Magnet cluster/Open enrollment (aka “neighborhood schools” notification delayed until May

March 4, 2013 at 10:56 pm 162 comments

CPS Letter Magnet 2013

Thanks to everyone who emailed me about the letter that went out about the delay in notification about Magnet Cluster and Open Enrollment schools (aka “neighborhood schools that have extra space to take kids.”)  A copy of the letter is above.  I just got back from NYC and I didn’t get one in the mail (and I did apply to a couple open enrollment schools this year, just as backup.)

The lists on the letter above show that the Selective Enrollment and Elementary Magnet school notification will still be in a few weeks.  This also will not affect anything with you OWN neighborhood school.  You’re always assured a spot at your neighborhood school.

I have to imagine that the delay in the neighborhood school notification has something to do with the upcoming school closings.  CPS needs to see which schools will actually still have room to take students, I’m guessing.  A school that ends up being a “receiving school” may end up not having room to take extra students once all the rearranging is done.

I’m also assuming that you can accept a SE or magnet spot and then switch that to an open enrollment spot if you’re so inclined in May.

Obviously this isn’t ideal because it’s better to have all your options at the same time.

On a side note, while I was in NYC, I went with a friend to pick up his son from a test at one of the Gifted & Talented schools that specializes in Math and Science.  We waited outside while the kids finished the test and came out.  Some kids were actually going on to take yet another test that same day (all 5th graders, trying for a middle school spot for next year.)  One of the dads entertained us with a story of how the parents used to take turns taking the subway to take 8 6th graders across town to get to this school and the challenge of keeping the group of 12-13 year olds together and behaved on the subway and the walk to the school.  Made me feel like we don’t have it so bad here.   A little.

What are your thoughts on the neighborhood school delay?

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , .

SEHS news and numbers from OAE New Commission Suggestions on School Closings

162 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ChgoBoys  |  March 4, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    The bigger issue I would think is that many provate schools will require people to commit without knowing if they will get into the CPS school of choice for free.

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  March 4, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    Ah, very good point.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 3. mom  |  March 4, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Bell isn’t on the list for SEES. Let the conspiracy theories begin…

    Or it could be that, once again, CPS has made a typo.

  • 4. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 5, 2013 at 12:55 am

    CPSO~I also had heard the delay had to do w/school closings and finding seats for some students. I thought your child was at a RGC. Did he test for middle school?

  • 5. Marketing Mom  |  March 5, 2013 at 2:31 am

    It is also possible that they are taking this approach to be more realistic? How many times have these schools sent everyone waiting list letters only to start calling the lists in May/June when they have a better picture of who is actually planning to attend, returning, etc.

  • 6. anonymously  |  March 5, 2013 at 8:07 am

    How ridiculous that CPS won’t explain the reason for such a long delay.
    Whenever CPS won’t tell you what the reason is, watch out.

  • […] Magnet cluster/Open enrollment (aka “neighborhood schools” notification delayed until May cpsobsessed: I have to imagine that the delay in the neighborhood school notification has something to do with the upcoming school closings.  CPS needs to see which schools will actually still have room to take students, I’m guessing.  A school that ends up being a “receiving school” may end up not having room to take extra students once all the rearranging is done. […]

  • 8. klm  |  March 5, 2013 at 9:37 am

    As somebody mentioned, it’s tough for families that will have to commit to private school (and the non-refundable deposit, which is substantial in many cases).

    Also, there are families that want to get their homes on the market ASAP and make plans to move if they are 100% certain that things won’t work out, etc. People in this situation don’t want to miss the traditional early Spring Real Estate Shopping season, as either a seller or buyer, now that the market has finally picked up.

    Then again, nobody should be holding their breath about any of this —it’s all so “up in the air” and seemingly random as to how things work out, so what’s another couple of months?

  • 9. Lisa  |  March 5, 2013 at 9:39 am

    @3 Omitting Bell was a typo:

    Thank you for your inquiry.

    Notification information for Bell Regional Gifted Center will be provided the week of March 18th, along with the other Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools.

    Should you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Karen Hannsberry
    Communications Manager
    Office of Access and Enrollment

  • 10. MomOfa9yrOld  |  March 5, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I am pleased that it doen’t impact SES, because I am eagerly waiting the decision for Skinner West. We did the testing in early January and I want to know asap, so I can plan if my child will stay at her current Charter school or bite the bullet and pay $8,000 for private school in August 2013 (4th grade)…I really want her to get into Skinner. Quality of a private school without the extreme costs.

  • 11. Peter  |  March 5, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Most private schools aren’t really of higher quality. Some are of course.

  • 12. Lexus  |  March 5, 2013 at 10:39 am

    The biggest issue for me is that my daughter’s montessori school needs the parents to put down $1000 for security deposit by this week and committ to pay full year of tuition ($1800/month) in order to secure the spot. The school founders are lawyers. I don’t know what to do. In addition, some parents told me that I may not hear something until the beginning of the school year if my daughter is on the waitlist. So, I’m pretty frustrated right now.

  • 13. milmom  |  March 5, 2013 at 11:05 am

    My thoughts are that (here on the northside at least, I am not familiar with dynamics on the south or west sides) most of the popular open enrollment schools don’t give out spots on the first round anyway because they aren’t sure if they will have any left after processing their own neighborhood enrollment. Pierce and McPherson are the only OE schools I know of offhand that have given alot of first round offers, so it seems unlikely that people would hear about their first choice in this round in most cases, so maybe not that big a change for most people. What it would do that would be psychologically distressing for the average parent is increase the # of kids who don’t get in anywhere in the first round. There is some comfort in getting into a school early on that you find acceptable, even if it is far from your first choice, especially if your neighborood school seems unacceptable.

    12-even in more normal times, there is a lot of movement on all the waitlists throughout spring and summer and sometimes fall. You may be able to rule out some options early on (ie if your kid didn’t pass the gifted test or a super high lottery #), but otherwise it is often a long ride unless you are lucky and get your first choice in round one. I would think your private school would have a duty to mitigate (try to fill your spot) if you back out last minute. Good luck….

  • 14. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2013 at 11:07 am

    @Lexus: The notifications for the neighborhood schools always happen on a rolling basis and usually can take weeks or as you heard, well into September to go through the wait lists. I don’t know that it’s every been well-timed with privates which unfortunately require early contracts (my son’s old school wanted a signed contract in December which I thought was selfish and crazy!)

    Depending on which neighborhood schools you applied to you probably have to just assume you won’t get a spot there (which is basically true for many of them.) Or if there is one you’d really value a spot in, you have to at some point forego the private school deposit knowing you’ll come out way ahead after years and years without tuition. It sounds like you’ll have to do that anyhow, even before the SEES and magnet notifications are sent. Always bothers me about the privates – given that most of them can easily fill a spot if you vacate it!

  • 15. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2013 at 11:19 am

    @Sox, yes my son is in a RGC in 4th grade now. Given the homework struggles I want to have a backup in the unlikely event he decides a regular program would be better for him. He loves his school and classmates so he doesn’t want to make a change. I don’t know if there would be a spot for him in the neighborhood program there so I just figured I’d apply to a couple nearby elem schools I like just to present him with an option if it comes to that. Think I put Waters and Ravenswood down. Unlikey that we’ll switch but since I moved in April it was a little unsettling to not have Waters as my neighborhood backup any more.

  • 16. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 5, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Odd. Mayer is a magnet cluster (neighborhood with magnent out of neighborhood) but it is grouped here with the two other Montessori magnent schools.

  • 17. Waiting preschool mom  |  March 5, 2013 at 11:33 am


    Does your Montessori school have a long wait list that will be used to fill any spot you decline after this week? So, they are seeking to collect tuition twice for one spot? I can see losing a deposit, but the law does not allow them to collect twice for one spot. If they are lawyers, they should know better.

    As for NS neighborhood schools . . . there are several NB schools on the North side that, in the past, have given out spots right away–Peirce, Chappell, McPherson, Ravenswood, Jahn, Burr, Farnsworth, Agassiz, Prescott, Hamilton & Alcott (although these latter 2 may be changing). And, their wait lists begin moving immediately, so you don’t have to wait until September.

    For those who are curious, and want to obsess further, check out the March 2012 archives from this site (the “postman” post), and see how wait lists moved last year for particular scholls.

    Also, let’s all keep our fingers crossed that the SEES/Magnet letters arrive quickly. They were on-time last year (even a day or two early, if I recall correctly), so let’s hope they can repeat that this year.

    Back to obsessing . . . .Good luck everyone!

  • 18. IBobsessed  |  March 5, 2013 at 11:38 am

    @12 and @14, yes, you can be utterly screwed if you are in private and can no longer really afford it, but their contract deadline is early. @12 your school sounds especially unreasonable. We have until May 1 to cancel our contract and lose the deposit. However, I was told by the magnet school to which we applied (LaSalle) that they would not even get to placing non sib, non proximity applicants until June or later. So I’m sure I won’t know what to do unless we are wait list #1. At what point on the waitlist do you just say forget it, we’re not getting in?

  • 19. IBobsessed  |  March 5, 2013 at 11:42 am

    @17 yes they have to show attempt to mitigate damages and can’t make a case you owe them if they found someone to take your spot. HOWEVER, in the upper grades of elementary, say 7th grade, it is riskier to assume that someone will take your spot. How many people suddenly go private in 7th grade?

  • 20. UptownMama  |  March 5, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Echoing the comments above, our strategy was to apply to some easier to get into open-enrollment schools (Peirce and Chappell) while leaving open the possibility that something else might come along later in the summer or even fall. I assumed we’d have some choice — even if not ideal — by mid-March and at least be able to go from there. This scheduling delay throws a wrench in that plan. Also facing steep private school deposits well before May and don’t feel like neighborhood school is an option.

    Oh, well, maybe we’ll get lucky with the magnets. Fingers crossed! Good luck to everyone else…

  • 21. WesLooWorkingMom  |  March 5, 2013 at 11:44 am

    @16–I believe that CPS/OAE considers Mayer to be a magnet school, not magnet cluster

  • 22. Lexus  |  March 5, 2013 at 11:51 am

    The montessori schools wants me to put down the $1000 security deposit and a signed contract stating that I am responsible for the tuition of the school year (1800 * 12 = $21,600). I found the contract is unreasonable. What if I don’t have a job or something? What if my daughter didn’t get into any schools? The school refused to tell me how long the wait list is because it’s not fair. I found this school is just all about $$$. And they intentionally mandate the parents to make the decision before the CPS letters send out.

  • 23. Waiting preschool mom  |  March 5, 2013 at 11:55 am

    @19. Yes, I am so focused on KG, I’m not thinking about higher grades. 🙂

  • 24. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    He loves his school and classmates so he doesn’t want to make a change.

    Given that, nuts on the homework. A 4th grader who hates homework at school x is going to hate it at school y

  • 25. MomOfa9yrOld  |  March 5, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    @#15 – you said your child is currently 4th grader at RGC and the “homework struggles” ….is it really rigirous? I want more homework from the Charter school my child attends now. 1 worksheet and 1 workbook page is inadequate for my standards.

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Good point @C-Ball. I guess I imagine it would be easier if the homework load were slightly lighter and not 2 years advanced. But his grades are fine and he’s happy, so no reason to change. I just fantasize about it when we’re in the midst of the homework arguing…

  • 27. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    HOWEVER, in the upper grades of elementary, say 7th grade, it is riskier to assume that someone will take your spot. How many people suddenly go private in 7th grade?

    Even if only a handful of people are interested in going private later, the number of spots open are so few that it is often more competitive than an entry-level acceptance it terms of the seats:applicant ratio. The exception would be schools that weed at their middle school or high school entry grades (I don’t know which schools do it here; my wife’s K-12 private school would ask 8th graders who weren’t doing well not to return and take in new 9th graders).

    @19 But it is a magnet cluster — neighborhood has automatic entry at K-8. People move into the neighborhood to attend the school.

  • 28. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    @MomOfs9tyOld: maybe we’ll never be happy with what we have. 🙂 Yeah, I think I’d agree that somewhere between 2 sheets a night and what we have is probably ideal. I don’t think my son’s is HORRIBLE – just challenging and ongoing. Directions are sometimes vague and we don’t get much advance notice on what’s coming in the next few nights. Also, the teacher gives them classtime to work on it and he’s not great with staying “on task” (apparently the pinnacle of 9 year old success.) Ideally I’d scale ours back just a bit.

  • 29. Magnet school mom  |  March 5, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Our magnet school principal hinted this was going to happen about 2 weeks ago. I was in the office for something unrelated and he was verifying the sibling list for new applications and he mentioned that everything was not going to be the same as last year because they were going to need to find spots for the kids on the schools that are closing. He mentioned that it might also effect the magnet schools, I told him that CPS wouldn’t dare change the magnet school application process so late in this year’s process.

    I am glad that I was at least right about that part, that the magnet schools notifications would continue as normal in March.

    But I totally feel the pain for other parents that were counting on open enrollment for the other schools to come out this month.

  • 30. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 5, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    I hear many stories of 4th grader-parent frustration. I think it has to do in part with the increase in the homework load between 3rd and 4th — CPS recommends 45 min/day up from 30/min per day. Supposedly the homework policy with theses numbers was rescinded in Dec. but nothing new has been issued to parents that I know of.

  • 31. T mom  |  March 5, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Exactly what milmom said above in #13 –

    “My thoughts are that (here on the northside at least, I am not familiar with dynamics on the south or west sides) most of the popular open enrollment schools don’t give out spots on the first round anyway because they aren’t sure if they will have any left after processing their own neighborhood enrollment. ”

    Families generally don’t get notification of spaces in the sought after neighborhood schools until May or even summer. Or even the day before school starts.

  • 32. IBobsessed  |  March 5, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    @27, not sure if you were addressing me, but LaSalle is not a magnet cluster. Anyone moving into the neighborhood takes their chances with the proximity lottery.

  • 33. Gobemouche  |  March 5, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Homework policy PDF

    “Grades 4-6
    120 minutes per week of parent involvement in home-based activities which could include visits to museums, libraries, etc., and assisting with long-term assignments such as book reports, creative writing, etc.”.

  • 34. Gobemouche  |  March 5, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    More from the homework guide:

    The following are suggested time allocations per day for teacher-directed homework assignments by grade level:

    Kindergarten – 15 minutes per day
    Grades 1, 2, & 3 – 30 minutes per day
    Grades 4, 5, & 6 – 45
    Grades 7 & 8 – 90
    Grade 9 – 120
    Grade 10 – 130
    Grade 11- 140
    Grade 12 – 150
    *Total across all subjects”

    So CPS wants theses daily minutes plus the parent minutes I referenced above? Seems excessive.

    Christopher ball – can you tell me more about how these numbers were rescinded? Thanks.

  • 35. RL Julia  |  March 5, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    While I think this is really annoying for the parent’s involved – especially those contending with private school decisions, I gotta wonder if this is part of a strategy to cut the time down on elementary school admissions going back and forth – as well as adjusting for any potentially displaced students. I know that currently the elementary school admissions process is really layered much do to parent’s accepting and re-accepting different offers as people change their minds a million times. Moving the date farther out sort of forces everyone’s hand and probably just gives people less time to jump around. It also puts the offer dates in synch with one another since neighborhood lotteries usually aren’t held until later in the spring – and many people don’t bother to enroll their kids into school until late summer.
    One of those CPS decisions that works better for central office but probably not anyone else…..

  • 36. Chris  |  March 5, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    “So CPS wants theses daily minutes plus the parent minutes I referenced above? Seems excessive”

    A substantial portion of our ‘directed’ time, in grades 1-3, has been self-directed reading. So, less onerous.

    My (longlong ago) HS years would have included something like 2 hours ‘nightly’ (m-th) homework, for an average speed reader, doing all of the reading, and completing other homework in average to slow amounts of time. I also think that those estimates include *some* accounting for goading/encouraging the kids to just do (and review, for accuracy and completeness) the work.

    But, mostly, it is (or *should* be) time allocated to complete reading assignments.

  • 37. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 5, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    @21 @ 32 I keep forgetting: Mayer is technically a “magnet school with an attendance boundary” (like Pershing) though oddly some of those (e.g., Goodlow, Smyth) are not on the list of magnets.

  • 38. Hoping to stay in Rogers Park  |  March 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Is it possible that anyone who is fortunate enough to be offered admission to a magnet or Selective Enrollment Elementary School will have to accept the offer before the magnet cluster and open enrollment letter is received, and that if they choose to do so, they will be removed from the magnet cluster and open enrollment application process?

    It would be logical for CPS to do so, as it would lessen at least some of the demand for popular magnet cluster and open enrollment schools.

  • 39. mom22boys  |  March 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    @ Lexus, I think I know what Montessori school you’re talking about – in the west loop, right? Please don’t base your decision on my comment here, but I just feel like I need to tell you what I heard last weekend from a parent there. I happened to talk to one of the parents that has a son there in PK and had a daughter there who is now in CPS for kindergarten. He said the school is great and filled up in PK but classes get much smaller for K+ since many kids go to CPS as tuition is pretty expensive there. The owners try to keep the kids there but the message from the parents in general is that it’s bit too much especially if they have more than 1 there. Here I said it.
    Our school wants our decision and deposit by 3/15 each year and we never do it by then. I always wait until April and it has worked out so far. We will wait this year too as I have a kindergartener to be 
    Good luck.

  • 40. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    I think what @Mom22Boys describes with Montessoris isn’t uncommon (especially the new ones.) I’m sure Near North can fill a spot in any grade almost all the time. But newer ones really have to try to balance their class proportions. they do tend to lose kids for Kindergarten which throws off the ideal proportion in the class. And parents tend to say they’ll stay, only to high-tail it when they get an SE or magnet spot. So they have to try to protect themselves a bit. (As a disclaimer, part of the reason I started this blog as based on angst from Montessori enrollment issues.) It’s one of those “don’t get me started” topics for me…. but I understand their tough spot.

  • 41. Lexus  |  March 5, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    @mom22boys and cpsobsessed: Right. That’s the school. It’s a good school but it’s pretty expensive; and I think it’s time for my kids to be disciplined and learn more readings and math. CPS has many good SE/magnet schools. But the admission procedure makes me feel that if I don’t let my kids go there (if accepted) for kindergarten, the chances will get slimmer for the 1st grade and years after.

  • 42. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    A few of the gifted programs start at 1st grade, so that’s an option. Then the magnets and open enrollment open up some spots each year if you keep trying. None of it is guaranteed and most spots ARE at kindergarten, but I’ve seen people keep applying year after year and they’ve gotten a good offer now and then as families leave the city, etc and spaces open up (and classes get larger at the 3rd grade level.)

  • 43. WaitingChicagoMom  |  March 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    @Lexus I had 2 children at the school you are referring to. One of which is still there (and I’ll be submitting the contract next week as well), the other which I transferred to another private school a little over a month ago. Actually it was my second time transferring her (the first time was from mommy guilt so I kept her home for a while, this second time is because we are applying for a private kindergarten and I transferred her to their JK in hopes of getting preference for acceptance to Kindergarten as opposed to an “outsider” applying). My experience at the school is that the admissions director is very nice and understanding. The first time I transferred her out, I was responsible for 60 days of tuition or until they find a replacement. But that was for pre-primary where I’m sure there was a waiting list anyway. This second time, I never got the impression that I would have to pay for the remainder of the school year. But I guess I will find out soon as the 60 days is almost up. I know some parents who transferred their children out at the last minute last year (even days before the school year started) to go to CPS and I know for sure they are not paying for the entire school year. I would suggest talking to the admissions director at the school about your situation. I don’t know if she would be able to help you out, but I would think that she would be able to help more if you tell her in advance rather than at the last minute. I told her about our situation even before my daughter got into the JK at the other school and she was willing to work me. I think the school is great and have to attribute a lot of my children’s disposition and knowledge to the wonderful teachers we’ve had. I kind of disagree about the school being all about the $$$$ as the owners have their own children in the school too, and I believe they truly want to build a really outstanding school. But I think the issue is that like @cpsobsessed and @mom22boys said, I’ve seen students leave for CPS or other private schools for Kindergarten and I think they are doing what they can to keep the students at the school. But I agree it would be nice for them to time the contract renewals with the CPS schedule.

  • 44. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 5, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    CPSO~I don’t know if you go to the CPS BOE meetings or any of the school closing meetings but CEO Byrd-Bennett said that closed schools will go to higher level schools. Also priority will be *i guess not to close the schools* if the schools are more than a mile away or if there is no higher level in the area. Some ppl took that to mean that some magnets/open enrol would open up seats to displaced students.

    Also~ITA w/Christopher Ball~’ A 4th grader who hates homework at school x is going to hate it at school y’.

  • 45. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 5, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Also, if the receiving schools were overcrowded

  • 46. anonymouse teacher  |  March 5, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    I think it is likely that the delay is due to school closings. But at the same time, CPS often does non-sensical things with no hidden agenda, no purpose, just plain chaos and lack of intention at all. It might look like a planned thing, but please remember, CPS is not organized or thoughtfully run by any stretch of the imagination.

  • 47. local  |  March 5, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Re Montessori: Someone might say this is bogus, but the pre–K Montessori program (when done well) carefully builds into the kindergarten program in Montessori. We decided to stay in Montessori for K because of that, instead of jumping ship for public or private non-Montessori kindergarten. It was a good decision for us.

  • 48. Chicago School GPS  |  March 5, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Mayer is a Magnet for the 3 year old entry point of the Montessori program and a Magnet cluster starting at K. That means that for the 3 year olds, siblings, proximity and tiers come into play. For the K students, if you live within the boundaries, you are automatically in the school. Kids from out of boundary after 3 years old must apply as part of a general lottery and on a “space-available” basis.

    For those seeking an overview of what to do whenever the letters do come out (or before), we invite you to attend our Chicago School GPS seminar “What’s Next? Decisions After Notifications: Elementary Edition” on March 21 at 7PM. We will cover topics such as “How to choose the best fit school from multiple offers (public & private);What to do if you received no offers; How to prepare now for a successful school search next year; What are the school options for those who missed the deadlines; What to consider if making a school switch; Does it make sense to keep applying, etc.”

    While veteran readers of CPSObsessed may know much of the CPS-related content, those searching for a primer on next steps for both public and private schools are encouraged to join us.

  • 49. local  |  March 5, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    @ 48. Chicago School GPS | March 5, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Oh, my god. That spins my mind. How does CPS expects a non-obsessed parent to keep track of all this? CSGPS, you need to franchise yourself around this whole city! Wow.

  • 50. Blake  |  March 5, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Is anyone else starting to freak out? What is a “normal” amount of time for a kid going into K to be in the room for the SEES test?

  • 51. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    If your child was in there more than 10 minutes I wouldn’t freak out. From what I’ve gathered over the years it’s impossible to predict based on time in the test!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 52. WaitingChicagoMom  |  March 5, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    My daughter was in and out in less than 10 minutes – including the time that she was taken to the other room for the test and brought back. I was pretty shocked and not very happy to say the least – we were the last ones to show up, and the first ones to leave in the group! Who knows what happened in there – my daughter wouldn’t tell me anything. We had her full scale IQ tested by an independant psychologist and her IQ was in the gifted range – I’m very curious to see what the CPS results are….

  • 53. cpsobsessed  |  March 5, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    Who knows – maybe even 10 minutes is enough — maybe they can tell from some kids’ conversational patterns that they can skip right to the hard stuff.
    I’ll venture to guess that any shorter than that and your kid wasn’t going along with the program. Which happens sometimes, even among really smart kids.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 54. anonymouse teacher  |  March 5, 2013 at 9:53 pm,0,3397514.story

    I can only assume, since according to the article “most classrooms are far below 30” (seriously??) that class sizes will be increasing this fall then. If 30 is ideal and we are below that in so many places (sarcasm intended), then surely sizes will increase.

  • 55. Lexus  |  March 5, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    @anonymouse teacher: I can’t read the article because I’m not a Tribune subscriber.

  • 56. WesLooWorkingMom  |  March 5, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    My daughter was also in and out in 10 minutes. She said that she answered the teacher’s questions, but that the teacher would not tell her if the answers were correct. She left the testing center in good spirits, so I presume that she was not scarred by the experience. We only tested for one type of SEES.

  • 57. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 6, 2013 at 8:29 am

    With school closing can bring bigger class sizes ~Becky Carroll is quoted saying that 40 students in a class is fine for good teachers.,0,3397514.story

  • 58. local  |  March 6, 2013 at 9:12 am

    @ 57. SoxSideIrish4 | March 6, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Wow. 40 kids. It’s a different beast, of course, but when I’ve taught undergrads, the tipping point was 15. More than that and the classroom was less effective.

  • 59. cpsobsessed  |  March 6, 2013 at 10:00 am

    @hoping: I was just reading the info on SE/magnet/open enrollment info. They’re all separate (well SE operates as one pool) but the rest are independant so you can continue to get magnet/open enrollment offers even if you accept one.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 60. Hoping to stay in Rogers Park  |  March 6, 2013 at 10:21 am

    @cpsobsessed: Thank you for that helpful information. We were starting to wonder whether we might feel obligated to accept an offer from the one less-popular magnet we’re less than excited about before hearing from open enrollment schools that are very appealing to us. (Of course, we will be lucky to receive *any* magnet offers!)

  • 61. Peter  |  March 6, 2013 at 10:35 am

    “Wow. 40 kids. It’s a different beast, of course, but when I’ve taught undergrads, the tipping point was 15. More than that and the classroom was less effective.”

    Where was that? I had classes with 500 students in undergrad. 40 kids is way too much for grade school though.

  • 62. mom22boys  |  March 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I’m a nervous wreck myself waiting for the letters. I am tired of paying 2 preschool tuitions and struggling every month.
    Unfortunately I don’t have high expectations ( still nervous ). I wish I could, but my son took care of that during the test. My son tested in early December. After the test he wasn’t saying much about what was on the test – they never remembers anything. Throughout a day I kept asking questions – and I truly wish I haven’t. When I asked if he was asked to read he said: Oh no mommy, I told her in the very beginning that I cannot read. I wanted to scream. I think I was horrified. You did what? Why did you say that? My son: Oh well, I was scared she was going to ask me to read a big book and I can’t do that. I can only read some words. Is that OK mommy, is that OK? I had to say it was fine 🙂 So there goes classical down the drain for us. Now I am praying and hoping for a good Magnet.
    But if the class room sizes go up to 40 – I am not sure what other options I have. I am a believer in a small class sizes. Not too small but reasonable and anything above 30 is not in my book.
    Oh well, back to waiting 🙂
    Good luck everyone.

  • 63. Blake  |  March 6, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Im right there with you in the worrying. Why do they not remember the questions? My kid could tell me what they had for lunch two years ago but only remembered one specific question about the test!

  • 64. UptownMama  |  March 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    @62 We’re in the same boat. My daughter got into some sort of snit with her tester – and the only question I could get out of her I think she answered wrong. (Although her logic was reasonable.) The young man who administered the test had a positively sheepish look when he came out with her – she can be a bit intense, so I can only imagine what happened in there. And, of course, she wouldn’t tell me! She does have the memory of an elephant, though, so I’ll probably hear all about it in a year or two.

    Anyway, I’m not expecting much from the SE application, but, like you, still nervous.

  • 65. cpsobsessed  |  March 6, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    That pre-kindergarten testing is such a black box!!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 66. Chris  |  March 6, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    @ 62: “anything above 30 is not [reasonable] in my book”

    Question for everyone: are there magnet/classical/gifted schools where the classrooms are NOT 29 to 32 (32 mainly 4th-8th, tho, right?)? Any of the M/C/G that go straight to 31-31 at K?

  • 67. southie  |  March 6, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    @ 61. Peter | March 6, 2013 at 10:35 am

    It was not a large university. The largest courses offered were 90 students and those were very, very rare. Most run with at least 12 students (sometimes ten). Some max out at 23, but like I said, 15 is the sweet spot.

    MOOCs are next anyway.

  • 68. SR  |  March 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    @62 and 64 – the only thing my son would tell me after his test (two years ago) was that when he got the questions wrong he was allowed to guess again. He scored well on everything except the classical reading section and attends an RGC. So you never know!

  • 69. southie  |  March 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    local = southie, depending on machine.

  • 70. Lisa  |  March 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    @66 Pritzker RGC Kindergarten is 28 this year. Don’t know if that is about to change…. I hope not!

  • 71. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 6, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    @48 GPS In 2008, CPS re-constituted Mayer as a “magnet school with a neighborhood boundary” and there are several other schools described this way (e.g., Smyth, Pershing). Functionally, there is no difference between a “magnet with an attendance boundary” and a magnet-cluster best that I can tell.

  • 72. Blake  |  March 6, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    @66. My daughter has 32 in her K class at Hawthorne. Full time aid though and the kids are separated into different groups for writing and math. They will go with different teachers all the time.

  • 73. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 6, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    #66~I think some regular traditional schools have more than 30 kids in grade k. If schools close and class size goes up~it will go up across the board. I wonder if Becky Carroll revealed something she shouldn’t have.

  • 74. Chris  |  March 6, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    “some regular traditional schools have more than 30 kids in grade k”

    Not my question. I know that there are neighborhood schools with over-sized classes.

  • 75. AE  |  March 6, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    @74 Generally, Bell RGC has 28 per class in Kindergarten through 3rd grade, and increases to 31 per class in 4th-8th grade. I thought this was pretty standard across the SEES. There are instances where the numbers vary slightly. For example, one third grade class had 29 students because one student left but OAE sent out two acceptance letters to fill the spot (both accepted). Not sure how often this happens?? Hope this helps.

  • 76. Anonymous  |  March 6, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    I just want equity. If they expect neighborhood schools to have 40 kids in each class, I expect that of a magnet. I also expect it from a selective enrollment. Why is it that my child’s class has its kids and one teacher yet Hawthorne has its kids with a full-time aid? Why is it that a school with the brightest students has only 28 in a class when they can probably handle a larger class size even better than a school filled with kids of varying abilities?

    Fairness is all I ask for. Well, that and smaller class sizes. I don’t think classes should be 32 kids in the first place! Not for any school. I think we as PARENTS need to fight back WITH our teachers if an increase is coming.

    We are failing our children if we don’t. But if we sit here thinking, “THank god I”m safe beause my child passed a test or won a lottery,” we are failing each other.

  • 77. Anon  |  March 6, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Disney II has 25 kids per class, at least in the younger grades. During my tour, the principal stated that they have significantly fewer main office staff than other schools and she uses that money to fund the smaller class sizes.

    I’m not sure of the numbers for Nettelhorst, but I know that they hit up incoming K families for $$$ right before September this school year to fund an add’l K class (4 rather than 3). This moved the K classes from low 30s to high 20s, I think.

  • 78. AE  |  March 6, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    @76 Can’t argue against equity and fairness. However, regardless of where CPS sets the classroom size cap, there will still be inequities among schools. Personally, my child in a neighborhood program has always had smaller class sizes than the one at a RGC. That’s because some neighborhood schools use extra dollars to purchase teachers and reduce class size — others do not or cannot. Of course, I totally agree that 40 in a class is absurd!! I can’t imagine CPS would do this….

  • 79. Esmom  |  March 6, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    @75, at Bell, doesn’t the options program start in grade 1 not K?

    Re class sizes, when my son was in 2nd grade they had 34 kids in the class. The school, with parental pressure I believe, decided to add another classroom for that grade the following year, which was great, such a dramatic difference.

    That second grade teacher was excellent and I was in awe the times I observed her in action. But it seemed that her ability to teach effectively was precarious — if the planets were in alignment, so to speak, all was great. But if there was a behavior problem or inordinate struggles with a concept or some other disruption, everything fell apart pretty quickly. I’d say good teachers can handle larger class sizes but it has got to be stressful.

  • 80. Waiting preschool mom  |  March 6, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    It’s my understanding that the variation among class sizes in schools depends on how the individual schools decide to spend their discretionary/extra funds (whether provided through Title I, fundraising,or otherwise, etc.)

    In schools with smaller class sizes, the principal has made a conscious decision to use funds to keep class sizes small, rather than on technology, extra office staff, etc. Each school has different priorities, and the school’s spending decisions are reflected in those priorities. For some schools, its technology, or security, or small class sizes, or classroom aides.

    Also, there are schools with large class sizes (36 for KG), even though they have extra classrooms so they could have another KG class and get down to 27 kids in a class. They claim they don’t have enough money for an extra KG teacher, but have money for lots of extra technology.

  • 81. AE  |  March 6, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    @79 — You’re right, my mistake — Bell’s RGC does start in first grade

  • 82. Chris  |  March 6, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    “there are schools with large class sizes (36 for KG), even though they have extra classrooms so they could have another KG class and get down to 27 kids in a class”

    What do you do if it’s a smaller school with less large class sizes? If it is 63 kids–two less-than-ideal 31/32 kids classes, or 3 of 21? That’s when the allocation of resources gets hard, imo.

  • 83. laura  |  March 6, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    @76, I totally agree with you about fairness. However, at Hawthorne, at least in the past, parents ponied up the money for the aides. I know this because I kicked in money myself. There has never been and there will never be fairness in CPS. You cannot get that here.

  • 84. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 6, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    @82~I think it’s also hard when a school literally just runs out of room. Our school would probably hire another teacher if we used your example of 3 classes of 21, but we don’t have another classroom to put the teacher/students in. Every room is being used.

  • 85. Marketing Mom  |  March 6, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    I don’t understand why anyone would pay thousands of dollars in tuition at St. Mel for an average ACT score of 18? I can get that for free from my neighborhood school.

  • 86. Jen K  |  March 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I volunteer in K at least once a week and there’s no possible way the kids would get the same kind of eduction if another 15 kids were added. As it is, volunteers come in almost daily to work with kids one on one because there isn’t enough time in the day to give them the help they need. 40 Kids per class would require teaching to the average student, not challenging high achievers nor helping kids catch up. Has that woman ever spent time in a classroom?

  • 87. IB obsessed  |  March 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    @85 We’ve all been brainwashed by the standardized testing frenzy to see scores and no other features of a school.

    P St Mel is safer than some neighborhood schools; that is one reason. Are they going to work to get your kid into to the best possible univ. at most neighborhood schools, and provide support and check in with them while they are at that univ? Have a counselor who pushes your kid to revise and revise that application essay? Reassure/cajole/not take no for an answer from the parents about allowing their child to go to a 1st rate, but far away univ.? Tell your kid no more basketball team because your GPA is jeopardizing your future?
    Not the usual experience at most neighborhood schools. Some smaller parochial schools and Charters provide a supportive community needed by the students that they are not going to get at the neighborhood school.

  • 88. junior  |  March 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Required reading for anyone who wants to speak with any credibility on class size issues:

  • 89. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    This is excellent reading for class size

  • 90. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 6, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    @86. I read on a blog today that Becky Carroll is spokesperson for CPS and wouldn’t even be able to sub in CPS per CPS requirements. Last year Rahm said the class size could go up to 55, I wonder if they were really thinking about 40.

  • 91. junior  |  March 6, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    @89 SSI

    Not sure how a study of higher education based on student surveys is applicable here, except as a cherry-picking exercise.

    I guess that’s what Brooking Institute was referring to when they said:

    “Despite there being a large literature on class-size effects on academic achievement, only a few studies are of high enough quality and sufficiently relevant to be given credence as a basis for legislative action. “

  • 92. Experience  |  March 6, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    My son started 5th grade with 40 kids in his class. There were 3 forty 5th grade classrooms. The class was cramped and the teacher was really thinned out. Giving kids one on one time was impossible. The teachers fought for a 4th teacher and got it. So now there are 4 thirty 5 grade classes. The school also has at least 10 hired aides. Parents are not allowed to volunteer.

  • 93. SutherlandParent  |  March 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    @80, “It’s my understanding that the variation among class sizes in schools depends on how the individual schools decide to spend their discretionary/extra funds (whether provided through Title I, fundraising, or otherwise, etc.)”

    As SSI4 points out, some schools simply have no space for extra classrooms, even if they could afford more teachers. Some schools within CPS don’t qualify for Title 1 funding. Very, very few CPS schools have the capacity to annually fundraise the $100,000+ that a full-time teaching position with salary and benefits can cost.

  • 94. cpsobsessed  |  March 6, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    FYI, the Commission’s final report on school closing will be submitted to CPS at 5pm today, followed by a press conference.

  • 95. HS Mom  |  March 6, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    @93 – Not many schools do fund raise that much. My understanding is that the school allocates funds intended for admin or other school niceties, do without them, and hire extra teachers.

    Junior – thanks for that link.

    So – a statement is made that a good teacher could handle 40 kids and this must mean that there will be 40 kids in a class??!!

  • 96. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 6, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    @92. Experience~your school children were lucky to get another teacher. Your school must have had the room. I wish ours did.

  • 97. SutherlandParent  |  March 6, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    @95, true about the fundraising–I mentioned it, because the post I was responding to specifically mentioned fundraising as an option, which it really isn’t for most schools.

    Another factor I just thought of is school size, both in terms of the physical plant and the number of students. What might be a nicety at a smaller school could really be more of a necessity at a larger school, in terms of custodial staff, admins, etc.

  • 98. Neighborhood parent  |  March 6, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    76 Anonymous – yes, that’s the unfairness of the 2-tier system. Magnets get more resources. (Eventhough neighborhood schools do the heavy lifting of educating the bulk of CPS students.) Before this school year it was typical that a magnet had all the “specials” (art, gym, library, music, tech) plus language and, by comparison, neighborhoods didn’t have such/any program guarantees. If there wasn’t inherent unfairness, then there wouldn’t be such angst as to which seat your child winds up in.

    In the example of Hawthorne the aides are probably afforded thru parental fundraising.

  • 99. Chris  |  March 6, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    “So – a statement is made that a good teacher could handle 40 kids and this must mean that there will be 40 kids in a class??!!”

    Nothing but politics on both sides of that particular issue.

    The implication of “if you were good, you wouldn’t complain about class size” is offensive, but ctu’s counterpoint is, as usual, not elegantly handled, either.

  • 100. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 6, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Commission’s final report on school closings

  • 101. OutsideLookingIn  |  March 6, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    My kid’s grandma in another state volunteers weekly as a tutor in a regular third grade public school classroom. Class size = 18! The school is 80% low income. And no rumors of school closure there.

  • 102. Mary  |  March 6, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    85. Marketing Mom | March 6, 2013 at 3:32 pm
    I don’t understand why anyone would pay thousands of dollars in tuition at St. Mel for an average ACT score of 18? I can get that for free from my neighborhood school.–

    Will people stop believing everything some anno. poster writes? st. Mel’s average ACT score is NOT 18.

  • 103. Mary  |  March 6, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    @ 85 —St. Mel ACT average 23, Lane Tech 23, Jones 25, Loyola Academy 25

  • 104. anonymouse teacher  |  March 6, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    @100, personally, I think every magnet school and high performing school in the city (above 90% meets, 40% exceeds) should be required to have 5-10% of their student body make up come from closed or severely underperforming schools. I am not kidding.

  • 105. Experience  |  March 6, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Our school use to have preschool, so those classrooms are free. Also the 7th & 8th graders have a seperate building across the street. They walk over for lunch and gym.

  • 106. CarolA  |  March 6, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    @104 anonymouse teacher: I agree. If, in fact, those students have been deprived of a quality education, then place them in a school that DOES have the resources and staff to accommodate them. I’m wondering, since they are waiting on the release of the elementary placements, if maybe there won’t be any more selective schools at the elementary level. Perhaps they will cut those schools, provide for all at the neighborhood level, and just increase the choices at the high school level. Wouldn’t that be something!

  • 107. CarolA  |  March 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Just stirring the pot a little! 🙂

  • 108. anonymouse teacher  |  March 6, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    @102, see my profuse apology over mistakenly screwing up the average act for PSM on the high school thread. I really thought I saw 18 was the average and that horrified me. But apparently I was wrong. Its been known to happen.

  • 109. EdgewaterMom  |  March 6, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    While we are talking about things being unfair, one thing that I have never understood is how a magnet school like Hawthorne could have almost 50% white students and only 15% low income. I thought that the original purpose of magnet schools was to have racially diverse schools! I understand that race does not factor into it anymore, but it seems like it never did at Hawthorne. And I have to wonder if 25% of their students are from Tier 1 (well, not 25% of the population, but of those who started attending after Tiers went into effect).

    Are there other magnet schools like this? If so, how did it happen?

  • 110. local  |  March 6, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    @ 109. EdgewaterMom | March 6, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    Does sibling and proximity advantages play into those stats you cite?

  • 111. EdgewaterMom  |  March 6, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    @110 I am not sure, but I guess that they would factor in. It still seems very skewed to me. I am just going by the stats at

  • 112. cpsobsessed  |  March 6, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Hawthorne used to have the “cap” of 35 percent white but I think it was difficult for cps to fill it. Just like north side parents don’t want to haul to the south side, nor do parents want to do the reverse. The segregated racial makeup of the city makes it hard for schools that aren’t centrally located to stay balanced. And now with a couple years of neighborhood proximity that likely skews hawthorne even more.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 113. anotherlogantwinmom  |  March 6, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Just curious if others haven’t received the letter about the delayed notification? Nothing here yet…

  • 114. cpsobsessed  |  March 6, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    I never got the delay letter, now that you mention it.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 115. falconergrad  |  March 7, 2013 at 12:14 am

    I worry that the class size thing is just paving the way (and I mean on purpose) for more charters which may wind up being the only public (or should I say non-private) schools with reasonable class sizes.

    This whole “system” (or is it a plot?) is really pitting parents against each other IMO. What if a school that could raise $100,000 gave half of it to a school that would never be able to do that? Has something like that ever happened? Could it?

  • 116. cpsobsessed  |  March 7, 2013 at 12:22 am

    FYI: I will be on Windy City Live tomorrow morning at 9am-ish (9:22 or so) with a 5 minute plug for CPS. It’s a fun show – lots of energy. Also got to meet the mom who invented

  • 117. falconergrad  |  March 7, 2013 at 12:23 am

    When we talk about class size, remember there is an actual physical space that the kids have to fit into, it is not just the teacher/student ratio to consider. Some spaces are bigger than others. Based on what I grew up with and what I see at our school, I would guess that the majority of classrooms in older buildings should have 30 max. And I don’t see that as ideal.

    Does anyone know if the classrooms in new facilities (all new or additions) are bigger than in the old ones?

  • 118. Chris  |  March 7, 2013 at 2:48 am

    “What if a school that could raise $100,000 gave half of it to a school that would never be able to do that? Has something like that ever happened? Could it?”

    I am told that Oak Park enforces a somewhat similar rule–if School X raises money for [whatever], they can’t have it until funds can be juggled enough that the other school get [whatever] too.

    If something similar were to be enforced in Chicago, I believe there’d be a lot of moving away from CPS (private or burbs) by those who make that fundraising possible.

  • 119. CarolA  |  March 7, 2013 at 7:17 am

    @118 Chris: There are very few schools in CPS that can raise large amounts of $$$ through fundraising. If those few were forced to give some of it away, I agree with you, people would move out or stop the fundraising. Sad either way.

  • 120. cpsobsessed  |  March 7, 2013 at 7:21 am

    If you consider that only about 15 percent of cps familes are in a spot to give a serious donation, then you spread that across 650 schools or I don’t know how much impact it would make to incent parents to spend the massive amounts of time that big fundraising requires. Why not raise property taxes and be don’t with it? Or institute a “school tax” on wealthier families in the city?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 121. pantherparent  |  March 7, 2013 at 8:02 am

    @102 and 103 Mary: I asked this same question on the other thread to @921 dropping by: Where do your ACT figures come from? I’ve seen lists published for public schools but never private. I’d be interested to see schools like Gordon, St. Pats, ND, Ignatius…

  • 122. klm  |  March 7, 2013 at 9:56 am


    I did a little “Googling” and found that some schools list their ave. ACT on their “School Profile” page:

    Nothing from Gordon, St Bens, DeLa Salle, but:

    St. Ignatious – 27.8
    Loyola – mid 50%=24-29, mean=26.0
    Fenwick – median=26.6

    My guess (and my experience) is that the high-scoring schools are happy to publish these facts.

    Also, I know that Loyola’s kids are something like 50% from Chicago, Roycemore (not religious) 38%. Fenwick also has lots of kids from Chicago.

    I know somebody that works at Loyola HS who tells me that they get a fair amount of Tier 4 smart kids from Chicago (especially from the far North Side) that weren’t able to test at the 97th or 98th percentile in order to get into Northside or Payton.

    I’m not Catholic, but I went to a Loyola/Fenwick/St. Ignatius type school that literally changed my life. I was poor, but with financial aid and “work study” (sweeping floors), summer jobs, etc., I was enrolled and my teachers, counselors and the administration were all wonderful on every level. I was fully prepared to be labeled the “trailer trash” kid, but was never made to feel that way. My sister went to the local crappy public HS (graduated near the top of her class) and had to drop out freshman year of college and take remedial classes at community college. I graduated nowhere near the top of my class, but my HS prepared very well for college.,

    I know of 2 families in Chicago (both non-Catholic) that send their kids to Loyola and they both love it.

    I’m all for public education, but I’d encourage anybody (even those who are not religious or Catholic –my HS had Hindus, Jews and non-believers) to consider a good Catholic school as a possibility, if things don’t work out. Many of these schools really do (as did mine) try to admit kids that really want to be there without the ability to pay 100% of the tuition and will work with families to make it happen.

    Obviously, my personal experience was so positive and full of gratitude that I may be “biased”, and I can’t speak for the Chicago-area Catholic schools. Still, it’s worth considering.

  • 123. Another mommy  |  March 7, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I can speak directly about Hawthorne because my kids go there. There is a HUGE sibling population at our school. I would say siblings easily take up almost 50% of incoming seats at the beginning of the school year. As CPS obsessed said, the proximity lottery keeps Hawthorne’s race distribution what it is. I am not white, and in fact live in a tier 1 neighborhood close to Hawthorne (but not tier 1 by income). I would love to see a little more color there, but as you know kids don’t care and mine will play with a green one if they could find one! lol

    As far as fundraising goes, it is almost a monthly thing, but they don’t push you to participate in EVERY one. The money raised is used for teachers aides in the lower grade levels, our librarian, and other resources (art, etc.) -as most schools that fundraise do. The PTA is every effective at raising money because quite a few of the parents are professionals and own businesses in the area (translation: have money to give and can get their friends to give). There are also a lot of dedicated stay at home moms (I am not one of them) that give their energy, time and expertise to the school. The fundraising isn’t spent on fancy fluff stuff. In fact, the inside of the building is pretty old looking but dressed up with the beautiful art work the kids make.

    On a side note, I don’t see how CPS could breathe a word about 40 kids to a class. Physically, I don’t see how its possible.

  • 124. OutsideLookingIn  |  March 7, 2013 at 10:34 am

    @122 – thanks for the info on Loyola Academy. Any idea on what kinds of grades/scores are needed to get in these days? Spouse really wants our kid to go there but not sure if kid will be able to get in.

  • 125. pantherparent  |  March 7, 2013 at 10:39 am

    @122 Agree that the schools with good scores will post them. I’ve always found it frustrating that many private schools position themselves as “better” than pubic schools then don’t publish data to back it up. My assumption is because it’s not always true.

  • 126. NonCps3  |  March 7, 2013 at 10:41 am

    124 Grades need to be REALLY good especially if you are coming from a non catholic grammar school. Expect major donations besides the tuition. Not a bad thing, just saying those jesuits can track down anyone for money!

  • 127. cpsobsessed  |  March 7, 2013 at 10:45 am

    It’s weird about privates. My son’s private montessori school never published them. The admissions lady would just mumble “they’re good.”. Once when they did inform us, they were in the high 90’s so not sure why they didn’t mention it more. I guess it’s not consistent with the montessori method.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 128. IBobsessed  |  March 7, 2013 at 10:54 am

    @125 Disagree with assumption that the private schools with good scores will post them and if they don’t, you can conclude they’re not good.

    It’s a different culture. There is not as much importance attached to scores nor the level of attention paid to them as there is in public systems. Although there is more attention paid to them by privates now than ever before, just due to bleed over from the public system. culture.

    Based on experience, my own and my child’s, private and parochial schools rest on their reputations, often deserved, sometimes not. They do not feel compelled to publish scores because ‘the proof is in the pudding’. so to speak.

  • 129. cpsobsessed  |  March 7, 2013 at 10:57 am

    @IBO; good point about the privates – probably breeding a healthier outlook on testing too! My son has had the fear of summer school instilled in him at school (“if you don’t do well on the isats you could go to summer school”) to the point that he was stressing about it. Makes me crazy.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 130. Chicago Mama  |  March 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    @98 – I think that’s B.S., although its a popular sentiment. Edison RGC has no wiggle room in its budget. Disney II gets no Title I funding and is funded on a per pupil basis.

    @117, Texas passed the so-called Robin Hood funding law to fund schools more equally in Texas (which doesn’t have a state income tax but does have property tax) and its been a nightmare. Most of its ISDs are woefully underfunded. I also do not think most people are fair-minded enough to do that. Our parent community raises so little money that there would be an uproar if the FRing body then gave half of it to a less resourced school. CPS is supposed to level the playing field in that regard, but it doesn’t in practice as we all know.

  • 131. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    @129~first, how did the Windy City live go? 2nd, that burns me up that a school and or teacher would even say anything to a kid abt ISATs, especially since ISATs are only require for promotion in grades 3, 6, and 8 (not your child’s grade). Some parents have opted out of ISATs this year in grades 4 and 5. I don’t think a lot of parents have opted out of 7th bc of the test needed for SEHS. Kids shouldn’t be stressed abt a silly test. If that was my kid, I’d be at that school in the principal and teacher’s faces. Kids have pressure enough w/out the thought of summer school.

  • 132. klm  |  March 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm


    I’m not really sure about cut-offs (most schools will say that they don’t have them), but I’d guess that its average ACT scores reflect the kinds of scores (in terms of percentiles, etc.) that makes one “in consideration.”

    Also, just from what I know from my honest-to-God “friend” at Loyola: No need to worry about going to a CPS school. I was told that, if anything, it helps in that Loyola is the kind of school that wants “all kinds of kids from all kinds of places and backgrounds.” A friend of my spouse’s kid wants to go to Loyola (from Lincoln Elementary) and was told by my Loyola friend that, if anything, being a kids from an excellent CPS school (and non-Catholic to boot) will help with the “all kinds of kids” aspect.

    Of course, none of this is gospel truth. Also, I think people should not be put off by the “Catholic” aspect of some schools (and that sex scandal in the priesthood stuff, issues with ‘Catholic’ doctrine re: birth control, etc.). My spouse listed our religious affiliation as ‘agnostic’ in an honest way on some private Catholic school applications (Sacred Heart, FXW, etc.), almost ‘behind my back’, but it didn’t seen to affect our chances (we were admitted to one school and called back from the ‘wait-list’ over the summer from another, but decided to go public, RGC, etc.). Catholic Schools like Loyola, St. Ignatius, Fenwick… are “Catholic” in mission, but are quasi-regular private ones in many ways (wanting ‘diversity’, looking to get the right kids into the right colleges, etc., just like Latin, Lab, Northside, Jones or New Trier [i.e., just like any ‘good’ school that we’d love to send out kids to]).

    Now, like with private colleges, I’m sure it helps to be an underrepresented minority (college admissions is so crazy now that private schools realize that their best chance of getting a kid from their school into Harvard or Yale is to have him/her be an underrepresented minority, so they recruit accordingly), a national-class athlete, a ‘development’ case (private schools do need money like everybody else, after all), ability to pay full price, etc.

    Also @everybody re: average HS ACT scores, etc

    Yes, I believe that there are K-8 and N-8 private schools that don’t want to pigeon-hole kids with test results and “labels, etc. for education philosophy reasons, etc, However, I’d be a little concerned if a private high school was reluctant or less than willing about letting people (at least potential students’ parents) know where their kids stand in terms of ACT scores, etc. Like it or not, it is a good indication of where on can expect one’s child to be and about what kind of atmosphere to expect, academics-wise. Tests are not everything, but it does seem not like a coincidence that schools with the ‘best” academic reputations have the highest ones.

    Good luck.

  • 133. Anonymous  |  March 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    To be clear, when I was talking about equity, I was not talking about a principal’s discretionary funds or a school’s fundraising. I think schools and principals know what’s best for their schools.

    However, I DO believe that the basic funding should be equitable. SEs should not be allowed to limit class size to 28 if everyone else has a 32 child limit. Why should magnets get a “free” extra teacher just to say they are a music academy or language academy? In fact, why isn’t every school called an “academy”? LOL. (snark)

    Why weren’t ALL schools having full-day kindergarten before now? Doesn’t it cost parents in every neighborhood a lot to have daycare when the child next door paying the same taxes is going to an all-day kindergarten because they “won” some lottery?

    However, a far better example is in the article I read recently that said the number of closed schools related to how far away a child was from the school. They studied numbers of closings that would make kids go to school … up to 3 miles. I am sorry. Three miles away … even 1.5 miles away … is NOT in the SAME NEIGHBORHOOD.

    But if a magnet/SE child can be bussed to school when they live just 1.5 miles away, then they sure as hell better bus those “neighborhood” kids to their “neighborhood” school if they’re one centimeter over 1.5 miles away. Don’t expect them to take the CTA just because CPS has decided to call it a “neighborhood” school.

    This is the equity I am talking about. Not discretionary funds or fundraising. And I don’t see an argument against it.

    CPS is systematically killing neighborhood schools when they should see that it’s neighborhood schools that are thriving in some neighborhoods (Blaine, Bell, Nettlehorst, Lincoln, Ogden).

    And it’s neighborhood schools even in poorer neighborhoods that can sometimes be holding that neighborhood together. Read the articles about Jenner and Manierre and how the parent centers and after-school programs — near their homes — help those families survive. They took away every neighborhood school there to put in charters and SE schools. Now they want to take away the last two?

    They are killing the community — the neighborhood — fabric of this city and it makes me ill.

  • 134. maria  |  March 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Wildwood is alread about 175 students beyond capacity. Kindergarten will most likely be off site next year. How can they accept students

  • 135. Anonymous  |  March 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    #134, I totally understand. My school is also overcrowded. I’m not sure if they even know about kindergarten next year. But is it fair that our kids don’t have full-day kindergarten even as an option? Is it fair to working parents in our districts? However, that’s the point. They need to INVEST in schools, not divest. Overcrowding is as critical as underutilization.

  • 136. Chicago Mama  |  March 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Does equity necessarily = fair?

  • 137. Maria  |  March 7, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    All CPS schools need to have the problems of that particular school to be acknowledged and discussed in an effort to find solutions. Parents do not have time to play catch up year after year with their child’s education because CPS is mismanaged.

  • 138. falconergrad  |  March 8, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Not all parents work 9-5, M-F. So the school as child care argument does not work for me. If you make that argument then you must have some ideas of how to help parents who work evenings (2nd and 3rd shifts) and weekends with their childcare problems, right?

    What working parents should do is organize to get more organizations (park district, YMCA, etc.) to provide adequate, affordable before and after school care programs to service more schools.

  • 139. west rogers park mom  |  March 8, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    This is my first time reading the comments to this post and I by no means read all of the comments so forgive me if I am repeating anything already said:

    Re: acceptance for non-entry grades to CPS Elem schools.

    Last year I applied and tested both of my children, who are now in 4th and 8th grade. The 8th grader received MANY acceptances, some initially and some as late as after the strike. These included schools like Peirce, Edgebrook, Stone, Alcott, and Waters. She also received an Academic Center acceptance. My guess is that it IS more difficult to fill these spots as the kids get older and don’t leave except for Academic Centers etc.

    My 4th grader received fewer acceptances but still got into a few, as well as a less popular RGC.

    For a short period of time I had great leverage over them – ‘Do your homework or you will transfer school next year!’ but then the deadlines passed and we went back to our normal lives.

    Why did I even go through the process? In the case of my 4th grader I panicked when I read about South Loop RGC and wanted to apply in case CPS did something similar to her school, which is overcrowded. I also hadn’t tested her since she was 4 and was curious as to how she would do once everyone learned how to read. She actually scored over 10 points higher than her kindergarten year but I don’t know if this should be attributed to her innate intelligence(doubtful) or the fact that her current school worked above grade level.

    For my oldest, she had a tough time in 6th grade, and I realized that if you want to switch schools in spring, there is nothing you can do except send your kid to your neighborhood school. In case something like that happened again, I wanted options.

    Neither of my kids ended up transferring- and this year even though the overcrowding issue is even worse at the youngest’s school we didn’t do anything. Too much time and effort was spent on the high school application process.

  • 140. T mom  |  March 8, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Would anyone be able to comment on Disney 1?

    Thank you.

  • 141. Falconergrad  |  March 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    We will have a K student in the fall, so we did testing for him and our 2nd grader. Figured we might want options as well, and just to see how they do. But we don’t really want to leave our neighborhood school. It’s not perfect but most of my complaints right now would be about system wide issues. I wonder how many families do the testing but don’t really think they will transfer or choose something other than the neighborhood school.

  • 142. Anon  |  March 9, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I’m wondering if larger class sizes would contribute to even more split-grade classes, of which I’m not a fan. It’s bad enough to have 30 kids in a classroom of varying abilities, but to have 40 kids in 2 different grades with varying abilities within their grade levels – I shudder to think.

  • 143. Anonymous  |  March 9, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    #138. Of course not all parents work 9-5. But their kids are certainly awake during those hours and in need of good, educational experiences by the time they are 5. Mine is actually the anti-childcare argument. I think school is a far better place for 5-6 year olds than a lot of daycares. Illinois does not even mandate education until 7 years old. That’s insane — in Chicago, anyway.They are working to change that but, of course, the state is “broke.” I’m sorry, but put education first and worry about other things when making room in budgets — like pension reform.

    But I completely and one-thousand-percent agree with you in that the Chicago Park District should do FAR MORE to offer after-school programs both in-school and in its facilities. Why don’t they turn shuttered schools into park district facilities? Why don’t they create jobs by bringing CPD after-school programs into schools like YMCAs do?

    I totally agree with you on that point.

  • 144. local  |  March 11, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Lawsuit highlights difficulty for parents of students with special needs / March 11, 2013 / By: Becky Vevea

    Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities among school children.

    But a lawsuit filed against Chicago Public Schools indicates it may be a hard one to get schools to acknowledge.

    Heriberto Lopez Alberola and his ex-wife Elizabeth Nash filed a lawsuit against CPS last week, claiming the Ogden International School failed to make testing accommodations for their third grade daughter Isabella, who is dyslexic.

    According to the parents, the school resisted doing an evaluation of Isabella last November when they first requested one. Since then, the family has been wrapped up in a procedural mess.

    “It’s almost like they’re purposely trying to stretch this out as long as they can, make this as painful for us as possible, I know that sounds silly, but they’re dealing with a nine-year-old,” Nash said… (more)

  • 145. local  |  March 11, 2013 at 11:36 am

    ^^ CPS tactic: Deny evaluation by CPS. Without evaluation, no chance of IEP. Very neat and tidy solution (sound of brushing hands off).

  • 146. RoscoeVillageDad  |  March 11, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Not sure if this question has been asked. Out daughter will be starting K in the fall. We’ve had her tested for Selective Enrollment and Classical schools. We are also waiting to see if she will get into a magnet cluster neighborhood school (not our neighborhood) where her older brother is currently attending. If she get into a SE/Classical school, will we have to tell them yes or no prior to hearing about the Magnet Cluster school?

  • 147. tired  |  March 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    @146 The application process for SE/Classical and open enrollment/magnet cluster are two different lists. You can accept and even enroll at a SEES and you will still be eligible to receive acceptances to magnet and open enrollment schools.

  • 148. Waiting preschool mom  |  March 11, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    @146. I have the same question. I assume that we will have only 2-3 weeks to accept a SE/magnet spot (as in years past) I would be surprised if they extended the deadline for SE/magnet acceptances to May or June.

    @147 is correct. However, there is still an issue. If you accept an SE spot, you are taken off the wait lists for the other SE spots. So, if you get into your last choice for SE, you have to decide whether to take it, or decline and hold out for one of your higher-ranked spots.

    That’s harder to do if you don’t know what NB schools you may be accepted into. That’s why the extension to May for NB schools sucks. (And, I’m just impatient.)

  • 149. local  |  March 14, 2013 at 10:55 am

    ” At Disney II, we are talking about 1-2 entry-level spots per year, or about 4 percent of the class. In fall 2012, the year The Tot enters K, 54 percent of the class comprises siblings.” —

    Wow. Sweet.

  • 150. Goran  |  March 15, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Not sure did anyone posted this here, but per OAE website: “Testing for students entering kindergarten will continue through March 10th.”!?!?
    Are they sure they will be mailing those SEES/Magnet letters on March 18th??

  • 151. @150  |  March 15, 2013 at 9:11 am

    They will mail them the week of the 18th. That means Friday or Saturday at the earliest. You more than likely wont hear anything until early the following week.

  • 152. Even One More CPS Mom  |  March 15, 2013 at 9:25 am

    @Goran – I would guess that once they have all the scores from testing that placement can be done fairly quickly by computer. Of course, I am just guessing……..I could be utterly wrong. We had applied last year for K (for current school year) and I believe that letters were mailed at the end of the week. We received our magnet letter on Saturday and our SEES letter the following Tuesday so I would not be too intent on receiving anything until beginning the weekend after the 18th. Otherwise one just makes themselves crazy checking the mail all week! However, don’t let that stop you from stalking your mail person any way. I know I did!

  • 153. Waiting preschool mom  |  March 15, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Last year, letters were mailed on the Friday before the “week of” date for notifications. Many people (but not all) received their letters on Saturday.

    Let’s hope that happens this year! We could get them as early as tomorrow!

    So, who’s going to be the first person to call OAE and ask when letters are being mailed?

  • 154. Waiting preschool mom  |  March 15, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Sorry, I should clarify that the magnet letters were mailed the Friday before, and SEES letters followed shortly thereafter. Good luck everybody!

  • 155. MayfairMama  |  March 15, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I just called and was told they will be mailed out the week of the 18th and no later than the 22nd. They are not being mailed out today.

  • 156. Waiting preschool mom  |  March 15, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Thanks MayfairMama. 😦 Who knows, maybe we will be surprised before Tuesday?

  • 157. BDubya  |  March 18, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    This entire process is ridiculous. I am stupefied that I have to worry about my child receiving an adequate education and I have to apply for a better education because my local school is underachieving. Between my low property tax and the price of Kindergarten private school options it looks like I should just roll it altogether and move the burbs, at least then I know that I don’t have to worry about the education.

  • 158. Geoff Rice  |  March 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I didn’t get this letter either…BUT I called and spoke with them and they definitely have my daughter’s application (which included magnet and neighborhood/cluster schools). So it seems there was no rhyme or reason with regards to who got the letter. Classic. So the point is I don’t think we should stress about whether this letter was sent to us or not (as I was beginning to do). Feel free to continue to be annoyed about the content though 🙂
    She also told me that some magnet school letters went out today and others will go out tomorrow just as an FYI. Good luck everyone!

  • 159. looking for insight  |  March 25, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    @146/147 I have the same scenario, but for a magnet school vs neighborhood cluster school. If I accept at the magnet school (good school, but further from my house), do I lose my chance at the neighborhood cluster (won’t be notified until after May)?

  • 160. anothercrazy1  |  March 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    @159 – Accepting a magnet school will not impact any other school waitlist/acceptance. They are run individually once the initial lottery is done.

  • 161. mom  |  June 15, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    @124: I’m an alum of both Hawthorne and Loyola Academy, maybe I can help…

  • 162. Lisa  |  August 27, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Does anyone on here have any personal experience with Brentano Math & Science Academy? This is my neighborhood school and I am very concerned about there low score on CPS website (3) and their “probation status”. Please let me know your experiences or any information you may have. I have run out of options as my son was wait listed for several schools but we did not receive any calls.

What do you think?

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

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed




Blog Stats

  • 6,163,382 hits

%d bloggers like this: