2014: SEES Gifted and Classical Letter Thread

March 21, 2014 at 3:11 pm 2,105 comments


OAE confirms the letters are mailing today.

Post your news about Gifted and Classical Elementary admission here.

If you’re willing to share, please include your:

Child’s Test Score
School they got into or didn’t get into based on that score
If that was your first choice

And.. anything else of interest you’d like to share.  Angst, happiness, concern, questions.  We are here to answer them!


Entry filed under: Applying to schools.

STEM in CPS (Guest post by Caroline Pollock Bilicki) 2014: Academic Center Letters and Intl Gifted Programs

2,105 Comments Add your own

  • 1. LEC  |  March 21, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    How to they always mail the letters when I’m out of town?

  • 2. LynnJ  |  March 21, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    We have horrible mail delivery. I hope I get the letter tomorrow. My fingers have been crossed for weeks.

  • 3. MamaBlue  |  March 21, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    I’m sure mail carriers love this time of year. All of those eyes…parents peering out from behind the blinds, trying to pretend they aren’t going to tear the front door off to get to the mailbox as soon as the mail lands and the carrier has turned his back. The screams of joy and relief, mixed with heartbroken sobs echoing through the air as they try to complete their routes. The angry stares they must face the next day if “the letter” didn’t arrive on day one. The desperation on the faces of those who had to wait all through Sunday and cling to the hope that it has arrived by Monday. Oh the HORROR!!!

    Hopefully this isn’t reality, but after talking to lots of parents (and after being honest with myself about my own level of obsession), I fear it is.

    Good luck to all! I hope everyone gets what is best for their child (myself included!)

  • 4. olivia  |  March 21, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    subscribing – anyone looking for Pre-K – we have loved our 2 years at Solomon Elem. on the NW side.

  • 5. GiftedAndClassicalMom  |  March 21, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Maybe Superman will show up this year. Crossing our fingers for our first choice this time.

  • 6. realchicagomama  |  March 21, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Subscribing, although I don’t have any skin in this game.

  • 7. Chicago School GPS  |  March 22, 2014 at 6:55 am

    FYI- the Classical score report will list two percentile scores (reading and math) with the highest possible being 99.9%. Typically scores below 80% don’t receive offers.
    The RGC reports one numerical score, as high as 160 for K, 150 for 1st-8th, and typically scores lower than 115 don’t receive offers.

    Anyone looking for answers about “What’s Next? Decisions After Notifications: Elementary Edition” should come join us on 3/31/14 at 7PM at Metropolitan Schoolhouse. http://www.chischoolgps.com/CSG_ES_What_s_Next_.html

    Good luck to all!

  • 8. LynnJ  |  March 22, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Thanks for that break down Chicago School GPS

  • 9. Chicago School GPS  |  March 22, 2014 at 7:29 am

    @8, you’re welcome! There are also typically open houses during the 2-3 week window before first round acceptances are due. While we by no means have an exhaustive list, we do list what we know about on our CSG Calendar: http://www.chischoolgps.com/Calendar.php
    Always call a school to confirm or ask if they have an open house coming up.

  • 10. JLM  |  March 22, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I believe the 80th percentile for Classical and 115 for RGC are minimum qualifying scores, similar to minimum requirements to sit for the SEHS test. Scores for those actually admitted are much higher. I believe Tier 4 last year required a 146 for first round admittance to Coonley, eventually going down to 144 by the later rounds (for K). Pritzker was lower, but I don’t think it went below somewhere in the 130s for tier 4 K admittance.

  • 11. hyde park mom  |  March 22, 2014 at 11:33 am


  • 12. JustGuessing  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I’m guessing they only mailed out Magnet letters today and SEES an AC letters won’t be mailed out until next week. They never get those letters out as fast as the Magnet letters. More waiting for everyone, thanks CPS.

  • 13. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    @12: Nope, CPSO confirmed with OAE yesterday that all letters (AC, Magnet and SEES) were indeed mailed yesterday. Now, it’s in the hands of the notoriously slow USPS.

  • 14. Scanpennett  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    As a former CPS Central Office employee I can honestly say that “getting the letters out” on a certain day means everyone worked well into the night and dropped them at the post office or mailroom at 10pm. I think Monday will be the earliest anyone gets their letters. I could be wrong – they may have had the letters ready Thursday and delivered to the post office by Friday. Does anyone on here work in the Office of Selective Enrollment that can say when they officially “went out”?

  • 15. Scanpennett  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    *correction – Office of Access and Enrollment

  • 16. hyde park mom  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    After stalking him,he handed me two letters ,one for each twin.,,My hubbie opened them,he told me to go to target.I went reluctantly..The verdict is,got offered Disney I and Ray.Neither were my ranked top choices,but im relieved,they wont be seperated as they r twins.Im leaning towards Disney not Ray.Any info on Disney I? I hope they bus…Whats difference btwn Disney I and II?

  • 17. hyde park mom  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    My hubby said letters didnt list any test scores,isnt it supposed to?now im wondering if cps goofed up,we applied for SEES also..

  • 18. Even One More CPS Mom  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    @17 hyde park mom. The SEES letters should arrive separate from the lottery letters. You may receive those on Monday. Disney and Ray are lottery.

  • 19. hyde park mom  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Ok,thnx,didnt know sees letters r seperate.Theres still hope for Edison!honestly,I am happy with the lottery,twins go to ray prek now and heard good things about Disney…

  • 20. Dunning Mom  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I think they only bus if you live between 1.5 – 6 miles from the school.

  • 21. hp  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    @ Hyde park mom… No, they are separate letters. We got ours on sperate days two years ago.

  • 22. cpsobsessed  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:23 pm


    Regional Gifted Centers: Students must live more than 1.5 miles from the school in order to receive transportation service to Regional Gifted Centers (with the exception of Carnegie, which provides transportation to students living between 3900 South and 7500 South, from Lake Shore Drive to the city limits; Coonley, which provides transportation to students living between 900 North and the North city limits, from Lake Shore Drive to the West city limits; and South Loop, which provides transportation to students living between 900 North and 3900 South, from Lake Shore Drive to the city limits).

    • Classical School transportation service: Transportation is provided to Classical School students who reside more than 1.5 miles from the school and within the boundaries identified below:

    Decatur: from North City Limits to Fullerton Avenue (2400 North)

    Skinner West: from West Fullerton Ave. (2400 North) to Pershing Road (3900 South)

    Skinner North: from Foster Ave. (5200 North) to Cermak Road (2200 South)

    McDade: from Pershing Road (3900 South) to 106th St. South

    Poe: from 71st St. South to South City Limits

    • Academic Centers and International Gifted Programs: Transportation is provided to students who live more than 1.5 miles from the school. Students must get to a designated pick-up location.

    Transportation is provided to students with disabilities if the IEP or 504 Plan requires it; for information, contact the Office of Special Education and Supports at (773) 553-1800. Transportation may also be provided to homeless students upon enrollment; for information, contact the Office of Educational Support for Students in Temporary Living Situations at (773) 553-2242.

    Please note: Due to the extreme budgetary pressures facing the District, the Board of Education will be reviewing all transportation policies to determine its ability to fund ongoing programs including those related to magnet, gifted, and selective enrollment programs as well as many others throughout the District for the 2013-2014 school year.

  • 23. Even One More CPS Mom  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    @hyde park mom. The initial thoughts that come to mind about Disney I versus Disney II. There are many significant differences including size of schools, location, demographics, principal leadership styles, Disney I has busing while Disney II does not… There are many more differences, I am sure. Be sure you attend the tours for the schools you were accepted to. It really helps to visit the schools. Check their web sites for dates and if nothing is there call the main offices to ask when a tour will be held for families offered via lottery. Also, being you live in Hyde Park, you may want to confirm that you do live within busing boundaries for Disney I before you make a final decision. Good luck!

  • 24. LynnJ  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    I visited Disney 1 and 2. Disney 1 was huge and had a lot of kids. I remember the pod style and it was very noisy and great diversity. Disney 2 in my book did not wow me although lots of parents rave about it. Saw very little diversity.

  • 25. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I recently met a mom who has two kids at Disney I. They seem to like it there; however, the pod style would definitely not work for my son. He’d get too distracted. I’d recommend a school visit in this particular case.

  • 26. Even One More CPS Mom  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I will say one thing to consider, Disney I does have a Comprehensive Gifted Program. If you feel your children may need more academic challenge but do not get into a SEES school, that can be a nice option. They would be tested for the program before school starts.

  • 27. LynnJ  |  March 22, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Hyde park mom post those results on the magnet thread.

  • 28. LostInTranslation  |  March 22, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Here we go… Good luck, all!

  • 29. jlp  |  March 22, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    For what it’s worth: the mail has arrived, and no SEES letter (we are in the suburbs though).

  • 30. PD  |  March 22, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Jlp, Are suburbanites allowed to apply for CPS selective enrollment? Genuinely curious, I didn’t realize that was the case.

  • 31. CPS Mom  |  March 22, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    I would definitely recommend a school visit for Disney I. My daughter went there for K; we left for our neighborhood school after that. Her teacher was a real gem, but the general atmosphere wasn’t for her. (There were many that year who left after K; several are now together again at academic centers….)

  • 32. fjm  |  March 22, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Anybody have input/experience about the # on the waitlist for these magnet schools and probability (or not) of getting in? A number in the 100s I’m guessing is “fat chance” but…#16? 26?

  • 33. jlp  |  March 22, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    @PD (30): Anyone can apply – you do not need to live in Chicago, or in Illinois, or in the U.S., for that matter. To apply, all you have to do is submit the form and have your kid show up for testing. However, to actually enroll in a school, you have to have a Chicago address by July 1.

    As an aside, we have been ridiculed for living in the suburbs and trying to get IN to CPS, including by someone who works in CPS….

  • 34. 2nd grade parent  |  March 22, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    fjm, depends on the school.

  • 35. MOM  |  March 22, 2014 at 8:47 pm


  • 36. Melpom  |  March 22, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Received magnet letter today. No SEES/SE/AC/IB letter (applying for 7th grade). Got #2 at Coonley (sib preference, daughter is in gifted there, soon-to-be 7th grader is leaving Decatur) and #2 at Nettlehorst. I’d really love to have my kids in one school, if only for 2 years of their lives. Hopefully a Coonley kid or two will take an AC spot or we will get gifted. Sigh… Neighborhood school is Gale. Not happening. Offers at 3 mediocre schools (Courtenay, Breneman, Chappell).

  • 37. schoolstress  |  March 22, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    My kid was so close last year with tier 3-143, but never got an offer. I can’t believe I’m putting myself through this again! I know the chances of getting a spot for 1st grade are so slim…but let’s all keep our fingers crossed.

  • 38. Skinner North Mom  |  March 23, 2014 at 2:53 pm


  • 39. LynnJ  |  March 23, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    I cannot remember if this was asked but can you get more than 1 SEES offer? And if I pass on a sees that has been offered could I possibly get a call for another if my scores were high enough in the second round?

  • 40. Adad  |  March 23, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    I believe you only get one offer, for your first choice you listed in the application (or more down the list if you didn’t get into your first, second, and so on)

  • 41. Even One More CPS Mom  |  March 23, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    LynnJ – you only get one SEES offer at a time. If you accept, you are removed from the pools for the other SEES schools and will not receive any subsequent offers. If you decline, you stay in the pools for the other SEES schools and could potentially receive another offer in following rounds if scores are high enough but will only receive one offer at a time.

  • 42. AE  |  March 23, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Do we know for sure that letters went out on Friday? OAE website now reads that letters will go out “starting” on March 21st.

  • 43. Fjm  |  March 23, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    We got our magnet letter on Saturday with only wait list statuses. We understood from reading here that any scores would be mailed in a separate letter next week.

  • 44. cpsobsessed  |  March 23, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    I’d venture to guess that they went out too late for the mail distribution as no SEES letters have shown up yet.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 45. maman  |  March 23, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Subscribing. Best of luck to everyone!

  • 46. susanagrawal  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:57 am

    I received an email this morning from Skinner North accepting my daughter for Kindy. Have not received the letter yet. It was our first choice—my son is there as well. I’m thrilled! And very happy to give other kids our 2 magnet offers!

  • 47. jlp  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:29 am

    I also received an email this morning from Skinner North, our first choice, for a K spot. We’re Tier 3.

    No mail yet, of course, but I’m assuming we will see the letter with scores later today or tomorrow. Will update when we get it.

  • 48. hyde park mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I hope all the schools are emailing parents…..

  • 49. Just heard  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:32 am

    we also got the email from Skinner North. our older son got in there last year. The older son stayed at his magnet school. I think his younger brother will too. Will find out later this afternoon what the scores were when the letters arrive.

  • 50. MamaBlue  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Got an email from Skinner North this morning that our son got in!! So excited! Will post scores etc. when the mail arrives.

  • 51. LSmom  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Last year, it was just Skinner North that sent emails. Congratulations!

  • 52. Even One More CPS Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Congrats to the SN families!!! So nice they send out emails.

  • 53. Gina DeConti  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Received a letter for magnet school status (waitlisted for Disney). Is that the only letter we will receive or will we get one for gifted/classical too? Was confused that I didn’t see any test scores. Thank you for feedback. First time kindergarten mom here.

  • 54. SNmom  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:02 am

    jlp, does this mean you’ll be moving to Chicago so that your child can attend Skinner? Just curious because I know lot’s of people who leave because of CPS schools but have never heard of someone moving into Chicago for the schools.

  • 55. LynnJ  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Okay, so far looks like all the Skinnner North emails seemed to go out to parents who have siblings there. congrats to you all.

  • 56. LynnJ  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:05 am

    @ Gina DeConti, you will get a separate letter for the SEES results. The magnet letters were received by most on Saturday. There is also a thread for the magnet discussion.

  • 57. SNmom  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:06 am

    jlp, also curious how the tiers work if you’re outside of Chicago. Does CPS assign tiers to all suburbs outside of Chicago as well?

  • 58. IP Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:09 am

    We got the e-mail from Skinner North as well, and a follow-up phone call this morning. I’m happy to get such a personal touch from the school! I am weighing accepting the SN offer against a magnet school, where my younger child has a possibility of attending also, so it’s encouraging to hear of other families with multiple children who were accepted into SN.

  • 59. Scanpennett  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Skinner North was our 1st choice and no e-mail. 😦

  • 60. LynnJ  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Same here @scanpennett at least I now know not to expect an offer from Skinner North. At this point, I’m praying my child tested well to get a seat at any of the other schools I listed!

  • 61. mylittlepeony  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Subscribing on pins and needles!

  • 62. Fingers Crossed  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Wanting to follow the thread

  • 63. RG  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:17 am


  • 64. hyde park mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:18 am

    I saw mailman on my block just now,but couldnt wait like I did on Saturday.As soon as I get home and check,ill post if I got the LETTER…

  • 65. BridgeportMom  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:19 am


  • 66. Adad  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:20 am

    If you can’t wait for the mail you can always call the school and find out. I did but didn’t get in…maybe next year. Now waiting to see the score

  • 67. MamaBlue  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:25 am

    I really hope that everyone gets a school they are happy with. I wish you all the best of luck! Especially LynnJ and HydeParkMom. You have both been very helpful and supportive in these past several months and I really appreciate it. Keeping my fingers crossed for your little ones!

  • 68. LynnJ  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:27 am

    @Adad part of me wants to wait on the letter and share the experience with my husband. Calling the school is a good idea, but I think that may rob him of this experience! It indeed has been a process for us all.

  • 69. northwest side mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Got our letter today. Our daughter scored 144 and didn’t get into Edison. We are in Tier 4.

  • 70. Letter  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Just received the letter.

    Tier 3 – offered Decatur, entering 5th grade.
    Reading: 99
    Math: 99
    Not sure whether we will accept the offer.. Also curiously, the letter listed total score point for AC and International Gifted Programs: 559.. Since our child is currently in 4th grade, why does CPS calculate the total point score for AC? Any explanation, parents?

  • 71. LynnJ  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:36 am

    @letter congrats on the offer from Decatur.

  • 72. mel  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:39 am

    skinner north was out first choice, no email or call

  • 73. Wiktoria  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:40 am

    69…what grade?

  • 74. Kate Cabral  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:42 am


    I’m following the elementary magnet thread, too. We’re waiting for the SEES letter, hopefully it’ll be in the mailbox when we get home later today.

    Our ranking (for K) was:

    1. National Teachers Academy
    2. Skinner West
    3. Pritzker
    4. Skinner North
    5. Lenart
    6. McDade

    We’re on the south side (McKinley Park) and got offers from Gunsaulus, Pritzker (magnet cluster), and Burr. We were very much hoping for Jackson, Stem or Sheridan. Got waitlisted for those but are under #80 for each so maybe there’s a chance??? God only knows, lol.

    Good luck to all!!

  • 75. Letter  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Lynn – Thank you!

    Another question: how did the CPS office calculate my child’s total score point? My child had earned all As in third grade, and Isat scores were in the high 90s, so how did the cps office get 559?

  • 76. LynnJ  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:59 am

    @Kate Cabral

    My rankings are somewhat similar to yours:

    Skinner North
    Skinner West
    Pritzker (because of distance)

    In hindsight I would have ranked them this way:
    Skinner West
    Skinner North

  • 77. TimeForADoOver  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    This is seriously my least favorite day of the year, ughhh. Last year I went into this process with a solid back-up plan and low expectations for SEES (odds for tier 4 are especially unpromising); however, it still stung like a b*tch when my son’s scores for K came back much lower than expected. I’m trying my darnest not to get my hopes up this year either. It’s super-duper hard, though! Just know that if you don’t get an offer, it’ll still work out for you and your family someway or another. I’ve always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

  • 78. momof3boys  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    @75, i dont think they take in account the test score. i believe theyre only, grades and isat scores.

  • 79. Jennifer  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    We got an email that my son was accepted to Skinner North this morning. This was our first choice and we are Tier 4. We are thrilled and will accept! We also haven’t received the letter yet.

  • 80. hyde park mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    No letter,ahh! I saw the mailman and I was hoping….now im worried, winder if it got lost..as iI type this im on hold with OAE.Next step,im calling post office.This is insane.Good luck everyone,especially those who truly need to get into a good school ….sigh.

  • 81. Isa Asi  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Test Score calculation

    The selection process for the International Gifted Programs and Academic Centers is based on a point system, with a maximum of 900 points. The final point score balances the admissions exam results with standardized test scores and final classroom grades. The score consists of:
    The admissions exam (33 1/3% or 300 points)
    Prior year’s reading comprehension and total math standardized test results (33 1/3% or 300 points)
    Prior year’s reading, math, science and social studies grades (33 1/3% or 300 points)
    A rubric showing how the points are allotted for each of these three areas can be found on this website. Click “Programs,” followed by “Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools” and “The Point System.”

  • 82. Anusara  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    @Jennifer, congratulations!! We listed Skinner north as our first rank too! but never got email!!!! how was his performance on the test day? again congrats!

  • 83. Mom of three  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm


  • 84. jlp  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    @hyde park mom: I wish all the schools emailed parents too. I suspect, however, that SN does it because their principal is simply that on top of things. (Otoh, I’ve been impressed with him starting with the open house, so maybe that is just my bias.)

    @SNmom: Yes, and many think we are crazy. To be clear, we have multiple reasons for moving into the city. But we also haven’t found any school in the suburbs that looked like it would have the peer group for our son that we could find in the gifted/classical schools. (If anyone wants to point me at a similar school in the suburbs, for Kindergarten, I’m all ears….) And honestly, if the class size at SN were smaller, I would have no reservations about the school at all.

    Apparently CPS does assign Tiers for people outside the city (I did not know this until recently). Still based on census data, just like neighborhoods within Chicago.

    This is such a difficult, grueling process for parents. Best of luck to everyone who is still waiting to hear!

  • 85. LynnJ  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Jennifer cannot post scores yet because she got an email. No letter yet. I’m sure she will when she gets the letter. I saw other parents above mentioning the same.

  • 86. Letter  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    @78 – I thought so too, but I am still “surprised” of the low score (559/600) since the kid’s Isat scores were in the 97/8 percentile.. Sigh, kiss the AC good bye!:)

    Good luck, all!

  • 87. Anusara  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks LynnJ! I also want to know how Jennifer’s son did on the test day too, means after he got of the room, was it easy for him, he can answer all question, something like that too.

  • 88. Second try  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Just received the letter. Entering 1st grade, Tier 4, score 141. Offered a seat at Bell. I would appreciate any feedback about the school. Good luck to everyone!

  • 89. Just Saying  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    @jlp — Not to throw a wrench in your plans, but I’ve recently heard a few horror stories firsthand about Skinner North. If you haven’t already, I suggest doing a little digging and talking to current parents in the lower grades before relocating your family to the city.

  • 90. Jennifer  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    @87 My son was in the room for an hour and 20 minutes. I was getting worried because he had the stomach flu and the proctor said he had to leave 3 times to use the bathroom. He told me that it was pretty easy and that he had to read some sentences towards the end that included a fill in the blank. I was surprised because I didn’t know that was part of the exam. He is able to read at about a 3rd grade level so this was easy for him. He doesn’t get nervous when testing and had some practice taking similar tests at Goddard preschool. They do NWEA testing for PreK. This is good practice.

  • 91. SNmom  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    @jlp, my daughter has been at Skinner North for K-2nd. Don’t let the class size scare you. The teachers are amazing and really make it work. They use a method of instruction where they divide the kids into 3 groups (pairs, solo and small group of 10-12 kids) this gives the teacher the opportunity to work with smaller groups. It is a wonderful school and partly because of a really supportive and progressive principal. And, I think it’s great that you’re thinking to move into the city. It really has some amazing opportunities for families. Good luck!

  • 92. LS Mom of 3  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Got our SEES letter just now (so, yes they are coming) …

    1st grade / Tier 4 / Score 129
    (different test than for K spots – was a 143 for kindergarten last year – got a late summer offer for Pritzker, no other offers)

    Offer at Bell

    Would prefer Coonley w/sister – so please post accepts to Coonley / tier 4 / grade 1


  • 93. LynnJ  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    @Jennifer, we did practice tests for Iowa, CogAT, OLSAT, NNAT. Didn’t think to cycle through NWEA! Rats!

  • 94. CPS Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    @HydeParkMom: last year the delivery dates ranged from 1 day after (Saturday) through 1 week (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) after. We had a friend who had to call because they didn’t have it a week after. So It all depends on the post office. (And I’m glad that we fell right in the middle last year….. 🙂 )

  • 95. Anusara  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    @Jennifer, thanks a lot for sharing the information 🙂 best of luck to you and your son!

  • 96. Urban Mommy  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Just Saying — can you elaborate a little on your comment so we have a better sense of the issues and know what to ask current SN parents? “not to throw a wrench in your plans, but I’ve recently heard a few horror stories firsthand about Skinner North. If you haven’t already, I suggest doing a little digging and talking to current parents in the lower grades before relocating your family to the city.”

    We are debating SN vs. private.

  • 97. 1st Grader at Bell  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    @88 and 92
    Our child is 1st grade at Bell this year, and we love the program. Deep, rich learning–lots of field trips, experiments and explorations. And the 1st grade teacher really gets the each child’s strengths and weaknesses (academic, social, etc) and has helped our whole family a lot. Definitely take the offered tour, but if you have specific questions, I can try to answer. Good luck with your decision!

  • 98. Woodhead  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    My 1st grader to be:

    Gifted center score: 119
    Reading 97%
    Math 80% (It was 99% last year??)

    is there any hope?

  • 99. karet  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Sounds like “Just Saying” wants a spot at Skinner North and is trying to motivate people turn down spots! Nice try. It’s a wonderful school. Congratulations to jlp and the others. We are happy to welcome you!

  • 100. sandyoct  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    That is scary!! May I know what are the horror stories you have heard? Something abt drugs?

  • 101. Stacey  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    I’m not sure which tier we are, I think 2. Applying for 1st, score of 101. Offered decatur. Unsure if we’ll accept or not.

    What is the highest score for 1st grade?

  • 102. Now a Coonley mom?  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Tier 4 accepted at Coonley with a 149. I’m shaking…

  • 103. Just Saying  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Urban Mommy — I hesitate to go into too much detail, but there was an incident last year that resulted in the “suspension” of 5 young boys. These disciplinary issues, of course, could be isolated to this particular classroom. (The problem children have since been split up.) It’s worth asking around about. Good luck in your decision!

  • 104. Isa Asi  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Going into 3rd Grade

    no offers
    Regional Gifted score:119
    reading percentile: 95
    Math percentile: 99

  • 105. mel  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    @99 LMAO

  • 106. Urban Mommy  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Thank you. That helps. I have a sense about what to ask. Skinner North is obviously a great school but we all have different kids who may have different needs. What is great for some students may not be for others, even high achieving kids. Thus, its more helpful to know why someone has concerns or glowing reviews….

  • 107. Abs784  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    We are at SN in k, and Decatur in 1st. We tried to get them in the same school but no dice.
    Tier 4, 1st grader 99 reading 98 math. K 99 reading 97 math. Oh well we are super happy with both schools but for logistical purposes it would’ve been nice! Good luck everyone!

  • 108. Curious  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    For people posting first grade scores, did you see a drop from K scores?

    I’ve only heard great things about Skinner North.

  • 109. Cps mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    @ jlp… My child has been at skinner north for 2years. She loves it…. We love it! Congrats! There is a bit of homework… But, my daughter “likes” it… It takes about 10-15 minutes per day… Nothing crazy… Good luck in your decision…

  • 110. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    My annual POV on schools and horror stories: I know of families who have left pretty much every school in the city for one reason or another (both public and the best privates.) Certain people will have issues with certain teachers/admin/etc due to lack of fit.

  • 111. TimeForADoOver  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    @107: Your kids got great scores! Did they get offers, just not where you wanted?

  • 112. Urban Mommy  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    ABS 784 — if you found someone in K who wants to switch would CPS let you? I have friends who moved since October and now what schools in a different location than they ranked. If you look at the comments above, you can see that some people wished they had ranked differently. If you find someone at Decatur K who wants to switch for SN, I don’t see why CPS would not let you.

  • 113. rpmom  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    K out of 160
    1st + out of 150

    My daughter scored 139 for K and 126 for 1st. We were T2 and received no offers. Haven’t received our letter for this year yet…

  • 114. cps mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    My child got 115 and 95th in reading and 96th in math – any chance at any SEES late in the summer or are these number just way too off?

  • 115. Applying to SEES  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    @110, I know what you’re saying is true but that doesn’t mean there aren’t situations that are of particular concern, either in general or for certain types of kids. It’s quite something to hand your kid off to one teacher for the whole year.

    There really are some teachers that are not-so-great, either as a fit for certain kinds of kids or for most kids. There are many great teachers too, of course.

  • 116. SN Dad  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    @107 Isn’t it amazing what the city does to us? It’s like they read a Kafka novel and took it as a how-to manual. . . .

  • 117. wondering  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    @101 – Stacey. What was your child’s classical scores?

  • 118. JB  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    We are tier 3. Scores are reading 91% and math 93%. Anyone know if our scores are too low for tier 3? Any chance we could get a spot later during the summer?

  • 119. Abs784  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    @111- they did not get any offers. @112- I know! We were saying the same thing, but no, CPS does not allow trading! @116- too true! But when all is said and done, both kids are really happy w/ their schools, we are happy too, and they are both obviously learning a lot, hence the great score! It’s just the division of resources- for fundraising, volunteering etc. etc. that would have been nice to have just at one place rather than having to split it up- not to mention parent teacher conferences at 2 places the same day! 🙂

  • 120. sonomom  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Just got our letters for K and 7th grade (AC) next year.

    For K, no offers. My daughter scored a 134 on the gifted and 79% in reading and 85% in math for the classical test.

    We applied to Skinner North, NTA and Skinner West.

    With a 134 do you think there’s any chance for a second or third round shot at NTA?

  • 121. sonomom  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Forgot to say on post 120 above that we are Tier 3.

  • 122. logan sq dad  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    128 for first grade. Tier 4. Accepted to Beaubien.

  • 123. TimeForADoOver  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    @119: Oh, wow. Competition must have been extra fierce this year, which doesn’t bode well for us 😦

  • 124. Lax  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Tier 4
    Classical Reading 82 & Math 99
    RGC 130

    Of course No offers.

    I thought she is better at reading than Math.
    I have one question , If I move towards Bell neighbourhood by the month of August and apply then, Is it possible to get a seat for Kindergarten or will they put her in waitlist.

    some answers would be nice;


  • 125. surprised NW side mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Just got our letter for to-be 1st grader (tier 4):

    Gifted: 123
    Reading: 99
    Math: 98

    Offered Beaubien. Still in shock. I’m not sure what we will do, as we are in a fantastic neighborhood school, and had planned to send both my kids there next year.

  • 126. trice  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I don’t know my score (at work). I got an email from Skinner West saying that we were accepted. Tier 4 (Beverly). I’m a little nervous about the size of the school. My high school was half the size of Skinner West.

  • 127. trice  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Okay, I should have said, “I don’t know my child’s score.” That was really bad. LOL!!!!

  • 128. WorkingMommyof2  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Abs784, it could still happen over the summer. Did your schools already find out how many kids are leaving the program for next year? Our RGC hasn’t asked families yet, so I can’t imagine there are too many upper-grade offers already.

    Maybe you’ll get a call later in the summer or even the first week of school. Happened that way for a friend of mine this year — her older child switched from Classical to her younger child’s RGC the second week of school.

  • 129. definetly obsessed  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Curiosity got the best of me, and I ran home at lunch time….to find an empty mailbox. uuurrggghhh

  • 130. LSmom  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Tier 3
    RGC: 121 (down from 141 last year)
    99 (Reading) 80 (Math)

    Offer at Bell

    It was our first choice, we will probably accept but hesitating a little because of sibling logistics.

  • 131. Jones2  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    @124 If you MOVE INTO not just “towards” any neighborhood school boundary…your child will have a spot in the neighborhood program.

  • 132. cps mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    @Trice – LOL. This has become so personal in a way for many of us parents even though it is our child who took the test and each will end up where they are meant to be…what’s going to happen when they are applying for college? 🙂

  • 133. Urban Mommy  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    126 — are you sure its Skinner West, and not Skinner North. Anyone else get emails from Skinner West?

  • 134. Mom2Three  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Tier 3
    Math/Reading: 99%

    Offered a spot for 3rd grade at Skinner North

  • 135. Gennatay  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Anyone from Tier 1 get a letter. So far all I see are 3’s and 4’s

  • 136. curious  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Now that mail is arriving (not just e-mail) can anyone that received an acceptance letter from Skinner North comment on their child’s test scores?

  • 137. curious  |  March 24, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    sorry – I see them being posted now.

  • 138. LEC  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    If your child hasn’t yet taken the AC test, are they only counting the ISAT/MAP & grades and giving a 0 for the test component?

  • 139. Norwood  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    First Grade, Tier 4, applied to Bell and Coonley.

    Score 139, accepted at Bell.

    His brother is already Bell (now 3rd grade). I’ve been worrying about this for the last 3 years.

    For those wondering about Bell, the school is fantastic. The workload is heavy, but my son really likes school. The parents are really great and we help each other on homework.

  • 140. mel  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    3400 kids tested for k this year, anyone know how many spots there are?

  • 141. forever_mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I just got an email offer from skinner west, for Kinder. Tier3. It seems we are the only one got email from skinner west? It seems others all got emails from skinner north. strange.

  • 142. MomWebb  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    I received an email and a phone call early this morning from Skinner North for acceptance to kindergarten. It was our first choice. We are very excited! I don’t know his scores because I haven’t seen the letter. We are tier 3, logan square.
    I had him tested a year ago at Northwestern University for the CTD program, back then he was reading at a 3rd grade level and math at K8th month level and 97th percentile IQ. He’s been in CTD camps and Saturday classes ever since. He was fine on test day at IIT, but all he knew was that he was going to go play games and puzzles with a teacher and he thought it was fun.
    Good luck to everyone!

  • 143. mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    @140 – Only 3400 kids took the K test for RGC/Classical this year? I thought the number was much higher, no? Can anyone confirm the numbers?

  • 144. disappointed once again  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Twins for K
    Tier 3
    RGC. 115 no offer. 144 offered Pritzker last choice
    Classical 99R/88M no offer. 99R/88M no offer

    No magnet offers. Will have to stay at current magnet that I’m not too happy with right now.

  • 145. TimeForADoOver  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Am I correct that there haven’t been any classical school offers for 1st grade posted yet? I’m seeing lots of high classical scores and only RGC offers…

  • 146. @nu$#@  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    At work and refreshing my gmail is just getting traumatic by the minute. Curbing my curiosity to run home lest I find an empty mailbox…Skinner West neighborhood it is I guess. I should count my blessings now and be thankful that we have a good neighborhood option unlike many others!

  • 147. MomofMany  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Any chance for a child entering 6th to get a seat at Skinner North in later rounds? Tier 4. Scores: Reading 99, Math 99

  • 148. SR  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Tier 3, K

    RGC 140; 85R/98M – no offers.

    Older sib is at Coonley, and we were hoping against all odds that they could go to school together. Curious to see what others’ scores are and the likely cut off.

  • 149. Coonley Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Entering 4th grade
    Gifted score: 145
    Classical 99/99
    Accepted to Skinner North
    #1 on Sibling Waiting list at Coonley
    Our 1st choice is Coonley. Trying to figure out what chance we would have getting into Coonley??? Feeling lucky we have some options but stressed about making the right one. Good luck everyone.

  • 150. Coonley Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Sorry, forgot to mention we are Tier 4.

  • 151. Christine  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Coonley mom, we left Skinner North, pulled my daughter out of 3rd grade since we’re moving to California. Glad I could help by leaving you that opening for 4th grade!

  • 152. VMG in Ravenswood  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Tier 3, K, 133, no offers, only applied to Coonley & Edison. Knew it would be a L O N G shot.

  • 153. Coonley Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Thanks Christine, good luck in CA-we lived in LA for 9 years and loved it! I almost remember what the sun looks like:)

  • 154. rpmom  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    No expectations. No offers.

    Tier 2
    Entering 3rd
    109 (not sure what happened here…down from 126 LY and 139 the prior year)
    95R / 59M (eek, she’s a straight A student in our neighborhood school, which is clearly the right fit for her :))

    Tier 2
    Entering K
    92R / 81M

    Good luck everyone!

  • 155. CPSMom  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    RGC Score: 142. Offered 1st Choice of NTA. Now I need to decide if the drive is worth it!

  • 156. LVMom  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    I also didn’t have high expectations but expected higher than this! I’m not seeing many low scores posted on here but I’ll post my daughter’s scores for some variety! 😦 Feeling pretty disappointed.

    4th grade
    Tier 4
    RGC :84
    Classical Reading: 69, Math: 84

  • 157. vamama  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm


  • 158. momof3boys  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Skinner West

    declining tho

  • 159. momof3boys  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    we rec’d an email from skinner as well

  • 160. PREP Chicago  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    What grade and tier CPSMom?

  • 161. in Bridgeport  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Tier 4, 144
    math 98, reading 89
    offered Lenart

    Does anyone have a child at Lenart? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  • 162. WorkingMommyof2  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Tier 4
    Entering K

    RGC: 118
    Classical: 94R, 99M

    No offers, only applied to Coonley, Edison and Skinner North. Happy with our neighborhood school so away he goes. 🙂

    I am stunned that he did better on Classical than RGC. The results should come with a video of the session (like the running-red-light tickets do!). Then maybe this would all make more sense.

  • 163. Carla  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    @161 My daughter started at Lenart it is a nice school. She goes to Keller now. The bus worked out perfectly for us as we are in the Bridgeport area as well.

  • 164. in Bridgeport  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    @155 CPSmom
    Do you mind sharing your tier? Thanks

  • 165. Ellen  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    For Kindergarten. Tier 4, RGC 102 Classical reading 79 Math 88. No offers. In a good neighborhood school, so not terribly disappointed.

  • 166. CPSMom  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    @ 160 Grade K, Tier 4

  • 167. in Bridgeport  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    @163 Thanks Carla. How did you find parent involvement and after school options at Lenart? I thought I’d read past posts stating these were negatives at this school. Were there other kids from the Bridgeport area on the bus?

  • 168. Mom2Three  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    On the CPSobessed forums, why isn’t there a SE school section? Would love to talk specifics about SEES.

  • 169. Sara  |  March 24, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Tier 4
    RGC 137
    No offers
    was hoping Coonley as sib is there

  • 170. Carla  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    @167 Yes, their will be other kids from the Bridgeport area on the bus. They had a pick up at Holden and McClellan school. When we were there the parent involvement was not as good as I hear it is now. They have a new parent group which seems to have added a lot of different events happening at the school. I am not sure about the afterschool programs. I think they started a program with JCC. We didn’t need afterschool as I was able to pick up my daughter from the bus stop.

  • 171. Mamabear  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Daughter got accepted via email/call into Skinner North this morning. Still waiting on letter. I heard there was no spots available for 1st grade yet at SN. I assume people will not drop out until these scores are in hand. My son is at Edison but really want both of them in same school. Can anyone compare Edison vs Skinner North?

  • 172. LynnJ  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    waiting for someone to report on T3 offers for NTA. Don’t I’ve seen this yet. Thanks.

  • 173. decisions  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Any feedback on Ogden IB for 6th grader?

  • 174. reenie  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Tier 2
    RCG score 133
    Classical R98/M91

    Offered Carnegie.

    Unlikely we’ll take it. Any Carnegie intel out there?(Last I heard was from friends who had the only white kid there 10 years ago. They moved to Keller for grade 1.) Bummed we didn’t get NTA. Any chance on a second round?

  • 175. prepchicagoblog  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Received a call from OAE. Anyone who has applied to South Loop will receive notification in a separate letter. Got an acceptance for South Loop for 7th grade, Tier 3 , score 130.

  • 176. Midway Dad  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Tier 4 last year
    RGC 127
    Offered K @NTA on August 15, 2013

  • 177. Pritzker Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    1st grade
    130 / Tier 4
    Offered Pritzker (and definitely taking it!)

    So excited to have my kids at the same school!!!!!

  • 178. very relieved  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Tier 4
    99.9% reading, >99.9% math.
    Accepted at Skinner West (1st choice).
    He got no magnet offers(also shut out of S.W. sibling lottery), so we are very relieved hell be joining his sister. We did get an email also. Good luck to everyone who didn’t get the best news, there’s always lots of movement on the wait lists.

  • 179. Deni  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Finally got my letters just now. No offers. We are tier 4 and my daughter scored:
    129 for RGC
    Reading 90%
    Math 96%
    We only applied to the two Skinners and to Pritzker RGC due to locations. Our neighborhood school is Ogden so it’s not so bad but I really liked Skinner North and was hoping.

  • 180. mel  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    will a 136 in tier 4 get us into pritzker?
    i see a tier 3 got in with a 144

  • 181. Deni  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    That was for Kindergarten.

  • 182. waitinggame2014  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Received an email offer from Edison, but don’t know which kid it’s for (have yet to check mail).

  • 183. chimom1920  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Tier 3
    Entering K
    94 Reading, 97 math

    in at Beasley RGC… also in at Pritzker Neighborhood and #2 on Chopin. Not sure what we will do

  • 184. prepchicagoblog  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    @174. My daugther is at Carnegie now and I personally wouldn’t accept it. You can email me privately at prepchicago@gmail.com

  • 185. MamaBlue  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Tier 3
    Applying for K

    RGC 129 (I’m shocked..thought he’d do better on that part than classical)
    Classical Reading: >99.9 Math 98

    Offered Skinner North and will be accepting.

    Our order was

    Skinner North
    Skinner West

    We couldn’t decide between Edison and Skinner North as our #1, but ultimately just randomly decided to go with Edison. My husband and I agreed we’d be thrilled with either. Obviously RGCs are out for us now anyway!
    We were very impressed with Skinner North at the open house in the fall and feel like it will be a great fit. You can always find both good and bad reviews about anything. I think (hope) it will work out well. Now we just have to figure out this whole busing situation!

  • 186. Less Obsessed, I Guess  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Tier 4
    Entering K
    RGC >160
    Classical 99,98

    Edison – accepting

  • 187. KS  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Hello. I just found out that there are no spots available for the 1st grade in Skinner North at all. No 1st graders were accepted yet since no current kindergarteners notified of leaving. Still a possibility for later on this Spring/Fall, but will not be this week…

  • 188. NorthCenterMom  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Entering K, Tier 4
    Coonley is our neighborhood school so we only applied to Coonley RGC. My child got a 145 and did not get in, but we will be there in the neighborhood program anyway. Good luck to all and thanks for posting your info!

  • 189. 4atcps  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Entering grade 1
    Tier 4
    R99 M98
    Accepted at Decatur
    Decatur the only school we put on the application. Love our neighborhood school.

  • 190. Skinner North times 2  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Got my kid’s scores now. Offered (and will accept) Skinner North.

    We are Tier 2 for Kindergarten.
    Gifted – 134
    Classical – 95 reading, 97 math

    I think she must have just squeaked in because we are Tier 2

  • 191. mylittlepeony  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Hyperventilating a bit over here …

    Tier 3
    Edison (first choice)

    Received offer and definitely accepting. 🙂 Will most likely be moving closer to school so we can walk it. Best of luck that everyone’s school options work out!

  • 192. TwoChickens  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Tier 4, 1st Grade
    RGC 127
    98R, 98M
    Offer Pritzker

    Here’s a question: Would you choose Coonley neighborhood program over Pritzker Gifted?

  • 193. Cautiously Optimistic?!  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    Tier 4, Kindergarten
    RGC 140
    no offers

    applied to:

    any thoughts on likelihood of getting an offer?

  • 194. kicking myself  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    No offers – applied to Skinner North, Decatur and Skinner West
    Tier 4
    Applying for K

    Classical Scores: – Reading 99.7 and Math 82

    I was worried about the math since he can only add/subtract using his fingers or whole numbers (eg. 80+20). He is always asking but, I’m afraid to teach him because of the new core curriculum (don’t want to goof him up). We should have done a test prep for the math.

    Neighborhood is Lincoln but, it’s not Skinner North. 😦

  • 195. reenie  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Thanks Midway Dad and, 184, I will email you.

  • 196. Pritzker Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    @192 TwoChickens, A lot depends on your kid. If you think he/she is ready to be academically challenged, I’d opt for Pritzker. My daughter is in 3rd grade there and loves it – we’ve also been happy with the school.

    My son was also accepted into 1st grade. We will be accepting (as soon as the form finishes scanning). Lincoln is our Neighborhood school.

  • 197. MomofMany  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    decision, Did your child get into 6th grade IB at Ogden? Would you mind posting tier/score?

  • 198. misty  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Tier 2 – 1st grade

    Reading 98 Math 98

    accepted to Poe

  • 199. WorkingMommyof2  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    @188. NorthCenterMom, you have a decent shot at a Coonley K offer at the end of the summer. Coonley got to 144 for this year’s K class.

  • 200. cpsdadofthree  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    just got a text and call from my wife.

    tier 3, K
    146 RGC; 77 reading, 97 math
    Offered Pritzker

    our preference was: SN, Edison, Coonley, Pritzker, SW, Decatur

    Pritzker RGC parents, please comment about the program, good and bad, thanks!

  • 201. waiting_to_go_ home  |  March 24, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    are all RCG and classical schools sending emails or just a few of them?

  • 202. Christine  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Only a few of them.

  • 203. TwoChickens  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks for the feedback Pritzker Mom! I only put Pritzker on the list at the last minute, so I know absolutely nothing about the school!
    Could you comment on the Fine Arts Programming at the school? My daughter is a talented musician and this is extremely important to us. Thanks again!

  • 204. reenie  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    @ 155 CPS mom, what was your tier, if you don’t mind saying?

  • 205. Lowery  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Got the letter today.
    Tier 4
    Applied to K
    RGC: 133
    Classical: Reading 98; Math 98
    NOT selected for Coonley or Edison
    NOT selected for Decatur
    Maybe good enough for round two??

  • 206. Mom of twins 2  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    1st grade bound
    Offer at Keller – 128 tier 3
    Reading: 98%
    Math: 98%

  • 207. So close  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Applying for First Grade:

    99 reading, 97 math

    Applied to Decatur and SN. No offers. Fingers crossed for future rounds. Not sure if I’m being too optimistic … ???

  • 208. decisions  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Tier 1
    Offer Ogden

  • 209. jlp  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    @Just Saying: Thanks for the heads up. We are moving for multiple reasons, so that’s unlikely to change, but I do like to have as much information as possible.

    @SNmom & @Cps mom, I’m heartened to hear you’ve had such positive experiences at SN. I’d love to talk to you – and @karet (and anyone else who’s interested!) – further about SN, if you’d be willing. You can reach me at jlpmain at gmail dot com.

    Our mail still has not arrived, so no test scores yet.

  • 210. NWmom  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Tier 4, 1st graded
    Reading: 99 Math 98
    Gifted : 123
    Offered Beaubien
    our first choice was Decatur. I see 189. 4atcps got a place in Decatur, same grade, same tier, same scores…I wonder, if we were to turn down Beaubien would we have a chance at Decatur…?

  • 211. cpsdadofthree  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    would also be interested in hearing feedback about having multiple kids at multiple SEES schools. Our first son is at SN and we have been offered a spot at Pritzker for our second son. Let me know about any families in similar situations and any advice you may have.

  • 212. Midway Dad  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    @206 did you test last year? And would you Mind saying K score and what type of K is child in now?(RGC, classical??)

  • 213. Agnes  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    This was my first time entering the CPS ‘lottery’, my kids (current 4th grader, kindergardener) have both been at Lab school in Hyde Park since they started school. The kindergartener was not offered anything (Classical: 99 percentile in reading and a 57 percentile math–this was very strange to me as he is far better at math than reading!, RGC 101), the 4th grader was 97/97 on the Classical test and 131 on RGC, and was offered a place at Decatur.

    I would appreciate any advice or thoughts on whether we should send him to Decatur. I am very impressed with the school from what I can glean from the internet, and we do feel that he has been insufficiently challenged at Lab. On the other hand (we live in the south side) it will be one hell of a commute, no transport offered from where we live. Also, I’m a bit worried about him entering in the 5th grade, not having done any Latin yet (though I know Latin so I can help him when the time comes). And we would be giving up our spot at Lab. And moving our kids into 2 different schools, since I gather with the younger one’s math score there is no chance of him eventually being accepted at Decatur in a later round. I want to visit the school, not sure how possible this is at this point. (Can I just show up and walk around?)

    It’s a lot to think about, and we only have about 2 weeks to decide! Any advice or comments would be welcome.


  • 214. Cody  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    K, tier 3
    classical: read 87, math 95

  • 215. Cody  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Sorry, no offers

  • 216. 6thgrademom  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Regional gifted 116
    classical Reading 92 Math 99
    tier 4
    No acceptances for child heading into 4th grade

  • 217. 60660  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Entering 4th Grade:147 – offer to Bell, likely decline.
    Entering 2nd Grade: 135 – offer to Beaubien, will decline
    Entering K: 122 – trying again next year!

  • 218. Mom of Twins Too  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    @212, Last year he scored a 118 for RGC, 98 in Reading and a 71 in math. My thought is that he was just not as focused last year. His twin sister got into McDade last year. I ended up finding a neighborhood school (not my neighborhood) that i thought was decent. However, their scores dropped and are now on Probation.

  • 219. XX  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Offered at Bell

    Applied for 1st Grade

    RGC (K-4): 139
    Reading (K-8): 97
    Math (K-8): 97

  • 220. LearningCPS  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    @Agnes – Decatur typically does a tour for accepted parents sometime between the offers and the acceptance deadline. Look for an e-mail from the school about it to come from the school in the next few days or so. We are only in K there, so I can’t speak to what the experience would be for a new 5th grader, but our daughter is very happy there and overall we have been pleased with our experience this year.

  • 221. Hopeful  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Entering 6th grade
    Tier 4 (altho I don’t think it matters for beyond entry level)
    Scores: Reading 91%; Math 99%
    Gifted: 141
    No offers from Skinner N., Bell, Coonley, Edison
    Obviously there are few spots available in the 6th grade but I’m curious for those of you with older kids if a 141 is a possible second round offer???

  • 222. schoolstress  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Nothing in the mail for us! Why!? This torture will never end!

  • 223. momof3boys  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    @Agnes, You do realize that Decatur only goes up to 6th grade and you will have to do this all over again in 2yrs. Just my opinion, but there is no way I would travel from Hyde Park to practically Lincolnwood. i moan & groan about my 1/2mile commute…. i guess you would really have to love the school to want to do all that driving.

  • 224. Pritzker Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    @TwoChickens –

    The gifted kids have both music and art each week.

    The school as a whole puts on two shows – for which kids in both the Fine Arts program and the gifted program can audition. The K and first grade students learn songs from one of the shows in music class and can be in the chorus without an audition and also without committing to a serious rehearsal schedule (usually only 3 or 4 rehearsals right before the show).

    They also have a relationship with the Chicago Children’s Choir and kids in both the gift and FA program are able to audition for that as well.

    In addition, there are a wealth of before and after school activities – some arts related, some not.

    Feel free to contact me at lezrol (a) yahoo (dot) com

  • 225. RogersPark Mama  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    SEES/AC letter today. Offers for Lane AC and Skinner West. Will turn down SW and take Lane.

    Rising 7th, Tier 3
    149 Gifted
    90% Reading, 99% Math

  • 226. Midway Dad  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks mom of twins too

  • 227. 60660  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    There will only be a handful of spots (if even that) between those 4 schools for 6thG and they will probably go to kids with outlandish scores. You have a fantastic shot at a 7thG spot at one of those schools or an AC

  • 228. noseyposey  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    @rogers park mom, just curious (dd is rising 1st so a long way off,lol) what was your offspring’s ac score? thanks

  • 229. LynnJ  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Cody, what schools did you apply to?

  • 230. GiftedAndClassicalMom  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    YAYYYYY!!! First Grade Keller Here We Come!! 120 and 98R, 90M

  • 231. jlp  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Mail just came:

    Tier 3
    Applying for K
    99.9 Reading; 99.5 Math
    Offered Skinner North
    SN was our first choice

  • 232. Agnes  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    momof3boys and LearningCPS, thanks very much for your responses– I do know it only goes through 6th, and that is part of why we are hesitant to give up our spot at Lab. On the other hand I guess I feel ok doing this again in 2 years–indeed, the fact that I’d only be committing to the commute for 2 years is kind of a plus!
    It is good to hear of a good experience, and of the tour. I was going to call tomorrow about touring but I will hold off and wait for the email.

    Any others have experiences with Decatur to report, especially in grades 3-6? I’d really love to gauge how behind he will be coming in in the 5th grade.

  • 233. RogersPark Mama  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    SEES/AC letter today. Offers for Lane AC and Skinner West. Will turn down SW and take Lane.

    Rising 7th, Tier 3
    149 Gifted
    90% Reading, 99% Math

  • 234. Amy  |  March 24, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Just a quick perspective for anyone who is hoping for a 1st grade spot at NTA’s RGC. When I toured a couple of months ago, the gifted teacher told me there was only one spot open for the first grade gifted class, since all but one of the kindergarten students were moving up. Totally possible that other spots will open up if some of the current kindergarteners end up moving to other schools after this year’s CPS letters, but just wanted to put that out there.

  • 235. Mamabear  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Mail finally got here.
    Tier 4
    Entering K
    R:99.9, M:99.8 Offered and will accept SN.
    Entering 1st Grade:
    R:99, M:99 No offers from SN. He’s currently in Edison.
    I’m hoping for a spot to open up at SN but we are happy either way.
    Good luck everyone!

  • 236. Mommy-of-1  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Tier 4
    Entering 1st

    RGC 132
    Math 99
    Reading 99

    Accepted to Keller!!!!!!

  • 237. Finding some humor.  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Has anyone considered starting a new blog called CPS Depressed?

  • 238. SNmom  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    @cpsdadofthree, I have a 2nd grader at Skinner North and a Kindegartener at Pritzker would be happy to talk with you.

  • 239. LynnJ  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    @237 LOL. I agree.

  • 240. schoolstress  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    So sad…
    1st grade
    RGC: 102 (last year 143!!!)
    Classical: reading 99 math 90
    This is such a huge disappointment! I dont understand how my child can drop from 143 to 102! Thats from the 99th percentile to the 50th! Sick to my stomach!

  • 241. CPSMom  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    @ 204, we are Tier 4. Accepted @ NTA with 142, Kinder.

  • 242. Bowmanville parent  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Tier 4
    RGC 128
    Classical reading 77 math 88
    No offers obviously!

  • 243. K's Dad  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:10 pm


    Welcome to Keller!!!. We’re already buzzing among ourselves about how to welcome you properly. We’ll make ourselves to answer your questions and offer our services.

  • 244. Beth in HP  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Applying for K
    Tier 4
    RGC: 145
    Classical Reading: 99.8; Classical Math: 91

    Offered a spot at Lenart, which was our first choice.

    I know many families in Hyde Park who really love Lenart, but I’m not sure that we will accept. We love our little neighborhood school, (Bret Harte) but would love to attract more families from the area. Walking to school is wonderful and the school has lots going for it. If you are in the Harte attendance area or are a southsider on Harte’s wait list, I’d love to chat with you about some great things we have going on at Harte. The principal, Mrs. Parks, is great and is happy to schedule tours for prospective families. You can contact her at sparks@cps.edu. Others have mentioned on this blog that it wouldn’t take much for a few of us “obsessed” parents to band together and turn around a neighborhood school in our area. The great thing about Harte is that it doesn’t need to be turned around-it’s already going in the right direction! What is does need is more support from the community and a more active parent group, and both of those things are already in the works. Please let me know if you’re interested and would like to hear more. Looking forward to the south side forum!

  • 245. cpsdadofthree  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    @SNmom, contact me at neelinator@gmail.com or provide your email address. Our son at SN is in 2nd as well (Christl). Thanks!

  • 246. Wend  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    DD’s RGC score last year: 120
    DD’s RGC score THIS year: 105

    Do many kids drop this much with scores from to year? Insight?

    Disappointed…had the perfect sibling plan and no chance of that happening now. Have a couple good magnet options but the distance is daunting.

  • 247. @240  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Hugs to you @240! My kids scores dropped to. This year my kid came in at 2% for reading (1st grade). Last year qualified for Gifted and Classical. WTFknows.

  • 248. Mom of twins 2  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    K’s Dad,

    Would you be willing to answer a few of my questions? My prior post was #206.
    My email address is medley.monique00@gmail.com.

  • 249. Sara in Hyde Park  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    Tier 3
    RGC 141
    Classical reading 88, math 75 (I didn’t know I was supposed to “prep” her for the test, LOL)

    Offered at Carnegie. This is great because it’s super close and my daughter has friends there , but I was getting excited about NTA after reading some of the above comments…

    How do the spots work in RGCs? Is it still possible that we’ll get a call from another RGC, even though there’s no wait list here? Or would I have to decline Carnegie in order for that to happen?

  • 251. LSS  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Tier 4
    RGC 144
    No offers

  • 252. K's Dad  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Mommy of Twins-2,

    Thanks for posting. I’ll write you now. I’m so sorry that I didn’t welcome you and GiftedandClassicalMom. I left work at 4pm and missed your posts.

    I’m glad you persisted to write me first. You’ll fit right in at Keller with that approach. Look out for my e-mail.

    GiftedandClassicalMom—_Congratulations! Yes, it is still a dream school.

  • 253. Jami  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    My Autistic son who has an IEP scored as followed
    RGC 99
    Reading 99.5%
    Math 66%

    Obviously his scores in Math is what kicked him out of the system to be accepted to a Classical school, but my question is…Aren’t the cutoff scores a little lower for kiddos with IEP’s? Not familiar with this process. We barely decided to get him tested in October and then he was tested in December. Not much time to prepare or review. Any comments would be appreciated.

  • 254. Keller PTA Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    @mom of twins 2; mom-of-1; and GiftdedAndClassicalMom.

    Welcome to Keller. Although my son has been at Keller three years I am still CPS Obsessed. This site is where I met almost 1/2 of my sons class before school began. We would like to invite you all to Keller’s Annual Bunny Breakfast. It is this Saturday the 29th from 8:30 am to 11:00am. The cost is $4 and payable at the door. Also check out the website at Keller.cps.k12.il.us. We have been here three years and have loved every minute of it. Keller is a family. Welcome again. You will not be disappointed.

  • 255. IEP  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    253. For SE Elementary schools, CPS provides accommodations and does not lower the cutoff score and does not have any type of targets for entrance. At the elementary level, plenty of kids in the SEES have IEPs without CPS having to do anything but provide accommodations.

  • 256. Mom of twins 2  |  March 24, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Thanks you so much for the warm welcome. Unfortunately, I am at a conference this weekend and will not be able to make it on Saturday.

  • 257. Just a Suggestion  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    @CPS Obsessed

    Is it okay to ask everybody to add ‘child’s age’ with tier and score?

    Thank you!

  • 258. Portage Park/Dunning_MOM  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Very sad and upset right now. My daughter went from RGC 135 (kinder) to 101(1st) and Classical 97% (math-k), 92% (reading-k) to 80% (math-1st) 82% (reading-1st). I feel she did good but I believe that her current school is not stimulating her mind and challenging her as they should. My daughters homework is super easy for her and many times she does it on her own reading directions and all. I usually go buy workbooks and go through them with her at the kinder and 1st grade level. My niece who is 4 months older goes to LaSalle II and gets sheets of sight words that she is tested on and so on, where my daughter gets only a few here and there but never tested, very frustrating!! I am so very happy that she got offered Norwood Park from the magnet lottery and hopes that all the reviews and survey I’ve found are untrue. Sorry for the ranting. I am very proud of her and will continue focusing on her education. There is always next year. Can anyone suggest some workbooks that I can get to work with her in the future? Congrats to all with offers.

  • 259. Portage Park/Dunning_MOM  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Tier 3 age 5.

  • 260. Jami  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    My son is 5 entering K next year and has an IEP
    RGC 99
    Reading 99.5%
    Math 66%

  • 261. Jami  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Tier 4

  • 262. Decatur  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    232. Agnes.

    First, to answer your specific question – not an issue to transfer to Decatur in 5th grade. Decatur typically has turnover in every class, every year so Latin teacher has plenty of experience helping students catch up. Students don’t have any trouble catching up unless they have some kind of language based issue. Students even transfer in for 6th grade and do well.

    Secondly, I would want to know why you are even considering going to Decatur and leaving Lab? What is the impetus for considering a move at all?

    Finally, not knowing the impetus for a move, I would advise staying at Lab if there is no burning reason to leave Lab (like trying to save money or something like that). Decatur is a great school, but not great enough to warrant that kind of commute (unless you really want to leave Lab for some reason; or if you were coming from a horrible school, then it would be worth it). You may be wiling to do it but it will wear on your child and hinder study time for that all important 6th grade. Better to stay put and work hard in 6th grade to get into an AC.

    Good luck with your decision!

  • 263. Midway Dad  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    1st grade RGC 113
    No offer, does anyone know if they dip below 115 in later rounds? It states on the back of the letter RGC range is 115-150.

  • 264. parent  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    @258, @schoolstress: my kid had a similar drop — went from 142 last year (K) to 103 this year (1st). In the few years I’ve followed this blog I’ve never noticed people saying this before. What day did your kids test?

  • 265. RGC Test Drop  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    For 1st Grade Parents – it has been well documented on this blog that RGC test scores drastically drop from the Kindergarten year to the 1st grade year. I tried to find the thread on this data from previous years.

    Kindergarten RGC scores tend to be significantly higher across the board than 1st grade RGC scores. Disappointing for those who test for 1st grade who are hoping for the same score, but it is the reality for most.

    The drop that has been reported by 1st grade parents above, is pretty normal.

  • 266. Fingers Crossed  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    They do not go below the 115 cutoff score. My son had 112 last year. I called OAE and I was told no.

  • 267. JeffPark 60630  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    No Offers 😦
    Tier 4
    RGC 126
    Reading 94
    Math 90

    Good luck to every one.

  • 268. RGC Test Drop  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Also, can someone find the thread on the drop in RGC scores from K to 1st grade? It was back in 2012-13. I was unable to find it.

  • 269. LPMomof3  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Tier 4
    Current kinder: 98 R, 98 M – no offer
    Current 2nd: 84 R, 84 M – no offer

    We are at a fabulous neighborhood school and only applied to SN and Decatur hedging our bets in case of budget cuts to our current program.

    Surprised 98×2 didn’t get an offer, but we are Tier 4, so, yeah. Not looking forward to STEM and SEHS process when it really counts. Totally buying property in Tier 1 before that, and I’m only kidding a little bit.

  • 270. Portage Park/Dunning_MOM  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    @264 the 25th of Jan for RGC and 1st of feb for Classical.

  • 271. PD  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Oh man –

    Last year for K Tier 4 –
    95% – Math
    90% – Reading
    No offers

    This year for 1st –
    56% – Math
    64%- Reading

    WTF? Should I have my 6-year-old drug tested too? Has anyone else experienced a drop like this? Looking for some reassurance. Yuck.

  • 272. Impromptu  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    @264@schooldistress – Unfortunately, I have seen many children with high K scores dropped dramatically when applying for 1st. Perhaps due to different testing format or simply these tests are unreliable…

  • 273. LSmom  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    There was some discussion of it on last year’s SE thread — https://cpsobsessed.com/2013/03/22/2013-sees-gifted-and-classical-letter-thread/

    I think the group/fill-in-the-bubble format is what causes the scores to drop from K to 1.

  • 274. Anusara  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    @269 Are you applying for your 1st and 3rd grade! I got confused by current kinder and 2nd grade.

  • 275. Portage Park/Dunning_MOM  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    @268 RGC Test Drop. I understand that the test scores drop but when you see that your child is going through her homework that is suppose to be completed in a week and she is finishing in an 2 hour span and she doesn’t even need you to sound out any words from the directions because she is reading it as if they are the alphabet it can be frustrating to see the scores. Especially when you know other students are being tested on things in their school that your child is not.

  • 276. South Loop Dad  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    We are Tier 4, applying for K

    RGC 153
    Classical 76R and 86M

    Accepted at NTA RGC.

  • 277. Momof2  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Tier 4

    RGC 129
    R: 92; M: 97

    No offers

  • 278. kicking myself  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    @Jami – My son’s scores are similar to your son’s:
    5 and entering K next year he has an IEP and HFA (formerly known as aspergers)
    Tier 4
    Reading 99.7
    Math 82
    no offers with the math score being so low

    I feel your pain. His reading is 5th grade and math they said was at 1st – 2nd grade level. He just really hates tests. 🙂

    His IEP did put language arts pull-out on his IEP so that might be an option at your neighborhood school. Our therapist say he is going to be really bored/frustrated at school again next year so they pushed us to test for classical. We are considering applying to the Chicago K12 Virtual School (homeschool with 1 day a week in the building). We need to research it a little more but, as I understand it they offer accelerated materials where needed. You can also request that they do 1/2 day on their IEP and supplement at home. I really need/want to go back to work but, it doesn’t look like that will be happening for a while. ASD kids have amazing talents that don’t show on a standard test (music, memory etc.) – don’t let the scores get you down.

  • 279. AG  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Tier 4
    R: 96 M:99
    No offers

  • 280. Jennifer  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    We got our letter. Tier 4- 99.8 R and 98 Math. 140 RGC. Got an offer for Skinner North Kindergarten and will accept.

  • 281. allymom  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Applied for K: Tier 3
    Classical Score: Reading 99.9 Math 99.6
    Offered first choice: Skinner North

  • 282. trice  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    Kindergarten. Tier 4

    RGC. 131…. Don’t get that score. I would say she’s more gifted than classical.. No gifted Offers

    Reading 99.8. Math 97

    Offer Skinner West. Deciding btn CPS or St. Barnabas

  • 283. RGC Test Drop  |  March 24, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    273. Thanks for posting the thread. It has many, many parents posting about the drop from in scores from K to 1st grade. Here is a copy of what one of the Educational Consultants posted about the drop. Plus testing at this age is not really reliable. Most Ed Psychologists recommend waiting to 3rd grade or higher to test for true giftedness.

    • 324. Christine Whitley | March 25, 2013 at 3:36 pm
    Also remember that the testing method for 1st is quite different from how they test for K. For Kindergarten, the session is 1:1 and the child doesn’t have to read or write. For 1st and up, the test is in a group and it’s more of a “fill in the bubble with the right answer” type test, read by a proctor. Might not be a kind of testing that any current kindergartner has ever experienced.

  • 284. Proud Mama  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    We listed two classical schools for 1st grade. We did not have high hopes, because K scores were very disappointing (so low that SEES schools would not consider DD). But, incoming MAP scores were incredibly high (DD is doing well in accelerated reading and math at her neighborhood school). So, we tried again. No offers. Why proud? Reading percentile improved 13 points. Math percentile improved 3 points. This year, DD is at least SEES-eligible.

    Happy that DD’s scores better reflect her skills. Disgusted with the disparity in testing.

  • 285. Tier2Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Anyone know any Tier 2 scores?

  • 286. SL parent  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    entering 2nd grade. 125 gifted offered NTA
    reading 96 math 96..no offers for classical.

  • 287. K  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Got the letter today.
    Tier 4
    Applied to K
    RGC: 144
    Classical: Reading 98; Math 98
    No offers. Womp womb

  • 288. w  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    1st grade, Tier 2

    RGC: 112
    Reading: 83
    Math: 90

    no offers

  • 289. Norwood  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    @258. portage park/Dunning_MOM
    Good question about what to do with a bright kid at an average school. I’ve had my son doing a page of math each day from Every Day math 1 or 2 grade levels up, and 2 or 3 pages a week from Vocabulary Workshop in the off season, and test prep books (at least Building Thinking Skills) during test prep season. Plus a stack of books from the library. A year goes by and 10 or 15 minutes a day adds up. I think the test prep books were the most academically rewarding because they require the most thought and teach general academic skills. It’s a shame this is only tested once a year and not taught formally.

  • 290. Southmom  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Tier 2
    RGC: 139
    Classical: R83 M66
    Offered NTA

    Any feedback on NTA

  • 291. Mommy-of-1  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    @ K’s Dad and Keller PTA Mom


  • 292. 2cents  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Sorry just have to say that, as an educator, worksheets are not the answer. If you want to supplement at home that’s great but make it effective instruction. Take a home school approach, just on a smaller scale.

  • 293. reenie  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    133 wasn’t enough for a 1st round offer Tier 2 at NTA.

  • 294. Impromptu  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Entering 2nd grade, Tier 3
    RGC : 135
    Classical: R – 96, M – 98

    No offer, but happy with the current school.

  • 295. Angelo  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Entering 2nd grade, Tier 4
    RGC only: 136
    No offer

  • 296. epb2009  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    RCG 137 (classical below 80 for some reason). Is there any shot at Pritzker?

  • 297. parent  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Our test was at the end of November. The drop in scores was so significant I wondered if they skipped a page or something! It’s a real shock to go from missing a spot at Edison or Coonley by a couple of points one year, to scoring so low that you aren’t even eligible for a RGC the next year. Especially, as you say, when your kid is one of the most advanced kids in their K class. If this is a pattern among some kids, it does seem to point to a problem with the test. (Just my opinion, of course!)

  • 298. Fjm  |  March 24, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Tier 2 RGC 135, 83/81 reading and math. No offers.

  • 299. Fjm  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Forgot to add grade: K

  • 300. RGC Test Drop  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    I looked at the back of the SEES letter and it even states that for Kindergarten, scores begin as high as 160 but for 1st-8th grade they only begin as high as 150. So from the beginning, OAE knows that the RGC test scores drop after Kindergarten.

  • 301. confused  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    How do they determine the tier? Where your child lives on the date of application or when your child takes the test (i.e. in split family situations)? What if the child moves in with the other parent after the test date? Thanks!

  • 302. A.N.PritzkerMom  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    @twochickens an Options education at Pritzker definitely outweighs a neighborhood classroom at Coonley. Expectations and curriculum are accelerated. @cpsdadofthree We are thrilled with the Options education at Pritzker.

  • 303. LynnJ  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Received letter today. No offers T3. Congrats to everyone who got offers!

  • 304. South Loop Dad  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    We all know that NTA is an improving school that will be great very soon. But at the moment there could be some roughness. Can anyone help point me to resources that can inform me about the safety aspect surrounding NTA? DNAInfo had an article last year about a fight regarding students that had been transferred from a closed school. If that is an isolated instance I am not concerned, but if it is common I would be hesitant.

  • 305. schoolstress  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    This is comforting and also very difficult to see that so many 1st graders had the same extreme drop in RGC score as my child. My child’s scores for classical got higher, but the RGC dropped more than 40 points. I really want to cry.
    Kinder classical 89 reading 95 math
    Kinder RGC 143
    1st Grade 99 reading 90 math
    1st Grade 102
    why!? So disappointed.

  • 306. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    @confused, tier will be based on the address you put on the app, which should be the child’s primary address. I don’t believe you can change your tier during the application cycle once that is submitted.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 307. velmalu  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    rgc–145 offered pritzker, will accept! Soooo excited!
    Didnt get coonley and edison
    Tier 4, K
    Would love to hear anything about pritzker!

  • 308. Confused...  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Had child tested at 3y8m in preschool and scored 2 years ahead at 5y8m for cps.
    RGC 105
    Classical math 87
    Classical reading — 3????

    Been following this blog for years and have never seen a 3. She has known letters/numbers/etc since age two.

    Even paid for test prep where she did well on complex patterns and consistently scored 80/90s in practice areas.

    Must have completely shut down at some point in testing and not answered anything else…

    Still will call to ask about the 3 as i have never seen anyone post such a score:)

  • 309. Skinner North Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    My heart goes out to all of you who are going through this process right now. It seems to get harder every year. (Is there REALLY a difference between a kid who scores a 99 and a 97 or a 87???) Please know that your kids are terrific and will do well wherever they end up, because they have your love and support.

    I am a Skinner North parent of a second grader (been there for three years now) and our family loves it. We could not be happier with his teachers, classmates and administration. The parent group is very active. This young school is really something special.

    Our family has an older child at Beaubien RGC–love that school, too!

    To help those who are considering Skinner North, the school is hosting an Open House on Tuesday, April 8 at 5:00 p.m. in the auditorium. You will have the opportunity to meet the K teachers, some parents and the administration. You can take a tour, as well. Check out the school’s web site: http://www.skinnernorth.org and the Friends of Skinner North site, as well: http://www.fosn.net. (There are some parent testimonials there.)

    Best of luck to you all in your decisions!

  • 310. Tier2Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Tier 2, RGC at 134, no offer. If you look at that the scaled score a 133 is 99%. No offer. There is something wrong with a system that sends a kid with a 99% to a school with great schools rating of 1.

  • 311. GiftedAndClassicalMom  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    To my new Keller family: Thank you sooo much for the warm welcome. We will be at the Bunny breakfast!!! I’m so excited! Thanks K’s Dad and Mom of Twins 2! Mommy of 1 we will talk soon.

  • 312. Finally  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Tier3, going into 1st Grade

    RGC 129
    Classical R: 97 M: 99

    Offered Pritzker, will likely accept

    For comparison, last year (entering K)

    RGC 136
    Classical R: 82 M: 96

    No Offers last year

  • 313. MamaBlue  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    @lynnJ…..I’m sorry to hear that 😦 Maybe in later rounds?

  • 314. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    @cofused -yeah, let us know about that 3…..very weird.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 315. cpsobsessed  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    @schoolstress, maybe your child doesn’t do as well in the large testing environment? I think it’s a lot tougher in that big group. You never know if some kind of dynamic with a certain kid could affect the whole group.
    I recall waiting in the auditorium for the kids to come out and my son’s group was about 20 min later than the others, making me wonder what differences occur in those test rooms.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 316. confused mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    for 4th grade scored 141..offered Bell…first choice was Edison , tier 4..what are the chances if we reject Bell? Very confused she goes to lenart right now and distance is killing us 2-3 hrs on bus on snowy days….

  • 317. montessorimom  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Tier 3

    RGC: 125
    Classical: 97 R/95 M

    Offered: McDade.

    We also were also offered Sheridan Magnet.

    Any thoughts on the comparison? DD is at a Montessori Pre-K currently and we weren’t “wowed” by McDade. We have not visited Sheridan. We are also considering keeping her at Montessori because it’s a great fit for her….just thinking about the long term $.

  • 318. SNmom  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    @velmalu, my daughter is at Pritzker this year for kindergarten and we love it. The teacher is wonderful, our daughter has grown by leaps and bounds and most importantly she loves school. One of the things I love most about Pritzker is the arts. The kids get dance, drama, art and music from wonderful teachers. They are putting “The Music Man” on this weekend if you want to come see what you’re in for. Congratulations and welcome!

  • 319. CPSteacherMOM  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Tier 4
    RGC 146
    No offer to Edison. Only school we applied to…

  • 320. ThrilledMom  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Tier, not on letter. I’m assuming Tier 3 since this is what we were last year.

    1st grade
    RG 139
    Reading 99/Math 90

    Offered Keller.

    My husband and I are tickled. This is redemption in a way. Our daughter missed the cut off last year for both RGC and Classical schools. We chose not to send our daughter to our neighborhood school, but instead we sent our daughter to the neighborhood school for NTA. At first, this was hard because NTA’s RGC was our first choice. We are glad we sent her to NTA. They have a great group of down-to-earth parents. We adore our daughter’s K teacher.

    All the teachers there work hard and are very dedicated. The administration is welcoming as well. I have volunteered at the school. It is safe and a beautiful school. I mostly stayed on the 1st floor since the school has 3 floors with the Pre-K to 1st grade located on the 1st floor. They had a Winter Assembly coordinated by their new music teacher. NTA will soar as more parents become involved. The principal is committed to making NTA a great educational experience for all students no matter their socio-economic status. I have nothing but respect. Our only problem was that our daughter was an outlier in her class with respect to her achievement level, but she has friends in her class.

    I’m thrilled about her offer from Keller. Go luck to everyone and if it doesn’t work out, don’t give up especially if you know your child’s ability.

  • 321. TimeForADoOver  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    @308: Suddenly, I’m feeling much better about my child’s score of 80 in math. That is so strange.

    After a second year of receiving disappointing gifted and classical scores, I’m officially discouraged. Last year, I chalked it up to not fully understanding the system, forgoing test prep, and having an overly attached 5-year-old. Therefore, I spent the past year attempting to reverse my mistakes, only to receive a fairly similar (slightly improved) outcome. I KNOW that my child is bright, very much so. I don’t need test scores to prove that. But it would be nice.

    Congrats to those who fared better than us!

  • 322. AlcottParents?  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    97 reading; 68 math – no offers anywhere for the 1st grade.

    We are in Alcott neighborhood but I was hoping for some of the other schools…

    Should I stick with Alcott? We might stretch the budget and try for private school, but not sure if it is worth it.

    Any tips about Alcott?

  • 323. velmalu  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    @SNmom, Thanks so much! We will def come to the show!

  • 324. Second timer  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    1st Grade, Teir 4
    RGC 119
    R 99, M 90
    Offered Bell (first choice, accepting)

    Last year when tested for K:
    RGC 143
    R 94, M 83
    No initial offers, offered Pritzker in summer, but declined

  • 325. confused mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:33 pm


  • 326. smt  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    we received an email from skinner west for my DD, but no letter yet so not sure of the scores.

  • 327. OhBoyCPS  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    Tier 4
    Last Year entering K:

    reading: 60
    math: 99

    This year entering 1st:

    reading: 98
    math: 97

    No Offers

  • 328. epb2009  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    @Tier2Mom – How did you determine the percentile for the RCG test? I just spoke to my mother-in-law who is the gifted program director for one of the Naperville school districts. She said that my daughter’s score of 137 was about the 98th percentile. A score of 130 is generally considered “gifted” and will get any kid into the program. So, yes, it is very sad that this is the school system we have to deal with. But that’s why people move to the burbs…

  • 329. JasonL  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    My stepdaughter (going into K)
    RCG 135
    Classical R: 87 Math 98.
    No offers

    We are wait listed at Lasalle I: (7) and Neighborhood: Ogden.

    Any thoughts on if Lasalle is much better option than Ogden? Is 7th on the wait list likely?


  • 330. Y  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    @130-LSMom: What grade are you applying for at Bell? Thanks.

  • 331. Carolina  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    95% reading 95% math–no offers and I am sad. How sick it that? Sad because a kid got a 95!!!

    Getting a new perspective, taking her out for ice cream tomorrow to celebrate that my kid got a glorious 95!

  • 332. Alcott mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    @321–My KG is at Alcott, and we really love it. I feel that the academics are strong, and our KG teacher has been amazing. Class sizes are very reasonable. There are lots of special programming (art, music, drama, Mandarin, computer lab, library, etc.) There is a very active parent community that raises tons of money, and they have a great green space. They have things that a lot of schools do not have, including many of the gifted/classical programs.

    We received a 1st grade gifted offer, but we’re on the fence about whether to accept it. The other school lacks a lot of the things that makes Alcott has to offer, and we’re not convinced it’s worth moving to a new school. And, we have a preschooler, so we have that to consider as well.

    Have you visited Alcott? (It sounds as though you are not there now.)

  • 333. LynnJ  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Mama Blue probably not. I don’t know what happened with my DD. We prepped for some time now and seems like she choked on the exam. I’m really disappointed and scared. We have absolutely zero options in my neighborhood. The best option is to pray for a waitlist list offer. I am working on a private school application as well. I feel extremely bad about this.

  • 334. Y  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    @323-Second Timer: Are you definitely tier 4? I’m curious since we’re in tier 4. Our DD received a slightly higher score than your posted score and was placed at Beaubien, which we had ranked below Bell. Thanks.

  • 335. mylittlepeony  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Anyone have their offspring attending Edison RGC? Especially interested in their Kindergarten experience. Thanks for any info you can share.

  • 336. jennifer  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Tier 4, RGC score 142 (yay!), classical scores 99 math (yay!) and 86 reading (boo!). No offers from RGCs or classicals, but about to plow through all of your responses… and past years… and whatever other info I can find… to see if we stand a chance of making it into one eventually!

  • 337. Dunning Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    @330 Carolina – I like your attitude. 🙂

  • 338. RG  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Is anyone familiar with Chappell? That would be the neighborhood school for our kindergartner entering next year.

  • 339. Bronzeville Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    K, Tier 2
    133-offer at Carnegie, which was lower on our preferred list

    Would appreciate hearing from other Carnegie RGC parents-is there only 1 RGC classroom at each grade level? Does the program seem academically advanced compared to neighborhood/magnet schools? We have magnet offers to Ray & Ward.

  • 340. Galewood  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Tier 4 Entering Kindergarten
    RGC: 147
    Reading: 73, Math: 83
    Offered Pritzker and we will accept the opportunity.

  • 341. AlcottParents?  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    @331. Thank you for your response. No we have not visited Alcott yet. I kept my child at her private preschool that has a kindergarten program since she is a November birthday and I wanted her to start kindergarten when she was still 4 y.o. in September. Pr I am applying for a CPS age exemption and hoping to get her into 1st grade in 2014. She will turn 6 in November 2014.

  • 342. RogersPark Mama  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Just my thoughts after 3x’s with this process. My son, entering K, got a 165; he literally capped the test; 99% Math, 99.9% Reading (yes, the test went to 165 that year, I still have the paperwork). Classical then was the 165; percentile scores were the gifted (7 years ago). He has consitently scored 98-99.9% on ISATS since, and for 7th AC/RGC, he got a 149. Not much disparity. He got a 99% Math, 93% Reading this time. Again, not much difference. While I think some early readers (my son was reading fully by 2.5yrs, chapter books at age 3) may do abnormally well on K entry classical, I think the truly gifted kids seem to hold their scores quite well through grade school. He got offers to Skinner W and Lane AC today.

    My daughter, who wasn’t fully reading at K entry test, got 98% Math, 80% reading classical and 146 RGC. She is now in 2nd grade at a coveted RGC, and her score this year for 3rd entry, taken just to see if I could land both kids in one school, was… 143. Pretty consistent. Reading was 97%, Math 99%. I don’t think the test drops are a tell-all. Every kid can have a bad test day. But kids who tend to consistently text high, seem to indeed continue doing exactly that. Jmho.

  • 343. AlcottParents?  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Sorry – posted too soon…

    Anyway, will visit Alcott in the next few weeks to scope things out… We are two blocks away so convenience factor is huge.

    Thanks again!

  • 344. 2kids2schools  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Tier 4
    Entering K
    RGC 143
    Classical R 87 M 97
    Offered NTA

    Unsure if we will accept

  • 345. Carla  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    @167 my son just got accepted to Lenart as well for k, if you accept maybe our children will be on the same bus.

    Also welcome new keller families, as my daughter is at keller in the second grade.

  • 346. Jen  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    My son also had a large drop in scores…

    RGC: 127
    Classical R:76 Math: 98

    This year for 1st
    RGC: 106
    Classical R: 64 Math:64

    I didn’t expect to get in anywhere, but had him tested to see if his reading scores went up. I about fell over in shock and started questioning the quality of his current catholic school. I feel somewhat better after reading other’s experiences, but was not prepared for these numbers!

  • 347. Hyde Park mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    @ 276. 286, 290, 304, 249, 241, and 155: Welcome to NTA-RGC. This school is definitely worth the drive and there are no safety issues at the school. Those incidents that were reported last year were isolated. We accepted our offer at NTA-RGC for K last year and we are super happy with the school. The kids have gym, digital learning, music, swimming, art, and some language. The K teacher, Ms. Both, is a fantastic teacher and the kids are receiving a high quality education. @ 155: You need to decline Carnegie in order to be considered for a second round spot at NTA-RGC. Please email me if you have specific questions.

  • 348. Applying to SEES  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    “But kids who tend to consistently text high, seem to indeed continue doing exactly that. Jmho.”

    That is true by definition. Kids who consistently test high must be consistently testing high.

    Did your kids take gifted tests for K and first? That is the particular dynamic being discussed. And there is a particular (and plausible) mechanism. That a bright kid could do well as a 4 y.o in a one on one environment with an essentially verbally administered test and significantly less well as a 5 y.o. in a group environment with a written test.

  • 349. LSmom  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    @ 16 Re: Disney I vs Disney II: My husband and I toured both and remarked that for 2 schools that shared a name they were SO different in look and feel. Disney I obviously has pods, which could be cool if you’re into it, lots of kids, lots of technology. Disney II is smaller, quieter, more “homey” if that’s a valid descriptor for a school. Disney I definitely has more diversity, but it’s not like Disney II is homogenous (significant hispanic population). You should definitely tour them because they are VERY different. Of course, we didn’t get into either, but for our kids we would have leaned towards Disney II. Seems like both schools have an equally strong reputation?

  • 350. Tier2Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Question – are second round offers made according to tiers such that if a tier 3 kid declines, they replace with another tier 3 kid? Or do they just rank according to scores after initial offers.

  • 351. Second timer  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    @333 Y, I just checked the tier map, and we are in tier 3 this year! Last year we were listed in tier 4 on all our magnet school waiting lists! I had no idea it had changed! I guess bad for housing values, but good for getting into schools?….

  • 352. jokatz2  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Tier 3 for K.

    RGC score 143
    Reading 94
    Math 98

    No offers.

  • 353. Portage Park/Dunning_MOM  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    @289 Norwood Thank you for the info on the practice work sheets will defiantly give that a try. Like I said we do workbook pages all the time and she will now be sent to Norwood Park elementary since we got an offer and I can take her out of the so so neighborhood school. I’m bummed but at the same time I’m happy that she made lemons out of lemonade and was still able to get a good score out of it, so she will defiantly get a surprise in the next few days. I am curious to know if your in the Norwood Park school area given your name is Norwood and if so how do you feel about the school?

  • 354. crossingfingerstoes  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Similar situation @351 –

    Tier 3 for K
    RGC: 143
    Reading: 96
    Math: 97

    No offers

    I’m wondering what happens if a school gets down to 143 and there are >2+ students, how do they choose when students have the same score, same tier, same ranking, etc…

  • 355. Y  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    @350 Second timer: Thanks for checking, clarifying, and replying so quickly. I was ready to camp out at 125 S. Clark tonight in order to be the first to complain tomorrow morning if there was a problem. LOL. Thanks, again.

  • 356. RGC Test Drop  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    345. Jen | March 24, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    I think we are all talking about a drop in RGC Test scores. That is where we have seen a huge score drop. You’ll have to review the posts to see if there is a trend in a drop in the Classical scores too. That was not my experience.

    Could have just been an off day. Classical scores can indeed drop if child not growing in Reading and Math though. The NWEA MAP scores should help you see if this is just an odd occurrence and not reflective of where he is at in reading and math.

  • 357. NorthSide Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Tier 4. Tested both kids. My 4th grader is currently in the RGC program while my 1st grader is at a private school. Tested both for the younger sibling. Selected Decatur (only school we listed….less than 5 mins away). The 4th grader got into Decatur R-98 M-99 and my 1st grade scored R-98 M-38! I just don’t get it. My 1st grader skipped (tested out of 1st grade math) and is with the 2nd graders for math. Not sure what happened ?!?!. Wondering if I should call now. Does anyone know what type of test is given for Classical?

  • 358. Levski  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    1st grade offer from Beaubien RGC 127 , classical R98% M98%, currently my son is K at Thorp magnet but strongly considering accepting today’s offer

  • 359. JFC  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Tier 4, entering K

    Reading 86
    Math 95

    No offers.

  • 360. WinC  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    We got offer from both Pritzker and LaSalle II, any recommendation?

  • 361. reenie  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    @338 Bronzeville mom your child and mine both got the same RCG score and offers to Carnegie. I won’t be taking it. I hear the middle school is not strong and their 5Essentials report is terrible (see it at cps.edu). If you are looking at James Ward their numbers (tests and growth) are great. 5E report is better than Carnegie but not amazing. Ray has a long tradition of greatness but has had some rocky times the last few years. Good luck with whatever you choose!

  • 362. RGC Test Drop  |  March 24, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    356. Math may have gone down due to got distracted and misaligned the bubble sheet – maybe did the first questions right and then skipped a line and so the rest were wrong. Testing conditions are not ideal. My husband took our child for testing and he shared that our child’s group came out like an hour later than others who started within 15 minutes. Like what could have happened to delay them so long? This was not a group that got any extra time or anything like that. Very strange.

    Sounds like you may want to test again for Decatur next year – probably will have better results. This sounds like a fluke.

  • 363. NorthSide Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    @356. You may be right. My child may have skipped a question which threw off the rest of test…..urgh!! Does the test go through a machine or is it checked manually? My child said the math section was easy too. As for my 4th grader, it’s tempting (so close to home!!!).

  • 364. ginadeconti  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Gifted: 144

    Offer for Decatur for K. First choice!

    Any parents have feedback on Decatur?

  • 365. west loop mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Definitely no drop in classical scores here from Kinder to 1st grade, but definitely in RGC. I believe last year most parents posting here were referencing a drop in RGC scores as well.

    Kinder score:
    Tier 4
    reading: 96
    math: 99
    RGC: 126 (If I remember correctly)
    -no offers

    1st grade score:
    reading: 99
    math: 97
    -no offers

  • 366. Levski  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Parents of new 1st RGC Beaubien – would you like to get in touch to network: petia707@yahoo.com

  • 367. GiftedAndClassicalMom  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Hi Thrilled Mom. See you at Keller in 1st grade!

  • 368. Tier2Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    epb2009 – You can google standard scores to percentile to get the gifted percentile. CPS gives the standard score because the percentile of those accepted must be above 99.0% A tenth of a point percentile wise makes a huge difference. The test they use for gifted is not really good at distinguishing kids a couple of standard deviations above average. Just goes to show you the number of talented kids who get nothing. What an incredible waste of potential!

  • 369. AnxiousMom  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    My son is entering 3rd grade. Got 125 in RGC. Really curious if this might be enough to get into a school like Bell in layer rounds. I have no idea what scores get in at 3rd grade or what percentile this is. Any info will be much appreciated.

  • 370. Tier2Mom  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    anxious mom — no way, not even close.

  • 371. Tim McCaffrey n  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    @363 congrats! You’re going to LOVE the K teacher. Decatur is a small school that lacks facilities, but we’re working on that. Wonderful, bright students and really involved parents. Look for an e-mail regarding a tour. They did one last year, so I assume they’ll do another one this year. Welcome!

  • 372. Decatur  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    363. Our experience with Decatur was very positive. Great small school feel, dedicated and involved parents, more diversity than some neighborhood schools (but not all), Chicago Children’s Choir. There are 1-2 teachers who are not great, but you’ll live thru them (same as at all schools). Plus you have to be o.k. with no cafeteria and no real gym. Instead have a multi-purpose room and school rents out the JCC next door for gym. Have JCC after school care as well as YMCA after school care (there may be before school care – don’t remember); I believe your child can take swim lessons as part of after school care too which is neat.

    School is small but great playground and park adjacent that kids play on after school. Many families stay after school to let kids play in the early grades; dwindles as kids get older. Have to make extra effort for playdates, Mom’s night out, etc, but worth it. Everyone knows everyone and when they leave in 6th grade they continue to cross paths even in high school. PTA plans fun events for kids and there are plenty of field trips. PTA also plans fun events for entire families to get to know each other. PTA rocks at Decatur. Fundraising is reasonable – Jog A Thon and Annual Dinner/Dance with Auction are 2 main fundraisers that raise lots of money for the benefit of the kids.

    Kids work 1 year ahead. Do several projects a year, event in early grades. Sometimes overwhelming. Helps if your child has strong work ethic. If not, things can be rough but eventually with your support can get better. Parental involvement is projects is definitely a part of Decatur experience – didn’t love that part, but it is important that you know this going in. History Fair and Science Fair start at young grades and continue.

    Latin teacher truly teaches study skills year after year, so learning more than just a language but study skills as well. Fun competitions with other schools, etc.

    Some kids leave every year – move, get into an RGC, etc. so there tend to be 1-2 spots every year.

    Overall, a very special place. Good luck with your decision!

  • 373. any chance?  |  March 24, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    My twins (who will be 5 in mid-April) tested as follows:
    Tier 4, K

    rgc 105
    reading 81, math 95
    no offers

    rgc 120
    reading 86, math 90
    no offers

    It sounds like we won’t have this as an option in a future round…. : (

  • 374. NorthSide Mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:06 am

    @372. Thanks for your input. Is your child still at Decatur? The only issue is the school goes up to 6th grade. My 4th grader has been with the same kids since K, and RGC program goes up to 8th. This will be hard. It would be nice if we can go visit/spend a day at the school before we make our decision.

  • 375. jennifer  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:16 am

    In case anyone is interested in ballpark CUTOFF scores for TIER 4 KINDERGARTEN admission to RGCs and classicals, here are the lowest accepted scores (to the schools we applied to for our child) that I found in skimming last year’s version of this thread. For the classicals, it’s an average of the few lowest sets of accepted scores at each school.

    Coonley – 144
    Edison – 144
    Pritzker – 143
    Decatur – 99.6 R / 99.2 M
    Skinner North – 99.3 R / 92.6 M
    Skinner West – 98.6 R / 95.7 M

    Of course this is totally unscientific, but it may give you an idea whether you stand a chance if you (like us!) received no offers but are hoping for one in a later round. In our case, it convinced me that we have very little hope, at 142 and 86 R / 99 M. 😦

    @CPSO, if you have any similar cutoff info, compiled either by you or by other posters, please share! Same for the magnet/neighborhood/etc schools in terms of waitlist cutoff points…. as trying to get my head around that will probably be my project for tomorrow night! And lastly, if anyone has counter-examples of lower accepted scores that may yet give me hope, fire away 🙂

    OMG, even though I have completely refrained from looking at this site through the whole process until this point, I am now quickly figuring out why it’s called CPS OBSESSED !!!

  • 376. Helen  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:17 am

    156. LVMom.
    My daughter who usually scores pretty high received 69 in her reading portion as well for 4th grade. Please see the new forum about this. Another child who scored very high from K to 3rd grade received the same low score 69 this year. Does it sound right?

  • 377. Y  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:20 am

    @369-AnxiousMom: You never know but keep in mind that there may not be any spots available if the current class is full and no departure notifications. This is true for all grades except for the entry grade and at 4th when class sizes increase.

  • 378. **  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:26 am

  • 379. **  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:32 am

  • 380. RogersPark Mama  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:50 am

    Obviously it’s true by definition… Which is the point. But it’s not true by definition that a “huge drop is typical” according to the parents at our two separate classical/gifted schools. They tell a far different story than CPSO seems to. Yes, my children have taken the tests repeatedly, including both in K, both in 1st, my son rising 4th and my daughter rising 3rd. Neither has seen a huge decline, both have stayed consistent to the 98-99.9th percentile each year. Somehow, we’ve never still managed to land them in the same school. Ds does well on classical and RGC, but better on classical typically, and dd does better on RGC consistently than on classical. They have very different learning styles, so this is not unexpected.

  • 381. disappointed once again  |  March 25, 2014 at 1:02 am

    I tried skimming through last year’s thread for cut-off info, but didn’t see too much for tier 3. Any realistic chance for K spot at SN with 99 reading and 88 math, tier 3 in future rounds? Applied 1. SN 2. Decatur 3. SW. I’m thinking it may be time for me to let go and move on.

  • 382. Applying to SEES  |  March 25, 2014 at 1:10 am

    “But it’s not true by definition that a “huge drop is typical” according to the parents at our two separate classical/gifted schools.”

    Indeed, it’s an empirical question. I know it’s a partially different population of applicants and different spots for K versus 1st, but it sure seems like the entry scores are appreciably different. E.g., first round tier 3 admits at Bell with a 119, while K admits for Edison/Coonley in first round for tier 3 last year were maybe somewhere in 146-8 range (not sure exactly but well well above 119).

    What were your kids’ gifted scores for 1st grade entry?

  • 383. For what its worth  |  March 25, 2014 at 1:26 am

    despite what cps says, there is not a “think outside the box” atmosphere at Edison (or any gifted cps gifted programs that I can think of). Actually, Edison is pretty traditional. The gifted programs are simply accelerated. After many years in cps, I honestly can’t see a difference between classical & gifted in practice. I don’t know what the math program is at SN, but Edison’s seems to change fairly frequently. Not that that’s a bad thing necessarily, but I do wish they would pick an all encompassing program and stick with it. Recently, it’s Envision in the lower grades, CME project in the upper. I don’t like either one, but I’m not a math teacher, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. The kids still do well in math. They do well on maps and get into great high schools. Every school has its issues, this is cps after all. In the end, just do whatever works best for your family in terms of convenience and community feel.

  • 384. studying mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 1:29 am

    my 4th grader got 132 in RGC, 98% M and 90% R in Classical.
    Is it impossible to be accepted in 2nd and 3rd round ?
    I couldn’t do anything today even though I have important test tommorrow…

  • 385. RogersPark Mama  |  March 25, 2014 at 1:38 am

    @382, I’ll dig those out tomorrow after dropoff. I know they weren’t HUGE drops, they did both drop by about 10pts iirc but nothing that made me concerned so to speak. (And I don’t recall back then for ds at least, as it was 6 years ago that he’d have been testing into 1st) that the max was 150. It could’ve been. I know the scoring changed either the following year or that year to what it is now.

  • 386. RogersPark Mama  |  March 25, 2014 at 1:39 am

    @384, what tier? Tier will make a difference with those scores for sure.

  • 387. RogersPark Mama  |  March 25, 2014 at 1:41 am

    @382, it also may be that as my ds tested somewhere on the cusp of when the gifted changed to numerical score and classical changed to the percentile score, that they didn’t appear different, but in fact may have actually been different. I hadn’t thought of that before now (my brain functions better without homework drama surrounding me lol)

  • 388. **  |  March 25, 2014 at 1:53 am

  • 389. **  |  March 25, 2014 at 1:54 am

  • 390. cpsobsessed  |  March 25, 2014 at 2:03 am

    I would agree completely with ForWhatItsWorth. I think your child will have similar academic experiences at either of those schools. They likely vary in community and admin tone but the level of learning is very likely on par and the math may change god knows how many times from K-8. In either school your child will be with other high scoring, smart kids. Both schools have dedicated teachers, admin, and parents. I don’t think you can go wrong at all.

    If you get to the point of truly choosing, I too agree, see which place feels like the better fit or use location to decide.

  • 391. RogersPark Mama  |  March 25, 2014 at 2:35 am

    those are cream of the crop scores, seriously. I have friends at Edidon who are less than impressed, and actively trying to get their kids a lottery spot with siblings at a non-Classical/non-RGC school. I also know people who’ve loved it. I would say 50/50 on both ends with Edison. I also have friends and Skinner North who absolutely rave about the school. I’ve not heard a singular complaint about SN. Not one. With your child’s scores, I honestly feel that if you went back into the pool you’d have a very good chance of getting round 2 offers. But that’s the juxtaposition. There’s not a guarantee, obviously. But congrats on the awesome score. Honestly, I have one on classical and one in RGC. Very similar curriculums, very similar project and homework loads. You’ll do fine in both. 🙂

  • 392. LSmom  |  March 25, 2014 at 4:43 am

    @330, 1st grade entry at Bell.

  • 393. KZH  |  March 25, 2014 at 4:46 am

    My child was accepted into Beasley’s gifted program and offered a spot at Ray? Does anyone have any recent experience with either school? Any guidance on to which to chose? #Help

  • 394. EdisonParentof2  |  March 25, 2014 at 5:26 am

    I can only speak about Edison- I think the reading program would fit your child as they have 3 different reading groups. The standard one that is one grade level ahead, one that is 1.5 grade levels ahead and one that is 2 grade levels ahead. As far as the math, there is one group, but they do provide online subscriptions in math that can challenge your child.

  • 395. South Loop Mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 7:20 am

    @South Loop Dad: Congratulations on the NTA acceptance! We were in the South Loop Elementary neighborhood zone and accepted our RGC spot at NTA. Very happy. That article about a fight really concerned me too, but I’m convinced it was a one-off. The teachers are fantastic at NTA. I respect the administration – very responsive. For example, they brought in JCC for aftercare when parents asked for more options.

    Our child loves school and the curriculum. It is still a school in transition and I’d likely not send a 12 year-old there this year. I’m sure every school has a mixed bag. That said, I have met some wonderful upper elementary kids/families too. The school will improve as more engaged families join. We will be sending our younger child to the neighborhood program if she doesn’t test into the RGC. While it is not perfect, NTA is just too good (and convenient) to pass up.

    I also really like how neighborhood and RGC kids get to connect at NTA. It doesn’t feel like a separate “school within a school.” All kids get the same extras – music, art, computer lab, swimming, etc. They also mix up the kids at recess so everyone gets to know each other. The playground groups are 1/3 from each classroom. I also think the presence of Jones College Prep families will have a positive impact – Jones is building sports fields at NTA, which NTA can also use.

    Overall, we are very happy we rolled the dice and tried a new program. NTA is a great fit for our family. Good luck with your decision.

  • 396. studying mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 7:29 am

    @386 Tier 3. is tier still important for 5th grade entering ?

  • 397. woodhead  |  March 25, 2014 at 7:45 am

    @324. Second timer
    Really? 119, are you sure it’s not a typo? That gave me some hope. My kid entering 1st grade got 119 too, tier 4.

    @324. Second timer | March 24, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    1st Grade, Teir 4
    RGC 119
    R 99, M 90
    Offered Bell (first choice, accepting)

    Last year when tested for K:
    RGC 143
    R 94, M 83
    No initial offers, offered Pritzker in summer, but declined

  • 398. reenie  |  March 25, 2014 at 7:49 am

    @329 Check out Beasley before you commit. I met a K teacher there recently and liked her but two friends in recent years pulled their kids out within the K year. If it were me I would take Ray before Beasley even though many on the thread have noted the school has been struggling a bit recently. There are a lot of highly committed parents at Ray and I would be the school will right itself.

  • 399. LostInTranslation  |  March 25, 2014 at 7:50 am

    @397 Woodhead – I think Second Timer double checked last night and discovered that in this case, last year’s T4 is this year’s T3. So that 119 Bell first grade acceptance is for T3 not T4.

  • 400. Tier2Mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 7:58 am

    RGC 133 (99.0%). No offers. No magnet lottery. We are zoned into Jenner Academy, a school that is failing under NCLB (greatschools rating 1). There is something very wrong with a system that allows a student who scores 99% on RGC test to attend a school that by CPS’s own standards is failing. Does anyone know if there is a process to request a transfer under NCLB to a nearby neighborhood school.

  • 401. LSmom  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:11 am

    @Tier2Mom, you might get a second round offer, for the first two rounds, they fill spots according to tier. After that, I think it’s just by score (not totally sure about that part). Also, some of the wait lists move a lot, especially at neighborhood schools (there were a few decent schools with open spots at the start of K last year).

  • 402. Jocelyn  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Applying for K
    Tier 1
    Gifted: 147
    Classical Reading: 99.9; Math 97
    Offered Decatur (2nd choice) and will probably decline to hope that we get our first choice.

  • 403. melamom  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:22 am

    We are in Tier 1, I don’t see too much about T1. For K my daughter got 121 RGC and 82 Reading, 85 Math. No offers. does anyone know if there would even be offers at this level? She’s #9 on the waitlist for Interamerican. that seems good…is it?
    can’t believe how stressful this is!

  • 404. Amy  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Entering k
    Applied SN and SW only
    Tier 4
    Reading 99.8
    Math 93
    No SEES offers. He will be attending Franklin so we are very lucky!!

  • 405. Agnes  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:32 am

    @ 262. Decatur
    Thanks for your response. Our reasons for considering the switch from Lab are both financial and academic. Though we do get financial aid at Lab, it’s still a lot of money. Academically, we have never been that happy there–we just feel that our kids, esp. the oldest, is not challenged anywhere near his abilities. I entered the lottery thinking that maybe one of these schools would push him harder.

    But I do worry, both about the commute, and about being left hanging in the 6th grade, needing to find another school. If he stayed at Lab he’d be set through high school, and that’s a tempting form of insurance. On the other hand, we’ll be broke by then! It’s a hard decision.

    Anyone out there in a position to compare Decatur to a private school, such as U Chicago Lab School?

  • 406. Agnes  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Can I ask: what is your 1st choice, and why do you prefer it to Decatur?

  • 407. CPSMom  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:49 am

    @347 Thank you for the info on NTA. We were very impressed with the Kindergarten teacher and room when we visited. We live very far south and would be on the Ryan everyday, so we are trying to decide if it’s worth the drive. I am wondering if you could comment on parental involvement at the school. Is there a sense of community, even though kids are coming from all over the city?

  • 408. Hyde Park mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:54 am


  • 409. woodhead  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Thank you @399. LostInTranslation !

    Still no hope.

  • 410. Norwood  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:59 am

    My son completed a rigorous 2nd grade math program that I gave him before he entered first grade, and my #2 is doing it as well. (I’m not a math teacher but studied math in grad school). In the RGC, he basically repeated math the first year (1st grade). My attitude is to just let them take it easy until about 3rd grade because there are so many projects and writing and hours on the bus and social skills to learn and exercise. Lately, I’ve been gradually introducing 7th grade algebra, which is what we are going to do this summer.

    What I would like to know is how the heck did your son get such high test scores without a 3 foot high stack of test prep books and an hour a day of your time?

  • 411. Hyde Park mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Two comments: 1) I dont think test prep helps,Madeline’s child probably is innately highly capable, as any child who scores extremely high.I say that because I literally spent thousand of dollars since buying test prep books , critical thinking type games, you name it, and even scheduled time to “drill” them.What ended up happeneing? No offers to any SEES, and I am in tier 1,
    2) My 7 yr old goes to Edison, which seems to be on almost everyones wish list.At first, I looked at edison like it was just the greates school ever, due to the ISAT scores mostly. Having been there 2 years, I feel my son would probably be better at a school like Disney, he is very creative and would just flourish there.I wish I had him go through the lottery for Disney. Edison has great scores, but their focus seems to be purely academic, hardly any enrichment except for fine arts class and French.Their after school program is a joke, I have tried to talk with the principal on implementing a better one, they have ignored my pleas.A program that only runs until 4pm and doesnt meet on Fridays , in my opinion, is not “After School”.
    Find a school where your child will flourish and build upon their strengths.I now know this 2 years later.Good luck.

  • 412. TimeForADoOver  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Can anybody recommend an outstanding test prep center or expert in Chicago for kids above kindergarten age? I’m trying to get to the bottom of why my 6-year-old doesn’t test to his potential. It seems to be more than a fluke and if there’s a learning block of any sort, I’m all for trying to identify and correct it before it potentially impedes his academic career.

  • 413. 1moreSouthSider  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:19 am

    @393 KZH can you share your child’s RGC score and Tier? We also received accept at ray, but no spot for RGCs. Beasley was on our list since we’re close.

  • 414. epb2009  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:23 am

    @Tier2Mom – Thanks! I was trying to do that last night and wasn’t coming up with anything. Just tired I guess! Yes, this whole process is very, very frustrating. We are a tier 3, but the other side of our street (which has multi-million dollar mansions) is a tier 2. Baffling. I drive myself crazy thinking, “If only we lived over there we might have had a better shot…” Not that we could afford it! The good thing is that we all know our kids are very smart!

  • 415. epb2009  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Can anyone give me the OAE phone number? Is it (773) 553-2060 or was the number of the letter different? This is a bit unbelievable (and a testament to the very little stock I was putting into this during application time), but I can’t remember what RGC program we applied for (yes, we only applied to one). I did this all wrong…

  • 416. curious  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Very interesting that people are getting first round offers for Bell and Beaubien with scores of 119 and 120 (tier 3 and 4). It’s possible they will not be able to fill all of the seats if they stick to the 115 cut off score in the next rounds. I wonder if any tier 1 or 2 kids will get in?
    Sounds like something strange is going on with the 1st grade test this year.

  • 417. momx3  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:41 am

    @416 I was wondering the same thing. Does anyone know if the 115 is hard or soft cut-off? I can’t imagine that would leave seats open — but maybe??

  • 418. momx3  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:42 am

    oops — typo — was supposed to say “I can’t imagine they (CPS) would leave seats open, but maybe?”

  • 419. LSmom  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I think it’s a hard cutoff, but since they abandon tiers at some point I would imagine they will be able to fill the classes.

  • 420. 60660  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:47 am

    last year, entering first grade at T4, my kid scored 123. that didn’t earn her a spot at Bell but we did end up getting calls to see if we were interested in NTA or Beaubien, even though we hadn’t applied to those programs. (distance).
    there is a lot to be said for staying at your neighborhood school, especially for K, 1st, 2nd. Busing is a pita even when it goes according to plan.

  • 421. NWmom  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:48 am

    My understanding is if you score below 115 you are not considered for gifted at all. That is what is says in the letter and that is what they told us last year when my child scored 114. I did hear the last year NTA made offers to kids that had a not applied to the school, but had over 115 and had not gotten a seat
    anywhere else

  • 422. WL7  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:48 am

    My son attends SN. The kids are taught one grade level ahead, which is consistent with the other classical schools. However, my son tells me that one of his classmates is pulled out of class for math and is taught two grades ahead. You should see if Edison does the same thing. This is our son’s 4th year at SN and we love it – he’s probably not thrilled with the homework, but what kid is. We also have a kid at a magnet school and we’re not as happy. The one major difference with SN versus most of the other schools that we’ve encountered is the high level of communication from the administration. It was not surprising that SN was the first (last year) school to use email to notify parents about their child’s acceptance. With all the closings this past winter, the administration was always proactive in keeping parents informed. Some of the assistant principals have moved on to well-regarded schools (e.g., STEM, LaSalle II) as principals – so, I think SN also draws talented educators. SN is not for everyone though. We’ve known families that have left for various reasons, including the long commute and the amount of homework. I think the primary issue with homework at the younger grades is not necessarily about aptitude. Ability to sit still and evolving penmanship can drag out homework assignments longer than warranted.

  • 423. Jocelyn  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:52 am

    @Agnes our first choice is Coonley and the reason we prefer it is because it is much closer to our home. We are fortunate to have a neighborhood school that we are very happy to send our child to so we can be a bit picky.

    I also just noticed a typo in my original post – we are Tier 4.

  • 424. Angie  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:02 am

    @400. Tier2Mom: There might be a late application round for the neighborhood schools that still have open seats at the end of the year. In the previous years, there were some decent choices, much better than Jenner.

  • 425. ABW  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Tier 3, entering Kindergarten
    RGC 148
    99.9 reading, 99.7 math

    Offered Edison and will accept.

  • 426. ABW  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:29 am

    (Should have said that Edison was our 1st choice!).

  • 427. Decatur  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:33 am

    406. Agnes – Also, if you don’t care about holding out for another spot closer to you, you can accept Decatur’s offer now. You can then spend the next several weeks learning about the school, going to the PTA/LSC Meetings, talking to parents, and then make your real decision after the deadline. Since you have a spot at Lab, you won’t lose that while you are deciding.

    So in other words, you can accept Decatur’s offer now. Then in a month or so, after you have all the information you need, you can make your final decision and inform OAE/Decatur. This only works if you are not trying to hold out for another SEES spot, so think about that carefully. Otherwise, accept now and take the next month to do the above.

    If you want to talk 1:1 with someone who is currently at the school and a wealth of information, post your email and I will ask her to contact you. I think her child is in the same grade as yours. She knows her stuff and can give you objective as well as subjective data on Decatur.

  • 428. PMom  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:34 am

    As a follow up to the comments on Pritzker. If you’re considering the school, either for Options or Fine Arts please do come to the school this weekend to see the Music Man Jr! The kids have been working so hard on the show, and it’d be fun way to see inside the school and really get a feel for it.

    Show times and ticket info can be found here:

    We’ve been very happy with the Options program. Not sure what the cutoff will be this year, but a few years ago my daughter was offered a spot over the summer with a high 130’s/Tier 4. There’s hope.

  • 429. NSider  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:37 am

    K, Tier 3
    RGC: 143
    Offer: NTA

    Hoping for Pritzker as it’s close to my office. What are our chances of getting an offer from Pritzker RGC in a subsequent round?

  • 430. Chance  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:37 am

    416. curious

    The 115 is a hard cut-off. I know of one RGC that had open spots and OAE would not send any additional candidates even though there were people hoping to get in that just missed the 115.They have to draw the line somewhere and 115 is supposed to be the marker.

  • 431. NEmom  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:39 am

    @ 421 NWmom

    I am curious to know whether a school (RGC/Classical) offers a spot even if parents do not apply there? We have heard a similar story but want to check with you…

  • 432. 8stories8  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Good morning…looking for guidance on Edison. Child is going into 1st grade. Would any CPSOers be available to share your experiences? If so, please email 8stories8@gmail.com. Many thanks.

  • 433. 1moreSouthSider  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Is there any way to confirm/validate the contact information that I put on my initial application? I see the OAE site where we completed the application has been disabled.

  • 434. Second timer  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:50 am

    @397 Woodhead,
    Yes, we are Tier 3, Offered Bell 1st grade, 119 score, first choice.
    Sorry for the confusion about the tiers. I did not realize that our tier had changed to Tier 3 this year, from Tier 4 last year. I am surprised that the tier assignment is that fluid!
    I acknowledge it seems like a low score to get an offer compared to what others are reporting. Maybe because of the new lower tier and that we put Bell as our first choice, all the planets seemed to align for us???

  • 435. Stacey  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:51 am

    My daughter scored 101 and was offered a spot at decatur.

  • 436. Stacey  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:52 am

    My daughter scored 101 for first grade and was offered a spot at decatur.

  • 437. NWmom  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Stacey, the 101 score is for gifted right? the math and reading scores must have been high for Decatur

  • 438. Jen K  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:59 am

    @431 I think sees seats are offered for new programs – we were offered a spot at SN the first year it opened but we had not applied.

  • 439. Agnes  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:01 am

    @ 427 Decatur–thank you very much for your continuing advice.

    Decatur was the only Classical school on our list, and we had it 2nd, after Edison, but we had some other RGC’s (Keller, Lenart, Bell, Coonley), some of which are closer, others of which might be preferable even if not closer due to going through 8th grade. (Honestly, when applying I didn’t really know how to think about which schools to put down or how to rank them.) But given that his score on the RGC test was only 131 (tier 3), I assume we wouldn’t really have a chance at RGCs anyways. Does that seem right?

    Here is my email, I would be so grateful if you would put me in touch with the person from Decatur you mentioned:

    eremitavictoria [at] gmail.com

  • 440. mel  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:09 am

    where are people getting the percentiles for the RGC scores? is a 133 really 99%

  • 441. Drop in RGC score  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Another partner here with a significant drop in RCG score when comparing K to 1st grade. The classical scores increased, however:

    Last year (K):
    RGC: 144
    Reading: 95, Math: 94

    This year (1st):
    RGC: 122
    Reading: 99, Math: 97

    While I had expected a slight drop in the RGC scores based on info I read last year, we were shocked to see the huge drop…based on other’s feedback here, sounds like this happened to many others. After the test, my son mentioned that there were a few questions he didn’t hear very well and they were not repeated. Hmm…guess there were more than a few that he didn’t hear well. I’m now wondering if where they are seated in the room has an impact =(

  • 442. Drop in RGC score  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:12 am

    sorry, meant Parent, not Partner

  • 443. Worth Noting  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:16 am

    Regarding drops in RGC scores between K and 1st, it may be worth nothing that the highest scores reported on this board for those applying to K are >160 (out of 160) while the highest scores reported for those applying to 1st are 141 (out of 150). So, it looks as if the tippy-tippy-top scores drop almost 20 from K to 1st.

    Maybe it’s a skewed sample, maybe there’s a dramatic difference in the testing population from this year to last (though virtually identical drops were noted on last year’s SEES acceptance thread), or maybe the two tests just use completely different scoring scales and trying to compare scores from the K RGC test to the 1st RGC test is comparing apples to oranges (or maybe even apples to kumquats).

  • 444. Decatur  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:16 am

    439. Agnes – You’re welcome. I will email you once I hear back from her.

    In terms of a 131 Tier 3 getting a spot, Tier does not matter beyond entrance year (K or 1st for most schools – varies). You are just competing with top scorers regardless of Tier. Again, your Tier is irrelevant in your situation since you are applying for a non-entry year.

    You may want to call Lenart and Edison or OAE and ask them how things are looking.

    There is only a spot if someone leaves or if they add seats at upper grades (I think they add at 4th grade, but not sure), so seats are not abundant.

    If you weren’t already paying tuition, I might suggest going to Northwestern for Enrichment versus having to make this commute every day. But that is pricey too.

  • 445. In Bridgeport  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:18 am

    @345 Carla, thanks for the info. regarding the bus and kids from Bridgeport attending Lenart. I was also curious how you found the homework load for Kindergarten? I just spoke to the vice principal there who said there would be an information session for new families 4/4. Did anyone else receive a spot at Lenart?

  • 446. Austin  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:19 am

    TwoChickens—We turned down a spot at Pritzker in kindergarten to stay in the neighborhood program at Coonley and have not been disappointed. The Coonley neighborhood program does differentiate for both math and reading. My daughter has had great teachers who have some creative methods to engage a range of learners.

    There is also something to be said for having both kids in the same school, which is part of the reason we turned down Pritzker. We have never second guessed our decision.

  • 447. Confused Mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Tier 4, entering K

    R: >99.9%
    M: 98%
    RGC: 99 — ?????

    I know that the gifted and classical tests cover different skill sets, but you would think there is some correlation to being able to learn how to read early, do math, etc. at an advanced level and analytical potential. I haven’t even seen an RGC score this low posted in previous posts. Does anyone have any insight?

  • 448. CaroMama  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Entering Kindergarten
    Tier 4

    RGC: 134
    Reading: 97
    Math: 99

    no offers

  • 449. Ignorent Dad  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Can anyone suggest how good an RGC score 127 for a first grader?

  • 450. moon_mama  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:38 am

    What is the likelihood with scores of 136 and 123, entering K, T 4, that we would get a call later in the summer regarding a RGC even if we didn’t apply to all of them? just curious and trying to fortune tell 🙂

    I should mention that our neighborhood school is Burley and while I see that my kids are not off the charts gifted like some of your fine kids, they are not average, and I would hope that Burley will cater to that appropriately…can anyone speak to this from experience there? TIA

  • 451. Mom of Twins 2  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:40 am

    My son got an offer for 1st grade at Keller with a 128. So, I think it’s a decent score.

  • 452. Ohwell  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Another big drop from K to 1st grade: 128 last year (got a tier 3 RGC offer late in the summer), to 99 this year, not even eligible for RGC. Last year’s letter said that 130 (or 132?) corresponded to the 98th percentile, while according to the letter we just got, her score from this year’s test is just under the 50th percentile mark. So even with the change in tests, this seems like a huge move. But our daughter is happy and flourishing in her RGC so I guess it’s not worth worrying about too much.

  • 453. nc momma  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Tier 4
    RGC 120

    No offers. Considering we turned down three offers last year for K – Edison, Coonley & Pritzker…..I was sort of shocked by these results. Oh well. We would have stayed at our private anyway…..

    Good Luck to all.

  • 454. RGC parent  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:44 am

    @447 I wouldn’t worry too much about the lower RGC score…it looks as if your child scored very well on the classical test.

    Going into 1st…my child scored 146 on the RGC test. However, said child was not reading nor did child show any interest in learning to read until mid-year of 1st grade. Thus, I’m sure my child would have “bombed” the classical test if it required any type of independent reading. Bottom line…children learn/think differently…which is most likely why there are 2 different type of tests given. There is also the chance your child just had a bad day.

  • 455. OTdad  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:52 am

    @447. Confused Mom:
    I wouldn’t worry too much about RGC scores, because the test questions seem pretty easy, a couple of questions wrong could have huge impact on the scores. So, the same child tested on different days could get very different scores. Reading and math scores are probably more reliable to show a child’s academic potential.

  • 456. MomOf2@SW  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:56 am

    It’s a been a while since my 2 kids took the Kindergarten test. (And it was very stressful both times! Very lucky they both were able to get into the same school!) They are in 3rd and 5th grade now at Skinner West. But from what I remember my kids telling me, one RGC question would be like if I gave you paper, how would you use it to play baseball, with the correct answer being rolling up one sheet into a tube for a bat and crumpling another one up to use it as a ball. For the classical portion, it was knowing your “b” from “p” and “d”. And knowing simple 3 letter words. It was also knowing your colors and a car vs. a truck. So the RGC test is very different from the classical test. And the most important question that your child should know is their birthdate. Another important thing is how fast your child takes the test. If your child can answer all the questions faster than another child that gets the same number of questions correct, he/she will be considered first for placement.

  • 457. Excited parents!!  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Tier 4
    1st grade
    He was offered a spot at Keller which was our first choice. We are very excited and a little scared. We will most likely accept. We have him at a private catholic school now that is filled with active parents and is very much a family atmosphere. We hope that felling can be replicated at Keller.

  • 458. west loop mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    As a former CPS employee who worked closely with students and testing (not for gifted/classical programs) I can say that part of the drop in test scores from Kindergarten to 1st grade may be related to differences in scoring the same test from year to year. For example, if they are using a certain test I am familiar with, pre-schoolers are scored against other pre-schoolers that are within a 3 month band of their birthday. So those with a June birthday are given their percentiles based on a comparison of those children with June, July, and August birthdays. They are not being compared with those with early September birthdays. September birthdays would be compared with October and November birthdays.

    However, when they reach Kindergarten grade, they are no longer scored within those three month bands. The students are compared against ALL other Kindergartners. So a student whose birthday is in August is being compared against a student with a September birthday who has already been 6 for almost a full year more than the younger child.

    I’m not saying I know what test the children are given, but rather that different tests are administered differently and scored differently at different grade levels.

  • 459. Confused Mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    @454, @455, and @446 – thanks for your replies. I’m not too worried about the score as it relates to my child in particular, but I’m just trying to make sense of this whole testing process. This just convinces me even more that the whole CPS testing system is arbitrary and unreliable.

  • 460. Agnes  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    @ 444. Decatur

    Thanks, that’s good to know about Tiers. I didn’t think of calling the schools/OAE, that’s a good idea.

    His teachers at Lab have recommended the Northwestern program for enrichment, but with 3 kids the logistics and the tuition are just too much. Every year, we are told that in subsequent years the school (Lab) will get more challenging, and I am just not sure we should keep waiting. I have to say he loves it, though–it is a very warm and welcoming environment.

  • 461. west loop mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    @460 Interesting about Lab. I have a friend with a child there and they feel the same way as you. They have already sought out enrichment opportunities but to be paying for Lab and then to have to pay for those other programs seems to be a lot of $$! I’ve heard similar remarks from parents at FXW.

  • 462. misty  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Tier 2
    98 M 98 R
    My son was accepted to Poe, 3rd choice. Does that mean that there is no chance for Skinner West (2nd choice) during 2nd round?

  • 463. mec  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Tier 4 – Kindergarten
    RGC – 147
    applied only to Coonley, no offer

  • 464. Mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Applied for 2nd grade -score 117:( Any chances for beaubien ?

  • 465. Hyde Park mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    @407. This is a new program so the parents did not inherit a well-functioning parent association. This is an AUSL school so I recommend that you take a look to its educational philosophy before making any decision. That being said, the RGC parents have taken a lot of interest in creating a community of engaged parents and have successfully organized a couple of meetings and social activities in the first year. This is a school that has a lot of potential to become a great program both at the neighborhood and the RGC levels once all the primary grades get to be filled. For now, I really love the integration of the RGC students and neighborhood students in all the extra-curricular activities. The school also has a UIC-maintained on-site clinic available for all children. So, if your kid needs vaccinations or he/she gets sick, he can be immediately seen by the doctors at the clinic for an assessment before having to call parents unnecessarily.

  • 466. Keller PTA Mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    @Excited Parents. Welcome to Keller. Keller is very warm and invited. If you can, join us on Saturday for our Annual Bunny Breakfast. It’s from 8:30 to 11:00am. You will be able to see the school and meet some of the families and staff. Hope to see you then.

  • 467. Stacey  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    @406 Decatur, and anyone else whose child is at Decatur, please email me. I’d love some insight to help me make the decision to accept or not accept.

    Stacey.r.nichols at gmail.com

  • 468. Stacey  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    @407 Decatur, and anyone else whose child is at Decatur, please email me. I’d love some insight to help me make the decision to accept or not accept.

    Stacey.r.nichols at gmail.com

  • 469. Soylent Green  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Thanks @Confused Mom and everyone who responded. That helped clear up our confusion, too. Almost perfect Classical scores, but just a borderline RGC score.


    Offered Skinner North for kindergarten and will accept.

  • 470. UptownMama  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I’m a little late to this–also posted on the magnet school board– but we’re another family very happy with the NTA RGC kindergarten experience. Mrs. Both, the RGC K teacher, has been just great and we love that there have been 2 student teachers in the room for the year, so there’s lots of differentiation going on. (Most classrooms have 1, I think.) My daughter loves to swim, so swimming is a definite plus as are specials in music, art and technology (what they call digital learning). Staff members are very welcoming and most know my daughter by name; there are lots of opportunities to visit the classroom. The facility is beautiful and while the commute is a bit rough for us from the north side, it’s less than 10 minutes from downtown by el, so not bad for parents who work downtown. There’s also a JCC-run aftercare program for working parents.

    And as for the safety concerns, I do pick up or drop off most days of the week and haven’t seen anything that’s worried me. My daughter definitely feels safe.

  • 471. Nicole  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    RGC: >160
    Reading: 95%
    Math: 92%

    Offer at Coonley. Any thoughts/feedback about Coonley’s program are greatly appreciated. She is at a private school right now and I’ve been very happy with it thus far. On the fence about what to do.

  • 472. Stacey  |  March 25, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Ah yeah. The RGC score is 101. Math and reading are 97th percentile for both.

  • 473. SL parent  |  March 25, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Just received a welcome letter from NTA. They will be having 2 special open house events on 4/2 evening and 4/8 morning for the prospective RGC parents.

  • 474. Excited parents!!  |  March 25, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    @466, Keller PTA Mom. Thanks, we plan to attend the breakfast. Hopefully we can connect with some other parents of current and prospective students. Any info or resources about Keller and the Keller school community you can steer us toward would be greatly appreciated.

  • 475. epb2009  |  March 25, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    @Confused Mom – We are in a similar situation, except reversed. Our daughter scored 137 for RCG (>99%) and 76/67 for reading and math, respectively. I was a little confused as well, but I literally just had her parent/teacher conference, during which her teacher told me that she knows “everything” she needs to know for K. She did not miss a single question on her 20+ page assessment, but none of it included reading full words or simple math. So, I chalk this up to 1 thing: my daughter has the high potential to learn, but isn’t being taught at her level. Part of this (a big part) is our fault for not pushing reading and math at home, as we should be, but I know her classical scores are not a reflection of her ability or intelligence. The point is – we cannot read into these scores too much. Our kids are worth more than that! And even if we do read into the scores, I haven’t been a single “below average” score on this board. We all have very smart children.

  • 476. Keller PTA Mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    @Excited parents. Check out Keller website at Keller.cps.k12.il.us. Also I will be at the door on Saturday so we can connect.

  • 477. walker  |  March 25, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Entering 2nd grade
    RGC: 143 – no offer

  • 478. 60660  |  March 25, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    @477 Walker – can you share how you ranked the schools?

  • 479. Testing Process  |  March 25, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    @west loop mom

    So for KG test all the kids are tested against each other? Obviously a 5 -yr old will do much better than 4-yr old.

    I also believe that we probably can not prepare a child to be a gifted but we can certainly prepare a child to get in classical program as they required only math and reading.

    Can somebody share the testing/preparing experience for future CPS parents? Please :-).

  • 480. LSmom  |  March 25, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    The K tests are adjusted for age by month. I think the first grade tests are adjusted for age as well, but maybe the bands are wider. We didn’t prepare (other than showing how a bubble test works), because I wanted to be sure he ended up somewhere that was a good fit.

  • 481. walker  |  March 25, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    @ 60660 Edison Bell Coonley

  • 482. south side obsessed  |  March 25, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    ATTENTION SOUTH SIDE PARENTS – I just spoke w/the transportation company I used for my older son. I explained to him our problems w/transportation. He said if a group of us got together & coordinated pick/up drop off locations then he would transport up north to Disney, Lasalle etc. BUT what he wants is not to do house pick up but all the kids in Hyde Park meet at one school, all the kids in South shore, Bronzeville, etc. I don’t want to quote the price he gave me b/c that may change depending on the number of people who participate. But I found it to be quite reasonable. His name is Mario & I found him to be great w/my older son. He can be reached at 773-678-8217. Tell him you heard about him from cps obsessed. Maybe this can be an option for us.

  • 483. 60660  |  March 25, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    @477Walker Thanks! I’m guessing you’ll get a spot if / when one opens up. 3 good programs with not a lot to choose between them.

  • 484. Pie Chart Professor  |  March 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    …Ditto to what #470 UptownMama said about NTA RGC!

    We are very happy we sent our kid to NTA’s RGC program.

    Love the nice, clean facilities. Love the staff. I feel my child is safe and love that the staff really care about, and know my kid. I have a kid at another school and the staff know and make my other child feel welcome and cared about, too. Good people!

    Any commentary on this board about behavioral issues is likely related to last year when a closing school was folded into NTA. Mostly older kids came over. Apparently it was a little difficult to get the kids to mesh, but this new year of being together seems to have changed things for the students. The kids I see in hallways every week (I volunteer 1-2 times per week) are well behaved. Parents who were witness to last year are happy to see the change this year. I believe the past is in the past and I am not concerned.

    Principal is friendly, ambitious and approachable, very responsive to our questions and concerns. Accountable. Easy to contact. My kid loves him, he knows BOTH my kids by name. He wants the school to be great.

    Grades are split on different floors. I may have my grades per floor jumbled a bit, but here’s an example:
    First floor: pre-K, K and 1st
    Second floor: 2nd, 3rd, 4th
    Third floor: 5th, 6th
    Fourth floor: 7th, 8th

    RGC kids get to meet other kids from the neighborhood classes during lunch and recess — the three K classes are split into thirds and joined together for lunch and recess. I see that as my kid having extra friends she may not otherwise have.

    The RGC K teacher, Mrs Both, is a gem. She is very approachable, easy to talk to, and explains things well. She is very responsive when we have questions, has helped us keep track of how our child is learning in the classroom, and has been a great guide so that we can reinforce classroom learning strategies at home. My child has grown by leaps and bounds!!! She has spent time after school with me countless times to talk about my kids’ progress, etc.

    I am looking forward to next year with the 1st grade RGC teacher, Ms Wang. I have heard good things!

    I love that I can come in to the classroom to pick up my kid rather than having to just wait outside for my kid to come out of the building. More quick face time with the teacher, I can take a glance at the work on the walls in the classroom, see happy faces, etc. I feel welcome, I can also see the kids’ work that teachers have posted in the hallways, meet other teachers, etc.

    Parent involvement is growing but could use a boost. I feel parents are very welcome to help at school, take a stab at fundraising, present new ideas for change, etc. Could use yet another influx of new parents with ambitions and ideas.

    This school is worth a shot.

  • 485. south side obsessed  |  March 25, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    My oldest son’s scores dropped dramatically. He is in third grade and has been testing every year since Pre-k. What is crazy is that on the NWEA he scored on the 7th grade level but only scored in the 75th percentile on the classical test. Maybe he had a bad day, maybe they are testing different things or maybe there is not any reason or logic to this thing at all. Gratefully he is in a decent magnet school already. So remember that one test is not an accurate measure of your child’s abilities.
    My youngest is going into Kindergarten and scored a 120. We are Tier 2. Does not look good that he will get into the RGC. But he got into Lasalle for the lottery so I’m happy with that.
    Good luck everyone!

  • 486. skinnerNperson  |  March 25, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Our child is currently enrolled at Skinner North kindergarten. We’ve been very satisfied so far. If you are looking for a traditional kindergarten, all warm and fuzzy, lots of play time, this is not for you. I sometimes wonder if I cheated our child out of kindergarten because of the lack of creative play time. Plenty of work time. Plus homework, which is not too bad, about 20 minutes a night. The school is full of fantastic parents that volunteer and fundraise. They do a nice job with special fun nights for families. All that said, just because it is the “best” in the state, it’s not for everyone.

  • 487. Norwood  |  March 25, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    @TimeForADoOver: If you drop a note on my blog, I’ll contact you via your email. I’m not a consultant and don’t charge. I’ll show you the difference between the RGC cognitive skills testing and academic aptitude tests, and the compatibility between certain types of academic work and the skills they produce. Also, there are gaps in the test prep universe. Then you can decide what to do about professional guidance.

  • 488. vamama  |  March 25, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Tier 4, Entering 5th
    Gifted – 114
    Classical – Reading 93 / Math 98
    No offers.

    Our Ranked Choices
    1. Skinner North
    2. Coonley
    3. Edison
    4. Bell
    5. Beaubien

  • 489. ying sun  |  March 25, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    tier3, offered Decatur (ranked 6th on my application list), math 98,reading 98
    RGC: 97. No expectation for this score, right?

  • 490. vamama  |  March 25, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Tier 4, Entering 3rd
    Gifted – 124
    Classical – Reading 95 / Math 99
    No first round offers.

    Our Ranked Choices
    1. Decatur
    2. Skinner North
    3. Coonley
    4. Edison
    5. Bell
    6. Beaubien

    Currently in gifted program at Walt Disney (Disney I).

  • 491. ying sun  |  March 25, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    apply for 1st grade

  • 492. vamama  |  March 25, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Tier 4, Entering 1st
    Gifted – 106
    Classical – Reading 99 / Math 80
    No first round offers.

    Our Ranked Choices
    1. Decatur
    2. Skinner North
    3. Coonley
    4. Edison
    5. Bell
    6. Beaubien

    Currently in gifted program at Walt Disney (Disney I).

  • 493. southsider  |  March 25, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Pie Chart Professor — You mentioned that you have another child. Will he/she attend NTA as well? I’m curious about the potential growth of their neighborhood program.

  • 494. hyde park mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    @vamama would you mind saying why you want to leave disney I if your child is in their gifted classrooms?how di u like Disney?my twins r going there for K.Sent from android….

  • 495. hs  |  March 25, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Tier 4, Entering K
    Gifted: 130
    Classical: Reading 92, Math 57
    No first round offers

  • 496. blah  |  March 25, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Entering 2nd grade:
    Reading – 98
    Math – 99
    First Choice – Skinner West
    Don’t recall order of other choices but offered 2nd grade spot at Poe – will decline offer at Poe.

  • 497. ***  |  March 25, 2014 at 4:12 pm

  • 498. Decatur  |  March 25, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    460. Agnes – I just emailed you with the contact information for a current Decatur parent. Feel free to go to the website to find out the next LSC and PTA meeting. That will give you more information and you can talk to parents in person, especially if you get there early. Best wishes!

  • 499. WestRidgeMom  |  March 25, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Tier 4, applied for K at Decatur and Coonley. Scored 98R and 98M and RGC 144. No offers, any chance we should hold out hope for later rounds?
    Tell it to me straight, I can take it )

  • 500. LSmom  |  March 25, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    @WestRidgeMom, last year some people with 144 got Coonley offers at the end of the summer/beginning of school.

  • 501. TwoChickens  |  March 25, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    @446. Austin – Thanks! That’s exactly what we wanted to hear! Perhaps our kids will be in the same class! And, sadly, both of our kids will not be at the same school until my second daughter is in K or in 1st, but we will look forward to the day!

  • 502. Mamabear  |  March 25, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    @497 Madeline:
    My main reason is that I want both kids at the same school. I just can’t get as involved if I have to split between 2 schools.

    Edison K teacher is absolutely awesome. So is the new 5th grade teacher. But 1st grade teacher has the worst rep. Not to mention the math is ridiculously slow. I don’t think my son learned anything new except measuring units at the beginning of the year – not exaggerating. But there are kids struggling with math as this is gifted school and that translates into many realms of giftedness not like classical that focus on reading and math. I was actually shocked that my son got into a gifted rather than classical school since his reading and math is so strong. There are many things I love about Edison. The community is super great too.

    But my daughter got accepted into Skinner North and not at Edison, and with my son’s classical scores of 99% on both reading and math, I think he has a better chance of getting into SN than her into Edison. (Again, such a surprise cause I thought she would get into gifted and not into classical – although she’s been reading since she was 2.)

    I would love to know some opinions on Skinner North. It made a very good impression on me when I toured it 2 years ago. But I would love some candid comments about their challenges too since all schools have them, even privates that charge more than college tuition.

  • 503. 8stories8  |  March 25, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    @ 502 Mamabear:
    Thanks for this helpful feedback re. Edison. Daughter offered a spot and it helps to have as much info as possible in making final decision.

  • 504. Hyde Park mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Regarding the 1st grade teacher having worse rep, it is undeserved. She is a dedicated teacher who always kept in touch with me and would still be at school working even at 5pm! She cares about the school and is passionate about parents joining the PTA.Honestly, I feel some of these parents at Edison are just downright prejudiced , she happens to be African American, in fact, the only one there. Some parents in my sons class hated her from day one!To each their own, just my 2 cents. Edison is coveted, yes, but there are many other great schools that offer way more to stuidents and parents-I find Edison to be lacking in certain areas, such as enrichment and their after schhol program is a joke, ends at 4pm…umm hello??

  • 505. jlp  |  March 25, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    @497 Madeline: Have you read “Exceptionally Gifted Children” by Miraca Gross or “5 Levels of Gifted” by Deborah Ruf? Your child sounds unusual, even among the kids who will be going to the RGCs and classical schools. I encourage you to take a look at each of these books.

    Exceptionally Gifted Children is not cheap (nor is it available through the Chicago Public Library system, unfortunately), but I found it a good value. 5 Levels of Gifted is available through interlibrary loan.

    And pardon my making assumptions, but from what you describe, you may also want to check out the Davidson Young Scholars Program: http://www.davidsongifted.org/youngscholars/

    Best of luck as you try to decide what your next step will be!

    P.S. If your son has a particular interest, you might have him check out Big Bang by Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest – it’s a favorite in our house.

  • 506. AnotherEdisonP  |  March 25, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    I also heard the new K teacher is very accommodating, however, to say that the first grade teacher has the worst rep is untrue. I like her, and I consider her to be one of the best teachers at Edison… As for Edison itself, it has its bad and good. Strong parental involvement, dedicated teachers, and highly intelligent students are their strengths. As for their weaknesses, the school lacks challenge for accelerated kids, and its ambience is a bit chaotic. Introvert students will find it difficult to stay focus; their senses might feel overwhelmed..

  • 507. Skinner North Mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    I posted earlier (#309). I see lots of interest in and questions about Skinner North here…please come to the Open House on April 8 at 5:00 p.m. You’ll get a chance to meet the K teachers, the administration and current parents (including me). Check out the school’s and the Friends of Skinner North’s web sites for an online “feel” for the school. There is also a FOSN Facebook page. You can attend the May 3 “Starry Night” event, held at the Willis Tower and get a jump on meeting your child’s classmates and make some summer get-together plans.

    As to challenges, well, it’s so darn NEW–just five years old. It’s having its very first LSC election this year. We are all figuring things out as we go. On the plus side, that means nothing is set in stone, and I have not met a more open and collaborative group of teachers and administrators before! They really seem to listen to parents.

    I confess to have some nervousness about the “middle school” years that the school does not yet have (the school adds one year each year, so right now it only goes to 6th grade, next year 7th grade). But if the past three years have taught me anything, I should have faith that these smart, caring people will continue their excellent ways and put all of the students first.

    It’s an older building, the old Cabrini Green school. No bells and whistles. But it’s colorful and has its own energy and welcoming feel. The neighborhood is changing–lots of development going on, which will make the area as congested as other CPS school areas, maybe even more congested.

    As to transportation, about 1/3 of the students take the school bus, while others drive. I see lots of carpools happening, too. Families seem to make it work.

    We only put our child in the K program here three years ago because it was a full-day program. We fully intended to move him to our neighborhood school (NW side) or test him for SEES. But we LOVED it! The community was incredibly supportive and challenging. The communication is top-notch. My kid is an individual here. His feelings and unique personality matter. I love the Responsive Classroom system that they use in the entire building. Every kid is empowered and part of the greater whole.

    My favorite part? While the teachers and administration like that their students have achieved high test scores, they truly see those scores as a by-product of the supportive, challenging environment that is offered. I once saw a prospective SN parent walk out of our open house because the principal told him that test scores are not that important–and he meant it. That attitude may not work for everyone, and that’s ok.

    So we stayed, even though our son could have gone a few other places, including the SEES across the street from our home (where our older child goes)! It’s been a great experience at Skinner North.

    These are just MY personal feelings. Everyone’s experience is different. If you have specific questions for me, send me an email at skinnermom@hotmail.com and I will do my best to help. Best of luck!

  • 508. GiftedAndClassicalMom  |  March 25, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    @Bronzeville Mom and anyone else wanting Carnegie feedback. The gifted kindergarten teacher was very nurturing, really pushes reading, writing, and research projects. She also communicates through a website. However, the math although 1 grade level above, didn’t appear to be accelerated pr maybe my kid was in the average group. : ) The first grade gifted teacher is absolutely AWESOME and nationally board certified. She was very creative and really pushed the students. I saw acceleration and differentiation in reading AND math. Students were doing creative novel studies by second quarter if not before including Flat Stanley, Freckle Juice, Frindle, and Charlotte’s Web. 2nd grade gifted is okay. The teacher is very energetic and nurturing. The students did a couple of projects, but I haven’t seen novel studies at all. She did start off strong but lately, I don’t know. Her light is flickering. They have 5 weeks of one resource class daily and then they change to a new resource class. I don’t have anything to say about those because I haven’t seen anything concrete come from it. The K-2 gifted environment is nice on the first floor, but after that it gets a little sketchy. Also, be aware that the gifted program is only K-5. In 6th grade, the gifted students blend in with the neighborhood program under a so-call IB program umbrella. Just keeping it transparent and real. Oh, and this past year, the principal publicized the gifted classroom test scores in 2nd grade and they were in the 90th plus percentile in reading and math on the NWEA Map test. And yes, there is only 1 gifted class per grade. So, good luck with your decision.

  • 509. Norwood  |  March 25, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    @497 Madeline. For the rest of us normal people with small kids, the book ‘Welcome To Your Child’s Brain’ documents how talking to your kids turns out geniuses. It is available in the chicago public library. Unfortunately, my 2 sons don’t really care what I have to say and most conversation involves Minecraft or potty humor. We had to cheat our way into ‘gifted’. My kids are not the slightest bit empathetic. All I can tell them is to learn how to make friends with really smart people because you’ll need them after you get your MBA.

    I like Piano specifically because it uses the same skills that the test is testing, plus it teaches sitting still as a bonus. Obviously, there’s many other benefits. I didn’t learn that until late in the game.

    RE 2nd grade math – after test prep season ends in mid Kindergarten, I handed each of my kids the 2 Every Day Math workbooks for 2nd grade and told them to ask me if they need help. It’s amazing what kids will do if they think it’s expected of them. In 1st grade at Bell, they see it all over again. I did it as a matter of survival, but it actually went pretty well.

    Is there a book called Definitely Not Exceptionally Gifted But You Have to Sit Between Two Kids Who Are? I would buy 2 copies of that.

  • 510. Wend  |  March 25, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    I am strongly considering it. We also got into Disney and Prescott so feel we should at least learn about all of our options. Want to be sure of fit for our second child.

  • 511. GiftedAndClassicalMom  |  March 25, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    @Keller PTA Mom- Are there any after school programs at Keller or in the community?

  • 512. Second try  |  March 25, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Thank you for posting information about Bell. I would like to hear both the positives and the not-so-positives. In this thread, I’ve been hearing a lot about Keller and Skinner North, but not too much about Bell. Thanks!

  • 513. Diamondgirl  |  March 25, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Entering 1st grade
    RGC 125
    Classical reading 99% math 99%
    Offered Decatur!
    We are thrilled please let me know if anyone from Edison Park/Norwood Park attends

  • 514. Norwood  |  March 25, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Bell is the oldest of the RGC’s, and because of this, it’s had a lot of time to get it’s act together. It is situated in a neighborhood school that is very highly regarded, and as a result, housing prices have gone through the roof.

    The first grade teacher is perhaps the greatest teacher in the history of the Universe. First grade is a tour de force of field trips, projects, raising a zoo in the class room, and lots of other things. Plus they memorize anything that can be memorized. Of course, there are parents who think it’s too much, but RGC parents tend to be on the high strung side. (The first grade teacher is rumored to be moving to 2nd grade, rumored to be easing up, and rumored to be living with Elvis.)

    I think the workload was about an hour a night for kids who had to catch up. The workload was supposed to go down, but if you stink at spelling, and hate writing about boring subjects (not naming names), the homework still takes an hour. There are some 2 hour nights. Some parents report that their kid doesn’t have much work to do, but they either talked to him and had him watch Woody Allen movies, or they are lying.

    When we started, someone organized an online group for parents, and this helps us recover missing assignments or lost worksheets. It’s not competitive among the students ( I can’t get my son to talk smack before tests, for example ), and the kids generally like school.

    The bus situation is great once they get past the first 2 weeks and find their way to the correct school.

    The school has 950 kids, so in older grades there’s plenty to do.

    In fact, I think @60660 should take the offer at Bell immediately.

  • 515. K's Dad  |  March 25, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Northside Queston:

    It appears that the Tier 4 cutoff scores for Coonley RGC are about ~144, but only ~119 at Bell RGC which is only 1/2 a mile away. Same question for Beaubien and Edison which are a little farther apart (2.5miles?).

    Many people have posted scores in the 130’s and 140’s, but they say “no offers,” so they must have not listed Bell or Beaubien.

    House prices around each of the school pairs above are similar. Why don’t people with high scores choose Bell and Beaubien?

  • 516. FirstGradeBound  |  March 25, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    @K’s Dad: Bell and Beaubien don’t begin until 1st grade. That’s why.

  • 517. stephanieschwab  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    We have what seems like an embarrassment of riches, particularly for a family coming from out-of-town. But perhaps that’s why we were given so many great choices, because we were listed as Tier 1 (we’ll be moving from New York this summer – maybe they classify all out-of-towners as Tier 1?).

    Yesterday got notification that our son was into Disney (Disney I) Frazier and Hawthorne, and today that he’s in to Coonley RGC (144). We’re pretty sure Frazier and Hawthorne are not the right schools for us.

    So: can anyone help us compare Disney with Coonley? I know Disney has advanced learner classes at each grade, how are they same/different from RGCs?

    We won’t be able to visit Chicago before April 11, so if people can also give us intel on Coonley and Disney school facilities, that would be great too.

    Thanks so much!

  • 518. Levski  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Bell or Beaubien? Which is better?

  • 519. Decatur 1st  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    entering 1st grade
    RGC 131

    Reading 97, math 98

    Offerred at beaubien, rejecting,

    happy with our neighborhood school, and in fact scores are improving compare to last year(134, 90/84),

    hoping for hearing from decatur though.

  • 520. Second try  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    @Norwood. Thank you for the detailed response. Sounds like Bell is a wonderful school. It was our first pick.
    @517. Between the choices you have presented, I’d choose Coonley. I wouldn’t even think twice.

  • 521. 60660  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Bell or Beaubien? Which is closer to your home? How many hours a week do you want your 6 year old to sit in traffic?
    All the SE enrollment programs are taking bright kids who test well and giving them curricula that are a year or two ahead. None of them are perfect. If your child is profoundly gifted none of them will cater to your child’s needs. Unless they screw up your kid completely (and they don’t) your kid who tests extremely well will still test extremely well when they get to 7thG

    @stephanieschwab If you have more than one kid select a magnet – they offer sibling preference. the kids in the Disney CGP are working really hard (and getting great results). Your kid will have less homework at Hawthorne or Coonley at least in the early years. Those are 3 great choices so maybe pick the school you think you might be more comfortable living close to?

    @decatur 1st is this year an entry year for Decatur 1st G?

  • 522. momof2rs  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    I’m a Bell RGC grad and if given the opportunity, would choose it for my child in a heartbeat. We live on the other side of the city now but will still try to test into 1st grade next year…and hope there’s some kind of legacy system in place, LOL 😉

  • 523. K's Dad  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Coonley/Bell & Edison/Beaubien: Last year’s post had the same pattern of many people posting scores in the 130s and 140s saying they didn’t get offers. Now, those kids are in 1st grade. I’m still surprised the cutoff isn’t higher at 1st grade level for Bell & Beaubien.

    Its hard to imagine a distribution that explains this pattern, unless there are some strong preferences influencing choices.

  • 524. S Miller  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Tier 3


    Math 99
    Reading 93
    Gifted Score 135

    No offers.

  • 525. WJK  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    I only got the letter for the magnet and open enrollment schools. I haven’t received anything regarding SEES… Does that mean she isn’t getting any offers?

    As far as open enrollment and magnet, she only got an offer from Stone.. seems like a decent school..any insight?

    Tier 3

  • 526. ProudMom2  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Entering Kindergarden

    Tier unknown

    RGC score 146

    Offered NTA

    Lowest waiting list #14 at STEM

    We went in the test with no expectations, just promised her a trip to the candy store if she didn’t cry when they came to take her in to the test. Lol!


  • 527. Skinner North Mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    For those wondering why the cutoff scores are “higher” for Edison and Coonley (130s and 140s) than at Bell and Beaubien (110s, 120s, 130s)…

    Kindergarten scores tend to be higher, in general. It’s a different test than the 1st grade test. (One-one-one “talk” testing for the little guys vs. filling out a bubble sheet for the slightly bigger little guys.)

    Edison and Coonley start at kindergarten. Bell and Beaubien start at first grade. It stands to reason that their cutoff scores would appear to be “higher.” You’re not comparing the same test results.

    It does NOT mean that Bell and Beaubien accepted students are deficient in any way–LOL. Hope that helps!

  • 528. Keller PTA Mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    @GiftedAndClassicalMom. Keller has several after school programs, some at no cost to the students and some at a fee (sports, chess, yoga). Draw back is that all programs end by 4:15 pm at the latest. Several parents also use after school programs in the area that also service the other SEES schools on the south side. Soccer begins at the beginning of the school year so enrollment will happen over the summer. So watch out for mailing from Keller Athletic Association (KAA).

  • 529. hyde park mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    No.offense to.anyone but I think its unfair how cps automatically puts out of towners into tier 1,when some proably can afford the gold coast….

  • 530. Even One More CPS Mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    hyde park mom – remember that the poster was just throwing out a guess. They do not know for sure that this is how they got tier 1. It is possible that their information puts them in tier 1. Simply saying that at the moment we do not know for sure how the tier was assigned.

  • 531. Edison  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    The Edison K teacher is great. She may not seem “warm” at first impression but truly cares about the kids and is extremely good. There are a lot of parents (including A-A parents, so I think that’s an unfair dig) who dislike the 1st grade teacher a lot. She also has some very vocal defenders. I think it depends a lot on the type of child. Some children (who are good at following rules etc.) will do well under her, others terribly.

  • 532. About Coonley  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    @517 – I don’t know Disney, so can’t help you compare, but Coonley is our neighborhood school so I can tell you about it. The facilities are great. It’s getting a huge addition right now. It was overcrowded and needed it, but it’s big and will be nice. It also got a multi-million dollar upgrade outside a few years ago – new park and turf baseball diamond. It’s got lots of outdoor space for the kids to run and play. It’s in a great, safe, family-oriented neighborhood, and has a really involved parent base. The principal is fantastic – kind, approachable and available. It’s got a warm and fuzzy environment.

  • 533. Maire60607  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Help understanding daughters score:
    Tier 3
    4 year-old
    Applying for Kindergarten
    RGC 130
    Reading 42%
    Math 91%

    Not selected for any SEES, just accepted to a private school.
    Is the low reading percentage indicative of something I should be concerned about?

  • 534. Hyde Park mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    @529 I am sure this is the latest scheme of mayor Emmanuel to make Chicago a truly attractive world class city with a world class education available to everyone except to the local middle class. LOL.

  • 535. sw mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    A lot of the gifted and classical schools focus on testing rather than actual hands on learning. Dont be fooled by these programs. Private schools dont do all the crazy testing. If you are expecting individualized attention and learning do not expect it anywhere in cps. Its sink or swim. Also, class sizes large like regular ed. Some kids have behavioral problems too.

  • 536. TwoBallsInOneBasket...  |  March 25, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Entering 3rd grade,
    RGC :138
    offered Edison
    will turn down…My first is so lucky to turn down Edison twice,
    last year & this year…LOL

    Entering 1st, Tier 3
    RGC; 142
    offered Bell
    will accept.
    Second one is so happy with current classical but…
    We keep brainwashing our second one since pre-k for THIS!!!

  • 537. Levski  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    When is Bell 1st graders RGC open house? would you pass Bell options coordinator email? Tried to call w no luck today. petia707@yahoo.com

  • 538. South side obsessed  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Does anyone know if there is a chart out there that compares last year’s entry score for each tier at each school? For example If I want to know what was the lowest Carneige went for tier 2? What was the lowest Edison went for Tier 1? Thanks

  • 539. Coonley question  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    @532 Is there tension between neighborhood and rgc at Coonley? I was surprised that Coonley doesn’t offer any tour for admitted rgc students before the acceptance deadline especially since I had heard the school and principal were warm and approachable. Makes me wonder if it is a sign that out of neighborhood rgc families are not really welcome. Can any Coonley rgc parents comment? Thanks.

  • 540. BellorOgden  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    I’d love to hear some comments from parents familiar with Bell RGC. My child was just offered a spot for 1st grade and we are trying to decide if it is worth switching from our neighborhood school (Ogden). (RGC 148, Tier 4; Reading 98, Math 98)
    Thanks so much!

  • 541. Chicago School GPS  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Bell’s Open House is Monday, 3/31/14 @ 9AM. There is an online RSVP or you can call the school. Any open houses we know about we try to put on our CSG Calendar:

  • 542. Carnegie Mom  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Joining in with feedback about Carnegie — we are in the K program and we love it. We will try to get our younger child into Carnegie for K as well, she’ll be entering K in fall 2015. I have had good experiences with the 1st and 2nd grade teachers and have heard that the new third grade teacher is really settling in, so I feel very good about this choice.

    I have been amazed at the progress our daughter has made in Ms. Wilson’s K class. My girl has gone from an indifferent non-reader to a voracious reader at a 3rd grade level in 6 months, and the math she’s able to do is blowing my mind — many different techniques to solve problems, number sense, geometry, algebra. The kids are doing so well in math and reading that they’ve had extra time to focus on history and science, so she comes home every day telling me about some famous person she’s done a project about, and some new experiment she’s done or animals she’s studied and classified.

    We’ve found the social environment to be very warm, inside the class but also among the kids in the neighborhood program and in the RGC — respectful in the hallways, lots of hugs all around, all the kids and staff seem to know each other.

    This year’s schedule for specialty classes has not been a high point — 5 weeks per “special”. The motivation was a combination of enabling problem-based learning and budget uncertainty. I am hoping that we get a better arrangement next year. We ended up signing up for some non-CPS afterschool programs to keep her involved in Spanish and sports.

    It’s not a perfect school, but I’d say it’s a solid RGC with a challenged neighborhood program in the middle of a turnaround. More parent involvement would help, but this year there seems to be a solid slate of LSC candidates (I’ve met 3 who seem really qualified; the candidate forum is next week). The neighborhood program has work to do, but I hope that the OS4 network will help with that.

    At the end of the day, I’d recommend Carnegie RGC to anyone, and would be happy to share more details if you’re interested. I can connect you with the current KG parents email group as well (drop me an email, khascall@gmail.com).

  • 543. Pie Chart Professor  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    I am strongly considering it. We also got offers for Disney and Prescott so feel we should at least learn about all of our options. Want to be sure of fit for our our other child.

  • 544. RGC parent  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    @Bell or Ogden? If commuting time is not an issue…I can’t speak to Ogden but can say you will not regret sending your child to Bell! The RGC (&neighborhood school) are both strong programs which benefit from lots and lots of parental involvement and support.

  • 545. About Coonley  |  March 25, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    @539 – I knew one Coonley Options family where the parents didn’t really feel welcome. I don’t know more than that and can’t really elaborate. I also never heard of that from anyone else, and anything’s possible anywhere one time. But we obviously know lots of Coonley parents – both neighborhood and options – and have never heard of that except for the one instance I mentioned. I’m surprised they don’t do a tour, but expect there’s a reason unrelated to exclusion of options families.

  • 546. jlp  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    @529 hyde park mom, regarding your comment:

    “No.offense to.anyone but I think its unfair how cps automatically puts out of towners into tier 1,when some proably can afford the gold coast….”

    To clarify, not all out-of-towners are put into Tier 1. We applied from out of town and were categorized as Tier 3. CPS told me that they used the census tract we live in to determine our tier, and I assume they do the same for others.

  • 547. Still waiting  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    @525 We are in the same boat: magnet letter but nothing re: SEES. I am going to give the mail one more day and then call. The suspense is killing me! Sounds like this has happened to some people in past years and they will email the letter to you if you call.

  • 548. Linda  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Tier 3
    RGC 138
    Reading 99.7%
    Math 99.8%

    Skinner North. Offer accepted

  • 549. WorkingMommyof2  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    My older child is in the current K class in Coonley RGC, and we also live within the attendance boundaries. My second child will start in the neighborhood program in the fall. If there is any RGC/neighborhood tension among K kids or parents I’m not aware of it.

    I know RGC parents from multiple grade levels who are very active in volunteering at the school via Friends of Coonley and PTO, right alongside the neighborhood parents. My experience has been that everyone is welcomed.

    I think it’s easier for the stay-at-home RGC parents to really feel a part of the school as they have more time to volunteer and hang around at the playground and meet people after school, but that’s true of the neighborhood parents, too.

    The tour thing is bad timing — Coonley does tours every third Thursday. The principal and vice principal are very responsive to parents’ emails and phone calls. I know one family in our class had to decide between a popular magnet where their older child attends and the Coonley spot for their second child. They said they spoke at length with Coonley’s AP and he really impressed them.

  • 550. EagleDad  |  March 25, 2014 at 11:48 pm


    Congrats and welcome to NTA! You are very lucky to have such a great kid.

    Your little one will be working (and I really mean it: working!) with Mrs. Both. She is, without any doubt, one of the best teachers in the city. On top of that, Mrs. Both will be supported in class by two full time teachers also working exclusively in the RGC Kinder room. This will give you about a 1:9 teacher/student ratio, which is very uncommon in any school in the city (unless you have a personal school at home).

    Soon you will see the facilities, building, and equipment. My personal favorites are the swimming pool and the media laboratory. My wife loves the smart whiteboards and the music room. My kid’s fav is the gym and the bio lab in the classroom. I guess I will not comment further on what will become evident to you about facilities when you go to the open house.

    When we visited NTA for the first time about a year ago, the most common question among parents was the safety of our children. Coming from neighborhoods with such low crime rates, this part of the South Loop sounded a little bit too wild to some of us. It is spring already and I still have to hear for a first time about problems. Now I know we parents are safe around NTA when picking up and most important, that our kids are perfectly safe at NTA.

    Another amazing asset of the school is the principal. He is always there for you ready to discuss anything you have in mind. I just hope no CPS officer tries to steal him from NTA 😉

    With this in mind, I still have to mention one last thing about RGC at NTA: your child will be working HARD. I don’t want to put it as a warning, but you need to be sure that you understand what you are getting into by joining the program. All kids in the program are very smart (just like your own) AND they work very hard. This is not the right place for families that think that K is for play only.

  • 551. OTdad  |  March 26, 2014 at 12:02 am

    @497. Madeline:
    “Edison is only 5-10 minutes away, whereas Skinner N. would be quite a trek (and I am just outside the bus limits for SN).”

    To me, that’s enough reason to stay at Edison. Unless you have the option to move, closeness to school goes a long way. It’s a commitment for 9 years. 30min more /day = 100hours per year. That’s 900 hours more on the road.

    My DD goes to SN and she loves it, better yet, we are 2/3 mile away. Sometimes morning drop off is 5minutes door-to-door. IMHO, all these classicals and RGCs are more similar than they are different.

  • 552. MCK Mom  |  March 26, 2014 at 12:20 am


    Tier 3
    RGC score: 142
    Reading: 99.8 Math:93
    Accepted at NTA.

    No formal preparation for the tests. Our daughter attends a CPS pre-K program in our neighborhood that emphasizes play and creativity (no homework) and she loves it. At home, we also do creative activities with our daughter and read together a lot, but no drills, flashcards, etc. Before the test, we simply talked to our daughter to set some basic expectations: letting her know that a “teacher” would be asking her questions and that she should try to answer and not be shy.

    Our daughter also took the test in Spanish, but we are still waiting for the results of that test for the ELL RGC school (her first language was Spanish and we now speak both Spanish and English at home). Curious to know if anyone else here has a child who also took the Spanish test?

    We live on the south side (McKinley Park), so we are happy that NTA is closeby and a great option. Looking forward to the open house and meeting other families considering NTA.

  • 553. Puzzled mom  |  March 26, 2014 at 12:21 am

    RGC 135
    R 97
    M 99
    Tier 3
    No offer

  • 554. Hyde Park mom  |  March 26, 2014 at 12:54 am

    @552. Welcome to NTA. I actually can relate to your case. Our daughter took the test for RGC last year coming from a CPS tuition-based pre-K (Skinner West). She also tested for the ELL-RGC and those results took longer to arrive. She made it to one of the ELL-RGCs and to NTA-RGC but we chose NTA. I initially thought that ELL-RGCs were bilingual (dual language full immersion) but then I noticed that they weren’t so I was convinced that this was not a good fit for my daughter. I disapprove of transition programs because their goals are to make kids completely monolingual in English. I made the right decision sending her to NTA. I recommend that you keep speaking to her only in Spanish at home so she will have a better chance to retain the language. I am happy to hear that my daughter will have one more friend to chat with in Spanish at NTA! Please let me know if you have any further questions regarding NTA.

  • 555. N Side mom of 2  |  March 26, 2014 at 1:03 am

    RGC 130
    Entering 2nd
    Tier 4
    No offer

  • 556. EagleDad  |  March 26, 2014 at 1:06 am

    This is CPS obsessed, not private school obsessed. You knocked the wrong forum.

  • 557. Mamabear  |  March 26, 2014 at 6:01 am

    Thanks for the posts about Edison 1st grade teachers. It’s good to know she isn’t as bad as some say. I defended her too when I first heard rumors as what teachers are liked by all parents. Some of us can be pretty crazy at times and I sympathize with teachers having to deal with our over zealousness. But my son had personal run ins with her and is now terrified to become a 1st grader. Seriously not happy about that. But I recognize dealing with tough teachers is part of learning to survive in schools and something he will have to go through at some point. I just wish it was at a higher grade when he is less likely to internalize criticisms as a personal failures.

    My son is in the highest reading group and has learned a ton at Edison with the aggressive homework on that side. There has been many tears to get him to focus after 7 hours at school for more work. Considering how important it is for kids to learn by play at this age, it was hard for me to enforce. But honestly I think the homework does get dragged out by their inability to focus after such a long day at school. He’s able to do his math homework in 5 min and write 2-3 pages of reading response in 15/20 min now. But having my kids at school for 7 hours and still sending homework at this age seems ridiculous. I want well-rounded kids and not leaving me time after school for sports, language, music, etc just irritates me. I have to manage his homework aggressively so he doesn’t have any when he has after school stuff.

    My son looks at the daily lesson for math and asks me why it keeps saying the same thing. How many times can you discuss how to count by tens? How many times can you do adding and subtracting of simple numbers? My son was doing multiplications before entering K. Learning to count and adding 2+3=5 for the whole year is unbearable for him. He loves the science lab. Gym is a joke. But at this age, I feel it’s most important for him to learn the social skills and build confidence and independence. I think I love the community of the parents the best. I wish you best of luck. I do believe how well the school fits is really dependent on your kid.

  • 558. SLSNMOM  |  March 26, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Tier 4
    Entering 3rd grade
    RGC 122
    M 99 R 97
    No offers
    Still trying to get the siblings in one school! We’ve been trying for 3 years. The commute to SL is long for us but it’s a great program if he stays again this year. His brother is at SN.

  • 559. CPSMom  |  March 26, 2014 at 6:31 am

    @ 465, 470, & 484. Thank you for the info on NTA. It is really great to hear that you are all happy with the school. I appreciate all the information!

  • 560. Angie  |  March 26, 2014 at 7:08 am

    @557. Mamabear: “My son looks at the daily lesson for math and asks me why it keeps saying the same thing. How many times can you discuss how to count by tens? How many times can you do adding and subtracting of simple numbers?”

    Out of curiosity, what math curriculum does Edison use? We’re in a neighborhood school with Everyday Math, and while my kid loves the easy homework, I’m getting increasingly frustrated by all this going in circles instead of moving forward.

  • 561. yet another Skinner North parent  |  March 26, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Congrats to all the new Skinner North families! This is my fourth year as a SN parent, and I’ll agree with all the other SN parents that it is an excellent school. The teachers, staff, and administration are really great, and the parent community is involved and very supportive.

    My only caution to families new to SE schools — really be honest with yourself about what kind of learner your child is. If you have a dreamer, a wanderer, a follow-their-own-drum sort of child, one of the selective enrollment schools might not be a good fit. Way back when we got our first acceptance letter, we were so elated to get into such a good school that we pushed down our nagging doubts about whether a rigorous SE school was really the right fit for our artsy, free-form family. Those doubts have grown year by year, and we’re seriously considering leaving the school after this year. It’s an excellent school and leaving will break our hearts, but we’re more and more convinced that it’s just not the right fit for our family. So we might be adding to that pool of slots that open up over the summer!

  • 562. Norwood  |  March 26, 2014 at 8:14 am

    I once spent an hour at a Bell picnic with a parent of a kid at Coonley, Bell, and Edison. After grilling her about the pros and cons of each school, I came to the conclusion that they would all work fine. She subsequently left to become an Arts and Letters dean at a University in the South West. Her insight was great, to say the least.

    In terms of math, I’m not really counting on any school to meet my sons’ needs exactly. That’s my job. There are 97 different maths, and arithmetic is not really all that interesting relative to the other 96. As I mentioned before, we’re just going to take it easy until about 6th grade and turn it on when math curriculum starts to become worthwhile. Every kid has a problem of some kind. I’d rather have the problem of having to supplement my son’s curriculum than having to struggle with C’s and D’s.

    I know of a little boy who finished his entire math workbook in the first 3 days of 1st Grade, and then blew off math until he was a Junior in high school. He went on to study math in grad school and then write rambling posts to cpsobsessed.com about it. I know a handful of kids from the local Catholic gradeschool who were a year behind in math entering Whitney, Jones, and Northside who caught up in a summer and did pretty well after that. One ended up skipping a year of math. Bottom line, it’s just not that important.

  • 563. Southmom  |  March 26, 2014 at 9:41 am

    @550 EagleDad, @484 Pie Chart Progessor @470 Uptown MAMA @Hyde park mom Thank you for all the wonderful feedback of NTA,

    Wanted to see how have has the homework been and are there quartely projects?
    Also Do they offer before care or only after school care?

  • 564. Pritzker Mom  |  March 26, 2014 at 9:56 am

    @Maire60607 –

    You likely don’t have anything to worry about with your daughter’s reading score. My son had similar scores last year when he took the tests for K entry. He scored in the 93-percentile range this year on his NWEA/MAP reading. (We tested again for RGC this year and he go into Pritzker for 1st grade.)

    If you think you see signs of an issue like dyslexia, you might want to chat with your pediatrician or look into testing. Otherwise, you’re probably safe chalking it up to the fact that kids develop at their own pace.

  • 565. K's Dad  |  March 26, 2014 at 10:04 am

    @Skinner North Mom,

    I’ve heard anectdotes about children receiving lower scores from the 1st grade test vs. the K test, but I’ve also heard anectodes of higher scores in 1st grade, but most anectdotes show no difference.

    Are both tests scaled with a 100 mean and 15 Std Dev?

    If so, I still wonder about the Bell/Coonley cutoff difference.

  • 566. SEESandCharterParent  |  March 26, 2014 at 10:16 am

    @557 mamabear – The 1st grade teacher is polarizing. Our son loved her and thrived under her structure. Others had a hard time and considered her “mean”. She is extremely dedicated and pushes the kids hard, some think too hard. She expects them to perform at their best and lets them know when they don’t. The kids learn a ton in the time they spend in her class.

    One other thing to keep in mind. If you son is in the advanced reading group, he’s already spent his time in reading with the 1st grade teacher and will likely have the 2nd grade teacher for reading next year. Her approach is very different and you’ll see a lot less homework from her. Once he gets to the 3rd grade teacher (for reading or overall) you’ll see an upswing in homework again.

    As with any school, you will run across teachers you love and don’t love. Hang in there, a change is never more than a year away. We have issues with some things at Edison, but it’s less teacher related, and more with administration and a seeming resistance to change.

    All in all Edison is a great school, but every school will have things you’re not crazy about. There’s no avoiding that. People who don’t like things are often more vocal than satisfied customers.

  • 567. Ohwell  |  March 26, 2014 at 10:27 am

    @563 For us the homework has typically been about 15 minutes/night and then the kids also bring home a book to read every night of the week. It was a big struggle at first–up to an hour/night –but it has lightened up a bit. There is weekend homework, usually just a journal assignment – the kids draw and write about what they did on Saturday and Sunday. We had a reasonably substantial packet over the winter break.

    As for projects, there have been a few, but most of the work seems to happen in school, at least this year. The kids are doing country projects now and we’ve had some small assignments over the weekend – like researching the cuisine in the country and sending in pictures of food. But the kids are doing a lot of the work in the classroom and will assemble their presentations in the classroom.

    School starts at 830. In the cold weather months, the kids can come in starting at 8; in the spring and fall they line up outside and the teachers come out 5-10 minutes before class starts. There are lots of parents and staff around, but you probably wouldn’t want to leave a little one there by themselves for more than a few minutes before they go in, at least at the beginning of the year. No before care that I’m aware of.

  • 568. late to the party  |  March 26, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Tier 4, only applied to Coonley.

    Child going into 4th scored 146, accepted
    Child going into 5th scored 142, not accepted

    Housing prices are up, maybe some people will flee to the suburbs this summer!

  • 569. RGC parent  |  March 26, 2014 at 10:38 am

    @565 I’m confused as to your point…the K RGC test scale is higher 160 v. 150 for the 1st grade RGC test. It is also true that 1st grade RGC scores are often lower when compared to same child’s K RGC scores.

    As you note, the schools are very close to each other & many parents in the area have children at BOTH schools. I have never heard any of these parents (many whom I know well) voice a preference for one over the other. Coonley RGC is on the newer side & has not yet graduated their first RGC class. Personally, I’m thrilled with Coonley’s success…it is great to have neighborhood schools with abutting boundaries thought of highly. Let’s keep the momentum going NSiders! Which “soon to be sought after elementary” is next?

  • 570. Excited parents!!  |  March 26, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Could anybody offer any feedback about the first grade teacher from Keller?

  • 571. NorthCenterMom  |  March 26, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I was able to reach the call center for the University where testing was done today. I was calling to see if they could tell me how age factored into the test (my child was a very young 4 when tested for K) and he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) tell me, but said it was a factor. He did tell me that my child’s score of 145 was 99.9th percentile. Consolation prize 🙂 Thanks again to everyone for posting – its been very interesting to see everyone’s info (and distracting).

  • 572. Mamabear  |  March 26, 2014 at 10:58 am

    @560. Angie Edison uses Envision Math.

  • 573. SRL  |  March 26, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Hi everyone – just to add to the data: Daughter going into 5th grade – score 147, tier 4, accepted at Bell, first choice.

  • 574. SL parent  |  March 26, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Does anyone have or know a child who’s entering 2 grade and got an offer to either a RGC or classical school? If so, what’s their score? How come they don’t give waitlist number on the letter just like the magnets? Thank you.

  • 575. reenie  |  March 26, 2014 at 11:18 am

    @552 and @554 is NTA doing any Spanish? My DS got a 133 gifted score and I’m hoping and praying (maybe futilely) for a later-round call from NTA. We do one parent/one language mostly at home (my husband is the native Spanish speaker; I speak some). We are still waiting to hear about schools with full dual-language (Namaste and St. Procopius in Pilsen). I’m more focused on dual language than on SE for elementary school but if we don’t get the language I would be really excited about a call from NTA if it comes.

    Please let me know what’s going on with Spanish there. Thanks!

  • 576. South Loop Mom  |  March 26, 2014 at 11:40 am

    @575 Reenie, another NTA parent chiming in here:

    NTA is doing some Spanish. It took a long time to hire a Spanish teacher though the kids were doing some Spanish during computer lab. I hope there is more Spanish next year as well – our child speaks Spanish too.

    @SouthMom, you asked about NTA RGC homework. Our child is in first grade and gets a lot of homework. Maybe an hour per night – she gets distracted though, so it could be shorter for a focused child. This has been a transition for our family. Her teacher doesn’t issue weekend homework. They do have quarterly classroom projects where they analyze and learn about real-world issues. She loves it. Examples include intensive study of bats, what to do about birds running into windows (they put reflective tape on the bridge to solve the problem), and create a travel brochure for your neighborhood.

    You also asked about Before Care – I’m not familiar with Before Care. In cold weather months, kids are allowed into the building at 8AM. In warmer weather, they wait outside until the doors open at 8:25AM. They offer free breakfast every day. It helps us on rushed mornings.

    AfterCare has multiple options until 6/6:30pm at varying price points (Park District, JCC, After School AllStars, Orion’s Mind, etc). Another big bonus is the onsite Park District Classes – for example, you can pick up from school at 3:30 and take a Tue afternoon swim class at The Park at NTA at 3:45PM with a group of friends. Or Bitty Basketball on another weeknight. It is a wonderful partnership between the school and the Park District onsite – they are literally connected by a bridge.

  • 577. sw mom  |  March 26, 2014 at 11:48 am

    To #543-

    FYI, Prescott is a terrible school. Horrible administration, unavailable Principal who hides from people and they bully parents. The secretary there said it is common behavior at that school by administration.
    Disney is only good for kids who can handle enormous amounts of noise and can multi task. The pod teaching style is not for everyone. Just because it is a magnet doesnt mean its good. Ive had experiences with both of these schools

  • 578. FirstGradeBound  |  March 26, 2014 at 11:54 am

    @577: You seem to dislike several schools, which I don’t take issue with at all. It’s more of an observation and I happen to agree with some of what you’ve said. Out of curiosity, what’s your dream CPS school and why?

  • 579. Pritzker Mom  |  March 26, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    @574 SL Parent

    The “waitlists” for RGC and Classical schools aren’t fixed like the ones for the Magnet Schools.

    Each student gets one offer at a time. If they decline that offer,they are added to the lists for their other choices wherever their score places them – pushing down the kids with lower scores.

    It’s impossible for them to give you a written fixed number. However, I’ve found the folks at the OAE office to be very helpful when I’ve spoken to them. They’ll probably be able to help you determine if it looks good or doesn’t look good.

    Most schools haven’t yet surveyed their parents to see who knows if they’re leaving. My daughter’s class at Pritzker lost several kids between 1st and 2nd – most of the parents were contacted in later rounds – one the day before school started.

  • 580. Angie  |  March 26, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    @572. Mamabear: “Edison uses Envision Math.”

    Thanks. From the reviews, it seems to be a little better than Everyday, but not by much.

    @562. Norwood : “In terms of math, I’m not really counting on any school to meet my sons’ needs exactly. That’s my job. There are 97 different maths, and arithmetic is not really all that interesting relative to the other 96. As I mentioned before, we’re just going to take it easy until about 6th grade and turn it on when math curriculum starts to become worthwhile.”

    I have to disagree with that. “Math Lite” might be OK for kids who are into arts or creative writing, but for those who are interested and capable of doing more, it is not good enough. I don’t mind supplementing or helping with homework, but the actual teaching of the new concepts, IMO, should be done at school.

  • 581. iris  |  March 26, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    @579 Pritzker Mom -what is your opinion on Pritzker? It is our neighborhood school, if we don’t get any offer we’re guaranteed a spot there. Our daughter got 125 for RGS do you think we have any chance? many thanks

  • 582. Chris  |  March 26, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    “Are both tests scaled with a 100 mean and 15 Std Dev?
    If so, I still wonder about the Bell/Coonley cutoff difference.”

    1. As noted by many, no, the scales are not the same for the K and 1 tests.

    2. Many high scoring K kids are ‘locked in’ to the RGC/Classical they get into for K–there are 14 SEES (sloop out for k-1 admit), and 12(?) admit for K–so about 330 K admits, which is about 1% of the CPS K population. If you knock out much/most of the top 1% by K admits, there will be *likely* a need to reach lower for 1 admits, *even*before* the change in the test and/or scaling is considered.

    3. The anecdata is strong that there is a lower scale for the 1 test, and is supported by the fact that the K test tops at 160, and the 1 test tops at 150.

  • 583. 1st Grader at Bell  |  March 26, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    I was answering questions for someone on NPN on Bell, and I figured I might as well post it here since I saw lots of posts asking for info on Bell:

    Congrats on the offer to Bell. We love it there. I am going to try to offer pro’s and con’s. But, bottom line, we love it. However, we have only been there since the fall, there may be issues we have not run into yet. My daughter was at Pritzker RGC for Kindergarten. We tested her again for 1st grade and were very lucky to move to Bell for an easier commute and a better fit.

    Ms. Kaim is the 1st grade teacher and she is incredible. She expects a lot from these kids, but she fosters and understands and supports them in a way that makes me get teary while I am typing. She is like Mary Poppins–tough and magical.

    If you have not already to the Bell Website, click “Classrooms and Teachers” and then click Ms. Kaim or follow this link: http://teacherweb.com/IL/AGBellSchool/Kaim/h0.aspx Tons of info about the 1st grade experience, but for the day to day look at the NewsFlash tab.

    1. Is the program geared towards fostering a love of learning, rather than focusing on getting the right answer? In other words, is it “teach to the test”?

    All CPS have tests, but I feel that Ms. Kaim really focuses on the love of learning and exploration. Lots of field trips and lots of classroom experiments. The Classroom is a mini zoo/botanic garden. An overarching theme of the year is life cycles culminating in hatching chicks in the spring.

    2. Do they students ever collaborate on projects, or is it more independent work? Tons of collaborative work in the classroom. Ms. Kaim works really hard to teach the children how to be good and caring citizens in and out of the classroom. My daughter has some of the “stereotypical” social awkwardness of gifted children and this has been great for her. The homework is independent projects.

    3. Are the gifted students always separate from the rest of the school or do they opportunity to interact with students in the neighborhood and deaf/hard of hearing programs? They interact during recess, lunch, after school programs and during any non-academic subjects–music, art, PE, etc. This is a BIG focus of Bell from the Principal down–all three programs together make our community.

    4. How rigorous is the homework assignments at the early years?

    My daughter is slow and distracted, and I would say we spend an hour four nights a week including reading time. I know a lot of kids are much quicker. In a perfect world, I would have no homework for the 1st few years. It is a long school day and Ms. Kaim keeps them focused and learning during it. My daughter is tired at the end of that day. I sometimes joke that our whole family got in a RGC because it is a focus of all our weekday evenings. But, the homework is NOT busy work. It is either reinforcing new concepts or projects that my daughter is interested in. And I appreciate that!

    5. What did you like best about the school? What needs to be improved?

    I love how happy my daughter is there and the responsiveness of the teachers and administration. But, it is still CPS and subject to all those rules and budget cuts.

    6. Is/was the size of the school (1000+ students) an issue for your child?

    No 🙂 I was for me because I grew up in rural Montana and had a graduating class of 20, but it is not an issue for the kids.

    7. How do they handle food allergies, specifically to peanut and tree nuts?

    Food is typically not allowed in the classroom. It is not a peanut free school, but they do have peanut free tables. I would call the office for more info because my child doesn’t have allergies so I may not know the details.

  • 584. 1st Grader at Bell  |  March 26, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    There is some switching in between RGC’s after Kindergarten due to people trying to get siblings together or a school closer to home or fit issues. For instance in this year’s Bell 1st grade there are two transfers from Pritzker and two from Skinner North. There may be more that I am not aware of.

  • 585. Maybe  |  March 26, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Chris – The K test does not actually top at 160. My understanding is that there is no ceiling. There are kids with scores over 160. They used to give the exact score over 160, but now they just indicate > 160. (Who knows why?)

    I agree that there are different scales and/or different tests. I think there must be two or even three different tests. One for K and another for 1-8 grade. Or it may be that there is a 1-4 test and a 5-8 test (used for gifted and AC).

  • 586. west loop mom  |  March 26, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Most standardized tests have a mean score of 100 and standard deviation of 15. I cannot think of a standardized test that does not. This is done for purposes of consistency when comparing results from several different tests.

    That being said, I can’t explain the differences in scores for Kindergarten and 1st grade (150/160) without believing that the scores reported are, in fact, not standard scores (SS) and perhaps are CPS’ own interpretation of standard scores.

  • 587. ProudMom2  |  March 26, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    THANKS EagleDad for that wonderful welcome! This is very exciting.

    I actually was just in the process of moving away to a different state due to the high crime and high cost of living.

    This may get us back for good, maybe…

  • 588. K's Dad  |  March 26, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    @Chris, @RGC Parent, @Skinner North Mom

    I’m glad we’re having this discussion.

    What you call the scale sounds like the maximum score they will report. To evaluate all the scores below the maximum, let’s look at the mean, the std dev and the distribution type.

    Try thinking of it this way…..what is the 50 percentile score for the K test and the 1st Grade test? What’s the 95 percentile score for each? Do the K and 1st Grade numbers differ?

  • 589. EVmom  |  March 26, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    1st Grade, Tier 4
    Reading 99
    Math 97
    RGC 137
    Offered Pritzker
    Not sure we’re going to take it as are pretty pleased with current magnet and guarantee little sib will eventually be there.
    -last year’s K RGC score of 139 no offer from Pritzker.

  • 590. Southmom  |  March 26, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    @567Ohwell and @576 South Loop Mom
    Thanks for the information.

  • 591. Stacey  |  March 26, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    My daughter will be entering 1st in Sept. She scored 101 with 99th for reading and math and was offered decatur. She’s in k now at a magnet.
    For k she scored 139 and I think it was 99th for reading and math and didn’t get any offers.
    I’m having so much trouble deciding because at the magnet her little sister has a spot when she’s old enough.

  • 592. Stacey  |  March 26, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    My daughter will be entering 1st in Sept. She scored 101 with 99th for reading and math and was offered decatur. She’s in k now at a magnet.
    For k she scored 139 and I think it was 99th for reading and math and didn’t get any offers.
    I’m having so much trouble deciding because at the magnet her little sister has a spot when she’s old enough. But if I switch my older daughter then who knows what’s going to happen. It’s a few years away but I don’t want to possibly be driving to 2 different schools.

  • 593. Decatur  |  March 26, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    592. Why would you be driving to Decatur? Are you not within the transportation boundaries or do not want your child taking the school bus as a 1st grader?

    If you drive her now, in a few years, if you do have 2 kids in 2 schools, you might feel more comfortable having her take the bus. We drove our child for a few years, but then felt comfortable sending child on bus. Bus route varies every year as does the length of the commute, so have to consider that as well.

  • 594. NTA  |  March 26, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    To NTA parents
    My daughter will be attending NTA-RGC. Does anybody know any before school programs?

  • 595. Second try  |  March 26, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    @ 1st Grader at Bell: How many students are there in the RGC class at Bell? I heard it is around 25. This would be a pleasant surprise. And, thank you for the post.

  • 596. snmunson  |  March 26, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    there are a lot of comments on skinner north — we are considering skinner west (classical program). wondering if there are any insider options on SW… thanks!

  • 597. Barb S  |  March 26, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Wondering if anyone has any experience with Waters elementary? Particularly if your child tested great but didn’t make the classical or gifted cut.

  • 598. WestloopMama  |  March 26, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Well we FINALLY got our Sees letter today.

    Enter K
    Our Neighborhood School is Skinner West.
    It’s a great school, but we wanted to test to see what level she was at for classical programs and RGC.

    Tier 4
    RGC 147
    Classical R 99 M 96

    No offers!!!

    I’m sure that our tier has a big influence on the lack of offers.
    We did zero prep…I think her scores are more than I was expecting.
    I wrote about the overcrowding at Skinner West and the busing possibilities for all the K grades in the magnet thread. Someone had also commented about the Admin’s preference for the Classical Students over the neighborhood kids. I have found that to be true. More resources are dedicated to the classical program. I was hoping that my daughter would test into the classical programs at either Skinner West or North.
    First preference was Skinner West since we can walk there.
    The teachers are very impressive. I have spoken with all of them over the past couple of years. Most teach 1-2 levels above grade in lower grades anyway, so there is not a huge difference between the classical kids and neighborhood kids, except this undertone of “second class citizen from the admin.” This neighborhood is being flooded with new families due to Skinner. I think that eventually CPS will need to make a decision due to the overcrowding…one solution has been to relocate the classical program to Skinner North, leaving all of Skinner West as a neighborhood/magnet school.
    The funny thing is that my daughter will probably be in the neighborhood program, which receives less resources (like language, music etc.) but her scores are probably just as good or better than the other children who test into Skinner’s Classical program from the other tiers. Oh well, Cest L’vie.
    I will volunteer and support all the kids at the school anyway.

  • 599. Y  |  March 26, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    @595 Second try: The class sizes are 28 from K-3 and 31 from 4-8 at RGC and Classical programs. It’s set by CPS and teacher contracts. Sometimes the classes may go smaller if students leave part way through the year and it’s too late to refill those seats.

  • 600. Stacey  |  March 26, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Decatur is 10 miles away. The bus limits shows about 5 blocks north of us as being the limit for busing. And honestly I’d rather have her in the car with me for the hour or less each morning and afternoon, than on a bus for likely much longer than an hour each way every day.

  • 601. South Loop Dad  |  March 26, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    @580: Angie: ““Math Lite” might be OK for kids who are into arts or creative writing, but for those who are interested and capable of doing more, it is not good enough.”

    If you put a real mathematician in a lineup of artists and creative writers, I don’t think you’ll have any luck picking him or her out. The stuff kids are exposed to in the first few years of school is “Math Lite”. The concepts behind calculus, trigonometry, geometry, etc are right there in real everyday life and can be understood by any child, gifted or not. Enjoyable exploration of those concepts now, at a young age, prepares children for when they get hit with it later in their educational life.

    I recommend taking a look at the book “Moebius Noodles” – you can download it for free from their website, which also has a great blog.

  • 602. Mom2Three  |  March 26, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Can only speak about Edison.

    Class sizes:
    K = 28
    1st and 2nd = 30
    3rd and up = 32

    Principal increased class sizes due to per pupil budgeting last year.

  • 603. not sure  |  March 26, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Tier 4

    Accepted @ Bell

    Not sure if we will take it or not. I’ve talked to several families at Bell who say the 3rd grade Options teacher is questionable. I’ve been told that she’s not a tough teacher, meaning the school work is not necessarily challenging, but she says and does inappropriate things. Supposedly, administration receives complaints about her every year.

    On the other hand, I’ve talked to some who think she is a-ok.

    Trying to decide what to do.

  • 604. LSmom  |  March 26, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    @583, thanks so much for posting the detailed comments, very helpful.

  • 605. Pritzker Mom  |  March 26, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    @581, iris –

    I don’t have any first hand experience with the neighborhood program so I can’t really speak to what goes on in the classrooms. Here is what I know:

    Parents have mixed reactions to the principal, I’ve only had good interactions with her. In my experience, she genuinely cares about the students and tries to get the best teachers possible across the board.

    There definitely is a difference in attitude of some (but not all) of the parents and students between the programs. I guess you’d expect this because the options kids pretty much all have very (overly?) involved parents who went to the trouble to have their kids tested and sent to a school outside their neighborhood. Not all the neighborhood kids have that advantage.

    For the four years we’ve been there, the fundraising by Friends of Pritzker and other groups is done for the whole school, giving the neighborhood program the benefit of the zeal of the options parents.

    There is a big difference between pre-school experience between the neighborhood and options kids – which can definitely impact a child’s K experience. K is not the first classroom experience for most of the options kids, but it is for many of the neighborhood kids.

    The neighborhood program is growing quickly, this year they had significantly more kids than were planned/budgeted for, I think creating larger classes for some of the grades. (That happened at Lincoln as well this year). The options classes have capped sizes and don’t have that type of overcrowding risk.

    The Fine Arts program definitely differentiates Pritzker from the run of the mill neighborhood program. The kids in both programs get music and art each week and the neighborhood kids also get drama on a more regular basis than the options kids. The options kids start Spanish in K, but I think the neighborhood program starts in a higher grade.

    The principal does her best to accommodate students in the neighborhood program that perform at a level significantly in advance of his/her class in reading and math.

    I hope this is helpful.

  • 606. EagleDad  |  March 26, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    As far as I know, there are no before school options at NTA. If you find a critical mass to open a new “before school” program at NTA, I am sure many service providers will jump in. This is what happened to us with the after school programs now available at NTA after RGC K and 1 opened last year. RGC parents just got organized and voilà, the school got an influx of after school programs for all tastes. Good luck!

  • 607. Norwood  |  March 26, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    @603 My son has the 3rd grade options teacher at Bell this year and both he and I think very highly of her. I heard the legend of her toughness and other stories, and we were mildly concerned, but none of dire predictions were true. So either she did a make over or the stories were not accurate.

    As far as the academic rigor of the third grade, the curriculum sits within a carefully designed continuum from first through eighth grade. My son finds this year slightly more challenging than the last two because they are focusing on certain skills that aren’t in his wheelhouse, but I’ll have to admit that 3rd grade isn’t that hard.

    My son likes school. This is a miracle.

    The Bell RGC keeps a low profile, perhaps because its stats are buried in those of the neighborhood school it sits within, but it’s probably the best elementary school in Chicago, if not the country.

  • 608. Bell  |  March 26, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    @603 My child had the 3rd grade Options teacher at Bell and yes, I’m sure I have heard everything that you’ve been told at one time or another. However, neither my child nor myself had any issues with her. In fact, curriculum wise it was one of my child’s favorite years…lots of science & social studies.

    IMO, one reason parents may have issues is that 3rd grade is somewhat of a transition year in terms of what is expected regarding behavior and responsibility. Think of it in terms of a toddler v. a 4-5 year old. As a parent, we may expect or let go certain behavior from a toddler that we no longer tolerate from a 4-5 year old. Why? We say “you are old enough to know better.” A lot of what I hear, I would put in the same category. Yes, if your child “rolls their eyes”, “talks back”, or shows other signs of disrespect they are probably going to get in trouble; and personally, I had no problem with that.

  • 609. west loop mom  |  March 26, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    @598westloop mama
    My child received identical scores to yours last year for classical and no offers either so we wound up in the Skinner West neighborhood program. I have found that many of the current Kindergarteners at Skinner West who just took the test again for 1st grade scored 99/98’s and did not receive any offers either. All of us parents commiserate about this situation but are thrilled to have such a high scoring group of peers for our kids. After my initial trepidations with the school, I am over the top pleased with it! The good news is that the neighborhood program is filled with other children scoring just as high your own and they differentiate by dividing the Kindergartners into 3 groups for reading and math based upon ability. I can say that my child’s already high classical scores actually increased this year and I think that’s a result of her teacher.

    I would say that your assessment about the admin. is probably fair. There is a lot more lip service paid to treating both programs the same versus that actually happening. But we have to remember that classical programs across the city receive more funding from CPS so they have more options. Our students just started Spanish though, they have been lacking that all year. Also there are several groups there that fundraise to try and close the funding gap.

    Lastly, as a West Loop resident you are eligible to vote in the LSC election on April 7th at the school. Many of the decisions made about the school have to be approved by the LSC, which currently has no parents from the neighborhood on it. There are currently 3 candidates who are neighborhood residents running for the LSC, so please come out and vote for them. Important issues such as the Kindergarten moving to a different building are decided by the LSC. This year, the suggestion was made to move just the neighborhood classrooms. I don’t think that suggestion would have been made had any neighborhood parents been on the board.

  • 610. far northsider  |  March 26, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    For @603 not sure and @607 Norwood –

    Norwood, I’m glad your child is having a good year. I have an upper grade kid in Options and when our class was in third grade I and other parents in the class did have difficulties with her more old-school – and to my mind, unacceptable – disciplinary practices, which did not match the general disciplinary approach of the school. I know a number of parents in last year’s third grade class also had complaints of the same sort. If she’s eased off, that’s good news; I’m still not happy about it years later and do not plan to apply to Bell for my youngest.

    In general the options curriculum at Bell is fantastic (and is why my kid is still there); the range of after school activities are great; and first grade is, as others have mentioned, an amazing and rich experience. However, there’s little consistency from year to year in the amount of homework given (some years there’s a ton, other teachers assign little) and a widely varying amount of tolerance among the teachers for kids whose executive functioning isn’t perhaps as developed as their classmates.

    I know most Bell parents love the school and want their children to have that rigorous academic experience, but I can’t help but wonder what our experience would have been like if we had stayed at the magnet cluster school that my other child attended. One comment above @561 said “If you have a dreamer, a wanderer, a follow-their-own-drum sort of child, one of the selective enrollment schools might not be a good fit” and, well, I think that’s been our experience in a nutshell. Bell is a great fit for some (maybe most, even), not as much for our family I guess.

  • 611. Bell  |  March 26, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    @603 I would just like to add, Bell school (like all schools) is a lot more than one teacher or one grade. I would encourage you to take the ‘long view’ when making your decision. FYI: 3rd grade is a great time to make the move if you decide to do it…the kids seem to have a very smooth transition socially.

  • 612. WestloopMama  |  March 26, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    @609 west loop mom

    Thanks you so much for your detailed response and insights.
    Hey we chose almost the same name!! LOL
    It’s good to know that we are not alone in the same situation of having highish scores, but the tier poses problems when comparing to other tiers.
    We are very fortunate to have a great neighborhood school, some here in the city don’t have the same option and are forced to rely on lotteries etc.
    That being said, we have owned our home here for 12 years, so we have definitely contributed to the local tax base. Our Alderman is a good friend and neighbor.
    Even though we applied to RGCs I’m not sure we would have chosen one over our neighborhood school. It is very important to me that we maintain good relationships here. Having friends and activities locally is important for a sense of community for our family.

    I will definitely go to the LSC meeting and vote.
    I did check out the website and the minutes from the meeting haven’t been updated since June 2013. I can get other parents involve who’s kids are entering K from the neighborhood. The is alot of misinformation around. the busing issue and plans for overcrowding are important and parents who have kids in the neighborhood program need to have a say as well.

    I would love to learn more about how to be involved.
    You can email me directly.
    vmw1505 @ mac.com (no spaces)

  • 613. chimom1920  |  March 26, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Any beasley RGC parents out there? Deciding between that and Pritzker’s magnet program…

  • 614. Christine  |  March 26, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    @561 That is my child and she was not a good fit for Skinner North even though I loved it so much for many reasons. We left this year — moving to California — and enjoying home school for the moment.

  • 615. reenie  |  March 26, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    @613 I have no direct experience with Beasley except I met one of their K teachers and liked her. But I have friends who left Beasley fast. I would go with Pritzker unless distance is a big problem.

  • 616. KZH  |  March 26, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    @613 my child received a Beasley offer and I think I’m going to turn it down 😦 I haven’t gotten any good feed back. The few reviews I did get the convo ended w/ the parent transferring the child.

  • 617. KZH  |  March 26, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    @615 thanks for feedback the other day! I called Ray and the lady that answered the phone blew my mind. I tried asking her about any up coming tours or if it’s some one I can talk to about the school, and she says “like what ….what do you want to know”… I asked if it’s any accelerated classes due to my child being accepted into a gifted school…she said And I quote “We’re JUST a regular ole elementary school” Her attitude on the phone was shocking…I can’t believe the way she answered the phone. So not welcoming or inviting.

  • 618. cpsobsessed  |  March 26, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    @KZH: Unfortunately, that is not an uncommon interaction with a school front desk/phone employee. It was be very discouraging. Just keep in mind that they are truly clerical/admin people who don’t often know or have the time to know the ins and out of the school, curriculum, strategic goals, etc. I agree, it is a huge turn-off. Many are even rude, or just…. unengaged. I’d try to keep an open mind to the extent that you can and not write off a school due to the phone person. I know it’s really hard to overlook, but you may miss out on a good school if you do so. This is one of the (many) points where you realize that many educators don’t often understand marketing. It’s 2 separate worlds.

  • 619. KZH  |  March 26, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    @cpsobsessed when I called I asked specifically was there some one I could talk to about the school and instead of her pointing me in the right direction she took it upon her self to give me this mind boggling info. I wasn’t going to write it off just yet because I plan to personally go up there to let them know how she’s answering the phone and to find someone to accurately help me.

    If I were some one calling to ask about the school and wanted to donate that phone call would have lost a donation to help the school. People have know idea who they could be talking to.

  • 620. frustrated60630  |  March 26, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    We are tier 4
    Applied for 4th grade
    RGC 125
    Reading 92 Math 84
    So no offers.

    Sincerely frustrated. Every year the same process, every year the teachers asking me if we tested him because he would benefit greatly from being in that classroom. Being told every year that I could try buying workbooks 2 years ahead or so and see if that helps. It hasn’t gotten better, the gap seems to be getting wider, his MAP scores are in the 99 and 97 percentiles. I have no faith in this system and I hate going through this every year :-/

  • 621. Edisonmom  |  March 26, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    @620, don’t be frustrated at all. Because the so called gifted center is just a Joke. If your son scored 99 and 97 for MAP, he can be the top student in one of the Edison class. My kid scored 234 in MAP reading in second grade before going to Edison. Now scored 230 MAP reading for fifth grade. Sounds like at least your son’s teacher cares about him. In Edison, who cares.

  • 622. Keller PTA Mom  |  March 26, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    @570 Excited Parent. The first grade teacher is wonderful. The parents love her. The kids love her. She is the teacher parents and students return to see. She is involved. She has an open door policy. She understands that although these kids are in a SEES they are five and six years old and they need to be kids. All the teachers at Keller are great but she is your introduction and what an intro!!!!

  • 623. frustrated60630  |  March 26, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Thanks Edison mom. I actually have a friend who’s son went to Edison starting in 3rd. She showed me her son’s MAP scores and I was a little taken aback, as I figured they would be much higher than my son’s, and they weren’t… they were actually lower than his end of year 2nd grade scores (230 reading). Which isn’t knocking the other child, just goes to show that no single test is a good measure. I am really lucky this year, as his teacher works with me to make whatever work we can more challenging, especially written assignments. I just dislike every year it’s basically up to the teacher if they are going to bother or not. I’m not complaining, at least the neighborhood program is good and the parents are involved. Just wish we didn’t have to fight for the opportunity.

  • 624. frustrated60630  |  March 26, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Or shall I say a “complete picture.” All kids deserve to be challenged, it just feels like there is a ceiling for our kids who are in the regular classroom yet have the ability and desire to go deeper.

  • 625. Mommy-of-1  |  March 27, 2014 at 6:41 am

    I understand your concerns. As a teacher and a parent of a child in a cps gifted program I can see things from both sides. However, I don’t think it is a question of if a teacher wants to be “bothered” with helping challenge high achievers. There is so much pressure to make sure that certain standards are mastered for all students, and very little resources in some cases. We all have to do our part, and it starts at home. Which is what I’m sure every parent on this website agrees with. 😉

  • 626. Helen  |  March 27, 2014 at 7:07 am

    4th grade 137 gifted, got offer to Pritzker. Probably won’t accept it. Is anybody applying to 4th grade? Can you please share your gifted scores? I want to understand if we still have chance to get in in second round to Edison, Bell or Coonley. If you have anything good or bad to say about Pritzker, please say:) thank you!

  • 627. Norwood  |  March 27, 2014 at 7:30 am

    @621. The gifted center is not a joke. The center takes kids with a high propensity to learn, kids chosen using a test that measures that. Then it gives these kids a curriculum 2 years ahead (except math until 6th grade or so) and lots of projects, field trips, and written assignments.

    If you think your child is cut out for this, and you’re willing to take on a crushing workload, and turn away your son’s neighborhood and old school friends daily because he can’t come out to play until his work is finished until they stop coming by, and make school your #1 priority, then the RGC’s are great. As mentioned above by others, this is not for every family.

    There’s not much in the middle, except schools like Hawthorne and a few Catholic/private schools.

    That leaves a parent of a kid with scores below the cutoff 2 choices: You can read A Well Trained Mind (chipublib.org) which is very inspiring and do the work yourself after school, or you can figure out what this test teaches and make sure your kid has these skills. Or you can do both.

  • 628. Frustrated60630  |  March 27, 2014 at 7:33 am

    I understand how much pressure a teacher is under. I’m not knocking the teachers, but I have experienced a big difference each year in a teacher’s willingness to provide more challenging and meaningful ways to do work. I do my best to be present and build a partnership with each teacher so that they don’t have to do much. Some years the teacher is open, we work together to make the year interesting and create projects and assignments that can allow him to work at his level. And other years the teacher just says “he will be fine, all kids even out anyways” and has no interest or follow through in differentiating. Those were hard years. Of course we continue doing what we have always done at home and consider ourselves our kids first teacher; it would just be nice to have consistency considering the kids are in school 7 hours. I just am venting my frustration and am in no way bashing teachers.

  • 629. Hyde Park mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Re Ray, we turned it down , although my twins are there now for prek.Opted for Disney I.Which means a 30 minute commute, plus probably having to pay for a private bus, since we live outside boundaries.Ray would not have offered us the bus either, its a Neighborhood school, and the office confirmed this.Even though Ray is closer, I felt its a weaker school (level 2), and it starts later, 845am.Unless one parent stays home, I dont see how working families can get their kids to school and make it to work, unless they work nights or own a business!As an observer, I find that the kids tend to be boisterous, somewhat rowdier than I;’d like to see. A few weeks ago, a fight broke out btwn 2 kids aqnd everyone in lunchroom ran with glee to see it.Then, I overheard one child, around 10 yrs old , saying to another girl to give her boyfriend another chance, he wont cheat again! At 10 ? Maybe I am too high strung, but I dont want my kids in that sort of environment.

  • 630. K's Dad  |  March 27, 2014 at 7:41 am

    @west loop mom

    I’ve heard of some tests that use a 16 std dev. I was waiting for someone to bring that up here to show how a differently shaped distribution can have higher scores at certain points, but lower scores in others.

    Sp far, there’s been no evidence presented in this discussion that Kindergarten scores are higher than 1st grade, so there’s no need to seek an explanation.

    However, I suspect the scores in Chicago are not normally distributed. I think a city like Chicago attracts people with higher IQs because of the higher salaries and the concentration of universities.

    I would love to have a discussion about what distribution we should use. This forum is biased in that people with high scores are more likely to report than people with low scores, but it would still be interesting to discuss this. The output of the discussion would inform the decision about how many RGCs we should have in the city if we decided that all 99% scores should get RGC slots.

    Does anyone think a different distribution would represent our data better than the normal distribution?

  • 631. H  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:03 am

    “Sp far, there’s been no evidence presented in this discussion that Kindergarten scores are higher than 1st grade, so there’s no need to seek an explanation.”

    Not sure what kind of evidence you would find convincing, and obviously we do not have anything close to all the details, but I would find the following reasonably convincing. I think if you track down from prior years the cutoffs for e.g. tier 3/4 at Coonley/Edison (even in subsequent rounds), they would be significantly above the e.g. 119 reported as getting into Bell for tier 3 first round. I don’t know what the cutoffs were but I doubt they were below the low 140s and probably more like 143-145.

    I think, but cannot “prove” that a lot of the kids who missed the cutoff are retested and I know that some of the kids who did get into those schools are retested too (for sibling/location reasons). 119 would not come close to getting into Coonley/Edison in K.

  • 632. LP Mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:26 am

    @575 – We have a friend who has had their child at St. Procopius for 3 years now and love it. We applied 2 years ago but were waitlisted at #28. I accepted another offer in April and received a call from St. Procopius offering us a spot over the summer (too late tuition had already been paid to the other school). My friend that sends her child there is a CPS teacher and said that there is not a true dual language CPS school for Spanish. I’d take the NTA if you get the offer but, don’t be surprised is St. Procopius calls you by the end of the summer.

  • 633. Humboldt Mami  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:34 am

    My kid:
    88 Math
    92 Reading
    RGC 142
    Got offered Pritzker
    Worried about the arts emphasis and low ranking in the suntimes and in Greatschools. I would like to go back into the pool or just stay at my pricey private school. Which is making us broke. I’m a city girl so why I am afraid to put my sweet only child in a CPS school? Any love for Pritzker out there?

  • 634. 60634  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:36 am

    @frustrated60630, We’re in a similar situation – same grade and similar scores. Lucky we’re happy with our current school, but it is year to year and depends a lot on the teachers. Did you apply to Beaubien? Anyone know if there’s a chance in later rounds at Beaubien for kids entering 4th grade in the 125-130 RGC range?

  • 635. A.N.PritzkerMom  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:42 am

    We love Pritzker! Sun Times rating combines neighborhood and RGC so it’s misleading. Arts emphasis is not that strong, it’s there if your child wishes to partake. Curriculum and faculty in the junior high are outstanding. Wr started in the upper grades so I can’t speak to the lower ones.

  • 636. Pritzker Mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:43 am

    @626, Helen –

    Before you turn down Pritzker, you might want to check out the class. This year’s 3rd grade/next year’s 4th grade is a group of fabulous kids with great, involved parents. (And I’m not just saying that because my daughter is in the class). They are all nice, bright and welcoming, You could not ask for a better set of classmates for your child.

    Feel free to contact me off list lezrol (a) yahoo (dot) com

  • 637. Helen  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Pritzker low rating based on scores of neighborhood program and gifted program together. I think if rating would be based only on gifted center, then we would see completely different results. My daughter also got offer to Pritzker. I want to see the school first and scores and stats of RGC before making a decision.

  • 638. Pritzker Mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:49 am

    @633, Humboldt Mami

    We love Pritzker too. It really is impossible to judge the schools that have both RGC and neighborhood programs by the scores because they do not break out the RGC component.

    I don’t know why you’d be worried about the arts emphasis. Not all schools are able to offer the kids both Music and Art in dedicated classrooms. It really is a great benefit for the kids and it doesn’t impact the more academic subjects.

    The lower grade teachers are all caring and wonderful. There is an active involved parent community and lots of before and after school options.

  • 639. Humboldt Mami  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Thank you so much everyone! I will be at the open house.

  • 640. BellFamily  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:26 am

    For everyone fretting over the scores in 1st grade Bell or Pritzger vs. Coonley/Edison you need to realize it’s different every year. When my child tested for K a 148 did not get them a spot at Edison or Coonley. The next year we tested for 1st and the score was 2 points lower which received a place in 1st grade Edison. But
    we chose Bell instead because, after further investigating, we knew it would be a better fit for our child. For the year of that Bell class, the cutoff score was 10 points higher than what we’ve seen this year so far. It’s a different pool of kids each time. Who knows, who cares? Really? I’m glad my child has kind, conscientious, funny, and creative classmates. They are a fantastic group of kids. I figure the hell with scores and reputation – pick what fits your child. For those of you who are coming to Bell – welcome! It is a school where the whole child is guided, taught and developed along with a good education. Is it perfect? No. No school is. My biggest thrill? To see my child translate sign language to a flight attendant to help a fellow deaf passenger while we were traveling during the holidays. They learned that at Bell. 🙂

  • 641. frustrated60630  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:42 am


    We are currently in the neighborhood program at Beaubien and I don’t think this class has much movement as far as kids leaving. I do not have my hopes up at all but who knows.

  • 642. Hopeful  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience BellFamily! Sounds like it would be a good fit for our family. Unfortunately we have an upper grade child and I think there are very few spots available.
    **Anyone out there who has a child accepted to Bell this year in 2nd grade or above? **What was your child’s RGC score?

  • 643. 1st Grader at Bell  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:54 am

    I would bet that no one was offered a seat in 2nd grade Bell in the 1st round. A letter went home last week asking 1st grade parents if they are planning to return. I think one family is moving out of state, and maybe some tested to try to get siblings together, but I don’t know of any definitely open spots at this point.

  • 644. Agreed  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:57 am

    @640 BellFamily. Spot on! And realize folks, when you are comparing these scores, in reality the difference in percentile is very, very small. That along with the fact that standardized testing in such young children is notoriously unreliable and inconsistent……..go with your gut. If your child is lucky enough to be offered any seat and you are lucky enough to potentially qualify for multiple offers, focus on finding the best “fit” for your child and family and do not fret over the scores of the kids getting into one program versus another and between grades. They are all bright kids.

  • 645. RGCs and Your Family Life  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:04 am

    627. Norwood | March 27, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Regarding Edison – other RGCs

    “If you think your child is cut out for this, and you’re willing to take on a crushing workload, and turn away your son’s neighborhood and old school friends daily because he can’t come out to play until his work is finished until they stop coming by, and make school your #1 priority, then the RGC’s are great. As mentioned above by others, this is not for every family.”

    You are so right. Some families get caught up in the prestige of having their kid go to an RGC or SEES without really thinking about what they are giving up (or without thinking about the whole child), like having friends in the neighborhood that can just hang out when they are older. Plus they don’t think about the REAL stress on the family of being a slave to homework or studying and in some cases commute.

    “Robbed of childhood.” That is a comment you will sometimes hear concerning SEES, but especially of Edison. One stepmom I met had 2 step kids that went to Northside (1 had graduated and 1 was a current student) after attending Edison. Her K child was testing for SEES. Her stepchildren begged her not to send their stepsister to Edison – said it had robbed them of their childhood.

    Some super high performers with high work ethic, thrive in that RGC environment. H.S. will be a breeze after enduring the work load at an RGC – especially workload of Edison which is heaviest of all the RGCs. But remember – half of the kids will be at the top of the class and the other half will be in the bottom of the class.

    Some RGCs have a 0 policy on late homework for the entire school. If forgot project that day that you actually did, too bad, automatic 0.

    Think you won’t be stressed out with that? Anxiety disorders up among kids?? Yes it is there.

    Bottom line, you can always try the RGC / SEES and if you don’t like it, transfer to another school. Plenty of people do – usually 1-2 per year.

    And with regards to leveling – yes – by 3rd grade these kids generally have leveled off in terms of reading (not necessarily math) and are similar to their classroom peers. So just because your child started reading at age 3, doesn’t mean a child who started at age 5-6 won’t be at the same reading level by 3rd grade.

  • 646. Hyde Park mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:09 am

    @645, very good points, I agree that parents get caught up in the prestige of an RGC. I know I did when my son tested into Edison for K 2 years ago. Now I wish we had chosen a different school that emphasizes the arts and that has good ISATs, it would’ve been a better fit for his personality.And again, so much of it also depends on the values you empart and how you prioritize education at home, don’t expect the school to do it all.

  • 647. Beaubien Mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:32 am

    For those with kids in non-entry years, don’t despair. I have kids in both an RGC and a classical school and neither school has asked us if our kid is returning next year. The only seats they can be offering now in the non-entry grades are for the kids they know already left or they know are leaving at the end of the year. There WILL be movement later as people make their plans. All it takes is ONE spot, right?

    Oh, and if your child is in the neighborhood component of a school, keep an eye on that Options class for an opening. On occasion, a kid leaves the program or never shows up and the spot goes unfilled because they missed the mid-October deadline to fill it! A decision may need to be made QUICKLY! Let the Options Coordinator know ahead of time that you are happy to quickly take a spot if the tier and scores of an opening match that of your child. Don’t make a nuisance of yourself, but just let them know of your absolute interest, which can streamline the process and prevent a mistake.

  • 648. reenie  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Thanks @632 LP Mom. We’ll be waiting…and we are lucky to have a good neighborhood school.

  • 649. frustrated60630  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Thanks Beaubien mom. I will do that!

  • 650. walker  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:55 am

    I want to share some thoughts to those who have kids with RGC: ~average but Math 99% and think it’s not fair and to those who have kids with RGC 135+ and Math <70%. I do believe that RBC testing has flaws but judging by Math % is even more flawed. Moreover, measuring your kid success by Math % is dangerous as you may overlook her hidden talents.

    I was a gifted kid myself who happens to work now in Education and reflects on his life path. When I was 6 year old, I merely could count to 20 and started to learn times table in 3rd – 4th grade. You could put me in 30-40% range nowadays probably 🙂 Although I do remember a few unusual things, in general I was just good in Math but not more. When I was in 8th grade, I got B in Physics for the first time. I was so angry that I took the textbook and went through all problems for my grade level over ~1-2 weeks. In a few months I won school contest in Physics then town, then all the way to the national Olympiad (I'm not from the U.S.) and was the winner of it over few years (It's like 99.99%) as well as other contests in Math and Chemistry, got into the best special school for gifted (had a lot of fun there :)), then university…PhD…MBA… and… two gifted sons 🙂

    So, what skills propelled me so high and so fast? it's not Math % for sure but there were definite something else. The more I think about it the more I believe that gifted tests do make sense. They are not perfect but at least they give parents some additional information about their kids and if your kid gets a very high RGC test score, probably she has something hidden inside that may or may not be converted to Math/Reading % yet. On the other hand, average RGC test score means either your kid just has no clue what she has to do (it's very helpful to go through a few NNAT/Cogat/etc tests in that case to get familiar with some types of questions) or some of her skills such as Critical Thinking need to be developed and the parents have to focus on those skills and not to be misled by Math 99% score.

    Well, enough boring stuff 🙂 Do you want a nice little problem from my personal collection to test your kid (any grade)? Here you go:

    Build 4 equilateral (all three sides are equal) triangles using 6 matches.

    (For younger kids you can ask to build 1 triangle with 3 matches then 2 triangles with 5 matches before actually asking the problem above. Just to give them a general idea.)

    Another one?
    Build a square with 4 matches. Now, ask your kid to move 2 matches to build a new square.

    Now think for a moment what skills those 2 questions test. Does it have anything to do with 99% in Math?
    I hope my post will help somebody to take a different look at their very gifted kids and help them in the right way 🙂

    Good luck to everyone!

  • 651. 60660  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:54 am

    I really hope the scenario you’re suggesting, where a neighborhood kid could get preferential entry to a RGC, doesn’t happen. Rauner levels of deceit and stringpulling.

  • 652. Beaubien Mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    @651 Absolutely not! Re-read my post. I said the SAME tiers and scores. That would assume that your kid is in the pipeline and next on the “waiting list.” Thank God the days of that bogus discretion are over! Too many kids got placed into programs they had no business being in because someone wanted to reward a parent, put siblings in the same school or do a favor. That policy did those kids no favors, sadly.

  • 653. Beaubien  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    647. Beaubien Mom | March 27, 2014 at 10:32 am

    I agree with 651. I think this used to happen in the past when SEES Principals used to have some discretion, but that is not the case anymore. Principals / Options Coordinator must get kids from OAE.

    Beaubien Gifted does have spots in upper grades that go unfilled and parents do try to do what you are suggesting, but it does not work – know someone personally who would have been great asset to school and was told decision was up to OAE only and this was after the school year started (and class has plenty of space). Also, after certain point, OAE stops sending kids and absolutely won’t send anyone under 115. Plus honestly, OAE is not perfect and they make some not so little mistakes and don’t send students who are above 115 that are waiting for a spot. You do need to be proactive due to this.

    If you have followed the process, not a bad idea to call OAE and the Principal to check on movement of the list. OAE is not perfect and you may get lost in the process, so good idea to check in with both if you really want a spot.

  • 654. frustrated60630  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Thank you Beaubien and Beaubien mom. I wasn’t seeking preferential treatment, and didn’t read Beaubien Mom’s post as asking for it. I have not ever contacted the schools or OAE before. Once we got our scores (and we have been testing since preK) we just let it go. I genuinely am just frustrated. If we are next in line if a spot opens I would not decline it. If I need to be call the OAE to make sure it’s known my interest isn’t dropped then I will. It is hard to find the balance between advocating for your child and understanding that there are MANY children in the same place as your own.

  • 655. Beaubien  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Also, Tier is irrelevlant for non-entry years. For Beaubien, Tier is irrelevant for grades 2-8. Tier only matters for Grade 1.

    So need to have highest score (minimum of 115) compared to those applying for same grade (regardless of tier).

  • 656. frustrated60630  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    I thought so but didn’t want to not put it because of the format of the post 🙂

  • 657. Beaubien Mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Oops! My bad on the tier for non-entry years! Thanks for the reminder!

    So, let’s do what it takes to not leave any SE seats empty, everyone! 😄

  • 658. woodhead  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Did anyone know in 2dn and 3rd round if CPS still do tiers? My kid’s score is close, but we are in tier 4.

  • 659. OTdad  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    @650. walker:
    ” I want to share some thoughts to those who have kids with RGC: ~average but Math 99% and think it’s not fair and to those who have kids with RGC 135+ and Math <70%. I do believe that RBC testing has flaws but judging by Math % is even more flawed. Moreover, measuring your kid success by Math % is dangerous as you may overlook her hidden talents. "

    I have to disagree. There are lots of talent traits embedded in math and reading. CPS SEES test (RGC or classical reading and math) are pretty easy stuff. Many or most kids admitted have very high scores in at least 2 or all 3 tests. Math <70% is troubling (unless the child bombed on the test), that's barely count to 10 and don't know shapes and patterns or recognize coins. You think he could have more hidden talent than a child scores 99% in math?

  • 660. NWmom  |  March 27, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Beaubien @653 and Beaubien mon@652….Can you tell me how do you and your kids like the program?

  • 661. 60634  |  March 27, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    I am usually very similar to frustrated60630. Work with the process and wait for the call or letter. But, three years ago, going into first grade, I found out a child was accepted in a late round into one of the programs with my son’s score. When I called oae, the person I talked to was genuinely confused as to why my son didn’t get the spot. I’ve never been able to figure out what really happened, and if the spot really should have gone to my son. But I’ve learned my lesson and will forever be the squeaky wheel when it comes to CPS and oae. I put a reminder on my calendar to send an email or make a call once a week.

  • 662. OTdad  |  March 27, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    @650. walker:
    “Now think for a moment what skills those 2 questions test. Does it have anything to do with 99% in Math?”

    You might want to look at pre-school, kindergarten books to see what is considered math. Patterns, shapes, logic are all parts of it.

  • 663. Beaubien Mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Love it!!!! My child is in fifth grade and it has been fun and challenging. He’s made some excellent friends and has really grown. I like the current principal very much–she made our new playground happen–and the teachers I have encountered are incredible. His math teacher this year has made math fun and for my son, the favorite part of his day. With 1,100 students, I wish more parents were able to be active in the PTO and other things, but those who are, are VERY active, and so enthusiastic. The parents that I have gotten to know are bright, caring people. Not crazy-competitive. I always think Beaubien is an undiscovered gem.

  • 664. NWmom  |  March 27, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    thanks Beaubien mom…my kid got accepted for first grade. We are excited…I have talked to a couple of parents and they were also very positive about it. These comments you read here about “robbed childhood are a bit scary…balance is important..

  • 665. Mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    @ Beaubien and Beaubien mom. My child scored only 117 , applied for for second grade and Beaubien was our first choice , do we have any chances to get in, any idea if there are openings for second grade? Thank you

  • 666. woodhead  |  March 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Just called, yes the 2nd and 3rd round still do tiers. Said.

  • 667. Beaubien  |  March 27, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Definitely pluses. However, wish Beaubien would embrace Bell’s model and integrate the neighborhood kids for art, gym, music. Build community and wouldn’t be so boring for the kids to just be mixing in with each other all 8 years within Options. Regardless of the motto, One School One Family that the adults in the building espouse (but not all actually walk the talk), this is really 2 schools sharing a space. There are half hearted attempts like 1 day a month kids socialize together and some group events, but really not much true integration. Feels like haves and have nots and in the end all feel like have nots, have not field trips, have not joy, etc.

    There is not animosity, but there are some not ideal behaviors or comments by a teacher or two and by some students in both programs.

    Rarely a field trip. Joyous does not come to mind when describing this school.

    Kind of feel like the neighborhood program keeps the Gifted program from being more fun or even to be all it can be. Can’t even call it gifted. Must train yourself to call it Options, Options, Options!!!! This is due to past incidents years ago that you still feel the school is carefully watching (but not carefully enough if truth be told).

    Principal is very good. A couple of very good teachers – Ms. Hernandez, the gym teacher is just awesome.

    I think with this relatively new principal, things can change, but don’t know if there really is awareness of issues cause parents in Options really don’t talk that much. Kind of bused in and out and not much interaction. But that is just my experience.

    I guess overall feels like Options kids can’t / don’t want them to shine as much – don’t participate in many competitions like other RGCs, etc. And this is a BIG school. RGC is just like less than 25% of the school.

  • 668. epb2009  |  March 27, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    @659 I’m curious, what did your child score on the RGC exam? And how do you know that the SEES tests are “pretty easy stuff?” I’m curious because my daughter scored a 67% on the match test and can count to 200, identify a trapezoid, and looks at the world in patterns. She scored a 137 on the RGC exam. Should I be troubled?

  • 669. epb2009  |  March 27, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Also, preparing for the RCG test is impossible, it’s basically an IQ test. Preparing for the classical test is a different story…

  • 670. Gifted?  |  March 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    627 & 645 – You are both dead on in your assessments. I don’t know how it became the case that more work = gifted, but that is the reality of Edison. They just pile it on. But it’s not creative or child-centered or even developmentally appropriate no matter how “gifted” a child supposedly is. Some parents are guilty of this too, though. So I think the school has to deal with one set of parents who want a more holistic approach and another set that sees extra work as “challenging” and wants more (sort of a tiger mom mentality). I also think that a lot of the teachers simply have an old-school/traditional outlook and don’t have a clue how to function differently. The two new male teachers are AMAZING, and they just might lead to real transformation someday.

    We have to ask ourselves (and CPS), what does it mean to be “gifted”? I think that means there should be more innovation, expanding on ideas, finding creative solutions, leadership, etc. But maybe some parents really just think it means Johnny can do trig in 5th grade. And maybe cps agrees.

    I often wonder what the “requirements” are for RGCs. Obviously, CPS can see that they are all at 99% meets/exceeds for ISATs, etc. but does CPS come in and check that all work is two years advanced? Etc? How much autonomy does an RGC (or any school) have in setting their approach to curriculum and workload? I’d love to have a thread/discussion about this.

  • 671. RGCs and Your Family Life  |  March 27, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    670. Wow! You did a great job of summing it up.

    These schools see Gifted = More work. Not necessarily more challenging when you move beyond the fact that it is at a higher grade level, just more work, more labor.

    Edison goes crazy on History Fair. Tons of work for kids.

    As mentioned above, Northside is a breeze after Edison.

  • 672. walker  |  March 27, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    @OTdad Yes, I believe that a kid with low Math % could (but not necessarily does) have more hidden talent than a child with 99% in Math. It depends on a lot of factors. For example, his parents didn’t pay much attention to his Math skills developing. I agree that some talent traits are embedded in math and reading but what talent do you need to remember coins and shapes? My son didn’t know what 1+1 equals when he started K (and yes, he didn’t know coins because nobody taught him) then got Math 98% in a year. So do you think he didn’t have any talent traits before K? It just reflects amount of work that me and he put into it. Math is pretty straightforward: take books 1-2 grades higher, dedicate some additional time to work extra with your kid, and the result is pretty guaranteed. Can you say the same about gifted tests? I heard a lot of stories when scores actually went down after parents got involved (probably because of statistical fluctuations rather than negative influence from the parents). Honestly, I don’t see any big talent traits behind his Math 98%, it’s just going 1-2 grades above but I definitely see them when he solves NNAT for 5-7th grade making only 1-2 careless mistakes and pretty much without my involvement. It’s just different skills that much harder to teach than Math and gifted tests are just better in recognizing those skills than Math tests are.

  • 673. LostInTranslation  |  March 27, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    @659 OTDad – I’d also be curious to know how you know that the SEES tests are ‘pretty easy stuff’? Not saying necessarily that they are not, but I thought that the RGC test was one of the best kept secrets in Chicago (and I certainly didn’t get any useful info from my 5 yo about it!) so I don’t know how we can label it at all if we don’t know what it is.

    My child scored high enough on RGC test to earn a place but basically bombed the math portion of the classical, so much so that we worried that the RGC was not the right place for us. Turns out math has been a strength. My take from this is that you can’t read too much into these tests. I think it is probably hard to earn a very high score without aptitude, but I’d suspect that many children scoring lower could be equally or more capable. They are so young that being hungry or needing the bathroom or enjoying the drawing they were doing before the test and not wanting to stop and a host of similar things could easily affect their scores.

  • 674. Edison?  |  March 27, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    @Gifted? and RCGs and Your Family Life – should I read into this that the workload at Edison dramatically increases after the early years (2nd/3rd grade). I haven’t felt it to be a heavy work load so far. We clearly haven’t dealt with history fair yet, but overall are we in for a surprise, or is it somewhat consistent?

  • 675. MomOf2@SW  |  March 27, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    @661 – 60634

    When another child was accepted with the same score as your son, did they live in the same tier as you? Because that would make a difference. A 97% might be an acceptance for tier 1, but not for tier 4.

  • 676. A Mama  |  March 27, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Whomever has hopes of scoring Skinner West for rising 7th, we are declining a spot in favor of Lane AC. We are also declining offers at Courtenay (looked good on paper, but after merging with Stockton, it appears to have rapidly fallen into a quite-literally dangerous scenario, particularly on the “Third Floor” where the upper grades reside), Chappell (doable if your neighborhood is on the horrific end of spectrum) and Breneman (very respectable/decent option if your neighborhood school is anything like ours, with 6th grade ISATs that are rapidly falling for most of the last 14 years, in spite of numerous interventions, academic probation, even a proposed closing in Rahm’s 50-school shut-down; frankly, it should’ve been closed, but our only other East Rogers Park elementary is vastly overcrowded, thus there’s nowhere to put the kids…)
    Grade 6
    2013 17%
    2012 67%
    2011 51%
    2010 58%
    2013 20%
    2012 62%
    2011 70%
    2010 62%

    We also have 13 Wait List spots under #25, including 5 under #10, and 2 at #2, 1 at #3, 1 at #4 and one at #8. These lists WILL MOVE. With both our kids, we received offers up through the last week of August for K, and from good options like Stone, Nettlehorst (we have #2 there currently), Hawthorne (#51 currently) and Disney II (#25 Tier 3 currently). Don’t give up. People decline for a myriad of reasons to include proximity, scheduling conflicts with siblings, bussing options, and better/more convenient options. It’s far from over!

  • 677. 60634  |  March 27, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    @675 Same tier, same score. The woman I spoke with spent some time digging through numbers and sub scores on the phone and couldn’t figure it out. She even went through how we had ranked the schools and said we should have been offered the spot because we ranked it first. Honestly, I consider my son lucky. He’s at a great school and that’s the most important thing. I had him tested this year because his sibling is headed off to hs, so they’ll be in separate schools anyway and I really think the gifted curriculum will help in the older elementary years. I only posted this so parents know they have to stay on top it – don’t feel badly about being a pest.

  • 678. CPSmom  |  March 27, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    60634, I had exactly the same. another 2 kids same scores, same tier same grade got a place and mine did not. when I called CPS they told me in case of a tie they look at other factors, but they could not give me specifics

  • 679. AIF  |  March 27, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Does anyone love Edison? My daughter got into Edison, but all I keep hearing is “Edison is a great school, but….”. Can anyone give me any reasons why it’s a great school other than test scores? Too intense, heavy work load, poor communication, bad teacher…I’m having a hard time wanting to send her there.

  • 680. 60634  |  March 27, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    @ 678, I figured we couldn’t be the only one this happened to. Really sorry it happened to you too. Well, until they share the factor to break a tie, I’m just going to assume it’s the squeaky wheel 🙂

  • 681. Frustrated60630  |  March 27, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    And here I was feeling guilty for wanting to call and ask someone about this. Of course, getting through is another story!

  • 682. Chris  |  March 27, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    @667: “There is not animosity, but there are some not ideal behaviors or comments by a teacher or two and by some students in both programs.”

    So everyone has learned the lessons of (or completely forgotten) the gifties v tards lawsuit?

    See: http://openjurist.org/480/f3d/460/brandt-v-board-of-education-of-city-of-chicago

  • 683. MomOf2@SW  |  March 27, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    @60634 and CPSmom

    So sorry to hear…..I think someone was watching out for us as my daughter got in the year they decided to open a 3rd classical classroom for Kindergarten at Skinner (after she was rejected in the 1st round). For my son, we had just moved into a new house and they tiered my block a tier 2 when every block around me was tier 3. He got a 98% and got in for tier 2, but his friend scored 99.9% and was rejected for tier 3.

  • 684. Less Obsessed, I guess  |  March 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    @679- No school is perfect. I have friends in the suburbs and the city and no one is 100% satisfied with their school. I think the best part of being at Edison is the classmates. In my opinion that is the most important factor for my child. My youngest was having a hard time making friends in 4 year old preschool because they wanted to play games that were too involved for the other students to keep up with. At Edison all the kids “get” each other. My child can now fly on a broomstick at recess (Harry Potter) and others in the class get it even though they are many years below the typical age children read that series. As a parent I can understand that I will not love every teacher my child has, and that is my problem. My child seems very happy. It is a small enough school that my child knows everyone and feels like they matter. This website is filled with vocal (obsessed) types and as with most things the happy, satisfied customers are the ones least heard from. Have you ever made a customer service call to tell a company their product is working great? No? Me neither. I call in when things break. Thus, the negative gets reported more than the positive.

  • 685. wrigleyville  |  March 27, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    @684 – I believe it was on this site (although I could be mistaken), that Edison was listed as the hardest school to get into, based on number of students applying versus getting offers. It was something like 0.08% had a chance of getting in. So I would let the numbers speak for themselves…the school is obviously doing something right if it is that popular, and the Tribune/Sun-Times rankings back it up. I am sure a huge number of parents in Chicago (and the suburbs) would be thrilled to have their kid get in there.

  • 686. @679  |  March 27, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    @679 – Didn’t love Edison. Kept trying one more year for it to get better. Finally left – probably one of my best parenting decisions to date. The whole family is doing better without the stress level that was induced by outrageous amounts of homework (partially due to not finishing everything at school).

  • 687. Gifted?  |  March 27, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    674 – Edison? – Yes, the workload increases. 7th grade almost brought me to tears on more than one occasion. Actual tears came for 8th. The SS notes (used to start in 5th, now in 4th!)…my god! Get ahold of the notes and tell me that this is a reasonable method for teaching. And now it’s happening in 4th grade? 9 year olds copying down canned notes and regurgitating in typed form. What he calls “notes” are clearly full paragraphs lifted from a book somewhere that are overly verbose – not really notes. Grades 5-8 is a constant cycle of notes and projects. And that’s just social studies. New Language arts teacher rocks, though. He finds a way to make it fun and really connects with the kids.
    Yes, 2nd grade is homework lite compared to all other grades. I think 3rd grade is way way too worksheet heavy. I don’t think worksheets should be the dominant teaching mechanism for any grade or any kid (gifted or not). Too much talking in fine arts in the lower grades and not enough actual hands on art. Same could be said in upper grades. Yeah, 5th grade makes a movie, but then many spend way way too much time standing on the sidelines with nothing to do. No kid should have to bring a book to read during art for something to do.
    Yes, history fair is awful. It’s just flat out crazy. 50 pages of research turned in before kids even start their double tall boards. I don’t think history or science fair should be mandatory. They are not mandatory in high school to the best of my knowledge. I don’t like full science fair for lower grades. I think it leads to burn out, even for kids who love science. 7th/8th grade science is dull as can be, but not a heavy workload. It’s a shock to them after two years with Mr.M. His leaving was the worst thing that ever happened to Edison.

    The point is – where is the fun? The love of learning? I see kids who are terrified to make mistakes; who never learn to fail and try harder. I see the projects are about the end result not the process. This is what disturbs me.

    But, I also think this is education as a whole these days. This is not necessarily unique to Edison. We’ve gone so far off the deep end worrying about test results and perfect, mind blowing projects that we’ve neglected all the other stuff that builds great citizens of the world.

  • 688. wrigleyville  |  March 27, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    One other interesting set of stats (from cpsobsessed post in January) is this table of where the 8th graders went from the top schools…it seems Edison is leading the pack in placing their students in the best high schools in the city. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AlEhAcy8TtnedFlCX3poMXJER2hLd3h3Um1NajBEMFE#gid=0

  • 689. momof3fish  |  March 27, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    @679 i like Edison. No, I don’t think Edison robbed my kid from his childhood. OK, he doesn’t get to hang with his friends or get invited to parties and such but that’s because of his all-consuming sport, not schoolwork. there are projects (they like fairs-science, history) and homework but in his 5yrs he has been there, he has never been overwhelmed. actually, I’m still waiting for that boatload of work he was supposed to have when we moved him. really, it’s not that bad, (except for maybe 1st grade from i what I heard…)

    IMHO I’d choose Edison because it’s a good school, better than almost all cps schools. its rigorous enough that my kid is challenged. i know lots of people hate testing, but i like them. it tells me where he is in comparison to others and he’s right where i want him to be. i like the teachers he’s had and they seem to like my ds.

  • 690. Less Obsessed, I guess  |  March 27, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    @688- Thanks for posting. I hadn’t seen that. I now that the principal reported this week that for this year’s class, all but one student got their first choice for high school.

  • 691. Chris  |  March 27, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    “It was something like 0.08% had a chance of getting in.”

    That would be about right counting *every* K-aged kid in Chicago.

    Since one need not live in Chicago to take the test, if the point is to make it appear maximally difficult to get in, why not count every K-aged kid in the world? 28 out of 100,000,000 makes it a 0.000028% chance–the kids are 5+ sigma!!

  • 692. Magnet/SEES Mom to 3  |  March 27, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    This table is from 2010. Does anyone have data for 2012 or know how to obtain? Thanks in advance.

  • 693. Decaturno?  |  March 27, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Tier 2
    Reading: 97
    Math: 95
    Gifted: 92

    Offered: Decatur

    Decatur is very far from where I live. I am afraid to lose that spot since my child’s scores are not excessively high, but it would make my life SO much easier if he could squeak into Skinner North. Does anyone know if this is even a remote possibility for Tier 2?

    If I had an offer at one of the good magnets, I would probably hold out for SN…

  • 694. Beaubien  |  March 27, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    682. Chris | March 27, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    That is not really the tone of the school. I had heard about that incident and nothing like that is going on.

    If anything, as I said, need to adopt the Bell model. Of course Bell is better off financially due to its neighborhood. Both can benefit from exposure to each other.

    Just not a rah rah school. And can’t be rah rah. Like no one is allowed to shine. If had the Bell model, maybe could be more supportive of each other’s successes and could be o.k. to compete more. Not just we only enter competition’s all kids within the school compete in. And don’t offer competitions other SEES participate in.

  • 695. woodsy  |  March 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm


  • 696. New skinner mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    My advice is to accept Decatur spot and reapply next year with skinner north as top choice. They took 2 kindergarten classes this year, and maybe nice number of spots will open next year. Doesn’t seem like many parents will turn down spots this year according to school reputation being so great. Decatur students seem to do well on tests and can test well!

  • 697. NW side parent  |  March 27, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    I am not sure how much insight I can give as a current K parent at Edison, but so far I love it. The Kindergarten teacher is AMAZING. My child was not reading or doing even basic addition when entering (scored 147 on the RGC test). We had some struggles, but Mrs. Alt worked with us, recommending that we back off and not worry about homework if it is causing struggle and tears. That K homework is more about building routines than mastering material. Her (and my) goal is that the child is excited about school and loves learning. If homework or work in school is compromising this, backing off and finding work that still built skills without destroying confidence was the answer. We are now over the worst of it and my child who only knew the alphabet upon entering kindergarten is now reading. Not chapter books and not fluently, but definitely reading.

    I do like the vision for the future. The administration has talked a lot about the 1-2 grade levels ahead is not an accurate or sufficient description for what a gifted education should be. Instead, they must meet a child’s needs, high or low, sometimes (often) in the same child. It might be that a child’s gifted bent is math but their reading is average. The school needs to make sure the child is not struggling in reading while giving them opportunities to soar in math, perhaps resulting in work 5 grade levels ahead. Whether this can be done with the limited resources any CPS school faces remains to be seen. However, I like the vision. I also like a lot of the newer hires and have seen on this board that many people feel the same. If Edison can keep hiring these highly motivated teachers who join leadership teams, LSC and PTO, are constantly investigating and evaluating new education theories and methods of learning, exploring ways to integrate technology all while caring for the child as an individual, I think it will become a very special place. More so than it already is.

    My elementary and especially high school background are stellar. The kids from my high school (not in Illinois) were thoughtful, independent students who went on to the top colleges and wonderful and wonderfully diverse careers. The cost of those schools were astronomical (my middles school/high school now costs nearly $34,000 per year plus books, uniforms, trips, etc). The average class size was 11 and we had incredible opportunities to explore fine arts (including pottery wheels, dark rooms, audition only dance and theatre groups, etc). I was an average student at these schools, but learned skills in writing, critical thinking, public speaking and more that have allowed me to be successful in every direction I have taken. As successful as I have been, at this point I could not afford that costly an education for my kids. But if I could come close, I would sacrifice a lot to make it happen. Not for testing scores, not for college, but because I learned how to ask questions and communicate effectively. Edison brings me a lot closer to my dream education for my kids without a tuition.

    When I was growing up, there were no public schools that were a safe and reasonable option. My older brother entered one and my parents were told he would never be able to read. They moved him to private and 6 months later he was reading two grade levels above his own, with comprehension. And that is only a small taste. I feel incredibly lucky to be in an area that has so many great public school options and even luckier to be in one that I consider to be truly exceptional. Especially when taking into account that it is a part of CPS. Especially when my neighborhood school is not one I would consider for early elementary.

    I do not by any means think Edison is perfect. I expect to have struggles, either with individuals (teachers and otherwise) or larger philosophical differences. I hope that when I do, I will be both vocal and respectful. However, I do believe that the administration, teachers and parents put an immense amount of effort into making the school better and into caring for our children. I think it is one of the best options in the CPS school system, and a good fit for my child. It is not possible that any one school will be a great fit for every child.

  • 698. Gifted?  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Wrigleyville – I’m not sure what your point is. If something is liked by a lot of people, then it’s good no matter what? A lot of people seem to like and watch reality TV shows (based on stats), but I wouldn’t tune in if my life depended on it.

    Just because it is statistically difficult to get into doesn’t mean it’s great or, at least, the right fit for the majority. This is the kind of logic that has led to marketing being more important than substance. I also don’t think the sun-times rankings (based purely on ISAT scores) reveal much about any school. People asked about workload and vibe, so let’s discuss those things. Are you familiar with the school? With the math curriculum? The community? Etc? How can you be sure that just because a lot of people apply that makes it great? You seem to be annoyed simply because there is a discussion about the cons. Every single educational environment has pros and cons.

    I also don’t think that pointing out how many Edison kids get into SEHS is a clear indication of a school’s performance. I do think it’s an indication of the inherent capabilities of the self selected population of kids already there. You take the most capable group of testers and, odds are, they are going to test into good HSs. I find it more impressive when kids get into northside from Ward.

    This is truly not to single out Edison. I doubt they are alone in simply accelerating kids. Better to have an open discussion about expectations now in order to help people make somewhat informed choices for their family. Less Obsessed makes the point that no one is 100% satisfied with their school and I agree, but everyone would probably be better off if they knew a little more about what they were getting into.

    So, pros for Edison: love that it’s a small school, love the new building (air conditioning!), love the LA teacher, love the kids and their parents, upper level math teacher is very organized and knowledgable, love that kids take French as well as fine arts (even if both could use some tweaking), love that there were always lots of field trips, love the community building vibe of events like Track-a-thon, I hear great things about new K and 4th grade teachers, love that my kid felt safe and made good friends.

    Yes, program can be challenging, which is a good thing but I think there must be a way to better balance academics with having a life. And I would just like to see a little thinking outside the box.

    It would be great if people would honestly list pros and cons for their schools.

  • 699. Honeymooner responses  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Lots of input on the schools is from Honeymooners (kdg or first). Seems more valuable to hear from 4th grade and up when making decision.

  • 700. Decatur?  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Tier 3
    Accepted to lincoln IG

    Agnes: I would not leave a good situation for Decatur. The K & 1st grade years are usually pleasant but it goes downhill from there. The school is overcrowded, has no A/C, no gym, no cafeteria, is not welcoming to parents, and is generally uncaring. The administrators have the attitude that all of the kids are replaceable. They prohibit any fun or enjoyment during the rigorous day of academics. I would not recommend going there, especially in later grades. Latin would be the least of your worries!

  • 701. SL parent  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    I’m not sure how do parents know your child is more fit into “gifted” vs. “classical”. ???

  • 702. To Disney vs Nettlehorst  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Talked to my Nettlehorst parent friend. She says her own daughter gets challenging work “sometimes, depends on the teacher.” She does like that they have art once a week and music once a week–to have both weekly is not the norm among CPS neighborhood schools.

  • 703. wrigleyville  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    I am simply trying to inject some data and fact-base into a conversation that seems to be largely driven by hearsay and opinion. If that is offensive, I apologize.

    @691: I was not saying every kid, I was quoting a study done by a site (I thought this one, but was wrong, it was: http://christinewhitley.com/2/post/2013/09/application-rates-vs-acceptance-for-cps-magnet-and-selective-enrollment-elementary-schools-2012-2013.html). Here is the quote from that site:
    “Selective Enrollment
    Skinner West got the most applicants at 4746. It had 95 spots open last year for an acceptance rate of 2%. Edison was the next most popular with 4207 applications for 37 spots (an acceptance rate of .08%) . Bell got 2534 applications for 37 spots (1.4% acceptance rate) and Beasley got 2171 applications for 54 spots (2.4% acceptance rate).”
    My point was simply that fretting over negative comments on a chat board might be less productive than taking a look at what the vast majority of parents preferenced for their children. If 4,207 parents listed the school (out of 6,000 or so test-takers), it might indicate that the place ain’t so bad.

    @698: Similarly, to you question: “I’m not sure what your point is. If something is liked by a lot of people, then it’s good no matter what? A lot of people seem to like and watch reality TV shows (based on stats), but I wouldn’t tune in if my life depended on it.” My answer is yes. We are not talking about the great masses here, or even the average CPS parents, but those that have gone through the time and trouble to have their children tested and preference specific schools. If you are saying that they have no idea what they are doing (akin to the uncouth masses you seem to disparage for watching their reality shows), I believe you call into question every comment on this board.
    And as for SEHS acceptance, I absolutely believe it is relevant. Why would you believe that people that are so concerned about getting their children into a good elementary school would not be concerned with the performance of those students getting into similarly hard-to-enter high schools?

  • 704. parent  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    @703: When you look at which schools send kids to the best SEHS, keep in mind that neither Decatur or Skinner North are included in the equation at all (both currently only go up to 6th grade, although SN is adding grades and will eventually go up to 8th).

  • 705. Levski  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Child in K at Thorp magnet, accepted at Beaubien RGC for 1st grade, should we stay at Thorp for its Comprehensive Gifted Prigram(assuming gets in) or just take the RGC spot? Has anyone have any idea? I am running out of time, looked into how many kids each of the 2 elementary schools above send to Payton, WY, Northside,etc. suprisingly enough Thorp sends more than Beaubien? what do we do?

  • 706. Frustrated60630  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    I have been trying to get into Thorp since kindergarten. I have only heard good things from there and my experiences with Thorp along with my neighbors who went there were all positive. My neighbors had 1 child go into the comprehensive gifted and re other 2 in not. They ended up going to Lane, Lincoln Park, and Taft for HS.

  • 707. Decatur Counter Point  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    700. Decatur? | March 27, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    In response to your post:

    The school is:
    – overcrowded – no, class size is still small. I think like 28-30 max in upper grades. Not extensive facility, but what school has, it is well taken care of and school is very clean.
    – has no A/C – just like many, many schools on the Northside, including HS.
    – no gym – has a multipurpose room used as a gym, rents the JCC gym next door with funds raised by amazing dedicated PTA. Not ideal but creative solutions are sought out.
    – no cafeteria – kids eat in the classroom – not a big deal – kids just eat and go to recess, would be nice to have one, but c’est la vie
    – is not welcoming to parents – Security guard is truly horrid, yes – horrid to all for the most part – if you know this going in, helps you not to take it personally. But plenty of opportunities to volunteer in the school, volunteer Thank You Luncheon where Adminstration thanks the volunteers, Founders Day, Holiday Performances, Welcome Round up, Field Day at end of year, Multicultural potluck, PTA Meetings where they have often have refreshments, Halloween party where teachers give candy to all kids and whole family welcome, classroom party volunteers, room parents, weekly library volunteers. I could go on and on on about the opportunities to be at the school. Now school doesn’t really want parents helping in the classroom – kind of agree for kids own privacy – why should parents know how all children are doing academically – kind of private information (I’ve seen how information like this spreads around and not fair to child – this from another school). Plus I don’t want parents to just feel like they can walk into school anytime they like due to security and this is a place where they already have their agenda mapped out every day. It is a school.
    – , and is generally uncaring. Most teachers and staff are caring. Few not perfect in the tact or warm and fuzzy part – no names. Overall, a caring community that will reach out and support each other.
    – The administrators have the attitude that all of the kids are replaceable. I don’t have any experience with that. But all unfilled spots must be filled per OAE if possible. Parents can and do pull their children for a variety of reasons. Not everyone is happy with the school, similar to why most people are on this blog!
    – They prohibit any fun or enjoyment during the rigorous day of academics. This is truly far from the truth. I have a child at a neighborhood school and I can tell you I yearn for all the fun activities they had at Decatur including lots of field trips, classroom parties. It is a wonderful place and lots of fun with a great playground and adjoining Park. PTA rocks and provides lots of fun things. Plus there are cool things like awards for character that kids love.
    – would not recommend going there, especially in later grades – upper grades were actually some of the best grades – Project Citizen is really cool. Now have good math, science, and social studies teacher in upper grades – they work well together.

    Biggest negative – it ends at 6th grade. Plus my child was not always ready for the work load, but less homework than some of the RGCs.

    Would have I liked a cafeteria, and auditorium, an art room (versus on a cart)? Yes, but fabulous science lab and facilities well cared for.

    Plus great environment where kids can be comfortable being smart and work well with each other. Being comfortable being smart is not to be taken for granted. Great parents and PTA as well. Diverse community.

  • 708. Beaubien  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    705. Levski | March 27, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    You must take the list of who goes to SEHS from Beaubien with a grain of salt. In 7th grade some students leave for the ACs at WY, Lane, and Taft to get H.S. credit or to secure a H.S. spot, so there numbers are not represented in the SEHS enrollment list.

    This year’s class only has 23 students and they are going to Lane, Northside, LP IB, WY, Jones, Von Steuben, Loyola Academy, and Taft IB, and a private school. I don’t have the number for those that left.

    A year or so ago, 15 of the 8th graders had perfect 300s on the SEHS exam and it was a big deal. So Beaubien’s students do well.

    So look at the school and visit if you can.

  • 709. Decatur Counter your Counter  |  March 28, 2014 at 12:22 am

    I’m kind of giggling to myself on the “Counter Points”. Do we love most of the teachers? Yes. Is the Administration abhorrent? YES. Is our principal now nationally infamous for slut-shaming our 10-12 year old girls, in front of our sons just last June? Did that principal bold-faced LIE initially after being questioned about those remarks? She surely did. Did parents vote for removal? You bet your arse we did. Did BOE keep her anyway? YES. If you complain, will the administration be retaliatory towards your child? YES. Is the PTA cliquey? VERY MUCH. Do the PTA-parent’s kids win every contest, whether a science fair or what have you? YUP. Does Decatur have a pervasive bullying problem, particularly amongst girls? VERY MUCH SO. Are you welcome in the school as a parent? Unless you kiss arse to Ms. K, no. Not so much. Is the whole child considered, either emotionally or educationally? Not even remotely. Is the security guard literally abusive, both to parents and students? Big time. Will they accommodate a child that is experiencing issues and likely needs testing performed to classify those issues in order to form an IEP and assist that child? Not if they’re not failing. Apparently, it doesn’t matter if they’re not failing, even if its affecting the child socially. Is the 2nd grade teacher essentially the wicked witch of the east? Oh god yes. Do the students feel supported if they need extra help or to catch up due to absence or illness? Yah… No. Sink or swim! You’re like 10, kid!!! BE RESPONSIBLE, duh!

    Would I ever send another child there? Not so much.

  • 710. Decatur?  |  March 28, 2014 at 1:05 am

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your candidness. I got a sense of many of those things when the administrators were presenting, but I thought Decatur had some of the healthiest classroom dynamics I had seen. Tough decision. The only other classical program I would put my son in would be Skinner North, and his chances seem slim to none. Does anyone have enough information to compare Decatur with the small magnet schools? It seems like STEM has a lot of the same issues of space and being unwelcoming to parents.

  • 711. Stacey  |  March 28, 2014 at 7:12 am

    I’m in the process of comparing Decatur to Sabin. I see in the magnet thread that not many apply to Sabin and just as many don’t have a great opinion of Sabin.
    My daughter is in k there and while it’s still a school rated at a 4, I can’t say I’ve been unhappy with anything so far this year. The principal is great, very involved, very helpful, always available. Her teacher is amazing as are the other 2 k teachers. They do many field trips, have a great gym teacher, in a gym.the kids are nice, helpful to each other for the most part. If they are not, it’s because they are kids. Would be at any school imo.
    The reasons I’m not completely on board with Decatur are that it’s double the distance than Sabin from our home, and my younger daughter isn’t almost guaranteed a spot when she’s old enough for k. Plus I’m wary of the possible workload, I want to challenge my daughter but I don’t want to overwhelm her.
    Email me Stacey.r.Nichols at gmail.com if you’d like to bounce thoughts off each other.

  • 712. OTdad  |  March 28, 2014 at 7:13 am

    @668, 669 epb2009, also @673
    “how do you know that the SEES tests are “pretty easy stuff?””

    That’s based on what my then 5yr old DD told me last year. She said except she didn’t know what 2 questions were about, the rest were easy stuff. She walked out the test (math, reading, RGC) in ~15 minutes and got in our first choice. Also, she knew little English a year prior the test.

    From reading this blog, there are no pattern matrices in RGC test, math questions are like “5 bears standing, 2 fall down, how many are standing now?”. How hard can it be?

    “Also, preparing for the RCG test is impossible, it’s basically an IQ test. Preparing for the classical test is a different story…”

    Tell that to NYC parents. Their gifted test takes much longer time, OLSAT and NNAT, proven quite preparable. CPS test seems a much lighter version.

    Yes, you know classical test is just reading and math, but teaching a 4 year old to master 1st/2nd grade level math and reading is not as easy as you may think.

    “I’m curious because my daughter scored a 67% on the match test and can count to 200, identify a trapezoid, and looks at the world in patterns. Should I be troubled? ”
    The test are quite easy, which means one question wrong could have big effect on the scores. It’s a game of “who makes the fewest mistakes”. I wouldn’t read too much into the scores. But if she gets into SEES, I would make sure she can really work 1-2 grades ahead before entering.

  • 713. OTdad  |  March 28, 2014 at 7:45 am

    @672. walker:
    “My son didn’t know what 1+1 equals when he started K “
    That’s hard to believe! All mammals and birds have basic number sense. Your son seems an intelligent boy.

    Also you seem to work with your child on NNAT, but no time to teach 1+1?

    Math is pretty straightforward: take books 1-2 grades higher, dedicate some additional time to work extra with your kid, and the result is pretty guaranteed. Can you say the same about gifted tests?
    For a 4 year old, it’s not that straightforward. Not all children can handle 1-2 grades ahead. CPS’ gifted test is far from NYC’s test. Even NYC’s test is easier to prepare than teaching a 4 year old to do 1st/2nd grade math and reading, which is quite an effort.

    As I said in a previous post, don’t read to much into scores, be it RGC or classical. One question wrong means getting in or out.

  • 714. CuriousMom  |  March 28, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Does any oe knw when CPS will start sending out letters for second around?

  • 715. reenie  |  March 28, 2014 at 8:33 am

    @711 Stacey We are wait listed 7 at Sabin. Think we’ll get a call? And how is their Spanish? It’s far for us but we are looking for Spanish.

  • 716. Stacey  |  March 28, 2014 at 8:54 am

    There are 3 k classrooms and 3 first grade too. One of each is Spanish. I’ve spent time with both teachers, more with the k teacher and they are both very nice and very qualified. And their kids love them.
    We were waitlisted at #9 and got in. Goes along with how so many shy away from Sabin for reasons I’d like to learn.

  • 717. Happy Decatur Parent  |  March 28, 2014 at 9:05 am

    For those of you considering Decatur, and reading some of the negative feedback in previous posts, I just want to say that as a K parent there we are happy with our decision to send our child to Decatur and have no regrets. No school is perfect and I’m not claiming Decatur is the exception to that, but there do seem to be some Decatur families who have been there more years than us who are very vocal and unhappy with the school. There are also many families who feel differently. The picture of Decatur as a rigid, unwelcoming place with “abhorrent” leadership hasn’t been our experience.

    As a K parent, I have volunteered a few times for some PTA sponsored functions and attended several others and I haven’t found it to be cliquey; to me that would mean that I’m not welcomed as a new parent or as a volunteer and that certainly has not been the case. I’m happy we have such a dedicated PTA even if it feels like we have a new fundraiser opportunity every few weeks 🙂 The new PTA president this year seems very nice in the times I’ve spoken with her. That said, it can be difficult to get to know other parents and the PTA, etc. especially if you aren’t doing drop off/pick up (we use the bus). Despite that, we have started to meet more families as the year has gone on and all of them have been very nice and welcoming.

    I have had little direct experience with the administration, but I also haven’t had any problems with them. My child had a random accident at school this fall (which was handled appropriately in the moment, we were called, child injury addressed, etc.) and when we attended a school event that very night, as soon as we walked in the door and the principal, assistant principal and 2 other teachers/administrators we didn’t know immediately asked our child how she was doing, checked in with us and told us how “brave” our child was when the accident happened. This was only a few months into the school year it made me feel happy that we are at a smaller school where it doesn’t take long for teachers and administrators to know and care about new students.

    The K year was a little weird this year due to a mid-year maternity leave, and yet my child LOVES going to Decatur. Homework has been completely manageable so far. The smallness of the facility hasn’t impacted my child’s experience and I’m amazed at how well they use the space they have. I’m not sure what kind of “fun” some feel is missing, and of course we only have one year and one classroom to reference, but I would disagree with any perception of this school as void of fun. In general, I feel my child is being well educated, well taken care of and our first year in elementary school has been a good one.

  • 718. H  |  March 28, 2014 at 9:10 am

    “teaching a 4 year old to master 1st/2nd grade level math and reading is not as easy as you may think”

    But for walker it was easy stuff.

  • 719. Decatur Debate  |  March 28, 2014 at 9:31 am

    @710 Decatur? et al.
    Both responders make excellent points. Neither of them is actually wrong. They have different personal experiences so I’ll add one more to the list. I do agree that there are some great teachers & a couple that need to go or be re-trained. There are fun times in classrooms & community building events put on by the PTA. I’m not on the PTA but I don’t feel excluded from it either. The parents are generally dedicated people who work hard to make Decatur better. The administration often does not make parents feel welcome. They do have favorites. The security guard? Don’t get me started. The facilities are inadequate like many many schools but they are clean and orderly. All the kids know each other and play/interact across grades. It is a safe community. There seem to be a variety of volunteers at school on a daily basis & I have always felt that I could sign up to help out on many projects, parties, etc. IMO, all the good extras that are at Decatur are due to the parents putting them there (science lab, iPads, art class, gym rental) and a few of the super teachers. I agree there is bullying (social/emotional) and for some reason the administration doesn’t address it properly. I agree that there is preferential treatment of some kids (ouch. I hate to admit that & really wish my child didn’t have to feel the sting of witnessing it). I disagree about the IEP process b/c I have had a totally different experience – one that is quite supportive. The upper level teachers are great & I feel my child has also been supported in make up work when absent. The level of homework, compared to what I’ve read about Edison, is low. The homework load seemed to drop with the “longer school day.” This is just my personal experience….

  • 720. Beaubien Parent  |  March 28, 2014 at 10:06 am

    We have a 1st grader at Beaubien RGC. Love the 1st. grade teacher! Our child is really happy. Great group of kids. There is a fair amount of homework. My child is just now starting to get most of it done independently. The program is challenging, but the teacher is terrific. Lots of differentiation.The principal of the school is also very present at every event we’ve been to. The few times I’ve dropped my child off at school, usually takes bus, the principal is always outside welcoming all the kids. She always says hello to us and to my child walking in the door. Other than a start time that is a bit too early for us, we can’t say enough.

  • 721. Frustrated60630  |  March 28, 2014 at 10:32 am

    I agree about Beaubien, although we are in the neighborhood program. Active parents and PTO, available and responsive principal. A big plus to me (that I have witnessed and from experience so far) is there hasn’t been much problem with bullying. My frustration is not within the school itself as I do consider myself lucky at least to be there. Like most parents on here I’m just looking for a place to meet my child’s needs the best.

  • 722. K's Dad  |  March 28, 2014 at 10:36 am

    @H #631

    Sorry I didn’t see your response until now.

    I guess the simple way to prove the Kindergarten scores were higher would be to show a difference in the central tendency or the variation.

    It seems that the distribution for group taking this test has a positive skew vs. the national population, but I don’t see any difference between Kindergarten and 1st Grade within Chicago.

  • 723. H  |  March 28, 2014 at 11:02 am

    “I guess the simple way to prove the Kindergarten scores were higher would be to show a difference in the central tendency or the variation.”

    To answer the question of whether there’s a drop (i.e., would you expect a drop from the same kid taking it for K versus 1st entry), you’d have to adjust for the change in populations taking the two tests. I think it’s indisputable that the right tail looks different given the actual populations taking the tests. Kids are getting into K from tier 3/4 with at least mid 140s in the first round, while scores for tier 3 for first round are as low as 120 or so.

    What I was suggesting was that because you know there’s a big group of kids who got e.g. 130s or low 140s without getting into Coonley or Edison, many of those kids are likely retesting for 1st (as well as some that tested higher who did get in). And the fact that you see cutoffs go down as much as they do is pretty clear evidence the tests have different scoring.

  • 724. Madeline  |  March 28, 2014 at 11:33 am

    It’s been too long since I commented that I’m playing catch up now. So much good dialogue! Pardon the references to hundreds of posts ago, and I’m sure I will miss responding to some that caught my eye along the way.

    jlp @505. Thank you for the recommendations. I will definitely check them all out. I appreciate your post! Congratulations on your first choice offer. From which suburb will you be moving?

    Regarding the dialogue a few days ago about the 1st grade teacher at Edison, thanks to all who posted, and I’m glad to know the negative reactions are balanced by some very positive reactions, as well.

    Norwood @509. You have a talent for dark humor. I practically spit my nightcap all over myself reading your post. I. want. to. be. your. friend.

    OTdad @551, 712 and 713. Thanks for the thoughts on commuting time. You’re right that I would probably regret the commute especially if there may not be a huge difference between Edison and Skinner North in the end.
    Regarding your comments on the ease of the classical and gifted tests and what your daughter told you after taking the tests, I had a similar impression. However, I cannot help but wonder how they get such a big difference in scores for the RGC, and particularly if a child does well on the classical test but not on the RGC. That is puzzling to me, as I agree that it seems as if it *should* be difficult to teach a four year old to read and do math, but in some cases it happens with dazzling ease. So in the cases where a child has learned to read and do math by age four but is performing at an average rate on the RGC, maybe there is more to the RGC than our four year old’s are telling us. My son was in his test for 50 minutes! So funny that yours was done in 15… was that for both tests? My son did tell me they talked a lot and that they did stretching together during a “break”. The sentences he was given he was asked to read, which was easy and fun. He said there were no words that he did not know. My son did very well on both tests, we were offered our first choice, and we probably would have been given first choice for either classical or RGC despite being in tier 4, but again, I am curious about those who have posted greater than 98 or 99 in math but have a low or average RGC. If the RGC is so “easy”, how could that happen?

  • 725. Madeline  |  March 28, 2014 at 11:37 am

    at the end there, I meant greater than 98 or 99 in both reading and math

  • 726. Anonmom  |  March 28, 2014 at 11:39 am

    In 2012-2013, Bell accepted about 1.4 percent of applicants, more than Coonley (1.1 percent) or Edison (.08 percent) but less than Pritzker or Keller (both about 2 percent). Since the selectivity is similar, but the cutoffs are about 20 points lower, that would suggest that scores are lower overall in first grade, unless the pool of students testing is dramatically different.

  • 727. CC  |  March 28, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Does anyone has experience in choosing between classical school and comprehensive gifted program? I have kid who is in the comprehensive gifted program now but was accepted in the classical school. Thank you.

  • 728. Chris  |  March 28, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    “And the fact that you see cutoffs go down as much as they do is pretty clear evidence the tests have different scoring.”

    One would think, but it seems that some perceive it as pretty strong evidence that Bell is ‘less preferred’ than Coonley.

    “Bell accepted about 1.4 percent of applicants, more than Coonley (1.1 percent) or Edison (.08 percent) but less than Pritzker or Keller (both about 2 percent). Since the selectivity is similar, but the cutoffs are about 20 points lower, that would suggest that scores are lower overall in first grade”

    No, that has almost nothing to say about the scores, especially in relative terms. Since acceptance number must = 28, what it tells us is that there are fewer parents listing Bell (2000) than listing Coonley (about 2550) or Edison (3,500, which is 0.8 percent, not .08 percent, which would indicate that 35,000 kids listed Edison which is *WAY* more than took the K test).

    Question about those numbers–are those percentages of applications listing the school *first* or *at any rank*?

  • 729. walker  |  March 28, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    @OTdad “That’s hard to believe! All mammals and birds have basic number sense. Your son seems an intelligent boy. ”

    Ask any mammal or bird what 1+1 is. Do you get the right answer? If a kid can’t tell what 1+1 is, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t have basic number sense. To get the right answer there is a lot of steps. First, it’s audio-processing. A person has to connect sounds of “1+1” with the abstract idea of 1, “sum”, abstract idea of 1 and better to have a previous experience with those type of questions. Apple+apple isn’t the same as 1 + 1 in a way how the brain processes it. In the case of my son he had troubles with languages (there were 3 spoken languages around) and his problem was a slow audio-processing. It took too long so it pushed some information out of his short-term memory. Additionally he’s a visual type of learners who need to visualize the question first. Once you understand exactly where the problem is, it’s easier to solve.

    @OTdad “Also you seem to work with your child on NNAT, but no time to teach 1+1? ”

    On both but with NNAT it was much easier and probably because it doesn’t require any audio-processing. Just different skills.

    @OTdad “For a 4 year old, it’s not that straightforward. Not all children can handle 1-2 grades ahead.”

    Agree. I said it for 6+ year old and I apologize that I didn’t mention it. Indeed it’d be better expressed as a relative value. Of course, not all children can’t handle 1-2 grades ahead but with regular and smart help from parents (hopefully teachers) I believe many of them can.

  • 730. Stats?  |  March 28, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    “Bell accepted about 1.4 percent of applicants, more than Coonley (1.1 percent) or Edison (.08 percent) but less than Pritzker or Keller (both about 2 percent). Since the selectivity is similar, but the cutoffs are about 20 points lower, that would suggest that scores are lower overall in first grade”

    Bell doesn’t have a K program, so are you comparing their 1st grade numbers with the Coonley, Edison. K numbers? There are obviously more kids applying for K than 1st. If you are only comparing 1st grade applicants then you need to consider that Bell has 28 slots to fill where Coonley and Edison have 1-3 at most since most K students continue on. So, of course the programs that start in 1st would have a higher percent acceptance rate than those that start at K.

    Just curious – where are these stats (above) from?

  • 731. Anonmom  |  March 28, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Data is from CPS Crazy here – https://cpsobsessed.com/2013/03/22/2013-sees-gifted-and-classical-letter-thread/

  • 732. NewSNDAD  |  March 28, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    It is probably hard to get a high RGC for kids whose don’t speak English at home, even though they may get 99% both in math and reading. Some of the RGC questions are more like English riddles.
    If you take your kids to one of the test centers run by NWU, you’ll get a sense of what type questions they may ask. kids need to have a pretty large vocabulary to get a high RGC score… That being said, the RGC is quit preparable.

  • 733. Chris  |  March 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    “Data is from CPS Crazy here”

    That includes ALL grades. So, completely useless for this purpose. Does point out the relative popularity of similar schools (ie, can only, really, compare the K-admit schools to each other, and not to the 1-admit schools), as it does include “listed anywhere in the 6”.

  • 734. Beaubien questions  |  March 28, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    My child has a 1st grade options offer at Beaubien, and we are still undecided. The biggest issue for us are the logistics of having two kids at two different schools (which are pretty far apart geographically). Two questions for Beaubien parents:

    If your child takes the bus, what time/location are they picked up and dropped off? Are there alternatives to the bus that people use?
    Is it now impossible to get a KG sibling into Beaubien’s neighborhood program. On paper, the school looks extremely overcrowded.


  • 735. LostInTranslation  |  March 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    I don’t think we can read too much into whether a preschool test taker describes the CPS tests (or any other test) as easy, hard or anything in between. My child and another in her preschool class took the test, by chance, on the same day. One described it as ‘easy peasy’ and the other came out snuffling and demoralized because it was ‘so hard’.

    Both were accepted at their first choice SEES schools.

    Regarding the time taken for the test, I have seen very high and other scores and short and long times, in all combinations. I suspect it means nothing other than that the proctors are giving the kids ample time to think about the answers when necessary. Plus, per Madeline, some at least must be using breaks to get kids back on track if they are wandering.

    And lastly I’ve seen a couple of posts here saying that if your child is not performing 1-2 grades above level, they won’t cope. We haven’t found this to be the case. Our child was definitely not in that position and is absolutely fine, so I don’t think that you *need* to get your child to a second grade level before k starts.

  • 736. SR  |  March 28, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Great point, LostInTranslation. Our child wasn’t even reading when he started RGC kindergarten and he was fine. The first month or two were a little rough because he had to sound everything out on his homework, but he figured it out and his reading skills caught up to the middle of the class by February or so. I remember being very worried what we were throwing our kid into on the basis of a mysterious test score, but I’m glad we gave it a shot.

  • 737. Decatur?  |  March 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Most people are happy at Decatur in K & first grade. Just wait….
    I will say that the kids and parents are great! They make the Dectur community positive. The administrators should be thanking our kids for making it the top ranking school each year. Yet they are thankless. Some of the teachers are excellent, but sadly only about half of them are. Most of the school policies are more fitting for a military school than an elementary school. The administration is infamous for banning games, play equipment, etc. if your child doesn’t conform to each rule they face standing on the fence to observe recess. The recent improvement in these policies is thanks to the vocal outcries of parents, PTA & LSC. Everyone who has fought for our kids at Dectur is awesome!!!

  • 738. Chris  |  March 28, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    ” I don’t think that you *need* [***] to get your child to a second grade level before k starts.”

    ***provided that you aren’t dead set on out tiger parenting the [other] tiger parents. Also provided that you won’t be demoralized if other kids parents receiving the cooing about the ‘profound giftedness’ to those other kids.

    No, of course you don’t need them ready for that at the beginning–the point isn’t about taking academically advanced kids and keeping them on pace, it’s about taking (a slice of) the brightest kids and *getting* them academically advanced.

  • 739. Tier2Mom  |  March 28, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Anyone have data for Tier 2. I can’t get a sense of the cutoffs.

  • 740. Just Breathe  |  March 28, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I have been on this blog since just about the beginning. Every year’s SEES thread falls into a predictable pattern. Like the stages of grief, but it’s the Stages of SEES Test Results. We have Excitement/Disappointment, Fact-Finding, Bargaining, Arguing, Data-Crunching, Smugness, Anger, Bitterness and Vows to Do Better.

    The first few hundred comments are all filled with good humor and high-energy detective work, with people trying to find out more about these magical schools that offered a seat to their kids. Good-natured responses abound.

    And then the claws slowly come out. Snotty comments, “tone,” and subtle and not-so-subtle accusations about good people doing some of the hardest jobs in the world. Big, long discussions about the need for ALL CPS schools to be great ensue.

    And then, the thread dies until next year. People leave feeling a little bruised, swearing they will prep their kids for the next 9 months so they score a bajillion on every test. Some feel pretty darn good about themselves, feeling that they have the smartest kids on the planet and that they did everything right so they deserve the seat more than the family next to them whose kid scored .001% less.

    Just breathe everyone. Try to be kind. Your kids are bright, maybe not always in a testable, measurable way. The guy next to you has great kids, too.

    If they landed in a selective enrollment school, your kids are going to do fine. The administration and teachers will work with them, even if they did not–gasp–get 99’s or 159’s.

    If they landed in a magnet or a neighborhood school, your kids are going to do fine. The administration and teachers will work with them, even if they did not–gasp–get 99’s or 159’s.

    If you’re at a school you simply cannot abide, then by all means, get out of there by any means necessary. Move, go to private school, homeschool, whatever works for you. Try the SEES process again later if you want. Or stay, and make it work. Band with like-minded parents to make THAT school the one we are coveting.

    Your kids have YOU. Involved, caring adults count for a lot in their lives. You are the one who found out that there is a SEES program in the first place. You are the person who will run out to Walgreens at 9:00 p.m. to get a science fair poster board because your kid’s board got bent. You are the one who will take them to the Museum of Science & Industry and the Art Institute for fun. You are the one who will take them to the library or bookstore to get that book they are pining for. You are the one who will show them how they can connect to their families and the rest of the world and be good people. You are the one who will partner with their teachers to make sure they are getting what they need academically and socially in school.

    This step right now? This is just the beginning and not nearly as important as the stuff you already do each day to prepare them for life. Please don’t let this process make you bitter. Do not torture your kids in the next nine months to try and boost their scores.

    And in case you were wondering, we are taking a premature detour into the stage where some Pollyanna with no skin in the game this year tries to remind the group to “just breathe.”

  • 741. RGC parent  |  March 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    All this talk about making sure your child is working “1 or 2 grades above” sounds slightly crazy to me. It is totally unnecessary…to what end? And no, my child was not reading when he started at the RGC in 1st…but he caught up to his classmates by mid-year or so. I recall one day being at school and noted that 3 of his classmates were being pulled out for extra reading help. When I asked the teacher why my child wasn’t included (as he did not read at ALL) the teacher told me he didn’t need it. She explained that he was totally capable of learning to read if he wanted to…but he was what she termed a “reluctant reader” & would not be served by being pushed. She was right…when he decided it was time to learn to read…it happened almost overnight.

  • 742. 1st Grader at Bell  |  March 28, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Thank you Just Breathe! I was thinking a lot of the same, but would not have said it as well.

  • 743. TwoChickens  |  March 28, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    @740 Just Breathe – You made me laugh, you made me cry… well put, well put! Maybe this will be the year this thread ends on a nice note…

  • 744. Frustrated60630  |  March 28, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Very well said Just Breathe. As a parent who has an incredibly smart boy but no spot every year, I have to say your stages are spot on. I’ve never in all these years posted on here, but in the end after I’ve grieved, I dust myself off (as my child is shielded from my own stress about this) and continue doing what I always do and parent my child and feed his love of learning.

  • 745. reenie  |  March 28, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Tier 2 Mom I think we just missed NTA with a gifted score of 133. But I’m not sure by how much. Think I heard a Tier 2 was accepted with a 136 but you might have to dig into this three.

  • 746. reenie  |  March 28, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Thanks Just Breathe! We got into Carnegie but I’ve sent the letter back to say no. So anyone hoping for a Carnegie RGC K spot has a little more hope.

    If we don’t go to RGC this fall it’s not the end of the universe. And if we go to our neighborhood school -a level one and really a strong community of educators–we will work closely with them to get the best of what they have and supplement what they don’t (music and Spanish top the list), If we do go I’ll be pushing to try to bring Spanish in as an after-school option at the very least, because it’s not just about my kid, it’s about all the kids.

    I’d rather walk to school and make my neighborhood a better place than take on a commute. (I admit if we get a call from NTA I might recalculate, especially since I hear they’ve hired a Spanish teacher). And we’re still on some wait-lists for good schools that are closer to home than Carnegie. Hope this choice helps another family get the school they want for their child.

  • 747. DanielleSB  |  March 28, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Tier 3
    RGC: 109
    Classical: 98 R/99 M
    Offered: McDade
    She currently attends Poe. I’m not sure yet if I will take it.

    Tier 3
    RGC: 106
    Classical: 89 R/98 M
    NO OFFERS: Scores drastically declined from previous years and he is feeling defeated. He is normally on a waiting list. He currently attends Turner-Drew and is not being challenged.

  • 748. walker  |  March 28, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    @RGC parent
    I know that “1 or 2 grades above” sounds crazy but there is no way to get 99% without being 1 or 2 grades above. When my son got 98% in Math I actually gave up in pushing/keeping him at that level as I didn’t see any “sparks” and “fun” in his eyes. So I switched to other things. He goes to Northwestern CTD Saturday program and truly enjoys it so far. We grew a few nice crystals together and it definitely was the best thing in his life for a few months. I also bought him Minecraft to facilitate what he loves to do – build stuff. I agree with @Just Breathe, kids need US and all those tests/schools/offers are just a small part of a journey, not a destination.

  • 749. WesLooWorkingMom  |  March 28, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Great post, Just Breathe. It should be saved and re-posted every year.

  • 750. OldMexicanPapa  |  March 29, 2014 at 12:20 am

    @732. NewSNDAD

    We don’t use any English for communicating at home (I mean nada, zero, zip) and last year our daughter was accepted in two different RGCs in the first round (one regular RGC, and one bilingual). Two months later we got phone calls from two other SEES programs inviting her to join as well in a second round. This was four selective enrollment offers for a kid who doesn’t speak English at home. Three of those were English only SEES programs. The problem we had was selecting the right RGC program for her.

    Here is my suggestion for you: speak something different from English to your kids and you shall change your point of view right away (and you will make them bilingual, of course, which will prove very useful for them in 30 years when the demographics flips). For me it has been a lot of fun as she comes home with those witty jokes translated from English into Spanish, and they are actually funny and make sense!!!

    Ahhh!, by the way, she did it from Tier 4 without the NW or other “booster” shenanigan. I guess the bilingualism thing just made things easier for her in that crazy test. Good luck with RGC!

  • 751. GiftedAndClassicalMom  |  March 29, 2014 at 12:23 am

    @DanielleSB. Why are you considering switching from Poe to McDade when they are so similar? What attracts you to McDade that Poe doesn’t have?

  • 752. Norwood  |  March 29, 2014 at 8:48 am


    Sounds like you are raising the bar. As a Competitive Parent Magazine Competitive Parent of the Year award winner (2012-2013) and a 2 time Tiger Mom Honorable Mention, any innovation in early childhood at home education is very interesting to me. I just ordered my kids to speak nothing but 10th Century German with an urban Rhine accent.

    @748 Two grades above has a solid foundation. International standards are about 2 years ahead of the United States, especially in math. If you home school your child, 1 teacher dedicated to the exact needs and learning style of 1 kid, academic subjects go very quickly. For math, in about 6 months at 15 to 20 minutes a day, kids usually level off at 2 years ahead.

    I consider 2 years ahead a good goal for my kids, and I don’t make any excuses for them based on temperament, interests or personality. They can have any temperament, interests or personality they want after their math is done.

  • 753. Beaubien Parent  |  March 29, 2014 at 9:13 am

    @Beaubien questions:
    We are on far North side and bus pick up is around 7 am. I don’t know about other transportation. The neighborhood program is crowded and I’m not sure they are taking applications in early grades from out of boundary families this year. I know another 1st. grade teacher was brought in at the beginning of the school year to try and deal w/ the huge # of kids in neighborhood. There are five 1st. grade classes (one of which is options and is capped.) That said, there might very well still be a sibling lottery fo K even if families w/out kids already in the school are not accepted. That is something to ask the principal at the tour.

  • 754. A Thought.......  |  March 29, 2014 at 9:36 am

    I posted this in the lottery thread as well, but I think important in SEES consideration too….

    I’ve been following the lottery and SEES threads for several years now and going through the comments, I am reminded about something I once read that I found to be very helpful and calming. Try to keep in mind that for most schools you may want to consider, there are going to be a certain number of parents who rave about it, a certain number of parents who trash it and frankly, most parents will fall somewhere in the middle. Those parents are very happy with some aspects of the school, unhappy with other aspects of the school, but overall satisfied enough to want to keep their child there and for right now any way, that school is a good enough fit for their family. It is that middle group who is probably the most unlikely to post opinions. Try not to get too focused on one or two posts that lean heavily in the “love” or “hate” categories. What I found most helpful was to read all of the comments and reviews, but more importantly, working to find the school that was the right “fit” for our child and family. What is very important to one family is not going to be so important to another. I really think the individual “fit” aspect cannot be overemphasized. Wishing everyone good luck as you make your decisions!

  • 756. K's Dad  |  March 29, 2014 at 9:55 am


    “To answer the question of whether there’s a drop (i.e., would you expect a drop from the same kid taking it for K versus 1st entry), you’d have to adjust for the change in populations taking the two tests. I think it’s indisputable that the right tail looks different given the actual populations taking the tests. Kids are getting into K from tier 3/4 with at least mid 140s in the first round, while scores for tier 3 for first round are as low as 120 or so.

    What I was suggesting was that because you know there’s a big group of kids who got e.g. 130s or low 140s without getting into Coonley or Edison, many of those kids are likely retesting for 1st (as well as some that tested higher who did get in). And the fact that you see cutoffs go down as much as they do is pretty clear evidence the tests have different scoring.”

    I think your point about the right tail population could explain ALL of the difference, so I don’t see a need to suspect a difference in the scoring.

    Why is the population in the right tail different from K to 1st G? From what I’ve heard here, the existence of a Kindergarten class could explain ALL of the difference in the population.

    There are about 40,000 4 year olds in Chicago. In a normal population, 146 is a 1 out of 1,000 score (99.9 percentile). 156 is 1 in 10,000. There should only be 4 of those in the city. You can see how filling 1 or 2 kindergarten classes removes a large percentage of right tail (even though we know its a fat right tail because we pull from outside the city).

    I think the null hypothesis is that there is no difference in the K scores vs. 1st grade and it stands.

  • 757. Norwood  |  March 29, 2014 at 10:28 am


    My wife didn’t appreciate my humor and told me to apologize. Recently a 9 year old who speaks French moved into our house and we all now speak French. It’s really wonderful. Unfortunately, I’ve got a responsibility to teach him English, and we are also speaking Spanish, Chinese, Sign language, and whatever else my kids are studying so it doesn’t look like we going to be bi-lingual any time soon. I really admire the families that are.

  • 758. anonymouse teacher  |  March 29, 2014 at 10:48 am

    @752/757 I thought your humor was hysterical. Best thing I have ever read here.

  • 759. hyde park mom  |  March 29, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Higher up in the thread,someone reported 129 for bell,tier 4.That seems pretty low .My DD had 121,tier 1.I wonder if we have a chance in later rounds?Does Bell conduct later rounds?Any ibfo appreciated.Thanks.

  • 760. hyde park mom  |  March 29, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Forgot to say,Bell was not a school we listed,so would they still consider us?Ive heard some schools mske offers even to those tgat didnt apply,if tgey are trying to fill seats in later rounds

  • 761. hyde park mom  |  March 29, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Sorry for all the typos,android

  • 762. frustrated60630  |  March 29, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Norwood you are awesome lol

  • 763. Academum  |  March 29, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Some of these posts are a little off topic for those of us who would like to make the best decisions about schools. Could we maybe start a separate thread for test preparation and language development?

  • 764. Agnes  |  March 29, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Thanks to all those who have responded to me offering advice and feedback on Decatur. I understand that people’s experiences vary, and that I’m likely to get responses from those who are passionately pro/con and not hear from the middle, but I appreciate people taking the time to respond nonetheless.

    To @70 Letter (this is ways back, sorry, I didn’t get a chance to look at my son’s actual letter till today, since I’ve been out of town) My son, also currently in 4th grade, also accepted at Decatur, received, like your child, a point score for academic center–and this despite the fact that he
    (a) did not take the ISAT last year (or ever)
    (b) does not receive letter grades at his current (private) school

    My conclusion is that they must base the point total exclusively on the test. My son, who scored 97/97 on the Class. test, got 538 points. Being new to this system, I have no idea what this means; I gather it’s not a great score, but it prob. doesn’t mean too much at this point.

  • 765. OTdad  |  March 29, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    @724. Madeline:
    “I am curious about those who have posted greater than 98 or 99 in math but have a low or average RGC. If the RGC is so “easy”, how could that happen?”
    I don’t think there is a strong correlation between math and RGC scores, even though many kids did well on both.

    RGC test is of course the best kept secret in Chicago. But we do know that
    ** it does not have 3×3 pattern matrices, which is a staple in NNAT and IQ tests.
    ** it has brain teasers, riddle type of questions.
    ** based on the testing time of some kids, the number of questions is not likely to be more than 20.
    Based on kids’ very limited feedback, large portion of RGC test seem pretty easy for most kids, that makes these questions useless in ranking kids. The scores are probably determine by careless mistakes and very limited number of “harder” questions. We all know how unpredictable a 4/5 year old can be. Is s/he comfortable with that particular tester? Is s/he familiar with the type of question or vocabulary used in the questions? Does s/he feel the need to pee?…. All factors could have big impact on the kid’s score. That makes RGC score highly unpredictable. I guess that’s the reason some parents say “it’s impossible to prepare for RGC test”.

    Granted, a kids have to be smart to get high scores. But another equally smart or smarter kid may not necessarily score as high.
    So, given a pool of equally smart kids, their RGC scores could have big variations.

    For classical test, T4 kids may need at least one score above 99% to get in. CPS seems to consider 99.9% + 91% > 99% + 99%. Basically, a 4/5-year old from T4 needs to be at 2nd grade level in either math or reading to have a good shot at top classical schools.
    That means large percentage of the testers probably don’t have a chance to begin with, but all testers can have a shot at RGC. The pool of competition on the classical side is so much smaller for academically advanced kids, and they have 3 scores (math/reading scores seem more stable than RGC scores) to rely on. So, it’s not really a surprise to see some kids with high RGC scores but low math scores and vise versa.

  • 766. hyde park mom  |  March 29, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I spent most of my time prepping twins for RGC.Spent thousands literally on books from thinktonight,karen wuinn.Was useless.Wish I had focused more on abcs and math for classical portion.
    I dont under as tand why the rgc portion has riddles (,which we practiced,) in school the hw is just straightforward,mostly worksheets where my son gies to RGC.If RGC test portion focused more on sequence,patterns,we may have had a shot.Cps is so backwards,from testing to bussing.

  • 767. Academum  |  March 29, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I think the idea behind RGC, for better or worse, is that children whose problem-solving abilities are not captured by tests of proficiency and math, are afforded options that empower and challenge them. I understand that parents want their children to score well on every test so as to get their top choice of school, but children who do well with skills like math and reading are probably better candidates for classical schools than gifted. Of course you may be ABLE to prep kids for the gifted test, but I’m not convinced that gifted schools are necessarily better than classical schools, especially for children who were groomed for tests. We complain a lot about educators teaching to tests – are we not contributing to the problem by doing this ourselves?

  • 768. hyde park mom  |  March 29, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Yes,but some parents do it out of desperation,we dont all have good neighborhood schools.If I did,Id never go thru this process.

  • 769. Academum  |  March 29, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    @768. hyde park mom
    I completely understand and respect that. After receiving my child’s scores and seeing what other parents have done, I also wondered if I should have put more time into RGC preparation. In some ways it feels like the Tier system puts different types of pressures on different parents. I can see why Tier 3 and 4 parents would want to prepare their children because the competition is so fierce. Tiers 1 and 2 have geography against them, and more RGCs than classical programs to choose from (?) so I can see why the gifted scores make a difference to many of us too.

  • 770. OTdad  |  March 29, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    @767. Academum:

    “but I’m not convinced that gifted schools are necessarily better than classical schools”

    Frankly, I’m not convinced RGCs and classicals are indeed “better” than some decent neighborhood schools. Yes, those schools have filtered peers and accelerated curriculum, what else? A little differentiation or parental effort is all that’s needed to cover that in a neighborhood school.

    CPS SEES is mostly (if not all) accelerated, not much difference between RGCs and classicals. Actually, classicals such as Decatur and Skinner North tend to have the highest scores.

  • 771. laidbackmom  |  March 29, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Looking for some thoughts here. My son got a RGC score of 142 (for kindergarten) and we’re in tier 4…do you think we have a chance to get into Coonley, Edison, or Pritzker? When I spoke with a rep at CPS, they made it sound like it’s very likely in the next round…but I want to have realistic expectations. Thoughts?

  • 772. Academum  |  March 29, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    I am tempted to agree with you, although I haven’t heard people discuss many neighborhood schools so positively. Do you mean strictly neighborhood or neighborhood/magnet? Either way, I agree with hyde park mom’s point that in the absence of good neighborhood schools, SEES is a critically important alternative.

  • 773. LostInTranslation  |  March 29, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    @771 Laidbackmom – last year that would not have got a seat at Coonley or Edison. I think it WOULD have got a seat at Pritzker late in the summer/fall but I’m not certain of this. Definitely 143 got late offers from Pritzker. You must be close.

    Every year is different though!

  • 774. laidbackmom  |  March 29, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    @773 Thanks LostInTranslation. We are in Waters neighborhood school and happy to enroll there, but so wanting my child to be in the right environment for his little mind, as we all do. We wait and then press on.

  • 775. Tier 2  |  March 29, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Still waiting to hear what scores (cutoffs) are for Tier 2 offers (north side) so far.

    My child (5yrs 3 mos. at testing) K entry 97R/94M offered Decatur. I’m assuming Skinner North scores were still much higher.

  • 776. MamaBlue  |  March 29, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    A question about busing for Skinner North. Our neighborhood school is Smyser, which is in the Portage Park neighborhood. Any thoughts on an estimation of pick up/drop off times for the area? I don’t know how they split the bus routes, so I am trying to get an idea of how long the trip will be.

  • 777. MamaBlue  |  March 29, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Also, I have a friend who was disappointed with her son’s score on the RGC test. They are in Tier 4 and he got a 145! I explained that that is a really good score. They applied to Edison (1st) and Decatur (3rd). Any hope for getting a call in the later rounds? I told her about this blog, but she isn’t quite ready to become “obsessed”!!

  • 778. anonymouse teacher  |  March 29, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    @776, I’m surprised that Smyser and SN are within 6 miles of each other (approx.6000 West and 600 W). But, if you got the bus letter, then they must be.
    I used to travel from around Smyser towards east Lakeview and even if I left immediately at 3:15 and got mostly green lights, it would take me at least 30 minutes. So, if you figure in multiple stops and it being a bus and going further south, I think you can count on a 45-60 minute minimum one way ride.

  • 779. H  |  March 29, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    “Why is the population in the right tail different from K to 1st G? From what I’ve heard here, the existence of a Kindergarten class could explain ALL of the difference in the population.
    There are about 40,000 4 year olds in Chicago. In a normal population, 146 is a 1 out of 1,000 score (99.9 percentile). 156 is 1 in 10,000. There should only be 4 of those in the city. You can see how filling 1 or 2 kindergarten classes removes a large percentage of right tail (even though we know its a fat right tail because we pull from outside the city).”

    What I’m saying is that we *know* where the cutoffs are when the K class is filled and it’s not down in the low 120s. Coonley/Edison go down to the mid 140s from tier 3/4 to fill their K classes. So there are a lot of kids who are in the 130s and low 140s who didn’t get in. Maybe they go to Pritzker/NTA/etc or magnet/neighborhoods, but even if they do, I think a lot of them are getting retested for K (basically everyone I know who was hoping to get their kids into an RGC/classical for K and wasn’t entirely satisfied did test for K). Plus some of the kids who got into Coonley/Edison are getting tested again for various reasons.

  • 780. MamaBlue  |  March 29, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    @annonymouse teacher…….The cpsoae website lists the bus boundaries for Skinner North as 5200 North, down to 2200 South. No east/wwest boundaries are given. Is this correct?

  • 781. Tier 2  |  March 29, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    I seem to remember them saying that at the open house.

  • 782. DanielleSB  |  March 29, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    @GiftedAndClassicalMom I am not certain if I will switch from Poe to McDade however it is weighing heavily on my mind. I plan to call Monday and find out if I can do a tour. McDade is much closer, not closer than her bus stop for Poe, but in walking distance and the neighborhood is better. That is not a huge issues to me because she is bussed but it just has a different feeling when you drive up (I know that is superficial). Let me clearly state I have never been inside McDade her Godfather attended there two decades ago, but Poe is a very old building. The principal has made a lot of connections and gotten air conditioners and had parents paint the school and is slowly updating as much as possible, this is his first year. All in all I just want her to have the most opportunities. That includes technology, curriculum, clubs, programs and anything that keeps her excited about learning. With McDade being closer as she gets older it will be easier on the family for her to participate in after school activities if they have them. At the end of the day we are very blessed to have these two options for her.

  • 783. Skinner North Mom  |  March 29, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    @Mamablue. We are in the same general area and our bus pick up for SN is 7:05 am. The bus arrives home at about 4:30 pm. Kids talk, play video games, etc.

  • 784. swimslikeaduck  |  March 29, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    My child will be a 5th grader next year

    Tier: 2
    RGC: 135
    Classical scores: reading: 90, math: 93

    Not accepted to any schools
    Hoping for Pritzker

  • 785. MamaBlue  |  March 29, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    @Skinner North Mom……thanks for the info. The bus ride will be long, but we are so relieved that they have bus service. I don’t know how we’d do it otherwise!

  • 786. Norwood  |  March 29, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    The reason why the K and 1st Grade tests have different cutoffs is that they are not the same test, do not have the same distribution, and are not comparable. Sorry to be a buzz kill.

  • 787. DecaturUgh  |  March 29, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    @Happy Decatur Parent et al:

    For the record, we were thrilled in K and 1st grade. Loved Mrs. W and the old 1st Teacher, Mr. H. He was phenomenal, played his guitar for the kids often, and our child loved him so much that our kid came home daily and played school with younger siblings. We had no issues until 2nd grade, with Mrs. Ludlow (who is teaching 3rd this year iirc). During 2nd, our child was so stressed due to be bullied and undermined and disparaged by the teacher that we truly thought our child had developed anxiety issues for a bit there… But they all faded the first day of summer break, and weren’t seen again until first day of school in September, when they kicked back in full-force, but only for a day or two. In contrast, Mrs. Sharping is one of the best of the best that I’ve ever been fortunate enough to encounter. She helped heal our child in ways I cannot describe, and we were lucky enough to have her again in 5th, and for several classes in 6th. She is a true gem. Like indescribably wonderful. But, several of the well-known, beloved by the admin PTA moms with kids a year behind ours had the same issues with Ludlow we had the year following, so we know it was more than just a personality conflict. That said, bad teachers exist everywhere, and our child survived it, if somewhat damaged by the experience for a time. What else came along with that experience was the bullying spoken of in earlier some posts; bullying that was not handled appropriately, or frankly at all for over three years. This bullying began with a girl on the playground slapping my child’s BFF, IN FRONT OF ME and several other parents, so hard that the BFF still had a prominent, red handprint on their chest 30m later when that bff’s mother arrived. I personally called over the school counselor, who did shockingly little, and to my knowledge, or that of the victim, nothing beyond the immediate moment. What transpired following was that girl targeting my child in retaliation, along with her gaggle of little minions, for the next 3 years until I finally caught her in the act. And when I did, I sauntered up behind her quietly and whispered in her ear “Hello there, (child’s name). She about jumped out of her skin, and began falling all over herself to then be kind to my child and the BFF she also targeted for over 4 years. As I left that day, and keep in mind this bullying was occurring AFTER SCHOOL directly in front of the main office, principal, VP, and security guard all within 10 feet and definitive earshot… I said loudly “see? It’s not so hard to be kind, now is it, (child’s name)”. Not once did an administrator ask what was going on, call me and say, “hey, Ms (my name), what was that about”. They just stood there grinning and oblivious. That is what truly gets me. How do you miss that interaction between a student and adult right in your faces? How do you not dole out consequences when it gets physical enough that that child is leaving marks and bruises on her classmates? The things that transpired between the initial incident and my essentially resorting to mama-bear and “threatening without using threatening words” that child (using a particular tone and facial expressions I can guarantee she got my message without me crossing a line… But the very fact that there was no reaction from admin is still shocking to me) included my child being physically assaulted on a daily basis on the playground, on the way to and from the jcc for gym, and in gym class, and culminated in my child getting written up the ONE TIME my kid finally kicked back. Months and years of total inaction on the part of the administration, and finally my kid hauls off and kicks back, and suddenly that’s a grave offense. Ridiculous. Further, it wasn’t only my kid. There are at least 8 children, in both classes (my child is a “double grade year”) that I know of whose children were equally tormented by this particular girl and her cohorts, and none found resolution, and several left the school as a result. The past two years there’ve been, now that the girls have somewhat backed off/been effectively separated, a group of boys with no respect for order or their teachers instead. Acting up in class, being disruptive, rowdy, disrespectful to the ADULTS (kids as well, but most of the kids have learned to ignore them) to the point that our children had SILENT LUNCHES imposed upon them the first several months of school. Of course, when questioned about it, once again our lovely Principal LIED (as a previous poster noted she did regarding the slut-shaming incident) and claimed the silent lunches weren’t happening, knowing that after her behavior last June she was under a watchful eye of scrutiny and a new discipline committee… Yep. I’m sure that our kids are making it up, reporting independently to 30 sets of parents falsified intel. Sure. Needless, it indeed was happening, our kids all being punished for the bad behavior of a very few. There’s no consistency or rhyme or reason at times in this school, and this year we’ve been treated to Ms. K trying to redeem herself by overcompensating for her inappropriate behavior and unapproachable attitude of 7-years running, by being so falsely and sickeningly sweet it’s obnoxious. So maybe that’s what the new K parents are seeing and actually buying. Sadly, it’s a farce.

    We have loved almost all our teachers, the exception being aforementioned… Oh and the teachers aide/substitute that ASSAULTED two 6th grade girls earlier this year to the tune of a) police reports being filesd and b) restraining orders being obtained to prevent her entry back into the school after working there years and years. But otherwise, the teachers rock. The LSC rocks. Many of the PTA moms rock, but I agree there’s a cool kids club, and if you’re not in it, you’re excluded to a degree. I myself have kids in three different schools, two RGC and Decatur, so my time is split and limited at each even though I’m a SAHM. So that’s rough at times. But the admin has made it impossible to love the experience. Kids should be allowed to be children, not mini-robotic perfect adults. There’s little room for being human. Whether forgetting a text book, gym shoes, hat/gloves, or your lunch, you’re SOL kid, tough crap, take the F or eat what they serve for school lunch today (an issue for kids with allergies. You’re not allowed to bring up their lunch if they forget so expect good allergy kids to have a banana and water and that’s that). The stringent regime is suffocating for even the parents. Which is too bad, because some of the teachers are really the best I’ve ever known, and that’s with 3 kids in 3 SEES schools and being a product of options/SEES/AC myself in CPS. If you can handle the regime, it is a wonderful place for learning in many ways. If your kid is spacey or flighty at times, maybe not the best fit. If you want to be involved in the classroom? Not the place for you. My other children’s RGC’s are a breath of fresh air comparatively and I’ve loved getting to be IN THE CLASSROOM and truly a part of my younger kids education. Younger grades, it’s great. 2nd and up, or 3rd and up if Lundlow stays teaching 3rd? I’d choose elsewhere if that’s an option.
    Lets put it this way. I did not even APPLY to Decatur for my younger 3rd grade daughter or my Kindergartner son. I think that says it all. Especially as Decatur is 5m from our house.

  • 788. Christopher Ball (@skepticismwins)  |  March 29, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Yipes! I had a bad vibe from Decatur admin. several years ago. Sounds far worse than I had imagined.

  • 789. maman  |  March 29, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    I had to comment on DecaturUgh’s post. If a child is physically hurting other children and administration is not properly handling the situation, the police need to be notified. Physical violence is not okay. So sorry about your situation. May I ask, why not try to get your child in another school?

  • 790. K's Dad  |  March 29, 2014 at 11:40 pm


    “What I’m saying is that we *know* where the cutoffs are when the K class is filled and it’s not down in the low 120s. ”

    I see your point; the entering first grade the following year may not just be the next points in the distribution. But, the highest scores entering Bell are probably in the 140’s.

    I asked because the schools are so close together. Thanks for the explanation.

  • 791. K's Dad  |  March 29, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    @Norwood. You’re not a buzzkill, but the relevant metrics are the mean and the std dev. If you know that the tests have differences there, please share. If you know the test scores are not normally distributed national, please share that. That’s all we’d need. Thanks.

  • 792. karet  |  March 30, 2014 at 8:12 am

    @778, You do not need to live within 6 miles to qualify for busing to SEES. Each school has different boundaries.

    @MamaBlue, My son’s bus from SN goes from Gray to Portage Park to Prussing — might be the same route. Morning pick up is 7:15, drop off is about 4:10.

    Here is the info about busing:

  • 793. Norwood  |  March 30, 2014 at 8:31 am

    @K’s Dad. In 2011 I started a research project to reverse engineer these tests and have had some success. All candidate tests are nationally normed with mean 100 and standard deviation of 16. The “160” point scale is simply a reflection by the test authors that the test has little predictive power above 160, and won’t help differentiate the 10 smartest kids in the world. The normal distribution is built into the question selection by the authors per tradition and not because anyone can agree on what the definition of intelligence is or how to measure it. These tests have predictive power for school success.

    The first problem is that IIT only uses portions of the test, and norming on a subset is less normal. Also, I’m pretty sure that test has changed in the last 3 years, probably 2 years ago. The second problem is that these tests are normed nationally against kids in America, who are, on average, playing video games, so this distribution doesn’t apply to Chicago and NY.

    None of us are really sure if CPS uses 1 or 2 tests for K.

    The Kindergarten test more closely reflects general Kindergarten academic work than does the 1st grade test. The Kindergarten test is easier to prepare for and is more consistent with a kid that is ahead academically. The test for 1st grade onward is looking for a different set of skills. I’m going to start calling these study skills because they predict a kid that will excel in school and are highly learnable.

    At the risk of wearing out my welcome, I’m not going to say more here.

    I think the bigger question on parents minds is where is the cutoff? Should I turn down school A to get into school B? My kid was the last in the door for 1st grade at Bell (tier 4) a few years back, I know someone who got into Edison the same year with a similar score, although this boy is way smarter than my son, and much geekier. Bottom line – with a lot of luck, a 1st grade score in the mid 120’s might work in Tier 4. The kid down the street got a very late offer from Coonley at 143 for K 2 years ago. Last year the K scores were pretty clear from this blog. This year, the scores are not as clear on this blog. Maybe we have to wait until later rounds for people to start posting. Very little is being posted about 1st grade.

  • 794. Norwood  |  March 30, 2014 at 8:37 am

    By the way, I read other test based parent forums and, except for when we all crack under the pressure and criticize the schools were are desperate to get into, I’m proud to be from Chicago. Helpful, nice, not competitive, courteous. Almost every other parent forum for tests is bitter, snobby, elitist, and competitive.

  • 795. DecaturUgh  |  March 30, 2014 at 9:36 am

    @maman We did, actually. We had two offers in the two years we attempted to try for another school, to include trying to land our child with one sibling or the other. In the end, because of age and attachment to good friends, our child begged me to allow graduation with the besties. By the time we got the offers (entering 5th and 6th grades), the girls had been separated/had mostly backed off, and we were willing to allow it for 5th grade on the contingency it stopped, but that if it didn’t, we would be making the final decision. For 6th grade, our kid had indeed (particularly post-principal drama of June last year, wh

  • 796. DecaturUgh  |  March 30, 2014 at 9:50 am

    @maman We did, actually. We had two offers in the two years we attempted to try for another school, to include trying to land our child with one sibling or the other. In the end, because of age and attachment to good friends, our child begged me to allow graduation with the besties. By the time we got the offers (entering 5th and 6th grades), the girls had been separated/had mostly backed off, and we were willing to allow it for 5th grade on the contingency it stopped, but that if it didn’t, we would be making the final decision. For 6th grade, our kid had indeed (particularly post-principal drama of June last year, which means admin is under enormous scrutiny and the newly assembled discipline committee) been successful in escaping *most* of the bullying, and with lots of support from home, became very capable at deflecting what little still comes their way (the aforementioned group of disruptive and disrespectful to adults boys). The primary offender transferred after 4th as well, which greatly helped, as did direct discussion with a couple of the more awesome parents, whose girls had followed the leader of the pack into behavior their parents found unacceptable and stopped dead in its tracks. Very thankful for that, to be sure. Sadly, the primary offenders (the one that transferred and the one that remains) have parents that aren’t approachable/are in denial, felt no culpability, whatever the reasons… Did nothing. Wouldn’t even return phone calls or emails.

    We did consider calling the police. Given they were 2nd-4th graders when it was physical, it was something we struggled with to be sure. Ultimately, there was little they could’ve done, and we decided to continue trying up handle it through the school. In the end, when our kid struck back, it ended the physical very quickly. Sad that that is what it takes, and especially as we are very not aggressive people outside of normal sibling drama. Funnily enough, the same courtesy regarding the police was not extended to us, and the parents of the bully my child kicked back indeed called the cops on MY son, then only 9, and sent them up to the school. In a rare instance of handling things correctly, the administration did not let them approach my child, and instead called me, and I went racing up to the school. Luckily I had documentation of the prior incidents, to include classmate witnesses whose parents were willing to allow their child to speak up. It didn’t come to that, however. The police left without speaking to any children other than the child my kid retaliated against, and thankfully that taught her ass a needed lesson, as she never touched my child again.

    Again, the parent community is mostly stellar, as are special events. There’s little after school activity options, especially after funding losses. The teachers are, with one exception, phenomenal. But the bullying issue is pervasive to this day, and I’m glad we are leaving finally and will never have to look back. Our RGC schools are tremendous, as is the school into which my child was accepted for 7th grade, and we are glad to be done. Our child loves the friendships created amongst the like-minded kids, and will miss those kids enormously when they s get separated in September, and that alone was worth the rest because those friends will likely be lifelong. 😉

  • 797. DecaturUgh  |  March 30, 2014 at 9:55 am

    For anyone curious about the “slut-shaming” incident, google Decatur Principal slut-shames girls, Susan Kukielka, etc. as it made national news, from HuffPo to USA today, and everything in between.

  • 798. Hope Foster-Reyes  |  March 30, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Thank you for all the generous advice here! I thought I’d add some perspective as a mom of 3 who is both receiving CPS letters *and* college admissions letters this month!

    My oldest son, now 18, got an 800 SAT verbal on his first go with no practice tests or study. He also received 800’s on his Math and Chemistry subject tests. He did *not* attend a gifted school, but went to a “normal” public school down state. He was not tracked or accelerated in elementary (though I did home school for 4th, 5th and 7th) and started taking AP classes in 8th grade.

    I only wanted to mention this for those who are disappointed this year! It’s not necessarily the end of the world if you don’t get the school you hoped for or any accelerated program at all. Smart kids are smart kids and you*can* find a way to inspire them, even if it’s just buying them textbooks on Amazon that are several grades ahead.

    We didn’t have a lot of money when my son was younger and when he didn’t get into St. Ann’s in NYC I just taught him Algebra at home, bought him a High School Chem text and he started diagramming electron models for fun (I believe that was 3rd grade). If we had had more money and less time we probably could have accomplished the same with a online course or a tutor.

    His education was far from perfect, and he still thinks of school as BORING and is unmotivated. But I happen to think he’s going to be OK. Ultimately the best determinant of success is EQ not IQ, so I’ll just cross my fingers and hope that he finds his way.

    So… there are many paths. The fact that he was bored so frequently has made us apply for accelerated programs for our 2 younger children, and my hope is that they’ll find some spark of something that my oldest didn’t get. But I thought it might be nice to offer up one small example of the fact that just by getting out there and applying you already have exactly what you need to help your child succeed – the interest and effort to work with them right where they are.

    We were offered Decatur, entering 1st grade. Decatur was our first choice:
    Reading 99
    Math 98

    If there are no tenths on our letter does that mean it’s 99.0, 98.0? How do people know their tenth of a point score?

  • 799. Wow  |  March 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Wow! I’m dismayed by some of the postings about Decatur but appreciate the candor.

    However, we live in Chicago and we have to do our best to keep the great schools we have. Sounds like people have had different experiences at Decatur. Overall very good and some very, very bad experiences. So sorry to hear those situations occurred.

    A school is more than the Principal and this one looks likely to either be voted out or retired within three years based on the posts above. I’d hate to see a school that has had so much success in the past be destroyed. I wonder how horrible this Principal could have been previously to have been voted to have her contract renewed. That seems strange – are parents not vocal to the LSC??

    The way to combat all of this is to be an active parent, join the LSC, join the PTA and attend meetings. This goes for all schools.

    Too few good schools in Chicago to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I’d hope that parents who do get their children into Decatur will fight the good fight to at least balance things for their children. You can make a different, build coalitions, etc. to make things better.

    And bullying? My kids go to 3 different schools and I have seen it at each one. Document, document, and call the police or make the school call the police as well as complete an incident report. The squeaky wheel gets all oft the attention and emailing the administration versus calling to complain makes a big difference. If still not working, copy the Network Chief for your area. That gets attention as well! No need to stop at the school level. Keep going up the chain of command.

  • 800. DecaturUgh  |  March 30, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Decatur principal is going to be neither in the next few years. She’s for a brand spamming new contract, and WAS voted out; CPS overrode the vote of the LSC and parents because of her new contract and not finding her behavior egregious enough. In other words, test scores are stable, so she stays! Incoming Decatur parents, enjoy!

  • 801. DecaturUgh  |  March 30, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Autocorrect. She’s *got a *brand *spanking new contract…

  • 802. DecaturUgh  |  March 30, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    And no. The environment is so intimidating that until the slut-shaming, very few had the audacity to speak up. When the damn broke, it spewed. Big time.

  • 803. DecaturUgh  |  March 30, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    And most schools indeed are more than their principal. Decatur issues start with the principal and trickle down into the social aspects of the school. The kids have learned her lessons well. Too well. I also have kids in three CPS schools. This isn’t your typical issue. It’s pervasive and all-encompassing. And our LSC has tried to get her out. They failed.

  • 804. Tier 2  |  March 30, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    For people who have declined their first offer for a chance at their top choice, did those offers usually come in the second round or successive ones?

  • 805. Tier 2  |  March 30, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    or not at all…?

  • 806. anonymouse teacher  |  March 30, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I don’t know the situation at Decatur so I am not commenting on what happened there. But I have learned a lot about LSC’s this year, and unless the principal does something egregious, even if the LSC wants a principal out, it is very hard to do. You have to document and prove any issues that arise. Given that any kind of movement for a student (into sped, RTI, etc) or teacher (for removal) has to be backed up with copious amounts of written documentation with proof to back it up, I would imagine it is the same for a principal.

  • 807. Madeline  |  March 30, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    DecaturUgh @803. You mentioned you have two other children at two other RGCs with which you have been very happy. May I ask which schools? The trouble mentioned at Decatur turned my stomach in knots as I read. I wish we could all protect our children as a community from such harsh, early social experiences, and I dread having to deal with anything similar as I watch my four year old move onward through it all. My heart goes out to all children (and all parents of those children) who have been (and will be) bullied.

  • 808. RGC v Classical  |  March 30, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    I am not sure we’ll ever solve the question of what is measured by the RGC test, but there seems to be some indication that it is correlated to IQ…I don’t know whether either test is going to conclusively determine whether one 4YO is better than another in 15-30 minutes.

    I have a different observation, which I haven’t seen much discussion about, and that is on the the topic school focus and curriculum: according to CPS, the primary difference between RGCs and Classical schools is the focus on laboratory sciences and computer sciences in RGCs. The Classical schools are focused more on the “classical” subjects: literature, mathematics, language arts, humanities. Given the focus on STEM learning in upper grades and high schools, it will be interesting to see how the students do relative to each other on the high school tests in 4-5 years. I know that some RGCs are starting Kindergartners with iPads and have 3 science classes a week. And next year, all Edison students will get 20 hours of coding training as part of a new program they are implementing.

    For the curriculum differences, see: http://www.cpsoae.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=72695&type=d&termREC_ID=&pREC_ID=121684

  • 809. Frustrated60630  |  March 30, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Interesting. I have always been told it is nothing like an iq test. I don’t know.

  • 810. RGC v Classical  |  March 30, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    The folks at CTD told us that kids that score high (130+) on the KBIT test that they give, tend to score high on the RGC test as well. Have also read similar comments online. “Gifted”is an IQ-related term, as well, I think.

  • 811. another cps parent  |  March 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    @807 – I would caution anyone not to give up a coveted RGC seat based upon anonymous internet opinion who, miraculously, managed to tough it out to the end. Focus on the education they will be getting compared to your other options. Don’t let someone elses sour grapes run your plan. We would have given anything to get into Decatur. Didn’t make it. Instead went to a top magnet school that had some of the same issues along with it’s own unique personality clashes – many of which were caused by disgruntled micromanaging parents with overly high expectations. It was fine and we are now in a top selective high school. I think that if your child can handle and needs to work a couple years ahead, an RGC program may be more beneficial. Don’t let someone talk you out of it.

  • 812. Madeline  |  March 30, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Thank you @811. Good advice. My post was more for the sake of empathy. We are enrolling in K at Edison, actually, and are very excited about it. Glad all worked out well in the end for your family, and thanks for your input!

  • 813. DecaturUgh  |  March 30, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Another CPS parent, and I’d caution anyone who’s simply an outsider looking in to not covet what you’ve not experienced. This isn’t difficult information to verify, and there’ve been multiple Decatur parents speaking up here. Go google search yourself. Miraculously made it to the end? Bullshit. It was through essentially no other choices given our hugely failing, unsafe neighborhood school and lack of foresight to test in fall of our 2nd grads year, because until then, we were blissfully oblivious. We made it through to the end through lots of strife, horrifying choices that no parent or child should have to endure, which culminated in somewhat of a vindication when Kukeilka let her true colors fly for all the world to literally see by slut-shaming 10-12yro girls, telling them they “weren’t girls of distinction” because their shorts were too short per her standards. Don’t speak on what you don’t know. See, we didn’t have to covet that spot. We got that spot first round with all three of our kids. To do it over, we’d have taken the Stone or Peirce offer. In a heartbeat.

  • 814. DecaturUgh  |  March 30, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Madeline, we have kids at Coonley RGC, Skinner North, and our Decatur child is attending our first pick AC in the fall. Have nothing but positive to say about Coonley and SN. Truly. Wonderful, welcoming schools. We aren’t actually hard to please.

  • 816. DecaturUgh  |  March 30, 2014 at 9:06 pm


  • 818. DecaturUgh  |  March 30, 2014 at 9:08 pm


  • 820. DecaturUgh  |  March 30, 2014 at 9:12 pm


  • 821. DecaturUgh  |  March 30, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    This is an eye-opener.


  • 822. DecaturUgh  |  March 30, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    By the way… It’s 9:17pm. My 12yro is STILL doing homework, which has been in front of my child, who’s actively making progress, since 4pm with a 40 minute break for dinner.

    On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday of last week, he was up until 10pm. We don’t get home from school until 4pm at the earliest (life with kids in 3 schools), and they’re allowed exactly 90 minutes for snack and rest before homework hell begins. There’s ZERO time for extracurricular activities. Not if you want an AC kid at the end of the Decatur-ends-at-6th-grade game. Homework/studying for Latin typically goes from 5:30 until dinner at 7pm, and picks back up at 8 until 10. They have to be up at 6:50 for school, so that’s less than 9 hours sleep a night. Barely adequate for a tween.

    Has my child been well-educated? Yes. Had my child learned both life and academic lessons? You betcha. Has my child lost childhood? Pretty much.

    Did my child score a nearly perfect composite score as a result? Yes. Only lost one point on the entrance exam, straight A’s, and 99% on both math and reading ISATs. We’ve achieved the goal. Hurrraaaaahhhhhh.

    Was it worth it? I don’t know.

  • 823. Enough Already  |  March 30, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    OK, we get it. Decatur sucks. Next topic, pleaseeee.

    P.S. I’ve heard equally horrific things about Skinner North. TomatO, tomAto.

  • 824. Mom2Three  |  March 30, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    @823 — Would you mind sharing about Skinner North as there is very little negative press about it, and I would like to hear to the cons in addition to the pros that folks have already shared. Thanks!

  • 825. hyde park mom  |  March 30, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    On a different note, we are # 32 and 33 (twins) on Franklins waitlist, for K,and tier 1.I was wondering if I should attend any tours they have, in case we get a call who knows when and offered a spot.Or am I wasting my time? They only ha ve one K class.

  • 826. hyde park mom  |  March 30, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Wrong thread,sorry…

  • 827. SN Parent  |  March 30, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Has anyone NOT received their child’s SEES letter yet? I received the magnet schools letter last week but not the SEES yet. Thanks!

  • 828. sls mama  |  March 31, 2014 at 6:01 am

    Any idea why south loop is notifying separately?

  • 829. OTdad  |  March 31, 2014 at 6:50 am

    @822. DecaturUgh:
    Reading your post, I’m wondering how many parents have issues in Decatur. Is this once in a few years issue or an everyday issue? As one of the top schools in Chicago, they much have done something right. Maybe parents should do a better job in making sure their own girls wear age appropriate cloths, their own kids don’t resort to physical confrontation under any circumstances in school.

  • 830. LSmom  |  March 31, 2014 at 8:04 am

    @827, I would give them a call, they will email it to you.

  • 831. How Dare You?  |  March 31, 2014 at 9:30 am

    @823 Enough Already…

    How dare you be so flippant about “horrific” things allegedly happening at any school? These are not tomatoes, these are children.

    I have a child at Skinner North and if there are “equally horrific things” happening at Skinner North as are ALLEGEDLY happening at Decatur (systemic lying, abusive staff and administration, slut-shaming, bullying, etc.), I assure you I, or the dozens of parents I interact with at the school, would have heard about them and would be screaming for blood! (On the off chance that these “facts” escaped us all, tell me and I will head into the principal’s office this very afternoon. His door is always open to parents, so I know that I can.)

    NO facts? Then it is irresponsible of you to say something like that on a public forum. At least the other poster had news articles to back up what they said.

    Save your breath if you are going to tell us a one-off story about a friend of a friend who has a kid at SN who had X happen one time. Every school has its share of daily he-said/she-said issues with individual kids that end with a visit to the principal’s office and a phone call home. That’s sad, but developmentally appropriate and can be handled by educators, but it’s NOT “horrific.”

    What the posters above have said about the other school rises well above that and is on the systemic level–about administrative issues that are pervasive and over-arching, that indicate they have lost sight of their mission of helping kids develop their talents and interests and be good people. Can you say the same about Skinner North, a school that has been in existence for just five years?

    So, let’s hear your facts or your retraction, Enough Already.

  • 832. Love Skinner North  |  March 31, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Thanks @831. I feel the same way. I have a daughter at Skinner North and have never heard of anything “horrific” that has occurred there. The teachers and principal are very open and frank when things do occur so I’m not worried about the “stories” that other posters say they’ve heard about SN. I’m also tired of reading people posting that’s they heard Xyz about our school with out backing it up. I have googled and searched and read reviews online just for the heck of it and have read not one negative thing about SN. People need to move on and stop trying to put a wonderful school in a bad light without having first hand knowledge about it.

  • 833. curious  |  March 31, 2014 at 9:53 am

    @K’s Dad, Many parents I know are concerned about the lower scores for 1st because they suspect that the scantron may have negatively affected many kids. If there are a significant number of kids who know the right answers, but make errors entering them, this is a problem with administration of the test. If it is a pervasive problem, the results will be quite skewed.

    Clearly, some kids do get the hang of the scantron, as we can see from a handful high scores reported here. But because there are so many fewer high scores (as we can see, if kids are getting 1st round offers to Bell and Beaubien with 119 and 120), a lot of parents are worried about the validity of the test.

    Since CPS is so secretive, it’s impossible to know. It would be interesting if they would release a document which compared the K and 1st RGC scores of each individual kid (anonymous, of course).

  • 834. What is best  |  March 31, 2014 at 10:03 am

    829. OTdad | March 31, 2014 at 6:50 am

    You are out of line with your comment about the parents of the girls. There was no dress policy for the parents to enforce at the time and the shorts were not inappropriately short and these girls were 9-12 years olds. Shaming people – any people is not appropriate. The way it was handled by the Administration was very poor.

    DecaturUgh – I feel for you. It sounds like you knew Decatur was not a fit for you or your family early on but you choose to stay (for multiple reasons). You have to live with your decision and its impact on you, your child, and family. Tearing down the school is not going to change the fact that you made a decision over and over again to stay.

    For everyone else, just because your child gets into a SEES doesn’t mean the school is a fit. In every class there will be a top half and a bottom half. In every class there may be kids who breeze through, kids with parents who work with them, kids whose parents hire tutors, kids whose parents do the work for them sometimes out of frustration, kids who leave, kids who get an IEP, kids who can only handle schoolwork and kids who can ace school and have multiple after school activities. Every child is different. You need to figure out what will work best for your child and your family.

  • 835. Applying to SEES  |  March 31, 2014 at 10:51 am

    How are second and later rounds done for SEES? Letter or phone call? And how much time do you get to decide?

  • 836. LostInTranslation  |  March 31, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Last year second and maybe third round were by letter. Later rounds were phone call and email. The amount of time you are given to decide goes down as the summer goes on. Second round was I think 1 week. Our 8th round offer to our first choice school at the beginning of August had a 48 hour deadline.

  • 837. tracy  |  March 31, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I currently have two children at Decatur. My first child started at Skinner West [we were clueless of schools and had applied to SKinner not knowing there were two] and we absolutely loved it. Did it have it’s pros and cons- absolutely. We loved the families and we were so sad to leave it – but the drive was a deciding factor FOR OUR FAMILY. Decatur was a very good fit FOR MY DAUGHTER. I was welcomed and mentored by a couple of active families and our transition was smoother than I expected or could have hoped for. Does it have its limitations? absolutely. Does my daughter love it there? absolutely. When my son was not accepted into Kindergarten we considered the suburban flight. Then we took a breath and enrolled him in the school where he went to preschool. IT WAS THE BEST THING FOR HIM. I’m yelling because I want people to know that your kids are bright. They will get through and it might actually be great for them. In our case, my son who spoke to no one in preschool but adults, came out of his shell as he breezed through kindergarten. It was where he should be. He retested with a different confidence and is now at Decatur. Having kids at the same school makes things easier FOR OUR FAMILY. I’ve heard people talk of crushing homework loads but I’ve yet to see that. That could be because my kids are workbook types of kids so they don’t struggle as much. Even the projects which are few compared to other schools this year they did most of it in school and not at home [yeah!]. Please consider what will be a good fit for your child. To me a happy kid is more important than any placement at any specific school. My kids are happy there. Our only reason to leave would be because of the looming 7/8 issue. I know this is such a stressful time and I feel for everyone making decisions and everyone hoping for second rounds. Keep in mind there is a lot of movement in the next couple of weeks as people decide to stay in the neighborhood, keep siblings together or move siblings, and those who test for an option and then decide to stay. For anyone who is having anxiety about Decatur and would like to talk about our experiences I would be happy to talk to you. I will be honest about the pros and cons as I see them because I’d never want to tell a family it’s all roses when I think no school is. I may be reached at tepetruso at msn com.

  • 838. K's Dad  |  March 31, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    @833 curious

    You make a very good point about the technology of the test. I know that CPS uses one type of testing software that works differently on different browsers (also known as the cheapest untested software). On some computers, hitting the enter key can be equivalent to hitting Tab -or- hitting “=.” That can cause kids to get a wrong /incomplete answer. Some schools have a mix of Macs, PCs, Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, etc.

    I have raised this issue of User Interface consistency with them, but I don’t think CPS has people who can solve this problem.

    If CPS ad consistent technology and they used the same test from K to 1st grade, scores would go up for 1st grade. The re-test effect can create an increase of about 8% overall.

    You would think that switching to a known test like NWEA would solve that, but I saw a User-Interface issue that would lower later scores. I heard kids say that taking the NWEA for early grades (MPG?) was fun and animated but the later test (MAP?) was boring. I think that could affect performance. Scores were lower. 2nd graders that could possibly hit the very high scores of the primary test were switched to the later test and saw their scores fall. CPS wouldn’t publish them.

    For now, I hope everyone will continue to ask about the testing process inputs, not just the outputs. Please continue to share problems like the scantron. I don’t think CPS offers world-class testing or technology capabilities. Therefore, I still take the scores with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, its heart-breaking to see such a sloppy process used to have such a big effect on the lives of children.

  • 839. Decatur??  |  March 31, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    The only reason Decatur is a “top school” is because they selected our kids as students, who score extremely high on the tests that create the rankings. The school is not good. So happy to be leaving the school this year. All of the stifling negativity stems from the principal and the rigid, unfair policies they inflict upon our children. Hoping for school happiness starting next year! I would NOT recommend Decatur beyond the first grade year.

  • 840. next  |  March 31, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    839 OK bye

  • 841. Applying to SEES  |  March 31, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Yes, it doesn’t seem as if the complaints about the Decatur principal can possibly be true, because it says on the web site that she is “[a]dored and respected by all”.


  • 842. SRodomar  |  March 31, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    @tracy: My daughter just got into decatur. I went for the school tour today and liked most of what I saw. However, I did not get a good vibe from the principal. But I did like the Asst. Principal though. What has been your experience? Is parent involvement really encouraged. And are we allowed to talk/email teachers ?
    I am a little apprehensive after reading conflicting reviews regarding this school.
    If we choose this, it will be quite a bit of a commute for us as well as rearranging our lives. AT the same time, I do not want to decline this opportunity because I do not know what the second and third rounds hold for us.
    I would love to hear from you.

  • 843. hyde park mom  |  March 31, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    @839, I believe that holds true for most SEES, it’s kids who are already highly capable, coming from families that prioritize learning, which make these schools “top”.These kids would probably flourish anywhere.The schools are lucky to have them, not the other way around.My two cents.

  • 844. Applying to SEES  |  March 31, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    “I believe that holds true for most SEES, it’s kids who are already highly capable, coming from families that prioritize learning, which make these schools “top”.”

    There can be little question that if you took the entire entering K class at any SEES and put them as a class in e.g. the average or bottom CPS elementary school, they would fare a lot better than if you took the entire entering K class from the average or bottom CPS elementary school and put them in any SEES.

  • 845. Kid mom  |  March 31, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Any chance we can create a Decatur thread? It’s taken over and no offense, but I’m tired of sorting thru the arguments.

  • 846. Frustrated60630  |  March 31, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    When I toured Decatur when my now 3rd grade son was in preschool, I was not impressed not did I get a good vibe. Actually i really liked Disney II over all the schools I looked at because they seemed really invested and did a lot if differentiation. I was particularly off out by the principal. I had my child do he classical test to compare but would not desire a spot at Decatur. Not putting down anyone who goes there, but I take the complaints with some validity just off of my own impression and experience (albeit limited).

  • 847. Stacey  |  March 31, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    I was at the tour today too. I kind of dismissed the woman speaking at the beginning, thinking she was just leading the sit down before the tour, until I realized she was the principal. I didn’t like how she spoke and was dismissing things with canned answers.

    I like another comment I just saw on here about how the school is rated so well because they get to pick and choose the students who will also do well on the tests therefore giving a high rating to the school. Does not say a thing for the rest: admin, principal, students attitudes, security, etc. And I’ve heard so many negative things just on here about decatur. It doesn’t seem a good choice.

  • 848. Nicole  |  March 31, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    My daughter is currently enrolled for next year in Kindergarten in a private Catholic school two blocks from our home. The school has a great community, a warm welcoming feel, and it won a blue ribbon award last year. I’ve been happy with it thus far but not blown away. She was accepted into Coonley RGC and I’d love to hear from anyone who made this type of a decision in the past.

    I spoke with the Assistant Principal at Coonley very briefly and I will go on the tour at the end of April but I’m very interested in how parents of children in Coonley’s gifted center feel about the education their children have received, the workload/homework schedule, the school culture, and their child’s overall happiness in the class.

    I want the best education possible for my daughter but I also want her to have a life outside of school. Plus, I work full time and like to have a life with my family as well. I wear many hats, but Tiger Mom is not one of them.

    Any insight is greatly appreciated!

  • 849. Jen K  |  March 31, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Instead of creating a Decatur thread to keep bashing the school, how about we stop bashing? Many, many people are extremely happy with the school; some vocal people are clearly not. If you are lucky enough to be able to consider accepting an offer at Decatur, one of the top schools, do your own research on whether or not it’s right for your family. If you want to take these negative experiences into consideration, do so. If you want to reach out to a family that can give you another perspective, do so. No school is perfect for every single child.

    Disclosure: not at Decatur, never was. I have a very good friend who has a child there and another who previously had a child there.

  • 850. Stacey  |  March 31, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    I for one appreciate all the comments about decatur, positive and negative, so long as they are honest opinions and when possible, factual comments. It is helping me along in the process of trying to make this decision. And it’s not like you’ll get the negatives from the school. They only promote the positives so they can get the students they choose based on their scores. Which is to be expected. So the info on Decatur in this thread is beneficial imo.

  • 851. frustrated60630  |  March 31, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Eeek at my typos! Sorry, I was on my phone.

  • 852. runningoutoftime  |  March 31, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Same here. I only wish there was MORE chatter about other schools too!

  • 853. runningoutoftime  |  March 31, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Are there people who are considering giving up other SEES offers for a spot at Decatur? Or is all this discussion just for the benefit of those offered slots already? It seems like there were a lot of acceptances to Decatur for K this year but I don’t see as many indications of offers at other schools, even though, like, Skinner North has 60 spots.

  • 854. hyde park mom  |  March 31, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Forgive me if Im asjing a silly wuestion,but during the selection process for rgc,does the principal actually see the various scores,names,and get to choose or dies cps exclude them?

  • 855. Kim S.  |  March 31, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    No, the schools don’t get the scores. It is all handled by OAE. The OAE just gives the schools the list of students that OAE gave offers to.

  • 856. geographymatters  |  March 31, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    What do people know about safety around Skinner North? When I was there for a tour, one of the mothers of a child who went there refused to let me walk alone to the brown line. I imagine there are plenty of people around during drop off and pickup so maybe it doesn’t matter

  • 857. Norwood  |  March 31, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    @848/Nicole – I live 3 blocks from that school. We’ve lived here for 18 years, I know all the teachers and the parents. 3 years ago, we got the letter (in the 19th round) 2 weeks into the school year. The letter came on Friday, and it simply said that “your child must come to school on Monday” if you want the spot. My wife sobbed when she went to the office to tell them my son was transferring.

    The good news is that it was the right decision for us. The Coonley/Bell bus shows up at the public school down the block. The kids get over the switch in about a week. The school is great, the curriculum is over the top, and my son loves school. He’s engaged and challenged all day long. It’s a $25,000 education, and it’s free.

    The bad news is that we do very little many nights between homework, dinner, sometimes piano, spelling, reading and bed. It’s absolutely essential to get this all done before 8 pm because each day is exhausting. My son dropped off the face of the neighborhood social scene, although since then we’ve found a scene that is CPS. Many kids in the RGC do lots of sports and other activities, I have no idea how, but they manage.

    These schools fill up with kids in the 99.6 to 99.8 percentile. Each grade the bar is raised and work at that level is much harder. It’s not impossible to get the work done quickly each night, but it takes some focus. These schools are for parents who put education first.

  • 858. Hope Foster-Reyes  |  March 31, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Can anyone answer to the issue with the tenths of a point? Our classical scores are 99 and 98. If there are no tenths on our letter does that mean it’s 99.0, 98.0? How do people know their tenth of a point score? Thanks!

  • 859. DParent  |  March 31, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    I really appreciate the insight on the time commitment outside of school. As a parent of a child who is pretty involved in a sport (and I don’t see that changing) I think it puts in perspective what we do have and makes me think about what we may have to sacrifice for a seat. Thanks for being honest.

  • 860. Sheesh  |  March 31, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    @858 — Can’t you just be happy with a 98 and 99? Would an extra tenth of a point really make you feel that much better? It was a silly question before and an even sillier question now.

  • 861. Frustrated60630  |  March 31, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    I really appreciate the insight on the time commitment outside of school. As a parent of a child who is pretty involved in a sport (and I don’t see that changing) I think it puts in perspective what we do have going for us at our current school and makes me think about what we may have to sacrifice for a seat. Thanks for being honest.

  • 862. Frustrated60630  |  March 31, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Yikes (again!) sorry for the double post. I need to stop replying from my phone, obviously.

  • 863. Hope Foster-Reyes  |  March 31, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Also, we are also accepted Decatur and would welcome comments from Tim McCaffrey, @Decatur, @HappyDecaturParent, @Tracy, or anyone else who could provide us with holistic feedback about the school.

    You can email me in the gmail universe at hopealso. Thanks for reaching out, love to get connected with Decatur parents. Thanks!

  • 864. Hope Foster-Reyes  |  March 31, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    @Sheesh 860. LOL. I feel fine, and I hope you do too!

    It hurts a bit that you would question someone asking about scores on a thread that specifically asks people to post their scores and is dedicated to obsessively analyzing how the application process works! I have as much a right to know as everyone else who is posting their tenth of a point scores! Isn’t this about being obsessed? What about our friendly statisticians?

  • 865. LSmom  |  March 31, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    @858, I think the fractions are only for K, after that they just report the integers (to the parents, I’m sure OAE has more detailed information).

  • 866. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Hi, I’m so sorry, I am in super work-crunch mode and haven’t been able to read. There have been several requests to potentially ease up on the Decatur debate, (which I haven’t had a chance to read yet.)
    Is it possible to put that on hold for now if the key points have been made?

    Many thanks.

  • 867. Hope Foster-Reyes  |  March 31, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    @865 LSmom, Thanks! Makes sense, clears up that mystery. 🙂

  • 868. Skinner North Mom  |  March 31, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    The SN open houses generally start at about 5, so I’m guessing you were leaving the school in relative darkness. Normal city safety guidelines apply regarding walking alone in the dark, etc. I would think that parent was simply reacting to that and that you clearly were new to the area.

    I have never felt unsafe in that neighborhood. Well, maybe that one time when a Mercedes almost clipped me as it was leaving the British School a couple of blocks away! 😄

  • 869. futuremom  |  March 31, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Can you provide me with the pro/cons on Skinner North?

  • 870. WorkingMommyof2  |  March 31, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    @Nicole, I am a current K parent at Coonley RGC. We have been very happy with how the year has gone. Coonley is a great community. The options and neighborhood kids mix for some classes (gym and computers for our grade) and my son has friends in both programs. There are also many after school activities to choose from.

    Homework has not been a problem for us yet — though I’m interested to see how it increases as the years go on. Maybe someone with older children can enlighten us both on that one! For K you get a homework packet (Usually five pages, mostly math) on Mondays and it is due back the next Monday. You also are asked to read with your child for 15 minutes each night. The children have also had a project each quarter to research and present to the class. There are fewer worksheets the week of a project or a math test to give the children time to prepare.

    I hope the homework is always this manageable as my son loves sports and I don’t think it’s right to work elementary kids so hard that they can’t have outside interests.

    I suspect the homework at all grades depends on each kid’s ability to buckle down and get it done. I’ve heard some of the teachers try to give the kids time to do projects in class. So if your kid can stay on task during that time it would ease up the homework load.

  • 871. Skinner North Mom  |  March 31, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    The pros and cons of Skinner North? I could not possibly do it justice in one post. (In fact, I already blabbed a lot in posts 309 and 507 above.) These are merely my opinions, but here goes!


    Transparent, communicative administration
    Talented, creative hard-working teachers and staff
    Can-do attitude
    Responsive Classroom used
    Kids are first priority, not scores
    Caring, involved parents
    Growing school, so many unknowns


    Location: it’s a hike from my home
    Growing school, so many unknowns

    It’s a great fit for my kid and our family. Each family needs to find that school that fits for them. Best of luck to you!

  • 872. OldMexicanPapa  |  March 31, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    @869 futuremom. Skinner North is the best classical program school in the city, and second or maybe third selective enrollment school around. The only con I can really think about is that it is located in an area surrounded by heavy traffic. If you don’t live in the area nearby (Cabrini), commuting will be hard for you and your kid. You may end up with no time at night to share with your kid other than HW and dinner. Of course the bus can help you, but it won’t do a lot for your kid.

  • 873. Academum  |  April 1, 2014 at 12:32 am

    Do any of the SEES schools have extended period classes / long blocks / whatever they call them here?

  • 874. cpsobsessed  |  April 1, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Regarding coonley RGC homework, that has really varied by teacher and doesn’t seem to be a program decision.
    I like the K plan of getting a weekly packet. That never happened after K.
    Sometimes the homework has been oppressive and frustrating. Other times, easily managable.
    There seems to be a trend of teachers giving in-time class to work on it, so your child’s ability to self motivate and focus can have a big impact on that.

    There is little planning ahead though – so it can be hard to plan weeknight activities not knowing when a big homework night is coming. It can def be a committment.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 875. cpsobsessed  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:04 am

    More on coonley – the school has a very positive, freindly vibe. Great school community with parent support. Lots of neighborhood people hang around on the playground when the weather is nice. Many RGC kids hop on the bus though.
    Good selection of after school activities. Good arts department with drama.
    Multiple evening programs (reading night, science night.)
    Principal is a good leader but let’s parents have input. Responsive to big issues (bullying etc.)
    Homework varies by year and is probably average for an RGC. They worked with my son’s class to pull back on the math to meet the needs of the class, which I liked.
    RGC hires have been really strong.

    Only “downsides:” lack of diversity. The school is in a very upscale neighborhood, virtually all white. Feels almost like a suburban school in that respect (in fact, probably less diverse than many suburbs.)
    School auction probably rivals that of the top private schools (ie, I can’t afford to buy anything). 🙂

    As someone mentioned about having a strong neighborhood school, I think having classmates nearby can be a huge social benefit that you don’t nec get when you choose an SEES.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 876. cpsobsessed  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:11 am

    I haven’t read all the decatur comments yet, but my impression from decaturugh about the homework is something that goes through the head of many a RGC/classical parent at some point in time. Certainly has for me as well as friends I know in SEES and ACs. There are times when it feels like a ridiculous choice because of the work invovled and has made me a bit of an anti-homework advocate. Then there are times when the homework isn’t as bad and I’m glad he gets to work at an accelated pace. There may always be one or two subject in which your child doesn’t excel that will feel opressive when the curric goes really fast. Other subject may be fine.
    I truly don’t understand the schools who take pride in their amt of homework (not saying decatur is one but over the years, some schools seem to make lots of homework as part of their mission.).

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 877. Skinner North Mom  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:33 am

    To follow up on #872’s comment on the commute. Both parents work outside our home, so our second grade kid takes the school bus to SN. Because we live pretty far away, he is the first kid picked up and the last one dropped off on his route, so he has a long commute. On a good day, it is 60-70 minutes, on a snowy, hellish day, it can be 90 minutes (or even more).

    He decompresses on the bus by hanging out with buddies, playing handheld video games, talking, reading books or staring out the window (that sounds pretty good to me right about now!). Like in my childhood, the bus can be a noisy, chaotic place on occasion, but it works and he likes it and enjoys being with his friends on the bus.

    He stays afterschool 1-3 days a week for fun afterschool programming like chess and Lego Robotics or sports and that breaks up some of the bus monotony. I pick him up at 4:45 p.m. those days, but for-pay programming runs until 6 if you need it.

    He gets in the door at about 4:15 or 4:30 on a bus day and our babysitter gets him a snack and started on homework. By the time we get home at about 5:15 and 6:30 respectively, his homework is mostly done, we eat dinner and he is horsing around with us, telling us about his day, playing games, running errands, watching TV. He goes to bed around 7:30.

    So, we have about 1-2 hours together each night in our household. Most days, those 1-2 hours resemble an unpleasant sitcom, with people running around, making lunches and screaming, looking for matching socks, cleaning up dog pee on the floor, making Halloween costumes, searching for and filling out permission forms, drowning out piano and trombone practice, but it’s together time!

    I don;t know what the upper grade experience will be like at SN, but so far, it’s been humane and we have been able to achieve a good balance of work and play for our family and not have a stressed kid.

  • 878. Nicole  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Thank you all for the information on Coonley–it’s incredibly helpful and very much appreciated.

  • 879. RGC 1st grade- huge drop in score  |  April 1, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Letter was just received….and not worth the stress in waiting

    Huge RGC score drop from K to 1st Grade
    RGC K – 138
    RGC 1st Grade – 98!!

    (Tested into NWU CTD also, 95th+)

    How can a kid go from 99th percentile down below 50th???
    We had held out much hope for this year.

    It’s very frustrating that these tests can be so unreliable when so much depends on it.

    Never did any test prep but now wondering can the style and format of the 1st grade test be the problem.
    Perhaps some prepping on test familiarity would be a benefit?

    Any thoughts, experiences or results you can share would be appreciated.

  • 880. OTdad  |  April 1, 2014 at 10:11 am

    @872. OldMexicanPapa:
    “The only con I can really think about is that it is located in an area surrounded by heavy traffic.”

    I think accessibility is actually one of the pros of Skinner North:
    (1) ~1 mile from I-90/94
    (2)~1 mile from Lake Shore Drive
    (3) central location

    If you are driving, Skinner North does have a decent sized parking lot and a big Target store parking lot right next to it to park your car. You won’t see the double parking, slow moving chaos around many Chicago schools (private or public) at drop-off/pickup time. I remember picking my kid from Latin, it often took more than 30 minutes just to go around a small block.

    “…..in the area nearby (Cabrini), “
    Skinner North building WAS the school for the infamous Cabrini Green project, which had been demolished quite a few years ago. It is now surrounded by large empty land, with a Target store in front and Stanton Park on the back.

    “Skinner North is the best classical program school in the city, and second or maybe third selective enrollment school around.”

    “best” is often subjective. Everybody has their own rankings. Per Chicago Sun-Times, Skinner North is the highest scoring school in the state, edging out well established schools such as Decatur, Edison, Keller.

  • 881. OTdad  |  April 1, 2014 at 10:21 am

    As I said in an earlier post, RGC score is unpredictable. For those who get in RGCs, if re-test again, their chance of still getting in is far from guaranteed. It’s kind of lottery among a group of pretty smart kids.

  • 882. west rogers park mom  |  April 1, 2014 at 11:09 am

    More on Coonley:

    Just a few more things on Coonley that I don’t think were mentioned in the previous posts.

    1) For working parents they offer extremely affordable before (school run) and after care through the Neighborhood Boys and Girls Club. It’s a strong, safe program. Last week my daughter asked to go the the program one day even though it was a rare day she could take the bus home; which leads to;

    2) Coonley shares bussing with Bell, which has an earlier start time. We are 3 miles from Coonley and my kid’s bus pick up time is an hour and a half before school starts. She absolutely positively hates it and does everything in her power to get rides from mom and dad instead of getting on the bus. In prior years the administration worked with parents to change/alter routes so there would be more reasonable drop off/ pick up times. This year- it felt like take it or leave it. And the school doesn’t always let you know when the bus is 30 minutes late– its just when you hear “I missed Spanish today” or “I had to go straight to Art” that you discover that instructional time has been missed.

    I echo the rest of the comments about the school– great, involved families, responsive administration, engaged teachers, not too much homework, and a lack of diversity.

    Because its a bigger school, not everyone can participate in everything they want to — there were several tears last year when children did not make a sports team, or get a part in the school play. Its just something else to keep in mind.

  • 883. RogersPark Mama  |  April 1, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    @Skinner North Mom…

    I’m *dying* over your post describing your evenings. We are lucky to be home by 4:15-4:30 daily, and it leaves very little time for sanity, and rarely are they in bed by 9pm as a result. So accurate a description! Add the second child in an SEES school, fighting siblings, crushing homework for each all too often, and trying to allow each to concentrate on homework whilst also helping both but not disturbing the other all whole cooking dinner, oh my! Thankfully, we don’t have a peeing dog. The second kid more than makes up for it.

    I’m a SAHM, but we are the first pickup/last drop off for Coonley RGC bus (which is understandable given we are in East Rogers Park; what seems absurd is they wish to pick her up at 6:45am for dropoff, and bring her back at 5pm for 3:30 dismissal. I just can’t do it. Way too long a day. Add the fact that my Decatur kid would need to be picked up at 7:40 for 8:15 start, dropped off at 3:40 for 3:15 dismissal, and I’d be at the bus stop/walking or driving to it as much as I’m in the car.

    So I drive. From 8:45am ish when we leave, dropoff at Decatur at 8-8:10am, race to Coonley for 8:30 dropoff which we almost never make due to traffic if snow or construction (earliest Decatur dropoff is 8am), hopefully leave Coonley by 8:45, drive back home, arrive about 9:15 with no errands. Sometimes 9:30. To go from Touhy/Sheridan to Touhy/Sacramento to Leavitt/Irving and back again. 90 minutes minimum in the morning. But at least I’m with my kids, and I get a nice alone time with Coonley kid in morning.

    Afternoons I leave home at 2:50 for 3:05-3:15 dismissal (depends on the day, upper grades dismiss as they’re ready to go). Tap my foot anxiously awaiting my sloowwpoke son, throw him in the seatbelt, race to Coonley in traffic for 3:30 dismissal. Almost never make it. Lol. If we leave immediately, we get home around 4:10. If we play on playground, it can be as late as 5:30+. I should say when we took the offer for Coonley, Decatur was 8:30-2:15 (technically 2:30**) and Coonley was 9-3. Kinder year Coonley extended hours, Decatur did not, so it was 8:30-2:15/9-3:30. Now we have the race. It’s lovely. Anyway, I get the same alone, one-on-one time with my Decatur kid in afternoon that I get in morning with my Coonley kid. That’s the nice part of literally 3 hours minimum in the car a day driving in large circles.

    (**Decatur parents to be: know that Decatur dismisses 15 minutes earlier than the city or their own paperwork says they do. I found my kindergartner on his first day at Decatur wandering the sidewalk in front of the school at 2:24, when they allegedly had a 2:30 dismissal. That has since been well-rectified, and parents must sign out young children. But arrive early, younger kids dismiss first, so 3pm at LATEST for K/1st. 5/6th come out closer to 3:10).

    All this said, I’d never have chosen differently with Coonley. We are not thrilled with many factors at Decatur and while our son will miss his friends, as they’re all being spilt up, we are more than ready to get the eff out of that place once and for all. We being the parents. Never having to deal with the administration again can’t come soon enough for this little family of four. We didn’t apply to Decatur for our daughter, and Coonley has been SUCH a relief, breath of fresh air, and all around phenomenal experience. Even with 3-for-3 pregnant teachers going on maternity leave in our short tenure there! (Not even kidding. K options teacher, 1st grade options, and as of Friday, 2nd grade options teachers have all given birth by March-May of respective school years!). We apparently have a very lucky options class of 2020!!! We are looking forward to new beginnings at Lane AC, and may only be deterred from that offer should the sibling spot (wait list #2) come available OR should turning down the classical offer result in a Coonley RGC offer. Because both kids in one school is hard to resist, even if it means risking an AC spot. Pretty sure I’m just temporarily insane from the process, though.

    Coonley parents, WELCOME. You hit the jackpot. For real.

  • 884. RogersPark Mama  |  April 1, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Pardon my rambling. Up 3 nights with a sick kid, culminated by a shooting literally underneath our bedroom windows overlooking the alley last night at 3am. Fun times!

    Decatur? Our kids must be at Decatur together. Where are you headed next year? We got Lane AC. Haven’t heard a lot of other Lane acceptances yet. A few Taft and Young, skinner West, etc.

  • 885. RogersPark Mama  |  April 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    @831 Rock on. As a fellow Decatur parent also glad to be done with our time there, it’s refreshing to see someone speak up as for too long under this administration, nobody did. That’s changed now. Too many parents thought it was them, or their kid. We now know better. I’m not going to repeat what’s already been said, there are plenty of posts before me with many details, and by more than one parent from what I can garner. But there’s nothing I’ve read that’s not factual or at least personal experience, and every parent should feel they can speak up. That’s what this thread is for.

  • 886. RogersPark Mama  |  April 1, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Clearly we don’t leave at 8:45 for an 8:-5 start. Typo lol. 7:45, fit 8:10 dropoff Decatur and 8:30 Coonley.

  • 887. far northsider  |  April 1, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Re shared busing for Bell and Coonley – Bell starts and ends fifteen minutes before Coonley, so Coonley kids ride a bit longer in the morning when the bus drops off at Bell first, and Bell kids ride a bit longer in the afternoon when they board the bus and wait at Coonley for their dismissal. (West Rogers Park Mom – your kid and mine might share a stop. *waves*)

    Regarding busing logistics for SEES in general – If you have another child at a different CPS school, it might be possible to make that school your pickup and/or drop off site. My oldest was at another school relatively close to Bell but the two schools had the same dismissal time; I switched my Bell-attending kid’s drop off site to his sibling’s school and didn’t have to worry about making a mad dash from one to the other. That said, I don’t think you can have different pickup/dropoff sites; this only worked for us because I already had to drive to the other school and didn’t need morning busing. Hopefully that’s useful information for someone out there.

  • 888. RogersPark Mama  |  April 1, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Hey @887, curious approximately how far north you are? Since we have a Coonley kid, I’m just wondering if the EXTREMELY early pickup/late drop off times ever eased up as the route and routine stabilized? Or do they still want you there at the crack of dawn?

  • 889. Skinner North Mom  |  April 1, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    A883 Rogers Park Mama
    We have a fifth grader in an RGC, too. Fortunately, it’s within walking distance of our house and that administration is good, too. At home, we have our fair share of squabbles over who gets to sit on which cushion on our sofa and who gets to choose the TV show. And that’s just my husband and me! The kids are worse.

  • 890. RogersPark Mama  |  April 1, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Also, veeery interesting info on shared locations. I tried to arrange something like that with Mrs J (Decatur Asst principal) and she would not even entertain my request momentarily. Said it wasn’t allowed whatsoever. My dilemma obviously being not only close start/stop times, or having to sit at Gale school for an hour plus a day, but that if I bussed the older child while driving the younger, the older would have nobody there to pick him up because I’d be halfway across the north side at Coonley when he was dropped off. Definitely looking into that for next year trying to juggle two schools again. Thanks!!! Big time!

  • 891. RogersPark Mama  |  April 1, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    @889, Skinner North Mom ah, you’ve got me beat! Two SEES kids and a peeing dog! And LOL at the couch thing. The struggle is real, my friend!

  • 892. far northsider  |  April 1, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    @888 RogersPark Mama – I’m in West Ridge aka West Rogers Park; if you’re near Touhy and Sheridan you’re a wee bit more north than us. 🙂

    Our pickup time was originally supposed to be 6:45am for an 8:15am school start time (no thank you), so I drove him for the first few weeks until the driver figured out the route. Since then pickup has been 7:05am – not ideal since it was more like 7:30 last year, but easier for our family than our other option which involves waking up a toddler for an hour-long round trip in the car.

    About changing your busing site – I believe it’s only allowed if the school you want to switch to is already a pickup/dropoff site on an existing route. I had seen the Bell bus drop kids off at my older kid’s school in previous years so I asked Bell’s office if we could have him dropped off there, too; it was as easy as filling out the bus application and submitting a change form at the same time. No clue if you could make this work for Coonley and LTAC (right?) since I don’t know the exact logistics. When my oldest started high school and I was no longer driving to Lakeview twice a day we switched back to our closest neighborhood school for busing; he spends more time on the bus but the rest of us spend less time in the car.

  • 893. hyde park mom  |  April 1, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    @SkinnerNorth and Rogers Park mama, thank you both for your down to earth, real life posts about family life. I totally relate to the dog pee, homework time while trying to cook dinner, the chaos, the bliss, LOL. It’s good to know I am not alne, cuz it sure feels like sometimes its just us doing these mundane, hectic things.Thank you.

  • 894. CuriousMom  |  April 1, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    My daughter has a RGC score of 142, Tier4. Is there any hope in further rounds ?

  • 895. CuriousMom  |  April 1, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Entering K, forgot to mention that .

  • 896. Chris  |  April 1, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    “My daughter has a RGC score of 142, Tier4. Is there any hope in further rounds ?”

    What’s the list? No one can handicap it without the list.

  • 897. CuriousMom  |  April 1, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    1) Edison
    3) Pritzker

  • 898. Now a Coonley mom?  |  April 1, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks to many for all the great info on Coonley. It is so appreciated and we are exciting for what next year will bring.

    All the discussion around bus schedules, brings me to a question. How do you actually go about figuring the bus schedule/options? Do you get a chance to see the pickup/drop off estimates before deciding whether or not you want to use the bus? I suspect we will drive but our neighborhood school would certainly be an option for bus pickup if the timing worked. We are in the next boundary over from Coonley so not terribly far. Just wondering how the logistics actually work. Thank you!

  • 899. bigcityhappymom  |  April 1, 2014 at 3:00 pm


    Just a few additional comments on Coonley RGC: We have a first grader in the program and we love it. Best choice we made. Homework really isn’t that bad. I prefer the weekly packet for K (mentioned above) because it seems more flexible, but for 1st grade we get nightly homework, which really isn’t too bad. Usually two worksheets (math and reading) or a math worksheet and writing sentences. Very manageable and sometimes he even gets it done in after school or on the bus ride. Once we got in the groove, it really has been fine.

    That said, our schedule doesn’t allow for much free time during the week, but we’re all ok with it. He does after-school programs two days per week so those days he’s home later (one of those days he has swimming lessons after the after-school program so he’s home extra late that day, but he enjoys swimming so we make it work — we encourage him to get his homework done in boys & girls club that day, which he usually manages to do, and we check it when he gets home).

    The other 3 days per week he rides the bus home. Gets off the bus around 4:00. We get home shortly after 4, he has down time until 5:00. Starts homework at 5 while I’m cooking dinner. Usually done by dinner time (sometimes we practice spelling words after dinner). Then it’s bath if it’s bath night, in bed between 7 and 8 p.m. (He gets up at 6:00 a.m. and out the door around 6:50 for 7 a.m. bus pick-up . . .pick-up time will vary from year to year, depending on bus route).

    Husband and I both work full time (I work from home in evenings to make up for leaving work early during the day). It’s a hectic schedule, but it works for us so far. Also have a 3yo too. We actually live near Disney I so about 1.5-2 miles away from Coonley. (Our K choice was basically between Disney and Coonley RGC).

    Overall, extremely happy with Coonley and the education he’s receiving. Count our blessings every day. Now if only 3yo can get in when it’s her turn in a couple of years . . . dare to dream. 🙂

    Feel free to e-mail if you have any questions! Good luck!


  • 900. Pritzker Mom  |  April 1, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    If you think you might want to take the bus, you should sign up for it as soon as you can. There is no penalty for choosing not to use the bus one you’re assigned to a route, but it can take weeks to get your child added to a route once school starts.

    Unfortunately, most of the bus companies won’t know pick-up or drop-off times until one or two days before school.

  • 901. bigcityhappymom  |  April 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm


    Re. bus at Coonley:

    You have to sign up for it way in advance (like June I think). You get the schedule/times a couple of days before school starts. Seriously. It’s kind of crazy. They’re working it all out literally at the last minute and even into the first few weeks. Things are constantly changing, routes are changed, things are shuffled around. It is kind of stressful and not ideal, but it usually gets worked out eventually.

    Bus stop is your neighborhood school, unless you change it to another school (you have to full out a second form).

    So you can wait and see what the timing is and then decide whether to use it or not, but just know that you won’t know until the last minute what it’s going to be and there is sometimes shifting that takes place. There is a lot of communicating with the bus company, the school (vice principal is great help with working out bus schedules, as is the bus monitor at Coonley). Sometimes fighting with the CPS transportation department if stops/times are unreasonable. There is also an e-mail group with parents who help work out bus schedules and push to get things re-routed and times changed, to the extent possible. All very helpful, but sometimes it’s a lot of work and it’s not a streamlined process. This year (1st grade) has been great. K was an absolute mess (different bus company). Bus company can change from year to year too.

  • 902. west rogers park mom  |  April 1, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Re: Bussing

    For those of you who like to plan your lives out ahead of time, the bussing administration is going to drive you nuts ! Basically you sign up for bussing in June; CPS usually assigns you to your neighborhood school for pick up, but not always. They then send you a postcard late in the week before the first day of school. You then get to call the bussing company and get switched around from line to line until they find your name and bus pick up time (which will either be incredibly early or 10 minutes before school starts). If your kid has to take the bus the first day of school send them with provisions– the one year my daughter had to do it, it took almost 3 hours ! If at all possible avoid the bus the first day of school.

    After the first few weeks it usually works smoothly. Get to know your bus monitors and make sure they know your child. When your kid is in K you will wait with them until they are on the bus, and probably follow the route the first few times they are on it (I did !). By fifth grade you will barely stop the car as you drop them at the stop and sometimes try to catch the bus at the next stop on the route because you are running late !

    There have been years the bus has been extremely convenient. Last year my two kids had busses arrive at the neighborhood school at essentially the same time so the 8th grader walked my 4th grader home. One year I was able to get my youngest on a route that dropped off at my oldest’s magnet school.

  • 903. a mom  |  April 1, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Curious mom – i think your child has a shot at Pritzker.

  • 904. Applying to SEES  |  April 1, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    “Curious mom – i think your child has a shot at Pritzker.”

    Sounds about right. If she is really curious, she can take a look at the prior year threads to see where the cutoff was in later rounds (as well as where the initial cutoff appeared to be, relative to this year, to perhaps calibrate a little). Just search through for “pritzker”. Wouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

  • 905. LearningCPS  |  April 1, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    RE: Bussing – We have been thankful to have the bus as an option or we couldn’t have accepted at Decatur with the school schedule and 2 working parents.

    Just to add to the very accurate process descriptions above, one thing that has been convenient for us is that if you are utilizing a Chicago Park District after care “park kids” program near your home/bus route that is approved by CPS (I think the list is on their site somewhere), you can also request that the afternoon drop off of your child be at that location instead of where they were picked up. It just requires a separate form to be submitted. Downside is it doesn’t start right away when school starts, and it took over a month this year for that to happen but once it did it has been great for us since it gets our child back within 3 blocks of our home after school allowing us to just pick up at the park by 6.

    That said, we have had numerous issues with our bus company and multiple days where the bus was late to pick up and the kids were 30-60 minutes late to school so it has it’s downsides but all said and done if you have an SEES offer within that school’s bus range, I would certainly consider it if transportation is a big part of your decision.

  • 906. a mom  |  April 1, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Or you could just be a kind soul and help a sista out.

  • 907. cpsobsessed  |  April 1, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    If one neighborhood away from coonkey your child would like be picked up around 7:45-7:50ish. I think they drop kids at bell then go to coonley.
    Seems like a lot of transport time so I just drive my son.
    Drop-off is better since you’ll be one of the first stops,

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 908. Norwood  |  April 1, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    RE: Work life balance for a 5 year old

    Things are too quiet around here since the Decatur discussion ended, so I thought I’d point out the ridiculousness of sports for little kids, especially when they have a great opportunity like an RGC. Sports can wait.

  • 909. Now a Coonley mom?  |  April 1, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Thanks to you all for the busing info – very helpful. We will likely drive but I wanted to understand the process so I can learn more. Now I’m a bit confused if we even qualify or not. OAE website says Coonley will bus anywhere within city limits. The woman I spoke with today at the school said you had to be within 1.5 – 6 miles (we are just within the 1.5 mile radius). I figure I will wait until their April tour and learn more then. Thanks again!

  • 910. Frustrated60630  |  April 1, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    I agree to a point re: sports can wait. Certainly education is a top priority, however balance is too. My son isn’t in K, however he loves his sport, it’s year round, and adds a different kind of value to his life. I would not want either of my children to spend all of their childhood in the routine of school/homework/sleep. So while I guess my input maybe isn’t as valuable because we don’t hold a seat in a SEES program as of today, I certainly, without a doubt have a child who can hold his own and can handle the work of one. We have all of adulthood to plug away in the grind of all work little play.

  • 911. reenie  |  April 1, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    I’ll bite on Norwood’s comment. In general I agree with you, especially about organized sports, but I’m a big fan of martial arts as a tool for personal discipline and mental focus. It depends a lot on the school–I trained at Thousand Waves Seido Karate in Lakeview for years and look forward to taking my preschooler to a trial class soon. If he doesn’t want to do it he doesn’t have to but I wish I had started that young.

  • 912. Frustrated60630  |  April 1, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    We are a martial arts family too 🙂

  • 913. reenie  |  April 1, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    And I’ll add that I tend to see organized sports as another manifestation of the grind, but if a kid wants to do it, at whatever age, I’m inclined to support them. Life is more than academics. I think part of the latency years (ages 5-puberty) is kids finding what they are good at and passionate about, which includes but is not limited to their intellectual life.

  • 914. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  April 1, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    Hmmm, I actually thought Norwood’s comment was in jest. Like, what good is having fun when you can be learning all day, every day? But for the sake of discussion… I don’t see how it’s debatable that kids need a healthy balance of work and play. Any activity will do. My kindergartener is literally climbing the walls after a 7-hour school day. Thank goodness for baseball, basketball, football and hockey! It keeps our whole family sane.

  • 915. frustrated60630  |  April 1, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Ha! Sorry you’re probably right @914. It’s been a long day.

  • 916. WesLooWorkingMom  |  April 1, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    I know (at least I think) that the SEES scores for K are adjusted for age of the child. Are the scores age-adjusted for older kids?

  • 917. DisneyParent  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Disney parent here. Disney (4140 N Marine Dr) is a huge school with 6+ classes per grade. On Kindergarten registration day, they assess each child and the “top 30” or so get into 1 “gifted” class. It’s a good place for families with multiple children, as they will all find a home and make many friends. The administration is very capable and the school is run well – tight ship. The pods are not bad at all – Many who criticize them have not had children go to the school. Lots of great “specials” here – full time art, music, library, computer technology, a dance teacher, etc. – and every class spends 2 weeks/year outside the classroom studying a topic (deep dive) and prepares for a “show” as a culminating event, which all parents attend (the show is performed by the entire grade together). This year the PTA is doing more than in the past, but in general the PTA / parents are not allowed by the principal to do too much. If your child is into art, drama, music, computers – – Great place for your child. They also are creating a Makers Lab (look it up, very cool) and promoting their purchase of iPads for every grade (although I am not sure this is such a big deal, just trendy). Principal seems to drive away many parents from participation. As in, they slink away not wanting to get yelled at. No fundraising needed here, as the school is big enough to get lots of cash for programs (and extra funds from adjacent parking lot space rentals). Many teachers are excellent, some are not. But many (including first floor director) have left for greener pastures. Lots of staff turnover. There’s an after-care program that many parents use. It’s a very good school for working parents due to this program. There is a core group of active parents in each grade, but you have to seek them out.

    All that said, would probably take Coonley or other RGC schools over Disney (for those of you considering), or a classical school if given the opportunity.

  • 918. hyde park mom  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    @Disney Parent,wy would you still take Coonley or an RGC over Disney,it sounds like a pretty great school from your ddescription.And remember ,not all rgcs are equally great,as Im sure you realize.Thank you for that detailed description of Disney,very helpful.

  • 919. cpsobsessed  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Yes, great Disney info. Thanks for posting. I’ve never heard anyone complain about the pods once they actually send their kid there, fwiw.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 920. frustrated60630  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    @cpsobsessed, is the contact email for you the gmail address?

  • 921. cpsobsessed  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Correct – cpsobsessed@gmail.com

    Keep it brief, if possible. – I have extreme email backlog this time of year 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 922. frustrated60630  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    I figured as much, I emailed you but assumed you were busy considering the popularity of your blog!

  • 923. cpsobsessed  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    I will check it — sorry, my regular job is bogging me down. Boo….

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 924. hyde park mom  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    Okay,at the risk of coming off very uninformed (but still obsessed!), I have a burning question:I just read a post on thoe southside thread re Lenart.Although it was about that particular school,my oldest attends Edison,so I can relate to the post.Why r some well regarded schools,some very coveted,not funded as well as say another school ?For example,I keep reading how well funded Disney I is,and heck,they must be too offer so many resources,specials,technology,etc.On the other hand,at Edison,we have some teachers doing double duty ,no music,and lasy year the parents had to help raise money for a new computer lab.Does it have something to do with the school size,in general,as to how much funding is available?I would have assumed that the top schools ( rgcs, classical) get the most funding due to usually having better ISATs…..just wondering.

  • 925. cpsobsessed  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Size matters in CPS 🙂

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 926. Funding  |  April 1, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    924. Also, get more federal money if school has low income students. I’ve heard some schools get next to nothing, some get hundreds of thousands and some even get upwards of a million dollars. Edison tends to have families in higher income brackets on average, so less federal funding.

  • 927. cpsobsessed  |  April 1, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    I think “millions” might be an urban legend. I believe it’s around $700/kid? I guess perhaps a big school *could* actually get close to a million, huh? But they have extra costs as well.

    I don’t know if this still hold because of per-pupil funding but schools needed to reach a certain threshold to get things like a librarian, full time gym teacher etc. That, combined with the lack of low income students make it necessary for schools like edison and decatur to be creative with $. I *think* schools now have more flexibility on where to spend the $. But still very challenging.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 928. hyde park mom  |  April 1, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    But that baffles me still if indeed schools with a higher low income student population get more$$,since many of these schools are usually lacking in resources as basic as textbooks,ac,etc.I guess the funding they got went for overhead,salaries…..Not trying to get us off track ,but this truly had me intrigued.

  • 929. DisneyParent  |  April 1, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    I think there are a few factors where money for teachers of art, music, computers, dance, etc. is concerned – school size, and poverty level of the student body.

    First, I’ve heard it explained that schools have to meet a threshold of X # of students (I’m not sure the #, maybe 750?) to get funding for a full-time (FT) music or art teacher. So if # students < X, then they get funding for 1/2 of these positions. You'll find that smaller schools have very active parent organizations raising money to fully fund that position so they can have a full-time teacher (or two half-time teachers, e.g. 1/2 music, 1/2 art) or more. This type of school requires more parents to work fundraisers or give cash to keep things going with diverse offerings at the school beyond the basics (including after-school programs too, which may require funding – like a chess club or other girls on the run or other clubs that need some subsidies). A large school like Disney doesn't really need this because they are large enough to fund several full-time teachers in many areas. Small schools just don't have these types of resources.

    Second, in the first weeks of school, parents are asked to fill out an application for the reduced lunch, even if they don't "need" this benefit. I understand that the reason they want all parents to fill this out is because the applications are used to determine the poverty level of the school. There is funding available to schools who have a certain threshold of students requiring assistance, and special additional $ funding kicks in at a certain %. I heard that Disney actually lost over $200K in this type of funding recently due to a decline in the number of students needing assistance.

    Hope this helps.

  • 930. DisneyParent  |  April 1, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    I’d consider switching out of Disney if I thought another school offered a better community, such as a smaller school. Disney kids are spread throughout the entire city and this makes friendships beyond the classroom difficult for the kids. I also think that other schools might have a more welcoming environment to families and students in general. Disney is a little oppressive with regards to restrictions and rules, hampering community building efforts.It may be necessary in order to keep the ship humming, but it’s a bummer.

  • 931. spj  |  April 1, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    What time does Skinner North start and end?

  • 932. SR  |  April 1, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Re fundraising: Disney has gotten money from the granddaughter (I think) of Walt Disney and the force-of-nature principal seems to be good at getting grants and other money. From the Disney PTA Facebook page, it sounds like they are doing more fundraising this year than in the past, but still much less than comparable neighborhood schools.

  • 933. Y  |  April 1, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Continued Sidenote about Funding
    The majority of the money at well-performing schools comes from per pupil funding. This is a set amount that comes from CPS for each student. It varies a little from younger to older kids but is completely tied to total enrollment. There are a few positions in the school and items that aren’t covered by per pupil and are paid by CPS directly. The second source is from the state in the form of SGSA money. This is dependent on the number of students who qualify for free/reduced lunch at a school. Higher number of free/reduced lunch students yields more state money. The last major source is federal money for lower performing schools, which I believe is related to No Child Left Behind funding. There are constraints to each funding source in terms of where they can be used.

    Most of the better performing schools receive the bulk of the funding from CPS. SGSA money is nominal in middle-class schools. Federal money is very limited at successful schools. The majority of the total of these funds goes to the personnel at a school. Newer teachers with less education are less expensive than experienced teachers with advanced degrees and certifications. The principal has to figure out how the right mix of teachers to work within the budget, provide the appropriate number of specials classes to give homeroom teachers a required prep period, and stay within class size guidelines. It’s usually more difficult to fund a full compliment of specials (art, gym, music, etc.) at a smaller school like Edison and Decatur since there are fewer students to spread their costs over.

  • 934. Y  |  April 1, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    @909 Now a Coonley Mom? – Coonley has no east or west boundaries and you have to be north of 900 North. However, you have to be more than 1.5 miles based on CPS calculations.

  • 935. jokatz2  |  April 2, 2014 at 8:12 am

    We are in tier 3. Son scored a 98 in math and 94 in reading (even though he reads chapter books) and a 143. Any chance in the later rounds? Thank you all for your comments.

  • 936. jokatz2  |  April 2, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Edit-he is entering K.

  • 937. cpsobsessed  |  April 2, 2014 at 8:41 am

    @jokatz, decent chance of an offer but l don’t know if high enough for edison, coonley, SN, decatur.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 938. Stacey  |  April 2, 2014 at 8:57 am

    What’s the lowest those schools accept? My daughter got 97th for math and reading for first grade and was offered decatur.

  • 939. KLS  |  April 2, 2014 at 9:03 am

    @spj/931 – This year Skinner North’s hours are 8:15 am – 3:15 pm, but because we are a school with bussing, this seems to always be subject to change year to year. A couple of weeks ago, he sent a survey to all of the parents this year to see if we would prefer 8 – 3 or 8:15 – 3:15 next year. The results were pretty evenly split, so I don’t think we are 100% sure for next year yet. But its very likely that school either start at 8 or 8:15 am next year.

  • 940. cpsobsessed  |  April 2, 2014 at 9:10 am

    It varies each year by the number of spaces that come open. Also, decatur alternates 1 and 2 classes per grade so if you apply to a grade with 2 classes, likely a beeter chance of getting in that year.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 941. SN mom  |  April 2, 2014 at 9:15 am

    @931 SN starts at 8:15 till 3:15

  • 942. SN mom  |  April 2, 2014 at 9:16 am

    @939 didn’t see you post. Lol

  • 943. AnotherDrop  |  April 2, 2014 at 9:38 am

    @879, Our child also had a large difference in scores from last year (K) to this year (1st). Since I started seeing other people comment on this thread about it, I have been asking around. Everyone I know is confused and surprised by their 1st grade scores! Lots of 30-40 point drops (kids who scored in the upper 130s, lower 140s getting scores below 110).

    I seriously wonder if CPS made an error when they gave the test, or calculated the scores. I feel like there is no way to find out though. It is so frustrating. We are totally helpless.

  • 944. Coonley Mom  |  April 2, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Going to turn down offer for Skinner North (entering 4th grade). Crossing fingers we get Coonley Sibling (#1 waitlist) OR Coonley Gifted (score 145). Could be a long summer:) Good luck everyone!!!

  • 945. a mom  |  April 2, 2014 at 9:53 am

    943, I don’t think it is a cps error, it seems to happen every year. I thought there was a difference in the scale, maybe not?

  • 946. Levski  |  April 2, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Beaubien RGC 8th graders parents – I have a favor to ask, were most of the kids accepted at Northside, Payton, WY or Jones? Any info would be very helpfully, thanks much!

  • 947. 1st Grader at Bell  |  April 2, 2014 at 9:54 am

    I think the drop is pretty common. My dd had a 141 2 years ago going into K and was one of the last kids to be offered a spot at Pritzker. She had a 121 last year and got a 1st round offer to Bell. I believe the percentiles that the scores corresponded to are similar though. They are different tests and different test taking methods.

  • 948. west rogers park mom  |  April 2, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Re: Difference in test scores from K to 1st

    I’m just going to throw this out there, having no data to back it up but . . . could it be that the drop in test scores after K is due to ‘false positives’ for kids that are developmentally ahead at the age of 4. I know parents don’t want to hear that there genius isn’t really a genius but its something to think about, especially because of the studies that say ‘gifted testing’ in unreliable until 3rd grade.

    I don’t think there was an error in CPS administration because if memory serves parents have experienced the same drop in scores other years.

  • 949. Even One More CPS Mom  |  April 2, 2014 at 10:05 am

    @948 west rogers park mom – Or that testing children at all at this young of age for “giftedness” is pretty ridiculous…..

  • 950. TimeForADoOver  |  April 2, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Yes, @949, you hit the nail on the head! And I’m not just saying that because my child got a low score 😉

  • 951. LSmom  |  April 2, 2014 at 10:27 am

    My son mentioned that the first grade test was hard because the reader went quickly. I think the biggest reason for the fall in scores is the change in how the test is administered, but I also agree that the tests are unreliable at that age and that it’s ridiculous to test 4 and 5 year olds at all.

  • 952. AE  |  April 2, 2014 at 10:28 am

    @947 — I pulled my letters from last year (kinder and third grade), and both letters said that a standard score of 130 = 98th percentile. This year, I believe all letters explain that a standard score of 100 is the 50th percentile. In other words, I don’t think there is a different percentile curve that explains the drop in scores that so many students experience. Am I wrong?

  • 953. Ohwell  |  April 2, 2014 at 10:30 am

    @948 I’ve come to a similar conclusion – just a lot of noise in the scores one way or the other. If a kid can go from 98th/99th percentile one year to 50th the next year, I’d ask how you could put much faith in either score. It just sucks because there’s so much riding on these exams. (And really, really makes me wish that there were more neighborhood schools willing/able to accelerate kids if they can handle the work.)

    FWIW, our kiddo fell below the 50th percentile on this year’s test but scored > 99th percentile in math and reading on the recent MAPS test and is flourishing in our RGC. Anyway, not to say either of those measures is “right” or “wrong”–and I definitely don’t think she’s a genius :)– just that there’s a lot of noise in the scores. And probably many more kids who could benefit from the more ambitious level of instruction.

  • 954. SL parent  |  April 2, 2014 at 10:41 am

    I see some parents are so concerned about the gifted scores drop from K to 1st grade. Please take a break. In that age, those scores don’t mean anything about your child – even they got >150 or <100. The K and 1 grade gifted test are so different anyway.

  • 955. Even One More CPS Mom  |  April 2, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I would trust the MAP results way more than the 1st grade RGC test results. It is much more individualized.

  • 956. NewtoCPS  |  April 2, 2014 at 10:51 am

    When we received our child’s scores (she is entering into K) I called the IIT Call Center and spoke to the Director about her scores and the testing in general. As far as the RGC socres go, he told me that it is impossible for a child to score above their potential (so no false positives) but very possible and very probable that many children score below their potential due to a number of factors (how the test is administered, child’s mood that day, etc.). The test percentiles are national percentiles–not just the percentile of the number of children in Chicago tested that year.

    I didn’t write down his name but he was incredibly forthcoming and I would encourage others to call. He is a Phd (dr. somebody) and I believe he is the director.

  • 957. Madeline  |  April 2, 2014 at 11:18 am

    @956, that makes a lot of sense. Sounds like many of the negative 1st grade scores are due to the lack of one-on-one testing, which provides greater accuracy in the K test. It makes sense that there would be many false negatives in the 1st grade test (due to bubble sheet-errors and group testing) and some false negatives in K due to mood of the child and bonding with the proctor. It also makes sense that false positives would be highly unlikely (if not “impossible” as you were told by IIT). Not sure what they could do about this except offer one-on-one testing to entering 1st graders too. But they probably are not motivated to alter this since they trust that the positives are true positives. Maybe because there are many fewer spaces to fill in 1st grade it is probably less of a concern to them that there are more false negatives (though this fact is tremendously unfortunate for individual families).

  • 958. AnotherDrop  |  April 2, 2014 at 11:18 am

    I agree that testing 4 and 5 year olds is uncertain — However, if a 20-40 point drop from K to 1st is the norm, how can the percentiles from those scores remain the same? Why is 115 still the cut off score? It doesn’t make any sense.

    It doesn’t reassure me at all that children had similar drops last year or the year before. Perhaps whatever error CPS made, or whatever flawed system they are using, has been in place for several years.

  • 959. K's Dad  |  April 2, 2014 at 11:29 am

    @864 Hope Foster-Reyes- I hate that you were attacked like that. Maybe it was a sarcastic joke. Anyway, I assume that CPS rounds the Classical scores. Your question reveals something interesting to me: Look at how much the scores move with tiny movements in the percentile if the RGC scores were also reported as percentiles:

    .986 score = 133
    .99 score = 135,
    .999 = 146,
    .9999 = 164

    I assume all that CPS would report all of these scores as 99% and lot of the discussion here would disappear since every score of 133 or more would look identical.

    @943 Another Drop—-If you’re seeing that many 30-40 point drops, I wonder if there was a mistake or some kind of problem with the process. I assume that IIT assesses the repeatability and reproducability of scores reported by the IIT grad students that perform the assessments.

    @952 AE—–I haven’t seen any kind of systematic drop in scores from K to 1st. I know of people with higher scores in 1st grade, but most are close to the same. People who experience drops are probably more vocal. Its frustrating that some people mention a different scale or different test instead of mentioning the means and s.d.’s that are meant to eliminate that kind of talk. Otherwise, there’s some good commentary here.

    I wonder if some individual children respond differently to the different format. I feel bad for people who have to experience that drop, but if you look at the numbers at the top of this post——you could drop 31 points from 164 to 133 and still be reported as 99% percentile.

  • 960. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  April 2, 2014 at 11:38 am

    A few of you have mentioned the lack of differentiation in neighborhood schools. I, too, wish that this was a possibility at my son’s school, but given the limited resources (namely funding), it doesn’t seem likely to ever happen. To make up for the school’s shortcomings, my son meets with a private tutor once a week for 30-45 minutes. Since he’s only in K, I never push it; rather, he asks me every week if he can go. Strangely, he loves it and the games they play together. She makes learning fun. I’ve instructed her to teach him reading at least one grade level ahead and math at least two grade levels ahead. This way, he’s properly challenged to achieve what I believe to be his natural abilities with the one-on-one attention he doesn’t receive in the classroom. It also hopefully keeps him in the running to successfully “compete” for a gifted/classical/AC placement in the future. Just something to consider…

  • 961. H  |  April 2, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    “Its frustrating that some people mention a different scale or different test instead of mentioning the means and s.d.’s that are meant to eliminate that kind of talk.”

    Where can one find the sample mean and sd?

  • 962. H  |  April 2, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    “I haven’t seen any kind of systematic drop in scores from K to 1st. I know of people with higher scores in 1st grade, but most are close to the same.”

    The one thing we know on a somewhat systematic basis, because it is the most reported data here, are the admit/cutoff scores. And those are markedly different between K and 1st entry. As we have discussed, there is certainly an impact of different samples at work, but question is whether that explains all or most of it.

    How many kids do you know the K and 1st scores for? And how many up, down, same?

  • 963. Question  |  April 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    If you request for your child to be tested for both Classical and Gifted for Kindergarten, will they administer the tests in the order of your school type? I ask because if a classical school is first choice, and a gifted school is second, and they test for gifted first, maybe the child gets tired after the first test. (and the gifted test seems tougher, so best to do classical first). Anyone know? thanks.

  • 964. K's Dad  |  April 2, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    @961-962 H

    We assume the test scores for all the tests are standardized and normally distributed with a mean of 100 and a std dev of 15. To say that a different test produces different results, you’d have to change those parameters or the distribution. I was wondering if anyone had any evidence of that.

    I think people in this forum explained the cutoff score difference by mentioning the existence of a kindergarten.

    What I heard many people here saying was that the Kindergarten gets a set of kids with scores that might look something like this:

    8 Rank: 150-160+
    5 T4 145-150
    5 T3 143-150
    6 T2 141-150
    4 T1 138-150.

    Then, 1st grade scores at a different school would have looked like this:
    8 Rank: 146-150
    6 T4: 140-145
    5 T3: 135-145
    5 T2: 128-145
    4 T1: 120-145

    So the 1st grade could show a lower cutoff created by just a couple of outlier scores, but all the scores of entering students are very high.

  • 965. Beaubien  |  April 2, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    946. Levski | April 2, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Beaubien Class of 2014 Acceptances

    There are 23 kids in this 8th grade class. Here are the results thus far in terms of decisions. Total adds up to 23, but I included those acceptances that were declined as well.

    Jones – 1
    Lane – 7 Offers (6 accepted)
    Northside – 3
    WY – 2
    Westinghouse – 2 Offers (1 acceptance)

    Taft IB – 1
    LP IB – 3
    Von Steuben Scholars – 2
    Unknown – 1

    St. Ignatious – 1 (but declined for boarding school)
    Loyola – 2
    Boarding School in OH – 1

    There are some students who applied for Principal Discretion, so final numbers won’t be in until late April.

    Also, there is turnover at Beaubien and some students left at end of 6th or end of 7th for Academic Centers. Their numbers are not reflected here.

  • 966. H  |  April 2, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    “We assume the test scores for all the tests are standardized and normally distributed with a mean of 100 and a std dev of 15.”

    So when you say that you are frustrated that people are not “mentioning the means and s.d.’s” you are referring to the means and SDs that you are *assuming* to be true? As opposed to talking about actual data, anecdotal though it is by necessity? We should just assume the mean and SD?

    “Then, 1st grade scores at a different school would have looked like this:…5 T3: 135-145…So the 1st grade could show a lower cutoff created by just a couple of outlier scores, but all the scores of entering students are very high”

    It’s the fact that kids in T3 are reportedly getting into the (overall) most desired RGCs with ~120 that is what I have suggested is illuminating. And the 120 really isn’t an outlier in the usual sense. I would have expected that if the distribution looked like the K test, as we come down from the 140s, there would be a big group of kids in the mid 120 to high 130s, because distributions normally (hah) get thicker toward the (assumed) mean. So the 120 isn’t what’s creating the outlier, it’s the absence of that big group in the 120s and 130s.

  • 967. Stacey  |  April 2, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    My daughter took the tests, one each day, 2 wks apart.

  • 968. Outlier  |  April 2, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    @ 966

    Yeah, I don’t get what K’s Dad is inferring either. He’s full of hot air, if you ask me.

  • 969. a mom  |  April 2, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    K’s dad. My kids are smart but I’m a dumbass. WTH are you trying to say? Dumb it down for me please.

  • 970. Levski  |  April 2, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Beaubien – extremely helpful stats for 8th graders acceptances, yet a bit under my expectations, 6 kids only with no Payton , for RGC class, what do you all think?

  • 971. Chris  |  April 2, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    “We assume the test scores for all the tests are standardized and normally distributed with a mean of 100 and a std dev of 15.”

    Why? As to the SD. And to why they are “all” sd-15.

  • 972. Decatur 2012  |  April 2, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Here are the Decatur numbers. Does anyone have Edison’s or Lenart’s or any other SEES acceptance data for H.S.?

    For a class of 30 – this would be Class of 2012 (21 of the 30 went to Lane, Taft or WY AC for 7th grade).

    4 Jones
    5 Lane
    6 Northside
    1 Payton
    1 Westinghouse
    5 WY

    1 LP IB
    1 Taft IB
    1 Taft IB or Senn IB (TBD)

    1 Boarding School
    1 Roycemore

    1 Undecided
    1 Moved to Suburbs
    1 Unknown whereabouts

  • 973. Bell RGC  |  April 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    This year’s stats for Bell RGC 8th grade class:

    11 Payton
    7 Jones
    4 Northside
    4 Lane
    1 Loyala
    1 Lincoln Park

    That’s 28…

  • 974. Decatur 2012  |  April 2, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    Added a couple of notes.

    Here are the Decatur numbers. Does anyone have Edison’s or Lenart’s or any other SEES acceptance data for H.S.?
    For a class of 30 – this would be Class of 2012 (21 of the 30 went to Lane, Taft or WY AC for 7th grade).

    4 Jones
    5 Lane
    7 Northside (1 declined)
    1 Payton
    1 Westinghouse
    5 WY

    1 LP IB
    1 Taft IB
    1 Taft IB or Senn IB (TBD)

    1 Boarding School (declined St. Ignatious offer)
    1 Roycemore (declined Northside offer)

    1 Undecided
    1 Moved to Suburbs
    1 Unknown whereabouts

  • 975. Chris  |  April 2, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    re: The (can opener) discussion of K v 1 sees test score:

    Hasn’t someone here sometime reported that someone at OAE supposedly said that the K scores go up to 160, but the 1-4 scores only go up to 150? False memory?

  • 976. Testing  |  April 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    975. Chris | April 2, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Yes. If you look at the back of the letter it refers to teh 150 for 1st grade and up and 160 for K. Someone mentioned it is possible to go higher but CPS only reports a max of these scores on your letter.

  • 977. Chris  |  April 2, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Bell RGC: “That’s 28…”

    So, no one was added into Bell 8th grade to replace departures? Should have been 32 in 6th grade, right?

    Any idea how many left for AC, and where?

  • 978. Chris  |  April 2, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    “Yes. If you look at the back of the letter it refers to teh 150 for 1st grade and up and 160 for K.”

    Well, that gums up the can opener, doesn’t it?

  • 979. Testing  |  April 2, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    I meant it says it starts at 160 and goes down for K and starts at 150 for 1st grade and the scores reported go down from there.

    Strange – why not just give the actual score.

    Either way, 3rd grade is the grade recommended to start testing for gifted.

  • 980. Chris  |  April 2, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    “Either way, 3rd grade is the grade recommended to start testing for gifted.”

    Yes, but CPS wants to prevent parent flight starting in K, so we get testing in K. If 80% of the neighborhood schools were deemed acceptable my 90% of the parents in the attendance boundaries, then we could have a more ‘correct’ gifted testing regime–and consequently would (likely) need many fewer ‘gifted’ seats, as inertia is pretty powerful if a school is acceptable.

    But we got what we gots, and so we have the gifted, classical, lottery craziness pushed on 4 and 5 year olds, bc we have (maybe) 8% of the neighborhood ES deemed acceptable by 80% of the parents in their respective areas.

  • 981. Bell and Coonley?  |  April 2, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Does anyone have experience with the options program at both Bell and Coonley who could talk about how these programs or cultures differ? Aside from a different entry year, they seem remarkably similar. Is that so? Or are there notable differences?

  • 982. Bell RGC  |  April 2, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    @977 Chris

    I may be missing one 8th grade Bell RGC student…RGC classes are capped at 31. However, it is not unusual for the 8th grade class to be below 31. This years 7th grade has 29 students. It is very difficult to fill vacant RGC spots in 7th grade…the pressure & requirements to get into a SEHS and thus, straight As in 7th grade, probably being at the top of the list.

    Regarding AC departures…the number is generally pretty low…1-3 a year and sometimes 0. Last year 3 left for WYAC.

    @981 It would not surprise me if the Bell & Coonley RGCs and neighborhood programs were very similar. I recall that there was a lot collaboration between the former Bell principal and Coonley & it began with first building a successful neighborhood program. Coonley RGC was also partially shaped and nurtured by a former Bell RGC teacher who is one of the most dynamic, intelligent, energetic teachers I’ve encountered during my children’s elementary years.

  • 983. 60634  |  April 2, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Hoping someone can help answer a question about math curriculum at the RGCs and Classical schools. Can I assume algebra is built into the curriculum? I know at the ACs the kids take algebra in 7th or 8th grade. At our local/magnet cluster school all of the 8th graders take algebra. The trick is that algebra has to be taught by a certified hs math teacher and the kids have to pass the algebra exit exam to get hs credit. How does this work at the RGCs and classicals in 7th and 8th grade? Is it standard across the programs?

  • 984. K's Dad  |  April 2, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    @H @Chris @a mom.

    The 100 mean and the 15 std dev is a convention that we have to accept. Its bigger than all of us. Reporting a higher maximum score for K doesn’t raise all the K scores.

    @Outlier–Thanks for going to effort to add your insights. You should be a teacher.

  • 985. Mom2Three  |  April 2, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    @982 Bell RGC

    Maybe Bell’s gifted classes are capped at 31, but that isn’t the case at all RGCs. At Edison — third thru 8th are 32 students.

  • 986. Per pupil funding  |  April 2, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Mom2Three – No, there are 30 in 7th grade at Edison. Not sure about 8th. Yes, 32 is the max, but it’s hard to fill 7&8 when kids leave for ACs. I’m sure offers were made to try and get back up to 32, but not enough accepted. Very few kids are going to suddenly transfer just for 7/8 unless it’s for an AC or they’re coming from Decatur.

  • 987. Norwood  |  April 3, 2014 at 6:56 am

    @RE The score drop

    I’d like to put this issue about the difference between the K, 1, and classical test scores to rest. I tried this before but I was ignored. I’m coming right out and stating that I am the foremost authority on the super secret CPS test for 1st grade. My kids didn’t pass the 1st grade test because of their sense of humor.

    Each of these 3 tests is looking for different skill sets and there is no logical reason why a child would have all 3. The tests are completely different.

    The classical test tests what the child knows academically. If the child is ahead in math and reading, the child will do well.

    The RGC K test is looking for more advanced study skills, but is heavy on vocabulary. If a child talks a lot, is reading and ahead in math, this test should easier, because the kid will likely pick up these skills. This is not necessarily true, but typical. The test is also looking whether the child can think on his feet, is resilient, is persistent. Things that make for a good student.

    The first grade test is another animal altogether. The version that the CPS gives demphasizes quantitative skills, so the kids are only not taking the whole thing. A child who is 2 years ahead in math and reading can bomb this tests. It’s looking for hard core thinking skills, for a child who can look at something totally unfamiliar and think her way through it, find out she’s wrong, and start over. Practice tests don’t really help, I’m sorry to say, because they’re all way too easy.

    If a child scores well on the K test, and then learns some more math and reading, before taking the 1st grade tests, he may in fact be falling way behind.

    If a child scores well on the K test, and then you make him learn math on his own marching in place holding his book over his head while you spray him with the garden hose and say bad things about his mama, and the rest of boot camp gets to leave base for the weekend, then you’re on track. If you don’t like that, then instead teach your child how to learn instead of teaching him things.

  • 988. makemelaugh  |  April 3, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Norwood-I have a child at Bell. I am determined to figure out who you are and make you my best friend. Will you be at school tonight for the new addition tour? (For anyone contemplating Bell, they are allowing parents to check out the very new addition that was just completed. Although this is only for current students, I doubt they’ll be checking I D at the door. It may be a good time to take a peak at the school.) I’ll be the one wearing a pink carnation. 😉

  • 989. Nancy  |  April 3, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Gotta love Norwood.

  • 990. Chris  |  April 3, 2014 at 11:09 am

    “The RGC K test is looking for more advanced study skills, but is heavy on vocabulary. If a child talks a lot, is reading and ahead in math, this test should easier”

    Well, our older, who was *not* talking a lot, was *not* (admitting to) reading and was *not* ahead in math did very well on the K test, and dropped 14 or 15 points to the 1 test.

    Our younger, whose only difference on those 3 factors is talking a lot, scored almost as well–was a little older when taking it, so may well have had basically the same raw score.

    Not sure what that means (if anything)–>maybe the correct conclusion is that Bell is a strongly disfavored program that parents avoid.

  • 991. WorkingMommyof2  |  April 3, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I agree with the person who mentioned that it really comes down to almost a lottery between all the 98-99th percentile kids. Which kid was feeling better day that day? Which kid happened to be exposed to one more vocab word on the test? Which kid jelled with his/her proctor?

    I was talking to two other moms this morning. The three of us all have children in both neighborhood and Options programs. None of us feel that our neighborhood kids are in any way less bright/less prepared than their Options sibs. In some cases, the opposite, in fact. Just the way the cookie crumbles.

  • 992. Dad  |  April 3, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    I posted this story last year when my kids took the test, but thought from the discussion that it might help some folks reading up on the tests this year as well. While my entering 1st grader was taking the test, I spoke with the professor who heads up the testing (the head guy – not one of his students). Fwiw, here’s what he told me about the programs and the tests (believe him or not – but this is what he said): Chicago’s gifted/classical programs are among the best if not the best in the country. The classical program teaches in a more traditional way – reading, math, science, by subect. The RGC/Options program is more “module” based. The example he gave is that if you’re studying Christopher Columbus, the class will spend a bunch of time on the topic, and will roll reading, math, science and traditional concepts all up under the umbrella of Columbus discovering America. He said that both the classical and gifted programs have the same objective – to graduate students 1-2 grades above level. They are designed to ultimately get the students to the same place – they just vary in how they get there.

    Regarding the tests, he said they are not IQ tests. He said the tests are designed to identify students who will succeed in the two different programs. He said a couple of things about the tests that I thought were interesting. First, he said the administration of the K test (oral administration by a proctor) is different from the tests for older kids (sitting at a desk filling in bubbles) for fairness. He said pre-school is not required, so they can’t assume that kids testing to enter kindergarten have had any kind of school exposure and even know how to sit at a desk and fill in a bubble sheet. By the time kids are testing to enter 1st grade, they’ve at least had some kindergarten and have been in school.

    He also said the tests are very good at identifying positive correlations, which is to say there are not “false positives.” If a child scores well, then he or she is capable. On the other hand, a lower score is not indicative that a child isn’t smart or won’t succeed in the program. Many factors can drive a score down, such as distraction, a need to go to the bathroom, hunger, fatigue, just “in a mood that day,” etc. He also said there is no discretion in the administration of the test. The proctors are all trained to ask the same questions and handle responses in the same way.

  • 993. NW side mom  |  April 3, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Levski: Regarding Beaubien RGC, I believe 10 or 11 kids from the class of 2014 left at the end of 6th grade to go to WYAC, LTAC, with 2 going to Lincoln. My child left at the end of 7th grade to go to Taft AC, and is now heading to Northside for high school. Since we live on the northwest side Payton was not an appealing option for us, and that may be the case for many families at Beaubien.

  • 994. newlyobsessed  |  April 3, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Ok, I am so late to the game here. Didn’t think I was obsessed, but now I clearly must be, because I read about half of the posts instead of working!! 🙂 You guys are all great, thanks for sharing!! To those that did not get in: Hang in there, and things will turn out well, one way or the other!

    Our son got into SN with a >99.9 R and 98 M. Clearly, he is not “gifted” since he only scored a 134 for RGC. Thank goodness I had a sense and put SN as #1. LOL.

    I think we’ll accept. Although until last year we always thought he’d simply attend our neighborhood school, he is currently in KG in a private school (they don’t have a cut off date, and his DOB is end of Oct) with small class sizes and an accelerated curriculum. But…

    I’ve head so many wonderful things about SN… I think he’ll still be challenged, and he can use the extra year to work on his social skills. I am sure some of you can relate! And, it’s free! Relief for the bank account!

    Questions about SN – after school program and homework… Any advice for those two topics? Is the after school program good? How much homework is there REALLY, and is there some magic trick the teachers use to get the kids to do it? We currently have about 10-15min homework every day. and it’s, let’s just call it as it is, torture. Especially the easy stuff (writing down words; easy math), the more complex (Crossword puzzles, experiments) get him more motivated. Not sure I can take this another 13 years. 😉

    Thanks y’all!

  • 995. Levski  |  April 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    NW Side MOM – the add on info you just shared so nice of you. Thanks. We just had the open house tour at Beaubien this morning, but your input is very valuable.

  • 996. klm  |  April 3, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    RE: Best time to test for “gifted”

    I’ve always heard 3rd grade, too, since that’s supposedly when one’s abilities are finally “ripe” and thus more accurate.

    However, after having done some research over the years (I have one ‘gifted’ kid and the rest ‘regular’) I’ve seen several times that 6 years, 0 months is considered an ideal age by many experts in true giftedness. By 3rd grade, some kids are already succumbing to the desire not to be “different.” Accordingly, they may not try to get a high score (this sadly seems to be the case with girls more than boys) and be “smart.”

    If one considers the true definition of giftedness (which usually means at least 2 standard deviations from the norm), then this can be measured at a younger age fairly accurately, accordingly to most experts.

    Gifted (as opposed to just plain ‘bright’) kids genuinely are a special class of students with specific needs. Signs can show up as early as 11 mos. Given that, testing the year before kindergarten is not such a silly idea, like many (including myself) may have thought.

    Now, I know the test given by a grad student at IIT may not considered a “good” one, but I don’t believe that the age is really a factor. If somebody’s really gifted, it’ll be evident even at the age of 4 or 5.

  • 997. det3mom  |  April 3, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    For those still keeping track, I heard this afternoon fellow parents at Skinner West discussing that the classical program only accepted one class for kindergarten. Up until now there have been two classical rooms (except for the now fifth grade with three). The neighborhood program has been growing with one class in fourth grade, two in third grade, two in second grade, two in first grade, three in kindergarten. My children are all at Skinner West, in both classical and neighborhood, and I do not have a horse in the race this year. However, this website shows the intense interest in selective enrollment seats and it seems to me that we need more seats overall not less. I hope these seats are available in another selective enrollment school and have not been eliminated. As others have noted, SW is trying to figure out what to do about space which obviously was going to come to a head sooner rather than later when the neighborhood program was added. The parents have been informed of various options under consideration since October/November but have not been informed of the chosen solution. In my opinion, the most balanced option was to move kindergarten to Little Skinner (about two blocks east) but now it looks like we may be heading on the path of South Loop. I hope the classical seats are restored, even if at a different location.

  • 998. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  April 3, 2014 at 5:44 pm


    I think the better question is: are the kids at RGC’s truly gifted or “just” bright? It seems to me that most fall in the latter category, although I’m super impressed by parents who report RGC scores of 160+. Those kids are probably little geniuses by any standard… especially if they also got classical scores of 99.9% in both reading and math. But absolute giftedness (like that in the movie, “Little Man Tate”) is pretty darn rare.

  • 999. OTdad  |  April 3, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    @994. newlyobsessed:
    Congratulations on your son’s admission to Skinner North.

    AFAIK, there are some after school club activities (free), after school programs run by Youth Guidance, and sports by the Park District. My DD attends 2 and seems to like them.

    Kindergarten has weekly math (must be finished daily) and reading assignments (reading a book and answering related questions about the book and vocabulary). The homework load is moderate. My DD often finishs math in 5minutes. The reading takes 1 or 2 hours during the weekend.

    This year, they have 4 quarterly projects: math project, science project, writing a book, the last is an open letter (not sure). Kids have to plan for those projects weeks ahead, finish the project, write a report, and present their projects in front of the whole class (& parents).

    The reading classes seem highly differentiated. Less so for the math, they are all doing 1st grade Everyday Math. Though my DD found math easy, she wasn’t bored because there are lots of math games in class. So far my DD’s 1st school year experience seems well balanced.

  • 1000. Norwood  |  April 3, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    I think the use of the term “gifted” is misleading. It’s all 100% learnable. I think these programs should be for everyone willing to put forth the effort. These programs take the best practices for gifted education, apply them to the kids, make the kids work hard, and guess what? The kids excel.

    I’ve done quite a bit of research too in the 3 last years (including reading the boring research papers of the test authors’ graduate students in the hopes of getting an edge – you think that someone would write a paper on what makes a good test question, but they don’t) and in every single study, when a child gets extra special attention, their test scores go up, and when the attention is removed, the test scores go back down. It’s not the kid, it’s the special attention that drives skills and abilities.

    I’m sure someone is going to mention a 6 sigma outlier as a counter argument for my position, but education policy in a city of 2 million people or an elementary school of 1000 kids is not driven by the outlier.

    They should change the term to RSAACTDAGJOEK’s, for Regional Slightly Above Average Center’s That Do A Great Job of Educating Kids. If it weren’t for the restraining order, I’d propose this to the OAE.

  • 1001. Frustrated60630  |  April 3, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    I love it, Norwood!!

  • 1002. singlemom  |  April 3, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    I would really caution against such a claim (100% learnable). It is probably a lot easier to say this when your child falls in the “gifted” category. I’m sure there are plenty of parents who give their children ample “attention,” but perhaps they do not have the knowledge or resources to direct their child’s learning in a way that results in the coveted 150-160 range. You make it sound like every child is made out of the same type of clay and if you simply take the time to mold it, you will get the same results. I’m sure you’re not really suggesting that, but when I read a statement like that, all I hear is the sound of you patting your privileged self on the back.

  • 1003. anonymouse teacher  |  April 3, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    @992, It is interesting that you bring up the “unit” approach where a class studies a concept and integrates all subject areas into that topic. This is an approach that consistently falls in and out of favor in education. Back in the early 90’s it was a huge fad. Then for about 15 years, not so much. It has recently come back with a bang. The thematic, integrated approach is good all around in early childhood and for second language learners, and often beyond, though like all things it isn’t the be all end all. We are using this approach more and more in my school. It is incredibly time consuming to prepare for because essentially, the teacher is creating and writing her own curriculum from scratch. But, I personally enjoy using it some of the time.

    @1000 When you say giftedness is 100% learnable do you intend to say that 100% of children, if given special attention, would be considered gifted or are you saying that 100% of giftedness arises out of being nurtured and given special attention? I am not sure I agree with either, but curious what you think.

  • 1004. cpsobsessed  |  April 3, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    @norwood, I don’t know if I’d ever call 31 kids in an RGC class “special attention.”

    I agree that special attention would certainly raise test scores (ie tutoring) but I don’t know that every kid in say, 4th grade, can work 2 grades ahead in every subject, even with special attention.

    However, I think about the asian immigrant approach that we”ve read about in NYC — so many high test scores…maybe we underestimate the “upside” of a lot of kids. The problem is, given cps funding many kids never get the chance to find out.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 1005. aa  |  April 3, 2014 at 10:57 pm


    Did not know cpsobsessed is so narrow-minded.

  • 1006. cpsobsessed  |  April 3, 2014 at 10:59 pm


  • 1007. Norwood  |  April 4, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Every kid is made out of the same clay. That’s exactly what I am saying. I wish I would have thought of that myself.

    Every kid could get 150-160, but most parents don’t want that because studies show that at the 120 mark, a kid is poised for life and career success. Getting to 140 was challenging enough, but I limit “special attention” to about 15 minutes a day. Above that things get very “special”. Maybe for law school (yuk) or medical school (yuk) you have to do more.

    To get to your educational goals for your child, you simply have to
    1. Do the right things
    2. In the right way
    3. At the right level for your child

    I’m patting myself on the back because I believe this 100%. More pats. Because I believe it.

    I spent many hours trying to figure out 1 through 3 above and I didn’t give up even though it was very frustrating for a long time. Tiger parents may stumble on #1 and blow #2 completely, but at least they’re not confused about the potential of their child.

    @anonymous teacher – I consider this all my job, and am very pleased when the teacher can get this work done in a class of 31 kids. I don’t expect miracles in the classroom, but any help is greatly appreciated and teachers are my heros. In the RGC’s, we’ve got challenging curriculum on par with international standards (not the embarrassing low US standards), lots of projects and presentations. I can do the rest.

    @cpsobsessed – When I say special attention – I’m referring to 1 through 3, but that would be a pretty long discussion to suss things out fully.

    @cpsobsessed – if we were going to have a forum on “Test Prep”, I would be more than happy to go, but it would have to be in a bar, and it would have to start with a brief discussion on why kids are all the same clay.

  • 1008. Madeline  |  April 4, 2014 at 9:47 am

    @Norwood. How Aristotelian of you! If the genetic material is not the same, how can the “clay” possibly be the same? Are you familiar with twin studies (someone as research-prone as you must be) where twins have been separated at birth and reared in vastly different environments yet end up demonstrating partially identical personalities in ways that only nature could provide (since nurture was clearly not the cause)? You cannot possibly be saying that Einstein could have developed out of any single human being on the planet given the same environment. I have to think you are being provocative for fun.

  • 1009. Madeline  |  April 4, 2014 at 10:02 am

    By the way, I do not discount that environment is vastly important to development, but to deny DNA any say in the game cannot be logical.

  • 1010. 60660  |  April 4, 2014 at 10:10 am

    It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

    Albert Einstein

    Intelligence is malleable. I suggest checking out the work of Jo Boaler on developing a growth mindset in your students.

  • 1011. Madeline  |  April 4, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Of course intelligence is malleable. There is a big difference between saying intelligence is malleable and that children are all made of exactly the same clay… a blank slate.

  • 1012. cpsobsessed  |  April 4, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Well if this is true, his credence as a quote source doesn’t matter as much, because he’s just a regular-Joe and not “Albert Einstein, smartest man in the world.” 🙂

    “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

    Albert Einstein

    If that is true, we’re seriously under-utiliziing our brains, as humans, since thinking like his doesn’t come around too often.

    I read a kid-oriented biography with my son about him and granted, he did devote his life to learning, above all else, even family. I am currently reading a graphic novel about Margaret Sanger (the big educator and advocate of contraception information for women 100 years ago) and she too, put her mission above all else, even her kids. Susan B Anthony was the same – she didn’t even commit to having a family to devote herself to her goal. There is something to be said for that.

    I still think there is a bell curve of innate intelligence of humans. Just like ear lobe size, height, etc runs the gamut, it seems unlikely that 100% of brains are the same. Shall we start another thread on this topic? Interesting stuff…

  • 1013. Chris  |  April 4, 2014 at 10:26 am

    “Intelligence is malleable”

    Of course it is. Madeline is in *no way* disputing that. There is no doubt that every kid, with Norwood’s 1 to 3, could improve their scores, and that any given kid who is “inately” “gifted” could see much lower scores with the inverse of 1 to 3.

    BUT: Norwood sez: “Every kid could get 150-160”

    ok, so, Norwood, you could take a low-functioning Downs kid and get her to score over 150? Or did you mean “every ‘normal’ [whatever that means] kid”? If *not* the former, then Madeline’s point is made.

  • 1014. Bell RGC  |  April 4, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Albert Einstein refers to qualities that are not necessarily teachable IMO: tenacity, motivation & work ethic. However, an individual that possesses those qualities is capable of achieving great things…whether or not CPS deems them ‘gifted’:)

  • 1015. H  |  April 4, 2014 at 10:54 am

    “I think the better question is: are the kids at RGC’s truly gifted or “just” bright?”

    Vast majority are just bright. Maybe 1-2 in a given class that is somewhere in neighborhood of truly gifted (and even those are probably mostly just very very bright and in need of very accelerated teaching as opposed to truly gifted).

    “BUT: Norwood sez: “Every kid could get 150-160″”

    We know, by assumption, the tests have mean 100 and SD of whatever, no matter the population taking it. So this can’t be true.

  • 1016. ChicagoMomofBoys  |  April 4, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I’m enjoying this nature vs. nurture discussion and would love to see it as a separate thread! Norwood, I’ll offer up my 6-year-old as your “test subject” to see if you and your methods can significantly improve his RGC score for next year. He’ll be testing for 2nd and performed fairly disappointingly on the K and 1st gifted tests. (His classical scores were more on par with my expectations.) However, he does possess the qualities identified by Einstein. 15 minutes a day… count me in!

  • 1017. LearningCPS  |  April 4, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Interesting discussion! I’ve been doing a lot of reading this year about parenting “gifted” kids in my ongoing quest to figure out how to parent my child with us hating each other 🙂 I truly hate the term gifted, but I like they way it is defined and described in what I’m reading and does portray an eerily accurate picture of my child. Gifted doesn’t always just mean intellectual skills, but other things such as emotional and psychomotor and all those aspects play into how well a “gifted” kids interacts with peers and teachers and also how learning environments can positively or negatively impact them. The so-called smartest kid in the class may still do poorly in an otherwise great school because the school doesn’t know how to work with their emotional giftedness, etc. I think the CPS tests, SEES and RGC’s lean almost exclusively on identifying and nurturing the intellectual side of the coin which won’t work for every child – even those who test into those schools.

    All schools and students could probably benefit from some or all of the learning practices employed at RGC, SEES, charter or private schools doing different things with their learning approach or accelerated pacing. That doesn’t mean, however, that every child being taught that with those methods can end up at the same place in the end. Environment and special attention can help a kid who might not otherwise achieve at high level do so, but even in the best schools there are kids who excel further and faster than others without an extra attention or support to do so.

  • 1018. walker  |  April 4, 2014 at 11:29 am

    A few thoughts about Einstein. Looking at what he did in Quantum Physics, I would say the main quality he had is “thinking out of the box”. There were quite a few scientists who got close but Einstein was the one who instead of “repairing” an old framework, suggested a revolutionary one. All other qualities are good to have but I don’t think they are the key ones.

  • 1019. Madeline  |  April 4, 2014 at 11:34 am

    The word “gifted” seems a bit like hyperbole when used as frequently as it is…. much like the word “genius” in current society is extremely overused. People today seem to say “genius” when they really mean “very intelligent.” This is a pet-peeve of mine because I hate when strong words lose their pith due to overuse/misuse.
    I love nature vs nurture studies and arguments. I am firmly a believer in the substantial influence of both. I don’t think there is a credible scientist around who could disprove the validity of either.

    As far as CPS is concerned, I don’t think they claim that low or average scores = low or average potential. From what other people have posted above after talking with IIT, the test-givers freely admit there could be a high rate of false negatives due to any numbed of uncontrollable factors. Since IIT is confident that the positives are true and reliable, however, they know that the test works to find children ready for the faster-paced curriculum. so their goal is achieved

    It is unfortunate there are not more accelerated school spots available and more ways to eliminate false negatives in the test for their admission.

  • 1020. Madeline  |  April 4, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Einstein rocks(rocked)! Loving all the comments I did not know I would elicit by my reference.

  • 1021. Norwood  |  April 4, 2014 at 11:56 am

    I don’t know who to reply to first. This is “the” (pronounced thee) question for us parents and for all teachers. If you believe your kid has limits, the game is over.

    The Bell Curve book from the 80’s produced by a branch of psychology called psychometrics caused a lot of controversy, but it also caused more careful researchers from MIT, Harvard and elsewhere to debunk the myth of genetics and intelligence. The twin studies turn out to be patently invalid and can be discarded. On my blog (which gets less hits in a year than this blog does in a day) I do a lousy job of summarizing this research but at least cite the right authors.

    Until women entered the field in larger numbers, researchers just sat in their offices reading test scores from army recruits and jumping to wild a__ conclusions without sitting down with parents and watching them interact with their little kids. When new (women) researchers did their work for the first time, they saw overpowering correlations between what the kids did on a daily basis and how smart they ended up. Even the outliers. I didn’t study developmentally challenged kids, so I can’t comment on that.

    Every kid can get a 150 or 160 on these tests. The tests were normalized to the US population around 2002. I expect the average kid today to get above 100 today if the education system is making improvements.

    @ChicagoMomofBoys – feel free to contact me via my blog. One parent already did, but I think I scared him away because my approach looks a lot like a Fortune 500 strategic consulting gig. Nonetheless, you won’t be charged. For the rest of you, I’ll do my best just to lay it out in writing ala Suzie Orman. It’s pretty darn obvious to me now, but it wasn’t 3 years ago when my first son accidentally got accepted to an RGC.

    I also studied Albert Einstein. In my opinion, he was a math dummy who didn’t give up until he got his act together. Good for him.

  • 1022. Frustrated60630  |  April 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    @Norwood I’m on my phone and it’s a pain to find past posts- can you direct me to your blog?

  • 1023. jokatz2  |  April 4, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    @chicagomom-what is your blog? I’d love to follow.

  • 1024. Madeline  |  April 4, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    I admire your conviction, Norwood. I suppose the only downside with your belief system would be when a parent who believes as you do comes up against a biological limit. Such a parent could be induced (by believing there are no biological limits) to torturing a child who just won’t perform as highly as the parent wants (because maybe they just can’t, but the parent who does not believe in limits won’t recognize that). This doesn’t mean a healthy daily push is not wonderful and intelligence-growing. But saying there are truly no biological limits to what the brain can do is very odd. It smacks of an almost religious conviction. A leap of faith, if you will. Now I do not say that is “bad” if it works to achieve the result you desire, much like religion can lead to inner peace or inner turmoil depending on what direction the “leap” happens. Do you also think we can achieve immortality if we believe we can? I say this knowing that science is quickly unlocking that regrettable key.

  • 1025. Madeline  |  April 4, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Sorry, cpsobsessed. I know you suggested we begin a new thread.

  • 1026. Norwood  |  April 4, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    I think it’s rude to advertise my crummy blog on a real blog like this one, but if cpsobsessed.com doesn’t mind the faux pas, its getyourchildintogat.blogspot.com. I went a whole year without a single visitor and just used it as my personal journal, then people started to read it and I became a bit nervous about my project. Now that I’m done with my kids, I’m backfilling my findings. If you look on the pages column on the right, you’ll see my free online book that is half finished and barely edited. Chapter 1 – IQ is not fixed should be apropo. I just began Chapter 6 – How To Create A Gifted Test Taker, which should hopefully be finished by the beginning of test prep season at the end of the summer.

  • 1027. Frustrated60630  |  April 4, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks Norwood!

  • 1028. OTdad  |  April 4, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    @1010. 60660:
    “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

    Albert Einstein

    That’s an excellent quote! The debate about what RGC scores really mean will never be resolved if we don’t know what’s on the test.

    There seems a strong correlation between longer testing time and higher scores. Is that possible that “it’s not that the kid is so smart, it’s just that s/he stay with problems longer”?

    Some may argue that if the kid is more advanced, s/he will be asked more questions. Yes, that’s probably true to math and reading tests (which are probably similar to MAP test), RGC test should have fixed number of questions. We do know that all 3 tests can be finished in 15 minutes and with high math and reading scores, so there can only be that many number of questions to answer.

    Anecdotally: The slower the pace, the higher the scores. It’s actually not a surprise: in an untimed test, the longer a kid spent on a question, the more likely s/he will get it right. A kid who quickly point to an answer probably won’t score as high as a slower kid. The questions are not exactly hard even for a regular 4/5 year old. It’s likely the score differences are mostly determined by mistakes.

    @998. ChicagoMomofBoys:
    “are the kids at RGC’s truly gifted or “just” bright?” No way to tell. Unless CPS uses timed, longer, harder tests like NYC’s (OLSAT and NNAT), it’s still anyone’s guess what those scores mean. I would say that the kids in SEES (RGC or classical) are most likely “above average” or “just bright” than anything else. Parents with kids at both RGC/classical and neighborhood schools probably can tell us more.

  • 1029. Chris  |  April 4, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Norwood: “I didn’t study developmentally challenged kids, so I can’t comment on that. … Every kid can get a 150 or 160 on these tests.”

    I *still* see this as inconsistent. And you are just eliding the inconsistency. It’s not “every kid” if you exclude the “developmentally challenged”.

  • 1030. jlp  |  April 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    “I’ve become remarkably pithy since Al Gore invented the internet.”
    – Albert Einstein
    (Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Talk:Albert_Einstein )

    @Madeline: Thanks for your comments and inquiring after us! Despite the fact that I’ve likely outed myself already (simply by saying we don’t live in the city) I’ve suddenly realized I put my son’s test scores out there, and have therefore become shy on his behalf. So forgive me if I don’t respond directly to your question. But if you check this post carefully, with persistence, I am sure you can discover the answer.

  • 1031. jlp  |  April 4, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    (To be fair, I am a believer in the growth mindset, within limits. I would suggest that our biology determines a range of potential levels of ability, and that range may be quite large. However, I have also worked with the developmentally disabled, and I think it is patently false (and painfully unfair to suggest) that all children are of the same clay.)

  • 1032. cpsobsessed  |  April 4, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    @Norwood, any interest in writing up a guest post, and I can post it with your blog info? Then we can continue the discussion in the new thread?

  • 1033. Chris  |  April 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    “I think it is patently false (and painfully unfair to suggest) that all children are of the same clay.”

    To suggest that any child who can’t achieve a 99%-ile score–with only a modicum of dedication to it!!–on a (modified) IQ test is developmentally challenged is also painfully unfair.

  • 1034. Madeline  |  April 4, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Chris, I’m confused. Who suggested that? I did not get that at all from jlp’s comment.

    @jlp, I totally understand your shyness after revealing so much.

  • 1035. Annoyed  |  April 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm


  • 1036. Chris  |  April 4, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    “Chris, I’m confused. Who suggested that? ”

    Norwood. Repeatedly.

    [paraphrasing, of course] “EVERY child can score 150+ (ie, 99.9%ile). Oh, but I don’t know anything about the ‘developmentally challenged’. But I remain *absolutely certain* that EVERY child can score 150+, if the parents don’t mess up. And it isn’t even that hard.” [/paraphrasing, of course]

    Sincere apologies to the extent that I wasn’t clear. I felt I was amplifying, and expanding on, jlp’s point.

  • 1037. klm  |  April 4, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    For what it’s worth, my gifted kid and many in the same class at his/her RGC have been tested at the Center for Talent Development at Northwetsern. The conclusion? Yes, indeed, they really ARE gifted, not just bright.

    I have several kids (both homemade and adopted) ranging from gifted to bright to just plain “normal.” Now, I understand that my anecdotal observations are in no way scientific, but the gifted one really is different. When I read up on all this stuff, the descriptions (sensitive, great memory, great at puzzles meant for kids much older, strong sense of justice, probing questions that never seem to be aswered well enough, …..etc.) were apt for my gifted kid.

    People can complain that CPS’s test is flawed, sure. However, genuine “giftedness” cannot be created in a child. Can one improve their intelligence, ability to think critically, etc.? Yes, of course.

    I think “gifted” is such a loaded term. People think it’s about vainglorious parent boasting, people wanting something “better” for their kids, an unfair extra advantage in school, etc.

    The fact is, though, real “gifted” kids (not just ones that are well prepared for achievement tests) really are hard-wired differently. Technically, gifted education is part of Special Education per what I’ve read in an education grad school’s curriculum, since gifted kids are among the approx. 5% whose educational needs cannot be met in a regular classroom. Yhey are a special needs population that require a differentiated curriculum.


    I’m not sure why you’re so hard on American education standards. Yes, we have a horrible achievement gap between non-Asian minorities and white and Asian kids. Yes, we need to improve out math instruction. Yes, there are some mediocre schools that are run poorly. There are schools that I’d never want for my kids.

    However, having lived abroad, having hosted an exchange West European teacher (we spent many hours discussing the differences b/t out 2 countries, she had some good things to say about American education) from a country with a “good” reputation education-wise, having European teen relatives (through marriage) that came to the U.S. for (public) high school and found it challenging and generally excellent (even better than at home, in one case) , etc., I’m not sure why you think our kids are 2 years behind kids in France, Sweden, or wherever. They’re not.

    White American kids do as well or better than their white non-immigrant European counterparts (depending on which country, obvioulsy not Finland, though, but yes for Denmark or Sweden, for example) from results of international exams like PISA or TIMMS.

    Asian-American kids do about as well as kids in Asia.

    Where we have a huge problem is the achievement gap (black kids are 4 years behind their white peers by 12th grade, for example).

    We have room for improvement, but our standards are not a joke, compared to most other rich, indistrialised countries.

  • 1038. Teasdad  |  April 4, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    With all this lower SEES numbers for 1st grade, what is lowest accepted score for RGC so far?

  • 1039. Norwood  |  April 4, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    I’d be more than happy to get the ball rolling with something short and honest. As long as I don’t have to take my mask off. Will send it to you in a few days.

  • 1040. Bronzevillemom  |  April 4, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Tier 1 RGC Score 138 for Pritzker. Went on tour today, accepted on the spot.

  • 1041. Madeline  |  April 4, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    Chris, thanks for the clarification. I’m looking forward to the new thread. Sorry to have outworn our welcome here.

  • 1042. Skinner West rumors  |  April 4, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    @ 997. det3mom- I’m not sure the one SE class gossip at Skinner West is accurate. They said k would be walking for math and reading in the open house, which implies multiple classrooms.

  • 1043. northsider  |  April 4, 2014 at 10:10 pm


    from what I know…

    bell rgc offers algebra course for 7th grade and 8th grade, also offers 8th grade geometry.

    beaubien rgc offers algebra for 7th and 8th, also offers 8th geometry/algebra 2

    edison rgc offers algebra for 7th and 8th, offers geometry for 8th

    keller rgc offers algebra for 7th and 8th, offers geometry for 8th.

    most schools that offer algebra in cps have a teacher that has gone through a certification program — through the university of chicago or uic or depaul — which gives the students a chance to place out of algebra once they complete a year and pass the end of year exam. this may be offered through a similar parcc exam in coming years for both algebra and geometry.

    after that point, the offerings for students who are ready to move beyond geometry by 8th grade — there are always a few — depend on the varied math backgrounds of the teachers in the school, and the level of differentiated instruction they are able to provide.

    side note: there are also area math competitions that happen throughout the year that these students can participate in. it is something to see an entire lecture room at uic packed on a saturday morning with students competing through tough math problems. Observing this kind of fluency with math at (link below) just the chicago level of the mathcounts competition has been a hopeful thing for this humble educator about the state of education in our city:

    @ the general conversation about gifted and truly gifted.

    as a teacher in a gifted school, i’ll start by saying that, in every classroom of gifted kids there is, as each of you will already know, a bell curve of intelligence and giftedness. students tend to test in for a kind of reading and math-related, problem-solving, giftedness (as opposed to, say, musical or athletic). over the years, naturally, gaps in different subjects can amplify after that first exam before kindergarten, and it is a constant work in progress for the staff and families to support the students, both to bridge the gaps and to maximize the upper end of various subjects.

    every once in a while, you do see a best of the best in a gifted school — kids who seem to see more clearly and farther — a kindergartener who, without a unit on odd and even numbers, has already noticed that “odd plus odd always equals even” or a subversive third grader with triple the energy for clever humor and awareness of things, a sixth grader who comes to school and says that she obsessed over a pattern problem for three hours, an eighth grader who will stream out beautifully crafted, highly original stories. these kids especially shine in their favorite subjects, and need just as good, challenging teachers. Sometimes (never always) these teachers are found in gifted schools; others in neighborhood schools, others in high schools, others through outside tutors. others in the home, with you, the parents.

    in terms of gifted curriculum, i don’t know that any school will perfectly provide a gifted curriculum. not sure what most people consider this (the ideal gifted curriculum) to be. in many ways, the tasks that are asked of all students in cps and in all schools, even, say, the old science fair or history fair (and other potentially good projects in themselves) are inherently differentiated to allow for all students –gifted included –to investigate and be curious and be creative to the best they can — consider the science and history fairs at the highest levels, and the level of learning that can happen if structured correctly! the best tasks that are tailored to a gifted classrooms will also often be found in the classroom of any excellent teacher, who is structuring for problem-solving ability, real-world application, learning talents and styles, reaching all of bloom’s taxonomy up to creativity.

    personal opinion: in the most ideal world (!) we should only need quality neighborhood schools in every neighborhood, where the highest and lowers needs are all met, and a sense of geographical community is maintained. the name harvard (with its own share of terrible lecturers!) does not guarantee a better education than what is possible at great state schools like the u of i, whether on average or at the upper ends. i would prefer my child to be blind about the prestige and name brand associated with the school, from elementary school (god forbid that one day elementary and high school names are dropped on resumes), and rather focus on what he or she can do, in the end, and THEN think (especially grad school) about where the best teachers are to grow with, whether that engineering professor at the U of I or the econ at U of C.

    that said, in our less than ideal world, from what i’ve seen, it does make a huge difference in every child’s learning in a gifted classroom to have peers that are tested as gifted. it makes a difference in their conversation and humor, their shared hobbies, the expectations they feel, etc. these do inevitably compound through nine years together.

    but here one needs to qualify and sort out the differences between gifted schools, great neighborhood schools, and terrible schools, because, as discussed multiple times on this forum, the gifted schools end up looking a lot like the great neighborhood schools (and classical schools and academic centers). Both, for instance, have cultures that unquestioningly avoid gang or drug culture. I attended a not-so-good neighborhood school in the cps system, where the most visible and powerful student culture in the classroom was definitely not one of success and inquisitiveness. but the culture of the best schools in our city, whether gifted or neighborhood, are the most culturally accepting — socially and intellectually great kids — than the best private or suburban schools (even the universities) of the state.

    one last bit of ideal thinking. For me, if a school had enough funding, though no public school does, one thing i think would be ideal for a well-tailored education is creating small groups based on interest level and skill — and not only within grade level. A group of gifted students in math, for instance, will very quickly grasp a chapter’s concepts and need to move on, at similar speeds, to larger project-based activities that are authentic, take real ingenuity and persistence and extensive planning by the teacher. in a full class of middle schoolers, though, where social dynamics and distractions are mixed in, this highly productive, persistent small group culture is very difficult to create and authentically differentiate for, and instruction often ends up looking like any other school’s — teach concepts to a whole class, practice, repeat, and give different problems for students who finish early (or give them other resources online to study); cycle in projects or bring in a real-world problem that everyone can participate in for a short time. i don’t know how some teachers plan for and grade six different subjects to six different classes. Putting aside all union talk, in the best schools of the world, a middle school teacher might prepare for, at most, two different courses (though for multiple classes, but with multiple preps built into the day — and these are highly structured for professional mentoring, observation, and development.)

    thank you for this forum and this first opportunity to articulate my thoughts here

  • 1044. karet  |  April 4, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    I have to admit, I chuckle every time someone on this blog suggests that getting into the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern is “evidence” that their kid is “gifted.” I remember mentioning it to my pediatrician when my kid was in preschool, when I was looking into enrichment activities. He laughed and said: “CTD is just a bunch of smart, suburban kids. My kids were both in that program. They aren’t gifted. They enjoyed it. That program took a LOT of our money though!” (He lives in Evanston. I’ve always appreciated his honesty).

  • 1045. OhBoyCPS  |  April 4, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    @Skinner West rumors – As an involved neighborhood Skinner West parent, I have not heard if they are reducing down to 1 Classical class from 2 or not. (but it may explain why we have so many 99 percentile scoring kids who did not get offers) What I can tell you is that I attended the Local School Counsel board meeting in October and can forward you the minutes. Because of over crowding (3rd grade classroom in the library, other classrooms in temporary landings, etc) they were deciding between moving all 5 kindergarten classes (3 neighborhood and 2 classical) to the Little Skinner preschool building that month or wait until next school. They decided to wait until next school year. They mentioned bussing the kids back and forth for lunch, gym, etc. All of the details remain to be seen. The kindergarten classes already switch classrooms for math and reading.

    They are anticipating 4 neighborhood kindergarten classes next year. That would mean 6 kindergarten classes total. The school was originally planned for 2 classical and 1 neighborhood of each grade. You do the math. We’re bursting at the seems. Moving the kindergarten to the Little Skinner building will only temporarily solve the space issue. The neighborhood will not stop building high density condos on every empty piece of land.

    I don’t know what the right answer is but none of what I have written is rumor. It was all discussed at the LSC meeting this past fall.

  • 1046. Helen  |  April 4, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Does anybody know how many kids will be in a gifted class in 4th grade in Bell? I wonder if anybody is leaving Bell next year or will be rejecting offer for 4 th grade? Trying to understand chances of my daughter to be accepted in the second round.

  • 1047. Levski  |  April 5, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Helen – what is your DD score?

  • 1048. Helen  |  April 5, 2014 at 7:14 am


  • 1049. klm  |  April 5, 2014 at 7:54 am


    I agree with you. Not all kids that participate in CTD are “gifted.”

    However, some are. They really are. We did all the testing and my kid was genuinely gifted, not just a pampered, well prepared, upper-middle class kid with parents that went to prestige grad schools and that treat their children as “projects” to create maximum potential (the sterotypical North Shore-type experience –there are lots of those in Lincoln Park, too). We were prompted by a pediatrician friend, not some personal desire to label one of our kids “gifted.” I don’t know any parents with gifted kids that pontificate about it. I know some annoying people that won’t shut up about every little thing their son/daughter does as though it’s the greatest thing ever in the history of child development –these are the annoying people that would LOVE to tell people that their kid is “gifted,” goes to Amherst, etc. This is the parental equivalent of somebody that can’t wait to let you know they drive a Mercedes –of course no person with any real money would never be so crass or talk about something so petty. Same for people with really bright or gifted kids, in my experience. Most people know that the rest of the world doesn’t want to hear all about how smart/gifted/wonderful/talented their kid is.

    On some level, yes, some “gifted” programs are a joke in that they let in anyjust plain “bright” kid for enrichment classes (probably 15-20%+ of the kids in Winnetka would qualify). Accordingly, not all participants are truly “gifted,”

    On the other hand, there are kids that really are gifted and having the experience of being around peers with similar interests and abilities (be they gifted or just plain bright ones) is something valuable. Yes, CTD costs money, but what summer camp-type experience doesn’t? We spend more money on tennis camp, art camp. cooking camp, ….etc., than CTD.

  • 1050. Question  |  April 5, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Albert Einstein had a sister. He also had 3 children. None of them accomplished any thing as noteworthy. Same genetics. Same environment.

  • 1051. 2kids2schools  |  April 5, 2014 at 9:38 am

    My son was offered at spot at NTA for K. We went on the tour and it is amazing, but very far from our home. If we decline, could we possibly get a second round offer from Pritzker? We ranked NTA above Pritzker. Tier 4 – RGC 143.

    Thank you!

  • 1052. walker  |  April 5, 2014 at 9:47 am

    @klm How do you know that your kid is “genuinely gifted” and others are just “bright”? CDT doesn’t allow parents to be present in classrooms or you just heard from your kid something like “I did it faster than the kid next to me”? Just curious.

    I LOVE to hear when other parents talk about their kids, to see how involved, supportive, and proud they are, and to learn something new. But I should admit that I don’t really like when somebody says “my kid is genuinely gifted and others are just plain bright” without even wiliness to hear about those others…

  • 1053. Wanderer  |  April 5, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Northsider – I really enjoyed reading your post! One question: what would you advise to a parent who has a 6 year old child asking about infinity? For example, out of blue during a meal, she would ask “what is infinity minus infinity equal to” – would the answer be zero or not? She then followed questions like is all infinity equal to each other etc..? Thanks in advance…

    1050. Have you read about Albert Einstein’s first wife, Mileva? Many believe she played quite a role in Einstein’s accomplishments.

    Walker – 🙂

  • 1054. Pritzker Mom  |  April 5, 2014 at 10:38 am

    @Wanderer (1053)

    Our approach with our kids has been to given them the correct answers to their questions – no matter how scientific/technical/obscure that might be and to try to answer as many follow on questions as you are able. And to try to avoid dumbing it down to the point where it’s no longer correct. It’s amazing how much they can understand.

    The internet is your friend.

    In answer to your math question:

    infinity – infinity is indeterminate. Think of it this way:

    start with a infinite number line of whole numbers

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ……….(to infinity)

    if you have infinity – 1 you can take away the first number and have infinity:

    2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ……….(to infinity)

    and you can keep doing this for any number. So,

    infinity – = infinity

    However, you can’t really do this with infinity, because you’d never finish the first step, taking away infinite numbers.

    Vi Hart on YouTube or Khan academy probably have videos that explain this better.

  • 1055. Madeline  |  April 5, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Sorry. I really am planning to stop and wait for the new thread but @1050 begged a quick response.

    “Albert Einstein had a sister. He also had 3 children. None of them accomplished any thing as noteworthy. Same genetics. Same environment.”

    Genes are incredibly complex. There are over 64 trillion genetic combinations that one couple can reproduce. Parents/children and siblings do not remotely have the “same” genes unless they are 100% identical twins (Nor do any two people have exactly the same environment even if they live together, for that matter). Only when you have identical twins can you isolate the impact environment has on things like personality and intelligence, which it most certainly impacts.

  • 1056. Madeline  |  April 5, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Northsider, I also really enjoyed your post. It’s wonderful to hear from teachers. Thanks for taking the time!

  • 1057. anonymouse teacher  |  April 5, 2014 at 11:16 am

    I teach at CTD part time (its a joy to do so!). I teach at the early childhood level there just like I do in CPS full time. So I get to really see the full spectrum of kids who are already years behind as kindergarteners, to typical developing kids, bright kids, all the way to gifted and profoundly gifted. (btw, I’ve seen all these in my normal neighborhood school)

    I will say that I believe its hard for one test to measure a child’s level, whether gifted or not. I see my CTD students a few hours on a Saturday for 8 weeks or for a week in the summer. I’ve had kids who hardly say a word at all the entire time they are with me. So, yeah, its hard to tell. Just like most people criticize the major decisions that happen based on the ISAT or the SEHS test or other things, I think a portfolio approach is more accurate. Teacher recommendations, test scores, grades, samples of work, running records, etc–looking at ALL of these is terribly important. But the reality is, even at CTD, there isn’t time or personnel to look at such a big picture. And I agree with the poster who said that so many gifted programs in the nation only measure whether a child is gifted in academic areas. Giftedness is so much bigger than that.

    But, I’ve also seen (both in CTD and my no-name neighborhood school) kids who can do things so far beyond typical its obvious to everyone they are profoundly gifted. In my opinion, a child reading 1-2 years above grade level is not gifted–that is completely within the spectrum of “normal” (again, just my opinion). Kids who enter kindergarten reading at a second grade level gifted? No way. Those kids can and should EASILY be accommodated in the regular education classroom. (unfortunately, they often are not) But the kid who reads at a post high school level in 3rd grade? The 4 year old who can do high school algebra? The kindergartener who draws a map of the world, to scale, from memory, correctly labeling and spelling each and every country and can tell you a ton about each one of those places? That is gifted. Not easily accommodated in the regular ed classroom. The above examples are from CTD students’ I’ve taught, kids in my CPS classroom and one of my own children. Btw, the kid who can draw the earth’s countries from memory? He bombed the CPS gifted test.

  • 1058. frustrated60630  |  April 5, 2014 at 11:57 am

    @anonymouse teacher:

    Love what you just said. I agree so much with everything you said. Your descriptions fit my son, who, although didn’t bomb the test also isn’t an extreme high scorer. I feel so blessed this year, that he has a teacher that works very hard to accommodate him and we have built a beautiful bridge to connect home and school. We work together, and so we have made the work fit his needs as much as we can for the school realm. She also makes time to engage him and let him discuss and analyze subjects with her. I don’t even know how she manages to do it with 31 other kids in her class! I just asked her if she could just move up a year so we could have the same experience! I know teachers have a lot on their plate. So I guess in a way your post is validating…. if that makes any sense lol

  • 1059. karet  |  April 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    @1049, I didn’t mean to suggest that CTD is a joke (your word!). Actually, I’ve heard great things about it from many people. No doubt, there are some gifted kids in the program.

    As for the cost: many families (including ours) do not spend that kind of money on any class or summer camp for their kids. What concerns me is that some people who can’t really afford the program may feel not just encouraged but pressured into enrolling, as if they’ve somehow cheated their child, stifled their development, etc., if they pass up the opportunity. There are many ways to stimulate your child. You don’t have to take out a second mortgage on your house to do it!

  • 1060. reenie  |  April 5, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Looking forward to the new thread. Can’t help adding this tidbit to the nature/nurture discussion. I have a neighbor who is significantly cognitively challenged–he was lead-exposed very young. Though he certainly wouldn’t score a 150-160 on an IQ test, he successfully graduated from one of the Noble Network high schools, who are not known for cutting slack on academic requirements (or behavior, which has gotten a lot of press attention). The special ed case manager told me that there were students in his class with greater cognitive ability who didn’t make it to the diploma. How did he do it? His parents–who were not tiger parents but who never babied him and always made sure he was doing what he was supposed to do.

    I’ll give myself a little credit here for helping him with his homework through elementary school and helping him get his notebooks organized in the early days of freshman year. But I’ll never forget the time I was getting frustrated with him on a math homework assignment and I finally just gave him one answer–his mother was there and she was not happy I didn’t have the patience to let him work it out for himself. She was right. And just for the sociology of it let’s add that I’m the one with the fancy graduate degree and she’s the one with less than a high school diploma.

    So I get there’s a lot of room to work with whatever you’ve got, whether the clay is all the same or whether it’s different by nature or even by early negative environmental exposure. But are there limits on how much room? I’m inclined to think the sky is not the limit in all cases, but there’s a lot more room to grow than has often been assumed.

  • 1061. klm  |  April 5, 2014 at 5:06 pm


    I can only speak from my own experience, but here it goes….

    My gifted kid’s been examined be pediatric psychiatrists and psychologists (like lots of ‘gifted’ kids, there are issues with anxiety –very common within that demographic, apparently). The behavior was exceptional early on: an almost creepy ability to memorize even as a toddler, the ability to remember directions/mental mapping, logic ability, asking profound questions beyond way beyond chronological age, very early reading, ability to do puzzles/legos meant for 16+ while in pre-school, sensitivity to sound, crazy high test scores for age (high Explore [a test meant for 8th graders] results in 3rd grade, lexile scores at 12th grade level in 3rd grade), …..

    BTW, I have bright kids (ones that are reading 2 grades above, high ISATs, etc.).

    There is a difference.

    I used to be a person that thought that “gifted” was code for “bright” and thought it unfair when used at schools to provide extras that other kids weren’t allowed to have (extra trips, activities, etc.). That’s because these programs were actually “advanced” NOT really “gifted.” I knew people whose kids were in “gifted” programs, but then went on to regular colleges, got regular jobs, etc., which always made me wonder if those kids were really even gifted in the first place. Mostly, I think they were “bright,” early readers, etc., NOT gifted. They also are the kinds of programs that make people that resent “gifted education,” since they create resentment and an almost class-like divide in a school. That is NOT gifted education in the true sense and it’s wrong to differentiate inb a way that divides a school.

    “Fair” does not meant everybody gets the same education. Fair means that everybody gets the education that meets their needs. Genuinely gifted kids have special needs, not just “wants” for extra “gimmes” meant to placate vain parents that believe their bright kid is the next Einstein (which is what may have happened in the past at some schools). Genuinely gifted kids will suffer, just like kids at the other end of the spectrum, if their educational needs are not met. That’s not just my opinion, it’s what experts say.

    The idea that one can “teach” a regular kid to be gifted is silly.

  • 1062. H  |  April 5, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    “But the kid who reads at a post high school level in 3rd grade? The 4 year old who can do high school algebra? The kindergartener who draws a map of the world, to scale, from memory, correctly labeling and spelling each and every country and can tell you a ton about each one of those places? That is gifted.”

    What proportion of CTD or RGC kids fit that description, or similar? For RGC, I’d say it’s 5 percent at most (of the kids who make it to RGC), and probably well less than that. I don’t have direct experience with CTD, but I find it hard to believe it’s a very high proportion, because I know a number of kids in CTD and none of them are like that.

  • 1063. import only  |  April 5, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Right away I am going away to do my breakfast, once
    having my breakfast coming yet again to read other news.

  • 1064. Hmmm...  |  April 5, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    At the risk of ticking off someone, I must say: There used to be a kid in my daughter’s pre-school class who had a developmental disorder. He definitely was not a “normal” kid. However, when it came to certain subjects, he communicated or performed like a genius. In other areas, he was below average. Since he could sometimes perform like a genius, was he gifted or just wired differently than the “normal” human being?

  • 1065. cpsobsessed  |  April 5, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    I think that points to “intelligence” being very complex.

    I started a new thread on the topic if people want to continue over there…

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 1066. Hmmm...  |  April 5, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Perhaps some people have gifts and are not necessarily gifted.

  • 1067. MamaBlue  |  April 5, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Here’s my take. There is so much discussion about giftedness as it relates to CPS. In my experience from this year, the two are mutually exclusive. My son is one of those kids that has been doing some crazy things since as early as we can remember. He was speaking in sentences at 13 months, still remembers very specific details about the day he was born, can do basic algebra, has been reading since he was a very early 2, understands and has a great interest in engineering and physics concepts etc. He tested off the charts at CTD and has been taking classes ever since. However I must say that the CTD test is not conducted by a psychologist and is only a brief 20 minute sample of questions. He loves to learn. He’s 4 right now. We thought he’d do great on the RGC test. He got a 129. Not a terrible score but not what we were expecting. He did very well on the classical test and got into a great classical school for K next year. For the longest time we didn’t see that he was any different. We had never raised children before, We finally began to understand that he processes things differently and has to be dealt with differently. His emotional needs are a little different and we adjust accordingly.

    Did we do test prep? Not formally. We did a few practice questions when he wanted to (he would ask us) and he loved the Brainquest cards. But we never forced him to do formal prep. Not that I disagree with test prep, we just didn’t do it. There is definitely a difference between “gifted” children and academically advanced children. Either way, I don’t think there needs to be such a huge debate about the whole issue. I think some kids who are open to structured learning can have scores boosted by test prep. Some kids, regardless of their abilities, may not benefit at all because it’s just not interesting enough to capture their attention. Either way, parents know their children. They know what their kids can accomplish. I wish the term “gifted” wasn’t thrown around so arbitrarily. I don’t know if my child is “gifted” by the true definition, but it makes no difference to me. He’s bright and fun and we will do what we can to feed his love of learning.

  • 1068. jlp  |  April 5, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    @Wanderer (1053) and anyone else with kids interested in infinity and/or cats:

    You might check out the book The Cat in Numberland, by Ivar Ekeland. ( http://www.amazon.com/The-Cat-Numberland-Ivar-Ekeland/dp/081262744X ) It’s Hilbert’s Hotel for kids.

  • 1069. walker  |  April 6, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Let me redirect our discussion a bit. What do you think about how gifts in kids transform in gifts in adults? It looks like if a kid can do that nobody else can’t do at her age, we call it a gift. In many cases it can’t be considered a gift if we compare the kid to the adult population. Drawing the world map, reading high school books, solve algebraic equations, put 16+ puzzles together, etc are definitely rare for little kids but most adults can do it. How can we recognize when the gift reflects just earlier development and when it will transform in a gift among adults later on? It would be great to hear insight from teachers who observed development of gifted kids over time.

  • 1070. SN upper grades?  |  April 6, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    can anyone please comment on Skinner North upper grades? Amount of homework, is it given daily or weekly, how time consuming are projects. How are the upper grades teachers, also how does bullying get handled?
    Also how many 6 graders got accepted to AC’s this year? Thank you.

  • 1071. cpsobsessed  |  April 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Skinner north is currently only grades K-4.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 1072. SN upper grades?  |  April 6, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I believe they go up to 6 grade this year. The cps.edu info is outdated.

  • 1073. cpsobsessed  |  April 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Oh really? Didn’t realize that. So then there would be kids placing into ACs this year if that were true.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 1074. cpsobsessed  |  April 6, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Yep, school web site says K-6.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 1075. Jen K  |  April 6, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    SN should be through 7th this year since they started the same year as Disney 2.

  • 1076. cpsobsessed  |  April 6, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Now I feel old, I still think of them both as “new schools” !!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 1077. SN  |  April 6, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I was wondering the same thing about SN. How did the 6th graders do in AC placement? I assume they perform like Decatur, but don’t have to leave. Are any or many moving on? Will SN try to fill the vacancies?

  • 1078. NW side mom  |  April 6, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    I remember last year there were a number of comments about people’s impressions of schools after the open houses. The ones held after the letters are mailed out, before the decisions are due. Did anyone attend one? If so, what were your impressions? Did it change your feelings towards or decision about the school?

  • 1079. anonymouse teacher  |  April 6, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    1069, are you saying you could draw a map of world, correctly place each country, drawn to scale and spell it all right without ever looking at a map? I couldn’t. I don’t know one single person who could. In fact, I couldn’t do that for the United States alone. I might be able to come sort of close, but nothing like this child could.

  • 1080. anonymouse teacher  |  April 6, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    @1062, I’d say at least 50% of the kids I’ve seen at CTD have off the charts ability levels in one or more categories. Sometimes, I don’t see it immediately or at all because the child is so quiet, though. Sometimes I do. However, I’ve only taught 2 dozen courses total, so maybe I’ve just seen outliers.

  • 1081. walker  |  April 6, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    @1079 Don’t get me wrong. That kid is definitely out of the charts, no doubt about it.
    I didn’t see the map and I can’t draw a good copy right now. But, if I practice a bit, I’m pretty sure I can draw a descent copy. There is also one thing about maps…. it’s the main part of Loci memory method that allows a memoriest (even you and me) to remember a lot of unconnected things like the digits of Pi (countries in this case). If it’s done in the right way (each country name connected with an emotionally rich story), I believe many adults can do it.

  • 1082. Wanderer  |  April 6, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    1054 – Pritzker mom – Thank you for taking your time to answer the math question, however, my post was not seeking an answer to my daughter’s infinity query, but rather want to hear Northsider’s recommendation on how to “teach” children like her.

    Jlp – much appreciated; I will check to see if the library has it.

  • 1083. 2cents  |  April 6, 2014 at 9:45 pm


  • 1084. Madeline  |  April 7, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    We went to the tour today at Edison, and I have to say I was just thrilled with the school. All of my fears washed away and I was reminded of why I selected it as my first choice in the first place. I really enjoyed the personalities and energy of the principal and assistant principal. The teachers I met seemed terrific. I remembered feeling this way when I toured the school in the fall, so it was great to have the feeling re-affirmed. We registered today and are really looking forward to the K orientation this summer. Just wondering if it is typical of the SEES K classes to have 4 days of orientation. I am really impressed with the plan. The first day includes parents and children and the the next three days are just children. It culminates with a picnic for families. Really excited to move forward!

  • 1085. hyde park mom  |  April 7, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    Welcome to Harvard!oops,I meant Edison 🙂
    Thats how the principal described it last year,she said so many applied for those 28 seats in K.Its a nice community, and like all schools,has positive s and negatives.The four day orientation is not done at all rgcs,and I think you will find it helpful.It helps parents and the kids get used to the school,routines,etc.

  • 1086. Madeline  |  April 8, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Thanks, Hyde Park Mom! Looking forward to jumping in. I am lucky to live relatively close to the school (I gather from your name that you do not!). Hoping to volunteer and participate in whatever way I can be useful.

  • 1087. det3mom  |  April 8, 2014 at 5:30 am

    Skinner West distributed a letter yesterday at parent teacher conferences stating that there will be one classical kindergarten class next year.

  • 1088. neighborhood parent  |  April 8, 2014 at 8:39 am

    I have a question about the 4 day orientation at Edison –
    is it really necessary for *4 days* of orientating when the school year is 180 days of executing/learning the routine?
    Is there such a focus on expectations, schedule, speed, etc. that a child needs 4 days of intro to execute the next 180 days of learning?

    Asking this in all sincerity…. I understand the ‘helpfulness’ and connections provided to adults/parents with such an orientation. But am curious about the necessity and what it conveys about Edison’s approach to the school year.

  • 1089. trice  |  April 8, 2014 at 9:13 am

    WOW!!! Some of the posts on this thread have me terrified for my girl. She has an offer from Skinner West (Tier 4 and tested well), but now I’m worried that she may not be able to hold her own. She’s an icredibly bright and precocious child, but she couldn’t pass a math class at MIT or recreate the globe from memory. Are all the kids really mini-Einsteins? I’m hoping SW works out for us, but I’m starting to worry that she will be extremely behind the rest of her class.

  • 1090. Edison  |  April 8, 2014 at 9:36 am

    “Asking this in all sincerity…. I understand the ‘helpfulness’ and connections provided to adults/parents with such an orientation. But am curious about the necessity and what it conveys about Edison’s approach to the school year.”

    I think it’s useful. Certainly made the start of school easier. I don’t think it’s necessary in any sense and can see how if it were difficult to fit it in logistically, it can be a pain, as you don’t want your child to “fall behind” (before school has even started!). It’s not as if they start on MIT level math on day 1 because they’ve had orientation.

    As people have said, the K teacher is great and does not have any tendency to push the kids too hard, if your concerns lean on that side. I don’t mean to rehash but if I had concerns it would be the 1st grade teacher and the increasing workload in later grades. There is no way around history fair and (I think this is correct) it’s part of grades for SEHS, so you can’t blow it off if you care about SEHS.

  • 1091. SEESmom  |  April 8, 2014 at 9:41 am

    @1088. The Edison orientation is only a few hours a day and optional. It it a nice way for the students to get to know each other and the teacher before school starts. The last day is a picnic for the families to get to know each other. I think it is very thoughtful that the school provides the orientation to help in the transition. My child was excited to start school and there was no first day of school drama because they knew some of the other kids in their class and the teacher.

  • 1092. Bronzeville mom  |  April 8, 2014 at 10:42 am

    @1089 Trice. You should take your Skinner West offer without worry. Our son entered K there, and like your child was a bright and precocious kid, but he was not yet reading when he started K and he wasn’t an Einstein by any means. The teachers there are great at working with kids where they are at, and our son really blossomed in his first year there with the challenges put before him (by the end of the year he was reading several years above grade level, and this has continued to be the case). We have been really happy to have our son there, and I hope you will find the same.

  • 1093. SW or Private....  |  April 8, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    @1087 We just accepted Skinner West spot. Now I am mad at myself for choosing SW as our #1 choice! Sounds like the Classical program will be phasing out next year or so. I think we might send our son to our back up private school.

  • 1094. Academum  |  April 8, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    I can’t imagine they would phase out your child, though…I think usually the programs grandfather through the people who were accepted, isn’t that right?

  • 1095. SW hopeful  |  April 8, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    @1093: Where did you hear SW is phasing out the classical program? Their neighborhood program is really good anyway.

    Just declined an NTA offer for 2nd grade. Hope my DD can get into SW classical. (1st choice)

  • 1096. JLM  |  April 8, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    @trice – I wouldn’t worry about your child. My daughter is in K at Skinner West and is bright, but is definitely no Stephen Hawking. She really likes it there – she’s the studious type, and there’s definitely plenty of academic work there to satisfy her zest for learning, but she’s also only 6-yrs old, and her teacher makes sure there’s plenty of time for fun, too.

  • 1097. WestloopMama  |  April 8, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    I don’t know why you are under the impression that Skinner West is phasing out the Classical Program. Last year there were 5 kindergarten classes 2 classical and 3 neighborhood. There are major problems with overcrowding in the school. More people have moved to our this neighborhood and new construction within the school limits dictates some of the issues. Last year there was talk about busing the K classes to the preschool location less than 1/2 mile away. Luckily it didn’t happen, but with the addition of a grade level every year to the neighborhood program, space is an issue. We live in the neighborhood (for more than 10 years now) and my daughter who will be entering K this year received higher scores than many who tested into the classical program at Skinner (both this year and last year) but we are in tier 4 so the standard score for an offer is much higher. Yesterday, the Local School Council Elections were held and there was a communication from the SW principal Ms Clark that CPS had decided to only have one K class for school year 2014-2015.
    This doesn’t mean that the classical program is being phased out.
    My advice to you is to accept the offer, you always have the option of declining later. There are only about 30 spots for SW in K this year, so the fact that your son was made an offer is exceptional.
    Both Neighborhood and Classical have great teachers and there is not a huge difference. there are more ancillary classes provided for the classical program. Many of the neighborhood kids scored higher than classical kids, but are in the higher tier so sometimes the spot goes to lower tiers with lower scores. That said, private schools tend to have a lower teacher to student ratio which is very important IMO.
    In the end it is up to you, but your son has won a huge victory in the competition for just 30 spots. Best of luck with your decisions!

  • 1098. photographic memory  |  April 8, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    can anyone please comment on Skinner North upper grades? Amount of homework, is it given daily or weekly, how time consuming are projects. How are the upper grades teachers, also how does bullying get handled?
    Also how many 6 graders got accepted to AC’s this year? Thank you.

  • 1099. 60607parent  |  April 8, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    There has been no announcement on the future of the classical program at Skinner West other than the single kindergarten class. The letter from the principal stated that she hopes to maintain all current programs. However, it has been clear ever since the public hearings circa 2008 when the neighborhood program was added that at some point the building would not be able to hold all the programs. The transcripts contain the demographic projections and many questions and answers on this topic. At the time, Skinner parents in kindergarten that year (2008-2009) were given the choice of going to Skinner North or Skinner West in September 2009. Because of that, it was the perception that CPS opened Skinner North in response to concerns that classical would be pushed out of Skinner West as the neighborhood developed. In addition, there is the South Loop example. When the neighborhood program reached a critical mass, CPS stopped enrolling RGC kindergarten, moved those spots to NTA, and let the current RGC students finish out at South Loop.

    For me personally, I would accept a spot in the kindergarten classical class even if there is only one class. Our children are thriving there and we could not be happier. The main downside of one classical class is that there may not be walking math/reading which I think is helpful for all kindergartens because of the broad spectrum of incoming kids. A great kindergarten teacher is one who can bring everyone to a similar place by the end of the year which may be more difficult with one class. However, Skinner West’s kindergarten teacher bench is deep and up to the task!

  • 1100. Levski  |  April 8, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Bell 1st graders to be in 2014-2015 question for parents: Is anyone declining the 1st round offer due April 11th?

  • 1101. spj  |  April 8, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    To parents of children in selective enrollment schools – what do you think the greatest benefit is to having your children in selective enrollment schools vs. a “regular” school?

  • 1102. like minded friends  |  April 8, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Child being surrounded by like minded classmates. Motivated and fast learners, eager for more and in-depth information and independent thinkers.
    Last year we were considering taking an offer at well regarded magnet school, so much closer to our house, with a high probability of younger sibling getting a seat latter. But when we asked how they work with advanced kids, the answer was: “Well, we have this one girl, she is an incredible writer….”. That sort of decided it for us. I don’t intend to sound like I’m bragging, but in our child’s class, the vast majority are great writers.
    The magnet school does not have an accelerated classrooms in each grade, like Thorp or Blaine does. If it had, we would have most likely made the switch.
    If you have a fast and motivated learner and you get a classical or RGC offer, I suggest taking it.

  • 1103. cpsobsessed  |  April 9, 2014 at 5:10 am

    @spj: It depends in some part on the “regular” school you’d compare to. Some neighborhood schools probably have a decent # of kids who can work a bit ahead of grade level and an admin that fosters the ability to do so.
    Other neighborhood schools do not.
    If you want differentiated learning, it often seems that you are at the mercy of the teacher (meaning some teachers strive for it, but not necessarily because their admin is telling them, but because they choose to do it.) CPS is a bureacracy so in a regular school you can basically count on grade level education. Based on test scores, some regular schools are probably barely at grade level.

    So that was a long way of saying that you give a kid the chance for more accelerated learning than the CPS machine normally allows for. It makes total sense for really really smart kids. for bright kids, it’s probably not as vital if your other option is a good neighborhood school.

  • 1104. Bell?  |  April 9, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Has anyone received a registration packet for Bell? The CPS letter says that one should arrive within a week, but we haven’t gotten one in the mail.

  • 1105. Norwood  |  April 9, 2014 at 8:14 am

    @1104 Bell? I contacted Bell yesterday got a response that they are looking into it. I’m not sure they actually have a packet, but I just want to make sure that the deadline doesn’t come and go without confirmation that all of the paperwork is in.

  • 1106. LearningCPS  |  April 9, 2014 at 9:22 am

    @1101 – I would agree with others that one of the biggest pros of having our child in a SEES class is that she is among peers in terms of academic levels and desire to learn. In her preschool, which was filled with some great, bright kids, she was way ahead of everyone in reading and writing for several years. Her teachers did a great job keeping her engaged – but she was only 3 and 4 and it was easier to do that as less of the day was about instruction. I think if she had been in that type of situation in a kindergarten class not only would the teacher have less time to help her stay engaged, she would have been less challenged and inspired by her classmates. I expect some of that difference can level out after a few years and maybe in later grades the benefits of SEES schools are about something else but for now we’re so glad she doesn’t have to be “that one girl who is really good at X” but can be one of many kids who are good at lots of things.

  • 1107. Bell?  |  April 9, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Thanks @Norwood, good to know I haven’t missed anything.

  • 1108. Now a Coonley mom?  |  April 9, 2014 at 9:44 am

    FYI – re: the registration packets. I called Coonley to inquire (since the letter said to do so) and the woman answering basically said that the OAE letter is outdated/wrong and they won’t be sending a packet. She did give me their specific info for registration (they will call, likely in later April) but I’m guessing it varies by school. Bottom line – the info in the OAE letter is wrong and best to contact your school directly. Shocking, I know! 🙂

  • 1109. NW parent  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Just wondering if any parents who’ve been through this before have any advice…

    We are Tier 4, child’s score for the RGC test was 153, offered a kindergarten spot at Pritzker (our first choice).

    We are realizing that the commute to that school, bus or not, will make our daily lives unmanageable. Does anyone have insight to share, in terms of how common it is for spots to open up at Edison or Coonley in subsequent rounds, and what that timing has been like in the past? Has anyone called either school this year about this issue? I have only spoken to the OAE (and they have been astonishingly helpful and professional at every turn), but they understandably didn’t have straight answers on this topic.

    We visited Pritzker and really liked it – loved the fine arts opportunities – but I can’t see it working. It’s twice as far away as the other centers and the traffic in that area of the city is just so bad. Our commute is already often over an hour after we drop our child off at the local preschool. I am about to decline the spot but it’s really giving me a stomach ache.

    Also, is there anyone who chose a neighborhood school despite high scores on these tests? How do you feel about that decision?

  • 1110. 60660  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:04 am

    you should have gotten a confirmation from OAE when you sent in your accept / decline?
    or at least we got an email confirmed our email was received.

  • 1111. 60660  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:08 am

    @1109 we turned down our 1st choice RGC for K (a few years ago) and received two subsequent offers SE before the school year ended. That’s a stellar score so I would feel pretty confident that another offer will arrive. Your kid will likely test well again next year too.

  • 1112. Pritzker Mom  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:11 am

    @1109, NW Parent

    You should definitely call OAE and ask them. 153 is a very high score – it would likely put you near the top of the list for a ranked or tier spot at any other school.

    If you’re very nice to them on the phone, they’ll probably be able to give you some guidance about available spots for a second round at any school. They won’t tell you if you’ll get one of them, but at this point they should have a sense about whether there will be spots.

    Where in the city do you live? There are a few routes to/from Pritzker that can help you avoid much (almost all) of the traffic in the area immediately around the school. You can email me lezrol (a) yahoo (dot) com.

  • 1113. 60660  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:18 am

    we have turned down SE to keep our daughter at her neighborhood school, for similar reasons.
    neighborhood schools are packed with kids who have the ability to do SE level work. the level of enrichment is what can be missing, a great teacher (and we’ve been lucky) can fill in the gaps but there’s the risk of getting stuck with a dud teacher that doesn’t exist at SE.

  • 1114. Random parent  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:22 am

    @1109: Did you realize that the commute will be a problem before you applied for that school? I think we as parents should consider that before applying the school. If the commute is over an hour each way every day, I don’t think it’s worth it. I’m hoping you can find some transportation service provider or carpool with other parents. I heard Pritzker has a good RGC program. Can you move closer to the school?

  • 1115. SEES Parent  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:25 am

    @1109, sure you have thought about it but you also need to be sure that the next school down on your list that you are likely to get is one that you want. Know someone who for various reasons wanted a school that she’d ranked maybe 3 spots below and OAE would not let her “skip” to the school that she now preferred. She had to go through each subsequent round and decline the schools she had ranked higher as of the time of the application (but no longer wanted). 153 is a high score. Agree it’s worth calling OAE. Maybe the schools too.

  • 1116. ***  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:31 am


  • 1117. NW parent  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:36 am

    @60660 – thank you! That makes me feel better, especially your comment about neighborhood school kids. Such a good point.

    @Pritzker Mom – I was really sad to hear that no matter what, we can’t get back into Pritzker if we decline, even if there were to be unoccupied spaces in their K classroom. We won’t be eligible. I understand, but I sure wish there was more flexibility there. We’re on the farthest NW side of the city, and work downtown (plus some work at home days, which makes it even messier to get to Wicker Park). I’ll send you a message – thanks so much.

    I talked to OAE and they did mention about how well her score bodes for another offer, but also said they have no declines on file for Edison or Coonley (or Pritzker). She seemed to think it was likely there won’t be any coming in on April 11th, but gave a “maybe” for before school begins.

  • 1118. TimeForADoOver  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:53 am

    NW parent — I don’t get it. Why did you rank Pritzker #1?

  • 1119. NW parent  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:53 am

    @Madeline – My interest in Pritzker was the fine arts integration, and I thought it seemed “on the way” to downtown and closest to our jobs. I don’t drive except very locally, and haven’t for many years, thus the horrible feel for traffic realities. I should have done a much better job with this whole process. We had Edison second, and Coonley fifth, so will probably just hope there are some declines.

  • 1120. 88  |  April 9, 2014 at 11:58 am


  • 1121. SEES Parent  |  April 9, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    “We had Edison second, and Coonley fifth, so will probably just hope there are some declines.”

    Worth a call to Edison to see whether they have any further insight. I think they had an orientation (maybe combined with registration) so they might have some information. Also, if any schools between Edison and Coonley are classical schools and if your kids’ classical scores put him/her definitively out of the running, then they won’t matter. E.g., if 3rd and 4th are classical and you are sure you wouldn’t get a classical offer, then it is as if you’d ranked Coonley 3rd.

  • 1122. reenie  |  April 9, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    @1112 Pritzker mom, you must work some serious phone mojo! I just called OAE to ask whether they thought NTA K spots might open second-round and they said they couldn’t tell me anything until after April 11. That’s what I expected but based on the discussion here I thought I’d give it a try early and see.

  • 1123. CPS parent  |  April 9, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    @NW parent: Please don’t rank Pritzker as your 1st choice if you realize the commute is a problem at the first place. Some parents have ranked Pritzker as their 1st choice too but they didn’t get an offer could be because of you. Now, they might have already accepted their 2nd/3rd or even 6th choice because they were afraid of losing their seat if they decline it. Please don’t this again next year! PLEASE!!!!

  • 1124. NTA after school options  |  April 9, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    I have accepted RGC-NTA K offer. Now, I have to figure out after school program….. NTA has several after school programs such as JCC, Park district, and Orions University.
    Can NTA parents give me some insights? Orions or JCC? I am trying to make a decision either Orions or JCC.

  • 1125. Pritzker Mom  |  April 9, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    @1122 reenie –

    Most importantly, if your getting the answer to your questions isn’t going to impact something important to them – like whether you accept your first round offer – it’s unlikely that they’ll be inclined to spend the time to find out the info that you want. They’re very busy right around now.

    If you can get over that initial hurdle, it’s all about what questions you ask, how you ask them and if you can offer them some insight about why you’re asking that will make them want to help you.

    Please bear in mind that they can’t answer any direct questions about what spots will or might open up – they don’t know. If the person you talked to is in a good mood, they may be able to give you some insights that you can use to better judge what’s going on.

    Some stuff they might be able to tell you is:
    – how many acceptances they’ve already received (maybe even how many for ranked offers and how many for your tier or if you’re tier is already full)
    – the general score neighborhood of the kids that got offers in your tier.

  • 1126. concerned  |  April 9, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    1123 calm down

  • 1127. UptownMama  |  April 9, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    @1124 Welcome to NTA!

    We use the JCC aftercare program for my daughter and really like it. (We are signed up for 1 day/week and use a sitter the other days; the program wasn’t in place when we started last fall.) It’s been a small group this year (usually around 5 kids) and the woman who leads it is very sweet. They get a snack, play outside (weather permitting), do their homework and various projects (lots of arts). It’s definitely low-key but that’s what my kiddo needs after 7 hrs of dedicated academic time.

  • 1128. velmalu  |  April 9, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I too will be driving from the northside to Pritzker. I would greatly appreciate hearing which roads are best to take! Is it ok if I contact you, Pritzker mom?

  • 1129. Pritzker Mom  |  April 9, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    @1128 velmalu (and anyone else…)

    Go right ahead – lezrol (a) yahoo (dot) com

  • 1130. NTAParent  |  April 9, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    @1104, I called NTA to ask about the “packet” and they told me there is not one. Someone will contact me in May about a registration day. Don’t know why the letter from OAE says there is a packet coming.
    @1110 I did get a response email stating that my OAE acceptance letter was received. I scanned and emailed my letter.

  • 1131. stephanieschwab  |  April 9, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    FWIW, for those of you waiting for a Coonley RGC K spot….we’re declining ours in favor of Disney I. While we really loved both schools, ultimately we think our artsy, techie kid will really thrive at Disney, possibly in their gifted track. However, working a grade level ahead is less important to us then giving him space to explore the creative and digital realms.

    Good luck to everyone waiting for spots. In our current home, Yonkers, NY, we didn’t hear about school selections until 2 weeks before school started! So we feel your pain of the uncertainty and waiting.

  • 1132. hyde park mom  |  April 9, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Wow, I applaud your decision in choosing the best fit for your child.I am still unsure about Disney.How do you feel about the size and lack of community,it seems?

  • 1133. NTAMom  |  April 9, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Several RGC parents use JCC and are happy. I may need to utilize them too next year as well.

  • 1134. hyde park mom  |  April 9, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I called OAE and they tild me that the minimum rgc score be considered is 115.They said second round iffers are done around may and only would come from the schools you listed.Thought I had read somewhere that offers could come from schools one didnt list.But the chances r probably slim.My daughter had 121, but I felt shes more capable than that silly test,as most parents think.Shes reading and has a very late bday .Doesnt IIT realize some kids r very shy and don’t test well!I will stop,I know this issue has been talked to death already.Just venting.

  • 1135. hyde park mom  |  April 9, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Pardon typos,sent via Android

  • 1136. OTdad  |  April 9, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    @1131. stephanieschwab:
    My daughter’s good friend is in Disney’s comprehensive gifted program (K). We are impressed by their teachers, rigorous academics and their facilities. Disney is a gem in CPS, one of the very few in which funding is not an issue.

  • 1137. stephanieschwab  |  April 9, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    @hydeparkmom – The size seemed fine to me; my son is coming from a school with 5 K classrooms, so it’s not a huge leap. Obviously, their size is an advantage in terms of the extras they are able to offer (and their amazing fundraising/grant receiving power) – most schools don’t have the space for what they can do, let alone the funds.

    As for lack of community….that was definitely a consideration for us, especially since we’re moving from out-of-town and we will all need new friends! Coonley seems to have a wonderful community, with the RGC kids staying in one cohort for 9 years, and the neighborhood families providing lots of community stabilization. But ultimately finding a big community amongst other parents and kids isn’t our primary goal for our son in his school experience. Regardless of what school he’s at, I’m sure he will make at least a few really good friends, and we’ll meet other families both who live near Disney and from around the city.

    Having only one kid also made this decision easier for us in some ways – driving our son across town to a playdate with a Disney schoolmate is no problem for us, as we don’t have other kids to schlep along or do the same for.

  • 1138. SW or Private....  |  April 9, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    http://schoolreports.cps.edu/EFMP/EFMP_SKINNER_610177.pdf CPS is anticipating a drop in SW’s enrollment in 2015 – I suspect this is due to elimination of the classical school. It looks like they are planning on keeping the current Classical students though – so like someone said earlier on this thread I think SK is heading on the path of South Loop. I wish I did more homework before I filled out the application!! I am really really mad at myself.

  • 1139. Frustrated60630  |  April 9, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    What phone number are you all calling and getting through? I have been calling for over a week and only get a busy signal.

  • 1140. hyde park mom  |  April 9, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    @1137,you made great points.My oldest goes to a small school but it doesn’t mean we get a sense of community,since we live far south and the school he attend as is far north.We hardly go to school fun events or have playdates as a result.I guess any community sense my kids would get at a big school like disney will come from their pod,teacher,etc.,which really is what matters most in terms of feeling like they are a part of something.Thanks again.

  • 1141. NTA after school options  |  April 9, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    @ 1127. UptownMama
    @ 1133. NTAMom

    Thank you so much. I will definitely contact JCC at NTA.

  • 1142. DisneyMom  |  April 9, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Talking anout Disney , my daughter went to disney I for 2 years of TB prek. we were very much impressed by their program . My daughter can read independently , do addition /subtraction which was taught at school(not much effort at home) which I think is advanced for prek . They also have daily homework which is helpful for parents to know what was done at school. She has a RGC score of 144(tier4) and no offers. we have accpeted offer from Disney for K and very happy about it.

  • 1143. stephanieschwab  |  April 9, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    @DisneyMom we look forward to meeting you! Our son will in all likelihood be in Disney K, we’re hoping for gifted track (also 144 but we’re Tier 1 so we got an offer from Coonley RGC). But he’s completing K here in NY, though he’ll only turn 6 on Sept 2 (1 day late of the cutoff), so we’re also waiting to see if Disney will move him to 1st grade. Either way, we’ll have to find each other!

  • 1144. Chris  |  April 9, 2014 at 4:43 pm


    “we’re moving from out-of-town”

    “we’re Tier 1”

    *first*, let me be clear that that is *in no way* something you have control over Stephanie. That said:

    Um, seriously? That’s jacked up. I need to figure out what I am going to do about that.

  • 1145. stephanieschwab  |  April 9, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    @chris: Since my initial posts on the subject, I’ve determined that our current (NY) census tract is the equivalent of a Tier 1 tract in Chicago. Meaning: complete and utter inner city. The median household income in our Yonkers neighborhood is $27k – about half of what CPS says the Tier 1 median income is (http://cpstiers.opencityapps.org/about.html#the-tier-system). We had no advantage in being “out-of-towners,” but we did have what some might perceive an advantage in buying a house in a neighborhood which, sadly, has not improved since we bought here nearly 9 years ago.

    We didn’t not know about tiers when we applied, and we were shocked when it made a difference for us.

    All this to say: being Tier 1 was good for our son’s acceptance into CPS, and very, very bad for our bank account and the value of our house. I wouldn’t recommend this path to CPS admittance to anyone.

  • 1146. Chris  |  April 9, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    SWoP: “CPS is anticipating a drop in SW’s enrollment in 2015”

    Some funky stuff in that chart, with numbers fluctuating as the classes progress. Also, if there are going to be 5 K classes next year, that chart is all sorts of wrong, anyway.

    I don’t think that these charts are anything other than placeholders, to the extent that they are more than political documents, so I wouldn’t put too much stock in them.

  • 1147. Chris  |  April 9, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    “Since my initial posts on the subject, I’ve determined that our current (NY) census tract is the equivalent of a Tier 1 tract in Chicago.”

    There is NO reason that CPS should be giving any preference of any sort to anyone not living in Chicago. I object to the *policy*, not the particular outcomes.

    Anyway, median income is only one of 6 factors–as you can see from that chart you linked (which seems *really* funky to me–how is the T1 average median income $58k, when citywide it is $66??), it’s not the driver of tier positioning. The average median of the ‘poorest’ 1/4 of census tracts is $29,020. The average median for the 2d quartile is $43,608. The *3d* quartile is all of $63,477. I just don’t buy that figure. (and yes, I know that the Tiers are not 4 even divisions of the number of census tracts)

    To check my impression, I spot checked (about 50) the Tier 1 census tract list against a median income list–I found *zero* with a median income anywhere close to the $58,210 in your link; highest was mid-40s. I seriously doubt the accuracy of that figure.

    I also HUGELY doubt that T4 has a average 43.7% figure for non-english speaking homes.

    So, I wouldn’t rely on that table for accurate representation of the figures.

  • 1148. Chris  |  April 9, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Ok, so, not liking ‘spotchecking’, I finally took the time to dump the 2013 Tier pdf chart into a spreadsheet. So, the *highest* median income for a T1 census tract was $47,244. For T2, the range is $13, 472 to $79,181, or T3 $25,150 to $191,181, and for T4 $42,112 to $304,666.

    So that $27,000 median income fits into T3, as well, depending on the other factors, which are (full range in the city shown):

    (1) Educational attainment of all adults in the tract, where all grad school = 1, and all HS dropout = 0, with actual range from 0.2851 to 0.8904;

    (2) % of single parent households, ranging from 0% (30 tracts–28 T4, 2 T3) to 100% (19 tracts–13 T1, 6 T2).

    (3) % owner occupied homes, ranging from 0.68% to 93.52%

    (4) % non-english speakers, from 0% (18 tracts, T1=6; T2=9; T3=2; T4=1) to 96.44%

    (5) ISAT scores of neighborhood schools, somehow weighted–from 18.16% to 90.63% (6 tracts, all T4). Appears to be the meets/exceeds percentage.

    The last data point is the number of school aged children in the Tract. The total is 435,509. Then they figure the percentage of kids in Chicago who live in a tract with a “worse” number for each of the 6 criteria, and add them up, divide by 6 and get the “6-Factor Score”.

    The tiers are then counted off with (roughly) equal counts of kids per tier–T1 has 108,499 in 160 tracts; T2=109,896 in 182; T3 = 108,933 in 197, and T4 = 109,531 in 257.

    Anyway, now I have the data in a usable format, so I can manipulate. Fun!

  • 1149. Chris  |  April 9, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Oh, and on my doubting of the non-english speaking homes in T4–the actual number (merely averaging the individual %ages) is 26%.

    The overall lowest ranked tract, with a 6-factor score of 0.1391 is 3009, which is Cermak to 26th, Sacramento to Kedzie. The highest, at 0.9409, is tract 7206, which is 102d to 107th, Seeley to Western.

  • 1150. Levski  |  April 9, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    Bell RGC-has anyone declined 1st round 1 st grade offer , planning to decline or have heard of anyone else?

  • 1151. reenie  |  April 9, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    @1149, Chris, that’s really interesting stuff you’re pulling out of the real tier data. I’d like to know how the factors involved in tiering tracts are weighted–I suspect they weight the ISAT scores heavily enough to move tracts across tier lines. When they first started they tier system my census tract was was Tier 1 (which struck me as accurate on socio-economic factors), but within a year or two it was changed to Tier 2. Yes, our neighborhood school is great (and has good scores) but I was pretty shocked that it seems that alone was enough to pull the tracts in the immediate vicinity out of Tier 1 and into Tier 2. I haven’t looked to see if it pulls the entire attendance area into Tier 2. Will admit I resent that some Pilsen census tracts are Tier 1 and are relatively quiet and gunshot free when my Tier 2 tract farther south is not.

  • 1152. Bell  |  April 10, 2014 at 7:20 am

    @Levski, I don’t know of anyone, but you might be able to get some information from CPS if you call.

  • 1153. praiacv  |  April 10, 2014 at 9:02 am

    accepted 1st grade spot at edison, so…
    lenart 1st grade spot now open

  • 1154. cpsparent  |  April 10, 2014 at 9:55 am

    1153 @praiccv what were your kids scores and Tier?

  • 1155. Chris  |  April 10, 2014 at 10:04 am

    “I’d like to know how the factors involved in tiering tracts are weighted–I suspect they weight the ISAT scores heavily enough to move tracts across tier lines. ”

    Nope. No weighting–each of the six factors is equal weight.

    I set up my sheet to re-calculate the “6-factor score”, by adding the percentage (which is, again, the % of the 435,509 kids in Chicago who live in a tract with a ‘worse’ score on the factor) in each of the individual factors and divide by 6–that result matched exactly the “6-FS” shown on the table; ergo, no weighting among the factors.

    What “weighting” (those are scare quotes) there is, is bc of the (estimated, of course) population of school-aged kids in the tract, and (it seems) the population of the neighborhood school.

    It is also possible that the mix of education levels are somehow weighted–haven’t done any testing on that–eg, maybe “less than HS” is more negative than “college degree” is positive–dunno. If someone wants to test that (or other), I’d send the sheet to CPSO, and she could forward.

  • 1156. Tale of Two Tiers  |  April 10, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Two years ago, we were zoned Tier 3 and Child 1 was one of those test takers that would have made it into his current SEES no matter what Tier.

    Last year, we were still zoned Tier 3 and Child 2 narrowly missed going to the same SEES, but would have made it in had we been Tier 2 based on scores on this blog.

    This year, we’re rezoned to Tier 2 – had the Tier change happened one year earlier, the kids would be in the same school.

    All that said, our family/kids have no business getting any special advantage via Tiers. So it is what it is.

  • 1157. New NTA parent  |  April 10, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Accepted RGC-NTA K offer @ NTA after school options we will also be using the after school

  • 1158. DisneyMom2  |  April 10, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    For those concerned with the community feel at Disney I, although Disney I is a “commuter school” there’s still a pretty strong sense of community. The commuter part comes with the territory of being a purely magnet school (as opposed to a magnet cluster school), but it’s not unlike the selective enrollment schools that are standalone centers (as opposed to one housed within a neighborhood school). It’s not a problem for us to meet other families for playdates at other parts of the city, and the school also tries to facilitate the community feel through opportunities for parent involvement and events such as movie nights. If you go to one of the movie nights, you’ll see that a lot of the families know each other, or at least that most of the kids know each other. The teachers are also fabulous, and the resources, specials, etc. are an added bonus.

  • 1159. Bronzevillemom  |  April 10, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    My child didn’t get into our school of choice scores:
    92 math
    97 reading

    I live on the South Side near Hyde Park—-has anyone heard anything about Holy Angels Catholic School? I hear they have small class sizes and lower tuition than most schools.

  • 1160. praiacv  |  April 10, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    @1154 cpsparent

    entering 1st
    tier 4
    rgc 143
    accepted edison

    k and 1st rgc score within 1 point

  • 1161. cpsparent  |  April 10, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    @praiacv, thanks. did you apply to classical schools to or juts RGC?

  • 1162. praiacv  |  April 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    @1161 cpsparent

    we tested both
    i forget the classical scores
    something like R98 M98

  • 1163. Bell registration  |  April 10, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Just checked with the Bell office, and they said registration packets would go out after spring break, once they get the list from CPS.

  • 1164. Levski  |  April 10, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Bell- thanks. Would you have an idea what were Bell 1st grade RGC scores to get in this year, I have seen many different scores on here, from 121 to 130-140 , I wonder what kind is score would be needed for 2nd round offer, what do you think?

  • 1165. Academum  |  April 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Does Decatur partner with JCC for after care? Am I remembering that correctly? What have they offered for K students in recent years, if anything?

  • 1166. Bell  |  April 10, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    For the second round, they use tiers, so it will vary. I think the lowest score for Tier 4 was 129, so it depends on how many people turn down the offer and how many other people there are who were close to the cutoff.

  • 1167. cpsparent  |  April 10, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    @levski, its is not just about the score, also tier. so lower score for Tier 1 will probably be lower than for Tier 4. also if someone turns down space it will go to the next candidate on the same tier…at least for the second round…so its a bit of a gamble…good luck

  • 1168. LearningCPS  |  April 10, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Decatur kids can do JCC after care since the JCC is next door. The High Ridge Y also works with Decatur and has a bus pick up for after school. I can’t speak for either as we do something else, but that’s how it works as far as I’m aware. We got information on both when we registered last year for K.

  • 1169. west rogers park mom  |  April 10, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Re: Decatur aftercare– while traditionally parents have raved about the JCC you need to be aware that it keeps the hours of the JCC– so you need to be able to absorb the religious holidays where the JCC is closed and the long winter when it closes at 4:00 pm.

  • 1170. Levski  |  April 10, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    1167 @cpsparent & Bell, what if a kid from 30% score declines, would not the score make a difference first rather than the tier? we are in tier 3 with 127 score for 1st grade, and the irrelevant classical of 98&98

  • 1171. Bell  |  April 10, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    @Levski, that’s a good question about the 30 percent, I’m not sure. It seems like you’d have a good shot with 127 but there’s no way to know. You could look at the 2012 and 2013 threads to see if there’s any information on how low they got in later rounds in previous years. Are you sure you’re in Tier 3 though? Tier 3/119 got into Bell this year.

  • 1172. Levski  |  April 10, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    I am pretty sure, Bell was not my 1st choice; thus, the debacle now

  • 1173. Levski  |  April 10, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    LSmom – have you accepted 1st round 1st grade Bell RGC ? on March 24, 2014 at 1:38 pm
    Tier 3
    RGC: 121 (down from 141 last year)
    99 (Reading) 80 (Math)

    Offer at Bell

    It was our first choice, we will probably accept but hesitating a little because of sibling logistics.

  • 1174. DadaPalooza  |  April 10, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    After a lot of discussion and hand-wringing we turned down our son’s offer to Coonley K for RGC (tier 1, 144) Instead we’ll be accepting a spot at the Walt Disney Magnet School.

    It was complicated by the fact that we are coming from out of town, where he is about to complete a gifted kindergarten. But he’s born Sept. 2, and didn’t go to pre-K and K in the same place, which means he’d have to repeat K.

    Coonley said flatly that he’d repeat– they don’t have a spot for him in first, and they don’t anticipate having a spot. Disney said they’d see what they can do, and once he’s in K, and if he’s right for first grade and they are able to, they’ll move him. He’ll also be considered for their gifted K. (Disney tests all of the incoming kids, and the top kids are accepted into an accelerated gifted program) They have more classes and more resources, so that makes sense that it’s more possible.

    My wife toured both schools, and she was bowled over by the breadth of Disney’s resources in both technology and arts, something that Coonley didn’t really have.

    Our fears are that Disney will be too large and that it will be hard to create a community with kids that come from all over the city (Especially considering he’ll be a newcomer)

    But overall, we’re pleased with our choice, and think it’s the right one FOR OUR KID. And if he ends up hating it, well, we can try for RGC next year.

  • 1175. LSmom  |  April 10, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    @Levski, after taking the tour we decided to accept the spot.

  • 1176. Academum  |  April 10, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    OMG would those of you who haven’t accepted your offers at Skinner North decide already?! What are you waiting for?

  • 1177. Jen K  |  April 10, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    @1174 – you were lucky enough to have two strong options and glad to hear you say you focused on what’s right for your kid/family. Good luck in your relocation!

  • 1178. Academum  |  April 11, 2014 at 12:30 am

    If anyone from UIC has a child at Jackson (or an offer), can you tell me what you think of the school and the community?

  • 1179. Academum  |  April 11, 2014 at 1:07 am

    oops i guess that should have gone on the magnet forum

  • 1180. spj  |  April 11, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Turning down offer for 2nd grade at Skinner North. Our son seems to be thriving where he is (currently in a Montessori program where they offer a lot of differentiation). And practically speaking, logistically it’s easier to have both of our kids together at the same school. This decision has been agonizing!

  • 1181. john gilroy  |  April 11, 2014 at 9:24 am

    that’s good info spj – would you mind sharing your child’s score?

    Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2014 13:58:54 +0000 To: gilroyjohn@hotmail.com

  • 1182. spj  |  April 11, 2014 at 9:26 am

    @1181 – Reading 99 Math 99

  • 1183. CPS or not.  |  April 11, 2014 at 10:21 am

    @spj: which montessori school is your son attending? i’m looking one for my DD if CPS doesn’t work out. Thanks.

  • 1184. spj  |  April 11, 2014 at 10:57 am

    @1183 – We are at Drummond (which is CPS). Oscar Meyer and Suder are also CPS Montessori schools. I think Montessori has been a great fit. His teachers have done a great job at keeping him engaged with work that is at his level, and from my observations this is done for kids at all levels, whether they need more help in math, but are advanced readers, etc. – they can tailor the works and presentations by ability within the different areas vs. having to be tracked in one lane which was my experience in elementary school. There’s also an amazing sense of community amongst the kids. The multi-age classroom allows him to make friends with older kids very naturally and as he advances through the cycle he enjoys mentoring the younger kids.

  • 1185. Coonley First Grade  |  April 11, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Turning down offer for Coonley first grade today. It was an agonizingly difficult decision for us. Thanks to all the Coonley parents who took the time to talk to us over the last few weeks – I know a number of you follow this site.

    @92 – LS Mom of 3 – Hope you get the spot in the next round.

  • 1186. CPS or not.  |  April 11, 2014 at 11:18 am

    @spj: You’re lucky that your son got into Drummond. It’s like winning the lottery jackpot. The odd of getting accepted there is harder to get into Harvard. I love the Montessori concept. Don’t give up there seat there. I wouldn’t.

  • 1187. Levski  |  April 11, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    1186. CPS or not. what was your child score?

  • 1188. Curious  |  April 11, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    @1185 “Coonley First Grade”. What is your choice of school, if you are not accepting the seat at Coonley?

  • 1189. Academum  |  April 11, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    If it helps anyone in making a decision, I have declined my child’s offer at Decatur for K (tier 2). It was a difficult decision but I think the transition to a school closer to where I work will be easier. Scores were 97 R 94 M. I hope this will be a good fit for another family.

  • 1190. Levski  |  April 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    @92 – LS Mom of 3 – Hope you get the spot in the next round.

    Are you declining Bell for Coonley 1st grade?

  • 1191. Lenart southsidemom  |  April 11, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    I just thought I’d check in since I went through this process 2 years ago with my daughter. I wanted to offer any encouragement I can.

    My daughter is a Lenart Elementary school. We love it. It was our first choice. We tested after kindergarten (as did others) to try for a spot at Keller. When we received the spot we were torn for a few days and then realized we were in the right place.

    There is nothing better than a community of parents —a few percentage points difference in scoring doesn’t give a reason to switch schools.

  • 1192. Diamondgirl72  |  April 11, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Anyone declining their 1st grade spot tier 4 for Dectaur?