17th!

    Todd Pytel
    Mathematics Department Chair
    Senn High School

  • 134. cpsobsessed  |  October 21, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    @Todd, is the open house one that people can expect to wait in line for (like at the SE high schools?) Or can one show up and get in easily?

  • 135. Todd Pytel  |  October 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    CPSO – I forwarded that question to our principal and MYP coordinator. My guess is that there shouldn’t be significant lines. But I couldn’t make last year’s event, and if we triple our application rate again like we did last time there could be a lot of people. So I don’t know for sure, but will post back.

  • 136. mustangmom  |  October 21, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I worked as a parent volunteer at the Northside Open House today. I hope it was helpful to the families that joined us. I’m not certain why we only have one open house, but perhaps because of the work involved. Most of the teachers work at the open house, and we need hundreds of parent and student volunteers to get everyone through the door. It’s a big commitment. I don’t know if we would get the volunteers together to do two open houses. Does any other Selective Enrollment school hold more than one open house?

  • 137. Todd Pytel  |  October 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    @134 (CPSO) – Ms.Lofton assures me that we will have ample faculty, student, and community volunteers to keep people moving and prevent lines.

  • 138. Christine Whitley  |  October 21, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    @136 Skinner North has three every year, two in the fall and one in the spring but that’s not a high school.

  • 139. RL Julia  |  October 22, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Would Skinner draw the same number of people, and is it the same square footage? My impression is mostly that there is stuff scheduled at high schools pretty much every weekend – also as mustang mom points out – these open houses take a lot of work on everyone’s part – and require a pretty big commitment from staff -many of whom are already there on the weekends doing other things. My husband volunteered at the Northside Open House and estimated that about 2,000 people probably came through the school.

    If you missed an SEHS open house but still want to check out the school I’d advise checking out the website but also going to visit the school via a performance or some sort. You also could go to an LSC meeting or contact the PTO’s, explain your situation and see what guidance you can get from them. Many schools have some sort of a introductory PowerPoint and the principal gives remarks -I don’t know if these get posted to the web, but that would be nice too. In retrospect, I found going to the open houses to be moderately helpful but not particularly critical. They were mostly helpful in getting my son to focus and/or keep an open mind. To that end, if anyone has a specific question about Northside, post it to the CPSO Forum and I will do my very best to give you a good answer if not a link to someone who does know.

  • 140. HS Mom  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:02 am

    @139 RLJ – to add to what you’re saying. Some schools are providing shadow days after you get accepted. This is one of the best ways to understand the school and get a feel for day to day life. Sometimes it’s difficult to attend a multitude of open houses without any idea that you’ll be able to get into the program anyway.

  • 141. David Gregg  |  October 22, 2012 at 9:50 am

    @134: Senn Hall Auditorium seats close to 1,000 people. There will be ample student and faculty tour guides so groups will regularly be moving throughout the building. I would anticipate no significant wait. And any waiting that might occur prior to a tour would provide additional time for Q & A in the Auditorium. It has been a very smooth experience for visitors in the past and I expect the same will be true this year.

    -David Gregg
    IB-MYP Coordinator
    Nicholas Senn High School

  • 142. Sunny  |  October 22, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Where can I get a list of the Open Houses for all the special H.S. Programs? I have the SEHS list, but I see VonSteuben and othes mentioned. I still don’t know about all the H.S. options other than SE.

  • 143. Sunny  |  October 22, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Westinghouse tour was great. Everyone was very welcoming. One current parent mentioned he carpools with 5 parents coming around Irving and Pulaski. Westinghouse offers regular, Honors, and AP courses. Northside does not offer regular classes – all classes are Honors or AP (except like gym, etc.; no dance either, other than in a club). The support at Westinghouse was impressive. They have a Freshman cohort that is mandartory to make sure Freshman are successful – offer support and tutoring as a group afterschool. Plus there is 1 hour daily tutoring available by subject for the other students. If your child signs up for regular class and is not challenged enough, they said they would move the child up to Honors or AP. And vice versa. If too challenging, they will move your child to a more appropriate level generally within the first 3 weeks. Schoolday is from 8-3:30 with tutoring from 3:30-4:30. Kedzie bus is a half block from the door. Overall, great impression of the school as being a very supportive envirnoment. ACT is 20 for this year’s seniors – but this is a combo of the SE and College to Careers – don’t know what the SE H.S. ACT alone is. Homework load – most SE students said it was 2-3 hours daily. Northside – most said H.W. was 3 hours daily. So about the same.

  • 144. ChiSchoolGPS  |  October 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    For Open House listings, check out CPSOAE’s web calendar:
    or the Open House calendar at Chicago School GPS:
    You can toggle on and off the types of schools you are interested in at our web calendar (we include public and private schools). Hope it helps, and by all means, let us know of any we missed.

  • 145. anonymous  |  October 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    @124 @136 The Northside Open House was very informative. I was impressed that many teachers were there (on their day off) and the level of support by parents was impressive. It was very helpful to hear about the experience of attending Northside directly from the students themselves. I had been in the school a few times before but had not seen much of it outside of the main entrance or the auditorium so it was great to be able to see the entire facility (although it is small, the facilities are as impressive as any of the suburban facilities I have been in recently – Stevenson, Glenbrook(s), ETHS, etc.)

    I was very concerned when I pulled up to the school 15 minutes before the start of the Open House and there were already long lines (I don’t know what I was thinking but this surprised me). Fortunately the weather was nice and opened on time. Also, they did a very good job of crowd management – we were able to see all of the classrooms and facilities that were available and didn’t feel rushed.

    – very nice, new facility, open spaces
    – lots of interesting clubs, outside activities
    – block scheduling (my child finds this attractive)
    – extremely challenging academically (lots of AP classes)
    – smaller school
    – lots of arts/music options available
    – ability to test out of some of the curricula (such as algebra)

    Cons –
    – smaller school
    – athletic programs are necessarily smaller (although some individual sports are very strong – check into that if you’re hoping for an athletic scholarship for your child)
    – extremely academically challenging

    I would be concerned about attending this school if you weren’t extremely bright, extremely driven academically, or both. I suspect there is good assistance available for students who aren’t off the charts smart but clearly the intelligence, poise, and desire to learn is deeply embedded in the students there and it must be daunting to attend school there if you didn’t fall into that category.

    None of this surprised me as I had some contact with a student that recently graduated – this student was their target audience (very bright & driven) – they had a great time there and excelled (and went on to an Ivy).

    I believe this would be a very good school for my child (and they have already made up their mind this is where they want to go to HS) but we’re still going to investigate other options. My child doesn’t have a 900 but will likely be very close.

  • 146. RL Julia  |  October 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Anon – Best of luck to you and your child (and I mean that sincerely). Just remember there is an element of chance to the whole application process and there are no gurantees (especially if you are in tier 4 or even 3). It doesn’t pay to have serious favorites in this process.

  • 147. anonymous  |  October 22, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    @146 Thanks, Julia. I know there are no guarantees and it obviously makes a lot of sense to look at many options. I’m trying not to get caught up in test scores and want to help my child make the most informed, best decision for them (and it is nice to have options). My child did have the experience of being in a neighborhood/magnet school where they weren’t challenged (and their interest in school suffered because of that). After transferring to a RGC they really flowered academically so a challenging environment was a good thing for my kid – I hope that can happen in HS as well.

  • 148. RL Julia  |  October 23, 2012 at 9:06 am

    @147 – I expect that pretty much any of the SEHS’s can (and will) provide that academically challenging environment. Be sure to avail yourself to the placement tests for math and language as appropriate if you are worried about your child being placed correctly within the school itself.

  • 149. local  |  October 24, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Lincoln Park discussion:

  • 150. local  |  October 25, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Here’s an easy way into Jones:

    “Jones’ neighborhood seats will be a Career and Technical Education program, which allows for students to get into the school if they want to focus on one of two areas — pre-law or pre-engineering. It’ll be open first and foremost to students living within a neighborhood boundary, which hasn’t been drawn yet. The remaining seats will be open to students citywide.

    “Students in the local program will only take one class at a time that’s specific to pre-law or pre-engineering. The rest of the time, they’ll take the same classes as regular Jones students.”

    – from Chicago Journal

  • 151. local  |  October 25, 2012 at 9:37 am

    More: “The new Jones building is set to open in fall 2013. A freshman class of neighborhood students in the program will join the roughly 900 selective enrollment students on that first day. A new grade level of the Career and Technical Education program will be added each year afterwards.”

    Move to that ‘hood with your student aiming to study a pre-law or -engineering track. You’re good to go.

  • 152. local  |  October 25, 2012 at 9:39 am

    more – from comment: “The proposed neighborhood boundaries for Jones [CTE program] will be 26th St (South), Grand Ave (North), Ashland Avenue (West), and the lake to the east.” Some cheap housing in that catchment area?

  • 153. local  |  October 25, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Well,,, if your South Loop kid can make the to-be-announced 7th grade score-cut:

    “According to Connecting4Communities Executive Director Dennis O’Neill, neighborhood kids are defined as those who live in the area bounded by Grand Avenue on the North, Ashland Avenue on the west, and Lake Michigan on the East. The southern boundary runs along 26th Street from the lake until it meets I-55, at which point the boundary line moves southwest along the highway until it meets Ashland.

    “It’s not a pure neighborhood program, though. It’ll be a program providing pre-law and pre-engineering programs to teens. Each program will make up 12.5 percent, respectively, of the school’s enrollment. Local students will get preference for the seats, but remaining seats will be opened up to other applicants citywide.

    “According to an informational sheet passed out by CPS at a community meeting last week discussing the program, there will be minimum seventh grade test scores students will have to meet in order to gain admission to the school — neighborhood students included. That score has not yet been determined.”

    – from Chicago Journal blog

  • 154. local  |  October 25, 2012 at 9:58 am

    even more:

  • 155. Edgewater parent  |  October 25, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Re: Lincoln overcrowding, New York knows how to navigate through the entitled interests. Brooklyn’s Park Slope has recently felt the same changes…. c’mon CPS, “man up”.

  • 156. RL Julia  |  October 25, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Local – there are no easy backdoors into the SEHS’s unfortunately. They are very competitive places to get into no matter how you cut it. Luckily, there are other non-SEHS alternatives which offer a commensurate academic experience.

  • 157. I should have expected this  |  October 28, 2012 at 7:48 am

    I was reading reading FAQ’s for the application process at and the final q&a is:

    10.Will the tiers be updated?
    Yes. The tiers should be updated by early November.

    Thoughts? More tier 4’s? I doubt they will change any tier 4 areas to a 3. At least they won’t be changing the tiers in early February like they did last year. Maybe.

  • 158. Chicago School GPS  |  October 30, 2012 at 6:29 am

    I spent an afternoon with CPS officials learning all about the latest High School offerings (new IB programs, new SEHS, neighborhood STEM), resources (CPS High School Guide) and application/selection changes (IB, Military Academies & CTE). Plus, tiers are changing in November (not by much, but changing) and got the real scoop on IEP for SEHS.
    Join us at our Nov. 5th HS Seminar to hear more!

  • 159. alcott mom again  |  November 3, 2012 at 9:57 am

    CPS apply site keeps crashing.

    Wasting time entering all information and then it crashes.

    They can do nothing properly.

  • 160. cpsobsessed  |  November 3, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Send an email to the Contact Us spot on to let them know…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 161. alcott mom again  |  November 3, 2012 at 9:59 am

    And chicago gps how is it proper in a DEMOCRACY that you, a business, are given inside information from CPS to SELL TO PARENTS LIKE ME STRUGGLING? I am going to the tribune with this story they will love it.

  • 162. Sped Mom  |  November 3, 2012 at 10:26 am

    @ Chicago School GPS

    “…and got the real scoop on IEP for SEHS.”

    You have GOT to be kidding me! You’re collecting this info and then asking to share it only for pieces of gold? Do you have ANY idea how embattled and drained of resources families who are trying to extract FAPE from CPS are? You should be posting and offering this for free. Taking it to Rod Estvan at Access Living, a NFP that works tirelessly on behalf to students with disabilities who are discarded by CPS. If nothing else, you should be advocating for your CPS contact to publicly share this info she/he shared with you.

    Yes, it would be wonderful for the education reporters in this town to bother to do what you did to gather the info. And, yes, it’s a free market in which people can hire others even to paint their toenails. But, really. Think of your professional ethics.

  • 163. cps sad teacher  |  November 3, 2012 at 10:50 am

    If cps gets to extend its closure list, in my opinion, there will be chaos in getting your kid in a good school. I bet these kids will get first priority.

  • 164. Sped Mom  |  November 3, 2012 at 10:54 am

    @ 163 – From what I can recall, students from closed schools tend to be placed in equal or worse schools (judged by scores) – despite NCLB. But I’ve also heard of these students on the move bringing down scores at their new schools. Not sure what the data show.

  • 165. ChiSchoolGPS  |  November 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Alcott Mom & Sped Mom: Not insider information at all, actually! They are very responsive if you simply email them at I find they answer quickly. They also have all kinds of fabulous information on their website,, including power point presentations and high school guides, etc. Anything you don’t see there, I think you’ll find great success by sending them an email. Regarding our HS seminars, we offer need based fee waivers and our modest fee covers our printing or other expenses.

    I did want to applaud you both for doing all your research and visiting sites like this blog often. We find that not everyone has the time to do that, however. Much of the information is out there, but scattered far and wide, unfortunately. We spend much of our time visiting schools, talking with principals, parents and students- basically trying to get firsthand accounts of the various public and private schools in Chicago. Very time consuming!

    Send us an email if you have any specific questions- we will try our best to answer you. As much as I LOVE this blog, I don’t have much time to visit it too often so the best way to get a response from me is via email (click on the link above). Good luck on your school search journey!

  • 166. E. Weng  |  November 4, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I know my daughter would be lucky to be accepted to any of these RGC/Classic schools (I will take any of them!) and ranking them really does not matter – at the end of the day you don’t have much choice – it will be decided by the scores of your child. That being said, I want to rank schools on the application carefully especially after reading what happened to South Loop gifted program.
    My daughter is entering K next year and I was planning on putting Skinner West as our #1 choice. However, more I read about this school more I feel uncomfortable about future of its classical program.

    According to Skinner West website they currently have total of 25 classes. (K=4, G1=4, G2=3, G3=3, G4=2, G5=2, G6=3, G7=2, G8=2) According to PBC website, SW has only 24 homeroom classrooms in the building ( which means they are already over their capacity, classroom wise. After SW became a neighborhood school it is adding four classes every year for K while only two classes are graduating from 8th grade. It just doesn’t add up. Principal Clark also publicly expressed her concern about overcrowding issue at her school. (

    I also read that Hope Institute Learning Academy which has a brand new building has only 50% capacity. Hope is only few blocks away from SW. I am just wondering…. if CPS people are thinking eventually moving Skinner Classical to this school?

    I really like their curriculum from what I hear. Next to Decatur they truly follow Classical philosophy (I think Skinner North is little bit more progressive?) which I think would be the best fit for my daughter. I would appreciate if I could get any information/opinion about this.

  • 167. cpsobsessed  |  November 4, 2012 at 10:24 am

    @166: That IS a bit troubling about Skinner West. I’d look to find out what their plan is. They may be filling the lower grades for now to keep the school full, but what are the plans going forward? I wouldn’t select it based on CPS plans to use another building – you just never know. Skinner North won’t have the problem of the neighborhood classes so it is more controllable in size. I wonder what the agreement was at SW in providing neighborhood classes? Is there one classical class per grade there?

    I would take location into account too, especially if you’re going to use the bus. The bus rides can be an hour long if you’re on a route that picks up a lot of kids.

  • 168. Sped Mom  |  November 4, 2012 at 11:17 am

    @ 165. ChiSchoolGPS | November 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Alcott Mom & Sped Mom: Not insider information at all, actually! They are very responsive if you simply email them at

    OK: Here’s my question for you. What exact questions did you ask and what exact questions should I email to learn completely the information that was shared with you regarding “…the real scoop on IEP for SEHS.”

    Do tell.

    Many thanks for assisting my child with disabilities.

  • 169. Sped Mom  |  November 4, 2012 at 11:19 am

    @ 165. ChiSchoolGPS | November 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Alcott Mom & Sped Mom: Not insider information at all, actually! They are very responsive if you simply email them OAE.

    OK: Here’s my question for you. What exact questions did you ask and what exact questions should I email OAE to learn completely the information that was shared with you regarding “…the real scoop on IEP for SEHS.”

    Do tell.

    Many thanks in advance for assisting my child with disabilities.

  • 170. Chicago School GPS  |  November 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    What we found out regarding SEHS & IEPs is that the 10 SEHS schools do have an “allotment” of approximately 5% of seats for IEP students, but besides the fact these students have an IEP, there is no consideration for WHAT the IEP is for. The slots are filled by rank only (no tier consideration because of so few slots). I do know that there have been IEP kids who scored 900 as well, so these 5% slots may well be filled with kids in the 895-900 range for those schools with just 6 slots. We were also told that they do not have any set aside seats for 504 plans, only IEP.

  • 171. Sped Mom  |  November 4, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Thank you for sharing this information. It is very useful as we plan for high school options.

  • 172. HS Mom  |  November 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    @170 – Is this 5% set aside reduced by the number of IEP kids that are able to get in anyway based upon their scores? I notice that the % of IEP students in SE schools vary greatly. In other words, is it a minimum of 5% or the qualifying population plus 5%.

    Also, schools with 5% IEP being 6 slots – are there any. I believe Jones is the smallest school – 5% of 300 would be 15. At Lane, 5% of 1,000 is 50.

    Is there anything in the actual application process for IEP students that your group would be able to assist with, for example, the write-up of your child’s plan or a letter of explanation that might make a difference since these applications are not computer processed.

    Thank you

  • 173. Chicago School GPS  |  November 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I actually didn’t get into that level of detail when I last spoke to them as we were speaking about a range of topics, but I encourage you to email as they are very forthcoming. I am happy to research it more for you, but contact me directly via the link above. My speculation is that there is a minimum of approx. 5% IEP students at SEHS and if they all happen to come from the qualifying pool then they have met their quota that way. Again, I encourage you to ask CPSOAE directly. As for the numbers, I misspoke: I think Payton is smallest with 10 or so. I believe the child’s IEP is directly submitted from your documents on file, so unfortunately there is not much we could offer by way of an additional write-up, etc. We can assist during Principal’s Discretion to help families gather supporting evidence, but initial applications are pretty straightforward.

  • 174. local  |  November 4, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    FWIW: Jones has a cluster of students with severe physical handicaps, but I do not think those students are counted within the SESH IEP “seats.” Or, are they? Anyone know?

  • 175. local  |  November 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Also, I know that students with IEPs can qualify to take the SEHS entrance exam if they hit at least a 10 stanine for the sum of their math and reading/writing ISAT scores. Other than that “advantage,” how are they placed into set-aside “IEP seats” at a SEHS? I don’t understand how this works.

  • 176. averagemom  |  November 4, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Payton has an autism program, I doubt those students are going through the selective enrollment test, I’d call OAE or the school about that program if that’s what you are interested in. There are also kids that tested in that have IEPs. Whitney Young takes kids with hearing impairments, they do not have to test in.

  • 177. RL Julia  |  November 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Northside has a program for students who are profoundly disabled – both physically and developmentally. I dont know how one would apply for this program. There are also other kids at Northside I know of who have IEPs who are in regular classes at Northside.

  • 178. Sunny  |  November 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Kudos to WY for actually having a session at the Open House for those with 504 / IEPs to answer these questions (current students & parents spoke – it was great). The flyer given to EVERY PARENT at the WY tour invited ALL with a 504/IEP to the library for a Q&A/presentation & they had students, teachers, case managers, and a parent there to answer questions as well (and she was extremely cautious about what she shared because of gaming concerns on IEPs – that is likely why CPS doesn’t AND SHOULD NOT widely publish this information – due to concerns about those trying to game the system). WY actually gave ALL their data on their various poplulation groups. Lane had THREE counselors there yesterday for 1:1 consultations in their library as well and it was listed on the flyer – so make sure you READ THE FLYER as soon as you enter open houses. Lane even offered to look at an IEP – but who would think to bring one? Northside did not have an IEP/504session, but the rep shared information at a H.S. Fair. one on one. If you go to an event (like the Southside H.S. Fair that is being advertised here), you can ask the H.S. representatives about scores (some won’t know about scores though since that is not part of their job, but is the OAEs job), accomodations, their resource center etc. And you can just call OAE and they WILL talk to you. Again, this is for those with 504/IEPs only. No gaming the system!! And no need to pay anyone anything – you will automatically be put in the IEP pool when you check off IEP when you apply. More questions? Take it to OAE or the Open Houses – you really need to get the information from CPS and they are willing to give it.

  • 179. Dan  |  November 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

    A couple of questions about the testing process. First, is it correct that if you apply for both classical and gifted (for K) that testing for both takes place at the same session? Second, if that is the case, is there a fixed order, so that classical is always first, or the other way around?

  • 180. cpsobsessed  |  November 6, 2012 at 10:39 am

    For kindergarten only, the tests are administered together. I don’t know that there’s any confirmation of which one takes place first. You could try emailing OAE at to see if they’d tell you.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 181. Nervous at SLS  |  November 6, 2012 at 10:59 am

    @166 – Don’t count on anything moving. Look at what happened at South Loop. The neighborhood program grew and grew, and the school and community knew there was a crowding issue developing for YEARS. Years of idle talk, attempts to “take over” the National Teachers Academy, talk of an expansion…. It ended up as years of kicking the can down the road until the situation had to be addressed. That resulted in the phase-out of the gifted program at SLS, and only after a year of strife, an agreement to at least allow filling of the existing classes and a new phase-in at NTA. It also resulted in a lot of negative feelings in the community, especially among the newer familes in the RGC program.

  • 182. Sunny  |  November 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Did anyone see this in today’s Tribune Editorial regarding school closings AND Deadlines?,0,980889.story

    “This (closing schools) will be painful for many families. But delaying this list of proposed closings (until March 31) won’t diminish the pain. Delay will make it more difficult for parents to plan for their children’s education next fall. By March 31, application deadlines for many charter schools and other alternatives will have passed. CPS says it may extend those deadlines, but thousands of parents and students will still approach the end of this school year with uncertainty about the next school year.”

    If they extend the deadlines, how will that leave the rest of who have submitted applications? Looks like a mess and we will all be waiting longer if they extend the deadline. I feel for those whose schools will close – but CPS should make the decision now (as required by the state) to give people options to plan without wrecking havoc on an already stressful process.

  • 183. local  |  November 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    @182 We might be all in this together (as a district). Might be in the same boat as the school-closing students and families.

  • 184. local  |  November 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    @ 178 – “No gaming the system!” How do students try to game the IEP system?

  • 185. E. Weng  |  November 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks CPS Obsessed & Nervous at SLS for your comments. I thought I was being too paranoid about Skinner West but I feel now the writing is on the wall. I will put SW very bottom of my list on application.

    I don’t know anyone personally who send their kids to South Loop RGC but I am very upset how CPS treated this program. The programs that helps academically advanced hard working kids should be supported by the city – they should not be thrown under the bus!! CPS uses RGC and Classical schools like pawns that concur “up and coming” neighborhoods to help establish better neighborhood schools in the area. But once area flourishes it moves them to different location. Smart, and I don’t think it is such a bad idea especially if it helps the city and kids in the neighborhood but only if CPS can transition the move with respect.

    Just curious, Nervous at SLS (I assume you are South Loop RGC parent,) was moving the entire South Loop RGC program to National Teachers Academy ever be an option? Or parents did not like this option because of the location? I would have considered applying to National Teachers Academy RGC if it has more diversity. Currently, there is almost no diversity at this school. My daughter is multi-racial (half Asian, half Hispanic) and I don’t want her to feel even slightly intimidated because she looks different at her school. If entire South Loop RGC was already there I probably applied because I know that South Loop RGC program has diversity.

    More I read about CPS more I wish we have more money to send our kids to private school….. right now we are looking into Oak Park schools as well. We most likely move there if our daughter won’t get in any magnet/gifted schools.

  • 186. anonymouse teacher  |  November 6, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Sunny, I don’t think you have to worry. The only schools that will close are ones parents would never apply to. They might not be so bad, but they aren’t, in general, schools that anyone truly chooses or seeks out. The parents who have to worry are the ones who really don’t have any choice and who will have even less choice by the closings.

  • 187. EdgewaterMom  |  November 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    @176 averagemom Do you know approx how many hearing impaired students attend Whitney Young? What kind of requirements do they have for hearing impaired students?

  • 188. Sunny  |  November 6, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    WY has a total of 52 hearing impaired students today. Contact Mrs. Pucci, Dir of WY Admissions, at or 773 534 7624 to learn all you want to know about admissions requirements. Mrs. Tracey Guinta is WY Dir of Sp Ed at 773 534 7528 or FYI they have a work study program for upper class students with hearing impairments. Four classroom teachers focused on hearing impaired population. Plus 6 sign language interpreters. Kids participate in whatever they like. Taught to self advocate and plan – think ahead and ask for an interpreter for club activities, etc. They mentioned that if you are an 8th grader and are hearing impaired and want to go to WY, you must tell your 8th grade case manager/school that you want to go to WY. From there, all else seems to follow, but I’d recommend giving Mrs. Pucci a call to make sure no balls are dropped or deadlines missed.

  • 189. Christine Whitley  |  November 6, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    @EdgewaterMom do you have a hearing impaired child? I do — she’s only three now so I am way on the other end of things but I am interested to hear this about WY.

  • 190. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 7, 2012 at 12:09 am

    #187~EdgewaterMom & #189~Christine Whitley~I believe that WY usually has 100 seats for hearing impaired. They have an excellent program.

  • 191. Christine Whitley  |  November 7, 2012 at 12:16 am

    @SoxSideIrish thank you. We’re a long way from that but nice to know!

  • 192. EdgewaterMom  |  November 7, 2012 at 9:12 am

    My dd does have a hearing loss. Christine, I would be happy to talk with you about our experiences – I will send you an email.

    We are also a few years away from HS, but it is great to know that WY might be an option. I am definitely going to talk to the counselor at her school and maybe reach out to WY to get more info. I have learned so much from this blog! 🙂

  • 193. want18?  |  November 7, 2012 at 11:52 am

    184 — they game the system by getting IEP’s for things like more time on tests when they don’t actually need it.

  • 194. Dan Kramer, Principal Schurz High School  |  November 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Announcing: New IB Academy @ Schurz High School

    Parent and Community Informational Meeting
    Saturday, November 10, 2012
    10:00 am – 11:30 am
    Brief reception with Principal to follow (11:30 am – 12:00 pm)

    The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is an internationally recognized program of academic excellence, civic responsibility and preparation for college success.

    Schurz High School is honored to announce our new IB Academy! We are currently accepting applications for the first cohort group, to begin as freshmen in the fall of 2013-14 school year. Admission into this selective new program is available exclusively through the CPS Options for Knowledge application process.

    All are welcome to join us in the historic Schurz High School Library for an overview of the International Baccalaureate program, to include:

     Research on the success of IB programs within the Chicago Public Schools
     An overview of the rigorous 4 year curriculum
     Special projects and student expectations unique to IB programs
     The IB Academy development plans for Schurz
     Schurz IB Academy student application process and acceptance decision timeline

  • 195. 504 parent  |  November 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    @193 It’s important for CPS folks to realize that IEP’s are not issued gratuitously. The process involves testing, doctors diagnosis and recommendations, CPS nurse and social worker evaluation, sped evaluations and recommendations from teachers and school officials. The process is arduous and more likely to be under allowed as opposed to given out freely. Realize too that this legal document commits the school to special services so, needless to say, they are not likely given out without need.

    Please know that children given extra time for tests and tasks is important for their success and is helpful, but does not even really level the playing field or give them an advantage. When a child processes differently this can affect everything from getting out the door in the morning to the monumental task of homework. The myth that kids are getting an advantage or “gaming” the system because they have ADHD, LD or ASD (which are many of the reasons for 504/IEP and extended time) is a misconception that taints the purpose of providing help to kids that need it.

    I would also advise any IEP/504 family applying for test in schools not to apply on line. Make sure they get a full copy of your plan and any special information that is needed.

  • 196. SoxSideIrish4  |  November 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    #192~EdgewaterMom~Yes, talk to your daughter’s counselor and reach out to WY~they may be able to send you some info.

  • 197. AW  |  November 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I agree w/ the post @ 195. My personal experience w/ CPS is that it is very difficult (in my case, impossible) to get a 504 plan or IEP for a bright/gifted student who also has a learning or other disability — even when supported by evaluations. Often kids w/ high IQs are able to perform well enough on a day to day basis, so that accommodations or other services are denied. Although I recall an article in the Tribune re: several affluent suburban high schools that have a ridiculously high number of students receiving test accommodations, I have not seen this in CPS. I have two kids w/ nearly identical (high) IQ scores, but one has a learning disability. The one w/out the disability has had a much easier time succeeding in this crazy, test-heavy CPS system. Frankly, I’m not sure that CPS has a place for the other…. Although the discussion re: options for IEP/504 kids has been interesting to me. Thnx

  • 198. local  |  November 7, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    @ 193. want18? | November 7, 2012 at 11:52 am

    “184 — they game the system by getting IEP’s for things like more time on tests when they don’t actually need it.”

    I just don’t get that. The whole “…when they don’t actually need it” thing. — The only way to obtain extended time on tests is to have an evaluation that proves that the accommodation of extra time is needed to level the playing field and adapt the test to the child’s disabling symptom. That’s not gaming the system at all. That’s making the game a bit more fair.

  • 200. Chicago School GPS  |  November 10, 2012 at 11:32 am

    The CPS Tiers map has changed, and some Tier 4s became Tier 3s and vice versa, along with movement in the lower Tiers as well.

  • 201. Christine Whitley  |  November 10, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Looks like I might be back to Tier 3 now.

  • 202. EdgewaterMom  |  November 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    You can find your your tier with the info here (one link to find your census tract and then another to find the tier). I am right over the border of 3 and 4. When I first saw the map, I thought we might be 3, but after getting the tract info, I see that we are still a 4.

    I would say that 4 is accurate for our neighborhood. We are definitely not wealthy – our household is middle class, but we make enough to be able to afford things to enhance education (museum visits, internet access, books, cultural experiences) etc.

  • 203. Mayfair  |  November 10, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    North Mayfair seems to have gone from 2 to 4.

  • 204. Chicago School GPS  |  November 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    The fabulous folks at Open City Apps have updated their Tier Finder App to reflect the new Tiers:

  • 205. Goran  |  November 11, 2012 at 6:10 am

    Does anyone know if Nettelhorst accepting out of boundaries students for K?

  • 206. Christine Whitley  |  November 11, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Thank you GPS, I was wondering about that!

  • 207. curious1  |  November 12, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I’m pretty sure Nettlehorst did not touch the waitlist for Kindergarten this year – we were 13 on the list and stayed in regular contact with the person in charge of admissions. Similarly, I know that last year they definitely did not get to the waitlist for kindergarten.

  • 208. Workingmommyof2  |  November 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    @179 Dan, did you ever find an answer about the order of the Kindergarten tests? I’m curious about that too.

    I can’t decide whether I should have my son tested for classical or just gifted. I *think* we are taking a stab at only Coonley gifted and then if he doesn’t test into the program (highly likely considering the odds), enrolling him in the neighborhood program there (we are in the boundaries). I really would prefer to avoid a commute.

    But then I wonder if I’m being too hasty and should still be keeping all my options open for now. But then again, I don’t want him to have to take too many tests (especially if Classical is first). Yep, overthinking this!

  • 209. Nervous at SLS  |  November 13, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    @185- There was talk of moving the RGC from South Loop to NTA. Parents were divided. SLS Administration was dead set against it – they didn’t want to give the kids up completely. CPS claimed it would be too difficult to manage expectations by integrating the two and wanted to give NTA an opportunity to start fresh…

  • 210. Sunny  |  November 14, 2012 at 12:23 am

    #208 – I would advise taking both gifted and classical test for kindergarten. Combined, the tests don’t generally take more than 20 minutes, so you should be o.k. for Kindergarten. It is when they are older that it is more challenging. to sit thru two tests on the same day. For Kindergarten it is 1:1. The biggest challenge is making sure your child is ready to go with a stranger whom he meets for 5-10 seconds and then has to go to another room with alone. Make the day as stress free as possible from the weeks before, night before, day of. You can find out where the test is and take him/her to see the facilities before the test. Basically just to see IIT, the lounge where people wait for their turn, meet the receptionist who asks them their name and age – this can be very helpful for a shyer child. Some people talk about it with their child weeks before hand and offer their child a reward for when they are done with the testing. Again, mainly for those who would not be so comfortable going with a stranger. If your child balks, you can ask for the testing to be rescheduled to another day, as long as you are not testing at the end of the testing period. They are usually nice about this for the little ones (don’t know about for 1st graders and beyond though – just for K testing). I believe you can also ask for a male or female tester – they really do try to be accomodating. Good luck!

  • 211. cpsobsessed  |  November 14, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I would sign up for both tests unless you think the classicals are too far from you. But the year they announced in april that coonely was opening, only those that had tested for gifted were eligible. So in the very off chance that cps opens a classical school around the corner from you…. You’d be covered.

    Or you could sign up for both and try asking them about the order when you arrive. If classical is first, skip it. I wouldn’t be surprised if they randomly switch the order of the 2.

    I am an anti-commuter too, so if realistically you aren’t going the haul to skinner or decatur or further, just do the gifted test.
    We are about 1.5 miles from school and I even hate that morning drive!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 212. Coonley Question  |  November 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Wondering if all is well at Coonley these days? I attended an LSC training recently and three (new?) Coonley LSC members made several comments that suggested they and/or other parents at the school were not completely happy — not many details shared, except that at least one of the issues relates to foreign language instruction. The LSC members went so far as to ask whether they could, within the scope of their duties, sit in classes to observe teachers!! (Personally, I can’t imagine anything more off-putting to teachers and administrators — and was relieved the instructor advised against it.)

    I am testing one of my kids and put Coonley very high on my list…. Now I’m wondering if there is something going on there???

  • 213. Y  |  November 18, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Coonley has been short a Spanish teacher recently since one (1 out of 2.5) has returned to a high school position and was out sick prior to leaving. Unfortunately, Spanish substitute teachers are not readily available in the sub pool. The principal is currently interviewing candidates.

  • 214. newbie  |  November 18, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I am new to the entire process. I didn’t even know gifted programs existed. I sent in my application for my current 2nd grade son. All tips are welcome. What should I expect? What are the odds of a future 3rd grader getting into the program? I really love this site and have gotten plenty of information from here. Thanks!!

  • 215. Christine Whitley  |  November 18, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    @newbie feel free to email me at I will be happy to give you the fifty cent tour (for free) — I have a consulting business helping parents figure out this very thing!

  • 216. Y  |  November 18, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    @214 newbie – It’s a little more challenging trying to enter at 3rd grade since openings are only available if an existing student leaves a program. It does happen but it’s a small number of openings. Your chances are better at 4th grade since most classes typically increase in size from 28 to 31 or 32, so there are usually 3 or 4 spots at every school.

  • 217. newbie  |  November 19, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Thanks Christine I will email you.
    @216 Y Knowing that I will have him tested both years. Thanks

  • 218. ChiSchoolGPS  |  November 19, 2012 at 9:40 am

    For those wondering about the new RGC program at National Teacher’s Academy, mark your calendar for tomorrow night (11/20) at 6PM and 12/1 at 10AM and 1PM for info sessions regarding the K & 1st grade RGC program and to see the building in person (55 W. Cermak). I can’t find a working website for them, unfortunately.

  • 219. cpsobsessed  |  November 19, 2012 at 9:51 am

    The question about “odds” for gifted and classical programs really comes down to test score. A kid who nails the test will have pretty good odds all the time (as Y pointed out, more in 4th grade) and a child who does good but not super high will always face greater odds. So just make sure your kid nails the test. 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 220. Uh Oh  |  November 20, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Any stories from years past about decent K test results for kids who weren’t in for very long? Both Classical & Gifted, in & out in under 25 minutes.

  • 221. cpsobsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 9:32 am

    I’ve definitely heard of kids with fast test time who got in. 10 min for both is probably too short but when you hit 25 min I think you’re in solid territory.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 222. kiki h.  |  November 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

    My daughter did both tests and took about 15-20 minutes. My son only took the gifted test. He came out shockingly fast, but scored much higher than my daughter. They both were accepted at an rgc.

  • 223. anonymous  |  November 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    My child was the first kid to finish (and I recall was out in about 20-25 minutes). This child was accepted to a RGC but stayed at a Magnet for a variety of reasons and took the test in a subsequent year.

    Of note, I believe you need 90%+ on the ISAT to qualify to take the Gifted test in later years (and my child failed to meet this benchmark one year, scoring, I believe, an 89%ile on Math). I thought this was ridiculous but couldn’t get the Office of Academic Enhancement to make an exception. This child has scored 99%ile on Math the past few years.

  • 224. west rogers park mom  |  November 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    @212 re: Coonley

    Coonley is overcrowded and something has to give. I would still put it high on your list but would probably put Edison ahead of it if my kid was applying for next year.

    There is grumbling about the foreign language instruction but I don’t know if this is parents expecting more than is realistic or lack of adequate instruction. To me it seems relatively on par with other foreign language instruction at non-immersion schools.

    Otherwise, I am thrilled with the education my child is receiving at Coonley. Great teachers; dedicated staff; extremely involved parents; and happy kids.

  • 225. NTA?  |  November 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Did anyone attend the National Teachers Academy thing? I’d love to hear more about what they have planned.

  • 226. Momof2  |  November 20, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    When should we be receiving our test dates? I saw some incoming K parents received their letters – I’m an incoming 1st parent anxiously awaiting mine.

  • 227. Christine Whitley  |  November 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Tests for 1st grade are done as a group so you might have to wait a little longer.

  • 228. not working family friendly  |  November 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    If its true that CPS requires a certain ISAT for students to even sit for gifted test as 223 says this even more proof that CPS has NO GIFTED PROGRAM. It is merely accelerated.

    Why won’t CPS admit they have nothing for true gifted studentst? Many many gifted children will not score well on ISATS!!

  • 229. anonymous  |  November 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    @228 It is true, according to this page –

    that in order to sit for the RGC test in Grades 4-7 your child must have been 90th %ile in both reading and math on the ISAT. So if you wait until later years to take the test a poor showing on a single ISAT test may disqualify them from taking the RGC test for a year. I don’t know how the tests for the earlier grades work (do children exceptionally gifted in Math but behind in Reading get accepted to RGC’s?) Based on my experience I disagree with this methodology (particularly since the bureaucracy is very inflexible) – a child on the borderline can’t even take the test.

    I can’t agree that CPS has nothing for the gifted student – clearly there are lots of excellent opportunities for many gifted students, but are they serving each student to the best of their abilities is the real question and I think we all know the answer to that question.

  • 230. not working family friendly  |  November 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I disagree. CPS does absolutely not have the right programs for children of this definition:

    Students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities

  • 231. Lisa  |  November 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    @220 Last year our dd was done with both test in 25 minutes. She did well enough on the Gifted test to get into Pritzker (Tier 2, 141)–where we are really liking it now. She did well on the Classical test, but not good enough for any offers.

  • 232. RL Julia  |  November 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I think that CPS could provide SOME education/services to gifted children but let’s face it -with an average class size upwards of 30 kids these days – the profoundly gifted child is not going to be well served -particularly if their development is asynchronous subject-matter wise. The best one is going to be able to do is try and get them into a classical or RGC for kindergarten and an academic center (where at least they’ll be able to accelerate) at 7th grade. However, if they don’t test well on IQ tests and/or have behaviors that could be perceived as being defiant by an adult, I’d seriously consider home schooling. CPS is going to be a completely hit or miss experience.

  • 233. cpsobsessed  |  November 20, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Wow, I never knew that about needing ISATs of 90+ to take the RGC test in 4th grade an up. Learn something new every day about CPS.

  • 234. not working family friendly  |  November 20, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Yes RLJulia I think the same!!

  • 235. Jeff Jenkins  |  November 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    @212 re:Coonley

    I am one of the newly elected LSC members at Coonley you referenced in your post. Coonley is my neighborhood school, where I have been involved long before my son was of school age.

    I am very proud of the changes that have taken place over the years and equally as happy with our Principal and his team, wonderful teachers and staff. If I were you I would not hesitate to put Coonley at the top of your list.

    Regarding the training module we were all a part of this past weekend. It was our opportunity, and as I see it our responsibility to ask questions, learn what our roles and responsibilities are, and as the instructor pointed out to learn about “best practices” for LSC members.

    I felt that it was a safe place to talk openly, share experiences, and above all ask questions.

    In fact I would be happy to talk with you about Coonley and more specifically the foreign language program if you would like. Feel free to contact me,


  • 236. Jen  |  November 21, 2012 at 12:42 am

    Regarding later year admissions, last year there were only 8 spots open for 3rd grade in the north and west side classical and gifted schools, according to the CPS person I spoke with last summer.

    While CPS may not offer true gifted services, very few public school districts do and profoundly gifted children have to make do with only a handful of private schools that are capable of giving them the education they need. Unfortunately, as more and more parents feel forced into homeschooling their gifted children, they are less and less visible to those making the decisions. My local district doesn’t provide any gifted services whatsoever, and even our superintendent doesn’t feel they need to, because most of the gifted kids have either moved to better schools or are now homeschooling.

  • 237. IBobsessed  |  November 21, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Agree with@230. It is NOT clear that there are “lots of excellent opportunties for gifted students” in CPS. Many gifted children have asynchronous abilities and development. My 99th percentile verbal IQ child with ‘only’ high average non-verbal IQ (and an identical ISAT type standardized test score disparity) is shut out of CPS so called gifted programs. She is currently fascinated with the history of the cultural revolution in China, a topic she studies independently, but must really work to correctly multiply decimals with negative exponents.

  • 238. RL Julia  |  November 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Of course, the biggest problem is that there simply aren’t very many profoundly gifted students in any given school system to begin with. It’s reallly quite rare.

  • 239. Sped Mom  |  November 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    The profoundly gifted student should be tuitioned out by the district to a private specialized school through the special education process. Like you said, the extremely gifted (in whatever realm) are rare birds.

  • 240. Chicago School GPS  |  November 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Reminder: there are a few more seats for incoming 1st graders next year! In addition to those at Bell, Beaubien and Keller, there will be 28 seats each at Decatur and National Teacher’s Academy for 1st grade classes.

    There’s still time to learn about Chicago’s Public and Private School options in two informative seminars for PreK-5th or 6th-8th grade parents:

    Saturday, Dec. 1st @ 1:00-2:30PM at IIT’s campus: “Last Minute School Primer”: Understanding Chicago’s Public & Private PreK & Elementary Admissions Process
    Geared to Preschool & elementary parents (PK-5th grade) who want to learn:
    An overview of the various Chicago Elementary admissions processes (public & private)
    What is the difference between CPS Selective Enrollment (Regional Gifted Center & Classical), Magnet, Magnet Cluster & Open Enrollment schools?
    Timeline for applications/deadlines/notifications?
    How are children selected for programs?
    How can I maximize my child’s chances for selection at any type of school?

    The session is held on the IIT campus, the location for CPS’s selective enrollment elementary testing. We encourage parents to take this time to familiarize yourself with the location of the SEES testing.
    All attendees will receive a paper copy of CPSOAE’s Options for Knowledge Guide, including CPS SEES & Magnet application forms. RSVP

    Sunday, Dec. 9th @ 3:00-4:30PM at 217 N. Jefferson, Sixth floor: “Last Minute High School Primer”: Understanding Chicago’s Public & Private High School Admissions Process
    Geared to Middle School parents (6th-8th grade) who want to learn:
    An overview of Chicago’s public and private high school admissions process
    How do I choose a good school fit for my child?
    What are the criteria for the various public and private high school programs? (including Academic Centers & International Gifted Programs)
    Which schools require entrance testing and which do not?
    How do I maximize my child’s chances for admittance?
    Timeline for admissions, deadlines & notification
    New public & private high school programs for 2013-2014

    All attendees will receive a paper copy of CPSOAE’s High School Guide. Paper CPS HS application forms will also be available. RSVP Space is extremely limited.

    FYI- CPS applications are due on Dec. 14, 2012. PIN requests are due on Dec. 7, 2012. Visit

  • 241. Coonley Question  |  November 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    @ 235 Jeff Jenkins. Thanks for your post. I am glad to hear all of your positive feedback re: Coonley as it remains a top choice for us. I also apologize if I came off as critical of your group’s questions. I agree that the training was intended for that purpose, and felt the lively exchange benefitted the LSC members in attendance. However, wearing my parent hat (and not my LSC-training hat), I was left wondering whether your group’s persistent questions about monitoring school progress and responding to parent complaints suggested problems existed… Happy to hear they do not. Best of luck on the LSC.

  • 242. advocate68  |  December 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I mailed off my application last week Monday, am I going to receive a email stating it was received? Has anyone else gotten an email after mailing selective enrollment application? Really worried since there are only 3 more days till deadline.

  • 243. cpsobsessed  |  December 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    You mailed it via usps?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 244. advocate68  |  December 11, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Yes it was sent via USPS.

  • 245. cpsobsessed  |  December 11, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Well it DOES say they will email you.
    I would start contacting them to see if it was received and if for some reason you cannot get confirmation I’d go to 125 S. Clark St., 10th floor,and try to hand one in in person to make sure.

    Applications must be postmarked by December 14, 2012. You will receive an email confirmation once your application has been processed. If you do not have an e-mail address, you are strongly encouraged to enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard/envelope with your application. The postcard/envelope will be returned to you to indicate that your application has been received. Please retain this postcard/envelope until the end of the application season as proof that your application was submitted.

  • 246. Dan  |  December 12, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Can anyone comment on any major differences between Skinner North and West, aside from the space concerns at Skinner W? Thank you.

  • 247. advocate68  |  December 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Just a FYI I mailed my selective enrollment application via usps and today I did receive a email notification that the application had been received and processed.

  • 248. cpsobsessed  |  December 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    I remember the days of waiting at the post office to get my letter off in time. Love the new online application.

    I decided not to do the gifted test for my son yet again. I did apply to a couple magnets and 2 nearby neighborhood schools, just because it seems good to have a possible backup in case he can’t keep cutting it in the accelerated program. He’s doing fine, but the homework is a bit of a bear.

  • 249. jfc  |  December 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Weird, I got an system email last night telling me,
    “Dear Parent:

    According to our files, you have initiated one or more applications for the 2013-2014 application process. However, although your application has been SAVED, it has not been SUBMITTED, and is currently in our “Pending Processing” file.

    Even though my application is clearly in “Submitted” status once I logged in to check. Anyone else seen this?

  • 250. IBobsessed  |  December 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Ha Ha bonded with the woman/ mom in front of me in line at a Loop post office today who was there for the very same reason I was. But the clerk couldn’t postmark our application envelopes as we wanted. They don’t do that at the window although the CPS website suggests that you may want to ask to see the post office postmark the date in front of you.

  • 251. LSMom  |  December 14, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    @249, I had the same email — even though my applications show as submitted on the CPS site and I got confirmation emails from CPS. Crossing my fingers that everything went through.

  • 252. Bookworm  |  December 14, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    I left applications at the desk in the hall at CPS this afternoon. They were nice as pie and there was almost no line. They gave me a receipt.

  • 253. 1down2togo  |  December 16, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    I’m having a major panic attack. We dropped off our application on Friday afternoon and misplaced my receipt. I found a receipt, but I think it’s from my son’s application from last year.

  • 254. (not-so)patiently waiting  |  December 17, 2012 at 10:22 am

    My daughter tested yesterday…and now we wait! Grueling.

  • 255. NowWeWait  |  December 19, 2012 at 11:00 am

    My daughter tested yesterday for the Academic Centers. Anyone else’s child tested for that this year? What was their take on the test? My daughter thought it wasn’t too bad, but didn’t get to finish 3 questions, so she is a little panicked….

  • 256. WonderingMom  |  December 19, 2012 at 11:18 am

    When should I expect a testing date for my son who is currently in second grade going to third?

    **what grades will the kids who have already been tested be going to in the fall?

  • 257. NowWeWait  |  December 19, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Mine will be in 7th.

  • 258. WonderingMom  |  December 19, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Was your child tested in a group or by themselves? Thanks for your reply

  • 259. NowWeWait  |  December 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    In a group with about 30 other kids — there were several groups testing that day, each group goes to a separate room.

  • 260. RL Julia  |  December 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Don’t worry about not answering all the questions. My daughter didn’t answer seven or eight (last year) and still got into an AC.

  • 261. NowWeWait  |  December 19, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Thanks, RL Julia. I will let her know.

  • 262. (not-so)patiently waiting  |  December 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    My daughter said that some were easy and some were hard. She said that there was pretty balanced between the 2. But was pretty clear in stating that she thought she did ok on it. So we’ll see! Come on March!

  • 263. WonderingMom  |  December 20, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Just got my son’s testing date. Classical testing on the 6th of January. He is going to 3rd grade.

  • 264. IBobsessed  |  December 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Anyone that did AC test prep know-Are points deducted for wrong answers on the AC test? In other words, is it worth it to guess remaining answers if time is running out?

  • 265. WRP Mom  |  December 20, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Re the AC test, no points are deducted for wrong answers. I definitely think guessing on the last few answers rather than leaving them blank is a good strategy. Certainly can’t hurt!

  • 267. Hyde Park Mom  |  December 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    For the Kindergarten RGC testing, it’s a guessing game as to which test is administered. My son took it when he was 4 years old, took 20 min, and it was one on one at IIT.I think it was Stanford Binet or thw WPPI.Does anyone think it is still that same process for the kindergarteners, where its still one on one, or do you think its OLSAT now? OLSAT is multiple choice and is normalized, Stanford Binet isnt.

  • 268. IBobsessed  |  December 21, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    No one here has ever figured out what test is used. Only for sure thing is it is NOT a complete, valid IQ test.

  • 269. JustanotherCPSparent  |  December 21, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Yep, IBobsessed is right. A person at OAE told me a couple of years ago that the RGC test comprises *parts* of a nationally normed test. Which parts? How many parts? Why some parts and not all? Who knows.

  • 270. mayfairAM  |  December 21, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    To the ISAT retake question…My son took the ISATS in October when the retaking was happening. He took the Terra Novas at his Catholic school last spring and got above 98 in all categories except reading. I called OAE last spring and they sent me to my local CPS school who set him up with the testing. He scored 99 in math and 95 in reading. Here is the rub…the boy wants to go to Whitney, (where his sister goes) but we are doing due diligence and applying to a mess of the different programs, IB, SEHS, magnets and the Von Stuben Scholars and those applications require a science score…which the shortened version of the “retake” ISATS did not test for….SO we ended up sending in the Terra Novas. Ya think this process is making me a little crazy? Yep, you are not alone….if you are reading this you are probably crazy too:)

  • 271. Just a CPS Parent  |  December 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I had never before thought that CPS students should get a preference, priority, or extra points in the selective enrollment application process. After recently hearing about a private school that has its students take a standardized test in the fall and a second one in the spring of 7th grade (after tutoring, of course) to permit submission of the better scores, and now hearing about private school students who get to take ISATs in the fall (of 8th grade?) when they already took a standardized test in the spring, however, it gives me pause. The ability to cherry pick scores really puts CPS kids at a disadvantage, especially tier 3 and 4 kids who need such high scores for admission. Even if the CPS kids get tutoring before the ISATs, they are only allowed to take the test once–even if their scores were atypically lower than in prior years. this is a serious flaw in the admissions process that needs to be addressed. And it explains WBEZ’s report in the spring about how private school students are over represented in SEHS admissions (at least at Payton).

  • 272. NowWeWait  |  December 22, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    @justacpsparent, anyone can pay for test prep classes and tutoring for their kids. SelectivePrep does it, as do several other firms. Many private schools contract with these companies to provide after school programs at their schools with practice tests and tutoring, but public school kids can take these same classes and practice tests , too. You just have to pay for it. It may be unfair, from a socio-economic standpoint, for anyone to take prep classes, but it doesn’t give private school kids an unfair advantage.

  • 273. concernedmom  |  December 22, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Is it too late to send the application modification form for SEES? I saw on the cpsoae website stating that the deadline is December 14, 2012, but I was wondering whether they’re still willing to accept it? Thanks!

  • 274. Just another CPS mom  |  December 23, 2012 at 6:28 am

    @NowWeWait, I agree that anyone can take prep classes (assuming they can pay for it). The issue is taking 2 standardized tests in 7th grade (and/or one in the fall of 8th grade) in order to choose the highest score to submit to CPS. That is a “perk” not available to CPS students. (And if the standardized test taken twice in a year is the same test (is that even possible?), it’s a still greater unfair advantage.)

  • 275. Just another CPS mom  |  December 23, 2012 at 6:31 am

    My moniker difference between @271 & @274 is ipad or computer use; did not mean to look like two different posters.

  • 276. Bookworm  |  December 23, 2012 at 8:41 am

    @272 Cherry picking scores and possibly taking tests twice are not insignificant unfair advantages created by the ability to choose what CPS receives.
    The smallest advantage is huge in this case as the numbers that separate kids can be very small.
    It is not realistic to throw out that everyone cannot take prep classes. Private preparation courses are extremely expensive.
    This creates a problem for the SE schools over time as they loose the bright students who are not lifted by these kinds of extra advantages.

  • 277. NowWeWait  |  December 23, 2012 at 9:32 am

    @Justacpsparent, I agree that cherry-picking scores is wrong. Most private schools, though, don’t allow their students to do this, so all private school students should not be scored lower based on one school’s questionable policy. Private school students in Chicago are still Chicago residents (and their families are tax payers, $250 tax credit not withstanding), so they should have the same chance on the test as anyone else. The school engaging in cherry-picking, though, should be warned that they run the risk of having their students’ standardized test scores averaged, like they do if you take the ACT multiple times.

  • 278. cpsobsessed  |  December 23, 2012 at 9:48 am

    My understanding about private school kids taking both tests is that the ISAT is easier (and I’m speculating that it’s taken by a more diverse group of students) so it’s the only way to compare a private schools student to the rest of kids applying to the SEHS on an apples-to-apples basis.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 279. HS Mom  |  December 23, 2012 at 10:43 am

    @278 – A CPS student may score uncharacteristically low on an ISAT for a variety of reasons and would welcome the opportunity for a second test (even if it were supposedly harder). The scores listed above look pretty similar and as bookworm says, the difference of a few points can be significant. I think that all kids should be given the option of ISAT or another test even if it’s something that they pay for.

    @270 – the SEHS do not consider science ISAT.

    @277 – or anyone else – can you explain to me how ACT scores are averaged? Thanks

  • 280. NowWeWait  |  December 23, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    For averaging ACT scores: A university can either accept the student’s most recent ACT score, or they can average a student’s collective scores. For example, a student takes the ACT three times, each time hoping to improve their score. The first time, hegets a 22; the second, a 23; and the third, a 19. Many universities will average the scores as a 21.3 – the student does not have the option to cherry- pick scores.

  • 281. Just another CPS mom  |  December 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    @277: A good idea to average scores, but I have the impression that CPS does not know about the multiple test scores.The scores may be sent to the private school and then the higher test scores are the only ones submitted on the application. (I’m not sure how it actually works.) Perhaps the issue could be eliminated or minimized by CPS requiring private school applicants to have 7th grade test scores sent directly to CPS by the testing company.

    I agree that private school parents are taxpayers too, which is why I had always rejected the notion that CPS students should get a preference.Yet I don’t think private school students should get the multiple test advantage. I don’t know how widespread that private school practice may be.

    @278: Although the ISAT overall may be easier, the ISAT’s percentile score is based on the SAT10, a nationally normed test. I have no idea whether the SAT10 is easier than other nationally normed tests. Hopefully, the easier ISAT advantage will be leveled with the Common Core standardized test in 2014.

  • 282. HS Mom  |  December 23, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    @280 – Does this requirement vary by university? I was under the impression that the student is allowed to pick which results are sent to the college by date. If you take the test 3 times, you pick the date that has best scores.

    Re: HS testing. Maybe these abject testing requirements will be worked out with the proposed single application. Maybe….right…one can only hope that all aspects of test in will be standardized.

  • 283. anon  |  December 23, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    I’ve had kids take Terra Novas at catholic school and the SAT-10 at public school. The grading and SAT-10 at the public school were much harder.

  • 284. Bookworm  |  December 23, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    @283 I don’t think the issue is difficulty. I think the problem is if private school students are able to choose which test scores arrive and to pick between the terra nova and isat. CPS should level this factor and hold open one season testing for all students applying to ACs or SEs and then manage all the resulting scores themselves internally. Common core or Isat –which ever the district is giving. No exceptions. It’s simple.
    I also think they should stop taking applications from families without a Chicago address as well but that’s a totally different topic…

  • 285. local  |  December 24, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Yes, colleges can decide to cherry-pick scores. Also, students applying to some colleges can select which scores are sent, as permitted by the college. The testing companies also have their practices. And, then we’ve got increasing numbers colleges creating test-optional admission requirements. (Overwhelmingly, though, it’s test scores and cumulative GPA that colleges look at.)

  • 286. local  |  December 24, 2012 at 12:26 am

    I’ve never heard of a college averaging test scores from different test dates. I’ve seen them pick the highest score attained, even if the final set come from different test dates. FWIW.

  • 287. HS Mom  |  December 24, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Thanks local, that’s what I thought. I also thought it was interesting to see that some people are having their 8th graders sit for the test. That would be a major misstep if scores were averaged.

  • 288. local  |  December 24, 2012 at 11:20 am

    If your test scores fall into the middle range for the college, you’ve got a good shot (especially in state/public colleges). Once accepted, colleges will use your test score to place you into math and English composition courses. Some students are placed into remedial courses, but they’re probably not accepted into the more competitive colleges.

  • 289. HS Mom  |  December 24, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Local – thanks! Great info.

  • 290. RL Julia  |  December 25, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Bookworm -Not allow people without a Chicago address to apply for SEHS’s? That’s silly! While I understand the impetus – I really doubt that CPS is flooded with applications from outside Chicago – and isn’t moving a kid from where ever to Chicago at that age traumatic enough – never mind the infinite hassle to try and apply from outside the City -say from out of state. I say, if you are game to put in the time, fly your kid in from where ever to take the test – well, you deserve to get in just as much as anyone else….

    Despite the test scores and accolades and etc… the SEHS’s are ultimately just well-funded public high schools – with teachers who are or aren’t great (on any given year) full of motivated kids (more likely than not who are well-resourced with involved parents). They are not prep schools or private schools, they are do not have small classes, they do not generally assign enough writing to create good writers out of every student – to get a good education at any of them still requires a modicum of motivation on the student’s part. Sure- they are better than most of the other “regular” Chicago public high schools but that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily all that in terms of every other high school option in the country. Sure, they are great if you are in Chicago or moving to Chicago for work etc… but I wouldn’t recommend anyone packing their bags from Nashville or Naperville for the glory of attending Payton and etc…

  • 291. cpsobsessed  |  December 26, 2012 at 11:06 am

    @concernedmom – I think they are pretty strict about that deadline, but it can’t hurt to ask….

  • 292. local  |  January 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Interesting from WBEZ: “…Sicat was tapped by former schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard to run the Office of Portfolio, which oversaw the creation of new charter and magnet schools and managed the enrollment process. That office will now be absorbed into the new Office of Innovation and Incubation, run by Jack Elsey…”

    Innovation and Incubation — yikes.

  • 293. local  |  January 4, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    IB at LP anyone? “Revamped Academic Program at Lincoln Park High Confusing to Some Parents” – January 3, 2013 6:20am | By Paul Biasco, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer – Lincoln Park & Old Town Newsletter

    “Lincoln Park High School, 2001 N. Orchard St., will begin operating as a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate program next fall.”

    “LINCOLN PARK — Lincoln Park High School’s transition to a wall-to-wall International Baccalaureate program has some parents confused about what this means for the existing IB effort.”

    Read more:

  • 294. EdgewaterMom  |  January 4, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    I don’t understand why people think that having a “wall to wall” IB program, IN ADDITION to the honors IB program, will water down the honors program.

  • 295. Goran  |  January 4, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    OK, Can anyone say is it good or not to stay 40 mins on test (for both tests clasical and gifted) for KGarden? Also, any info how many kids applied this year (approximately)

  • 296. averagemom  |  January 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    @294 I went to the presentation. They are getting rid of the regular program, and mixing those kids in with the honors program in the wall to wall IB MYP for 9th and 10th grades. Lincoln is my neighborhood school, I’ve seen the level of work and behavior of some of the kids in the regular program, and I’m concerned how they will keep the honors program from slowing down. The kids accepted to the IB diploma prep program will be kept seperate, and should see no difference. The rest of us, well, who knows what will happen. I need my current 8th grader to be in challenging 9th and 10th grade classes for any hope of AP classes in 11th and 12th grade. I wish they’d told us about the change before the high school application deadline was past. I really don’t want to be part of this experiment.

  • 297. WonderingMom  |  January 5, 2013 at 1:04 am

    Are tiers still taken into consideration? I remember reading that they weren’t being considered this year. Can anyone confirm this?

  • 298. Chicago School GPS  |  January 5, 2013 at 1:21 am

    Tiers are taken into consideration only for “Entry Years” of citywide programs (selective enrollment and magnet), when the most seats are available. For Drummond, Suder & Mayer, it’s 3 years old, Inter-American it’s 4 years, and most other elementary programs it’s at K only, except for a few Regional Gifted Center programs that start at 1st grade. For Lincoln & Ogden’s middle school program it’s 6th grade, ACs it’s 7th grade, and HS is 9th grade. All other years do not take tiers into consideration due to the small numbers of seats to be filled.

  • 299. WonderingMom  |  January 5, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Thank you!

  • 300. WonderingMom  |  January 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    My son is testing tomorrow and I can’t find the letter. Do I need it for him to be tested?

  • 301. AE  |  January 5, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    @ 300 — I honestly don’t remember for my pre-K student (testing for Kindergarten entry), but for my older child, they asked for the letter. Actually, the kids had to bring the letter with them when they lined up for testing, and the test administrator collected them. However, they also had a list of student names. Not sure what happens if you don’t have the letter. FYI — the map enclosed with the letter also serves as your parking permit (although I doubt parking is a problem on a Sunday test date).

    @295. From my personal experience and what I’ve read here, 40 minutes is a long time for Kindergarten testing. However, I’m not sure you can infer success (or lack thereof) based on testing time. There are simply too many variables that can impact time…. For what it’s worth, my child tested for about 25-30 minutes, and that seemed pretty typical of the other kids testing at the same time.

    Interestingly, my child reported back that she was told when she got an answer incorrect, and was given a second chance to answer again. Not sure if this was the procedure for both or just one of the tests?? Strange, I thought.

  • 302. WorkingMommyof2  |  January 5, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    It does say on the letter to take it. (My son is testing Friday).

    The only identifying info I see on the form is his name, address, birthdate and application ID#. Maybe if you have that info it would help?

    It also lists a phone number for IIT — who knows if its staffed on the weekend but you could try: 312.567.6470.

  • 303. Sunny  |  January 6, 2013 at 12:38 am

    It is fine if you don’t have the letter. I had it but didn’t give it and that was fine.

  • 304. Sunny  |  January 6, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Also, they will have your child’s name on the list and check him/her in when you arrive.

  • 305. Sunny  |  January 6, 2013 at 12:58 am

    Up until 2011, CPS allowed CPS students a second chance with regards to ISATs. Student could take an ISAT like test privately (probably whatever assessments private schools used I think). Thiis was at your own expense.. However, this practise was stopped. I was told by OAE it was changed due to 1) gave unfair advantage to those parents who could afford to have their child re-assessed privately and 2) they found that the 2nd chance did not change scores much. I understand #1, but #2 I doubt. Sometimes kids just have one off year and a second chance would be great. Either way, no longer an option.

  • 306. Dela  |  January 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    LaSalle langauge academy–we are in the proximity range for this school. A friend of my friend says to avoid the school and don’t go there. Her 2 children go there. Does this group know much about this school?

  • 307. cpsobsessed  |  January 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I would tour it and make your own decision. What works for one family might not be right for another. Nothing stands out in my mind as negative things I’ve heard about the school and last year when there was talk about letting Lincoln Elem take over the school, LaSalle familes were very upset about it and defended the school’s success to CPS. No school is perfect so I’d weigh what she told you with your own preferences as well as your other options. The benefits of LaSalle could outweigh any perceived negatives.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 308. Dela  |  January 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    That is a good point thank you.

  • 309. LSMom  |  January 7, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Has anyone who applied at the last minute (Dec. 13/14) gotten their testing date? Our mail service is pretty awful and I’m wondering if our letter went astray.

  • 310. Anonymous  |  January 7, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Is there a way to question someone’s address? I know a family that rented an apartment in a lower tier (in November) just to avoid applying from their own tier 4 home – with no intention to actually live full time there. I

  • 311. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    My son is testing for kindergarten on Friday. While we have a solid neighborhood school to fall back on (South Loop), I ranked five gifted and classical programs and in retrospect, am kicking myself for not committing to a sixth. But I digress. Two questions:

    1) If he doesn’t get a placement this round, are his odds considerably lower as a first grader?

    2) On the off-chance that he gets into a RGC, could the demanding scholastic requirements (i.e., hours of homework each night) potentially interfere with his extracurricular activities. Even as a 5-year-old, he plays various sports almost every day of the week and they have been a great outlet for him.

    We live in a tier 4 area, so my fingers are crossed for the best outcome… but I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch.

  • 312. local  |  January 7, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Yes, homework will interfere with after-school activities. Maybe he’ll have to pare down some.

  • 313. WorkingMommyof2  |  January 7, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Good luck ChicagoMom. My son is testing Friday too. Looking forward to getting it over with!

    Re: homework, I don’t know if all the RCGs do it the same, but at Coonley the K kids get a packet on Monday and it is due back the next Monday. So at least you can carve out time to do it that works for you and not necessarily have to do it every night.

  • 314. cpsobsessed  |  January 7, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    @311: Odds in 1st grade (and any grade) just depend on the test scores. They can vary from year to year, plus some schools fill their RGC classes at the first grade level so there are still seats left. Ultimately your “odds” are just a matter of how well the child scores.

    I agree that a child that has sports every night can definitely expect to have a full schedule with homework. Some schools (ie Edison) are more notorious for their work load and some just vary teacher by teacher. Also the extent to which a child is motivated to do homework factors in greatly. ie, I have been hounding my son for a good 2 hours now and he’s made almost no progress and I’m about to lose it….

  • 315. karet  |  January 7, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    1) He’ll have a much harder time getting into RGCs in 1st grade (since the only openings will be from kids who leave for some reason). There are a few programs that start in 1st grade (Bell, Beaubien) so those might be a better option.
    2) Skinner North handles homework the same way that Coonley does (packet handed out on Monday, due the following Monday). We usually do most of it on the weekend. I don’t know about other schools.

  • 316. cpsobsessed  |  January 7, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Coonely only does the homework packet for kindergarten. I like that method, although now that my son is such a procrastinator it probably wouldn’t work out well for us anymore. But it’s certainly good for families who have weeknight obligations like lessons, etc.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 317. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 7, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    Thanks for your input, everybody!

    @315, yeah, I was kind of figuring that RGCs like Bell and Beaubien would be a better bet if this year doesn’t pan out the way I hope. I didn’t rank Coonley this go-round based on distance and now wish I would have. Live and learn.

    @313 and 316, I also favor the homework packet method, but don’t think that it extends through much of their school years. My son is a bit of a hockey prodigy and currently plays three nights a week (among baseball and soccer), so I’m looking at a future of practices, games and travel. Just not sure how this should factor into the type of academic program (neighborhood vs. gifted vs. classical) that would be a more ideal fit for him.

    Not that I have a whole lot of say in the outcome!

  • 318. IBobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I received a postcard yesterday from Selective Prep advertising their prep courses this year and next for “7th grade standardized testing”. How did they get our name/address? We applied to CPS to take the test for academic centers, but she now goes to a private school. Hmmmm. Who is selling our info to Selective Prep? CPS? Our current school? Anyone else with a 6th grader received a postcard from SP?

  • 319. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Perhaps contact them and ask?
    there are also just databases of public names available for purchase – records of people with kids of certain ages. But it does seem oddly targeted, doesn’t it?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 320. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 10:08 am

    I would definitely take distance into account for school for RGC/classicals schools. With a 7 hour day, commute, and homework, that’s pretty much going to be your kid’s life right there, especially for working parents. I’m cynical after a bad night of homework and another one to follow tonight while trying to cram in an orthodontist appointment.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 321. enoughs enough  |  January 8, 2013 at 10:15 am

    @318 They are affiliated with Kaplan so if you have done any tutoring, taken any “free” tests or any inquiries you might get on the radar. CPS has a disclaimer on their website that they do not recommend test prep so I would doubt that it would come from there.

  • 322. Lisa  |  January 8, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Pritzker RGC Kindergarten also does the homework packet, but it is Friday to Friday.

  • 323. EdgewaterMom  |  January 8, 2013 at 10:45 am

    This has nothing to do with applying for next year, but I wasn’t sure where else to post it. Has anybody else read the ethics report that was just released? I have only had a chance to skim through it, but it makes for VERY interesting reading.

  • 324. IBobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 10:47 am

    @321, have done no free tutoring with Kaplan or any inquiries. I’m just cynical enough to not believe that the CPS disclaimer regarding test prep means they would not sell info (or maybe even some enterprising renegage CPS employee). There were reports here in the past of CPS parents getting calls from/about charter schools. Where’d that info come from?

    CPO-I’m gonna call SP and ask.

  • 325. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 11:00 am

    I couldn’t find any Privacy Policy on to explain whether they can/do sell names. I did see an Opt-Out for high school juniors and seniors to cover this:

    By law, if military recruiters request contact information (name, address, phone number) for 11th- or 12th-grade students, the Chicago Public Schools is required to provide that information unless parents choose to block it. (CPS does not provide information for 9th- or 10th-grade students.) Colleges and universities also may request student information and parents may block that information as well.

    But nothing else is mentioned. Is it unethical of CPS to sell mailing addresses if it helps them generate money?

  • 326. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Well, this is a very depressing initial paragraph from the ethics report…

    As reported every year, the OIG’s (Office of Inspector General) budget allocation fails to allow the OIG to perform its mandated function, as the OIG is significantly under-staffed and under-funded. As highlighted in the FY 11 Annual Report, the OIG is the smallest local oversight office relative to the size of the agency it oversees. The OIG receives the smallest percentage of its agency’s budget and has the highest ratio of agency staff to OIG staff of any local oversight office. In addition, the OIG has seen a 70% caseload increase since FY 07, when OIG staffing was reduced to its current level. Along with the caseload increase, the OIG now spends an increasing amount of time on post-investigation activity including document reproduction,
    preparations for and testimony at administrative hearings, labor arbitrations and criminal trials as well as other necessary tasks. As a result, in FY 12, only 27.5% of complaints received resulted in an OIG investigation, which creates a substantial risk that waste, fraud,
    financial mismanagement and employee misconduct go undetected.

  • 327. Dela  |  January 8, 2013 at 11:06 am

    What are the thoughts of you all on Franklin (magnet)?

  • 328. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Whoever just inquired about where to report residency fraud, this office (OIG) would be the place. There were 276 reports made last year and that was the largest group of complaints made. But as the office points out, they had staff to investigate only 25% of the total complaints made. (I realize this might also cover teachers who live outside the city or other residency stuff– not sure it necessarily means students.)

  • 329. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 11:10 am

    @327: I don’t know of anyone who has gone to Franklin, but the stats sure look good for the school. It looks oddly small – 383 students?

  • 330. Dela  |  January 8, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I like the small school feature. We are in the proximity for Franklin and so there is a chance. I hope other people can chime opinions in. This is another one that I learned looks good but may not be so good once you are there like Lasalle Language.

  • 331. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 11:24 am

    There were some Franklin comments in this post:

  • 332. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Also a couple here:

    If you open the post you can search for Franklin.

  • 333. HS Mom  |  January 8, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Along with that OIG report comes the news that the free/reduced lunch program is extremely abused (surprise surprise) with no oversights and verifications

    “The inspector general reviewed of 1,000 cases of children enrolled in the program and reported “an astonishing 707 recipients — nearly 71 percent — had their benefits decreased” because of violations by parents.”

    This program a chief source of federal and state funding for schools. This may be a place that the state will look to cut funding making it even tougher for schools trying to squeak by on what they have now.

  • 334. Dela  |  January 8, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Thank you for guiding me to the information.

    They should look at the lunch food, my neices have told me the cheap food they serve. Even fruit is unripe and doesn’t have flavor. And the breakfasts! And at a school rat droppings were in the pre packagaged CPS food!

  • 335. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Sure thing, Dela – let us know if you learn anything more about the school.

    I might be misguided but I think getting kids fed who are borderline low income seems like a low priority – although maybe it helps enrich the lunch company, who sounds deplorable. I need to read more about it. The food I’ve seen looks so gross I can’t see why anyone would lie to get it if they had a better option. For the record, I have packed a lunch EVERY friggin day for 4.5 years now because my son won’t eat the school lunch. I get some kind of Mom reward for that, right?

  • 336. RL Julia  |  January 8, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    The food served meets a ton of regulations -but that doesn’t make it good. Food seems to get better in the high schools – where they have actual cafeterias (at least some schools do). At my neighborhood school the principal noticed that discipline issues/infractions went WAAAAY down after CPS switched to the mandatory school breakfast program so regardless of how gross the food seems – it is apparently better than nothing which is what any number of children were going on….sad.

  • 337. Paul  |  January 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Yes, it’s all relative. The school breakfast and lunch that many think is unhealthy and low quality, is healthier and of higher quality than what many students get at home or would bring into school otherwise.

  • 338. IBobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    CPO, yes we get an award (we can’t afford the organic, catered lunch at our private). However, I really think we need to begin to have them MAKE THEIR OWN lunch the night before. They are not babies anymore. That and do their own laundry.

  • 339. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 8, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    @cpsobsessed re. #320: I agree with you on the whole commuting factor in selecting a school and would love other’s perspectives on it as well. If you have a good neighborhood school, but your child gets accepted into a gifted or classical program more than 6 miles away (thus, no bussing), which would YOU choose? Or, even better, which route have you taken if you’ve already been faced with this decision?

    FWIW, aside from the obvious convenience, I like the sense of community and ease of playdates that a neighborhood school typically offers. There seems to be a stigma about them, though, and I’m having a hard time shaking that. Sigh.

  • 340. CPS Kinder Mom  |  January 8, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Dela @330 – Just curious what you have heard about those two schools that makes you think they are not so good once you are in them. We are not in either as we did not get into either via lottery, but I liked both schools when I toured last fall. I’ve heard that comment somewhere once before but never have heard any reasons why that would be true. It just sounds a bit odd to me.

  • 341. Dela  |  January 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    What sounds odd?

  • 342. CPS Kinder Mom  |  January 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Just wondering what is supposedly not good once you get in. I just mean it is “odd to me” to hear that people might not be happy with those schools once they get in as I’ve never heard anything other than good feedback about those two schools. That’s all. I did not express my thoughts very clearly.

  • 343. Dela  |  January 8, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I will be glad to send to you an email with what I have learned from my family and friends many work in for the city and cps.

  • 344. CPS Kinder Mom  |  January 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Thank you Dela. Not really necessary though.

  • 345. RL Julia  |  January 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    There is something to dislike about every school/school system. It’s just figuring out what bothers you and what doesn’t and what is a dealbreaker and what isn’t.

  • 346. Dela  |  January 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Definitely RL Julia. We cannot create dream schools.

  • 347. karet  |  January 8, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    @339: You don’t have to live within 6 miles to qualify for busing. That is for Magnets. Here is a link to busing info:

  • 348. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 8, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    @347: I know. My post was actually in reference to an earlier one about Magnets. I’m theoretically choosing between our neighborhood school and several Magnets more than 6 miles away from us. Not sure if it’s worth the daily schlep and looking for other’s perspectives.

  • 349. HS Mom  |  January 8, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    @348 – for me commuting worked because of my work schedule and the proximity of the school to my work. The magnet school was great and worth it. If I didn’t have to consider those type of logistics and aftercare I would definitely look at something closer to home. As RLJ mentions, no program is perfect. If there is something nearby that suits most of your criteria it would probably benefit to stay nearby. There seems to be a lot of great programming going on.
    I hear and read about so many good things at different schools on this site and think “that sounds awesome” but you need to chose 1 of those and it may just be the one down the block. Never hurts to apply anywhere and rethink with acceptances in hand.

  • 350. karet  |  January 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    @348: Just to clarify: You don’t have to live within 6 miles to qualify for busing for Gifted and Classical Schools. (I don’t see any previous posts from you about Magnets, which are different from Gifted and Classical schools). I’m sorry if I misunderstood! The busing is confusing and I’m just trying to be helpful!
    My son takes the bus home every day from Skinner North and enjoys it. It’s fun and social. We live about 9 miles away.

  • 351. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 8, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    HS Mom — Did you have a decent neighborhood school or was magnet truly your only good option? We live a block away from South Loop, which has a favorable reputation, so I’m having a hard time reconciling up to 2 hours in the car each day. And, while I currently work p/t from home, I have no idea what the future will hold. Yet, like all of you, I’ll do whatever it takes to ensure my children’s academic success. Currently, I’m thinking that SL, coupled with the best tutor money can buy (when needed), might be the best way to go. Unless, of course, my son gets accepted into a superior program not too far from home.

    Karet — Tell me more. I could’ve sworn that magnets, gifted and classical schools only offer busing if you live between 1.5 and 6 miles??

  • 352. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I thought it was a 6 mile limit as well for busing.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 353. Citizen Brain  |  January 8, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    @351 — the 6 miles radius for busing does not apply to SEES schools. If only it were that easy! Each of them has their own boundaries. For the RGC’s:

    Students must live more than 1.5 miles from the school in order to receive transportation service to Regional Gifted Centers (with the exception of Carnegie, which provides transportation to students living between 3900 South and 7500 South, from Lake Shore Drive to the city limits; Coonley, which provides transportation to students living between 900 North and the north city limits, from lake Shore Drive to the west city limits; and South Loop, which provides transportation to students living between 900 North and 3900 South, from Lake Shore Drive to the city limits).

  • 354. Citizen Brain  |  January 8, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    For the Classical Schools, students who live more than 1.5 miles from the school and within the following limits are eligible for busing:

    Decatur: North city limits to Fullerton Avenue

    Skinner West: Fullerton Ave. to Pershing Rd. (3900 South)

    Skinner North: Foster Ave. (5200 North) to Cermak Rd. (2200 South)

    McDade: Pershing Rd. to 106th St. South

    Poe: 71st Street South to South City limits

  • 355. Chicago School GPS  |  January 8, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    Each year they threaten to eliminate free busing so that’s always something to keep in mind, too.

  • 356. WorkingMommyof2  |  January 8, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    ChicagoMom, for what it’s worth, my friend with an RGC student at South Loop (and who lives in the South Loop boundaries) says that her neighbors with kids in the neighborhood program are very pleased with it. My friend thinks the school does a good job educating the kids, regardless of neighborhood/gifted.

    My friend and I were talking about it because I am in the same situation as you — entering K, with a good neighborhood option (Coonley) but still wondering if it’s “good enough”. My biggest concern with the neighborhood program is just the class sizes — can they really differentiate that well in a class of 31 kids?

    We’re testing (only listed Coonley RGC and Skinner North) just to keep our options open. But there is a big part of me that wonders if — for us — the advanced academics in the RGC there really outweigh the benefits of having all the kids in his class living within our neighborhood. My son is very bright, but not at some genius level. He currently attends Coonley Pre-K and everywhere we go we see his friends. It’s been a wonderful experience.

  • 357. chicago mom  |  January 8, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    If you are aware of families using an address they dont reside at please call the Inspector Generals office ASAP. This is fraud. I know of 2 northside private schools that encourage this so they look successful. If that is what they think defines success!

  • 358. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    WorkingMommy, it’s great to hear from somebody else in a similar situation. My son sounds a lot like yours — very bright, but probably not at the genius level. While I’m sure that he’d do fine at an RGC or classical school, I think that there’s something to be said about being at the top of a class and that’s more likely to happen in a neighborhood school. Plus, he’s very social and I don’t love the idea of traipsing across town for him to play with his friends. It’s just not the kind of school experience I really want for him (at least I think).

    On the other hand, if he gets into a gifted/classical program not too far away (say, Pritzker or Skinner), I’d probably go for it. It’s just so stressful to know that might mean declining a less desireable offer to be in the running for our top picks.

    FWIW, I’m kicking myself for not ranking Coonley. It would’ve definitely been worth considering. Not sure where my head was that day 😉

  • 359. karet  |  January 8, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks Citizen Brain. You can find the same info at the link I posted @347.
    @358: One benefit of riding the bus is your kid makes friends with the other kids in the neighborhood (which may not all be in the same class or grade). It’s a little community. We’ve even made friends with other kids who are dropped of at our neighborhood school (that’s where the bus picks you up and drops you off), who attend Decatur and Edison.

  • 360. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    I still often lament that we’re not in a neighborhood school. It can be so great to have friends nearby and see school families out and about. Especially for my son who’s an only child.
    But I had to take the gifted spot when we had the chance. There are certain neighborhood schools I might stick around for but it was the right thing at the right time.
    The spread-outedness is a drag sometimes though.
    Neighborhood schools may have a bad rap in some circles, but then again, CPS does in certain circles. Believe me, there are plenty of people in private school and the suburbs who think we’re all crazy. You can’t let yourself get caught up in it.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 361. HS Mom  |  January 8, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    @351 I can pretty much echo what CPSO says. At the time, it was a clear choice between my neighborhood school and the magnet that we chose. The school has gotten better but there are also many more nearby programs that I would consider first. FWIW, I hear South Loop is great. A Dad on a previous thread was talking about how privileged he feels to have his kids attend.

  • 362. AE  |  January 8, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I actually turned down two RGC offers (Beaubien and Coonley) in favor of staying at our neighborhood school, Bell. As it turned out, a week or so later, my child was offered a spot in Bell’s RGC… So I was very glad a waited. I am also very happy that all my kids are together in one school (at least for the time being!) just a couple of blocks from home.

  • 363. WorkingMommyof2  |  January 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    I am fairly certain at this point that we would decline Skinner if offered, but accept Coonley RGC. At least he would mix with his neighborhood friends for art and gym and music.

    That said, I’d put his odds at 50-50 he gets in either. So I am spending way too much time thinking about all this!

    CPSO, I think one good thing about getting into an RGC, which I know you utilized, is that it frees you up to be able to move neighborhoods if you want without disrupting the school situation.

  • 364. cpsobsessed  |  January 8, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Yes, the ability to move is certainly true and we just did it this year!
    Although I think most neighborhood schools let you stay once you’re in… Even if you move.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 365. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 8, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    @WorkingMommy, 50-50 odds are pretty fantastic! What tier are you? Since we’re tier 4, I’m under the impression that our odds are slim to none. But it can’t hurt to test and see what opportunities, if any, present themselves. I thank my lucky stars that we have SL as our contingency plan. Then again, this is one of the main reasons we moved to this neighborhood before even having kids.

    @CPSO, very valuable insight. Thank you.

  • 366. curious  |  January 8, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    I’m curious about Edison RGC. I’ve heard quite a few horror stories about this gifted school, and if anyone has personal experiences, please do share.

  • 367. WorkingMommyof2  |  January 8, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Oh, we’re in Tier 4 too and I am well aware of how few spots there are for each Tier. I’m sure everyone’s real odds are well below 50-50.

    Mostly it’s that 50% of the time I feel like he’s got a shot, and 50% of the time I feel like I don’t know why I’m bothering! 🙂 I have no idea how he will “test” so no result would totally shock me. A year ago I’d have predicted there was no chance he’d agree to leave me and go with the tester.

  • 368. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 8, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Ha! All I know at this point is that I’m wasting 100% of my “free” time on the what-ifs and how-comes :0

  • 369. mayfairAM  |  January 9, 2013 at 6:56 am

    Finally got our test date for SEHS testing. They have added a date! Jan 26 at Lane. They may be offering testing at other locations too. Getting closer and closer to knowing where he will go to high school:)

  • 370. RL Julia  |  January 9, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    @364 -CPO – it really depends on the neighborhood school, the prinicpal, how crowded the school is etc… in terms of if you can stay in a neighborhood school if you move out of the catchement area. Central Office really started cracking down on this about three years ago -at least at MY neighborhood school. The one exception is that if the grade has an opening, the principal can offer the spot – but if they are oversubscribed, she has to tell people to move on.

  • 371. ncm  |  January 9, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    @366 – I am an Edison parent and we have been very happy. Not sure what negatives you have heard, but our experience has been positive all around. The cirriculum has been rich and challenging (but not frustrating) for my child. The teachers are impressive and extremely likable/approachable, the administration has been welcoming, thoughtful, available and responsive, and the parent community is involved and enthusiastic. My child has made good friends and though they are spread out geographically, we’ve had plenty of play dates. There is differentiation/groups for reading levels (begins in kindergarten) and math (begins in 1st grade). Homework varies from night to night, but it has been very manageable.

  • 372. Gobemouche (formerly JustAnotherCPSparent)  |  January 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    “366. curious | January 8, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    I’m curious about Edison RGC. I’ve heard quite a few horror stories about this gifted school, and if anyone has personal experiences, please do share.”

    Horror stories? Seriously? I’m going to be perfectly honest…there are always families who gripe about everything, who will never be happy anywhere. Maybe because my kids have attended more than one CPS school, I have a different perspective- I sometimes think that if these people could experience the reality of the rest of CPS maybe they would stop their moaning.

    Saying there are “horror” stories about ERGC is absurd. When I hear “horror story”, I think about crumbling buildings, abusive teachers, or gang violence. Since there are REAL horror stories elsewhere in CPS, let’s quit it with the hyperbole, please.

    Is ERGC perfect? No. Especially if you were to compare it to a private school. Compared to 99% of CPS? Its a thousand times better, almost embarrassingly so.

    The principal is new (well, new to the job – used to be the assistant), I suspect there is still quite a big learning curve (no matter how long you’ve been associated with a school) in the jump to principal. So, I think we’ll have wait a little longer to see what she is really made of.

    The new assistant principal is pretty great.

    Of the 9 classroom teachers, there are 2 who just need to retire. And 1 who is just “meh.” However, ERGC has more than its fair share of rockstar teachers in the building.

    The building is brand new and wonderfully equipped: Air conditioning! Library! Separate gym! Lockers! Clean bathrooms! New Computer lab this month! Two Science labs! Whoot!

    The outdoor “space” sucks.

    The program can be intense (duh), and the homework can be a nightmare, depending on your kid’s approach to it.

    The parents are almost overwhelmingly committed to helping out via the LSC and PTO.

    Sometimes there is too much of a “this is just the Edison way”, type of attitude. Too much dependence on doing things the way they have always been done, instead of trying new things.

    After all the fuss, the sharing of the building with APMA turned out to be no big deal.

    There have been some organizational and communications issues this year. Not really that big of a deal in the long run, though.

    Its a small, close-knit community. Sometimes that is wonderful, sometimes I think that just leads to “family” bickering.

    All in all, ERGC is a wonderful place to be. I think most of us really do feel like we won the lottery when our kid got in.

  • 373. west rogers park mom  |  January 9, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Just wondering if IB letters have gone out yet. We applied to several and haven’t received anything yet. I sure hope my kid at least gets invited to a few information sessions.

  • 374. Northside IB Principal  |  January 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    IB letters will be sent out very soon. There was a minor delay. Good luck.

  • 375. anotherchicagoparent  |  January 9, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks so much for the heads up @374 Northside IB Principal.
    “minor delay” the more things change at CPS the more they stay the same. uh

  • 376. west rogers park mom  |  January 9, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Thanks Northside IB Principal. I was getting nervous.

  • 377. selective versus neighborhood school choice  |  January 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Some of our reasoning to stay at an excellent classical program (with a long bus commute and classmates spread out all over the city) over few offers from neighborhood Regional Gifted Centers (shorter commute and classmates closer to our neighborhood) are:

    1. The classical school is most likely staying put. The neighborhood might not demand the building back (unlike in Edison Park) for a while. Few of the RGC that are housed in neighborhood schools are at this point very overcrowded schools, and unless they get an addition, there is nowhere to go. I would not rely on the gifted-options program to stay there forever. The neighborhood classes do not have a cap on the size, and are well into the mid 30’s.

    2. The entire student population is on a “similar” intellectual level. I stress the word “similar”, because even amongst those kids, there are huge variations. Also very good differentiation in the subjects. Kids are really not held back by “slower” kids.

    3. Different kind, less behavioral issues. Compare to some neighborhood schools, that friends kids attend.

    4. Knowing the “right kind of people” might make a difference in someone’s life. Many of the classmates and other grade students that our kid will know from school, will go on to have cool/high position/influential jobs.

    5. Our kid socializes a lot on the bus with kids of the same grade same classroom, same grade different classroom, different grades. I in particular like the different grade interaction. That might not happen while at school. Also our kids gets a lot of reading time on the bus. Loves it.

    6. I prefer a program that keeps my kid highly engaged for the whole 7 hours, with teachers dedicated to that particular population, even with the long bus ride. As opposed to saving the bus commute time, walking to the school around the corner, but not being too excited about how the 7 hours are spent.

    Just for the people that might have to make these choices.

  • 378. Visceral Reaction  |  January 9, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Knowing the right kind of people. Huh.

    With a very few exceptions, VERY few – the gifted and classical students are completely lacking social skills. Not really the type to get cool/high/influential jobs. Let’s call it like it is. Not saying anything against your son, CPSO. No one wants to say it, but most of them are little semi-autistic friendless beings.

  • 379. ncm  |  January 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    @378 – Perhaps you don’t know any smart, well rounded, personality plus, socially adept kids. I know plently, including my RGC kid. “Little semi-autistic friendless beings” – really? I feel sorry for you and your completely inaccurate view of a particular group of kids. Pathetic.

  • 380. OMG37!  |  January 9, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    378. Visceral Reaction — huh? your comment is completely awful and messed up.

  • 381. Lisa  |  January 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    #378 Yikes! Thank goodness my kid at the gifted school is among your VERY few exceptions.

  • 382. selective versus neighborhood school choice  |  January 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    @visceral reaction… actually most of the kids that attend the CPS gifted/classical programs are just bright, advanced either in reading and/or math, very hungry to learn new information (our kid) or have very good logic thinking. There are way more of those kids in the city, then available spots at these schools, unfortunately.

    The kids that are truly gifted and are profoundly smart, are probably home schooled or attend a private program that can cater to their needs. CPS is not able to take those kids very far.

    I spend good amount of time volunteering in my kid’s classroom and I see happy, playful, eager to learn kids. They have their moments of crabbiness and non cooperation (just like all 7 years old do). Some of them might be on the autistic spectrum, not that I have inquired about that, but they ALL have friends, play dates and attend birthday parties.

    And even if someone has a certain lack of social skills, they can still go on to get a pretty interesting job. Maybe not the one, where they get to sit in an office cubicle and spend every Friday evening at happy hour bars with coworkers.

    The semi autistic friendless being you describe sounds like GOLUM.
    I have not come across one of those at our school yet;-)

  • 383. Paul  |  January 9, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Another thing that selective enrollment schools offer that neighborhood schools can’t: exclusivity. Not everyone can get into selective enrollment schools and that–in and of itself–is attractive to many people.

  • 384. EdgewaterMom  |  January 9, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    @378 VisceralReaction I find it ironic that YOU would comment about anybody’s poor social skills when yours are clearly lacking. Your comment was obnoxious and unwarranted.

  • 385. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 9, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Wow, this thread has really taken a turn for the worse. @378, your comments are out of lines and frankly, very offensive. Are you a licensed therapist who can administer a “semi-autistic” diagnosis? What a baseless, so-called observation.

    That being said, @377, while I really enjoyed reading your perspective on neighborhood RGC vs. classical, your 4th point WAS pretty stupid. How ridiculous to speculate that your child’s classmates “will go on to have cool/high position/influential jobs.” There are no guarantees in life… even if you have a classical education (from a CPS school, nonetheless).

  • 386. RL Julia  |  January 9, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    377- For grade school, unless you go to high school with the same people or your family becomes good friends with the family- I’d imagine you really only have bragging rights – not job offers (Hey – I went to 5th grade with Paul Giamatti!). Of course I could be wrong.

    That being said, 378 Visercal Reaction -saying that all the kids at the test in schools are a bunch of social losers sounds like a bunch of sour grapes to me – or just plain mean.

  • 387. jfc  |  January 9, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Stop feeding the troll…plz get back on topic.

  • 388. cpsobsessed  |  January 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    C’mon, stop! It’s a common stereotype that if you know any kids in one of these classes you know isn’t true, so why discuss it?

    On a different note, a small anecdote about people with cool jobs – at my class reunion the person we decided had the coolest job is a guy who works for Jack Daniels as a whiskey expert. I think I remember him being a partier in high school. You really just never know who will have the most interesting job.

  • 389. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 9, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    CPSO — Love! On the contrary, I attended a highly prestigious h.s. and our class’s “Most Likely to Succeed” ended up going to prison for corporate embezzlement and tax fraud. For realz 😉

  • 390. selective versus neighborhood school choice  |  January 9, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    @389 I’m well aware that there are no guarantees in life, in terms of equating a selective school with life success. What is success anyway? It is very subjective to every single person on this planet.
    It seems to me, that if a particular school only accepts intellectually advanced kids, perhaps the percentage of those getting cool (Whisky expert for sure!), high position or influential jobs might be a bit higher then general school that has kids at all levels. Many of the kids parents already have jobs like that. Who we know goes for us, the parents also.

    The story of the “most likely to succeed” shows that “gifts” can be used in different ways. Talent is not a guarantee of character. Some people use it for good causes and some people use it for bad/selfish causes.

    @visceral reaction, about the lack of social skills. Most of the people that lack social skills are that way because of parental neglect and/or traumas and unfortunately no one ever helped them to learn otherwise. Very small percentage of population lack social skills genetically.

  • 391. selective versus neighborhood school choice  |  January 9, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    I’m also well aware of the fact, that talent/gifts have to be developed and supported. There can be a child that is talented, but constantly neglected and might have a hard time putting his/her talents to use, because of the neglect. Many kids that do not get a selective spot have caring and loving parents and their talents will get developed.

    Many of the parents at my kid’s school to go where they are professionally, because their own parents or maybe a great teacher cared, and helped them to develop their talents. And they are doing the same for their kids. It still does not guarantee success in life. Kids come across bad crowd, kids have their own mind.

    I did not mean to generalize. My closest friends did not go to anything selective and are people of great character and I treasure their friendships.

  • 392. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 9, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    @391 — Good follow-up. Bravo.

  • 393. Jen K  |  January 9, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    @372 Excellent response & I appreciate your perspective shared in a neutral way. For some reason, people I meet seem to ‘hate’ on Decatur & Edison. It has it’s pros & cons like every other school and fortunately it sounds like it’s heavy on the pros. Full disclosure: my kids don’t go there because they didn’t get in (but we’re very happy where we ended up). 🙂

  • 394. hyde park mom  |  January 10, 2013 at 12:28 am


  • 395. curious  |  January 10, 2013 at 10:12 am

    @372 – Thank you for your honest reply! My son is currently attended a classical school, and he is in his 4th year. We are thinking about transfering him soon, and Edison is one of our top choices. However, I really have heard of their horror stories (note: a bit of exaggeration in the adjective term) like the amount of homeworks and projects are stressfully overwhelming. Parents confide that their kids are frequently exhausted and cried at the end of the day. The parents themselves ended up doing most of the works for their children, and they found those projects are wasting of time. Now, I can’t say that these parents are not biased, nor I have any inclination to say their kids are not the gifted standards because from what I see, these kids are uncommonly bright.

    A common complaint from these parents is the school seems to lack vision. Perhaps this might be resulted from new leadership like you have stated, but these parents said it is more than that. They said the school has no interest in “challenging the kids”, but gearing toward excessive nonsense projects to keep them busy. While they appreciate that their kids have no time for tv, they resent the fact that the school is focusing too much on “theatrical” performances and not enough on essential subjects like math, english, science at earlier grade. These parents said the school will introduce these in later years (like 7th and 8th), but by then it is too late to establish a basic foundation for their kids to gain the upper edge for testing into Northside.

    Last question: My son is a chess enthusiast, and we wonder if Edison have a good chess program there? We rarely see students from this school present at tournaments.

  • 396. RL Julia  |  January 10, 2013 at 10:28 am

    393 – Ditto Northside College Prep.

  • 397. Parent of 3rd grader @ a CPS charter school.  |  January 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    My child went to testing on Tues. & Wed. @ IIT for Classical and Regional Gifted program. What is the difference? Both days took about 1 hr and 15 min. My child currently attends a Charter – Plato Academy (westside) but I am searching for an improvement for 4th grade. Any suggestions?

  • 398. Gobemouche  |  January 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm


    Aha! The projects! Ok, now I see where you are coming from. There are two teachers who are well known for projects – 1st grade and the upper grade Social Studies teacher. I have to agree that the 1st grade projects are annoying, unimaginative, and sometimes unduly stressful. There is one in particular that is practically famous for driving parents and children insane. I chose not to follow the teachers instructions to the letter…I found a way to make it as easy as possible for my kid. Because I really don’t care about 1st grade grades. But! If you have the type of kid who is a perfectionist…well, it sucks. I’m not going to lie.

    As for the upper grade social studies teacher: yes, he assigns a lot of projects, but the kids love him anyway. His SS curriculum is not the traditional voyage through American history/civics. Beginning in 5th grade (through 8th), he starts with ancient world history. High school students have reported back that they actually use his notes for hs classes! The projects can be anything from imagining and drawing your own country to making up your own game based on an ancient Mesopotamian children’s game.

    I suspect that “the” project that people are talking about is The History Fair in 6th and 8th grade. It’s a big deal. A huge deal. It involves hours and hours of research, plus a poster board of gargantuan size (or a performance, etc). It’s a monster. It’s such a big thing at Edison that he even gives a talk about it for parents at an LSC meeting. How this will go over in your family is pretty much dependent upon what type of kid you have. Slacker? You’re screwed. Perfectionist? Lot of late nights and stress. Is it valuable? You betcha. Is it a pain in the ass? Absolutely. But…it’s an Edison tradition and point of pride. I’d call it “challenging” and not just busy-work (unlike 1st grade, which really does seem like busy work). Starting with a broad topic and really having to dig for just the right thesis, is challenging. There is room for a lot of creativity in choosing which way you will display your project : a website, a poster board, a performance, etc. I saw a kid do his performance last year and it honestly blew my mind.

    I gotta give the SS teacher props because my science-only minded kid really started to dig history when he moved to his class. My issue with that class isn’t the projects, it’s the notes. But that’s a whole other tangent.

    Lack of vision? Hmm. Maybe. Again, there is just an “Edison way” attitude. It’s true that things are the same every year, as in the same work and projectsfrom each teacher. You always know what is coming down the pipe. Some might say that’s a good thing – to know what to expect. Some might say that’s unimaginative. But, yeah, there is a strong sense of tradition, one that seems to preclude forward thinking. Maybe. We have some new teachers this year that are just outstanding, who are already establishing a new way in their classes. I think it’s likely that their tech knowledge and new ideas will spread.

    Honestly, it is the upper grades that are fantastic at Edison. The lower grades could use some work. But, I have a lot of faith in the people at Edison.

    I also can’t figure out the “essential subjects” thing. Huh? They are doing their math and reading and spelling and social studies and, etc everyday. And doing it 1-2 years ahead of grade. They implemented a new math curriculum for lower grades recently, but I did hear that it was pretty bumpy a few years back. I will also say that, yes, in the mad rush to jump ahead grade level in subjects, I have suspected that a few things are getting lost in that shuffle. Like in 2nd grade, they skip 3rd grade and go straight into 4th. But I seem to remember CPSO writing something similar about her kid skipping 3rd grade math. Maybe it’s an RGC thing is general.

    I’m not sure about “theatrical” performances. I mean, I don’t see how there is a real emphasis on that. We have a great fine arts teacher and I think that if there is an inclination towards theatrics it’s because, well, these kids need a break from academics. I don’t know. The lower grades go to fine arts a few days a week, where they might be doing puppetry or painting cityscapes. There are more opportunities for arts in 4th-6th grade. They can participate in Japanese drumming or a sort of improv group called tag. They volunteer to do this during there lunch and recess.

    We do have an after school chess program. I think they are using a new company this year. But I don’t think there is much emphasis on making it competition worthy.

    As for the whole getting into Northside thing, yes, it’s true that fewer Edison students are getting in. But that is true for everybody. I honestly think the actual grades at Edison is the bigger obstacle, one B and youre out of the running. I don’t think it’s because they are not doing well on the tests. Well, maybe. There is no teaching to the test at Edison. None. There is no prepping for it, unlike a lot of other schools, even RGCs. I tend to think that if Edison kids are not acing those tests it’s because 1) they are too far ahead and have forgotten things from 2-3 years before (ex: mode, mean, etc) and 2) the kids have a tendency to think things are going to be harder than they actually are. I watched my kid do this during a prep course, he kept looking for tricks in the questions, etc. when it was just a simple question. I don’t know, that’s just my take.

    To be perfectly honest, If your objective is to get into Northside and you live in tier 3 or 4, I don’t know that switching to Edison will make you happy. Getting straight As there will not be easy, considering the homework and expectations.

    FWIW, not all of us of think of Northside as our number 1 choice. It’s not even on my radar. I don’t like their math program for my kid. Not the right fit.

    Whew! Sorry for the crazy long response. But I always try to help other parents out because I know how difficult making school decisions is. I always wanted someone to just be honest with me and give me the scoop.

  • 399. Gobemouche  |  January 10, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    *please excuse my auto correct typos.

  • 400. INeedAName  |  January 10, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    @398 – Which 1st grade project is the bad one? I have a first grader and haven’t looked ahead to see what’s still coming.

  • 401. Gobemouche  |  January 10, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    400 – Well you must have already done the Native American project. That’s the one I’m talking about. It seemed to cause a crazy amount of stress. Probably a big deal in some families, but not in others. At any rate, it’s the one I’ve always heard the very most complaining about.

  • 402. E. Weng  |  January 10, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    May I ask why you consider transferring to RGC school from Classical? We’ve just applied for SEES schools (entering K) and would love it if you could share your experience.

  • 403. Sped Mom  |  January 10, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    What will happen to the OLD Jones HS building?

  • 404. Northside IB Principal  |  January 10, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    IB letters are going out now. Give the US mail a moment.

  • 405. INeedAName  |  January 11, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Thankks Gobemouche. We made it through the Native American project with minimal stress. Dare I say, we even enjoyed? Thanks for the insight into future years!

  • 406. Gobemouche  |  January 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    402 – I am not considering leaving a classical for an RGC. Maybe you are confusing me with another poster?

  • 407. Gobemouche  |  January 11, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    402 – I think you meant to direct your question to “curious” at #395.

    We really should all start using the forum for all these specifics!

  • 408. WorkingMommyof2  |  January 11, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    My son took the K tests today and I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to get there, find the right place and send my shy boy happily off with the tester. Like most of the kids, afterward he couldn’t tell me much of anything he was asked. “I dunno mom, it was too many questions.”

    When my son finished and we were putting our coats on to leave, a tester came into the waiting area to collect another boy. He stood up, followed the tester to the door and then turned around to his mom and said, “I forgot everything!” 🙂 To the mom’s credit, she told him not to worry and just have fun.

  • 409. stunned  |  January 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    My 4 yr old daughter just took the tests today for Kindergarten and was in and out in less than 10 minutes. I don’t understand how they can test both Gifted and Classical within that time period. She is able to read but the tester did not ask her if she knows how to read or not (I saw on other posts that they ask) and she did not get any math questions. The whole process was so quick and I was so stunned that I didn’t think to ask the test administrator while I was there. Can someone direct me to a number or resource I can contact to verify that my daughter took both Gifted and Classical tests, or just one? We applied to both Gifted and Classical, so I’m assuming she was given both tests, but I just want to double check this, since the testing was so quick.

  • 410. curious  |  January 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Gobemouche – wow – thank you for taking your time to write. I gain so much insight from your post, although am very disappointed with the school’s lacking of a real chess team at Edison. It is a real shame, compare to Coonley and Bell! Also, I just want to clarify that after talking to one of the parents who complained about Edison not focusing on “essential subjects”, she said she was referring to the lack of grammar and spelling lessons in third grade. She also said that students in primary years are not doing enough in math, reading because they spent too much time on fine art, french, and silly projects. This is really not my concern because my son will be in the upper grades. Do you have any insight on these higher grade teachers, particularly the 5th and 6th grade teachers ( I’ve heard of good things about the 7th and 8th grade teachers).

    Weng – We are thinking about transfering because our classical school will end at 6th grade. We don’t want to wait until then to move since that might influence on our son’s adjustment with the new school, and 7th grade is too important to take chance.

  • 411. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    #408 & 409: Today must’ve been a big testing day! My son also took his and was done in 15 minutes flat. It’s the first time in his life that I wasn’t happy to see him. I agree this seems awfully quick for two tests. I was similarly surprised that there weren’t any questions about letters or numbers… especially considering classical curriculum. My only consolation is that the tester said they were running ahead of schedule, so I took that to mean many of the kids were finishing fast. (Although the woman sitting next to me said that her daugher had been in there a long time.) Definitely not thrilled about it. At all.

  • 412. bundleofnerves  |  January 11, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    We tested yesterday for both (K). She was finished in 30 minutes. I sweat the entire time.

  • 413. WorkingMommyof2  |  January 11, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    @409: For what it’s worth, I asked my son if they asked him if he could read and he said they didn’t ask him that. (For him the answer would have been *mostly* no, although he has around 25-30 sight words now).

    My son also said there were no letters, reading, writing or math questions. (?!?!?) A couple hours after the test he told me he remembered matching shapes that were alike, pointing out a picture of a house, and counting coins (I’m sure he was supposed to add them, but he does NOT know how to do that). Oh, and he said there were pictures of puzzles and you had to point to what piece was missing in the picture.

    He also said he told the tester that he loves hamburgers and the toys he gets in his kids’ meal at Wendy’s. Pretty sure there are no points for that!

    He was gone a little less than a half hour. I didn’t keep track of any of the other kids’ times to compare, but it seemed like the testers came for them in about five-minute intervals and the kids seemed to come back in the same order so I don’t think anyone was *too* different timewise while we were there.

    @411, I’m likewise mystified of what could be on the classical test that doesn’t involve any reading, writing or math.

    Good luck to you both… they did tell us that the test moves at the kid’s pace so maybe the time doesn’t matter as much as we worry it does.

  • 414. AE  |  January 11, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    My 4-year old took both tests a little over a month ago. It was sort of a disaster (didn’t want to go in the first place, was sick with a cold, and then fell asleep on the way over — not happy to wake up). In any event, she was gone 25-30 minutes (which seemed fairly comparable to the other kids testing at the time). I do recall her telling me that she was asked if she could read, and that she answered “no” (although she actually has quite a few sight words and can sound out 3-letter words). Seems very unreliable to decide what test questions to administer based on a 4-year old’s response to that question — Maybe they just ask as small talk?? Like others reported, she said no math problems / numbers. She was most interested in talking most about some question with hats, which was apparently very difficult. Must of been a doozy, b/c another kid came out talking about the hats question too 🙂

    I previously posted the following info, but it’s probably more appropriate here so I’ll repost. Per my 4-year old’s report:
    – For at least one of the tests (gifted or classical??), kids are told when they answer incorrectly and given a second chance to answer. This surprised me. Not sure how this second chance impacts scores. It also suggests longer testing time isn’t necessarily better.
    – Apparently there are “which one doesn’t belong” questions, but my child specifically said no patterns (!?!) or analogy matrixes/boxes. Having looked at the New York test prep packets, I think both of these sections are standard on the OLSAT, but didn’t seem to be on the CPS test.
    – There was also apparently a vocabulary section (point to the picture that shows the word). I’m pretty sure this is not an OLSAT section.

    Also, I asked the IIT staff if they could administer the gifted test first, and was told it is typically given that way anyways.

  • 415. miatatic  |  January 11, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Am I crazy if I think we should NOT post what we think was on the test? Maybe I’m being too competitive, but I personally don’t want to give the next child a competitive edge over my child that had to go in blind.

  • 416. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 11, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    @414: Very insightful, thanks for sharing! My son, who finished in 15 min., very excitedly told me that he answered all of the questions correctly… except for the house one that WorkingMommy mentioned, coincidentally. So maybe, just maybe he’s a genius after all! LOL.

  • 417. WorkingMommyof2  |  January 11, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    AE: My son also mentioned that sometimes they told him to “try again”. And I’ll have to ask my son about the hat question!

    miatatic: I know what you mean about not giving others an edge. But I’ve read here before that people’s kids were asked to do a maze and write a two-letter word and my kid says he didn’t do either. Gotta take everything the four-year-olds report back with a grain of salt, I think…

  • 418. AE  |  January 11, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    @miatatic You’re definitely not crazy and I totally understand what you’re saying…. But I guess, in the end, I decided that I’ve learned so much from other posts on this board over the years, that I wanted to share the small amount of info I got from my possibly unreliable 4-year old. Also, having been through the testing process 6 times w/ 3 children, I’m not convinced that the small amount of info gleaned from other parents (on this site or elsewhere) is enough to impact results. Good luck!!

  • 419. miatatic  |  January 11, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    #417 and #418 I appreciate that. I am wigging out since this is our first experience. Sorry to sound like a psycho.

  • 420. Chicago mom  |  January 11, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Everyone writing on this site truly care about there children’s education. The entire system sucks. The high school thing is worse. We need to rally downtown to make all CPS schools safe and great so we can sleep at night knowing our kids are getting a great education.

  • 421. Gobemouche  |  January 12, 2013 at 2:13 am

    410- curious- That’s really interesting to me, that another parent would find fine art and French “silly”. I mean that with no snark whatsoever. It’s just so very different from my own ideas about a broad education. Again – interesting. I guess it just goes to show, you can’t please everybody 😉

    As for the 5th & 6th grade teachers…I really, really like the 6th teacher. She’s a keeper. The 5th grade teacher is ok, maybe I didn’t get to see her in action enough. As you’ve already heard, the 7th and 8th grade teachers are great. Keep in mind, though, that The kids are changing classes all day. For example, they have the 5th grade teacher for Homeroom and language arts but then math is broken up into 2 groups. A regular (for lack of a better word) and a higher group (again, for lack of a better word). The higher group goes to the 6th grade teacher for math. And they have another teacher for science and another one for SS, and so on. I think this year the 6th grade is going to another teacher for language arts instead of their Homeroom teacher. There’s a lot of moving around. They have the same SS, french, and fine arts teacher through grades 5-8. One science teacher for 5th &6th, and another for 7th & 8th. You’ll get to know them all!

  • 422. CarolA  |  January 12, 2013 at 7:56 am

    @420: I think you are right. Big changes need to be made. Again, I might be late to the game, but I found out that at least some of the new charter schools that will be opening up will be based on a grade 6-12 model where master teachers, regular teachers, and aides will work side by side with many technology components. Sounds promising.

  • 423. SoxSideIrish4  |  January 12, 2013 at 10:03 am

    #422~CarolA~yes but those charters are based on 2 teachers, and one assistant in classroom based on 90 students in a classroom. Look at the Model on the bottom of the page Very few kids could learn this way.

  • 424. curious  |  January 12, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Gobemouche – I think that parent doesnt find fine arts or French silly; she finds it silly that Edison places its emphasis on those more than science or grammar in the early years etc…I suppose different strokes for different folks. Again, thank you for taking time to write.

  • 425. Vanessa  |  January 12, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    My 2nd grader did his RGC test today and did the Classical test last week. He thought today’s test was much easier than last weeks test. Now we wait. March 18th is the date test results get sent out right?

  • 426. Christine Whitley  |  January 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Also keep in mind that they may be using different forms of the same test for different kids. So it might not be that the kids can’t remember but that they really are getting different questions.

  • 427. momof3boys  |  January 13, 2013 at 10:52 am

    @ChicagoMomofBoys my kids swim 6 days a week and travel. one goes to a RGC and the other 2 a SEHS. the way we balance is that they do hw before practice as much as they can. then after practice they finish up while i make dinner when we get home (around 830p) most times, the youngest hardly has hw because he does it during intervention ( ithink that is what his school uses that extra hour for). the highschoolers sometimes are up til 11p or later finishing up- but i look at that as learning foreshadow for college life…

  • 428. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 13, 2013 at 11:20 am

    @momof3boys: Great info, thanks. Swimming 6 days/week, yikes! My oldest is only 5; who knows if his love (and talent) of hockey will stick, so to speak… but I’m a planner and worrier by nature 🙂 How far away are their schools? Do your kids enjoy their days overall? While I agree about the importance of college readiness, I want my kids to have well-balanced childhoods minus the threat of burnout. It sounds like your boys have achieved this, so I’m just trying to dig a little further…

  • 429. momof3boys  |  January 14, 2013 at 8:04 am

    @428- We’re lucky, the kids’schools r all under 3 miles. The oldest drives his bro and himself. I take the youngest. They don’t mind their day for the most part. The only complaint is that they don’t have as much socialization with the school kids outside of school.

  • 430. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 14, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    @429: You’re so lucky and what a great arrangement! If my oldest beats the odds and gets into a gifted/classical program, it could very likely be 8-10 miles away from where we live. I’m weighing the pros and cons of going this route vs. our well regarded neighborhood school. This is when parenting starts to get really difficult!

  • 431. Levski  |  January 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Today my 4-year son had his both tests done, he was in for 26 mintes. Nothing different to report though:
    – he was told ” try again ” when incorrect and given a second chance to answer.
    – a vocabulary section (point to the picture that shows the word).

  • 432. Northside IB Principal  |  January 16, 2013 at 10:46 am


  • 433. hyde park mom  |  January 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    So sorry to post this here, but it’s not testing related: For those parents who send their kids to the afterschool program at The Neighborhood Boys and Girls club, AND whose child DOESNT attend Coonley,how do you transport your child from school to their program? I called and was told they dont offer pick up.How in the world do they think working parents will get their child over there, then? I’d be willing to pay a fee even.The YMCA offers pick up, but its very expensive comparably…..

  • 434. IBobsessed  |  January 17, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    @431 and 432 …….And many parents actually think their kids score accurately reflects their IQ…… scary

  • 435. Clueless parent, pretty much  |  January 18, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    My four and a half year old tested for classical and gifted kinder, back in late October I think…it’s all a blur really. I really did no research ahead of time (probably should have) and just wanted to get it out of the way before the holidays and possible future snow issues (we live outer edge Northside). He was able to report quite a bit afterwards…the tester read a question aloud, and then he read the next one aloud and he said it went back and forth. There were ‘patterns’ questions. The tester asked ‘how many brothers/sisters do you have?’. His response ‘I have three brothers.’ He told her their names and ages. Tester asked ‘How many older brothers does Sam have?’ (My son’s youngest brother). His response, ‘three’. Tester: ‘How many younger brothers does John have?’. John is his second oldest brother. His response, ‘two’. So it seemed she was also asking thinking questions that were not necessarily on a peice of paper or part of a standard test? He reported ‘lots of math questions’. He said ‘when she asked me what 200 times 2 is, I didn’t know.’ He also answered wrong on ‘9 times 9’. Overall, he reported the process as ‘cool’. I didn’t pay particular attention to the time he was gone specifically, but it was at least 20 min. There is a vending machine on the first floor with Kit Kat candybars. I got him one when we walked in, setting the stage up nicely. All of this of course, coming from a 4, almost 5 year old. But overall, generally a reliable young lad.

  • 436. 7reasons  |  January 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    435. 4 boys under 5. Now that’s a math question. Good luck to all.

  • 437. another know it all  |  January 18, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Uh oh 436, back to the blackboard for you – Tester is 4.5 yrs old. Out of 4 boys (tester plus 3 brothers), Sam is the youngest and John is the second oldest. So the tester could be the second youngest or the oldest. So, not necessarily 4 boys under 5.

    Have to say that was some awesome thinking. Not sure my guy could have done that. Best of luck!

  • 438. 7reasons2  |  January 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    437 think again… coming from a 4, almost 5 year old…almost 5, get it?

  • 439. 7reasons22  |  January 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    437 “I have three brothers”.

  • 440. another know it all  |  January 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    If Tester (almost 5) is the second youngest then 2 kids are older than 5 unless they are triplets and timed by the minute. If tester is the oldest then you are right all under 5. Statement is made that Sam “is my sons youngest brother” implying that there is more than one younger brother making tester the oldest – I’ll give you that.

    If anything, having some fun with this. Goes to show what a great thinker “tester” is.

  • 441. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  January 18, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    @435: So weird. My 5-year-old took the K tests for gifted and classical last week and he received a totally different string of questions. In fact, he specifically said that there weren’t any questions about letters or numbers. No math at all, which I was disappointed about because it’s a strong suit of his.

    The only common link between your experience and ours is the Kit Kat bar, although I wouldn’t let my son have his until afterwards 🙂

  • 442. r_u_sure  |  January 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    @435 Since you named yourself clueless, I don’t know how reliable the questions are in your post. No Offensive.
    200 * 2, and 9 * 9, it sounds maths questions for second graders.

  • 443. E parent  |  January 19, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Te’o, is that you?

  • 444. Reverse Engineer  |  January 31, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    @435 and @441, thanks for the info. I’ve heard a lot of reliable feedback on the test, consistent with what you said, and it’s not easy to discern what questions are scored, what questions are designed to warm up the testee, and what questions are just part of some grad student’s research project. The only question my son remembered, at 4 years 3 months, was the one that the tester told him he got wrong. Apparently everyone else got this treatment as well.

    My son replied “Look, lady, the answer is clearly obvious. I’m not out of order, you’re out of order.” And then they dragged him out while he was yelling. Or maybe I saw that in a movie.

  • 445. momof3boys  |  February 13, 2013 at 11:43 am

    my son took the test this past sunday. i thought it was one test for gifted and classical. i almost fell over when the guy said it would be 3 hours?! I was actually contemplating leaving. (for the record, im not sure why i made him take it b/c he’s already at a RGC. i guess i just wanted him to see what it was like for next year, i dont know. anyway….) i asked him how it was and he said it was very easy. but he did say, when he looked around the classroom, there were a lot of kids who seemed to have a hard time. he was wondering why he was done so soon. and then there was the kid next to him who was trying to copy his work… lol…

  • 446. Newcomer question  |  February 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Perhaps a dumb question, but if the kids scores high on both the classical and gifted test, does he get offered spots at one of each, or only one based on how the schools were ranked?

  • 447. cpsobsessed  |  February 16, 2013 at 10:57 am

    @newcomes: you will get only one offer. basically they will go down the list of scores for classical and for gifted and whichever one your child qualifies for first is the spot youl get. If the kid scores in the 99.9 percentile one both, you’d get whichever school you put first (be it gifted or classical.). But if the scores vary a little it can also depend on the range of scores this year, how many kids applied, and which schools you ranked top for gifted and classical.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 448. Lexus  |  February 27, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    @327 Dela, Franklin is an excellent school! My son goes there for kindergarten. He’s learning tons! The principal, teacher and staff are fantastic. Parents are so involved with the school. Test Scores are very good! However, my concern is that the other close by schools – Jenner and Maneirre, which are facing to close down. Those kids might be moving to Franklin. (hopefully the schools won’t close)) I can’t imagine what is going to happen at Franklin if it’s true.

  • 449. Wondering Mom  |  March 14, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Any chance that SEES letters will be out this week? 😃 I’ve been counting down the days since January!

  • 450. Also Wondering  |  March 14, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Right there with you! They said the week of March 17 so I’m predicting that they will send them out on March 22nd. Who knows though, some years they have been late.

  • 451. mom22boys  |  March 14, 2013 at 11:54 am

    I am right there with you, counting the days and very very nervous. I hear many people apply to 20 schools and don’t get into any SEES or Magnet. I just can’t imagine.
    I’m very interested to see what are peoples’ back up plans, if any?

  • 452. Wondering Mom  |  March 14, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    My back up plan: my son is in 2nd grade. I wish I would’ve know about SEES back in his preschool days. I think his chances would’ve been better then. He is still slightly ahead of his peers but not as much as in preschool. I wish is current school would have been more nurturing to him. I have my fingers crossed that he gets in somewhere and can continue to excel and not get stuck learning things he already knows. He gets really bored in class that he is getting in trouble. He has told his teacher he already knows what she is teaching him. He just gets frustrated almost everyday.

  • 453. Also Wondering  |  March 14, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    My backup plan is to do K at our preschool and try again. If we strike out for first grade too, we’ll consider moving either within the city or to the close in burbs. We applied to the maximum number of schools including some less popular options so hoping something works out!

  • 454. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  March 14, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Thankfully, our back-up plan is pretty solid… and the only reason I’m not totally panicking at this point. Our son will go to our well regarded neighborhood school (South Loop), one of the main reasons we moved into the area and have stayed put. In fact, depending on the classical/RGC/magnet results, there’s a decent chance that we’ll choose South Loop over another school anyway. Many of the schools we applied to are a fair distance away (i.e., 5-10 miles), so I’m not sure if they’d merit the daily schlep. Good luck, everybody!

  • 455. DKD  |  March 14, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    According to the OAE website testing for students entering K continued until last Sunday!! I thought they were done weeks ago…. Wonder if a lot more kids apply for K than last year.

  • 456. anonymouse teacher  |  March 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    @448, Franklin is a magnet, right? So, unless something changes, even if those schools around you close, Franklin won’t be a receiving school. Of course, there could always be a policy change. Personally, I think it is terribly unfair that magnets don’t have to serve our neediest kids in Chicago, but that’s a different topic. And yes, I know it is a lottery, so needy kids could potentially get in, but the kids who need a magnet the most rarely have parents who fill out the required application.

  • 457. southshore  |  March 15, 2013 at 11:19 am

    The wait is so nerve racking!! We tested for Decatur, Coonley, Skinner North and Edison. Has anyone else dreamed about opening the letter except me?

  • 458. mom22boys  |  March 15, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    I haven’t dreamed about it but it’s been constantly on my mind for the last few weeks.
    I am just afraid of my reaction once I open it and find out we didn’t get in anywhere. I know I sound very pessimistic here, not my true personality, but reading through these posts for a while and talking to friends – I think I’m just better off keeping my hopes down. The bad things is that we don’t have plan B for the city. Kindergarten anywhere we can temporarily and move in the meantime …. Hm…

  • 459. cpsobsessed  |  March 15, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    @Mom22boys: I would say the more common situation seems to be people who get in nowhere at first, but then as the wait lists move seem to end up somewhere over the next few months (even into the summer.) It’s frustrating because you are waiting to “KNOW” and then you end up NOT knowing the day the letters comes. It remains in flux for even longer. Unless you hit the RGC/Classical/Magnet jackpot, of course.

    My experience was the week of the letters – son accepted to 3rd choice SEES, not close to home. No magnets. By June we had another RGC spot and a Stone (magnet) offer. Things change…

  • 460. cpsobsessed  |  March 15, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    I think the other nervewracking things about the Kindergarten letter for SEES is that it’s the first external validation as to whether your child is smart or not. Not to be taken too seriously of course, but it’s interesting to see if a test says they’re as smart as their grandparents do.

  • 461. Logan Square Dad  |  March 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I applied to 17 schools for kindergarten last year and did not get into any. The closest I was on the waiting list was 53. We eventually were chosen from the waiting list at a good school. Not a pleasant experience.

  • 462. mom22boys  |  March 15, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    @cpsobsessed – thanks for making me laugh 🙂 so very true.
    Grandparents would definitely have a case with CPS on how special and smart their grandchildren are – I know ours would 🙂

    @Logan Square Dad – unfortunately your example is more common and in line with what I have heard from others as well. That is exactly what I am dreading so much. My nephew – very smart boy did not get anywhere last year – fortunately he had a great neighborhood option. I was 100% sure he would get into the Classical of his choice! Very disappointing.

  • 463. southshore  |  March 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    @mom22boys, our plan B is to move from our neighborhood into the g.c. or lincoln park to take advantage of the better schools…. There’s no way my child will go to the neighborhood “failure factory”. It’s sad that this is our only option.

  • 464. Nisha  |  March 15, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Our back-up is our neighborhood school – Ogden. I miss out on the Skinner West neighborhood school by a block. I’m grateful that I have a well-regarded school as a fall back but I was less than impressed by the K teacher who gave us the tour. One parent in our group actually told the teacher he was being condescending. Beside this I hear lots of parents say they really like the school. Though there was one Ogden parent I met at another school’s open house who loved the school, didn’t want to leave but didn’t want her 6th grader to be in the same building as 12th graders. When I asked her if Ogden had a good balance between academics and fine arts (a priority for me), she said it wasn’t as balanced as she would have liked.

    So it’s the same dilemma for me as Chicagomomofboys – commute to an out of the way magnet school (if we are lucky to get in) or stick with Ogden. Any reviews on Ogden?

  • 465. local  |  March 15, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    @ 463. southshore | March 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Would you try Clissold, Sutherland or Kellogg neighborhood schools?

  • 466. WesLooWorkingMom  |  March 15, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    @464–I know someone who chose Ogden neighborhood over Skinner West neighborhood. They are happy w/ Ogden. Re Skinner West, I haven’t heard much about the neighborhood program, which is frustrating for neighborhood residents.

  • 467. WesLooWorkingMom  |  March 15, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    The program is not frustrating. The lack of info is frustrating.

  • 468. cpsobsessed  |  March 15, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Could you go in and inquire about having the school host an open house? Maybe suggest a date/time/offer to help? Sometimes they need someone to get the ball rolling.
    I’ve found that good educators aren’t necessarily good marketers…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 469. WesLooWorkingMom  |  March 15, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    @468–Good suggestion. Someone else is already on the ball. Learned that SW neighborhood should be hosting a school tour in the spring. Waiting for details.

  • 470. so many questions  |  March 15, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Does anyone know if there is an advantage to declining a SEES spot quickly vs waiting a week? We will likely be out of town when the letters arrive. Let’s say we are offered a spot at our 6th choice, would it be beneficial to get back on the list quickly?

  • 471. cpsobsessed  |  March 16, 2013 at 8:43 am

    @470: Are you asking for elem? For the first round it won’t matter. They’ll send out the letters and there will be a designated timeframe for responding. Then they’re do the second round.
    After that, it could make sense to decline more quickly as it may open you up to something as the process becomes more fluid.

    But I believe for this first round it won’t matter.

  • 472. Southshore  |  March 16, 2013 at 10:11 am

    @465 I know Beverly has great schools but for work commute, it’s easier to move north than to go further south within the city. This is why we applied to all north side schools.

  • 473. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 16, 2013 at 10:29 am

    #472~Just for future reference~if you take the Rock Island (metra) it’s less than 30 minutes from Beverly to Downtown. But I know what you mean, I lived in Lincoln Park in Lincoln Park for 7 yrs and walked everywhere. Now w/kids~I wanted to be in a family oriented neighborhood. Good Luck~hope you receive a letter from the school w/an ‘accepted’ soon!

  • 474. southshore  |  March 16, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    @473. Thanks for the information, I’m surprised that you left LP for beverly. Beverly is a wonderful neighborhood( esp. west of longwood drive). However there are tons of families raising children in LP too.

  • 475. Nisha  |  March 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    @466 – thanks for the info. Interesting that they chose Ogden over Skinner West neighborhood program as I would have chosen the latter. The SW PTA is very involved in organizing some very good programs/activities/trips for the kids, as well as fundraising, and from what I know from a current classical parent is that aside from the reading and math, all extras are the same for both sections. On the other hand, when I was at the Ogden open house last fall they had decided to move to a half-day kindergarten because they could not afford a full day (this decision has been reversed now because of the mandate for full day kindergarten). That, along with the info from another parent that Ogden may not have a good balance of arts/music/language colors my opinion. And now there’s the possibility of class sizes going up if other nearby schools close.

  • 476. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 18, 2013 at 9:30 am

    #474~southshore~Most of the girls I knew left Lincoln Park/Lake View for Beverly when we had kids (3 went to Edison Park) and some went straight to the burbs. I do know 2 girls who stayed in Lincoln Park until grade K but then left for Deerfield and Lake Forest. I realize many are raising families in LP, but Beverly is a community very different than most in Chicago~it just fitted our family. Good luck~Hope your child gets into the school you want!

  • 477. southshore  |  March 19, 2013 at 11:07 am

    @476. Thank you for the kind words. There are so many mixed answers from OAE, I don’t have a clue when the letter will arrive.

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