Pre-School for All – Surprise! New process for applying, starting TOMORROW!

April 2, 2013 at 3:16 pm 310 comments


Thanks to Christine Whitley for alerting me to this new PreK application process that starts tomorrow!  Wow.

This new central process for Pre-School for All will be in affect for all kids entering as 3 year olds next year.  Current 3 year olds in a program will have a guaranteed spot in their current program, but can still apply to others without losing their current placement.  Some key information below.  I can’t figure out how they select who gets in where.  Age? Location? At-risk-ness? Tier?  Lottery?  I don’t see that information anywhere.

Applications must be submitted IN PERSON at one of their special sites from April 3 – May 3.





THE PROGRAM IS NOW SLIDING SCALE BASED.  (I can’t find the calculator, but Christine reports that some says up to $400+/mo for top income households.)

More information and list of 2013-14 awardees coming soon.

This year, the Office of Early Childhood Education has a new application process  for preschool programs in Chicago Public Schools. Thirteen centralized Chicago: Ready to Learn! School-Based Preschool Application Sites will be open from April 3-May 3 to accept applications from families for the 2013-14 school year, and traveling teams of Application Representatives will be available at local elementary schools on designated days. Applications will only be accepted by Chicago: Ready to Learn! Application Representatives. The following links provide the information you need to apply for a school-based preschool program for the 2013-14 school year. Sites and schedules are for the application submission process only.

Application sites:

Entry filed under: Pre-School.

CPS Schools Closing: 54 to close, 61 buildings to be shuttered Disney II High School (and other schools still open)

310 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ukmom  |  April 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Dumb question, but what are the school choices?

  • 2. cpsobsessed  |  April 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I believe that is the million dollar question right now!

    When they say that all 3yo get a spot in their program next year, it makes me think that all current programs in CPS schools will stay open. But it sounds like there will be new programs added (ie churches, charter schools, other groups can also run preK programs now.) But I don’t think that list is out, or if it is, I can’t find it! (The one you’ll need with the program #s to select your 3 choices.)

  • 3. Christine Whitley  |  April 2, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Here is the program locator:

  • 4. Yadi  |  April 2, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    we attended belding pre-k for 2 years…..great program!

  • 5. JLM  |  April 2, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    About time there was a sliding tuition scale for this. There’s not enough money for K-12 students, and seeing some well-off folks I know sending their children to PFA annoyed me. Will also be happy if this means there will be some commonality to the process across schools.

  • 6. Christine Whitley  |  April 2, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    And here is the application pamphlet as a PDF with the fee structure.

  • 7. j  |  April 2, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    What if I applied for a 4 year old directly to my school already? Do I have to reapply?

  • 8. cpsobsessed  |  April 2, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I can’t figure out how to use that locator. anyone else have luck?

  • 9. cpsobsessed  |  April 2, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Ok, I think I got it. But what are those blue balls with a number in them?

  • 10. cpsobsessed  |  April 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    @7 April: My understanding from this is that yes, you will need to re-apply.

    Christine, is there a numbered list anywhere to be used with the application form to indicate the desired schools?

  • 11. Teacher4321  |  April 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Yes. Everyone will reapply if your child is not currently enrolled. It is a whole new process.

  • 12. jamesseidler (@jamesseidler)  |  April 2, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    The application calls for a school code–where is that code located? It would be nice if they centralized the information too instead of parceling it out in different PDFs and parallel websites.

  • 13. jamesseidler (@jamesseidler)  |  April 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    For the Chicago Early Learning site, I had to use the filter button to select only Preschool for All and then manually zoom in to see the schools around us. The “more info” button on an individual school then provides details on their preschool program. It’s not very intuitive, though.

  • 14. Jen K  |  April 2, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    @7 j – it says applications submitted so far don’t count, so I assume you need to re-apply.

  • 15. CPSpreschoolparent  |  April 2, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Sorry, but I am confused. If my child is currently enrolled in preschool as a three-year-old, and I am planning on keeping her in the same classroom for next year as a 4-year-old, do I have to do anything?

  • 16. Chicago School GPS  |  April 2, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Wow, CPS really made this info pretty dense. The FAQ page is pretty helpful and from what I can tell, it does say that:
    – If you are currently in a PFA program you do NOT need to submit another application to continue in it next year.
    – If you submitted an application earlier this year and have not started a program yet, you will need to reapply via this new route.
    – You can only get an offer for ONE PFA program.
    – There is no “first come, first serve” aspect (unlike TBPK, which is NOT affected by these PFA changes). All applications will be processed after May 3.
    – Multiples will be kept together.
    – Proof of child’s age, proof of parent income and proof of residency is required.
    – The “Application Sites” listed are NOT the same as “Program Sites”. There are MANY more program sites scattered throughout the city than “Application Sites” where you can come to submit an application.
    – Do NOT submit an application at a school that has a PFA (exception is the aforementioned Application Sites, which totally is confusing.)

  • 17. Teacher4321  |  April 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    I do not think all sites on CPS Early Learning are the actual sites. They appear to be current sites as sites slated to be closed are on that list.

  • 18. Chicago School GPS  |  April 2, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    And to amend post #16 above:
    – You CAN apply to a PFA school site but ONLY during the time that a representative will be there. The dates are listed in the FAQ link above but the times are only listed as AM or PM.

    I do know Prescott Elementary’s PFA sent out the following:

    The PreK Ready to Learn applications are now available on-line.

    Application information is at

    Application deadline: May 3, 2013

    Applications only accepted at the Dept of Early Childhood. The school cannot accept applications.

    You can also meet a Dept of Early Childhood representative at Prescott on Tues, April 9th in the morning (approximately 9am-11:30am).

    All currently-enrolled 3 year olds will continue to have a spot for next year at Prescott; they do not need to apply.

    All questions should be directed to the Dept of Early Childhood.

    Mr. Erin Roche, Principal
    Prescott Magnet Cluster School
    1632 W. Wrightwood St.
    Chicago, IL 60614
    773.534.5505 ph

  • 19. colleen  |  April 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    The locator site has not been updated. My school Burr has a TPBK and a Pre-K for all and it still states that. I am sure our PFA is going to TBPK, but as of a couple hours ago our Principal had not been informed of which type of program we were going to have.

  • 20. ukmom  |  April 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    So, I want to complete the application. Where do the school codes come from? How do I know which schools have programs? Is it me, or is this information not organized well?

  • 21. marcsims  |  April 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Rahm Emanuel vs.Karen Lewis


    Rahm Emanuel vs. Karen Lewis is not our fight!   The Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is fighting for the interests of her teachers, not the interests of Chicago residents.   Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s job is to improve Chicago.  If that means pushing out low income African Americans out side of Chicago, thus lowering Chicago’s crime problem that’s good for Chicago residents.  If Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to weaken the Chicago Teachers Union, now that is the Mayor’s fight, and should not be the focus of Chicago residents.

    Community leaders, political leaders, and concerned citizens of Chicago should focus on helping low income African American parents raise well behaved children who read at grade level.


  • 22. Disappointed  |  April 2, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Seriously????? CPS just want us to go nuts!!! Chanching every year the application process doesn’t help, at all.
    I’m very frustrated.

  • 23. Disappointed  |  April 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Btw, thanks cps obsessed for helping us!

  • 24. Neighborhood parent  |  April 2, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    I very much agree with the sliding scale approach. It was ridiculous that my oldest enjoyed PFA – free, thanks to Blago & IL taxpayers – in such a quality program. I agree that changing the application process at such a late date with tight timelines will certainly lead to frustrations. And I have three questions:
    No sibling priority?
    Only new enrollees will be subject to the co-payments?
    What will be the enrollment profile that central office will look for?
    Thanks CPSO for breaking the news.

  • 25. juliet  |  April 2, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    @ marcsims – your comments make me so sad. They actually reflect the same attitudes that perpetuate the socio-economic divide between us all, especially in Chicago. Chicago belongs to all of us. I hope your child grows up to be loving and accepting, and sees the common struggle for all of us to live better together.

  • 26. Janet Meegan  |  April 2, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    “If that means pushing out low income African Americans out side of Chicago, thus lowering Chicago’s crime problem that’s good for Chicago residents. ”

    What? No. NO. NO. That’s not good for anyone. I can’t believe anyone interested enough in education would even make this statement.

  • 27. Jill W.  |  April 2, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    @marcsims It’s also OFF TOPIC

  • 28. JR  |  April 2, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Does anybody know what the sliding scale fees go towards? Is it paying the teachers? Is it providing new supplies and books? Is it for school upgrades?

    I checked the sliding scale fees for the Ready to Learn program and the cost is comparable to the cost of a private preschool. What are the benefits of sending my child to the Ready to Learn program vs. a private preschool?

  • 29. New to cps  |  April 2, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    I know my child is guaranteed a spot next year since he is in pfa this year. But does that mean we now need to start paying, or are we grandfathered in under the old way?

  • 30. Kathleen Hayes  |  April 2, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Lots of good yet unanswered questions. You think CPS would’ve crossed all its Ts and dotted all the I’s. Oh, wait…it’s CPS. On a serious note, I’m going to march my app to the application center/site/whatever it’s called ASAP and make them tell me the school code for the school I’ve chosen. That they haven’t made obvious how to complete this part of the application is absolutely maddening. And it seems super fishy to me that they’re not making clear their criteria for admission.

  • 31. Kathleen Hayes  |  April 2, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    JR, private preschool might be full-day vs. 2.5 hours a day for Ready to Learn/PFA.

  • 32. Kathleen Hayes  |  April 2, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Oh, marcisms, you really didn’t just say that out loud now, did you?

  • 33. anonymouse teacher  |  April 2, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    With all due respect to the families stuck trying to navigate yet another unclear, partially prepared, crazy CPS form/program, this has me laughing hysterically. I think CPS is so funny, releasing the places where one can apply, but not the actual preschool locations. They are so inept, they’re cute–you know, like the dogs which are so ugly they’re cute. Yes, we can’t get even a simple procedure correct, but trust us with the single most important thing in your life for a few hours each day. Hilarious!

  • 34. TEACHER4321  |  April 2, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    The earlier e-mail on the website that has now disappeared was a letter to principals stating they already found out about if they were having a program yesterday and that a list of sites were available on the website. Neither appears to be true.

  • 35. SN dad  |  April 2, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    What will happen to the previous Tuition-Based Preschool Program?

  • 36. Kathleen Hayes  |  April 2, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    SN dad, that depends on the school. Our neighborhood school, Audubon, is bursting at the seams. Consequently, they need a third 1st-grade classroom for next year and have decided to house it in one of two current TBPK classrooms. Which in turn means that they’ll have only one TBPK program next year that will be mostly occupied by current students (they have a small number of spots for new students). And one rumor says they’re going to phase out TBPK entirely next year to make room for much-needed classroom space for other overflowing grades. The restructuring of Preschool for All, or Ready to Learn as it seems to be called now, seems to have been prompted by Rahm’s call (which was probably a jumpstart on Obama’s more recent call) for universal pre-K.

  • 37. local  |  April 2, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Maybe cpso is serving as the beta?

  • 38. CityLivin  |  April 2, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Private pre-school is looking to be more and more attractive. This may make those in the middle and upper incomes think harder about whether or not they “roll the dice” with CPS or get into something more stable/predictive for their children (and perhaps stay there for K-8). Do they think this will increase the number of parents to take advantage of the program? It might do the opposite and nudge some others that elevate parental involvement and financial support out. Hmmmm….

  • 39. Shelly Bender  |  April 2, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Everyone should also know that the application schools filled out for Ready to Learn made them commit to administering many more standardized tests to preschoolers than are currently administered. The funding is dependent on it. Not only is private preschool more attractive b/c it avoids CPS insanity, you can actually get a play-based, instead of a testing-obsessed, program.

  • 40. cpsobsessed  |  April 2, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    “Maybe cpso is serving as the beta?”
    I better start demanding something in return!! 🙂 Perhaps a job organizing the prek materials??

    Well, central apps are usually a good thing, so I’m hoping they’ll work this out for the better once the kinks (the so very many kinks) are worked out.

    As a sidenote, I am out of town and forgot my blackberry (!!!) so you’ll all be on your own tomorrow – so be nice. If off topic, just ignore and I’ll delete later.

  • […] Pre-School for All – Surprise! New process for applying, starting TOMORROW! CPS Obsessed: This new central process for Pre-School for All will be in affect for all kids entering as 3 year olds next year.  Current 3 year olds in a program will have a guaranteed spot in their current program, but can still apply to others without losing their current placement.  Some key information below.  I can’t figure out how they select who gets in where. […]

  • 42. Teacher4321  |  April 3, 2013 at 7:15 am

    So if anyone does go to apply today and gets a list of the school codes, please post them. Many teachers, families and schools are waiting to see if they will still have a program next school year.

  • 43. MomOfTwo  |  April 3, 2013 at 8:00 am

    This is something I found that sort of relates to the selection process:

  • 44. Christine Whitley  |  April 3, 2013 at 8:29 am

    I think the monthly fee is only for the school months. But still, the tuition is about the same as I’m paying at my daughter’s private, play-based half-day preschool program.

    I don’t know if current families will have to pay next year. I assume so but I’m not sure.

    I don’t know where to find the school codes for the application.

  • 45. Gabby  |  April 3, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Just a question…will the desirable schools want to take people who can pay the most? This is scary.

  • 46. jillwohl  |  April 3, 2013 at 9:13 am

    @45 Gabby

    There is an honest effort to rebalance the Preschool for All rolls to prioritize children from families with greater needs. So no, I don’t believe any school will be able to cherry pick on lack of demonstrated financial need. There will most likely be some guidelines to promote socioeconomic diversity. I would hope CPS is not duplicating income verification that Illinois Action for Children does as part of their Child Care Assistance Program verification process. CPS should sub-contract income verification to them as they are much more nimble than a government bureaucracy.

  • 47. Chgojen  |  April 3, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Wow, what a hot mess…typical CPS style.

  • 48. Chgojen  |  April 3, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Ok, on a more serious note.

    If my child is currently enrolled at a PFA program, will continue as a 4yo next year in the same school, and I do not need to submit an application, how will they determine how much tuition we will need to pay next year?

    Or are we grandfathered and not going to be required to pay tuition?


  • 49. BuenaParkMom  |  April 3, 2013 at 9:42 am

    As part of my information gathering for the Friends of the 46th Ward Schools I went to McPherson this morning so I can answer some of the questions posters have.

    1. The ladies taking the applications were very nice. However, even they DO NOT know which schools will actually have programs next year! You pick 3 schools to put on your application and they say you will receive a phone call if one of your schools winds up not being approved for a program. Call me just slightly skeptical on that one. They would not give me school codes, I honestly don’t think they had them. I did get a list of schools from them BUT they told me that just because a school is on the list does not mean the school has received approval for their program next year.
    2. If your student is currently enrolled in a PFA program in a school on the closing list they ARE guaranteed a spot in the program for next year at a different school. The school will be assigned to the child and they can’t tell you which school yet. If you don’t like the school you are assigned (which you will know by using your clairvoyant powers) you can apply for a different school without relinquishing their current placement.
    3. The representatives didn’t know how the children would be picked for the program other than 4 year olds apparently still have priority.
    4. You will need to bring verification of income with you to apply.
    5. You will need to bring proof of your child’s age with you to apply.
    6. You will need to bring proof of residency with you to apply.

    I thanked them and expressed that this was a confusing process. One of the ladies said very nicely, “I really is, we are just as confused as the parents and I wish we had better information.”. I actually feel sorry for the CPS employees who are being put out on the front lines of the application process without the information they need to help people apply!

    The list of schools (no particular order)
    Avalon Park
    Mt. Greenwood
    North River
    Washington G
    Brighton Park
    Brown W
    Durkin Park
    Little Village
    Inter-American (which is a magnet and I imagine you can’t actually put on your list)
    De Dominguez
    Hughes C
    Hughes L
    Foster Park
    South Shore
    Mt Vernon
    De Diego
    Stockton (On the list even though the school is closing?)
    Thorp J
    Woodson South
    Clark G
    Brown R
    Chicago Academy
    De Priest
    Fort Dearborn
    Hanson Park
    Lasalle II
    Washington H
    Ward L
    Disney II
    West Park
    Edison Park
    Ward J
    New Field
    Portage Park
    Frazier Prospective
    Park Manor
    Norwood Park
    Vick Village
    West Ridge
    Oriole Park

  • 50. MattInLakeview  |  April 3, 2013 at 9:45 am

    We went Burley this morning to pick up an application and see what the school had to say about the new pre-k enrollment. They hadn’t even heard about the new procedure and we directed them to the new website.

    While I mostly like where this is heading (having parents pay based on means for pre-k), the rollout is a hot, hot mess.

  • 51. Christine Whitley  |  April 3, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Thank you BuenaParkMom! I was hoping to head over to McPherson today.

    So the last remaining question is: will returning parents have to pay or will they be allowed to stay for free?

  • 52. BuenaParkMom  |  April 3, 2013 at 9:59 am

    I didn’t think to ask them that one! I’m not sure they would have known the answer though. I really felt sorry for them, it was clear they are just as oblivious as the rest of us!

  • 53. ChiMom  |  April 3, 2013 at 10:01 am

    I asked about this at my daughters PFA site this morning. As many commenters have noted, the schools are as much in the dark as we are. The two teachers I spoke to just learned about this new application process yesterday. They did tell me that current/continuing PFA students are guaranteed a spot at the same PFA school next year and that they would not have to fill out an application or pay – they are essentially grandfathered in for their final year. I don’t know how reliable this information is since they both seemed confused about the process as well, but this is what I was told for now.

  • 54. Kathleen Hayes  |  April 3, 2013 at 11:16 am

    BuenaPark Mom, I didn’t find the ladies at McPherson as confused as they seemed to you. Maybe this was a different group (I was there around 10:30 this morning). When one of them asked why I hadn’t put down a school code on the app, I pointed out that there is no school codes list on the application website. They acted as if this was news to them. Then I shared the anecdote above about Burley — that the administration and teachers there didn’t seem to know much about this new process. “Well, people must be reading the info wrong because that must not be a PFA site,” was what one of the women said. I said, no, Burley does have a PFA program right now, at least according to their website, and the women sort of looked at me and went back to their smartphones.

  • 55. Chicago School GPS  |  April 3, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I agree with BuenaParkMom- those ladies at McPherson were doing the best they can but were certainly left without the answers to give us.

    I did confirm that it is not “first come, first serve”, that they are simply taking applications through May 3 and then will evaluate all applications for each school as a group. When I asked about the selection criteria, they could only say that they think it’ll be priority for 4 year olds as BPM said and that consideration for folks who live nearby will also be given.

    They said to definitely pick 3 choices since they don’t know how many classrooms per site or how many of what age per site right now. If one doesn’t get their first choice, they will try to give them their 2nd or 3rd choices. It is a “one offer” system, but I suspect much movement will occur as folks are looking into all options for their family.

    The PFA site list they had in paper form was on the website yesterday but is no longer there today. I tried scanning in the list I was given but since it was taken down from the online site, I suspect it will change.

    Essentially applications can only be turned into either one of the 13 “Application Sites” inside schools from M-F or before noon at 3 sites on Saturday OR at the program sites listed in the above link (if it works) but ONLY on the day and time that representatives will be there. For instance, “Addams” is listed as having a representative at the school on Monday, April 8 in the AM. I was told AM refers to when that school opens to 11 or so and PM refers to around noon to when school lets out. They said don’t worry about the school codes, just write the names of the schools as each application will need someone from their team to process and each of them have a binder with the school codes so that can be filled in when you speak directly with a representative.

    I called the hotline number listed (312-229-1690) and got called back 3 hours later by another nice but not fully briefed individual who said they are still being told of the information including exactly how long the daily programs will be (probably 3 hours give or take), how many classrooms and how to determine who gets a spot.

    He also didn’t have info on what current students do but suspects that their income level they stated to originally get into the program will be used or they will be able to resubmit that income info. He tried looking up info to answer my questions while we were on the phone but didn’t see anything on his end regarding definitive answers.

    HOT MESS indeed! And “yes”, I feel sorry for these nice folks trying to help us but not given any answers.

    Just to reiterate, PFA (Ready to Learn) is geared to at-risk kids, so I think they want to at least target that group. The 14 full day TBPK programs are geared to those able to pay for 10 hour preschool and are first come, first served. Pulaski is the only one listed as having 1/2 day TBPK.

  • 56. local  |  April 3, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Lots from Catalyst – new issue all about school closing (online
    & PDF):

  • 57. Just as confused  |  April 3, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    If kids who are already enrolled in a PFA program are guaranteed a spot for next year, I will LOSE MY MIND if they don’t have to pay. I don’t see how CPS could justify making some of us pay, and others not.

    Does anyone know if they’re looking at gross or net income?

  • 58. Cool Parent  |  April 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    My opinion is if you have money to afford a daycare, go for that. This CPS preschool program can be a mess. It’s new..unclear…

  • 59. Jen  |  April 3, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    What a mess. ‘Luckily’ I won’t have proof of residency until summer so I won’t be getting a CPS preschool spot for my 3 year old I guess. And I’m still unable to figure out the park district preschool thing.

  • 60. SEN  |  April 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    @56. My sister has a son at 4 yr old preschool at Oriole park. She applied there for her 3 year old. They gave her a new application to fill out and a form for the fee. Hers would be around $457 a month and she said it looked like it was gross wages. The form was looking at weekly wages. They also told her to call the alderman to complain.

  • 61. Christine Whitley  |  April 3, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    If you’re in or near Edgewater, you might check out Families Together! It’s a half-day, play-based preschool and we have been very happy there. I don’t think they’re entirely full yet for the 2013-2014 school year!

    Also, I have a friend at St. Matthias in Lincoln Square and I think they have open spots for preschool too.

  • 62. Working mommy of 2  |  April 3, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    @59 Jen, the park district offers a variety of days/hours for their preschools. Usually the list of programs goes on the website in early Aug. with registration in mid-Aug. You can see what the options were this year if you want. If you go to the park district site and click on the “Spring programs” link, it will let you search for older programs too. Just change the “season” pull down link to Fall 2012. then lower in the page there is a keyword search. Type in Kiddie College.

    They vary in quality, but we just dropped by the one we were interested in the spring before and the teacher was happy to talk to us.

    As far as PFA goes, our school’s teachers still haven’t heard if their application for next year has been accepted or not. What a mess. They did tell us months ago that their understanding was that current PFA 3 year olds would be grandfathered in (no fees) as 4 year olds. But I’ll believe that when it actually happens.

    It does seem unfair to the newcomers, but then again, maybe people would have made different choices in the 3 year old year if they knew a $4K bill was coming the next year. We might have. Now if we really HAVE to pay it, I guess we’ll find away since he is happy at his PFA and we are too so it would be difficult to change.

  • 63. SEN  |  April 3, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    I don’t see how they would make new 4 year old families pay but not current families. What if someone applied last year but did not get accepted and all other factors were the same, like income neighborhood and no special needs. Of course with CPS you never do know.

  • 64. TEACHER4321  |  April 3, 2013 at 5:38 pm
    This appears to be updated and no longer reflects that there were (will be?) 1/2 Day Tuition Based Pre-K sites.
    I believe someone above referenced Pulaski. I thought Burr and Audubon also had(have) them, but could be wrong.

    Thank You to everyone who reported information from McPherson today.

  • 65. PFA parent  |  April 3, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    @62. Not having to pay sounds like wishful thinking to me. I haven’t heard that from our school – and I expect to have to pay like everyone else next year. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • 66. CFB  |  April 3, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    I went to CPS schools all my life and my plan is for my girls to go to CPS schools too but this process is ridiculous and unnecessarily confusing.
    You can hardly find information about each school, whether they are in this new “School Based Early Education Program”.
    I can’t even figure out if the schools I want (that are near me and appear to have a pre-k program) are full time or part time.
    I’m just going to take my application and proof of income and all to a school and try and figure it out there.
    The schools I’m looking at are:
    Oriole Park
    Edison Park

    I’m ready to give up and just go to one of the locations and see if they can help me.

  • 67. anonymouse teacher  |  April 3, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    @49, I don’t want to sound like I’m doubting you, but none of the schools have info on IF they are going to be able to host P4All next year, so I am confused how anyone else has that info.
    My principal did tell me today that all parents are going to have to provide proof of income where they never did before.

  • 68. Teacher4321  |  April 3, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    The list @49 provided is a list of schools that are open for registration centers, not schools with programs,

    @66, each school online on their profile had PreK and full day/ half day listed on the website until sometime very recently.

    Also @66 you can go to the sites listed on the website as registration sites. Otherwise you can only go to the schools you have selected on the particular day they are slated to have registration. This was on the ready to learn website yesterday, but has been removed…..

  • 69. Jen  |  April 3, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    @62 Working Mommy thank you so much, really helpful info! I pay $175 a month for 5 hours a week at our current park district program, what a difference.

  • 70. BuenaParkMom  |  April 3, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    @68 – They told me that was the list of possible schools. I’m just passing the info on from the people who are “registering” applicants for these programs. Presumably if anyone would have information it would be them. Personally I doubt that they have any clue which may or may not have the program.

  • 71. Teacher4321  |  April 3, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    @70 then they are already giving conflicting information. The website specifies that they are only for applications, not where programs will be.

    I agree with you that those registering have little information about where the programs will be and which schools will have a program. I also am not sure that there is an actual plan yet since the website had a letter on it yesterday dated 4/1 stating principals were already notified (that letter has since been pulled down). The same letter had the list you presented with the calendar for registration sites.

  • 72. SN dad  |  April 3, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    @46 jillwohl: I couldn’t agree more. CPS should separate income verification from the application process. Just list the tuition and refer parents who need financial assistance to an office or an agency AFTER their kids are admitted.

    I think CPS definitely will use income as a criterion in the admission process, because income and neighborhood are the only things to differentiate 3 year olds. It’s ridiculous that they haven’t announced how they pick a child over another. How can parents making choices when the rules are not clear?

  • 73. Chicago School GPS  |  April 4, 2013 at 6:27 am

    For those searching for the list that was online until about 4:30PM on 4/1 listing the dates/times when “Application Representatives” would be at specific schools accepting applications, click here:

    Given that they took the list down quickly, I suspect it may change, but as stated in @55, schools will have on-site representatives on one particular morning or afternoon between 4/8/13 & 5/3/13. Again, it sounds like they are making changes to it but I did get this list in paper form on the 4 page “Letter to Parents” from McPherson yesterday.

  • 74. CarolA  |  April 4, 2013 at 6:28 am

    @72: SN dad: That’s the way CPS operates. They don’t HAVE to announce anything. They play the game and make up the rules AFTER the game has started and make sure the rules are in their favor. I’ve seen it too many times over the years and even though I’m so sorry this is happening to parents, it’s an eye opener for everyone to see what we have seen “inside” the walls for years! It’s a relief that this type of system is finally being exposed. What will be done about it? Nothing. Perfect example: The money wasted on these meetings about the school closings, yet nothing will change. Perhaps they’ll make one token change for the sake of saying…”We listened and heard what you said.” Baloney!

  • 75. Wowzers  |  April 4, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Where in the world would we all be without CPSOBSESSED? This is malarkey.

  • 76. cpsobsessed  |  April 4, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Well I can’t take credit for knowing what’s going on…..but I will say that this prek thing makes me realize the need to have a place for parents to share information. It’s hard to navigate this without some assistance (and place to vent)!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 77. Lauren W.  |  April 4, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Ok, so my daughter goes to a wonderful cps preschool at Peirce. HOWEVER, If I were to pay next year, our private preschool she went to when she was 2 would be LESS money than the public preschool. It is also an hour longer and includes a homemade lunch. This is essentially going to convince parents such as myself (who volunteer weekly in her classes and in the school, and donate/are involved in school) to send our children elsewhere, lessening our contributions and volunteer time to our neighborhood school. Why is this happening? This is my first year at CPS. First the strike, then the closings, then the preschool change. It is CPS and CPS alone that is making it difficult for families such as ourselves to justify staying in the city.

  • 78. Christine Whitley  |  April 4, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Here is the phone number for the CPS Early Learning Hotline: I think they need to know how parents feel about these changes!


  • 79. MR  |  April 4, 2013 at 11:10 am

    It is no longer Preschool for All – it is Preschool for Low Income Families!

  • 80. Kathleen Hayes  |  April 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Although Preschool for All was intended for all kids, it was designed to prioritize the needs of low-income families: That said, this sentiment by a parent on another CPS preschool forum sums up my thoughts about the issue. And I’m a parent who straddles, if you will, the divide between low- and high-income in that I’m highly educated and once had a fairly nice income. But in the last few years, I’ve fallen into the lower-income category because of a combination of factors. The parent who I’m going paraphrase said that PFA is frustrating to her. Its name, she feels, is hypocritical. She goes on to say that it’s not good policy to segregate our city’s 3 year olds based on their parents’ incomes, all the while acknowledging that Chicagoans have varying economic means and that programs like PFA are using limited resources to target kids who will benefit the most. But the system should include everyone and provide the same services to all taxpayers.

  • 81. Kathleen Hayes  |  April 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    For more on PFA’s origins, see this: “The kids who who attended the HighScope Perry pre-K program in Ypsilanti, Michigan—which Obama was likely referencing during SOTU when he threw out that early education provides a $7 return on the dollar—were as adults more likely to be employed, less likely to have committed crimes, and made more money than a control group.”

    Obama’s push for PFA isn’t new. There was a push for what was called universal preschool back in the early 2000s, and the Perry study was one basis for that push.

  • 82. Erin Payne  |  April 4, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    What about the lucky few attending Suder, Drummund, Inter-American, etc that go all day? Will they by asked to pay more?

  • 83. Angie  |  April 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    What about the special education kids attending PFA, like in blended classroom environment?

  • 84. Chgojen  |  April 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    @82 – I believe those are magnet programs (lottery-based), not PFA or tuition-based programs.

  • 85. Chgojen  |  April 4, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    @51 – I called the PFA office yesterday and asked about how families who are currently enrolled will know how much “tuition” they will need to pay next year, since they don’t have to apply through the new system like everyone else. The lady I spoke to indicated that all currently enrolled 3yo’s will be given a seat next year and will basically be grandfathered, so they will not be required to pay the monthly copay, as they call it. This is the last class that will be considered under the old rules. All new, incoming 3 and 4 year olds will be required to apply under the new system and pay the copay based on income level.

  • 86. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    RE school codes I noticed this problem too. I left a comment about this at which is listed as a partner on the site. I suggest many of you do the same.

  • 87. Neighborhood parent  |  April 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    is there any expectation that they would use the same codes that are utilized for the OPTIONS applications?

  • 88. Teacher4321  |  April 4, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    @Kathleen Hays- I actually believe much of the information about preschool education actually came from right here in Chicago too.
    The Chicago Longitudinal Study is about the Chicago Child Parent Centers.

    @Angie- All children with IEPs for blended placements will have to be placed. They will not have to pay. Not sure about speech only children, but kids with minutes beyond speech will have to be placed as far as we know. They will not, not have their sped services.

  • 89. PFA parent  |  April 4, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    @85 – Wow, I am so surprised by that. Really doesn’t make sense to only charge new kids, but I guess CPS doesn’t always make sense.

  • 90. New to cps  |  April 4, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    From what I was told, when we enrolled our 3 year old in pfa last year, we essentially signed a 2 year contract. To make us pay next year would mean that cps “broke the contract”. This is what a teacher at my sons school said.

  • 91. Jen  |  April 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    I actually contacted CPS about the IEP situation, although they didn’t say whether I’d have to pay or not. Has anyone been told it’s free?

    Basically I have to take my 3 year old’s out of district IEP to my local neighborhood school once I have a Chicago address, and they have to then work out how to accommodate me. If I want to apply for Ready to Learn I can do so, and note the IEP on the application, but if the center I am assigned cannot accommodate the IEP then I will be assigned another. There was no mention of not having to pay for Ready to Learn, which is logical since they are only obliged to provide the free therapy services, nothing more.

  • 92. donna  |  April 4, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    @90…New to CPS…welcome to the land of broken promises.

  • 93. Teacher4321  |  April 4, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    @91… Not sure about speech only. Otherwise, if your child has any other therapies or academic interventios only speech services are walk in services. The rest your child should be assigned a program based on the IEP. At least this is how it has been in the past. With all of the classrooms and schools in the dark, I suppose this could change, but I doubt it. Have you spoken to someone specifically in the CPS department of early childhood special education? I believe there is an email for them on the FAQs. Of course with your child having an out of district IEP it would be hard for them to know what your child’s needs are. If it was an IEP done at CPS they can look it up. Also, depending on your move date, your local school may be closed for the summer.

  • 95. Jen  |  April 4, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Yes I contacted the exact person listed for special Ed on their site. I actually gave her the details of the services he will be getting from our current district, which won’t be limited to speech. We won’t get services over summer here either. I can’t afford the amount their chart says we will have to pay (at least not if its based on gross income) and we won’t have the proof of residence in time so it won’t matter for us, we’ll have to go with whatever they give us.

  • 96. 60660  |  April 5, 2013 at 10:27 am

    the current info from my neighborhood school is:
    criteria for entry remain the same as p4a – at risk 4s, at risk 3s, in district 4s, in district 3s.
    “at risk” includes low income, english language learners, EI SpEd IEP
    no sibling pref allowed for out of district families is apparently a change.
    returning 4 year olds are guaranteed a spot and don’t need to fill out a application / returning 4 year olds will not have to pay.
    more sure of this now as if they are not collecting the info how will they assess tuition?
    the application form refers to gross income.
    many details still to be sorted including how many RtL classrooms the school will have. apparently some of these details are being held back until the the mayor can announce / make a speech.
    I’m going to apply for citizenship just so I can make sure Rahm doesn’t get the nomination in 2016

  • 97. Andrea Foster  |  April 5, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Just drove out to the application site at 4638 W Diversery – they are not accepting applications today. The mayor’s office put a hold on all applications – from what I was told from the man that I called to complain to from the Diversey office, it’s because they want to now release the names of the schools that will actually be having pre-k in their buildings before people submit applications. Brilliant idea – should have thought of that prior to sending out application information you idiots! Super frustrated at the whole poorly rolled out process.

  • 98. Neighborhood parent  |  April 5, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Andrea – that’s an interesting update. Thank for sharing.

    While we all have a “time-out” in this process. Here’s the items I hope the mayor’s “speech” covers :

    What’s the philosophical approach here? Assuming PK is targeted to “At Risk” students first, how will remaining seats be filled? And how much pressure will there be to make this a revenue generator (or not)?

    Why the decision to ignore ‘sibling preference’?

    How does this new app. process (in less than 30 days) ensure participation by the families who have “at risk” children?

  • 99. emt  |  April 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    Someone from Peirce (where we had applied in the fall) just called me to let me know about the new system (happy to be officially informed by them!) and that a rep would be there April 23rd in the morning for new applications.

  • 100. JR  |  April 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    This week I was contacted by e-mail and phone by two schools letting me know of particular dates to come into their schools to fill out the new applications. Has anybody else received these e-mails or phone calls?

  • 101. Kathleen Hayes  |  April 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    JR, I got a email from Audubon’s principal on Monday, but only because my son was already on the OLD waiting list. So the principal contacted everyone on that list to say they’d gotten the PFA funding and to inform parents about the new app system.

    Does anyone know if there’s a separate application for community-based PFA? I just skimmed the Catalyst article and saw a reference to that. If so, where do I find that app?

  • 102. BTB  |  April 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Just saw this article come up when I googled “april 5 mayor emanuel preschool”

    There is no new information regarding which schools will offer the program, but it does reiterate the “grandfathering” of 3 year olds in the system already.

  • 103. not a tier 4  |  April 5, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    maybe the next step is verification of the income before people are assigned a tier for the elementary application?

  • 104. Lunker  |  April 5, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    What’s wrong with them grandfathering existing students? It’s not fair?? Is that the complaint. So sorry…that is life.

    Will say I’d go private over paying $4500 or whatever it will end up costing. This thing has FAIL written all over it.

  • 105. BTB  |  April 5, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    @Lunker, my daughter is someone who will be grandfathered in. I was just pointing out some of the issues that had come up again and again in this comment stream.

  • 106. cpsobsessed  |  April 5, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    The list!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 107. BuenaParkMom  |  April 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Well done! Whose teeth did you have to pull to get that? 🙂

  • 108. cpsobsessed  |  April 5, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Christine posted it on facebook 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 109. Chicago School GPS  |  April 6, 2013 at 7:00 am

    The Sliding Scale Co-Pay Estimator is online now.

    First enter your monthly family income (only the income earned by child’s parents or legal guardians. The income of other family members sharing same residence should NOT be included, i.e. grandparent who earns his/her own income, etc).

    Then enter your family size (all persons living in household supported by income listed above AND related to parents/guardians by blood, marriage or adoption, i.e. grandparent who does not earn any income should be counted.)

    Hit “Calculate estimated monthly co-payment” and the number appears in blue. I am assuming this is only a 10 month payment but not sure.

    $4000/mo income with preschooler & single mom (family size of 2) pays $209.04 per month
    $4000/mo income with preschooler & 2 parents (family size of 3) pays $87.15 per month
    $4000/mo income with preschooler, older sibling & 2 parents (family size of 4) pays $25.92 per month
    $4000/mo income with preschooler, older sibling, 2 parents and retired grandparent (family size of 5) pays $0 per month.

  • 110. anonymouse teacher  |  April 6, 2013 at 7:32 am

    I entered my own family’s monthly income and if we had a preschooler that we would send to cps preschool, the payment would be about $60 a month. And that’s on 2 teacher salaries. I don’t think the cost should be prohibitive, but, my family currently pays about $1000 a month in childcare for before and after school care for our two children. I was prepared to see something like $400-500 a month. Something seems a little off.

  • 111. Kathleen  |  April 6, 2013 at 7:40 am

    “Off” is right. How do I, a single mom of one who made 40 K last year, pay more than someone with two incomes???

  • 112. Lunker  |  April 6, 2013 at 8:10 am

    What’s acceptable forms of “proof of income”?

  • 113. Kathleen  |  April 6, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Pay stub, tax form.

  • 114. cpsobsessed  |  April 6, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Are you guys assuming Gross or Net (after tax) income per month? It doesn’t specify. If I do Gross, as a single working mom with a grandparent in the HH I would pay $427/mo (over 9 months? 10 months?) I imagine that is still a relative deal compared to other 5 day a week options?

  • 115. cpsobsessed  |  April 6, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Whoa, if I had another kid in the house, my payment would be only $250/mo. I’m calling discrimination against only children!!!! (kidding.. .kind of.) If I had 3 kids, it would be only $150/mo.

  • 116. cpsobsessed  |  April 6, 2013 at 9:05 am

    @A-Mouse, If I enter an income of $100k (making an assumptions of a 2 teacher HH) with family size of 4, I get $427/mo (which seems to be the maximum payment.) Maybe there was a glitch when you entered it…. ?

  • 117. Kathleen  |  April 6, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I am basing this on my tax return, which I submitted with application.

  • 118. mariamaria  |  April 6, 2013 at 11:31 am

    The application doesn’t take sibling’s school into account? My older child will be in Kindergarten next year after 2 years of preschool at the same school. I’d like my younger daughter to be in preschool at the same school, and I am wondering if they make any accommodations for siblings?

  • 119. 60660  |  April 6, 2013 at 11:33 am

    @118 I heard sibling preference for out of neighborhood kids is not allowed. very disappointing for many families

  • 120. Even One More CPS Mom  |  April 6, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Does anyone know if the list of schools with preschools that was posted here includes all types of preschool programs or just the Preschool for All type? I am curious as I see McPherson listed. In recent years they have only offered Head Start. I am wondering if their inclusion on this list means that they will now also offer the Preschool for All type program. Or maybe the two programs are now combined with the sliding scale? Yep, good and confused here.

  • 121. anonymouse teacher  |  April 6, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Okay, reentered info and it came up significantly more. Not sure if I did something wrong when I entered the info or if there was an issue with the program. I’m getting above $400 a month now.
    $400+ a month for 2.5-3 hours/5 days a week is pretty decent, compared to a range of private options.

  • 122.  |  April 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Is it still 2.5 hrs a day? I haven’t seen anything about the length of the day and because of so much change don’t want to assume.

  • 123. 60660  |  April 6, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    this year preschool extended to 2hrs 40mins
    should remain the same next year

  • 124. mariamaria  |  April 6, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    @119 My kindergartener will be at our neighborhood school, and I am hoping that my 3 year old will get a preschool spot at the same location. Do they give preference for proximity, neighborhood school, or siblings, do you know? Thnx!

  • 125. LynnJ  |  April 6, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    @marcsims, I am very offended by your comments. African Americans are not the only people in this city committing crimes, however the media would have you believe that is the case. Please refrain from generalizations and bigotry.

  • 126. SN dad  |  April 6, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    86% of CPS students are from low-income families (defined as $3400/month for a family of 4), which do not need to co-pay. Basically, this CPS sliding-scale fee is designed to target 14% of the 20,000 some pre-K families (about 3000 families) who are making $42K or more. That’s pocket change for CPS, but so unfair for those who have to pay.

  • 127. Jen  |  April 7, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I’m guessing that a majority of the spaces are taken by families that can pay though, which defeats the entire purpose of PFA. I assume they’re hoping that parents who they have decided can afford the $427 a month will go elsewhere, leaving more subsidized spots for those who don’t have to pay anywhere near as much. I’ll be honest, I would have applied back when it was free but I can’t afford the $427 so I won’t be. And look how many parents here said they’d rather pay the same amount for a better private option.

  • 128. cps alum  |  April 7, 2013 at 10:54 am

    There are some major problems with the income verification.

    1) Some of the neediest and most vulnerable kids might be discouraged from applying and not get into the system because their parents don’t have “on the book” income. Many low income families (some illegal immigrants some not) take odd jobs and are paid cash. How will they show income? While I’m not condoning the off the books job market, the children of these families are often the children who need Preschool the most.

    2) How will CPS verify that the W2s submitted is reflects total income. For example, a two income family could pretend to be a one income family and only submit one W2. How will CPS know otherwise? How will CPS know if the parents make a relatively small amount on their biweekly paystubs but then get large quarterly bonuses/commissions? What about families who have very large passive income?

  • 129. Kathleen  |  April 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm


  • 130. Jeff Park Dad  |  April 7, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    To clear up any confusion on the “tuition”. Individual schools/programs will not have a specific tuition. Individual families will be required to pay X amount based on their income regardless of what school/program their children attend. Any family who DOES NOT QUALIFY for free/reduced lunch will have to pay. Any family who DO QUALIFY for free reduced lunch will pay nothing.

  • 131. Christina  |  April 8, 2013 at 9:14 am

    My son has an IEP and CPS placed him at a school at the beginning of the year based on the IEP. We actually had no say on the placement, but we are happy with the school he is at – Courtenay. We don’t have to reapply for next due to his IEP, but there was no information regarding tuition. I can’t find any information on this. Does anyone have any helpful information?

  • 132. 60660  |  April 8, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Hi Christina I have been repeatedly told that returning 4 year olds will not be assessed for tuition*
    Since you will not be filling out a application form CPS will not collect the income info to assess tuition

    *this is CPS policies subject to change without notice!

    off topic. how do you feel about the change of location to Stockton?

  • 133. Dissapointed mom  |  April 8, 2013 at 11:57 am

    How will CPS make sure people are showing credible proof of their income? I know for a fact that many people who are earning cash can show no proof of income. Why they don’t get a check is something beyond me but they probably are making as much as I do working for not for profit. I will end up paying $200 but they would get it free?

  • 134. 3inCPS  |  April 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I went to Bateman this morning to sign my 3yo up for preschool. I was informed to arrive prior to 8:00 a.m. because the registration would be at 8:15 a.m. and they assumed there would be lines. They were right about the lines!! I arrived at 7:45 a.m. I was lucky enough to receive #3 in line. I didn’t complete registration until 10:15 a.m. The company hired by CPS to do the registration did not arrive until 9:00 a.m. They were VERY disorganized and didn’t even have the necessary materials. It was chaotic. I feel badly for those who had #60+ because it took over TWO HOURS to process me at #3. When I left at 10:50 a.m. (I waited around to pick up my currently attending preschooler), they were only on #24. Sad, sad, sad. The outsourced company was very unprofessional and vocally blamed CPS for everything. While in line, I was informed that I would also have to register my currently attending preschooler for kindergarten. When I arrived at the kindergarten registration table, I was told I didn’t have to. CONFLICTING INFORMATION GALORE.

  • 135.  |  April 8, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    St. Vincent depaul requires that parents be in school and gives preference to teen parents… how will program requirements be addressed? I would like to apply for that program but by next year will be done with school…. any ideas about what directions to follow?

  • 136. Sarah Lopez  |  April 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I am so frustrated! Our PS4ALL program is closing due to The school closing (Trumbull) and now this! WTF! Somehow I can’t get a break from CPS!

  • 137. Kathleen Hayes  |  April 8, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Sarah Lopez, that is very maddening. I’ve no advice — just sympathy, for what it’s worth.

  • 138. Beth  |  April 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Help! I am trying to decide what three schools to put on my application, live near Wicker Park. Burr is one for sure, anyone know anything about Mitchell? Pulaski? Any input is appreciated!

  • 139. Jill W.  |  April 9, 2013 at 2:59 am

    @82 Suder amd Drummond are full day prek. Inter-American is half day.

  • 140. mj60640  |  April 9, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    @127, who said private = better? i think each school and program should be decided on a case by case basis, and what’s important to you may not be what’s important to me in a PK program.

  • 141. Neighborhood parent  |  April 9, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    so, do we have any idea as to what the ‘school codes’ are?
    there doesn’t seem to be a listing on the cps website.

  • 142. SN dad  |  April 10, 2013 at 5:36 am

    @138 Beth:
    Most schools have a waitlist. You basically only have one shot, your first choice.

    @141: No need to worry about it. When you submit the application in person, someone will fill it out for you.

  • 143. Beth  |  April 10, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    SN dad:
    So should be the first choice be a less popular school so I have a betetr chance? Do we know how they are deciding?

  • 144. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  April 11, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    @82 Those magnet programs are the same time as the school day (5.75 hours last AY; 7 hours this AY, not the 10 hours in the FT tuition program), and the pre-K students are in the same classroom as kindergartners. 3 y.o. is also the entry-grade for those magnet programs. They are not managed by the Office of Early Childhood Education at CPS, but by OAE as part of the Options for Knowledge program.

  • 145. TEACHER4321  |  April 11, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Children on IEPs for services (not sure about speech) but multiple services will not have to pay as far as we have been told. Regardless of this year or next year.

  • 146. TEACHER4321  |  April 11, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    @134, I don’t think anyone “outside” is doing the application process. I believe those doing the applications are current support staff from the Preschool departments and other departments. Schools are in the dark on many things still, I am sure they are equally in the dark. They are probably correct in their blame on CPS, look at how many mishaps there have been in the rollout of this process.

    This of course does not explain rude behavior. That is inexcusable.

  • 147. preschoolmom1  |  April 12, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I just have to say, I can’t believe that people are so upset about a sliding scale tuition. Are people really so in the dark about the fact that preschool offered at a public school is a serious rarity. In most places you pay for preschool no matter what your income is (other then head start programs), and in some places (Seattle comes to mind) you even need to pay for public school kindergarten. I’m willing to bet if CPS continued to offer preschool for all free of charge it would be discontinued rather quickly due to lack of funds. When I was initially applying for CPS I felt guilty, knowing that my income bracket was not the income bracket that preschool for all is intended for. A sliding scale tuition give me serious peace of mind!

    As for the rest of this malarkey – short notice for filling out new applications, no school codes, keeping the schools in the dark about what was happening with preschool, etc… etc… Now, that is maddening!

  • 148. Peter  |  April 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    preschoolmom1, many people like free things and hate taxes.

    I agree with you, the fees seem quite reasonable.

  • 149. Jen  |  April 12, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    They may be reasonable for most, but I won’t be able to afford the amount that I’m supposed to pay, so my son won’t attend preschool next year unless I can get one of the cheaper park district spots.

  • 150. jpm  |  April 13, 2013 at 9:01 am

    I have no problem paying a tuition for schooling, especially since we did not have to for our two oldest. I do however have a huge problem paying when there is no real way of monitoring what people are submitting as income is correct. I know of two families who are purposely bringing in income that is not a true reflection of what their household makes. I am a SAHM mom to three kids and the $400 we would be paying a month is a lot for us, especially knowing that it’s paying for some of my neighbors too. That’s why we didn’t fill out the application and will be going elsewhere.

  • 151. mj60640  |  April 13, 2013 at 9:16 am

    @150/jpm, i hear and understand you but disagree that your tuition would be paying for those neighbors that are scamming the system. it would be helping to pay for your child’s school experience, and your tax money would be covering the subsidized difference for those neighbors. do you have a suggestion for a more fair way of assessing financial need or income? i also think helping pay for PK is not such a bad thing considering the current condition of our state’s finances, and that chicago has had it WAY better than most in terms of free PK up to this point. as said by preschoolmom1/ post 147, it’s the details and way CPS is doing it that’s the main headache and problem.

  • 152. jpm  |  April 13, 2013 at 10:00 am

    I have placed two children through pre-K and it was a wonderful experience, but not for $400/month for 2.5 hours. I currently have my child enrolled someplace (and we pay for it) and the program is comparable. I am devastated we will not send our youngest through our school’s program because not only is it great, our teacher is phenomenal. It’s plain and simple, we can’t afford that. I think tuition is the way to go and the reason it’s been free is the reason we have the problem we do today but if they’re going to go that route, tuition can’t be based solely on what someone makes (and yes it’s based on a family of five, but $400 buys A LOT for a family of 5). In this case I really wish it worked for us and it wasn’t an easy decision, but having people blatantly admit they’re going to cheat the system only added insult to injury. That’s the beauty of life, you have choices. For us, we had to pass this time. I’m glad it works for most and if I could help I would but unfortunately this is out of our league.

  • 153. Jen  |  April 13, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    No matter what the process is, plenty of people will find a way to get around it. That’s the nature of people who would rather keep their money in their own pockets and let others pay. The fact that people know they do it and don’t report them only encourages them.

    Ultimately I have to hope that the end result of those of us who can make other arrangements being shut out will be more access for the Chicago residents who don’t have that same luck, which is what Preschool for All is supposed to be. That makes me feel a bit better about it anyway.

  • 154. SN dad  |  April 13, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    @147 preschoolmom1:
    “….I can’t believe that people are so upset about a sliding scale tuition.”

    If you think they are collecting tuition to help fund the preschool program, think again. 87% CPS students are low income. Only 13% need to pay any “tuition”, from $15.8 ~ $427.7 /month. The money collected is trivial.

    What CPS truly wants is denying preschool access for non-low-income families, turning CPS “preschool for ALL” into “Preschool exclusively for low-income”. Collecting income info BEFORE admission is a dead giveaway.

    CPS is using slide scale tuition as an excuse for collecting income info, and make sure only low-income students are admitted. That’s what this is all about.

  • 155. KTH  |  April 14, 2013 at 9:33 am

    “…and make sure only low-income students are admitted. That’s what this is all about.”

    Gee, SN Dad, you say that like it’s a bad thing. How awful that the city might be looking out for its most at-risk children.

  • 156. cpsobsessed  |  April 14, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    If the city wanted to provide preK only for low income and at-risk kids they’d just go ahead and set it up that way, like it was until about 3 years ago. Why would they go through this convoluted process to make it happen and “trick” people into leaving?

    I do wonder if kids who have special need for preK still get any cost break? That was part of the old system.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 157. TEACHER4321  |  April 15, 2013 at 5:56 am

    From the newly updated website. (How many times will they update the website?)

    “Programs will continue to be offered free of charge for children with special needs, children in temporary living situations, and for income-eligible families including those who qualify for free or reduced lunch.”

  • 158. cpsobsessed  |  April 15, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Thanks Teacher4321. So it looks like the program is going back to how it was before pre school for all expanded to everyone a few years ago, then people who choose to opt in if they don’t qualify as “at-need” in some way will pay a fee.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 159. Peter  |  April 15, 2013 at 9:07 am

    There are already schools that have only PreK for low income kids.

  • 160. cpsobsessed  |  April 15, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Is that the Head Start program? Or a version of PSFA?

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 161. Jen  |  April 15, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Does special needs mean any kid with an IEP, or something else?

  • 162. TEACHER4321  |  April 16, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    As stated previously several times, not sure about the “Speech Only” IEPs. You’d need to call the number or e-mail the program and ask. There is information on the Ready to Learn website. All other kids on IEPs will be free. Speech only can be a walk in service, other services can’t.

    @159, PFA has been priority for “families of 4, making under $80,000” Head Start is for low income and students with disabilities only (who may not qualify for income).

  • 163. Amon  |  April 17, 2013 at 7:18 am

    I’m confused by the whole preschool thing now. Did they say everyone who applies will get a spot somewhere…or did I dream it?

  • 164. anonymouse teacher  |  April 17, 2013 at 8:35 am

    @163, No, it isn’t possible for everyone to get a spot as there are far more applicants than there are spots. Also pretty much any child coming from EI for anything other than speech should be first priority and there are an awful lot of kids in EI. I couldn’t believe how many parents came in to fill out apps at our school, and we aren’t even a popular school (though personally, I think we should be). You aren’t the only one confused, so don’t feel bad. CPS just works this way where nothing is clear. Hang in there. Crossing fingers for you that you get a spot if you want one.

  • 165. V_East-Village  |  April 23, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I am new to the blog. As I was reading the comments what does PFA stand for ? Currently we have our son in a pre-school outside of CPS. How do you know which school is good ?

  • 166. Christine Whitley  |  April 23, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    PFA stands for Preschool for All — the former program which gave everyone a chance to apply for a free-half day preschool program.

    it seems to have been replaced now by Ready to Learn which is provided on a sliding scale tuition basis for those that get in.

  • 167. Chris  |  April 24, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    “86% of CPS students are from low-income families”

    NONONONO!!! 86% of CPS students collect free or reduced lunch, based on *UN*verified income claims, in a system where (i) some school administrations encourage white lies about income and (ii) a few school administrators (who are *clearly* not ‘low-income’) have claimed it for their own kids. It’s bunk, hokum, damned lies of the nth degree. CPS students come predominantly from families of below average income, but *NOT* that predominantly.

    I *really* want the citation to that number to stop, unless/until better numbers are available to prove the stats.

    If anything, this is a test-run for income verification for free/reduced lunch.

  • 168. Chris  |  April 24, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Oh, also, on the ‘sliding’ scale–it’s totally misdesigned, as it has hard cutoffs (I played around with the calculator) where making $12 more per YEAR can make a greater than $12 per month difference in ‘tuition’. Needs to be a smooth curve, imo–why should someone who makes $12 over the threshold have to pay $160?

  • 169. anonymouse teacher  |  April 24, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    @167, agree.

  • 170. Lisa  |  April 25, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    I have no problem with sliding scale tuition, but I have a problem with the process. I walked into a room with many staff members processing applications today at McPherson Elementary. They copied my paystub with all my personal information including my bank routing #. I made sure she used white-out and black ink so my personal info would not be sabotaged. It is demoralizing, having to explain your financials to a complete stranger. This process was not thought out at all.

  • 171. kate  |  April 25, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Lisa – I’m with you….
    I visited McPherson too… and as I completed my app at the table was able to easily overhear a discussion amongst the staff regarding frequency of parental pay. In other words, they were trying to guesstimate whether submitted paystubs/verifications were weekly/monthly/bi-monthly/bi-weekly…. their process (including speaking to parents who were not fluent in English) leaves much to be desired. If Chris (above) is correct, then wrongly “guessing” a parents’ pay frequency could greatly impact their tuition bill.

  • 172. wondering  |  April 25, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Can you just elect to pay the highest amount if you get in and not provide income information on your application? Or do you have to give copies of your tax returns to even apply.

  • 173. SN dad  |  April 27, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    @155 KTH: “Gee, SN Dad, you say that like it’s a bad thing. How awful that the city might be looking out for its most at-risk children.”

    Some people have already paid more income taxes and property taxes. Some people have already received their benefits from the government. After all that, just because some people earned more, they should pay more? That’s fair and a good thing?

    I thought EVERYONE should have equal access to public schools.

  • 174. Neighborhood parent  |  April 28, 2013 at 11:45 am

    172/wondering – yes.

  • 175. uptownmom  |  May 2, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Just checked out the website again & it appears the NEW deadline for applying is May 24.

  • 176. Kathryn  |  May 2, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Just saw that too, is that for real. I don’t want to miss out.

  • 177. Preschool wannabee parent  |  May 2, 2013 at 9:06 am

    So let the theories begin…
    Are the applications not a sufficient quantity?
    How much delayed will notifications be?
    How broadly will this extension be communicated?

  • 178. 60660  |  May 2, 2013 at 9:11 am

    I guess enrollment is low. Another year, another CPS clusterfuck.
    Lets make a bunch of changes but not consult with anybody first!

    A friend reported turning up at McPherson to register:
    Presented two income verifications (two income household) was told. “I just need one, which one is the smaller one?”. Calculation was performed. “You don’t have to pay anything!”.
    “Are you sure? This is the larger income!”
    “Yes we just need one income”
    Friend leaves baffled but unsurprised.

    Incompetence or just making sure they are reaching enough “underserved” families to make it look like the roll out of this program isn’t a disaster?

  • 179. Chicago School GPS  |  May 2, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    I wouldn’t be surprised if enrollment is lower than expected because families are definitely confused, and it’s still unclear how they will be selecting families since it is NOT first come, first serve.

    I will have a few Ready to Learn info packets (application & brochure) at our “Chicago Preschool Primer” this Saturday at 10AM if anyone wants to pick one up.

  • 180. Beth  |  May 2, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    I called the office on Diversey and when asked why the date was extended the woman answered “we want all families to have a chance to apply.” I asked her if this meant enrollment was down and she sad “in some areas yes” This really screws the rest of us that we’re on top of things, ugh so frustrated!

  • 181. lotty  |  May 3, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    I noticed that Inter-American is on the list for Pre-school for All. I called the school to ask how this would affect people on the waiting list. They said waitlist remains the same, but all lottery selected Pre-K will now be required to pay tuition based on the sliding scale.

    So did anyone accept Inter-American Pre-K and have pay tuition now? This seems strange to me, I thought it was a magnet school with the entry level being Pre-K.

  • 182. LindblomPrincipal  |  May 7, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I don’t know why I didn’t post here before, but to all those South Side families: Lindblom will be hosting a pre-school in the fall! Yes, we will have a combined Ready-to-Learn preschool and tuition-based.
    Yes, it is odd for a combined program. (There is one other in the system) but even odder to have one in a high school.

    We think one of the great advantages is that some of our bright high schoolers will be taking a colloquium course on early childhood development and will be able to spend colloquium days, lunch periods and times before and after school working with the little ones.

    Please get in contact if you’re interested in learning more!

    Alan (

  • 183. SN dad  |  May 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    @182, Any idea about how CPS selects preschoolers?

    Right now it’s pretty much like,

    CPS: “let’s play a game called getting-in”.
    Parents: “OK, what are the rules”.
    CPS: “we don’t know yet, except some people need to pay”
    CPS: “Just play and we’ll figure out who gets in later.”
    CPS:” Anybody? We extended the game for another 3 weeks.”

  • 184. mj60640  |  May 8, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    ha! good one

  • 185. LindblomPrincipal  |  May 9, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    @183. Are you talking about Ready-to-Learn or Tuition-based?

  • 186. local  |  May 9, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    @ 178. 60660 | May 2, 2013 at 9:11 am

    “Are you sure? This is the larger income!”
    “Yes we just need one income”
    Friend leaves baffled but unsurprised.

    Incompetence or just making sure they are reaching enough “underserved” families to make it look like the roll out of this program isn’t a disaster?

    – Wow. Just…wow.

  • 187. Jenny  |  May 12, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Can anyone provide info/recommendations on preschool programs for Pritzker, Prescott, Lasalle II, or Burr? I also need help ranking them on my son’s application. We are thinking of changing the application we already submitted in order to find a preschool that is closer to our older son’s school.

  • 188. New to CPS  |  May 12, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Jenny, our son attends pfa at prescott and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the program. His teachers are amazing and the families are great. I have also heard great things about burr, although I don’t have any personal experience. Feel free to email me at if you have specific questions about Prescott.

  • 189. j  |  May 15, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Has anyone gotten any PFA acceptance letters? They have to let us know by June 5, correct? Thank you!

  • 190. Beth  |  May 15, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    The deadline was extended until this Friday so CPS hasn’t even begun to sort that mess out! We should be told by June 17, but I doubt that will happen!

  • 191. Chicago School GPS  |  May 24, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Ready to Learn Preschool applications are due TODAY, May 24. Your child must be 3 by Sept. 1st to apply.

    There are 13 “Application Sites” that you can turn in your application to, and a handful of sites in the Fulton and Midway Networks

    I think the fact that one needs to turn in these applications in person, with added documentation and during limited daytime hours is a real hindrance to families who need this “need based” program the most. That being said, I believe the program sites that the readership of CPSO are interested in probably have many applicants but the fact that CPS has not released HOW they are selecting students and are vague on the process of notification is clearly another sign of the “hot mess” that is CPS right now.

  • 192. Totismommi  |  May 25, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Does anyone know how the community based preschools work? I want to have a backup plan if we don’t get a spot in a school based program. I contacted one on the list and they told me they only do low income. Any ideas?

  • 193. anonymouse teacher  |  May 26, 2013 at 9:23 am

    @192, Besides CPS preschool programs, you could always look into the Chicago Park District or Catholic schools.

  • 194. Uptown Mama  |  May 27, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I am getting daily messages from CPS telling me I have to enroll (preK second year) at my welcoming school by May 31. My welcoming school is my last choice, if nothing else pans out. I applied to 3 schools by the first deadline and thought we would be hearing back in time to make a decision before having to pick the welcoming school. Now with the May 24 extension for those applications who knows when we hear back. Either way, I’m baffled (like usual) on what to do. And afraid I could end up with no options.

  • 195. cpsemployee  |  May 28, 2013 at 6:40 am

    I know that currently enrolled PreK students going on to their 2nd year of PreK were grandfathered in but I was not sure if that meant they were promised a spot at their current school or a spot “somewhere.” Meaning, if your 3-yr-old (now 4?) is at School A but you reapplied for Schools B, C, and D are you going to get only school A or do they consider your other choices?

  • 196. Uptown Mama  |  May 28, 2013 at 8:22 am

    I just discovered that CPS has a separate application for 2nd year preschoolers that are in the current program. According to the form it says I am guaranteed and automatically enrolled at my welcoming school, however I am allowed to apply to 3 other schools without relinquishing that welcoming school spot. They will hold it until I enroll elsewhere, supposedly.

  • 197. PreK  |  May 28, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Dones anyone know when are they going to send the letters?

  • 198. Chgojen  |  May 29, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Uptown Mama – I went into our current preschool office (which is also our neighborhood school) and asked if they needed an application for my two preschoolers (currently enrolled and will continue as 2nd year preschoolers next year). They told me they didn’t need anything from me. My guess is that maybe some schools are handling this process differently?

  • 199. Elliott Mason  |  June 5, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Put me in the ‘waiting nervously for a letter’ bucket too …

    Anybody have any news?

  • 200. Not so ready to learn  |  June 5, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Just calles the “ready to learn” hotline and they told me they will send the letter in the next 2 weeks!!!! (Grrrrrrrr, seriously????)

  • 201. ChiMoM  |  June 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Waiting yo hear too. Do they usually put 4 year olds in the pm class or is it random assignment?

  • 202. Totismommi  |  June 5, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Couldn’t risk the wait, took a charter spot. Hope I made a good decision. 2 more weeks we could have ended up at our neighborhood school (no good). watch us get a letter for our first choice. So frustrating.

  • 203. ChiMoM  |  June 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I got a call from Talcott today. They were calling to ask if I had reapplied because they had gotten their preschool list and my child’s name wasn’t on it. I had originally applied to Talcott and a few other schools. Hopeful that I will hear something soon.

  • 204. cpsemployee  |  June 10, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    On a different thread someone asked if the pre-school letters had really been sent and I said that I would let them know when my school (which has Pre-K) got our lists.

    We got our listed this morning – one of who was accepted and one of who was wait-listed. We were told to start calling the parents to let them know about registration.

    So… you should be able to call the school(s) you listed on your application and find out where you stand just in case you haven;t received your letter yet.

  • 205. cpsemployee  |  June 10, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Oops – meant to type “We got our lists this morning..”

  • 206. waiting in Lakeview  |  June 11, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Just called our neighborhood school and they haven’t gotten their list yet.

  • 207. Beth  |  June 11, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    We got a call from our first choice this am and we are in! So excited!

  • 208. Anonymous  |  June 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    A call? Arent we supposed to get a letter? I’m completely lost………

  • 209. cpsemployee  |  June 11, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    @208 – You are to receive a letter but we schools (w/ Pre-K) were also told to start calling the parents so that we could inform them of the specifics of registration at our school.

  • 210. Anonymous  |  June 11, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Ok.thanks cpsemployee.

  • 211. Jen  |  June 12, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I received a letter today that my child is waitlisted at my two choices, but I can apply to spaces where there is room until June 24. Nowhere does it say where to find out what schools have room. My guess is that if I schlepp over to one of the application sites, they won’t know either.

  • 212. curious prek  |  June 12, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    jen – did you get a waitlist number? (so that you can gauge your chances.)

  • 213. Elliott Mason  |  June 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Our letter came today, and said only that ‘teachers would call us’. I took a chance and called the school’s number, because starting at 11AM Friday we’re going to be out of the country for seven consecutive days … good thing I did, too. The person who answered the school number told me to register I’d have to call a different number and talk to Ms (R) or Ms (M), and they’d give me more details on registering, but that I’d DEFINITELY have to be at the school between 9 and 4 on June 18-20 to register, as those were the only days.

    Remember how our family about to be out of the country, starting Friday? Yeah. I blinked and blurted something like that and the person who answered the phone said, very nastily, “Well, all I know is that those are the ONLY days it is POSSIBLE to register, but if you call Ms (R) or Ms (M), MAYYYYbe they can bend over backwards and do something special JUST FOR YOU.

    I got off the phone as fast as possible, tried to stop hyperventilating, and called. I got Ms. (R) right in the middle of her class, WITH the kids, which I didn’t expect. She was really sweet (considering) and I was apologetic; she transferred me to her assistant, who was working up the calendar.

    The assistant was friendly and very helpful, and shared that the teaching staff are under amazing pressure from somewhere upstream of their principal to get EVERYONE registered BY JUNE 21 (or else? I don’t know or else what). But I walked her through our situation briefly and offered any day, any time, that I was actually in the country, and she came up with a possible alternative time, for which, all hail to her.

    But, seriously, CPS? Expecting parents to be able to go from ‘the letter arrived’ to ‘registration complete’ in LESS THAN A CALENDAR WEEK, when you don’t even know for sure when the letter will be arriving? So very professional. Especially in a month when lots of families are out of town for family or vacation. :-/

    I need to try to stop shaking before I write up a more cogent, reasoned version of this story in my own blog, but I thought some other parents (and teachers!) on here might prefer to have the quicker, less-polite version.

    At least the actual staff I’ll be dealing with at the school know I’m interested, willing, and motivated … hopefully they don’t also already think I’m a high-maintenance pain in the ass.

  • 214. mariamaria  |  June 12, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    My three year old got into our first choice! I hope that this means that there will be plenty of spots to go around. The letter that I just received was dated 6/7, in case that helps anyone.

  • 215. Neighborhood parent  |  June 12, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Dear Elliott Mason,
    I want to take this opportunity to welcome you to CPS. You should know, as a CPS parent you will need to buckle your seatbelt, hedge your bets, lower your administrative expectations and increase your tolerance (even appreciation) for bureaucracy. CPS is not an ISO-9000-run organization, there is little recognition of best practices and communication is always challenged. That being said, I would suggest you focus on your teachers, the classroom community and your lil’one because most days that’s what will matter most.

    GL with your adventure to the foreign land called CPS. Hang-in there!
    CPS parent, 4th year

  • 216. Elliott Mason  |  June 12, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Thanks, Neighborhood parent. :-> We’re definitely going to be the kinds of parents who come to meetings, speak up, and volunteer our time — I was just shocked, because in all my years of working phone banks and customer service, if a manager had heard me use the words “Bend over backwards for you” in that sarcastic tone of voice that soon into a call I would have been fired so fast my butt would have bounced off the door on the way out.

    I bet she’s been having a helluva week, what with all the craziness coming at them from downtown and the budget worries.

    Now I just have to hope that neither my kid’s teachers nor the office staff will have a problem with the fact that she has a Daddy and a Papa. I know that officially it shouldn’t be an issue, but ‘officially’ and ‘really’ can be two separate things, and we don’t exactly live in Lakeview. We’re going in with chins up, smiles in place, and best foot forward. :->

  • 217. cpsobsessed  |  June 12, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    @Elliot- oh man, you poor thing. It is so hard to embrace cps when that’s one of your first encounters. Somehow the front desk staff “customer service” has been found to be lacking at a fair number of schools and seems to (oddly) have no correlation with the rest of the school. I’ve been in a school where you walk in and literally nobody will acknowledge you. It’s almost as though they’re trying to turn you off to the place.
    Clearly a topic that’s not covered in Principal school…..

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 218. medic  |  June 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    So we got into our first choice which is a half block away…..and its going to cost us $350 a month….for 10 months. We can’t afford this. What a stupid system….so very disappointed.

  • 219. SN Dad  |  June 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    @Elliott Mason, why not just talk to your child’s future teacher? She/he will be the person who knows everything and handles all the registration stuff anyway. Most likely you will easily sort things out, even before your trip.

    My 3 year old got into our 1st choice. The letter that arrived today was dated June 7th too.

  • 220. Totismommi  |  June 12, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Letter came today. waitlist at all three choices. No waitlist number. I kinda felt it coming when the deadline was extended. Letter defiantly reinforced my decision to embrace my charter placement. Good luck everyone.

  • 221. Prek parent  |  June 12, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    medic – might you share which school that you are declining?

  • 222. Elliott Mason  |  June 12, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    medic @218: We were actually fairly happy at the price of the sliding scale, which for us comes in at about a third of what we were paying ot have her in private preschool/daycare up to now … but expenses suck. And my kid’s current school is full-day, not half, so if I manage to get employed again there will be a problem (but honestly, with the job market the way it is, that’s not very likely).

    SN Dad @219: I did, after the office-staff worker grudgingly gave me the right phone number and names to do so. But that wasn’t the number on my letter, so I couldn’t call it first. As I said up above in the long emotional babble, the teacher seems to have found a way to get us an extension so we can register when, well, we’re actually physically present in the country. I really didn’t want to wait for a call, because we’re getting on a plane Friday morning and everything is harder from a timezone away.

    I wish there were some way of knowing what schools have openings, so the people who get just waitlists have SOME idea where they can go! I’m surprised the CPS didn’t at least ‘assign’ you a nonpreferred school that had an opening, even if it’s six miles away and you probably couldn’t get there …

  • 223. medic  |  June 12, 2013 at 8:38 pm


    We haven’t officially declined. We might suck it up and pay from our savings. Ugh. It’s a crock of BS—sliding scale based on family income? Too many factors to consider for this to be relevant. The cutoffs are harsh too…I found that out after messing with the calculator.

  • 224. 60660  |  June 12, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Edgewater mom- Just got a letter for acceptance to Blaine. How do I find out about tuition?

  • 225. Waiting  |  June 13, 2013 at 6:50 am

    We did not get an offer. We have been wait listed at all three schools. My son is four and one of the schools that I listed is my home school. Does anyone know the criteria that they used to decide who got in?

  • 226. concerned mom  |  June 13, 2013 at 8:05 am

    can someone give me information in the Lakeview schools? Blaine and Nettlehorst? I read some of Blaine’s reviews and it sounds kind of bad.

  • 227. Elliott Mason  |  June 13, 2013 at 8:14 am

    60660 @224: It’s the same sliding scale for every tuition-based CPS preschool. There’s a chart in the ‘how to apply’ PDF booklet on, or supposedly there’s a calculator there you can put your income and how many people are in your household and it will tell you. The max is somewhere around $450/mo, if I remember correctly, and it goes down to zero if you make little enough.

  • 228. Peter  |  June 13, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Blaine is considered a top CPS school. So is Nettlehorst.

  • 229. concerned mom  |  June 13, 2013 at 10:51 am

    peter: thanks for info on Blaine… I liked the ratings, but the reviews I read on made them sound bad. Especially when it said the principal was under investigation for something and the lack of communication at the school.

  • 230. mom on a budget  |  June 13, 2013 at 10:53 am

    do they offer sliding scale payments for the full day programs

  • 231. Lillly's Dad  |  June 13, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Does anyone understand what is happening with the Burley program? I understand it is in question, and so was EVERYONE waitlisted or was anyone actually accepted? When will an outcome be determined?

  • 232. mom  |  June 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    are these waiting list for half day or the full day programs?

  • 233. Andersonville mom  |  June 13, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    This discussion is about the half day programs (actually 2 hrs & 40 mins)…the program that was formally known as Preschool for All.

    PS. we are waitlisted at Peirce…our neighborhood school. Any chance that waitlist will move?

  • 234. Even One More CPS Mom  |  June 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I would assume there is a chance all wait lists might possibly move some, considering that this next year some families will have to pay tuition (based on the sliding scale) and the late in the year nature of the application results. People may have already made commitments elsewhere.

  • 235. 60660  |  June 13, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    I think there will be a lot of movement in the Peirce preK list but how quickly or slowly depends on the school making the calls.
    Also if you can remain calm now and through the Summer spots will open in the Fall as kids don’t turn up, don’t stay in the program or choose private preK.. Just make sure of your spot on the waitlist and make sure the school knows you are interested.

  • 236. Finally  |  June 13, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    We got a spot at our second choice. The letter doesn’t say anything about the other two schools we applied to.
    I’m pretty sure a lot of people will turn their spot down when they will know how much they have to pay.

  • 237. Elliott Mason  |  June 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    mom on a budget @230: I can’t make blanket statements about every school, but of at least every school within two miles of my house, not a single one is offering full-day Pre-K.

  • 238. mom  |  June 13, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    my 4 year -old is painfully shy, but would really like to have a friend his age – I would love for him to become more comfortable around kids his age(it would save me from a lot of anxiety about fall/preschool) . We have tried group activities and daily trips to park. If anyone lives or plays in the Edgewater area and would like to help us out of his shy shell, we’d love to have a park playdate.

  • 239. Jocelyn  |  June 13, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I’m hoping people will start turning slots down. A good friend and I applied to the same schools. We got our first choice and she got waitlisted at all three schools! We are both in neighborhood at our first choices and make similar incomes – no idea why this happened to her and CPS couldn’t give any information about the waitlist.

    Oh – and if I needed something else to complain about, the registration forms that they tell us are supposed to be on the website, aren’t on the website yet and the assignment letter was also vague about the sliding scale!

  • 240. Christine Whitley  |  June 13, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    There are only 13 full-day TBPK programs city-wide and they are on a completely different application & selection process than Ready to Learn.

  • 241. Anna  |  June 14, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I received a placement for my child that is 13 miles from my home. Does location play any part here at all? We can’t possibly commute for half-day preschool!

  • 242. mom  |  June 14, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    @ 211 Jen:
    list of schools with spots still open.

  • 243. LSmom  |  June 14, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Surprised that some of those schools still have spots! I know many families with kids at Goethe pre-K and they all love it.

  • 244. ChiMom  |  June 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Yeah, I have a hard time believing all those schools actually have spots open since I applied to many of them last year (before this new process) and was waitlisted at many of them. Interesting.

  • 245. cpsobsessed  |  June 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    It could be they have spots in higher grades. Even many of the schools at the top of people’s lists are probably easy to get into for 6-8th grade. Classes can be bigger there and families move away over time, leaving openings. Would be nice if the list indicated that as well.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 246. LSmom  |  June 14, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    That link is under “Chicago: Ready to Learn! School-Based Preschool Applications” so it looks like they’re saying the spots are available for pre-K (guessing that there’s more spots because of the sliding scale and limiting people to three choices).

  • 247. cpsobsessed  |  June 14, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Ah, hmmm, well that IS intesting then. I assume the list will be in flux…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 248. spots  |  June 15, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Does Nettlehorst, Blaine or Bell give out of district preschool spots?

  • 249. j  |  June 17, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Anyone know what’s going on with Burley’s program? Went to register and they said the program is up in the air.

  • 250. Interested  |  June 17, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Did anyone accept at Pre-K 4 spot for their child this year at Inter-American? We just received a call this afternoon. Supposed to bring my child in for a “language assessment” on Wednesday. My head is spinning.

  • 251. Lilly's Dad  |  June 17, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    j – Did you actually receive an acceptance letter? We received a wait list response and the principal (Plocher) told us it could be a while before anyone moves gets an acceptance call.

  • 252. J  |  June 17, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Yes I did. Don’t think it means anything if program goes away.

  • 253. Beth  |  June 17, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    We accepted a spot at InterAmerican and registered there, the language assessment is nothing more than a few minute conversation a teacher will have with your child to make sure they are fluent in whatever you put on the application. I will be calling tomorrow to decline our spot because we got into our neighborhood school.

  • 254. cpsobsessed  |  June 17, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    On an unrelated note, I am thinking of switching to an iphone because my family is shaming me for my beloved Blackberry. Do people feel that it gets easier to type on? I tried one tonight and it auto-corrected CPSObsessed to “Clap Sesame.”

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 255. SN Dad  |  June 20, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Anyone got admitted and plan to pay $427/month for 2.5hr/day? My younger one got admitted. We learned that we are among the very few that have to pay anything and the school don’t have enough applicants to fill the seats. I guess the sliding-scale turned away many families.

  • 256. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 20, 2013 at 12:35 am

    Slide scale turned many families off bc of CPS experimental preschools/testing starting in the fall and bc that’s more than some private preschools for 1/2 day where it is fun, kids playing/learning and no testing. I would not advise CPS preschool. I would go to the park district or private, but not CPS~they are trying to make it so hard for little ones with testing.

  • 257. LSmom  |  June 20, 2013 at 6:01 am

    Are they really doing much testing for Pre-K? I’ve heard good things about CPS preschool, and I would choose it over the park district. I’ve found the secular privates (other than co-ops) to be more expensive than $427/month.

    That said, if I’m going to be paying anyway, I’ll stick with private preschool even if it is a little more expensive.

  • 258. LSmom  |  June 20, 2013 at 6:02 am

    I just saw upthread that they are doing more testing in pre-K next year, that is disappointing.

  • 259. ...seen it all....  |  June 20, 2013 at 10:24 am

    CPS pre-school is 425.00 a month-middle class family

  • 260. Working mommy of 2  |  June 20, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I’m no fan of testing, but at least this year at our CPS PFA I didn’t find it to be excessive. I think the only *test* they did was the REACH at the beginning and end of the year. I asked my 3-year-old if he took a test and he said, “No, I played with Ms. L and learned new stuff.” So it didn’t seem too hard on him.

    Then I know infrequently throughout the year they would break away with the teacher and try to count to 100 (she would stop them when they missed). That may have just been for the older kids who were getting ready for K, because only my older boy mentioned that. She would also pull them out occasionally to see what letters/numbers they knew and which they needed to work on. (Their mid- and end-of-year progress reports indicated how many of each they knew).

    But the learning was completely play-based — no flashcards or worksheets or anything like that.

    I haven’t heard anything about any additional tests for next year.

    What kind of tests are you hearing about, SoxSideIrish?

  • 261. PreK parent  |  June 20, 2013 at 11:16 am

    My sense about any school program is that you need to “follow the money”. If programs are being funding by federal and state dollars then the bureaucrats usually need to substantiate the program expenditure and that results in some level of validation or testing. It seems like this new Ready to Learn program is funding by more than one source, including Headstart monies. It feels as if they are combining all the requirements, standards, expectations, steps and details from all the different pre-k programs into one program.

  • 262. SNMommy  |  June 25, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    One of my sons went to Burr Pre-K and another one is currently enrolled in Burr’s Pre-K program. I was shocked to hear that they still have open slots for the 2013-2014 year, so if anyone is still looking for an amazing early childhood program, I would highly recommend Burr. Both of the Pre-K teachers are nationally board certified and use progressive methods like Positive Discipline and Responsive Classroom. My older son tested into Skinner North Kindergarten largely due to the incredible Pre-K teacher he had at Burr. I can’t recommend Burr highly enough. If anyone is interested in the program, you can contact Becky Gonzalez at

  • 263. PatientCPSMom  |  June 26, 2013 at 6:11 am

    Anyone still looking for seats? Ruben Salazar has openings for half day sliding scale with full day pay preschool. School is dual language and located at 160 W Wendell (across from Payton H.S.) 773-534-8310. Ms. Maria is amazing!

  • 264. cpsobsessed  |  July 4, 2013 at 4:50 am

    NYTimes article on Chicago’s new PreK program that now includes more private and religious schools as providers. It mentions how the funding is helping some of these schools provide smaller class sizes. Kids cannot participate in religious education while in the funded programs.

  • 265. mariamaria  |  July 5, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    I completed the registration with my 3 year old’s pre-k teacher at our neighborhood school. Older sister will be in Kindergarten there in the fall, and I’m very relieved to have the spot. I asked about the sliding scale, and how we would set up payment, and she said that “no one had given her any information on that.” For those of you who registered with the pre-k teacher, did you get information on who, how, and how much to pay?

  • 266. Elliott Mason  |  July 6, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    mariamaria @265: When you completed the application process, they should have been able to give you an estimated monthly payment at that time (based on the financials submitted then); that same number might have been in the packet your Pre-K teacher got. Mine had it, but maybe whoever was making up the packets for yours was less competent or organized?

    That said, there’s a tuition calculator on the website ( ) to give you a firm amount.. In theory, SMART Tuition is going to get in touch with us parents at some point after school IDs are assigned (and hopefully well before Aug 20th, when payment is due!) with how to set up an account on their site to make our payments.

  • 267. Pre School here we come  |  July 31, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Hi All,
    Has anyone heard from CPS or Smart Tuition about making arrangements for payment for RTL?

  • 268. Elliott Mason  |  July 31, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Still waiting. When I enrolled my kid for preschool, the teacher said that Smart would send us paper mail with our login codes, but that she didn’t have details yet — apparently the teachers were being given training about stuff like this … later. Haven’t heard back from her since.

  • 269. Pre School here we come  |  July 31, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    called the Early Child office of CPS – mailings for setting up Smart Tuition accounts are expected to be sent/rec’d next week. First payments are apparently due on the 20th. just fyi…

  • 270. Shonda brown  |  August 8, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I recently applied for a cps pre k program and I need a full time slot @ one of the child parent centers most of the programs are half day? They do have tuition free programs that are full day how is your child chosen.

  • 271. cpsobsessed  |  August 8, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    The tuition based preK tends to be first come, first served so you sign up the prior year and then they start a waiting list.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 272. Pre School here we come  |  August 12, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    So I contacted CPS OAE today to inquire about the SMART Tuition account set-ups…. as I haven’t rec’d any mailings.

    I was told that the mailings haven’t gone out… hmmmm… fyi. Please post if anyone has heard/rec’d differently.

  • 273. Preschool mom  |  August 16, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I’m still waiting
    As well

  • 274. Wondering  |  August 19, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I know this is early since this school year hasn’t even started yet but does anyone know what the process is for applying for 2014-2015 3 yr old preschool? Is it first come, first serve? Application online? Lottery? I’m wondering since I know the K application process is Oct-Dec. I just want to be ready. How does it work with the “new” system?

  • 275. Elliott Mason  |  August 19, 2013 at 11:00 am

    I don’t know that anyone really knows yet. If it was like THIS year there will be a system-wide application system set up where you pick 3 schools and there is some behind-the-scenes magic, and one (at most) school accepts you. This year it was in May; I doubt it’s going to be that late next year.

  • 276. Chicago School GPS  |  August 19, 2013 at 11:56 am

    CPS has different Preschool programs, but the top two that folks here know about are the “Tuition-Based PK (TBPK)” and the “Ready to Learn (formerly Preschool for All)”.

    All applications are typically submitted one year before starting (eligibility is 3 or 4 years old by Sept 1) but as @275 said, last year was an anomaly (hopefully).

    TBPK is first come, first serve; applications are submitted directly to the schools and can be submitted starting the first day of school (8/26/13 this year). Tuition for 2014-2015 is $12,220. The program is 10 hours a day running the dates CPS is in session.

    Preschool for All is either free or on a sliding tuition scale based on household income but is less than 3 hours a day, either AM or PM. It also only runs while CPS is in session.

    It’s definitely confusing and CPS’s website is no help at all. Anyone interested in learning all about Chicago preschools are invited to attend our upcoming Public & Private Chicago Preschool Primer.

  • 277. RP  |  August 20, 2013 at 11:57 am

    FInally got SMART tuition information from the school–they told me to call 888-868-8828–and they gave me the codes I needed to enroll online. However, schools have to approve online enrollments, so I can’t make a payment yet–and payments are due today, there’s a 1-day processing time, and a $25 late fee. Boo.

  • 278. anonymouse teacher  |  August 20, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    My school discovered the enrollment list they had and the one central office has for our school is quite different. Central Office sent a set of instructions, which our staff followed to the letter, but CO didn’t do what it was supposed to do, resulting in families getting acceptance letters who won’t be getting a spot at our school come Monday. I don’t know if this happened anywhere else, but at the school where I teach, its a disaster. CO entered incorrect phone numbers in several cases so families can’t even be reached and then they wanted our teacher to try and call the numbers that were correct to explain to families, 6 days out, why they don’t have a spot. She refused as she should have. What a mess.

  • 279. Elliott Mason  |  August 20, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I called the SMART number in @277, and apparently Belding school hasn’t done the data-entry to make accounts for ANY of the preschool parents yet — we’re not in SMART’s system at all. Bonus: we can’t be charged late fees, as the billing hasn’t billed us for this month. :->

  • 280. Pre School here we come  |  August 20, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    So I called Smart Tuition (thanks for the number above).
    They confirmed that our school (Peirce) was in their system.
    And provided the school code, which allowed me to fill out the online form.

    It looks like the first payment will be due on Sept. 20th – that’s what the payment schedule was listed as.

    Thanks, CPS … GL everyone!

  • 281. DZV  |  August 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Everything in CPS is a mess. What about all the PATs who went through the new REACH evaluation last year and were dismissed based on ratings that weren’t finalized? It’s now been put off for a third time, even though lay off letters stated these teachers would be reinstated if they came back “proficient”. CPS can’t even get that right. Guaranteed it will be months before anyone hears anything. PATs being thrown out like trash once again.

  • 282. Lilly's Dad  |  September 30, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    I still have not been contacted by CPS or Smart Tuition for my daughter’s RTL program…we were told to expect the max monthly cost. Anyone else out there waiting to be billed, pay or even contacted?

  • 283. worried teacher  |  October 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    I think it is very important for parents to be aware of a situation that is happening in some CPS preschools. According to state guidelines, preschools or daycares MUST have a 1:10 ratio when working with 3 and 4 year olds. I am not sure if this is a law or just a requirement. Anyways, parents should keep an eye out for what happens when the teacher’s assistant is sick (1 teacher 1 assistant and 20 kids is fine for the ratio). In some schools across the city (I personally know of 4), when the teacher’s aide is sick and or out for the day, the school does not hire a sub nor do they even try to do so. The teacher is alone with 20 three and four year olds all day. In one north side school, the teacher aide was absent an entire week. Their was no sub provided.
    I know I would be enraged if I found out this was happening in my kid’s classroom. The teachers will not say anything for fear of being fired. Parents, if you know the aide is absent, if you don’t see him or her, you need to ask if their is a sub for the aide. If not, go to the principal and ask why not. And then report to the state. The school can and should lose its license to operate a preschool program for such a serious violation.

  • 284. worried teacher  |  October 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    I meant “There was no sub provided”.

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  • 286. Pre-Konfused  |  November 13, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    I am confused about something and hoping someone here might have an answer. My neighborhood school (McPherson) once had Preschool for All and Head Start. About four(?) years ago they lost Preschool for All and then only offered Head Start. Now, with the change to Ready to Learn, if we do not qualify for Head Start programs, can we still apply to a school like McPherson? The woman I spoke to in the McPherson main office seemed to think that Head Start and Ready to Learn are now all rolled together into the same program (obviously with the variations in tuition based on income.) Is it true that what was Preschool for All and Head Start are now all rolled together for application? I am very confused as to which preschools I would want to consider applying my child to for next fall as it is not even clear on the site as to which schools offer the program I would want. I did go to the interactive program that supposedly shows schools offering what the user selects but I found it to be incorrect much of the time. It was telling me that schools which, confirmed by calls to their main office, only offer TBPK, do also offer part-time Ready to Learn…… Ravenswood. Now obviously if I applied to Ravenswood for part-time Ready to Learn, and they do not in fact even offer a part-time program, that would be a huge waste of an application spot. But, on the site it was telling me that I could apply to Ravenswood for part-time pre-k. Very frustrating that this is not more clear. Any clarification is appreciated!

  • 287. PreKMama  |  November 13, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    They don’t make it easy to understand. A lot changed from last year to this year. Schools closing and the new program created a lot of changes. My daughter was in a blended classroom last year at Trumbull, meaning there were a few special needs kids in the class. When it closed, McPhearson and McCutcheon started up the blended classroom this school year, I believe. There should be a list of which schools have ReadyToLearn program under the early childhood section on the CPS website. This year you would have been able to apply to McPhearson. I would assume the same would be true next year, but nothing is guaranteed to stay as is in CPS!!

  • 288. cpsobsessed  |  November 14, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Also I think coonley is/was (?) housing their prek at mcpherson.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 289. Pre-Konfused  |  November 14, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Thank you! What I am really confused about is that the site showed I would be able to apply to Ravenswood but when I called them was told they only offer TBPK. Oh Boy! Anyone know if the schools offer winter pre-k only tours or just as part of the regular all grades fall tours? So McPherson versus Chappell versus Peirce pre-k…….any feedback?

  • 290. Pre-Konfused  |  November 14, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Good to know about Coonley. Thank you!

  • 291. another pk.parent  |  November 14, 2013 at 4:03 am

    According to some of the ready to.learn pk teachers, head start is now combined with what was known as pk for all in the now named ready to learn sliding scale 1/2 day pk. Pierce’s pre-k’s are full at 20 each and they have a very very short wait list at the moment. Chappell’s were not even close to full. No idea about Mcpherson. I wouldn’t necessarily trust the info on the cps site the most current, but that’s me. And who knows from now til next schoor year what may be but what else is a parent to.go on. Every school.does their own thing in relation to tours. Hope that helps stir the pot of mud.

  • 292. PreKMama  |  November 14, 2013 at 9:27 am

    We ended up at Chappell this year for preK and love it. Both teachers are excellent.

  • 293. PreKMama  |  December 11, 2013 at 12:49 am

    So when is the Ready-To-Learn application due for 2014-15. That isn’t part of the 12/13 deadline, right?!? I don’t see anything online yet for preK. Just want to make sure I don’t screw this up…

  • 294. Chicago School GPS  |  December 11, 2013 at 1:15 am

    Ready to Learn is a whole separate process and not tied to CPSOAE’s 12/13/13 deadline. They are still digging out from the mess of their late spring roll-out, so it has been pretty quiet on the Ready to Learn front. I would say just keep watching the CPS webpage to see when they update it beyond last year’s info. (I also noticed they still have a tab to “Preschool for All”, which is now defunct.)

    If you have a 2 year old prior to 9/1/13, then you can apply to the CPS Montessori programs at Drummond, Suder & Mayer which start at 3 years old, and that IS part of CPSOAE’s application process.

  • 296. Pre-Konfused  |  February 4, 2014 at 12:10 am

    Does anyone happen to know when approximately the 1/2 day programs Ready to Learn application period will begin for the 2014-15 school year? I did see the above post from Chicago School GPS but am thinking that by now perhaps someone has a date? I keep checking the CPS web site but no updates there. Should I expect it not to be until April like last year? Thank you!

  • 297. Chicago School GPS  |  February 4, 2014 at 12:35 am

    We are looking out for the latest updates as well. We hope to hear something by our next Preschool Primer workshop date:

    Public & Private Chicago Preschool Primer
    Tuesday, February 25, 2014 @ 7-8:30PM
    Montessori Academy of Chicago
    131 N. Ada Street
    Free parking in attached lot at Ada & Washington

    Geared to New & Expectant Parents (and anyone interested) who want to learn:
    When should I start my preschool search?
    What should I look for in a preschool?
    What are the various types of preschools available?
    How do I determine “school fit” for a 2 year old?
    How do I maximize my chances for a successful acceptance?
    When should I think about making a change?
    What’s the difference between public and private preK?
    How do I best prepare my child for preschool?
    Q&A session
    Chicago School GPS can help you get started on the right path to maximize success on your family’s school journey.

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  • 299. Mayra Correa-vac.  |  February 14, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    I have also been inquiring about the application process for preschool. No one seems to know when the info will be updated on the ready to learn website. I have called the numbers on the website and they said the don’t know. Also, Does anyone know if we can tour the preschool classrooms at the schools we are interested in before we make the selections once the applications do become available? I don’t just want to select schools without knowing anything about the school, teachers, environment, etc. Thanks.

  • 300. LSmom  |  February 14, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    It’s a shame that CPS has made the preschool application process so confusing, especially now that they expect parents to pay for it. I would try calling the front office at schools that you’re especially interested in to see if you can have a tour.

  • 301. rebecca  |  February 27, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    A few schools have started announcing that ready to learn sites are opening… but on the cps website, it’s still all old info. anyone know what’s going on?

  • 302. olivia  |  February 27, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Our school handed out fliers and dates for registering. This seems to be the latest and greatest for Ready to Learn:

  • 303. Even One More CPS Mom  |  March 1, 2014 at 8:22 am

    CPS Early Learning Applications Now Available for SY 14-15. Applications can be submitted beginning this Monday, March 3. Also…
    “Applications for CPS school-based early childhood programs can be accessed by visiting, or can be picked up at a local elementary school or at one of 17 application sites throughout the city. Children who will be 3 years old by September 1, 2014 and reside in the city of Chicago are eligible to apply. All applications must be submitted in person at one of the 17 centralized application sites, or at local elementary schools on designated days. Proof of residency, income and the child’s age will be required with all applications. The deadline for submitting an application is April 11, 2014, and notification letters will be sent to parents in early May.”

  • 304. Another LaSalle II Mom  |  March 11, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    For anyone interested, I just read this on the LaSalle II web site, “On Saturday, March 29th at 11am we will hold an Open House for prospective PreK families and for families accepted through the lottery for 2014-2015.”

  • 305. Shaundra Smith  |  April 2, 2014 at 1:44 pm


    Does anyone know where I can get this “application modification form” to change the schools for the pre k application?

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